Clarke, J., Dale, J., Marsden, P., Davies, P., & Durbin, C. (2003). Tackling lower ability students’ writing skills. Teaching Geography, 28(2), 56-59. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23754312
The article outlines various ways in which writing skills can be improved. The first way to not overcrowd the essay, but help the student figure out relevant and to-the-topic points which can then further be explained if needed. Another way it works is by Scaffolding approach, in which the students are provided help (in terms of phrases or words) in the beginning and the help will be reduced over a period of 2 – 3 months.
The article also shows the result of this being implemented in a school in England. However the limitation of this is that the prerequisites of this article is that the students be able to grasp ideas and topics and write. However the lower ability students, in most cases need not have a grasp on language that is expected here.
The article provides another possibility in my research in terms of understanding the effect that Scaffolding has on writing skills. And the researcher can correlate the effects Scaffolding will have to topic.
Macalister, John. (2011). Refreshing a Writing Course. Case Studies in Language Curriculum Design, 114-125.
The chapter focuses on understanding evaluation of curriculum and its importance for a writing course. The chapter first talks about need analysis for developing a curriculum, which should figure out lacks, assess the wants and necessities. The next step is application of principles, where the curriculum needs to focus on giving varied opportunities to write and ample feedback from both instructors and peers. The goal of the curriculum should be to provide input, practice coupled with feedback and reflection. The importance of peer feedback is also mentioned where the system benefits both the reviewer and the writer.
This chapter helps me analyze the writing curriculums that are present in schools to see how and where the importance of topic can be placed with respect to improving writing skills. However a limitation is that this chapter is based on second language learners who are much older. Therefore for my research which intends to study the effect of topic on writing skills, this chapter will not be a well tailored method. However, the idea can be tweaked to be introduced in the research.
Winterowd, W. (1980). Transferable and Local Writing Skills. Journal of Advanced Composition, 1(1), 1-3. Retrieved fromhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/20865459
The article talks about two kinds of skills, local and transferable skills of writing. While local skills deal with the genre of the writing, the transferable skills encompass the basic features and mechanics of writing. Along with his colleague, Betty Bomar, the author believes that Krashen’s theory of second language learning applies to children learning writing skills too, therefore it is important to change the way we look at teaching writing skills. The author believes that while local skills are more or less learned, the transferable skills need to be acquired.
This article plays an important role in defining the basis of my research. I intend to study the way writing skill is taught in a particular grade at a school, or over few different schools, then study the effect of topic-based writing assignments. However, now it is possible for me to outline my research under the two broad categories of ‘local’ and ‘transferable’ skills.
The article works on the need for teachers to understand how to teach writing for children, however the methods are tedious and will not let the teacher focus on anything but writing skills. There is no flexibility as to how to include other skills into this, except for reading. I believe that all 4 LSRW skills should be taught hand-in-hand.
Nation, P. (2011). My Ideal Vocabulary Teaching Course. Case Studies in Language Curriculum Design, 49-62.
Main Argument: Ways to improve vocabulary for students who learn English as a second language
Sub Argument:Learning through meaning-focused method works with extensive reading, where the reading material is at the grade level of the children when the aim is to improve comprehension (Krashen’s i+1 theory) and material is below reading level when focusing on fluency.
Sub Argument: Learning through listening happens when classroom management, like explaination, feedback, assessment, happens only in the medium of English. The words used for such must be of high frequency words.
Sub Argument: Learn Content Matter while learning language, where all subjects are taught via the medium of English. This helps reduce vocabulary load.