The teaching of English-as-a-Second-Language writing in the Asia-Pacific Region: A cross-country comparison

Martha C. PENNINGTON, Sufumi SO, Keiko HIROSE, Vrginia COSTA, Wai Shing LI, Krystyna NIEDZIELSKI

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A comparison of the practices of native and non-native teachers of English-as-a-second-language writing in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore based on a Questionnaire and follow-up interviews revealed a gap between teachers' ideal and actual practice, similar perceptions of the constraints preventing them from teaching according to their Preferred practice, and a general lack of training in process writing. Many of the teachers took a middle-of-the-road approach combining product and process teaching philosophies, with a somewhat more traditional approach taken by non-native speakers of English and those teaching in Asian countries. Those teaching in Australia were the most process-oriented in theory and practice, those teaching in Japan were the most product-oriented in theory and practice, while those teaching in the other countries of the survey showed a greater difference between theory and practice and more variation across individual teachers. The results can be interpreted to mean that the community of explanation (theory or ideal for practice) and the community of practice (actual practices) among teachers of English composition are not always well-aligned. While the rhetoric of process writing is generally the basis of the teachers' ideal or teaching philosophy, this rhetoric may mask a shallow commitment to the practices of process writing, and teachers may undermine the basis of process writing in attempting to selectively implement its tenets or to blend process and product elements in their teaching of writing. On the other hand, it may be that teachers of English in the Asia-Pacific region are developing a compromise teaching approach that combines process and product elements in a new synthesis. Copyright © 1997 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-143
JournalRELC Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997


English as a Second Language
Teaching English
Second Language Writing
teaching practice
Hong Kong
New Zealand
Process Writing


Pennington, M. C., So, S., Hirose, K., Costa, V., Li, J. W. S., Niedzielski, K. (1997). The teaching of English-as-a-Second-Language writing in the Asia-Pacific Region: A cross-country comparison. RELC Journal, 28(1), 120-143.