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1 A CASE STUDY OF NATIVEENGLISHSPEAKING (NES) INSTRUCTORS TEACHING ENGLISH W RITING IN A UNIVERSITY IN CHINA By QING LIU A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Qing Liu
3 To Junhong & Jingxun
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS There are so many people I want to thank First I want to thank Dr Danling Fu, my dissertation advisor for her consistent encouragement, support, and feedback during the process of my research and dissertation writing She is a great person and a mentor N ot only did she inspire me as I conducted the research, but she also spent time reading my wri ting and sharing insights Her encouragement means so much to me Without her, I could not possibly accomplish thi s academic journey She is most significant person in m y academic, intellectual and personal growth during the past six years in the doctoral program In my heart, she is more than an advisor, but my mentor in life, and my other mother My thanks also goes to my committee members Dr Lamme, Dr Lowery and Dr Shih for their insights, support and understanding on my dissertation whose feedback enlightened my dissertation and was invaluable to me. Dr Shih is a role model to a new researcher like me for his devotion, passion, and diligence towards his research field Dr Lamme and Dr Lowerys enthusiasm in childrens l iterature constantly inspires me as a teacher and a researcher I cannot thank them enough for giving me guidance throughout my teaching of Children s Literaturethe most rewarding teaching experience I had in the United States I am grate ful for all m y teacher participants for allowing me to enter their classrooms I feel very grateful for their cooperation, consideration and support I thank all the student participants for their trust, frank sharing of feelings and thoughts and welcoming me to their campus l ives Without them, my dissertation could not have been completed.
5 I am also very thankful for Dr Marylou Matoush for her generous advice and help in editing Thanks to my study group members: Dr Zhuo Li, Dr Joanne LaFr amenta, Dr Feng Liu, Dr Shih fen Yeh, Dr Patricia Jacobs, Ch u chuan Chi u, Jiyo ung Kim, Dr Roberta Ergle, He Huang, and so many more Your friendship and support made me feel warm during the arduous process of getting the degree. M y sincere thanks also go to Marilyn N. Ochoa at Education L ibrary for her support in finding literature during my doctoral study at UF. I am also thankful for my close friends and my PhD sisters and brothers: Julan Feng, Dr. Tingting Wu, Fangyuan Hua, and Yu min Su who shared my joy, pains, and my growth along the PhD journey They all are like a family to me. I extend m y own special thanks to my family and my extended family M y beloved husband, and my best friend Junhong Zhao, is the one that always listen s and give s me encouragement, trust and support whenever I need it the one who as a writer himself shares with me his writers insights and the one who is always understanding. My thanks go to my parents Zhaohui Xie and Kunxue Liu for their unconditional, unfailing support, love, and patience before and now During my dissertation writing stage, they completely took care of my son so I could fully concentrate on my writing. I am lucky to have them as my parents I am also grateful for having the sweetest sister, Qian Liu, in the world, who always know s how to cheer me up. My son Jingxun Zhao, to who m I gave birth during my PhD study is the most precious gift I ever had, whose angelic smiles mean the world to me His companion ship makes my PhD journey unforgettably rich My thanks also go to my cousin We ndy Teng and her family my parents in law, brothers and sister in law for their caring and love even though we are thousands miles
6 apart The warmth of the big family always encourages me to move forward I could not possibly accompli sh this PhD journey w ithout their love. Last but not the least, I want to extend my gratitude to my former mentor s at Sichuan International Studies University (SISU) and Chongqing University (CQU) at Chongqing, China. My special thanks go to Dr Yuehua Yang at SISU for helping with my data transcription and for being the one who always sees the best in me from college until now She is my role model in every aspect Finally, I thank Prof Weishen Yu at CQU during my graduate studies for his support and encouragement for further study for a higher degree.
7 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................... 11 LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ 12 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ........................................................................................... 13 ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... 14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................... 16 Background of the Study ......................................................................................... 16 Problem Statement ................................................................................................. 18 Purpose of the Study and Significance ................................................................... 21 2 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................... 24 Knowledge Base for Teaching ................................................................................ 24 Writ ing and Writing across Culture ......................................................................... 28 The Nature of Writing ....................................................................................... 28 Writing across Cultures .................................................................................... 29 Studies on NES Instructors in ESL/EFL Field ......................................................... 34 Approaches to ESL Writing Instruction ................................................................... 43 Focused on Form and Current Traditional Rhetoric, 1966Present .................. 43 Focused on Writers, 1976Pre sent ................................................................... 44 Focused on Disciplinary Content and Readers, 1986Present ......................... 46 Focused on Sociopolitical Issues and Critical Pedagogy, 1990Present .......... 47 Major Research in L2 Writing Field ......................................................................... 48 Research on L1 to L2 Transfer ......................................................................... 48 Research on L2 Writers .................................................................................... 50 Research on L2 Writing Context ....................................................................... 52 Su mmary ................................................................................................................ 53 3 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................... 54 Rationale for Qualitative Study ............................................................................... 54 Theoretical Perspective .......................................................................................... 55 Collective Case Study ............................................................................................. 56 Pilot Study ............................................................................................................... 57 Research Site ......................................................................................................... 59 Participants ............................................................................................................. 60
8 The Teachers ................................................................................................... 60 The Students .................................................................................................... 62 Data Collection ....................................................................................................... 62 Interviews ......................................................................................................... 63 Classroom Observations .................................................................................. 65 Artifacts ............................................................................................................ 66 Surveys ............................................................................................................ 67 Data Analysis .......................................................................................................... 67 Trustworthiness of Findings .................................................................................... 72 Credibility .......................................................................................................... 73 Transferability ................................................................................................... 73 Subjectivity Statement ............................................................................................ 74 Ethnical I ssues in the Study .................................................................................... 78 Summary ................................................................................................................ 78 4 SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS .......................................................................... 80 The Setting ............................................................................................................. 80 Writing Instruction for Chinese Students ................................................................. 82 The Student Participants ......................................................................................... 85 NES Instructors at S University ............................................................................... 88 Physical Appearance of the Classrooms ................................................................ 92 Summary ................................................................................................................ 92 5 JACK: TEACHING WRITING WITH A RIGID MODEL ............................................ 94 Jacks Profile ........................................................................................................... 94 Personal and Educational Experience .............................................................. 94 What Brought Jack to S University ................................................................... 94 Beliefs on Teaching EFL Writing ...................................................................... 95 Teaching Style .................................................................................................. 98 Jacks Teaching Characteristics ............................................................................. 99 Stress on SurfaceLevel Writing ..................................................................... 100 Lecturing on techniques and grammar ..................................................... 100 Imposing formatting rules ......................................................................... 103 Writing with Models ........................................................................................ 105 Controlled freshman writing ..................................................................... 105 Less controlled sophomore writing .......................................................... 116 Unconstructive Feedback ............................................................................... 120 Conferring as staying on the right track ................................................... 120 Confusing comments ............................................................................... 123 Summary .............................................................................................................. 128 6 JOHN: TEACHING READING AND LANGUAGE MORE THAN WRITING .......... 130 Johns Profile ........................................................................................................ 130 Personal and Educational Background .......................................................... 130
9 What Brought John to S University ................................................................. 131 Personal Beliefs on Teaching EFL Writing ..................................................... 132 Teaching Style ................................................................................................ 134 Johns Teaching Characteristics ........................................................................... 135 Johns Use of Instructional Time .................................................................... 135 Language and Form Focused in Writing Instruction ....................................... 143 Practice on language and form ................................................................ 143 Focusing on sentence practice ................................................................ 149 Feedback on SurfaceLevel Correctness ....................................................... 152 Unchallenging Writing .................................................................................... 159 Summary .............................................................................................................. 162 7 KEN: TEACHING SKILLS AS THE BASIS OF WRITING ..................................... 165 Ken s Profile .......................................................................................................... 165 Personal Educational Background ................................................................. 165 What Brought Ken to S University .................................................................. 166 Kens Beliefs in Teaching EFL Writing ........................................................... 167 Teaching Style ................................................................................................ 169 Kens Teaching Characteristics ............................................................................ 170 SkillBased Instruction .................................................................................... 170 Teaching skills in isolation ........................................................................ 171 Techniques mismatch students needs .................................................... 176 Framing Writing by Formulas and Principles .................................................. 181 L inguistic Centered Instruction ....................................................................... 187 Summary .............................................................................................................. 188 8 DISCUSSION ....................................................................................................... 192 Factors that Affect the NES Instructors Teaching Effectiveness .......................... 192 Lack of Knowledge in Teaching English Writing ............................................. 192 Focus on linguistic accuracy .................................................................... 193 Lectures over practice .............................................................................. 200 Teaching writing as a controlled process ................................................. 202 Lack of Knowledge in Teaching EFL Students ............................................... 207 Lack of knowledge of the English major students in China ...................... 208 Lack knowledge of the Chinese cultural rhetoric ...................................... 211 Summary .............................................................................................................. 213 9 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS ................................................................. 215 Teaching Writing as a Professional Discipline ...................................................... 215 Implications ........................................................................................................... 219 Closing Remarks .................................................................................................. 222 A PPENDIX A EXAMPLE OF OBSERVATION PROTOCAL ....................................................... 224
10 B GUIDE QUESTIONS FOR INTERVIEWS ............................................................. 225 C LETTER TO PARTICIPANTS ............................................................................... 226 D SURVEY FOR STUDENTS .................................................................................. 227 E SURVEY F OR NES INSTRUCTORS ................................................................... 229 F DATA CODING SAMPLE ..................................................................................... 232 G CODING TRAIL .................................................................................................... 234 H SAMPLE OF TEAC HER HANDOUTS .................................................................. 237 LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................. 245 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 266
11 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 University names and participant numbers ......................................................... 57 3 2 Teacher informants ............................................................................................. 61 3 3 Student informants ............................................................................................. 62 3 4 Observation time summary ................................................................................. 65 4 1 Class hours of the NES instructors ..................................................................... 89 6 1 Writing and reading assignments in Johns classes ......................................... 135 6 2 Skills taught in John s classes .......................................................................... 149 7 1 Skills taught in Kens classes ............................................................................ 171
12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3 1 Map of the participating universities ................................................................... 58 3 2 Flowchart of data analysis .................................................................................. 68 3 3 Visual representation from individual case to a common pattern........................ 71 4 1 Physical appearance of the classrooms ............................................................. 93 5 1 Jacks typical comments on a students writing ................................................ 129 6 1 Time distribution for Johns writing classes ...................................................... 136 8 1 NES instructors ineffective English writing instruction ..................................... 193 8 2 The writing cycle by the NES instructors .......................................................... 203 8 3 The flow of writing process ............................................................................... 204 8 4 Writing in EFL context ...................................................................................... 207
13 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS College English Test Band 4 (CET 4) is national English test in the Peoples Republic of China. The test include s listening, reading and writing sections The CET is mandatory for university students in China, who are not English majors It is also a prerequisite for a bachelor's degree. Many employers in China prefer applicants with CET certification See more on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_English_Te st English as a Foreign Language (EFL) English is used or taught to nonnative speakers in environm ents where English is not the common language or the official language. EFL learners may hear very litt le English outside the classroom. English Language Learners ( ELL ) refers to students whose first language is not English. English as Second Language (ESL) English is used by speakers in a predominantly English speaking environment but whose first language or home language is not English. For example, like nonEnglish speaking immigrants to the U.K., Canada, or the U.S. First Language (L1) (also native language, mother tongue, arterial language) is the language(s) a person has learned from birth, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity Second Language (L2) the language a person knows, is learning or is acquiring in addition t o their first language. Native English Speak er (NES) refers to those people that come from Englishsp eaking countries such as the United Kingdom Australia Canada, New Zealand, and the United States and speak English as their first or home language.
14 Abstr act of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy A CASE STUDY OF NATIVEENGLISHSPEAKING (NES) INSTRUCTORS TEACHING ENGLISH WRITING IN A UNIVERSITY IN CHINA By Qing Liu August 2012 Chair: Danling Fu Major: Curriculum and Instruction Written English, as a way of communication in the globalized world, plays an increasingly important role in China. However, English instruction in China is still at the beginning stage and many instructors are unprepared to teach English writing. Therefore, native English speaking (NES) instructors are hired to teach English writing. As an increasing number of NES instructors are teaching English in China, a growing number of studies report issues, problems, and unsatisfactory results in NES instructors classes. There are few studies about NES instructors teaching of English writing specifically A deeper understanding of NES English writing instructors is urgently needed. This study explor es the pedagogical approaches adopted by NES instructors and examines the possible issues and problems. T h is classroom based case study was conducted in a southern Chinese univer sity Grounded in a C onstructive paradigm, the study included participants of t hree NES instructors and 27 Chinese students Data w ere collected over a period of 18 weeks of classroom observations, formal and informal interviews, surveys and artifacts Ad ditionally, s even NES instructors who t aught English writing in six other Chinese universities all over China were surveyed as a supplementary data source. Methods
15 derived from both Merriam's (1998) within case and cross case analysis and Corbin and Straus s' (1990) grounded theory informed the data analysis It is a widely held myth that all native English speaking language instructor s are capable of teaching English writing (Li, 2009) T he study raises questions regarding the criteria of hiring English writing instructors in Chinese universities Teaching English writing, like teaching other subjects, is a professional discipline that requires well trained and knowledgeable instructors The study indicates that the NES instructors generally treated teaching writing as language instruction. They stressed student s linguistic accuracy instead of composition, lecture over practice, and treated writing as a controlled process They did not respond to the students specific needs while they wrote, n or direct s tudents to make their language more effective through the process of revision Consequently, the students learned a minimum number of skills that they could apply in their future writing. The study indicated that NES instructors hired for their native language abilities may not be well prepared to teach English writing or be aware of the literacy knowledge rooted in rhetorical traditions that students bring with them This study has significant implications for understanding the expertise of expatriate NES instructors, for selecting qualified NES writing instructors and properly supporting them once they have been hired, and it suggest s the need for more research on expatriate NES writing instructors
16 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background of the Study In the past thirty years, English has become the most popular foreign language in China Currently, over 300 million Chinese people learn English (Zhang, 2008) Gray (2000) stated, The study of English is extremely popular in China. Language schools are flourishing in the big cities. Chinese TV and radio have daily English language program s. T here are now more foreign experts teaching Engli sh in the country than ever before ( p.1) S tudents in China start to learn English in the third grade as a mandatory subject and continue to study it through college I t is also one of three required core subject s in College Entrance Examination (CEE ), a critical exam that has a life changing impact on Chinese students English competence leads to promotion, better paying jobs, better business, overseas study and travel opportunities However, the fast increasing English learning population results in a shortage of teachers of English in China According to the Chinese M inistry of Education (MOE) (2010) statistics regarding English instructors and enrolled college students at Chinese universities indicate that the teacher and student ratio is over 1:13 0 Qualified English teachers are highly in demand at all school levels This great need for English instructors opens a big job market for n ative English speaking (NES) instructors to teach English in China By the year 2007, there we re totally 10,141 ins tructors from other countries teaching at u niversities in China ( The M inistry of Education, 2007) T he number would be much higher if teachers hired for kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools, as well as various private language schools were taken into account There were also many part time NES instructors that were not included.
17 NES instructors have a long history of being involv ed in English education in China since 1862 (Porter, 1987) They were thought to have an advantage in that they speak fluent English and know Western culture (Li, 2009) H owever, studies on NES teachers instruction revealed that NES teachers did not achieve the anticipated results B afflement, tension, and even resistance were frequently reported in the English cla sses taught by NES teachers ( Chen, 2008; Ferguson, 2005; Gingerich, 2004; Jiang, 2001; Klein, 2004; Li & Fan, 2007; Li, 2009; Matalene, 1985; Tang & Absalom, 1998; Simpson 2008) Li and Fan (2007) discover ed that there were severe mismatches in communicat ion styles between NES teacher s and Chinese students due to their different cultural backgrounds Matelene (1985) revealed that rhetoric differences between Chinese and English resulted in miscommunications between NES instructor and Chinese students Beside s cultural and rhetorical differences, other factors such as NES instructor s learning and teaching experience (Klein, 2004), teacher s knowledge (Klein 2004; Gingerich, 2004), and teacher s belief and expectations ( Jiang, 2001; Matalene, 1985; Tang & Absalom, 1998) influenced the efficacy of NES instructors instructional results There are many reasons that NES instructors are hired to teach in Chinese universities: to form a bridge between Chinese and foreign universities in teaching and research, to boost the host university s international image, to compensate for teacher shortages (Porter, 1990), and to fill knowledge gaps in certain subject s (Mahoney, 1990) NES teachers vary significant l y in terms of their personal, educational, instructional, professional, cultural, and religious backgrounds. S ome universities fill in English teaching positions with unqualified native English speakers as instructors who
18 agree for lower wages or the s pouses of NES who may not have any English teaching background or teaching experience (Li, 2009) Researchers ( Li 2009; Porter, 1990) o bserved that an infl ux of unqualified NES instructors leads to undesirable results of English instruction by NES instructors in Chinese universi ties The lack of qualification s in teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners coupled with cultural, linguistic, and pedagogical differences between NES instructors and their students causes many issues and problems Problem Statement To keep up with the fast pace of the country s economic development, the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) revised the Chinese college English curriculum in 1995, 1999, 2004 and 2007 r espectively In the 1995 college English curriculum, cross cultural communication competence in both oral and written form was emphasized; hence, the teaching of English writing became a part of English curriculum English writing turned into a significant part in CET 4 ( College English Test band 4) that all Chinese college students must take and pass in order to receive a bachelors degree. I n the last two editions of the N ational C ollege English C urriculum, three levels of language proficiency were definedthe basic level, the intermediate level and the advanced level (The Ministry of Education 2004, 2007) C ollege graduates need to reach at least the basic level In some universities in big cities, college students are required to reach the advanced level in order to fi nd a good job. In terms of the advanced level writing, students need to be able to express their opinions in written form fluently, and be able to know how to use reference books to write well organized reports or articles in their subject areas (College English Curriculum 2007, p.12)
19 For English majors, English writing as an independent discipline began in the 1980s (You, 2004) English writing requirements for English major students are higher than those for college graduates in general, as they are more likely to use English writing to achieve their professional and academic success as English teachers, journalists, or in pursuit of a further degree. English major students need to be fluent writers who need to write a research report in English to graduate. In addition, there is an exit exam TEM (Test for English Majors) specifically for English majors, in which they need to write a well developed essay of about 500 words T he requirement s for English writing competence in the exit exam by MOE appear to have pressure on colleges to put English writing instruction in a n important place. Effective writing instruction is urgently needed in China, especially for English major students. However, English writing instruction in the current Chinese coll ege English curriculum is underdeveloped. The prevalent methodology for English teaching in China is a grammar translation approach with a small group using the audiolingual or communicative approaches (Xu, 1989; Zhang, 2008) English writing play s an ins ignificant role in all the three approaches (Xu, 1989) To prepare students for highstake tests, Chinese English instructors tend to teach students to write in fiveparagraph style (He, 2009) W riting for communicative and authentic purposes i s rare C urrent English writing instruction by no means prepares Chinese students enough to use written English as a communication tool in the globalized world. Although China has a long history of English instruction, the teaching of English writing is relative ly new at Chinese universities and is still at a beginning stage. Because of a lack of English writing instruction, most Chinese students struggle to write in
20 English A ccording to IELT (International English Language Testing System) official statistics, Chin ese students English writing ability is by far below average and ranked among the last few internationally ( IELT, 2009) Xu (1993) reported that Chinese students who now study science and engineer ing in the United Stat es have almost no English writing experience and have not been taught how to write in English throughout their educational career T eachers of English in China were not prepared to teach English writing. R esearchers showed that Chinese teachers of English found teaching English writing to be challenging ( He 2009; Xu, 1993) because they n either learned to write in English n or trained to teach English writing in their education. As a result there is a shortage of qualified English writing teachers in China. Chinese universities have to hire NES to solve the problem Usually NES are hired on the bas is of their perceived ability to teach listening and speaking. However, with the demand for English writi ng teachers, they as gapfillers are also assigned to teach English writing M ore NES will be hired to teach English writing as g overnment requirements and highst akes English test s such as CEE, CET and TEM continue. According to a few studies ( Arndt 1987; Li, 2009; Matalene, 1985; You 2006) some issues and tensions have been reported in expatriate NES instructors English writing classes Chinese students complained that they had learned nothing from NES instructors writing classes and were not satisfied wit h the NES instructor s qualifications to teach English writing (Li, 2009) In turn, NES instructors complained about Chinese students poor English language and writing skills and f ound that Chinese students lacked knowledge of academic writing, rhetoric al traditions and structures when writing
21 in English ( Arndt, 1987; You, 2006) Few researchers studied the reasons that caused the unsatisfactory results in NES instructors writing classes. Although there is a large body of literature on expatriate NES ins tructors teaching experiences overseas, research on NES instructors teaching English writing is sporadic Among a few reports on NES instructors English writing instruction, most are based on personal teaching experience ( Jiang, 2001; Gingerich, 2004; Li & Fan, 2007; Mckay, 1992; Simpson 2008; Slethaug, 2007; Tang & Absalom 1998) These reports have provided insights and suggestions on EFL writing taught from the NES instructors perspective, but did not provide sufficient evidence for an understanding of NES writing instructors teaching approaches In addition, m ost of the research on NES instructors in crosscultural studies did not include the perceptions of the students (Archer 1986; Jiang, 2001; Li & Fan, 2007; Matalene, 1985; Mckay, 1992; Simpson 2008; Slethaug, 2007; Tang & Absalom 1998) Shi (2001) suggested that more studies are needed to examine how Chinese students respond to NES teacher s writing instruction This study of expatriate NES instructors as well as their students i n English wri ting cl asses intends to fill this ga p. Both student s and NES teachers voic es are included in the study thereby contributing to a holistic understanding of English writing classes conducted by NES instructors Purpose of the Study and S ignificance After conducting a pilot study and literature review on NES teaching in China, I believe that there i s a need to explore how NES instructors teach English writing in depth in China
22 Growing out of the issues and problems reported in previous studies on NES instructors English classes and my initial contacts with several NES English writing instructors, th is study seeks to answer two questions: 1. How do expatriate NES instructors teach English writing at a Chinese university? 2. If there were problems or issues in their teaching, what would they be? And what contributes to the problems and issues? This study is designed to investigate what is going on in English writing classes that are taught by NES instructors at a Chinese university through instructors and students perspectives The purpose of the study is to delve into the English writing classrooms of NES instructors in a Chinese university in order to develop a deeper understanding of the issues and problems that may exist. As an increasing number of NE S instructors are hired to teach at all levels of schools, a better and deeper understanding of their teaching behaviors is needed. This study is among one of the first studies to explore expatriate NES instructors English writing instruction in China and in the EFL writing field. Hopefully, a study of issues and problems will contribute to a theoretical foundation for hiring NES instructors to teach English writing in nonEnglish speaking countries T he research will provide insights and implications for host universities to consider with regard to their criteria for hiring and support of NES instructors at Chinese universities as well as in other non Eng lish speaking countries The study also br ings up Chinese English writing instruction to English sp eaking countries and enriches the EFL writing field.
23 T his study helps NES instructors understand students with various language and cultural backgrounds and facilitate s their teaching efficacy T his study provides NES instructors who teach writing overseas a window to understanding the situation and what needs to be done to teach effectively in such settings Recognizing that due to the high demand for learning English, China will continue to be a job market attracting nativeEnglish speakers to teach in China. A s cultural boundaries in teaching and learning are crossed with increasing frequency this type of study has implications for studying NES instructors in other fields such as business tourism or other disciplines that people with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds are hired to teach. As China increases its role in the international community, English writing will continue to be emphasized at Chinese schools and universities The study may shed light in the research field of EFL writing instruction in a global context, as English has become the international language and English writing has taken on the center stage in the information era of the 21st century transnationally
24 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter serves as a background to understand the NES (Native English Speaking) instructors English writing inst ruction at Chinese universities D iscussions include the scholarship of teaching, writing, writing cross cultures and globalization, resear ch on NES instructors in the ESL/EFL (English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language) writing field major approaches to teach ESL writing, and major research in L2 writing. Knowledge Base for T eaching When discuss ing teaching and learning, educators usually start with the knowledge base of teachers ( Gingerich 2004; Grossman, 1990; Shulman, 1986a, 1986b, 1987) Shulman, a frequently cited researcher proposes that teacher knowledge should include knowledge of content, knowledge of pedagogy, knowledge of curriculum, knowledge of learners and learning, knowledge of contexts of schooling, pedagogical content knowledge, and knowledge of educational philosophies, goals and objectives Grossman (1990) studied many models and concluded that four types of knowledge are essential in a teachers knowledge base: general pedagogical knowledge, subject matter knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and knowledge of context. Types of T eacher K nowledge According to Shulman (1986a), general pedagogical knowledge encompasses a body of general knowledge related to teaching, such as knowledge on teaching and learning, on learners, knowledge of general principles of instruction, knowledge and skills of classroom management and belief s about education.
25 S ubject mat ter knowledge includes knowledge of syntactic structures of the discipline, knowledge of content such as the major facts and concepts within the field and their relationship, and the substantive structure or the understanding of the cannons of evidence and proof within a discipline or how the field is organized. Grossman claimed that W ithout knowledge of the structures of a discipline, teachers may misrepresent both the content and the nature of the discipline itself (1990, p. 7) In current study, subjec t matter knowledge refers to knowledge on writing. Pedagogical content knowledge refers to the knowledge specific to teaching in a certain discipline. Shulman (1987 ) defined it as ways of representing and formulating the subject that make it comprehensibl e to others (p. 9) T here are four components of pedagogical content knowledge: knowledge and beliefs about the purpose of teaching a subject ; knowledge of students understanding, conceptions and misconceptions toward topics in a subject ; knowledge of cur riculum materials available for teaching a subject ; and knowledge of instructional strategies to teach particular topics in a subject (Grossman, 1990) Pedagogical content knowledge also includes : An understanding of what makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult; the conceptions and preconceptions that students of different ages and backgrounds bring with them to the learning of those most frequently taught topics and lessons ( Shulman, 1987, p.910) Pedagogical content knowledge in this study of EFL writing refers to knowledge on how to teach ESL/EFL writing. T eachers need to know the local context K nowledge of context includes knowledge of students, their needs, backgrounds, motivat ions, the school culture, departmental goals, local culture, and other factors related to classroom instruction at
26 school level and dis trict level (Grossman, 1990) They need to have the ability to adapt the above knowledge to a specific teaching context a nd to localize their teaching. Factors Influencing Teacher Knowledge There are many factors influence teachers knowledge. In higher education, it is widely accepted that teachers learn about teaching from their own teaching (Boice, 1992) Other studies show that teachers knowledge is also generated from personal experience (Bailey, Curtis & Nunan 2001) such as their past experience as classroom students and their language learning in teacher education programs What teachers know about teaching comes from their years of experience as students watching and imitating their teachers instructional behaviors and content In fact, Borg (2004) found teachers previous learning experience have a stronger effect than other factors such as a teacher education program It has also been found that language teachers who learned a second/foreign language successfully can contribute to their ESL/EFL language instruction, no matter whether their learning experience w as formal or informal (Johnson, 1999) According to Johnson, the learning experience leaves powerful im prints on teachers (p.34) According to Richards and Lockhart ( 1994), teachers accumulate knowledge from: 1) their own experience as language learners ; 2) experience regarding what works best ; 3) establ ished practice; 4) personality factors ; 5) educationally based or researchbased principles ; and 6) principles derived from an approach or method. Researchers also added that teacher beliefs are constantly changing, developing, and in the process of being refined (Bodur, 2003; Ferguson, 2005; Richardson, 2003) In this study, an
27 investigation of the NES instructors pedagogical knowledge and beliefs will be conducted for a deeper understanding of the factors influencing their instruction. In teaching writing writing teachers knowledge could be affected by their knowledge of composition, pervious learning experiences, especially experiences when learning to write, teacher education or principles they have learned pertaining to the teaching of writing, obser vations of instruction and instructional approaches, their personalities, personal and teaching experiences, the local teaching context, and academic journals and conferences on teaching writing Knowledge drawn from those sources should match the knowledge required for teaching a discipline. For example, a wellprepared instructor who taught a discipline successfully in one place could fail in a new teaching context if unable to adapt to local needs A profession can only be judged by the established standards of expertise in that discipline NES instructors, like all teachers, should have the abovementioned knowledge base for successful instruction. In the EFL teaching context in China, it is possible that NES instructors who do not have a sufficient knowledge base in a discipline like writing have been assigned to teach it due to the preference for hiring native language speakers, not specifically for their knowledge of writing, but instead based upon their oral language abilities Further, diversity among NES instructors, the complexity of local teaching context, and miscommunication may compound any insufficient knowledge base. Shulman (1987) claimed that the knowledge base of teaching must be clarified and articulated if teaching is a profession.
28 Writing and Writing across Culture The N ature of W riting What is writing? Why do people write? How do people write? A full understanding of the nature of writing, the purposes for writing, and the writing process does not guarantee successful teaching of writing, but it is highly necessary It helps provide a deep understanding of the problems involving students writing There are various lenses used to look at writing. From a psycholingu istic lens, writing is a language production process which involves complex mental activities and is hard to capture and describe through experimental studies (Angelova, Gunawardena, & Volk, 2006) Although speak ing is also a language production activity, Emig advocated that writing tends to be learned initially only with the aid of formal and systematic instruction (Emig, 1997, p.8) According to Vygotsky (1992), writing is considerably more conscious and is produced more deliberately than oral speech and requires a deliberate structuring of the web of meaning (p.182) Unlike speakers who have the help of intonation, gestures and facial expressions, writers must activate a whole range of mental activities as they rely upon lexical, grammatical and rhetorical cues as well as awareness of readers expectations From a cognitive perspective, writing production involves the task environment, the composing processor and the writers cognition (Flower & Hayes, 1981) T he t ask environment refers to factors outside the writers skin, starting with the rhetorical problem or assignment and eventually including the growing text itself (p.369) The composing processor involves generating ideas, organizing informati on, and setting writing goals The writers cognition includes the knowledge the writer knows about the subject or topic, the audience, and writing skills (Flower & Hayes, 1981)
29 Writing also has social meaning. People write to learn, to describe and therefore to see, to speak and therefore to hear, to entertain, to inform, to persuade, to celebrate, to attack, to call attention, to think, to make money, to promote, to advocate, to connect, to relate, to make, to share (Murray, 1985, p.8) depending on audiences, purposes and occasions But writing a shopping list is less mentally demanding than writing an academic paper because the writer of an academic paper needs to combine structural sentence units into a moreor less unique, cohesive, and coherent larger structure (Grabe & Kaplan, 1996, p.4) Writing an academic paper is a knowledgetransforming activity tha t requires indepth analysis of a subject (Leki, 1992 ) Thus, text production is not only affected by a writers rhetoric, linguistic and s ubject knowledge, but also by whom and for what the product is written. In general, the above lenses suggest that a writer s performance is under the influence of many elements including cognitive, linguistic and social factors, as well as the ability to manage and manipulate all variables in the process of producing a text If students are aware of the elements involvedmetacognition of text production (Flower, 1996) they will be more likely to communicate successfully in written text; meanwhile, if writ ing instructors are aware of the variables involved in writing production, they will be more likely to facilitate students communications successfully Writing across C ultures L earning to write in another language is challenging. Writers not only need to write linguistically acceptable but also culturally acceptable text Chinese students often report feel ing f rustrated when writ ing in English (Matalene, 1985) Leki (1992) noted that cultures evolve writing styles appropriate to their own histories and the needs of their societies (p.90) Learning to write in English as a second or foreign language is far
30 more complicated than putting linguistic symbols on paper in a grammatical ly acceptable way; it involves a meaning neg otiation process between a writer and readers with different historical and cultural backgrounds It is an acculturation process H ow people organiz e ideas in writing is closely connected with their cultural background or t he way logical and rational people think in that culture. For ex ample, i n the United State wellorganized essays and oral speech share features, such as opening a paragraph with a topic sentence and an essay beginning with a thesis statement ( Lustig & Koester, 1999) T he topic sentence and thesis statement need to be clear and straightforward S tudents are also taught to provide concrete evidence to support the topic sentence in each paragraph and present ideas logically and clearly Other cultures also have their own culturally embedded rhetoric al conventions Kaplan describ ed the preferred organizational style among Japanese a s present ing ideas indirectly In Japanese writing, theme is buried in paragraphs (Kaplan, 1966) I f a Japanese student writes an English essay t he same way as he/she writes in Japanese, he/she probably will get comments such as lacks organization or poor development of ideas from NES instructors From the instructors perspective, Li (1996) argued, each teacher has his/her own values, educational philosophy aesthetic taste, and literacy backgroundall these affect their evaluation of students writing W hen evaluating the writing by students of a different culture and first language, NES instructors are likely to rely on their own cultural preference and potentially create miscommunication between the instructor and the students. Matalene (1985) referring to her past teaching experience, revealed that although her Chinese students had a good command of English they wr o te in a bizarre way
31 too clich too indirect and too formulaic Li (1996) also reveal ed different criteria that American and Chinese teacher s hold with regard to good writing. By interviewing experienced language arts teachers from China and the United States, Li ( 1996) argued that the concept of good writing is socially, politically and historically embedded in each culture. I t is very likely that w riting teacher s do not know how to fully appreciate students writing that is generated from a different cultur al background (Fu, 1997; Fu & Townsend, 1998) According to Li (1996) the Chinese teachers valued and were moved by a Chinese narrative writing with qing ( feelings, sentiments, passion, love, emotional appeal of a piece of writing) Although, Qing is valued by Chinese, Confucius believed that good writing should have both qing and wen ( qing wen bing mao, strong in both language and feeling), especially when writing about a person, an art or a scene. On the other hand, the American teachers in Lis study often felt that the Chinese students writing was too sentimental Further more Chinese teachers think the essential components of good writing consist at least four parts: introduction ( ), development ( ), transition () and closure ( ) while the American teachers prefer red perfect logic and an opening that leads the reader immediately to the action (Li, 1996, p.126) I n the crosscultural English writing classroom, it is necessary that native Englishspeaking instructors understand what good writing is in their students culture as well as in their own Writing in r etrospect about her English writing teaching experiences in China in 1980s, Matalene (1985) found that what she first thought illogic al in her Chinese students English writing was actually highly logic al, if looked at from Chinese rhet oric al
32 perspective S he also discovered that the four characters phrase, the old sayings, and the poetic language that her Chinese students favor ed in their English compositions reveal s the Chinese students good command of Chinese literary skills and their intention to make a composition vivid and beautiful What Western instructors may perceive as a lack of individuality and originalit y denotes a respect to the history, tradition, and authority, as well as the maintenance of social harmony by conforming to the longestablishe d rules of rhetoric (Matalene, 1985) Kaplan defined rhetoric as the method of organizing syntactic units into larger patterns (1967, p .4) After analyzing students writing, he concluded that students L2 writing failed to meet the expectation of nati ve speakers due to a heavy interference of students L1 to L2 textual organization. Thus, he called for incorporating insights of contrastive rhetoric research into teaching of L2 writing. However, r esearcher s have found that contrastive rhetoric might have limited, if not negative, contributions to L2 writing if instructors only focus on teaching students the right English features of a piece of writing without regard for local rhetorical patterns (Matsuda, 1997) Despite this culturebased crit icism, contrastive rhetoric still maintains some influences upon L2 writing instruction. C ulture also influence s how instructors teach and evaluate students writing. G ood writing in Chinese should show a clear inheritance of the ancient writing style and knowledge from canonical books T hus, to honor the rich Chinese literary history, Chinese teachers usually teach the classic writing models and writing skills used by the ancestors and students memorize the models and write by choosing an appropriate model (Li, 1996) W hile in American classrooms, personal history and life experience
33 are valued, and good writing means originality, creativity and individuality (Fu, 1997) American teachers teach students to use fresh language to explore their own thinking and experiences In contrast, Chinese students are taught to write with wellknown citations while American students are taught to write by avoiding the clich American and Chinese people also perceive writing and the writing teacher di fferently (Li 1 996) W riting in the Chinese tradition is for educating people and molding people s mind (Li 1996, p.90) and thus good writing should contain social and moral value. For example, the Chinese teachers in Lis (1996) study appreciated the inclusions of moral imperatives in the students writing, such as fighting selfishness or honoring elder s with revolutionary experience. Teaching writing in China is meant to transform knowledge from the past and serve as : A link between the past and students to form an unbroken chain that stretches as far back as three thousand years to offer guidance when students stray from the right track t o demonstrate to students the right way (Li 1990, p.96) However, the American teachers in Lis study valued the exploration and expression of self in their students writing. T hose t eachers pushed students to compose with natural language, to find their individual voices rather than seeking social significance or to adhere to the past in their work T hose t eachers serve d as facilitator s to encourage student writers to think on their own. Two different theories, k nowledge transm ission in the traditional Chinese education and knowledge transaction in the progressive American education, undergirded the teaching o f writing in these two cultures From psycholinguistic, cognitive, socio cultural and crosscultural lenses, writing in a second or a foreign language is complex because there are many aspects to pay
34 attention to. In order for NES to be effective EFL writing instructors they need to be actively aware of all that is involved. Studies on NES Instructors in ESL/EFL Field There is a large amount of literature documenting NES teachers teaching experience s. Chomsky (1986) advocated for native speakers as idealized speaker hearer s; native English speaker s (NES) became models of English, and goals of English language learners became the emulation of those speakers Many studies compared and contrasted teaching effectiveness between NES instructors with local instructors their self perceptions, status, roles, and attitudes of students toward these teachers ( Cao Ngoc, 2009; Lin, 1999; Luk & Lin, 2007; Medgyes, 1986, 1994; Nayar, 1997; Rampton, 1990; Tajino & Tajino, 2000 ; Widdowson, 1994) Studies show that native English speakers are preferred among EFL students ( Jin, 2005; Li, 2009; Porter, 1990; Rampton, 1995; Widdowson, 1993) However, r esearch on NES instructors also indicated that NES instructors as the ideal English instructors is disputable ( Barratt & Kontra, 2000; Li & Fan, 2007; Luk & Lin, 2007; Seidlhofer 1999) NES instructors NES instructors are believed to serve a catalytic role in English instruction in nonEnglish speaking countries (Li, 2009) L earning from them is supposed to be ideal and beneficial Jin (2005) reported that in choosing English teachers Chinese students reported a high preference for native English speaking instructors who they believe could enhance their confidence and motivation to communicate with native speaker s. Other studies also found that NES instructors are popular in EFL classes ( Li, 2009; Porter, 1990; Rampton, 1995; Widdowson, 1993) Studies showed that despite the issues and problems resulting from differences between teaching and learning styles
35 and habits betw een NES instructors and their EFL students expatriate NES instructors are preferred and are associated with high expectations of quality instruction ( Li, 2009; Rampton, 1993; Ross, 1993; Widdowson, 1994) Whether NES instructors are better than NNES ( n onn ative English speaking) instructors is not a topic of this study However, according to comparative studies, there are advantages and disadvantages in hiring NES as language instructors in EFL context Medgyes (1986) claimed that NES instructors have advantages over NNES instructors in terms of language use Benke and Medgyes (2005) found that NES instructors taught conversational English with higher proficiency and motivated students to speak more frequently NES instructors were also perceived to be f riendlier and more i nformal than NNES instructors Li and Fan (2007) f ound that the teaching style of NES teachers and the learning styles of Chinese u niversity students who major ed in English were incongruent: Chinese student s prefer analytic imagery a concrete and reflective style of learning, while NES teachers prefer a global, verbal, and abstract way of teaching. Seidlhofers study (1999) on Australian teachers self perception of NNES instructors indicated that NES instructors lack ed the same foreign language learning experience as their L2 students and thus have less empathy towards the difficulties L2 students face, thus guide d students less effectively when compared with NNES instructors Luk and Lin (2007) found NES instructors in Hong Kong assig ned topics that were less relevant t o local students daily lives, therefore the students responded less actively to their instruction than in NNES instructors classes. From the students perspective, there are also positive and negative attitudes towards NES instructors Barratt and Kontra (2000) conducted a combined study from
36 Hungary and China. They reported that both students and teachers in the two countries have positive and negative attitudes toward NES instructors The students and teachers value t he NES instructors authenticity in pronunciation, knowledge of vocabulary, information usage, friendly demeanor, enthusiasm and sociability Meanwhile, negative comments included lack of teaching experience, as well as unfamiliarity with learners language, the host culture, and the educational system Chinese students specifically mentioned NES instructors inadaptability in teaching and lack of awareness regarding the learners needs. Cheung (2002) found students in Hong Kong appreciate d the NES instructors language proficiency, fluency and cultural knowledge, but the students also reported that the instructors professional skills, such as knowledge of the subject they teach, preparation, and the ability to make lessons interesting and mot ivating we re more important than language skills Ferguson (2005) also found that L2 learners perceived NES as not necessarily better than NNES and found that L2 learners were concerned more about whether instructors taught what should be included in the l anguage classroom than their nativeness Studies on students perceptions toward NES and NNES instructors (BruttGriffler & Samimy, 1999) showed that adult students with higher educational l evels did not necessarily think NES instructors were superior; ins tead, they were concerned about whether NES or NNES instructors had adequate teaching skills to help them achieve their goals Medgyes (1999) compared NES and NNES instructors teaching behaviors and found that teachers qualifications and teaching experience rather than language proficiency we re more critical to teac h ing
37 In cross cultural classrooms, communication gaps are unavoidable due to cultural differences Lustig and Koester (1999) stated that differences in cross cultural classrooms include th e rules for participation, turntaking, classroom discipline and management and other pedagogical approaches For example, r esearchers (Archer 1991; M ckay, 1992) report ed that NES instructors were annoyed that students in Japan or China interrupt ed when they we re late for the class T hey might knock on the door and interrupt the teacher by explaining why they were late, seeking the teachers permission to enter the class They also reported that Japanese students were not used to group work and collaboration and did not like to speak up publicly or shar e much i nformation with them S ome studies show ed that NES instructors viewed Chinese students as reticent in the classroom, as afraid to make mistakes, and as shy about speak ing in public (Harvey 1985; Hu, 1995; Magner 1974) Jiang (2001) also hypothesized the culture bumps such as exchanging of greetings or handling classroom behaviors, were encountered by NES teachers due to differing assumptions about teaching and learning. Tang and Absalom ( 1998 ) warned NES teachers who teach in Asia to realize the differences in philosophy of teaching and learning, the role expectations for the teacher, the traditional ways of teaching, and thus the transplant ation of Western pedagogies to teaching local students should be modified. C ultural understanding is necessary for NES instructors to work comfortably and effectively in the local teaching context Myth of NES instruc tional Expertise NES instructors employed in nonEnglish speaking countries have been given an idealized role (Li, 2009) In China, as a title foreign experts for NES suggests, they are
38 believed to possess the desired knowledge to transfer to English language learners Their authority in language teaching wa s based on the assumption of the primary relevance of linguistic rather than pedagogical expertise (Widdowson, 1993, p.265) NES instructors have been given more privileges than Chinese teachers in the form of free holiday trips, free accommodations, large offices, and comparatively high salaries (Ross, 1993) The high status, privileges and trust given to NES instructors by Chinese universities possibly enhanced a misconception among foreign teachers themselves that t hey were authorities in language teaching and have the answers to all language teaching problems (Oatey, 1990) These special privileges prevented NES instructors from making easy contact with Chinese colleagues and students and is olated them socially (Li, 2009) Nayar (1989) suggested that NES instructors superiority might be derived from an assumption that they might carry the key s to wealth and prosperity as enjoyed by those in more developed and powerful English speaking countries NES instructors often t aught Engl ish proudly using their Western teaching methods and expect ed L2 students to accept their methods without reservation because the methods were imported from more developed countries to less developed countries (Orton, 1990) Orton (1990) said that expatriate NES teachers often assumed that they were there to pass on to a receptive group the knowledge and skills from their own professional milieu (p.18) and they were always right; if something went wrong, L2 learners were at fault Researchers found that due to idealized role of native speakers, NES teachers with little or no training have been assigned to teach English in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Thailand (Brutt Griffler & Samimy, 2001; Jenkins, 2006; Li, 2009;
39 Seidlhofer, 1999) Significantly, Rampton (1995) pointed out that expertise in language instruction wa s what you know instead of where you c a me from. He suggested that : 1) expertise is different from identification; 2) expertise is learned, not fixed or innate; 3) expertise is relative; 4) expertise is partial; and 5) to achieve expertise, one needs to go through processes of certification, which will be judged by others whose standards of assessment can be reviewed and disputed ( Rampton, 1995, p. 340341) NES instructors may perform badly in their teaching in comparison to those NNES instructors who have a rich knowledge of English and teaching skills gained in lengthy university education. To sum up, NES instructors have been perceived both positively and negatively by EFL students S tudies (Medgyes 1994; Shi, 2001) found that the biggest difference distinguish ing them wa s their language proficiency However, teaching skills, teaching experience, qualifications, expertise in the subject they teach, and familiarity with local cultural and educational context instead of nativeness are critical when NES instructors teach English. M ost studies conducted on NES instructors were on teaching English in general Few specifically pertain to teaching English writing or the actual performance of NES instructors when teaching English writing in an EFL context Furthermore, a m ajority of the studies on NES instructors are not fieldbased and there is scant empirical evidence about their actual teaching. Whether NES teachers make good writing instruct ors is worthy of study, as w hat actually goes on in NES instructors English writing classrooms is largely unexplored. Whose English?
