Birsen Tan Tütünis
tutunis [at] superonline.com
Istanbul Kültür College (Poultry) This paper is definitely the second area of the “Writing Course Project” designed and implemented in the Trakya College E.L.T. Department. The primary purpose of the work would be to design a 2-year (Preparatory and Newcomer) writing course training in line with the students’ perceived academic needs. The theoretical assumption which emphasises a mix of product and process oriented approaches are considered for courses.
The Backdrop and also the Objectives
The objectives are going to be the following:
- to discover students’ linguistic and academic needs, their writing habits and learning strategies,
- to create materials relevant to the style of writing courses in ELT departments,
- to point out procedures for testing and evaluation.
Using the first objective, the students’ linguistic and academic needs are determined First of all, once the preparatory year students’ needs are asked, it’s seen that they must learn based on the needs of C.A.E. Writing Test. Because within the preparatory year they’re been trained in fundamental vocabulary skills and grammar, involving five hrs of writing instruction each week. In the finish of the season, they have a proficiency test at the amount of C.A.E. Test. Therefore, for needs analysis, the job kinds of C.A.E. writing test are examined. It’s made the decision that the Task-based method of writing would facilitate the achievement in our goal for that newbie. Just because a task-based training is assumed to allow our students to operate inside a learner centred atmosphere where they are able to monitor their very own learning and keep close track of their progress in L 2 in general.
And so the issues to become stressed within the first year’s training are decided to be:
- learner centeredness
- growth and development of lexis and syntax
- growth and development of ability as a copywriter
Throughout the second year (newcomer year), that is our primary concern in the following paragraphs, the scholars follow typical newcomer courses in language teaching departments, involving three hrs of writing instruction each week. The newcomer year’s writing course is dependant on the preparatory year’s course.
For needs analysis, once the needs from the ELT Department are examined, it’s observed that Exam questions require essay type writing which demand understanding demonstration and, Academic courses require academic skills like note-taking, recalling, sorting, synthesizing, organizing, interpreting and applying information. Thus, it’s made the decision that the content-based method of writing could be advantageous for that students. Inside a content-based approach, writing is needed like a mode of demonstrating understanding so that as a mode of prompting independent thinking, researching and learning. Students learn how to gather and interpret data based on methods and standards recognized within their fields, to create an growing body of understanding to deal with on their own interpreting, and also to write in specialised formats. Shih describes the options of content-based methods to academic writing the following: Writing tasks which follow from, and therefore are integrated using the listening and studying of educational materials are the defining sign of content-based methods to academic writing.
May Shih,1986 TESOL QUARTERLY Inside a content-based approach the emphasis is on writing from sources (readings, lectures, discussions), on synthesis and interpretation of knowledge to become studied thorough. The main focus is on which is stated instead of how it’s stated. The abilities are integrated as with a college course. Extended study of the subject precedes writing to ensure that there’s active charge of ideas and extensive processing of recent information.
Therefore, the next must be stressed within the training:
- raising awareness around the audience
- raising awareness on coherence
- raising awareness on the significance of studying
- developing academic ability as a copywriter (outlining, summarising, reporting and quarrelling, paraphrasing and synthesizing)
The writing course can also be seen as chance to supply fundamental theoretical information associated with writing. Therefore, studying input is deliberately selected in the academic articles compiled by the experts.
Thus, the objectives of supplying particular kind of studying input could be listed as a result:
- offering the required materials for that students to develop their schemata to be able to write better essays
- giving the scholars some theoretical understanding about writing that they’ll afterwards benefit
- restricting the themes provided with the studying input to what’s highly relevant to their interests, instead of presenting these to general topics present in every writing book on the market
- facilitating their lexical and syntactic development supplying typical and authentic examples of the genre they coping as models
- raising their awareness around the issues like the variations between written and spoken language, need for studying for efficient writing, audience-readership and coherence, etc.
The training is made to cover the next academic ability as a copywriter:
- Reporting: Questionnaire
- Organisation. Making outlines
- Text Analysis
- Reporting. Making diagrams, tables and charts
- Reviewing: Genre analysis
- Synthesising and quarrelling
Implementation and Evaluation
Within the particular implementation from the course, certain advantageous strategies for example revision and multiple drafting, critical evaluation for the scholars are encouraged. Both to inspire the scholars of these strategies and also to test the objectives from the course, the scholars receive assignments prior to the instruction and prior to the studying input so when the teaching, studying, discussion cycle is finished, the assignments receive back and they’re requested to judge and revise their very own work and often their friends’ work, and also the variations are noted. The scholars are often given individual feedback.
Additionally they taken care of immediately a questionnaire on their own conceptions of educational writing, their understanding of the significance of writing for that department, as well as their preferences and writing strategies. Exactly the same questionnaire is developed and given again in the finish of the season to check on upon the achievements the objectives from the course. The scholars will also be given a brief written exam to determine their theoretical understanding gains in the studying input.
Results and Discussion
Tests and Assignments
I. The very first major evaluation ended on outlining. The mean was 57.14, sd:25. The mean was less than expected even though the category reviewed the paragraph and essay structure with an additional session. Therefore, the scholars received feedback within the class around the hierarchical order of the outlines.
