WORKSHOP ON TEACHING WRITING Danilo T. Dayag, Ph.D. Department of English and Applied Linguistics De La Salle University-Manila E-mail: [email protected] Objectives At the end of the lecture-workshop, participants should be able to: 1. Explain the nature of writing based on findings of empirical research; 2. Describe the process of writing, keeping in mind that the process is recursive and cyclical; 3. Survey different strategies which reflect the recursive nature of writing; and 4. Discuss issues and concerns in putting up a viable writing program. Task 1 In at least one paragraph, complete the following: Getting a college degree is important because _____________________________. __________ ____________. ___________________________ ____________________. ___________________ ________________. ______________. ________ ________________________________________. Task 2 In groups of five (maximum), reflect on your writing activity by responding to the following questions and by justifying your answers: 1. Before you started writing, did you have a clear plan of what to say on paper? 2. When you were writing, was it clear to you how you would say what you wanted to say? Task 2 (continuation) 3. When you were writing, were you concerned about correct grammar and mechanics (punctuation, spelling, etc.)? Or, were you more concerned about what you were going to say than about correctness of grammar, spelling, etc.? 4. Did you have a target audience in mind when you were writing? 5. When you were writing, were you also thinking? The Nature of Writing Pedagogy •Teaching Writing as Product “Until the 1970s, most writing pedagogy emphasized learning and assessing a sequence of essential skills: forming letters, building vocabulary, identifying parts of speech, diagramming sentences, mastering grammar and punctuation, and following paragraph types and genres of writing according to prescribed conventions. This approach was largely product-centered and print-based; that is, it focused on the finished exemplar of student work with little or no attention to the purpose or process of producing it.” (National Writing Project & Nagin, 2003, pp. 19-20) The Nature of Writing Pedagogy •Teaching Writing as Product “The emphasis on correctness as ‘the most significant measure of accomplished prose’ was rooted in a nineteenthcentury model of language development and a pedagogy of memorization and skill drills. It also assumed that reading should be taught before writing and that instruction in the latter should focus on extrinsic (linguistic and stylistic) conventions of writing and eradication of errors.” (National Writing Project & Nagin, 2003, p. 20) The Nature of Writing Pedagogy •Teaching Writing as Process Research has shown that “writing is recursive, that it does not proceed linearly but instead cycles and recycles through subprocesses that can be described this way: 1. Planning (generating ideas, setting goals, and organizing) 2. Translating (turning plans into written language) 3. Reviewing (evaluating, revising, editing) ” (NWP & Nagin, 2003, p. 25, emphasis supplied) The Nature of Writing Pedagogy •Teaching Writing as Process “Even for an experienced writer, the cycling occurs in no fixed order. Writers may create and change their goals as they move through these phases, depending on their topic, rhetorical purpose, and audience.” (NWP & Nagin, 2003, p. 25) A Flowchart of the Writing Process (Hyland, 2008, p. 100) A Flowchart of the Writing Process (Hyland, 2008, p. 101) • Writers have goals and plan extensively. • Writing is constantly revised, often even before any text has been produced. • Planning, drafting, revising, and editing are recursive and potentially simultaneous. • Plans and text are constantly evaluated by the writer in a feedback loop. The Nature of Writing Pedagogy •Teaching Writing as Process “The writing process is anything a writer does from the time the idea came until the piece is completed or abandoned. There is no particular order. So it’s not effective to teach writing process in a lock-step, rigid manner. What a good writing teacher does is help students see where writing comes from: in a chance remark or an article that really burns you up….” (Donald Graves in NWP & Nagin, 2003, p. 23) The Nature of Writing Pedagogy Teaching Writing as Process “Subsequent research found that writing could develop higher-order thinking skills: analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating, and interpreting. The very difficulty of writing is its virtue: it requires that students move beyond rote learning and simply reproducing information, facts, dates, and formulae. Students must also learn how to question their own assumptions and reflect critically on an alternative or an opposing viewpoint.” (NWP & Nagin, 2003, p. 23) The Nature of Writing Pedagogy Teaching Writing as Process It emphasizes that: • “the activities involved in the act of writing are typically recursive rather than linear; • writing is first and foremost a social activity; and • the act of writing can be a means of learning and discovery.” (Vandenberg, Hum, & Clary-Lemon, n.d., p. 2) The Nature of Writing Pedagogy Teaching Writing as Process “From an instructional standpoint, argues George Hillocks, Jr., writing should be a form of inquiry.” (NWP & Nagin, 2003, p. 23, emphasis supplied) The Nature of Writing Pedagogy Teaching