How ESL Students Can Improve Their Written English


Many ESL students are already well-versed in basic grammar. Some of these students are from good universities and some are established professionals. In fact, many have memorized the grammar rules, but the problem is that, they find it difficult to compose a clear sentence.

I make it a point that before I leave my students, they are able to make a good sentence. "Grammar cannot, at all times be perfect even for native speakers," but I tell them that to let them try. They are then motivated to practice more.

At least two or three times a week (as a homework), I let them write five or ten sentences. On the next day, the student reads his/her homework and explains to me/ the class about it. We have detailed facts and an exciting conversation.

I edit/check the homework a day before or after the class.

After the corrections, he writes his sentences again for review. That is how I teach them how to write. Online, we email each other, so at least they could see and really practice how to write. Also, I remind them to give meaning to their sentences, and from time to time we review grammar to point out the mistake. Truly, practice makes perfect! I sound like a play again on You Tube, saying that.

Below are sentences written by Koji san. He derived his thoughts from the Maxims of La Rochefaucauld.

1. Everyone blames his memory; no one blames his judgment.

Koji san's work/sentence:

People are not perfect.
People can't memorize something for a long time.

2. Ability wins us the esteem of true men; luck that of the people.

KS: Don't believe in luck. Do work.

3. Who lives without folly is not so wise as he thinks.

KS: We must do some effort.

4. Man's merit like crops has its season.

KS: It takes time to grow up.

5. We pardon in the degree that we love.

KS: Love is wonderful.

6. To be a great man, one should know how to profit by every phase of fortune.

Koji san's sentence:

We always think about how to improve life and be happy.

The students are required to read articles, news stories, or any good reading materials in English, as often as possible. They have to be acquainted with the language, just as listening to a good music.

Remember "The Kiss Theory" of writing: Keep it simple stupid! (Sorry for the awkwardness of the word stupid, but this rule was coined to emphasize that we have to write sentences for clarity.) Omit needless words.

Please keep it simple.

Here are more tips:

1. Take word tests.
2. Study word lists.
3. Write letters.
4. Make a blog. Write a post per week, at least.
5. Join social networks online.
6. Make sentences from the new words you have learned.
7. Read quotes and try to make your own.
8. Always review grammar rules.
9. Read newspapers, magazines, good books and the World Wide Web (www).
10. Practice. Practice makes perfect. Write everyday, and/or keep a journal notebook.

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