Teaching towards academic language proficiency

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1 U N I V E R S I T Y O F B E R G E N n» lett g eller kst» Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies Teaching towards academic language proficiency Else Berit Molde and Aasne Vikøy ALTE 46th Meeting and Conference, Bergen, 8th May 2015

2 The L2 classroom

3 The advanced level language course - Objectives and content

4 Who can attend the language courses? NOR-U3 (level 3) is an advanced course in Norwegian language and culture for foreign language students. 1a. Employees of the University of Bergen and spouses 1b. University of Bergen degree students and agreement and programme students 2. Refugees and immigrants with a permanent residence permit About 60 different nationalities

5 Who can attend the language courses? NOR-U3 (level 3) is an advanced course in Norwegian language and culture for foreign language students. 1a. Employees of the University of Bergen and spouses 1b. University of Bergen degree students and agreement and programme students 2. Refugees and immigrants with a permanent residence permit About 60 different nationalities

6 Who can attend the language courses? NOR-U3 (level 3) is an advanced course in Norwegian language and culture for foreign language students. 1a. Employees of the University of Bergen and spouses 1b. University of Bergen degree students and agreement and programme students 2. Refugees and immigrants with a permanent residence permit About 60 different nationalities

7 Objectives and learning outcomes Course participants will learn to use oral and written Norwegian with reasonably good precision, both receptive and productive, in general and academic contexts. Writing competence: They will be able to express themselves in writing about general and academic topics without distorting the content. They will master the main rules of Norwegian grammar

8 The step before academic writing Level 3 Exam/ Bergenstesten Qualifying for higher education Argumentative essay Preparing for a general academic writing level Norwegian Exam High School Qualifying for higher education Argumentative essay Preparing for a general academic writing level Writing as a basic competence practiced in all subjects Explicit focus on writing argumentative essays starts from 4th grade

9 Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies Objectives and learning outcomes After the course, students will have sufficient skills and knowledge to meet the Norwegian language requirement for study at universities and colleges in Norway. A final written and oral exam - grades from A - F Advanced language level (estimated B2-level) Students with university degrees from home country Highly motivated students High stake test

10 Teacher and student views on academic writing - Various expectations and beliefs

11 Our expectations - the academic proficiency level What do students need to learn to become effective L2 writers at the advanced level? Orthografy, morfology, lexicon, syntax of the L2 Appropriate metadiscourse features Different patterns for text organization Discourse and rethorical convention of the L2 (Barkaoui 2007: 35) Critical thinking, argumentation and also to incorporate others s ideas in their own writing.

12 Dysthe, Hertzberg og Hoel 2000 (our translation)

13 C Good Description of grades assessment criteria The student shows a good understanding of spoken and written Norwegian. Some mistakes can appear in syntax, morphology and ortography, but the mistakes are not disturbing the readers comprehension. The vocabulary is varied and sophisticated. The lexical choices might differ a bit from the L2, but the main impression is still good. The text organization is well-planned and varied.i The text follows the conventions of genre and the norms of text organization. The discussion and the line of argumentation in the text are good.og argumenterer godt Tekstbindingen er god og variert

14 Argumentative texts as an ideal Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies «The giving of reasons is a universal feature of schooled knowledge and a reflection of literate, bureaucratic culture generally. Explicit reasons are so central to institutionalized knowledge that schools sometimes make a fetish of it. «Give reasons for your answers» appears at the top of many examinations sheets» (Olson 2003: 241)

15 Different cultures different writing traditions «This type of writing [argumentation] presents considerable problems for many L2-writers. Because we are used to this genre, we do not always reflect upon that the argumentative essay has its roots in European philosophy. [ ] Other cultures have other writing traditions. To express ourself objectively and to the point are factors highly valued in our culture. We want arguments based on facts.» (Metodisk veiledning 1995: 47, our translation)

16 Constrastive rethorics Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies (Kaplan 1966)

17 Different cultures different writing traditions Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies «Jeg tror at engelske lærere setter enda høyere pris på en logisk sekvens av ideer.» (Storbritannia) «I think that English teachers have an even stronger appreciation of logical sequences of ideas.» (Student from Great Britain, our translation) «Det er nesten samme rammet. Men på den norske akademiske teksten må man ofte argumenterer og den er ikke så viktig på den akademiske teksten i mitt land.» (Syria). «The writing conditions are almost the same. But in the Norwegian academic texts we are obliged to discuss which is not so important in the academic texts in my home country.» (Student from Syria, our translation)

