Approaching Cultural Differences in the Assessment of Students’ English Compositions

posted Nov 15, 2016, 1:07 AM by Nicky Guinto
The ASEAN Integration promises fluidity in scholarship and economic opportunities, among others, between and among its constituent nations. The Philippines, arguably being the center of English language training in the region, can expect more foreign students coming in to study English. With more foreign students expected to arrive not only to learn how to speak, but more importantly write in the English language, differences in culture, and therefore writing style, may pose as a problem for local teachers when it is time to assess their students’ written output. Thus, this paper addresses the problem of assessing students’ writing in the light of recent studies in language such as in World Englishes and ESL/EFL (English as a Second/ Foreign Language) writing instruction. Recent innovations in ESL writing instruction were synthesized to see how culture, in theory, should be treated in giving feedback in the classroom. It was found that studies on writing in the ESL/EFL contexts push for a more culturally-sensitive treatment of student outputs by adopting what Kubota and Lehner (2004) called “multiplicity of rhetoric” in assessment. Teachers of English composition writing therefore, should not reduce writing instruction to mere dichotomies of right and wrong; instead, they must determine why a particular student writes the “wrong” way and be open to the potential of “gray areas” in the process.

Guinto, N. L. (2015b). Approaching Cultural Differences in the Assessment of Students’ English Compositions. MINSCAT, EDS Business School and TUCST Research Journal 2(2).