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Academic essay in language pedagogy research second writing

Students writing in a second language are also faced with social and cognitive challenges related to second language acquisition. L1 models of writing instruction and research on composing processes have been the theoretical basis for using the process approach in L2 writing pedagogy.

However, language proficiency and competence underlies the ability to write in the L2 in a fundamental way. Therefore, L2 writing instructors should take into account both strategy development and language skill development when working with students.

This paper explores error in writing in relation to particular aspects of second language acquisition and theories of the writing process in L1 and L2. It can be argued that a focus on the writing process as a pedagogical tool is only appropriate for second language learners if attention is given to linguistic development, and if learners are able to get sufficient and effective feedback with regard to their errors in writing.

Introduction The ability to write well is not a naturally acquired skill; it is usually learned or culturally transmitted as a set of practices in formal instructional settings or other environments. Writing skills must be practiced and learned through experience. Writing also involves composing, which implies the ability either to tell or retell pieces of information in the form of narratives or description, or to transform information into new texts, as in expository or argumentative writing.

Perhaps it is best viewed as a continuum of activities that range from the more mechanical or formal aspects of "writing down" on the one end, to the more complex act of composing on the other end Omaggio Hadley, 1993. It is undoubtedly the act of composing, though, which can create problems for students, especially for those writing in a second language L2 in academic contexts. Formulating new ideas can be difficult because it involves transforming or reworking information, which is much more complex than writing as academic essay in language pedagogy research second writing.

Indeed, academic writing requires conscious effort and practice in composing, developing, and analyzing ideas. Compared to students writing in their native language L1however, students writing in their L2 have to also acquire proficiency in the use of the language as well as writing strategies, techniques and skills.

They might also have to deal with instructors and later, faculty members, who may or may not get beyond their language problems when evaluating their work. I argue that the process approach to instruction, with its emphasis on the writing process, meaning making, invention and multiple drafts Raimes, 1991is only appropriate for second language learners if they are both able to get sufficient feedback with regard to their errors in writing, and are proficient enough in the language to implement revision strategies.

A brief survey of the nature of L2 writing and L1 models of the writing process illustrates why it is difficult to apply L1 research to a model for second language writing. Further, certain social and cognitive factors related to second language acquisition show that strategies involved in the language learning process also affect L2 writing.

With a discussion of these factors, fundamental questions about error in writing and L2 proficiency are raised. It should then become apparent that the process approach to writing instruction can only be effective if these two components are taken into consideration. However, their purposes for writing are sometimes not the kind valued by Western academic communities.

In addition, the culture-specific nature of schemata--abstract mental structures representing our knowledge of things, events, and situations--can lead to difficulties when students write texts in L2. Knowing how to write a "summary" or "analysis" in Mandarin or Spanish does not necessarily mean that students will be able to do these things in English Kern, 2000.

As a result, any appropriate instruction must take into consideration the influence from various educational, social, and cultural experiences that students have in their native language.

In addition to instructional and cultural factors, L2 writers have varying commands of the target language, which affect the way structural errors are treated from both social and cognitive points of view.

Much of the research on L2 writing has been closely dependent on L1 research. Although L2 writing is strategically, rhetorically, and linguistically different in many ways from L1 writing Silva, 1993L1 models have had a significant influence on L2 writing instruction and the development of a theory of L2 writing.

Language Teaching Methodology and Classroom Research

However, a look at two popular L1 models will give us some insight into the academic essay in language pedagogy research second writing of developing a distinct construct of L2 writing. It examines the rhetorical problem in order to determine the potential difficulties a writer could experience during the composing process. The "problem-solving activity" is divided into two major components: By comparing skilled and less-skilled writers, the emphasis here is placed on "students' strategic knowledge and the ability of students to transform information.

However, the social dimension is important too. Indeed, writing "should not be viewed solely as an individually-oriented, inner-directed cognitive process, but as much as an acquired response to the discourse conventions.

In more recent studies that examine the goals students set for themselves, the strategies they use to develop their organizing of ideas and the metacognitive awareness they bring to both these acts, Flower and her colleagues 1990 analyze the academic task of reading-to-write to establish the interaction of context and cognition in performing a particular writing task.

