Jeremy Harmer How To Teach Writing Essays - Homework for you

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Jeremy Harmer How To Teach Writing Essays

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Развитие навыков письма учащихся начальной, средней и старшей школы по требовани

The topic of my project is

Developing writing skills of learners’of the primary, secondary and higher stages coinciding demands and specification of the writing part of the United State Exam and the State Final Certification in the process of teaching English.

Analysis of the situation

During teaching practice at Grammar schoolswe come across a serious problem: many students have great difficulty in writing. They frequently stop when they need to write a story, a letter or a composition. They reach for the dictionary, panic and loose the thread of what they were doing. But dictionaries can’t help in this case.

  • Many learners don’t have an opportunity and suitable conditions to fulfill home tasks developing writing skills
  • On account of different learners’ language levels not all of them cope with tasks aiming at developing writing skills
  • Our course books include insufficient amount of exercises aiming at developing writing skills. In some cases incorrect tasks wording do not assist effective developing of skills and do not correspond principles of teaching writing skills. They consist of similar boring types of exercises which can help neither a student nor a teacher. And that’s why the teacher has to use different sources and work out additional activities which help them to increase students’ motivation for developing student’s writing skills.
  • Expected introduction of obligatory exam for Final English Test of graduates from the secondary and higher stages makes urgent to pay special attention to developing creative writing skills
  • In undivided classes with more than 24 learners’ it is difficult to give feedback to every student because of the lack of time. Additional writing tasks help to involve great number of students and evaluate every of them consequently solve this problem.
  • Insufficient amount of tasks developing writing skills containing in course books of different authors makes it urgent to work out, select and supply the series of exercises which will help to improve the situation for successful passing of the USE and the SFC
  • incorrect and not clear tasks in the course books
  • lack of writing tasks which should develop writing skill
  • National authors’ course-books for preparation to the Russian State Exam are not effective
  • Inconsistency of tasks in the course book to the Russian State Standards
  • To work out of the series of tasks aiming at developing learners’ writing skills corresponding demands of size the United State Exam and the State Final Certificate.
  • To improve conditions for successful learner’s acquire writing skills and successful passing through the writing part of the United State Exam and the State Final Certification at the expense of working out the series of tasks.

In order to solve the problem it is essential

  • To analyze own teaching situation
  • To analyze national course-books and teaching aids preparing to the United State Exam and the State Final Certificate.
  • To analyze methodological literature where new tendencies, principles and approaches of developing writing skills are reflected
  • To work out resourced materials meeting demands of the National Standards in writing.
  • (a booklet or a CD disk)

The book I’ve analyzed is called “The practice of English language teaching” by Jeremy Harmer. This book includes theories of teaching, teaching skills, communication skills and language proficiency, subject matter knowledge, pedagogical reasoning skills, and decision making and contextual knowledge. The topic of my project work is “Developing of pupils’ writing skills during preparation to the United National Exam”.

The author’s point is that the most important reason for teaching writing is that it is a basic language skill, which is important as speaking, listening and reading. Students need to know how to write letters, how to put written reports together and how to write using electronic media. They need to know some of writing’s special conventions (punctuation, paragraph construction, etc.) just as they need to know how to pronounce spoken English appropriately. And part of teacher’s job is to give them that skill. Also author said that what students write will depend on level and the motivational effect of the task. Moreover students should practice writing postcards, letters, forms, narratives, reports and articles. One more important idea pointed in the book is that while learners handwriting is a matter of style, teacher should expect them to write clearly and legibly. In some case pupils may need special help in the shaping of letters.

The next book I’ve analyzed is “Assessing writing” by Sara Cushing Weigle. The book provides practical guidance on developing both small and large-scale writing tests. This book includes: a comprehensive overview of the research, practical advice for designing tasks and scoring procedures for writing tests, an in-depth discussion about how writing is assessed in major second language tests and the last thing is consideration of the effects of technology on writing tests.

