16199701 writing-skills-assignment

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  • 1. CAMBRIDGE DELTA COURSE LANGUAGE SKILLS SYSTEMS ASSIGNMENT PART 1 FOCUS ON WRITING “The use of process writing approach as means to facilitate the scripts of adult EFL learners” Candidate’s Name: Paraskevi Andreopoulou Centre Number: GR 108 Candidate’s Number: Number of Words: 2556 [Type text] Page 1
  • 2. Contents 1. The definition of writing and its significance in education ................................3 2. Approaches to writing …………………………………………………………….3 2.1 The Controlled-to-free Approach……………………………………………..3 2.2 The Free Writing Approach…………………………………………………..4 2.3 The Paragraph-Pattern Approach……………………………………………...4 2.3 The Grammar-Syntax Organisation Approach ……………………………....4 2.4 The Communicative Approach…………………………………………….…4 2.5 The Free Writing Approach ………………………………………………….4 3. The nature of writing process and its effectiveness in the EFL classroom..............5 4. Problems and difficulties learners face in the development of their writing skills .................................................................................................................................6 5. Remedies and solutions are provided for the enhancement of writing skills in the Greek EFL classroom ……………………………………………………........................7 6. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………...8 7. List of References………………………………………………………………..9 [Type text] Page 2
  • 3. 1. The definition of writing and its significance in education When we learn a second language, we learn to communicate with other people, to understand them, to talk to them, read what they have written and write to them; an integral part of participating fully in a new cultural setting with other people that are not present the moment we communicate to them is the form of writing. But the fact that people frequently have to communicate with each other in writing is not the only reason to include writing as a part of our second-language syllabus; we also need to teach them how to learn to write because writing first reinforces the grammatical structures, vocabulary and idioms that we have been teaching our students. Secondly, when our students write, they also have to be adventurous with the language, to go beyond what they have just learned to say, to take risks. Thirdly, when they write, they necessarily become very involved with the new language; the effort to express ideas and the constant use of their hands, eyes and brain is a unique way of reinforcing learning (A. Raimes 1983). There have been numerous approaches to the teaching of writing in the history of language teaching; traditionally, writing was viewed as a tool for the practice and reinforcement of specific grammatical and lexical patterns, in which accuracy was all important but content, and self-expression virtual non-priorities. Learners were purely “writing to learn” as opposed to “learning to write” (Tribble 1996, p.118). However, with the increase in attention to students` practical needs, born out of functional/notional approaches and further developed in the various areas of ESP, the importance of certain text types as skill learners might need has come to the tore. This gradual increase in the status of writing as a skill, alongside with the development of discoursal based approach and the general moves toward learnedcent red syllabuses, has totally changed the view of writing( N. Holmes 20002004) – but, still writing continues to be one of the most difficult areas for students and teachers to tackle. 2. Approaches to Writing Over the years a number of writing approaches have presented to make their place in history by Raimes cited in Ghaith 2002: • The Controlled-to-Free Approach in which speech and writing are served to achieve mastery of grammatical, syntactic forms and mechanics by copying and transforming paragraphs and sentences; with this approach errors are avoided and students attempt free composition after they have [Type text] Page 3
  • 4. reached an intermediate level of proficiency-it emphasizes accuracy rather than fluency. • The Free-Writing Approach in which quantity rather than quality is stressed – vast amounts of free writing on given topics with minimal correction are assigned to learners with emphasis on content and fluency rather than accuracy and form. Once the ideas are down on the page, grammatical accuracy and organization follow. The teachers do not correct pieces of free writing, but, they comment on the ideas expressed; concern for “audience” and “content” are also mentioned. • The Paragraph-Pattern Approach in which organization is stressed – students copy paragraphs and imitate model passages, they identify general and specific statements and choose to invent an appropriate topic sentence or insert, delete sentences. It is based on the principle that in different cultures people construct and organize communication with each other in different