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Writing Class in Summer School

Writing Class in Summer School
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외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly important to have strong communication skills in English; particularly, developing competent writing skills has become an important skill for many L2 students (Hinkel, 2006). In order to focus on the importance of writing skills, this textbook is designed for EFL learners enrolled in a summer program preparing to study at an international school in Thailand. The main objective of this textbook is to help the target learners to enhance their writing skills while at the same time improving their reading, listening and speaking skills in English. The target learners are primary school students between the ages of 9-11 years old; they are currently 4th graders who will become 5th graders when they begin their studies at the international school. Many students are bilingual and they come from diverse ethnic backgrounds; although some students come from English-speaking countries such as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, most of them also have their own mother-tongue. Although they primarily use English to communicate in their daily lives, they use their mother-tongue with their family at home. According the WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), the proficiency level of the students is between 4-Expanding and 5-Bridging in reading and writing while their speaking and listening levels are above 5-Bridging (WIDA Consortium Performance Definition 2003). Since the learning context will take place within a summer school program, class size will be adequate for the students to engage in sufficient interactions with the instructor. The primary method adapted for this text book is genre-based writing and process writing. The genre framework supports students’ writing with generalized, systematic guiding principle about how to produce meaningful passages. According to Swales (1990), genre is “a class of communicative events, the members of which share some set of communicative purposes” (p. 58). All genres control a set of commutative purposes within certain social situations and each genre has its own structural quality according to those communicative purposes (Swales, 1990). According to Badger and White (2000), genres are influenced by other features of the situation, such as the subject matter, the relationships between the writer and the audience, and the pattern of organization. Within an entire lesson, learners will learn various genres and writing formats such as biography, letter, news article, lyric, play script, recipe, personal journal, novella, book and movie review. Students become aware of the structure and language used in different genres by reading examples (Hyland, 2012). Since this textbook focuses on the integration of genre and process writing, students will not only receive an opportunity to become familiar with various genres, but they will engage in the process of writing through drafting, revising, editing and exchanging feedback. Furthermore, the procedures of process writing will help learners to develop more effective ways of conveying meaning and to better comprehend the content that they want to express (Kim, 2006). In addition, Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) will be integrated into the activities as one of the goals of this textbook is to enhance the learners’ English skills with a variety of activities and using real-life tasks. Furthermore, the textbook adapts Nunan’s (2004) task-supported thematic syllabus. According to Nunan, task-based language teaching emphasizes meaning rather than language. As students complete various tasks, they also encounter numerous opportunities to negotiate for meaning, which ultimately plays a significant role in language acquisition. This textbook contains a total of 10 units based on a variety of genres: biography, letter, news article, lyric, play script, recipe, personal journal, novella, book and movie review. At the beginning of each chapter, pictures and questions will be provided to activate the students’ schemata, and to increase their interest and motivation in the topics. In the listening stage, authentic video clips will be given, which will expose the students to real-language use and improve listening-comprehension skills. In the while-listening stage, students will be exposed to the target language as they use their listening strategies such as skimming or scanning in order to complete the given task. In the reading stage, sample articles for the main activity will be provided. By reading the sample article, students will have an opportunity to become familiar with the format of the target genre, which will guide them throughout the writing process. In the while-reading stage, students will have opportunities to develop their reading skills through various reading strategies such as skimming, scanning, visualizing and sequencing. In the speaking stage, students will engage in communicative activities in pairs or small groups. Through communicative activities, students will have numerous opportunities to recycle and use the target language. In the writing stage, students will write their own articles based on the target genre by using the content and linguistic knowledge that they had learned in the previous stages. Students will brainstorm, plan, collect and organize data and then write their own articles. Students will engage in the writing process by editing, revising, peer editing, drafting in order to complete their writing tasks. By using this textbook, students are expected to achieve three main goals: first, students will be able to enhance their motivation towards learning English and become more confident and interested in writing; second, students will be able to develop both receptive and productive skills by completing task-based activities. As students engage in various tasks, they will also be able to improve their research skills by using the internet and other resources; and lastly, students will be able to learn from each other through peer editing activities. Through peer editing activities, students’ can develop their intercommunicative skills and can share their ideas or thoughts in writing. Overall, this textbook will help the target students to develop their language proficiency as well as enhance their confidence and motivation toward learning English. Students will especially have an opportunity to improve their English writing skills through genre analysis. Through authentic activities, students will not only be able to improve their English language skills, but they will also develop positive social skills as they engage in interaction through meaning negotiations. Finally, this program aims to help the target students to prepare themselves to study successfully at their international school in the fall.
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