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Practical Writing in Intermediate TCSL: Using resume autobiographies as an example
Teaching materials for intermediate writing courses
This dissertation aims to examine the goals and guiding principles for designing teaching materials for TCSL intermediate writing courses to meet the needs of learners writing resume autobiographies for employment in Taiwan. This research explores the characteristics of practical writings through literature review, analysis of job market requirements, existing teaching materials, difficulties faced by the students, as well as observations from various kinds of surveys. It is hoped that a more systematic and learner-centered set of teaching materials could be developed to satisfy intermediate level students living and working in Taiwan. A sample lesson to teach practical writing at the intermediate level is developed using the discovery stage in Rohman’s (1965) writing model process as the central concept, along with cognitive writing models (Flower& Hayes, 1981, 1996; Nystrand, 1989; Grabe & Kaplan, 1996), analysis and views about pedagogies in the teaching of writing skills (Silva, 1993; Luo, 2002), and evaluation and guiding principles for designing teaching materials (Cunningsworth, 1995; Zhao, 1998; Liu, 2000); Zhou & Zhang, 2001). Learning theories for cooperative learning (Dewey, 1916) and learner-centered teaching (Prahbu, 1987), together with views on classroom teaching by Liao (2002), are also taken into consideration. Feedbacksand analysis are obtained from the teaching of the sample lesson to fourteen students. Results from the teaching experiment show that: (1) The test group performed significantly better in the post-test than the pre-test after the sample lesson. Results from the group also tend to show less difference between individual scores, with scores that reflect well-written autobiographies as perceived by native speakers. (2) Task-based writing is the most difficult skill for learners out of all writing skills. (3) The length of the autobiography will affect the readers’ perception on its quality. (4) Western students perform better in writing autobiography than Asian students if they have similar standards in grammar and vocabulary. (5) Task-based learning used with cooperative learning increases interests in the teaching and learning of writing skills. The findings prove that the sample lesson designed in this dissertation can improve the learners’ writing skills and may be used as a reference in future researches.
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