13.3 Controlled Activities
In this unit, we will go over writing activities. Writing activities can be divided into three classes:
- controlled writing activities,
- guided writing activities, and
- Freewriting activities.
How to introduce writing (activities)
Writing activities, similar to oral activities, go from being tightly controlled to being completely free. The teacher will usually do more guided activities with beginners, but they should not exclude straightforward free exercises. Usually, controlled and guided activities are being done to practice the language, concentrating on the language itself. Free activities should allow for self-expression at whichever level, and the content is most important.
Controlled writing activities are fundamental to teaching literacy to children or adults, and this style focuses on establishing sentence structure, punctuation, grammatical patterns, and word order. Controlled writing exercises can help students learn how to express themselves adequately in English. Let us have a look at some of the methods used in controlled activities below.
Copying exercises provide teachers with the chance to strengthen language that has been introduced orally or through reading. It is an excellent approach to ask students to read aloud quietly when they are copying the words because this encourages them to see the relationship between the spoken word and the written word. The sound-symbol mixture is quite complicated in English. For children, who find even straight copying difficult, the teacher can start them off by tracing words. They may not understand what they are ‘writing’, but they will still end up with a piece of written work, which will give valuable encouragement and satisfaction.
Matching requires students to match texts with text or text with pictures. For instance, pupils might choose from the three possibilities about this picture:
Write one sentence
- He likes cooking.
- He is a good cook.
- The chef is making a nice meal with eggs.
The teacher can do “delayed” copying, which is fun to do in class for short-term visual memory training. The teacher will write a few sentences down on the board, which are short and familiar. The pupils will have a few seconds to view it; after a few seconds, the sentences will be erased to see if the pupils can write them down. Please note that this type of exercise is not recommended to be used to test the students.
It is useful for students to have a book to copy new vocabulary, dialogue, and something the teacher will want them to remember. Most pupils will keep to what the teacher asks them to copy, but they should be free to copy things from their workbook, textbook, the notice board, and other students. Some students will copy complete stories. If there is time to do it, the teacher should allow it.
Dictation is a very harmless kind of exercise if the teacher can keep the language elementary and straightforward. The teacher provides the actual language and context. For young learners, dictations should:
- Have a goal and be connected to work which has gone before or comes after
- Be short
- Be made up of sentences that can be said in a single breath
- Be read or announced at the average speed.
Here is a short and straightforward dictation that serves as a message to the class:
- ‘Katie is baking biscuits for everyone. We are going to have biscuits for lunch tomorrow.’