Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.566938
Title: Preparing ESL students for university level writing : the influence of using an electronic portfolio as a learning tool on ESL students' writing motivation and perforrmance
Author: Alshahrani, Ali Ayed Saeed
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
Thousands of English as a Second Language students in Western universities strive to meet the daily challenge of preparing written assignments. These texts need to comply with the demands and preferences of their university lecturers with regard to clarity of meaning, the logical flow of ideas and the use of an academic vocabulary. However, a characteristic of ESL students’ written work is a weakness of content and a lack of logical organisation of their ideas (Roberts and Cimasko 2008). In many intensive English language programmes, students are taught to use the process-writing approach, the success of which is related to how it is perceived and introduced to the students (Lefkowitz 2009). Atkinson (2003) emphasised that the process-writing approach perceives writing to be a cognitive process that is highly private or individualistic, where writers use specific cognitive phases, such as pre-writing, drafting, and revising, to generate their text. However, writing has been increasingly recognized as a socially and culturally situated activity connecting people with each other in ways that carry particular social meanings (Hyland 2003). Despite this view of writing as a social act, Lefkowitz (2009) claimed that many English Language Programme Centres (ELPCs) superficially implement process-writing in class by aiding students in revising their essays to achieve grammatical accuracy; however the generation, formation and revision of ideas are considered to be of less importance. This study investigates the use of an electronic portfolio (TaskStream e-portfolio) in an ESL writing course as a tool to support students as they work through the key phases of the writing process. The aim was to help them adopt a consistent approach to their writing practice (self-consistency), to encourage a positive view of the value and importance of writing (self-belief), to foster a realistic appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses as writers (self-judgement), and to examine the relationship between these characteristics and the students’ overall writing performance. To that end, the study addressed four main questions: • Does utilising a web-based learning platform encourage a change in ESL learners’ writing self-belief? • Does utilising a web-based learning platform encourage a change in ESL students’ writing self-efficacy? • Does utilising a web-based learning platform encourage ESL students to consistently apply a process approach to writing? • Does utilizing a web-based learning platform lead to a change in ESL students’ overall writing performance? Using a non-equivalent pre-/post-test quasi-experimental research design, 46 ESL students from the same English Language Centre were recruited. The students were divided into a control group and an experimental group and the study ran during the spring and summer terms of 2010. A mixed methodology was used, consisting of an online questionnaire, writing sampling, online tracking and interviews in order to collect relevant data. The findings from the pre-test showed no significant differences between the participants in the two groups. The post-intervention results indicated no significant improvement among the control group’s motivational constructs and performance in writing, whereas significant differences were found in the experimental group’s writing performance and in the students’ perceived value with regard to writing, writing self-concept, writing self-efficacy and writing process approach self-consistency, following the implementation of the web-based course. However, no significant differences in ESL students’ anxiety about writing were observed. These findings suggested that e-portfolio software has the potential to promote change in ESL students’ writing self-belief and performance. Limitations of the study are discussed, implications of the findings explored, and recommendations for further research in this field are suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.566938  DOI: Not available
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