PORTFOLIO ENTRY #7: From Paragraph to Essay


This text starts by listing its key words.
  1. Presentation:
  • A Topic Paragraph introducing the main idea of the essay. We can summarise it as: “Changes in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language in Spanish Secondary Education”.
  • Paragraph Developers that explain the difficulties in carrying on learning and the teachers and learners´ frustrations.
  • A Restatement Paragraph suggesting ideas for a redefinition of TEFL in Spanish Secondary School.
We can see here list paragraph. It mentions four key concepts, “four main pillars”:
  1. The Task- Based Approach.
  2. The Content- Based Approach.
  3. The Language Awareness.
  4. The Intercultural Competence.

After the Presentation, each of these main pillars is analyzed by isolation.

The Definition paragraphs brings the theoretical rationales. They explain and define concepts. For example:
  1. Task”, summarised by Nunan:                                                                                                    “A piece of classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target language while their attention is principally focused on meaning rather than on form”.   
  2. Content- Based Approach, also called “Curricular Integration” (Jacobs and Farrell, 2001: 6-7) can be described as that type of instruction in which “, ESL teachers bilingual, or foreign language teachers use academic texts, tasks and techniques as a vehicle for developing language, content and thinking/ study skills” (Crandall 1993: 114)”.
  3. “The term “Language Awareness” is used here in two senses. First, it refers to any “Pedagogical effort which is used to draw the learners´ attention to language form either implicitly or explicitly” (Spada 1997, 73). Second, it also means the conscious attention of language learners towards language form as a procedure to improve learning”.
  4. Formal Culture is said to include the history, the arts and the great achievements of a community. Deep Culture includes the customs and the way of life of a community”.

  • Example Paragraphs: the example sentences closely support the Topic sentences. They illustrate, for example:
  1. “Students do active learning through experiments, manipulation, problem solving, etc...”
  2. “To include a great variety of examples and highlight them…”
  3. “All students interact to each other interchanging information…”
  4. “To learn about other languages and cultures...”
  5. Students must assume different roles...”

  • Contrasts Paragraphs: they compare dissimilar aspects, which means that they explain the differences. For example:
  1. “In Spain there is a generation of teachers of English working in the schools who have learnt themselves with the methodologies of the 60s and the 70s, basically the Grammar- Translation and the Audiolingual methods... is provoking a dilemma in the teachers´ minds, who would like to use  Communicative Activities in a Learner- Centred curriculum...“
  2. “...serves to overcome the phenomenon in which students study one subject in one period, close their textbook and go to another class, open another textbook and study another subject. When various subject areas are taught jointly, learners have more opportunities to see the links between subject areas…”

  • Synthesis Paragraphs: they develop the Definition Paragraphs by bringing together the appropriate like and unlike characteristics of two or more terms to form a new concept. For example: “It should be noticed that, however, that this paper does not advocate a Grammar- Based instruction. What is being discussed here is a Focuson Form within a Communicative Task- Based Approach.“

This text has a Conclusion,a Restatement Paragraph that summarises the previous topics and confirms the presented ideas as the best pedagogic options in the introduction.

How can this text be classified?
This is an Academic Prose with Formal style, its purpose is Informative and all the stipulated steps at the Essay Level are fulfilled. It uses the techniques of Comparison, Contrast and Definition.

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