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Advanced Writing in English as a Foreign Language: A Corpus-Based Study of Processes and Products

When clicking on the Print button of my word processor to produce the hard copy of a university course syllabus, I initialize a period of time that will hopefully engage students and me in the discovery of new aspects of meaning in the writer--reader relationship. As the ink-jet chugs on, I muse on how what is planned will be implemented in the classroom and in private consultations.

The syllabuses I have designed and produced in the past five semesters have primarily targeted students who have registered for mandatory pre-service undergraduate and optional in-service postgraduate courses at the English Department (English Applied Linguistics Department since September 1998) of Janus Pannonius University, Pécs. The first written product a student received from me had to be perfect in every respect: it had to address the reader so that she or he felt the course was designed with individual needs in mind. It had to provide all the necessary information to set the context of exploration and learning for what was to follow. And it had to arouse curiosity in the content of the sessions and the content of the written assignments to complete.

By 1996, when I first met such a group of students, I had been teaching at the department for seven years. Since 1992, I had also been collecting student scripts by those participants in Language Practice, Computer Assisted Language Learning, Methodology, and Introduction to Indian Literature in English courses who were willing to share with me the electronic copy of their essays and research papers.

Between 1992 and 1999, I have collected such scripts from over 300 students--as of the end of January 1999, the corpus consisted of over 400,000 words. By sharing with me their ideas, findings, and opinions in print and on disk, these students have enabled me to gather information for the study of written learner English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

This dissertation is concerned with the description and analysis of advanced writing in EFL. It provides a curricular and syllabus development focus as it takes account of writing pedagogy processes at Janus Pannonius University. The course content of undergraduate and postgraduate English-major students was studied. Using authentic records, the dissertation attempts to cover a wide spectrum of issues related to EFL students' writing skills in a variety of text types. The description and analysis of over 300 students' scripts, in the JPU Corpus, is presented to address the aspect of processing products.

The dissertation is a cross-disciplinary undertaking: it is informed by writing pedagogy via classroom observations made over the years of Writing and Research Skills courses. It is also motivated by current empirical interest in exploiting machine-readable collections of written and spoken texts for language description, lexicography, discourse analysis and corpus-based language education techniques such as data-driven learning. The fundamental question it attempts to explore and answer is how the description of scripts written by advanced Hungarian university students of EFL can contribute to an understanding of writing processes and products.

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1 Introduction When clicking on the Print button of my word processor to produce the hard copy of a university course syllabus, I initialize a period of time that will hopefully engage students and me in the discovery of new aspects of meaning in the writer--reader relationship. As the ink-jet chugs on, I muse on how what is planned will be implemented in the classroom and in private consultations. The syllabuses I have designed and produced in the past five semesters have primarily targeted students who have registered for mandatory pre-service undergraduate and optional in-service postgraduate courses at the English Department (English Applied Linguistics Department since September 1998) of Janus Pannonius University, Pécs. The first written product a student received from me had to be perfect in every respect: it had to address the reader so that she or he felt the course was designed with individual needs in mind. It had to provide all the necessary information to set the context of exploration and learning for what was to follow. And it had to arouse curiosity in the content of the sessions and the content of the written assignments to complete. By 1996, when I first met such a group of students, I had been teaching at the department for seven years. Since 1992, I had also been collecting student scripts by those participants in Language Practice, Computer Assisted Language Learning, Methodology, and Introduction to Indian Literature in English courses who were willing to share with me the electronic copy of their essays and research papers. Between 1992 and 1999, I have collected such scripts from over 300 students--as of the end of January 1999, the corpus consisted of over 400,000 words. By sharing with me their ideas, findings, and opinions in print and on disk, these students have enabled me to gather information for the study of written learner English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This dissertation is concerned with the description and analysis of advanced writing in EFL. It provides a curricular and syllabus development focus as it takes account of writing pedagogy processes at Janus Pannonius University. The course content of undergraduate and postgraduate English-major students was studied. Using authentic records, the dissertation attempts to cover a wide spectrum of issues related to EFL students' writing skills in a variety of text types. The description and analysis of over 300 students' scripts, in the JPU Corpus, is presented to address the aspect of processing products. The dissertation is a cross-disciplinary undertaking: it is informed by writing pedagogy via classroom observations made over the years of Writing and Research Skills courses. It is also motivated by current empirical interest in exploiting machine-readable collections of written and spoken texts for language description, lexicography, discourse analysis and corpus-based language education techniques such as data-driven learning. The fundamental question it attempts to explore and answer is how the description of scripts written by advanced Hungarian university students of EFL can contribute to an understanding of writing processes and products. Why develop a learner corpus? The endeavor holds potential benefits in at least three areas, each of which will be explored in this dissertation: • to collect evidence of language use; • to serve as a basis of research; • to serve as a basis of innovative pedagogical application. The cross-disciplinary framework of the study means that to present these subjects, I have drawn on recent writing pedagogy and corpus linguistics. On the writing pedagogy pane, a wide spectrum of relevant factors will be presented. To be able to provide a thorough investigation of EFL writing pedagogy, issues such as the following will be discussed and systematized: writing theories,

International thesis/dissertation

Autore: József Horváth Contatta »

Composta da 140 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 781 click dal 29/05/2007.

 

Consultata integralmente una volta.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.