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INTEREST (An Experimental Study at SMA Negeri 2 Sampit in the 2009/2010 Academic Year)
A THESIS PROPOSAL submitted as a fulfillment of the requirements for getting Master Degree Department of English Education
Abdul Syahid S890908201
GRADUATE SCHOOL SEBELAS MARET UNIVERSITY SURAKARTA 2009
A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON TEACHING WRITING BY PAPER BASED PORTFOLIO LEARNING AND ELECTRONIC PORTFOLIO LEARNING VIEWED FROM WRITING INTEREST (An Experimental Study at SMA Negeri 2 Sampit in the 2009/2010 Academic Year)
A THESIS PROPOSAL By: Abdul Syahid S890908201
Approved by Consultants
Position Consultant I
Name Dr. Sujoko, M. A. NIP 130817794
Consultant II Drs. Heribertus Tarjana, M. A.
English Education Program Graduate School Sebelas Maret University Head,
Dr. Ngadiso, M. Pd. NIP 131 792 932
TABLE OF CONTENT
TABLE OF CONTENT …………………………………………………………. iii CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION A. Background of Study ……………………………………… 1
B. Identification of the Problems …………………………….. 10 C. Limitation of the Problems ………………………………….. 12 D. Statement of the Problems …………………………………. 12 E. The Objectives of the Study ……………………………….. 13 F. The Benefits of the Study ………………………………….. 13 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE A. The Review of Writing Competence ……………………….. 15 1. Introduction ……………………………………………… 15 2. The Definition of Writing Competence …………………. 17 3. Writing Skills ……………………………………………. 20 4. Writing – an Overlooked Skill …………………………. 22 5. Process Writing ………………………………………… 23 6. Students’ Difficulties in English Writing ………………. 34 B. The Review of Paper Based Portfolio Learning …………… 43 1. The Nature of Paper Based Portfolio Learning …………. 43 2. Constructivist Learning ………………………………… 46 3. Characteristics of Paper Based Portfolio Learning ……… 51 4. Types of Paper Based Portfolios ……………………….. 54 5. Implementation of Paper Based Portfolio Learning ……. 55 6. Advantages of Paper Based Portfolio Learning …………. 65 7. Disadvantages of Paper Based Portfolio Learning ……… 67 C. The Review of Electronic Portfolio Learning ……………… 68 iii
1. The Nature of Electronic Portfolio Learning …………… 68 2. Constructivist Learning …………………………………. 69 3. Implementation of Electronic Portfolio Learning ………. 71 4. Advantages of Electronic Portfolio Learning …………… 78 5. Disadvantages of Electronic Portfolio Learning ………… 81 6. Points of Difference from Paper Based Portfolio Learning 83 D. The Review of Writing Interest ……………………………. 84 1. The Definition …………………………………………. 84 2. Types of Interest ………………………………………… 86 3. Aspects of Interest ……………………………………… 89 4. Developing Sustained Interest …………………………. 89 5. Effects on the Teaching of Writing ……………………… 90 6. Raising Interest in Writing ……………………………… 92 E. Rationale …………………………………………………… 93 F. Hypothesis …………………………………………………. 94 CHAPTER III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY A. The Aims of the Study …………………………………….. 95 B. Setting of the Research ……………………………………. 96 1. Time of the Research ……………………………………. 96 2. Place of the Research …………………………………… 97 C. The Method of the Research ………………………………. 97 D. The Subject of the Research ……………………………….. 101 1. Population ………………………………………………. 101 2. Sample …………………………………………………… 102 3. Sampling ………………………………………………… 102 E. The Techniques of Collecting Data ……………………….. 104 1. Questionnaire …………………………………………… 105 2. Test ……………………………………………………… 109 F. The Technique of Analyzing the Data ……………………… 111 BIBLIOGRAPHY …………………………………………………………… 119
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
A. Background of the Study
English is now widely considered to be a global language and the Indonesian government has identified the urgent socio-political, commercial and educational needs for Indonesian people to be able to better communicate in English. One criterion for a language to be considered global is Crystal’s (2003: 29) assertion that the language is used in a number of countries, serving sometimes as a first language, sometimes as a second or official language, and sometimes as a foreign language. By this criterion, English has been global in scope since the 19th century. Another measure of the global character of English lies in the number of people who speak it as a first or second language – estimated to be 400 million for first language speakers and more than double this number for second language speakers (Brutt-Griffler and Samimy, 1999: 419). As Kachru and Nelson (2001: 13) point out, English is used in more countries throughout the world than any other language: “no other language even comes close to English in terms of the extent of its usage”. Kachru and Nelson (2001: 13 - 15) metaphorically divide types of English speakers throughout the world into three groups represented by three concentric circles: Inner Circle, Outer Circle and Expanding Circle. The Inner Circle refers to native speakers, namely British, American, Canadian, Irish, Australian and New Zealander who use English as their first or native language (ENL). The Outer Circle represents users from formerly colonized countries such as India, Pakistan, Singapore, the Philippines, South Africa, Nigeria, and Zambia, where English serves as an official language for parts of education, governance, and the media. In this sense, English is used as a second language (ESL) or as an intranational language. The Expanding Circle consists of countries where English is used as a foreign language (EFL) for international communication by non-native speakers and includes, for example, Russia, Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. In these countries, English has varying roles and is widely studied as a school subject. 1