18 Different cultures different writing traditions Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies Orthography and punctuation Degree of subjectivity «Differences: the structure, conclusions are allowed to be more personal in Russian, it is okey to write about personal experiences» (Russia, our translation) Memorizing text

19 Similarities in L2-writing Crossley and McNamara (2011:281) compared 904 argumentative essays written by L2-writers with 211 texts written by L1-writers of English: L2-writers had less sofisticated vocabulary Higher lexical variation in L1-texts L2-writers use more hyperonym words, i.e. words with less specific meaning (Ex. animal instead of horse)

20 Similarities in L2-writing Reynolds (2005): Language development means increasing capacity to make a difference between genres L2-writers use more often an informal or direct style L2-writers lack «rhetorical flexibility»: «to use Ravid and Tolchinsky`s (2002) term. [ ] They are constrained in their ability to create language that achieves functions such as support through anecdote or incorporation of the reader into the writer`s perspective.» (Reynolds 2005: 41)

21 Students` beliefs about academic writing Informal survey in two different classes: Group 1: Employees and students Group 2: Refugees and immigrants Additional writing course 2 hours a week

22 Students` beliefs about academic writing Group 1 (N = 19) - How important do you think these variables are?

23 Students beliefs about academic writing group 1 - What is most challenging writing an argumentative essay? Grammar is most important. Without correct grammar you can t make logical sentences. Norwegian grammar is a bit different from Russian. My biggest problem is to express myself correctly. When I focus on grammar, I m not able to think about the content of the text at the same time.

24 Dysthe, Hertzberg og Hoel 2000 (our translation)

25 Students` beliefs about writing group 2 (N = 15) - How important do you think these variables are?

26 Students beliefs about academic writing group 2 - What is most challenging writing an argumentative essay? «The most challenging part for me is to organize the text (sentences and paragraphs) and to discuss both positive and negative aspects of the given topic.» «To find good arguments and establish a coherence between the sentences are most challenging to me.» «To become a competent writer, students need to work with different texts and writing styles. The students need to read a variety of texts, in order to recognize good text organization and Norwegian expressions.»

27 Teaching practices

28 Awareness raising «Teachers need to raise learners` awareness about successful writing processes, L2 reader expectations, and L2 linguistic and textual conventions.» (Barkaoui 2007: 44) «A very important task in the instruction of Norwegian as a second language is to provide concrete examples of our writing tradition and norms, so that the students become aware of our expectations.» (Palm 1998: 49 - our translation)

29 Teaching writing to advanced L2 learners Explicit instruction of how to use a formal language

30 From informal to formal language Informal language! The presence of the writer is clear in the text The use of 1.person pronouns (I/we) Subjective language Formal language Use of other peoples perspectives Less use of personal pronouns Objective language Nominalizations Use of quotations Example: I think the government should increase the refugee quota in Norway. Example: There is no doubt that the government should increase the refugee quota in Norway.

31 Teaching writing to advanced L2 learners Explicit instruction of how to use a formal language Explicit instruction of genres and rhetorical conventions Additional writing course?

32 Explicit instruction of genres - models Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies Hertzberg 2014 (our translation) : Models can be used both at local and global level, to illustrate both form and content Models can be constructed or authentic (also including students own written essays) Models can be analyzed or just read superficially

33 Teaching writing to advanced L2 learners Explicit instruction of how to use a formal language Explicit instruction of genres and rhetorical conventions Content based teaching Adapted text material Clear progression Associate words together for each topic Important not to underestimate the students

34 Developing genres and registers Brainstorming and discussion of the theme in focus Find relevant vocabulary Find pro- and contra arguments Organize the argument Identify text structure in a model text Deconstruct and focus on the different parts of the text Setting the context Deconstructions of models Independent constructions Joint constructions The student work alone planning, writing and revising their own text Writing together two and two Discuss in class how to write introductions and conclusions

