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Module 1: Language and background to language learning and teaching

Part 1: Describing language and language skills


Unit 6: Writing
Lesson 1: Accuracy and efficient messages
Sergio Dorado Registro en trmite
(Prohibida su reproduccin sin autorizacin expresa)

WRITING
Bear in mind that there are two receptive skills: listening and reading, and two
productive skills: writing and speaking.
BRAIN
Entering
language

Internal
processes

Receptive skills:
Listening
Reading

Retrieval
of language
Productive skills
Speaking
Writing

Writing involves producing language through making signs on paper with a


communicative intention. Anytime you take a pencil and write something down, your
purpose is to communicate a message to someone else. When you make notes in order to
remember something, a duty, a phone number, a shopping list, or when you leave a
message at your friends door or write an essay on something you are studying at school,
you are using writing subskills.
Writing subskills
There are two main writing subskills: accuracy and communicating an efficient
message.
a) Accuracy
Accuracy is concerned with the cohesion of your writing, i.e. with how well you form
words, spell them legibly, link them appropriately in sentences, and write coherent
paragraphs; it is also concerned with how well you select vocabulary, use grammar,
punctuation, and suitable layouts for the purpose you may have when writing (a message, a
letter, a birthday card, an essay, etc).
b) Communicating an efficicient message
Accuracy is important when you write, but not enough. Accuracy is, of course, relevant
because cohesion is essential in communicating something grammatically correct, but you
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also need a clear purpose of communicating your ideas and organising them into a message,
and then express your purpose in an appropriate style.
Subskills inside the classroom
It is advisable to make a clear difference between the writing subskills (accuracy
and communicating efficient messages) inside the language classroom. In language
teaching, there are two main types of language activities based on this difference: accuracy
activities and communicating efficient messages activities. Accuracy activities are based on
grammar (phonology, morphology, lexis and/or syntax), but communicative activities are
based on contextual communication regardless the grammatical issues included in the
activity.
It is also important to make learners write according to their age. With young
learners, activities must be as simple as to write only one word. An exercise of gap-filling,
for example, would be suitable at this age. See example below where young learners need
to choose and write only one word.
I write with my _______
I eat with my ______
I play with my _______

The complexity of writing needs to be linked to the learners age and level of
language.
Steps for writing
At intermediate or higher levels of English (teenagers and adults), experts advise to
follow several steps in order to write more complex texts. See the following table.

BRAINSTORMING

DRAFT

EDITING

PROOF-READING

a) Think of as many ideas as you can about the topic


you are working on.
b) Be sure to make notes of all your ideas.
c) Organise your ideas and make a plan of work.
a) Write your first attempt (draft)
b) Review your draft.
a) Correct your draft.
b) Produce a second attempt.
a) Check for mistakes in accuracy.
b) Re-read yourself and give your work to other
readers, and listen carefully to their opinions. (make
notes.)
c) Write the final text.

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