40 Since the TESOL conference in 1996 ( Teach ers of English to Speakers of Other Languages ), the issue of NES instructors has provoked extended debate in the field. Thereafter, the idealized role of NES instructors has become controversial, especially in the era of globalization when a majority of English users are not native English speakers Bhatt (2001) w rote that the rapid spread of English worldwide was due to English language agencies such as the British Council, active promotion of English as a tool of foreign policies Philipson (1992) label ed this as linguistic imperialism Through the introduction and imposition of standard English, the language agencies exerted their legitimate role and monopolize on the means (Bhatt, 2001 ) Cook (1997) stressed that the theory of idealized native speakers created a monolingual bias as well as identi fying nonnative speakers as deficient communicators. However, the m ajority of English user s in the world are not native speakers of English ( Matsuda & Matsuda, 2001) As a result, there is no longer a monolithic English, but pluricentric Englishes (Bhatt, 2001) Kachru (1992) has classified varieties English used in the Inner C ircle the O uter C ircle and the E xpanding C ircle The Inner C ircle refers to English used as a first language in countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. The Outer Circle refers to countries and places where English is used as a second language, such as Hong Kong, India, and Singapore. The Expanding Circle refers to countries where English used as a foreign language, such as China, Japan, Indonesia, etc The number of users of English in the Inner Circle societies is now far less than over 1,000 million in the outer and expanding circle s (McArthur, 2001) Widdowson (1994) declared that no nation has custody of English and each variety of English is a S tandard English if the
41 communication meets the needs of ingroup transaction and capably defines the identity of the group itself. Kraidy (2001) claimed that glocalization, a word coined to describe the presence of both global and local factors, is an ideal framework capturing the international communication process As English has become a communication tool in the glocalized world, both native English speakers and nonnative English speakers use English for communication and English developed into many varieties Various forms of English are also called world Englishes, international English es and global English es (Jenkins, 2006) Monolithic English has been replaced by a variety of Englishes such as India English, Singapore English, China English each of which i s equally as legitimate as American English or Britain English. As Bhatt (2001) proposed that the emerging field of world Englishes also signifies a paradigm shift in research, teaching, and applic ation of sociolinguistic realities to the form and functions of English that embraces English variations Researchers found that good pedagogy must be situated in the local sociocultural context and be appropriate to local needs in order to help students develop their own voices (Lin, Wang, Akamatsu, & Riazi, 2011) Lin, Wang, Akamatsu, and Riazi (2011) claimed that some teaching practices like code mixing and code switching that have been disregarded by Anglobased pedagogies were actually helpful for English learners in the development of confidence and fluency in using English for meaningful communication. Cook (2002) promoted the idea that the goal of teaching should allow L2 learners to develop independently rather than conform to native speaker models and L2 learners should be accepted in their own right without being measured against native speakers
42 Students should be engaged in learning the type of English they could make their own, because it is more relevant to their lives (Lin, Wang, Akamatsu, & Riazi, 2011; Widdowson, 1994) The instructional implication of the shift of ownership of English indicates that, contrary to British or American English being the only standard of English and native speakers as ideal English instructors, other forms of English and users of other forms of English are legitimate in the era of world Englishes English writing underwent the same changes In terms of written English, Kachru (1995) argued that varieties of English used in the Outer Circle countries such as In dia Pakistan, and South Africahave developed their own grammatical and textual forms to express their contexts of culture. Therefore, the norms of writing in Inner Circle countries are no longer the standard for English writing practices in O uter Circle contexts In other words, native English speakers are no longer the only ones who hold English rhetorical standards Also writing is the perfect vehicle for a construction of cultural identity in foreign countries due to its permanence (Leki, 2001) So the form of English writing and how it should be taught in the local context for local needs and goals have bec o me the center of writing instruction. Leki (2001) argued that learning to write in English intelligibly is crucial; however, there is a need for dialogue with local EFL students about the role of English in their lives and how to make English writing a powerful means to achieve their personal or professional goals The same idea should be considered as it applies to the students in this study The idea of NES instructors as ideal speakers of English and an acceptance of their teaching approaches with no reservation should be challenged in the EFL context.
43 Approaches to ESL W riting I nstruction According to Raimes (1991) and Matsuda (2003), there have been mainly f our influential approaches to L2 writing since the 1960s : (1) an approach focused on form and current traditional rhetoric ; (2) an approach focused on writers ; (3) an approach focused on disciplinary content and readers ; and (4) an approach focused on sociopolitical issues and critical pedagogy Each of these approaches will be discussed in terms of its origin, theoretical preferences, pedagogical emphasis, strengths, and weaknesses Effective writing instructors may follow one approach but most appear to combine several approaches according to their specific instructional needs. Focused on F orm and C urrent T raditional R hetoric, 1966P resent In the form and rhetoric approach, w riting was regarded as a way to reinforce oral proficiency and to test the learners application of grammatical rules It has been called controlled composition or guided composition, and its origin is in both structural linguistics and behaviorist psychology that views language learning as a habit formation In controlled composition: T he writer is simply a manipulator of previously learned language structures; the reader is the ESL teacher in the role of editor or proofreader, not particularly interested in quality of ideas or expression but primarily concerned with formal linguistic features (Silva, 1990, p.13) L2 writers usually write short discourses in the form of a written exercise. This approach has been criticized for its habit form i ng nature, its strictness of language and form correctness and its cons train t s on the fluent expression of ideas Later in order to prepare ESL learners to produce extended discourse, c urrent traditional rhetoric was advocated (Silva, 1990) It i s under the influence of Kaplans contrastive rhetoric Due to L2 writers L1 impact, it is important to provide L2 writers a
44 form within which he may operate ( Kaplan, 1966, p.20) Silva (1990) described the approach as : The central approach was the logical construction and arrangement of discourse forms Of primary interest w as the paragraph. Here attention was given not only to its elements (topic sentences, support sentences, concluding sentences, and transitions), but also to various options for its development (illustration, exemplification, comparison, contrast, partition, classification, definition, casual analysis, and so on) (p.14). It is common for teachers who follow this approach to have students read a model first and then analyze it Students thus can apply the structural organization of the model to a parallel wri ting of their own. The topic is usually assigned; students brainstorm facts and ideas relevant the topic, craft an outline and develop it into a composition and the teacher serves as a judge of language correctness and convention. Silva (1990) concluded th at : W riting is basically a matter of arrangement, of fitting sentences and paragraphs into prescribed patterns The writer fills in a preexisting form with pro vided or self generated content (p.14) This current traditional rhetoric approach has been criticized for neglecting the cognitive process es involved in compositing text to communicate thoughts, information, and ideas Focused on W riters 1976Present The process approach that focuses on writers emerged in the early 197 0s (Matsuda, 2003) It h as origins in expressionism and cognitivism This teaching methodology moved from emphasizing the products of writing to an emphasis on the writing process From the point of view of expressionism, writing is an art, a creative act in which the process t he discovery of the true self is as important as the product (Berlin, 1988,
45 p.484) Murray (1982) advocated the importance of personal voice and fluency in writing Thus, process writing instructors encourage self discovery and facilitate students writi ng fluency From the cognitivist point view, writing is a thinking and problem solving process Writers engage in a series of distinctive cognitive processes when writing, such as planning, translating, and reviewing, and the processes are interwoven. Zamel (1982) noted that writing is a process of discovering and making meaning, and the process is recursive, nonlinear, and creative. P rocess writing teachers facilitate students to develop their own cognitive process ing through prewriting (finding topics, gathering ideas and information, focusing, and planning), drafting (developing topics and multiple drafts), revising (adding, deleting, modifying, and rearranging words and ideas), and editing (checking and correcting grammar and mechanical problems) (Silva, 1990) Process writing teachers design procedures to help students think through and organize their ideas before writing and to rethink and revise their initial draft s (Applebee, 1986, p.95) C ontent, ideas and communication needs determine the form, n ot vice versa (Silva, 1990) The process approach has been widely accepted in ESL writing instruction. Although process writing instruction varies from classroom to classroom, it mainly stresses generating ideas, writing multiple drafts and revising. Therefore, pedagogical strategies such as the use of a variety of prewriting strategies, penning multiple drafts, peer collaboration, and plenty of feedback pertaining to audienceoriented revision according from both instructor and peers across multiple dr a fts are considered important Focusing on content and purpose before language correctness is an essential component in process oriented classrooms (Ferris & Hedgcock, 2005) ;
46 therefore, revision prior to editing is stressed. Process writing gained its popul arity in ESL writing for helping students developing skills, reflective abilities and autonomy in writing. Focused on D isciplinary C ontent and R eaders, 1986Present Although process writing has gained popularity in current ESL writing classrooms, critics of process writing found it problematic in several ways It has been criticized for neglecting the discourse of academic writing, writers language proficiency, and contrastive rhetoric across different cultures (Reid, 1984a ) However, t he proponents of th e process approach advocate preparing students to deal with t he range and nature of writing tasks including academic discourse, in order to initiate students into the academic context (Silva, 1990) I n order to help students achieve academic success and write in academically acceptable way s, teachers are encouraged to create a writing environment that : I nvolves the close examination and analysis of academic discourse formats and writing task specifications; the selection and intensive study of source materials appropriate for a given topic, question, or issue; the evaluation, screening, synthesis, and organization of relevant data from these recourse; and presentation of these data in acceptable academic English form (Silva 1990, p.17) In this approach, to achieve academic success, writers also need to produce text with the discourse community in consideration because reality, knowledge, thoughts, facts, texts, selves, and so on are construct ed and generated by communities of likeminded peers (Bruffee, 1986, p.774) Activities in such a content focused approach such as identifying, practicing, and reproducing specific features of written texts for specific audiences in a discipline are widely applied in ESL classrooms
47 Focused on S ociopolitical I ssues and C ritical P edagogy 1990Present This approach, besides being focused on the writing process, also pays attention to social and contextual factors that have not been addressed enough before. Writing is not only viewed as a series of stages that generate meaning, but is also viewed holistically in this approach. The educational, ethical, social, and political context in which the text was generated is taken into consideration. Writing is public, communicative interaction with others responding to a specific context (Kent, 1999) Also, critical pedagogy issues such as critical discourse analysis and critical writing about academic genres have been brought to the ESL writing researchers attention (Hyland, 2002) In this approach, wri ting teachers are facilitators and collaborators who offer feedback and encouragement to scaffold the writing process; at the same time, they empower students by changing the dialogue between the teacher and students from a transmission model to transformation model (Breuch, 2002) The sociopolitical and critical approach shares many aspects with the other approaches and provides valuable insights to EFL writing instruction. Silva (1990) co mmented on the abovementioned four approaches and articulated that the four approaches are all problematic in certain ways for each tenet covered only limited aspects o f L2 writing In his mind, appropriately constructed L2 writing approaches should take at least five aspects into c onsideration: ( 1) the L2 writer in terms of personal knowledge, cultural background, attitudes, characteristics, language proficiency, motivation, and learning style; ( 2) the L1 reader or audience, in terms of personal knowledge, reading process, and expec tations on rhetoric conventions; ( 3) the L2 text in terms of genres, aims, modes, rhetoric characteristics and conventions ; ( 4) the cultural, political, social, economic, and situational contexts of the L2 writing ; and ( 5)
48 the interaction of the previous four aspects The following discussion on L2 writing research is based on Silvas model Major Research in L2 W riting F ield A discussion of L2 writing instruction cannot exclude a discussion of the development of L2 writing r esearch. W riting instructors are kept informed and improve their pedagogical behaviors by research in the field. According to Leki, Cumming and Silva (2008) there are three main areas in L2 writing field: ( 1) context for L2 writing; ( 2) curriculum, instruction, and assessment ; and ( 3) research on L2 writers, their composing process and L2 text EFL writing instruction today is under the influence of research on L1 and ESL writing. Based on the relevance to this study of Silvas (1990) ESL model ment ioned above and research o n L1 to L2 transfer, the composing process in L2 writing L2 writers and the L2 writing context will be briefly discussed in this section. Research on L1 to L2 T ransfer Research on L2 writing is strongly influenced by research on L1 writing T raditional ly L2 writers reliance on their L1 in writing is regarded as L1 interfere nce with L2 writing However, a large number of studies have found L2 writers transfer their L1 writing abilities and strategies into L2 writing, both negatively and positively L2 writers were found to compose like L1 writers ( Edelsky 1982; Lay 1982, 1983; Zamel 1982, 1983 ) and their writing knowledge and skills were found transferable across languages (Edelsky 1982; Fu, 2009; Zamel 1982, 1983) ESL writers write in the same way as L1 writer s do: going through stages as prewriting, drafting, re vising, and editing. At the same time, they are capable of a pplying writing knowledge and skills gained in L1 into English writing
49 R esearchers found that writers with better L1 literary proficiency tend to write better in L2 because ESL/EFL students who are literate in their native language have been equipped with a knowledge set about what good writing is They tend to have a better s ense of audience and organization skills and, as a result transfer both their L1 linguistic and cultural knowledge and their literacy skills to L2 writing tasks (Edelsky 1982; Friedlander 1990; Lay 1983) T he transfer of literacy skills between languages significantly facilitates the development of L2 writing sk ills Fu in her study (2009) categorized four stages of an ELL s writing development : ( 1) first language stage; ( 2) codeswitching or mixed stages; ( 3) inter language stage; and ( 4) close to standard English and suggested that teachers recognize the legitimacy of the L1 to L2 transfer and facilitate the gradual develop ment of communicating ski lls Fu (2003, 2009) also found that encouraging ESL students to use their native language to express themselves is a good way to achieve writing fluency. R esearchers also found that working in L1 helps learners retrieve academic information on certain topics (Friedlander 1990; Lay 1982) Friedlander (1990) indicated that ESL writers could produce better text when allowed to plan in the language in which the topic was learned, no matter whether that planning takes place in L1 or L2. Lay s (1982) study on four adult Chinesespeaking L2 writers revealed that L2 writers produced a better essay writing in terms of ideas, organization, and details when they were encouraged to think in their L1, in comparison with the essay s written without L1 assistance Zamel ( 1982) also found that ESL students L1 writing proficiency is more important than their Engl ish proficiency as they learn to write in English T hus L2
50 instructors could use students previously learned knowledge and skills to jump start and facilitate them and thus avoid repeated instruction. Foong (1999) studied Chinese students enrolled in an intensive language program that aimed at improving their English communication skills H e found that literat e Chinese students have already processed planning and writing strategies and stat e d that it is unnecessary for teachers to teach the planning and w riting s trategies again. Those s tudents with high L1 writing proficiency may need more specific help in improving L2 language proficiency rather than writing skills Despite the similarities, L2 students differ from L1 students in significant ways; after all, they are writing while learning the language t hey are attempting to write There are differences between the L1 and L2 writing process ( Leki, 2008; Raimes 1983a; Silva, 1993 ; Zamel 1982, 1985) among literacy learners Silva (1993) concluded that in comparison to L1 writers, L2 writers did less planning, transcribing in the L2 was more laborious, less fluent, and less productive, and L2 writing involved less reviewing (p.660) Hence, he suggested L2 writing instructors to include more work on planning, have students draft in stages familiarize students with L1 audience expectations familiarize them with different textual patterns and task types and enhance L2 writers grammatical and lexical resources (p.671) Research on L2 W riters L2 students are diverse in significant ways They differ in schooling background, reading proficiency in English, oral language proficiency in English, and writing proficiency in English. Their schooling background can be further divided into four groups: no schooling, formal schooling, limited formal schooling, and longtime schooling. F or instructional convenience, L2 students are usually divided into three
51 categories based on their language proficiency: beginning ESL students, intermediate ESL students and advanced ESL students For successful instruction, L2 writers various backgrounds and needs should be taken into account Cultural background affects all L2 writers, but beyond that, researchers found that different L2 writers demonstrate d a wide range of writing skills Reims (1985) found that unskilled L2 writers did little planning before writing and paid less attention to revising and editing than skilled L2 writers Foong s study (1999) also reported poor writers are less confident in writing English compositions so he advocates teachers take advantage of affective factors that may help EFL learners conquer the fears, struggles and frustrations the EFL students face in writing in English as a second language. It i s unclear whether the teacher in Foong s study i s a NES teac her or not, but the findings c an be applied to any teachers who hold different expectations and assumption s for English writing than their students A ny lack of awareness about the previous learning and writing experiences of students might affect students writing development Foong (1999) f ound that students in English writing class es might experience mismatched expectations from an instructor who focuses more on the discovering of meaning through writing rather than the grammatical structure and correctness of sentences through his investigation of students perception, learning experience, needs and expectations for English writing T he mismatch is the consequence of the students pervious concept of English learning under grammar translation approacha common approach in China. Silva (1992) suggest ed that teachers should be aware of and sensitive to their students perceptions about writing and expectations regarding
52 instruction and develop teaching and learning practices that support and encourage, rather than alienate, their students (p.44) Cai (1993) found that what have been misunderstood as poor writing techniques in Chinese students' composition are influenced by Chines e culture. Through comparing and contrasting the organizational patterns in Chinese students' compositions, he learned that the different rhetorical conventions that ESL students incorporate into their English writing are generated from their social, polit ical, and ideological beliefs and values of their native culture, as well as evaluation criteria on writing Chinese students patterns for paragraph organization, avoidance of self expression, and preference for an indirect approach to a given topic are under the influence of their Chinese writing. The study indicates that discourse strategies in English should be taught explicitly, instead of implicitly Research on L2 W riting C ontext Williams (1998) point ed out that L1 writing process resear ch has informed L2 research, but L2 researcher s must be careful not to let L1 studies guide or determine their investigations of second language writing processes, because the research contexts are not the same. By the sa me token, t eaching and res earching EFL students differ s in some ways, although writing instruction and research on native speakers of English and ESL students can shed light on EFL writing ins truction and research. According to Williams, t eaching and researching EFL writers can be different in terms of the linguistic, social, cultural and political environm ent as well as the purposes and motivations for learning English writing due to the influence of place. Therefore, besides study L1 to L2 transfer and the writing process, L2 writers and context are important to
53 successful L2 writing instruction, Silva (1990) suggested that those aspects should be taken into consideration. Summary To understand expatriate NES instructors English writing instruction, this chapter presents the literature review on the importance of teacher knowledge base, the nature of writing and writing across cultures NES instructors language instruction in general and the context in which the writing participants engaged. This chapter also discusses major approaches to L2 writing instruction and research on L2 writing. Compared with the bulk of research on ESL writing instruction, research on EFL writing instruction is much less heard. My research is conducted in the EFL context and can add to the understanding of EFL writing instruction in the writing field. Also, t he review of literature related to current topic of NES instructors English writing teaching has revealed that t here is a scarcity of studies on NES inst ructors English writing instruction. This study is aimed at finding information about how expatriate NES instructors teach English writing as well as what are their experiences, problems and confusions in EFL English writing classrooms
54 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY W ith an increasing number of n ative English speaking (NES) instructors teaching college level English writing in China, this research was designed to examine what is happening in NES instructors English writing classes as well as iss ues and problems that may affect their teaching and the possible causes of those issues and problems In this chapter the rationale for us ing qualitative research methods, the theoretical and methodological framework, as well as a brief description of the setting and participants will be present ed. D ata collection and data analysis methods, a subjectivity statement, validation of findings and ethical issues are also included. Rational e for Q ualitative S tudy The study explores NES instructors teaching of English writing and the factors that may hinder their teaching effectiveness in a Chinese university, an area seldom examined in writing instruction. Due to the interactive and complex nature of teaching and learning, this study employs qualit ative methods Q ualitative study matches the purpose of the study because it is a process of moving from seemingly unrelated, unorganized pieces to a holistic, related, categorized, and specific yet analytic generalization of what is going on in classroom s and what factors are involved that inf luence teaching and learning (Hatch, 2002) I t is through classroom observations, interviews surveys, and artifacts that data emerges. This qualitative research involved extended firsthand engagement on the part of a researcher as a data collection instrument in a n atural setting. It explores participant perspectives through deductive data analysis
55 Theoretical P erspective Every research study has a theoretical s tance that explains the foundation of the meaningmaking process, the logic of research design, and the criteria for data collection and analysis ( Crotty, 1998) This study was guided by C onstructivism I n constructivism, it is believed that meaning does not exist in isolation nor is it wait ing to be found, but it is constructed in transactions between the situation and human mind Without human mind, meaning does not exist (Crotty, 1998) W hen different minds play with the situation, it is possible that there are multiple understandings and perspectives toward the same phenomenon. T here are no true or valid interpretations but only fulfilling and rewarding i nterpretations, which stimulate human growth (Crotty, 1998, p.48) And s uch m eaning making is ongoing and continuous Both the research questions and related studies suggest C onstructivism is the most appropriate theoretical lens for th is study I n teaching and learning, meaning is created between the interactions among teachers, students and the situation (Hatch, 2002) According to C onstructivists, each participant in the study has a unique meaningmaking and meaninginterpretation process and actively constructs knowledge and information within his/her mind rather than in the external environment (Huitt, 2003) In this study, research questions are answered by the data through participants meaningmaking process T he meaning made by NES instructors and students was conveyed through interviews, observations, surveys, and artifacts in an ongoing process in a crosscu ltural teaching and learning context C onstructivism undergirds this study because it helps bring about an understanding of the issues related to teaching and learning among NES instructors and their Chinese students
56 Collective Case S tudy Methodology is the principle and assumption that underlines a research and guides data collection and analysis in a systematic way A c ase study involves an exp loration of a bounded system or a case (or multiple cases) over time through detailed, indepth data collection involving multiple sources of information rich in context (Creswell, 1998) I n a case study, the researcher should focus on an event, process or program for which we have no in depth perspective (Creswell, 1998, p. 95) There are three kinds of case studies : intrinsic, instrumental and collective (Stake, 1995) Stake (2000) claimed that a collective case study examines a phenomenon, populati on, or general condition (p.437) This study is a collective case study consisting of three cases A collective case study as one type of case studies, also follows the pattern of the problem, the context, the issue and the lesson learned ( Creswell, 1998. p.95) C onduc ting a collective case study can provide several pictures to help inform readers about the practice of the general condition of the NES instructors writing instruction. The lack of research on EFL writing classes taught by expatriate NES instructors in China and on associated issues suggests a collective case study approach. In a collective case study, multiple cases are described and compared to provide insights into the issue studied ( Stake 1995) Therefore, t hree NES instructors w ho were teaching college level English writing in a southern Chinese university were recruited voluntarily Each NES instructor is an individual case consisting of differ ent personal professional, cultural, instructional interest s, and experiences and contributes to an indepth understanding of the instruction of NES instructors.
57 Pilot Study Before doing the study, I conducted a pilot study The purpose of the pilot study was to find potential research participants and to gain a preliminary understanding of NES instructors of English writing I used a survey ( Appendix E ) as my pilot study tool S urvey s allow researchers to have access to a large population of participants or to validate the findings (Clark & Creswell, 2010) The s urvey consisted of openended questions probing the following topics: ( 1) the informant s personal and educational background; ( 2) teaching and learning experience; ( 3) preferred teaching method; ( 4) values and expectations on teac hing and learning; ( 5) perceptions on English writing; ( 6) planning and assessment of EFL writing instructions ; and ( 7) perceptions o n the local cultural context Through the help of my friends and colleagues who taught at universities all over China, ten NES writing instructor s from seven universities were recruited and agreed to participate in the surveys The universities included S University (pseudonym), Nanjing University (NJU), Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), Sichuan I nternational St udies University (SISU), Yunnan Normal Universities (YNNU), East China University of Science and Technology ( ECUST) and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (S HUFE ) Except S U niversity the other six universities use their real names here. Figure 3 1 is a map of the seven universities in which surveys w ere collected. T he locations are circled in green. The s urvey took about 30 to 40 minutes, and it was individually sent through emails during February 2010. Table 3 1 University names and participant numbers University Name SU NJU GDUFS SISU YNNU ECU S T SHUFE I nformant s (Total = 10 ) 3 1 1 1 1 1 2
58 Figure 31 Map of the participating universities Results and Implications of the Pilot S tudy The 10 NES writing instructors surveyed have var ious academic backgrounds including English, international relationships, psychology, applied economics, political science, European studies, and counselor education. They hold degrees ranging from a B.A. to Ph D Their teaching experience ranged from 6 months to 20 years Most NES writing instructors reported they were decent writers but did not write frequently In general, they reported that student perception of their instruction fell on a continuum: some students perceived their instruction as good and some perceived it as bad. They also reported their positive impressions of working in their current universities. Their writing instruction ranged from descriptive, narrative, and argumentative writing to journal writing Activities such as providing writing models, responding to a piece of reading, and brainstorming were described. Their evaluation criteria included logical connection, the presence of clich or Chinese English, sufficient details, clarity, organization, and unity.
59 Unlike previously reported studies on cultural barriers in cross cultural classrooms (Jiang, 2001; Hu, 1995; Lin, 1999; Tajino & Tajino, 2000) these instructors felt that cultural issues, especially different communication styles, had less im pact on teaching proficiency than deciding what and how to teach writing. They thought Chinese students in general were passive learners who expected the teachers to lecture about writing rather than engage them in frequent practice, and that students were able to follow their instruction most of the time However, some instructors thought that English as the language of instruction sometimes hindered teacher and students communication. They also indicated that Chinese students did not ask questions when t hey did not understand The surveys provided me with a glimpse of how expatriate NES writing instructors taught However, in order to have a deeper understanding of the dynamic interactions between the instructors and students, a field based study was nee ded. S University was selected due to the NES instructors willingness to participate in the study as well as it s convenient location for me I had f ollow up contact s with the informants from the other six universities through emails and phone calls After the pilot study, the lens of the research zoomed into three NES instructors six English writing classes at S University Research Site S University the selected research site, is located in a coastal city in southern China Before 1980, the city w as a village of several thousand people. After the opendoor policy and economic reform, it gr e w into a metropolitan city with a population of over 10 million people. This fast growing modern city features industries like finance (ranked the 9th largest finance center in the world at Global Financial Centers Index in
60 2010), information technology, manufacturing, hightech, international business, warehousing services, logistics, and tourism It is an international city One hundred and forty one of the w orlds top 500 multinational companies have investments and business branches in the city The city attracts people from all over the world to work, travel and study More than 600 foreign instructor s are teaching at a variety of schools in the city and more than 3, 500 foreign students are studying there. As the economy began booming and the population expanded, S University was founded in 1983 to serve the city with competitive graduates in the fields of information technology, management and financethe pillar industries of the city S University is a young and comprehensive public university that is situated between a research university and teaching university It has a garden like campus filled with Ly ch ee trees It has 23 college s and schools 52 undergraduate programs, 66 graduate programs and 3 doctoral programs with 20,000 students and an annual new enrollment of 5, 000 undergraduates and 1, 000 graduate students I t is the only university in the city and serves both local students and students from all over China It is ranked 130th among 1909 public universities in China Comparatively speaking, S University is a medium sized, comprehensive university in C hina in terms of student number and programs My study was conducted in the English depart ment Details pertaining to that department will be described in Chapter 4. Participants The T eacher s T hree NES English writing instructors were recruited for the study Purposeful sampling was employed to select participants who met two requirements: ( 1 ) they were
61 English native speak er s; and ( 2) they taught English writing courses According to Merriam (1998) p urposeful sampling is based on the assumption that the investigator wants to discover, understand, gain insight and therefore must select a sample from which the most can be learned (p.61) In the beginning of March 2010, one week before the semester started, I contacted Jack, John and Ken (pseudonyms), the three participants who agreed to cooperate with my data collection. During our first rapport building meeting, I introduced the purpose of the study and explained how the study w ould be conducted. I outlined the observational visits, the length of the visits and scheduled the dates for formal interviews Informed consent forms were signed. As shown in T able 32 both Jack and Ken are from America and John is from Canada. Ke n is an African American, and the other two are Caucasians. A ll of them had overseas teaching experiences before teaching at S University O nly John is a first time tea cher of English writing ( h owever he was a substitute writing instructor for two months before the semester of the study) During the semester of the study, Jack taught both freshmen and sophomore English writing, Ke n taught sophomores, and John taught freshmen. Their personal, professional, and educational backgrounds, as well as the way they teach English writing will be described in detail in Chapter 4. Table 32 Teacher informants Name J ack Ken John Nationality American American Canadian Race Caucasian African American Caucasian Years of teaching 20 4 4 Years teach ing overseas 19 4 3 Y ears teach ing at SU 3 2 0.5 C ourses teach at SU English reading and writing English writing English writing English reading and writing Students Taught Freshmen & Sophomores Sophomores Freshmen
62 The S tudent s Students were selected based on their willingness to participate in the study During the first class of the semester their NES instructors introduced my study and me briefly They encouraged students to participate in the study It was difficult to recruit students due to their tight schedule. Although many students showed interest, only 12 signed their names. Therefore, I approached more students after the second class ended and 15 more joined There were 27 students (9 students from each of instructor) from six English writing classes. Each student was assigned a number, such as S1, S2 to S27. Among the 27 students, there were 15 freshmen and 12 sophomores Twenty were females and seven were males, and all were over 18 years old (Table 33) T hey agreed to respond to the surveys, be interviewed both informally and formally during the semester and to have their writing assignments collected. The students varied in their English language profic iency and writing backgrounds More detailed descriptions of the student participants, including their studies and campus life, writing experiences and attitudes toward English writing will be presented in the subsequent chapters Table 33 Student infor mants Instructor Class Level C lass si ze Years of English Study Number of Participants & gender J ack Sophomore (2) 8 7 13 3 (2F & 1M) Freshmen (2) 14 6 12 6 (4F & 2M) Ken Sophomore (1) 15 7 13 4 (3F& 1M) Sophomore (2) 15 7 13 5 (4F & 1M) John Freshmen (1) 14 6 12 4 (3F & 1M) Freshmen (2) 15 6 12 5 (4F & 1M) Total : 27 (20F&7M) (F: Females; M: Males) Data C ollection D ata w ere gathered from multiple sources such as clas sroom observations, interviews, artifacts and surveys during the 18 weeks from March to July 2010 Major
63 data sources were formal and informal interviews with participants and extensive classroom observations, supplemented by artifacts and surveys. Interview s Interviews aim at bringing to the surface meanings that have been taken for granted, so that others can understand the meaning constructed by the participants as well as why th os e constructs made sense to the participants (Hatch, 2002) T here are three forms of interview s: the informal interview, the formal inter view, and the standard interview (Hatch, 2002) I nformal interviews are unstructured conversations with the participants They are regarded as opportunities to ask informants to explain what the researcher has observed. F ormal interview s are structured or semi structured conversations with the informants A time and a place were set aside for such conversations. Formal I nterviews with NES instructors were semi structured. There were two formal interviews with each NES instructor T he first interview was conducted in the middle of the semester in May 2010 for 60 minutes for each instructor These formal interviews were conducted in the classrooms or cafeteria at a convenient time. I n the first interview, the questions addressed their teaching method and th eir perceptions of the issues and questions about teaching English writing to Chinese students (Appendix B) Responses were audio taped. T he second interview s were conducted after field observations were over These interview s covered issues and questions that emerged from their writing instruction on the basis of field notes and my research journals as well as questions related to their perception of their teaching effectiveness (Appendix B) There were about 6 hours of f ormal interviews and over 180 pages of transcripts of interview data.
