This Thursday, October 20th is National Day on Writing (in the USA) and it’s a great way to promote literacy, writing as a hobby and as a profession. I am a firm believer that all teachers should be encouraging their students to write, but this is especially true for language learners.
My advice ‘to write’ comes not only from my experience as an ESL Teacher, but as a learner of the Korean language. I tell my students to imagine that they have a separate muscle in their body that is strictly for learning a new language. They need to work it out! Otherwise, it will become flabby from misuse and underdeveloped from lack of attention. On my own personal road to learning Korean, I try to take a little bit of time regularly to relax and write down some thoughts in my journal in Korean, without full regard for grammar and spelling. If I’m consistent in my discipline to keep writing in Korean, I can quickly see improvements in even my verbal use of the language.
There are so many resources available on the internet to teach you how to write properly, correctly, effectively, and so on. But the most important thing you can do as an English Language Learner (ELL) is this:
2) Then, write some more.
How Writing Can Improve on your Language Learning:
Writing in English helps you to overcome fears and build confidence. It pushes you to expand your vocabulary to find the exact word you’re looking for. It helps you to realize that language is not always “translatable,” and that your first language and the English language come from different cultural contexts. Writing also helps you discover your language weaknesses or soft spots (what you need to work on). And writing helps you to improve your overall use of the language.
So, if you want to improve your English, or encourage your students’ to improve theirs – I suggest getting cozy with a cup of coffee, a fresh notebook and a pen that makes your words sing… and start writing!