Ohmura and Orleans obviously share interest and enjoyment in teaching EFL composition writing—as well as a lot of experience. In a relaxed, workshop-style presentation, peppered with anecdotes from various classes past and present, they showed us many examples of their better student writing, demonstrating how important appropriate and catchy topics are, and invited us to brainstorm in groups and share our own ideas.
After establishing the basics of essay-writing with “Time Order”, “Spatial Order“ and “Description”, classes progress through genres including “Cause and Effect” and “Opinion and Reason” and a plethora of topics such as “Life As An Oil Painting” or “Hello Kitty needs/doesn’t need a mouth” or writing a note of excuse for some famously misguided historical figure. Supplemented with audience-elicited ideas for titles on the whiteboard and a handout with examples of illustrations as subject matter these were all good reminders that there are no limits on imagination in writing – in one’s first or second language.
As had become apparent throughout the meeting, the presenters concluded that good writing topics capitalize on students' experience and interests while introducing enough parameters to demand sophisticated development of those topics.