Writing Processes Essay

1529 words - 6 pages

Writing Processes"Writing is far from being a simple matter of transcribing language into written symbols: it is a thinking process in its own right. […] We believe that there is no point in pretending that writing is easy. Certain cognitive psychologists have described it as the most complex and demanding of all cognitive activities undertaken by human beings; because there are no rules" (White, 1991:3 & 12).As shown in this quote writing is a very complex matter. We distinguish between two approaches to how to teach academic writing: the product school and the process school. In this essay I will analyse the key aspects of these two schools to determine which school should be used to improve university students' writing.The product school can be defined as the following:"In the teaching of writing we can focus on the product of writing or on the writing process itself. When concentrating on the product we are only interested in the aim of a task and in the end product" (Harmer, 2001:257).As opposed to the product school we find the process school:"Those who advocate a process approach to writing, however, pay attention to the various stages that any piece of writing goes through. By spending time with learner on pre-writing phases, editing, redrafting, and finally "publishing" their work, a process approach aims to get tot he heart of the various skills that should be employed when writing" (Harmer, 2001:257)."The goal of this approach is to nurture the skills with which writers work out their own solutions to the problems they set themselves, with which they shape their raw material into a coherent message, and with which they work towards an acceptable and appropriate form for expressing it (White, 1991, p. 5)The first key aspect of the product school is writing is an activity that is done on one's own and in contrast to that the process school says, writing is a collaborative activity. In my opinion both assumptions are true in a university environment. For some courses a product approach is the only way writing takes place, for instance for most seminars I have done in my first language study, the writing of the seminar papers has always happened on my own, while I usually use a process approach when writing in a foreign language, since I let someone proof read my seminar papers and key points are discussed with other colleagues and friends before handing in the final draft. The process approach at this point is very helpful because people write and think differently and therefore a second or third opinion on own ideas can be very useful to make sure that the main aspects are clear and understandable to everyone. Harmer also says that "individual students also found themselves saying and writing things they might not have come up with on their own, and the groups' research was broader than an individual's normally was" (Harmer, 2001:260). White and Arendt write on this topic:"A […] challenging task which writers face is...

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