CREATING SUCCESS IN ACADEMIC WRITING: FROM SECONDARY TO HIGHER EDUCATION
Wong Sowat, Nang Saluna
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The academic transition from one’s native language to English medium instruction is a challenging experience for second language learners (L2). This is especially true for students who are learning a new subject at the same time. Research has shown that although L2 students have undergone at least eleven years of learning English as a communicative language, this does not guarantee success in their tertiary education. Some common challenges include understanding textbooks written in English, being aware of the academic writing process, lack of confidence in their writing and unfamiliarity with the nature of academic writing and disciplinary genres, such as citing references and writing expectations. Students in Malaysia do not learn academic English explicitly in secondary schools. Yet, students who envisage pursuing their tertiary education abroad must be equipped with English academic skills. Certainly, these skills must be taught directly, extensively, and explicitly, prior to their tertiary education abroad. As such, this project focuses on the English academic gap. There are four chapters. After the introduction which traces the evolution of English language instruction in Malaysia is a chapter that reviews studies on genres of academic writing, understanding language challenges in English medium instruction and analytical writing through building critical thinking. The third chapter via a workshop is designed to achieve three learning goals: (1) to enhance academic writing skills and (2) to develop analytical writing through critical thinking skills and (3) building of positive mindsets. This project concludes with the sharing of my academic writing experience while studying in a university setting and suggestions for the benefit of non-native speakers of English.