We moved back from Spain last year to England, and when we landed we were fresh out of ideas, but we settled down to a new job in Oxford, and have come across a fantastic website, that we have found very useful for students.
https://writeandimprove.com/ is a really useful tool for helping students with their writing both in and out of the classroom:
The site was developed in association with Cambridge and is a fantastic tool for developing writing skills and the necessary grammar. The site features three levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced and offers a range of writing tasks for students to complete: Emails, reviews, proposals, essays, stories, articles etc. When they’ve completed it they simply press check, and their work is run through a fairly good grammar checker for instant feedback. The checker flags up grammatical and punctuation errors (could do with using it for this post) and gives simple and informative feedback.
A lot of the writing tasks are free, however, there are many more available, if you subscribe. The free tasks are perfectly fine and there are plenty for the students to do. However there are perks for subscribing, as a teacher, such as being able to see the students’ work on your account, which has many benefits for improving their writing such as recognising student weaknesses and then working on them in class.
Another free section is the ‘create a workbook’ area where you can create your own writing task, which adds to the flexibility of the website.
A final plus for the site is their exam practice section. This section, at the moment, has only IELTS, and FCE tasks, but as the site is associated with Cambridge there is massive scope for improvement, and expansion.
- Makes writing more autonomous
- More interactive and 21st century
- Quite a good grammar checker/ instant feedback/ useful timer for exam practice
- More personalised and works for all levels
- Create your own tasks
- After completion of a task a level is assigned to it B1, B2 etc good for checking progress and the student can rewrite the task and check again.
- Easy to set up an account and to access a teacher made task.
- If you give them your money then you get more! (such is the state things)
- Not a perfect grammar checking system/ feedback system, room for improvement
- Useless if you don’t have access to a computer and internet for every student.
Overall we both use this in class, and we have recommended it to students, especially ones that struggle with writing, and/or are going for their exams. The students who have used it say that they have enjoyed the exam practice part, and the fact that they can add it to their study regime where previously they would have had to wait for teacher feedback; the proviso being that in reality nothing can replace actual teacher feedback… yet.
Give it a try the next time writing comes up and leave a comment if you liked it or if you didn’t.