A few words from Madam Li:
Composition offers the most accurate and holistic assessment of a student’s language ability. Through the process of learning to write a good essay, a student improves on all fronts by picking up skills in aural, oral, reading and writing.
At the moment many parents and teachers are devoting much time and energy into improving students’ essay-writing skills. However, due to limited vocabulary and weak sense of grammar, most students struggle to write complete sentences, let alone good essays. In an environment where Chinese is utilised only infrequently, it is unrealistic to expect students to be able to write well-structured, eloquent compositions.
With more than a decade’s teaching experience, I am confident to say that a student’s reading and writing skills need to be developed from childhood. At the lower-primary level, the student needs a solid grounding in writing complete and vivid sentences, so as to spur their imagination and creativity.
Speakers draw their audience’s attention through fascinating speech, and writers move readers through expressive prose. To write with a lively and rich language, we need to build and apply a vast repertoire of vocabulary.
Many mid- and higher-primary students are still put off by writing compositions. In fact, some have developed psychological barriers. My books offer a solution to this problem. I offer students a large number of suitable vocabulary and well-constructed sentences that are relevant to the composition. The student would then be able to choose from these and apply them in his essays based on his individual ability. This is akin to preparing elemental building materials like bricks and concrete, and then guiding the student to build a house on his own. Through this process, the student would be greatly encouraged by the high standard of his own essays. It is a confidence-building process which would lead to the development of a genuine interest for the art of writing.
Follow-up action after the lesson is another important step. In order to apply the vocabulary and sentences judiciously, it is necessary to selectively memorise certain fragments and passages. This is not a challenging task as the student has already used them in his essays.
Last but not least, good essay-writing skills are developed through consistent practice. There is no shortcut in attaining what seems to be a natural flair for writing. It is not sufficient to solve the many problems a student may face in essay-writing simply by memorising a few ‘standard compositions’.
到了中高年级，多数的孩子还是怕写作文，甚至对写作有心理障碍。要解决这个问题，我会为学生们提供大量相关的好词好句，让学生根据 自己的能力来挑选、拼凑。这就有如为学生准备好砖瓦，引导他们自己搭建房子，让他们觉得: "哇！原来我也可以写出这么优美的文章！"在这个过程中，孩子们得到了极大的鼓舞，逐渐树立信心，对于作文也不再排斥，甚至对写作产生兴趣。
希望这个作文系列的出版能够为困惑的家长和老师们提供帮助。不足之处难免，欢迎致函 firstname.lastname@example.org 与本系列编者李秀蓉老师共勉。