ERIC Number: ED244509
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Oct-1
Reference Count: 0
From "Composition" to "Writing--Revising an EFL Tradition.
Nelson, Marie Wilson
WATESOL Working Papers, n1 p53-67 Fall-Win 1983-84
A two-year study of how writing teachers teach writing uncovered two significant facts: (1) there is a high rate of frustration and burnout among composition teachers because they are teaching by a system that conflicts with their own experience as writers, and (2) a small but vocal minority of teachers who teach from their own writing experience, successfully, make a distinction between "writing" and "composition." Composition is seen as product-oriented, focusing primarily on form, although by controlling form the teachers often control content also. Writing is seen as process-oriented, with structure taught incidentally as needed. In the former, work is criticized for its flaws; in the latter, reinforcement is given for strong work, and students enjoy writing. The latter approach was adopted in a George Mason University small group tutorial program for writers of both native English and English as a second language (ESL). Initially, efforts were made to compare the writing processes and progress of native speakers and ESL students and then to integrate these findings into the teaching process. An instructional approach was developed in which students were led first into fluency, then through awareness of and distance from their own organic forms, to confidence that they could find and improve on organizational, grammatical, or mechanical writing problems. This approach helped both ESL and native speakers write better and with more enthusiasm and enjoyment. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: George Mason University VA
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Washington Area Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (Fairfax, VA, October 1, 1982).