Published on February 28, 2014
Write to Learn 2014 Developing a Love of Languages: Approaches to Writing for English Language Learners Jinju Lee Yang Wang Amy Lannin University of Missouri
Intro Approaches to Writing for English Language Learners Freewriting defined: • Writing without stopping for a set time • Writing without censoring, editing, or judging • Writing without fear of audience • Writing freely for self • Writing to sustain thought and language
Intro Approaches to Writing for English Language Learners Freewriting Routine: • • • • Write non-stop No distractions Follow tangents Try not to censor your writing
Yang Wang University of Missouri Columbia, MO
How did we get there? The number of English learners in China: about 200-350 million (Yang, 2006). A typical scene: a teacher, a textbook and 30~200 students sitting in rows in a classroom. Students’ goal: get high scores, seek for jobs, know the outside world and connect to it. Improving writing instruction and practices has continued to be a concern for English teachers and educators.
Research Questions What happens when English learners freewrite in class? How does freewriting influence their English language learning?
About the class The context: a EFL classroom at a major university in mid-China. Participants: 3 undergraduates majored in English Language, 20 ~ 22 years old.
About the class Students met for academic writing twice a week, 90-135 minutes each time. Started class with a 7 minutes freewriting. The teacher selected all writing prompts. The topics ranged from campus life to politics, from personal story to hot topic. They wrote freely on paper, then volunteered to share their writing in a big group with their classmates.
Data Sources Students’ pre-semester-survey (writing habits, interests); mid-semester survey (changes, like/dislike); end-semester survey (benefits, challenges, suggestions); students’ writing samples (handwrote); classroom teacher’s teaching journal. All collected data were triangulated for analysis (Yin, 2003).
Freewriting Prompts Electricity is a recent discovery. Think of 12 things to do when there’s no power. Which one do you think is the most important one, why? Make a list of 10 things that happened to you this month. They can be funny, embarrassing, happy, or infuriating. Then pick one from your list and write about it. Begin a story with “There was once a chance I didn’t get… ” Write a letter to the 10-year old child you had been. Write about one of the most difficult decisions you’ve made in your life. Begin your writing with “If I had the power to change something, I would change… ” It was Erica Jong who said, “If you don’t risk anything, you risk more.” Write about what this means to you. Laptop — A Necessity for College Students?
• Not write regularly. Write about happy or sad things, write to record. • In Chinese, forced to learn many expressions, read; in English, recite words + sentences, reading report, copy good quotes.
“I want to write, but I can’t write very good. So I don’t like (to) write very much. I think writing is a good way to express one’s opinion and feeling about things and people. It can help you to be known by others.” “When I (am) disappointed, it give(s) me hope.”
Prompt: Electricity is a recent discovery. Think of 12 things to do when there’s no power. Which one do you think is the most important one, why?
Mid-way “I think it is a good way to test our ability of writing and thinking. We can write what we can think about the theme(the prompt).” Like to write about his own experiences.
Final word from Clark
• OK in writing in both languages • Like to write essays, journal, feelings, social justice • In Chinese: read fables, fairy tales, fiction, various genres; in English, read books, vocabulary, language sense. • “To be frank, I don’t write quite often and I write twice or more a week. I like to write some essays recording my recent life and my feelings about things happened to me recently and how do I think about them.”
Think of a product which is dead essential in your daily life and write about it.
• • • • • A good writer in Chinese, but not in English. Likes to write, journal, prose. Something touching her, social justice. Reading, travelling. Learn to write in Chinese – reading; in English - classes, reading samples, practice
Rachel talks about freewriting I thought it was fresh and challenging because I usually don’t have the habit of writing freely without a contemplation. I like the way in which you give us a topic or a theme then we think of the structure and wording. Perhaps you can try another way in which we write whatever we choose. That’s also a flexible way.
Freewriting provided more chances for ELL students to practice their language knowledge. practice vocabulary, sentences structures they had learned from their intensive and extensive reading class. motivated to read more materials, as they were eager to learn more words actively to express themselves and their voices.
Freewriting improved ELL students’ writing fluency, especially within a set time limit. They reported they wrote more and more fluently in the time limit. They reported they were able to write comparatively high-qualified essays: the format, structure, word usage and content.
Freewriting lowered ELL students’ affective filter (Steve Krashen). Students get rid of the fear of writing, realize the importance of writing in English language learning It builds their confidence, and students become to love English writing.
ELL students wrote out their voices through freewriting and became critical thinkers. a chance to write for pleasure, because the topics were less academic. opportunity to write out their voices. They became more concerned about their daily and social life; they dig into the depth of their understanding of social issues; they reflected on their own learning and life and became critical.