64 Formal Interviews with students were semi structured individual interview s that were conducted one or two weeks before the final exams in July 2010. The interview questions pertained to ( 1) perceptions on their English writing learning; ( 2) clarification for their experiences in the classrooms ; and ( 3) perceptions of NES instructor s teaching effectiveness (Appendix B). Before each formal interview, I made an appointment with each student through his or her preferred contact method. E ach interview took place in a classroom or a cafeteria on campus last ed about 60 minutes and was recorded with a digital recorder The interviews were conducted in Chines e From the students perspective, they preferred Chinese in order to adequately express themselves All formal interviews with students were transcribed and translated into English. T o ensure the accuracy of the translated quotes a certified translator wa s recruited to doublecheck the translated quotes There were about 250 pages interview transcripts. Informal interviews with all informants were conducted after or between classes. These interviews were conversations guided by the observation field notes T he immediate followup was advantageous because it gave informants a chance to reflect what they had done before they forgo t it Before or after each class, I talked with both instructor and student informant s regarding what happened during the instruction or asked questions from my notes as well as students responses I talked with both instructors and students as frequently as possible. D uring the break s or when students were writing on their own, the NES instructors often came to me talk ing about how t hey came upon their teaching idea or where they gathered information about teaching and what they thought of their students learning, or sometimes they just shared their
65 personal life stories Before or after classes, t he students often approached me talking about their response to the NES instructors teaching, their values and beliefs re garding teaching and learning of English writing, and their interest and concerns related to learning to write. Classroom O bservations I n the study of teaching and learning relationship in the educational field, obser vation is a common technique to collect data ( Zhang, 2008) E ntering a setting allows a researcher to record w hat is going on here? (Spradley 1980, p.73) Through researcher s eyes, readers understand not only what wa s happening in the research site, but also why participant s act in a certain ways (Hatch, 2002) Although t he observations spanned 18 weeks there were two weeks off : one at the beginning of May 2010 due to a Chinese national holiday and a reading week before final exams Thus, field observations were recorded for sixteen weeks D uring the sixteen weeks, I observed six writing classes for 540 minutes per week two classes a day, three days a week, for a total of 144 hours (Table 34) Tabl e 34 Observation time summary Instructors W eeks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Total Minutes J ack s Fresh 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 1440 Soph. 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 1400 Ke n Soph 1 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 1440 Soph 2 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 1440 John Fresh 1 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 1440 Fresh 2 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 1440 Total 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 54 0 8640 (144 h.) For example, I observed Jack freshmen writing class for 90 minutes on Monday mornings and then his sophomore writing class for another 90 minutes in the afternoon of the same day For note taking on the spot I adopted an observation protocol
66 ( A ppendix A ) based on Creswell s model (1999, p. 129) which helped me to separate the emic and etic voices in data collection. During the study I first observ ed my student participant s as an outsider Students usually sat in the first two rows and I sat in the third row taking notes about what was happening in the classrooms I tried not to disturb them and did not move around the classroom in order to let the teacher and students perform in the manner they were used to As a newcomer to the classes, I found t he first few times of observations were not fruitful b ut I jot ted down my questions and asked for clarification later As rapport built participants were incr easingly comfortable with me and were willing to share their ideas Following the NES instructors advice, I did not use audio or video recorder during the classroom observation. I could only take notes and during the first few times the NES instructors would read my notes There were over 600 pages of observation field notes. I n doing observational study, Hatch (2002) suggest ed that every researcher should keep a research journal or diaries recording experiences, ideas, fears, mistakes, confusions, breakthroughs and problems that arise during fieldwork ( p. 87) to be more objective. I kept a research journal recording the data collection process, recording my feeling, thoughts, and questions regarding the data collection to minimize potential bias A rtifacts A rtifacts are items of physical evidence that help researchers address the research questions B y using artifacts, researchers have access to a rich data set Researchers can ask informants to explain the artifacts to them and it is very likely to yield unexpected data. I n this study, copies of instructional materials, lesson plans and
67 students writing or other documents pertaining to the research questions were collected. During both formal interviews and informal int erviews with instructors and students, I would ask the informants to explain the artifacts For example, I asked students how they responded to the teacher s comments on their writing. Artifacts were a useful data source in supporting and triangulating i nterview s and classroom observations W hen artifact s were collected, more insights emerged from the data. They helped me to generate new interview questions Surveys In the study, the three NES instructors were surveyed in February 2010 via email There were also surveys done with student participants in order to understand their background information such as their personal information, experiences of English writing learning, and their attitude towards English writing (Appendix D) The surveys were given to students after they agreed to participate in the study They took the students about 30 minutes to complete. A detailed report on student participants is in Chapter 4. Data Analysis Data analysis is finding meaning from data systematically (Hatch, 2 002) T he preliminary data cannot automatically lead to indepth understanding of the issues under study, unless the researchers use their intellectual capabilities to make sense of the data. Hatch explained, analysis means organizing and interrogating data in ways that allow researchers to see patterns, identify themes, discover relationships, develop explanations, make interpretations, mount critiques, or generate theories ( p .148) For coding the data collected from multiple cases, I adopted and adapted Strauss and Corbins (1990) grounded theory and Merriams (1998) withincase and crosscase
68 analysis strategy as my data analysis guidelines to find meanings and explanations in each case and across cases Figure 3 2 is the coding process that I used. Within each case data analysis, there are three coding procedures including open coding, axial coding, and selective coding to identify core categor ies among data (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) I regarded each case as a comprehensive case in and of itself ( Me rriam, 1998, p.194) and provided a detailed description for each case. In order to provide substantial description in data analysis, constant comparative method was also applied. According to Merriam (1998), the constant comparative method is in line with the inductive, concept building orientation of all qualitative research (p.159) Figure 3 2 Flow chart of data analysis Cross case data analysis is not simply summarizing among cases to find out some similarities ; Merriam stressed the need of searching for a more powerful explanation across many cases. Merriam (1998) put that: Within case analysis treats each case as a comprehensive case. Data are gathered so the researcher can learn as much about the contextual variables as possible that might have a bearing on the case. Once the analysis of each case is completed, cross case analysis begins The Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Open coding Open coding Open coding Axial coding Axial coding Axial coding Core categories cross case s Researchers reflective journal Selective coding Selective coding Selective coding
69 researcher attempts to build a general explanation that fits each of the individual cases even though the cases will var y in their details ( p. 194) Before data analysis, I transcribed both teachers and students interview data and field observation notes into electronic files and saved them in my computer There were 411 pages of interview transcripts and 605 pages of obs ervation notes By listening to, reading, and rereading the documents, I gained a preliminary understanding of how I should focus on exploring the NES instructors writing instruction I also mark ed places that needed further clarification. This initial data transcription stage was helpful for me to proceed to the withincase analysis Within case analysis As Figure 3 2 shows, I followed open coding, axial coding and selective coding. At open coding stage, first I read through the data quickly to gain a general impression. I constantly asked myself questions like W hat is going on here?, W hy is this being done?, and W hat category does this incident indicate? I looked for significant issues and problems made by or mentioned by participants Technically, I wrote and refined my words describing each meaning unit or each sentence. S ample codes included teaching basic knowledge, believing writing as a skill, aiming at teaching students to wr ite right etc Appendix F is an example of the open codes Open coding allow ed me to see what is happening there and to form thematic ideas from data At the same time, reflective writing guided me to explore potential themes during subsequent intervie ws and data analysis According to Strauss and Corbin (1990) axial coding is putting the data back together in new ways by making connections between a category and its subcategories (p. 2 7) It is also the beginning of organizing and categorizing open codes and makes
70 connections of codes from all data sources In this axial coding stage, I categorized open codes resonating with each other in to a new code Technically, when I compared and contrasted open codes I used the same colors to mark the related subcategories but new colors to mark new categories that emerged. Example s of open codes included modeling after writing examples correcting linguistic mistakes lecturing more than writing etc Axial codes lead to selective codes Selective coding specifies possible relationships between categories developed in the previous coding level A ccording to Strauss and Corbin ( 1990), the selective codes should represent the relationship among categories across data sets T he selective codes covered the properties of the NES instructors pedagogical practice, such as focus on linguistic correctness and teacher centered instruction. In this phase of coding, fractured concepts generated from previous coding process now merged into a theoretical di rection. During each stage, I constantly compared codes between different set of data within a case For example, in each case, I compared categories constructed in interviews with categories in observation and categories from observation with that from a rtifacts Constant comparison finally led to the saturation of categories Appendix G is an example of coding trai l which shows how codes merge from open coding to selective coding from case 3. The core category did not emerge until cross case analysis. Crosscase analysis Since there are multiple cases in the collective case study, I conducted cross case analysis to find common patterns among the three NES instructors writing instruction. I
71 followed Merriams (1998) guideline to develop naturalistic generalizations from analyzing data across the cases and finding the differences and similarities among the cases Since this study was not a comparative study, I let differences stand in each case and emphasized finding similarities from the three NES ins tructors teaching behaviors There is a visual representation of how the common patterns were generated among cases on the next page, as Figure 3 3 shows Figure 33 Visual representation from individual case to a common pattern At the cross case analysis stage, I also constantly compared codes across cases For example, in case 1 and 2, I compared interviews categories of case 1 with interview categories in case 2 and observation categories of case 1 with categories of case 2, as the dashed arrows in Figure 32 indicate. Reflective journal ing is one more step to achieve methodological rigor It wa s a talk with myself as a researcher in order to make the nature of data collection and data analysis clear and subjective, such as why I made the choice and decision about my data. The journal helped me to constantly compare data among data sets and find consistent themes D uring data collection, my journal included salient themes and questions that guided my later interviews as probing questions D uring data analysis,
72 journal ing allowed me to write down my questions and impressions of the data and thus allowed me to find themes and categories in the data better during initial and focused coding. Journaling made me fully conscious of my subjective stance in making decisions during data analysis Here is an excerpt from my journal : Planning lessons K en: For me, I spend most of my time, as a teacher, trying to figure out lesson plans that will work. Planning w hat to teach depends on the instructors pedagogical knowledge, planning how to teach depends on the instructors pedagogical content knowledge and knowledge about students Here, he struggled to find lesson plans that will work A pparently, he noticed there is a gap between his expectation and students performance. Could t his imply : 1) he is experimenting; 2) he did not have enough pedagogical knowledge or pedagogical content knowledge. However, this is not the first year he taught writing My data an alysis process was recursive and dynamic rather than linear The analysis process started during data collection, and while coding I often navigated coding strategies among different data sets as well as my research journal back and forth By adopting the data analysis techniques from Strauss and Corbin (1990) and Merriam (1998), I found important meaning and patterns to answer my research questions from interview data, field notes, surveys, and artifacts The three NES instructors teaching approaches wil l be reported in C hapter 5, 6, 7 respectively and the common pattern generated among the cases will be reported in C hapter 8. Trustworthiness of Findings A research study should have internal and external validity I nternal validity, also called credibility means to what extent the research is accurate and trustworthy
73 E xternal validity, also called transferability, refers to the extent the research can be generated to other contexts (Creswell, 1998) Credibility C redibility the internal validity of a research study, is essential to qualitative studies as they are constantly criticized for their subjectivity R esearchers believe being self reflective regarding their roles and perspectives improves credibility (Clark & Creswell, 2010) In addition to a prolonged stay at the research field (18 weeks), I triangulated of the data sources, participated in frequent peer discussions, and did member checks Triangulation of data T riangulation of data sour ces can enhance the accuracy of a study (Creswell, 1998) I n the study, I triangulated data from interviews, field notes, artifacts, and surveys as well as my research journal I n the semester long field study, triangulation among different data sources was ongoing P eer discussions I am in a study group of several doctoral students within the same department T hey are familiar with my study, research questions, and research design. I talked to them on a weekly basis about the dat a collection and data analysis process P eers questions improved my data analysis and allowed me to see my data and coding more objectively M ember checks M ember checking is a process of confirming the data collected with the participants (Merriam, 1998) I n the study, I shared interview transcripts with the informants on site or through emails to verify the accuracy of data Transferability T ransferability is essential to the external validity of qualitative research. Transferability in qualitative st udies means the generalization of the findings to other
74 studies of similar settings. A detailed description of the setting is important to the transferability of a qualitative study I n this study, I provided my readers with a rich description of the setting. T he study may not be generalize d to other NES teachers who teach English writing to Chinese students upon consideration of differing personal and educational backgrounds, teaching styles, learning experiences, or beliefs B ut t he study can be informative and suggestive with regard to other NES teachers in China or other countries where NES are hired as writing instructors Subjectivity S tatement It is believed that researchers should be aware of the subjectivities of their pers pectives in collecting, analyzing, and writing up data, which can enhance the credibility of research ( Glesne, 1999) A s Denzin posited I nterpretive research begins and ends with the biogr aphy and self of the researcher ( 1989, p. 12) I am inseparable from what I already knew and experienced; thereafter I will introduce my learning and teaching experience in crosscultural context and how they might influence my study Personal reflection I had all my formal education up to graduate school in China. I learned by memorizing knowledge in books, reviewing teachers notes and practic ing sample tests in order to survive all kinds of tests, in cluding the most critical exam in a Chinese student s lifeCEEs (college entrance exams) I started to learn English in the 7th grade. T he way I learned English vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, reading, and writing, as I remember, wa s highly dependent upon memorization. English classes st arted with the teacher s explanation of new vocabulary grammar rules and analysis of short English essays in textbook s. We listened and remembered. I f I did not do well
75 on the exams I consider ed it my own problem and believed I should work harder to remember In college, I majored in English and later in linguistics in graduate school R eading, speaking, listening, writing, and translating were the five language skills we needed to practice extensively in my study In my spare time, I listen ed to English radio, watched English movies and spoke in English as part of my language learning. As for learning to write, I was taught in a five paragraph style and asked to translate from Chinese to English when I wr o te W hen I became a doctoral student in the C ollege of E ducation at the University of Florida, I took various courses in education and education research such as research methodology, educational psychology, learning theories, and literacy, as well as multicultural and international literature. I found memorization did not work well but learning required one to comprehend, to analyze, to synthesize, and to think both critically and creatively I also came to understand the complexity and diverse nature of teaching and learning, especially teaching and learning in cross cultural environments For example, it is important to respect, understand, and appreciate every culture to realize the values of ones own culture or any other culture in cross cultural teaching and learning. As a graduate assistant in China, I t aught English writing to first year nonEnglish major students I taught my students to write in the way that I was taught in China five paragraph style. After reading and studying a model, students memorized the organization and language prior to turning in a similar piece in two weeks Teaching writing in English was for exam purposes only
76 I also had chances to t each to American students C hildren s L iterature for several semesters at the University of Florida. I found American students are different from Chinese students S tudents do not greet teachers as humbly as my Chinese students did T hey do not help teachers clean the chalkboard as Chinese students usually do. American students seldom take notes in classes and seem to like to work in pairs or groups rather than just listen to lectures T hey love to speak up, perform, argue, and read aloud in front of the whole class The cross cultural teaching experience taught me that while an instructor s subject knowledge is important, what is equally important is how the instructor teaches Be ing a student a learner of English writing and an instructor in two countries, I was able to communicate with both Chinese student participants and NES instructors smoothly It appeared that the students enjoyed sharing with me their thoughts on teaching and learning English writing more than with their NES instructor The NES instructors also shared with me candidly their perceptions and thoughts on students, teaching and local life On the other hand, my participants saw me as someone who understands them and might not have explained as explicitly as they would have to a researcher who had no common learning and teaching experience I also might fail to probe as much as I should. My English sometimes dissatisfied me because when I tried to find the r ight expressions for a question, new questions continued to emerge, interrupting my thinking. Thinking and speaking in a second languag e might slow me down and prevented me from asking as m any questions as I should have within the time allowed Research reflection
77 I became interested in NES instructors English writing instruction after one of my American friends started to teach English writing in a Chinese university He struggled and seemed confused, which caught my attention. Then I recalled my own learning experience with NES instructors I had NES instructors when I was in college and graduate school in China. I remember an English writing teacher from Britain I worked so hard to write in English by checking English dictionaries frequently, but was deeply frustrated by the corrections in red ink all over my paper and wondered whether I could ever write in English I thought my limit ed English proficiency was the reason I wrote poorly Later, after I studied L2 writing research and took courses on teaching writing, I became aware that writing is more than the manipulation of linguistic symbols and achieving linguistic correctness Aft er been taught by NES instructors and hear ing a friends confusion, I was inspired to conduct this research; at the same time, my own opinion towards NES instructors writing instruction influenced me as a researcher My learning and teaching experience i n the two cultures and my knowledge on the topic, as a part of me, inevitably influenced me as a researcher and the research design, methods as well as analyzing data. Therefore, I might only present a partial reality of the NES instructors teaching appro aches However, s ince I cannot stay out of myself, I took some measures to monitor my subjectivity and bias In addition to being aware of what I knew and what I believed as a student, a writer and a researcher, my reflective journal writing served as a systematic and ongoing written reflection of how my understanding of NES instructors teaching approaches developed. Also, I engaged in constructive dialogues with my study group peers to have open discussions of my data. I viewed myself as a learner in the process
78 of research because it wa s the participants who h eld the stories and information. I further tried not to impose my opinions upon my participants or direct their responses by asking openended questions such as what do you mean by and recording what I heard and saw in the NES instructors classes I tried not to judge what could have been done or what I did not do, nor did I manipulate data to fit my researc h purpose Ethnical I ssues in the S tudy T his study strictly followed the regulations of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to insure the abidance of ethics in qualitative research, such as protection of informants identity, voluntar y participation in t he study, the freedom to withdraw from the study at any time, the potential damage that the informants could experience, the purpose of the study and the way s to cooperate. L etter s were sent to participant s and informed consent form s were signed before the study began. Appendix D is the letter to participants T heir names were replaced with pseudonyms A ll data was locked in a safe location and kept confidential at all times S ummary This study is intended to inform an understanding about how English writing classes were taught by NES instructors and to discover the issues and problems involved in their teaching of English writing. Three NES instructors and 27 students from six English writing classes participated in the case study The data were collected through 144 hours classroom observations, formal and informal interviews of the instructors and students, artifacts, and surveys D ata was analyzed in an ongoing way with Strauss and Corbins coding strategies and Merriams withincase a nd cross case analysis techniques T o maintain the trustworthiness of the data triangulation of data,
79 peer discussions, member check s, and research journal reflection were applied in the study
80 CHAPTER 4 SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS In a case study, contextual information is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the study The study is about three nativeEnglish speaking ( NES) instructors English w riting instructions at the S University In this chapter, I will describe the setting, the writ ing context in which the Chinese students engaged the participants, the students campus lives, and the instructors working environment. The Setting T he study was conducted at the school of Foreign L anguages, one of the 23 colleges and schools at S University It include d f our departments: ( 1) the English department which educat es English majors; ( 2) the Japanese department for Japanese majors; ( 3) the department of W estern languages which teaches French, Germany and Spanish; and ( 4) the department of public English which is responsible for teaching English to school wide nonEnglish major s All NES instructors are faculty members in the English D epartment. The English D epartment enrolls about 100 English majors each year, and about 70 percent of them are from S city T he department has 5 full professors, 10 associate professors, 17 lecturers, and 2 teaching assistant s. Fourteen of the teachers have Ph. D degrees and three are pursuing their Ph D s. The other seventeen teachers hold M.A degrees. All NES teachers who are hired must have a M.A or higher degree. The workload for each teacher in the English D epartment averages about 12 class hours (1 class hour = 1 credit = 45 minutes) Most English courses are two credit s, like English writing Students m e e t about 90 minutes in the English writing class each week
81 The goal of the English program wa s to prepare students to work as professionals in the field of teaching, translation, interpretation, tourism, journalism and international business For example, students should have a solid foundation in the English language and also be well informed about Englishspeaking countries cultures, politics, economics, and histories Upon graduation, it is intended that students communicate, tran slate, teach, and manage in English in the fields of foreign affairs, economy, and education. Under these goals the department offers English foundation courses such as English W riting, S peaking, L istening, and Linguistics other content courses such as C omprehensive English Reading P ublic S peaking in English, American and Western Culture, Translation, I nterpretation, American and British Literature, and Linguistics The foundation courses like the writing courses under the study are offered to freshmen and sophomores There are 3 to 4 cohorts enrolled each year and each has about 30 students in it A cohort usually takes classes together except English Writing and English S peaking. A cohort of 30 students splits into two smaller classes and t he NES writing instructors teach classes about 15. One hundred and sixty credits are required for English major s to g raduate. S tudents take 10 credits of English W riting over 40 credits of C omprehensive English Reading, and about 20 credits of L istening and S peaking. After taking 10 credits of English writing during the freshmen, sophomore, and junior year s, English majors are requir ed to write a graduation thesis during the senior year I t is a requirement by the national English curriculum for English majors Besid es national and school policies, the student participants previous writing experience (both English and Chinese) also shapes their learning of English writing.
82 Writing Instruction for Chinese Students The students in this study were not new writing learners; they had adequate L1 writing proficiency They did not lose that writing proficiency even when in English. T o understand them as writers, we need to understand their L1 writing experience in Chinese context. I n C hina, g ood writing, good writers, and the ability to write are highly valued. Good writing involves truth, philosophy, knowledge, and beauty in language form and images Writing is considered the best way to demonstrate a persons literacy level and intelligence Good writers are regarded a s hav ing cultivated minds and enjoy a privilege d social status in Chinese history There are diverse approaches to learning to writ e One popular and i nfluential approach is, even today, to require students to memorize canonical pieces written by masters like Confucius or other classic essay s. Through memorization, s tudents internalize the message, the truth, the style, the structure and the diction in canonical and classic pieces and learn to consult them as models of good writing. People believed that (Recita tion of 300 Tang Dynasty poems makes those who cannot write poets ) This implies that only after students memorize the canon have they achieved a certain degree of language proficiency with a repertoire of writing skills and can then interact with reader, text and context freely Therefore, readi ng, memorization, and imitation we re crucial to learning to writ e in ancient China. Teachers were and are still, supposed to have already internalized many canonical essays, and are fam iliarized with writing principles that enable them to se rve as judges of good writing. These methods
83 influence students ways of thinking and writing style. This approach that has dominated Chinese composition instruction for thousands of years is still widely applied (Xu, 1985) English Writing The Chinese K 12 education system is highly centralized with the Ministry of Education (MOE) setting the curriculum, selecting textbooks and evaluating students at the end of grade 12. T he whole education system i s closely geared to the national College Entrance Examination (CEE), which has a lifetime influence on students (Lebans & Radigan, 2007) English for K 12 students is also under the guidance of national English curriculum written by the MOE I n t he national high school and middle school English curriculum, reading ability, grammar and vocabulary translation ability and writing ability at a basic level are required. I n order to succeed in the CEE, most high school students practice only the English writing that enables them to pass the college English entrance exam S tudents are required to complete a 100120word essay in 30 minutes according to the prompt given, in which students should demonstrate correct opinions, a clear cut theme, a good command of grammar and vivid language use (You, 2004, 2010) Students usually have been provided with multiple models of wr iting to memorize and imitate, including particular words, phrases, grammar rules, and sentence patterns, so that they can write quickly and correctly by filling ideas into prescribed patterns in the limited time of an examination. English writing instruction for English major s is largely focused on form and current traditional rhetoric ( He 2009; Xu 1989; You 2004) Although English w riting became an independent discipline for English major students at most Chinese universities in the 1980s English writing pedagogy has been basically the same for
84 decades (You, 2010) Teacher s lecture on linguistic features of descriptive, narrative or argumentative model essays and students imitate them In the end t eacher s grade students work in terms of content, language, grammar and vocabulary correctness There are neither multiple drafts n or revisions The first draft is also the final draft and the teacher is the sole judge. In an English curriculum issued for English major students in 1990 by the MOE students are requir ed to write politically correct ly structure coherent ly and use error fre e language. Since English major students may also t ake content courses in English such as literature, culture, and journalism they have more oppor tunities than nonEnglish major students to read and write in English in content areas. No matter what subject areas students write for, the criteria of grading are the samecontent, language, grammar and vocabulary correctness English writing is usually offered as a foundation course like listening, speaking and reading. S ome universities offer it to English m ajor students during the first two years ; some offer it the last two years due to different beliefs about when to start learning writing. I n most universities, English major students need to tak e the TEM 8 (Test for English Major band 8) as an exit exam T he prompt for TEM is similar to the prompt of the GRE issue in argument ative writing but with more specific organizational requirement s. T he following is a typical prompt for the organization in TEM 8: I n the first part of your essay you should state clearly your main argument, and in the second part you should support your argument with appropriate details I n the last part you should bring what you have written to a natural conclusion or make a summary (TEM 8, 2010). This test oriented approach has dominated Chinese English classroom s since the 1950s. Although some teachers tried to adopt process writing and English for academic
85 purposes, pragmatic difficulties such as large class size, short writing periods, and a lack of reading materials constrai ned them from adopting new writing pedagogies and ideas for their classroom s. But there has been development of English writing instruction since the early 199 0 s. Western writing pedagogies such as process writing and EAP (English for Academic Purpose) have begun to gradually enter Chinese English writing class rooms (You, 2004) In the 2004 version of CET curriculum issued by the MOE oral and written proficiencies in crosscultural communication ha ve been emphasized in addition to language competence and l anguage learning strategies This new curriculum motivated some teachers to implement process writing to develop students language proficiency and communication skills Hinkel (2002) propos ed that the exam oriented English writing instruction in Asian countries such as China leaves much room for improvement The pedagogies of English writing in China are under the influence of ESL writing pedagogies in Englishspeaking countries but lag far behind. Under the current English writing instruction in China, many expatriate native Englishspeaking instructors are employed. They are believed and expected to contribut e to the development of English writing instruction in China by bringing in new instructional approaches (Li, 2009), but may or may not have the background to do so. The Student Participants Students at S University can take up to 35 credits (over 10 subjects) a semester For dual majors they may take up to 40 credits a semester O n average, students take 25 to 30 credits per semester For example, in the study, the freshmen took 16 class hours of English courses and 10 hours nonEnglish courses per week, including 6 hours of C omprehensive English Reading, two hours of English W riting, S peaking, L istening
86 and other classes respectively The end of the semester is the busiest time for students Sometime s they need to take three exams in a day My interviews were conducted one or two weeks before their exam week as the students would not have any available time around the exam period. O ver 80% of the students in the current study reported they had part time job s. Most of them tutored younger students in English As English m ajor students in the only university in a city where learning English was popular from young children to adults, t hey have many opportunities to tutor students from kindergartners to high school Some students were doing business with friends, such as running a clothing or gift store Some invest ed in the stock market Fifty percent of the student participants belonged to various student organizations: student union, symphony club drama club, dance club, speech club, or photography club Some of them were also class leaders, coordinating between instructors and students In general, the English major students have a packed campus life. The students interest s range from music to sports to politics to science But most of all, they talk ed about fashions, music, and movies They admitted that they seldom had time to do extra reading and writing outside of class due to their heavy study load, work and hobbies Writing in English except for accomplishing writing assignments, is seldom a part of their daily life. According to the surveys and interviews, t he student participants have studied English for 6 to 13 years some students started in junior high school some started in kindergarten, and all reported having studied English grammar and vocabulary intensely in high school S tudents from S city usually start ed to learn English in elementary school
87 and thus have longer time being exposed to English compared with students from other cities and provinces In general, most English major students believe they have a good command of English grammar and vocabulary and are highly literate in Chinese. The student surveys revealed that t he student participants had quite similar English learning backgrounds. The m ajority of the students were able to write grammatically correct sentences in English and answer questions in examinations, and translate from English to Chinese and vice vers a The following are the most frequent types of writing training they received before the time of the study: Responding to exam questions Sentence combination Sentence expansion Sentence paraphrasing Sentence m aking Translation Their writing practice was not for authentic purposes and lack ed variety For example, they reported they were seldom taught to write rsum, memos, critiques, proposals or academic papers Although they have been taught to write narrative or descriptive essays, they were never required to write anything more than 250 words even after studying English for at least 7 years Due to limited writing practice and training in their previous schooling, the student participants lacked confidence when writing in English. As they stated in the survey, m any of them did not think they were competent English writers The following are what the students thought most frequently: My English writing is not as good as others I look forward t o write my ideas in English I never fully expressed myself in English writing I am not good at English writing I have no fear of my English writing being evaluated
88 Though they were not confident in English writing, they still held positive attitudes towar d learning English writing: wishing to be able to write and express themselves well in English and wanting to share their work with their peers They hoped to express their thoughts and ideas well in English, to communicate, and to have sufficient English proficiency for their future profession. Though unconfident in English writing, over half of them reported that they were good writers in Chinese. The student participants reported various English w riting e xperiences in high school Many of them from S c ity started to write in English from elementary school while some students only began to write in high school Whatever their previous writing experiences, they were all trained to write for exams Ninety percent of them reported that their high school English teachers trained them to write complex sentences and use sophisticated vocabulary to show that they had a good command of English. Thirty percent of them reported they would write Chinese first and then translate it into English when asked to compose in English Nevertheless, these writing experiences did not give them confidence in writing in English. NES Instructors at S University In the English D epartment at S University 8 out of 10 NES instructors taught English writing They were from the United States Canada, Brit ain, Australia, and New Zealand. They taught three kinds of English writing classes: Reading and Writing taken by freshmen, Writing taken by sophomores and Academic Writing (this later course depends on student enrollment) by th ird or fourth year students The department assigned only NES instructors to teach English writing and allowed the instructors to choose which year to teach. S ome teach freshmen like John; some teach sophomores like Ken and some teach both like Jack
89 They teach not only English W riting but also courses like Speaking, L istening, and American and Western Culture. F or example, Jack taught L istening and John taught S peaking to freshmen, Ken taught Public Speaking and American H istory to sophomores T he teaching load for NES instructors during the semester when the study conducted was as the following: Jack taught 12 class hours of English Writing and four class hours of Listening. John taught 12 class hours of English Writing and two class hours of Speaking. Ken taught 12 class hours of English Writing, two class hours of Public Speaking in English and two class hours of a n Introduction to C ontemporary America (both Public Speaking in English and a n Intro duction to Contemporary America are elective courses for the whole university) (Table 41) Their teaching load was comparable to that of their Chinese colleagues Table 41 Class hours of the NES instructors Instructor Jack John Ken Course taught Writing 12 Writing 12 Writing 12 Listening 4 Speaking 2 Public Speaking 2 Intro to Contem p. America 2 Total class hours 16 14 16 S city has a population of over 13,000 foreigners working at various companies, language schools public schools and colleges Among them, the majority is from English speaking countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. Since S University is the only comprehensive university in the city, t he limited number of teaching jobs attracted many applicants NES instructors were satisfied with how they have been treated as faculty members The university provided subsidized oncampus apartments for NES instructors The three NES instructors in my study all live d on campus because of the
90 good location, inexpensive rent, and park like environment As for the salary, the three NES instructors all agreed that it was a competitive salary that allowed them to live comfortably in the city. A ll the NES instructors as well as their NES colleagues share one large office, where they talk ed, complained and discuss ed local or international news, students, Chinese administrators, classroom teaching, and students writing They also exchange d ideas and shared syllabi, textbooks and other teaching resources I n the study, both Ken and John expressed that they had learned a lot from Jack who had 19 years of EFL teaching experience Like their Chinese colleagues, NES instructors are evaluated online by their students at the end of each semester The evaluatio n is worth 100 points, covering categories such as perceptions on the instructors teaching attitude, teaching content, teaching approaches, effectiveness and suggestions for instructors The results are only available to the Deans office and delivered to the instructor individually at the beginning of next semester The students evaluation has an impact on a teachers employment since it determines the renewal of job contract and the size of the pay raise There were no regular formal faculty meetings for NES instructors nor were there meetings with Chinese colleagues during the semester when the study was conducted. Chinese teachers have orientation and regular monthly meetings but there are no orientations or regular meetings for NES instructors O ne informal lunch meeting for NES writing instructors was held to discuss whether to use the same textbook Six of the eight writing instructors attended, but no agreement was reached. I learned that it
91 was the first and only meeting for NES instructors in the department The NES instructors had limited or no contact with their Chinese colleagues even with those who t aught the same group of students T he only Chinese faculty member they had frequent contact with was their coordinator The coordinator wa s a n experienced teacher with a M.A degree in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages ) from a British university but never taught English writing. There wa s a coordinator for English writing courses whose responsibility was to write a unified syllabus and facilitate the writing instruction of the freshmen or sophomore s. However, none of the NES instructors in the study followed the unified syllabus because they did not think the unified syllabus was good enough. NES participants revealed that they were given no teaching support and resources other than time and place to teach and a suggested syllabus The NES instructors social and off work life differ ed. Jack rarely socializes with anyone either English speaking or Chinese colleagues Ken socializes w ith native English speaking instructors often John wa s friends with both Chinese and Englishspeaking people because of his family connection (his sister married a Chinese man) D uring their off work time, Jack enjoy ed playing golf, hiking and traveling; John coached basketball, tutor ed elementary and middle school students in English and wa s even involve d in an export business with Canadian friends; Ken spent most of his spare time tutoring. NES tutor s are highly in d emand at S city Ken revealed that he had to reject many offers because his schedule wa s full; if he had the time, his income could have been doubled or triple d
92 Physical Appearance of the Classroom s Figure 41 is the physical appearance of the writing cl assrooms in the study Since every classroom can hold over 70 students, Figure 41 only shows the front part of the classroom Usually, students sat in the first three rows and I sat in the third row with students (the seat in red rectangular) The classrooms are roomy and air conditioned. In the front of each classroom are a chalkboard and a powered screen. A computer on the teachers desk is connected to the Internet Teachers usually sit there talking and grading students work if not lecturing. On the l eft side of the classrooms are wide glass windows, through which students can overlook a garden, a pond and a few ducks The NES instructors teach and the students learn English writing in clean, bright and modern classrooms. Summary T his c hapter has provided an over view of the English department where the participants taught Student participants background information such as campus life, English learning and writing experiences and attitudes could add to readers understanding of the study The working conditions of the three NES instructors and a description of the physical appearance of the English writing classes also serve as contextual information for the study In the following C hapter s 5, 6, and 7, I delineate the major issues in each of the NES instructors English writing classes respectively how their students responded to their instruction and what factors influenced their teaching eff ectiveness
93 Figure 41 Physical appearance of the classrooms Teachers Desk Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss Ss D o o r Chalkboard W i n d o w S
94 CHAPTER 5 JACK: TEACHING WRITING WITH A RIGID MODEL Jacks Profile Personal and Educational Experience Jack, an American in his fifties grew up in a military family and lived in many places like California, Texas, Colorado, Florida and Germany He spent his high school years in Germany and came back to the United States for college. In a small college in Colorado, he earned a M.A degree in English. He also studied advertising in New York for a while before teaching overseas Jack taught English for one year in a U.S. high school and then spent 16 years in Japanmostly at a private language school for adults at Sendai Japan He taught all four language areas listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Having s tayed in Japan for 16 years, he joked that he was more like a Japanese rather than an American. H e could speak fluent Japanese and write emails in Japanese. A s the onl y English major among the eight NES writing instructors he believed that he knew more about English writing than others in the department He wa s considered the most experienced and knowledgeable writing instructor by the other NES instructors and by the students John and Ken, as well as others, consulted him regularly on how to teach writing. What Brought Jack to S University Because of Japans econom ic recession, it became difficult to keep his teaching job at Se ndai, Japan. Jack ha d to apply for a teaching job in another country The large English learning population and teaching opportunities in China and other Asian countries drew his attention. He applied to S University and a university in Vietnam
95 Both universities interviewed him and offered him a teaching position. He chose S University for its gardenlike campus, competitive salary, and closeness to Hong Kongone of his favorite cities In 2007, he left Japan and officially joined the English department at S University He revealed that I am going to stay here for a while, students are good, and people treat me well (T184.108.40.206) Beliefs on Teaching EFL Writing Jack believed that an English writing teacher is responsible for transmitting the knowledge he possesses about English writing like paragraphing, coherence, unity and the process of writing to his students and the students job is to follow the teachers instructions actively do what the teacher has asked and show interest in improving their writing He felt most of his students met his expectations However, he th ought teaching English writing in China was challenging (F .T1.3.1 6 ) He appeared frustrated. F or example, he said, I told them (students) what unity is many, many times T hey stil l cant produce it I dont know how to teach them anymore (F.T1.3 .18 19) Jack thought that being reflect ive wa s the key to teaching. He put notes o n the margin of the course materials for lesson plan revision. Notes included evaluations of current tea ching approaches new teaching ideas, grammar mistakes i n the materials and so forth: bring students writing next time, new concept, only one able to answer. H e stated, I am always making not es on my lessons, how to change this, how to change that and rewrite course materials if needed (T220.127.116.112) His lesson plans teaching methods, and course materials might vary each semester For him, an English writing teacher has to know about English writing, be a writer himself and view writing a s a way for self discovery In his first English writing class, he told students, The goal of this class is for you to write about personal experiences in a
96 way that you learn something about yourself (F. T 1.5.2 3) He wrote a writing model on every topic th at he intended to assign to students and then he analyzed its sentence structure s, paragraph development, and language use during class, wishing to provide students with language, structure, and organization to craft their own writing. H e tried to put him self in his EFL students shoes and said he w ould have liked to see a written example when he was learning to write in a foreign language. Jack believed that a good writer needs the gift of being able to write a piece that can make people think in a different way a nd writers should have enough world knowledge and rich life experiences to inform readers about interesting things But he did not think his Chinese students had enough world knowledge to write something interesting to him; instead, he only expect ed Chinese students to write clearly and correctly ( S .T1.1 ). According to him, his teaching of English writing follow ed the steps of prewriting, drafting, revising, and grading. He at tribute d his understanding of teaching writing to his previous exp erience learning to write. H e commented that T his is the way that I have been taught and most native speakers write in this way, so I think it is the right approach to use (F .T1.2.1012) However, he doubted the ability of the Chinese students to revise their own writing or that of their peers He would go through outlines and rough drafts with students individually each time, checking students structures and language. Jack claimed his teaching of English writing was guided by the language input theory a concept he learned from his colleagues in Japan. A s he put it My method of teaching English writing is different from the traditional one. I emphasize language input rather than explaining what good writing is (J. T 1.1618) The language input, in Jacks
97 view, wa s to expose students to a variety of English expressions, phrases and structures in context He added, B ecause of their limited vocabulary, they tend to use the same phrases over and over again. They should expand (their vocabulary) to make their writing more complicated and more interesting (T18.104.22.1681) By a nalyzing the language and structure of his own writing models, he believed the students language and writing proficiency could be improved, and if they remembered the language in the writing examples, they woul d be able to produce quality English essay s in the future. H e described his way of teaching English writing as providing training wheel s on a bicycle ( F .T1.4.5 ). Jack did not think lectur ing the whole class was an effective approach for teaching English writing to Chinese students due to their vari ed l anguage ability He believed that his students needed oneonone tutoring. He prefer red to address students problems individually and privately He liked the class size of fewer than 15 students, so he could have enough time to talk to each student on an individual bas is He emphasized that I d like to point out their mistakes and show them specifically how to improve their work (T1.1.4 .18) Jack wrote all his own reading and writing models including a handbook of English writing introducing the conventions of clause, phrase, sentence, predication, complex and complicated sentences, coherence, unity, conciseness, process es of writing and style in English writing Jack frequently consulted a book called Writing Right a resource book for EFL writers to prepare for writing exams such as TOEFL (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language) GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
98 and IELTS (th e International English Language Testing System) He used online resources such as blogs and news websites to inspire his writing Teaching Style Jacks students regarded him as the strictest, the most professional, and the most distant NES writing instru ctor in the department Jack seldom smiled in or outside of classes. Compared with other N ES instructors who often said V ery good, but if I were you Id like h is students found his words blunt and tried not to talk to him as much as possible When he walked around checking his students writing, he said mostly T his is not right You should or T his is weak. He seldom told jokes, but when he did, his students could not appreciate them Once he told his students N ext week we are going to have a party The party spells TE S T (F.T1.32.17) Another time in an afternoon class, students were sluggish. He said with sarcastic tone, Y ou are so energetic (F.T1.7.10) He tried to keep a distance from students and said, I have no personal relat ionship with students Its not my job to be their friends My job is to teach them writing (T22.214.171.124 8) Once a student wrote passionately and emotionally about the drastic changes of how nice people in his hometown once were and how indifferent they now are. When Jack shared that piece with me, he said, I dont care if you cry or not This is a writing exercise. You j ust write it Prove to yourself y ou can write in a logic al way But his writing doesnt make any sense to me (T126.96.36.199) Some s tudents l ik ed his classes for his dedication and knowledge of English, especially the terms of writing like unity which they had never heard before. One of the students in his freshmen class told me that the good students were all in Jacks class because they felt Jack knew more about English writing even though he might not be the most pleasant instructor Most of the students in his sophomore writing class
99 were with him in freshmen writing classes although they had the opportunity to choose one of the other NES teachers They thought him much better than those NES instructors who came into classrooms without preparation and taught directly out of tex tbooks Jack was considered one of the best NES instructors despite students ambivalent feelings about him His strict, hardworking style earned him their respect Teaching Cycle Although the semester has 18 weeks, instructional weeks ex cluded a onewee k holiday break, the first two weeks of auditioning classes, and a reading week at the end of the semester During those 14 weeks, Jack had three writing assignments and one reading exam for freshmen and four writing assignments for sophomores ( T able 51) Jacks typical English writing c ycle followed the following structure: W eek O ne teaching an article that related to the writing assignment; W eek T wo analyzing in detail a writing model that he wrote so that students could imitate its organization, sentenc e structure and phrases; W eek T hreemeeting with students individually either to discuss their outlines or rough drafts ; and W eek F our commenting on and grading student writing The teaching cycle was repeated for each writing assignment Jacks model was of first and foremost importance in his instruction. Jacks Teaching Characteristics Having taught in China for three years, Jack had found that Chinese students writing was full of language errors and that they knew very little about English writing. He noted that their writing lacked transitional devices logic al development unity and conventions as well as being full of awkward and word y sentenc es Therefore, Jack adopted an approach stressing on linguistic correctness
100 Stress on S urfaceL evel W riting Due to his belief about writing correctness that Chinese students should first achieve, Jack spent much time lecturing about techniques and grammar as well as English writing conventions in each writing cycle. He emphasized drilling from paragraph t o sentence to guarantee that students wr o te correctly, from sentencing and paragraphing principles punctuation, grammar rules, mechanics and conventions in English writing He also required students to follow a set of formatting rules from his handbook of writing in order to be uniform Lecturing on techniques and grammar In both freshmen and sophomore writing classes, lectures on grammar and doing sentence exercises were a n important part especially during the first two weeks in the writing cycle T he sentences and grammar exercise s that Jack adapted from resource books and the Internet were includ ed as a part of his reading materials Typically, students were given several minutes to read (for example, a proofreading exercise) on their own silently and then to work on the exercises (for example, find as many mistakes as they could) While students read, Jack walked around the classroom checking on students Finally, Jack gave correct answers Besides grammar exercises, s entence ex er cises includ ed sentencecombining, sentence splitting, writing parallel sentences, and so forth. Here is an example of Jacks sentencecombining exercise at Lesson Six that followed his teaching of a murder story to sophomore students. Combine Sentences Andrew Carnegi e 1 Andrew Carnegie was born in November 1835. 2 He was born in Scotland.
