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Title: An Investigation of the Composing Processes and Writing Strategies of Syrian University Students Majoring in English and the Socio-cultural Factors that Influence their Writing
Author: Chaaban, Lubna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 2560
Awarding Body: The University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2010
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The present study is an investigation of the composing processes and writing strategies of Syrian students majoring in English Language and Literature, as well as an examination of the sociocultural factors that may influence their writing skills and its development. The study predominantly adopts a qualitative approach, utilizing a number of research methods, namely concurrent verbal protocols, stimulated recall interviews, semi-structured general interviews and classroom observations. The participants involved in the study belonged to two groups; teachers (N=6) and students (N=11) from two different cohorts, in the second and fourth years of their degree. Each student participant wrote two essays. Each writing session was followed by a stimulated recall interview. General semi-structured interviews were conducted with both teachers and students. The analysis of the think-aloud protocols and stimulated recall interview data revealed that the participants made use of eight main strategies and twenty eight sub-strategies \vhile composing both essays. It appeared that the students' level of writing proficiency, the type of task they were composing, and the context in which the writing takes place all affected the participants' writing behaviour. The analysis of data gathered from the semi-structured general interviev·,s with teachers and students, as well as observations of writing classes, revealed that the participants' writing skills development is influenced by a number of socio-cultural factors. These factors related to the participants' past learning experiences, such as their approach to learning in general and the lack of adequate writing instruction and feedback in the pre-tertiary educational stages. Also relevant were participants' present learning experiences, such as large class sizes and mixed proficiency groups. Other factors related to the teachers and teaching practices. Haying multiple instructors for every class appeared to affect the teaching/learning process, particularly because of a lack of coordination and cooperation between the members of staff regarding the materials being introduced in class. A number of factors related to the writing process. such as the influence of Arabic on the way the participants compose in English. Finally, motivational factors were identified which were associated with the socio-cultural environment. There was a lack of motivation among students to practise and master writing which resulted from certain teaching practices in addition to perceptions about the lack of importance of writing for the students' future careers. The thesis closes by discussing the implications of the study for enhancing the teaching of writing in Syria.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available