Do They Need to Wait Until They Get Ready? : Learning a Second Language through Writing
Keywords: second language writing, second language acquisition, second language learning, linguistic output, learning potential of L2 writing
Kyung Min Kim
Doctoral candidate, Composition & TESOL, English Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Kyung Min Kim is a doctoral candidate in Composition and TESOL program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in Pennsylvania, USA. Her research interests include second language writing, academic literacies, second language acquisition, academic socialization, and L2 feedback at graduate level
Making a case against the idea that writing is too challenging to L2 learners at some levels despite its value, the purpose of this article is to demonstrate that they can write in English before they master other modalities such as speaking and reading. This article explores research findings to investigate whether L2 writing indeed plays certain roles in L2 development and why it is as important as other modalities in English language classrooms. Firstly, I report on the roles of linguistic output in second language acquisition, followed by a discussion specifically on the potential of L2 writing. Then, the paper presents evidence against the claim that writing should be postponed in English language classrooms until L2 learners become fluent in other modalities. The exploration of this essay indicates that not only can they write in English, but L2 writing can also facilitate the process of learning the target language: Writing as linguistic output promotes the process of L2 learning, and writing mode can have potential benefits that oral mode alone may not bring to L2 learning. Thus, this article argues that teachers need to acknowledge the value of writing in L2 classrooms and provide English language learners with plenty of opportunities to write English.