Thursday, 31 January 2013

Teacher Talk (28): Trainee teacher's predicament

To: ;
Subject: a trainee teacher in need of help
Sent: Tue, Jan 29, 2013 12:40:29 PM

assalamu'alaikum madam rahmah

i am a trainee teacher, teaching secondary school students.i find your blog very useful for teaching ideas. reading your experience in teaching helps me to be reflective's been 2 weeks since i started my practicum. i have a serious problem in not knowing how to provide sufficient input for students (especially when it comes to writing/composition)my form 4 students know very little english.some of them cannot even understand my instruction.i really appreciate it if you can give me some advices or 'tips' regarding this matter and if you could write about it in your blog, i'll be the first one to read!

warmest regards,

My Response

Thank you for visiting my blog and allowing me to share your email with others. Glad to be able to share and be of help and thanks for your question. Since you know that your students are poor learners why don't you start from the sentence level and then progress to the paragraph and later a full length essay? If you think your students are above the sentence level then focus on the development of the paragraph. Many teachers do not pay much attention to the paragraph I think but it's in the paragraph that you can insert details, main ideas etc. You can start by showing them samples (always model it first for poor learners) and get them to develop a parallel paragraph. Remember that writing is the most challenging of the skills and therefore it takes time to develop. The mistake we have always made in writing is to give insufficient support to learners. By support I mean for instance using a graphic organiser to get their thoughts first on paper. Then break it down to meaningful chunks/notes before they write the paragraph. In short, writing for poor learners has to be guided. The book below is a good resource for starting to write. I bought one in a conference. It's always good to invest in good books. There goes my two pennies worth. Happy teaching! I hope I've been of some help :)

Get Ready to Write: A First Composition Text (2nd Edition)

The Thinking Teacher


  1. Salam Puan Rahmah,

    Appreciate your response =) thanks so much for your suggestions.
    I will try out what you suggested, teaching them from sentence level.
    With the step by step guidance, I assume, a whole length essay is not necessarily produced in the lesson?

  2. wassallam,
    your are welcome. you may need a few lessons before they can produce a full-length essay. they can write it at home when they have all the support work done earlier. all the best :)


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