01Writing For a Purpose
by Danny K. Howard, EAP Associate Director
What makes NICfs Writing program special?
NICfs Writing Program is unique compared to other schools throughout Japan. In high schools in Japan, writing is very passive and focuses only on grammar. Worse than that, most schools and universities in Japan donft even teach this skill to students.
At NIC, however, we teach writing as a creative art form. Our program focuses on style, organization, and creativity. This makes our classes much different from other ones. In our school, students learn how to create good writing, and they receive comments from their teachers on how to improve it.
I am confident that NIC has the finest writing program in Japan. We do so much to prepare our students for the very big challenge of studying with native-English speakers abroad.
Getting a Head Start on writing!
Itfs a good idea for students to prepare for NIC as soon as possible. Of course, keeping a diary to do this is a good idea. However, sometimes students do not develop new ideas with these because they write about the same thing everyday.
Try the NIC-Style Writing Journal
To prepare for many kinds of writing at NIC and abroad, students should try the NIC-Style Writing Journal. This journal will help creative thinking and give opportunities to use new vocabulary in writing.
Herefs what to do: Choose a different topic below each time you write in your journal to keep your ideas fresh! Try to write for at least 30 minutes 3 – 4 times a week if possible. Writing more is better!
Below are some topics that you can choose for your Journal:
- Choose a photograph or picture in a magazine and tape it into your journal. First describe the photo and focus on the people, places and things you see in it. Make sure that you use a lot of descriptive words to describe the picture in detail. Then write about why this photo is special to you.
Example: a family photo, or a photo of you and your friends doing something, a newspaper photo, etc.
- Find a short newspaper article about a domestic or international news event. Now, write what the article is about. Include a few details, names and places in it. Next, write your opinion about the event. In other words, what do you feel about the news.
Example: www.timeforkids.com has easy news stories for lower levels or for higher levels, choose a short article from The Japan Times, The Daily Yomiuri, or watch any of the major English news sources: BBC, CNN, Fox News, etc.
- Think about a problem that you or a friend is experiencing in school, at home or in life. First, describe the problem. Next, give some advice on what you or the person should do to make the situation better.
Example: A problem that you are having with your best friend
Creative Writing Topic
- Think about a good book that you have read lately, a good drama that you have watched on TV or a good movie that you have seen recently. Now, write your own original ending to it. Be creative and imaginative!
Example: Write a different ending to Back to the Future.
- Think about a book or movie that you have read or watched lately. First, write what it was about. Be sure to include some of the characters, the setting, the plot, and the ending. Next, write your opinion of it. Did you like it or not? Explain why or why not.
Example: What about the recent Lord of the Rings movie.
Favorite Thing Topic
- Think about something that you have enjoyed doing recently. It might be a hobby, a trip you took, a place you visited, or something about your school or home life. First, describe what you did and where you went with a lot of detail. Then write about how good this experience made you feel.
Example: Write about a trip to Naganofs Hakuba Ski Resort that you took last vacation.
- Think about something that needs to be improved. It could be something in your school, in Japan, or in the world. First, describe the problem. Next, write about how you would improve it.
Example: Make suggestions on how you could better study English or suggest how schools can make classes more interesting for students.
- If anyone lives near the Tokyo area and would like to bring your journal to NIC for feedback, please visit the school and see Danny Howard. I will be more than happy to read your journals and make some comments on them. Good luck!