The process approach to writing is ideally suited to the second language learner since listening, speaking, and reading can be so naturally integrated with it.
For a second language learner, writing is an extension of listening and speaking. Therefore, the student must be provided opportunities to build, extend, and refine oral language in order to improve written output. Since writing involves some risk-taking, it is important for students to be comfortable taking risks. They need to know that their efforts are appreciated and that the message they are trying to convey is valued over the form.
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Many public schools do not begin teaching second languages until high school, and all college students must study a foreign language in order to graduate from the university....
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Second language learners should be encouraged to use word processing programs throughout the writing process. The programs facilitate the process and are especially helpful with the composing, revising, and editing stages because they do not require students to rewrite their work. They help students format their work and produce copies which are clearly legible and professional looking. These programs are especially helpful for students who are accustomed to a different alphabet (i.e. Chinese, Russian) and are only beginning to learn to write using the romanized alphabet for English.
Second language learners will also need assistance during the revising/editing stage from teachers and from other students. Changes in writing will need to address word usage and clarification of ideas, as well as grammatical accuracy, punctuation, spelling and capitalization. It is important to remember that second language students may have difficulty recognizing their own errors or the errors of their peers. A self-assessment checklist may help them monitor their own writing. However, care should be taken with peer editing groups. In addition, it is important that correction be done in a comfortable environment.
Translating is the least useful strategy for writing in a second language. There is often a wide discrepancy between what students can express in their first language and what their limited foreign language lexicon enables them to do. They frequently resort to using a dictionary to look up every word and end up with a literal translation that may be completely incomprehensible and even embarrassing.
How well English Language Learners can write is directly related to their level of English language proficiency in writing. It is important to note that language learners often make mistakes in vocabulary and grammar. As they take risks and experiment, their accuracy level may be negatively affected. It is important to realize that this is a normal part of the language development process. If too much attention is placed on accuracy, students will not progress. The following table indicates what students can do at each level of proficiency.
At the drafting stage students write their ideas down using some of the notes, language, and structures generated during the pre-writing activities. Second language students especially need to be aware that their first draft does not have to be perfect and that the purpose of this activity is to get words on paper. Spelling will often not be accurate and there may be many grammatical errors. Some students may also insert words in their native language.
Now the first thing we notice is that two at any rate of these "subjects"are not what we should call "subjects" at all: they are onlymethods of dealing with subjects. Grammar, indeed, is a "subject"in the sense that it does mean definitely learning a language--at thatperiod it meant learning Latin. But language itself is simply the mediumin which thought is expressed. The whole of the Trivium was, in fact, intendedto teach the pupil the proper use of the tools of learning, before he beganto apply them to "subjects" at all. First, he learned a language;not just how to order a meal in a foreign language, but the structure ofa language, and hence of language itself--what it was, how it was put together,and how it worked. Secondly, he learned how to use language; how to definehis terms and make accurate statements; how to construct an argument andhow to detect fallacies in argument. Dialectic, that is to say, embracedLogic and Disputation. Thirdly, he learned to express himself in language--how to say what he had to say elegantly and persuasively.
Here is a sentence from no less academic a source than a front- pagearticle in the Times Literary Supplement: "The Frenchman, Alfred Epinas,pointed out that certain species (e.g., ants and wasps) can only face thehorrors of life and death in association." I do not know what theFrenchman actually did say; what the Englishman says he said is patentlymeaningless. We cannot know whether life holds any horror for the ant,nor in what sense the isolated wasp which you kill upon the window-panecan be said to "face" or not to "face" the horrorsof death. The subject of the article is mass behavior in man; and the humanmotives have been unobtrusively transferred from the main proposition tothe supporting instance. Thus the argument, in effect, assumes what itset out to prove--a fact which would become immediately apparent if itwere presented in a formal syllogism. This is only a small and haphazardexample of a vice which pervades whole books--particularly books writtenby men of science on metaphysical subjects.