But learning school subject matter and work skills involves building intricate networks of concept relations, structuring and restructuring understandings, connecting them to other understandings, and practicing multiple skills in multiple environments. Therefore, more complex questions might fruitfully be asked about the nature of second-language students' learning, knowledge, and understanding of complex subject matter domains.
Discussion of complex questions of subject matter learning for English-language learners needs to be grounded in some assumptions about learning in general. The remainder of this section describes three assumptions drawn from cognitive analyses about school subject matter learning for primary-language content learning. These assumptions are context for much of the current research on school learning and apply to most students and most subject matter domains.
First, we assume that different subjects have different core structures or epistemologies, thus making different demands on the learner. Third, we assume that prior knowledge plays a significant role in learning, not only in terms of where to start, but also in terms of the actual meanings attached to new information.
Learning, knowledge, and understanding differ across subject matter. But these differences in subject matter are embedded in larger general similarities. Understanding, learning, and teaching earth science or social studies require the general ability to read English, to construct meaning, and to understand and follow spoken discussion.
They also require general capabilities of inferencing, placing examples into overarching constructs, and building causal chains. We now review several examples from the primary subject matter domains of mathematics, science, and history. Analyses of mathematical learning and teaching have covered a variety of topics, from the earliest studies of counting Briars and Siegler, ; Gelman and Meck, , to models of addition and subtraction Carpenter and Moser, ; Fuson, ; Resnick, ; Riley et al.
These studies have extended our sense of the complexity of mathematical thinking and helped us interpret and undertake teaching tasks with greater awareness. Research on buggy algorithms Brown and VanLehn, shows that these errors are quite systematic and can be used generatively to understand the student's mental model that produces a procedural bug.
In a very different kind of work, Lampert shows that to understand long-division problems, the student must grasp an underlying principle that includes fundamental multiplicative relationships. First, given a specific number of groups or people , how many belong in each group for a fixed number of items? For example, with 6 people and 48 apples, how many apples go to each person? Second, given a specific number per group, how many groups can be formed for a fixed number of items?
For example, with 8 people per minivan and 48 people, how many minivans are needed? In the first case, the divisor 6 people is a quantity, while the quotient is an intensive quantity 8 apples per person. In the second case, the divisor is an intensive quantity 8 per van , while the quotient is a quantity 6 vans. Both questions make use of the same algorithmic system to solve the problem, namely division, and both are part of the system of multiplicative structures.
This consistency characterizes the efficiency of the mathematical discipline. Therefore, the efficiency of the algorithmic system may not be visible to all students, and the means of making the distinction visible must be developed with consideration for both linguistic and cultural issues. Parallel research in science education exemplifies the epistemological differences among disciplines. Theories are fundamental to science. The task of learning science is, in part, to understand those theories deeply enough to be able to map them to extant data in order to explain a particular phenomenon Ohlsson, Because of the disciplinary significance of theory, considerable educational research has been devoted to issues surrounding scientific theories, such as the difference between cohesive and fragmented intuitive scientific theories diSessa, , systems of errors McKlosky, , models of expert scientific problem solving Chi et al.
One aspect of the study of science that can be especially difficult for students is the deceptive simplicity of many of the theories. Take, for example, the principle of acceleration: The formula and theory seems simple at first glance. However, in detailing how one determines the acceleration of any particular object, Reif shows the solution path as a progression through five separate substeps 8 and points out that "substantial complexities [are] hidden in the declarative specification of the problem …[and that] even some of the individual steps of the procedural specification involve complex sub-processes" pp.
What might start out as a simple "plug the number into the formula" problem turns into a multilayered, means-end solution path, misleading students with its false impression of simplicity. History, as taught, usually lacks. When asked to recall salient information from such texts, students tend to construct erroneous connections among the facts presented in an effort to make them coherent. McKeown and Beck found that if the texts were revised so less was presumed about the students' knowledge of the material i.
The point of the above discussion has been to emphasize the fundamental epistemological differences among subject matters. These differences necessitate highly differentiated systems of complex knowledge for both students and their teachers. While it is clear that at some level of abstraction, generalities across subject areas do exist, we believe these generalities are not sufficient to leapfrog the middle ground of differentiated knowledge. Further, we suggest that a better understanding of this middle ground can enhance our understanding of the nature of both primary-language content learning and content learning in a second language.
