A Brief Overview of Key Issues in Second Language Writing Teaching and Research

Azim Javadi-Safa


This paper briefly reviews the literature on writing skill in second language. It commences with a discussion on the importance of writing and its special characteristics. Then, it gives a brief account of the reasons for the weakness of students’ writing skill as well as addressing some of the most important topics in L2 writing studies ranging from disciplinary to interdisciplinary to metadisciplinary field of inquiry. In addition, it presents a historical sketch of L2 writing studies, consisting of approaches to teaching writing including behavioristic and contrastive rhetoric as well as discussing approaches to the study of writing including product-oriented, process-oriented, and post-process ones. It also introduces different types of feedback in writing consisting of peer feedback, conferences as feedback, teachers’ comments as feedback, and self-monitoring. Finally, it deals with holistic vs. analytic dichotomy in administration of writing assessment.


Second Language Writing, Behaviorist, Contrastive Rhetoric, Product Oriented, Process Oriented, Post Process, Feedback, Holistic, Analytic

Full Text:



Ahn, H. (2012). Teaching writing skills based on a genre approach to L2 primary school students: An action research. English Language Teaching, 5(2), 2.

Archibald, A. & Jeffery, G. (2000). Second language acquisition and writing: A multi-disciplinary approach. Learning and Instruction, 10, 1-11. Retrieved October 20, 2011 from www.elsevier.com/locate/learninstruc.

Arefi, M. (1997). The relationship between first and second language writing skills for Iranian students in Sydney: An application of the Interdependence Hypothesis. (Doctoral Dissertation).Nepean: University of Western Sydney. Retrieved January 18, 2011 from http://www.Irandoc.ac.ir

Aryadoust, V. (2010). Investigating writing sub-skills in testing English as a foreign language: A structural equation modeling study. The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 13(4), A-9. Retrieved January 22, 2012 from www.tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej52/a9.pdf

Astika, G. G. (1993). Analytical assessment of foreign students’ writing. RELC Journal, 24(1), 371-389.

Atkinson, D. (2003). L2 writing in the post-process era: Introduction. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12(1), 3–15. doi: 10.1016/S1060-3743(02)00123-6

Bartels, N. (2003). Written peer response in L2 writing. English Teaching Forum, 41(1), 34-37.

Blackmore-Squires, S. (2010). An investigation into the use of blog as a tool to improve writing in the second language classroom. (MA dissertation). Submitted to the University of Manchester. Retrieved August 10, 2011from http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/Thesis/Thesis-Squires.pdf

Brown, J. D., & Baily, K. M. (1984). A categorical instrument for scoring second language writing skills. Language Learning, 34(4), 21-42.

Btoosh, M. A. & Taweel, A. (2011). Contrastive Rhetoric: Inflation, verbal voices and polyphonic visibility in learners and native speakers’ academic writing. Asian EFL Journal, 13(3), 205-228. Retrieved October 15, 2011 from http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/PDF/September-2011.pdf

Byrd, D. R. (2003). Practical tips for implementing peer editing tasks in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals 36, 434-439.

Carlisle, R. S. (1986). The writing of Anglo and Hispanic fourth and sixth graders in regular, submersion, and bilingual programs. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Casanave, C. P. (2003). Looking ahead to more sociopolitically-oriented case study research in L2 writing scholarship (but should it be called “post-process”?). Journal of Second Language Writing, 12(1), 85–102. doi: 10.1016/S1060-3743(03)00002-X

Celce-Murcia, M. (1991). Language teaching methodology. London: Prentice Hall.

Charles, M. (1990). Responding to problems in written English using a student self-monitoring technique. ELT Journal, 44(4), 286-293.Chastain, K. (1988). Developing second language skills: Theory and practice. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Chow, T. V. F. (2007). The Effects of the Process-Genre Approach to Writing Instruction on the Essays of Form Six ESL Students in a Malaysian Secondary School. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation. Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Chuang, Y. (2009). Foreign language speaking assessment: Taiwanese college English teachers’ scoring performance in the holistic and analytic rating methods. Asian EFL Journal, 11(1), 150-173. Retrieved October 16, 2011 from http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/March_09_yyc.php

Clippard, D. (1998, Fall/Winter). Efficacy of Writers’ Workshop for students with significant writing deficits. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 13(1).

Connor, U. (1987). Research frontiers in writing analysis. TESOL Quarterly, 21(4), 677-696. Retrieved April 28, 2012 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3586989.

Connor, U. (1996). Contrastive rhetoric: Cross-cultural aspects of second-language writing. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Connor, U. (2001). Contrastive Rhetoric Redefined. Contrastive Rhetoric Revisited and Redefined. Ed., Clayann, Panetta, G. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum, 75-78.

Connor, U. (2002). New directions in contrastive rhetoric. TESOL Quarterly, 36(4), 493-510.

Cooper, C. R. (1983). Procedures for describing written texts. In P. Mosenthal., L. Tamor., &S. A. Walmsley (Eds.), Research on writing principles and methods (pp. 287-313) New York, London: Longman.

