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Adult ESL learners constructing knowledge by writing texts

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Title: Adult ESL learners constructing knowledge by writing texts
Author: Kim, Chin-hyŏn
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Language and Literacy Education
Copyright Date: 1999
Abstract: Because of an emphasis on academic discourse in tertiary-level courses, many adult ESL students discover that they need to adjust their strategies for learning ESL. Prior to attending university in English-speaking countries, these students tend to focus their ESL learning strategies on spoken English perhaps largely because they believe spoken English accounts for the bulk of ordinary people's communication time. When they begin studying at an English-speaking university, however, their participation shifts and the focus of their ESL learning strategies become written English. This paper reports a seven-week research project which involved six Korean adult ESL learners who, in an effort to improve their academic discourse competence, wrote reading logs about English newspaper articles. These logs mainly featured summaries and personal responses based on opinion articles such as editorials and columns. The research questions focused on exploring mainly the participants' self-reported benefits, difficulties and transfer of learning. The participants felt that the reading log strategy helped them detect and correct their ESL reading and writing weaknesses. They experienced a close relationship between reading comprehension and academic writing skills: They had difficulty writing their reading logs when they had a shaky grasp of content. They also felt that writing reading logs got them predisposed toward active or spirited oral discussion. Such research findings led to the conclusion that the reading log strategy is a good way to improve and integrate reading, writing and oral discussion skills for ESL learners. This paper might help educators gain insight into how adult ESL learners' academic discourse skills can be developed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/9246
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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