An Analysis of English Majors’ Writing Ability and

Topics: Critical thinking, Language education, Second language acquisition Pages: 7 (2019 words) Published: December 10, 2010

An Analysis of English Majors’ Writing Ability and
Improvement Strategies: A Case Study on ZUCC English
Majors’ TEM-4/8 Performances

1. Purpose and Significance
Thanks to the globalization, the demand for the bilingual workers is on the rise. As English majors, we believe that what we can do to be more competitive in this increasingly globalized world is to have a solid command of this language. The certificates such as TEM-8 (Test for English Majors Band Eight) are a must but what really matters is what ability the students really have possessed and could be employed at ease. Upon reflecting on the TEM-4 (Test for English Majors Band Four) /TEM-8 scores the seniors have acquired, we clearly learn that there is still quite a room for improvement, especially when it comes to writing. Some students still find it tough to put pen into the paper and work out a satisfactory essay; some are hard-pressed to express themselves smoothly in the writing; still some tend to produce Chin-glish works. Actually, all these are standing in the way of global communication and cultural interaction, which may be a major part in our future work. Therefore, English majors should place high value on honing this skill, not only for juggling exams but also for the sake of our future career. This paper tries to analyze the writing ability of the English majors, who have spent the four years specializing in English learning, especially ZUCC-ers while focusing on rendering improvement skills and strategies that are feasible and effective. This paper also suggests the gap between what we have achieved and what we should achieve, judging from the standards set in TEM-4/TEM-8 and the test scores the seniors gained in the previous TEM-4/ TEM-8 exams, which, I believe, will not only facilitate our understanding of the goals, the rating standards of TEM-4/TEM-8 and the expectations our educators place on us, but also serve as the guide for our academic advisors, whose instructions definitely play a pivotal role in our progress. And with a heightened awareness of the importance of writing on the part of the students and the more attention paid to the training of particular writing skills on the part of the teachers, English majors’ writing ability will surely be raised.

2. Current Literature Review
According to Wanxiaohui(万晓卉),grammar, syntax and wording errors as well as the lack in writing skills training are what hamper the improvement of English Majors’ writing ability. Also, in Gaocaifeng(高彩凤),Xujie(徐洁),and Bairuifang(白瑞芳)’s article, we clearly learn that the gap between outstanding English learners and poor ones looms especially large when it comes to writing and several factors should take the blame. “Those who spend more time in mapping out the overall structure in the preliminary writing stage tend to yield better works but a great many students are likely to use L1 in the L2 writing. Meanwhile, we educators may have paid too much attention to the grammar and structure, while ignoring the importance of relevant skills’ training” (24). Undoubtedly, writing is a complicated task that encompasses the input of knowledge, output of ideas and thoughts, as well as the usage of particular skills that could make the structure more logical and the content more exciting. It is also assured by Jean Wyrick who claims that good writers are made—simply because effective writing is a skill that can be learned. He also renders some pump-primer techniques that we could employ in our writing, say, listing, free-writing, looping, interviewing, dramatizing the subject and sketching. As English majors, who are supposed to outperform other students, we should spend more time in trying on various means and reach out for the feasible and practical skills for our own use. For instance, as Wyrick mentioned in the book Steps to Writing Well, writing a good thesis and developing paragraphs in logical terms can always serve the purpose well,...

References: [1] Campbell, Cherry. Teaching Second Language Writing: Interacting with Text [M]. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2004.
[3] How to Write a Good Thesis Statement. [EB/OL] Writing Tutorial Services. 2008. Indiana University Bloomington. 1March 2010
[7] Oak, Manali. Developing Your Critical Thinking Skills [A]. Buzzle Articles [EB/OL]. 1 Jan. 2010.
[10] Rosenwasser, David, and Jill Stephen. Writing Analytically [M]. Beijing: Peking University Press, 2004.
[11] Twin, Mark
[12] Tardiff, Elyssa, and Allen Brizee. Creating a Thesis Statement. [EB/OL] Purdue On-line Writing Lab. 2010. Purdue University. 17 August 2010
[13] Wyrick, Jean. Steps to Writing Well [M]. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth Press, 2005.
[14] Wendy, Bishop
[15] Xiao Fushou. English Composition Pedagogy: Principles and Strategies [M]. Shanghai: Shanghai University Press, 2007.
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