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5.2.2.10 Correcting writing

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    • #8829

      communityadmin
      Keymaster

       

      Look at Natalia’s letter and at the details about the context and situation.

      1. Which specific aspects would you comment on? Give examples.
      2. Which aspects would you probably choose to ignore? Why?
      3. Are there any extra details you’d ideally like to know about the writer, before marking?
      4. How do you rate Natalia’s writing overall?
      5. What kind of summarizing comment would you write as feedback?

      Level: intermediate (B1)
      Task set: write an email to a close friend, describing your first two weeks living in Sydney (no need for the address/date)
      Set-up/context: students listened to two college students, newly arrived in Sydney, talking about their experiences; they have written personal letters before

      Dear Mita,

      How are you? I miss you! I am here two weeks, and it goes really quickly. I can’t quite believe!

      The college is very great. I’ve met some new friends. Unfortunately they are Indonesian too so I’m not speaking much English! Teachers are quiet friendly but there are so much students in one class! I think it is going be difficult to study in this enviroment.

      I had message from Ndari which was great. I sometimes feel rather lonely, but I’m sure this is changing soon. My flat is small but light, and I share it with two persons. So don’t worry, I’m not alone!

      I hope you and your family are well. Maybe we can Skype the next week? I try and find camera so we can see the other when we speak.

      All my love, your friend,

      Natalia

       

      Post your ideas in a reply below and comment on other teachers’ ideas.

    • #8904

      Steven Herder
      Keymaster

      I usually have 16-20 students in my writing class. Therefore, in reality, I need to spend a maximum or about 5 minutes per essay. In this context, I usually choose one topic per week to focus on, for example, topic sentences; adjective usage, good examples, clear reasons, introductions, paragraphing, etc.

      For this letter, I will focus on one grammar point that many students would likely have used, the present perfect (I have been here for two weeks), and adding examples to make the reader more interested.

      1. Which specific aspects would you comment on? Give examples.
        X – I am here two weeks, and it goes really quickly.
        O – I have been here two weeks and it has gone really quickly.
        I would underline the mistake and use a diagram for the whole class to review the rule and self-correct.

        If you can add more details and examples, I would enjoy reading your letter more. For example:

        1. What is great about your college?
        2. What are your friends names? What are they like? (funny, sporty, serious?)
        3. What do your teachers do that is friendly?

      2. Which aspects would you probably choose to ignore? Why?

        I would ignore most of the small mistakes that don’t detract form understanding the meaning.

      3. Are there any extra details you’d ideally like to know about the writer, before marking?

        Not in this case.

      4. How do you rate Natalia’s writing overall?

        Communicative, but it has too many careless mistakes. I would note that and nudge her towards 1) more output examples, and 2) slightly more accuracy.

      5. What kind of summarizing comment would you write as feedback?

        I enjoyed reading about your first two weeks. I’d like to know more about your new friends AND your teachers. Please tell me in next week’s homework.

    • #8937

      Barbara Bujtás
      Participant

      1 Which specific aspects would you comment on? Give examples.
      Depending on the student’s aims, I would pick different errors. If it’s an exam prep class, I would use the mistakes to give her a little training in how writing is assessed in the exam. Here’s an example: https://www.euroexam.org/sites/default/files/attachments/e_01_b1_writing_criteria.pdf
      If it’s a 1-2-1 class and the student expects me to focus on accuracy, I’d address all the mistakes that she can probably correct herself. I’d use correction code and give her some practice in how to catch her own errors.
      2 Which aspects would you probably choose to ignore? Why?
      I’d focus on the content (because it is closely connected with the previous listening task and thus it has the message that language is a complex thing) and the style (which would be a positive, encouraging comment. I’d ignore most of the accuracy issues, except the tenses, I’d definitely focus on “quite vs quiet” because the meaning is so much different.
      3 Are there any extra details you’d ideally like to know about the writer, before marking?
      I’d like to know whether she ever writes letters like this in real life in L1 at all.
      4 How do you rate Natalia’s writing overall?
      It’s acceptable if she re-writes it without the annoying little mistakes.
      5 What kind of summarizing comment would you write as feedback?
      It’s a lovely letter and it does its job. Re-write it and the improved version will be perfect!

    • #8942

      Rhett Burton
      Participant

      The aspect I would comment on. I choose these mistakes because I think she’ll be able to self-correct herself at a B1 level.
      Clean up her verb tenses. I may color the text that could be revised;
      considered removing ‘very’ or consider changing ‘very great’ to ‘amazing’;
      Remove “Unfortunately” and suggest making the sentence a bit more positive;
      fix spelling – enviro’n’ ment – to add a ’n;
      change ‘had’ to ‘received”;
      change ‘persons’ to ‘people”;
      Revise vocabulary choice “Light” or “bright?;
      Remove “the” from “the next week;
      Suggest changing “find” to “connect”;

      2. I would avoid correcting, “we can see the other when we speak.”
      I feel this is something of a developmental issue at B1. I would focus on her taking more time in the editing stages because it would improve her writing the most.

      3. I would like to know how her attitude towards writing. I would like to know how long she commits to writing per day. I would also be curious about the writing strategies she uses to become a stronger writer.

      4. For me, It was quite clear to read. There were a few basic errors that I might be able to get her to focus on more.

      5. I would probably add a tiny piece of information about myself when I attended a school away from home. I might tell her of the journal I kept when I was at school. I would also recommend Grammarly.

      • #13791

        scott gray
        Participant

        I like that you focus more on the editing stage as getting the students to become more autonomous this is a very important stage. Most will skip over it where possible, so pointing that out can be very useful.