II. The 2nd number of data originates from the revisions from the essays written pre and post the studying input. Significant increases put together on content scores by 24% as well as in vocabulary by 20%. However, the organisation scores were decreased by 15%, suggesting the students were incompetent at handling the integration from the incoming information in to the existing text.
The findings claim that the studying input effected the students’ essays positively, and also the students adapted certain characteristics from the articles with no requirement for explicit instruction. The issue of informal language use within the students’ essays for instance, was thus eliminated both by exposing the scholars to texts written with that particular subject by exposing these to academic articles designed in a proper style.
III. The 3rd number of data originates from the number of summary scores, for example summaries written prior to the instruction, under exam condition, as assignments and revision from the summaries written prior to the instruction. The scores improved within the assignments (73%) when compared with summaries written under exam condition (53%) and continued to be nearly same within the revisions (72%). However, once the initial summaries (38%) and also the final scores are compared (73%), the rise is important and acceptable. The scholars too, evaluating their initial summaries using the later ones acknowledged the rise in their individual performances.
IV. The final number of scores originates from the ultimate assignments where the students used a number of different articles to create on the subject within an extended essay. The mean score (65%) was discovered less than expected. The scholars reported the articles were harder compared to previous ones plus they hadn’t practiced writing this kind of extended essay before.
The Outcomes in the Questionnaire
The scholars found four from the 14 texts difficult and hardly accessible. They found all of the texts as highly relevant to the program, only a couple of as interesting. However, they accepted that they are informative. 64% from the students believed that studying the types of materials improved their understanding about writing, ELT, study skills as well as their British. Additionally they recognized the concept that an array of materials from various sources was good if they’re fairly simple. However, they thought a text book could be advantageous for reference and revision.
There is an over-all satisfaction (eighty five percent overall) using the lecturer’s method, understanding, clearness and efficiency. They perceived the feedback sufficient however they commented they benefited more in the individual appointments using the lecturer (74%).
Within the third part where the learning outcomes are thought, the scholars felt that they eventually acquired all of the skills plus they perceived revision like a advantageous technique to observe how much they improved (74%). The scholars also reported there wasn’t much variety within the subjects studied, all materials were about similar topics writing, language, and ELT. Therefore there is little room for creativeness.
The 3rd area of the questionnaire reveals certain learner characteristics and also the alterations in these forever of the season. Nearly all our students (84%) still prefer individual work, they learn better in the instructor, a couple of of these request a friend’s help, they don’t like peer revision even though they reported they thought it was advantageous to criticise each other peoples work when done appropriately.
The Final Check from the Objectives
The scholars received a brief exam in the finish of the season to be able to measure their theoretical gains in the readings completed in the program. The students’ performances ranged from 89% to 63% around the readings they regarded as accessible, around the others they performed between 58% to 42%. It appears the students had understood a few of the texts better than these based on their difficulty level.
Our findings all the above mentioned pointed out sources suggest there are certain facets of our training to become retained and a few others to become reviewed.
We properly recommended that studying input would facilitate the purchase of certain facets of academic genre departing no requirement for explicit instruction. It facilitated their lexical and syntactic development, articles provided models for that students, the problems discussed within the elevated their awareness. However, it’s obvious the studying input although it ought to be selected in the relevant genre, it shouldn’t be too hard for that students and need more background understanding compared to students have. The chosen articles may be selected from the concept of ELT, however they should connect with the various facets of the area so the course might have variety and lift the students’ interest in planning them for his or her future studies. Although it is extremely hard to make an instructional writing course interesting for that students since its needs are predetermined, the scholars should find possibilities for self expression and reflect themselves interests a minimum of at occasions. Therefore, the scholars could be involved in voluntary project works and could be encouraged for periodic presentations around the topics they chose.
Students ought to be brought to strategies for example revision, peer feedback, critical evaluation and group work progressively and also the lecturers should show the scholars the advantageous sides, since our students appear culturally not inclined towards group work and demanding evaluation.
It ought to also be considered that assignments and exams require different skills for students. The scholars perform at different levels under two different conditions. Since answering to essay kind of questions according to readings inside a short time is really a fact of educational existence, academic writing courses should involve practices and techniques to build up this skill too. Mock-exam practices according to studying may be a concept.
Summarising and paraphrasing take time and effort skills to get for the students since our secondary education doesn’t emphasise them. These ought to be emphasised sufficiently and lecturers should make certain their students can summarise and paraphrase yet, once the students work on a single skills for too lengthy they loose their reason. Therefore, a spiral instead of straight line course training may be made to prevent this.
Our students appeared to possess taken advantage of individual conferencing sessions they held using their lecturer. It appears that in this cognitively and psychologically demanding course as academic writing, the lecturers ought to provide individual assistance to their students.
- White-colored, R. and Arndt, V. (1991) Process Writing. Longman United kingdom
- Byrne, D. (1988) Teaching Ability As A Copywriter, Longman United kingdom
- May Shih(1986 ), Content Based to Teaching Academic Writing, TESOL QUARTERLY, 20, 617-648
The Web TESL Journal, Vol. Mire, No. 7, This summer 2000