Negotiating Academic Literacies: Teaching and Learning across Languages and Cultures

By Vivian Zamel; Ruth Spack | Go to book overview

"empower students to understand, use, and even invent new forms for new purposes" (p. 26). So, respect for form is encouraged--and necessary if students are to succeed in certain other courses--but flexibility is built into the course to encourage students to respect the composing process as well.


CONCLUSION

It is ironic that the pressure on ESL/English teachers to teach the writing of other disciplines is manifesting itself at precisely the time when influential technological institutes such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are funding programs to increase student exposure to the humanities in an effort to produce more well-rounded, open-minded students. The English composition course is and should be a humanities course: a place where students are provided the enrichment of reading and writing that provoke thought and foster their intellectual and ethical development.

This approach includes exploratory writing tasks that deal with making sense of thoughts and experiences. As Rose ( 1983) reminds us, "making meaning for the self, ordering experience, establishing one's own relation to it is what informs any serious writing" (p. 118). It also includes expository writing tasks that direct students to take an evaluative and analytical stance toward what they read. Each of these processes "makes a crucial contribution to the whole of intellectual activity" ( Zeiger, 1985, p. 457).

Students will mature as writers as they receive invaluable input from numerous classroom experiences and from teachers who are conversant in other disciplines. To initiate students into the academic discourse community, we do not have to change our orientation completely, assign tasks we ourselves cannot master, or limit our assignments to prescribed, rule- governed tasks. We can instead draw on our own knowledge and abilities as we strengthen and expand the knowledge and abilities of our students.


REFERENCES

Applebee A. N. ( 1986). "Problems in process approaches: Toward a reconceptualization of process instruction". In A. R. Petrosky & D. Bartholomae (Eds.), The teaching of writing (pp. 95-113). Chicago: The National Society for the Study of Education.

Bander R. G. ( 1978). American English rhetoric. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Bazerman C. ( 1980). "A relationship between reading and writing: The conversational model". College English, 41,656-661.

Bazerman C. ( 1985). The informed writer: Using sources in the disciplines ( 2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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