In light of the epistemological distinctions among the various subjects, it may be that certain disciplines lend themselves more easily to the transfer of knowledge across languages, depending on the structure of knowledge within the domain, but the particular domains to which this would apply to are not readily apparent.
For example, it would appear at first glance that mathematics knowledge should be readily transferable from language to language. However, in light of the long-division example cited above and research in this area Cocking and Chipman, ; Myers and Milne, , we can see that some of the deepest principles of a particular domain e. We have asserted that there are substantial differences among subject matter areas.
For the most part, studies of English-language learners and their teachers seem to have ignored these distinctions, identifying a central problem facing these students as learning enough general language to enter mainstream classrooms. We do not know what the advantages or complications are for English-language learners trying to learn the various disciplines themselves. However, we do suggest that it would be useful to learn how general language proficiencies interact with specific academic language proficiencies and with specific subject matter content.
For example, in a study of writing and discourse about history by young adolescents, we have seen that gaining command of connecting words and phrases e. This is not a vocabulary problem; it is a problem of logical relations that makes itself known through language Young and Leinhardt, A study by Short indicates that integrating subject-specific terminology into language classes helps English-language learners better comprehend the subject matter see Chapter 7.
Not only are there substantial differences among subject matter areas, but there are also different kinds of knowledge. One of the more common distinctions among types of knowledge is that between procedural knowledge knowledge of actions and skills and declarative knowledge knowledge of concepts and principles Chi and Ceci, ; Heibert, ; Lampert, ; Scribner, One task facing the student is to integrate these two types of knowledge. This integration process will differ according to the generative power we expect students to develop from different subject matter information.
Students of some disciplines, such as history, must develop arguments based on multiple forms of evidence, whereas students of other disciplines, such as science, are commonly asked to codify examples of complex phenomena. Thus, the underlying epistemologic foundation of the discipline dictates the nature of the required integration of procedural and declarative knowledge. Another distinction between types of knowledge is between knowledge of content and knowledge of that knowledge, referred to as metacognition. Brown discusses metacognition in terms of three features: This self-awareness has been found to be a useful tool for learners across domains in that learners with such awareness are better able to organize the knowledge they have and identify that which they need to acquire.
We do not have much information about the English-language learner with respect to subject matter knowledge in these terms. See Chapter 7 for a review of studies that examine the effect of instruction in metacognitive skills on subject matter learning of English-language learners. However, issues of metacognition have been discussed for second-language learners in terms of the additive principle, which suggests these students have an advantage when learning new material. Bilinguals' abstract metalinguistic understanding of the structure of language may facilitate their learning of new material Bialystok and Hakuta, ; Cummins, ; Diaz, ; Hakuta and Diaz, ; Peal and Lambert, Note, however, that in considering metacognition, the assumed advantage for second-language learners when learning new material has been focused strictly on linguistic awareness; the findings do not generalize to utility for particular subject matter knowledge.
The types and amount of knowledge available before encountering a new topic within a particular discipline affect how meaning is constructed. Theories about the structure of knowledge and knowledge acquisition have used similar metaphors for describing the structure of knowledge and the way the acquisition of new knowledge affects that structure Case, ; Newell and Simon, ; Miller, The knowledge structure can be thought of as nodes of information, such as concepts, that are linked to each other in particular ways depending on how and what information has been learned.
Links between concepts can be acquired, reconstructed, or deconstructed, and particular learning outcomes are determined jointly by what was known before the unique pattern of nodes and links and the effects of instruction additions to or rearrangements of that pattern. The issue of prior knowledge can be considered one of depth, interconnectedness, and access.
Depth of knowledge refers to the number of linked concepts a student has in a domain. In math, for example, students' depth of knowledge will influence their recognition of a problem, their sense of meaning associated with the problem, their ability to perform the appropriate mathematical operations, and their ability to recognize a reasonable answer. It is often the case that neither students nor teachers recognize salient background knowledge in a mathematical or scientific domain.
The extent to which concepts are interconnected reveals the coherence of a student's understanding of a particular domain. Finally, the existence of different kinds of knowledge poses a problem for both teaching and learning in that if the different types of knowledge are disconnected, they will be inert and unusable Bereiter, ; Brown et al.