Freewriting motivated ELL students to learn English language. Freewriting encourage students to read and learn more vocabulary, sentence structure and other new language knowledge. They realized reading and writing developed with each other. They knew their own writing better and knew what they needed to improve.
Implication This study proved that freewriting could be used in a language-learning classroom as an important language practice, esp. writing fluency. Freewriting could be used to build English learners’ confidence in writing and motivate them to learn writing and reading. Freewriting could be used to cultivate English learners into critical thinkers.
Yang Wang firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to Learn 2014 W hat Happens When ELL Use Freewriting in an English class? : A Case Study: Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Jinju Lee, Doctoral Student Dept. of Education English Education University of Missouri
Introduction Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom What happens to ELL in an English classroom ? Sources: Google images
Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Introduction English is the only variable International students Rebuild ELL’s competencies How to use writing? Researcher’s Positionality Educational strategies
Introduction Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Purpose of Study Using Freewriting in an ELL class What Happens to the Second Language Learning? A qualitative case study to understand how ELL students use freewriting in an English class ?
Introduction Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Freewriting is… A short & unfocused writing activity
Methods Participants Research Site Period Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom 8 Female Korean ELLs English class at Uni. Of Missouri Aug-Nov, 2012
Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Methods The Major Methods for Data Collection Work Samples Observation Interviews Picture Survey Field Notes
Data Analysis Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Writing Development: Rich context, Complex sentences First writing on Aug 22nd Last writing on Nov 7th
Data Analysis Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Review Note Review note: Common mistakes that ELLs frequently made in writing and speaking Phrasal expressions
Data Analysis Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Writing to Learn: Reviewing lessons of the day Reviewing lessons: ex) use of –ed vs. –ing
Data Analysis Picture Survey ?: Confusion !: Satisfaction : Positive attitudes Right or wrong?: Metacognition Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom
Data Analysis Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Interview Excerpts: Metacognition “..I am simultaneously thinking whether I am writing correctly or incorrectly while writing.” “While writing, I started thinking about what I want to write about or what I am thinking now…….then, I found that I am simultaneously thinking of better expressions to write.” “I am thinking if I am using appropriate expressions and accurate grammar.”
Data Analysis Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Interview Excerpts: Writing to Learn “I just started writing not thinking that I am writing…then, when I got stuck while writing because I didn‟t know how to use the correct grammar, l tried to express my thoughts using simple sentences and easy grammar instead...” “ ..through freewriting, I came to know that I could convey my thoughts and emotions well enough by using simple vocabulary like „make‟, „have‟, „get‟. I misunderstood by thinking that I had to use only professional language...”
Data Analysis Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Interview Excerpts: Writing to Learn “I like to tell future students who will do the freewriting activity to please not get stressed out or burdened, but that it is okay to make mistakes when writing in English…and it is okay to write in Korean when they get stuck. Feeling stressed or burdened slows language learning, so I want to tell them to feel free to write”
Data Analysis Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Interview Excerpts: Learning Strengths & Weaknesses as an Independent Writer “When the teacher gave a mini lesson, I found out what I had written the freewriting incorrectly, and decided to correct them in the next writing.” “I found out that I tend to use formal expressions unnaturally; Expressions which we studied in Korea. And I think that interrupts the flow of thinking and writing.”
Data Analysis Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Interview Excerpts: Learning Strengths & Weakness as an Independent Writer “I realized that I spend too much time thinking about grammatical rules when freewriting. So when I am confused with which preposition I need to use and I become stuck because of that, I just kept writing as words came to me.” “I think using the appropriate tense is confusing.”
Findings Learning Writing Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Get More Familiar with English Writing (Increasing the joy of writing, decreasing the fear) Learn How to Construct Sentences Learn How to Choose Words Developing of Context in Individual Writing
Findings Writing to Learn Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Learn How to Approach Learning Reviewing Lessons of the Day Knowing Weaknesses & Strengths as a Language Learner Revisiting the Unanswered Questions from Lessons or Asking General Questions Applying Newly Acquired Linguistic Knowledge to Daily Conversation
Findings Independent Learner Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Focus on Inner Voice and Emotion Reflect on What to Write & How to Craft Their Writing Well (Metacognition) Self – Correction Self – Monitoring
Implications Implications Implementation of Freewriting in an ELL Curriculum Integration of Writing in an ELL classroom Increasing Reflective Thinking→Becoming an Independent Language Learner All Level-Friendly → Beginner to Advanced Writing to Develop Other Language Skills Using Freewriting in Other Content Areas
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