Sarah Hudelson In teaching second language learners how to speak and read English, it is important not to neglect their writing development. Here are some strategies for teaching ESL children to become writers.
Introduction Writing, together with its teaching in both first and second language contexts, is currently the subject of a considerable amount of research and other educational endeavour. Papers on aspects of writing can be found in almost any issue of applied linguistics or educational journals, and there are currently a number of journals devoted to the subject see bibliography.
Before that time writing was seldom seen as something to be taught for its own sake and in the second language classroom it was most often used as a way of demonstrating mastery of the structures studied in class teaching second language writing articles for dictation. Despite this huge increase in interest in writing and a considerable amount of work on models of how people write see e.
This is, at least in part, due to the multifaceted nature of writing. This immediately sets up two possible perspectives on acquiring writing: There is overlap with reading skills in these areas: Silva evaluated 72 studies comparing L1 writing with L2 writing and found a number of salient differences between L1 and L2 writing with regard to both composing processes and subprocesses: However, there is considerable variation among L2 writers.
Weissberg suggests that for L1 literate adults, writing plays an important role in second language development, not only in the development of accuracy but also in the emergence of new structures.
The ways in which such individuals write, and use writing, in their L2 is likely to be quite different from their colleagues for whom writing in their L1 plays a lesser role. For writers who are more proficient in their L2, differences may be fewer.
Matsumoto found that proficient bilingual writers tend to use the same strategies when writing in both L1 and L2. A similar study by Beare supported this finding. Teaching and learning Teaching writing has, since the s, reflected this same multiplicity of perspectives as the research. Raimes outlined four approaches that dominated the teaching of writing at different times.
These teaching second language writing articles involved a focus on form, on the writer, on content, and on the reader. One of the key areas in growth of teaching writing over the past 20 years has been in English for Academic Purposes. However, as illustrated in the next section, writing instruction can be effective in raising proficiency in a number of areas.
Recent approaches to instruction have recognised that, while weak areas can and should be specifically addressed, writing must always be seen as culturally and socially situated.
Cumming cautions writing teachers to be wary of exercises that attempt to break writing down into component skills as such exercises often eliminate portions of the task that are important to the personal and cultural significance of the writing.
Grabe and Kaplan give a detailed discussion of teaching approaches at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of proficiency. At lower levels frequent, short writing activities can help to build familiarity and develop a useful, productive vocabulary. The variety and length of tasks can be extended for intermediate level students - developing more complex themes and building a repertoire of strategies for effective writing.
Advanced level students need to develop a greater understanding of genres and the place of writing in particular discourse communities.
They also need to develop their strategies and establish their own voice in the second language. It is central to writing instruction that writers make progress as a direct result of the instruction they receive.
Instruction affects student accuracy in the use of the target language in their writing and also the range of choice of structure and vocabulary available to them for use in writing. Tsang and Wong studied the effects of explicit grammar teaching on student writing.
They claim that there were indications that the students were able to write with greater readiness and use more mature syntax. Archibald investigated how the discourse proficiency of secondary school students writing in English as a second language developed in different age groups.
He found that students improved in their use of discourse markers and links and that they developed a better feel for the contextual appropriacy of their language.
Shaw and Liu analysed the ways in which the features associated with academic register changed over the period of a pre-sessional course in English for academic purposes. Senguptaworking with secondary school students, describes the effects of giving instruction in revision strategies to writers of English as a second language.
Cresswell reported on the effects of students learning to self-monitor their writing and to pay attention to the process and the organization of their writing. Connor and Farmer found that teaching second language writers topical structure analysis to use as a revision strategy had a positive effect on the clarity of focus of the final texts.
At a more general level, Akyel and Kamisli reported on the effects of EFL writing instruction on composing in both first and second languages. They found that the students used similar composing strategies in both their L1 Turkish and L2 English and that writing instruction in the L2 had a positive effect both on their writing processes and on their attitudes to writing in the two languages.
The direct effects of different types of feedback on student writing have also been analysed. Ferris found that changes made by students in response to teacher comments did have a positive effect on the overall quality of their papers.
Villamil and de Guerrero investigated the impact of peer revision on L2 writing and found that it had a positive effect on the quality of the final draft. Berg trained students in how to give effective peer response to writing.
It should reflect not only the stage of general linguistic proficiency of the student, but also their ability to use the forms appropriately within the social and professional conventions of writing in the target language. Assessment has tended to mirror instruction with new approaches to assessment accompanying changes in teaching.
Assessment of the classroom work involved in writing has been carried out through portfolios Belanoff Creative writing for language learners (and teachers) (Dornyei ), authenticity, extensive reading (Day and Bamford ), the teaching of expository writing in a second language, and creativity in general To develop materials and activities for the teaching of creative writing.
The Journal of Second Language Writing is devoted to publishing theoretically grounded reports of research and discussions that represent a significant contribution to current understandings of central issues in second and foreign language writing and writing instruction.
Some areas of interest are personal characteristics and attitudes of L2. Language Classroom: A Selected Annotated Bibliography Torild Homstad & Lillian Bridwell-Bowles, Series Editor. Writing Theory and Practice in the Second Language Classroom: A Selected Annotated Bibliography Torild Homstad & Helga Thorson for Grant Recipients processing may be a powerful tool in teaching second language writing.
Writing, together with its teaching in both first and second language contexts, is currently the subject of a considerable amount of research and other educational endeavour.
Papers on aspects of writing can be found in almost any issue of applied linguistics or educational journals, and there are currently a number of journals devoted to the subject (see bibliography). Comments Off on Second and Foreign Language Teaching Methods Free This module provides a description of the basic principles and procedures of the most recognized and commonly used approaches and methods for teaching a second or foreign language.
Creative writing for language learners (and teachers) (Dornyei ), authenticity, extensive reading (Day and Bamford ), the teaching of expository writing in a second language, and creativity in general To develop materials and activities for the teaching of creative writing.