Key themes in Applied English Linguistics include ESL writing and the quest for suitable instructional approaches. This article investigates the practicability of implementing a learner-centered approach in teaching argumentative writing to senior secondary ESL learners in Hong Kong. This article presents a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest classroom-based research study conducted by a trainee teacher (the first author of the article) documenting the effects of utilizing a learner-centered approach on teaching argumentative essay-writing based on the learning needs stated in the initial needs analysis questionnaire filled by the experimental group. Subjects were 60 Secondary Five (Grade 11) ESL students in an evening school in Hong Kong. By collecting quantitative data including the pretest and posttest scores and running descriptive statistical analysis, it was found that a learner-centered teaching approach enhanced learners’ motivation and performance in ESL writing. Pedagogical implications are then discussed from the point of view of extending the learner-centered approach to teaching other ESL skills including reading, listening and speaking skills because a learner-centered approach seems to be beneficial to learners with low motivation and lower ability.
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