A student may know what a long-division problem is, but not know how to solve it. Or a student may know how to solve a particular problem, but not when to use division procedures. The development of deep, interconnected, generative knowledge instead of shallow, fragmented, inert knowledge needs to be a continuous process for both teachers and their students, with the interaction between the two forms of knowledge being taught explicitly.
Thus the depth, interconnectedness, and accessibility of prior knowledge all dramatically influence the processing of new information Chi and Koeske, ; McKeown et al. Knowledge is a complex integrated network of information of various types: Prior knowledge is thus more than another chunk of information. Students must connect their own prior knowledge with new information continuously, while teachers must understand how well students are making these connections Lampert, ; Leinhardt, With respect to second-language learners, then, a number of questions arise.
Under what conditions is content learning affected by the fact that a superordinate category and its instantiation e. How are "errors" that have a language base handled in a second language e. A problem may arise if base examples are introduced at a young age in the child's first language e. Does this affect the second-language learner, and how? These questions are related to concerns about how and when instruction should be handled over time.
In part, they raise issues of individual development over time, and in part issues of subject matter coherence and meaning over time. At this point, we know next to nothing about these questions. Do those conditions change with varying subject matter?
Developmental Aspects of Text Production in Writing and Speech Learning to write Theories and findings from studies of the development. At every stage of my writing life, I know I struggled to write some texts—in The few studies that examine more ambitious forms of learning (New- ell, ; Newell vide other evidence of higher cognitive development through writing. ies noted small but significant genre effects on writing to learn, as measured by.
For example, under what conditions is content learning affected by whether the languages are independent or interdependent? An enhanced understanding of the nature of language i. Thus it would be pertinent, as argued by Hakuta , to determine the extent to which the distinctions within and among concepts learned in a second language are similar to or different from those originally learned in the first language for each particular subject matter.
Results from studies of primary-language content learning have rarely been included in the debates about when and how to introduce education in various subject matters in English to language-minority students. We do not know, for example, whether especially for the older new arrival time should be taken to review existing knowledge that is available in the first language in a way that recontextualizes it in the second language, or whether the new knowledge e. Aspects such as procedures for factoring a polynomial may be available in one language, while conceptual supports for meaningful understanding may be being discussed in another.
We do not know how this affects learning. The literature discussed here could be used to broaden the debate on content learning for English-language learners to address such issues. Research is needed to answer the following questions: What is the nature of the relationship between language proficiency and literacy skill? Is that relationship the same across and within languages? Is there a level of oral language knowledge that is prerequisite to successful literacy acquisition? Is that level the same for learners of different first-language backgrounds, of different ages, of different levels of first-language literacy?
Questions about relationships between linguistic accomplishments and literacy achievement have long been a feature of work on literacy, but they have taken many different forms. Traditionally, work in this area has taken vocabulary or metalinguistic awareness to represent language. Some thinking has emerged from issues of dialect differences, questioning whether children are disadvantaged if the written code represents standard rather than vernacular oral forms.
More recently, a number of studies have explored language ability defined more richly, attempting to use extended discourse skill as the language predictor. Research in this area is particularly important because 1 teachers need guidance about the level of first- and of second-language proficiency at which literacy instruction in a second language can most efficiently be initiated; 2 if bilingual children are precocious in the metalinguistic skills that have been related to literacy, these skills should be built upon for successful literacy teaching; and 3 we need to understand the nature of the cognitive challenge faced by the many children in immersion or submersion situations for whom oral language and literacy skills are acquired in the second language simultaneously.
Research is needed to examine the nature of the relationship between first- and second-language literacy skill. Is literacy knowledge represented the same way for monolingual and bilingual populations? Are literacy skills and deficits acquired in the first language directly transferred to the second, and if so, under what conditions?
Is investment in first-language literacy training worthwhile for all combinations of first and second languages, for example, if orthographies differ radically or if the first language is a traditionally nonliterate one? Does phoneme awareness transfer from one language to another, and if so under what circumstances i.
