ERIC Number: ED275150
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Organizational Patterns of Adult ESL Student Narratives: Report of a Pilot Study.
Harris, David P.
The writing patterns of adult native speakers of English was compared to that of students of English as a second language (ESL). Both groups wrote brief narrative accounts of a story they had seen on film. The writings revealed three basic organizational patterns, one pattern covering the six critical elements that made up the short story and two variants of that pattern. The six narrative points were clearly found in the writing of native speakers, but much less so in ESL students' writing. The primary differences were that some of the ESL students omitted opening scene-setting elements, and some native speakers used the rather advanced strategy of describing both the film character and the opening action in the same sentence. The experiment suggests that there may be more effective ways of analyzing organizational structures than are currently available, and that film-based narratives, which are both familiar and straightforward, are a good way of introducing organizational principles in the ESL classroom. Class prewriting activities could include discussion of the film's event structure and of ways to translate this into effective narrative discourse structure. Classes can analyze finished narratives together through profiles of the organizational patterns. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Handscombe, Jean, Ed.; And Others. On TESOL '83. The Question of Control. Selected Papers from the Annual Convention of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (17th, Toronto, Canada, March 15-20, 1983); see FL 015 035.