- Response To Student Writing : Implications for Second Language Students eBook
- Response to Student Writing: Implications for second language students
- THREE TYPES OF COMMENTS ON CONTENT: TEACHER VS. PEER FEEDBACK
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Students filled out a questionnaire and results were analysed in order to determine whether age and level of English may be factors affecting their preferences for error correction. Alavi, Seyyed and Shiva Kaivanpanah. Ammar, Ahlem and Nina Spada. Amrhein, Hannah R.
Chandler, Jean. Cohen, Andrew D. Barbara Kroll. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Dulay, Heidi and Marina Burt. Fathman, Ann and Elisabeth Whalley. Ferris, Dana. Treatment of error in second language student writing. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Ferris, Dana and Marie Helt. New evidence on the effects of error correction in L2 writing classes. Vancouver, March Ferris, Dana and Barrie Roberts. Hamouda, Arafat. Havranek, Gertraud and Hermann Cesnik.
Susan Foster-Cohen and Anna Nizegorodzew. It is thus important to investigate various error categories that are targeted. The present study followed this line of research by examining recasts in foreign language writing. This study employed a quantitative, quasi-experimental research design with a pretest—treatment—posttest structure. Two groups were assigned on the basis of intact classes. Both groups were given a written pretest before the program to approve the homogeneity of the two groups under study.
The pretest was a Mock IELTs Writing Task 2 provided to the learners and the resulting texts were rated by their teacher and two other teachers. Following this, a treatment was given to each group. The writing and scoring criteria were explained to the learners in the initial sessions. The posttest was a Mock IELTs Writing Task 2 provided to the learners and the resulting texts were rated by their teacher and two other teachers.
The focus of this research was to provide an increased understanding of how utilizing feedback can be beneficial in EFL writing classes at high school. Finally, all the collected data were analyzed. Details on all these aspects will be discussed in the following sections. The participants of this study were 40 high school male EFL learners, chosen according to convenience sampling from Reach level A2 classes. They were placed randomly into two intact groups; each group consisted of 20 learners aged between 14 and 16 years old. All 40 participants were in level A2, and their homogeneity was corroborated by the pretest results.
Instruments employed for the purpose of this study included a pretest, writing task 2 of IELTS, so as to assure the level of the students before they received treatments. Writings assigned as homework tasks received recasts as feedback in two phases and were scored in accordance with IELTs grading norm see Appendix 1 based on the level of vocabulary, grammar, coherence, and relevance. The learners received feedback, revised, and then received the second feedback and assessment. Inter-rater reliability was tested to ensure reliability and consistency of scoring procedures.
For the posttest, another writing task 2 of IELTs was given to find out whether the learners had improved their writing performance while receiving the treatments or not. At first two intact classes were chosen. Secondly, writing was assigned within 20 sessions and the learners received recasts in two phases. The participants took part in classes twice a week and studied the book English Time 5 as the focal material, practiced listening, speaking and reading skills inside the classroom, studied new words and practiced sentence making within the class, yet did their writings outside the classroom as their assigned projects.
Phase one: initially, the participants took part in vocabulary learning and sentence making exercises based on the designed syllabus this teaching took place in both classes. The learners practiced a dialog and a reading on the same topic. Subsequently, they were assigned to write a paper based on the topic they had already practiced for the following session. The correction process was timed for each paper.
When it came to providing feedback in the first phase of recast, the highlighting process only added 12 s to the reading time. The purpose of this grading was to ensure the learners that their works were being evaluated and the whole process was under close observation. Accordingly, they were aware that the better writing they wrote on the next assignment, the higher average they would achieve. Phase two: the teacher received the revised writings attached to the first ones; in this stage, he scrutinized the writings and provided recasts to the repeated mistakes and any new mistakes encountered on the second text by writing the reformulated phrases or sentences while keeping the initial meaning.
At this stage, the correction process was also timed for each paper. Every paper needed two minutes on average to be corrected. The writings were given back to the students for reviewing. The writings were graded the second time and at this time the learners received higher scores in comparison to their previous writings. The aim of this ascending scoring was to motivate them as they were writing more drafts.
This type of recasts was repeated five times during the term, before giving the students the posttest. The second group direct feedback , received direct corrective feedback which is the conventional pedagogical methodology. In line with the teaching initiation, the participants practiced a dialog and a reading in the same topic.