The global spread of English through the three concentric circles has taken place in different ways. Its spread in the Inner Circle has involved migrations of native speakers from the British Isles to Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, and Canada. The spread of English in the Outer Circle occurred in colonial contexts of Asia and Africa, where English was used in new sociocultural contexts. The spread of English in the Expanding Circle has occurred because of the impact of advancement of science and technology, commerce and various forms of knowledge and information. English has become a lingua franca – a common language widely adopted for communication between speakers whose native languages are different from each other. Warschauer (2002: 64) puts it: “The intersection of language with international networks and globalisation is perhaps most evident. Put simply, global trade, distribution, marketing, media and communications could not take place without a lingua franca. These processes of globalisation over the last thirty years have propelled English from being an international language…to becoming a truly global one, spoken and used more broadly than probably any other language in world history.” Kachru and Nelson (1996: 88) further note that: “…many non-native users of English employ it (English) as a common language to communicate with other non-natives, while the interactional contexts in which non-native and native speakers use English with each other are fast shrinking.” English is thus used for many purposes and by a wide range of speakers. First, English is used as a language for international business communication. In this age of globalization, the market has become a global one where people conduct business with other people worldwide. Second, English is a dominant official language used as a means for contact among governmental institutions and agencies such as the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Crystal also points out that although languages other than English are used for communication at meetings of the European Union, English is used as an intermediary language or ‘interlingua’ to facilitate controversial communications in which translating between languages is difficult or confusing
(2003: 81). Notably, English is the official working language of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which Indonesia is a member. Third, English is used globally in education; as a vehicle in academic conferences and contacts; in international tourism and air traffic control; and in entertainment, advertising, media and popular culture (Harmer, 2001: 3). In addition, a great number of textbooks and educational materials used worldwide are published in English. The global nature of English has both enhanced and been stimulated by the growth of the Internet. Because most Internet hosts are based in English-speaking countries, particularly the United States, most web sites and communication through the Internet are based in English. In 1997, Graddol (2000: 50) notes that English was the medium for 80% of the information stored in the world’s computers, and suggests that “English appears to have extended its domain of use to become the preferred lingua franca for the many new kinds of user who have come online in the 1990s”. Because of the significance of English as a global language, Indonesia has had a long commitment to teaching English at all levels of education and there are many reasons why Indonesia needs to develop effective programs for the teaching of English. Increasing the general levels of performance in English is now seen as an important part of building a much more critical and independent community of people in Indonesia. The development of a critical capacity in the workforce at all levels is now seen as of great national importance, and the teaching of writing in both English and Indonesian assumes a new significance as a means by which critical capacities can be promoted. The importance and the need for English and the teaching of English in Indonesia have been explicitly stated in several official documents released by the government, especially those related to education. The first document is the Competence-Based English Curriculum, released by the Department of National Education of Indonesia. In the rationale of this curriculum, it is stated that: “As a language which is used by more than half of the world’s population, English is ready to carry out the role as the global language. Apart from being the language for science, technology and arts, this language can become a tool to achieve the goals of economy and trade, relationship among countries,
socio-cultural purposes, education and career development for people. The mastery of English can be considered as a main requirement for the success of individuals, the society and the nation of Indonesia in answering the challenges of the time in the global level. The mastery of English can be acquired through various programs, but the program of English teaching at school seems to be the main facility for Indonesian students.” (Depdiknas, 2001: 1 - 2) The curriculum further mentions the role of English in Indonesia as described below: In Indonesia, English is a means to grasp and develop science, technology and arts and culture. Furthermore, English has a tremendously significant role in founding the relationship between the nation of Indonesia and others in various fields such as social economy, trade and politics. Therefore English can be considered as a means to accelerate the developments of the Indonesian nation and country (Depdiknas, 2001: 2) Moreover, an important and interesting evidence of the significance of English in Indonesia is the decision of the Congress of Bahasa Indonesia VII in Jakarta in 1998 (summarised by Erdina, 2001). Although the congress focused on Bahasa Indonesia as bahasa persatuan (language for unity), the decision of the congress stresses the prominence of English as a foreign language, and considers that the skills of English cannot be separated from the development of human resources in facing the globalization era. The decision of the congress, under the section Follow Up regarding English as a Foreign Language, states: “1) The improvement of English skills is an inseparable part of the development of human resources in facing the globalization era. Therefore, the availability and the use of the facilities as well as educational technology which can support the acquisition of the target language (English) need to be accorded a special importance. 