On the Importance of Teaching Writing to Teacher Trainees

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On the Importance of Teaching Writing to Teacher Trainees

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Title On the Importance of Teaching Writing to Teacher Trainees
Author(s) Finnegan, Damian ; Kauppinen, Asko ; Wärnsby, Anna ; Salih, Jasmin
Date 2012
English abstract
Damian Finnegan (damian.finnegan@mah.se) Asko Kauppinen (asko.kauppinen@mah.se) Anna Wärnsby (anna.warnsby@mah.se) On the Importance of Teaching Academic Writing to Teacher Trainees Many EFL learners struggle with issues pertaining to grammar, style and idiomaticity, and, traditionally, language teachers spend a lot of time addressing these mechanical errors (Zamel 1985). This corrective practice seems to shape learner and teacher expectations of the type of feedback that is most effective or useful to learners (Hedgcock and Lefkowitz 1996). In the context of teaching academic writing, this may easily pose a problem for allocating teacher resources away from teaching writing as a process to taking care of the learner language issues. In the new Swedish school curriculum for English, however, the ability to write for different purposes and audiences and the familiarity with different text types is made prominent (Lgr11). Therefore, the teachers’ ability to reflect on the writing process as such and not only on the mechanical learner errors is crucial for the pupils’ achievement of the learning outcomes specified in the curriculum. At Malmö University, we facilitated systematic instruction to teacher trainees, amongst others, through the creation of courses in academic writing in English across the curriculum (WAC). The design of our courses 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 (see Anderson 1983, 2009). Specifically, we gear our courses to equip teacher trainees with tools that can later aid them in their reflection on elements of the writing process other than those that are traditionally addressed in the language classroom. In this paper, we address particularly the increased ability in teacher trainees to reflect upon their own and their peers’ writing. We look at their ability to identify core elements of the writing process, for example, purpose, audience, genre, structure, critical thinking, and meta-cognitive analysis. These data have been compiled in the form of self-reflective papers produced by teacher trainees upon completion of our course. 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. 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. Hedgcock, J. and Lefkowitz, N. 1996. Some Input on Input: Two Analyses of Student Response to Expert Feedback in L2 Writing. The Modern Language Journal, vol. 80, no. 3, 287-308. 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) teaching writing as process
professional training
Humanities/Social Sciences
Note 14th Writing Development in Higher Education (WDHE) International Conference 2012, 2nd – 4th July 2012, Liverpool, UK
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/14883 (link to this page)
Link http://www.hope.ac.uk/research-centres/wdhe-2012.html/ (external link to related web page)

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