“Writing is boring!”
“I’ll come to class, but you can’t make me write because I don’t want to.”
1. Remove the Fear of Mistakes
In his book, Motivating Students Who Don’t Care: Successful Techniques for Educators, Allen Mendler suggests that teachers must let students learn from their mistakes.
Many students who exhibit a lack of motivation are actually trying to disguise their lack of ability to do something with a lack of effort. In this case, Allen suggests that teachers should use the students’ mistakes, rather than their failures, as diagnostic tools.
Carol, you answered the first question well, which makes me believe you understood the first two paragraphs of the story. Read the story again, and refer to my suggestions, and see how it will help with the other questions.
We must give students a chance to revise, retake, and rewrite. When you applaud their efforts to improve, their will is rekindled.
When students are learning to write, allowing them to make mistakes gives them the confidence to express themselves on paper (or, more often than not, on a screen) more freely. Once their interest is aroused, they tend to pick up the nuances of good writing more easily.
2. Hire an English Tutor
Teachers usually have to teach large groups of students. Home tutors, on the other hand, have the time to focus on one student at a time. They have more time to talk to the students and form a bond with them. Hence, they are able to motivate students better.
Good English tutors sourced from reputable agencies like SmileTutor can come up with a well-researched curriculum for your child that emphasizes details, accuracy, and creativity. Tutors can create mini-lessons around your child’s specific needs and make use of multiple intelligences that they possess.
This strategy is especially effective if your child is learning English as a second language or if they are not able to keep up with their classmates’ learning pace.
3. Use Grammarly
Grammarly is one of the world’s best online grammar resources. It’s free to use (though it does have a premium version, which helps you with advanced grammar-checking). The tool not only helps you to fix misspelled words and grammatical mistakes but also identifies words used in the wrong context. It can be used as an add-on to your Chrome or Firefox browsers.
Using this AI-powered grammar-checking tool allows students to correct their punctuation, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes as well as improve their vocabulary and improve their writing style. Grammarly has emerged as a powerful tool for English language learners.
NOTE: If you use Grammarly regularly, the tool keeps a log of your mistakes and points out where you might need to focus your energies to become a practiced writer.
This simple tool is quite handy for shy students who may otherwise feel embarrassed to ask for help in class.
4. Encourage Shorter Writing Pieces
In pre-schools and primary school, children are often encouraged to write in order to express their feelings and experiences. In upper grades, especially in middle school, the writing exercises are mostly based on textbook styles. They are more demanding and rigorous but can often seem mundane and boring.
In today’s world, attention spans are rapidly growing shorter. Here are a few tips to help writers reach engaged audiences quickly and succinctly:
a. Skip the fluff and get straight to the point:
In the Information Age, readers want you to get straight to the point.
What NOT to write: “This morning, over a cup of coffee, I got a great idea about building the GPS.”
What to write: “Why we need to build the GPS”
b. Content should match the headline of the essay or the article:
Misguiding a reader with a catchy headline for a routine promotional article is the worst mistake a writer can make.
Teach young writers how to create catchy headlines or titles that fit their stories, essays, and articles.
What NOT to write: I Couldn’t Believe It. So, I Fact-Checked It Again and Again. Now, It’s Time to Tell the World about It.
Despite being so long, this headline does not offer you a clue what’s the article is about.
What to write: 7 Ways to Earn Money In College
This headline has several advantages. It uses numbers to suggest that it is a listicle-type article, it offers a solution to a common problem (earn money), and it narrows down the audience (college students).
c. Push the key point to the top:
As mentioned earlier, readers’ attention spans have greatly decreased. It is important to highlight the main point of your article in your first paragraph. Journalists call this paragraph the “lead.”
Writers should place the most important points toward the top of the article; and the first sentence of each subsequent paragraph should speak to vital sub-points.
In the end, don’t forget to re-read and edit your piece.
NOTE: Exciting projects and blogs that have the potential to go viral can really bring excitement to your writing class and make the kids want to write. Try it!