Written discursive competence as a component of the foreign-language communication competence of university students

The article covers the issues of forming written discursive competence as the basis for written foreign language communication of university students. The introduction of new standards of education, which reflect the social order of the modern multicultural and information society, required the universities to create optimal conditions for learning foreign language communication in order to solve problems of interpersonal and intercultural interaction at the global level. In this regard, to ensure socio-cultural mobility of university graduates, the teaching of written foreign language communication should occupy an important place in the educational process. At the same time, the authors have made an attempt to reveal the structure and content of components of written discursive competence as a component of foreign language communication competence in the context of its application in foreign language classes in the conditions of a non-linguistic university. The authors analyze a large number of scientific and theoretical literary sources on the investigated problem, on the basis of which they justify the possibility of considering the language component as a component of written discursive competence, along with strategic, tactical, genre, text, linguo-rhetorical components in order to improve the quality of written works. In conclusion, the authors conclude that the ability of a writer as an individual according to the sociocultural situation and communicative task to create different types of discourse for participation in written foreign language communication with the intended recipient in order to achieve the expected result defines written discursive competence as a component of foreign language communicative competence of a graduate.

The introduction of state educational standards of the new generation into the life of the higher school demanded from the universities to create optimal conditions for teaching foreign language communication in order to solve the problems of interpersonal and intercultural interaction on the global level. The ability to communicate is a necessary component of the student's life and provides university graduates with sociocultural mobility as the ability to act freely and actively in a multi-lingual space to ensure intercultural interaction and cooperation.

Domestic authors often write about the urgent need for training in written communication and the frequent ignoring of such a genre of written communication as e-mail in Kazakhstan [1].

Written discursive competence is a component of the foreign-language communicative competence. The analysis of the researcher's works showed that the very concept of «discursive competence» is interpreted by scientists in a controversial manner. According to the document «Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment» it is «knowledge of the rules of construction of statements, their association in the text taking into account the topicality, information, natural causal relations, topic, coherence and integrity, logic, style and register of communication, etc.». [2], i.e. includes only the knowledge component.

Moreover, discursive competence is considered as:

  1. knowledge of various types of discourse and the rules of their construction, as well as the ability to create and understand them, taking into account the situation of communication (E.M. Bastrikova, A.N. Shchukin, H. Boyer, M. Canale, M. Swain and others);
  2. the ability to coherently and consistently express their thoughts in a situation of oral / written communication (K.A. Kobzeva, A.N. Shamov, E.V. Schuman, L. Bachman, J.A. Van Ekand others) [3];
  3. «...ability to generate text adequately to the situation of its creation in productive speech activities» [4];
  4. «...ability to organize speech, high level of formed skills of logical, consistent, convincing construction of own statements, mastering the methods of giving and receiving information» [5];
  5. «...a standard of knowledge and skills that foreign language students should possess in order to logically present thoughts, creating a grammatically and lexically correct text adequate to the communicative situation, as well as for the correct interpretation of the text»[6].

The written discourse as a product of professionally-oriented foreign language communication can be characterized according to 5 groups of features: 1) strategical which is responsible for planning communicative behavior; 2) tactical which is associated with selecting adequate means of professionally-oriented foreign language communication in writing; 3) genrerelated which is responsible for the range of genres in the written speech and the choice of genreand-style related norms; 4) text-related including cohesion, integrity and complete character of written discourse; 5) linguo-rhetorical revealing in the composition and a certain linguo-rhitorical structure of written discourse [7].

This diversity of interpretations of discursive competence requires further research into this phenomenon from a written perspective, taking into account the fact that the result should be the ability of learners to communicate in a written foreign language through written discourses of various types, reflecting the characteristics of the factors that influence its creation.

We will therefore understand written discursive competence to be the ability of the writer to write as an individual according to the socio-cultural situation and the communicative task of creating different types of discourse to participate in written foreign language communication with the intended recipient in order to achieve the expected result. It is based on a set of knowledge, skills, abilities and activity experience, which is the content of social experience, the possession of which ensures the formation of this competence.

Written discursive competence is a complex multicomponent phenomenon, therefore, a certain number of sub-competences are distinguished in its structure. Thus, in N.P. Golovina's research, written discursive competence consists of four components, each of which, in turn, is represented by corresponding skills underlying many other models: strategic (the ability of a subject to understand the communicative intention and plan a communicative event); tactical (the ability to select adequate and optimal means and methods); genre (the ability to organize a discourse in accordance with the canons of the genre) and text components (the ability to organize sentences into a coherent text) [8].

