Modern social, economical, political changes, expansion of international contacts make high demands of higher education. The main goal of teaching a foreign language is to prepare students for intercultural communication, self-actualization and social adaptation. In the process of studying a foreign language, students should not only master the language but also perform creative tasks, develop spatial thinking, seek original solutions, explain them and answer for the consequences.
Thus the university syllabus emphasizes communicative approach to language teaching and focuses on the practical application of foundation theory. It is clearly understandable that we shouldn’t let our students write as they speak because written speech has got its specific rules which are to be observed.
In this article we are going to accentuate some written genres and give practical advice. We are going to investigate some general rules for writing an essay, narration, description, report and review.
Writing an essay, we should keep in mind that it has five stages (in general):
introductory (includes the thesis statement. It is meant to attract the reader’s attention);
first paragraph (includes the first example, the first argument, the first explanation, etc);
second paragraph (includes the second example, the second argument, the second explanation, etc);
third paragraph (includes the weakest example, the weakest argument, the weakest explanation, etc);
concluding paragraph (summary).
In most cases essays are written to find out reasons or purposes to some activities. There might be a lot of topics for writing. It is important to choose an interesting theme, connected with the syllabus, abilities and interests of students. For example:
Is competition good?
Are we too dependent on commercials?
Should foreign languages be studied in kindergarten?
Should mice be used for research?
Should animals be kept in zoos?
Are mobiles dangerous?
Should smoking be banned?
In what ways have computers changed work in the past 10 years?
Is education important for becoming rich?
Should video games be banned?
Is capital punishment effective?
Should money be spent on space expeditions?
Has the traditional male role changed in the last 15 years?
Should students grade their teachers?
If we write a narration, we should describe a story in which either we or someone we know well was actually involved. Besides a good story not only describes an accident but has the element of choice in it. Narration is a way of telling a story in the form of an essay. Additionally it communicates the main idea or a lesson learned, made decisions and the consequences that follow.
- When we write a narration, we should:
use vivid descriptions, details;
- describe a certain experience, its significance;
make up a conclusion.
- The following tasks can be used for a narration:
your first day at university;
your first exam at university;
your first university party;
your first university conference;
- pleasant experience;
an unexpected encounter;
an experience that helped you become stronger;
a journey that you would like to take;
queer job interview;
your first day at a job;
a moment of success.
Description is very close to narration but it focuses on details. We may give the following tasks:
your dream house;
your ideal roommate;
your favourite dish;
your favourite photo;
your way home;
your home city;
a football match;
a favourite cafй;
a new performance;
a character from a movie;
- a Halloween party, etc.
When we write a report, we need to remember that its purpose is to be read. A good report is always well-structured, contains full sentences, figures, tables and graphs. A report writing has three stages:
In general a report has the following structure:
title (it attracts attention to writing. So it is very important to write an eye-catching title);
abstract (it is usually small, one or two paragraphs);
introduction. It may be:
reasons / motivations to solve the problem;
approaches to the problem solution;
the main results;
past / related work;
technical section (pictures, figures, diagrams, tables, graphs, etc);
future work (aspects of the problem which were not investigated);
Writing a review is a good way to express your opinion of a book, movie, music or performance. It helps the reader understand whether he wants to read the book, watch the movie, listen to the music, etc.
Usually a review has the following structure:
statement (giving essential information about the book, movie, music, etc);
author’s purpose in writing a book, music, etc;
theme and thesis of a book, performance, etc;
evaluation (novelty, originality, accuracy, etc);
In conclusion it should be said that writing skills development is a hard, labour-intensive process which requires a lot of time and efforts. Nevertheless, proper, systematic work with written speech at lessons helps develop not only writing skills but also contributes to adaption in contemporary information-oriented society, helps to fulfil oneself intellectually, professionally and creatively.