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Writing is one of the most difficult subjects to master, and it’s also one of the most difficult to teach. Even if you’re a good writer yourself, teaching others to write well may still be a rather challenging task. Fortunately, there are ways to become a better teacher of writing. If you’ve recently become a writing tutor, here are a few tips you may want to keep in mind as you guide students to become better, more effective writers:
1. Engage your tutee’s creative and logical sides
Effective writing requires both creativity and logic. It requires a writer to use his or her left brain as well as his or her right brain. As you guide tutees toward becoming better writers, let them come up with innovative and creative ideas first, and then teach them how to present those ideas in a logical, cohesive manner on paper.
2. Encourage a natural style of writing
Novice writers often emulate the writing they’ve been exposed to in textbooks. Any good writer will tell you that most textbook writing isn’t good writing. It serves its purpose of presenting information in a clear-cut manner. However, it often lacks a “voice,” and it lacks the kind of flair that exceptional writing offers. As a tutor, it’s your job to encourage your pupils to write in the same way they speak and think, in a way that’s most natural to them. If they write in a way that comes naturally to them, they’ll have a much easier time developing their own voices as writers.
3. Remember that practice makes perfect
People become better writers through reading and with practice. The more your tutees write and edit their own work, the more effective they’ll become at writing. Keep this in mind. Provide them with plenty of writing exercises in addition to the ones they’re assigned in school. Ask them to write short stories, poems, and essays. Request that they re-visit their previous academic papers and figure out what they could have done differently.
4. Stress the importance of drafts
It’s nearly impossible to write something exceptional without thoroughly editing it. Editing is hard work, though. Inexperienced writers are often tempted to skip editing and revising. If you teach your students one thing as a writing tutor, it should be that editing is non-negotiable. Once editing and creating multiple drafts becomes a habit for your tutees, they’ll have a much easier time producing high-quality written work.
As a writing tutor, you have the unique opportunity to change the lives of students. You have the chance to help your students express themselves with the written word. And once the power of writing is unlocked for many of your tutees, they’ll have access to a whole new world of personal insight.