101 3 He became a ScottishAmerican industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur. 4 He became a major philanthropist. 5 He was one of the most famous leaders of industry of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 6 He emigrated to the U.S as a child. 7 His first job was as a messenger at a telegraph company. 8 He progressed up the company. 9 He changed his interests. 10. He established Carnegie Steel. 11. The company later merged with other companies. 12. These companies became U.S Steel. 13. He turned to philanthropy. 14. He established libraries, schools, and universities in the U.S., the U.K., and other countries. 15. His life was truly a rags to riches story. 16. He died on August 11, 1919. (A.T1.Sophomore.6.4) Students were required to combine and rearrange the above sentences in a correct order The purpose for the sentencecombining exercise, according to Jack, was to help students revise their own sentences and to write concisely and logically The sentencecombining exercise did not seem to be difficult for the students even for those at a lower level Jack usually liked to ask one of the students to give his/her answers and then gave the correct answers if students did not get them right In addition to the sentence exercises, Jack prepared many proofreading exercises to teach students English writing conventions The following is an example of one of Jacks proofreading exercises, which followed the sentencecombining exercise above. Proofreading and Sentence Combining Exercise 1. Proofread Paragraph 1 and 2, correcting all mistakes. San Francisco's Chinatown 1 From the 1850s to the 1900s, Chinese immigrants from the southern Guangdong province of China arrived in San Francisco. This area, set up by the government, allowed Chinese to own building within the city At this time, most Chinese found jobs work for large companies, most famously building the transcontinental railroad, which connected the west and east
102 Coasts Other immigrants pursue gold in the California mountains, hoping to strike it rich during the 1849 gold Rush. In the wake of the Panic of 1873, racial tensions in San Francisco boiled over into race riots In response to the violence, the Consolidated Chinese Benevolent Association gave Chinese a unified voice that protected them during this period of anti immigrant sentiment. 2 Throughout the history of Chinatown, criminal gangs had controlled smuggling, gambling, and prostitution. To prevent crime, the San Francisco Police Department established a special Chinatown police squad soon after the war, however, the squad, due to Chinese protests, was disbanded in August 1955. With the end of the Vietnam War a wave of Vietnamese refugees of Chinese descent came to the area. Chinese who had lived in the area for generations moved out to suburb areas and other cities in California With these changes, Chinatown became a tourist destination whose streets are now lined with souvenir shops and restaurant (A.T1.Sophomore.4.7) A s the above example show s, students need ed to find errors such as single/plural form, tense, gerunds, capitalization, and to change a noun in to an adjective. The majority of the students in the class reported that it did not take them much time or effort to spot the language mistakes which surprised Jack Jack wondered why Chinese students who have such a strong gramma tical foundation often made many gramma tical mistakes in their writing Nevertheless, Jack repeatedly incorporated similar sentence and grammar exercises to reinforce the students knowledge of English syntax mechanics and other conventions Jacks students reported that they felt bored when practicing such exercises. S6 commented that grammar and sentence exercises were generally easy and unnecessary for most of her classmates since they had intensive grammar lessons since middle school Drills of grammar were a part of their preparation for the NEE (N ational E ntrance E xams) in which they have to demonstrate a solid foundation in English grammar (S6.19) She also commented on the punctuation Jack of ten stressed in his teaching, My impression is that in the past two semesters we have been studying
103 too m any punctuation rules I wondered why punctuation is that important and worth so much effort H e also tested us on punctuation (S6.18.8 9) I n fact, they were more impressed by their middle school teachers approach to teaching grammar and thought nativesp eaking instructors should teach something that could enlighten them (S1.12.16) instead of teaching something they knew already According to the data, students could not benefit from lecturing on grammar and practicing writing techniques in isolation. Us ing students grammar mistakes in their writing as examples might have benefited the students However, Jack did not realize that and he thought differently Jack knew that his Chinese students sometimes griped about doing gramm ar exercises but he insisted, They think they know (grammar), they dont (T188.8.131.52) Despite the discontent of Chinese students, they followed Jacks instructions due to the power of and respect for teacher Imposing formatting rules Another thing Jack s students could not understand was why he required all students to follow the format he preferred in every piece of writing. He had rules for spacing, the font, indent ing and line spac ing setting the margins, page number ing and photograph ing Jack compil ed a handbook of English writing and usually he took the first two weeks of a semester to teach the formatting rules F or example, formatting rules include T here is one space after comma and two spaces after a period (A Handbook.14) and, B egin the first paragraph on the first page ten spaces from the top (A Handbook 16) Most of the students said that this is the first time they had to write under so many formatting rules S tudents would lose points for not following the rules in their writing. A lthough many students re ported that they later became familiar
104 with the formatting styles, in the first one or two assignments they lost many points because it was difficult to adjust to new formatting rules that Jack emphasized. In order to help them form a good habit, Jack even had students follow formatting rules in emails they sent to him Students needed to remember the following when sending emails : When sending an email, make sure you put your class, student number, and subject of the email in the subject line. Begin your email with a salutation. You may also include an introductory question, such as one about the weather In the body paragraph, ask a question or make a statement Include a closing comment and your name (A Handbook.17) Since e mails w as a main channel for the students to communicate with their NES instructors outside of class, they found not every NES instructor required a strict email format in the way that Jack did Jack t hought the format helped students to write conventionally and said he would not read emails without the proper format required. Each semester, students were likely to change class es and were likely to follow different formatting rules in different instructors classes which confused them as they adjusted to a new set of rules Som e of the students wondered what indeed the correct format for writing is in English speaking countries Because incorrect format resulted in points off, 30% students said they had lost points before and had to th ink about formatting each time they wrote a composition. Proper formatting rules exist to improve communication, and it is necessary to follow some conventional formatting rules Different disciplines or professions have different rules of formatting E mphasizing rules without explaining the reasons why proper formatting is necessary caused students confusion Instead of teaching students to follow his rules rigidly, Jack could have demonstrated for his students the flexibility to choose formatting rules to meet their audiences expectations whe n writing Further,
105 emphasizing rules diverted students attention from clarifying ideas making sentences flow, or using appropriate expressions to check the format As novice writers the students in the study not only taxe d their cognition by stressing on format but also trivialized content as the more important aspects of writing. Jack made great effort s to ensure that students developed surfacelevel correctness in English writing, but he did not achieve satisfactory results Students who were able to finish sentencing and paragraphing exercises correctly continued to repeat the same mistakes in their own writing Stressing grammar, syntactic correctness, and conventions before ideas is like putting a cart in front of a horse, which did not help students write and express their thoughts at all. Writing w ith M odels Jack also thought Chinese students d id not have enough world knowledge to write So before introducing a writing model, he chose an article for students to read so as to provide them with back ground knowledge of their writing topic s. A writing model was taught i n the second week in his writing cycle T here were slight differences in his instruction for freshman writing and sophomore writing. Controlled f reshman w riting Normally Week One (two class periods) was spent teaching an article in detail focusing on its syntax and linguistic features Besides offer ing students knowledge on their coming writing assignment, t he article also served as a model of language for students writing assignment s. For example, in order to help students write the assignment on The Gilded Age and Modern China, Jack fir st taught an article Americas Gilded Ag e He wrote it and revised it many time s before he taught It has six paragraphs and this was the first paragraph.
106 America's Gilded Age 1. The Gilded Age, a term coined by the writer Mark Twain, refers to the rapid growth in the population and the extravagant displays of wealth of America's upper class during the post Civil War and post Reconstruction eras of the late nineteenth century (18651901) This wealth, resulting from industrial expansion due to new factories in the Northeast and Midwest, resulted in a division of classes the poor and the rich. The poor were primarily immigrants from Europe, who had c ome to the United States seeking a better life They worked long, hard hours in factories, usually for low wages The owners of the factories, industrialists such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D Rockefeller, Andrew W Mellon, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Flagler, and J. P. Morgan, were referred to by social critics as "robber barons," because they used their power to exploit their workers However, this period also gave rise to American philanthropy These same socalled robber barons gave away millions of dollars creating colleges, hospitals, museums, libraries, and they also set up various charities, which still play an active role in American life. Below is an excerpt taken from my field notes on April 27, 2010, which shows the typical way Jack taught a paragraph in Week One. 2 : 1 0pm Standing before the slides on which the first paragraph was shown, Jack asked students, W hen was the Gilded Age? Guess. Some students shook heads Jack said, You will find out in this reading. Jack began to play the recorded first paragraph read by him His voice was flat without much fluctuation. While listening to the paragraph, students also read the screen. A few students began to look up new words in their electronic dictionaries Jack stopped the digital recorder after the first paragraph, and he checked whether students had finished their reading. He waited until most students finished Jack said, W rite a one sentence summary of this paragraph. Your answer should start with during Americas Gilded Age Students were giv en about 2 to 3 minutes to write and then he checked three students answers One student wrote, during the Gilded Age the society changed greatly He nodded. After a while, he gave the correct answer that during Americas Gilded Age, there were great changes, resulting in wealth and a division of classes but also philanthropy Then he pointed at the underlined phrases and words in the first paragraph, asking students whether they understood them For example, Jack asked W hat does extravagant mean? but there were no answers from the students Jack answered, extravagant means too much, showing off Following the word extravagant, he asked students the meaning of exploit and philanthropy I noticed one student sat in front of me knew all the vocabulary but in Chinese. While she was thinking how to answer the teachers question in English, the teacher moved to the next word. Jack reminded students the underlined phrases such as the rapid growth, play
107 an active role and said, T hey are common phrases in English. You should remember them After talking about all underlined words and phrases, he moved to paragraph two. It took about 15 minutes to teach the first paragraph (F.T1.29) Jack basically taught the six paragraphs in the same manner : reading aloud, letting students summarize until they underst ood the meaning of the paragraphs, then studying vocabulary and phrases Someti mes he glanced over paragraphs S ometimes he analyzed them in detail depending on the difficulty of language and students familiarity of the topic The homework for the reading classes was normally to write a summary of the article The summary would not be graded but checked at the beginning of the next class The first week of the writing cycle was aimed to build up students background knowledge and to add to their repertoire of writing. Jack believed that memorizing the phrases, sentence structures, and word choices would benefit their future writing. The second week, he would teach students a writing model that served as an exa mple of the writing assignment H e looked for articles to serve as models for his students to copy However, he complained, I t s hard to find the articles that I want (F.T1.13.20) He was more apt to find many exam taking techniques and writing conventions So he decided to write his own, and he said I wrote in a way that I usually write and rewrote the writing to make them more understandable for Chinese students (F.T1.13.21) He explained, For example, to t each coherence, I show ed them a key word that connect s this sentence to this sentence. So in their writing, there must be a key word to connect one sentence to the next I show them in my example (F.T1.14.5 & 9) Through analyzing the cohesive devices in writing models, he wished students could
108 understand how to produce logic al writing The above data showed that Jack taught English writing as teaching Englishthe language. The following is the second paragraph of a writing model written by Jack for the Gilded Age and Modern China writing assignment as well as the worksheet he wrote to help students comprehend and learn the meaning, structure and phrases There were six paragraphs in the essay of Japanese and American Societies : one introduction, two paragraphs of differences and two paragraphs of similariti es and one conclusion (A ppendix H ) Jack revealed that he revised 5 times before he was satisfied with it The model describes the differences and similarities between Japan and the United States Japan and the United States: Different but Alike The most obvious difference is the people. Japan is made up almost entirely of one race. It is a homogenous society with only a few minority races, such as the Chinese, Koreans, and Ainu, an indigenous people n ative to Hokkaido. The Japanese majority tends to dominate the country All of the public holidays and celebrations are related to them An example of this is the Emperor's Birthday In contrast the United States, though many of its people come from Europe, is a heterogeneous society In addition to people who have come from Europe, there are those from Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. There are also the Native Americans, who have their own lands Public holidays and celebrations are not limite d to people who have a European ancestry The most notable example of this is Martin Luther King Day So the composition of these two societies is quite different. 1 What is the main idea? 2 Where is it located? 3 What do the following phrases mean? a homogenous society an indigenous people a heterogeneous society 4 What are the supporting details? Paragraph Organization This paragraph is organized by a point by point method. This means that each point is developed within the paragraph. Japan's homogenous society is contrasted to America's heterogeneous society Concrete examples give
109 each point its strength. The paragraph also ends with a sentence that restates the main idea, a common technique that gives it coherence. Language Review C omplete these sentences or answer the questions. 1 The Japanese majority the country. 2 Public holidays and celebrations in the United States people who have a European ancestry (A.T1. Japan and the United States ) The following field note excerpt shows how Jack taught the structure and language of his writing models He believed that students should have to understand the structure and remember the language to improve their English writing, because the structure and the language are what Americans will actually use (F.T1.46.12) He first started by showing a map of Japan and the United States He asked students to guess the similarities and differences between the two countries Students took a wild guess One of them said, T hey have the same latitude? Jack replied, A good guess How does that affect culture? Like usual, he played the digitally recorded paragraph. After listening, he told students to summarize the paragraph and gave several minutes for students to find and write their answer s. Most students were able to give him the correct answer, although not exactly the same but close. Then he let students to find the supporting ideas in the paragraph. He told students this writing is common to writing academic writing. You are going to w rite about China and America like this (F.T1.31.6) Then he moved to question 3 and 4. Only a few students were able to answer question 3, so he supplied answers quickly He also reviewed the sentences shown in the paragraph before by asking students to f ill in the blanks properly in language review part Phrases like homogenous society heterogeneous society tend to, not limit to notable example of in addition to, and in contrast have been taught explicitly Jack wanted to make sure students paid enough attention to the phrases so that they could remember them About half of the students knew the phrases but claimed that they could not include those phrases naturally in their writing. Paragraph by paragraph, Jack followed the same steps: reading aloud, summarizing the main ideas, supporting ideas, and lecturing phrases paragraph by paragraph and expecting students to pay attention to sentence structures and word choices At the end, he drew the outline of the essay on board like the follow ing and required students to follow the same format in their writing:
110 Outline Paragraph one: controlling idea Differences Paragraph two: main idea onesupporting ideas Paragraph three: main idea twosupporting ideas Similarities Paragraph four: main idea threesupporting ideas Paragraph five: main idea four supporting ideas Conclusion The homework for the second week of the writing cycle wa s usually to write an outline. A fter teaching the six paragraph essay students were asked to compare and contrast the Gilded Age and M odern China using the outline template. To make the writing assignment eas y for students, Jack only required students to write one similarity and one difference. Jack s teaching approach resembled the traditional five paragraph approach in ESL/EFL writing instruction. Despite Jack s emphasis on following his models, the students did not make much progress in their writing, including their language usage. One student said: T he phrases he asked us to remember were actually difficult to remember, even though we knew all the words I could only remember one or two from each piece of reading. Without opportunities to use the underlined phrases in his articles, I forgot them easily (S3.19.710) Another student did no t know why he had to remember Jacks underline d phrases because he valued the phrases he read from other resources instead of the plain, ordinary phrases in Jacks articles (S6.4.11) Despite some complaints, students admitted they learned something like world history from his articles, but they thought their improvement on language was minimal. They reported they learned more phrases sometimes from outside reading than from focusing on the two writing models Jack claimed, S tudents thought they knew (English writing) They dont I know what they need (T1.3.1213) He firmly believed that even if students did not care for
111 learning from his models he should stick to them because it is how he learned to write. He thought that They (students) dont know coherence, unity, [they never heard of a topic sentence], they dont know so much (T184.108.40.206) For example, when teaching students write a narrative essay, Jack thought: T hey should read an article first I would write this (writing example) use m y hometown New Orleans as an example. So rather than the traditional concept of teaching narrative, I am going to write a history of New Orleans and I am going to analyze and figure out how it s coherence. S o I write naturally then I analyze it They can borrow the language I use (T1.1.910.205 ) Jack s tips for improving English writing, as he often told his students is to m emorize it (phrase, vocabulary), your language will be natural ( F .T 1 .18) Jacks stressing on memorizing language coincidentally mirrors the Chinese way of teaching English writing a language and form centered approach that has already been criticized as ineffective in teaching students to write effectively in the ESL/EFL field Jack, him self, revised his writing model many t imes before he used it in teaching. However, he did not make the connection between his own revision process and his teaching of writing. Instead of helping them revise their work or work on multiple drafts, Jack only allowed them to imitate and memorize. Students all reported that they tried to imitate the structure and language in writing models This required students to find parallel ideas to fit in the models They were not only encouraged but were also required to write in parallel to Jacks model being graded on their attempts to do so T he following is an example of students writing by modeling after the abovementioned writing sample: Between Americans Gilded Age and modern China, these two periods vary obviously in population migration. Durin g Americans Gilded Age, in the late nineteenth century, the immigrants in the United States increased rapidly Approximately ten million immigrants went to the US, resulting in a lot of
112 Chinatown settled in America, especially in California. In this immigration tide, a large proportion of them went from religious freedom On the contrary, in modern China, the situation is widely different Instead of having an influx of immigrants, Chinese people tend to emigrate more to developed countries, such as Amer ica, Great Britain, France, Australia and etc Not for religious freedom, but Chinese people search for greater prosperity, and an increasingly more are for better education and advancer knowledge. Evidence has shown that a growing number of Chinese parent s are sending their kids to abroad studying, with the identity of nonWestern residents (S 2 Modern China and the Gilded Age) Jack viewed this paragraph as a successful imitation of his writing model and he wrote good on the margin of the paragraph. T he student tried hard to write parallel homogenous societies and heterogeneous society in the model versus immigration and migration in the Gilded Age and M odern China respectively F ill ing the examples into the model structure was effortless for her Howe ver, not every student was able to write parallel paragraphs and thus got much lower points S2 got 85 out of 100 for her piece and the average points were 70. Students wrote uniformly Many other students also wrote about immigration vers u s migration, as well as economic growth, culture, population with less coherence and language problems Of all the students writing, students, the structures were fundamentally the same as the wr iting model, though variants exist ed. In writing The Gilded Age and Moder n China, t he following pattern was commonly found in students writing : First paragraphA country s society is made up of S econd paragraphThe most obvious difference is T hird paragraphIn spite of this difference, modern China and the Gilded Age T he c onclusionAt first glance, modern China and the Gilded Age may seem have little in common. B ut this is not true
113 Jack was pleased to see students following his models He stated, T hey can follow the skeleton of my writing. I n fact, they d better follow mine; otherwise, they can t write at all ( F .T1.4. 5 7 ) By having students fill the s keletons of writing models, the instructor put his words to students mouths because the words and structures based upon what he expected to hear Stu dents not only used instructors words, they used them uniformly, despite the fact that they we re different individuals with different insights, different language proficiencies or different writing abilities Imitating models became a game of manipulating language and structure for grades instead of for communication or expression. In Jacks writing classes, writing was equaled to imitating writing models The following is a paragraph from a writing model by Jack (one of his former students wrote and he revised it) and a paragraph from a student s writing after modeling it The Death of a Village I spent my childhood in a small town in the countryside It had many trees and an expanse of land for farming The air [in the town] was clear and blue. When there was rain in the town the nearby hills became a dark green and blossomed with flowers At night, we could see many stars My family lived in a tile roofed house in the town that kept us cool in summer and warm in winter All in all we led a happy and peaceful life in the town. As time went by, however, our town began to develop, according to the new policies of the central government As a result, factories began to appear on the farmland, and the green hillsides became bare. The rain turned the hillsides to mud. Now the town has become an area of factories The air pollution from then has made it almost impossible to see stars (Teachers model) (S 7 s writing The Death of a Village) When I was a child, I lived in a village, which is full of rural scenery W e could see many trees on both sides of the roads and a variety of flowers in full bloom beside the river, under the tree or around the ponds E very family didn t need to close the doors, because everyone truste d each other Also, there were a lot of farmers working in the fields, working in unity and helping one another for the harvest A ll in all we had a peaceful and happy life A s the local economy developed, however, more and more businessmen and investors invested quite a lot of money to set up their own
114 factories A s a result, more and more factories have taken the place of the natural fields so that more and more farmers have nothing to do. (S 7 The Death of a Village) I n this writing examp le, the student started with a story and a description of environment and then some changes happened in his village H e borrowed the ideas, skeleton, and some phrases in the writing model but replaced the example of air quality changes with example of famer s los s of their land. S 7 revealed that he created the above piece but never had an experience liv ing in a village. W riting models might assist students finish assignments but could not facilitate them to write for authentic expressions They were taught to writ e for grades instead of learn something about yourself as Jack believed. Even when students wrote with their own views if their pieces were unlike the writing models, they would lose points for ineffective writing. S 1 wrote Changes in My Hometown but did not follow Jack s writing model Disliking the writing model, he decided to write his own stories The following is the first paragraph of his assignment respond to The Death of a Village : Day after day, the city is developing rapidly on its way to becoming a modern society: on the land where was an endless field of rice before, are now standing hundreds of high buildings; on the roads which were once narrow and rugged, are now running thousands of cars All seems to just have happened over night Even a decade ago, a city of such prosperousness could only be touched on the land of dreams for the whole citizens But now it is true This is, without any doubt, a great success in the aspect of economy; nevertheless, we should not neglect that, while the city is approaching prosperity, the crisis of defensiveness and indifference is also bred. Once an old woman, who wore a pair of gleaming earrings, was on her way home when suddenly a snatcher ran up and caught her Violently he tore off the earrings and pushed her down, then rushed away in haste. It was much beyond belief that during the whole progress there was a big crowd of standers by, but none of them had the courage to take action to stop or call the police. They were apathetic! After a time, in all directions, they just left, leaving the unlucky old woman weeping there, with her ears bleeding. (S 1 Changes in My Hometown)
115 S 1 talked about some changes that really happened to his hometown and he wrote passionately, wishing to raise peoples attention to how the city became a moral desert H e thought that he had demonstrated more depth of thought than he would have talking about the air quality change. By doing so, S 1 felt that he had demonstrated his thinking about social and m oral issues that a college student should care about He got a low score for this piece. He was upset, not because of the score but for the depreciat ion for his thinking. Despite some syntactic and grammatical errors in S7 s writing S1 s writing display ed fluency and more personal voice than S7s S7 s writing was crafted out of a writing model and S1 s writing crafted out of his observation and personal experiences that resulted in depth of thinking about societal changes S7 wrote like Jacks writing model and S1 wrote with his own voice Sentences like e ven a decade ago, a city of such prosperousness could only be touched on the land of dreams for the whole citizens in the text sound awkward to Jack Jack valued nothing the student tried to write, b ut only how correct ly he can do it F or him, English writing learners should achieve structural and linguistic correctness first before any other things such as thinking, ideas, fluency and voice. S2 stated that I n order to be safe, youd better write like him I ts boring. I think in writing we should write what we truly believe and feel I love to write when I feel something and I want to say it (S1.18. 1214) Another student commented, H is teaching is like cutt ing all trees according to his protocols If his writing looks like a ball, all our writing should be like a ball (S1.21.1617) When writing became filling in blanks activities students simply parroted the models As a result, students were deprived of
116 the opportunities to explore, to create m eaning, and to express themselves through writing Lesscontrolled sophomore writing There was more flexibility for sophomores although they still wrote under the influence of models During the first week, Jack introduced various types of fi ction such as realistic fiction historical drama, adventure, mystery and science fiction. Then he taught a murder story The Murder in the Garden District that he adapted from a novel He taught it as usual: teaching the vocabulary, asking questions to help students comprehension, and letting students write summary of each paragraph ( W eek 7 handouts) The homework was to write a summary of the story The second week, he taught another murder story Married to a Murder f rom a U.K. newspaper As usual, he analyzed the reading in terms of vocabulary and meaning ( W eek 8 handouts) He also introduced premise and other terms in fiction writing. The homework was to email him an outline of the students fiction including the premise, the protagonist/ antagonist and a summary of the plot During the third week, he had a fiction writing workshop in which he introduced the skills of fiction writing in further detail by using the Married to a Murder as an example ( W eek 9 handouts) Students continued to write their story and turned it in the following week The following are excerpts of his handouts. Reading Section Three: Comprehension Vocabulary Drawing room formal word for living room. 1 Who is Cora? 2 Who is Chanse? Writing 1 Write a sentence or two that describes Cora. 2 What did you learn about Chanse? 3 Describe the relationship between the two. (Week 7 handouts)
117 Married to a Murder By Norman Bates Danielle Davidson had never been to a prison before. She had gotten the idea to meet Clay Potter after first seeing him on the TV news one evening. He had been convicted of murdering a wealthy couple in Bayville north of San Francisco, where she lived. On his way out of the courthouse, Clay had protested the conviction, shouting, I'm innocent! and she had believed him I'm not going to die for this crime! he had continued. 1 Who is the protagonist/antagonist? 2 Why are some of the verbs in the past perfect tense? (Week 8 handouts) Story Telling versus Incident Here are two ideas for stories Which one is more interesting? 1 Betty went to the lake to study and saw her boyfriend holding hands with her best friend. She became so sad that she cried. 2 Betty went to the lake to study and saw her boyfriend holding hands with her best friend. She was sad for a moment Then she smiled. She had decided to seek revenge. Verb Tense Notice how the verb tense changes according to the arrangement of the sentences. Betty went to the lake to study and saw her boyfriend holding hands with her best friend. She was sad for a moment Then she decided to seek revenge. She smiled. Story telling basics: Plotting Something must happen which advances the plot A story's plot is often advanced because of a decision by the main character to do something. In the story Married t o a Murderer what are some of the decisions Danielle makes to advance the story? There are also things that happen which advance the story but are unrelated to the protagonist's decisions What is the most important thing that happens in Married to a Mur derer which is unrelated to Danielle and her decision? (Week 9 handouts) Li ke teaching freshmen classes, Jack prepared reading materials to teach students the structure and language they might need to accomplish their assignments H e also taught the char acteristics of genres and examined the craft used by the author hoping students could transplant the knowledge into their writing. S tudents reported that they learned something about different genres that they never had learned before. Like
118 freshmen, sophomores also need ed to confer with Jack about their outlines individually and turn in a draft in the following weeks Unlike freshmen, who were expected to strictly borrow the organization, structure, and language of writing models, sophomores were allo wed to write with more freedom and fewer constraints They were able to choose what to tell and how to tell their stories O ne of the sophomores wrote a story titled Murder a story inspired by Jacks handouts and a joke she had read before. S he started w ith a description of a young man who wa s anxiously waiting for lottery results and found that he won 5 million dollars The protagonist plotted to kill his wife in order to achiev e his dream of marrying a pretty woman. S ince her story is over 10 pages, only a few paragraphs from her story follow: Mark pinches himself several times after he knew he won. H e wants to make sure that he is not dreaming and he really won a fortune. H e always has three big dreams: house, car and pretty wife. H e has been dreaming these things at the first time he brought the lottery N ow he gets the money and he wants to realize his dreams as soon as possible. A house and a car are easy to get, as long as you have money T he pretty wife is the m ost difficult thing to get W hy? H e has been married to Mary for five years That s a problem I t s easy for him to divorce Mary, but Mary would get half of the money away H e doesn t want to share the money with Mary. How to get away from the relationship with Mary and not lose his money at the same time? He thinks over and over again. Murder the word frequently appears in fictions and movies flashed in his mind. B ut he thinks he is too brutal and impudent N ot concerning how much Mary loves him, Mary surely does all a wife should do. How can he murder her brutally? (More description of the protagonist s inner struggle whether or not, how to kill his wife ). He decided to do it B ut how to do it is still a problem I t doesn t work such as poisoning, pinching, and stabling. I t would easily get the police attention. I t doesn t work that he hires a killer, either I t is not only easy to be found but also a large amount of money should be paid .