I.N. Khmelidze holds the same opinion, combining the genre and text components into one subcompetence and adding a reflexive component. It consists of control and self-monitoring of written works by students and teachers and is a necessary element in mastering foreign language written speech on the basis of an autonomous approach. N.L. Nikulshina took N.P. Golovina's theory as a basis and expanded the discursive competence by means of the rhetorical component, which represents the ability to produce texts on the basis of knowledge of generally accepted rhetorical methods of deploying written speech and rhetorical techniques [9].

In contrast to the above-mentioned authors, F.A. Ashurlaeva distinguishes in the structure of discursive competence only the ability to select subject vocabulary, select key words; to plan the development of the plot of written discourse, to relate the speech material, its organization to the construction of the text of the work [10]. These skills relate to the skills described by N.P. Golovina, except for the genre component.

Е.V. Sergeeva also considers only the level of skills in the structure of discursive competence. However, when teaching foreign-language discourse in the form of essays, she misses such important skills as the division of a text into paragraphs and its design within a paragraph, lexical and grammatical correctness, which in our opinion is a significant component. It focuses on the discourse and its main organizing factors: cohesion, coherence, and contextuality [11].

Having analyzed researchers' points of view on the component composition of written discursive competence and taking into account typological features of written discourse, we initially included five components into this competence: strategic, tactical, genre, text and linguistic.

However, the repeated analysis has led us to think that the language component, which is responsible for the design of written discourse of various types in accordance with the lexical-grammatical norms of foreign-language written speech and is therefore essential for written foreign-language communication, falls out of the field of view. It receives insufficient attention in foreign language classes, which leads to a decrease in the quality of written works.

For this reason, we have expanded the component structure of written discursive competence to include the sixth, language component. As a result, the structure of written discursive competence is represented by a set of strategic, tactical, genre, textual, linguo-rhetorical and linguistic components (Fig. 1), each of which contributes to the acquisition by learners of the ability underlying it.

It should be noted, however, that the strategic component includes an intercultural component. The latter involves the writer becoming aware of his or her own culture and recognizing the culture of the intended recipient as a necessary condition for enriching his or her personal experience, understanding a different way of life, values and customs and rejecting existing stereotypes and prejudices [12].

The next step in the study of written discursive competence was to determine the dose of social experience that should be learned by students to acquire it (V.V. Kraevsky, I.Y. Lerner, A.V. Khutorsky). It includes the experience of cognitive activity represented by a set of knowledge, the experience of reproductive activity implying corresponding skills, the experience of creative activity based on a set of skills, and the experience of value-oriented activity. Accordingly, in each component of the written discursive competence, we have identified a set of specific knowledge, skills, and experiences of value-based activities presented below.

