Scaffolding writing process in an EFL and multidisciplinary context

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Scaffolding writing process in an EFL and multidisciplinary context

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Title Scaffolding writing process in an EFL and multidisciplinary context
Author(s) Finnegan, Damian ; Kauppinen, Asko ; Wärnsby, Anna
Date 2012
English abstract
One crucial challenge for teaching academic writing concerns the increasing heterogenisation of student populations. In many writing classes, we now find “any combination of native-born, international, refugee, permanent resident, and naturalized students,” exhibiting considerable linguistic diversity and multiple levels of English proficiency (Preto-Bay and Hansen, 2006; see also Hall, 2009). At the same time, interest towards academic writing in European higher education is growing, yet resources for teaching do not reflect this. Moreover, the wider student base demands practical application from their writing courses, not theoretical knowledge of language skills (see, for example, Anderson 1983, 2009 on procedural vs. declarative knowledge). To show how these problems can be addressed, we discuss the course in Academic Writing in English offered at Malmö University, Sweden, which currently enrolls approximately 300 students per year. Our students come from different disciplines, and English is a foreign language for most of them. The course design is explicitly based on the general model of information processing, which assumes that “complex behavior builds on simple processes” (McLaughlin and Heredia, 1996, p. 213). The focus of all learning activities is on acquisition of procedural knowledge geared towards comprehension and production. One distinctive feature of this course is the very tight integration of electronic resources and other teaching material. By utilizing technology to facilitate the writing process (see, for example, Askov and Bixler 1998 on computer-assisted instruction as means for achieving learner-centered classrooms), we provide diverse student populations with ample scaffolding in terms of various types of continuous feedback and highly individualised learning paths. REFERENCES Anderson, J. R. 2009. Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications. 7th edition. New York: Worth Publishers. Anderson, J. R. 1983. The Architecture of Cognition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Askov, E., & Bixler, B. 1998. “Transforming Adult Literacy Instruction Through Computer-Assisted Instruction.” In D. Reinking, M. McKenna, L. Labbo, & R. Kieffer (Eds.). 2009. Handbook of literacy and technology: transformations in a post-typographic world.184-203. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Hall, Jonathan. 2009. “WAC/WID in the Next America: Redefining Professional Identity in the Age of the Multilingual Majority.” The WAC Journal. Vol. 20, November. 33-49. McLaughlin, B. and Hereda, J. L. C. 1996. “Information-processing Approaches to Research on Second Language Acquisition and Use.” In Ritchie, W. C. and Bhatia, T. K. (eds.), Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. San Diego: Academic Press, 213-228. Preto-Bay, Ana Maria and Kristine Hansen. 2006. “Preparing for the Tipping Point: Designing Writing Programs to Meet the Needs of the Changing Population.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, Vol. 30, Nos. 1-2, Fall. 37-57.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) EFL
writing as a process
blended learning
Humanities/Social Sciences
Note Academic Writing in a Changing World, Second International Conference on Academic Writing (IFAW II) July 31 – August 1 2012 , Tel Aviv, Israel
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