The Society for Technical Communication’s award-winning
Technical Literacy Project adapts many
real-world science instructions and descriptions for use in
high-school science classes. These cases gradually build
student writing skills by revising, correcting, or expanding
scaffolded, sequenced text samples adapted from practical
materials outside the classroom.
Such structured technical-writing practice is especially
helpful for English language learners because:
- It focuses everyone’s attention on the TEXT SIGNALS
(but, because, on the other hand) that ELL students often
ignore or underuse, yet which are crucial for reading and
writing effective technical prose.
- It introduces ways to make nonfiction text more USABLE
for all readers, and ELL readers are prime beneficiaries.
For example, it encourages writers to notice how nonliteral
science idioms (“break up,” “blow up”) may thwart reader
- It exercises genuine, “hard” linguistic skills (ordering,
explicitness, writing for others) but in ways that build
cognitive maturity gradually rather than just assuming it.
We invite you to borrow or adapt any of these cases for
Technical instructions: http://www.ebstc.org/TechLit/trgintro2.html
Technical descriptions: http://www.ebstc.org/TechLit/trgintro3.html
Overview project “handbook”: http://www.ebstc.org/TechLit/handbook/handbooktoc.html
Building Basic Technical Writing Skills,