Teaching and assessment of persuasive writing: juggling the language features and grasping the metalanguage

Article


O'Neill, Shirley. 2012. "Teaching and assessment of persuasive writing: juggling the language features and grasping the metalanguage." International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning. 7 (1), pp. 84-98. https://doi.org/10.5172/ijpl.2012.7.1.84
Article Title

Teaching and assessment of persuasive writing: juggling the language features and grasping the metalanguage

ERA Journal ID39917
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorO'Neill, Shirley
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Pedagogies and Learning
Journal Citation7 (1), pp. 84-98
Number of Pages15
Year2012
Place of PublicationMaleny, Australia
ISSN1833-4105
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5172/ijpl.2012.7.1.84
Web Address (URL)http://jpl.e-contentmanagement.com/archives/vol/7/issue/1/article/4925/teaching-and-assessment-of-persuasive-writing
Abstract

Being able to write persuasively has always been important. This skill is central to a range of genres such as comparative analysis, editorial or discussion. It is argued to be the written genre that students will meet most frequently as they progress through their schooling (NAPLAN, 2010) and its mastery continues to be of paramount importance to passing high stakes/gate-keeping tests of English and being able to engage with tertiary studies (Wollman-Bonilla, 2004). Compared with writing a narrative the persuasive written text requires an understanding and application of specific persuasive devices as well as particular knowledge and understanding of the context in question. This draws attention to the need for the design of assessment tasks to firstly take account of students' background knowledge. Similarly, teachers need give priority to the explicit teaching of the associated language features, which in turn demands students' acquisition of the metalanguage involved. This research examined thirty-five Taiwanese high school students' responses to a persuasive writing task based on the task, criteria and descriptive data used for the Australian national test of literacy (NAPLAN, 2011a). Responding to 'Learning a language is better than learning a sport' students' scripts showed a range of performance but overall strong evidence of understanding the persuasive genre and the ability to apply persuasive devices. These devices included use of personal opinion, appeals to reader's logic or values, conditional and emphatic statements, and ability to temper or modify their argument.

Keywordsenglish as a foreign language; language assessment; persuasive writing; EFL high school students
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470307. English language
390104. English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
390402. Education assessment and evaluation
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Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Education
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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