5. Teaching foreign language writing is essential at all levels of language study.
The writing process, affect, fluency, and grammar all influence composition outcomes or written
products, and thus it is important to explore these issues specifically.
The L2 Writing Process
Foreign language writing theory and practice has drawn much from L1 research. Models
specific to L2 writing contexts and research are tenuous at best, and are often still strongly based
on the perspective of English language learners as opposed to English speakers learning other
languages. Although English as a second language (ESL) and foreign language environments
may differ, the nature of learning a second language or second language acquisition is similar.
Efforts have been made to develop theories of second language writing that distinguish the
differences as compared to writing in one's first or native language. This is the case of Grabe
(2001) who highlights primarily cultural differences encountered by English language learners.
Specific to foreign language learning, Valdes, Haro, and Echevarriarza (1992) also attempt a
move toward a general theory of L2 writing, stating that the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines are
not based on descriptions of L2 writing process and thus are not the most effective tool for
evaluating L2 writing in spite of the fact that they, along with National Standards, frequently
serve as the inspiration for curricula as well as benchmarks for student achievement.
However, some research on the writing process specific to foreign languages has been
conducted. Jannausch (2001/2002) had as participants six students in a German composition
class, and the goal was to explore their writing processes. Methods of data collection included
think-aloud protocols, questionnaires exploring their motivation, L2 learning history, experience
in L1 and L2 writing and foreign language writing anxiety, the written products, and observation
of their behavior in class. The students appeared to all rely on English as their native language to
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 December 13, 2013.