Monday, May 12, 2008

How to improve my writing?

I receive a lot of e-mails and queries from my students asking me to give them advice on how to improve their English, especially their essay-writing. Here is my advice.

1 Use it or lose it
There are times when I wish I have a magic pill that I could give to students. The fact is, there are no shortcuts. To learn a language, one has to use it. Start today. Speak to your friends.
If you are shy, start with a few words or phrases in your conversation. Practise speaking in front of the mirror.

2 Read it
Read the newspapers. I would recommend the sports pages if you are a sports enthusiast, or the letters to the editor. You will learn how to give opinions, to complain and to elaborate your ideas. Go to your school library and borrow a book.
Make use of pockets of time during school such as in between classes. I am quite sure you are able to squeeze ten minutes a day for reading. Do not get bogged down if there are words that you do not know. Just read the easier stuff first.

3 Write it
My students are required to keep a journal in my classes. What is a journal? Is it like a diary? A diary is a record of your daily experiences but a journal is more than that. It is a collection of your thoughts, responses to events in your life and it may also include any interesting article, poems or even a song. I keep a journal of articles and quotations that are motivating.
There are many types of journals which you can keep. Check out the bloggers on the Internet for more examples. Search also for examples of journals to help you get started. (To read all about journalling and how to get started, go to
I would like to invite you to join my students in a journalling programme. I have provided seven prompts below to help you get started. Get a notebook or any old diary and begin your writing journey with me. Make the notebook special by decorating it. Just use the prompts (questions) to help you get started.
Read the prompt and respond instantly with the first thing that comes to your mind. Do not stop at one sentence or two. Write for as long as you want without worrying about your grammar.
We will come to errors later. Apart from writing, you can also add pictures, photographs, poems, drawings. Be creative. See you next week with more prompts. Remember, use it or lose it. Bye.

Day 1: What is something that you like about yourself?
Day 2: Write about three fears of your life.
Day 3: Which quality do you dislike most about yourself? Is it laziness, selfishness, or childishness and why?
Day 4: What is something that makes you happy? Why?
Day 5: Do you have a favourite subject in school and one that you dislike? Write about these subjects.
Day 6: Do you have a favourite teacher?Write about his/her class qualities. What makes you look forward to his/her class?
Day 7: Have you ever had a crush on someone? Write about your experience(s). If you have never had a crush, what do you think about falling in love? Is it advisable? Is it a waste of time?


nira said...

thank you teacher..i will started it with what you recomend to me...

Frenz~ said...


Frenz~ said...

where should i sent my juornal to you? email?

Myra Miumiu said...

It look like easy to try . Thank you teacher :)

Nur Ashikin said...

I'll try my best

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