Couture, B. (1999). Modeling and emulating: Rethinking agency in the writing process. In T. Kent (Ed.), Post-process theory: Beyond the writing process paradigm (pp. 30–48). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Derakhshan, K. (1996). Effects of first language on second language writing - A preliminary contrastive rhetoric study of Farsi & English. Unpublished MA dissertation. Tehran: Allameh Tabatabai University. Retrieved March 15, 2011 from http://www.irandoc.ac.ir

Fazilatfar, A. M., Ilun, M. &Chenari, Z. (2017). Impact of Skill-Based Communicative Approach on Writing Skill of EFL Learners. International Journal of Scientific Study, 5(4), 55-66. Retrieved March 6, 2018 from https://www.ijss-sn.com/uploads/2/0/1/5/20153321/ijss-iran_jul_oa09_-_2017.pdf

Ferris, D. & Hedgcock, S. J. (2005). Teaching ESL Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice, 2nd ed. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Flower, L. & Hayes, J. R. (1981). A cognition process theory of writing. College Composition and Communication, 35, 365-387.

Foster, D. (1999). The challenge of contingency: Process and the turn to the social in composition. In T. Kent (Ed.), Post-process theory: Beyond the writing process paradigm (pp. 149–162). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Fujieda, Y. (2006). A brief historical sketch of second language writing studies: A retrospective. Kyoai Gakuen Maebashi Kokusai Daigaku Ronsyuu, 6, 59-72. Retrieved September 25, 2011 from www.kyoai.ac.jp/college/ronshuu/no-06/fujieda.pdf

Gamaroff, R. (2000). Rater reliability in language assessment: The bug of all bears. System, 28(1), 31-53.

Godwin-Jones, R. (2018). Second language writing online: An update. Language Learning & Technology, 22(1), 1–15. Retrieved March, 28, 2018 from https://dx.doi.org/10125/44574

Gupta, D. & Woldemariam, G. S. (2011). The influence of motivation and attitude on writing strategy use of undergraduate EFL students: Quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Asian EFL Journal, 13(2), 34-89. Retrieved September 5, 2011 from http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/PDF/June_2011.pdf

Hashemnezhad, H. & Hashemnezhad, N. (2012). A Comparative Study of Product, Process, and Post-process Approaches in Iranian EFL Students' Writing Skill. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(4), 722-729. Retrieved March 6, 2018 from http://www.academypublication.com/issues/past/jltr/vol03/04/18.pdf

Hawk, B. (2004). Toward a Post-Technê - Or, Inventing Pedagogies for Professional Writing. Technical Communication Quarterly, 13(4), 371–392. Retrieved March 5, 2018 from www.ericandjulia.org/5400/docs/hawk_post_techne.pdf.

Hayes, J. R. & Flower, L. (1980). Identifying the organization of writing Processes. In Gregg, L. W. & Steinberg, E. R. (Eds.), Cognitive Processes in Writing, Erlbaum, Hillsdale.

Herron, J. P. (2017). Moving Composition: Writing in a Mobile World. All Dissertations. 1986. Retrieved March 5, 2018 from http://tigerprints.clemson.edu/all_dissertations/1986.

Hinds, J. (1983). Contrastive Rhetoric: Japanese and English. Text 3 183-195.

Hinds, J. (1984). Retention of Information Using a Japanese Style of Presentation. Studies in Language 8, 45-69.

Homburg, T. J. (1984). Holistic evaluation of ESL composition: Can it be validated objectively? TESOL Quarterly, 18, 87-107.

Howard, R. M. (2001). Collaborative pedagogy. In G. Tate, A. Rupiper, & K. Schick (Eds.), A guide to composition pedagogies (pp. 54–70). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Hunt, K. W. (1977). Early blooming and late blooming syntactic structure. In C.R. Cooper and L. Odell (Eds.), Evaluating writing: Describing, measuring, judging. Urbana, Ill.: National Council of Teachers of English.

Hyland, K. (1990). Providing productive feedback. ELT Journal, 44(4), 279-285.Hymes, D. (1962). The Ethnography of Speaking. In T. Gladwin & W. C. Sturtevant (Eds.), Anthropology and Human Behavior (pp. 13–53). Washington, DC: Anthropology Society of Washington.

Hymes, D. (1966). On 'Anthropological Linguistics' and Congeners. American Linguistic Anthropology 68, 143-153.

Jacobs, H. L., Zinkgarf, S. A., Wormuth, D. R., Hartfiel, V. F., & Hughey, J.B. (1981). Testing ESL composition: A practical approach. Rowley, MA: Newbery House.

Johari, S. K. (2018). The Effects of Task-Based Process Writing Approach on the Academic Writing Skills among Second Language Tertiary Learners. Journal of ELT Research, 3 (1), 1-20. Retrieved March 28, 2018 from https://journal.uhamka.ac.id/index.php/jer/article/view/1064/400

Kalan, A. (2014). A Practice-Oriented Definition of Post-Process Second Language Writing Theory. TESL Canada Journal, 32(1), 1-18. Retrieved March 2, 2018 from http://www.teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1196/1016.

