Process-oriented and product-oriented approaches to the teaching of writing.
The product-oriented approach to the teaching of writing emphasizes mechanical aspects of writing, such as focusing on grammatical and syntactical structures and imitating models. This approach is primarily concerned with "correctness" and form of the final product. Moreover, this approach fails to recognize that people write for an audience and for a purpose and that ideas are created and formulated during the process of writing. However, the process-oriented approach emphasizes that writing itself is a developmental process that creates self-discovery and meaning. While the mechanical aspects of writing are important, they should not interfere with the composing process. This composing process requires much revision and rewriting. The teacher intervenes and guides students during the composing process but initially does not emphasize "correctness" and the final product; the emphasizes on "correctness" and the final product comes only toward the very end of the writing process (and, often, a major concern with "correctness" is put off until towards the middle or even end of the writing course). Instead of worrying about form, students concentrate on conveying a written message. Hence the product of writing will improve with the discovery involved in composing.
Product-oriented approaches to writing larglely concern the forms of the written products that students compose. The writing exercises applied in this approach typically deal with sentence-level writing and paragraph-level organization. Students are often given a framework which illustrates a pattern of rhetorical organization; then, they are asked to fit their ideas into this framework. Both the content and the form which the students deal with are largely controlled by the teacher. Since the main focus of these approaches is on written form, grammar is emphasized and a particular effort is made to avoid errors.
Process-oriented approaches concern the process of how ideas are developed and formulated in writing. Writing is considered a process through which meaning is created. This approach characterizes writing as following a number of processes: First, a writer starts writing ideas as drafts. Subsequently, he checks to see whether the writing and the organization makes sense to him or not. After that, he checks whether the writing will be clear to the reader. This approach focuses on how clearly and efficiently a student can express and organize his ideas, not on correctness of form. Students are first asked to go through such writing processes, trying organize and express their ideas clearly. The assumption is that what the student as a writer is going to say will become clearer through these processes. Students are also taught writing devices used in marking the organization and in making the general coherence clearer.
Teaching writing must involve both process and product. Teachers should first focus on the organization of the writing. As the next step, they should deal with grammatical problems seen in writing. When students are not good at organizing their ideas, the teacher should deal with this before moving on to grammatical mistakes (presumably, later in the term). This is for several reasons, among them that better organization often leads to the reduction of other errors and, of course, the clear expression of ideas is the major point of writing.