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Title: An investigation into face to face feedback for second language writing in the Libyan higher education context
Author: Ghgam, Aziza Ibrahim
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 9119
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 2015
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There is no doubt that feedback plays an indispensable role in both the teaching and the learning of writing skills, especially when it comes to a second or foreign language. However, despite substantial research showing the effectiveness of feedback, some teachers do not use the feedback technique to help their students improve on their writing. This study has grown out of interest during teaching practice at university level in Libya. It is common practice in Libya for teachers of English writing not to provide their students with either written or oral feedback on their written work. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of face to face feedback on second language writing in the Libyan higher education context. To fulfil the mentioned intention, a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies was employed. The study assessed face-to-face feedback by assessing whether and the extent to which this feedback technique led to an improvement in writing skills as measured by students’ performance in writing before and after the course in which this technique was employed. In addition, an examination was conducted of both students’ and writing teachers’ attitudes towards face-to-face feedback. This was in order to investigate their attitudes towards the use of face-to-face feedback in learning writing as well as to explore the advantages and disadvantages of this method. The participants of the study consisted of 200 third year undergraduate students who were studying in the English Department in two Libyan universities in the academic year 2012-2013. The students were randomly allocated either to a control or to an experimental group. The experimental group was given the treatment, which is face-to-face feedback (also known as conferencing feedback) whereas; the control group received written feedback. The study found a statistically noteworthy difference in students’ performance between the control and experimental groups. In other words, students who engaged in face-to-face feedback improved their test scores more than those who received only written feedback. This difference in revised writing performance between the treatment group and the control group is attributed to the use of learning strategies for writing and engagement with the learning. These findings suggest that face-to-face feedback allows writing skills to develop faster and more smoothly than does written feedback. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten of the participant students (the treatment group) from only Tripoli University along with their writing teacher to look into their attitudes and perceptions about feedback in general, as well as their opinion on face-to-face feedback in particular. Observation was also carried out on the treatment group in the classroom, with several objectives in mind: to explore how students learn, to see if they engage in face-to-face feedback, and to confirm what they had said in the interviews. Analysis of the findings showed that students viewed face-to-face feedback as a worthwhile experience and expressed their preference for this form of feedback as compared to the written one. The improvement in students’ writing ability was noticed during the xvii observation and in the samples of students’ writing that was collected. In other words, the technique helped in improving the students’ assignments. The thesis offers some recommendations as well as some implications drawn from the findings. Despite the fact that the study has some limitations like any other research, this study is expected to be beneficial to teachers of writing and learners of English as well as researchers in related fields.
Supervisor: O'Driscoll, Jim Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General) ; LB2300 Higher Education ; P Philology. Linguistics