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College students’ awareness in organizational strategy use in English writing: A Taiwan-based study

Shih-Chieh Chien (National Taipei University of Business, Taipei, Taiwan)

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

ISSN: 1175-8708

Article publication date: 7 September 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to look at Chinese English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ organizational strategy use in English writing at universities in Taiwan. One significant area that has been indicated in contrastive rhetoric studies spins around the notion of culturally constructed organizational patterns. It is claimed that second language (L2) writers may have implicit culturally driven presuppositions and values about academic writing in the first language (L1) that may transfer straightforwardly to academic writing in English.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were from 50 high- and 50 low-achieving EFL students’ and 50 native English speakers’ (NESs’) written texts, and semi-structured interviews with EFL students and their teachers.

Findings

Based on text analysis, when high-achieving EFL students and NESs were compared, they were similar in location of thesis, existence of introduction, existence of topic sentences, macro-level patterns, existence of conclusion, existence of a concluding sentence and existence of a final comment, but different in existence of background information. Nonetheless, it is noted that low-achieving EFL students were quite different from high-achieving EFL students and NESs in several aspects, such as location of thesis, existence of introduction, existence of topic sentences, macro-level patterns, existence of conclusion, existence of a concluding sentence, and existence of a final comment. In addition, the written texts and interview findings suggest that while cultural differences do, in fact, exist, Chinese writers’ English organizational strategy use were to some extent intertwined with their writing experiences and teachers’ writing instructions. The results also suggest the flexibility of writers and multiplicity of writing experiences within a cultural group.

Originality/value

The study makes original recommendations for language pedagogy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and helpful suggestions. All errors in this article remain the author’s.

Citation

Chien, S.-C. (2015), "College students’ awareness in organizational strategy use in English writing: A Taiwan-based study", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 187-209. https://doi.org/10.1108/ETPC-02-2015-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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