How Students Were Taught Writing in the '80s

Today students have plenty of tools to help them with various college tasks. Thanks to reliable services which help with online essay writingmodern students can get help in performing this or that type of paper. And some might even think such sites prevent students from developing their own writing proficiency. But is it really the case? The answer to that is a little bit more complicated than a simple 'yes' or 'no'.

Each student should have good writing skills since they have to use them almost every day. Young people often perform different educational assignments, write essays, term papers, dissertations, etc. And their successful implementation depends on the level of written abilities. Services like are readily available for anyone to make use of but this wasn't always the case. Back in the '80s there was no such possibility. In this article, we will examine how students were taught writing in that period.

General Information about Writing

Writing appeared on the basis of sounding speech, as a repository of human knowledge and accumulated experience, as a mirror of the culture and traditions of each country. It doesn't matter if we are talking about ordinary students, professional essay writers or even lyric producers. It plays an important role in language learning. It is a productive activity in which a person records speech in order to transmit it to others. The product of this activity is a text intended for reading. Based on this definition, we consider writing as a type of speech activity and as a product.

As a type of speech activity, writing is based on the ability to write. The ability to write is a complex phenomenon based on the following skills:
  • Inscription of the signs of the letter (i.e. calligraphy);
  • The correct transcoding of speech sounds into adequate graphic characters (i.e. orthography);
  • The construction of a written statement (i.e. composition);
  • Lexical and grammatical writing skills.

So, in the process of teaching writing, the skills of calligraphy, graphics, orthography, punctuation, as well as lexical and grammatical and compositional skills are mastered.

What was the Process of Teaching Writing in the 80’s?

Already in those years, teachers understood the importance of developing written skills for both schoolchildren and students. For this purpose, various pedagogical techniques and methods were used. Of course, many of them are already considered obsolete and not used today, and some are quite effective and continue to be used by teachers in their teaching practice.

Calligraphic Writing Skills

For the purpose of forming calligraphic writing skills, students, for example, were asked to perform the following exercises:
  • Underline the indicated graphemes in the sentence;
  • Write off a text or sentence, etc.

Graphical Skills

The following exercises were used to develop graphical skills:
  • Inscription of combinations and words according to the model;
  • Writing sentences and phrases;
  • Self-dictations, etc.

Orthographic Skills

The following tasks were used to develop orthographical skills:
  • Copying text, i.e. writing it down to learn the basic rules of orthography and punctuation;
  • Writing, complicated by additional tasks;
  • Groupings of words with the presence of synonymous alphabetic designations, as well as lexemes related to one topic;
  • Answer the questions;
  • Write questions to the text;
  • Make a story plan;
  • Find errors in sentences;
  • Dictations: auditory, visual, visual-auditory and self-dictation.

Punctuation Skills

According to teachers of that time, the formation of punctuation skills among students was very important. Therefore, for this purpose, various techniques were also used, for example, such as:
  • Place punctuation marks (all words are written with upper case letters);
  • Put the missing commas where necessary, etc.

Lexical and Grammar Skills

To form students' lexical skills, the following tasks were used:
  • Selection of synonyms from the proposed list to a specific list of words;
  • Addition of a letter with the use of missing words;
  • Highlighting an extra word in every four words;
  • Solving a lexical crossword (selection of words by their definitions), etc.

The formation of grammar skills took place through the following exercises:
  • Put the verbs at the right time; Supplement sentences with prepositions;
  • Choose the correct option, etc.

Compositional Skills

Compositional writing skills were formed due to the following tasks:
  • Writing stories according to the model;
  • Collecting parts of the letter;
  • Breaking the text into main parts;
  • Inventing a title for text, etc.

Difficulties in Learning to Write

Of course, in the process of teaching written skills there were many difficulties, associated, for example, with the following issues:
  • The etymological spelling of words that are difficult to explain but need to be remembered;
  • The polysemy of lexical units;
  • The wide compatibility of lexical units;
  • Different ways of word formation;
  • Frequent violation of logic between sentences, etc.
Despite the emergence of various difficulties, teachers and students tried to avoid them in the educational process.

Principles of Teaching Writing

The following is a list of the basic principles of teaching writing to students in the '80s: visualization (demonstration of the writing process), consciousness (explanation of the methods and sequence of writing letters, exercises in finding one's and others' mistakes), repetition (repeated execution, analysis, comparison with example, correction of mistakes), feasibility (gradual increase in difficulty), taking into account individual characteristics (especially vision, motor skills, posture of students), parallel reading and writing training (competent and conscious writing).

Fortunately, to date, the methodology of teaching writing has improved and modern students successfully master written language and receive all the necessary writing skills.
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