A Study of Self-Perspective in Writing in a Second or Foreign Language - Paper Example

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Carnegie Mellon University
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The adoption of foreign or second languages has been crucial in the contemporary world. The learning process necessitates that the students comprehend all the aspects encompassed in the process including reading, speaking, and writing. However, in the course of learning, research has indicted that the students prefer being fluent in speaking rather than in the other two aspects of reading and writing. This research conducted a detailed review of the existing literature from previous researches to establish what students think when they perceive writing in a second or foreign language. The literature review method was seen as convenient because of the vast resources form various journals and other online reliable sources. The findings established the multiple reasons that necessitated the learning of second languages as well as the relationship that exists between reading and writing. Overall, students were determined to have varying perspectives when writing in a foreign language. Therefore, instructors need to take note of such views to find suitable strategies that can be used in upholding student's writing skills by continually reminding the learners of the various reasons and benefits of learning how to write in a second or foreign language.

Keywords: foreign language, second language, instructors, students, perspectives,


Learning a foreign language necessitates that the individual becomes aware of reading and writing in the given dialect. Therefore, as much as people may think that speaking fluently in a foreign language is essential, they must also bear in mind that writing skills are equally necessary. For a long time, researchers have focused on the various issues surrounding learning how to communicate in a second language. The compilation of research of embedded on determining the need for developing proper writing skills has been quite shallow. Writing to learn in a foreign language is equally as important as learning to write, and many researchers have begun unraveling the need for proficiency in writing in the second language. However, it can be observed that many teachers have ignored the need for writing skills in the foreign language and focused on enhancing the students fluency in speaking using the second language. The teachers cite the frustrations of the students in writing in the second language as a result of their limited vocabulary which makes the perception of writing in the dialect a burdensome task for them (Jahedizadeh, Ghanizadeh & Ghonsooly, 2016). Therefore, the researcher of the current study saw the need to assess what students think about when they perceive writing in a second language through in-depth analysis of previous studies.


In this study, the researcher opted to utilize a literature review approach. This means that rather than collecting primary data from the field, the researcher uses the existing studies connected to the topic under investigation. Literature review emphasizes the need to comprehensively study and interpret the existing literature and synthesize the various ideas to address the current issue. As such, the researcher focused on critically surveying, understanding, and evaluating the available data but taking caution not to diverge from the main research idea. In this case, a systematic literature review will be conducted to ensure the delivery of reliable results. Systematic literature review emphasizes the need for identifying, appraising, and synthesizing existing evidence to bridge the existing research gap. Therefore, selected journal articles, as well as other dependable sources, will be used to ensure the delivery of comprehensive, valid, and reliable results.

The Importance of Learning Foreign Languages

In such a time when globalization has taken the lead and the interaction of persons has become many compacts, there is the need for people to gain knowledge of other languages instead of sticking on their native dialect. The need for learning a second language is essential for a variety of discussed reasons. First, students need to learn foreign languages to deepen their cross-cultural awareness and entrench deep connections. The fact that education has become an integrated field and students are traveling overseas to attain their degrees is reason enough to practice and enhance reading as well as writing in a second language. Communication is an essential aspect primarily for students who have traveled to areas where their native language is no longer applicable.

Furthermore, familiarizing a foreign language places the student in a better position during the search of jobs. Many employers in the contemporary world are embracing the need for a diversified workforce. Therefore, a foreign language accolade in a student's CV increases their chance of being hired by firms in the current economy. Fluency in reading and writing in foreign languages has become essential because the persons can interact with a broad range of others from a different community and boost business (Tibi, Stall, Joshi, & Park, 2016). Therefore, employers have contended with the fact that persons with experience in a second language can help in growing their businesses to international levels. Thus, students are advised to take advantage of the foreign classes being taught in their schools and embrace the fact that there are significant opportunities presented to them for learning the new dialects.

