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Strategies to Write In English

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Strategies to Write In English

Strategies to Write In English

The writing process is an important part in academic writing. Pursuing a career or profession in any field requires someone to have a certain level of proficiency in writing. For most people it is evidently easier for them to produce a quality writing in their own language as it is always harder to write in a second language. For me, I speak three different languages, Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil, which is my mother tongue and English. Writing in English is not really a problem for me as I have learnt a few important strategies that can help me improve my writing. While there are various writing strategies, I am going to focus on the brainstorming process and how effective it can be. Also, there are two other research’s related to writing strategies which is the Wolfersberger and the Saskatchewan Education research.

Have you ever faced what is known as writers block when you are writing? Does it occur frequently? If it does, it may be the result of a lack of proper organization in preparing your paper. In incidents like this is where doing a brainstorming can prove to be very helpful. Firstly, let me define brainstorming. Many of us would not know his name but Alex. F. Osborne is known as the father of brainstorming. In 1939, Alex Osborne an advertising executive coined the term “brainstorm”. According to him, “[b]rainstorm means using the brain to storm a creative problem and to do so "in commando fashion", each stormer audaciously attacking the same objective." He says that the ideas generated are not to be discussed until you feel you could not come up with anymore new ideas.

In other words, brainstorm simply means thinking up solutions, ideas, new concepts or thoughts for something be it an academic paper or creative writing or even something formal. I think the best way to start writing is by brainstorming. There are various ways to do brainstorming. Before you begin writing you either decide on a topic or work on a given topic. The few types of brainstorming include mapping, free-writing and listing. These actually consist of the prewriting stages in the writing process. Doing mind mapping is simply writing down your ideas in forms of diagrams. It could be shaped any way you like and could include the use of highlighters. Free writing is timing yourself and writing down ideas that pop up into your mind at that very moment. Listing is almost similar only that you already have a point to begin with. All these are ways to encourage your writing as they help generate ideas.

For me, brainstorming always helps when I need to write an academic paper. Juggling between two languages is very difficult and could be really confusing at times. My suggestion for producing a better paper when it involves second language is to brainstorm first. There are few benefits to brainstorming. One of it is advantage is you tend to discover ideas for your paper. You could start out not knowing anything at all and in the end you will have some outline for your paper. Brainstorming helps you generate ideas and link them one another. Secondly, you could improve your writing skills by brainstorming. Simply free writing is a form of practicing writing and indirectly helps with your grammar and vocabulary. Lastly, brainstorming is a fun way of learning and could be a stress relieve. You would be killing two birds with one stone as you enjoy yourself writing and coming up with ideas as well as learning to write.

However, there could be a down side to brainstorming. We have to look at both sides of the coin as some people would find it hard to relate to the brainstorming method as they find it rather messy. This could indeed be true because when you brainstorm, you are likely to write all over the place. This could be difficult to interpret as you have information all over the paper. Also, you need to have a somewhat moderate level of competency in English to be able to put your ideas into proper sentences and more importantly organizing the structure of your paper. You may be able to come up with ideas but to put them into proper sentences and paragraphs is not so easy. Nevertheless, I think the advantage of brainstorming outweighs the disadvantage. You would get more information out of it by practicing it frequently.

There are different types of writing strategies a student could use. In the article by Wolfersberger, he mentioned that one of the key strategies used by students to deal with the writing task is translation. He says that, “[t]he most widely examined compensating strategy in the literature is translation, where lower L2 proficiency

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