Writing Skills

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Explain why the writing skill is often perceived to be the most difficult language skill to master. To what extent can a genre approach to teaching writing help students master the skill of writing? Illustrate your answer with reference to teaching materials and specific teaching contexts.

1. Introduction
1.1 Background Information
English as a language with “special role” has own a world-wide status, by either regarded as the official language or taught superior to other languages as second or foreign language (Crystal, 2003). With its growing status, people are not simply satisfied with talking with each other in English. More and more focus has been put on mastering the basic four language skills which are: effective reading ability; fluency in communication; accuracy in listening and native-like writing ability. Compared with other three skills, writing is much more complex to acquire by learners as well as to teach by teachers. Cumming (1989) believes that there exist significant challenges in teaching writing to low level English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners. Belcher & Braine (1995) and Jordan (1997) add that not only EFL students with lower English proficiency, but students of higher learning level in tertiary education also have problems in mastering the writing skill. In addition, Bacha (2002) suggests that non-native English learners primarily have more difficulties in writing than other three linguistics skills. As influenced by the culture of the mother tongue, language learners may find it difficult to acquire writing skills through changing the vocabulary and sentence structures. Zhang (2001) states that many learners learn to write by translating words and filtering meanings from one language into another. When encountering academic or formal writing, the learner will be beaten by strong sense of depress for unable to organize the writing structure. However, even the native speakers need systematic guide and instructions to learn to write. Hence, it is worthwhile to analyze the reasons for writing being perceived as the most difficult skill. EFL teacher master a series of approach to teach writing which are the product approach, the process approach and the genre approach. Genre approach has become the contemporary dominant teaching approach and has aroused many popular issues (Myskow & Gordon, 2009). However it is still controversial. This particular essay aims to explore the possible reasons for writing skills being the most difficult skill to master. Meanwhile put emphasis on the genre approach to evaluate how helpful it is for students to master English writing skills with reference to specific teaching material and contexts. 1.2 Structure of the essay

This essay consists of three parts with a conclusion and references follows. Section one introduces the importance of exploring writing difficulties and evaluates the genre approach. Section two explores the reasons that writing is regarded as the most challenging skill to master, which in general can be divided into the requirement for the learners and the process of writing. Section three explains how and to what extent genre approach helps to enhance the writing skill by means of some teaching materials and teach contexts. 2. Exploring the writing skill

There are various factors that contribute to explain the difficulties in mastering writing skills, and several aspects should be taken into consideration including nature of writing, difficulties in writing process and the requirements and motivation of the learners. 2.1 Nature of writing

Gass (1997) summarizes that the four skills of language learning can be divided into input and output skills. Listening and reading belong to input skills because these two skills involve the processes of taking language in which means absorbing new linguistics knowledge and technique. And speaking and writing belong to output skills because these two skills involve the processes of...
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