How to Help Students Write Better
The immediate action to take in helping to improve students' writing skills is to get rid of all their negative self-evaluation and perceptions. Remind them that no one is born with an inherent ability to write well. Anyone who is a good writer has had to work hard to become an accomplished writer and naturally, a student who receives the right guidance and learning methodology would be able to achieve the same.
Below are some steps that may help students become better writers.
Cultivate a passion for Writing
Most students loathe writing especially when they are made to write lengthy reflections as punishment for poor discipline or submit compositions in school simply for the sake of it. A good piece of writing takes time and the right motivation to produce. Teachers play a pivotal role in setting the tone and guiding students into becoming better writers by showing their enthusiasm for the written word without associating writing to punishment. From writing compositions, making entries in their blogs or Facebook pages, the ability to articulate oneself is a crucial skill necessary and applicable in the real world but this can only occur over time as one sees its relevance and develops the passion for writing.
Take up a writing class
Taking a writing class (not just an English class) is a great way to develop students' writing skills. Not only will the students learn the proper writing techniques but there will be assignments that provide good practice. When students write on their own, it can be hard to know if their writing is getting better, and it is tough to gauge the areas where a student would require improvement. Having a class where someone is evaluating their writing and guiding them can be a big help. The students will also meet other writers who are developing their craft as well. While they may not know as much as the teacher, peer review is a very important process in learning to write well.
Embrace the writing process
One of the main things writers can do to develop their skills is to accept that the best finished pieces come from a multi-step process and not just from pulling words out of thin air. Pre-writing is a crucial, often-skipped stage of the writing process. Sometimes, it takes up to three drafts for students to produce an excellent composition. Students who skip the stage of brainstorming and organising often have poor ideas, irrelevant descriptions and incoherent plots. Students should also understand the correct approach to the writing process and know how to apply the essential skills and techniques accurately in order for them to write well. For example, many students fail to develop the characters in their compositions adequately and their descriptions are often general and threadbare.
Learn the basics
Students need to have a good grasp of the written English language. This means proper use of subject and verb agreements, prepositions, conjugation and spelling. The technical aspect of writing should be mastered to be able to manipulate the language to express feeling properly. Good writing must be grammatically and structurally sound. The basic skills can be developed both at home and in the writing lessons that they take.
The suggestions above are not foolproof but they would go a long way in helping students face their fears and address the problems they have when writing. Given time, patience and the right approach, students will feel confident and be able to note of a significant improvement in their writing as well as their composition grades.