2) The facilities and human resources for the teaching of English in tertiary education need to be developed to strengthen the position of the language as an effective tool in the international constellation …” (cited in Erdina, 2001: 2). The significance of English is also supported by Chaedar A. Alwasilah, saying that foreign languages, specifically English, function as a source language in the process of transferring technology from other countries and “the more people who master English, the more textbooks and publications in bahasa Indonesia will be” (2000: 15). Chaedar A. Alwasilah (2000: 8) also contends that English is
important in empowering someone in the society, by maintaining that those who master English tend to be more respected than those who do not and that the latter groups of society do not get as many economic privileges. The importance of English can also be seen in the national school curricula, which will be taken up below. The position of English in primary and secondary education can be depicted in hat follows. In primary education (grades one to six) English is not explicitly mentioned as a subject. However, it has become one of the subjects for the local content. Based on the decree of the Minister of Education No. 060/U/1993 and the policy referring to the 1994 curriculum, the teaching of English is formally encouraged in primary schools as the subject for the local content. In high school, English has been a compulsory foreign language subject throughout Indonesia. In junior high schools (grades 7-9), English is taught in four teaching periods a week, occupying the second highest number of teaching periods after the main subjects such as Mathematics, Bahasa Indonesia, Science and Social Science. English also has an important position in the senior high school curriculum. This can be seen from the proportion of teaching periods for English in secondary education which is high. English is taught four teaching periods a week in grade one and two, one teaching period less than Physics and Bahasa Indonesia and two teaching periods less than Mathematics. In grade three, English gets a higher proportion, which is five teaching periods a week, especially for the language program, which is 11 teaching periods a week. With respect to the release of the 2004 curriculum (later on adopted in the 2008 Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan), through which the genre-based approach to teaching English is introduced to Indonesian schools, the socialization of the curriculum which has been carried out so far by the government, involving some teacher education institutions should lead to the promotion of teachers’ competence in applying the curriculum in the class. In doing so, the release of the new curriculum will also bring about changes in the teaching practice of English in the classroom, unlike the cases of the previous curricula.
Regarding the teaching of writing, specifically English writing, Chaedar A. Alwasilah (2001: 24) observes that writing is the most neglected skill in Indonesian schools. He explains: “Writing is not only less practised, but –if anything- is also taught unprofessionally. … Writing is the most exalted language skill, yet it has been the most neglected one in our education. Our high school and college students are subjected to unprofessional teachers and professors. Most of the teachers and professors lack writing skills, informed understanding of the nature of writing and teaching strategies.” (2001: 25-26) Surveying 100 freshmen representing high schools in West Java, Chaedar A. Alwasilah (2001: 24) concludes that (i) writing is considered most difficult to learn by the majority of the students; (ii) students are barely exposed to the practice of writing; and (iii) teachers lacks information and knowledge on what they should do regarding their students’ composition. From his findings, he further insists that Indonesian university students’ writing capacity cannot be expected to be good, for two reasons. Firstly, students who enter university do not have solid English writing skills, given the lack of provision of such skills in high school education. Secondly, colleges also fail to demonstrate a strong commitment to the development of writing skills. Writing is not solely the product of an individual, but is a social and cultural act (Weigle, 2002: 19). Writing is ‘an act that takes place within a context, that accomplishes a particular purpose, and that is appropriately shaped for its intended audience’ (Hamp-Lyons and Kroll, 1997: 8). In a similar vein, Sperling (1996: 55) notes that ‘writing, like language in general, [is] a meaning making activity that is socially and culturally shaped and individually and socially purposeful.” From this perspective, learning to write involves much more than simply learning the grammar and vocabulary of the language (Weigle, 2002: 20). Communicative language ability or the ability to use language to achieve genuine communicative functions consists of interaction between aspects of language knowledge, on the one hand, and strategic competence, on the other part. Douglas (2000: 35) defines language knowledge specifically relevant to writing as consisting of four types of knowledge. Firstly, grammatical knowledge concerns