As noted above, questions about the nature of literacy skill are the source of considerable controversy. There is good reason to believe that literacy is acquired through accretions of knowledge and accumulation of skill through practice, but there is also evidence that it is acquired in stage-like shifts to quite different levels of understanding. Similarly, there are those who citing those children who are early spontaneous readers argue that literacy is the product of natural developmental processes and others who citing the percent of children reading seriously below grade level focus on the need for instructional intervention.
While some evidence suggests that initial reading instruction in a weak language can be disadvantageous to long-term academic outcomes, there are also cases of children who learn to read initially in a second language and do well academically. We need to understand what characteristics differentiate these two groups of children so we do not put children into programs that threaten their chances for successful literacy acquisition.
Furthermore, many non-English-speaking children arrive in American schools after having experienced some schooling and some literacy instruction in a native language. However, an insufficient attempt has been made to understand the cognitive processes underlying successful transfer of first-language literacy skill to the second language, the limitations on that transfer, the conditions that optimize positive and minimize negative transfer, or the differences between children who manage learning to read in a second language well and those who do not.
Such information would make English literacy training for both child and adult immigrants much more efficient and effective. Research needs to investigate the optimal English literacy instruction for children of different ages, those with different native languages, those whose native language is not written, and those whose parents are not literate in English.
Is there a single best way for all children, and if not, is there some way to identify child aptitudes so as to define optimal individualized instruction? What should the role of writing be in reading instruction, particularly for second-language learners? Basic questions about optimal instruction and about the universality of optimal instruction versus the need for individualized teaching arise for second- as for first-language readers. The questions become acute as innovative teaching methods are introduced into mainstream classrooms.
For instance, many primary classrooms are now using writing as a route to reading instruction; writing itself is not considered an important domain for literacy assessment and is increasingly being incorporated into content area instruction. The impact of such innovations on second-language learners is unknown. An important question to be addressed is whether literacy can be used as a route to language learning, and if so, under what circumstances and with what consequences. Are there disadvantages with regard to language proficiency outcomes to acquiring a language with literate input from the very beginning?
Is it possible for second-language learners to have highly developed literacy skills, but low or no oral language skills?
If so, how do we incorporate these cases into our models of literacy acquisition and of language-literacy relationships? With young children, thinking has focused on issues such as how much oral language a child needs to know before literacy instruction should begin; with older second-language learners, it is possible that literacy can be a major source of language learning. It is unknown, though, how effective literacy is as a language-learning strategy, whether it has consequences for oral proficiency, or at what age or for what types of learners it works best.
Since many English-language learners arrive in the United States after having acquired literacy in their first language, understanding how to use easily developed second-language literacy skills to promote oral proficiency safely and effectively is very important. There are three key research questions that address how those with limited English proficiency learn content. First, what are the effects of limited English proficiency on the acquisition of content knowledge at a fine-grained level? Specifically, what are the consequences of acquiring beginning-level content knowledge in one language and then switching languages for higher levels of the content domain?
Second, what levels of English proficiency are prerequisite to the capacity to profit from content area instruction in English? Third, are there modifications to the language used by teachers that can make complex subject matters accessible even to second-language beginners? Serious practical and ethical questions arise if these optimal methods for content area instruction are inaccessible to second-language speakers, who are thus excluded from participation in the best teaching practices. We need to know how early in the process of second-language acquisition speakers can profit from participation in challenging pedagogical conversations and whether simple modifications of the language used can speed that access.
These guidelines should take into account epistemological differences among subject matter areas. Several important research questions relate to the effects of English-language learners on teachers of specific subjects and their classrooms. How does the presence of a second language in the classroom affect the cognitive load for the content area teacher?
Does a high proportion of language-minority children in a classroom have a negative effect on the classroom as a learning environment for native speakers of English, and if so, under what circumstances? How does the presence of second-language speakers or the use of a second language in the classroom affect the necessary balance between clear didactic presentation and less orderly generative classroom activity, such as discussion?
Teachers bear much of the burden of delivering effective education to language-minority students, and often with little access to information or training in how to do it optimally. Clearly, teaching complex subject matter to students of limited proficiency in the instructional language can place extra strain on teachers and may lead them into undesirable pedagogical practices.
