ERIC Number: ED244516
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar-15
Richmond, Kent C.
Students of English as a second language (ESL) often come to the classroom with little or no experience in writing in any language and with inaccurate assumptions about writing. Rather than correct these assumptions, teachers often seem to unwittingly reinforce them, actually inducing errors into their students' work. Teacher-induced errors occur when teachers mislead students by overemphasizing some aspect of the writing process or when students oversimplify and apply a principle or strategy too broadly. Two related pieces of advice commonly given to students are to use a variety of sentence structures and to avoid an unpleasant repetition of a word or phrase. Students often misunderstand these to mean: don't use the same sentence structure twice, and don't repeat a word or phrase. In response to these recommendations, students force errors into their writing, complicating it unnecessarily, making it awkward, and losing coherence. Students should first be encouraged to write coherent and error-free prose that reads smoothly, uses economical language, does not require the reader to backtrack, and allows the reader to accurately guess what the writer is saying. When taught this way, students will naturally vary their sentences and not be preoccupied unnecessarily. (MSE)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the California Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (San Jose, CA, March 15, 1984).