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Writing with Structure in the ESL classroom

Writing can be hard, even for me a native English speaker and ESL teacher. But once ESL students become comfortable with writing in English, it is important to introduce some common structures in English writing.

Traditionally in English, an essay states the main idea in the first paragraph and each paragraph that follows supports the main idea. While this rigid structure is not always followed, students should understand that normally they should structure their writing in that manner.

ESL teachers, especially native English speakers, may not consider teaching essay organization, but some cultures value other essay structures. There is a great video clip about a nonnative English speaker, Pablo Zapata, and his problems with the very direct manner of English essay writing.

Some students may have a hard time transitioning to this style of writing, but once their language is intelligible, it is a necessity. English readers have certain expectations about how writing should be organized, especially in academics. As teacher, we should give our students the skills to meet readers’ expectations.

2 Responses to “Writing with Structure in the ESL classroom”

  1. Jason Simms Says:

    It’s interesting to know there are other essay forms out there. When you’re in school in the US, teachers make it seem like our essay form is divinely inspired and not to be questioned!

  2. Blog » Blog Archive » Painless Writing | English, Baby! Says:

    […] out. One of those is teaching essay writing to low level English speakers. I have blogged about structured and fun writing. But to teach the basics, my general approach has been to do brain storming (with […]

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