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Title: The implementation of dialogue-based pedagogy to improve written argumentation amongst secondary school students in Malaysia
Author: Bahari, Aireen Aina Binti
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 7381
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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The purpose of this study is to find solutions on how to improve secondary school students’ persuasive argumentative English essay writing. The participants of this study are groups of ESL students aged 13 and 17 who live and study in a sub-urban area in Malaysia. All students and teachers converse amongst themselves using the Malay language on a daily basis while English language is merely used during classroom interaction time. Not only do they have very little opportunity to communicate using English language in their daily lives and for academic purposes, they also have limited opportunity to learn how to argue persuasively in their English classroom. Thus, they have difficulties in writing two-sided argumentative essays in English. The teaching-to-the-test culture has taken its toll on students’ writing performance when writing argumentative essays. In order to help students to score well in examination, teachers often overlook the need to teach critical thinking skills for the English subject. They focus solely on writing narrative essays as these essays require less critical thinking skill from the students. The Design-Based Research is employed to solve this problem of writing persuasive argumentative essays. Based on the pre-intervention essays written by the participants, it is believed that their difficulties are because of two major factors; insufficient English language skills and no exposure to persuasive argumentation skills. The initial design framework asserts that students should improve their persuasive argumentative essay writing if they are initially exposed to face-to-face group argumentation. However, the findings from the exploratory study revealed that face-to-face group argumentation is unmanageable in the context studied. Hence, an online learning intervention was considered to support secondary school students to improve their written argument. It was developed underpinned by design principles based on Exploratory Talk to achieve persuasive argumentation. The prototype online intervention was tested and developed through a series of iterations. Findings from Iteration 1 show that only a small number of students manage to write two-sided essays because most of them have an extreme attitude when writing about an issue and display a lack of positive transfer from group to individual argumentation. Prior to Iteration 2, the prototype intervention was adapted to tackle the extreme attitude and negative transfer issues by highlighting five elements: face-to-face classroom practice, focus more on three main ground rules, argument game, role of teachers during group argumentation and the use of argument map during the post-intervention essay writing. The findings demonstrate that all students in the second iteration wrote argumentative essays which are more persuasive. The final design framework developed in this study suggests a design framework that could be used by future researchers and ESL teachers at secondary school level who are interested in improving students’ persuasive argumentative essays.
Supervisor: Abdollahzadeh, E. ; Chappell, K. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Dialogic education ; Design-Based Research (DBR) ; Argumentation writing ; Exploratory Talk