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Writing portfolio and the teaching and learning of writing as a process: Opportunities and challenges

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Title: Writing portfolio and the teaching and learning of writing as a process: Opportunities and challenges


1
Writing portfolio and the teaching and learning
of writing as a process Opportunities and
challenges
  • Albert Wong

2
An examination-oriented mentality
  • An examination-oriented mentality prevailed in
    local schools and it shaped and determined
    teaching practices across the curriculum (Morris,
    1992).
  • How far is this true with the teaching of
    language in general and the teaching of writing
    in particular?

3
The teaching of writing in primary schools
  • One-shot writing
  • Ss were allowed time to write one draft only
  • Little or no time was provided for the students
    to revise their texts
  • Writing was treated as a form of testing as
    opposed to a way of learning
  • The whole purpose of writing was entirely
    examination-oriented

  • (Tse, 1993)

4
The teaching of writing in secondary schools
  • One-shot writing
  • Most teachers did not allow extra time for
    students to revise their texts
  • Teachers generally believed that errors determine
    the quality of writing
  • The purpose was to teach students to produce
    error free sentences

  • Sengupta (1996)

5
The current traditional approach to teaching
writing
  • Silvas observation that the formalist
    oriented current traditional approach is still
    dominant in ESL / L2 writing material and
    classroom practices today appears to be
    applicable to the situation in Hong Kong in the
    1990s.

  • Silva (1990)

6
Portfolio
  • A portfolio is a purposeful collection of
    student work that exhibits the students efforts,
    progress and achievements in one or more areas.
    The collection must include student participation
    in selecting contents, the criteria for judging
    merit and evidence of student self-reflection.
  • Paulson,
    Paulson and

  • Meyer (1991 60)

7
Key features of a portfolio approach to teaching
/ learning and assessing writing
  • Continuous and cumulative as opposed to one-shot
  • Emphasis on the learning enhancement purpose of
    assessment
  • Increased attention to formative rather than
    summative aspects
  • More frequent provision of descriptive comment
    and constructive feedback
  • Less reliance on assessment by teachers alone and
    more involvement of self and peers
  • Increased focus on teaching writing as a process

  • Holroyd (2000)

8
Key features of a process approach to teaching /
learning writing
  • Multiple draft
  • Provision of formative feedback (written or
    verbal or both)
  • Provision of opportunities for alternative
    assessment
  • Focus on revision as opposed to editing
  • Increased attention given to idea generation and
    creativity

9
A Case Study

10
The context of research
  • A secondary school in a suburban district
  • A relatively young school with Band 3 intake
  • Four English teachers teaching Form 4
    participated in the study
  • Graduate teachers trained to teach English as a
    major subject
  • Teaching experience ranges from 1 to 4 years
  • Mixed language ability classes
  • Naturalistic research setting

11
The portfolio
  • All Form 4 classes participated
  • A trial run taking 3 teaching cycles
  • The theme was on travelling
  • 3 short writing tasks leading to a longer writing
    task
  • Ample scaffolding provided by way of pre-tasks
    with a specific focus on learning vocabulary and
    idea generation
  • Students wrote 3 drafts for each of the writing
    tasks
  • Teachers provided both written and verbal
    comments for each writing task

12
Key features of implementation
  • A co-meeting every cycle
  • Teachers worked in close collaboration in line
    with the lesson study approach (Hiebert
    Stigler, 1999)
  • Teachers made use of quizzes as check points
  • Students kept process logs
  • Students were taught to make use of mind maps to
    plan their writing

13
Strengths
  • Students became more confident writers
  • They were able to write longer texts with richer
    contents
  • A number of students were able to overcome their
    writers block (Rose, 1984)
  • Students were more prone to responding to the
    formative feedback provided by the teachers and
    making revisions to their texts

14
Strengths
  • Teachers were provided with useful and timely
    feedback on the effectiveness of their teaching
    and were able to adjust their teaching to cater
    for individual learner differences
  • Teachers were able to understand their students
    much better
  • Teachers were able to work collaboratively with
    and learn from their peers

15
Constraints and opportunities
  • Time and effort
  • Provision of further scaffolding to support
    writing / learning
  • Focus more on reading to write
  • Greater learner autonomy
  • A greater focus upon alternative assessment

16
Implications
  • Writing as a means of learning as opposed to
    writing for display
  • What time can buy
  • Teacher collaboration
  • Building on existing strengths
  • Teacher autonomy
  • Catering for individual learner differences
  • Benefits in the affective domain of learning
  • A balanced focus on the process and product of
    writing

17
  • Thank you
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