The last book I’ve analyzed is “How to teach for exam” by Sally Burgess and Katie Head. This book provides an overview of current approaches, issues and practices in the teaching of English. Containing a broad collection of articles published primarily in the last decade, it illustrates the complexity underlying many of the practical planning and instructional activities involved in teaching English. These activities include teaching English at elementary, secondary and tertiary levels, teacher training, language testing, curriculum and materials development, the use of computers and other technology in teaching as well as research on different aspects of second-language learning.

I have analyzed some systematic books of different authors who share their experience and views on the process of teaching writing skills. One of them is Ken Hyland reveals his approaches in his book “Teaching and Researching Writing”. He puts to light the first approach which focuses on the products of writing by examining texts in various ways, either through their formal surface elements or their discourse structure.

His second approach is loosely divided into Expressivist, Cognitivist and Situated strands. It focuses on the writer and describes writing in terms of the processes used to create texts. The third approach emphasizes the role that readers play in writing, adding a social dimension to writing research by elaborating how writers engage with an audience in creating coherent texts.

The author reveals texts as autonomous objects which can be analyzed and described independently of particular contexts, writers or readers. Texts have a structure; they are orderly arrangements of words, clauses and sentences and by following the principles which guide the correct arrangement of elements. Writers can encode a full semantic representation of their intended meanings. Writing, then, like language itself, is seen as an autonomous mechanism which depends neither on particular writers or readers, but on setting out ideas using correct forms.

The great author’s attention is paid to the genre analysis. The pedagogical emphasis here has been on enablement, facilitating access to valued genres through tasks designed to raise students’ awareness of text features. Genre teaching seeks to foster specifying four stages of the writer’s development.

The author fully describes the process of writing and it has helped me to realize that writing is problem-solving; writers use invention strategies and extensive planning to resolve the rhetorical problems that each writing task presents.

Writing is generative: writers explore and discover ideas as they write.

Writing is recursive; writers constantly review and modify their texts as they write and often produce several drafts to achieve a finished product.

Writing is collaborative: writers benefit from focused feedback from a variety of sources.

Writing is developmental: writers should not be evaluated only on their final products but not on their improvement.

Learning to write, like any other skills, is a matter of instruction, practice and critical feedback. The practice will come in the writing assignments and in the tasks learners do in the classroom, and the critical feedback will come from the classmates in peer evaluations and from a teacher in marked assignments. Most of all, a learner will learn by writing in the struggles to find form for the meaning they want to convey.

The main point mentioned in the systematic books is that teaching writing should be subdivided into process stages and writing techniques.

“How to Teach Writing” by JeremyHarmer. “How to Teach Writing” is a practical guide to the theory of writing and into a range of approaches in the teaching of writing. the the theory of writing and to a range of approaches in the teaching of writing.

The author describes the processes that people go through when writing, gives the analysis of different types of text in terms of genre and register, and of quality of writing in terms of cohesion, coherence, and appropriacy. Jeremy Harmer helps both, young and experienced teachers suggesting activities for the teaching of handwriting, spelling, and punctuation.

He also speaks about teaching sequences for developing students' skills and confidence in writing extended texts of many kinds guides to various ways of responding to students' written work, and to establishing successful journal-writing programmes. This part of his book is especially important for teachers to learn how to prepare our students for exams better.

The book contains a Task File of photocopiable training tasks, appendices of punctuation rules, and of further reading in the theory and teaching of writing journal-writing. Photocopies may be made, for classroom use, without the prior written permission of Longman Publishers Limited.

“Learning Teaching” by Jim Scrivener. “Learning Teaching” is a guidebook for English language teachers. The author underlines the role of writing in everyday life and warns when selecting work for students, teachers need to be clear about whether it is useful practice. Those issues are discussed in his book. Some general ideas for real-world writing tasks are also given in the book. In his book Jim Scrivener looks in more detail at some classroom activities and strategies. Such as Brainstorming Text-starts ,Introducing and summarizing the main writing task.

A very important idea of the book is that much writing work in the classroom falls on a continuum of how much restriction, help and control is offered, from copying to unguided writing.

