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ERIC Number: EJ862005
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0965-8416
What Adult ESL Learners Say about Improving Grammar and Vocabulary in Their Writing for Academic Purposes
Zhou, Ally A.
Language Awareness, v18 n1 p31-46 Feb 2009
Linguistic accuracy plays an important role in the quality of written texts, yet the explicit teaching of linguistic form--particularly grammar--for the purpose of improving learners' writing has generated an ongoing debate. Furthermore, students' voices about their learning are often ignored because they are perceived as not knowing what they need most. This study explores adult ESL learners' goals for improving grammar and vocabulary in their writing in order to understand their motivations and strategies for improvement. The study describes learners' goals from an emic perspective based on semi-structured interviews and stimulated recalls. Fifteen learners enrolled in a pre-university intensive English for Academic Purposes programme were asked to describe their goals for writing over a two-year period as they progressed to mainstream university courses. Learners were found to be motivated to improve grammar and vocabulary in their writing, but lacked the knowledge and resources to take effective action for improvement. Some learners had unrealistic expectations about their potential competence in using more sophisticated language. The study suggests that teachers could help learners (1) raise their awareness of achievable and unachievable goals, (2) identify the origins of their learning difficulties in grammar and (3) select appropriate contexts for learning academic language. (Contains 3 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A