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The desire to learn how to write and read started earlier than my preschool year. Growing up in a family where respect and education were the primary focus for their offspring’s, it wasn’t only a good thing for my youth but has helped me later in my life. I was taught that learning is not only obtaining skills and knowledge, but the ability to apply the new understanding, such a asking for food when I felt the pain of hunger. While, later in my life I was educated that learning is the ability to contextualize the variety of contexts which vary from region to region, institution to institution, and between groups with different social-economical backgrounds.
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Learning how to write well, it all started in primary school. Primary school was the place where I created my foundation for writing well. This foundation was build on by different writing exercises, such as course handbook and writing workbooks in and out of classroom. I learned to copy definitions of literary terms in my notepad and memorize them, without considering its larger meaning. This helped me learn writing skills and knowledge in multiply lesson types. Dictation exercises were another form used in school to advance my writing skills and knowledge. Being a verbal thinker, dictation was one of my preferred ways of learning how to write well. This form of writing helped me visualize the structure and grammar mistakes I made during the writing process. As my education advances, I use written feedback from professors and peers to understand the expectations which they have. Through this method, I not only become more familiar with my writing, but it helps me improve my generative thinking. Helps me develop ideas in writing from different points of view, and assists on improving my initial thoughts.
Learning vocabulary skills in the context of writing started as early as elementary school. Completing practice workbooks and exercises on short stories I read during class. And create a dictionary with new words I came across in children books and other words presented by my teacher. Visual activities prepared by the teacher, were practices which I had to find in use in my children books in my local library, this meant reading a great quantity of short story books, and getting familiar with the plot concept and theme in the context of writing. To help me bring my knowledge to test, my teacher would require me to write a short story of my happiest moment during a weekend. The combination of visual and integrated activities provided ways for me to put my understanding to use in the context of larger writings. I can clearly say that this form of teaching was effective in learning how to use vocabulary in writing.
What if, peer and self-evaluation were parts of activities? I believe it would have helped me improve my writing mechanics and vocabulary which could be used later in class discussions. Depending upon any other approach rather than the visual and integrated activities would not have been affective, because integrating larger goals in the context of writing would have been too much. Integrated and visual activates worked in none-linear and separated form, both were effective on making me understand the context of writing in the smaller scale. With the necessary skills and knowledge, I was ready to learn how to become reflective about my own writing performance.
With skills and knowledge such as, strategies on approaching writing tasks, discussing prompts which support cognitive thinking, it was time for me to explore and extend literary understanding beyond the initial interpretation, and most importantly achieve creative thinking beyond the initial thoughts. Dictation was the answer to this stepping stone. Dictation is nothing more than a class exercise which helps students develop grammar, writing communications and improve listening comprehension. Using this learning device I have been able to diagnose and correct grammatical mistakes, learn punctuation, and develop my thoughts. This form or this learning device has helped teachers analyze and address the grammatical and comprehension weaknesses in students such as myself. The most important benefit on using this learning device is the ability to make corrections myself or my teacher. Dictation activities exercised were a combination of traditional spelling and punctuation problems to activities where personal opinions were tested. Besides its benefits, dictation was a form of losing time on noticing language mistakes that are overlooked and commonly made. By reading and writing more literature these common mistakes would be improved. Dictation is not widely issued in English teaching systems, because it is considered an older technique. In comparison, most European countries still use dictation as a technique for teaching and improving students in grammatical and comprehension skills. In addition to dictation, professor’s feedback gives me an opportunity to improve and analyze my work.
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Getting the facts right is what writing well is all about. If the reader or the audience is misinformed, feedback is what the writer gets in response. If the point is not reached in writing the feedback is not a critique, but an explanation on how well the writing expectations are met, and what can be done for improvements. Receiving written feedback helps me understand the expectations of my audience, and helps me understand and meet the expectation of my own writing. This method has given the ability to improve my initial thoughts to thoughts which are expected by the audience. I expect written feedback of any form in my writing, because this puts ‘my writing in a particular way’ to an end or makes me repeat it. Positive punishment (lower grade) makes me put an end to the way I write and or positive reinforcement (better grade) makes me repeat my writing in a behaviors term. Although feedback is one of the most important forms on learning how to write well, there are still problems associated with this approach. First, the written feedback I receive most of the time is hard to interpret due to the illegible handwriting, including un-clear terms and symbols. In addition, the implemented time on feedback is crucial. The majority of time I receive late feedback and time doesn’t permit to apply the changes to my writing. This issue can be solved if the institutions increase the time constrains available for feedbacks. Paying attention to the written feedback I receive is improving my skills in writing well. Feedback is more than often provided by experienced writers, which can have no end when learning the skill on how to write well.
Therefore, learning how to write well is not only obtaining the skills and knowledge, but is the ability to apply the skills and knowledge to meet the audience expectations. However, as I have shown visual and integrated activities are used on building the foundation to writing well. Enhancing vocabulary terms and using it on writing was the main concentration of these activities. Class dictation has been the most beneficial method to my learning, as it helped me perfect my writing skills and raised awareness of problematic areas in my writing. Given that dictation activities provide the opportunity to compare written work with a professor’s work. As my writing advances, I’m become a better writer, and the writing process is becoming less painful when I receive written feedback. The fact that this method is the most preferred way for many students including myself to achieve excellent writing; it clearly shows the importance written feedback have on students. Most of the time peer feedback indicates the type of error but not the place of error; this significantly improved my ability to find the error and help avoid the wrong initial thought. All in all, using course workbooks, dictation and feedback I’ve been able achieve skills on how to write well.
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