Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 7 : 5 May 2007
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.


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Copyright © 2007
M. S. Thirumalai



Ismail Baroudy, Ph.D.

The Background

Due to disenchantment and disillusionment experienced with product writing, a paradigm shift in the writing pedagogy all of a sudden entreated attentions to focus on process writing. Despite a historic event as such, the L1 or L2 writing classrooms are reported to have been primarily conducted in the absence of process activities or procedures. Unluckily, student-writers are still noticed to be debilitated with a deflecting product advocacy. This is found to be evidently due to serious lack or loss of awareness among the writing teachers about how those innovative process requirements can be practically met in classroom settings.

The Purpose of This Study

To address this problem analytically, this study chose to capitalize on Bosco and Dipietro (1970) as well as Krashen and Seligers’ (1975) conceptual analysis of methods yielding sets of universal features. In fact, based on these features, all methods and approaches in second or foreign language teaching are consistently described, analyzed and compared. Those features, if technically applied to the skill of writing, are thought to provide a contrastive analysis of process and product writing schemes significantly, as well; thus, promoting teachers awareness to help their student-writers acquire the the necessary skills within the new enterprise. A comparative study as such is expected to specify an adequate number of contrastive clues and details about the process and product trends of writing to grant successful implications for instructional and pedagogical purposes.


The process/product controversy is incessantly going on without any decisive resolution to be anticipated on the adjacent horizon. The writing teachers despite their recent awareness about the movement in vogue; the process paradigm, are still crippled with the debilitating procedure of faithfully modeling or precisely reproducing schemes in the so-called product- oriented classrooms. Needless to say, this depressing situation is eventually seen to have arisen partly due to the absence of hard evidences as well as solid referents to come up with sharp orientations about the true nature of such an innovative trend in the world of writing. Writing teachers are, admittedly, believed to urgently need intimate sessions of familiarization attendance and conscious-raising schemes about the delicate furrow specifications of process techniques and procedures that can be concretely actualized in the second or first language classroom context.

This shift has been theoretically proposed and recommended via multiple essays, published books and various seminars. Unfortunately, it has not been practically and adequately realized, assimilated or implemented. Rather, it is still an almost nonexistent component in all English second/foreign language writing contexts, and first/second language learning settings. Based on the process approach, the writing teachers as such, are advised to shift their student writers’ attention from product to process, to train to adopt this new approach content. Likewise, student-writers are expected, in this sense, to find out to themselves how a text is evolved and created. (Raimes, 1985), to capture the process they undergo and to achieve what they unconsciously do know (Emig, 1971). In short, they are supposed to ‘expect the unexpected’ (Murray, 1989), to have thinking and composing, ‘creating and criticizing’ (Elbow, 1981) coexist peacefully so as to have the writing processes faithfully acquired and mastered. Writing to student-writers, in fact, should serve nothing but quite genuinely a dynamic process of discovering meaning (Zamel, 1982).

Accordingly, a qualitative/explorative research is inquisitively embarked on to inform and convince writing teachers of the inevitability of an indispensable procedural evolution they should willingly and wholeheartedly submit themselves to in the domain of the writing pedagogy. This enterprise has capitalized on Dipietro and Bosco’s (1970) universal, distinctive features, eight of which are counted psychological, and the remaining three being of linguistic category. Besides, a couple of indicative features out of a set of eight delineated by Krashen and Seliger (1975) are also selected and incorporated as part of the research in the accumulated corpus.

Needless to say, all approaches and methods in second/foreign language teaching, can unbiasedly and systematically be analyzed, described and compared, by the verisimilitude of those plausibly universal features.

Brief Introduction to the Method

So as to have the writing teachers as well as the student-writers awareness about the minute ingredients of the innovative/alternative process writing paradigm get intelligently promoted, the above set of thirteen features is functionally transcended and exploited in the domain of the writing skill. This is done to consistently denominate and to distinctively characterize what process writing in essence is and besides, how it contrastively differs from its counterpart: the model-based/product-oriented approach.

An academic advocacy as such is optimistically expected to help bringing about the successful actualization of a trendy vogue scheme in writing. This, admittedly, will conducively allow ESL/EFL writing classrooms to achieve new standards. By the same token, process-writing efforts in such contexts are expected to readily motivate student-writers’ to do their best by making use of their untapped inner endowments.

Additional Background Information

Writing is a complex process and a privilege, which is acquired, in later stages of the learning process. It is commonly conceived as a three-stage process: prewriting, writing and rewriting. In the past, writing teachers are mainly concentrated on the end of the second stage i.e. after the writing had been done. They did not see how they could intervene at the prewriting and writing stages. Rewriting played no crucial role but imply constituting a stage of correcting nothing but the surface mistakeslocal errors. Now, unlike what used to be done in the past, successful student-writers are expeced to master the process by participating in it rather than exhausting themselves with analyzing and describing the product. They are in fact engaged in thinking and composing, knowing all about how the text at hand is being created.

Above all, within such a dynamic and revolving paradigm as that of process writing, a set of principles is seen to have evolved and developed. Successful student-writers are observed to have craved arduously for exploring and discovering to themselves what processes they are functionally and meaningfully dealing with. They are said t been to be wholeheartedly complying with process assignments creating a well-developed written product.

Accordingly, in compliance with the emerging paradigm, student- writers who are supposed to abide by the process writing procedures, as Zamel (1987:708) asserts, to acquire growth and development, “ unlearn in order to learn in this new way, to discard all approach and expectations, to take on a new kind of student role and attitude.” Student- writers are invited to “break with a cycle of instruction” which deprives them from making improvements due to reinforcing “counterproductive and mechanistic models of writing”. Based on most studies reviewed in this respect, studentwriters are more likely to develop efficiently in a writer-based scheme (Flower and Hayes, 1977). They are granted numerous opportunities to accomplish the unexpected (Murray, 1984).


Use of the Roman Script in India | Segmental Marketing and Language Use in India | Process Or Product: An Explorative/Comparative Study of ESL/EFL Writing Behaviours | UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity | Flowers and Fragrance: Some Considerations about Children's Literature in India | A UNESCO Report on Linguistic Diversity and Knowledge Societies | The Interaction between Field Dependent/Independent Learning Styles and Learners’ Linguality in Third Language Acquisition | Towards Self-Discovery: A Comparative Study of the Lead Characters in Anita Nair's Ladies' Coupé and The Better Man | HOME PAGE OF MAY 2007 ISSUE | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Ismail Baroudy, Ph.D.
Department of English
College of Foreign Languages
Shahid Chamran University
University of Aizu
Ahvaz, Iran.
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