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Ideation in ESL EAP teaching

  • Frewin, Robert Duncan
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive


Ideation, the selection and arrangement of information to build a text, though a necessary skill for tertiary students, is not satisfactorily addressed in writing skills textbooks for English as a Second Language/English for Academic Purposes. To develop a pedagogical approach to ideation, teachers need a theory of language. The most fruitful theory is systemic-functional linguistics, but systemic-functional theory has not yet fully developed a theory of ideation. A related theory, Rhetorical Structure Theory, offers a useful tool to analyse ideation both in well formed model texts and, with slight modification, in not well formed student texts. With Rhetorical Structure Theory, the analyst can separate semantic value from syntax. The resulting analysis indicates with clarity certain problem areas in ideation which teachers need to address. Teachers are thus better equipped to devise teaching approaches to address ideation in the classroom.

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