Contemporary society requires people to learn more than one language, especially since the world has become a global community due to the internet. However, writing in a second language is difficult and requires a synergy of cognitive and social processes to ensure the student writes effectively. Teachers fail to teach some of the essential writing skills that will enable the student to master the second language. The article displays some of these skills and their essence in promoting effective foreign language learning in a student.
Some of the writing skills that teachers fail to teach are:
The digital media has enabled to engage in communication using social media and similar chat groups where the parties do not see each other face to face. Even though online communication requires a response from the other party, they miss non-verbal aspects of the communication which are a key part of the learning process.
Effective ‘writership’ requires verbal and non-verbal cues where the interlocutors are able to comprehend each other’s output and put it in writing appropriately. Oral interaction allows for an immediate response in input which also leads to fluency when writing the language. Teachers can promote interactional writing by promoting intelligibility in understanding the output rather than the accuracy where they recognise meaning of words. The students also can respond to picture tasks where they are given visual aids that test their creativity and intelligibility and whether they can interact with their immediate environment.
Writing in a foreign language is a process that is not learnt overnight. Foreign language teachers fail to teach these processes that involve strategies such as idea generation drafting and panning and how these strategies can be integrated with their goals regarding foreign language learning.
Teachers should test the understanding of the student using cohesive devices in explanatory essays which involve how well the paragraphs and the sentences are connected. Students should be given knowledge and skills on how to connect their ideas where their choice of words, the order of the information given and the schematic structure of the essay are analysed.
However, before this step is achieved, teachers should ensure that they integrate research which involves steps such as allowing the student to observe how the skill is done, allowing them to enact it, enabling them to automate the skill, and finally letting them adapt and use the skill in different scenarios. Process modelling focuses on how a student can engage with a text as they brainstorm in groups, revise drafts, and eliminate any errors before drafting a final essay.
This approach involves the teacher allowing students to learn different types of texts extensively, hence emphasising different social scenarios in the community. Different genres of writing give the student the opportunity to reflect on the different structures of writing tasks as well as the grammatical forms of the texts. In academic writing, this may include different types of papers such as explanatory essays, business letters, and journals which require different structures. This allows the students to master the appropriate genre as per their specific situation hence they develop a higher proficiency in learning the foreign language.
By perceiving different structures in writing tasks, students are able to make appropriate citations and references where they are able to use primary and secondary sources to support their evidence. By differentiating formats such as the APA and the MLA formats, the learner not only displays their academic integrity but also puts their research in context. Foreign teachers fail to emphasise the essence of language as achieving a communicative purpose in the real life outside the classroom and hence students should master different genres.
Teaching foreign language is a challenging task and thus teachers should integrate various teaching approaches to achieve their desired outcome. The article analyses some of the writing skills that teachers fail to teach, which are interactional writing, writing as a process and genre writing. The end goal is to ensure students achieve proficiency, fluency and competency in the language, and various social factors such as motivation and attitudes, and cognitive factors play a role in promoting this.