I Want to Write Right
Look no further ! You’ve Come to the Right Place and Help is at Hand.
Hello from Amanda and Marco at the Writing Clinic.
We’ve both been teachers at EC Malta for many years and we both understand just how difficult it can seem sometimes to express ourselves in another language. We’ve also had to study other languages so we’ve been in your shoes and completely understand what you may go through sometimes. All you need is the right state of mind, a bit of guidance and a pen and paper would be handy!
We are both crazy about other languages and cultures because we are attracted to the ways different languages work in different ways. My goodness….. If we all thought and acted in the same way, just imagine how boring the world would be.
Now ,since every language is beautiful and different in its own way, the most important step is trying to let go of the biggest obstacle which is the false security of thinking in our own language when we want to express ourselves in another. In fact, this is the main difference between writing and speaking because if the other person doesn’t understand you they can ask you to explain again or you will just be able to realise from the look on their face ( that person you’re chatting to may not speak your language or understand why you have made a mistake but at least there’s an option to sort it out) Sadly, until modern technology invents a new system, a piece of paper will never be able to give explanations to a confused reader if you’re not around.
No language is a direct translation of another ( …. Thankfully ! ) The words and the grammar are all different just like our cultures and in that way those differences have to be respected as well.
Did you know that the Eskimos have so many different words for something as simple as ‘snow’? Just imagine the confusion on an Eskimo’s face if Amanda and Marco were somewhere near the North Pole and translated this sentence directly into their language….
“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Would you care for a nice cup of tea before we play snowballs on this lovely day?”
Somehow we think that it wouldn’t work but if you do see any Eskimos in class we would like to know how you say it correctly. We did actually have a lovely student from Greenland at EC seven years ago….
Equally funny are the word for word translations which Mr Google gives you on those electronic devices. Forget that! Just keep it simple and try to think in English if your reader wants to read a text in real English.
The secret is simple but it takes some effort of course. First of all, just relax and try to feel comfortable with something that is different. If you can get on a local bus then this is much less of an adventure. Don’t hold on to what you have known from before. Our style is new,exciting and different and if you follow the rules step by step you will definitely see immediate results week after week and that is more or less a promise… Except of course if you still believe you can eat soup with chopsticks!!
If you want to hear about just how successful you can be and if you still have a few little doubts in your mind because it simply sounds too good to be true , then just ask your friends who come to Writing Clinic regularly and you will see for yourself .
Students focus on writing different sentences in different texts and compositions which are about real topics ,useful in the real world and in everyday situations. Students work alone, in pairs and in mini- groups helping each other , giving advice and sharing knowledge ( … Extra speaking practice too , great ! )
Amanda and Marco monitor the session , walking round offering extra advice and suggestions , ready to give time one on one to every student who has a question. Meanwhile, students learn how to ” think” in English, keeping their ideas simple by brainstorming for ideas which they develop by following basic structures and which they go on to check and edit.
In this way, our great writers to be feel confident that they have some solid structure and bases and soon enough they become aware of their own mistakes which simply disappear week after week. Just imagine the improved results in your writing after a month!
As well as looking at usual mistakes, students learn more about style in essays, letters, reports, stories, reviews and summaries. They learn to emulate structures from model texts or do fun activities like writing to music to really write about how they feel from the heart.
Each week, students happily complete a writing project which Amanda and Marco just as happily correct. You can leave your work at Adriana’s office and you will have your corrected copy with comments and constructive feedback on the same or next day. Don’t be afraid to do more than one piece of writing if you’re in the mood and full of inspiration and in the same way, don’t be afraid to give us any writing which you think may be too short or incomplete. We LOVE what we do and even more, we LOVE seeing your progress from week to week!
Look out for our special free Writing Clinic sessions for speakers from the same language group. We understand that students from specific language families usually have the same issues. ‘S’ or no ‘S’ , ‘the’ or maybe no ‘the’ , ‘at the beginning or at the end’ , ‘ to be or not to be’ ?!?! Sounds familiar? Don’t worry about all these questions. We fully understand why you have all this on your mind so just relax and let us guide you towards a great long-lasting improvement in your writing skills.
Otherwise, our general free Writing Clinic is held every Friday afternoon in the East Block on the fourth floor. You can register every week on the notice board opposite Adriana’s office next to the library on the first floor. Don’t wait too long to write your name down as the free places go so quickly and by Wednesday the lists are often full. Everybody is more than welcome and we look forward to seeing you soon. Don’t worry about your level because we have groups of mixed levels and nationalities and all students are there to help and encourage each other so everybody can come out of a pleasant session feeling they have learnt something. It’s also a super way of meeting new friends from different countries so you can go for a coffee or a cocktail afterwards and work on your speaking skills as well 😉
We really hope to have the pleasure of seeing you at Writing Clinic soon 😉