Teacher Diaries – Ms. Catherine

If you ask a class which aspect of English they find the hardest, expect the answer “writing” along with some painful grunting. While a majority of students are actually capable of delivering decent quality writing, they still often find the task daunting because of 1) the bulkiness of the task plus the lack of input, as in school exams the writing papers are often as brief as a three-line question demanding a response of a few hundred words; and 2) the lack of motivation, as writing is a very unique subject that requires vast amount of creativity and initiative from a student. To remove these two obstacles getting in students’ way to good writing, our writing lessons use a different approach.

In this lesson with a P4 student, the ultimate goal was to produce a tourism leaflet about Hong Kong. In the first part of the lesson, the student had to write a few postcards about an imaginary holiday under my guidance. This is to prepare the students on the style, key grammar points and vocabulary which will be used in the main writing task. This will also help tackle the first problem we have mentioned earlier, the lack of input. As the lesson went on, we moved on to the main task of creating a tourism leaflet. At this point, the student had already gotten used to the writing style of this lesson, i.e. descriptive language. I asked my student to think of herself as a tourism ambassador and come up with some nice places in Hong Kong to introduce to foreign visitors. This helps set the scenario to make the student engage in the task more easily, so as to solve the second problem, the lack of motivation to complete a task. We even did a little internet research on the famous tourist spots in Hong Kong. The final product, as you can see, is excellent work. This lesson was a true pleasure for both my student and
myself.

It is also worth mentioning that this student, despite her willingness to attempt, used to write with a loose structure and incoherence. This lesson was truly a huge turn in her progress, which shows that with adequate input and suitable guidance, every student can flourish with creativity and articulation.

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