My fellow ESL teachers dearest,

Why is it difficult to teach essay writing to our students?

Is it possible that the approach we are using is no longer relevant for students in this era? The method used by our teachers many years ago might have worked well for us, but not that well for students at present.

Nowadays, most students have short attention span. They couldn't stand reading lengthy and complicated texts. They normally scan a text for specific information, without paying much attention to the language.

When they speak, they are more expressive. They like to use short sentences accompanied by non-verbal gestures. For them, the message being delivered is more important than the language used.

When it comes to writing, they find it difficult to express their ideas in long, winding and flowery sentences (notice that emoticons are very popular). Why? It is because their brains are not familiar to that. As a result, many of them refused to write for it is a hard and exhausting work.

So...how do we handle this situation? Try KISS! Keeping things simple will solve the problem. Think of a simple yet effective strategy (in my case, I created a template), and train the students to apply the strategy every time they write their essays. Practice makes perfect. Drill them until the students' brains became familiar with the process. InshaAllah, essay writing will then be pleasant and effortless.

Madam Fatimi Estar
English as 2nd Language Guru