Process Writing

Question 1: What is Process Writing?

  • Process writing is a natural set of steps that writers take to create a finished piece of work.
  • It is a process of organizing ideas and creativity through text.
  • The focus of process writing is on process, not on the end-product.
  • It is useful for all skill levels, from children to published authors, to develop an authentic, creative work.
  • It breaks the act of writing into steps:
    • Prewriting (generating ideas): deciding purpose and audience;planning, brainstorming, clustering, mapping, outlining, reading, thinking, freewriting, jotting, discussing, researching, journal, trying, discovering, etc.
    • Drafting (putting ideas down into form)
    • Conference (getting reader feedback).
    • Revising (rethinking and editing; mini lessons).
    • Proofreading (finding and fixing mistakes, correcting mechanics).
    • Publishing (sharing with audience).
  • The above steps do not exist in a linear way. Writers sometimes go back and forth among steps.
  • The application of process writing can take various forms: writers' workshop, writing across the curriculum, the use of journals or logs, and modeled writing.

Question 2: What is the place of process writing in the broader topic of assessment?

  • Instead of assessing writing after it is published, process writing may be assessed through all the different steps.
  • In order for a student to be graded for their writing, they need to have all of the steps discussed, mastered and applied to their writing.
  • Process writing is not a form of assessment as much as it is a tool to develop writing and communication skills.
  • When process writing is used with computers, a more authentic assessment of student's writing process can occur because students, especially younger children, do not have the added stress of correct letter formation and spelling.
  • By focusing on the act of creating, rather than the physical act of writing, process writing frees the student to concentrate on communication.
  • Process writing encourages students to engage in assessment of their own writing and the use of process writing on computers facilitates this.
  • Process writing moves away from the concept of a "one-time" final assessment and towards assessment as a continuous process that begins when the writing process begins.

Question 3: What are the benefits of Process Writing?

  • Process writing takes students at their point of need and allows them to work through a step-by-step process to succeed at their own pace.
  • It often gives writers choice of topic and direction, because writers will be more passionate about something in which they are interested.
  • During the planning stage, writers take time to reflect on their knowledge and experiences, so they may better express themselves and support their ideas in their writing.
  • For second/foreign language students, process writing provides a forum for expression without the frustration of language mechanics and form.
  • It allows students to first focus on ideas for writing that are personal to them, and then gives them time to review, revise, peer edit, so they can reflect on form and vocabulary after the ideas are in place.
  • It supports communication and feedback from peers and teachers.
  • It helps students practice how to voice their concerns about their work in a safe environment, the classroom .
  • It encourages students to develop their knowledge of the topic, so they can be better writers.
  • It helps students who are afraid of writing by themselves to start their own writing by following the steps systematically.
  • It gives learners feedbacks in the process of writing. They learn how to write with different focuses on every stage.
  • Learners receive feedbacks not only on the structures in the end, but also on the content and ideas while working on writing.

Question 4: What are the benefits of the technologies that support Process Writing?

SOFTWARE

Microsoft Word

  • It allows students to write and easily edit their writing by using cut, paste and delete functions.
  • It has a spell checker that will underline and suggest corrections for errors.
  • It also has a synonym function that suggests similar words for writers to choose from.
  • It contains a tool called “Track Changes”, located on the Reviewing toolbar, which allows users to easily edit a paper by inserting comments and delete words.

E-mail Tools

  • It helps students communicate with one another to share and generate ideas.
  • It allows teachers and students to give feedback continuously in the process of writing.
  • It also can provide a channel for writers to "publish" their work and share with real audiences from the world.

Inspiration

  • It includes curriculum packets for a wide variety of topics including overviews and guides for entire classroom units, lists educational standards and target grade levels, and suggests classroom applications (Grade 6 to adult depending on the topic).
  • Includes many visual aids and diagrams to help with critical thinking and planning a paper/project.
  • The persuasive writing unit, for example, includes writing outlines and diagrams, peer editing templates and many helpful examples.

Mind Manager

  • This is a resource that can be used to structure simple compositions to complex graduate and professional-level papers and projects.
  • It helps create clear outlines to map the organization of papers/projects.
  • Links to information files or webpages can be stored directly as part of the outline.
  • The outline can be easily manipulated. One can easily relocate large branches of information on the map.

Whitesmoke

  • It provides various functions to enrich writing such as a dictionary, grammar correction, spell check, editing and proofreading.
  • It provides different versions for business, medical, legal, and creative writing.
  • It corrects punctuation throughout the text.
  • While working on any type of software in the desktop, it can correct and edit your writing any time just by pressing the F2 button. It's quite easy to use.

StyleWriter

  • Offers alternatives and suggestions to keep your documents simple.
  • Access is easy, just click on the StyleWriter button from your word processor's toolbar.
  • Instant analysis allows you to update your document as you are writing it.
  • Analysis and rating is adjusted depending on the type of document you are writing.

