Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Study of Correlation between Fluency and Accuracy in Writing Skill of Iranian Intermediate and Advanced Efl Learners

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Study of Correlation between Fluency and Accuracy in Writing Skill of Iranian Intermediate and Advanced Efl Learners

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Writing is a very complex area that causes problems to the majority of students in both the native and the foreign language. Richards (1990) affirms: "the process of moving from concepts, thoughts and ideas to written text is complex; a written text represents the product of a series of complicated mental operations" (p.101). Many English teachers believe grammar and translation are the most important components in English education. In 1960, the books and materials for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) writing instruction were based on audio - lingual principles. In Iran, even to these days, the English classroom relies on the grammar translation and audio-lingual method. Writing is not just writing down the ideas but is how these ideas are presented or expressed effectively. This requires a number of skills like organization in the development of ideas and information; a high degree of accuracy in choosing the right words so that there is no ambiguity of meaning, and also the right use of complex grammatical devices to focus and emphasize ideas. Besides, writing demands the writer to have careful choice of vocabulary and understand grammatical patterns.

Writing is one of the most difficult skills to test because of its complex nature. Many scholars including Harris (1996), Farhady (1980), Mcdonough (1985), Sako (1972), and Wilkinson (1989), assert that there are many elements to be considered in measuring the writing ability. These elements include form, content, grammar, vocabulary, mechanics (including spelling and punctuation), handwriting, accuracy, style, diction, relevance, originality, layout, coherence, cohesion, unity, organization, and logic. By its nature, writing is often a solo activity, done silently, involving physical effort and taking a lot of time. This may not make it attractive to students or teachers as a classroom activity. In addition to this, writing is difficult, even in the first language. There are linguistic, psychological and cognitive problems involved, making teaching and learning it a considerable challenge. Over the years writing skills have been divided to two approaches, direct assessment and indirect assessment. Direct assessments are those in which a composition is evaluated as a whole. Indirect assessments are based on the specific skills in writing through observation of different parts of writing such as grammar and structure and punctuation and so on (Cohen, 1994). With regard to communication activities, writing is also regards as an act of communication which takes places between the writer and the reader in form of text, and If grammatical ability is viewed as an essential component in communicative competence which interacts with other components, then writing is one of the ways of persuading communicative competence to convey thought via text (Olshtain, 1991).

1.1 Review of the related literature

In the 1970s controlled approach to L2 writing was in its heyday. EFL writing classes adopted the audio-lingual method, though which students copied drills and made changes solely in person and tense, and teachers constantly correct grammar mistakes made by students (Reid, 2001). In the early 1980, the guided structural approach emerged in composition instruction. Writing was still language- based, structuring and combining sentences to produce a short piece of discourse (Reid, 2001).

The term audio-lingual approach is used to denote a specific pedagogical orientation which grew out of language-teaching programs for United States military personal during the Second World War. Its basic distinction from the traditional approaches is that language is to be taught as speech rather than as writing and grammar as a living vehicle of communication rather than as a fossilized set of printed rules and paradigms.

Communicative Language Teaching as a broad approach to teaching, rather than as a teaching method with a clearly defined set of classroom practices. …

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