Kaplan, R. B. (1966). Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education. Language Learning, 16,1-20.

Keh, C. L. (1990). Feedback in the writing process: a model and methods for implementation.

ELT Journal, 44(4), 294-304. Retrieved April 3, 2018 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/elt/44.4.294

Kobayashi, H. (1985). Rhetorical Patterns in English and Japanese. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved March 25, 2018 fromhttps://goo.gl/vP2ncY

Kubota, R. (1997). A Reevaluation of the Uniqueness of Japanese Written Discourse. Written Communication, 14, 460-480.

Kubota, R. (1999). Japanese Culture Constructed by Discourses: Implications for Applied Linguistics Research and ELT. TESOL Quarterly33, 9-35.

Leki, I. (1991). Twenty-Five Years of Contrastive Rhetoric: Text Analysis and Writing Pedagogies. TESOL Quarterly 25, 123-143.

Lloyd-Jones, R. (1977). Primary trait scoring. In C.R. Cooper and L. Odell (Eds.), Evaluating writing: Describing, measuring, judging. Urbana,Ill.: National Council of Teachers of English.

Luoma, S. (2004). Assessing speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mangubhai, F. (2005). What can EFL Teachers Learn from Immersion Language Teaching? The Asian EFL Journal, 7(4), 203-212.

Matsuda, P. K. (1998). Situating ESL writing in a cross-disciplinary context. Written Communication, 15, 99–121.

Matsuda, P. K. (2003). Process and post-process: A Discursive History. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12(1). Retrieved March 5, 2018 from https://goo.gl/2q6opb

Matsuda, P. K., Canagarajah, A. S., Harklau, L., Hyland, K. &Warschauer, M. (2003). Changing Currents in Second Language Writing Research: A colloquium. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 151–179.

McDonough, J. & Shaw, C. (2003). Materials and Methods in ELT. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

McLeod, S. (1987). Some thoughts about feelings: The affective domain and the writing process. College Composition and Communication, 38(4), 426-435.

McLuhan, M., & Fiore, Q. (1967). The medium is the message. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

McNamara, T. F. (1996). Measuring second language performance. NY: Longman. Daiker, D., Kerek, A., & Morenberg, M. (1978). Sentence combining and syntactic maturity in freshman English. College Composition and Communication, 19(1), 36- 41.

Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Mickan, P. & Slater, S. (2003). Text analysis and the assessment of academic writing. Research Report No. 4, IELTS Australia.

Mullany, L. & Stockwell, P. (2010). Introducing English language: A Resource book for students. New York: Routledge.

Mullen, K. A. (1977). Using rater judgments in the evaluation of writing proficiency for non - native speakers of English. In H. D. Brown, C. A. Yorio, & R. H. Crymes (Eds.), Teaching and learning English as a second language: Trends in research and practice (pp. 309 -332). Washington, DC: TESOL.

Obeid, R. (2017). Second Language Writing and Assessment: Voices from Within the Saudi EFL Context. English Language Teaching, 10(6), 174-181. Retrieved March 27, 2018 from http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/elt/article/view/68492/37150

Raims, A. (1991). Out of the Woods: Emerging Traditions in the Teaching of Writing. TESOL Quarterly 25(3), 407-430.

Ramanathan, V. & Atkinson, D. (1998). Individualism, Academic Writing, and ESL Writers. Journal of Second Language Writing 8, 45-75.

Reid, J. (2001). Writing. The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. R, Carter, and D. Nunan (pp. 60-65). Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Ruegg, R & Sugiyama, Y. (2010). Do analytic measures of content predict scores assigned for content in timed writing? Melbourne Papers in Language Testing, 15(1), 70-91.

Rusinovci, X. (2015). Teaching Writing through Process-Genre Based Approach. US-China Education Review, 5(10), 699-705. Retrieved March 4 2018 from http://www.davidpublisher.org/Public/uploads/Contribute/564943e786db7.pdf.

Scollon, R. (1997). Contrastive rhetoric, contrastive poetics, or perhaps something else? TESOL Quarterly, 31(2), 352-358.

Shaw, S., & Falvey, P. (2008). The IELTS writing assessment revision project: Towards a revised rating scale. Research Reports No. 1. University of Cambridge ESOL examinations. Retrieved January 18, 2011 from http://www.cambridgeesol.org/assets/pdf/research_reports_01.pd

Sheppard, K. (1992). Two feedback types: Do they make a difference?. RELC Journal, 23(1), 103-110.

Simin, S. & Tavangar, M. (2009). Metadiscourse knowledge and use in Iranian EFL writing. Asian EFL Journal, 11(1), 230-255. Retrieved October 16, 2011 from http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/March_2009.pdf

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.6n.2p.15


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.