5 Writing Tips and Insights from Seminar: Issues and Trends in Writing Instruction

I recently attended a seminar by Professor Paul Kei Matsuda (from Arizona State University) about the Issues and Trends in Writing Instruction and I would like to share 5 useful insights and tips that writing teachers can benefit from.

Writing Instruction Matters
Writing Instruction Matters

1. Thinking clearly does not necessarily mean writing clearly. It’s a fallacy that writing well exhibits clear thinking. Perhaps there is some truth to it, but I am sure there are plenty of brilliant people around that are not good writers.

What it means for Writing Teachers: Writing is a craft by itself, just as good thinking is.

2. Peer Feedback is good in writing exercises.

Teach your students how to give good peer feedback in writing exercises. Have them use rubrics. Students don’t like being embarrassed by their peers so they will write better if they know their classmates will read their work.

3. Teach your students how to use materials around them. Teach them how to cite sources well so that their writing will reflect good research and understanding of the topic at hand.

4. Tap technology. Have your students submit their work on a public site created by you. This means their work can be seen by their classmates. Google Drive could be a platform for this.

5. Learn how to write for journals and other publications. It’s a necessary evil for career development as educators.


Please share any writing instruction tips you have in the comments below :)

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How to be an effective storyteller

Effective teachers are effective storytellers.

The good news is that storytelling is not just for English or Reading teachers. It is a strategic teaching tool that any teacher can use.

One of the best ways students learn is through stories. The brain is designed to be attracted to stories because then well told, stories are very engaging. It is “sticky”. The more you can connect the content of your subject using stories, the more your students will remember what you tried to impart using the stories.


Here is a basic storytelling guide that can help you become an effective storyteller.


  • Keep is simple and concise. Avoid complicated words and unnecessary details.
  • Make it short and clear. Keep the irrelevant stuff out of your story.
  • Speak in present tense. Make the story unfold before their very eyes.
  • Engage the senses. Include lots of sensory details. Help them visualize, hear, and feel what is happening in your story


  • Tinker with your voice. Vary the volume and speed depending on the needs of your story.
  • Get active. Use facial, hand and body gestures to emphasize points or to give more sensory details.


  • Tell the story with passion. Yes, you’ve probably told the story many times. But tell it as if you were telling it for the first time. Be excited with your story. With that, you can connect to the hearts of your students and your storytelling will be much more effective.
  • Tap humor. It keeps the learning atmosphere light and it’s the easiest ways for your students to tune in to your story.


  • Emphasize how your story is relevant to your topic. Go back to your point repeatedly, especially at the end of your story.
  • Cater to your students. Use stories that your students can understand and connect to, especially their interests.


Photo Credit:

Storyteller: https:/www.flickr.com/photos/nickpiggott


Your turn, share in the comments below how you have used storytelling as a teaching tool as well as other tips that can help teachers become better storytellers.

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