Ali is a 22-year-old student of AU studying ESL. He has a problem writing English as his second language. These problems have seen him make the following mistakes that are common to the second learner of English. The first one is exhibited in run-on sentences. His writing has no commas and periods. The teacher should encourage him to write short sentences to avoid repetition. The second one concerns redundancy. This is where synonyms in the English language translation are influenced by the first language. The third mistake is on the use of punctuation marks. Ali uses infinite commas in writing his papers in run-on sentences. In writing essays, Ali’s organization is not well-structured in a formal essay. These situations present difficulties that Ali is grappling with as an ESL student. This paper therefore researches on the influence of social experiences on writing acquisition techniques by the ESL students. The research question states, what is the effect of social experiences on ESL students?
Some studies have been conducted on this topic as follows:
- Bereiter and Scandemalia (2010) carried out research on ESL writers and proposed that knowledge-transforming model and knowledge–telling models be applied in teaching the less-skilled writers. Writers’ mental representation is a crucial component in the writing ordeal. They criticized the formal procedure followed in schooling, which renders students as being passive. Therefore, their model’s proposal ought to bring self-driven reflections on the language skills (Bereiter & Scanemalia, 2010).
- Communication is one of the key factors in language mastery and writing which is incorporated in the learning process. It accords students an opportunity to transact their own ideas and texts. This improves the writing skills and knowledge in the event of an examination or test (Grabe & Kaplan, 2009).
- According to Swalles, social dimension contributes to the process of acquiring writing skills for ESL students. He focuses on the social factors that affect learning of the second language. A student is faced with challenges such as language translation, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure in learning a new writing experience (Swales, 2011).
- Flower and Hayes’ model is explicit on the writer’s ability to make his own composition. This model explains writing composition in two different approaches. One of the approaches is the rhetorical situation while the other is on the writer’s goals. The writer’s ability to transform information into a formidable conclusion is essential in achieving a balanced purpose for skills acquisition and personal goals.
Kern (2012) explains the following in his findings:
Conceptualizing this transition as a social/cognitive act of entering a discourse emphasizes both the problem-solving effort of a student learning to negotiate a new situation and the role the situation will play in what is learned (p. 213).
- Silva (2010) found out that those students that performed poorly in the native language were more likely to transfer these results into the second language, while those that excelled in the native language would find it easy understanding the writing techniques in their second language (p. 657).
- Kogen (2013) stipulated that there was a close link between writing ability and fluency or familiarity of the expository discourse (p. 25). This discourse forms a rich ground for learning new vocabularies and sentence structures in English (Kogen, 2013).
The researcher will carry out an interview. Ten students will be interviewed, including Ali – a twenty-two year old student of ESL. A questionnaire will be provided to the students who will respond to the questions outlined. During the intervention, the teacher will provide some simple test to the students to work on. This will facilitate the researcher’s knowledge about the student’s level of understanding abilities. This is where various processes are applied in instilling writing techniques such as proper punctuation and sentence structuring among students. On the other hand, students will respond to the questionnaire issued by the researcher.
Data collected will be analyzed qualitatively. This is because of the fact that the variable used provides a qualitative approach to the problem at hand. The researcher will group variables into dependent and independent variables. The independent variable represents the effects of cultural experiences while the dependent variable comprises writing skill acquisitions for ESL students.
The research is in a position to establish native language and experiences’ influences on language acquisition. However, student personal experiences and abilities to transform their own ideas and information into an essay format were not met in this research.
The following research objectives were met. The first objective was to make intervention to the ESL student, which was met, by making changes to the learning process. Another objective met was to diversify the learning process to include writer own compositions. However, teaching model was stringent on underlying rules and regulation thus making it difficult to make changes.
Students’ social experiences in different cultures enhanced their writing skills. The research found out that students who developed good writing skills had wide knowledge of cultural and social information from different communities. Secondly, social experiences increased their motivation in making advances concerning English learning. Teachers were helpful in the learning process in the sense that they provided guidance. However, there is need to apply a more interactive teaching approach that incorporates students’ own composition.
The research finding shows that there is a close link between writing and social experiences as outlined by kern and swales. Thus, students with wide experience in social and communication aspects of the community achieve higher result in ESL.
Confidential information was held in highest secrecy and would not be availed in the analysis. Confidential documents containing the names and ages of the respondents were destroyed after the performance of the case analysis.
The interview was fair in the sense that all the interviewees volunteered to participate in this process. Credible candidates were selected on the merits of their ESL writing skills and results
Bereiter, C. & Scardamalia, M. (2010). The psychology of written composition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Grabe, W. & Kaplan, R. (2009). Theory and practice of writing: An applied linguistic perspective. New York: Longman.
Kern, R. (2012). Literacy and language teaching. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.
Kogen, M. (2013). The conventions of expository writing. Journal of Basic Writing, 7, 24-37
Silva, T. (2010). Toward an understanding of the distinct nature of L2 writing: The ESL research and its implications. TESOL Quarterly, 27, 657-677.
Swales, J. (2011). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
- What is your native language?
- What are your goals in learning English?
- What is your difficult part in learning English as a second language?
- How is native language different from the English language?
- How does the society help you in your endeavor?
- Which major areas do you find difficulties in English learning?
- What is your view about the learning process?
- Is the teaching model used at AU effective or not?