The focus of the dialog and the reading were on teaching vocabulary and sentence making. The learners were assigned to write on the same topic of their practiced unit. For the direct feedback group, explicit correction was given directly to the writings. In this respect, a class of 20 learners took around 1 hour and 45 minutes to be corrected. The papers were scored and the learners were aware of the outcome. Long explanations, if necessary, were provided orally in the classroom while returning the writing to the students.
This type of direct feedback was repeated for five times during the term, before assigning the students a final writing task as the posttest. This study takes advantage of the process approach to writing evaluation and teaching. Two independent samples t -tests were run to compare the performances of the two groups before and after treatment. The aim of the first independent samples t -test was to ensure that the two groups were at the same level of proficiency before receiving the treatment.
The aim of the second independent samples t -test was to compare the performance of the two groups after the treatment. In addition, two dependent samples t -tests were run. The aim of the first was to compare the performance of learners in recast group before and after the treatment. The aim of the second dependent samples t -test was to compare the performance of the learners in the direct feedback group before and after the treatment. The alpha data obtained were 0. In the following part, the descriptive statistics for the writing performance of high school EFL learners are presented.
The homogeneity of the direct feedback and recast groups in the pretest is presented below. The results given in Table 1 indicate that the difference between the means obtained by the direct feedback group and the recast group are not statistically significant; the p -value obtained from the independent t -test was 0. Table 1 shows that the mean score attained from the pretest writing scores between the control group and the experimental group was very close and indicated their homogeneity.
The statistical results obtained from the paired samples t -test run on the performance of the recast group before and after the treatment indicated significant gains, the obtained p -value was 0. The mean obtained from the performance on pretest was 5. The difference between the pre and posttest means was 0. Based on this result, it can be concluded that providing the high school EFL learners with recasts on the errors in their writing in particular is probably positively effective in their writing performance development. Do recasts enhance writing performance in comparison to direct corrective feedback?
Response To Student Writing : Implications for Second Language Students eBook
Is there any meaningful difference regarding the writing scores of the two experimental groups in the posttest? The descriptive statistics for the posttest scores can be seen in Table 2. The results from the independent samples t -test showed that the students in both the recast group and the direct feedback group improved significantly in their writing performance. Also, the difference between the means obtained by the direct feedback group and the recast group on the posttest is staistically significant; the obtained p -value was 0.
Based on the comparison of the two groups, the results revealed that the t-observed values are higher than the critical value in two pairs pre-test vs. This suggests that the participants in the both groups benefited from the feedback types provided, yet the recast group superseded the direct feedback group. The means of the scores obtained by the direct feedback group on the pretest were 4.
The difference between the pretest mean and posttest mean for the direct feedback is 0. As P is zero, less than 0. Results obtained in this study suggest that both recast and direct corrective feedback have a significant impact on the writing performance of language learners.
It seems that both of them could be effective tools for encouraging learners to identify their errors in writing and to correct their errors. It was revealed that there was a prominent difference between the performance of recast and direct feedback on the posttest; the recast group had better performance in comparison to the direct feedback group which confirmed the second hypothesis; the recasts had a statistically significant effect on the writing ability of high school EFL learners. It is necessary to highlight that these studies investigated the efficacy of recasts in speaking performance.
Leki proposed that it is more effective to provide learners with qualitative feedback about their strengths and weaknesses. Several scholars e. This reaffirms findings from several studies e. Time management is a heated controversy in issues surrounding classroom management, materials development, curriculum design, and teaching techniques. The results obtained from the analysis of the time spent on these two types of corrective feedback are so interesting and helpful. At first sight, having a quick look at the process of providing learners with written recasts seemed lengthy.
The reason was considering the highlighting process with different codes in one phase, and reading the revised version of the writings on the second phase while writing the reformulations would be so time consuming. Yet, having the two processes timed, we found that providing recasts takes much less time in comparison to direct corrective feedback. By meticulous observation, it was found that the reason correcting every error was more time-consuming in the direct feedback group, while the highlighting process did not need much time in the recast group, despite providing feedback twice to this group was that on the second draft of the writing most of the errors had been corrected by the learners.
Therefore, the teacher only had to reformulate a few sentences or expressions. The number of participants in this study was only 40 which is a small sample of EFL learners intra-culturally and cross-culturally. Hence, studies with bigger samples within a particular educational setting or cross-culturally would add valuable information to the findings of this study.
Receiving direct corrective feedback twice was not possible for learners. The reason was the nature of this type of error correction which is the correction of errors on the spot. Consequently, this made the learners and the teacher less involved based on the stages—they only spent one time on each text with the ongoing process of writing. The department in which the research was conducted did not permit writing within the class time as an in-class activity which limited our observation of the writing as their final outcome and we were not able to follow their writing process step by step while having them write in the classes under close observation.
