Here we analyze the skills involved in teenagers writing a good composition and suggest some activities to develop them.

Teaching teenagers writing skills

Students find writing compositions very difficult because:

  • It is often a solitary task, often given as homework and therefore unsupported.
  • They find composition titles boring.
  • They often feel failure when they have writing returned to them covered in red ink.
  • It’s not communicative.
  • It’s not fun.
  • Writing compositions is usually a requirement of formal examinations like FCE, which teenagers usually perceive as stressful, linked to failure and unmotivating.
  • Writing is a difficult skill even in our mother tongue – consider how often we have to write continuous impressive prose in our lives, especially when texting and emails encourage short abbreviated text.

There are many skills involved in producing good compositions. Don’t expect students to be able to write well without breaking down the skills and practising them separately. Footballers practise shooting at the goal, dribbling, tactics etc. They are not simply asked to turn up at the match and play the game!

Skills needed to produce good writing:

  • Correct grammar
  • Range of vocabulary
  • Accurate punctuation
  • Correct layout
  • Correct register
  • Accurate spelling
  • Good range of sentence structures
  • Linking
  • Imagination
  • Planning
  • Drafting
  • Proof reading
  • Communication

I am sure you can think of more!

The activities in this section are some classroom activities which aim to develop some of the skills above. They are meant to be achievable, for there is nothing more motivating than success!