Unformatted text preview: Teaching Writing to English Language Learners The Everest of language use. Why teach writing? writing reinforces grammatical structures, idioms, and vocabulary taught to students, writing supports creative language use, writing supports a deeper type of language involvement, writing requires thinking. Isn't writing just another form of spoken language? Speech is universal. Spoken language has dialectal variations. Speakers use voice, body language, and expressions to convey ideas. Not everyone learns to read and write. Written language demands standard forms of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Writers use words to express meaning. Spoken and written language... Speakers use pauses and intonation. Speakers pronounce Speaking is spontaneous and unplanned. Writers use punctuation. Writers spell. Writing takes time, planning, review and revision. Spoken and written language... Speakers and listeners have a physical relationship that allows for questioning, clarification, nodding, and other conversational behaviors. Writers must establish a relationship with readers through words and ideas that captivate and hold the attention of the reader. Spoken and written language... Speaking is informal and repetitive, there are many ways to aid comprehension. Speaking uses simple sentences. Writing is formal, compact and progresses with a culturally-specific logic. Writing uses more complex sentences. His father runs 10 miles every day and is really healthy. His father, who runs ten miles every day, is very healthy. What's involved in writing? Syntax Grammar Mechanics Organization Word Choice Purpose Audience The Writers own process Content Historical and Contemporary Approaches to Teaching Writing Controlled - to - Free Approach Free - Writing Approach Paragraph - Pattern Approach Grammar - Syntax - Organization Approach Communicative Approach Process Approach The Controlled -to-Free Approach An audio-lingual approach writing used to reinforce speech; mastery of grammatical and syntactic forms writing is controlled to limit errors no free composition until high intermediate or advanced language proficiency is reached writing is sequential: sentences first - manipulating tenses, questions to statements, subject changes, ,,transformational sentences copying paragraphs, manipulating structures, clauses, word choices, combining sentences stresses grammar, syntax, mechanics accuracy over fluency or originality The Free-Writing Approach a quantity Vs. quality approach for intermediate and above students free-writing without worrying about grammar, spelling for a short period of time (10 min or so) may uses story starters or topics of interest to students based on assumption that form will follow fluency concern for audience and content are most important The Paragraph-Pattern Approach organization of ideas is central to this approach students copy, analyze, and imitate model paragraphs focus on topic sentences and development of supporting details based on belief that writing is a cultural construct The Grammar-SyntaxOrganization Approach writing for a specific purpose in order to integrate multiple aspects of writing skills: organization, grammar, syntax, vocabulary ,,how to paragraphs using signal words and connectors specific skills are explicitly taught before exercise The Communicative Approach stresses the purpose of a piece of writing and the intended audience students encouraged to see themselves as real participants in the process of written communication often includes peer writer/reader relationships integrates writing into the ,,real world The Process Approach a shift from teacher-centered to a student-centered approach (1970s) a shift from the written product to the process of writing assumes a greater degree of autonomy for the student writer requires time for practice, review, feedback, revision encourages the process and creativity of writing - finding new words, ways of presenting information frequently includes pre-writing activities such as brainstorming, debate, discussions, readings, listing time and feedback are crucial elements to success in this approach Beyond Process...explicitly teaching about writing concern that minority language students do not ,,acquire written language skills without explicit instruction Susan Feez (1985) says, in many ways...progressive approaches have reinforced the inequities of access which are characteristic of older, more traditional pedagogies. It is simply that in progressive pedagogies, the way these inequities are perpetuated becomes invisible. Learners individuality and freedom may be more highly valued, but during and at the end of their courses of study learners are still assessed against the standards of the dominant culture....progressive classrooms tend to reinforce existing social inequities of opportunity because it seems that it is the learner rather than the educational institution, who is to be blamed for failure... (p. 9) Lisa Delpit (1988) agrees, the conventions of writing must be explicitly taught to students for whom the language and assumptions of schooling are unfamiliar, or for students who are not from the larger culture of power parents from outside the dominant culture want schools to provide their children with the discourse patterns, interactional styles, and spoken and written language codes that will allow them success in the larger society The Curriculum Cycle...the genre writing movement genre writing is explicit teaching about specific types of writing in a meaningful way requires students to reflect on how language is used for a range of purposes and audiences requires that teachers explicitly focus on those aspects of language that enable students to be successful at their writing The Curriculum Cycle Stage 1: Building the Field the aim is to build background knowledge and focus on the "content" of the topic requires organization for note-taking, listening, speaking, and reading use native language or "expert" groups to build up a shared knowledge of the topic key experience first semantic webs, word walls, wallpapering ideas, information grids teach and practice specific grammatical structures The Curriculum Cycle Stage 2: Modeling the Text the aim is to build students understandings of the purpose, overall structure, and language features of the particular text type the class is working on use model texts draw attention to "shape" or organizational structure of text type focus on grammatical structures or vocabulary critical to the text do text reconstruction activities (jumbled sentences into coherent paragraphs) use meta-language - language to talk about language...that will make it easier to talk about key features (text type, verbs, tense...etc.) Current research out of Australia (Williams, 1999) shows that students have no trouble understanding grammatical concepts and such instruction helps make explicit key aspects of writing. The Curriculum Cycle Stage 3: Joint Construction the aim of this stage is to prepare students for writing; teacher-led, guided thinking and writing discuss the overall structure of the text examine vocabulary choices consider alternate ways of wording an idea correcting grammatical structures ensuring correct spelling and punctuation explicit instructions on grammatical structures in the real-life situation of the writing The Curriculum Cycle Stage 4: Independent Writing the aim of this stage is to engage students individually or in pairs in the process of writing the process includes drafts, peer edits, feedback, rewrites, publishing this scaffolded approach takes time and explicit instruction and practice of pre-determined language skills and structures leads to success because students have developed considerable background knowledge about the subject and the linguistic characteristics of the text type References: Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman. Raimes, A. (1983). Techniques in Teaching Writing. New York: Oxford University Press. White, R. (Ed.) (1992). New Ways in Teaching Writing. Alexandria, VA: TESOL ...
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- Spring '08
- Writing, Written language, grammatical structures