Controversies in Second Language Writing
Dilemmas and Decisions in Research and Instruction
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Title Page, Copyright
More than a decade ago Tony Silva (1990) observed that the “merry-go-round of approaches” in the field of second language writing “generates more heat than light and does not encourage consensus on important issues” (p. 18). Silva noted further that “such a situation engenders a great deal of confusion and insecurity among ESL composition teachers” (p. 18). ...
Controversies in Second Language Writing: Dilemmas and Decisions in Research and Instruction (henceforth Controversies) is a book designed to help L2 writing teachers make informed decisions in their writing classes and build a knowledge base for conducting research on L2 writing. ...
1. Beliefs and Realities: A Framework for Decision Making
Teachers make hundreds of decisions in their classrooms every day. Some decisions involve planning. With greater or lesser degrees of control over their decisions, teachers decide what content to teach, what materials to use, what sequences to present content in, what pedagogical activities to set up using different participation structures, ...
2. Contrastive Rhetoric
Contrastive rhetoric (CR) as a field of study began with the publication of Robert Kaplan’s 1966 article in Language Learning. Kaplan assumed a kind of linguistic relativity, specifically that the rhetorical aspects of each language are unique to each language and culture. ...
3. Paths to Improvement
Perhaps the most consuming of all dilemmas for L2 writing teachers is how to best help their students improve their writing. The dilemma involves not only the need for teachers to have a sense of what they mean by improvement but also an idea of what the diverse and sometimes competing and controversial opinions are about the approaches and practices that best lead to improvement. ...
Many of the decisions that both L1 and L2 writing teachers make in their classes revolve around assessment of students’ writing. Assessment activities and schemes pervade the broader system of schooling as well. Indeed, in most countries assessment of all kinds, not just of writing, is such an inherent part of the whole enterprise of schooling that it is difficult to imagine doing without it. ...
Interaction is a word we often see associated with studies of second language acquisition, a common belief being that children and adults learn a second language in great part by interacting with other people. Through these interactions, they receive input, negotiate and construct meaning, acquire sociolinguistic competence, ...
6. Politics and Ideology
A number of unresolved issues concerning the politics and ideology of language teaching face L2 writing teachers as they make decisions about how best to design and carry out instructional activities. In this chapter, I discuss three of them: critical and pragmatist stances toward academic writing; ...