Methodology in language teaching” edited by Jack C.Richards and Willy A. Renandya is an anthology of current practice. The authors outline a set of guidelines which can make the planning of a writing course a less intimidating task. These guidelines are based on what we have long known to be the key principles of course design, which include considerations of course goals, theories, content, focus, syllabus, materials, methodology, activities, and course evaluation. Although these are of paramount importance in the design of a writing course, one should not lose sight of the fact that these are but principles. They underline that eventually, it is the teacher who is responsible for translating these principles into practice. And for this practice to produce optimal learning benefits, teachers should constantly and systematically record, ponder, and analyze what they have.

They describe the process approach to teaching writing, which comprises four basic stages - planning, drafting, revising, and editing.

“ Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL®Test” by Jolene and Robert Gear helps to build the students’ skills necessary to answer the questions on the TOEFL successfully and that’s why it will be of great help while preparing them for the Russian State Exams in the part of “Writing ”. Also, it thoroughly familiarizes you with the TOEFL format and suggests test-taking strategies to help you improve your exam scores.

A Test of Written English section gives sample student essays and step-by-step preparation in writing essays, letters. reviews, compositions.

Writing skills according to the New State Standards

It is said in the Standards and in the Instructions to the State Exam that pupils are to be able to do different types of writing:

After having analysed the situation we came to the conclusion that the main reason is inconsistency of course – books to the demands of State Standards and lack of exercises for developing writing.

Having analyzed the course- book “Happy English”for 10-11 grades by V.P.Kuzovlev I noticed that there are only four exercises for writing, for example,

- Read the advertisement. Write to a firm (or shop) and ask for more information about this electric device and its functions.

We can speak of incorrectness of given tasks. There are no exercises for writing through the unit but at the end of it there is a task to write a a composition.

The course- book “ English ” by Vereshchagina and Afansyeva contains mostly exercises for translation from Russian into English and some projects.

Put in prepositions where necessary.

1. Please help Michael, he is not coping. the translation. 2. Can I ask you a question? What do you feel. learning two or three foreign languages at school? 3. Tanya always makes notes. new useful words that she finds in books. 4. How many new words can you learn. a time? 5. If you don't know what book to choose in the library you can always ask. information. 6. When we talk to Englishmen or Americans we practise. our English. ……

Complete the sentences.

1. What do you feel about

going. playing. doing. changing using.

2. I'm afraid I have a problem

learning. understanding. reading. memorizing. finding. with

Prepare some material about your school for the Open House Day. Use photographs and pictures, make it look as attractive as possible. Work in small groups.

As for ‘New Millennium English ’the author of this course-book O.L.Grosa tries to solve this problem in some way. The course –book contains such tasks as:

  • Read some extracts from a diary and after that write your own diary for one week;
  • Write a speech about problems of poverty in your country and ways of solving them. Follow the steps.

You can see the Sample of writing exercises from additional aids for preparing to exam for 8,9,11 grades.

  • You have 20 minutes to do this task.
  • You have received a letter from your American pen friend Larry who writes:
  • . I have to think about pocket money all the time. My parents try to make me earn it by doing the housework. They try to make me save up and then buy some big thing. But I need pocket money for the cinema and ice-cream and other treats like that. Do you have to 'earn' your pocket money in any way? Or do your par­ents just give it to you? What do you spend your pocket money on? What do your parents think of the way you spend it?
    Write back soon,
    Larry
  • Write back to Larry answering his questions. Write 100 -140 words. Remember the rules of letter writing.
  • You have 40 minutes to do this task. Comment on the following statement.
  • Some parents think that having a computer at home will help their children to get a better education, others are afraid that children will only play videogames.
  • What can you say for and against having a computer at home? Write 200 - 250 words.
  • Use the following plan
  • Introduction (State the problem).
  • Arguments "for".
  • Arguments "against".

Sample of writing exercises from demonstrative aids for preparing to exam for 9,11 grades.

  • The same as in the preparatory aids.

Analysis of course - book “Enjoy English 4” by Biboletova M.Z.