The current study aimed to examine the effect of recasts on the writing performance of high school EFL learners. According to the analyses, there were significant differences between the recast group and the direct feedback group. Considering the finding it can be concluded that recasts are more effective than direct feedback in improving the writing performance of high school EFL learners. This study revealed that recast as an indirect feedback was less time-consuming, analysis of various types of indirect corrective feedback can help researchers obtain a clearer understanding of their effectiveness.
This could make a significant contribution to current teaching and learning pedagogy. It is recommended that teachers bring variety to the way they deliver their feedback and make their feedback more tangible and traceable. This can take place by providing written feedback. Moreover, this study suggests that teachers do not put all of their eggs in one basket, and do not wrap up the feedback process at a time.
The way that recast was provided in this study gives learners the chance to receive feedback more than once and feel the sense of achievement after every revised draft of their writing. Many researchers have focused on the effect of recasts dealing with spoken performance of learners especially on adults, while this research focused on the writing performance of high school learners.
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Williams still insists that "writing is often seen as having a minor role in second language learning" p. The situation seems to be changing. The role of writing in second language development has been gaining ground. Cumming hypothesized that "composition writing elicits attention to form-meaning relations that may prompt learners to refine their linguistic expression—and hence their control over their linguistic knowledge—so that it is a more accurate representative of their thoughts and of standards usage" p.
Leki also claimed that using writing to develop second language may be a central objective in second language learning. This new perspective has been called "writing-to-learn-language WLL " and emphasizes the role of writing as a medium for language development as has been supported by studies as recent as that of Adams, Alwi, and Newton There are several traits of writing that have led prominent authors to argue that writing plays an important role in language learning.
One is the problem-solving characteristic of writing.
Response to Student Writing: Implications for second language students
The other is the availability of time at the moment of writing, which is usually lengthy at the moment of speaking. Also, as J. Williams states,. Adams points out the facilitative role of writing to memorize recently learned syntactic structures and Ravid and Tolchhinsky highlight that writing leads learners to pay attention to linguistic forms and puts higher demands on writers for more precise linguistic forms and usage both during the production of their texts and after they have finished writing.
Its cyclical nature facilitates focusing on linguistic elements Kim, while writers engage in the iterative process to make meaning in which feedback plays a crucial role Swain, The study of writing has been done from various perspectives. Probably the best-known are the product approach, the genre approach, and the process approach.
Given the nature of this study, which intends to measure the impact of feedback on the development of writing skills, the approach that best fits our need is the process approach. The first influential model of the process approach was proposed by Flower and Hayes and later revised by Hayes This model has helped to identify writing sub-skills and to understand composition teaching holistically and it also includes motivation, which is a topic that did not play an important role in the original model, but that stands out in Hayes' last revision of the model.
As explained by Hayes , "because motivation appears to be intimately involved in many aspects of writing, I included it as a major component of my revision of the model Hayes, and in the current model" p. Melgarejo considers that this approach focuses on the process of writing which aims at the final product of writing. It helps student writers to understand their own composing process, to build repertoires of strategies for prewriting, drafting, and rewriting; it also gives students time to write and rewrite, highlights the process of revision and allows them to discover what they want to say as they write.
It also provides them with timely feedback as they attempt to bring their expression closer and closer to intention, encouraging feedback from both the instructor and their peers. The process writing approach contains traits of the product-based approach since the learner has to bear in mind where he or she is heading. In fact, Nunan argues that there is no reason why a writing program could only focus on one approach overlooking the advantages of the other.
This is the context we are going to consider in the subsequent identifiable stages that compose the process as stated by Meriwether :. In this research study feedback is embedded in the revision stage, and includes the feedback given on one or two of the writings, depending on the level of quality the writing of each student has.
Feedback can be defined as the information given to the students as to how their writing skills can be improved. The situation with feedback on content has also been problematic, maybe even more than the feedback on form. The outcome of this situation is that students often become frustrated and discouraged and consequently ignore the comments, a situation which reduces the possibility of students improving their writing skills J. Williams, For feedback to be effective, it has to comply with some features.
These features were depicted by Hartshorn as manageability, meaningfulness, timeliness, and constancy. As for manageability, this is a key point because if teachers are burdened with too much work, this practice would be abandoned. Therefore, how much time the teacher spends on giving feedback becomes a key factor of good feedback on writing. In terms of meaningfulness, according to McGarrell and Verbeem , feedback on writing should prioritize content over form in order to have students focus on the communicative purpose of writing. The third trait, timeliness, refers to the promptness of feedback, for instance, the sooner a text is commented on and corrected, the better.
