This paper argues that writing as a communicative modality should play a more prominent role in foreign language instruction, by investigating under what circumstances interactions with texts not exclusively synonymous with face-to-face interaction may play in the acquisitiona nd development of writing skills in the communicative foreign language classroom. With this purpose in mind, this paper will illustrate the theoretical basis, methodological conception, and innovative instructional design of an e-learning tool for the development of writing skills of Italian as foreign language university students (University of Warwick, Great Britain). A choice of students taking part in the program year abroad in Italy are currently performing a series of guided writing activities supporting their writing path towards the preparation of two compulsory final essays. Designed and developed with a solid SLA theoretical basis, the writing tool encompasses and integrates the cognitive, social and instructional dimensions, regarded as crucial factors to create a socio-cognitive condition where language tutors and students participate in a writing community. Through real collaboration between language teaching and research, it also represents an innovative attempt to bring research and practice closer, with the view of contributing to the investigation of the potential of technology to enhance language learning, in particular the development of writing skills in Italian as foreign language in academic settings. Reflecting the current considerable interest in the technological application area of writing research, the design philosophy aims particularly to contribute to the development of the new but fast-developing research of synchronous and asynchronous electronic communication. With the pedagogical objective to represent a challenge for traditional writing instruction, it would also like to contribute to the research that could locate literacy as a central concern of applied linguistics and as a necessary mode of second language acquisition in innovative educational settings.
|Keywords:||Foreign Language, Writing Process vs. Writing Product, Technology|
Instructor and Supervisor, Department of Modern Foreign Languages, The Catholic University of America, Washington DC, DC, USA
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