In my point of view today at English lessons there are more speaking tasks to the detriment of writing. To prove it I want to analyze the activities which are included in course book “Enjoy English 4” by Biboletova M.Z. Let me introduce some units. Each of them consists of five tasks. None of the tasks develops writing skills. The first task is listening, the second one is speaking, the third one is reading and the last one is speaking again. I have made a conclusion that this course book doesn’t pay ample attention to writing. The result of my analysis is shown on the diagrams. There are four units.

Biboletova “Enjoy English 4” Student’s book:

Most of exercises are the same: reading, answering the questions, discussions, making up the dialogues and describing pictures. None of the four Units which I analyzed develops writing skills. Writing has a positive effect on students’ vocabulary knowledge, on their spelling and on their grammar. The senior pupils pass the United National Exam which includes this skill. If sufficient attention is given in this aspect in primary school it will give good results in future. I’d like to suggest developing writing activities which are based on learning material. The activities should be elaborated according to the United National Exam. It may include such activities as writing postcards and letters.

  • The student will be able to write reasonably well-focused, well-organized, and stylistically and grammatically proficient paragraphs.
  • The student will be able to write reasonably well-focused, well-organized, and stylistically and grammatically proficient 2-3 page expository essays.
  • The student will be able to write proficient paragraphs and essays in an in-class exam setting.
  • The student will be able to use the writing process to initiate ideas, to create and revise drafts, and ultimately to produce a relatively polished product.

Assessment Criteria and procedures

During the course students create an extensive body of writing from numerous informal writing assignments and 4-10 formal writing assignments. Near the end of the term, students select 3-5 pieces from this body of writing and collect them in a writing portfolio as a representative product of their writing ability.

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Jeremy P. H. Harmer was born in 1947. Educated in the UK, he graduated from the University of East Anglia with a BA Hons in English and American Studies and then pursued his MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading. He completed his studies with a Teacher Training certification from International House.

Harmer has taught in Mexico and the UK, where he is currently an occasional lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University. He has trained teachers and offered seminars all over the world. A writer of both course material and methodology, he is the author of methodology titles including How To Teach English, The Practice of English Language Teaching and How To Teach Writing.

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"The Just Skills" series provides a flexible set of teaching materials for use individually or in any combination to form an integrated course. "The Just Skills" series, available at four levels, comprises Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Speaking, and Reading & Writing books. The corpus of the "Just Right" course has been used to create this set of skills books. The consistent methodological approach used throughout each book allows for them. more.

In this new edition, Jeremy Harmer brings you * a review of global English * ideas to help you continue your professional development alone or with others * methodology for teaching all the skill sectors in ELT * DVD with clips from real classrooms, observation tasks and interviews with teachers on their classroom technique

This new series entry delivers an uncomplicated analysis of the nature of writing, particularly in terms of process, product, and genre. Descriptions of a broad range of writing tasks enable teachers to select those that will be most effective in developing students¿ writing skills.

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A Summary of How to Teach English by Jeremy Harmer

This is a summary of "How to Teach English" by Jeremy Harmer. This is a practical book which covers the aspects of being a good teacher, dealing with problems and the unexpected in the classroom.


It describes, simplifies and gives us an introduction to language including grammar and more. It focuses mainly on teaching adults. The summary is designed to save you time. It captures the key points, offers commentary and a review in just 20+ pages. Available on Amazon .

Interested in reading the whole book?

How To Teach English (with DVD)

Published: 01 June 2011 Updated on 19 June 2016

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How to teach writing? Jeremy Harmer

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Jeremy Harmer - EFL Magazine

I am a writer of books in the field of English Language Teaching. These include Methodology titles, course materials, and learner literature (often called graded readers).

I am a frequent presenter, seminar leader and teacher both in the UK and, more frequently, around the world.

I hold a BA in English Literature from the University Of East Anglia, UK and a Masters in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading (UK)

As a teacher and trainer in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT) I have worked forInternational House, London, Eurocentre Bournemouth, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, theBell School, Cambridge, and at the Instituto Anglo Mexicano de Cultura (in Mexico DF, Ciudad Satellite and Guadalajara – where I was branch director for four years). The IAMC is now part of The Anglo Foundation.

Currently I work as an online tutor for the MATESOL at The New School, New York.

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