The fourth trait, constancy, takes an educational keystone into consideration; if not practiced, knowledge can be forgotten, hence improvement in writing could not be attained Leki Having a person-to-person conference might sound ideal but given the constraints addressed above, it is not always possible; most of the time it will not be. For this reason, this study relies on screencasts, which allow for asynchronous feedback with the support of video images and voice. Screencasts are digital recordings of the activity on a computer screen, accompanied by voiceover narration.
The use of screencasts to provide feedback on writing is in its starting stage, with still few studies reporting on its use. A study with EFL students was conducted by McGarrell and Alvira and concluded that students overwhelmingly preferred the use of screencasts over conventional feedback. Another study was performed by Harper, Green, and Fernandez-Toro The findings indicated that both students and tutors liked the tool because hearing the tutor's voice engaged the students affectively and the explanations were considered clear and easy to retain.
These four previous studies take the topic to a point where they could demonstrate that it is worth using screencasts, but do not get deeper into how to use them intertwined with sound pedagogical strategies about feedback on writing. The present study intends to take a step forward and propose a more comprehensive approach on this matter. Thompson and Lee found in their study developed in a first language context, in an online learning environment, that student reaction to feedback with screencasts was highly positive and students preferred this form to traditional written comments.
Vincelette and Bostic researched writings of language students and analyzed their feedback preference and improvement in performance. Again, the conclusions are positive in favor of screencasts. A common characteristic found in the literature review was that the research subjects expressed their preference for the use of screencasts over traditional feedback, and this motivational predilection was also found in this study where students overwhelmingly favor its use. Outside of the field of feedback on writing, there is a growing body of research that supports the use of screencasts in education.
An example of that is the study of Soto and Ambrose , in which they highlight how screencasting can be used as a formative assessment tool in the teaching of mathematics in elementary school. Nonetheless, highlighting the importance of instructional methods over the media that deliver them is of paramount importance, as stated by Clark , This author claims that the choice of feedback methods—not media—impacts learning, without downplaying the importance of the media used, which play an important role in the process.
In the case of this study, the benefit of the use of screencasts lies in their capacity to strengthen the methodological traits of the feedback process. As Kemmis and McTaggart state, "action research is an approach to improving education by changing it and learning from the consequences of changes. It is participatory: it is research through which people work towards the improvement of their own practices" p.
THREE TYPES OF COMMENTS ON CONTENT: TEACHER VS. PEER FEEDBACK
This was exactly the case of this study that was aimed at improving the way feedback on writing was being given to the subjects of the research study to help them improve their writing skills but it also relied on the participation of the research subjects. At the same time, this research project can be useful to other practitioners interested in feedback on writing. Also, the way the study was performed, where there was a cyclical repetition of the steps of process writing see the steps in the Procedure section in every new writing, matches a key characteristic of action research, which, according to Kemmis and McTaggart , "develops through the self-reflective spiral: a spiral of cycles of planning, acting implementing plans , observing systematically , reflecting, and then re-planning, further implementation, observing and reflecting" p.
Every time a needs analysis was carried out it led to reflection, then implementation, data collection, and then again back to analysis and the implementation of changes throughout the process. All this research work is in line with the state of the art theory about feedback on writing such as that proposed by Ferris and McGarrell and Verbeem Three forms were designed to be used as instruments: a pre-study and a post-study questionnaire, and the students' writings. The research subjects comprised a group of 18 university students who were majoring in different academic programs and who had a B1 level of English.
The study was performed throughout 16 weeks. The students wrote a diagnostic paragraph about their childhood at the beginning of the semester and a post-test paragraph about the same topic at the end of the semester. The use of these screencasts has been free and the producer asserts in its website that it will continue being free. To use this tool, it has to be installed on the teacher's computer but it is not necessary that the students do the same, and the time limit for each screencast is five minutes. Besides the teacher-researcher, another teacher also participated in the project as a second and independent evaluator.
The feedback provided by the teacher-researcher to each student followed Ferris and took these steps into consideration:.
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The types of paragraphs students wrote were narrative and descriptive. Every time the students engaged in writing, various pre-writing activities were performed with the idea of preparing the students. Both the pre-writing and writing activities were accomplished in a two-hour, face-to-face session. Students wrote their first draft in this session and the teacher sent the feedback to them after the session and then had the students do their final writings by themselves.