The study of foreign languages also ensures that the students expand their worldviews and liberalize their experience. By so doing, the student becomes more flexible and tolerant. This means that conforming to one language makes a person become confined within the limits of their native language rather than expanding and exploring other lingual diversities. Therefore, building a broader and more significant perception of one's worldview is essential because it helps an individual to perceive things beyond what they are used to, as suggested by Tibi et al. (2016). Furthermore, learning a new language is a new experience that helps to ease up the individuals anxiety of a foreign culture. An expanded view of the world is integral to students, and therefore, they should learn how to write as well as speak in one or even several foreign languages.

Students Perceptions of Learning Second Languages

Studies on motivation and perceptions on foreign languages show that a significant proportion of the students have the urge to learn. In earlier years, many students lacked the motivation required to learn new languages. However, over the recent past, the numbers of students who contend to learning how to read and write in a second language has been on the rise. Schools and institutions of higher learning are now hiring instructors from different backgrounds to help in luring more students to study second languages (Yao & Li, 2017) However, students perceive that they should be left to choose the language they are contented with rather than being forced to select dialects they are not comfortable handling. However, teachers can help the students in making choices for the languages they decide to undertake.

It is essential to note that the students of various levels perceive the foreign language learning differently. Cable et al. (2010) mention that different issues lure children between the ages of 7 and 11 from those that entice other older students. Pupils of the said age are easily lured by various aspects such as the teacher's characteristics and the ease of reciting the language. Furthermore, Cable et al. (2010) mention that the younger students comprehend the foreign language quickly when they are working in pairs or groups, are engaged in songs, choral repetitions, and the other creative activities. Learning a new language starts by fists understanding the basics if the dialect before launching into being a proficient user. Therefore, a significant proportion of the student population feels that teachers should first train them on speaking the second language before imposing proficiency tests.

Does Writing Precede Reading or Vice Versa in Foreign Language Classes?

Initially, the art of reading was considered as a priority that requires being imparted on the new leaners. Many researchers held onto this believe because reading was perceived to be the only way that the leaner could form the basis of writing especially in a second or foreign language. However, contemporary researchers established that in fact, children in the early learning days will become familiar with writing at an earlier stage than reading. Therefore, the same case applies to the learners of first languages whereby they will develop writing skills, before learning how to read the actual dialect.

On the other hand, when it comes to the foreign language category, a four-step procedure applies. The process entails listening, speaking, reading, and finally writing. However, the acquired order of writing and reading in the foreign language class remains debatable. Nonetheless, the order of appearance for these learning skills should not matter, but rather, the efficiency in both of these matters is what students should be concerned about (Tibi et al., 2016). Many students may want to think that as long as they are fluent in speaking they do not need to learn how to write in the foreign language. However, writing has become essential in ensuring that the knowledge imparted by speaking can be transformed into written work that can be read by others (Tuomainen, 2016). The need for writing in a foreign language calls for the student to have a positive mindset regarding the essence of fluency in writing a second language.

The Interaction between Writing and Reading in a Second Language

It is common knowledge that an individual with a problem in reading a foreign language will most likely have the same issue when it comes to writing. On the same note, a person who finds writing difficult may also be presented by challenges of reading. Therefore, student's efficacy in these issues is highly regarded when learning a foreign language (Yao & Li, 2017). Furthermore, some students develop the notion that as long as they are fluent in speaking the foreign language, the writing bit will be easy for them. However, the reality of the matter is that the fluency in either the first or a second language does not necessarily dictate the ease of flow in either the writing or reading process (Yao & Li, 2017). It is a common phenomenon in many classes whereby the teacher asks students to read in their first language, and they are unable yet when they are speaking, they are very eloquent.

Students also develop the ideology that the fluency in reading is a direct imposition of the fluency in writing. However, there is the need to ascertain that spellings and grammar use in a particular language may vary. Therefore, despite a learner being fluent in reading, they may end up facing challenges because if grammar and spelling mistakes (Heyland, 2007). Furthermore, the pronunciation of words, in many languages, may be very different from how the word is written. Therefore, students must not assume that how they pronounce the word is a reflection of how it is written. These divergences may cause the student to fail in their written tests. Therefore, they need to demand aptitude trials from their teachers to ensure that they remain versant with both the writing and reading skills.

Writing should be viewed as a means of expressing ones ideas regarding given topics. However, when many students are asked to verify the essence of the writing sessions, in...

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