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Writing approaches by said

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Writing up PhDd Dissertation: WRITING SECTION

Approaches to teaching writing

                Product writing

                Functional approach

                Genre writing 

                Process writing

                Content writing

Structural linguistics, dominant as it was in the 1940s, shaped the behaviourist view of teaching and learning. This led to a product orientation in the teaching of writing around the 1960s (Silva, 1990 as cited in Hyland). In essence, writing, from this perspective, is considered as a group of phrases and clauses combined in a rule-governed way to make up paragraphs and texts. This direction, thus, emphasizes the formal aspect of language. In other words, according to Hyland (), for the second language writer to write, he needs to have accumulated an amount of linguistic and syntactic knowledge being the building blocks of writing. Hyland goes even further to state that this perspective regards writing as but “an extension of grammar”, encouraging learners to demonstrate their ability to in produce ing well-structured sentences.

A focus on the teaching of writing as a matter of reinforcing the formal properties of the second language according, to the researcher, is comprised of four stages:

  1. Familiarization: this first stage is where learners are presented and, thus, taught grammatical structures and vocabulary, which is done usually done by through exposing learners to a text.
  2. Controlled writing: this is where learners work on activities that stimulate close-ended questions or statements,. fFor example,: substation tables.
  3. Guided writing: in this step, learners follow text models.
  4. Free writing: the last stage is one in which learners make use of what they learned in the previous stages to produce a paragraph or essay.

The good writing, from this perspective, thus, is that which predominantly adheres to the requirements of accurate and syntactical forms of the language concerned. In other words, the primary concern of the teaching of writing is to develop learners that are skilled at avoiding ill-formed and hence producing well-structured sentences, which show evidence of knowledge of language. Similarly, the assessment of the learners’ written productions is based on correcting the grammatical forms of the language (Hyland, DATE ). As with any approach, writing from this perspective is seems to hold some downsides. Its sole focus on the formal properties of language restricts students from writing beyond the level of the accuracy. It mainly hinders them from writing for situations. The argument that “good writing is always contextually variable” (Hyland, Date , p. 5) led to a change of focus. That is, a an emphasis on writing functions flourished.

Functional approach

Teaching learners to write in a way that shows their degree of control over the structure of sentences is undeniable. The departure from the product based approach to a more focus on functions is because writing does not only involve grammar, but it also includes the purpose for which one is writing (Hyland, DATE ). That is, from this standpoint, writing is context bound. In this respect, Widdowson (DATE), argues that learning a language combines both linguistic and communicative purpose. That is to say, when a learner starts learning a language, he/she needs to develop the ability to produce correct sentences and to exert some communicative force through those sentences.