A number of theories and methods have been advanced in an attempt to solve the problems inherent in the acquisition of writing skills, especially in a second language situation. A host of these theories and their associated methods have received scholarly criticisms based on their limitations and inadequacy in fully addressing the concerns in the acquisition of writing skills. This paper attempts to review these theories and methods, with particular emphasis on their suitability and effectiveness in the acquisition of writing skills in English as a second language.
The central concern in second language pedagogy is the acquisition of the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The interplay of more than one of these skills is required for a communicative activity to take place. Though teaching goals may be directed towards the acquisition of any one of the skills, this effort is ultimately geared towards achieving integrated skills for language communication in a target language. Whereas listening and speaking are basically oral in nature, reading and writing are represented in a written discourse. Writing is usually the last language skill to be acquired in the language learning process such that the mastery of the first three skills becomes a stepping stone to acquiring writing skills.
Writing generally involves the representation of ideas and verbal symbols in printed form. Schmitt (2010:233), citing Bilzer, views writing as a process which “involves a series of highly complex cognitive activities that takes place in response to a rhetoric situation. It also involves a complex web of relationship amongst the elements of writing, including the writer, the reader, the text and reality”.In writing, certain considerations involving the relational, strategic and textual aspects of written discourse are made as a total representation of the social and material conditions that precipitates writing. The responsibility of enhancing students’ expressive ability in writing is the teacher’s prerogative and this can be achieved by first, familiarizing and equipping the students with the theories and methods /techniques for communicative competence.
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