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Cultural-based Instructions Writing Textbook

Cultural-based Instructions Writing Textbook
Shin, Eun Jae
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외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
Candice A. MacDonald
This portfolio is designed to be used in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) writing classes for young adults with culture content-based instruction in high schools in South Korea. English education has become an important social issue for Korean EFL learners. According to an article in Kyunghyang Newspaper, most Korean students generally study English for three hours every day in private English academies. In addition, their parents have been spending at least 200,000 won per month on private education expenses and they are willing to pay even more fees to improve their children’s English proficiency (B. S. Son, 2011). The reality, however, is that the students still have difficulty with their writing skills. Another article from Chosun Newspaper states that Korean high school students find it difficult to write their ideas creatively in English because their education has been focused on preparing for the College Scholastic Ability Test (Kim, 2011). Therefore, this portfolio is created to help students develop their writing skills. In addition, this portfolio teaches some cultural aspects. According to an article in the International Business Times, improving English proficiency while focusing on cultural aspects has been getting the attention of Korean young adults. The students prefer this English education system because they can learn not only English skills, but also interesting cultures. J. H. Son (2011) states, “It helps them to broaden their view of the world and respect different people, so teaching English proficiency with cultural information may strengthen their motivation” (p.15). The cultural aspects taught in this portfolio involve ten famous festivals around the world. These festivals were chosen by Media It online journal. According to Hong (2011), each festival describes traditions and customs, so people can learn about different cultures through these festivals. By learning about other countries’ festivals, students can learn about different foods, customs, and traditions. In addition, this content stimulates their interest and encourages them to understand different cultural backgrounds (Park, 2008). The intended target audience of this portfolio is Korean high school students aged from 16 to18. The current level of their English proficiency (based on the ACTFL scale) is around intermediate mid to intermediate high for their listening and reading skills, and intermediate low to intermediate for their speaking and writing skills. To be more detailed, the target students do not have much experience in learning about how to write an essay in their schools and they are interested in learning about different cultures. The textbook aims to achieve the following goals: Learners will be able to write academic essays by means of the writing process. Learners will be able to write creative essays with authentic materials. Learners will be more confident to write essays of different genres. Learners will be motivated to write academic essays about cultural topics. Learners will be able to summarize their own ideas. Learners will be able to learn vocabulary through“concordancing.” In this textbook, the following theoretical approaches will be used; the Writing Process Approach, Task-Based Learning, Genre-based Instruction, and the Cross-cultural Approach. In reference to the Writing Process Approach, Tribble (1996) states, “A cycle of writing activities helps learners to complete from the generation of ideas and the collection of data to the publication of finished essay” (p.37). Pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing engage EFL learners to complete formative and creative essays. This textbook focuses on this approach. For instance, two chapters describe the Venice Carnival and the Andong Mask Dance Festival. To understand each festival, background information about traditions, history, performances, and costumes is provided through video clips, photos, reading passages, and pictures. After learning about these festivals, students will write comparative essays. In the pre-writing activities, students are shown how to brainstorm ideas and are given an outline format for creative ideas. An imaginative topic is given: “Describe a mask you would wear if you were at the Venice Carnival.” To help students’ creative essays, they undertake a brainstorming activity, whereby they describe their masks. After the pre-writing activity, the text describes how to organize each paragraph, specify ideas, and add examples through sample essays. After writing the first draft, they will share their essays and get comments from their peers. Furthermore, teachers will correct their grammatical errors and make comments according to the writing rubric. When students write their final drafts in the textbook, a self-evaluation section is provided to help identify their strengths and weaknesses. Task-based language teaching is another effective method for learners (Nunan, 2004). This approach encourages learners to use meaningful language to complete tasks. In task-based learning, the focus is on completing tasks and not directly on language acquisition. In the process, students become engaged and enjoy their learning with the effective outcomes of each task. Additionally, this approach emphasizes interactions to help learners’ negotiation. The content of this textbook includes interesting activities aimed at developing students’ motivation, and giving students opportunities to creatively write their thoughts and opinions about the given topics. For example, as students learn about bullfighting in unit 5, the writing topic is “Do you think that bullfighting should be abolished?” This topic focuses on argumentative writing and helps students explore their own ideas. In order to write opinion statements, students discuss the topic with their classmates and further develop their ideas. Through this approach, students use language to articulate their opinions and try to persuade their audiences. According to Reppen (2002), Genre-based teaching is a beneficial writing strategy for academic purposes. It encourages learners to write academic essays for different purposes. Genre-based approaches motivate students and help them write creative essays. One suggested approach by Linli (2005) is providing deliberately modified sample essays and asking students to identify the main ideas and analyze the writing purposes. Also, the teacher can ask students to imagine a topic and help them through pre-writing activities that can be adopted to their own writing. Through these activities, students are able to learn about writing different kinds of academic essays and they become more active in completing the writing activities. In this textbook, students will write a paragraph of a descriptive essay in Unit 1. To help their writing, a sample essay is provided and they will analyze the purpose and organization to prepare for the writing activity. In addition, they will write a descriptive paragraph about a given topic and imagine supporting ideas for creative writing. The Cross-cultural approach encourages EFL learners by stimulating their interest with cultural content and expanding their cultural knowledge. Culture is a useful tool to enhance learners’ motivation for learning and helps them understand the target language more efficiently (Oxford, 1996). The content of this textbook provides traditions, customs, religions, and special foods relating to each festival. It encourages students to compare different festivals to Korean festivals to catch their interest and motivate them to learn. Warschauer and Meskill (2000) state that ‘concordancing’ is helpful for teaching academic words. “Concordancing” is searching for the actual use of particular words by focusing on chunks of language in academic texts. This method shows learners how chunks are used through examples. Through the example sentences, students predict parts of speech and definitions, which help them to develop prediction skills. This textbook provides reading passages in each unit and emphasizes academic words. Students will then find the definition and usage of words through ‘concordancing.’ The design of this textbook and its expected outcomes are as follows. First, students learn about different cultural festivals. Using videos, visuals, and other authentic materials, this textbook aims to have students become more interested in learning about different cultures. Students learn about the traditions and customs of ten festivals with the intention that they will become interested in gaining cultural knowledge. Second, students gain confidence in writing different types of academic essays. Korean high school students tend to be reluctant to write essays because their English education is focused on preparing for the College Scholastic Ability Test. However, this textbook provides specific instructions on how to write essays, and includes ample background knowledge on the preferred content to help students better understand. In addition, the teacher’s manual includes a lot of scaffolding and example lesson plans to help instructors. The writing process in this book teaches students how to write an essay in a step-by-step manner culminating with their final drafts. Thus, students learn how to write an essay and thereby become more familiar with academic writing. With this textbook, I expect learners will succeed in writing essays while learning about new cultural aspects (festivals). Students will participate in reading and writing activities, and they will build upon their writing skills and have opportunities to creatively express their own ideas.
☞ 이 논문은 저자가 원문공개에 동의하지 않은 논문으로, 도서관 내에서만 열람이 가능하며, 인쇄 및 저장은 불가합니다.
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