General Overview 

English Today provided ASEAN with a custom designed, tailored to suit for specific needs and proficiency Communicative Writing Workshop. The workshop took place in mid December 2015.
The objectives of this workshop were to develop a clear understanding of the mechanical and stylistic elements involved in professional writing and to improve writing skills within specific genre.
The workshop was divided into two distinct parts. The first part of the workshop explored important aspects of writing mechanics and constructed a clear foundation of principles which could be applied to all types of correspondence. The second part of the workshop explored professional writing within specific genre and involved the participants in collaborative construction and analysis tasks.

Teaching and Learning Approach

A process genre based approach was implemented which was task orientated and collaborative. The collaborative task based nature of the activities ensured maximal engagement, peer scaffolding, and skill integration. Participants formed activity groups at the commencement of the workshop and continued in the same collaborative settings throughout.

The task cycle involved three stages:

Exploration, examination and discussion of authentic model texts. Meaningful activities to activate the participants’ schemata. Joint construction activities corresponding to the text type involving genre patterns, key features, tone, register, content building, structure, grammar and lexical resources.
Collaborative writing tasks supported by facilitator scaffolding
Peer-led evaluation of the writing task. Teacher-led task feedback and consolidation focusing on genre patterns, key features, tone, register, content building, structure, grammar and lexical resources. Group follow-up writing activities were then assigned.

Assessment
Two forms of assessment were utilized in the workshop. These were:

  • Collaborative Evaluation

    Collaborative Evaluation involved peer review and post-task scaffolding on each day of the workshop. The purpose of collaborative (peer) evaluation was not only to provide essential feedback, but also to promote learner autonomy and develop essential critical thinking, editing and proofreading skills of the participants.

  • Progressive Portfolio

    Through the collaborative tasks and group assignments set, participants developed and applied learning targets to their own writing texts. These texts formed the basis for group workshop portfolios.

Content Covered

Part 1 – The Fundamentals of Professional Writing

  • Introduction to the Fundamentals of Professional Writing
  • Exploring and Identifying Genre Patterns
  • Basic Mechanics – Sentence Types and Construction
  • Basic Mechanics – Punctuation
  • Paragraph Construction – Topic Sentences, Supporting Points and Connective devices
  • Grammatical and Structural Accuracy
  • Identifying and Maintaining Register and Tone
  • Passive and Active Constructions
  • The Process Of Writing – Planning, Drafting and Editing

Part 2 – Report Writing: Routine Structured and Note to File

  • Introduction to Report Writing – Identifying Audience, Purpose, Structure and Elements.

  • Group Topic, Audience and Purpose Allocation
  • Format of a Title Page
  • Format of a Content Page
  • Creating an Effective Executive Summary
  • Constructing the Main Body
  • Creating and Maintaining a Factual and Impartial Tone
  • Key Language
  • Making Recommendations

Part 3 – Creating Talking Points

  • Introduction to Talking Points
  • Understanding and Integrating the Needs of the Speaker
  • Understanding and Integrating the Needs of the Audience
  • Identifying and Structuring Key Talking Points
  • Mapping The Path of an Anticipated Discussion
  • Arranging the Format of Talking Points – The Accessibility Key
  • Creating and Maintaining the Appropriate Tone
  • Welcoming and Addressing Discussion Participants and their Delegates
  • Defining the Main Objectives and Creating Lead In Statements
  • Identifying Main Points and Constructing Topic Statements
  • Providing Accessible Supporting Points
  • Anticipating Questions and Follow Up Responses
  • Transitioning from One Topic to the Next
  • Creating Questions for Elicitation
  • Winding Down the Discussion and Leading to a Close

Part 4 – Speech Writing

  • Structure and Features of Powerful Speeches
  • Speech Mapping – Critically Identifying and Planning Speech Elements
  • Writing to Stance and Achieving the Appropriate Tone
  • Exploration of Rhetoric Devices
  • Creating Introductions
  • Constructing the Body of a Speech
  • Writing the Closing Remarks
  • Providing Sound Scripting Support for Non-Native Speakers

Part 5 – Project Presentations, Note to File Task, PIP Plan

  • Final Project Construction
  • Final Project Presentation – Speech Writing Group Assignment
  • Group Evaluation
  • Core Task Consolidation
  • Introduction to Note to File – Identifying Format and Fixed Language Items
  • Note to File Assignment
  • PIP Development

Materials and Resources
Workshop sessions were conducted with visual slides, video segments and handouts. Participants were supplied with workshop folders, activity handouts and unit materials. PDF copies of the module materials have been supplied to the workshop administrators. Additionally, an online group was established in order to ensure communication throughout the workshop and as a platform for continued development and communication, if desired, on completion of the workshop.

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