119 Suddenly he finds it is a bright day today A n idea came to his mind, which is thought to be excellent (Summary : the man helped his wife with yard work as usual He intended to kill his wife by creating an accident However, he hurt himself instead of his wife and he realized soon he is going to die and shouting) Why are you shouting in the middle of the night? Mary says Mark wake up and found him lying in his bed and Mary is next to him, in his hand, holding a lottery ticket. Poor baby! You must had a bad dream Its OK Nothing happened. Its just a dream, said Mary and she hugged him. Oh! Thank god its just a dream! Mark speaks to himself in a low voice. (S6 Murder) Despite some grammar and syntactic error s, the story was very readable according to Jack He read the story with great interest and was surprised by the students story writing skills He said T his is a good story I am surprised by her ability to tell stories (F.T1.59.11) The story has premise, plot climax, and dialogue that a story needs The student told me that writing a story is not as difficult as she thought and she enjoyed writing it, although this is the first time she wrote a story in English. Like this student, many students demonstrated good imagination in story writing and they talked about their stories enthusiastically with peers Despite problems such as writing that lacked details and stories happened too fast i n general, Jack was satisfied with the students story writing assignment s. It was also the first time he reali zed th at Chinese students could tell good stories Jack believ ed that his freshman students D ont know the basics of English writing. They dont have the language. So when they get more language skills and know more about the basic s, they can have more freedom to write (T1.2.16 19) C ompar ing Jack s freshmen writing instruction with that of sophomores reveal s that teaching students to write as if filling in blanks does not facilitate students writing
120 improvement as well as giving students the freedom to write based on their knowledge, cognitive styles, and writing skills The f illing in blanks approach further demonstrated that the instructor treat ed teaching English writing as teaching the language instead of a way of thinking and communicati on and a channel to express ideas. In general, Jacks teaching of English writing was language correctness based. He believed that students must learn how to write correctly and conventionally before they writ e on their own and that they should not write o n their own until they have enough knowledge about the language and writing techniques Apparently he viewed freshmen writing classes as preparation for writing correctly I t is understandable that the freshmen students need more guidance than sophomores do; however, the quality of the sophomores writing i n this study demonstrates the positive impact of less controlled writing Once the rigid model requirement was lifted the students were able to produce better work Unconstructive F eedback I n Jack s wr iting cycle he gave feedback to a majority of the students on two occasions, during oneonone meetings and after students turned in their work although a few enterprising students took the initiative to email him privately Despite the students preference for nativeEnglish speakers feedback on their writing, they reported the instructors comments did not help them write better on their next assignments This was because Jack only provided feedback to make sure students stay ed on the right track and his feedback lacked specificity Conferring as staying on the right track After lecturing on his writing models, Jack gave students one week to work on an outline. In order to make sure students did their homework and followed his writing
121 models, Jack chec ked how well students had met his requirements There were differences between freshmen and sophomores Jack checked the students outlines with freshmen in faceto face meetings and with sophomores via emails He also conferred with sophomores on one or t wo pages of their drafts Jack want ed to make sure the students were on the right track to write correctly He believed that checking students outlines individually could guarantee they would write on the right track H e stressed that the outlines were to parallel the writing model Nothing unexpected went into students outlines unless he decided it was acceptable. He went through the outline with each student for 2 3 minutes After his approval of their outlines, students c ould start to draft their essays If he had time, he point ed out every language problem in student drafts Here is a conference Jack had with a student talking about her outline in the oneto one meeting. Jack: L et me see your outline. The student passed him her typed outline. The student had written the first paragraph already Jack: (read the f irst paragraphdifference.) Eh diet habit between Chinese and American. I doubt whether you can handle it Youd better think of something else (While reading, Jack circled a few grammar mistakes with a red pen) (Student nodded. Jack continued check the outline of similarity) Jack: The similarity is OK But you dont need to put a whole sentence here. Only a few essential words are fine. Your sentence is too long for an outline. Check your grammar before your turn it in. (Student nodded again. Then Jack handed back the handout to the student It took about 2 minutes) (F.T1.35.59) Jack required the students to write like the writing models rigidly Without asking why the student wanted to compare the diet habit s in the two countries, he ignored her
122 idea totally The topic s he thought would be easier for students to handle were immigration, technology and econom ic development, exactly those topics he used in his writing models A s a consequence, students would write nothing that surprised him Jack dominated in the oneonone meeting and students simply replied with yes or nodded. Occasionally, a few students would ask him whether they could write another example when he pointed out their current example wa s not appropriate. Jack insisted on checking their outlines because he thought, If I dont (check), they do it wrong. I want them to produce a paragraph like mine. Only 20% of the students will do exactly what I say Since they cant (produce), I will keep teaching this again and again until they get it right (F.T1.20.1517) F ormalizing an outline was not an activity that every student welcomed because some students were not in the habit of writing formal outlines in other situations. In Jacks classes, about 30% of the students either wrote the draft first and created an outline out of it or wrote very sketchy and messy outlines When they were required to turn in a copy of a neat, structure d outline like the teachers examples, they complained that the teachers approach was too rigid. For example, here is a conversation between a secondyear student and me while she was waiting for her turn to meet Jack for her Save Endangered Animal assignment: I: May I look at your outline? (S5 passed her outline to me.) I: (after reading) Your outline is very neat. S5: (with low voice) My writing habit is like I write a draft first because I usually plan what to write and how to write it mentally I took his class last semester and for the first few assignments I followed his outline template. But this semester, I feel I dont need his outline template. I like to scribble on a blank paper then I know how to organize my writing. This outline is
123 what I wrote last night in order to give him a neat one like his example. Personally I think his way of outlining is too inflexible (F.T1.12.1121). Another student sat next to us added, I usually write the final draft and then make up an outline later Many of my cl assmates do the same. Privately, we hate it (writing an outline) I think his way is like the streamline in a factory (S1.12.3 5) Not all writers start their writing with a well thought out outline. Jack made students write uniformly by enforcing an outl ine for every student Writing is creating something new and it varies from writer to writer even when they write on the same topic B ased on the data, the instructor apparently ignored the nature of writing and the uniqueness of each writer; he simply equated writing as displaying correct sentences H is comments made students believe that the writing model was the only correct way of writing. Confusing comments After students t urned in their drafts Jack took one week to grade and comment on their work Students in Jacks class found he corrected their writing extremely carefully His comments on students writing assignments covered organization, sentences structure, phrases, v ocabulary punctuation, and format Unfortunately, some comments that were crucial for students growth in writing were not comprehensible to the students At the end of the chapter is an example of Jacks comments on a piece of writing, as Figure 51 shows S 4 was an average writer in his class W hen he got his work back, he derided, He probably spent his whole weekend on this (F.T1.37.11) As shown in the example, Jack commented on over 30 places, addressing issues related to organization, sentence structu re, grammar, verb tense, punctuation, format, and other
124 conventions The student reported that he understood nothing but only th e se tense and grammar conventions The comments like explain more in the first paragraph, you can keep the example but make this paragraph more direct in the second paragraph confused him and he did not know how to make revisions based on the comments He glanced through Jacks comments, found he could not do it and finally gave up revision. In fact, after be ing graded, students did not need not to think about other possibilities for saying things in alternative ways or to express their ideas better, which kept them from learning how to gradually generate better text Other student s exhibited similar confusion. A bout 81% of the students interviewed had a problem understanding need more examples F or example, S9 wrote a paragraph in her essay comparing the Gilded Age and Modern China. Jack wrote in red pen more examples needed next to the last two sentences Her paragr aph is like : In spite of this difference, modern China and the United States also have something in common. F or example, both two countries have a rapidly economic growing. The American economy grew rapidly during the Gilded Age in the area of transportati on, so did China in modern times American railroad mileage tripled between 1860 and 1880, and tripled again by 1920, opening new areas to commercial farming and creating a truly national marketplace. In modern China, compared to the old means of transport ation, now we have more choices such as railroad, airlines, cars and so on. A ll these developments can bring a great amount of profit back (S9 The Gilded Age and Modern China) S14 explained that : I thought railroad, airlines, cars are the examples of economy growth. W hat other examples did he want to see here? I don t understand. If in Chinese, that s the right example, I think They (NES instructors) just told us why its not good, not how to make it good ( S9.11.1013) These comment s suggest to students that teacher knows the right examples but fail s to tell them Jack said N o concrete examples are one of my students favorite mistakes They just tell it without showing an example. Its weak, not convincing (T220.127.116.11)
125 Take the comment more example in Figure 51 for example, t here were many possible reasons that the student did not include examples, such as their L1 writing influe nce, lack of understanding of native English speaking readers needs, or lack of skills to make writing concrete. He only complained about students writing, but he did not teach them how to select appropriate examples to make their writing more concrete, despite the fact that Jack was conscious that more examples mi ght strengthen students argument He forgot that students depended upon his authority for answers as they always do. Instead of suggesting many possibilities to communicate ideas effectively, the instructor rendered students helpless by giving vague feedback L ike the add more details comment other comments like not connected well not coherent and don t tell confused students S21 always struggled with the comments of not connected well in her writing One time, s he wrote: In spite of this difference, modern China and America Gilded Age have shared some similarities Take the economy for example. Both economies developed very fast Modern China became a member of WTO in 2001 and many foreign trade companies came to China. In the area of tec hnology American has invented lots of things during Gilded Age F or example, Edison invented electricity China has also made great progress in the field of aerospace. T he successful launch of Shenzhou VII marks a historic breakthrough in China manned space program Therefore, both the economy of modern China and America s Gilded Age grew rapidly (S21 The Gilded Age and Modern China) S21 wondered: M aybe he (the instructor) mean the Shenzhou VII example should go to modern China and after the example of W TO B ut I wanted to say Shenzhou VII is an example of technology and it is an example compare to the Edison s example. I don t know what he meant by not connected well (S21. 3.1822) From the instructors perspective, Jack also was confused. He revealed that he had a hard time understanding some students writing and he said, T he most confusing
126 problem is the connecting of the sentence (T18.104.22.168) Instead of explaining why he thought the students s entences in the paragraph were not connected well, J ack left the student guessing his mind. T his kind of disconnection between Jack and students like S21 occurred in each assignment Jack noticed Chinese students like to write using clichs such as every coin has two sides east or west, home is the best and every cloud has a silver lin ing, to name a few He commented no clichs frequently in his students work Unfortunately, he was talking to freshmen who just graduated from high school where they tended to use proverbs and sayi ngs to bolster t heir arguments and so, they still wrote with proverbs and old sayings in their writing One student ended his t he Gilded Age and Modern China with: In a word, we are going through a right period in the wrong age, tough it is, but we have no choice And all we can do is to do it best Rome wasn t built in one day A country that wants to be powerful and modern must be wise, cautious, and patient A Chinese proverb says: Take people as mirror can know gain and loss; Take history as mirror can know rise and fall. Fortunately, there is detailed history of America s Gilded Age, and it will be a great help to our country by studying the comparisons between the two stages (S21 T he Gilded Age and Modern China) Jack commented on the last paragraph with weak ending, don t tell your opinion, clich on the margin and gave a low grade. The student told me that he struggled whether to use quotes at the ending since he knew NES instructors dislike clichs but he insisted because this quote fit perfectly to support his point of view; if words like Rome wasn t built in one day were missing in the text the student sensed his work lost connections to human history The students point demonstrated a conflict in the instructor and students belief in writing. More than one student voiced their confusion
127 about why NSE teachers dislike proverbs or clich s which are valued in Chinese writing As for grading criteria, Jack said, M y priority in grading is whether it makes sense to me Can I understand it? Whether it has unity and coherence? (T22.214.171.1240) He graded students writing in terms of format, mechanics, coherence, organization, and grammar and how closely students were able to imitate the writing models Jack ha d complicated feelings regarding the cor recting of students language mistakes He realized that students long for his corrections; however, even though he spent great efforts correct ing mistakes in students assignment s, students kept making the same mistakes repeatedly A s he put it, I have s een correcting mistakes doesnt help them at all. They just dont have the correct language input So I focus on the input of language and reading more. Hope they wont make the mistakes so often (T126.96.36.199) Jack thought he could not help students more in correcting mistakes than he had done already Jack felt discouraged by his own approach of focusing only on l anguage correctness instead of helping students communicate effectively and developing their writing skills Jacks comments on language mistakes had several effects on students First, the writing packed with corrections suggested to students that they were not good writers Feeling defeated, students might be discouraged from writing to express themselves Instead of pointing out the most prominent mistakes in students writing, Jack pointed out every mistake, which was overwhelming O ne of the reasons students gave up and made no attempts to revisethere were too many errors to correct T he data shown that the students need to revise thei r writing multiple times in order to write with clarity
128 and fluency The students continued to lack the skills necessary to improve their writing They had not been taught strategies that they could apply to their writing in general nor had they been encouraged to think about why their strategies did not work and what might work Summary Jack, the only instructor who majored in English, was considered the most knowledgeable English writing instructor by his colleagues and students D espite his devotion and hard work, his teaching was constrained by his s trict model approach and surfacelevel correctness focus According to the data, Jack s students might have benefit ed from his writing instructions if he ( 1) taught grammar by using the student s own writing examples and techniques when students needed them instead of lecturing and letting students practice on them in isolation; ( 2) taught students to choose formats to meet their audiences expectations instead of requiring students to adopt a single format for all occasions; ( 3) gave more freedom to the students instead of asking them to fill in the writing models he provided; ( 4) guided students to write multiple drafts instead of one draft; and ( 5) gave students specific, suggestive comments and confer red with them in the process of their writing instead of telling students what to write and commenting only after students turned in their work His approach might have helped students to finish their writing assignments but failed to facilitate them to improve writing fluency, to think independently, creatively and critically or to take risks in communicating ideas in English writing.
129 Figure 51 Jacks typical comments on a students writing (S 4 The Gilded Age and Modern China)
130 CHAPTER 6 JOHN: TEACHING READING AND LANGUAGE MORE THAN WRITING Johns Profile Personal and Educational Background John, tall and blond in his early thirties grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada. He went to a small college in Moncton, New Brunswick Canada, and graduated with dual majors in psychology and education. After graduating from college, John taught ninth grade science and history and coached the basketball team at a high school for one year In 2006, John s family moved to S city in China with his older sister who married a Chinese man and began to work at S city First, he got a teaching job at a high school for Canadians at S city, where he taught Canadian history and English writing for three years John was the youngest nativeEnglish speaking ( NES) instructor in the English department and had good rapport with his students His students often approached him and chatted with him like a friend. John has a projective voice and varied his intonations to mak e an exaggerated effect in the classroom when tel ling jokes or teaching idioms A few students transferred to John s class because they liked his proj ective voice, easy going personality, and humor In addition to t eaching at S University John engaged in international business tutor ing middle school students in oral English and coaching a basketball class During summer break s, he organize d a basketball camp so that Chinese students c ould l earn basketball as well as English. He worked six days a week and had one day off for family
131 John could speak fluent Chinese but could not write in Chinese I n fact, his spoken Chinese was the best among the NES instructors in S University He attended a threeyear Chinese program at S University, where h e studied Chinese very hard. Until today, John continued to learn Chinese by himself after exit ing from the Chinese program B ased on his own Chinese learning experience, he thought Chinese students should practice English writing whenever they could rather than just in English writing classes Although he knew Chinese well, h e d id not use Chinese to communicate with his students because he knew the department hired him for his native English John built a strong social network at S city Unlike other NES instructors who only socialize d with other Englishspeaking fellows, John has frequent contact with local Chinese His sister married a Chinese man and so his family connections brought him more opportunities than other NES instructors to understand Chinese culture and customs He has made friends with people of various backgrounds from rich business people to taxi drivers What B rought John to S University In the spring of 2009, one of the NES writing instructor s at the English department quit her job suddenly in the middle of the semester because of a family emergenc y. The department needed a NES instructor to fi ll her position immediately His sister recommended him so he started teaching English writing temporally at S University for the rest of the semester (about two months) B ecause students liked him he was asked to stay despite the fact that he only has a Bachelor s degree. His double majors helped. He said Its not easy to get a job at thi s University I was here at a right time (F .T2.6) This was the first year for John to teach college English writing from beginning to end. He reveal ed that T eaching high school is so much different from teaching here; in high
132 school, you taught everything based on the curriculum, you hav e textbook s. H ere, you teach the way you want, no guidance, no textbook (T2.2.7) Personal B eliefs o n T eaching EFL W riting Although teaching English writing was challenging for him, John appeared confident in teaching. He believed that his background in education gave him many advantages in knowing how to engage students through diverse teaching methods John view ed a teachers job as being consistent and clear to do the best job to involve and engage students in learning toward furthering their ability in English T he students job is t o show up, complete all assignments, ask questions, and be involved (S T2.1) John favor ed student involvement in his writing classes He provided students with opportunities to ask each other questions as well as read and edit each other s work P a rtner work wa s one of the strategies he frequently used. His students thought his teaching was clear and easy to follow. His teaching beliefs were influenced by his Chinese learning experience. H e believed that students current English writing problems could be solved if they ke pt learning and reading English. Gradually, students should be able to identify their own problem s in their writing in the way he learned Chinese When talking about student writing h e stated, S o metimes some did poorly They may not know how to fix it now, but it is a good start and they can learn how to identify their own mistakes in the future (T2.1.9) John thought other English instructors also had responsibility to improve students English writing; students should try writing in English for m any occasions For example, he believed that they should write English emails to each other whenever they could. His own Chinese learning experience confirmed practice makes perfect and he
133 added that, If I am in an oral class and there is no writ ing, it is not going to be effective as a little bit of writing ; that helps a lot (T2.1.10) H e confessed that he did not learn how to write or how to teach writing specific ally and had no experience in teaching college level EFL writing. B ut he co nsider ed himself a decent writer due to previous writing experiences back in college To gain knowledge of teaching English writing, he turned to more experienced instructors like Jack for advice. Since it was his first semester teaching English writing to college students, he adopted Jacks teaching approach. But John added a readaloud activity and more reading comprehension assignments Though he adop ted Jacks writing model approach, his instruction was not entirely the sameJohn assigned different writing topics to his students; however, the students reported that Johns were not challenging. Besides Jack s syllabus and course materials, John also relied on a few guide books on how to teach English writing, such as Langans (2005) book of College Writing Skills with Readings T hose resources supplied him with teaching ideas and reading and writing ex amples Like Jack, John also relied on the Internet for teaching resources In terms of evaluating students writing, he developed rubric s from educational websites By g iving rubric s, he intended to let students become familiar with the way he graded their writing and let students refer to the requirements when having questions Rubric s for e ach assignment varied but mainly cover ed the categories of format, structure, grammar, c ritical thinking and punctuation. Turning in homework on time was counted. H e said, W hen I am talking, I expect the students to listen. W hen I ask them to hand in their work, they need to do so; otherwise, it s not fair to other students (T2.1.11) He wishe d to be a teacher who wa s clear with his expectations,
134 relax ed but firm Although Johns students said they had no difficulty following his instructions, they felt John did not help them improve much, as they made the same language mistake s as they did previously They also were concerned that they still wrote in a nonnative way and lacked depth in English writing compared with their Chinese writing Teaching S tyle Johns students believed that he would be a good instructor for a speaking class He was regar ded as the funniest NES instructor in the department and taking his writing class was relaxing. John said he intended to create a relaxing environment in his classes because his favorite teachers did it and he tried to do the same for his students He told jokes in almost every class, which energized the students especially in the early classes One time when he called students nam es and found Eagle (a Chinese students English name) was absent, he bantered, Eagle is not here. He is building his nest (F.T2.13.6) All students laughed at this joke. Another time when a male student turned in his homework, John found it had stains on it and joked Warrior, (the students English name), did you take the paper with you when you went to dinner? (F.T2.30.17) The whole class burst into laughter Even though some of his jokes were sarcastic, students enjoyed them John filled his writing classes with idioms that Englishspeakers often use but Chinese students rarely hear Students were pleased to learn new idioms since they were opportunities to understand English culture and colloquial English. Sometimes Chinese students could not unders tand the idioms and John used funny explanations to help them to gain a deeper understanding of them For example, John once he said, You will be kicking yourself for not doing it Understand this? Means regret Ok, for
135 example, a man who did not date a y oung lady and felt lonely when old, he kicks himself (F.T2.1.35) and students all underst ood what it meant Later he used smooth talker then he explained, A smooth talker could sell snow to an Eskimo (F.T2.1.14) Even after the semester ended, many students still remember vividly some idioms such as start the ball rolling, pull ones leg and call it a day Johns Teaching Characteristics Reading played a significant role in Johns classes. John included reading activities such as a read aloud, two reading assignments, one reading exam, and four short stories His reading instruction did not contribute as much to students writing as he expected. Johns Use of Instructional Time John put much more emphasis on reading than writing in his writing classes. T able 6 1 demonstrates the point values that John gave to each assignment Table 61 Writing and reading assignments in Johns classes Writing assignments Description 1 Who am I self introduction 2 My grandma/grandpa biographical writing about an elder in the family with interesting stories (15 Points) 3 My grandma/grandpa and I compare and contrast your grandma/grandpa's life with your life (15 Points) Reading assignments 4 Coping with old age learn to summarize (15 Points) 5 Charles Dickens study biography (15 Point s) 6 Read aloud R ead aloud student's favorite article in front of class (10 Points) 7 Reading test Reading an article and answering open ended questions (20 Points) The two writing assignments totaled only 30 points while reading was worth 60 points With the exception of task 1 Who am I tasks 2 to 5 were each worth 15 points, the reading test was worth 20 points, the readaloud and attendance were each worth 10
136 points John did not count the writing Who am I because students were auditing classes during the first two weeks Johns emphasis on reading was evident not only in points but also in course structure Figure 61 depicts the time distribution in his teaching. Figure 6 1 Time distribution for John s writing classes Writing only took 17 percent of Johns instructional time, compared with 55 percent of readingrelated time. That time included lecturing on writing principles and formats, checking outlines and drafts one by one, and peer editing. The fi rst week was devoted to getting to know each other and the syllabus Students were not required to attend classes during the last three weeks, as long as they turned in their homework before the exam week due to Johns concern for students heavy study load at the end of the semester So his students had an easy second half of the semester (F.T2.5.11) after the reading test and they could devote more time preparing for other more demanding courses As a result, almost onethird, or 28 percent of the class time was focused neither on reading n or writing instruction, as Figure 61 shows In other words, a significant proportion of time in the last three classes was considered laidback time Readaloud 16% Reading 39% Writing 17% 1st & last 3 classes 28%
137 for other more demanding courses Obviously, John put more effort in reading than writing in his writing classes Johns r eading i nstruction Reading was taught by reading the text and completing worksheets in Johns class. In fact, the instructions for Coping with Old Age, Charles Dickens London Smog and Japan ese and American Societies were similar: read the text, study new vocabulary, find main ideas and answer questions for comprehension purposes Here is an example of the materials John used to teach Coping with Old Age and the way he taught it It took one week to teach the text and one week to complete the worksheet Examples of the reading, comprehension questions and inclass worksheet are shown here: Coping with Old Age I recently read about an area of the former Soviet Union where many people live to be well over a hundred years old. Being 115 or even 125 isn't considered unusual there, and these old people continue to do productive work right up until they die. The United States, however, isn't such a healthy place for older people. Since I retired fr om my job, I've had to cope with the physical, mental, and emotional stresses of being old. For one thing, I've had to adjust to physical changes Now that I'm over sixty, the trusty body that carried me around for years has turned traitor Aside from the deepening wrinkles on my face and neck, and the wiry gray hairs that have replaced my brown hair, I face more frightening changes I don't have the energy I used to. My eyes get tired. Once in a while, I miss something that's said to me. My once faithful feet seem to have lost their comfortable soles, and I sometimes feel I'm walking on marbles In order to fight against this slow decay I exercise whenever I can I walk, I stretch, and I climb stairs I battle constantly to keep as fit as possible. I'm also trying to cope with mental changes My mind was once as quick and sure as a champion gymnast I never found it difficult to memorize answers in school or to remember the names of people I met Now, I occasionally have to search my mind for the name of a close neighbor or favorite television show Because my mind needs exercise, too, I
138 challenge it as much as I can. Taking a college course like this English class, for example, forces me to concentrate. The mental gymnast may be a little slow and out of shape, but he can still do a back flip or turn a somersault when he has to. Finally, I must deal with the emotional impact of being old. Our society typecasts old people. We're supposed to be unattractive, senile, useless leftovers We're supposed to be the crazy drivers and the cranky customers At first, I was angry and frustrated that I was considered old at all. And I knew that people were wrong to stereotype me Then I got depressed. I even started to think that maybe I was a castoff one of those old animals that slow down the rest of the herd. But I have now decided to rebel against these negative feelings I try to have friends of all ages and to keep up with what's going on in the world. I try to remember that I'm still the same person who sat at a first grade desk, who fell in love, who comforted a child, who got a raise at work I'm not just an old person. Coping with the changes of old age has become my latest full time job. Even though it's a job I never applied for, and one for which I had no experience, I'm trying to do the best I can. Comprehension Questions 1. After reading paragraph one what do you think this essay will be about? (2 marks) 2. Identify the different stresses that the author has had to deal with. Briefly describe each one. (6 marks) 3. Select 5 of the ten highlighted words Write your own definition and create your own sentence to show you understand the meaning (MUST NOT use a dictionary definition) (10 marks) 4. What are the problems faced by the author and how does he/she deal with each one? (6 marks) 5. Identify a sentence in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 that sums up the meaning of that paragraph. (3 marks) 6. Do you think you have ever been guilty of typecasting or stereotyping and old person? If so in what ways If not explai n why you are different from most people. (4 marks) 7. Sum up this piece of writing in THREE sentences (6 marks) 8. What three changes do you think we could make as a society to prevent old people from feeling like they are castoffs? (6 marks)
139 9. Do you think the author would feel the same way if he/she were in China instead of the United States? (4 marks) 10. In fifty years where will you be and what will your life be like? (8 marks) Assignment Requirements Must provide the answer page with hand written responses. Mus t provide a type written page with answers written in good copy. Required to work during class time provided. This assignment will be graded in two parts For the above 10 questions you will receive a mark out of 55. For the rubric below you will receive a mark out of 20. So the total assignment mark is out of 75. In Class Work Sheet After reading the first paragraph, I believe this essay will discuss___________ ______________________________________ The stresses faced by the author are ___________ ______________ Term and Your Definition: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Sentence:__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Term and Your Definition: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Sentence:__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ The worksheet continued. The underlin ed words in the text were to be used for term defining and sentence making. During the first week, John guided students through the reading After reading aloud t he first paragraph, John had students guess what the reading is about, stressing the need to answer question one. The students were given plenty of time to find answers Then the class moved to the second paragraph and went on to the last paragraph. Reading summarizingmemoriz ing the new words pattern was repeated so that students were able to answer questions 2 to 5. John walked around to assist students With the teachers assistance, students completed the first five
140 questions by the end of the class. The second week was focused on answering the last five questions Since students were required to complete the inclass worksheet and grades would be given on their performance, they worked in their notebooks first and then wrote with careful penmanshi p on the worksheet Answering the last five questions and completing the inclass worksheet took two class periods because students had to frequently refer back to the text, thinking about and revising their answers T he Coping with Old Age article was ta ken from a resource books College Writing Skills with Reading (5th edition) by John Langan (2005) As a matter of fact, the book provided many teaching ideas and strategies in Johns classes. John stated, B ecause we dont have a course outline, we teach whatever we want (T2.2.18) For the comprehension questions, John said proudly that he wrote the questions according to Blooms Taxonomy to help students improve their comprehension skills Before giving the inclass worksheet, he created a rubric for students to self check their performance. Charles Dickens and London Smog were studied in the same way Coping with Old Age was studied also for exam preparation, as the questions in exam would be similar to the questions in practice. S tudents reported that in general, the text was easy to understand and reading comprehension activities were challenging enough. For example, the last five questions in the Coping with Old Age required synthesis and application of knowledge. They believed t hey gained new perspectives on reading comprehension. But as for writing, students reported they learned little, which will be discussed later Besides the three essays, John had students read four 100200 words short stories The Black Cat Please Get Rid of that Smell Red in the Face and A Leopard
141 Made Himself at Home during the semester Although John believed that students would pick up more language through reading, the stories served as readings for language learning, but did not serve as writing sam ples John favored having students make sentences out of the phrases from the readings Here is an example of short stories he gave to students to read and the activities students completed after reading it Please Get Rid of that Smell! Its winter Barb ara Pridgen, 43, is driving her car When she turns on the heater, theres a terrible smell in her car It gets worse and worse She cant stand it! She takes the car to the repair shop. Whats the matter with my car? she asks Can you get rid of this smell? The mechanic takes a look at the engine. He examines the heating system Then Barbara screams She loses it The mechanic pulls out a big, fat, dead python! 1) Create two of your own sentences for each of the sayings in bold, try to use two differ ent tenses (12 Sentences Altogether) For example: I keep studying Chinese but instead of getting better and better, my Chinese is getting worse and worse! I really loved her but the smell of her feet got worse and worse over time, so I had no choice but to break up with her. 2) Sum up the story in three sentences. 3) Have you ever lost it before? What happened? (T2. Week 2 handouts ) John had students take turns to read aloud the story in class The underlined phrases were what he wished students to have command of after reading. To achieve the goal, he had students work in pairs to make sentences from the selected bold phrases On his slide, he presented two of his own examples using the phrase get worse and worse. Following the sentencemaking activ ity were summarizations and discussions of personal experiences His teaching of the other three short stories was almost the same. John assumed that by making sentences from the phrases students would learn them and eventually use them someday
142 As discu ssed above, most of the class time and effort was spent on the explicit teaching of reading, especially on sentences and phrases level and answering comprehension questions on worksheets Testing r eading comprehension and language instruction were the foci of Johns Reading and Writing course. However, testing comprehension and reusing phrases were not necessarily beneficial to improving students reading or writing skills, because no comprehension strategies or writers crafts were explicitly taught Rather than showing students how the authors expressed their ideas through careful choice of grammatical, lexical, semantically, and rhetorical devices, John simply taught a few idioms and tested students on whether they met his expectations on reading comprehension. John spent great efforts on teaching reading and language and students worked hard on completing reading exercises this approach was under John s assum ption that if students read widely they would auto matically become good writers Re ading indeed facilitates writing, if readingwriting connections were made consciously John failed to make connections between the reading text and improving reading skills or writing skills even in teaching the Charles Dickens article, which was intended to play dual role s both as a reading text a nd a writing model (the instruction of it will be discussed in the next section) No wonder students felt his writing classes were more like their Comprehensive English Reading class Johns w riting i nstruction The time spent on writing instruction was shorter (17% of the classes time) than the time spent on reading. There were fewer activities that directly related to writing and fewer points given for them Although students had to write responses to the reading
143 that might have extended their thoughts and opinions, they merely wrote to demonstrate their comprehension skills rather than use those readings as touchstones for meaningful expression of ideas The students found that being able to answer questions on worksheets even in paragraph form, did not help them write a paragraph that was more cohesive when actually composing a piece of writing. The students did not benefit from reading as much as they should have due to the instructor s lack of explicit instr uction of the crafting in the reading. T he insignificant role of writing further made student improvement in writing less likely Language and Form F ocused in Writing Instruction John learned from Jack that Chinese students write poorly because they did n ot have adequate language or knowledge of English writing. He adopted J acks model analyzingimitating approach but made a slight modification of the writing topics. Practice on language and form In teaching students to write the first assignment My Grandm a/Grandpa and My Grandma/Grandpa and I John analyzed Charles Dickens and Japanese and American Societies as writing models respectively ( Charles Dickens was selected from Langans book, Japanese and American Societies was borrowed from Jack) Here I will use the Charles Dickens article as an example to show how he taught writing model s. After warm up conversations (usually jokes) he handed out the following handout to each student : Charles Dickens He was a writer but he left behind a legacy that w ould not only carry over in his literary works but also in the very popular Charles Dickens Village. Charles also enjoyed an occasional round of golf during his spare time. Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and is perhaps better known today than he ever was in his lifetime.