knowledge of the fundamental building blocks of language. Secondly, textual knowledge concerns the knowledge of how these building blocks are put together to form coherent texts. Thirdly, functional knowledge involves knowledge about how language is used to achieve a variety of communicative functions. Finally, sociolinguistic knowledge concerns knowledge about how to use language appropriately in different settings. Writing in English is generally regarded as a difficult skill by EFL students. If the exercise is not a controlled writing exercise, the learners may not feel confident when they write. They may find it a struggle to generate ideas in order to finish a long essay as Indonesian education still emphasizes memorization and rote learning and such a teaching methodology is particularly inappropriate for the teaching of foreign languages (Watson Todd, 2004: 15). In this educational context, Indonesian students rarely have a chance to generate and express ideas. Therefore, writing, as a productive skill, tends to be a serious problem for them. The teaching of writing in the classroom in Indonesia has been modeled on product—oriented approaches emphasizing quality of writing. Students have been expected to create a good written product. As Nunan (1989: 36, 1991: 86-87) claims, the classroom activities used in this approach often involve imitating or copying and changing words from a model text to produce a new text. In such a teaching of writing primarily focused on product, aiming at producing “coherent, error free text” (Nunan, 1999), the teachers of English generally pay little attention to other considerations such as purpose, audience or the processes of composing the text itself. As a result, students may be able to write a specific text type as instructed, but are unable to apply the knowledge thus gained to produce more varied writing as required. In a normal English class at schools, the approach used in teaching writing is described as product-oriented, with course books prepared by individual teachers. The lessons revolve around the presentation of a text in terms of its text types. If a text is a description of a place, then only the linguistic features and text organization are presented. There are neither references to the text’s social function nor its register. Quite often, there are scaffolding exercises on problematic language features
and aspects of paragraph organization. However, there are no exercises where teacher and students engage in any joint constructing activity, though the teacher sometimes assigns group writing activities among students. As a result, students eventually associate and memorize particular features with particular text types, without actually gaining control over them. As these students progress further in their education, they find complex writing even more difficult to accomplish. As a teacher of English, the writer begins to investigate alternative approaches to the teaching of writing. As stated before, English in Indonesia remains a foreign language. This has consequences for teaching and learning as follows. For most students, English is regarded as one subject in the school curriculum. Students usually lack exposure to an authentic English learning environment, materials, and possibilities for engaging with the culture of (native speakers of) the target language beyond the classroom. Texts used in class are mostly commercial textbooks which sometimes fail to provide authentic types of English used in real contexts. In particular, the teaching of writing without providing an audience to whom the students’ work can be shown and traditional in-class writing instruction that pay little attention to the process of writing are artificial. In such artificial English classrooms, students may take low interest in learning and using English for ‘real’ reasons. It is stated by Schraw and Lehman (2009: 510) that researchers have identified two types of interest. They further define that situational interest is spontaneous, transitory, and environmentally activated, whereas personal interest, also referred to as individual interest, is less spontaneous, of enduring personal value, and activated internally (2009: 510). Moreover, Schraw and Lehman (2009: 510) postulate that interest is significantly related to learning in three important ways. One way is that interest increases motivation, engagement, and persistence. A second way that interest is related to learning is through strategy use. A third way that interest affects learning is through deeper information processing. Thus, interest plays a great role in the students’ learning achievement. Underpinned by the brief theoretical foundations and encountered problems above, the use of portfolio in improving students’ writing competence is of great
significance. It is stated by Richards and Schmidt (2002: 406) that portfolio is a purposeful collection of work that provides information about someone’s efforts, progress or achievement in a given area. They further assert, “It is a learning as well as assessment tool.” According to Herman and Stephen (no year: 137), it is a process that can serve a variety of purposes. Specifically, the point of view that portfolio is a learning tool is the bedrock of this research in terms of theoretical and practical frameworks. Apart from that, in relation to the platform of portfolio as a learning tool Richards and Schmidt (2002: 406 - 407) list some characteristics of portfolio as applied in language learners. They are: a. the learner is involved in deciding what to include in the portfolio; b. the learner may revise material in the portfolio after feedback from the teacher or others; c. the learner is required to assess or reflect on the work in the portfolio thus becoming aware of personal development; d. there is evidence of mastery of