The Writing of Non-English Background Students-Part 2: The Study of the Chinese-Background Students. Final Report.Report as inadecuate

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A study investigated the writing of incipient bilinguals (students who were in the initial process of acquiring a second language). A total of four Chinese-speaking children were chosen for final, in-depth study over a 2-year period at a middle school in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Data included initial interviews and observations, assessments of English language proficiency, classroom and school observations, written products produced inside and outside of school, and interviews with students and school personnel. Results indicated that: (1) the students encountered problems in adjustment and language learning shared with other immigrant students, but also faced complex challenges peculiar to their own age bracket of 12- to 14-year-olds; (2) the students' native-language proficiency could be considerably more advanced than was generally recognized; (3) the English language development of the students proceeded very unevenly, contradicting the widespread notion that English development proceeds in a listening-speaking-reading-writing sequence; (4) students' writing products showed that considerable problems with English morphology and syntax coexisted with highly developed organizational and cognitive skills; (5) writing instruction based on audiolingual-type assumptions about the nature of language learning had an inhibitory if not retarding effect on some students' writing; (6) extremely high motivation to learn English coexisted with high motivation to associate with fellow Chinese speakers; and (7) at the end of two years, all students made some progress, but all were far from exhibiting native-like control of English. (Fourteen figures of students' writing and drawings are included.) (RS)

Descriptors: Achievement Gains, Case Studies, Chinese Americans, Educational Background, English (Second Language), Junior High School Students, Junior High Schools, Language Proficiency, Limited English Speaking, Non English Speaking, Second Language Learning, Writing Achievement, Writing Improvement, Writing Instruction, Writing Research

Author: Wong, Sau-ling; Zou, John


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