Writing in L1
Many educators, researchers and philosophers have made high claims for the value of
writing. Writing has been acclaimed not only as a means of showing learning but also as an
avenue in itself by which meaning can be constructed and learning thus occurs (Ruggles Gere,
1985; Atwell, 1998). Writing can serve both aesthetic (personal) and efferent (academic)
purposes. Writing and interaction with the written word form a vital part of everyday life.
Pragmatic uses include reading the newspaper, writing a note to the teacher at school or
composing a report for work. Writing is stressed in scholarly settings as well. The College Board
added a writing section to the Scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT) in order to emphasize the
importance of writing throughout a student's education. In a recent ad campaign by the College
Board promoting the new SAT with Writing, an appeal is made which supports both the
academic and the visceral elements of writing, to inspire passion and action for writing:
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must
write it." Toni Morrison
"A writer ought to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable." Mark Twain
These sentiments reflect the idea expressed by Cheng (2002) that "writing is an emotional as
well as cognitive activity, that is, we think and feel while we are writing" (p. 647). To many,
writing is an intangible and complex process. The Romanian-born writer and Nobel Laureate
Elie Wiesel (Columbia, 1996) stated:
Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the
reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to
make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.
Oxford, Raquel Malia Nitta. Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4688/. Accessed April 19, 2014.