Teaching Demonstration—Using Free Writing And Multigenre In The Esl/Efl Writing Context

1349 words - 6 pages

n modern composition classes, the academic writing is often used as another form of testing. Similarly in many English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL) learning contexts, writing classes are shaped with a test-orientation aimed at achieving “native-like competence” as their goal (McKay, 2009, p. 39). This situation leads to the reality that ESL/EFL students’ writings have been focused more on their usage of language instead of creating spaces for those certain groups of writers to express their thoughts in English writing. Therefore, many ESL/EFL writers are facing the anxiety of composing in English. On the other hand, the widely using paradigmatic thinking and expository writing ...view middle of the document...

A pieces of multigenre writing could contains poems, a comic book excerpt, narrative, newspaper interviews, even photographs and drawings, which motivate writers to express themselves by exploring their social and cultural backgrounds, previous learning experiences and perception of identities in writing. In relation to the ESL/EFL writers’ disadvantages in freely composing English text, teaching multigenre writing provides more possibilities for students to use their experiences and cultural backgrounds as the resources in using varied media to express their inner world without too much worry on grammar and structures in traditional academic writing in English.
As a prewriting technique, free writing, firstly used by Peter Elbow, enables people to continuously write without regard to grammar, topic, editing, sharing and rushing. Freewriting could help writers to overcome the fears of publication and possible criticisms towards their writings. Based on the assumption that everyone has something to say and the ability to say it, I understand that freewriting enables students to control their writing which is focused on self-expression. For the target group audience like ESL/EFL writers, free writing in some extent could reduce their anxiety of writing and build their confidence while writing in a second language. Learning the features of mutligenre writing and free writing, I believe there is a junction between these two pedagogies that could empower ESL/EFL students to freely express themselves in the English writing without too many burdens in worrying about the English proficiency and also motivate these learners to see themselves as writers who are connected to the composition class. Those ideas above become my rationale to design a multigenre and freewriting activity in the ESL/EFL composition classes.
The design of “Message in a Bottle”
Based on my understanding of multigenre writing and free writing strategies, I developed a 30 minutes writing task—“Message in a Bottle” for college-level ESL/EFL students. Inspired by Peter Elbow’s initial design of freewriting activity, I create an activity that students are expected to compose texts that will be put in the bottles and tossed into the sea, which means to write to an anonymous audience and even without a feedback. The task itself allows students to find their individual comfort zone in writing to an uncertain audience. Students could do writing practice without many concerns on the readers, and fully use their imagination and experiences as the resources to enrich the content of their writing.
In regard to most of the college—level composition class will last from 45 to 90 minutes, I will arrange this activity at the first 30 minutes to encourage students to be more focused on this task. Due to the reality that many ESL/EFL do not have many experiences in multigenre writing and free writing: Firstly, I will use 5 minutes to introduce the context, aim and procedure of this activity to...

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