Essay writing has always been a challenge for students of ESL, and indeed there is a lot of instructional material available that teaches essay writing skills. However, there is one very effective method that is often overlooked, and that is learning from the writing mistakes of other students. Learning from mistakes is a powerful way of reinforcing in our minds the correct approach, and learning from the mistakes of others is an age old wisdom that saves us from the frustration and pain of committing our own mistakes. Better still, by examining the written essays of other students, we are constantly reminded of the same kinds of mistakes we are often prone to, and gain new ideas along the way.
What is even more helpful is to study another student's written essay, corrected and all grammatical mistakes painstakingly explained by the teacher. It is like taking a peek into the written essays of the top students of your class and getting valuable insights into the secrets of their writing success. However, we may not always have opportunities as such, and it is for this reason that we try to make available written essays by ESL students in a way that you will find useful.
There is a methodical approach to how we can get the most out of these essays.
1) Study the original essays and try to spot the mistakes.
2) Compare your findings with our corrected version.
3) Understand the comments and explanations.
4) Try to write your own essays.
These essays are not meant as a substitute for having a good fundamental understanding of grammar and writing structure. These essays are to be considered as supplementary material and should be used as a complement to your existing ESL curriculum at school.
Danny Ding is an ESL teacher from Taichung City, Taiwan.
Danny understands the needs of ESL students and always stresses the practical approach to learning. Over the years, Danny has experimented with different methods of instruction. Through observations and a trial and error approach, Danny believes that he may just have uncovered an effective, though unconventional approach to learning.... and that is to learn from each others' writing mistakes. This is an age old wisdom that can be helpful in speeding up our learning process, and help us avoid the usual pain and frustrations.