knowledge; e. it may include various forms of work, such as written work, audio recording, video recording, etc. Herman and Stephen (no year: 138) portray the use of portfolio as follows: “During the instructional process, students and teachers work together to identify significant pieces of work and the processes required for the portfolio. As students develop their portfolio, they are able to receive feedback from peers and teachers about their work. Because of the greater amount of time required for portfolio projects, there is a greater opportunity for introspection and collaborative reflection. This allows students to reflect and report about their own thinking processes as they monitor their own comprehension and observe their emerging understanding of subjects and skills. The portfolio process is dynamic and is affected by the interaction between students and teachers.” Therefore, portfolio based learning encourages the students to improve their writing competence and increases their interest in writing English. In addition, through portfolio based learning, the teachers of English can provide documentation on a student's language development especially in writing English. The collection
should include evidence of student reflection and self-evaluation, guidelines for selecting the portfolio contents and criteria for judging the quality of the work. The goal is to help students assemble portfolios that illustrate their talents, represent their writing competency and tell their stories of school achievement (Venn, 2000: 530). Portfolio itself can be divided into two types, namely paper based portfolio and electronic portfolio (“electronic portfolio,” 2007; van Wesel and Prop, 2008: 1). In writing class, paper based portfolio includes: 1. Showcase portfolios that highlight the best products over a particular time period or course such as the best examples of different writing genres (an essay, a poem, a short story, a biographical piece, or a literary analysis; 2. Process portfolios that concentrate on such journey of learning as different stages of the process an outline, first draft, peer and teacher responses, early revisions, and a final edited draft; and 3. Evaluation portfolios that exhibit a series of evaluations over a course and the learning or accomplishments of the student in regard to previously determined criteria or goals such as documents tests, observations, records, or other assessment artifacts required for successful completion of the course (Fernsten, 2009: 694). Secondly, an electronic portfolio, also known as an e-portfolio or digital portfolio may be one of the above portfolio types or a combination of different types, a general requirement being that all information and artifacts are somehow accessible online (Fernsten, 2009: 694). It may include inputted text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks. With this type of portfolio, students are able to visually track and show their accomplishments to a wider audience. Eportfolios are both demonstrations of the user's abilities and platforms for selfexpression, and, if they are online, they can be maintained dynamically over time. Before replacing a well established paper-based portfolio with an electronic version, a comparison of e- and paper-based portfolios on their shared potential merits such as support for self-reflection and effect on learning outcomes in a similar ecological setting ought to be carefully undertaken. Due to the underlying theories above, the problems encountered in the teaching of writing, and the preceding
consideration that he takes into account, the writes compares the English writing achievement of the students taught using two different portfolio based learning in a study entitled “A Comparative Study on Teaching Writing by Paper Based Portfolio Learning and Electronic Portfolio Learning (An Experimental Study at SMA Negeri 2 Sampit in the 2009/2010 Academic Year).”
B. Identification of the Problems
Based on the prior section, the writer identifies some problems, such as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Why do many students still get difficulties in writing? What make writing difficult? What are the difficulties encountered by the students in writing? What are the implementations of portfolio based learning? What are the differences between the implement tation of electronic portfolio and paper based portfolio learning? 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. What are the strengths and weaknesses of those portfolio based learning? Is portfolio based learning effective to teach reading? Which portfolio is best applied to get better achievement? Are the students interested in learning English? Are the students interested in learning writing? Are students interested in writing? Does the students’ interest influence their writing competence? Does portfolio based learning make the students interested in learning reading? Which one are better, students who have high writing interest or those having low writing interest in their English writing competence? 15. What kind of topic will be used in English instructional activity by using those methods? 16. Is there any interaction between writing interest and English instructional activity by using those portfolio based learning in student’s English writing skill?
C. Limitation of the Problems
Since there are several problems that emerge on the identification of the problems above, the research problems are limited to the comparison between the implementation of electronic portfolio learning and that of paper based portfolio learning in teaching writing viewed from students’ writing interest. In other words, the research is focused on the problems which are supposed to influence the students’ writing competence namely: the portfolio learning employed by the teacher and the students’ interest.
