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Essay Writing in the Classroom

Usually, essay writing is assigned as homework. The reason for this is that a well-thought out writing must go through a number of stages that can easily consume a lot of classroom time. Many teachers feel that those contact minutes could be better spent focusing on other more interactive activities that can build on other areas of education. However, it's worth taking into consideration that assigning writing tasks to be completed in class also has its own benefits. According to David Gooblar of Pedagogy Unbound,

“it’s worth underlining the benefits of in-class writing assignments, particularly when they are carried out in every class period.

There is a great deal of value to be gained by both student and teacher when in-class writing assignments are incorporated into regular lesson plans.

Essays Help Students to Focus

When the class day begins with a writing assignment, it helps students to focus their attention on school activities. Students have different backgrounds and family dynamics and they may enter the classroom with all sorts of things on their minds. By providing them a quiet period of writing, you help them to naturally shift their focus to school and the studies for the whole day. If the writing assignment is designed to introduce the next lesson, they will be mentally prepared to receive the information.

Essays Improve Student Memory

In-class writing assignments are also great to improve students' recall. Rather than giving a full class lecture and hoping that the students were attentive enough to take notes, consider adding a writing project in the mix. After speaking for a period of time, stop periodically and ask students to write down what they've understood. Allowing them time to write while the information is still fresh in their minds will help them to retain more of the information they need to remember. It also helps to engage students who may not be auditory learners by engaging some of the other learning styles into the lesson. This practice can also be equally effective when you close the day with a writing assignment.

Essays Allow to Effectively Guide Students Through the Writing Process

Students need to understand that writing is not just about putting words on paper. It is a means of communication. Today, many students believe that they are effective communicators; every day they send out countless text messages, emails, and other techy type notices. While they are communicating on a certain level, they are losing touch with how the rest of the world communicates. Writing is an important skill that will carry them well into their future. By guiding students through all the phases of the writing process, will help them learn how to communicate with all kinds of people on all different levels.

Essay Writing Links All Subjects Together

Writing is not limited to a Language Arts or Literature class. It bridges all other subjects that may be taught. A writing assignment can be taught in every educational discipline. According to the SERC portal, Pedagogy in Action,

“Students cannot get sufficient practice in writing if they only write in English classes…for us to teach writing effectively across the curriculum, we need smaller classes and teachers who are trained to teach writing effectively in academic disciplines outside of English.”

Essay Writing Increases Student Awareness

When a student has to lay out a writing assignment, they need to make decisions. They learn how to incorporate abstract ideas and lay them out in a concrete and orderly form. Through this process they learn how to sort out details and identify weaker parts of their arguments or ideas. In class, students can do this through brainstorming exercises, sequencing their thoughts, drafting their paper, and making revisions. All of these can be taught through shorter in-class writing assignments before you send them home to work on their own.

The benefits of giving students in-class writing assignments are extensive. Contrary to what many may believe, it is a very practical use of those classroom hours as it helps to develop each individual student’s sense of confidence in their abilities when it comes to tapping into another part of the creative mind.

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