NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ873711
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1060-3743
Deliberate False Provisions: The Use and Usefulness of Models in Learning Academic Writing
Macbeth, Karen P.
Journal of Second Language Writing, v19 n1 p33-48 Mar 2010
Although models have been a mainstay of academic writing pedagogy for centuries, a recurrent critique has been that they control or limit student writing and misrepresent the affairs they claim to model. These insufficiencies notwithstanding, models are ubiquitous in the ordinary, practical world, and their usefulness to novices can easily go unnoticed by experts. Influenced by ethnomethodology, this study follows the plight of English language learners in an academic writing class as they struggle to follow instructions for writing their first essay. Findings suggest that for them a model essay provided relief from the vague terms and occult objects of what was for them a cultural curriculum. The model offered students something they could do to turn in an assignment on time. Models, however, work by displaying basic principles. They forfeit some things in order to make others vivid, and it is to this sparseness that they owe their pedagogical value. Students who understood the model as a right answer rather than a case, were led astray, and they then had to confront the betrayal. Ultimately, discovering the insufficiencies of the model was important to the students' development of competent academic writing. (Contains 2 plates.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A