A good theory of what it means to make "linguistic modifications" in assessments or use "simplified English" in instruction would be useful to teachers. Researchers who have been looking at greater inclusion of English-language learners in large-scale assessments have tinkered with meeting this need, but with difficulty and quite narrowly. Abedi, for example, simplified items using syntactic structures only and was unsuccessful in increasing performance. A broader framework taking into account semantic, communicative, and sociolinguistic factors could be more useful.
Such a theory could also provide a foundation for ''sheltered instruction" programs. In other words, is content knowledge acquired in the first language automatically available to be built upon when learning in the second language? It seems reasonable that content learners trying to construct powerful representations of their knowledge would find it advantageous to have access to two.
Furthermore, if content knowledge acquired in the first language is available for use in the second, there is every reason to expect that language-minority children who arrive in the United States after years of rigorous schooling in their country of origin will display high academic achievement as soon as they learn English.
Although most of the work on the academic performance of language-minority children emphasizes the risks to high achievement, the excellent accomplishments of immigrant children in national assessments of math and science suggest they may have an advantage in certain domains of learning, perhaps because of easy transfer or because of the cognitive consequences of bilingualism. Thinking and Learning about Print. Bruck Resolving the "great debate. State University of New York, Albany Teacher interruption behaviors during primary grade oral reading. Journal of Educational Psychology Pearson A schema-theoretic view of basic processes in reading.
Wilkinson Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading. National Institute of Education, U. Roit Linking reading comprehension instruction to language development for language minority students. Elementary School Journal 96 3: Mullis The Reading Report Card. Bird Use of thinking aloud in identification and teaching of reading comprehension strategies.
Cognition and Instruction 2: An examination of reading behaviors. Focus on the Classroom. Siegler A featural analysis of preschoolers' counting knowledge. Developmental Psychology 20 4: VanLehn Towards a generative theory of "bugs. Campione Learning, remembering, and understanding.
Moser The development of addition and subtraction problem-solving skills. Spanos Learning and problem solving strategies of ESL students.
Bilingual Research Journal 16 The electronic collection includes e-zines, e-books, news archives, market research studies, dictionaries, statistical information and more. Indeed, as a university student, it is probable that you need to constantly develop these skills. Reading is integral to your studies. Reading scientific texts is very different from leisure time reading.
Scientific books and articles are written in a professional language specific to the field, and it is therefore important that you become well versed in the terminology and jargon of your field of study. This will allow you to thoroughly understand what is discussed. Even though field specific terminology may at first seem difficult, it is absolutely necessary that you make the effort. It is true that field specific jargon is often difficult to understand.
Consult your teachers and seek answers from other sources! If it feels difficult to start a thick book on the first page, why not start elsewhere, for example the last chapter? You can even try moving from the end to the beginning if this feels like a good strategy. The following five-step technique is useful for reading both books and articles. Try it and feel the difference! Writing and written assignments are a part of just about any course. Before you start to write, you will most likely have to read a lot in order to gain a general understanding of your topic.
The process involves a lot of discussion with the text and in this way engages your reflective faculty. Information search, processing and analysis always take place before the completion of written assignments. This is done either individually or in groups. Writing during your studies has at least two objectives. On the one hand, it is used to assess your learning and, indeed, you are expected to be able to complete various kinds of written assignments with success. On the other hand, writing is a way of learning. Writing allows you to gain deeper and more exact knowledge of a topic than that provided by reading and listening alone.
Indeed, writing might very well be the most challenging and demanding aspect of your studies.
As a general rule, it is good to take notes both in class and at home while reading. Note taking clarifies your thoughts and encourages deeper thinking about the topic. You can also review your notes at a later date. Research shows that the most successful students have a command of several note taking techniques and can switch between them depending on the situation.
We strongly recommend that you develop your note taking skills throughout your studies: Vakkuri ; Lindberg Mind maps are definitely worth the effort. They allow you to organise information on different levels and add new information when required, e. Mind maps offer a very good way to build associations, e. Try also the following: Exchange notes in pairs or small groups. Then discuss what each person has written and how. Going through the notes of others will provide you with many tips on how to improve upon your skills with regard to both content and technique.
This also offers the opportunity to review matters that remain unclear. It may very well be that you are not the only one who does not fully understand. It is then easier to ask the teacher during the next class, as you don't have to worry about asking "stupid questions". But please keep in mind that there is no such thing as a stupid question, only different ways of reacting to what is asked.