144 Charles Dickens was born in Hampshire and one of eight children. Dickens spent a lot of time outside observing his surroundings and claimed to have a photographic memory of things that he had experienced and for people he met He stored all of life experience to memory and later recalled them for fictional purpose to use in his writing. His house was quaint and cozy which would later play a major role in the house he would move into. When Dickens was a young child, his family was consider ed wealthy and he had the opportunity to attend the William Giles Chatham School However, all good things came to an end when his father was sent to a debtors prison and Charles was forced to go to work. Charles went to work in a local factory to pay for room and board for his family The factory work left an impression on Charles and he wasnt able to shake the horrific working condition so he later wrote about them in David Copperfield He made many friends while in the factory and often returning there in later years to spend time with them Lucky for Charles Dickens the family received a nice inheritance that allowed him to return to school However, the time he spent at the factory would leave a forever scar etched deeply into his mind. Dickens went on to attend Wellington House Academy and was able to receive a good education. Dickens eventually studied law and gained experience working as law clerk and later a stenographer 1834 brought with it a new beginning for Dickens and he began to publish work for the Morning Chronicle. He married Catherine Thomas Hogarth and the couple had then children. During this time William Shakespeare was being read by most of the population. Charle s Dickens was ready to begin his literary career With character names like Oliver Twist and Ebenezer Scrooge, his novels became quite memorable for their plot development and their character development The first novels of Charles Dickens were actually r eleased in installments for journals like Household Words and others Later, they would become novels in their own right. The novels of Charles Dickens were widely accepted beginning with the first Dickens novels The Pickwick Papers which was published in 1837. Today, Charles Dickens continues to be one of the most well known English authors of all time, with thousands of people reading his novels regularly, his popularity is well established. The collections of villages that have carried his name are displ ayed in households across the world along with his novels (T2.Handout Charles Dickens ) John spent two class periods teaching the article. He started by giving students time to read on their own. First, i n order to help students understand the concept of unity in a paragraph, he added an irrelevant sentence to each to each paragraph to test students Students needed to find the main ideas in paragraph 1, 2, 3 and 4 and to
145 identify the irrelevant sentence that did not belong. Some of them were able to finis h the task quickly and the teacher told them to help those wh o have not finished. The exercise of finding the main idea was generally easy for the students According to their experiences of doing reading exercises, the main ideas were mostly at the first sentence or the last Students reported that finding main ideas in the readings was much more easily accomplished than identifying incoherent sentences in their own writing. In the text, there were some words in bold that he thought students might not know such as quaint cozy and stenographer He gave oral explanations for them as well as for other words Then he asked students whether they understood the underlined phrases such as leave behind a legacy He asked students in pairs to make sent ences out of the underlined phrases on the chalkboard. One group of students wrote that, Chairmen Mao was a great leader and he left a legacy that would not be forgotten (F.T2.39.1112) John praised the students for being able to write correct sentences Although sometimes he needed to correct some tenses, prepositions and collocation problems in students examples on the chalkboard, in general, most groups were able to write correct sentences At the end of vocabulary learning and sentence making exerc ises, John told students to write in 5paragraph stylethe introduction contains a thesis statement, each paragraph starts with a topic sentence, and a conclusion wraps up (F.T2.41.9) all ideas He drew a diagram on chalkboard: Introduction ____________________ ____________________ ____________________ Conclusion
146 Without exception, every student wrote 5 paragraphs Not only was the format unified, so were the contents Most students wrote their grandma/grandpa alike: youthadulthoodagedness brave, opti mistic, strong willed, kind perspectives S12s writing ( At the end of the chapter) got 17 out of 24 and is typical of the students writing. Although the predictability of the 5paragraph structure has its merits in terms of making students writing more organized, students searched for content to fit into the prescribed structure instead of considering what there was to say about the topic Students were filling in blanks rather than writing thoughtfully The second writing assignment My Grandma/ G randpa and I was similarly taught (Appendix G is the writing model since John borrowed it from Jack) Like the first assignment, the compare and contrast assignment was formulaic The following is the outline John requested students to follow and an example of a sample piece of writing that was crafted following the formula. Since they had written My Grandma/Grandpa, students were able to work on the outline of My Grandma/ G randpa and I swiftly based on the following template. Freshmen Reading and Writing Essay Outline Student: _____________________ Class: _____________________ Title: ____________________________________________________ Introduction: Controlling Idea: Paragraph Two: Differences/Main idea one Supporting Details: Paragraph Three: Differences/Main idea two Supporting Details: Paragraph Four: Similarities/ Main idea one
147 Supporting Details: Paragraph Five: Similarities/ Main idea two Supporting Details: Conclusion: (T2. Handout American & Japan) The following piece, as well as that of many students, wa s structured by following the above template. Furthermore, the underlined phr ases shown are surprisingly like the writing model after examining students writing and considering language expressions, transitional words, and style. Out of 24, this student got 22. My Grandmother and I My grandmother and I are different in many ways So people may think that we have nothing in common But as a matter of fact, my grandmother and I still share some surprising similarities along with our obvious different. The most obvious difference is our personality I am an extroverted person, but my grandmother is an introverted person. I would like to go out and play with my friends if I have enough time while my grandmother would like to stay at home with her families I usually say a lot of things when Im at home, but my grandmother will just smile and listen to me. Another difference is our beliefs about marriage. I think that the basic thing of marriage is love. We should marry a person that we love. But my grandmother think that love is pale and incapable in reality, so we should marry a person who can give us a better life. She married my grandfather for a better life due to her belief about marriage. Our differences make us quite different. Though we are quite different, we still share some similarities We have the same attitude about life. We think that we can change our destiny if we work hard and try our best Nothing is meant to be in our mind. She tried her best to change her poor life, so she married my grandfather I tried my bes t to win a prize although my teachers dont give me much expectation. So we try our best to against our fates. We are both easygoing person. So we have the same way to solve problems When theres something unhappy happened between our friends and us, we are the ones who gave up first Because we always think about
148 others and we all think that we can just let it go if it is not a very serious problem. While my grandmother and I may seem like we have nothing in common, thats not the truth We still have som e similarities We have the same attitude about life and we have the same way to solve problems But we are different on our personalities and our beliefs about marriage. Although we are different, we can get along with each other well and we love each other (S16 My grandma and I ) S16 was one of the top students in Johns writing classes As shown in her writing, she carefully modeled after the writing sample in format and language usage. She included phrases such as share some surprising similarities the most obvious difference, another difference is thought we are different have nothing in common, and that is not true into her writing, although some slightly varied from the model T he same organization al patterns and the phrases could be identified in many students writing, though some students wrote with less fluency than the above student John was content to see the students write according to the prescribed model For example, he said, W hen you start your second paragraph, its right to start with the most obvious difference. Thats how you will improve your language (F.T2.56.2021) Because students were forced to write in a contrived way, most students believed writing in English requires a strict following of the formula. After learning about what Jack did in his classes John s students were even more convinced that following a formula wa s the best way to write in English (John s students and Jacks students were in the same cohort) But th ey also felt the models bound them When talking to me about their compareandcontrast writing assignment, one student complained : E ven though we completed the writing by following the model, we were not challenged enough in thinking. At least Jacks stud ents had to think about the similarities and differences between the Gilded Age and Modern China. To be frank, I couldnt think of any similarities between my grandma and I
149 except our personality We are a family and of course, we are alike. Thats not wor th too much time writing, I think (S18.2.1419) John s focus on teaching language and form showed that students could not benefit from language exercises at paragraph level or sentencemaking exercises Students needed to write for authentic and communicative purposes By beginning with a prescribed form, searching for messages to fill in a prescribed format, students practiced language exercises rather than writing. John students showed their underst and ing that writin g was a way of thinking, not merely a manipulation of language. For students like S18 who writes fluently in their L1, the filling in theblank approach not only made them have no choice but to write uniformly it also depreciated their thinkingthe truly valuable part in a piece of writing. Focusing on sentence practice Like Jack, John believed written exercises were a solution to help students write more conventionally because students lacked a proper knowledge of English rhetoric The students job was to follow the teachers directions and practice the exercises extensively and repeatedly until they could write correctly He believed I f they know the concept (concis ion, unity and coherence) they will produce it (T188.8.131.52) He was also confirmed in this approach after talking to other NES instructors in the department John lectured about writing skills in isolation that he thought his students might need. Table 62 Skills taught in John s classes Week Skills taught 4 te ach formatting rules revise sentences, how to write concisely, punctuation 6 plag iarism, clichs, write parallel sentences teach conciseness, coherence, unity, effective sentence skills (rewrite, find correct sentences) As shown in Table 62 Week 4 and 6 included the extensive instruction of writing skills I n W eek 4 John pointed out explicitly the formatting requirements of English
150 writing that he preferred, including font, indention, and how to address him in both emails and homework H e also spoke about revising sentences and taught punctuation rules In W eek 6, he taught how to avoid plagiarism and clichs, as well as how to write parallel sentences, concepts of coherence, and unity from Jacks handbook and provided more sentence exercises Although he taught other skills (such as writ ing the conclusion and thesis statement) occasionally, the means of instruction were similar read and teach skills and then practice. The following is an example showing how he taught the concept of conciseness His typical way of lecturing was to ask students to read aloud the slides he prepared and then ask students to practice and demonstrate their understanding. H e gave answers at the end. In his slides for W eek 6, conciseness was taught as below: Conciseness A sentence should contain no unnecessary words. Wordiness only obscures the idea. Reread what has been written to see if there are words that can be deleted without affecting the meaning. John asked one of the students to read the slide out aloud and he repeated the last sentence on the slide. Then students knew it w as time for exercise, so they took out their notes T he next slide showed : Pick out the wordy sentences It was blue in color. He returned in the early part of the month of August. In my opinion, I think your plan is feasible. Mr. Smith usually likes to drink all kinds of wines that are produced in France. He told students to make the listed sentences simple. Students were given a few m inutes to write i n their notebooks When most of them were done, John gave correct
151 answers and commented W ordy is one of your favorite mistakes Are the sentences better? ( F .T2.14.3) Students nodded. Following conciseness were unity, coherence, and more sentence revision exercises I n W eek 4 after working on wordy sentences, students also worked on parallel sentences and incomplete sentences They followed Johns instruction to revise sentences 1 and 2 to make them parallel and correct sentences 3, 4 and 5: He likes to sing, to swim, and tabl e tennis He was knocked down by a bicycle, but it was not serious (T2. Handout 3.2) His arguing a long and tiresome story without any sensitivity to his readers Though people may have personality disorders The president, who went blind in his left eye from the incident (T2. Handout 4.3) Practice on the sentence level was Johns major approach to teaching skills John hoped the students w ould apply the skills they practiced in their writing later Students reported that the sentence exercises were too simple since they have been learning English and practicing sentence making or sentence correcting exercises for exam purposes for years John thought his sentence exercises were catering their strength (F.T2.42.20) For students who have certain s yntactic and linguistic knowledge about English, the isolated sentencelevel instruction was simply a waste of time. Students learn techniques best when they need them in the course of composition instead of in isolation. Furthermore, being able to write c orrectly at the sentence level does not mean being able to produce good fluent sentences in writing, because writ ers generate and revise their own words when writing and proofreaders revise others words when proofreading. Writing is more mentally demanding because writers are creating
152 something new, not simply displaying a bunch of grammatically and syntactically correct sentences together Feedback on S urfaceL evel C orrectness Like Jack, John gave feedback to students on two occas ions: in oneonone meetings and on the assignments students turned in. Even t he way John checked the outlines was similar to Jack to make sure students were on the right track, which also meant no messy writing, no unexpected topics, and follow ing the models Like Jack, the feedback he gave to students as usually yes no, and probably when students asked whether their topics were appropriate. Like Jacks students, Johns students could develop their outlines into a draft and turn them in the followin g week John said, S ee their level guided writing is the best The y are not ready to write freely (F.T2.7.89) John also believed language proficiency is a prerequisite for writing. The languagefirst assumption largely hampered the students development of writing skills both in Jack and Johns classes Johns feedback was focused on linguistic correctness ; so too, were peer responses Inspired by one of his resource books, John applied peer editing into his classes before students turned in their first assignment My Grandma/Grandpa. John wanted to institute this so students would get a feeling of what he feels when evaluating students writing After the students wrote, he paired students up and asked them to swap their drafts To start the peer editing activity, John wrote several guidelines on board, such as ( 1) find the controlling idea; ( 2) find sentences that dont belong; and ( 3) find wordy sentences and grammar mistakes He told the students R ead your classmates paper and look for mistakes Not everything your classmate wrote is correct Look at it and rewrite it (F.T2.46.161 7 ) Following his directions and the guidelines on the board,
153 students began to comment on their classmates paper However, m any students ignored their peers comments, especially when students with low language proficiency edited the work of those with higher language proficiency Since they had been studying together for several months, they were quite familiar with each others language levels One stu dent told me in an interview: P eer editing is a waste of time. I remember the editor commented on my sentences and said incoherent I just ignored them because my sentences made sense to me. When I got the paper back from the teacher, he commented about nothing on those sentences (S10.3. 1417) John wanted students to find mistakes but students themselves did not trust their peers, because they were confident that, as they believed others were just like themselves and did not understand what a controllin g idea or a wordy sentence is, they could not provide suggestions or comments The students believed that only the instructor is the one who can give the right feedback The peer editing activity was only practiced once. The second time in writing My Grandma/Grandpa and I John decided to check on his own, due to the unsuccessful attempt with peer editing. Instead of focusing on ideas in text and exchanging opinions among peers, students were directed to attend to language mistakes The students, like their instructor, believed that writing is all about the correct use of language; therefore, those who have better language proficiency are better writers Peer conferenci ng was restricted to peer error correction instead of peer editing. Students learned how to respond to their peers work from their instructors demonstration; however, John failed to demonstrat e what peers could do to help each other to clarify thoughts or communicate better The data indicated that the instructor had a narrow understandi ng o f peer editing and the Chinese students needed specific instructions on how to
154 respond to their peer s work and how to become better writers through real readers eyes even if their readers have different writing proficiency and language proficiency After students turned in their homework, John graded the students writing based on a rubric The rubric contained 6 categories: ( 1) format; ( 2) fluency; ( 3) unity and coherence; ( 4) grammar and spelling; ( 5) conciseness; and ( 6) introductory paragraph and conclusion. The highest score for each category was 4 and lowest was 1. Although students could see in which category they lost points, they still had confusion regarding the teachers comments and feedback S tudents at various language levels reported that they struggled with idiomatic expressions and were confused constantly by teacher comments that indicat ed that their writing was awkward or wordy In S12s writing example ( a t the end of the chapter), there were three AWK and one ???. She di d not know how to improve them She wrote in the third paragraph especially, he likes walking or running slowly to a long distance to a beautiful park near the sea with my grandma to enjoy the sunrise and then walk home. She commented that I dont know whether he meant the language in the sentence is awkward or the sentence in the paragraph is awkward (S12.3.1213) Without knowing what her instructor meant by awkward, she left it aside without any further revision. Another student S11 wrote a sentence in his My G randma assignment like this: However, she did not hate her new parents but appreciated them for brin gin g up her an d exercising her forbearance (S11 My Grandma ) John underlined the phrase exercising her forbearance as AWK (awkward) S1 1 told me that he wanted to express the meaning that his grandma became tougher after she had been mistreated by her adopted parents He looked up d uan lian (train, foster,
155 exercise) and ren nai li (endurance, tolerance, forbearance) in a Chinese English dictionary and created exercising her forbearance. He said, I f it s awkward, then how should I revise ? (S11 4.L18) When asked why he did not talk to his instructor, he replied: I tried and found he did not understand what I mean. Maybe my English is not good. I tried several times and found his answers were not helpful and I gave up. If he is a Chinese teacher, at least we could communicate in Chinese (S11.13.49) Chinese impacted expressi ons were infused in students English writing a nd often sound confusing to NES instructors Students hoped by learning from NES instructors their language expressions w ould be improved. But after a semester of study, they were disappointed to find th ey still could not write more fluently or easily T hey only realized one thing they cannot ever learn to write in a way that native speakers could understand T hey have been mistakenly convinced that they were incapable of improving their own word choices and communicat ing effectively which they could bas e on S11 s example above. In this study, almost all the student s reported that they did not understand the comment of i ncoherent What appeared incoherent for the NES instructor sounded perfectly coherent to them S14 wrote the following paragraph describing her grandma: Though her life was not easy, she never lost her optimism Even though she is 88 years old, she always has a beautiful smile. No matter when I visit her, I can see her loving and warm smile. Facing with the difficulties, she still k eeps her positive attitude. In 2008, I can well remember that she got serious disease and how she confronted it optimistically We all thought that she would leave us, so we felt sad. However, whoever visited her, she always smiled instead of showing a sigh Her strongwill and optimism help her overcome the dis ease. Finally, she recovered. ( S14 My Grandma ) S14 argued:
156 I dont understand why this paragraph has been marked as incoherent What I want to say is that my grandma is very optimistic even when she was very sick. I think if I write th e same paragraph in Chinese, it would have made sense to Chinese instructor s. I would like to know how to make it coherent if he told me ( S14 .6) (COH which stands for coherence problems, were common in students writing) Like this student, many students failed to understand their NES instructor s comments The comments did not reveal any places or any possible ways specifically that the students could start to improve the coherence in their writing. However, students spent their efforts guessing about what was on the teachers mind rather than reworking their pieces to express themselves better. In the composition of My G randma/ G randpa, John found his students tended to end their composition s with she/he is a gr eat person and I love my grandma/grandpa forever in their rough draft John commented that I know you will love your grandma/pa forever Not a problem But thats not a good ending, too emotional, weak (F.T2. 45.13 & 16) Chinese students did not agree with him S18 murmured after that, I dont understand why we are not allowed to express our feelings in English writing Chinese writing encourages shu qing ( express feelings ) The whole purpose of writing about my grandma is to show how great she is and how much I love her I dont understand why native speakers dont like it (S18.21.1721) Students wrote on the same topic, but tried to convey different messages, such as love, remembrance, and legendary stories which should not be denied but be encouraged for its representation of individual voices Students needed to maintain a sense of unity in their writing, and those messages did not des troy unity and subjectivity but simply became a part of how their messages had been packaged. John failed to recogniz e the local influences on the students style and simply marked such messages with
157 emotional and weak ending due to his unawareness of cultural differences or stylistic choices Interestingly, even after John discouraged the emotional ending in their writing some of the students still ended their writing of My G randma /pa with she is the great est person I have ever known and I love her (S7, S14. My G randma) or i n my heart, he is my grandfather forever and I hope he will be healthy and enthusiastic all long (S13 My G randp a ) O ne student ended it with it is of vital importance to be optimistic and kind. I will confront everything optimistically and kindly with smile (S16 My G randma ) John was upset and sent her a note of please talk to me After class, S16 went to talk to John. Reluctantly, she accepted John advice regarding deleting the expressed feelings, but she felt something was missing. S16 had written about her grandma s optimisti c and kind characteristic s throughout the essay, and she commented, I wrote this way is because I think her good characteristics are what I should learn from her T he last sentence is my attitude. Chinese teachers would have loved to see us express our feeling at the end. That s the eye of a composition. B ut he just didn t like it (S16.18. 2) T he data showed that John was not sensitive to the students L1 rhetoric tradition and lacked open discussion with the students in how to write in cross cultural context Instead of telling students weak ending, the instructor should have explained what makes a strong ending in English and acknowledged the Chinese students emotional needs in expressing their love and respect to the elders in writing, which they seldom expressed in their daily life. By marking as many as errors as he could, John hoped that, T hey will make fewer mistakes in their future writing (T184.108.40.206) Unfortunately, in both the first and
158 second writing assignment, students made the same mistakes In S14 composition of My Grandma/Grandpa and I there were 28 places of correction in an essay of 328 words, including 4 places of single/plural agreement 2 capitalization, 5 proposition, 3 pronoun, 7 word choice, and 7 verb tense mistakes (S14 My G randma and I ) In her first writing of My Grandma there were 26 places that required correction. Misused verb tenses and pronouns existed consistently in her two pieces of writing. Take S12 My Grandma as an example, there were 33 places of corrections in one page. In the second piece of writing, she had a similar number of errors Even though she reported she agreed with the instructor, she did not recognize her errors in the second writing until the same mistakes have been pointed out Commenting on the surfacelevel correctness in students wr iting and expecting them to improve automatically next time is unjustified and unhelpful S ome students threw their paper away; the majority never looked at their work again after getting it back from the instructors and felt discouraged. There wa s no motive for them to revise their writing and to make their writing better since they had already been graded. In addition, the vague comments on surfacelevel correctness suggested little to students Rather than asking students to express what they intended to say and suggesting or eliciting possible ways to improve at places he labeled them incoherent and awkward John blamed the students Chinese interference of English writing. No self awareness and no self monitoring were fostered; thus, no st udents growth as writers no wonder students complained that they always make the same mistakes again and again.
159 Unchallenging Writing Almost all Johns students complained that the writing topics were too juvenile. They were not challenged by writing topics such as Who am I My G randma/ G randpa in thinking. Over 30 percent of the students complained they were unchallenged intellectually through writing. Those topics were what they have been writing about since elementary school They felt they did not think better or write better after a semester of study and they felt less competent and confident about writing in English. Over 50 percent of the students thought their English writing proficiency decreased over the course of the semester One of Johns students commented, W e had a lot of chance to talk and do reading exercises in his classes, but as for writing I dont think we are learning writing seriously I am writing based on what I learn before him (S8.13.4 & 7) I asked him what seriously mean. He replied T he writing topics are too nave, far below our grade level We at least should write something like what Jacks students wrote (S8.13.89) Another student expressed that L ook at what Jacks students write and what we write, we are like going through elementary again (S11.5.1213) Jacks students had a chance to expand their thoughts by comparing and contrasting the Gilded Age and M odern China from social, economical and e nvironmental perspectives T o Johns students, narrating the stories of family members in English was more like translating their elementary writing assignment directly into English and in a restrictive format by no means appealing to them as college students No thought provoking, ageappropriate questions were asked and answered by filling in a prescribed structure The restrictive form and focus on correctness prevented students from thinking deeply about the topic For the sake of grades, the students had no choice but to write and think passively on given topics and form at
160 Students noticed or pointed out differences between Johns writing classes and other classes When students in John s class wrote My Grandma/Grandpa, the same group of students were writing on their self selected topics My Value in their Comprehensiv e English c lass They thought My Value is more at their intellectual and developmental level than My Grandma/Grandpa. They had more enthusiasm in writing the former topic Given more thoughtful topics, students reported that they spent more time on thinking how to write, gathering ideas, searching information, and sharing with peers Here are two examples written by the same student (S18 My Grandpa) My grandfather was born in Mei Zhou, who was the youngest children of his family He is over seventy years old He was a farmer before his retirement I lived with him during my childhood. My grandfather looks thin, always wearing in gray However, his life doesn t look as gloomy as gray He lives a life with passion and regularity Although he was over sevent y years old, he still can ride his old bicycle to everywhere. He has kept his healthy living style for many years My grandfather always gets up at six o clock then does morning exercises for 2 or 3 hours He eats fishes and fresh vegetables every day meanwhile he never drinks any kinds of beverage but pure water and green tea. He enjoys reading books in his spare time, books are just like some old friends to him and it seems that he cannot live without them. (S18 My Value Truth) Amicus PlatoAmicus Aris totlesed Magis Amicus VERITAS. The school motto of Harvard struck my heart heavily for the first time I read it. In English, it means: Let Plato be your friend, and Aristotle, but more let your friend be truth. I value veritas most Compared with reputation, money, and authority, veritas seems to be, generally, nihility It can hardly bring you material comforts or practical benefits; oppositely, it may cause suffering, disaster, or even ask the price of death in return. Going down the history, however, one can easily find that most of the people owing reputation, money, and authority in their times are like meteors crossing the deep black night sky, displaying marvelous beauty while burning themselves They are limited by the terminal of life death. But there is something that death would not be able to take away;
161 even in the darkness of fatuous historical periods, the rays from the lamp of veritas, even so faint and feeble, could be felt, and it will be lit for ever. In the Black Middl e Age, Bruno, the man who publicized and insisted that the sun st ood in the middle of the universe, was sentenced to death; Galileo, who took over Brunos job, was punished to be under house arrest in his later life, but never did he g i ve up. Today, they are remembered as the victims of their times and honor ed as great men of the history In both of them, we could see their determination to light the lamb of veritas when the world is enveloped in the darkness of absurd authorit y, the perseverance to insist on the truth when suffering the cruel trial, and the unyieldingness when facing the raging flame of death. In a word, the courage to speak for and guard veritas is the linchpin to achieve it. T he first example is the first two paragraphs in the writing of My Grandpa that strictly followed the 5paragraph model and the second is first three paragraphs in My Value without any model S18 was a n average student in the class With My Grandpa in front, h e uttered, What we are writing in English writing classes is probably what elementary students in the United States write. P robably our writing is even worse because we do not have their language proficiency (F.T2.47.57 ) With My Value he became apparently excited and told me his Chinese instructor liked the topic he chose. He enjoyed spending hours at libraries searching and reading about other peoples beliefs the people he admired. H e desperately needed examples to support his argument Without much concern about language correctness or pleasing the teacher the students only thought how to approve and convince others that what should be pursued. The data indicated that the Chinese students, although in the process of learning English, needed to be treat ed like writers who use language to explore, to think and to communicate. I n My Value the student was pushed to think beyond what he knew, to communicate, and to find personal meanings that have significance to him The explo ration of knowledge, the communication of ideas and the discovery about self
162 brought great joy to him as a writer Because John failed to help students see writing as a thinking activity, he left no room for the students to acknowledge that they could think and write deeply about any topics John believed that the Chinese students in general lack of language proficiency to write on sophisticated topics about social, cultural and political issues He thought by letting students write something they are familiar with they might write better He learned from his Chinese classes that many Chinese grandmas/grandpas live with their children and grandchildren. So he had the ideas to write about grandparents who might have a significant role in students lives However, o ver 70 percent of the students were from the S city For a better living, their parents immigrated to the city from all over the China about one or two decades ago. Living in compact apartments, they seldom had their grandparents live with them in the cities but were hundreds of miles apart Seldom had they known some interesti ng stories except how poor their parents families were. S12 said, I never saw my grandpa. He died early All I knew about my grandma is how poor the family and how optimistic she was (F.T2.20.14) S14 revealed that she knew more about the old man livin g upstairs than her grandpa who lived in another province one thousand miles away Eighty percent of the students wrote about their grandmas/grandpas strong and optimistic personalities when facing hard times from the anecdotes they heard from their parents No wonder students wrote unanimously from those limited perspectives. Summary Even though Johns students enjoyed learning colloquial language English in his class, they found little improvement in their writing Writing was seen as nothing more than l anguage proficiency Also, focusing on format and structure hindered students
163 thi nking and writing development Over emphasis on language correctness when giving feedback to students as well as vague comments further jeopardized students growth in writin g development The students failed to take up the challenges that the topics might have presented and to express worthwhile ideas Rather, if John had paid attention to the following aspects, his writing instruction might be improved, such as ( 1) teaching writers crafting skills when teaching reading; ( 2) giving students more time to write on their own for real purposes instead of letting them practice at sent ence level; ( 3) teaching students to read peer s work from a reader s perspective instead of from the perspective of language judge; and ( 4) recognizing the impact of EFL students L1 rhetoric in English writing and the relativity of English rhetoric
164 (S12 My Grandpa )
165 CHAPTER 7 KEN: TEACHING SKILLS AS THE BASIS OF WRITING Ken s Profile Personal E ducational B ackground Ken an AfricanAmerican, came from a family whose father was a university professor in reading education. Perhaps influenced by his father, he showed great understanding for my research by offering me as much information as possible such as his lesson plans, PowerPoint slides of each week, teaching materials, resource books, and students homework Ken graduated from a university in Ohio with a M.A d egree in international relations Later he joined the Marines as an officer He was stationed in California for eight years and in Japan for two years When he left the military, h e did not go back to the United States; instead, he came to S University to study Chinese. He was concerned about his ethnicity and w anted to stay in a city where people are more openminded. He chose S city because he considered S city as the most liberal Chinese city. He found it was challenging to be an Africa American ins tructor at S University Unlike other NES instructors who have been accepted imm ediately by the Chinese, i t took a while for his students to accept him He used the word frightened to describe how his Chinese students felt when they first saw him as their teacher But after teaching a few classes, he became a star among his students and was always surrounded by students during or after break s. He wa s one of the most popular nativeEnglish speaking ( NES) teachers in the department Race seemed to be an issue at the beginning, but it turned out to be a noninfluential factor in teaching English writing compared with other factors
166 Ken valued the precise use of language in a piece of writing more than anything else for he thought that inappropriate diction made a huge difference in writing. O nce he emailed me an article from China Da ily a widely read English newspaper in China, about Googl es exit from China and commented on it U pset about the word plot and some other childish phrases, he thought these improper words ma de the article sound unserious and unedu cated to English speaking peopl e even though the author might be right about the issue. According to him, the seriousness of the issue has been washed away by the inappropriate language use. He claimed that writers should pay special attention to the language they use. Besides teaching the courses English W riting, Public Speech and An Introduction to Contemporary America h e also coached the English debate team of the university During the time of the study Ken took the debate team to Beijing for one week to atte nd a nationwide debate competition His debate team was considered the best in the teams debate history though it still did not rank among the first three in the nation. What B rought Ken to S University Ken s entry into the English department was dramat ic W hen he was studying Chinese at S U niversity, he did not intend to be an English teacher In order to support himself, he found a job teaching English. He started tutoring Chinese middle and high school students When he learned that the English department was looking for NES instructors, he applied but was rejected without a reason. H e sent hi s rsum to the department again but replaced his photo with one of his Caucasian friends T his time the department showed apparent interest on hi m and arranged a faceto face interview He told his story to one of his tutees father who is a powerful man at local area. The tutees father thought a good teacher should not be treated with prejudice and wrote a
167 letter of recommendation to the department In the end, Ken g o t the job and became the first and only AfricanAmerican instructor in the English department Kens B eliefs in T eaching EFL W riting Ken considered a teachers first and most im portant responsibility was to be able to evaluate the students ability, and he designed the course in a way that provided students with frequent practice and feedback in order to make progress over the course of the s tudy Students should participate actively in the learning process. Both Jack and Ken taught in Japan and they agreed that Chinese students are more active than Japanese students but they are also weak in analytical and original thinking, especially in writing He th ought it wa s a big challenge for NES teachers to teach writing to the students wh o have limited language proficiency and lack of ideas at the same time. Ken has neither specific knowledge of nor training for teaching English His understanding of English writing was based on his own writing experience. For Ken a good piece of English writing should be properly structured, concisely worded, and contain vi vid and appropriate vocabulary If it is an academic research paper, an international format such as APA or MLA should be followed. Like John, he turned to veteran instructors like Jac k for teaching ideas Besides that, he also relied on resource books and the Internet for instructional support. His pedagogical knowledge came mainly from his military experience He spent eight years in the m ilitary as an officer training technicians He commented, T h e teaching methods I employ now are those that I was exposed to in the United States Military In my opinion, they are more effective than those used in American colleges (S.T3.2) T he t ypical m i litary way of teaching, according to Ken, wa s to break e verything down into small parts Learners started from learning the basics, practicing repeatedly
168 until they underst ood, and then moved to the next In his opinion, the bottom up method should be as effective in teaching English writing as in th e military He view ed learning to write in English as similar to learning to fix an airplane; both consist ed of many subskills. In fixing an airplane, learners start from knowing each part and completing with a lot of repetitions and practice; i n English writing, learners start from learning words, sentences, paragraphs and passages His believed his job was to teach students the subskills they needed, one at a time, and at the end learners have all the skills to produce a piece of writing. The English writing class for sophomores was the last required English writing class for the students He knew students would be required to write a graduation thesis during their senior year for graduat ion Ken th ought he must teach them how to write a resear ch paper something more advanced and analytical than freshmen writing course. So his syllabus covered teaching a descriptive essay, an analytical essay and a synthesis essay, which all contained skill s that students needed to produce a research paper He has been teaching sophomore English writing for a year and half, but his syllabus has changed many times He found that the students previous learning experiences with different NES writing instructors determined how much they knew about English writing. He s hared frankly that his sophomore students who studied in Jack s classes were generally better informed about writing than students with other instructors Despite his careful planning, he found his teaching did not go as smoothly as he expected. N ot all student s underst ood his teaching at the same pace. H e has to cater students at the lower level by repeating his lessons and revising his teaching
169 approaches He complain ed that he has to spend most of the semester going back and re teaching His schedule was often subject ed to changes and students had to rush to finish assignments at the end of the semester Teaching Style Ken has a high student selection rate among the NES instructors in the department His students regarded him a patient, approachabl e and caring teacher He managed to maintain students self confidence in his classes He learned how to work better with his Chinese students, as he recalled that: When I first started teaching, I wasnt trying to be nice to the students. If they didnt prepare for the class, I would just say go away, you wont have classes. I was very strict at that time. But I found that doesnt work here. I think they want to keep face with the other students So I have all their email addresses and just em ail them after class, say Y ou know, today I took points away from you because you did not prepare for the class I softened my way They became better students and the class became more enjoyable (T3.1.67&1011) His face saving strategy helped him in building rapport with students He was willing to share his personal stories with students to make the teacher students relationship closer One time, he told a story about how he was judged by driving an old shaky car and the students were amused by his not so sweet story Even after the semester was over, many students could still remember the story vividly He also told of his personal experience at the military, at S city and in his Chinese classes The stories brought him closer to the students An other thing his students liked about him was that he was one of the few NES instructors willing to spend time talking with them after class The general impression of many students about NES instructors was that t hey vanished after class (S21.1.5) Durin g the time of study, Ken often stayed after class to answer students all kinds of
170 questions, sometimes for even longer than one hour Questions covered homework, writing strategies, Chinese and English writing differences, personal experience, hobbies, cultural differences between China and America, and international news Ken understood the students needs to practice English with nativespeakers in a nonEnglish speaking environment, so he was willing to talk with them He said 60% of why they (the department leaders) have foreign teachers here is to expose their students to foreigners and foreign culture (T220.127.116.110) With this perception, he talked with students patiently as long as the students wanted to, unless he had teaching duties or appointments with others When he talked, he talked with a smile on his face. Almost all of his students agreed that he was one of the most approachable NES instructors with a nice personality His students liked him also because he was a responsible teacher who prepared handouts and uploaded them to class mailboxes for each class However, his writing classes were not rated as high as his personality by his students Kens Teaching Characteristics SkillBased Instruction The most prominent character istic of Ken s writing classes was heavy skill based instruction. During the time of the study, Ken thought about, planned for, and taught mostly the writing skills that he believed Chinese students should develop a command of For writing a research report as semester goal, he needed to figure out the parts skills that are necessary to accomplishing the final research report His instruction included wording, sentencing, and paragraphing skills He lectured on writing skills and then asked students to practice them as preparation for their writing tasks.
171 Teaching skills in isolation As mentioned before, Kens underlying instructional assumption was that if writing skills are taught from parts to whole, students should be able to write a research report by applying all the skills at the end of the semester Thus, planning what to teach became his teaching priority and took most of his class preparation time. He said, I spent most of my time, as a teacher, trying to figure out lesson plans that will work (T18.104.22.168) After many changes to his lesson plans, Table 71 display s all the skills he finally taught Table 71 Skills taught in Kens classes Week Time Skills Taught Note 1 2 4P Self introduction, study syllabus Write My Plan 3 2P* Introduction to academic writing, introduction main body conclusion, summary, clich, thesaurus General introduction 4 2 P Effective sentencing such as independent, dependent, run on, dangling sentence, preposition and practice 5 2 P Paragraphing, concepts of good writing and practice Write a product description 6 2P How to paraphrase, four ways to paraphrase, quote and practice Write a movie review 7 2P Paraphrase skills continued, citation and practice 8 Classed cancelled 9 1P Teach irony and find irony Write a 100 word short story 10 Holiday break 11 1 P Description of a person and practice Write a research report on a person 12 1 P Rewrite to make a long article short and practice 13 1P Write proposal, bibliography and practice 14 1P What is a good abstract and practice 15 1P Structure of people research (life, time, legacy) 16 2P HOC LOC professional writers tips 17 No classes 18 P*: class period, e.g. 1P means one class period, 45 minutes; My Plan was not counted as an assignment due to students auditioning of classes. As shown in Table 71, he spent the first few weeks introducing the features of academic writing such as the tradit ion of introductionmain body conclusion style of English writing ; how to write introduction, conclusion, and summary; how to avoid clich;
172 the use of a thesaurus ; skills such as independent sentences and dependent sentences and how to avoid runon sentences His goal was to introduce them to the correct way of English writing (F.T3.2.21) because Ken found Chinese students often wrote English writing in awkward ways Later, paragraphing skills, concepts of good writing, irony, and how to apply HOC (Higher Order Concerns) and LOC (Lower Order Concerns) were taught ( T able 71) Throughout the 18week long semester, Ken was either lecturing or requiring students to practice the parts so they would gain sufficient skills to write a research report F or example, in Week 5, as usual, Ken prepared detailed s lides and uploaded them to a classroom mailbox so that every student had access to them Students could download slides for preview ing before each class or review ing after class Week 5s instruction contains a little about paragraphing, but it was mainly about introducing style in English writing The slides were adapted from The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B White and Internet resources He prepared 30 slides, which was the normal num ber of slides prepared for each week The followi ng are excerpts from his slides: (Slide 4) Simplicity: making complicated things seem complicated is commonplace, making the complicated seem simple; awesomely simple, is great art by Charlie Mingus famous Jazz musician. (Slide 5) Concerning the negative role media play, many sociologists and educators bring up serials of suggestions and solutions Firstly, the government & the authorities concerned should pay adequate attention to media, giving strict cens ors to TV programs and the contents on other media. Secondly, families and schools should take some responsibility for childrens education, strengthening moral education and setting up for them correct world value. Only by means of joint effort, can the w orld become purer and media play a positive role in the society (Slide 6) Simplicity: readability score
173 (Slide 7) Simplicity: sloppy language begins with sloppy thinking; good writing begins with clear thinking; take time to prepare before you write (Slide 813) (Directions for free writing practice) (Slide 14) Be Specific colorful writing: your word should create pictures; show, dont tell; if you can get readers to see what you are talking about, they will keep reading (Slide 15) Be Specific colorful writing: The woman is nervous or Her hands are shaking as she slides her wedding ring on and off; finally, her husband comes home. (Slide 16) Be Precise: in order to be precise and logical, read your art aloud; listen, and ask yourself, does it reall y make sense? (Slide 17) Be Brief: Good writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a painting should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word should count. (A.T3. W eek 5 slides) The way Ken instructed usually involved the following steps: read slides give examples and practice. For example, while showing slide 4, Ken told students Y our former Chinese teacher told you to write as complicated as possible. Do that if you take Chinese teachers classes Here I have a quote from a famous Jazz musi cian You might not know about him but he is famous (F.T3.35.912) Then he read aloud the Charlie Mingus quotation on slide 4 and asked students whether they are convinced. Students nodded. Then an exercise of choosing nonsimplistic sentences followed. Following simplicity were be specific be precise, and be brief and similarly, he talked about the slides and had students work on exercises on worksheet s. T he worksheets also included finding the readability score and free writing practice. The 30 slides took one and half class periods to finish. Lecture and practice were inter mixed in his writing classes; however, not every concept was followed by exercises
174 As shown in Table 71, Ken planned to teach skills that he thought the students might need for each assignment as well as for the final research report For example, before students wrote a movie review, he had lectured about how to paraphrase and cite sources Before they wrote a 100word short story, they were taught about irony Before s tudents wrote their final research report on a person, his students were taught many techniques and skills Ken thought helpful in completing the assignment However, things did not turn out to the way he planned. S tudents could not sa tisfactorily demonstra te each skill well enough immediately in their writing This confused Ken because he thought his instruction and handouts were easy to understand. Indeed, students at different levels found his instruction and slides easy to understand. When lecturi ng, he also supported with examples (slide 5) Students did not complain much about his lectures The instructor, as well as the students, was puzzled why clear understanding of writing skills did not yield skillful writers Without a solution, Ken kept the same way of teaching until the end of the semester. Besides lecturing on skills, Ken used worksheets frequently to test his students understanding. For example, in W eek 3, Ken prepared two pages of twosided worksheets before class They started with two paragraphs one lean paragraph and one problematic paragraph, then a table of common clichs, and two sections of sentence exercises The exercises were mainly from his resource books but sometime he would substitute the names in exercises with some names students knew for he thought it is better to provide examples that Chinese students could relate to. The following is the lean paragraph that he chose from one of his resource book Successful
175 Writing for the Real World by Michael Krigline (2008) to illustrate the standards of a welldeveloped paragraph: Lean paragraph 70th Birthday Celebration in Zhejiang: A Special Time People in Zhejiang like to hold a threestep, family celebration on their 70th birthdays First, all the family members attend a gathering to discuss the details of the celebration. Then there is a ceremonial party The honored guest always wears a traditional Tang Zhuang with the Chinese character shou (longlife) on it Young people give their best wishes to the elder and the elder gives red envelopes containing money to them After that, a reception for the guest is held; often excellent food is served. Family participation and a special dinner party make 70th birthday celebration in Zhejiang a special time. (T2. Handout week 3) By teaching all the characteristics of a lean paragraph, h e wished students could write as logic ally as the example. As he explained after class I have all these small exercises to teach them: ok, this is logical, this is how you do it, these are the parts of logic So they practice them, and later when they write their essay, they just remember they practiced in the worksheet (F.T2.1011.211) To his disappointment, Ken found a huge gap between students worksheet performance and performance in assignments One time, Ken sighed, I feel pessimistic about that, you know, they dont get it But thats all I can teach them about a lean paragraph (T22.214.171.124) Worksheets were heavily used in Kens writing classes Ken prepared abundant worksheets and spent large chunks of class time for students to work on them Sometimes the amount of time to complete them exceeded the lecture time For example, S22 recalled, He prepared a lot of worksheets for us Some of them I think are unnecessary But we have to complete them any way Often we have to finish the worksheets after class (S22.5.35) The completion of worksheets was worth 25 points out of 100. Ken checked the
176 students notebook at the end of the semester to make sure they worked on them In the end, some students spent more work on worksheets than on their writing Ninety percent of the students found the exercises at syntactic and grammatical level s were unnecessary and not worth two class periods since they all had extensive training on that before. According the data, the students needed to be taught grammar and criteria of good writing that was meaningful to them instead of out of context, for example, by using students own writing examples Rather than spending time on writing something meaningful, students were forced to practice on meaningless, repetitious, isolated worksheets Writers do throw many techniques together, but artistically and creatively, blending thoughts and language to generate meaningful compositions instead of practicing on techniques in isolation. Techniques mismatch students needs Although much class time was spent on teaching techniques, students found they were constantly in a situation where the skills taught did not match their needs S tudents found some of the skills are repetitious yet at other times, they found they lacked proper skills to solve their problems during writing. Here I will give an example of the exercises students worked on. In W eek 4, Ken taught independent, dependent, runon, and dangli ng sentences and let students practice the skills on two pages of worksheets The following are four of the eight examples from the dangling sentence exercise section: Direction: One sentence of each pair contains a dangling modifier Choose the correct sentence that does not contain a dangling modifier. 1 A Having misunderstood the assignment, I received a low grade on my paper
177 B Having misunderstood the assignment, my paper got a low degree. 2 Returning after a year out of the count ry, my cat did not even know me. B When I returned after a year out of the country, my cat did not even know me. 3 A Having marinated overnight, you may now cook the meat B Having marinated overnight, the meat is now ready to be cooked. 4 A As the squirrel steadfastly replaced the lost acorns, I marveled at its determination and hard work B Steadfastly replacing the lost acorns, I marveled at the squirrels determination and hard work. Students had almost no difficulty in selecting the correct answers One s tudent commented that: A t first I didnt know what dangling modifier is But after I looked at the sentences I realized its xuanchui jiegou (dangling elements) that we learned at high school Who doesnt know dangling elements? He underestimated what Chinese students know about English grammar (F.T3.16.35) It might be the first time for the students to hear the terms of grammar and writing in English but certainly not their first encounter with them In fact, student writing demonstrated that dangling sentences were an infrequent occurrence rate in Chinese students writing. The instruction did not reflect students needs Another example is that students could barely cite correctly after Ken taught citation When the students wr o t e they met new challenges beyond what had been taught A t W eek 6, as before, Ken spent two class periods lecturing on how to cite original words from book auth o rs, how to paraphrase, and how to use quotations according to his resource books There is an excerpt of the field notes of how he taught it:
178 Ken told students writers frequently intertwine summaries, paraphrases, and quotations As part of a summary of an article, a chapter, or a book, a write r might include paraphrases of various key points blended with quotations of striking or suggestive phrases Then students were given time to read and correct an example: In his famous and influential work On the I nterpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud argues that dreams are the royal road to the unconscious (page #), expressing in coded imagery the dreamers unfulfilled wishes through a process known as the dream work (page #) Students were asked, I s this pl agiarism? Why or why not? To make this legal the author must take what extra step? No answers Students looked at the instructor, waiting for answers Ken told students the year should be added after the name and a bibliography should be attached at the end of the text Then they practiced more on citing direct quotes in another worksheet (F.T3.35) Ken lectured from his slides T he contents of his slides and the examples were all from Krigline s book He required students to practice paraphrasing and talk ed about how to cite direct quotes from books A fter the class, students knew the importance of citation and that page numbers should follow a direct quote. However, in writing movie reviews, students seldom cited from books but unanimously cited from Internet sources, something that Ken failed to consider when designing the assignment. Students cited in various patterns by their assumption. H ere are some examples that are common among students writing : 1. Moreover, this movie is more than funny The author of http://entertainmnent......ece contends that it reveals a sad reality only understood by adults that dreams of youth disappear as time goes by (S23 Movie review Up: An Adventure More Than Funny) 2. Biography from Answer.com June 13, 2010 http://www.answers.com/topic/stevie wonder (S25 Research report Stevie Wonder) 3. (A history of Western philosophy) D.W.Hamlyn (S26. Research report Socrates)
179 Since they had not been taught how to cite from the Internet or how to look up references on the Internet that would show them ways to cite, they created their own citation style based on their limited understanding of citation. T he first example wa s found in th e student s in text citation and the second and third were selected from the reference section. S23 the writer of the f irst example to ld me that she cited by using The author of http://entertainmnent. ece because she did not know how t o cite an article that she found from websites without an author She asked other students and found them confused as well, especially about how to cite from websites without an author She figured out the website link might be as equally important to mention even if there wa s no author name. S25 and S26, like many other students, did not know the correct format of citation from websites nor were they directed to developing problem solving abilities to search for themselves The other stud ents faced a similar confusion when it came to quoting from websites S tudents had more writing problems when writing movie reviews, which also were not included in Kens teaching. In the S25 writing example at the end of the chapter the student although she knew direct quotes should be marked with an author s name and year in parenthesis, put three types of sources in parenthesis The fine cast (Yung) in the third line meant the original words were from Yung, a movie reviewer; Jack (Dennis Quaid) mean t Jack wa s played by Dennis Quaid, an actor; and to rescue his son and his friends ( Diane Lorene Phelps) in line 10 wa s another movie reviewer who has never mentioned before in the text She explained that the first type of citation she learned from Kens movie review sample. The second parenthesis means the actors real name, which she learned from online movie reviewers examples The name of Diane Lorene
180 Phelps she quoted was due to the reason that she remembered the importance of citation Howeve r, in searching for the movie related reviews, she was confused to find none of the most cited reviewers cited like she was required to. S25 was not the only one who was confused about citation of quotations. Students were even more puzzled after they found that citation varied from author to author, book to book and Website to Website. After two class periods of lecturing, students did not gain any confidence in using citation, nor did they learn anything about strategies to use that would allow them to solve citation problem s not included in the lecture. M any students also expressed their confusion about citing from secondary sources when writing research papers Students questions and confusions originated in Kens failure to teach students how to cite sources other than books Students found in actual writing the skills they practiced could not meet their needs Once a student said, A fter I listened to him, I thought this (research report on a person) is easy as long as you apply what he taught But when I started, I really didnt know what to do: I knew very little about the person, could not find enough information online, and d id nt know what wa s important information to present (F.T3.55. 7 10) Complaining in private, the students seldom asked the instructor for clarification Based on the data, the instructor should have taught skills when students needed them instead of feeding the students what he thought w as helpful O ne of the reasons that the students did not correct errors was the instructor did not comment or t ake points off for incorrect citations The students lost the motivation to solve citation problems Another reason that contributed to the reticence of the students was th e Chinese students passive learning style as the NES instructors agreed.
