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Rethinking Process-Based Writing Approaches in the ESOL Middle School Classroom: Developing Linguistic Fluency via Hybrid Pedagogies

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Abstract

This article calls for a rethinking of pure process-based approaches in the teaching of second language writers in the middle school classroom. The author provides evidence from a detailed case study of the writing of a Korean middle school student in a U.S. school setting to make a case for rethinking the efficacy of classic process-based approaches to English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) writing pedagogy at this level. Proposing hybrid and recursive rather than linear and static methodologies based on second language acquisition research, the author calls for the use of modeling strategies to provide students with the necessary practice, conscious awareness, and eventual automaticity of key formal and functional details of writing. The article presents a visual model of writing instruction, blending graphic and acronym-based strategies to enhance rhetorical fluency and grammatical accuracy in multifarious expository genres within and across grade levels in middle school. The article provides evidence from middle school ESOL writing to propose an action-based model of bottom-up teaching. The author argues that a detailed inductive focus on morphology, grammar, paragraph-based discourse structure, and thesis statement construction, taught via individualized workshop configurations in the ESOL writing classroom, will in fact trigger advanced writing fluency in newcomer populations.

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