I chose the topic that correct thinking lead to correct writing—think in English the essential ability for improving EFl learner’s English writing skills, based on several reasons.
First of all, the nature of the language tells us that languages are the expression forms of the thoughts. Especially written form of the language requires even more explicit and creative thinking process. Zamel(1982) proposed that writing is a process of exploring one’s thoughts and learning from the act of writing itself what these thoughts are. Before every linguistic and metacognitive knowledge, before every writing skills and teaching approaches, English writing has to be the expression of English thoughts at the first place, if the thought doesn’t exist there is no expression of it, in other word if an EFL does not have the ability to think in English, then the person has no ability to compose in English. Some researchers consider that write in L1 and then translate into English as a strategy for English writing. This is a misperception of English writing, in the sense this approach against the nature of the language. For example if an EFL first write in L1 which is Chinese then translate the writing into English , this learner actually did two thing, first write in Chinese the whole composition process was done by think in Chinese, then he translate it into English . In this process does the person really write in English or he just translates the other language into English. During the whole process, the only thing he did which is relate to English was translating, can this be perceived as one of the strategies for English writing, may be not because it is not an English writing at the first place. The result of examine the current studies which done by L1 English experts and EFL experts is that the notion of think in English -- the essential factor for improving EFL learner’s English writing ability has not attracted enough attention and this lead to the second reason for choosing the topic.
In the area of EFL English writing, most of influential researchers are themselves native English speakers. That makes thinking in English a nature process which can be easily ignored by them. Researchers who has English as their mother tones tend to take EFL English writing researches into more technical level, such as different approaches toward writing teaching or they try to exam the roles played by linguistic and metacognitive knowledge in English writing. A great deal has been learnt about writing from studying how native speakers acquire composing skills , the emergence of EFL writing as a sub—discipline has opened new theoretical perspective, research methods and pedagogical strategies. Particularly instructive has been the work on the differences between L1 and EFL writing practices, the significance of cultural background to writing , and the nature of EFL texts. (ken hyland) the current view of the EFL writing has been one of the sub—discipline of the L1 writing. When comes to the differences, cultural background to writing is mainly count. And the nature of EFL texts is apparently from the perspective of production analysis, however in this area the enough attention should be diverted from the productions to the productors, that is the different mind set and the thinking power-- the ability to think in the target language really count. Because the native experts do not preserve the essential difference between L1 and EFL writing, as they treat EFL writing as a sub—discipline, consequently the teaching approaches for EFL English proposed by native experts do not have that much differences from those proposed for L1 writing qualitatively speaking. Over the last 20 years, process and product approaches have dominated much of the teaching of writing that happens in the EFL classroom. In the last ten years, genre approaches have gained adherents (e.g. swales 1990, Tribble 1996, Gee 1997).what is product approach, it sees writing as being primarily about linguistic knowledge, with attention focused on the appropriate use of vocabulary, syntax, and cohesive devices.(Pincas 1982b) this approach has no special content to imply why and how it is going to work for EFL learners in fact this is the way how L1 learners are taught in writing classes. It is impossible for native English speakers to think from the position of an EFL. Consequently the researches and theories proposed by them are not going to be very helpful for solving the problems EFL learners facing.
My third reason for choosing the topic is that EFL researchers are not taking active roles in the area of EFL English writing instructions as they supposed to. Most of EFL researchers have followed the native expert’s ideas, the current researches done by the EFL experts are mostly studies concerning that if a particular native expert’s idea can be applied in EFL expert’s research environment. For example a Chinese researcher after reading the ideas from the native experts then start to use the ideas in some Chinese universities for a research program in order to find out if the ideas are workable in the situation. The problem with this approach is that EFL experts understand native expert’s ideas quite well, however the native experts do not understand the EFL expert’s starting point. Comparatively speaking the EFL experts should know the better way than the native experts do, therefore they should play a more active role in this area.
What is essential in this area, has been perceived by native English speakers as a natural process, and easily missed out. Namely the ability an EFL has, to think in English. It is said before thinking is the underlying force for any languages, without active and creative thinking power, without the ability to think inside the target language itself, any EFL’s English writing production is meaningless, it is just the copy of the patterns and the enumeration of the grammar items. There is no real cohesion in the writing, there isn’t any line for audiences to follow because the writer’s English thoughts are either broken or doesn’t exist at all. Based on the reasons above, I believe that the study of EFL learner’s ability to think in English certainly deserve more attention.