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How to teach good writing?

Nowadays, there are so many methods and tools available to support the teaching of good writing, thanks to digital transformation. I’d like to share few of them with you in this article.

As someone who teaches others how to write, and how to write well, originality and integrity are essential qualities I encourage people to adopt. In my 1 to 3 day workshops and training, I offer the most relevant information together with useful tools to set students up to be good quality web writers and content marketers and to guide them through the correct online support on Social Media. This consultant type of teaching works perfectly for such a small group of students. But as I have recently been involved in conversations to become a guest lecturer at one local University, I started thinking that this kind of support wouldn’t be applicable in an academic environment, simply because it is not sustainable.

As I was trying to come up with ways on how to educate my future students to become original writers with integrity, I remembered that last year, I attended this teacher related conference (New technologies in Education) in Belgrade, where I learned so much about how digital transformation is reshaping education. The interesting thing is that this transformation does not only occur worldwide but with small steps, it is reaching Serbia, too. Among some convenient examples, case studies and tools, I discovered this particular one which serves as a mentorship tool, both for teachers and students. An excellent example of digital transformation technology that improves student writing and helps teachers guide them through the whole process of learning. It sparked my imagination and got me thinking how useful it would have been if we had this technology back in the days when I was a student. In other words, to have a tool that teachers use to help me develop and polish my writing skills, guide me through every step and teach me with personalized feedback, within and outside of the classroom.

I spent a significant amount of time talking to people behind this technology, and they explained to me how it works in a very beneficial way. Basically, it supports teachers to minimize their grading time, while they check students work for originality to help them improve their writing skills. It also serves as a feedback and tutoring platform where students get direct input for their work. From a grammar and spelling to originality check, this tool provides comprehensive support on a much higher level.

I even got to test it on the spot and, instead of describing it to you, I found this example video to share:

Just think of all the possibilities a tool like this provides to both students and teachers, right? How it helps students to recognize their writing obstacles and how to overcome them. To teach them how to use citations, in the correct way, and to help them create original pieces of content. As a result, teachers educate students with the ethical principles of writing whilst they save valuable grading time.

All these happen in one platform whereby teachers grade, oversee the progress of students assignments and offer helpful feedback in real-time. For example, students submit their draft assignment online, the teacher receives it directly, and offers the  input needed to assist them to complete it in the best possible way. The teacher’s input is of course not offered as answers but as a ’’how-to-write’’ guide. Whether you are a student or a teacher reading this, I advise you to visit this demo page to take a tour and see how it works for yourself.

Why go through all this „trouble“ and use a tool like this? Just, as teachers and tutors, we want what’s best for our students. We want them to learn and adopt core values and principles of good writing and original thinking.  And, we want to do that by using all the tools and resources available to us. Thanks to digital technology our teaching and students’ learning can be more manageable and productive.

Going back to the core values and principles I described in the beginning, I thought I should share with you some basic but useful tips I give to my trainees in my copywriting workshops.

Useful tips to improve your writing

  • Words are powerful tools, and they should be used suitably. Reading will expand vocabulary and make students a better writers.
  • Knowing the topic. I can’t emphasize enough, that this is the very foundation of good writing. Lack of proper preparation results to poor quality writing, and does not getpeople anywhere, whether they are students or
  • Practice makes things better, and that goes for writing, It needs to be done every day, consistent and, on time. This way writing skills will improve and become high-quality.
  • If practice makes writing better, editing masters it. It’s the skill that helps turning simple writing into a precise, correct and more understandable form of information. Rewriting is to know how to write and it’s the exercise that will significantly improve students writing too.

By doing all these and aligning with digital tools, we are limiting the chances for unoriginal work. The latter is the main symptom of bad writing. The lack of time, unpreparedness or not knowing the topic very well, is what also makes students „borrow“ someone else’s work. We as professionals are not here to chase or punish them about it. We are here to teach them how to not reach for the easy solution.

A tool like Turnitin really helps a lot. And, if you’re are a student and not sure whether you ’’borrowed’’ someone’s work or not, the technology I’m describing has few more features in its sleeve, which you can see in the demo video.

This year, the New Technologies in Education conference will be held on 8 and 9 June 2018 in Belgrade. If you are interested, sign up to access the conference program, workshops, and lectures from international speakers. And, if you found this technology solution interesting, you’ll get the chance to speak with its developers, make questions, and experience it yourself.

click here for Serbian version of the article

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Ivana Ćirković

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1 Comment

  • Hm, first of all, very interesting article with some, yes basic, but useful tips.
    I wanted to ask you whether this tool you mention is only for the students and Universities or can it be used in high schools, maybe even primary schools?

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