D. Statement of the Problems
On the basis of the previous sections, the problems of the study are formulated as follows: 1. Is there any significant difference in students’ writing competence between the students who taught by electronic portfolio learning and those who are taught by paper based portfolio learning? 2. Is there any significant difference in students’ writing competence between the students who taught by electronic portfolio learning and those who are taught by paper based portfolio learning for those who have high writing interest? 3. Is there any significant difference in students’ writing competence between the students who taught by electronic portfolio learning and those who are taught by paper based portfolio learning for those who have low writing interest? 4. Is there any interaction between those portfolio-based learning and students’ writing interest?
E. The Objectives of the Study
This research is aimed to know the influence of portfolio based learning and the students’ interest on the students’ writing competence. In particular, this research is proposed to know whether or not: 1. There is any significant difference in English writing competence between students taught by electronic portfolio learning and those taught by paper based portfolio learning. 2. There is any significant difference in English writing competence between students taught by electronic portfolio learning and those taught by paper based portfolio learning for those who have high writing interest. 3. There is any significant difference in English writing competence between students taught by electronic portfolio learning and those taught by paper based portfolio learning for those who have low writing interest. 4. There is any interaction between the two portfolio-based learning and writing interest in terms of students’ English writing competence.
F. The Benefits of the Study
After conducting the research, the writer expects that the portfolio based learning utilized in this research can improve the students’ writing competence. If interest also plays important role for the students’ writing competence, it becomes crucial thing and it cannot be neglected during the teaching learning process to support the students’ competence, especially in their writing competence. The result of the research can also inform the interaction between teaching model and students’ interest in terms of writing competence. If there is an interaction, it is necessary to consider the use of a better portfolio based learning type, which is suitable for the students who have high learning interest or those who have low learning interest. This study will prove beneficial to the process of English language teaching learning, especially in the teaching of writing, for the following parties.
a. To the researcher, it develops the researcher’s knowledge on the development of various techniques implemented in teaching English writing to develop another research. b. To other researchers, the result of this study can be a basis to carry out other research and made use of as one of references to study about writing competence and take into consideration in their research. This research also gives brief knowledge to another researcher to conduct the similar research in another school with another research subject by making the result of this study a starting point to conduct the next research. c. To the teachers of English, this research enriches the teacher’s knowledge on the use of various portfolio based learning in teaching English writing. This, in turn, enhances teaching and learning English by providing students with a more authentic and meaningful learning environment. A variety of learning strategies that are applied by the teacher makes the students interested in learning English, especially in English writing, and applying it for the real purpose. d. To the students, the study is also beneficial for them to find meaningful strategy to overcome their problems, not only in improving their English writing competence but also in increasing their writing interest. They will be highly interested by various strategies and techniques applied in the classroom. e. To the school, the research is valuable in giving beneficial contribution of the improvement of the English language teaching at school. In addition, the rapid development of Information Computer Technology (ICT) that cannot be ignored must be well integrated and effectively exploited in teaching learning process to improve the learning outcomes.
CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
In this chapter, the writer takes a journey into an exploration of theoretical foundations of the research. At the outset, he journeys into the review of writing competence. The next journey is into the review of portfolio based learning that is explored under such headings as paper based portfolio learning and its counterpart, electronic portfolio learning. Before ending the journey of this chapter with hypothesis formulation, he travels the writing interest and explores the rationale of the research.