181 Students needed to be encouraged and taught problem solving strategies as opposed to the isolated skills they have been taught In S25 s case like many of her classmates she needed s trategies to gather, select and organize information. Framing Writing by Formulas and Principles Besides lecturing on techniques, Ken provided formulas for students to follow in completing writing assignments Like the students in the other classes, with formulas, students wrote as if they were filling in blanks All they needed to be concerned was filling in the formula and meeting all the teachers requirements since the instructor would grade their writing on the formula. The following formulas are from Kens slides for teaching students how to write a product description: Product Description 1. Start with what is important and attractive What is the product? Why is it cool or unique? Why the customer needs it? Title should have the products name and what is important about it? 2. The body should include important details 2 3 1 what they should remember most Can include quotes, an award or instructions on how to use it Try to make it easy to use or very useful 3. End with an echo to close the sale Repeat the products name and remind them of its main advantages Avoid clichs or overly polite Write directly and strong most customers like it tastes very good Instead Advanced, unique product that is popular everywhere Delicious, tasty, sweet food that makes people come back time and again 1 00175 words Single paragraph Use colon to separate product name and title Include a picture
182 MLA format Include # of words and Flesch score at the end The formula supplied students with a structure to follow, wording format for the title, length, form and style. Following the formulas, students writing started with question answering and then checking the rules one by one when composing Under the formulas, students wrote in a uniform style. T he following is one of the best product descriptions writin g in Ken s class : T he multifunctional MP3 Watch: Second to None 1I f you want to lead a fashionable and convenient life, the multifunctional MP3 watch does you a favor 2I t combines the functions of watch, MP3, record, USB flask disk together 3I t is of high technology, fashionable and useful ; young people particularly think highly of it 4T here are different kinds of styles and colors for children, teenagers and young adults to choose. 5I t is easy to wear and convenient to use. 6M oreover, it is w aterproof, quakeproof and accurate, it supports various music formats 7I n addition, it has a threeyear guarantee all over China. 8Therefore, to be fashionable and enjoy a convenient life, you deserve the unique multifunctional MP3 watch for its accurate time, multi format music player, excellent record, large USB storage; you cannot miss it (S22. Product description MP3 ) I n this product description, the title and the first three sentences followed the start questions Sentence four to seven followed 23 1 rule. S entence eight met the requirements of echo by repeating the product name and main advantages T his piece of writing got 9 out of 10 points due to its successful following of the teacher s formula such as separate title and product name with colon, 23 1 rule, and the start body echo pattern. S22 admitted he did some research on the product and found the features Thus, he only needed to tailor the information to fit into the formula teacher gave. He felt proud to be able to follow the formula exactly As for the writing time he admitted that deciding what to write and searching for information took about half an hour and the writing process took less than 20 minutes
183 For each assignment, a writing formula was provided. F or the r esearch repor t students were required to w rite the essay in three parts : Life Time Legacy I n the Life section, students needed to answer 5 Ws + H (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How) about the person; in the Time section, students wrote context and background information; and in the Legacy section, students wrote what has changed because of that person and a conclusion to summarize with an interesting finish (F.T3.71) The formula itself is not problematic, but it became problematic when all the students were given the formula before they knew what to write ; they thus had no choice but to follow the same formula. T he data revealed that a more effective way of teaching the students w ould be providing multiple formulas to the students and let ting them choose based on their different writing needs, cognitive styles, and writing experiences However, all s tudents wrote in the same style by following the formulas. There was no need to explore other possibilities or style of research reports Students were busy referring to the formula rather than thinking of ideas They felt that writing by formula was a safe way as opposed to the danger of exploring ideas they are truly interested in. Students saw assignments as means to an enda gradeand learned to write to please the teacher Students were content e d to be provided with such formulas because they helped them survive English writing classes The closer the imitation is the better the grade. One student said, Im glad he gave rules to follow; otherwise, I dont know where to start (S26.2.1112) Undeniably, the formula helped them survive and meet short term goals, by letting them feel comfortable about what was expected in their assignments.
184 The writing model s were mostly adapted from online resources and entailed all the formula and rules Ken lectured about previously If he failed to find appropriate models, he wrote his own such as the abstract and research report on a person. The following is the abstract he wrote. Even though the models were just for students reference, almost all of his students modeled exactly after it in terms of sentence structures, phrases, and word choice: Abstract: Bruce Lee This essay explores the life, times and legacy of one of the greatest martial artists of all time, Bruce Lee. The controlling idea is that he was a man who refused to adhere to traditional cultural barriers and prejudices He overcame American prejudices by becoming the first AsianAmerican action hero. He re fused to follow ChineseAmerican tradition by teaching KungFu to nonChinese. And through his movies, he made a deep impact on the popular culture of America that continues to this day He lived a life worth remembering; thus, he will never be forgotten. (A.T3.Handout W13) Here is an example of students imitation of the abstract: Abstract: Stevie Wonder This essay explores the historical background, childhood, musical career as well as legacy of Stevie Wonder The controlling idea is that Stevie Wonder is one of greatest musician of all time in America Though Wonder was born blind, his extraordinary talent in music as well as his persevering pursuit of perfection in music won him countless awards and world famous fame He made a deep impact on the popular culture of America that continues to this day He is so great that he will never be forgotten (S27 Research report) A s shown from the underlined phrases and sentences, t he organization of ideas, structure style and even some sent ence structures in the students writing are similar to that in the example. Like this student, many students started the abstract with this essay explores and the controlling idea is which made every student wr it e like the instructor Students also followed Kens wr iting model for the research report in writing of their own report s.
185 The fill in theblank approach was based on Kens belief that Chinese students did not know how to write in English convention ally and the best way wa s to provide them with models, especially written by native speakers This belief was reinforced after he talked to Jack, the most knowledgeable instructor ( he thought ) in the cohort Ken said, If I dont provide models, they write awfully That is what w e have to teach here. Most English teachers here do the same (F.T3.16.1921) Ken, as well as Jack and John, all believed Chinese students should writ e with correct language, organization, and structure first I n Kens sophomore writing, there were many principles to follow, such as the 2 3 1 and no I or my rule He required students to follow his direction of 2 3 1 and no I or my rule in every piece of writing even in writing the abstract of their research paper Ken emphasized the rules because he has been taught in his college writing classes to do so. Ken told students to follow strictly no I or my in their writing, which he thought is weak and should not appear in formal, especially academic writing (F.T3.29.11) Most of his s tudents although they disagreed, did not argue with him However, s ome continued to use I and some questioned the rule in private. For example, S19 thought it is unreasonable to forbid using I in one of his writing: I: Can you think of anything that you did not understand in his class? S19: En (think for a while) I remember once I use I in a paragraph describing my brother and I gave it to him to read. He told me that I should be avoided in order to sound more objective. I was so confused. Y ou know, I was talking about MY BROTHER It supposed to be and should be subjective to make it more real life like I: So what did you do? S19: I argued with him and he was nice and told me many reasons But it made me very uncomfortable with no I in a writing talking about my brother, so I still want to keep I It does not feel right if no I It sounds like
186 another person talking but not me. I also talked about this with my classmates and they agreed w ith ME They also did not understand why I is not good in English writing. In Chinese writing, teachers encourage us to use I think because that shows it is YOU not others I assume nativespeakers emphasize more on objectiveness (S19.8.15 22). Alth ough S19 kept using I in that piece of writing, he accepted the teachers suggestions and tried to replace I with other words in his later assignments He thought he should listen to and follow the rules of NES instructors; after all, the reader and gr ader is the instructor Another student had the same experience and she said I used I in my writing, but he doesnt like it He circled them out I want to be more expressive but he wants more objective (F.T3.21.2 3) There were also some students questioned about Ken s no I rules One confused student put that I read several movie reviews on Rotten Potato (a popular American movie review website) in order to write my movie review, I found other native speakers used I in their movie reviews Why cant we use? (S22.12.79) Another student added that A movie review I read on website even starts with a fragmented sentence. Why native speakers can do that we cant ? (S24.8.1920) The data revealed that the students should have the flexibility to adapt principles or strategies of writing to meet their own writing needs and audiences instead of being told to follow principles rigidly at all circumstances Just like Jack, John, Ken underestimated the students as writers who knew that in writing language works for contents not vice verse. In Ken s writing classes, students were not only framed to write with the formula, but also had to follow questionable d irections S tudents did not have a chance to develop their own voice in writing; instead, they were trained to write uniformly to please the instructor but not to questions the rules even when they did not think the rules were appropriate for their work
187 L inguisticC entered I nstruction Besides structural correctness, Ken also emphasized students language correctness In instruction, Ken focused on language skills; in assessment, he focused on language correctness When assessing students writing, he s eemed to value surface structure skills ( language correctness) rather than content and thinking. His comments mostly focused on sentences, verbs, grammar and format In the previous example of The Day After Tomorrow movie review, Ken comments were found on four places: one question on sentence meaning, one plural form, one verb tense, and one unity problem He did not comment on the contents or the writers voice He gave students extra points if they correct ed the linguistic level mistakes S tudents got one point back if they show ed Ken their revised copies Although Ken was the only one among th e three NES instructors who showed interest in more than one draft, he still focused on surfacelevel correctness like the other two Here is an example by S26, an average student in Ken s class, to show how he typically graded students writing (see the example at the end of the chapter) This student got 7 out of 10 points She lost 1 point for misspell ing her class number, 1 point for not including the colo n in the title, and 1 point for the not logical sentence at the end. The s tudent commented on her writing, W e Chinese students lack of expressions most I am glad he could point out my language errors, give me more idiomatic expression, correct usage of art icles (S26.11. 4 5) S he was happy to have a nativespeaker correcting her language errors and even happier to gain one point back It was common for Ken to give extra points if students changed the language in their work based on his comments By giving extra points to students, Ken encouraged students to
188 focus on language correct ness which reinforced their belief that English writing was to produce correct English language Comments on language did not bring about a significant decrease of language mistakes Even though students were busy with correcting and editing language usage, grammar and format they continued to make mistakes in their writing. Ken expressed his disappointment and confusion He understood his role as a nativeEnglish speaking instructor in China as a language model, as he commented that, We are hired because of our language. I am supposed to teach students how to write in correct language, right? But I found they make the same language mistakes again and again. I really don t know how to teach them (F.T3.59.111 4 ) Summary Kens patience, nice personality, and hardworking attitude made him a popular teacher among students In teaching writing, he believed in the parts to whole approach, due to his military training. During the time of study, he lectured on many skills and had students practice on worksheets so that they could write a research report at the end of the semester However the lectures and drills failed to help students make an improvement in writing He provided models for students to follow and assessed them on their ability to follow rules rather than on their use of language and thought to communicate ideas Kens skillfocused instruction was rooted in his parts to whole belief He intended to provi de students with scaffolds but they turned out to be ineffective in his writing instruction to the Chinese students Ken s writing instruction suggested that to help the students become better writers, a more effective instructor w ould have done the follow ing: ( 1) taught grammars and techniques by using the students own writing instead of out of context examples; ( 2) taught strategies,
189 especially problem solving strategies to the students at the time of needs ra ther than teaching strategies the instructor planned; ( 3) provided different writing models or formula s to let students choose freely instead of requiring all students to follow one; and ( 4) taught students how to adapt writing strategies and principles flexibly to meet their writing needs instead of following them rigidly in all circumstances and for all writing assignments
190 (S25 Movie review The D ay A fter T omorrow ) (S26 Product description. Starch T oothpick )
192 CHAPTER 8 DISCUSSION Factors that A ffect the NES I nstructors T eaching E ffectiveness This study intended to describe NES instructors English writing classes and discuss the issues and problems that contributed to the Chinese EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students lack of improvement in writing English Unlike the teaching, learning, and communication style incongruence reported in the NES (Native English Speaking) instructors English classes in general, this study discovered that the NES writing instructors lack of subject knowledge pedagogical content knowledge, and knowledge on local context hindered their teaching and the students learning effectiveness A lthough other studies ( Cheung, 2002; Medgyes, 1999) found that NES instructors subject knowledge and teaching skills were c rucial to English instruction as well, this study provided more detailed and indepth data especially in English writing classrooms The findings of the study indicate there are mainly five factors that affect the NES instructors teaching effectiveness. L ack of Knowledge in Teaching English Writing In th is study, each expatriate NES writing instructor demonstrated slightly different but quite similar pedagogical behaviors under the influence of their personal belief s, learning and teaching experience s, and understanding of English writing instruction. Jack put great emphasis analyzing writing models, John on testing students reading and teaching language, and Ken on teaching techniques from part s to whole However, they all emphasiz ed linguistic accur acy over other aspects of writing. T hey lectured more than allowing students to wr i te on their own, and they controlled and moved students learning activities linearly and mechanically week by week The ir foci on
193 linguistic accuracy, lectures over practic e and product s over process contribute to ineffec tive instruction, as Figure 81 demonstreats Figure 8 1 NES instructors ineffective English writing instruction Focus on linguistic accuracy For Jack, John, and Ken, teaching the correct use of English but nothing else, was their primary concern. The three NES instructors were overwhelmed by the Chinese students language errors and they believed that Chinese students have a poor command of English as well as English rhetoric Striving for linguistic a ccuracy, the NES instructors used writing mo dels to keep students on track and spent great effort in error correction T hey assumed writing is to display content and language correctly which is far too narrow and biased assumption. Writing is to generate ideas, to explore the unknow n, to solve problems, to identify issues and to communicate information or present ideas If teaching EFL writing is done only as a way of developing linguistic skills students fail to develop their ability of collect ing, analyzing, generating, organizing refining, and presenting the knowledge. These areas are the key components of the writing process ( He 2009; Hyland 2003; NES Instructors' Ineffective English Writing Instruction Controlled Process Linguistic Accuracy Lecturing
194 Williams, 2005) ; however, the NES writing instructors ignored these in their teaching. When writing has been taught as a way of learning how to use language to express ideas EFL writers can improve their thinking and eventually their linguist ic accuracy (Raimes, 1996), because writer s learn to strive to be understood through different combinations and choices of lexical and grammatical devices Teaching writing, by definition, involves teaching thinking as well as language (Zamel 1983) Instead of encouraging student s to use writ ing as a way of thinking and explor ationexploring something the writer does not know for instance, they let students fill in prescribed blanks for linguistic accuracy An emphasis on practicing only language skills and correctness will not develop writers with depth of thinking (Fu & Matoush, 2006) For L2 learners like the students in the study, they need to be taught to use language correctly, but also much more. T hey need to develop writing strategies, especially problem solving strategies that could be applied as needed when an unfamiliar situation arose, instead of being fed with prescri ptive structure and language or being taught the grammar and techniques that mismatched their needs I n the study, independent problem solving was not found in the three NES instructors teaching but only repeated emphasis on linguistic correctness T heir approach indicated that the students were helpless and they were not being self supporting and independent knowledge explorers such as Ken s students who faced puzzling situat ions when cit ing authorities H owever, through my conversations with the students, they were in fact writers and thinkers Teaching English writing is different from teaching the language, although each is a tool of social communication. According to Vygot sky (1978), teaching of written
195 language should reflect its abstract, voluntary, and conscious characteristics, since that oral language is spontaneous, involuntary, and unconscious Based on Vygtoskys inner speech theory (1978), writing plays a significant part in students learning development and makes them better thinkers and learners Writing is an abstract of thought, which requires the author to make his/her fragmented perceptions of reality into organized prose, to provide details and elaborations to make his/her readers understand and to achieve communicative success over time and distance Therefore, writing instructors, both in L1 and L2 writing, not only need to maintain the thinking development of the students but also to help them develop their writing strategies such as revision and editing skills to enhance their final products for better communication. The NES instructors underestimated writing as a thinking activity and the students as writers and thinkers For example, Jacks sophomore students demonstrated fluency, imagination and creativity in their story writing when they were allowed more freedom Johns students wrote with fluency, individual voice, and depth of thinking in their self selected topic s for other classes When Ken assumed his students could not think and write on their own, the students demonstrated awareness of connections between language and thoughts The students wrote more like writers w hen writing mo dels were n ot strictly enforced they revealed their potential as writers. If the NES instructors were aware that writing is a way of thinking and exploration (Hyland, 2003; Kroll, 1990; Murra y, 1985; Raimes, 1983, 1996; Richards, 2003; Zamel, 1983) they should have emphasized the contents and purposes of writing before the forms, structures and language in students writing for the ir intended audiences. As Murray (1985) explained that, T he patterns are not decided on in the best writing
196 before the subject is discovered and explored (p.204) The contents lead to form not the other way around (Raimes 1983a, 1996; Zamel, 1982, 1983) A writing model itself is not a problem; the problem is how to use it I n the study, t he Chinese students in the NES instructors classes were forced to think and write like writing model s. Murray (1985) cautioned that when a teacher imposes a form upon students, the teacher told students how to think and what to think (p.24) Murray (198 6) suggested the instructor should at least provide 3 models or more and let the students decide which one is the more suitable for their content I n the study, there was only one writing model for each assignment for all students, leading students to think model writing w as the only correct way to write. Since writing varies in form and structure for specific au diences and purposes a writing model by no means suffices in all situations Teaching writing through prescribed models prohibited students grow th in writing, because students had not been taught how to choose a form for their ideas but been told to fit their ideas into a prescribed form Furthermore, effective writing instructors look at what work s in students writing and start from that point t o decide what to teach next and how to teach it T he three NES instructors in the study continued with writing models did not look at what worked in the students writing, and made no adjustments accordingly Prescribed models inhibited students creativity, discouraged independent thinking and, above all else, discouraged students from using language to explore meanings The strictly enforced models disempowered and disabled students as writers Despite their efforts and good intentions to help st udents achieve linguistic accuracy in writing, the NES instructors remained unaware that drills at the discourse level and mastery of
197 formality have not been demonstrated to be helpful to build up L2 writers writing proficiency as many L2 writing researc hers have pointed out (Flower & Hayes, 1981; Hyland, 2003; Kroll, 1990; Leki, Cumming & Silva, 2008; Raimes, 1983, 1996; Richards, 2003; Silva, 1990; Zamel, 1983) All t hree instructors regarded linguistic correctnes s as the first and foremost thing that Chinese students needed to deal with. T raditionally EFL instructors did tend to believe that by practicing bits of language and structure in writing, students could achieve linguistic perfection (Leki, 2001) Linguistic correctness is only one of the things writers must accomplish and i t is certainly not the first thing writers must attend to. It is understandable for the NES instructors to attend to the surface level errors in the students writing When students turn in their work instructors were overw helmed by languagelevel errors Thus, t he three instructors point ed out student errors dutifully They may have achieved being responsible teachers, but simply correcting all language errors did not help students improve their writing (Ferris & Hedgecock, 1998; Fu, 2009; Truscott, 1996) Error correction cannot automatically lead to correctness in the students next writing unless they take action. I n the study, the students, like those in other studies, at most read the comments but often took no furth er actions to correct errors (Knoblauch & Brannon, 1981; Sommer, 1982) After the students made mental notes (Raimes, 1996, p.18), they left their paper aside or threw it away because of the anxiety and embarrassment caused by the errors and their frustration with inability to correct them The students in this study had no incentive to strive for text improvement There was no motive to improve the work since the students writing had been graded and
198 treated as a fixed and final product The writing and thinking ended after students got back their work from the instructors When instructors do not give further directions on what to do next, students do not continue work on their writing after they submit their work (Cohen, 1987; Cohen & Cavalcanti 1990) Even among those who had intended to take the comments seriously enough to take further action, there was a feeling of confused discouragement when they saw vague comments such as lack of coherence and not logical. Furthermore, s tudies show ed that co mments given to a final draft were far less effective than comments given during students writing (Williams, 2005) Effective writing instructors, instead of judging students linguistic accuracy on their first and also the last draft, respond to clear development and expression of content to early drafts before they respond to sentencelevel or grammati cal level errors on later draft s. Cognitively, students pay less attention to content and discourse if they feel the need to focus on surface errors (Flower & Haye, 1981; Flower, 1996) F ocusing on actively creating alternative ways to express their meaning, while leaving the editing of errors until later might have helped the students writing improvement Emphasizing linguistic accuracy did more harm than good to the students To avoid making linguistic errors and getting more points the students i n this study learned to play a safe game by parroting writing models and to avoid the exploration of other possibilities for expressing ideas Students got the impression that the purpose of writing wa s to produc e linguistically correct texts instead of taking risks to communicate effectively or developing their own voices by writing in ways that could be adapted to future writing goals Zamel (1993) suggested, W e should hold in abeyance our reflex -
1 99 like reactions to surfacelevel concerns and give priority to meaning ( p. 169) before worrying about mistakes in writing. W ithout being allowed to make mistakes and learn from mistakes, students lost opportunities to grow and to extend that learning to future projects As mentioned above, writing is a creating process not simply displaying a bunch of grammatically and syntactically correct sentences During the meaninggenerat ing process, messy writing with errors is unavoidable; in fact, errors are important for writers Murray said that writers U sually have to write badly to write well. The wrong words lead us to the not so wrong words, and the almost right words may reveal the right words ( p. 44) It is through errors that L2 students struggle to make themselves understood (MacGowanGilhooly, 1996; McLaughlin, 1984) L2 writers, like L1 writers, are constantl y testing their hypotheses on writing and communicating effectively and it is impossible not to make mistakes (Leki, 1996) However, it seems that none of the NES instructors in the study understood the logic of or power associated with students errors, hence, and did not encourage students to make increasingly better word choices during the process of composing and revising multiple drafts The three NES instructors instruction structured tightly around their own belief of Chinese students as poor English learners who need ed to learn correct language first T hey did not leave room to acknowledge the importance of meaningmaking on the part of students, the generative nature of fluency, the depth of learning that results from problem solving during the composition process, or the differential nature of human thought and expression. T he students only l earned to mimic in order to please the instructor s on a particular assignment they did not develop strategies to apply to their
200 writing in general Simply, m aintaining linguistic accuracy is not the whole picture of teaching writing and it can serve to dis courage students from trying to express themselves T his study showed that the instructors emphasis on linguistic correctness only forced writers to become more reluctant to take risks and thus impeded their writing improvement Lectures over practice There was more lecturing time than writing time in each of the NES instructors English writing classes I n Jacks classes most of the class time was spent on analyzing phrases, sentences and structures in writing models In Johns classes, time was devoted to reading comprehension and studying writing models instead of writing. In Ken s, most of the time students were practicing isolated skills in sentence and paragraph exercises moving from parts to whole. The amount of writing time was far less than t he lecture time, in or outside of classes C onsequently, s tudents found they did not write better than they could before. Students do not learn to write by listening about writ ing but only through writing itself (Ferris & Hedgcock, 1998; Hyland, 2003; Murray, 1982; Williams, 2005) In th is study, e ven though the students could comprehend the NES instructors slides and may have improved their listening comprehension or oral English, they did not get to improve their writing skills, for as in skill development, practice is an important e lement (Williams, 2005, p. 11) A swimmer cannot learn how to swim without getting into the water n or can pianist play without putting his/her fingers on a keyboard. Fluent w riting is not learned by listening but thro ugh expressive practic e exactly what the students lacked, since there was only one draft required for an assignment It is
201 students practicing that should take most of the class time rather than instructors lecturing. Murra y (1982) argued that too much i nstruction given prior to students first draft might limit or interfere with students writing. This studys findings agree. The NES instructors assumed that the students need ed knowledge on English rhetoric and conventions but they neglected students varied needs Ken, for example, put great effort into lecturing on citations but failed to teach or encourage students to develop problem solving skills to address their specific issues with citation John focused on sentenceto paragraph practice. Jack focused on textual analysis without connecting it to generating, organizing, and expressi ng thoughts in actual writing. Even though the students could complete grammar and sentence exercises correctly, possessing linguistic knowledge and applying that knowledge when writing involve s far more complex mental activity than simply retrieving information from memory W riting is more complex than swimming, however, since each piece of writing requires unique problem solving skills Like L1 writers, EFL writers need specific strategies and skills to solve their problems and achieve their writing goals They are at various levels of writing proficiency in L1 and English proficiency, thus they are unlikely to need the same knowledge even for the same writing assignm ent Lecturing on techniques in isolation or practicing at sentencelevel and grammar level has little to do with individual students overall writing development I t is just as important for Chinese students to learn to apply language and skills in contex t through frequent practice as it is for them to learn the language and skills themselves.
202 Instead of giving lengthy lectures, L2 r esearchers have found that effective writing instructors help students generate and select ideas then provide feedback to help writers communicate with readers more effectively (Leki, 1990; Silva, 1993; Williams, 2005) Instead of being knowledge holders preaching to students language and rhetoric conventions e ffective writing instructors play a variety of roles: assistant, facilitator, audience, more experienced writer and evaluator (Atkins, 1987; Calkins, 1994; Murray, 1986; Williams, 2005) In th is study, the NES instructors played the roles of judges and detecti ves spotting linguistic errors for they felt responsible for transmitting the knowledge they had on English writing to unknowledgeable Chinese students as if it flowed from on e end of a pipe to another end. Lecturing about writing is often found in the L2 writing instruction. Corbett (1996) reflec ted on t his inst ruction and said: In assessing my way of teaching, I recognize that I spent most of my time in the classroom talking about writing. I do not, of course, neglect the imitation and practice. Simply out of habit, I have adopted the lazy way of teaching writing I would have to confess that I do not seem to be doing my students much good ( p. 8 9). The NES instructors were act ing like Corbett who lectured too much about writing i n class Lengthy lecturing is ineffective. It mak e s students into passive knowledge r eceivers Simply lecturing on some skills, practicing on them and expect ing students to pull them together in writing not only neglect ed individual differences but also demonstrat ed an ignorance of the complexity of writing behaviors. Teaching writing as a controlled process Teaching writing is as complex as producing a piece of writing. Writing instructors not only need to familiarize themselves with what writing is and how to teach it effectively, but also how to assist student writers in an ongoing manner during the
203 proces s of writing T he NES instructors in this study failed to support the Chinese st udents adequately while they wrote, but they instead control led the students writing process Their writing instruction was like a production line that started with model analysis and ended with grading writing assignments the student turned in, as Figure 82 shows Students were moved forward at the same pace and pr oduced similar products despite their varied language proficiencies, writing skills, writing habits and interest in the writing topics. Figure 82 The writing cycle of the NES instructors Fu (2003) maintained that there are many similarities in teaching L2 students and native speakers of English: to help students to think, to develop their thinking, to organize their thoughts, and then to present them in Standard English. What works for L1 writing also works for L2 writing instruction, although L2 writers need more help in language and conventions to communicate effectively (Emig, 1982; Fu, 2003; Leki, 1996; Raimes, 1982, 1985; William, 1998; Zamel, 1982) Researchers have shown that like L1 writing L2 writing is also a recursive process: going through prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, pause to think, and repeating the cycle, as Figure 83 reveals ( Emig, 1971; Leki, 1996; Raimes, 1985; Silva, 1990; Williams 2005; Zamel, 1982) though the writing process may be more laborious for most EFL students Model analysis One on one meeting Outlining Assessment
204 For the same reason, w hat worked for L2 writers should also work for Chinese EFL students al though they have their unique needs and challenges in the EFL context R esearcher s (He 2009; Hu, 2005; Zeng, 2005) have confirmed that Chinese EFL stu dents benefited from recursive cognitive process ing when learning to write. E ffective writing instructors are those who are aware of the recursive cognitive process understand EFL students cognitive burdens, and attend to them In this study, the NES instructors did oppositely: they moved students uniformly from one week to another in a production line manner, as Figure 82 reveals Without an awareness of the complexity and flexibility of L2 writing process, the NES instructors inadequ ately served the Chinese students writing needs Figure 83 The flow of writing process (Note: Adapted from Calkins, 1986 & Atwell, 1987) T he NES instructors claimed to have incorporated prewriting and revising activities However, the study revealed that t he three NES instructors hold a deficient perception of prewriting and revision, especially the lat t er First, in Johns Jacks, and Ken s classes, prewriting was limited to gathering ideas parallel to the writing models Feedback Revising
205 Murray (1986) defined it as everything if happened before writing the first draft Prewriting covers the process from doing research, collect ing topic related information, outlining, and sketching to spotting audiences The activities before writing in the three NES in structors classes were conducted in prescribed ways without a wide range of activities facilitat ing students to choose a topic and gathering information As for revision it was replaced by editing in the study I n Jack s Johns, and Ken s instruction, the f irst draft was also the last draft which was edited for surfacelevel errors The NES instructors did not encourage students to clarify or rearrange thoughts add or delete words in the process of making better word choices, n or to consider their audiences what writers do in real revisions even though the students demonstrated their capability of rewording. Jack himself revised his writing multiple times but did not apply that knowledge to his teaching, due to his misconception that revision was only for fluent language speakers like him self For John, it is true that besides the instructor, students could provide feedback to their peers through a reader s perspective for better expression of their thoughts Nevertheless, he had no intention of teaching students to help each other clarify or communicat e their thoughts better; instead, he turned peer revision into peer correctioncorrecting linguistic errors Ken was the only one who made a move toward rev ision by giving one point to encourage students to revise their writing B ut those moves by no means are enough for the students to improve their writing proficiency M ultiple revisions are needed for the EFL students to learn to modify their writing and to achieve writing proficiency EFL students like the Chinese students in the study, need frequent and constructive feedback to develop their writing skills as they plan,
206 organize to express ideas, generate English language to express their ideas and find alternative ways to better meet the demands of their audience during the process of revision Without revision, even the most fluent and experienced writers could not achieve writing success on unfamiliar topics even in their L1. Encouraging revis ion and providing constant feedback is the best way to help students achieve both writing proficiency and language proficiency; however, revision and rich feedback were completely missing in the approach used by the three NES instructors F or Chinese students who are on their way to achieve linguistic and writing proficiency in a second language, they need to be supported to learn to generate language that is increasingly effective according to the purpose In this study the three NES instructors barely p romoted the things that effective writing instructors promote d and support ed, such as gathering and focusing topics, ideas at prewriting stage, encouraging multipl e drafts and providing feedback from a readers perspective during the revising stage, as Figure 83 indicates ( Atwell, 1987; Calkins, 1994; Murray, 1982, 1985) They responded solely by editing students vocabulary and sentence structure mistakes T he Chinese students, like other EFL writers, need instruction that can develop their self conscious awareness when writing and strategies to make their ideas understood, while develop ing their language proficiency in t he process of writing. Developing writing skills and language proficiency may seem divergent, but as Zamel (1982) argued: Engaging students in the process of composing (does not eliminate) our obligation to upgrade their linguistic competence. If, however, students learn that writing is a process through which they can explore and discover their thoughts and ideas, then the product is likely to improve as well ( p. 207)
207 By assigning a passive role focused on correctness to thei r Chinese students, these NES instructors prevented their students from actively learning how to become better L2 writers The three NES instructors instructional approach general ly resembled the approach focused on form and current traditional rhetoric (Matsuda, 2003; Raimes, 1991; Silva, 1990) for its strictness of language and form accuracy, with teacher as language holder and judge, and model analyzingandimitating features. Lack of Knowledge i n Teaching EFL Students Writing teachers not only need to know the nature of writing and the complex processes that writing involves, they also need to know about the diversity of L2 learners and the local pedagogical context in which the teaching and learning occurs ( Raimes, 1996 ; Silva, 1990) Researchers (Hu, 2002; Jiang, 2001; Matalene, 1985) suggested that in cross cultural teaching environments pedagogical decisions should be made based on a good understanding of the cultural context in which teaching and learning happens R esearchers report ed that NES teachers often lack knowledge of local students cultural, language and educational backgrounds (Luk & Lin, 2006) That problem has also been found among the NES instructors in this study Figure 84 Writing in EFL context EFL students EFL students' L1 rhetoric Local socoial, cultural, ideological context
208 T he NES instructors lack ed understanding of the local EFL context and made no accommodations appropriate to their students educational needs. As Figure 8 4 shows EFL students write under the influence of their L1 rhetoric tradition, local social, cultura l, and ideological context, which cannot be ignored when teaching them to write. Lack of knowledge of the English major students in China In the 2007 edition of English syllabus by MOE (Ministry of Education) Chinese students need to be taught learning st rategies, to communicate smoothly in written English, and to write an academic report in their disciplines S tudents who major in English also need to write reports in content subject areas such as literature and j ournalism In the Chinese educational context the highstake s exam TEM 8 (Test for English Majors band 8) is also a requirement for graduat ion in the English department Further, many of English major s pursue higher degrees in English speaking countries or positions in international corporati ons after college. English writing has a significant role in their academic, professional and personal success Therefore, the student participants anticipated having the same communicative, academic and professional needs as their L1 counterparts Based on the NES instructors teaching to freshmen and sophomores (though they may have an optional writing class at junior or senior), it is unlikely to believe the students have been prepared with sufficient writing skills or strategies to succeed in their ac ademic, professional and personal goals Even though the insignificant role of English writing in the curriculum could be blamed, instructors sh ould have provided more effective instruction to the EFL English major students if they had sufficient knowledge on teaching writing as well as on the students in the local context.