ways. • The Grammar-Syntax-Organisation Approach in which writing cannot be seen as composed of separate skills which are learned sequentially. Therefore, students should be trained to pay attention to organization while they also work on the necessary grammar and syntax. This approach links the purpose of writing to the forms that are needed to convey message. • The Communicative Approach in which the purpose of writing and the audience for it are stressed. The learners are encouraged to behave like writers in real life and ask themselves the why (purpose) and who (audience) crucial questions. Some people feel it is better when writing is truly a communicative act, with a writer writing for a real reader. • The Process Writing Approach in which the teaching of writing has moved away from a concentration on written product to an emphasis on the process of writing; the learners generate ideas, think of the purpose and audience, write multiple drafts in order to present written products that communicate their own ideas – the students are also given time to tray ideas and feedback on the content of what they write their in their drafts. As such, writing becomes a process of discovery for the students as they discover new language ideas and forms to express them. Furthermore, learning to write is seen as a developmental process that helps students write as professional authors do, choosing their own topics and genres, and writing from their own experiences or observations. A writing process approach requires that teachers give students’ greater responsibility for and ownership their own learning. [Type text] Page 4
  • 5. 3. The nature of writing process and its effectiveness in EFL classroom It is widely known that adult learners of English are not accustomed to collaborating to produce a piece of writing, to work out their own solutions to the problems they set themselves (White and Arndt 1991). It views all writing as creative since the writer is responsible for producing the text that evolves from the raw material, which is generated almost entirely from the writer`s imagination. What is important for us as teachers of English is to engage our learners in the creative process; to excite them about how their texts are coming into being; to give them insights into how they operate as they create their work; to alter their concepts of what writing involves; and above all, that evaluation is not just the province of the teacher alone at the final stage of the process, but it is equally the concern and responsibility of the writer at every stage. What differentiates a process-focused approach from a product-cent red one is the divergent outcome of writing with as many different outcomes as there are writers. What counts in this approach is how the writer composes the model text, or from the activities based on it; by contrast, process-focused lessons may introduce texts written by other people, but only after the students have written something of their own, so that the text is now a resource for further ideas rather than a model for mimicry. A typical sequence of writing-process activities would look like this (: ibid): • • • • • • • • • • • • • Discussion (class, small group & pair) Brainstorming / making notes / asking questions Fast writing / selecting ideas / establishing a viewpoint Rough draft Preliminary self-evaluation Arranging information / structuring the text First draft Group / peer evaluation and responding Conference Second draft Self-evaluation / editing / proof-reading Finished draft Final responding to draft As teachers of English, we should aim at creating an environment in which our students are engaged in and enthused by it, and feel that credit is given for every aspect of their effort which goes into the writing process. Our goal is to present writing as lively, stimulating process, which Lu Chi cited in White & Arndt 1991 puts the “matching of matter and manner”, such that it becomes “the ferry” between the writer and the reader. [Type text] Page 5
  • 6. 4. Problems and difficulties learners face in the development of their writing skills Drawing upon the relevant literature and my personal experience in the Greek EFL context, Greek adult learners are still in a difficult position of developing and producing a proper piece of writing, since they do not only have to deal with word choice, grammar, syntax and punctuation, but, also they also have to expound their views and argument ate them by dividing them into their respective paragraphs and linking them to their appropriate cohesive devices, so that it looks like a brief, concise and comprehensible piece of writing. According to Sharwood-Smith (1972), writing is essentially communication – the way a given message is expressed should always be determined in the context of the whole communicative situation; this is sometimes overlooked both when dealing with the grammar side of writing and when dealing with writing as the free expression