中学英语教学法 Unit 11 Teaching Writing
主讲教师:陈道明 (华南师范大学外文学院)
Unit 11 Teaching Writing
Topics for discussion:
  1. The nature of writing in reality
  2. A common approach to writing
  3. Problems in writing tasks in existing textbooks
  4. A process approach to writing
  5. Writing through e-mail

  11.1 The nature of writing in reality
Differences of teaching writing in the classroom and in reality: In ELT classroom, writing is often seen as a means to consolidate language that is recently studied, as “writing as language learning”, and thus is pseudo writing. In reality, most writing is for communication, i.e., to convey messages or for self creation, e.g. writing poems.
In ELT classrooms, especially in traditional pedagogy, writing often goes this way: the teacher gives a topic or a selection of topics, a set of requirements, and a time limit. Accuracy of the final product is stressed and the process is ignored. In reality, we may have some ideas long before we put them on paper. We often plan, draft, and rewrite.
If writing tasks lack authenticity, they do not motivate students. If writing tasks focus on the product rather than on the process, they do not help students to develop real writing skills. Therefore we should advocate authentic writing, and we should advocate the process approach to writing.

  11.2 A common approach to writing
To motivate students, it is necessary to engage them in some act of communication. Either writing for a specific recipient (e.g. a letter to a friend), or: Engaging in an act of creative writing where their work is intended to be read by other people.
In short students can be motivated by authentic writing tasks that have some communicative elements. However some writing activities can be between “writing for learning” and “writing for communication”.
Some examples of writing tasks: are they for consolidating language, or are they for communication? (see pp.139

  11.3 Problems in writing tasks
Deficiencies of writing tasks in existing English textbooks: They are mainly accuracy-based. They are designed to practise certain target structures. There is insufficient preparation before the writing stage. -
There is no sense of audience. There is no sense of authenticity. Students are given ideas to express rather than being invited to invent their own. There is no opportunity for creative writing, particularly for expressing unusual or original ideas.
Compare 2 examples:
e.g. 1 Writing Write about the sports which you like. Use phrases like these: I don’t like … I enjoy … My favourite sport is … I quite like … I prefer … to … I like … because …
e.g. 2 A pen pal has written to you and has described the sports that he/she likes most. He/She asked your favourite sports. If you have something in common, you may want to talk about it or suggest that you play it together sometime in the future. Write back to your pen pal.
A process approach to writing
Features of process writing: Focus on the process of writing; Help students to understand their own composing process; Help to build strategies for prewriting, drafting, and rewriting; Give students time to write and rewrite; Place central importance on the process of revision; -
Let students discover what they want to say as they write; Give students feedback throughout the composing process to consider as they attempt to bring their expression closer and closer to intention; Encourage feedback both from the instructor and peers; Include individual conferences between teacher and student during the process of composing.
An example of teaching writing: (see p. 1
Step 1: raising a question: what problems is our city confronted with? Step 2: a brief discussion on the problems; Step 3: group discussion on solutions; Step 4: individual composing: My Solutions to the Problem of …; -
Step 5: reading one’s own composition, making suggestions on how to make improvement, focusing on ideas rather than on language; Step 6: rewriting, selecting and organising ideas, keeping and eye on language; Step 7: grouping students based on the topics, letting students read their own composition; Step 8: making a list of optimal solutions, producing a product of the whole group; Step 9: creating a Class News Letter like “Problems and Solutions in Our City”;

  11.5 Writing through e-mail
Please see pp. 144-5

  11.6 Conclusion
Traditionally, most of writing exercises in English textbooks are designed with the purpose of “writing for learning” rather than “writing for communication”. Two approaches to writing: the communicative approach and the process approach.
End of Unit 11
Thank you!



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