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Title: Effectiveness of the interactional approach to the teaching of writing compared with the traditional/non interaction-based approach of English language teaching used in the Saudi Arabian university context
Author: Idrees, Muhammad Wafa Khalid
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 9927
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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Utilising integral parts of diverse socio-academic interaction finders establishing virtual online environment incorporating a collection of computer advances as interaction-support e-models was assumed most adequate in the Saudi context, where research confirmed poorer writing proficiency level than the desired standards of university students studying EFL as their major (Hujailan, 2004; Jahin, 2007; Gahin & Idrees, 2012; and Al Asmari, 2013). This environment facilitates interactional communications aiming at (basically) enhancing peer/expert revision and feedback provision processes needed for writing (or other language skills), and (generally) supporting knowledge construction. However, educationalists are not sure whether the purported benefits claimed by advocates of such interactional approach to the teaching of Writing (IATW) and associated means and techniques are true. Research also revealed negative attitudes of the Saudi college students towards learning a second language (ibid). The fact that demanded investigation on those issues inquiring whether an IATW programme – a package carefully designed as per the constructs of the approach referred to above – can be an effective tool to enhance Arab university EFL students' proficiency in English writing; and produce more positive attitudes towards learning English (writing in particular)? Following a mixed method (positivistic and interpretive-constructivist) research framework on the above-determined research question, this study was conducted. As a pre-test-post-test control group design of experimentation, data collection method used two instruments: a) pre- and post-writing proficiency tests (WPTs) to measure improvement of (27) experimental group students' writing ability, compared with that of the control group (28); and b) interviews to measure the impact of an IATW environment on a sub-set of (22) students' attitudes towards their interactional English writing approach experience. An action plan was followed to do relevant tests, two writing instruction methods, and semi-structured interviews. Quantitative data analysis of the WPTs revealed that the IATW made statistically significant difference in the experimental students’ overall Writing proficiency, compared with the control group scoring. The programme did not make statistically significant improvement in all Writing sub-skills than the control group. It improved the IATW students’ performance in the sub-skills: ‘Evidence & Reasoning’, ‘Organisation’, ‘Cohesion & Logical Consistency’, and ‘Mechanics’ in different degrees. However, the results revealed non-significant effect of the approach on the Writing sub-skills: ‘L2-related or L1-related Grammar’ error reduction. Conversely, the interactional mode did not function better than the traditional (non-interaction-based) approach in ‘Vocabulary’ or ‘Range of Ideas’: the traditional method showed more effectiveness. The experiment showed weak effect sizes in all cases. Qualitative analysis of the interviews revealed that the participants exposed to the interactional activities have developed positive attitudinal disposition: quite considerable ‘motivational intensity’, and increased ‘desire to learn’. Further discussions with the interviewees generated more evaluative thoughts (both favourable and unfavourable). They appreciated the IATW as easy-to-reach, relevant, purposeful writing activities; and communicative mode that played a role in elimination of passive experience of learning, and learner autonomy. However, they placed priority to other schooling goods than the approach adopted, and highlighted major constraints of utilising computer and iB applications for supporting interaction: lack of expertise, internet access, and time consuming. The insight gained from the findings posed a set of implications highlighted, and recommendations for further research study areas suggested.
Supervisor: Durant, Philip ; Myhill, Debra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Interactional Approach ; CALL ; L2 Writing