The view that writing is typically a socially situated, communicative act is later incorporated into Flower's 1994 socio-cognitive theory of writing. In the social cognitive curriculum students are taught as apprentices in negotiating an academic community, and in the process develop strategic knowledge. Writing skills are acquired and used through negotiated interaction with real audience expectations, such as in peer group responses.

By guiding students toward a conscious awareness of how an audience will interpret their work, learners then learn to write with a "readerly" sensitivity Kern, 2000. Bereiter and Scardamalia 1987 also propose a model that suggests reasons for differences in writing ability between skilled and less-skilled writers.

The basic difference is revealed in their two models of writing: The latter model is important because it opens up the idea of multiple processing, which is revealed through writing tasks that vary in processing complexity.

The authors discuss the notion of mental representation as a writing strategy. From their research with graduate students, they observe that the students "generated goals for their compositions and engaged in problem solving involving structure and gist as well as verbatim representations" p.

The knowledge-transforming or intentional writing model is different from knowledge telling in that it involves setting of goals that are to be achieved through the composing process, and the purposeful achievement of those goals. The composing process does not depend on memories and emotions and on external teacher assistance for its direction.

In fact, Bereiter and Scardamalia criticize formal schooling that encourages the more passive kind of cognition by "continually telling students what to do," rather than encouraging them "to follow their spontaneous interests and impulses. They also argue that the ability to wrestle with and resolve both content and rhetorical problems calls upon a dialectical process for reflection.

If students rarely practice the kinds of writing tasks that develop knowledge-transforming skills, they are not likely to be able to perform those skills easily. By incorporating pre-writing activities such as collaborative brainstorming, choice of personally meaningful topics, strategy instruction in the stages of composing, drafting, revising, and editing, multiple drafts and peer-group editing, the instruction takes into consideration what writers do as they write.

Attention to the writing process stresses more of a workshop approach to instruction, which fosters classroom interaction, and engages students in analyzing and commenting on a variety of texts.

  1. Towards a social-psychological model of bilingual development.
  2. Dialogic inquiry in education.
  3. Vocabulary learning strategies in independent second language learning. Cazden 1992 advocates the practice of scripting and performing texts in order to sensitize students to the many voices in a reading and how they interact.
  4. What characteristics of language can be identified?
  5. Describing Expository Essays From a Socio-Semiotic Perspective The macro genre of argumentation is a crucial field to be considered at the tertiary level.

The L1 theories also seem to support less teacher intervention and less attention to form. Despite their implications for classroom instruction, not all the components of these models are appropriate in an L2 context.

The Flower model, in particular, does not recognize cross-cultural differences and issues related to sociocultural variation in the functions of the written language Kern, 2000. Additionally, with native speakers, "writing ability is more closely linked to fluency in and familiarity with the conventions of expository discourse" Kogen 1986, p. L2 writers, however, are in the process of acquiring these conventions and so they often need more instruction about the language itself. Limited knowledge of vocabulary, language structure, and content can inhibit a L2 writer's performance.

In addition, the models do not account for growing language proficiency, which is a vital element of L2 writing development. Similarly, composing, especially in the revision stage, challenges L2 writers. In his research on how L2 writers revise their work, Silva 1993 observes that learners revise at a superficial level. They re-read and reflect less on their written text, revise less, and when they do, the revision is primarily focused on grammatical correction.

On the other hand, L1 writing ability may also transfer to L2. As a result, students who are skilled writers in their native languages and have surpassed a certain L2 proficiency level can adequately transfer those skills. These observations warrant consideration for L2 instruction and course design, especially for those courses in English for Academic Purposes EAP writing that include less-skilled writers or those who have never had the opportunity to engage in more knowledge-transforming tasks in their native languages.

In sum, social-cognitive theories of writing show us how social contexts for writing operate together with the cognitive efforts of the writer, just as they do when a person is acquiring a new language.

However, the problem with applying L1 theories and subsequent models of instruction such as the process approach to L2 instruction is that L2 writing also involves the cognitively academic essay in language pedagogy research second writing task of generating meaningful text in a second language. As a result, L2 students generally want more teacher involvement and guidance, especially at the revision stage. Consequently, in order to provide effective pedagogy, L2 writing instructors need to understand the social and cognitive factors involved in the process of second language acquisition and error in writing because these factors have a salient effect on L2 writing development.

