English-language writing instruction in Poland: Adapting to the local EFL context
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This paper is intended to foster reflection about the development of a locally-suitable approach to English-language writing instruction in Poland. In order to provide background information to contextualize a subsequent discussion of English-language writing, the paper starts with a brief overview of the history of L2 writing instruction, including an overview of the four most influential approaches to teaching ESL composition in the U.S. from 1945–1990: Controlled Composition, Current-Traditional Rhetoric, the Process Approach, and English for Academic Purposes. This is followed by a discussion of the concept of a „needs analysis,” where it is noted that needs analysis is complex in foreign language contexts such as Poland, where students may not have obvious, immediate needs for writing in English after graduation. The notion of needs analysis is illustrated with an example drawn from the English Institute at the University of Łódź. The needs analysis indicated that some students of English had negative attitudes and/or anxiety towards writing in English, but some had positive attitudes based on previous experiences with creative and expressive writing. Additionally, it was determined that students needed to learn many skills for writing academic papers that they had not learned in secondary school and that require extensive instruction and practice. Based on the needs analysis, it was determined that the purposes of a new writing course for first-year English majors should be to foster and develop positive attitudes toward writing and to support students’ academic work. The assignments and activities for the course are described. Additionally, a description is provided of the possible purposes that Polish students in general might have for writing in English, the goals that instructors might pursue in assigning writing, and the types of writing teachers might assign. Recommendations are provided for responding to student writing.
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