A Teaching Approach to Develop Basic Academic Writing Ability and Logical Thinking Skills for Japanese University Students

Abstract

This presentation discusses an approach for teaching basic academic writing ability and logical thinking skills to Japanese university students. Through this approach, students acquire fundamental knowledge and skills of paragraph writing by engaging in pre-writing tasks of constructing outlines and discussing their ideas with peers. They receive detailed feedback and make multiple revisions. In the previous study, the authors conducted a survey with first-year students and found that more than half of the participants lacked experience in paragraph writing during high school (Kawano and Nagakura, 2017). Given this background, a series of five-lesson instruction based on the idea of process writing, with a focus on argumentative writing as its genre (Badger and White, 2000), was developed. At first, the students write an outline after discussing the prompt, “SNS (Social Media Network) is beneficial for education”, with peers and compose the first draft. Upon receiving feedback from the instructor, they revise the draft and submit the final version. This approach was implemented at a private university in Tokyo with 60 university students. Their progress was analyzed in terms of the logical flow of discussion and elaboration included in their paragraphs. The data indicate most participants improved in their holistic writing scores and enjoyed the challenging practice of logical thinking, which was revealed by the exit survey. However, there were a few students who had continual difficulty in acquiring basic skills. The paper also discusses points of improvement in the instructional module to attend a wide range of students’ writing levels.



Author Information
Madoka Kawano, Meiji University, Japan
Wakasa Nagakura, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2018
Stream: English for Academic Purposes

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