International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijahss
Strike A Balance Act on Topic Familiarity and Critical Thinking for Curriculum of First-Year Writing


The troubled Freshman EFL/ESL writing instruction needs a curricular framework to secure student transition and stabilize instruction to new learning of some writing knowledge in order for them to write with valuable ideas. Based on a longitudinal ethnographical case study of the classroom practice with a first-year English writing course, this article wrestles with the matter of topic familiarity and critical-thinking skills of argumentation. The discursive analysis of the instructional practice and the actual written texts from student writing assignments of paragraphs and short-essays recommends a freshman writing curriculum to act on critical classroom instruction with actual writing knowledge, yet to base it on topic familiarity. Because topic familiarity not only facilitates critical thinking of original facts or concrete evidence for new ideas in creating writing content, but also embraces students’ new learning with genre perspectives on techniques of typographical structures with argumentation mechanisms. This study obliges writing educators to strike a balance act on freshmen’s writing curriculum with topic familiarity and critical writing skills, not only to regulate instruction in preparing freshman students for writing penetrating essays, but also educating them to be critical future writers.