of thoughts and feelings; more specifically, writing should be seen in two lights- first, as a language problem of assembling words to form grammatical sentences and as a rhetorical problem of teaching students to organize words and patterns so as to fulfill a rhetorical aim ,such as persuading a friend to take a course of action. Indeed, with native speakers a writing course can lay greater stress on rhetorical problems, though it must necessarily include producing the proper language. On the other hand, with L2 learners language problems should definitely play a major role, especially at the earliest stages. R. J. Owens` belief cited in Sherwood- Smith (ibid) is the language problems are “grossly underestimated” and that we shift emphasis to rhetorical ones much too soon. He thinks that “model sentences and contextualized practice in abundance are vital to satisfactory achievement”. According to Flower (1981) cited in Chenoweth (1987), unskilled writers fail to consider the problems that readers might experience in understanding their text, because they assume what they have written makes sense and there is no need to add more explanation and detail, or rearrange ideas to make their paper better (Perl 1980, Beach 1976); they just assume that all they need to do is polish it. As for more proficient writers, they edit their papers, but they also spend considerable time and effort working on their overall content to see that what they want to say is said and is said in a way their readers can understand (Faigley & White, 1981) cited in Chenoweth (1987). As Raimes (1985) urges us not to forget, our students, as L2 writers, both skilled and unskilled ones do face the common problem of getting their meaning across effectively and they cannot be understood by their readership; they lack strategies for handling the content of their essays as a whole –they work on bits and pieces only (Sommers 1980, Beach 1976) – and the topics of the essays ought to be motivating and interesting, as well so that our students will put effort into their work. [Type text] Page 6
  • 7. Finally, two sources of error in L2 writing ought to be taken into consideration – the cognitive and the social one, which interrelates four aspects of learning: the social and cultural milieu (which determines beliefs about language and culture), individual learner differences (related to motivation and language aptitude), the setting (formal and informal learning contexts), and learning outcomes. Instrumental motivation, though, acknowledges the role that external influences and incentives play in strengthening the learner’s desire to achieve – students who are instrumentally motivated are interested in learning the language for a particular purpose, i.e. writing. The other source of error is a cognitive one, which has to do with various types of knowledge, including discourse knowledge, understanding of audience, and sociolinguistic rules (O`Malley & Chamot, 1990); organization at both the sentence and the text level is also important for effective communication of meaning, and for the quality of the written product (Scardamalia & Bereiter ,1987), i.e. coherence problems have to do with not knowing how to organize the text and to store relevant information. Revision is also a cognitively demanding task for L2 learners because it not only involves task definition, evaluation, strategy selection and modification of text in the writing plan (Grabe & Kaplan, 1996), but also the ability of students to analyze and evaluate the feedback they receive on their writing. Emotional influences and language transfer, positive and negative result from similarities and differences between the previously acquired language and the target one (Odlin 1989) and they also have their say in the production of a piece of writing. (Myles, 2002). 5. Remedies and solutions for the enhancement of Writing skills in the EFL classroom Our role as teachers in responding to student writing is facilitation in the form of positive intervention during the process of writing for formative feedback which will help them improve it; a dialogue over the text to which both parties contribute and by discussion together they solve any problems that might arise. To be more specific, self-monitoring (Charles 1990) involves: 1. Students draft and “monitor” their texts 2. Teacher / editor respond in writing to monitored documents 3. Students respond to editorial comment and rewrite their drafts Teacher / editor responds to student comment and second draft, taking into account of the extent to which the writer has been able to deal with the problems identified during the self-monitoring phase. In this way, our students learn to take more responsibility for what they write, for getting their meaning across to their readership and for their own improvement in their skill of writing. [Type text] Page 7
