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Process, Genre-based Writing
- Process, Genre-based Writing
- Lee, Seung Eun
- Issue Date
- 외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
- 이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
- Candice A. MacDonald
- Ⅰ. Introduction
The teaching and learning of writing in English has been neglected in the English education system in Korea compared with other language skills, namely listening, reading, and speaking. Until Korean students enter university, most of them study English to prepare for the KSAT (Korean Scholastic Aptitude Test) which consists of both listening and reading skills, and thus their English learning primarily focuses on those receptive skills. Moreover, as Korean society gives more importance to communicative skills, the primary focus of English class in university is on English speaking skills. However, the skill of writing in English is becoming increasingly important for language learners since they will likely encounter many opportunities to write in English since the world has become more globally connected. Furthermore, the skills of writing are a critical part of their academic studies. Therefore, I decided to write an English writing textbook for university students in Korea.
The group of students I seek to address, according to the ACTFL scale, is intermediate-high level college freshmen. The majority of the students are Koreans who have been educated in the Korean EFL context. This means most of them have had little opportunity to write in English although their English proficiency is intermediate-high level. The target learner’s educational situation is a general English writing class in a mixed-gender university. The class comprises students of different majors, which means the textbook is not targeted for one specific field, but deals with a variety of topics. The target audience needs to learn different types of writing since they take lectures conducted in English, and some of them plan to go abroad as exchange students. Since they meet many exchange students from different countries who visit Korea and have access to many websites on the internet, they will need to write e-mails, letters, resumes, blogs, readers’ comments in newspaper, etc., in English.
In my textbook, the theoretical approach I will use is a process genre approach which is a synthesis of product, process, and genre approaches to writing (Badger & White, 2000). By drawing on the strengths of both process and genre approaches, a genre analysis stage dealing with the contextual features of the genre will be included in a process writing cycle (Tribble, 1996). The textbook consists of ten chapters and is organized according to genres. Each unit is sequenced according to the process approach with an optional extension writing activity at the end of each unit. Each unit has brainstorming activities, an analysis of the text, joint construction of text, independent construction of text, and tasks of editing and giving feedback.
Each unit involves an analysis of a text as a model before the main writing activities. This representative sample of a rhetorical pattern raises students’ awareness of how a text differs according to genres and that each type of writing follows a particular structure and has specific language features (Richards, 2003). By reading and observing relevant types of text, students will learn how they should write (Brown, 2007). Without these structural guidelines, intermediate-level students may have difficulty composing a piece of writing.
I will provide activities that involve using cohesive devices which will be used in a particular genre as language support. For instance, it would be useful to introduce linking words or phrases showing similarities and differences in writing a comparative summary, thus establishing clear relationships between ideas (Swales & Feak, 2004). Teaching these linking devices is very important for non-native speakers of English because they tend to misuse connectors or overuse a preferred connector due to insufficient knowledge of semantic restrictions on individual transition devices (Granger & Tyson, 1996). I will introduce similar types of cohesive devices used in a particular genre with example sentences, thus helping learners gain awareness of linking devices that tend to be used together.
In addition to an analysis of a text and an introduction to cohesive devices, I will deal with mechanics such as punctuation and capitalization in editing tasks. Although these mechanics are an important aspect of writing particularly in academic writing, they have been somewhat neglected in the English writing classroom. Therefore, a part of the editing tasks will be devoted to mechanics which have more influence on readers’ judgments of writing quality than content (Rafoth & Rubin, 1984).
Since each unit is sequenced according to a process approach, students can do writing tasks step-by-step. This approach allows students to get ready for the main writing activities as they brainstorm about a topic, analyze the text, and learn rhetorical patterns and cohesive devices.
Each unit involves a joint construction stage in which students complete writing a text in collaboration with peers or teachers before they write individually. Although people usually write on their own in their real lives, cooperative writing is necessary for intermediate-level students before individual writing tasks. Intermediate-level students may not be competent in writing in English as a second or foreign language. This joint construction, which is one of stages in the teaching learning cycle, will lower learner anxiety as well as let students support each other (Richards, 2003). In addition, Boughey claimed that cooperative writing activities allow teachers to provide more detailed and constructive feedback since they deal with a small number of groups rather than a lot of individuals (as cited in Harmer, 2007, p. 328).
Ⅲ. Expected Outcomes
By studying with my textbook, students should be able to understand how a text differs according to genres and that each type of writing follows a particular structure and has specific language features. For example, students will learn the contextual and textual features of letters, e-mails, blogs, and readers’ comments in newspaper for general purposes and of resumes, summaries, and data commentaries for academic or specific purposes. In addition, students should be able to write different types of writing texts by following the process of brainstorming, planning, composing, drafting, revising, and editing. By learning certain mechanical elements such as punctuation and capitalization at the editing stage, students should be able to revise and edit their written work by themselves.
Overall, my textbook will employ a process genre approach to teaching writing which is a synthesis of product, process, and genre approaches. Since my target students, who are intermediate-high level college freshmen, are in need of writing a variety of genres, I believe my textbook will help students learn that different genres require different linguistic knowledge. As a result, my target students should be able to write each type of writing based on this knowledge. Moreover, this textbook will help my target group, who has had little opportunity to write in English, become more confident in writing in English.
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