Finally, the teacher gave feedback on the final writing. The same process was repeated up to four cycles addressing the features described in Table 1. The grammar points, the types of paragraphs, and the topics students worked on in the four cycles are described below. Students filled out the pre-study questionnaire and provided the draft and revised version of the three writing tasks.
Also, they had to hand in a final version of their writings based on the teacher's feedback and, finally, they had to fill out the post-study questionnaire. The students did all the writings in class sessions and the teacher was always present. To maintain participants' anonymity, each participant was assigned a number.
The way in which autonomy was fostered is shown through a number of reasons given by students in the instruments used. As a result, concepts such as motivation, independent work, writing improvement, awareness of mistakes, motivation, usefulness of feedback, and personalization of feedback were encountered. These are only ways of how and why autonomy was fostered. For this reason, the analysis made does not delve deeply into each one of them but they are only treated up to the extent where they serve the purpose of highlighting the way in which autonomy was fostered.
There are ways in which the guidance provided to students left room for their own initiative after being trained in choosing additional sources of information to further consolidate the feedback given by the teacher. Here is an example of how the teacher left room for students' own initiative to search for additional feedback sources:. At the bottom of the ms Word file in which Student 9 had written her draft of the writing about a trip to the desert, the teacher wrote:. As for students' perceptions about the usefulness of the feedback provided, the largest number of students perceived that it was very helpful to improve their writings.
When triangulating students' opinions see Table 3 with the grades they achieved on the writings see Table 4 , the conclusion is that the two pieces of information show coherence and this is supported by the quality of students' writings, as seen in Table 2 , where samples of a student's diagnostic and final writings are presented. The improvement on paragraph structure is evidenced in the average grade of students.
In the diagnostic writing, students had an average grade of 3. An example of this can be seen in Table 2 where it can be observed that the student's development of his writing skills improved in different aspects.
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To begin with, in the first writing, he wrote a list of facts or events without paragraph structure; there was not really a concluding sentence and the whole writing lacked coherence devices to make the story flow. In addition, there are several grammatical mistakes and the student tended to mostly use basic structures. On the other hand, in the final writing, improvement on the paragraph structure, coherence and cohesion can be seen.
For instance, with regard to the paragraph structure, the student improved in the use of topic sentences, supporting ideas and there were many ideas exemplifying his description , and the concluding sentence. As for the coherence and cohesion the reader can see how the story flows in such a way that it is easy to follow the description.
Finally, as far as grammar is concerned, the basic structures are better used and the student is also using more sophisticated grammatical structures. In this case, the improvement was in all the topics mentioned above. However, the majority of the improvement can be seen in the grammatical aspect. In the first writing, it can be seen that the student made many mistakes of different types: subject-verb agreement, wrong conjugation of verbs in the past tense, wrong use of basic structures, and wrong use of adverbs.
However, in the final writing, the student corrected many of these mistakes and even used more complex grammatical structures. Also, his story has more details that make it easier to read. The aspects taken into consideration in order to analyze students' progress in coherence and cohesion were: use of connectors and punctuation problems that interfered with the flow of the story run-on sentences.
The final conclusion was that feedback on writing is a tool to enhance writing because it increases motivation and also leads to scaffolding and this improvement can be evidenced in grammar, coherence, and cohesion. The finding related to the surprising motivational effectiveness of screencasts as tools to provide oral feedback was an important spin-off of this research work which makes further research on this point worth carrying out. Table 3 is a summary of the students' opinions about the feedback received.
The percentage indicates the level of acceptance. The main finding after the implementation of this study was that students' autonomy increased. It was made evident by the high level of motivation shown by the students in their comments in the post-study questionnaire and confirmed with the grades awarded in their writings. In the case of this study, where students were supposed to perform activities not necessarily on a whim, but for their own selves, we saw the logic behind Little , who said they need to be highly motivated in order to act autonomously.
When students made the decision of undertaking the writing of a text and to develop the revision of the same writing based on the teacher's feedback, it was because they were fired by the motivational mood of the teacher's commentary. Also, the content of the teacher's comments, which could be understood by the learners, also played the role of scaffolding as stated earlier.
These instructions from the teacher were understood by the learners and helped them to develop the writing tasks and confirm Farahani's assertion that "autonomy is materialized through the cooperation of both the teacher and learner" p. It is necessary to highlight the fact that the writings were graded by a trained and experienced teacher different from the researcher and also double checked by the researcher. About paragraph structure, it can be said that the written and oral feedback provided for the students helped them to improve their paragraph writing skills.