|Teaching Additional Languages (IAE - IBE - UNESCO, 28 p.)|
Students should give practice in creating effective, natural language that communicates their intended message.
Two major approaches to the teaching of writing have been under discussion for some time. The first, known as the product approach, focuses on the final outcome of writing, which is a logical, error-free essay. Students are given a model text, which they study, analyse and then reproduce. Different models are presented for different types of writing.
In contrast is the process approach to writing, which emphasizes the steps a writer goes through when creating a well-written text. Among the stages taught are: brainstorming or writing down many ideas that may come to an individuals mind; outlining, which organizes the ideas into a logical sequence; drafting, in which the writer concentrates on the content of the message rather than the form; revisions in response to the writers second thoughts or feedback provided by peers or teachers; proof-reading with an emphasis on form; and the final draft. All of the processes should be explained, taught and practised by the students.
Some recent research suggests the value of focusing on various writing genres in an effort to identify, compare and contrast writings in different fields, such as science and literature. Rather than three incompatible approaches, a writing programme should integrate product, process and genre writing into a coherent whole. In addition, many students may need special practice in non-academic materials - letters, forms, resumes, lists, etc. These, too, might be appropriately included in writing classes.
In the classroom
The following are some suggestions for teaching writing:
· Teach students the stages necessary to writing: brainstorming, writing a first draft, revising, editing, etc.
· Provide models of successful writing samples and discuss the features that make them effective.
· Discuss audience expectations of acceptable writing and how different genres use different writing styles.
· Select writing topics that are of interest to the students and represent tasks that students will need to master in future writing.
· Teach students real-life writing tasks like filling out forms, letters, charts, etc.
References: Campbell, 1999; Ferris & Hedgcock, 1998; Reid, 1993.