Patterns of text in teacher education

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Editors’ introduction <br />The focus of the contribution by Edge and Wharton is pedagogical, like that of Darnton. However, as a contributionthis is unusual, in that it recounts a narrative and provides a detailed outline of teacher education as opposed toanalysing a text or a set of texts. What guides Edge and Wharton is the possibility of applying Hoey’s (1979,1983) Situation — Problem — Response — Evaluation (SPRE) model; first, with Turkish andNamibian trainee teachers who benefited from seeing SPRE as a guide for reading with enhanced comprehension;later, and taking up the bulk of the contribution, with mostly British and American students taking an MSc in TESOLin Britain, who used SPRE as a guide to writing assignments or publishable papers. <br />The article describes in some detail the steps their students took, guided by the developing ideas of Edge andWharton over a ten year timeframe. Of particular interest is the detailed explanation of how the components S, P, R,E relate to the generation of text. Some of the linkages described are “endophoric”, in thatthey connect features of S to P or E to R within the existing and developing text. Other relations discussed by Edge andWharton are “exophoric”, linking elements of structure to the world outside the text, e.g. in claimingnewness, a claim most writers wish to make. The emphasis throughout is facilitatory: these are not rigid taskframeworks but guides which facilitate the growth of each learner’s writing. <br />A major question which arises is “why should this be so necessary?”. <br /> It is readily accepted in the field that the problems of reading and writing are not reducible to problems ofgrammar and lexis: it is not uncommon to find a chunk of text which contains familiar grammar and lexis yet isincomprehensible (such as on coming into the middle of a conversation, or to take Bolívar’s case in thisvolume, reading an editorial on a topic where one does not know the underlying story), so it cannot be newsworthy,within Applied Linguistics, that students’ problems often lie elsewhere. Useful places to look beyond lexis andgrammar are the notion of schema (Rumelhart 1984) or SPRE (Hoey 1979, 1983). These provide frameworks whichstructure the reader’s knowledge, in the case of the schema, and the overall text architecture in the case ofSPRE, as Edge and Wharton show. <br /> The point, though, is that students themselves may not have realised that their problems are not exclusivelyto do with lack of knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Students of English as a foreign language know that theyneed more vocabulary and better control of grammar; students whose L1 is English may simply know that writing is“tricky”. Without awareness-raising, though, we none of us have the mental“tools” to describe and solve our problems. <br />The value of the approach described here, then, is arguably that the procedures enabled students to thinkabout their own reading and writing, to become aware of the role of information in building and structuring anargument. The problem, in a sense, is not “how do I say it?” but “what shall Isay?”.


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