This is a forum for discussion on the topic writing, based on the readings. Take a look at some of the contributions by other students:
Writing is a skill that has some “advantages”, in the sense that the writer can edit whatever he/she wants, for instance. With the advent of the internet, humans are expressing their ideas more frequently, and easily. When it comes to writing in a second language, sometimes learners may not feel confident for that, since that piece of writing will be “registered” and open to criticism. This is an issue that can also happen in the first language, but I believe there may be more "barriers" in a second language. As Godwin Jones (2008) states, it is a challenge for language teachers to encourage their students to write in a second language.
Stanley (2013) states that teachers should find out what kind of writing (genres) learners are involved, or interested in. Miller (1984) claims that genres are typified rhetorical actions based on recurrent situations. In other words, writing a blog, or any other kind of genre, for instance, would be recognized by a determination of the typified rhetorical situation. Bitzer (1968) complements Miller´s view by stating that in individuals´ daily lives, situations presented in a genre recur, therefore, a form of discourse, vocabulary, grammar, and style are established.
Taking that into consideration, learners should become familiar with the genre they intend to write. Whenever leaners produce a piece of writing, it requires careful investigation of the genre in order to use the appropriate features, which involve a target language´s cultural norms and values, for instance.
As Stanley mentions, writing may be the skill that has been affected the most with the rise of the internet. When I was an English student I remember the only writing opportunity was sometimes at the end of the chapter. And it’s easy to still find classes nowadays where students are not encouraged to write.
Today people use the social medias, phones and e-mails to write messages all day long, and this can be a very good opportunity to practice their everyday writing in the second language. Also, the importance of a real audience plays a very important role, it’s motivating and more meaningful for students.
Chapelle and Jamieson also mention the importance of selecting the appropriate materials for every learner. Teachers can find examples of the genre which they want students to learn, exploring also the vocabulary and grammar which is required for that specific situation, because students don’t learn just by exposure. Finally, feedback is very important regarding writing. It’s very frustrating not receiving it, so it should be provided either by the teacher, other students, or the computer.
Writing is seen as a communicative event and its purpose is to reach a real audience in order to be motivating and meaningful for students when learning a SL. I agree with Luana that unfortunately, in some language courses a great emphasis has been given to speaking rather than writing. Still, I hear teachers complaining that students don´t like writing or don´t know how to write properly. Therefore, teachers need to engage students to practice it more alone as well as collaboratively so that they can develop different writing strategies taking into account different genres. In other words, only practice makes it perfect as Tumolo says.
Then, I would like to share my teaching experience which has helped to enhance my sts´written productions. Well, I started using my learners own writings (previously taught in class and assigned as homework) as input material for some classes, as a result they started participating more actively , because they knew their texts would be read and evaluated by others rather than the teacher ( only). It is interesting to point out that since they would be exposed and sometimes the task posed a competition/ challenge they worked hard to win/ get a good grade.
Another relevant point mentioned by Stanley (2013) is that writing is the skill which has been most affected by the rise of digital technology ”. Therefore, apart from conventional writing skills, teachers need to develop learners´ digital literacy skills, which is seen as another reason for using digital tools to introduce students to the world of different electronic texts. According to Chapelle (2008) CALL writing activities added to teacher´s lesson plans introduce varieties of writing that students will continue to engage in beyond the clasroom.
As Stanley points out "writing is probably the skill most affected by the rise of internet " because it is the skill leaners use the most when they are online, and if we consider the amount of time people have being spending online, and the amount of social networks available nowadays, I believe Stanley certainly have a strong argument.