Academic English is no one's first language: A multidisciplinary approach to teaching writing
Language, Rhetoric and Composition.
Education, Curriculum and Instruction.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study argues for sociolinguistics to be foundational to an adequate theory of rhetoric, and the need for composition teachers to view academic written English as a second language. By viewing academic written English as a second language, it is easier to see (1) how native students' struggles to learn genre or rhetorical conventions are similar to second-language acquisition problems, and (2) why there is a need for the development of multidisciplinary curricula and research using both pedagogical and research strategies from the rhetoric/composition and second-language acquisition fields. The goal of this study is to examine under what conditions analytical skills can be developed in students that they can later transfer from one genre or discipline to another. Chapter 1 gives a background and overview of the study. Chapter 2 describes how and why sociolinguistics should be a basis for rhetoric and composition; introduces the connection between sociolinguistics and academic English as a form of discourse; and describes the benefits of a multidisciplinary base for composition research and pedagogy. Chapter 3 further examines how the theory that academic English should be seen as a second language offers great insights from the ESL field as to the cause of (and potential solutions to) student writing errors. Chapter 4 describes a multidisciplinary curriculum based on English for Specific Purposes (ESP) needs analysis methodology. The model for teaching composition that is offered teaches students how to deconstruct popular culture and academic genres using genre, rhetorical, and discourse analysis, and ethnographic techniques; extends the use of contrastive rhetoric from a means of looking at cultural differences to a method of exploring differences in disciplinary discourse, and teaches composition teachers how to use popular culture texts as analytical tools. The result is a new type of composition curriculum designed to develop analytical skills in students that will enable them to discover the rhetorical character and conventions of academic disciplines, master academic discourse, and expand their repertoire of options and strategies for communicating in writing. Chapter 5 describes how this curriculum was evaluated using an educational ethnographic approach. Chapters 6, 7, and 8 describe the four case studies. And Chapter 9 reviews the findings from evaluations of the case studies, and offers suggestions for future research utilizing this approach to teaching composition.
Degree ProgramGraduate College