Using templates and acronyms (PDF, 31 KB)
The purpose of the activity
This activity provides support for learners as they sequence and structure their ideas to meet the purposes of their writing tasks. It helps learners focus on appropriate language for different text forms.
Templates provide an outline or prompts for a piece of writing, acronyms provide reminders of different text structures.
By using templates, the learners can focus on analysing the purpose for writing and constructing cohesive sentences and paragraphs. They work both individually and in groups. They practise using templates (or acronyms – see the alternative activity below) to structure their paragraphs.
The teaching points
- The learners become aware of how the purpose for writing determines the text form.
- The learners reflect on planning.
- The learners progress from dependence on the tutor to dependence on peers to independence.
- Models of extended texts appropriate to the course.
- Copies of prepared templates.
The guided teaching and learning sequence
1. First, prepare by identifying the particular text structures, forms or patterns you will focus on. These might be a text type (such as an explanation), a language structure (such as the use of signal words to show a sequence or order of events), or the use of connective words to join simple sentences.
2. Discuss the purpose of the activity with the learners.
3. Using the model text, analyse the structure and language.
4. Use one or more templates to show the learners how to write an effective paragraph for a text in that form. (Alternatively, you can write the paragraph collaboratively with them.) The writing frame in Appendix C4 (PDF, 29kB) is designed to help learners write an explanatory paragraph.
5. Have the learners work in pairs to draft a paragraph that meets the intended purpose.
6. The learners can then write their own individual paragraphs, deciding which support (template or acronym) will best suit their purpose.
7. Reduce the level of support as the learners show that they are able to refer to the template (or acronym) and create their own texts.
Use acronyms instead of templates to provide briefer, less-supportive frameworks as the learners become more familiar with the structures of texts.
Ensure the learners understand that the paragraphs they construct using templates and acronyms may need to be adapted for use in a complete text. Extended writing for a purpose often uses a mixture of paragraph structures and a range of literacy devices that give the writer a voice and engage the reader.