How to Develop Writing Skills in Students
If you were poll educators who work with high school and college students and ask them what skills they feel students most need to master, you’ll find that writing tops the list. In fact, if you ask employers what skills they feel that potential employees most need to develop, you’ll also find that writing and communication skills are among the most sought after skills. Since academic writing is so important in school, in the workplace, and beyond, what can be done to develop students’ writing skills? Fortunately, there are a number of steps that educators can take right now to help students become better academic writers. When students learn to write better, they will become stronger students, more productive employees, and more successful in life.
So, if you are an educator, what should you be doing right now to help your students become better writers?
- Take responsibility. At every level, educators complain that the teachers and professors from earlier levels of education didn’t do their jobs and teach students to write well. Students can’t learn to write well unless they have someone teaching them and guiding them. Be the person who helps them to write better. Decide to accept that responsibility falls on you when the students are in your classroom. Make time to work with students. If their previous teachers didn’t inculcate strong skills, try to help the students make up for lost time. Having a responsible educator take charge can help students to be better.
- Remember that writing isn’t just for English class. Similarly, if you are an educator in a field other than English or writing, remember that reinforcing good paper writing skills must occur across the curriculum, not just in the English classroom. Let your students know that you expect them to do their best writing in their essay for your class and hold them to those standards. By reinforcing what they are learning in English class, you can help them understand the importance of applying good academic writing skills in a variety of contexts.
- Value what they do well. Students tend to rise to the level of their educators’ expectations. If you set high standards, they will respond by striving to meet them. Conversely, if they discover that you don’t enforce high standards, they will relax theirs to do only what they need to do to skate by. Let your students know that you value quality writing. Praise them for what they are doing well and offer support to help them achieve more. When they see that you have high standards, they will begin to work harder to meet them.
- Making writing a regular activity. In many classes, writing assignments occur a few times per semester in the form of long essays, research projects, term papers or graduate dissertations. This can be a major detriment to students who are developing their writing skills. Long papers are intimidating, and students with weaker writing skills may not be able to take on major term papers without ramping up their writing skills ahead of the assignments. This is one reason that many students turn to online websites where they pay experts to write essays for them. Professional writing services like WriteMyPaperHub with its team of expert writers promise to provide someone to produce original papers of any complexity for students of all academic course levels in need. If you regularly assign short writing assignments, you can help students build their writing skills ahead of major papers, making these assignments less intimidating for them and making them easier for you to read and to grade.
- Assign writing that isn’t graded. One of the major areas causing students to panic is grades. When writing is graded, students try hard to produce writing that they think will make the grade. But doing so doesn’t always encourage innovation or creativity, which are essential for building writing skills. When students are trying to get a good grade, they play it safe, go with what they know, and avoid taking risks. This limits their growth as writers. Assigning writing that isn’t given a letter grade can give students the space they need to grow as writers and to take chances and express their creativity. This can help them to discover new techniques and skills that can transfer to their essays.
- Guide your students through writing. Many students need a little extra help to move through the writing process. Don’t just grade the final product. Ask to see outlines, annotated bibliographies, and rough drafts to help monitor students throughout the writing process. By identifying areas for improvement early on, you can help students avoid costly writing errors and help them to feel more confident about their writing as they move from initial idea to final draft. Students will also appreciate having you supporting them at each stage of writing. Knowing that you are there to guide them can help them feel more confident about their writing.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are the personal views of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)