Using the Web to Motivate & Improve Students’ Writing – Last Friday’s Webinar

Last Friday I had the pleasure of being invited to fill in for Shelly Terrell in presenting the American Tesol Institute Free Friday Webinar. Shelly was busy being a keynote speaker at a special event promoted by TESL Toronto.

As many might know, something I have struggled with while teaching – especially more advanced students – is writing. The issue has been the topic of sessions I have presented at conferences and online, of many discussions and some posts. I see the quality of the students’ writing declining over the years. I see students more and more reluctant to me doing or assigning writing tasks, teaching writing classes. Some of them cringe at the mere mention of the word. So you can say writing is something that ranks high in my list of interests. So when Shelly asked me to fill in for her and do last Friday (September 23rd), I thought it would be a nice chance to follow-up on my first webinar – which was about writing – with a session sharing some tools (websites)  I have been using in class with my students in an attempt to motivate them to write, to find activities and ways of doing things so that they actually enjoy it. If I can engage them, they will hopefully write more – and more often – and with practice comes progress (or so we hope!).

Who knows, one of these ideas might even make one or two students start writing for pleasure! (A teacher is allowed to dream, isn’t she?

Of course there are students who write well and enjoy it – the exception exists to prove the rule, right? But at least where I teach – and from what I could see during the webinar, in many other corners of the world – the great majority of students don’t enjoy writing or do it well.

The webinar was great, with lots of chatting going on, sharing of resources and ideas. I’d like to thank everyone who joined me for it :-) It’s always a pleasure to share and learn with my PLN.

Here’s the recording for it (warning: I have a certain difficulty with limiting myself to the 30 minutes, so the recording is a little longer. It’s just hard to not get carried away with the chat and the sharing!)

And here are the slides for my presentation: Using the Web to Motivate & Improve Students Writing

Note: Thanks @sylviaduckworth and @sandymillin for helping me with embeding the video. I always forget how! Power to the PLN! ;-)

8 comments on “Using the Web to Motivate & Improve Students’ Writing – Last Friday’s Webinar

  1. Judy says:

    Hi, Cecilia. Judy’s greeting from Taiwan. Thanks a million for the excellent ideas of writing on the net.
    I really learn a lot from you and can’t wait to try out some ideas with my 7th grade students. It’s a pity that I can’t join the talk due to the time difference. It’s great that you can embede the video on your blog. :) x

  2. […] Using the Web to Motivate & Improve Students’ Writing – Last Friday’s Webinar […]

  3. I really found your previous webinar helpful. Am downloading this one now and will get back to you. Thank you!

  4. Carla says:

    Hi Cecilia,

    Teaching writing is something I struggle to do well too, so I appreciated both the presentation and the slideshow. I’m going to browse the suggested sites more thoroughly later today. It’s great how the web provides so much inspiration and support for teaching literacy and writing!

    All the best,


    • Hi Carla,

      More and more I find that writing is becoming the biggest difficulty to teach English students, all around the world. Students seem to writing poorly – and their attention spam gets shorter every day. And writing is one of the activities that require most concentration and attention. What can we do? Keep looking for ways that we can awaken their curiosity, engage them… and use that curiosity to teach them what we can. The web is an endless resource, we just have to think of ways of using it. Let me know if you think of anything different, ok?
      Thanks for the feedback!


  5. […] this article, Cecilia talks about her struggles to teach writing along with the gradual decline she has seen in […]

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