It is also good practice to use your notes to try to explain what was covered during class to another person. In companies, things are generally written down on company-specific forms, either on paper or electronic. Neither has to spend time thinking about what should be the proper format; both can focus on the content. The content, however, will vary depending on who you write for and what you aim to accomplish. During your studies, you will be required to write many different kinds of texts, e. All these texts are to follow the given Haaga-Helia format.
If you learn and follow the guidelines given from the start of your studies onwards, there will be no need to backtrack before every assignment to try to figure out what the text should look like. Remember also that you must include your student number in all assignments that are to be graded. All reports, seminar papers, instruction manuals, software documentation as well as other assignments are to be written in standard English using the terminology of the field in question. The format is to be either standard or follow the instructions given.
Written assignments must always indicate sources used, and a bibliography must always be included. It is important that you learn to adhere to the guidelines already at the start of your studies. Then, once you start working on your thesis, following the right practices should no longer be an issue. The essay can be subjective, in which case the writer expresses his or her own thoughts on the topic: If the writer chooses an investigative approach, the essay will be akin to a scientific article.
Such an essay clearly expresses the underlying idea, and also includes detailed reference to sources. Exam answers are often in essay format. In such cases, you are expected to provide the relevant information and usually also your own thoughts on the matter. As implicit in the name, a memorandum is compiled to support your memory, for example after a meeting or brainstorming session. If a meeting is involved, the memorandum should shortly list what was agreed, and who is responsible for what and when.
You will need to compile memorandums if you are active in the student unions. You can organise your diary chronologically or by topic, for example. You can organise your portfolio by courses taken or by topic, for example. The summary can be based on an oral or written presentation, and itself can also be oral or written. You can present your own point of view in a summary. If you do this, you must nevertheless indicate what your opinion is and what you have gathered from other sources. The abstract can be written either informatively or to raise the reader's interest in the text proper.
Nevertheless, the abstract should give a good general picture of the content of the text. The abstract is placed in the beginning of your thesis and other larger reports. The report can also be a review written at regular intervals, for example a weekly report or monthly report. In addition, the report can provide information on how to develop operations, be used as a basis for decision making, or, more generally, to provide information on a given topic. At Haaga-Helia, you are usually required to write a report whenever you participate in a project.
For more info on written reports, please check the guidelines Student's extranet. In your future job it is important that you can express yourself well, i. You will have the chance to orally present your written work many times during your studies, providing you with good practice on your presentation skills.
Oral presentations communicate information, experiences, opinions and thoughts — and are an integral part of your studies. Remember that most people are nervous when giving presentations even though they might not show this on the outside. Remember also to listen to the presentations of others with proper respect.
If you find that giving oral presentations is especially hard for you, please discuss the matter with the academic advisor. It functions like an overhead projector, except you don't have to write on transparencies, you can use normal paper. Use clearly visible colours and font size min size A larger auditorium requires an even larger font. Rise interest of the audience by using pictures.
Use videos only if needed. Use at most 20 slides per hour. Don't forget your USB flash drive to the class room. Write and draw so that the audience can see clearly. Use different colours to separate topics. You can ask more from the IT HelpDesk. Find more AV instructions here. Studying at Haaga-Helia, too, involves a lot of group projects and other assignments. Successful cooperation has many prerequisites, for example trust among participants, openness and listening to others, as well as taking into account other group members.
Moreover successful group work requires not only that the group reaches its information objectives, but also that it is successful in its decision making, problem solving, interaction and management. It cannot be taken for granted, however, that everyone has the proper cooperation skills. It is very common that problem situations arise.
In this regard, it is important that group members learn to solve their problems in a constructive manner. Please make an active effort to develop these skills during your studies. Contact hours play an important role in your studies. For example, they allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the course textbooks and the opportunity to engage in group work and discussions with other students. Teachers, too, do a lot of things in class. For example, they present new perspectives and research findings, teach argumentation skills, discuss the topics studied in more detail, as well as tell about their own experiences.
Indeed, the classroom is an excellent place for students to sharpen up their thinking, and active participation ensures the best results. Successful teaching is successful interaction between the teacher and students. It is important that you attend class as much as possible! Remember also that many courses have a minimum attendance requirement, which you will be informed about at the start of the course.
