Learning how to write in English and some useful tools online
It is not easy to teach students about the best ways for writing in English. Today we can rely on tools online that can support us while working on one of the most difficult skills to teach in English.
Currently, I am teaching students preparing for Cambridge exams in afternoon lessons: both B1 and B2 level exams focus on such a competence. They are required to write emails, short stories, essays and articles in English and most of the time I have no time to do this in the morning. Only in these special courses I focus on the technique and I realize that learning how to write well requires a lot of time and exercises based on what they will be asked to do in the papers!!
What is really hard for our learners is to master Vocabulary and how to organize their ideas while writing a text which can be meaningful and while they are writing they are following a framework which is English and not in Italian. One of the most common mistakes my students do is when they follow the Italian way of writing. It is a spontaneous way of writing which often lacks planning and organization and which is based on a different way of working while writing.
They often translate from Italian into English and they forget that the English language is much simpler in terms of organization of thoughts and ideas. I need to teach them that brainstorming is the key to starting writing better but it is hard for them to forget their Italian.
Some useful tools can help students develop as learners:
This website requires a teacher's account and it is a source for widening the students' language competence.
This tool online helps you learn about the best combinations: just check what I did when I chose the word " butter": interesting, isn't it?
Online dictionaries can provide support as students will focus on the meanings while checking the spelling or the words they are going to check.
Cambridge English has just started an interesting service online which is free and which can be used by learners who want to improve their writing skills. Here is the presentation online about this interesting service and which can provide feedback for the learners who have registered with it for free.
I think that all the students taking Cambridge certificates should try it!
I hope I will be able to teach better and I am willing to start using these tools in class with my intermediate level students.