Many ESL students, children and adults alike, dislike or even dread writing tasks in the ESL classroom, finding them boring or difficult (Winer,1992: Cimcoz, 1999). This can lead teachers to avoid all but the shortest of writing tasks in the classroom, for fear of not being able to motivate or support their students highly enough.
The project described below has been used to good effect with two different groups of students studying on short courses at a university in northern England and can be adapted to suit different levels with relative ease. It can also be condensed or expanded to last between just two or three sessions and almost a whole week of a full-time programme. At the end of their programmes, both groups of students rated this activity as one of their favourites, despite initial reactions to writing tasks being rather less than favourable.