        I agree compared with what I have gotten the meaning was so clear that most errors felt like this would be a good idea to use Steven’s idea of going over their letter and showing that the majority of the mistakes in this letter tend to be a lazy error they should know and not something they did or could not understand. Grammarly is good but if they have office reviewing in Word can be useful if they already have it as many computers already have that on them here so you don’t have to bother with installing. But beware of the errors word’s editor will miss that Grammarly catches.

         

    • #8944

      Steven Herder
      Keymaster

      It fascinates me to see the differences and similarities between teachers!

    • #8945

      Likewise, it’s interesting to see the similarities and differences.

      My main comments and focus for this type of writing would relate to the communication of meaning. Since it’s a letter, I wouldn’t necessarily ask for a re-draft (but would for an essay). I’d be more interested in writing authentic replies and spending more time on writing activities that lead to language development, such that errors will reduce over the long term.

      However, like Steve with writing classes that have many students, after marking all the papers I would identify a common error appropriate to their level to tackle the following lesson. As with Barbi but for essay writing (or exam tasks), I would use a correction code that focuses on common errors that B1 students should be able to identify and correct themselves. And together with Rhett, I’d recommend Grammarly and demonstrate it in class, getting everyone set up and started in order to increase the likelihood of uptake out of class.

    • #11576

      Masatoshi Shoji
      Participant

      Dear Mita,

      How are you? I miss you! I am here two weeks, and it goes really quickly. I can’t quite believe!

      The college is very great. I’ve met some new friends. Unfortunately they are Indonesian too so I’m not speaking much English! Teachers are quiet friendly but there are so much students in one class! I think it is going be difficult to study in this enviroment.

      I had message from Ndari which was great. I sometimes feel rather lonely, but I’m sure this is changing soon. My flat is small but light, and I share it with two persons. So don’t worry, I’m not alone!

      I hope you and your family are well. Maybe we can Skype the next week? I try and find camera so we can see the other when we speak.

      All my love, your friend,

      Natalia

      Look at Natalia’s letter and at the details about the context and situation.
      1.Which specific aspects would you comment on? Give examples.
      My flat is small but light By underlining light and putting a question mark, I will ask what she means by light.

      2.Which aspects would you probably choose to ignore? Why?
      small errors which I can guess and understand

      3.Are there any extra details you’d ideally like to know about the writer, before marking?
      Do you often write such a letter?

      4.How do you rate Natalia’s writing overall?
      Overall, I can understand it. However, you need to correct some words.

      5.What kind of summarizing comment would you write as feedback?
      I can understand your letter. However, it would be better to correct some mistakes.

    • #13786

      Rhett Burton
      Participant

      Teachers are usually great at curating content for their learners. I would likely include links for additional content to help the student in the future. Feedback – If you are looking for ideas, you’ll find this link very interesting – https://kseacademy.com/cambridge/b1-preliminary-pet/writing/email-english/

       

      • #13790

        scott gray
        Participant

        Thanks for the nice link Rhett. Linking to more in the future is always great.

         

      • #13803

        Nice resource for email/letter writing (even if it’s quite traditional with its conventions based more on letter-writing, which is not a criticism of the resource in anyway but a reflection of the test and mark scheme!).

         

    • #13789

      scott gray
      Participant

      I would comment on words I don’t understand or feel they should have made a better choice on. (There’s a better word than light here. What would it be? … If the student doesn’t get it themselves then drop a hint like , aren’t his pants …. what’s the word begins with b…Bright.<something I have said in class before if possible>  if they didn’t get it.  I would just point out the quiet/quite spelling mistake and remind them spelling is usually corrected in rewrites.  (What could we say instead of really that feels or sounds better…)

      I would probably ignore the verb tense until after I had gone over or brought in a lesson on using will. Then I would bring out the text and say oh, can you see some better choices that I missed on my first look at this letter to see if they could correct or at least notice the mistake on their own. Then correct with them if they could not get it themselves.

      What I would like to know more about is what kind of writing she has submitted before. I wish I had students with such great meaning in their letter that only form is really needed to be worked on. I tend to have to pull teeth to get the meaning from the students like in this letter after a lot more trouble. I think her writing is fairly good at least for my situation. I rarely get this kind of understandable response with meaning.

      For summarizing I would definitely compliment her on a logical order and lots of detail. Reminding her in my summary that spelling and word choice are usually corrected in later drafts and this was a great first draft to me.

       

      • #13805

        Aside from focusing on errors, I also like the approach with “This is good/ok but can you think of a better word?” for example, whilst pointing out the purpose of different rounds of process writing, e.g. 1st draft – focus on ideas and meaning, 2nd/3rd draft – focus on accuracy, improvement (or complexity), and presentation.

    • #13811

      Jessica Sohn
      Participant

      Similar to the comments above, I would choose to use correction codes to point out some errors.
      But would only mark those we’ve gone through together in class. And I would encourage self-correction.
      I would really try to focus on things she’s improved and try to find/catch the good things in her writing.
      Also, I think it’s always nice to do 1.self-correction 2.peer-correction 3. teacher-correction in steps.

      Overall, her writing was comprehensible. But I felt she just needs some more practice.

      I’d like to know how long she’s been studying English.
      How much class time was spent to have this writing written?

      And if I’m marking this in a big class, I would check and see if the errors are commonly made, and take them back and do a review or something.

      • #13812

        Excellent points and good to generally focus on what has been covered in class. Are there any instances, however, when you might make an exception to this general principle?

        Good to note, too, that students often struggle with self- and peer-correction, and some students resist peer-correction because they worry that they can’t correct their classmates’ mistakes well or that it should be the teachers’ job. How might this affect your approach to getting students to self- and peer-correct?

        I like your thoughtful questions, too, to find out more about the student and the writing task.

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