A. The Review of Writing Competence
The acquisition of a language, whether our native tongue or a second language presumes a process in which both receptive skills such as listening and reading) and productive skills such as speaking and writing (Richards and Schmidt, 2002: 293) intervene to affect and complement each other simultaneously. It is through the integration of these four separate skills that learners’ language performance is comprehensively strengthened to attain the desired communicative competence. In other words, the desired competence is the competence to
communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to use language according to the parameters imposed by the speech community in which they are inserted. According to Hyme (in Widdowson, 1989: 132), who coined the term communicative competence, these parameters not only involve the knowledge of composing sentences correctly according to grammatical rules but also the possibility, feasibility and appropriateness of the utterance. This interactive nature of communication closely intertwines listening and speaking skills together as they are usually the function through which the ability to
perform in another language is measured (Nunan, 1999: 225), just as reading and writing go hand in hand and demonstrate that the leaner is part of a literate society. However, not all four skills are regarded as equal. While speaking and listening are the starting points in the acquisition of a language and are learned naturally, writing and reading are ‘culturally specific, learned behaviors’ (Brown, 2001: 334) which are acquired only if someone is taught, much like the ability to swim. Because all of the questions on writing and the teaching of writing are based on it, Brown’s prologue of Chapter 19: Teaching Writing (2001: 334 – 360) is interesting to quote: “How is writing like swimming? Give up? Answer: The psycholinguist Erie Lenneberg (1967) once noted, in a discussion of “species specific" human behavior; that human beings universally learn to walk and to talk, but that swimming and writing are culturally specific learned behaviors. We learn to swim if there is a body of water available and usually only if someone teaches us. We learn to write if we are members of a literate society, and usually only if someone teaches us. Just as there are non-swimmers, poor swimmers, and excellent swimmers, so it is for writers. Why isn’t everyone an excellent writer? What is it about writing that blocks so many people, even in their own native language? Why don’t people learn to write "naturally,” as they learn to talk? How can we best teach second language learners of English how to write? What should we be trying to teach?” Another analog of writing is uttered by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), a famous American writer. His famous quotation goes, “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath” (Marc: 2008). Brown (2001) and writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald make analogies of the difficulties of writing to those of swimming, for even though one may learn to swim and to write this does not imply that the skill will be mastered, even if one is proficient in a language. Writing is not a spontaneous skill or acquired easily, in fact, it is viewed as ‘probably the most difficult thing to do in language’ (Nunan, 1999: 271). While speech allows the user to exploit various devices such as body movement, gestures, facial expression, tone of voice, pitch, hesitation and stress to facilitate communication, this is not available to the writer. Nor can the writer clarify revise or backtrack ideas when there is miscommunication or misunderstanding between reader and writer (Hedge, 2005: 7). Writing to be effective is dependant on a number of features which are not shared by spoken language, not only in terms of
linguistic and pragmatic features but also the context in which it will be interpreted (Nunan, 1999). Writing is a ‘complex, cognitive process that requires sustained intellectual effort over a considerable period of time’ (Nunan, 1999:273) as, according to Hedge (2005), there is a need to organize the development of ideas or information; ambiguity in meaning must be avoided through accuracy; the writer must choose from complex grammatical devices for emphasis or focus; and finally, they must pay attention to the choice of vocabulary, grammatical patterns and sentence structures to create a feasible meaning and an appropriate style to the subject matter and reader. This section provides some definitions of writing competence, a brief overview of process writing and how the various stages involved in process writing may be used to address some of the previously mentioned features to help develop students’ writing skills. Subsequently five examples of writing will be analysed to assess difficulties and how the process of generating ideas, drafting and revising are suggested to provide some possible solutions to the highlighted difficulties. The five examples include different text types and patterns such as an informal letter, a comparative and contrast essay, a descriptive essay, an opinion essay and a formal letter. Some of these texts are exam specific tasks and they have all been tailored into tenth graders as they belong to a level in which students are expected to express themselves effectively in writing (Depdiknas, 2006: 5).
2. The Definition of Writing Competence
Gnanadesikan (2009: 1) opens her book by reminding the readers of the fact that writing is a miracle. In the first paragraph, she emphasized: “This sentence is a time machine. I wrote it a long time before you opened this book and read it. Yet here are my words after all this time, pristinely preserved, as good as new. The marvelous technology that allows the past to speak directly to the future in this way is by now so pervasive that we take it for granted: it is writing.” She further highlights:
“Imagine a world without writing. Obviously there would be no books: no novels, no encyclopedias, no cookbooks, no textbooks, no telephone books, no scriptures, no diaries, no travel guides. There would be no ball-points, no typewriters, no word processors, no Internet, no magazines, no movie credits, no shopping lists, no newspapers, no tax returns. But such lists of objects almost miss the point. The world we live in has been indelibly marked by the written word, shaped by the technology of writing over thousands of years.” The big question that lies and underpins the research is how to conceptualize or define the miracle if writing is not merely writing? Generally, writing can be interpreted as the act of forming or tracing a character on paper or other suitable materials with a pen or pencil. Rivers (1968: 242) distinguishes writing from other skills according to the forms ranging from the simplest to the most highly developed one. From its simplest one, writing can be conceived as the act of putting down in conventional graphic from something that had been spoken. Another definition is given by Michael (1981: 10) who says that writing can be a systematical visible and permanent representation of the auditory and transient phenomena of speech. Byrne (1993: 24) defines that writing is a primary means of recording speech, even though it must be acknowledged as a secondary medium of communication. It is more elaborately defined by Flower (1989: 54) that: “Writing is a social act that can only occur within a specific situation. It is therefore influenced both by the personal attitudes and social experiences that the writer brings to writing and the impacts of the particular political and institutional context in which it interviews, analyses of surrounding practices and other techniques, researchers seek to develop more complete accounts to local writing contexts.” In line with Flower, Nystrand (1989: 75) also states that writing is a matter of elaborating text in accordance with what the writer can reasonably assume that the reader knows and expects, and the process of reading is a matter of predicting text in accord with what the reader assumes about the writer’s purpose.