ONLINE RESOURCES

Online Dictionaries

  • These online dictionaries usually provide definitions, synonyms and sample sentences.
  • Some websites include a thesaurus and encyclopedia, so students can get more information on a word.
  • Some online dictionaries are created especially for ESL students such as The Longman dictionary (http://www.ldoceonline.com/) .Not only does it give definitions and sample sentences, it also provides collocations and phrasal verbs.

Guidelines and Checklists

  • It provides useful guidelines or checklists for students who do process writing. They usually come in the form of questions that students have to ask themselves when editing and proofreading their papers.
  • Students can learn to assess and edit their own writing.
  • If some students do not understand what some words in process writing mean, some websites provide handouts that will gives students more explanation.

Interactive Websites

  • These websites provide interactive tools that help students generate ideas when they write.
  • They are often very appealing in terms of offering intereresting content for writing practice.
  • They have potential to stimulate learner creativity and motivation for writing.



Questions 5: What are the drawbacks of Process Writing?


  • It may become frustrating for students to have to continue working on the same piece of writing; editing and reviewing it until it is right.
  • It takes a large amount of class time. Given the responsibilities of elementary and secondary teachers to make sure students are mastering skills and passing standardized tests, utilizing every minute of class time is very important. Some teachers and administrators might feel that process writing is a waste of precious class time, especially since most of the writing on standardized tests does not follow the basic process writing format.
  • Assessment, which must be done outside of class by the instructor, can be time-consuming.
  • If using peer review, it must be carefully planned with regard to matching of peers to avoid negative social reactions. Also peer review may require extensive training of peer editors.
  • In classrooms without access to computers, process writing can be undwieldy and cumbersome, particularly for younger students.
  • It may be difficult, especially for younger students, to differentiate between personal writing styles and ineffective communication.



Questions 6: What are the drawbacks of the technologies that support Process Writing?


SOFTWARE

Microsoft Word

  • The spell check and grammar check functions are sometimes not reliable. They sometimes incorrectly indicate words/phrases as errors, and it sometimes does not even recognize errors.
  • The synonym function does not provide definitions, so students have to check for definitions again from a dictionary.
  • It cannot read the context of the writing. So the synonym word does not match the context sometimes.
  • It only checks grammar errors and it cannot distinguish the subtle nuances of expressions as long as they are grammatically correct.
  • The automatic formatting function usually does the opposite of what you want it to do, so you should consider turning it off.
  • It is part of the Microsoft Office suite, so you must have this or purchase it.

E-mail Tools

  • The content of e-mail messages might contain "casual" tones, which tends to use relatively colloguial languages.
  • Some students, especially young children, might not have an e-mail address.
  • Only effective if both parties send and receieve in a timely fashion.

Inspiration

  • This is not a free resource, ranging from about $50 to several hundred dollars depending on the package.
  • It may be difficult to adapt a given package unit to specific classroom levels and needs.

Mind Manager

  • This is also not a free resource, ranging in price from about $200 to $350.
  • While it is user-friendly including tutorials on its many features, this software may require substantial training for students to use it confidently.

Whitesmoke

  • It cannot interpret the context of writing. As long as the sentence is grammatically correct, it cannot detect awkward expressions or sentences.
  • The editing and proofreading is at word level, similar to MS-Word. It cannot correct phrases.
  • This is not a free resource, either. It costs $75 for an original version.

StyleWriter

  • Time will be needed to fully appreciate the functions of this program.
  • Seems too complicated to use with younger students.
  • This software is not free, it costs about $145.

ONLINE RESOURCES

Online Dictionaries

  • Some online dictionaries give limited definitions and do not provide enough explanation for each definition. Therefore, an ESL student may have to consult another dictionary to understand those definitions.
  • Online dictionaries for ESL students contain mostly words that are in their everyday life. They do not contain more difficult words that may rarely appear in their everyday life.

Guidelines and Checklists

  • Some of the guidelines and checklists are very detail oriented. Students may need to spend a lot of time if they want to go over all the questions.
  • Some students, especially lower level students, may need some training to use these guidelines and checklists before they use them on their own.
  • Many guidelines and checklists are designed for teachers or raters. So it is not easy for lower-level students to apply the guidelines to improve their writing.

Interactive Websites

  • The writing prompts that are generated may not always make logical sense. Students sometimes have to heavily rely on their own imagination to be able to connect random ideas or sentences.
  • The websites listed in the resources here do not seem to allow the writer to supply his/her own topic.
  • The paragraph writing that writing prompts are given has no feedback or comments about students' writing. .



Question 7: Resources

About Process Writing



Software


Online Dictionaries


Guidelines and Checklists



Interactive Websites