Academic journal article International Education Studies

An Analytical Framework for Analysing Secondary EFL Writing Curriculum: Approaches for Writing and Preparation for Higher Education

Academic journal article International Education Studies

An Analytical Framework for Analysing Secondary EFL Writing Curriculum: Approaches for Writing and Preparation for Higher Education

Article excerpt

Abstract

Academic writing is perhaps the most important skill required in higher education learning for the purposes of academic communication, academic performance, as well as academic achievement and success. However, many studies carried out in an EFL context showed that the majority of students face difficulties and challenges in acquiring effective academic writing skills. Furthermore, it has been reported that most writing problems students face at a university level seem to be associated with certain deficits in the preparation process at the secondary level with regards to both curriculum and instruction. Consequently, this research presents an analytical framework for analysing EFL secondary writing curriculum in order to help educational institutions, curriculum designers and educators to develop the EFL writing curriculum for secondary schools, in addition to promoting effective teaching and learning strategies that will equip students with the writing skills they need at the higher education level.

Keywords: SLA theories, EFL writing theories, EFL writing curriculum, academic writing, secondary, higher education, Richards and Rodgers model

1. Introduction

English is now considered to be an international language (Jung & Norton, 2002; McKay, 2002) and the universal language of communication (Crystal, 2003). In the higher education context, language proficiency is an important factor for those aspiring toward academic success and achievement (Stoynoff, 1997; Songy, 2007). In particular; effective writing skills are essential for success in higher educational learning (Ahmed, 2010; Hasbollah, 2010), work (Kellogg & Raulerson, 2007; Prior, 2012) and society (Prior, 2012).

In order for students studying at the university level to succeed and find their academic path, it is essential for them to acquire a good level of academic writing and communication. Writing skills are important for academic performance as well as performance at work (Stoynoff, 1997; Kellogg & Raulerson, 2007). In education, writing is a means by which students can communicate professionally with instructors and peers, facilitating the conduct of a set of teaching and learning activities (Reigstad, 2008). The importance of writing lies in its extensive use within education and the workplace. In the workplace, college graduates should have effective communication and writing skills so that they are able to manage daily operations, make decisions as well as document and report large amounts of complex information (Jones, 1995).

Of all English language skills, writing remains the most important (Reigstad, 2008), yet difficult skill (Gabrielatos, 2000) for those in the process of picking up a language. This is due to the fact that learners are required to possess a certain degree of pre-existing awareness of the language they are learning such as vocabulary; accurate word and phrase usage; and rhetorical technique with which to persuasively convey information to the reader (Tangpermpoon, 2008). Myles (2002) argued that writing is a complex language skill learned through a process of instruction. Writing requires formal learning through sets of practices in formal instructional settings. First, it is necessary to master the written code as well as certain structures common to the language format, after which it is necessary "...to comprehend how to arrange and order concepts in a certain way so that they may be conceived by a reader who may not be known or nearby" (Byrne, 1988, p. 5). The technique of writing is considered to be a challenge for EFL students as part of the larger process of learning a language, as asserted by Richards and Nunan (1990), and, regarding the opinions of Richards and Renandya (2002) whose challenges exist in; 1) the creation and ordering of concepts through the correct word use, and (2) putting such ideas into intelligible text.

Writing is an important skill that all language learners need to develop as it is not only a means to reinforce grammatical structures, idioms and vocabulary, but it also allows for communication through a different medium requiring the appropriate use of linguistic skills (Eming, 1978). …

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