English schools - any that have good writing courses?

One of my students asked me whether there are any schools - cram, buxiban type, other(?) - that have programs that are aimed to improve writing? He wants additional classes in this area only and so I thought I throw this out to the professionals here to help him get the right information.


Sorry, this doesn’t directly answer your question, but anyone who wants to improve his/her writing should know that writing skills have a strong relationship with the amount of recreational reading that is done.

So for example it was found that the most important factor for success in the TOEFL writing component was a large amount of recreational reading.

Usually, people don’t want to hear this. After all, it takes a long time and people often want a “quick fix”. And for sure, there are some very helpful techniques and tips that can be taught in a relatively short time. But for overall depth and breadth of ability, it’s reading all the way.

I hope someone can provide the specific information that you’re looking for.

Thanks joesax. I told him the same thing. This leads me to believe there are probably few schools or programs that do this. I’m hoping you good folks will know of such programs that I can suggest to him.

Otherwise, it might be private for him instead with the right writing instructor. If so, please let me know.


There are writing components to IELTS, TOEFL, etc. Plenty of schools to teach that, just take a walk down Nan Yang St by Taipei Main Station.

Or is your student too young for that?

TAFI used to run writing courses for kids aged 9-14 or so, but I don’t know if that’s still the case.

How old is the student? I know that Kojen has a very good writing program. The teacher who teaches writing classes at the Guling and Nanjing Road branches is very good. I know that students ask for him personally.

There are some English classes offered by universities, such as Fu Jen’s extension classes that could prove to be satisfactory. It totally depends on the student’s age and English ability.

I agree with the sentiment that learning to write will not improve English ability. If a student can read up to a third grade level, it’s not possible that he or she can write at a third grade level, but he or she may be able to write at a level comparable to what third graders write. The research shows that writing is a good way to improve your problem solving ability, and it is reading that is a good way to improve your English ability.

Thanks for the suggestions.

The student is a university graduate working as a professional. I think he knows about the schools on Nan Yang St as he used to take buxiban English classes in the past. But in his experience none of them seem to focus on writing much, hence him asking me for recommendations me asking here :slight_smile:.

I also agree with the posters that say that reading is a good way to improve overall English ability. My class structure revolves around reading as the foundation for learning vocabulary, grammar and conversation.

I’ll check out Fu Jen’s extension courses on the web. If any one happens to already have that info handy, let me know thanks much.

Does anyone have recommendations of IELTS programs or other quality English programs for my student to check out?

The best compliment I’ve had in a long while … he said that I’ve inspired him to learn English and devote more time to it.

I think it’s time I pass him to the professionals now. If you personally think you’re up to taking on a serious and motivated private, drop me a line. I’ll pass the information to him. Currently, he’s part of a corp class I teach but he’d like additional time on the weekends to do more learning and studying which I’m not really able to provide for him.


In all honesty, a lot of test-prep classes are focused on passing tests rather than on improving actual English. Students come in looking for ‘tips’ and may spend as much as a year taking practise tests under the guidance of an exasperated teacher who goes blue in the face telling them to think about the material instead of worrying about the ‘right’ answer.

The best writing course for adults that I’ve come across was run out of an outfit called ‘Howard’, I think. They’re next to the post office on Nan Yang, and there’s a guy there called True Black who has a published book on TOEFL writing which he teaches.

He takes a pretty formulaic approach to essay writing, hitting them over and over with the essential idea that writing should be structured. It’s good stuff and I crib notes from it all the time. There’s also a language component looking at comon errors, vocabulary, sentence structures, etc.

The only drawback would be that it’s lecture-style - a lot of people in a big room with teacher pointing at the powerpoint and speaking a lot of Chinese. I guess it depends what he wants.

Going a bit off-topic: I’ve just been handed a business writing class at a company where some of the students cannot even conjugate the verb ‘to be’. Some can hold a passable conversation, so they can at least follow what I’m telling them. Average education level is high school only, average age is 30, female, married with kids and lives to lead.

They’re a branch of an international company and are supposed to do their business in english. The boss has been given six months to get everyone up to an acceptable level or start firing people. I have two hours a week, and someone else is giving them 2hrs a week of ‘conversation’.

I’ve done a couple of classes, using my laptop and a projector plus handouts. I’m thinking of the following format in future and would appreciate feedback:

  • a certain amount of goofing around and games, just to keep them happy. (The atmosphere is very good right now.)
  • 15-30 minutes of instruction in basic grammar, pitched at the middle-level students using powerpoint and handouts.
  • half an hour or so of bookwork, using high-school level material. I figure I could use 2-3 different levels of books and float around the class helping out. I may get the highest level to help the lowest level, and have the mid-level work together.
  • Spend the second hour working on some imaginary project that is similar to what they actually do all day, and work up some standard communiques they can modify and use in RL.

Suggestions anyone? Book recommendations? They’re in the travel industry, but most of the specialised books I have seen assume a much higher level of basic English.