Social and Cognitive Factors Social Factors Both social and cognitive factors affect language learning. Exploration of social factors gives us some idea of why learners differ in rate of L2 learning, in proficiency type for instance, conversational ability versus writing abilityand in ultimate proficiency Ellis, 1994. Research based on direct self-report questionnaires and indirect measures generally shows that learners with positive attitudes, motivation, and concrete goals will have these attitudes reinforced if they experience success.

Likewise, learners' negative attitudes may be strengthened by lack of success or by failure McGroarty, 1996. Needless to say, although ESL learners may have negative attitudes toward writing for academic purposes, many of them are financially and professionally committed to graduating from English-speaking universities, and as a result, have strong reasons for learning academic essay in language pedagogy research second writing improving their skills.

There is a direct relationship between learner attitudes and learner motivation.

Academic Writing in a Second Language

Gardner's 1985 socio-educational model is designed to account for the role of social factors in language acquisition. It interrelates four aspects of L2 learning: Integrative motivation involves a desire to learn an L2 because individuals need to learn the target language to integrate into the community. In addition to this interest, the people or the culture represented by the other language group may also inspire them.

On the other hand, instrumental motivation acknowledges the role that external influences and incentives play in strengthening the learners' desire to achieve.

  1. Helping ESL writers expand their lexical repertoire is an important goal for teaching academic vocabulary in graduate writing courses.
  2. According to McLaughlin, transfer errors can occur because.
  3. Second language teaching and learning. The dynamics of composing.
  4. Helping students to make better arguments. A Critical Sourcebook Matsuda et al.

Learners who are instrumentally motivated are interested in learning the language for a particular purpose, such as writing a dissertation or getting a job. According to the theory, if second language learning takes place in isolation from a community of target language speakers, then it benefits more from integrative motivation, whereas if it takes place among a community of speakers, then instrumental orientation becomes the more effective motivational factor.

Learners' attitudes, motivations, and goals can explain why some L2 writers perform better than others. For example, at the beginning of each of my ESL writing classes, I often ask students to fill out a personal information form to determine their needs and interests when planning my course. The answers to questions such as, "Do you enjoy writing in English?

In fact, it seems that many of the students would prefer to be practicing conversation. Students may enjoy writing e-mail messages to friends around the world, but challenges, such as difficulties getting started, finding the right words, and developing topics, abound. However, if students show an overall interest in the target language integrative motivationperceive that there is parental and social support, and have a desire to achieve their professional goals instrumental motivationthey can become more proficient in their ability to write in English, despite the initial lack of self-motivation.

Common purposes for learners writing in an EAP context include writing a research paper for publication in an English-speaking journal or writing a business report for a multinational company. These learners may be less motivated to write stories or poetry, because they perceive that these tasks are not related to their needs. Even writing a standard research essay may seem like a waste of time for those who will need to write project reports and memos.

If learners perceive writing tasks to be useless, they may approach them in a careless manner.

  • Describing Expository Essays From a Socio-Semiotic Perspective The macro genre of argumentation is a crucial field to be considered at the tertiary level;
  • A genre-based developmental writing course for undergraduate ESL science majors.

Consequently, it is likely that they will be inattentive to errors, monitoring, and rhetorical concerns Carson, 2001. However, if students are highly motivated, then any sort of writing task, expressive or otherwise, are welcomed.

Social factors also influence the quality of contact that learners will experience. Indeed, we cannot assume that "more contact" with the target language will result in more acquisition of the L2. Certainly, instructors recommend that students studying English for academic purposes should read academic texts, attend academic lectures, and even work with students who are native speakers in order to become more acquainted with the discourse.

However, if they do not engage in the texts, understand the talks, or actively contribute to the study sessions, these activities will have little effect on student progress. A common complaint among ESL students at university is that they have difficulty meeting native speakers and getting to know them. Students are often disappointed that they do not have as much interaction with native speakers as they had expected.

In addition, they often associate with other students from their L1 and speak their native language.