Harmer (2004: 86) states that writing is a process and what is written is often heavily influenced by the constraints of genres as elements that have to be present in learning activities. After quoting Plato who utters that written language addresses the reader when its author is absent and has no capacity to respond (2004: 154), Holme defines philosophically that writing is an ability to make a form of words that in general it may have a higher truth value than the fact that it has set it down (2004: 160). According to Gelb and Whiting (2008) writing is a way of recording language in visible form and giving it relative permanence. Byrne (1993: 1) emphasizes: “But writing is clearly much more than the production of graphic symbols, just as speech is more than the production of sounds. The symbols have to be arranged according to certain conventions to form words, and words have to be arranged to form sentences, although again we can be said to be 'writing' if we are merely making lists of words, as in inventories of items such as shopping lists.” He further (1993: 1) concludes that writing is a sequence of sentence arranged in a particular order and linked together in certain ways. Writing, more particularly, refers to two things: writing as a noun, the thing that is written; and writing as a verb, which designates the activity of writing. It refers to the inscription of characters on a medium, thereby forming words, and larger units of language, known as texts. It also refers to the creation of meaning and the information thereby generated (“Writing,” 2009). According to Petty and Jensen (l980: 362), writing is the mental and physical act of forming letters and words. But it is much more than that, it is putting words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, spelling word correctly, punctuating and capitalizing in customary ways, and observing conventions in written forms and more. Writing is a process of expressing thoughts and feelings of thinking and shaping experiences. The last definition refers to a process taking place in human’s brains. That is why the definition becomes a starting point in defining the term of writing. Writing, thus, can be defined as a mental and physical process of expressing thought and
feelings by forming words into a sequence of arranged sentences leading to the creation of meaning and the information. The writing itself is influenced both by the personal attitudes and social experiences that the writer brings to writing and the impacts of the particular political and institutional contexts. It is also a process that what is written is influenced by the constraints of genre. The term ‘competence’ is generally defined as the ability to do something well, measured against a standard, especially ability acquired through experience or training and linguistically, knowledge of a language that enables somebody to speak and understand it (Microsoft® Encarta® 2009). It is defined by Richards and Schmidt (2002: 93 – 94) that competence in generative grammar is the implicit system of rules that constitutes a person’s knowledge of a language. This includes a person’s ability to create and understand sentences, including sentences they have never heard before, knowledge of what are and what are not sentences of a particular language, and the ability to recognize ambiguous and deviant sentences. They also differentiate between competence and performance, which is the actual use of the language by individuals in speech and writing. They, however, add an entry of competencies related to competency based teaching, an approach to teaching that focuses on teaching the skills and behaviors needed to perform competencies. In this point of view, competencies are descriptions of the essential skills, knowledge and behaviors required for the effective performance of a real world task of activity. Therefore, in this study writing competence can be stated as skills, knowledge, and behaviors of writing that enable a person to express his/ her ideas, thoughts, and feeling in a well arranged set of sentences.
3. Writing Skills
As discussed before, in order to make it operational, the construct of writing competence is viewed under the term ‘skills’. Skill is defined as the ability to do something well, usually gained through training or experience and something that requires training and experience to do well, e.g. an art or trade (Microsoft® Encarta®
2009). According to Richards and Schmidt (2002: 293), in language teaching, skill is defined as the mode or manner in which language is used. Thus, writing skills are the trained or experienced manner in which English written language is used. Brown (2004: 220) derives a checklist of writing skills, which are what a writer must employ in the process of writing. So they represent the specific skills called for in smooth writing process. The comprehensive taxonomy of writing skill is also developed from a variety of sources, including needs analysis, discourse analysis, and related research. The following is the taxonomy of writing skills as postulated by Brown (2003: 343). 1. Produce grapheme and orthographic patterns of English; 2. Produce writing at an efficient rate of speed to suit the purpose; 3. Produce an acceptable core of words and use appropriate word order patterns; 4. Use acceptable grammatical systems (e.g. tense, agreement, pluralization patterns and rules); 5. Express a particular meaning in different grammatical forms; 6. Use cohesive devices in written discourse. 7. