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Composition Writing

Students practise constructing compositions, using 5 steps. The process teaches students to think about the structure of their texts and plan in advance. Sample texts and questions come from HSC Online.

Step 1: Analyse the Question

Write a personal profile to attach to an application for a short-term scholarship to Tokyo.
[from: HSC Online, Continuers, Writing Personal World]
This is an example task from the NSW DET HSC website. It is simple to break down and most of the students are familiar with the topic. However, the procedure can be applied to any writing task.
First of all, analyse the task with your students by asking questions. For example: What is the text type? What is the topic? Who are you writing to? Who will read it, and therefore what Japanese style should be used? Formal or informal? and so on. You may make a chart like this and ask your students to fill it in.

Text type Topic Target reader Style
E.g. personal profile about me Japanese coordinator politeです/ますフォーム

Step 2: Brainstorm

Ask students to discuss in groups what kind of information should be included and make a list of sub-topics / key points. They may do this in either English or Japanese.
If your students are struggling to come up with ideas, you may give them a sample composition as a reference. But this is only for the purpose of picking up an idea or some keywords, not for copying the content. For this task you could look at Yamamoto Takayuki’s profile from the Japan Forum’s Deai resource kit and write out the sub-topics / key points.

The sample shown below follows this flow of ideas:




After the students have decided what to write, they can focus on the grammatical expressions needed.
Eg. talking about future plans – ~たいとおもっています。/ ~つもりです / ~よていです。
Eg. giving reasons for applying for the scholarship – ので

Step 3: Write each point as a sentence

なまえ ジェレミー・ウッド です。
とし/がくねん 16さいで、こうこう2ねんせいです。
うまれたところ イギリスでうまれました。
すんでいるところ シドニーにすんでいます。
がっこう シドニーこうこうにかよっています。
しゅみ、とくぎ しゅみは、おんがくをきくことです。スポーツがとくいです。ほんはなすのがきです。
しょうらいについて ほんのせんせいになりたいとおもっています。
おうぼのりゆう ほんをもっとべんきょうしたり、ぶんまなびたいので、このしょうがくきんにおうぼしました。

Step 4: Combine two sentences into one

Look at the points in Step 3 and see which sentences can be combined.

For example:
1.~でうまれました。 + ~にすんでいます。 ⇒ ~でうまれて、~にすんでいます。
2.~さいです。 + こうこう~ねんせいです。 ⇒ ~さいで、こうこう~ねんせいです。
3.~をすることがとくいです。 + ~になりたいとおもっています。
⇒ ~をすることがとくいなので、~になりたいとおもっています。

Step 5: Write up the text

Encourage students to use conjunctions such as the ones below to create a coherent paragraph with a logical flow.
まず―first of all
そして―and in addition,
それから―and then,
それに―besides, in addition to that
つぎに―following, after, next,




Please use the handout with these 5 steps for your students.

Writing Handout (Word 37KB)

Additional Tasks from HSC Online with HINTS

Task 1

[from: HSC Online, Continuers, writing, Living in Japan]
You are an exchange student in Japan. Write a report for your Japanese school newsletter comparing Australian and Japanese schools.

Title: オーストラリアとほんこうこう




Task 2

[from: HSC Online, Continuers, Writing, Personal World Part A].
You are going to host a volunteer Japanese assistant in your school and home for three months. Write a letter to him or her describing your neighbourhood and school.

こんにちは ゆみさん。 おげんですか。こちらはだんだんあたたかくなってきました。きょうは、ぼくのんでいるまちがっこうについてきます。


Closing remarks:
ゆみさんにうのをたのしみにしています。 しんぱいしないでくださいね。 また、てがみをきます。 では、また。
3月3日 ジェレミー・ウッド

Task 3

[from: HSC Online, Continuers, Writing, World of Work Part B].
You are going to host a volunteer Japanese assistant in your school and home for three months. Write a letter to him or her describing your neighborhood and school.

Title: E.g. こうこうせいのなんでもや (handy man)



やすくて、はやくて、べんりです。 いちたのんでみてください。

Additional Resources

  • Text types
Teacher’s Notes Text Types (PDF 149KB)
  • Origin of the written language
Teacher’s Notes Origin of the Written Language (PDF 52KB)

Resource created by Himiko Negishi-Wood (November 2002).

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