35 Example A: Process-oriented writing in the classroom Joint construction (sociocultural view of learning): Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies Argumentation: Pro et contra Topic: «Positive and negative aspects regarding Norwegian oil production» Student 1: Positive aspects Student 2: Negative aspects Objective: Awareness raising and motivation

36 Example B: Contrastive rhetorics in the classroom FORSIKRING MOT HELSEKØ Stadig flere bedrifter forsikrer sine ansatte mot helsekø. Det er flere grunner til at bedriftene tegner helseforsikring. Først og fremst ser vi at bedriftene ønsker å redusere sykefraværet. De ønsker å redusere ventetiden for ansatte som står i helsekø, og tar vare på ansatte som blir syke. Dette er spesielt verdifullt i små bedrifter. Der er man gjerne ekstra sårbare ved langvarig sykefravær. Helseforsikring koster normalt mellom kroner per ansatt. Ifølge Sintef koster én enkelt sykefraværsdag bedriften kroner. Dette regnestykket viser at helseforsikring er en god investering for bedrifter. Sånn ser vi at flere og flere bedrifter velger å ta vare på Privat og offentlig helseforsikring gir til sammen et sine godt ansatte norsk helsevesen, når det gjelder der helsespørsmål, både arbeidsgiveres for å sikre og deres arbeidstakeres aktivitet på interesser jobben, akkurat er ivaretatt. som mor og far omfavner sine barn slik at de kan vokse opp friske og arbeidsomme.(russia) Introduction Paragraph 1: Benefits for the employees Paragraph 2: Economical benefits for the company Conclusion

37 Example B: Contrastive rhetorics in the classroom FORSIKRING MOT HELSEKØ Stadig flere bedrifter forsikrer sine ansatte mot helsekø. Det er flere grunner til at bedriftene tegner helseforsikring. Først og fremst ser vi at bedriftene ønsker å redusere sykefraværet. De ønsker å redusere ventetiden for ansatte som står i helsekø, og tar vare på ansatte som blir syke. Dette er spesielt verdifullt i små bedrifter. Der er man gjerne ekstra sårbare ved langvarig sykefravær. Helseforsikring koster normalt mellom kroner per ansatt. Ifølge Sintef koster én enkelt sykefraværsdag bedriften kroner. Dette regnestykket viser at helseforsikring er en god investering for bedrifter. Privat og offentlig helseforsikring gir til sammen et godt norsk helsevesen, der både arbeidsgiveres og arbeidstakeres interesser er ivaretatt. Introduction Paragraph 1: Benefits for the employees Paragraph 2: Economical benefits for the company Conclusion

38 Example C: Use of authentic student texts as models

39 The questions of the task given 1. Explain the figure 2. What are the most important reasons for becoming a criminal? Discuss 3. Who is responsable the society or the individuals? The questions of discussion in class 1. How would you assess the following text? 2. Is it an adequate answer? 3. What could the student have done differently?

40

41 Example C: Use of authentic student texts as models «Grade B The grammar is correct, but the text organization could have been better.» «C The student does not comment the figur at all, but the grammar is very good, and he has an impressing vocabulary». «I would give the student D on this essay. It looks like the text is memorized, and it is not a relevant answer.»

42 «Practice, practice, practice!!»

43 Literature Barkaoui, K Teaching writing to second language learners: Some insights from theory and research. TESL Reporter 40, Crossley, Scott A. & Danielle S. McNamara 2011: Shared features of L2 writing: Intergroup homogenity and text classification. Journal of Second Language Writing 20, s Dysthe, Hertzberg og Hoel 2000: Å skrive for å lære. Skriving i høyere utdanning. Abstrakt forlag. Hertzberg, Frøydis 2013: Modelltekster en bro mellom lesing og skriving? Ppt-presentasjon på Schæffergården, april 2013 Metodisk veiledning. Språklige minoriteter på alle studieretninger Nasjonalt læremiddelsenter. Oslo Olson, David R. 2003: Psycological theory and educational reform: how school remakes mind and society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Palm, Kirsten 1998: Argumenterende skriving på norsk som andrespråk. NOA. Norsk som andrespråk Reynolds, Dudley W. 2005: Linguistic correlates of second language literacy development: Evidence from middle-grade learner essays. Journal of Second Language Writing 14, s.19-45

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