  • – Knowledge of the parameters of the socio-cultural situation and the circumstances of written communication necessary for its functioning, the characteristics of the individuality of the writer and the recipient, and the level of their knowledge of the means of written communication expressed in a foreign language spoken experience;
  • – knowledge of the living conditions of the linguistic community, the system of values, norms, traditions and rules of communicative-speech etiquette inherent in the culture of subjects of written foreign- language communication;
  • – knowledge of differences in lifestyles, assessment of the past of the native country and the target language country, rules necessary for orientation in another country, knowledge of stereotypes established with regard to one's own culture and that of the intended recipient;
  • – knowledge of communicatively acceptable means of written foreign-language communication, optimal for solving the communicative task within a certain socio-cultural situation;
  • – knowledge of characteristics of functional styles, genre-stylistic features of different types of written discourse;
  • – knowledge of means of cohesion and rules of building a coherent text;
  • – knowledge of the ways of constructing linguistic and rhetorical structures;
  • – knowledge of language means and rules of their use in written speech activity as means of written foreign language communication.
  • – The skill of reproducing the socio-cultural situation and communicative task;
  • – lexical and grammatical skills;
  • – composing skills:
  • – structuring information in accordance with the communicative task and sociocultural situation and taking into account the linguistic and rhetorical peculiarities of written discourse;
  • – ensuring coherence and integrity of a fragment of discourse;
  • – effective use of cohesion tools;
  • – building linguo-rhetorical structures and compositional and verbal forms.
  • – Ability to analyze the sociocultural situation, characteristics of individuality of the intended addressee and the level of his or her possession of the means of written foreign-language communication, their relations;
  • – The ability to comprehend the communicative task and plan the communicative behavior in accordance with the socio-cultural situation, communicative task, characteristics of the addressee's individuality and his or her foreign language speech experience;
  • – the ability to carry out written foreign language communication taking into account the living conditions of the linguistic community, the system of values, norms, traditions and rules of etiquette inherent in the culture of the subjects of written communication;
  • – the ability to select the means of written foreign language communication that are optimal for solving the communicative problem of the addressee in a certain socio-cultural situation, taking into account its parameters, the characteristics of the individuality of the intended addressee and the foreign language speech experience;
  • – the ability to choose the right type of discourse depending on the socio-cultural situation and communicative task and to design it in accordance with genre and stylistic norms and stereotypes accepted in the country of the foreign language studied;
  • – the ability to design proposals in the form of a coherent, logical, complete text, divided into paragraphs and properly framed within these limits (to introduce the main idea of a paragraph with the help of a key sentence, to develop the main idea contained in the key sentence, consistently convey the semantic content, effectively use the means of cohesion (pronouns, unions, adverbs), etc.);
  • – the ability to construct a discourse in accordance with the linguistic and rhetorical norms adopted in the country of the foreign language being studied;
  • – ability to structure the discourse in accordance with the lexical-grammatical norms of the foreign written language.

As for the experience of value-orientation activities, it acts as an «exemplary behaviour» [13] expected from the subjects of communication in solving their communicative task in a certain socio-cultural situation, i.e. in the process of creating a written discourse of a certain type. It manifests itself in the willingness of learners, in accordance with their personal position and social status, to apply the knowledge they have learned, the skills they have developed and the skills they have acquired in writing in a separate act of communication. This presupposes such qualities as personal interest, motivation, activity, independence, responsibility for the results of their written activity and tolerance towards another culture, etc.

All of the above made it possible to clarify the notion of written discursive competence, its structure and content and move on to defining the place of this competence among other sub-competences of foreign- language communication competence as the goal of foreign-language education in the direction of training «Pedagogical education». Thus, the foreign-language communicative competence implies the ability to carry out foreign-language interpersonal and intercultural communication with native speakers within the limits set by a standard or program.

Pragmatic competence, in turn, is divided into functional competence, competence of schematic construction of speech, and discursive competence. In discursive competence, we consider its written form, consisting of six components based on social experience in the aggregate of knowledge, skills, abilities and experience of value-oriented activities.

The final step in solving the tasks set in this paragraph was to identify criteria for the formation of written discursive competence, which will help diagnose its level.

Thus, written discursive competence is an integral part of foreign-language communicative competence and provides students with the ability, in accordance with their social and foreign-language speech experience and personal aspirations, to carry out written foreign-language communication with the intended recipient using a certain type of written discourse, thereby solving their communicative task within a certain sociocultural situation.

It includes the following components: strategic, tactical, genre, text, linguistic-rhetorical, and language sub-competence. They are based on a set of knowledge, skills, abilities and experience of value-oriented activities, adequate to the dose of social experience that must be learned by students to acquire written discursive competence. These components are closely interrelated, so the process of its formation should be aimed at mastering all the components of the university students.

Written discursive competence is thus an integral part of the foreign-language communication competence and ensures that learners are able to learn in accordance with their social and foreign language speech experience and personal aspirations to communicate in written foreign language with the intended recipient through a written discourse of a certain kind, thus solving their communication task within a certain sociocultural situation. It includes the following components: strategic, tactical, genre, textual, linguistic and linguistic sub-competence. They are based on a body of knowledge, skills, and experience in value-orientation activities that is adequate to the dose of social experience that learners must learn to acquire written discursive competence. These components are closely interlinked, so the process of its formation should be aimed at the students' mastery of all the components, which is what we take into account when developing the methodology of forming a foreign-language written discursive competence, which is the focus of the second chapter of the dissertation research.

 

References

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References

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  2. Common European Framework of Reference for Language: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (2000). Cambridge University Press.
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Year: 2020
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy