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Session 4

Welcome to The Teachers’ Room. The show all about teaching practice. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up an armchair and relax. Learn something new, remember something fundamental or just have a giggle.

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

The Teachers' Room

Collaborative Writing 2

Dan and Sian talk about helping students write collaboratively

Watch the video and complete the activity

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Collaborative Writing 2: Writing
Getting students to write collaboratively is a good way of getting them used to the writing process, helping them develop their techniques and building their confidence before they try it alone. It also allows for better generation of ideas since many students will be able to contribute.  

Send
This is a variation on a passing type writing game. First, set up the style and topic of the writing, e.g. an informal letter to a friend, or a personal statement for a job. Then allow students to begin. After a few minutes of writing, say ‘SEND’. At this cue students must stop writing immediately- even if they are mid-word – and pass the paper to the next group, receiving a new paper in turn. The group must then review what has already been written and correct any errors that they find. Then continue the writing. Keep going until the writings are complete.

Speech off, pens on
This is great for getting students used to communicating succinctly in short messages, such as in text messages or on the internet. It’s also a great opportunity to teach and practise ways of shortening messages through contractions, substitution, elision and other methods. First, give students something to communicate about or discuss and a large piece of paper. Then forbid them to talk. Play some music if you like, and have them communicate only by writing to each other using the paper- simulating an exchange of messages. Once the task is complete, you can review the relevant language that has emerged or choose examples to demonstrate how substitution works etc.

Step by step
This is a good place to start for lower level learners since sentences tend to be shorter and simpler with instructions. It’s also a great way to teach conjunctions and ordering words to help them structure their writing. Get students to write a ‘how to’ guide for a simple task, e.g. how to make a cup of tea. This forces them to generate their ideas, break them down into steps, order them and write them. To make it more difficult, change the topic – how to fall in love could be quite tricky to explain!

To do

Try our quiz to see if you've picked up our tips.

The Teachers' Room Quiz

4 Questions

Check what you've learned by selecting the correct answer to each question.

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Get involved

Well, those were just a few ideas that we here at BBC Learning English had, but we know that you teachers out there have lots of fantastic ideas too, and we’d like you to share them with us and everybody else.

If you have a great tip or technique about teaching writing, or anything else, please email us at learningenglish@bbc.co.uk. Your email could be posted here on this page, or may even be mentioned in our show.

We are also looking for video tips to include in the programme. You could be rewarded with a T-shirt for your efforts.

End of Session 4

Next up is Learners' Questions. Niki from Hungary has a question about the past perfect tense - and Dan's here with the answer! Join us in Session 5 to find out more.

Session Vocabulary

  • Collaborative Writing 2: Writing

    • Send
    • Speech off, pens on
    • Step by step