The purpose of this assignment is to allow students to practise assessment of ESL students’ writing in English and identifying areas of need. Some such areas would be similar to those faced by English mother tongue speakers who are learning academic discourse. This is important to know, as these areas many become a focus for the mainstream class teaching. Other areas of need would be typically ESL-related – language features that are difficult to learn for many ESL learners, but which are usually acquired by mother tongue speakers without much effort. These language aspects would need to become a focus of targeted intervention when working with ESL students. The assignment also encourages teachers to plan for teaching their ESL learners based on the results of such diagnostic assessment. Furthermore, the assignment encourages teachers to reflect on their writing pedagogy.
1. Choice of a writing example
Please see the chosen text: An Explanation Text’
How to Be Fit and Healthy
Written by Roland (Year 9)
2. Linguistic analysis of the written piece
Analyse the ESL student’s writing at whole text, sentence and phrase / word level. Identify the student’s achievements and weaknesses.
3. Suggested teaching to improve the student’s writing
Suggest activities that you could use to help the student develop their writing skills, focusing on the identified areas of need.
4. Reflection and critique
Reflect on the teacher linguistic knowledge in teaching writing in ESL. You may consider the following: (1) the challenges that writing, and particularly academic writing, presents to most students, (2) particular challenges that learning to write in English may present to ESL learners; (3) your approach to teaching writing, and how linguistic knowledge may help here. A critique of the constraints in teaching writing to ESL students is welcome. Students are encouraged to use references to relevant texts in their Reflection section. All opinions are highly valued. However, it is expected that they will be backed up by reference to literature.
Text Analysis – A Guide
(with a specific focus on Exposition)
1. Text level (text and its parts):
? What type of text is it? What social purpose/s does the text serve?
Does the student address this purpose? Does he / she do this successfully? Does the writer manage to orientate, engage and persuade the reader?
? What are the expected parts or stages of the attempted genre? Has the student attempted these stages? How successfully has this been done? Has the text been successfully organised into paragraphs?
? Means of cohesion (cohesive devices) – see Derewianka (1998, pp. 110-111)
Are the following features attempted? Are they used successfully / consistently / appropriately?
? tracking the participants
? words which replace verb phrases or noun phrases or even whole clauses (??do’, ??so’, ??such’, ??one’)
? pointing words this, that, these and those
repetition, synonyms, antonyms, collocation, word sets
Sequencing ideas / arguments:
firstly, first of all, to get back to the point, all in all, finally, to conclude, in light of the above
in addition, furthermore, what’s more, similarly, equally, moreover, above all, on top of that, indeed, also Condition / concession:
in that case, however, otherwise, nevertheless, despite this, on the other hand, still, even so, though, in any case, yet
2. Sentence level and below:
? What types of meaning do the sentences focus on (events in sequence; cause-effect, etc.)?
? What types of sentences are used (simple, complex, compound, complex/ compound)? Identify the range of dependent clauses used, and provide an example of each. Are there dependent clauses of time / cause or reason / purpose used? Are there non-finite dependent clauses used? Are there embedded (adjectival) clauses used? Does the range appear adequate for this text type?
? What time are the events set in? Are the Tenses used consistently? Is the ??agreement’ between the Subject and the Verb used consistently?
? What persuasive devices are used?
? What types of processes /verbs are used?
? How is modality expressed? Are there modal verbs used? Are they used appropriately?
? Are there modal adverbials used? Are they used appropriately / effectively?
? How is Polarity used (negative and positive) to construct a persuasive argument?
3. Word level:
? Is the vocabulary choice appropriate for this text? Are the words used accurately / precisely / appropriately? Consider the choice of nouns / noun phrases (including adjectives) – how does their choice help persuade the reader? How extensive / sophisticated is the range of vocabulary?
? Are any abstract nouns / nominalisation used?
? Are elaborate noun phrases used? Are they accurate / effective (precise)?
4. Spelling and punctuation
5. Any further comments you would like to make about the student’s use of language in the written piece.
An Explanation Text’
How to Be Fit and Healthy
Written by Roland (Year 9)
Being fit and healthy is something everyone hopes and wishes for. However it is not that easy with all the everyday fatty foods and soft drinks. Lack of exercises would also result to being unfit. In the following, I will explain the best ways to look after yourselves and be fit and healthy.
Firstly, the most important thing in being fit and healthy is to eat the right amount of food serves across 6 different groups. An average adult’s daily food serving should have 10-12 serves of cereal, 1-2 serves of meat and fish products, 2-3 serves of dairy, 3-4 serves of vegetables, 1-2 fruit and 1-2 extras. If you remind yourselves of what to eat everyday, you will have a fit and healthy body without doubt.
Secondly, exercising is what helps you get fit. Eating the right amount of food serves but without the exercise would be unbalancing for your body. Exercising burns away the calories so you do not get fat. The best time for exercising is before or after meals so it helps you digest.
Last but not least, having a good night’s sleep helps to get through your next day. A bad night’s sleep gives you no habitate and tiredness which refrains you from working out or participating in sports. So you can say that sleeping is as important as previous points.
If you achieve the above points, you will easily be fit and healthy. It is OK to give yourself a treat of chocolate or McDonald’s once in a while. But in all, you have to remember to eat the right food serves, exercise on a daily basis and have a good night’s sleep. These three things is what helps you be fit and healthy.
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