Once a student reaches high school, they should be relatively proficient in the basic rules of grammar. Unfortunately, this does not always mean that they are able to use those skills to write essays and term papers required in most, if not all, subjects. If you notice that you have students who are struggling to master a few skills, the following six tips might give you the tools you need to help them improve their writing style.
1. Begin with the Recognition of Your Responsibility
One of the biggest stumbling blocks that teachers face is the fact that students think they only need to write well in English classes. This is never the case and if you have any hope of inspiring them to write well in all their subjects, begin by recognizing your responsibility as an educator.
2. Discuss the Importance of Writing Well
As mentioned above, somehow students have gotten the wrong message about the importance of writing well for all subjects. Effective communication is the backbone of any well-written paper and if they cannot master that now, they have little hope of achieving a 4.0 in any class on a college level. In fact, effective writing is so important that some universities have mandated writing requirements in college classes other than language arts.
3. Show Them How to Access Online Tools
Unfortunately, some students will try to take the easy way out. Instead of using research as a basis for their writing, they will copy verbatim the research they should only be citing. Also, they will not credit the author of that body of research which amounts to plagiarism. You can show them this online tool that will help them understand how to rewrite something in their own words.
4. Work with Other Like-Minded Teachers
If you are experiencing issues with certain students, you can almost be assured that other teachers are facing the same problems with those very same students. Perhaps it is time to work together to get the point across that writing is important in all subjects for the clarification of ideas and the expression of processes. It is not suggested that you gang up on those students but rather work together to gently show them a better, more effective way of communicating their thoughts.
5. Praise Their Efforts, However Small
Whether or not they choose to admit it, students thrive on praise. Sometimes all it takes would be a few kind words of encouragement from a teacher to inspire them. This could be an extremely effective tool for teachers to use, especially with students they have had previous issues with. A few kind words can motivate them to continue making efforts to improve their writing skills.
6. Never Say Never
There may come a point when you want to throw your hands up in despair because it does not feel as though you are getting through to them. All this time you have been telling them not to quit. You have told them that writing can be hard work but once mastered, the rewards far outweigh the effort. The same holds true for you. Their accomplishments will be the reward you are after as an educator, so never say never. Nothing is impossible when they have teachers who care.
Just remember that every student is motivated differently but most will respond to kind words and praise for their efforts. You have the power in you to make a difference in their lives and even if you cannot see it today, those students will openly thank you in later years. You will be remembered as the inspiration that led them forward throughout the rest of their years in academia.
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