On the afternoon of May 18, the teaching faculty, graduate students and undergraduates of the English Department of the School of Foreign Languages and Cultures were very delighted to have an preeminent scholar with them. Dr. Kei Matsuda, a renowned American professor, brought to his Chinese counterparts and students what they needed – guidance on improving college students’ English writing skill. Entitled “Approaches to Writing Instructions”, Dr. Matsuda’s first lecture shed new light on traditional English writing teaching methodology. Compared with the traditional teacher-centered writing teaching, the emphasis should be placed on students who should be given enough space to developing their writing consciousness in writing whatever they want to write. In order to make students more motivated to write, teachers are supposed to reduce their “interference” by prioritizing communication rather than fault-finding. His interesting and informative lecture inspired the audience especially the teachers who found it necessary to discuss this topic further. A week later, a special discussion session was arranged for Dr. Matsuda and the English Department teachers. In this heated discussion, the American college writing expert presented his notion of “contextualized writing” in which students will find the writing tasks given in a certain context more meaningful and challenging than before. To questions asked by teachers concerning the common problems that most Chinese students have with their English writing, Dr. Matsuda provided solutions and suggestions which the teachers found very helpful.
(BY SHAO SHAN)