Edited by Kris Van den Branden and Machteld Verhelst
[ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics 152] 2006
► pp. 111–126
Motivating Writing Education
Writing can turn into a real passion. However, teaching and learning writing skills is hardly ever the most motivating component of a language curriculum. Writing currricula (i) are often purely skill oriented -at the expense of more cognitive and metacognitive aspects-, (ii) involving oneto- one communication using traditional tools, (iii) lacking clearly differentiated and sequenced goals per "level", (iv) fail to be embedded in a research environment, and (v) are seldom related to an overall view on language acquisition and learning.
Inspired by our view on language learning, called "entorno M@estro" -a learning environment which should be Motivador, Agradablemente Academico - pleasant & academic-, Ecologico (1), Semi-integrado, Traslucido -transparent-, Rutinario and Omnimodo -with multiple means-, the ElektraRed-team combined existing and personal software applications in order to turn the teaching and learning process into a blended learning group travel from the smallest linguistic components (letters & words), over chunks of words, collocations, propositions, paragraphs, to a wide variety of text types, a task-based journey where coaches help learners to discover, train and improve their own strengths and weaknesses in comparison with their colleagues and their own former output. Making use of multimedia enabled us also to compare writing results between various levels and training centres, and to classify writing topics and problems according to training levels. In this article we will present the aims and results of our two-year experiment focussing on innovation in writing education through the use of multimedia. We will show how the results of our experiment allow us now to differentiate, and sequence preferential topics per level. Our ultimate aim with the innovation was to make students write better and ... with passion, as well as make teachers enjoy their jobs even more.