  • 8. Another remedy for improving student performance in writing is a short meeting between the students and teachers (conferencing), in which the meaning of composition is addressed first and then form, according to Marshall (1986); in the initial conference learners discuss their ideas for papers, in the next one, they bring their first drafts and discuss them with their teachers- this sort of groups dynamics helps learners speak up and discuss their writing problems (Brender 2004). They are valuable because they allow students to control the interaction, clarify responses, negotiate meaning and enable teachers to assess how students react to their feedback, and how their comments help students revise their writing (Shin 2003). Moreover, a collection of readings and exercises on which students are asked to write a “reflection” essay, that will enhance peer-sharing, give reveal their strengths and weaknesses in basic writing skills; it provides details and experiences that enrich and clarify cognitive information and gives practice in knowledge application, as well as the opportunity to interact with competent writing in the genres being studied (Taylor 2003). Furthermore, there is scaffolding which involves prewriting discussion, group drafting of the text, individual speaking and writing activity, feedback in which time is devoted to learners` discussing, composing and responding to each other`s draft texts; it helps learners establish links between their beliefs, attitudes and prior knowledge and the topic they are writing about – out of this sense of ownership develops a clear sense of why they are writing, who they are writing for and what information they need to include in their texts (Cotterall & Cohen 2003). All the aforementioned belongs to process writing approach, since it is a process of several steps, beginning with generating ideas, writing to discover what one wants to say, revising, getting feedback from various readers (between revisions) and writing again; only at the later stages is editing done for grammatical and mechanical accuracy (Keh 1990). 6. Conclusion Even adults need to be taught how to work independently to balance the demands of those competing interests which affect the quality of their writing (Taylor 2003); rather than being expected to turn in a finished product right away, they are asked for invention heuristics and pre-writing exercises (Myers 1997). In other words, creative writing encourages students to venture along the path of selfexpression since it involves them personally, taking time to explore the language and experiment freely with it (Mohamed 2004). Consequently, learners become more involved in their own learning process and remain motivated (Hedge 1998). [Type text] Page 8
  • 9. List of References Arndt V. & White R., 1991 “Process Writing” Longman Group UK Limited 1991 Brender A., {The Language Teacher Online 22_07} “Conferencing: An Interactive Way to Teach Writing”. Retrieved on World Wide Web on 23/08/2007 Charles M., “Responding to problems in written English using a student self-monitoring technique” ELT Journal Volume 44/4 October 1990 © Oxford University Press 1990 Chenoweth N. A., “The need to teach rewriting” ELT Journal Volume 41/1 January 1987 © Oxford University Press 1987 Cotterall S. and Cohen R. “Scaffolding for second language writers: producing an academic essay” ELT Journal Volume 57/2 April 2003 © Oxford University Press Ghaith Dr.Ghazi “Cycles I, II & III of Basic Education- Writing”; www document – file://A:Writing- Dr Ghazi. FilesManaging the Writing Process.htm Retrieved on 22/08/2007 Hedge T., “Writing” 1988 ©Oxford University Press Holmes N.,“The use of process-oriented approach to facilitate the planning and production stages of writing for adult students of English as a Foreign or Second Language”; www document – file//A:Scott`s listening article 1.filesprocessw1_nicola.htm Retrieved on 23/08/2007 Keh C. L. “A Design for a Process-Approach Writing Course” English Teaching Forum January 1990 Mohamed N., “Free Expression” English Teaching Professional Issue 30 January 2004 Myers S., “Teaching Writing as a Process and Teaching Sentence-Level Syntax: Reformulating as ESL Composition Feedback”; TESL-EJ ISSN 1072-4303 Vol.2 No.4 A-2 June 1997 www. Document- Teaching Writing as a Process and Teaching Sentence-Level Syntax.ht Retrieved on 23/08/2007 Myles J., “Second Language Writing and Research: The Writing Process and Error Analysis in Student Texts” TESL-EJ ISSN 1072-4303 A-1 [Type text] Page 9
  • 10. September 2002 Vol.6 No.2; www document – A:ALONSO~1.FILSECOND~1.HTM retrieved on 23/08/2007 Raimes A., “Techniques in Teaching Writing” 1983 Oxford University Press Sharwood-Smith M. A., “Teaching Written English: Problems and Principles” TESOL Quarterly March 1972 Shin Sarah J. “The reflective L2 writing teacher” ELT Journal Volume 57/1 January 2003 © Oxford University Press Taylor M. E., “Using collateral material to improve writing performance” ELT Journal Volume 57/2 April 2003 © Oxford University Press [Type text] Page 10