Writing as Process Some Inquiry Strategies: •collecting and evaluating evidence •comparing and contrasting cases to infer similarities and differences •explaining how evidence supports or does not support a claim •creating a hypothetical example to clarify an idea •imagining a situation from a perspective other than one’s own (NWP & Nagin, 2003, p. 23) The Nature of Writing Pedagogy Some Writing-as-Process Strategies •Brainstorming (Pre-writing): webbing, treeing, flowcharting •Freewriting •Inquiry strategies •Peer response •Sentence combining •Writing portfolio Rhetorical Purpose Writing may serve any of the following purposes: 1.To inform 2.To persuade 3.To argue 4.To narrate 5.To describe 6.To entertain The Writer’s Audience •Writers address real and imaginary audiences in their work. • Audiences can include the writer himself or herself (as in a journal or diary), friends (letters, emails), a teacher, peers in school or the community, or a distance audience unknown to the writer. (NWP & Nagin, 2003, p. 26) The Writer’s Audience “Students mature as writers by understanding how to write for different audiences, contexts, and purposes.” (NWP & Nagin, 2003, p. 26) The Writing Prompt The writing prompt should clearly state the topic, rhetorical purpose, target audience of the writing task, as well as the features of the output expected of the students. Sample Writing Prompt The RH Bill is a controversial proposed law being debated in both chambers of the Philippine Congress. Proponents of the bill argue that, as a possible solution to the overpopulation problem that the country is facing, it will contribute to national development. The anti-RH group, however, maintains that it will promote abortion, which contradicts Catholic beliefs in this largely Catholic nation. What are your thoughts about the issue? Sample Writing Prompt (continuation) In an essay of at least three paragraphs, write to your congressman of your district to state your position on the issue. Use adequate and appropriate evidence (e.g., statistics, facts, etc.) to support your claims. TASK Think of a good topic for an argumentative essay. Prepare a writing prompt for a class of advanced EFL/ESL students. The Nature of Writing Pedagogy Beyond the Writing Process (Writing as Situated in a Context) “The ways in which writing gets produced are characterized by an almost impenetrable web of cultural practices, social interactions, power differentials, and discursive conventions governing the production of text.” (Joseph Petraglia in Vandenberg, Hum, & Clary-Lemon, n.d., p. 4) Scoring or Marking Essays Issues: •Which of the drafts should be marked? •On what basis is an essay marked? (Scoring rubric) Establishing an Effective Writing Program (NWP & Nagin, 2003, pp. 87-105) Essential strategies for creating and sustaining a successful writing program: 1. As learning leaders, administrators need to work with their faculty in providing vision and leadership. Devising long-term plans for improving writing; crafting policy statements; assessing the status of writing and of teaching it; enlisting teacher leaders for improving teaching writing; committing time and providing the necessary resources, etc. Essential strategies for creating and sustaining a successful writing program: 2. Samples of student writing and teachers’ assignments can be done to generate valuable data for assessing the state of writing in the school or district. In addition, a survey of the state of writing in the school or district may be conducted to come up with a collective vision of what needs to be changed. Essential strategies for creating and sustaining a successful writing program: 3. Administrators should take the lead in building flexibility, community, and long-term planning. flexibility rather than orthodoxy, respect for teacher as professional, a sense of authentic school community, teamwork, a bottom-up rather than top-down approach to developing the program Essential strategies for creating and sustaining a successful writing program: 4. Administrators and teachers can explore effective practices through ongoing professional development . Through discussion groups, sharing sessions, workshops, and other in-service training programs Essential strategies for creating and sustaining a successful writing program: 5. Administrators can exercise their leadership in promoting writing across the curriculum. Writing is a part of all content areas rather than a discrete subject. Writing as a tool for inquiry, critical thinking, and active learning in diverse subject areas (NWP & Nagin, 2003, pp. 87-105) Elements of a Writing Program •Background and Rationale •Specific Objectives •Strategies/Activities •Time-Frame •Expected Outcomes/Outputs •Success Indicators (Metrics) References Kroll, B. (2003). Exploring the dynamics of second language writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hyland, K. (2008). Writing theories and writing pedagogies. Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching, 4(2), 91-110. The National Writing Project & Nagin, Carl. (2003). Because writing matters: Improving student writing in our schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Vandenberg, P., Hum, S. & Clary-Lemon, J. (n.d.). Relations, locations, positions: Composition theory for writing teachers (Critical introduction). Thank you for actively participating.