Friday, September 10, 2010


Spack, R. (1988). Initiating ESL students into the academic discourse community: How far should we go? TESOL Quarterly, 22(1), 29-51.

In the interest of finding ways to help their students succeed in university studies, college-level L2 writing researchers and teachers have endeavored for years to define the nature of academic writing tasks. The effort to determine what academic writing is and what ESL students need to know in order to produce it has led to the development of a number of different approaches to the teaching of writing. Most recently, this effort has led to a problematic trend toward having teachers of English, including teachers of freshman composition, teach students to write in other disciplines. This trend has emerged in response to criticism of previous writing programs, analyses of surveys of academic writing tasks, and movements such as Writing Across the Curriculum and English for specific purposes. This article reviews studies of L1 writing programs in which students learn to write in various disciplines, discusses the implications of the researchers' findings, and argues that (a) the teaching of writing in the disciplines should be left to the teachers of those disciplines and (b) L2 English composition teachers should focus on general principles of inquiry and rhetoric, with emphasis on writing from sources.

Horowitz, D. (1990). Fiction and non-fiction in the ESL/EFL classroom: Does the difference make a difference? English for Specific Purposes, 9(2), 161-168.

I think these two articles give an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of literature in first year composition classes. I'm not quite sure where I stand on the issue. I think I'm more inclined toward Writing Across the Curriculum approach.

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