209 Furt hermore, according to surveys of th ose student participants, they had a soli d foundation of English grammar and vocabulary Their English writing has been at sentencelevel and quite limited in genre. The students yearned for instructors who could help them to express their ideas and communicate effectively Since English writing instruction has just started in Chinese universities, the department and school authorities expected NES instructors to bring the latest approaches to enhance Chinese students writing and communicative abilities However, the NES writing instructors mirrored the Chinese way of teaching English writing, i nstead of teaching writing for communicati ve purpos e s. Neither did they bring the latest development s in ESL/EFL writing instruction The students failed to learn new writing strategies to express, to communicate, to learn, and to explore in English. The NES instructors did not know the immediate as well as the future needs of the Chinese students, nor did they link their teaching with what the students knew and want ed to know Except for having grammatical and syntactical knowledge of English, the students in the study demonstrated adequate writing strategies, such as rewording sentences by themselves in different ways, though they might gained those strategies in L1 writing Studies on ESL students showed that writing strategies like revision are transfer r able across languages (Raimes 1987; Zamel 1983) Although many C hinese students in the study were reported as experienced L1 writers and able to write competently in Chinese, the NES instructors lack of knowledge o n L1 to L2 transfer theory left students with no understanding of how the strengths and strategies they had developed in Chinese writing could be applied to their L2 writing.
210 EFL writing instruction generally occurs in less than favorable English learning environment s. However, researchers ( Luck & Lin, 2007) found that strong learning m otivation helps EFL learners succeed in language learning. The students surveyed reported lack of self confidence in English writing, however, all wished to be able to write well in English not only for passing exams or getting good grades but also for their future professions It is true that L2 learners usually are unable to recognize the values and purpose of English writing immediately ( He, 2009; McCarthey, Garcia, Lopez Valasq uez, Lin & Guo, 2004) ; however good writing teachers know how to energize the student s in pursuit of their longterm goals. Based on the previous studies of NES and NNES (Non Native English Speaking) instructors the two types of instructors differ in several ways, such as their teaching approach, teaching experience, understanding of local students as well as their language proficiencies, yet both got positive and negative feedback from their students For example, researchers (He, 2009; Xu, 1989) found that m ajority of Chinese writing instructors taught under the influence of political impact, treated writing as an irrelevant activity to other disciplines and focused on form instead of generation of ideas A typical approach is teaching students to write in a five paragraph style. Xu (1989) also reported few Western instructor s who taught writing in China followed diverse approaches, such as the communicative approach and the current traditional rhetoric approach. Compared with the diverse educational background of Western instructors, Chinese writing instructors have similar backgrounds: with Bachelor degrees and above and majored in English or Linguistics (Medgyes, 1994; Xu, 1989)
211 Compared with NES instructors, the NNES instructors share the same learning experience with their EFL students in learning to write. NES writing instructors are seldom found to have had L2 writing experiences, as were the NES instructors in the study Due to the same cultural background and learning experience, NNES instructors have advantages teaching EFL students in a way that is more relevant to the students lives (Luk & Lin, 2007), more empathetic toward the students writing difficulties and (Seidlhofer, 1999), more culturally congruent to the students learning styles (Li &Fan, 2007) Indisputably, NES instructors could provide feedback from the native English speakers perspectivewhich could benefit L2 students communicative competence in writing Studies also reported L2 writers preference of native English speakers feedback to their writing (Barratt & Kontra, 2000; He, 2009) But only providing nativelike feedback does not necessarily make NES instructors better writing teachers than NNES instructors when considering the complexity of ESL/EFL writing instruction. Medgyes (1994) argued that NNES instructors who were welltrained, had rich teaching experience s, and knew the EFL students were more capable of helping the students achieve their learning goals. Lack knowledge of the Chinese c ultural rhetoric The Chinese students brought their Chinese rhetoric conventions into their English writing, which often confused their NES instructors A dd more examples show dont tell, i ncoherent were comment s Jack, John and Ken frequently wrote on their student s writing The influence of Chinese cultural rhetoric traditions was regarded as weak by the NESs logic which should be immediately corrected through modeling English writing written by native English speakers Li (1996) argued that t eachers
212 criteria for good writing are shaped, transformed, and determined to a large extent by th e historical, social, and cultural forces that are beyond an individuals control (p.3) Rhetoric has a cultural aspect because it is rooted and cultivated in a certain cultural tradition. W hen writing in a cross cultural context, the NES instructors should have recognized and acknowledged cultural differences in different rhetoric conventions instead of denying the value of a rhetoric tradition than their own. Under the influence of different cultures, writing in English and in Chinese differs in several ways, such as the purpose of writing, the readers expectations, and rhetoric al conventions For example, the purpose of the writing lies in not only the text itself but in a certain linguistic and social context Li (1996) wrote that, the evaluation (of writing) goes awry when the teacher evaluator does not share the same social and linguistic context with the student writer (p.113) In Chinese tradition, writing is viewed as a vehicle of Tao to transmit, not to create knowledge, especially canonical k nowledge, and to maintain the moral orders of the society; while in American tradition, human ingenuity and individuality are valued in transmissive education under the influence of Pragmatism (Li, 1996, p.117) A readers expectations are highly sociocul turally situated. Take be specific as an example, American readers view concrete, specific details as reliable sources to help them make their own decisions because American resent been told as teenagers resent dont tell me what to do (Li, 1996) For example, Li (1996) found that : T o show not to tell was a democratic sharing of power between writers and readers W riters show their experience and readers draw their own independent conclusions Chinese readers do not mind being told. Actually if writing is by nature didactic, as Confucius says, it is the writer s responsibility to tell (p.120)
213 The NES instructors should understand that Chinese rhetoric wa s influential and w ould continue to be influential in Chinese students English writing because Chinese culture makes them who they are. In this study, the NES instructors demonstrated in adequate cultural understanding of the students L1 rhetoric tradition or a self conscious understanding of their own. Researchers suggest ed L2 writing instruct ors need to learn more about their students L1 rhetoric and to create a more culturally responsive pedagogy in order to achieve meaningful instruction ( McCarthey, Garcia, Lopez Valasquez, Lin & Guo, 2004) As it is said that good writing instruction in cross cultural context must be situated in local social, cultural and ideological context, good writing instructors must accommodate their instruction to local students needs Summary In general, the NES instructors te aching English writing was highly dependent on their enthusiasm and initiative. However, the NES instructors enthusiasm has been misplaced by an overemphasis on: ( 1) t eaching writing for linguistic accuracys sake wa s like putting the cart before the hors e ; ( 2) l ecturing in isolation and without letting students have time to practice on their own; ( 3) teaching writing as a product without realizing that writing itself is a recursive and dynamic process ; (4) an unawareness of Chinese English major students academic and professional needs in English writing as well as their L1 writing proficiency and English proficiency ; and ( 5) cultural understanding of the local students rhetoric al tradition. Although the Chinese students reticence and the lack of depart mental support could potentially affect the students writing improvement, it was t he three NES writing instructors lack of knowledge in
214 teaching English writing a s well as insensitivity to the EFL students needs in the local context that contributed to the students lack of improvement in English writing
215 CHAPTER 9 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPL ICATIONS Teaching Writing as a Professional Discipline The current study found that the n ative Englishspeaking (NES) instructors taught English writing c lasses with foci on linguistic accuracy, by lecturi ng predominantly and in a mechanical way T hey demonstrated that they lacked training in teaching writing and were under prepared to teach the Chinese students They were more language instructors than writing instructors Teaching matters and Chinese students deserve to l earn from well prepared, better qualified English writing instructors instead of someone who simply holds a M.A degree and has English as a Foreign Language ( EFL ) teaching experience, or is an English native speaker ( the NES instructors in the study) The myth that native speakers of English are assumed to be able to teach English writing belittles teaching English writing as a profession. NES instructors were idolized as English writ ing instructors due to a lack of adequate knowledge related to teaching English writing in a few countries and regions ( Luk & Lin, 2006; L i, 2009; Nayar, 1997) The study found a similar result with the support of indepth empirical data. Teaching EFL writing is a profession that requires specialized knowledge, such as knowledge of the nature of writing, the complex cognitive pr ocess writers engage in, the ability to apply the teachers knowledge into practice, and to adjust teaching to individual needs as well as to the local context It is harm ed if assigning NES instructors to teach English writing simply because they are native English speak ers or with ESL /EFL related teaching experience. English as a foreign language has been taught in China for a century, but English writing became an independent discipline only a decade ago. The m ajority of instructors
216 teaching English writing in China do not have adequate knowledge in composition (Li, 2009) He (2009) found that in a highly presti gious university in China, English teachers teach fiveparagraph English writingthe way they have been taught There might be some fully informed English writing instructors but in general the number is small (He, 2009; Li, 2009; Xu, 1985) To meet the requirement of a national curriculum for English to catch up in writing instruction, hope was placed on NES instructors as foreign experts Many NES instructors have been asked to teach English writing in Chinese universities under the assumption of the nativespeaker ideal fallacy: NES instructors seem to be more appropriate choices for teaching English writing than Chinese English instructors, because nobody knows better English than they do. However, assuming native English speakers are experts in writing instruction was found to be questionable in the study Teaching English writing is a professional discipline that requires professionally committed instructors NES instructor s fluency in English does not make them naturally good Engli sh writing teacher s, just as all fluent Chinese speaker s are not qualified Chinese writing teacher s. As the TESOL brochure (1996) states, T he teaching [of] English to speakers of other languages is a professional activity that requires specialized trainin g (n.p.). Specialized training i n teaching English writing is needed for anyone who wants to be an English writing instructor Also, t he profession of teaching composition has gone through great changes during the past decades In ESL writing, instruction generally shifted from patterndrill and memorization to knowledgeconstructing, student centered, and process oriented instruction. Although process oriented writing instruction is beginning to be adopted in ESL writing instruction in the
217 United States it is still quite strange in EFL writing instruction (Williams, 2005) As was mentioned previously teaching writing is an extremely demanding task and teaching EFL writing could only be more demanding since there are cross cultural, linguistic and rhetori cal elements to consider Native speakers with no background and training (preservice or inservice) in teaching English writing are doomed to encounter problems in their teaching due to a lack of awareness regarding writing principles processes and new development s in writing instruction The current study reveal s the mismatch between the national expectations of English writing instruction and the actual instruction in Chinese University In the national curriculum of English writing (2007 version) s tudents need to write academic abstract or report in their disciplines as well as use English writing communicatively; however, current English writing instruction by the NES instructors by no means met that requirements The uncritical acceptance of NES instructors as writing instruction experts is no longer acceptable. Chinese students do not necessarily have to sound like American s or Canadians, nor should they According to Elbow (2009), it is a form of anti cultural awareness to require Chinese students to write like American writers NES teachers or any instructors should address similarities and differences in a variety of English es and issues concerned with English intelligibility, as well as balancing between keeping students own identities and developing their English writing intelligibility ( Elbow, 2009; Jenkins, 2006) However, in reality, this is barely on the NES instructors agenda, according to the study However, the NES instructors should not be blamed for their effectiveness in teaching English writing since they were hired as allin one type of language instructors
218 The three NES instructors like many other foreign instructors are generally asked to teach Oral English, Writing, Listening, and English Literature, regardless of their academic strengths or backgrounds (Li, 2009) In this study, NES instructors were ass umed by school administrators to be qualified English writing instructors because of their educational backgrounds They were believed to have advantages when it came to intr oducing a variety of writing skills and new insights and thus were able to upgrade Chinese English writing instruction, even if they were not specifically trained as English writing instructors However, this belief was flawed. The unsatisfactory English writing instruction in this study revealed the inadequacy of the criteria of hiring English writing instructor s. It also revealed the school authorities lack of knowledge of English writing and disregard of teaching English writing as a profession. Researchers have reported that n ative fallacy is dominating Chinese universities ( Li, 2009; Porter 1990) Under the illusi on of native fallacy there was no job induction or professional development for NES instructors In a study of NES instructors teachi ng English in China, Li (2009) claimed that : Job induction did not seem to exist For many administrators, as long as they had put a native speaker in the classroom, they might assume that their responsibility was completed and they just left the res t to the students and the foreign teachers involved ( p. 84) Further teacher development activities are necess ary to compensat e for inadequate training (Richards & Farrell, 2005) There might be several possible reasons for the lack of professional development As it put by Li (2009), NES instructors who presented themselves as experts in English seem ed capable of teaching at the local university without any support Another reason might be the local school administrators felt themselves linguistic ally inferior to NES instructors and less than confident about giving
219 them support; after all NES instructors were hired to support and improve local English teaching (Li, 2009) Last, due to their unfamiliarity with the English writing field, NES instruct ors were unaware of the up to date development of writing instruction as well as the availability of professional development in teaching ESL/EFL writing There were also pragmatic reasons that school authorities did not hire well trained NES English writing instructors I t wa s not easy to hire qualified writing instructors because they have to choose among limited numbers of people who were willing to teach overseas and meet the high demand of English writing throughout the country T here could be few a mong the limited number that were qualified to teach EFL writing. Also, h ost institute administrators are concerned about their budget s. For economic reasons, they tend to hire all in one type of instructors who could teach multiple subjects in English rather than instructors who were specialized in only one subject In this study, the NES instructors all taught other courses These historical informational, and pragmat ic barriers made native fallacy hard to challenge. But it is time to realize the jeopardy of hiring unprofessionally trained writing instructors to teach English writing to Chinese students, because the stakes are high when it comes to the demand for English writing in a globalized world. Implications EFL wr iting research from nonEnglish speaki ng countries is sparse in the writing field (Leki, 2001), especially f ield based research (Eldersky, 2008) This study intends to fill the gap. It provides a glimpse of how EFL writing has been taught by NES instructors at a Chinese university and the issues and problems that emerge. The study offers insights for policy makers and host institutes as well as for NES instructors who are teaching English writing in a cross cultural context
220 For policy makers. Due to the high demands of English writing competency in the 21st century and the complexity of English writing instruction, policy makers should realize that NES instructors are not naturally capable English writing instructors The study suggests that criteria for hiring NES instructors should be re vised In this globalized world, the purpose of English writing instruction should also be redefined for communicative rather than linguistic competence in the era of English as lingua franca. For host institutes. This study has significant implications for understanding the expertise of expatriate NES instructors and on selecting qualified NES instructors at all school levels NES instructo rs should not be assumed to be able to teach English writing Their expertise i n teaching EFL writing and understanding of local students background determine their teaching effectiveness, not their native language Besides hiring qualified, well prepared NES instructors to teach EFL writing, host universities should also support them adequately S electing appropriate candidates of English writing instructors require s insights into and an understanding of writing (Li, 2009) A s more Chinese administrators become informed about English writing and more Chinese instructors learn how to teach English writing, their selection of and support for NES instructors will be improved in the years to come. T here are suggestions for helping NES instructors improve their instructi on. The host institute needs to: R ealiz e the strengths and weaknesses of NES instructor s. P ut them in to a teaching position where their expertise can be maximized. B uild professional communities of writing instruction. I nvite guest speakers f or seminars presentations and professional resources I nclude NES in the regular faculty meetings
221 In addition, proper job induction should benefit NES instructors Departmental administrators should coordinate foreign teachers by introducing them to the objectives and requirements of the courses they will be teaching, student s backgrounds, the English syllabus and curriculum, as well as local educational system (Li, 2009). For NES instructors. NES writing instructors should seek ways : T o understand their students L1 rhetoric al tradition. T o acknowledge students background such as L1 writing proficiency learning experience, and l earning motivations in order to adjust instruction accordingly T o teach a variety of writing genre for real communication purposes like per sonal writing and business writing. T o actively participate in English writing related conferenc es and workshops when possible T o keep up with current research in the field. For teacher educators. NES instructors, whether well prepared or not, all need ongoing professional support to facilitate their English wr iting instruction. Based on the research findings in the study, t he area of teachers professional development for expatriate NES EFL writing instructors should at least cover the following: S ubject matter knowledgeincreasing t he knowledge of English writing ; that is, the nature of English writing, the cognitive process writers go through as well as conventions of rhetoric in different cultures Pedagogical content knowledge knowledge of how to teach ESL/EFL English writing, including history, developm ent and pedagog ies, principles and assessment. S elf awareness knowledge of oneself, ones cultur al knowledge base, values, strengths, and weakness es as an English writing instructor P edagogical knowledgeknowledge of how to teach learners with diverse backgrounds and level s of language proficiency. Knowledge of local context and students including the cultural, linguistic, rhetoric al traditions students have, philosophies of education, the role of teacher
222 and student in t he local context local students communication style s, learning experience s, and motivations, to name a few For researchers. T he current study is a collective case study with multiple NES informants and Chinese students Field based s tudies with larger populations of expatriate NES English writing instructors are needed since NES instructors voices have seldom been heard in Englishspeaking academia. Also, more field based research on students who study with expatriate NES writing instructors are needed to provide a broader picture of teaching and learning effectiveness More studies describing expatriate NES instructors classrooms instruction in other countries and areas in the world are also needed. Additionally, research studies i n other disciplines such as engineer ing and science that taught by NES instructors are needed to see whether there are similarities and differences Those studies might contribute to helping expatriate NES instructors succeed in their professions Comparative studies between NES instructors and local Chinese English instructors who both teach English writing can also benefit the EFL writing field in China Studies of the strengths and weaknesses of NES instructors and local Chinese instructors could inform the writing teachers classroom practice and achieve better instructional results In the EFL writing field, r e search regarding specific issues such as native English speakers knowledge and expectations versus nonEnglish speakers knowledge and expectations in teaching wr iting peer feedback in large classrooms, and EFL writing development with the help of technology are also need attention. C losing Remarks As a result of development s in science and technology, the wor ld is changing rapidly and turning into a globalized village. English has become the most widely used
223 foreign language in China and the lingua franca of world communication. The ability to write in English empowers people in this globalized world since a majority of the production, reproduction, and circulation of knowledge takes place in English English writing is especially important for nonnativeEnglish speakers (NNES) NNES not only use written English to communicate with NES but also with other NNES in distant countries, across borders and states This study delved into issues such as ( 1) how NES instructors teach English writing at a Chinese university; ( 2) issues and problems in NES instructors English writing classes ; ( 3) the causes of the problems ; ( 4) what makes qualified Engl ish writing instructors; and ( 5) what kind of English writing proficiency nonnative English speakers should be equipped with in order to communicate intelligibly across language boundaries Qualified writing instructors, no matter NES or NNES, should guide student writers through writing to achieve their personal and professional goals R edefining and re conceptualizing English writing instruction for the globaliz ed world is immediately needed.
224 APPENDIX A EXAMPLE OF OBSERVATION PROTOCAL P roject: Teaching English writing in China Date: L ength of observation: Descriptive Notes Reflective Notes Other s:
225 APPENDIX B GUIDE QUESTIONS FOR INTERVIEWS NES instructor First interview 1. How do you like teaching English writing in the department? 2. How do you prepare to teach English writing? 3. How do you decide what to teach? 4. Where do you find teaching ideas? 5. What are your goals for teaching the students? 6. What factors you believe affected your instruction? 7. What factors you believe affected your students writing improvement? 8. What are the stresses/problems/issues you face when teaching? 9. What do you think is the biggest difficulty in teaching English writing to your students? 10. How do you grade your students writing? NES instructor Second interview 1. How do you perceive your teaching this semester ? 2. What techniques do you find facilitate your students writing? 3. What techniques do you find less helpful for your students? 4. How do you like your students writing this semester ? 5. What are the stresses/problems/issues you face in your instruction? 6. What changes you would like to make next time when your teach writing? Chinese students 1. How do you perceive your NES instructors teaching? 2. How do you perceive your learning to write in English this semester? 3. What is the most difficult part you face when learning to write in NES instructors class? 4. What is the most helpful part you face when learning to write in NES instructors class? 5. What part of your teachers teaching you like most? 6. What part of their teaching you think should be improved? 7. What factors you believe affected your learning of English writing? 8. What activities or techniques the instructor adopted are helpful for your learning?
226 APPENDIX C LETTER TO PARTICIPANTS December 30, 2009 Dear Survey participants, I am conducting a study regarding nativeEnglish speaking instructors English writing instructions in China. This study is being done in partial fulfillment of the requirement for a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction at University of Florida. The results will contribute to EFL writing field as well as English teaching in China and enhance cross cultural communication in educational context You are being invited to voluntarily participate in the study because you are teaching English writing to Chinese students If you agree to participate, your participation will involve the completion of one survey about your personal, teac hing and learning experience as well as your English writing teaching experience in China. Completion of the survey should take approximately 30 minutes You do not have to answer any question that makes you feel uncomfortable. You may be contacted at a later time through emails or phones on this same topic if you agree to participate in follow up interviews Any questions you have will be answered and you may withdraw from the study at that time There are no known risks for your participation and no direct benefit from your participation is expected. There is no cost to you except for your time and you for your participation. Only the principal investigator will have access to your name and the information that you provide. The number on the survey will be coded as a number The lists of names and numbers will be kept locked in separate locations In order to maintain your confidentiality, your name will not be revealed in any reports from this project The surveys will be locked away in a secure place. Y ou can obtain further information from the principal investigator, Qing Liu, Ph.D candidate at (352) 3289286 or email@example.com If you have questions concerning your rights as a research subject, you may call the University of Florida IRB office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 326112250 or by calling 3523920433. Completion of the survey implies that consent for use of the information is granted. Your participation in this study is greatly appreciated! Qing Liu ___________________________________________________ I have read the statement above and I voluntarily agree to participate in the survey I have received a copy of this description. ____________________________ ___________ Signature of participant Date I w ould like to give my contact information for follow up interviews ____________________________ ___________ Email: ____________________________ Signature of participant Date
227 APPENDIX D SURVEY FOR STUDENTS Gender: Major: Freshman or sophomore: 1) When did you started to learn English? 2) A Writing instruction (check with 1. Do you have any English writing classes in college and high school? Y N 2. Do you have a n English writing textbook? Y N 3. Check with a. Response to exam questions Y N b. Sentence combining Y N c. Sentence expansion Y N d. Sentence paraphrasing Y N e. Making sentences with given words Y N f. Translation Y N g. Summary Y N h. Journals Y N i. Letters Y N j. Outline Y N k. Resume Y N l. Memo Y N m. Critique Y N n. Proposal Y N o. Technical or scientific paper Y N p. Short research paper (3 5pages) Y N q. Long research paper (more than 5 pages ) Y N r. Narration/description of event/ object/ human Y N 4. Of the above tasks, which one did you do most for your English classes? Write down the letter or name 5. Of the above tasks, which one did you do least for your English classes? Write down the letter or name 6. Which of the following do you think your English instructors asked you to revise most in your writing? Check with Grammatical accuracy Word choice or appropriate expression Paragraph organization Idea development
228 7. With which of the following do you thin k your English classes in college helped you most in writing in English? Check with Grammar Paragraph Organization Generation of ideas Word choice Different writing modes 8. With which of the following do you think your English classes in college helped you least in writing in English? Check with Grammar Paragraph Organization Generation of ideas Word choice Different writing modes BYour attitude toward English writing In this section, there is a series of statements about writing There is no right or wrong answers to these statements. Please indicate which each statement applies to you by checking Yes or No If you none of them matches your choice, please write on the margin Thank you for your cooperation! 1 I avoid writing in English Y N 2 I have no fear of my English writing being evaluated Y N 3 I look forward to writing down my ideas in English Y N 4 I am afraid to write English essays when I know I will be evaluated Y N 5 My mind blocked when I write in English Y N 6 Use English to express ideas is a waste of time Y N 7 I am happy to get my writing evaluated and published Y N 8 I like to use English writing express myself Y N 9 I can express myself clearly in English Y N 10. I like others read my English writing Y N 11English writing makes my nervous Y N 12People like to read my English writing Y N 13I like to write in English Y N 14I never fully expressed myself in English writing Y N 15Writing in English is fun Y N 16I like to see my thought s become words Y N 17It s fun to discuss English writing with others Y N 18It s easy to write well in English Y N 19My English writing is not as good as others Y N 20I don t like people comment on my English writing Y N 21I am not good at English writing Y N
229 APPENDIX E S URVEY FOR NES INSTRU CTORS Please answer the following questions about yourself : Please write clearly. 1. Name: ______________________________________________________________ 2. Nationality:__________________________________________________________ 3. Native language:_____________________________________________________ 4. Length of teaching experience: (In your home country)_____ (China) ______ (other countries) __________ 5. How long have you lived in China?_______________________________________ 6. The highest degree that you get: _________________________________________ Major:____________________________ __________________________________ 7. Textbooks being used in the writing class:__________________________________ 8. Level of the class: (which year)__________________________________________ (English major or nonmajor)____________________________________________ 9. Knowledge of foreign languages:_______________ __________________________ 10. Do you write?_______ _________________________________________________ 11. Do y ou think you are a good writer? ___________________________________________________________________ 12. What do you think a teachers job is? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ _____________ 13. What do you think a students job is? Do your Chinese students meet your expectations? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 14. What do you think a good piece of English writing should look like? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 15. What do you think is critical for Chinese students to write well in English? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 16. Can you give examples of your previous teachers teaching methods that you like most when you were in school? Why? Do you want to teach the same way to your students?
230 ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 17. What is your preferred teaching method in teaching English writing? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 18. How do your Chinese students perceive your way of teaching? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 19. Among the strategies you use, what are your Chinese students less favorite strategies? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 20. What kind of writing tasks do you usually ask your students to practice? How do they react? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ ____ ___________________________________________________________________ 21. How do you evaluate your students writing? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 22. Short description of the problems of the class, such as learning atmosphere, learning style, language proficiency or mot ivation: ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 23. Short description of the writing problems of the students: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 24. How do you like your teaching here? ___________________________________________________________________ _______________ ____________________________________________________
231 ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 25. What would you do differently if you teach next time? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 26. Any cultural conflicts between you and your s tudents in the process of teaching English writing? For example. ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 27. Can you give some examples of the communication barriers that you have experienced here? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ 28. Whether attended any English writing related conferences, seminars, works hops or read journals of ESL/EFL writing? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________
232 APPENDIX F DATA CODING SAMPLE I: What is your biggest struggle this semester? K: For me, I spend most of my time, as a teacher, trying to figure out lesson plans that will work. I: Les son Plan? K: Yeah. This semester, the reason I am happy about the semester is over is because I spend almost every day and every weekend, either thinking or planning writing. I: Is it because my observation? K: No, no, not at all In the beginning of the s emester I had a goal, writing a research essay So I wanted to teach little pieces of it. So at the end, they can do it all But when I found if I teach something they dont understand, then I got to back and change something. So I spend most of the semester going back and change lesson plan, almost all weekend, either doing a plan or worrying about a lesson plan. So as a teacher I spend much more time looking at lesson plans, trying coming up with a lesson plan, looking at books I spend much more time doi ng that than anything else, more time than teaching, more time than grading. Thats not easy. I: Yeah, teaching is never easy You mentioned in the survey that the methods you employ now are those you learned from the military and they are more effective than those used in American colleges. K: Yeah, I think its more effective. Like the way I taught this semester was military way. I: Can you explain more? K: A military way is like this: we have a goal Everything that we did, all of the little worksheets was preparation for this So you break everything done into very small parts and you repeat, repeat and repeat until they understand, and then you move on to the next thing, repeat, repeat and repeat and then Looking for lesson plans that works Struggling with planning Planning write a research essay Teaching from small piece to whole Students cant follow Changing lesson plans Planning most of time Planning more than teaching Teaching under the influence of military way Military way is effective
233 until they understand And then you move on to the next one. I: How does military way relate to your writing instruction? K: In the military, many of them are uneducated. H ow do you teach them to fix an airplane or use a computer, you have to start very very basically, very small parts of it. Its similar in writing. Just learning a sentence, how to write a sentence, now, how to write a paragraph, you do it over and over No w you can write a paragraph, now you gonna write an essay, step by step, and lots lots of repetition. And thats the military style of teaching. so that helps me, now thats the method. Students do little things I get from the textbook one at a time. The m ilitary style of teaching which starts very very basic and very very simple and move all the way up. I: So hows it going so far? K: Well I think most of the students understand my teaching. I look at writing as a skill, and its a skill to write an essay It requires many small skills I tried to convince them everything that they do is a preparation for this But I have problems I am not consistent. I: What do you mean by inconsistent? K: I found myself teaching motivated students, motivated classes at a high level, and students who are not motivated, lazy, students even dont care at a lower level Because they all need something different. I learned that by talking to them Teaching from small parts to whole Repeating until understand Building up skills one by one Learning starts from knowing basic Writing like fixing airplane Writing starts from sentence to paragraph to essay Writing requires repetitions Feeling military was helpful Teaching from basics skills to complex Feeling his instruction clear Believing writing as a skill Writing an essay requires small skills Inconsistent in teaching skills Teaching influenced by students diversity St udents have different need Talking to know students
234 APPENDIX G CODING TRAIL Open Axial Selective Core Category Planning teaching skills before writing Drills of techniques Skillfocused Instruction Linguistic Accuracy Linguistic Accuracy (continued) Lecturing on techniques most of the class time memorizing techniques Lecturing on techniques fast Teaching skills arbitrarily Teaching techniques every week Lecturing about coherence Lecturing about unity Lecturing about concise Lecturing on sentencing techniques Lecturing on paragraphing techniques Practicing techniques on worksheets Applying few techniques in writing Building subskills to write an essay Writing starts from sentence to paragraph to essay
235 Teaching subskills around a goal Teaching skills from low to high Linguistic Accuracy (continued) Breaking up the goal into small parts Practicing subskills one by one Lecturing from sentencing to analyzing skills Moving to next skill after repeated practice of the previous Chinese students dont know written English structure Believing Chinese students need skills Chinese Ss need to know how to write logic Chinese Ss need to know conventions Revising is checking grammar mistakes Revisions as language corrections Value linguistic correctness Revising on grammar mistakes Revising on marked language mistakes Discouraging at red marks Over commented at language level Preferring write shorter to avoid mistakes Taking points off for incorrect format Marking on expressions massively Questioning on syntax Correcting most grammar mistakes
236 Rare comments on content but on sentences & grammars Providing one model for each writing Teaching writing models Framing Ss writing Lecturing on models Analyzing organization in writing models Suggesting imitate writing models Filling contents to writing model skeleton Writing after writing models Shaping contents to fit in models Thinking hard to write like model Imitating the organization in model Relying on models to write Modeling for higher grade Crafting rough draft before outline Contrived writing cycle Moving every S from outline to individual conference to draft Individual meeting to keep on track Drafting after teachers permission Allowing no I in writing Writing by rules Following 2 3 1 rules unanimously Requiring sandwichstyle for every writing
237 APPENDIX H SAMPLE OF TEACHER HANDOUTS Japanese and American Societies Discussion Before reading a composition that compares and contrasts Japanese and American societies, predi ct how they are different/similar
238 Paragraph One Read paragraph one of the composition. Japan and the United States: Different but Alike 1 A country's society is made up of among other things, its people, history, size, cuisine, religion, and work ethic When comparing these areas, th e society of one country may seem to have little in common with the society of another But such a simple view isn't necessarily true. At first glance no one would confuse the societies of Japan and the United States; they seem to have little in common. B ut a closer examination of these two countries shows that, along with their obvious differences, they share some surprising similarities Paragraph Structure 1. What is the controlling idea? 2. Where is it located? Note : The first paragraph begins with a general statement that introduces the topic, differences in societies. Then the topic is narrowed, ending with the controlling idea, sometimes called thesis statement Language Review Complete these sentences 1. A country's society is its people, history, 2. One country may seem the society of another 3. these two countries 4. They similarities.
239 Paragraph Two Read paragraph two 2 The most obvious difference is the people Japan is made up almost entirely of one race It is a homogenous society with only a few minority races, such as the Chinese, Koreans, and Ainu, an indigenous people native to Hokkaido The Japanese majority tends to dominate the country All of the public holidays and celebrations are related to them An example of this is the Emperor's Birthday In contrast, the United States, though many of its people come from Europe, is a heterogeneous society In addition to people who have come from Europe, there are those from Africa, Asia, and South and Central America There are also the Native Americans, who have their own lands. Public holidays and celebrations are not limited to people who have a European ancestry The most notable example of this is Martin Luther King Day So the composition of these two societies is quite different. 1 What is the main idea? 2 Where is it located? 3 What do the the following phrases mean? ? a homogenous society ? an indigenous people ? a heterogeneous society 3 What are the supporting details? Paragraph Organization This paragraph is organized by a point by point method This means that each point is developed within the paragraph Japan's homogenous society is contrasted to America's heterogeneous society Concrete examples give each point its strength. The paragraph also ends with a sentence which restates the main idea, a common technique which gives it coherence Language Review Complete these sentences or answer the questions 1. The Japanese majority the country 2. Public holidays and celebrati ons in the United States people who have a European ancestry.
240 Paragraph Three Read paragraph three 3 Another area of difference between the two societies is related to the size of the countries and how this size influences the people America i s a vast country, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast to the Pacific Ocean on the West Coast Between the two oceans there are expansive prairies, high mountains, and inhospitable deserts Due to its size, there is always a sense in American society that expansion is possible Indeed, expansion is a part of American history Conversely, Japan, an island country, has limited land resources What little land there is tends to be mountainous, limiting the livable and arable areas even mo re Because of this, land in Japan is often used over and over again. A family will rebuild a house on the same land, one generation after another In America, this would never happen Americans would simply buy more land and build another house, selling t he older one. Clearly, American and Japanese societies have been strongly influenced by the size of the countries Paragraph Organization For the composition to be coherent, each following body paragraph must be developed the same way as the first body paragraph This means a main idea is developed by the point by point method within one paragraph The last sentence should be a restatement of the main idea. 1. What is the main idea? 2. What are the supporting details? Language Review Complete these sentences or answer the questions 1. Another area of difference between the two societies the size of the countries 2. Due to its size, in American society that expansion is possible. 3. Japan, an island country, has 4. America and Japanese s ocieties the size of the countries
241 Paragraph Four Read paragraph four 4 In spite of these two differences, Japan and the United States share some similarities Both, for example, have transplanted societies Each country, in other words, has a mother country, China for Japan and Great Britain for the United States This mother country has greatly influenced both countries in the areas of art, religion, literature, and, most notably language The Japanese language comes from the Chinese languag e Many of the written characters, such as the ones for mountain and river, are the same in both languages. Regarding the United States and Britain, the national language, of course, is English, though the spelling of words and pronunciation may be slightl y different Schedule, for example, is pronounced differently, and so is the spelling of center Therefore, both the societies of Japan and the United States, particularly in the area of language, were greatly influenced by another country 1. Write the main idea in one sentence. 2. What are the supporting details? Note : Notice that the first sentence is not the main idea. It is a transitional sentence between the differences in the previous paragraphs and the similarities which follow
242 Paragraph Five Read paragraph five 5 Japan and American societies also share a similar work ethic which often results in unhealthy stress Japanese often commute several hours to work, as do Americans The work day for both of these people can be long, especially for those in business and in the professions, such as medicine Doctors in the United States can work up to twelve hours a day, and their counterparts in Japan have equally long days Both in the United States and Japan family life sometimes takes a backseat to the breadwinner's professional life. Inevitably, stress builds up; often there are divorces The pressure of work takes its toll on the personal happiness of both Japanese and Americans Paragraph O rganization 1. What is the main idea? 2. Where is it located? 3. What are the supporting details? Paragraph Six Read paragraph six 6 While Japanese and American societies may seem like they have nothing in common, this isn't quite true Of course there are differences: one is homogenous, the other heterogeneous; the size of the two countries has an influence on the societies, too But in other aspects, the origins of their language and their work ethics, Japanese and American societies are similar So the two societies aren't as different as one might think Paragraph Organization The last paragraph restates the main ideas of the composition. The concluding sentence should be a logical result of the main ideas and help the reader remember the co ntrolling idea
243 Outline Paragraph One Controlling Idea: Differences Paragraph Two Main Idea One: Supporting Details Paragraph Three Main Idea Two: Supporting Details Similarities Paragraph Four Main Idea Three: Supporting Details Paragraph Five Main Idea Four: Supporting Details Conclusion
244 Homework Your homework is to outline a composition which compares and contrasts the United States of the Gilded Age and modern China.
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266 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Qing Liu was born in Chongqing, China. She and her younger sister and grew up in a loving family Qing earned her B.A in English from Sichuan International Studies University (SISU) and M.A in Linguistics from Chongqing University (CQU) in 2003 and 2005, respectively After graduating from CQU, she worked for Peoples Daily the largest newspaper in China, Shenzhen branch for one year and left in August 2006 to University of Florida in American for an advanced degree. She enrolled in Educational P sychology first, then she transferred to Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in ESL/EFL writing and childrens l iterature since reading, writing, and teaching h ave always been her passion. From 2007 to 2010, she taught Chinese classes in a local Chinese school and childrens literature to undergraduate students in the teacher education program Qing participated in national and local professional organization actively, and both attended and presented at conferences such as NCTE (National Council for Teachers of English) and FRA (Florida Reading Association) She was also closely involved in local K 12 schools by volunteering in classrooms, observing veteran teachers teaching, meeting with students, and serving in the local school board and community. Upon completing her PhD degree, she will go back to China to teach at a university She is married to Junhong Zhao and they hav e a son Jingxun Zhao.