Authors and summary: These chapters are taken from Teaching ESL Composition by Ferris and Hedgecock.
Chapter 4 - Text Selection, Materials Development, and Task Construction in ESL Composition
Thoughts: I really like the section on planning and drafting heuristics. The rest was good to have available to me for the future, but seems less useful immediately. If and when I have to actually select a textbook and develop materials, this will be a good reference to have and be a strong source for selecting materials. I also agree that the textbook should be used as a supplement instead of the primary course material. If you stay too closely to the textbook, it makes it impossible to match the students' level or needs.
Chapter 5 - Teacher Response to Student Writing: Issues in Oral and Written Feedback
Thoughts: This chapter was similar to the last in that it is very "hands on" information. I will likely use and apply much of it when I actually begin teaching, but until then it is mostly mentally logged as a resource to come to. It mentions how we can give feedback in various situations and the different methodologies available.
How confidently can you predict that the book's approach, design, content, and tasks will enable your students to achieve your learning objectives? (p. 134)
The process of supplementing a core textbook or materials pack age typically begins when an instructor inevitably notices a gap in existing course materials or perceives a mismatch between those materials and student needs and capabilities—or between materials and course goals (Byrd, 2001). (p. 136)
Before constructing and integrating a new task or assignment into a lesson or unit, the teacher should first consider the extent to which the exercise will enable students to practice one or more aspects of the composing process(i.e., prewriting, drafting, revision, editing, and so forth) and to test their developing composing strategies (Skehan, 1996; White, 1999). The checklist items in Fig. 4.3 target both general and specific features to consider in selecting content matter, narrowing pedagogical expectations, writing directions and procedures, and operationalizing the task. Elements of this checklist can be used selectively for devising day-to-day in-class and out-of-class tasks as well as more formal writing assignments (i.e., those that will require extensive advance planning or undergo formal assessment). (p. 139)
Cubing similarly provides a tool allowing writers to select an effective and appropriate way of approaching a topic, or to combine methods of understanding and developing a topic. In procedural terms, cubing requires students to examine an idea or proposition from six perspectives, each corresponding to one of the six sides of a cube.In cubing, writers are encouraged to look quickly at their topic and to construct a statement or position corresponding to each side, or rhetorical perspective, so they generate multiple approaches from which to choose before undertaking planning or drafting. As Fig. 4.7 shows, each side of the cube corresponds to a rhetorical angle and set of focus questions, which are not unlike the classic "journalists'questions"(i.e., who,what, why, where, when, and how) (Tarvers, 1993, p. 83).
Lengthy texts in many disciplines, for example, require a table of contents. Meanwhile, the exercise of preparing an outline can give the writer a sense of the hierarchical and linear structure of the themes, propositional content, and rhetorical links that bind the prose text on which the outline is based. Our point is not to discourage the use of written outlines, but to situate them more broadly as rhetorical and analytic tools'to be applied after drafting, not necessarily as indispensable prewriting heuristics or planning devices. Moreover, as Sharpies (1999) pointed out, for school-based genres such as essays and summaries, "making an outline or list in the head may be just as successful as doing it on paper" (p. 88). On the other hand, writers planning more extensive and complex texts (e.g., novels, business reports, research articles, theses, dissertations) are much more likely to need and use a hierarchically structured, formal outline. (p. 157)
It has often been reported, for example, that Ernest Hemingway rewrote the final page of A Farewell to Arms
On the other, it is daunting to realize that, because our students likely will not ignore our comments, the burden is on us to make sure that our feedback is helpful, or at least does no harm!