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Culturally

Speaking
A newsletter dedicated to educational, linguistic, and cultural topics April 2017

Writing Myths

Joy Reid, an ESL instructor with more than 40


years of teaching experience, contacted col-
leagues with extensive writing experience to
contribute to her book titled, Writing Myths:
Applying Second Language Research to Classroom
Teaching.

In her chapter, Reid focused on five hidden


student myths about writing, explained how
instructors perpetuate the myths, then offered
suggestions on ways to replace the myth with
truth.

The next few newsletters will focus on these


writing myths.

Myth #1—The Grammar Myth (pp. 180-181)

According to the author, stu- critical thinking, utilizing According to the author, in-
dents often equate good perfect grammar and me- structors contribute to this
grammar with good writing. chanics. Most instructors student myth by believing it
Most instructors would agree would also agree that such a themselves, by providing ex-
that good grammar is certain- product is not good writing. cess correction and comment
ly a feature of good writing; on grammar items, and by not
however, it is only one com- Reid reminds us that “[a]t providing students with strate-
ponent. most, language structure/ gies to correct themselves or
grammar is as important as requiring them to use such
It is entirely possible to write (a) content and (b) organiza- strategies.
a research paper that contains tion” (p. 180).
little organized content or

Newsletter created by: Danielle Bergez, Academic Liaison for International Student Support, danielle.d.bergez@wilmu.edu
Page 2 Culturally Speaking

What can instructors do?

 Ensure that feedback on written work concerns the  Expect students to make corrections on highlight-
content and organization as much as, if not more ed area and then proof the rest of the paper for
than, the grammar. similar errors.
 If the instructor chooses to provide feedback on  Make sure students know how to submit a paper
grammar, focus only on those that impede compre- to Smart Thinking and where to go to reach tu-
hension and are “treatable.” tors at the Student Success Center.
 Don’t mark the entire paper. Focus on one para-  To emphasize the importance of content, organi-
graph, highlight errors, but don’t correct them. zation, and grammar, make sure the breakdown
of grading reflects all three to extent to which

Online Resources

www.grammarly.com – Grammar check and writing support that requires a sign-up, but is free

http://blog.wilmu.edu/writing/category/grammar/ - Links to numerous grammar resources

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/ - Purdue OWL’s section on general writing, including links to grammar


and mechanics issues

Reference

Reid, J. (2008). Writing myths: Applying second language re-


search to classroom teaching. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Uni-
versity Press.

Newsletter created by: Danielle Bergez, Academic Liaison for International Student Support, danielle.d.bergez@wilmu.edu