Haaga-Helia offers many online study opportunities. Many courses are completed either wholly or partly over the net. The exam might be completed over the net or during a separate exam occasion. Moodle virtual learning environment is mainly being used in online courses at Haaga-Helia, but also other digital environments are utilized. Students get guidance for these at the start of their studies.
Remember, however, that you need to have basic computer skills and access to an Internet connection to complete such courses. Some systems require a headset with microphone and web camera not compulsory. It should reflect not only the stage of general linguistic proficiency of the student, but also their ability to use the forms appropriately within the social and professional conventions of writing in the target language. Assessment has tended to mirror instruction with new approaches to assessment accompanying changes in teaching.
Assessment of the classroom work involved in writing has been carried out through portfolios Belanoff Assessment of the product of writing has involved assessments of the overall quality of the text, usually using a holistic or a primary or multiple trait scoring system Hamp-Lyons b ; Kroll Other assessments of the product of writing have involved assessments of linguistic accuracy Polio Such scales are most easily applied to situations in which large numbers of students need to be assessed simultaneously and are often associated with mass testing. Holistic assessment became popular in the mid s and is still one of the most common forms of assessment for shorter pieces of writing.
The rater or raters read the text quickly and, based on guidelines, give an impressionistic mark. The writing of second language learners, however, often displays marked differences of proficiency in the various facets of writing, and holistic marking in these cases becomes difficult and suspect.
The problems relate both to the adequacy of the scheme to represent the writers efforts Hamp-Lyons ; Connor-Linton and, relatedly, to rater reliability Vaughan She claims that multiple trait schemes are more reliable than holistic approaches, that they provide more diagnostic information to the student and the teacher, that they highlight salient features of the text, and that they have greater validity Hamp-Lyons Certainly, multiple trait scoring has the attraction of at least recognising that student writing in a second language often displays quite variable levels of proficiency in different areas.
There is a danger, however, of it being seen as reducing writing to a series of discreet skill areas that can be quantified and assessed separately from one another. Traits are not separate or separable features of a piece of writing, they are interwoven and interdependent and their analysis provides different perspectives on the text. An important question is whether the perspectives chosen in a particular scheme are really different enough from one another to warrant being scored separately.
This article has highlighted areas in which research into writing in a second language can and does inform classroom practice. It has focused on the complexity of writing and the interplay of the various issues that must be addressed by teachers and learners who approach writing in a second language. There has been considerable interplay in recent years between research into writing and learning and instruction in writing. Much of the research has direct relevance to the classroom, and classroom practice and observation are the source of many research studies.
The rising profile of second language writing and particularly of writing for academic purposes has also led to a proliferation of resources aimed at both teachers and students. Some useful Internet sites, journals, and published overviews on writing are listed below. Theory and Practice of Writing: An Applied Linguistic Perspective.
Exploring the Dynamics of Second Language Writing. On Second Language Writing. Lawrence Earlbaum Erlbaum Associates. Composing in first and second languages: Possible effects of EFL writing instruction. Odense Working Papers in Language and Communication 14, The Acquisition of Discourse Proficiency: Targeting L2 writing proficiencies: Instruction and areas of change in students' writing over time. International Journal of English Studies 1, 2: Studies in Second Language Acquisition 17, 2: Differences in L1 and L2 Writing.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: The Psychology of Written Composition. The effects of trained peer response on ESL students' revision types and writing quality. Journal of Second Language Writing 8, 3: Teaching Academic Writing in European Education. Social construction, language, and the authority of knowledge: The teaching of topical structure analysis as a revision strategy for ESL writers. Research and Insights for the Classroom , Cross-cultural Aspects of Second-language Writing. Looking behind the curtain: What do L2 composition ratings really mean? The Powers of Literacy: A Genre Approach to Teaching Writing.
Self-monitoring in student writing: ELT Journal 54, 3: Building models of adult second-language writing instruction. Learning and Instruction 10, 1: Writing expertise and second language proficiency. Language Learning 39, 1: Theoretical perspectives on writing. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics If I had known twelve things. Kroll eds , ESL composition tales: