Page 7 - Revista AXIOMA 23
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        Students’ English language competency                 Regarding the teaching methodology, participants mentioned that they
                                                              use brainstorming and mind-mapping as the leading techniques. They
        Out of the ten (10) participants, nine (9) manifested that generally, the   also ask students to complete the activities presented in the textbook
        students’ level of English is, most of the times, lower than the one ex-  to practice their Writing. Apart from the textbooks, some participants
        pected for the EFL course that teachers are currently teaching. The most   mentioned that in their institutions, they have some additional audio and
        problematic areas are grammar and vocabulary. For example, students   video teaching materials available to use in their classes, but they hardly
        cannot write complex sentences and the register they use in their texts is   use them since they prefer the activities included in the textbook.
        basic and repetitive.  This, according to the teachers, hinders the deve-
        lopment of students’ writing skills since they must use the time planned   Following the description of the four categories that make writing cha-
        to teach Writing to explain to their student’s grammar structures and   llenging, they were grouped and classified as internal and external fac-
        vocabulary.                                           tors. Student – related factors revolve around the learners, namely, stu-
                                                              dents’ English language competency, Spanish language interference and
        Spanish language interference                         Students’ lack of motivation to write in English as presented in figure 1.
                                                              Teacher – related factors, on the other hand, refer to teaching practices
        Seven (7) teachers pointed out that another factor that hampered writing   as presented in figure 2.
        skills development is the marked influence of L1 which in this case is
        the Spanish language. According to the participants, the Spanish inter-
        ference results in inaccurate and incoherent written texts. Teachers also
        emphasized that literal translation from Spanish to English is common
        among their students and this practice has been intensified due to the
        accessibility to online translators. One example provided by a teacher
        refers to “false cognates”.  In one task, a student chose one English word
        with similar spelling in Spanish but with a different meaning in English
        and used it in her text, affecting the sentence's semantics.  Teachers
        suggested that the students’ penchant for translating is the result of a
        poor vocabulary.

        Students’ lack of motivation to write in English

        The majority of the participants mentioned that their students feel forced
        to write in English, and a few students who are willing to do so are afraid
        of committing mistakes in their writings.  Students are also unwilling to
        show their written works to their classmates since they want to hide their   Figure 1. Internal Factors that contribute to teachers´
        writing limitations.  The fear of failure or rejection of written tasks seems   challenges in teaching Writing
        to be a common feeling among students.
                                                              Figure 1 shows that, according to the participants, the English language
        Although writing skills often require students to spend a certain amount   competency that students have acquired during their formation, has never
        of time exploring and organizing their ideas, they do not seem willing to   been in accordance with the learning outcomes designed for each class.
        devote their time and energies to developing their writing tasks. Conse-  For example, a student who is expected to have a B1 level to be enrolled
        quently, it is important to identify the mechanisms that provide students   in a B2 level class does not usually have a B1 level. Instead, their English
        with different motivational writing experiences.      level is lower than A2. This mismatch between the student’s expected level
                                                              of English and their actual level is the main challenge that participants
        Teaching practices                                    have to confront in their classes. The second challenge, though not as
                                                              intense as the first, is the Spanish language interference. According to the
        It is essential to mention that the number of hours allocated per week to   participants, students have not been able to adapt to the English writing
        teaching and learning EFL in language centers is not divided per langua-  conventions and continue using the Spanish conventions in their English
        ge skill, such as listening, speaking, writing, and reading. It is instead a   writings. The lack of student’s motivation to write in English is the lowest
        fixed amount of time, and it is the teacher’s prerogative to use this time   challenge that teachers face, this because, according to the participants,
        to develop the four language skills. The participants mentioned that, on   the lack of motivation two write is the result of the other two aspects. They
        average, they have 300 minutes per week to teach EFL. Out of this time,   added that, if students can improve their level of English and understand
        three (3) teachers use from 25 to 30 minutes and two (2) teachers 15   the English writing conventions, their motivation will increase.
        minutes per day to practice Writing. One teacher uses 40 minutes per
        week and the four (4) remaining teachers do not use any time to focus   According to Brown (2014) the English language competence, in the
        only on teaching writing.                             area of Writing, includes learners’ grammatical competence, vocabulary
                                                              mastery, and a proper paragraph organization.  The combination of these
        All participants considered that the time they have to teach EFL to their   abilities helps students produce well written texts. On the other hand, the
        students is minimal, which is not enough for achieving English learning   lack of one of them, particularly grammar or vocabulary can impede lear-
        outcomes planned for each EFL course. Thus, it is difficult to focus only   ners to write a proper and coherent paragraph.  Harmer (2007) explains
        on teaching writing due to time concerns. They also added that they   that students “can become very frustrated when they are engaged in a
        have large classes and providing detailed feedback to their students is   productive task without the knowledge of grammar and the vocabulary
        very difficult.                                       they need to express themselves” affecting negatively the students’ mo-
                                                              tivation to write.

                                                             AXIOMA - Revista Científica de Investigación, Docencia y Proyección Social. Julio - Diciembre 2020. Número 23, pp 5-9.
                                                                                               ISSN:  1390-6267- E-ISSN:  2550-6684
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