Principled Eclecticism: Approach and Application in Teaching Writing to ESL/EFL Students

  •  Sultan Alharbi    


The principal purpose of this paper is to critically examine and evaluate the efficacy of the principled eclectic approach to teaching English as second/foreign language (ESL/EFL) writing to undergraduate students. The paper illustrates that this new method adapts mainstream writing pedagogies to individual needs of learners of ESL/EFL in order to address students’ difficulties arising from their contact with an unfamiliar language. Such a claim is based on the researcher’s review of relevant research, the analysis and evaluation of scholarly studies on the subject by leading academics and authorities in the area, and the researcher’s practical experiences as a writing teacher in the Department of English Language and Translation (DELT), College of Languages and Translation (COLT), King Saud University (KSU). It has been generally observed that the common, time-honored, language-based, process-based, and genre-based approaches to teaching writing tend to troubleshoot only certain specific problems related to the teaching of ESL/EFL writing. This paper highlights the importance of student-centered approaches to teaching in order to achieve the goal of coherent, pluralistic language teaching. To achieve this, the discussion recommends classifying, selecting, and sequencing the activities related to teaching writing. Indeed, this is what eclecticism means. The term principled signifies coherence that consistently focuses upon the same formal or functional units and sequencing them at the end to help learners interact and participate in writing activities that need contextualized attention. The paper concludes that the gap between eclecticism and principled eclecticism in teaching English writing must be bridged to improve ESL/EFL learners’ writing skills.

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