Ability of writing in a foreign language is an uphill struggle for most students. Even with simple writing tasks, students often lose interest and do not complete them. Research on this issue indicates that creating a good piece of writing is considered an extremely difficult skill, even for native speakers.  One reason why writing is so difficult is the fact that, in addition to knowing the appropriate grammar and vocabulary, a writer’s ideas must be presented clearly and well organized structure. This is the big challenge for second language learners and of course dilemma for us, teachers who are responsible to look for successful and effective ways to teach the skill.
Writing considered as a difficult skill to master and students are often discouraged by the lack of motivation, which is notable characteristic of some second language learners. As we know, motivation is a complex construct, and there are many factors that might inspire students to master a foreign language. For example, students might be focusing on the final product. In other words, the process approach recognizes that “most people progress through a number of untidy drafts before reaching a final version”, as they develop their thoughts and add new ideas . The process approach recognizes that students often discover what they want to say as they think and write about a topic. That is why Ur recommends accepting messy drafts as a positive, even essential stage in writing.
In the process approach, content and organization are more important than correction of grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary, which occurs gradually and thoughtfully throughout the writing process. As Ur states, correcting these types of mistakes “is part of the language instruction, but too much of it can be discouraging and demoralizing”. Some of the basic writing processes students go through include those described below:
– Idea generation entails discussing a topic in class and in pairs and groups, and also includes brainstorming about the topic, or noting down the various elements that come to mind as students reflect on the topic.
– Free writing or (fast writing) is “an initial exploration of the ideas that you have about a topic. At this point students begin to develop their ideas and establish a viewpoint about an issue. According to Brown, students should write freely by whatever comes to mind about a topic for ten minutes without stopping, judging ideas or worrying about spelling and grammar .
– Drafting requires students to begin structuring their writing and making incoherent.
–Peer editing and peer evaluation allow students to share their drafts with each other to invite into discussion and receive helpful feedback for revision.
–Final draft is produced after successive stages of drafting, editing and revising.
Learning to write in a foreign language is a demanding task that can easily make students unmotivated. To solve this problem, teachers can apply their knowledge of current theories and methods to make writing instructions more successful. For example, familiarity with the process approach to writing allows a teacher o help students recognize the steps they go through to create a written text, which should lead to less stressful and more motivated writing. Additionally, an understanding of how to apply the principles of project work to a writing task lets the teacher incorporate elements that are sure to stimulate students to express themselves on paper: a relevant topic and authentic purpose for writing; collaboration with their peers; use of all four skills; and variety of activities to gather information, such as researching disciplines and interviewing different people. The final result is to motivate students who are pleased that they have created something that is useful and has meaning. Therefore, those instructors who apply project-based learning will definitely increase students’ motivation and become the most successful in teaching writing.
Another useful technique of teaching writing in ESP classes is using messengers. Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application which provides an opportunity to send text and voice messages, photos, videos, files, location and works only with the Internet connection.  iPhones and Smartphones are spread all over the world, more and more people are using messenger applications. Lots of different types of messengers are known, but the most used ones in Uzbekistan are WhatsApp and Telegram.
WhatsApp Messenger is an instant messaging application for Smartphone which operates under subscription business model .It was founded in 2009 and in January 2015 the amount of users was 700 million. It is not free, but one can use it during a year. There can be created groups with maximum 50 people. Once a messenger is installed, it will be connected with the user’s phone number. The user can communicate with people in their contacts, which also use this application.
Another widely used messenger is Telegram, which is a free instant messaging application for smartphones. It was launched in 2013 and in December 2014 Telegram announced that they have 50 million active users.  The application has software for desktop computers as well as WhatsApp. Telegram is similar to WhatsApp, but much faster. Moreover, there is an opportunity to send not only images, voice, video, location but also files. One can create a group up to 200 members with the help of this application. These applications are widely spread in Uzbekistan, they can be applied for educative purpose. There a lot of benefits of using messengers in teaching and learning, as well as improving writing skills of the students.
– Motivation. Most of the students use these messengers every day. For students it is interesting to send messages or images to friends. If messengers are used for education, students will be more interested and motivated.
– Availability. Although almost all students have access to use these messengers, some students do not have such phones, which can support these kinds of applications. But nowadays it is not a problem, as we have mentioned above these messengers can be used on desk top computers as well.
– Time saving. Being a member of messenger activities is flexible concerning time, because students can write their opinion or task any time till the deadline. Furthermore, teachers can pay attention to other important issues during the class and make discussions with the help of messengers in another period.
– Personality. Some students are shy or introverted. Making activities on messengers can help them to express their opinion without any fear. Moreover, they feel less anxious, because messenger atmosphere is freer than in class. Students can use special nick names, if they are too shy to express their opinion. In this case, only teacher can know students’ nicknames corresponding to the real ones.
– Improving language skills. While writing messages spelling: in expressing opinion writing skills; while watching videos or listening to audios listening skills; in reading opinion reading skills will be improved. Students can enrich their vocabulary as well as improving other ones.
– Improving critical thinking. While making discussions, students will have an opportunity to think, to find relevant arguments and justifications. Student will be able to learn analyzing the arguments from different sides.
– Computer skills. Since messengers can be used on desktop computers, students and teachers develop their computer skills. It is obvious that messenger users have fast typing skill, as they write messages every day.
– Collaboration. Each activity in messenger will lead students to develop their skills of working in groups. They will learn to listen and respect each other, to make decisions taking into account all members’ suggestions.
– Teacher development. Using messengers in teaching makes teachers be more aware of new technologies. Teachers will learn how to use these technologies and apply them for educative purposes.
Applying messengers in education depends on teachers’ creativeness. Nowadays our generation is considered as a generation of information age and students use messengers most, so teachers should use this opportunity to attract their attention to English language learning. If teachers can use all opportunities, which are given by technologies, to improve the learners’ abilities, they are on the right way and achieving the success is their final destination.
- Peter, W. The teaching of English as an International Language,1998.-p.-143
- Raimes, A. Techniques in teaching writing, Oxford University Press,1983.-p.-90–91
- Brooks and Grundy, Writing for study purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.2003.- p.-14
- Brown H.D, Teaching by principles. An interactive approach to language pedagogy. Engle-wood Cliffs: Prentice Hall regents, 2008.-p-26
- Ur, P. A course in a language teaching. Practice and theory. . Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,2004 p-26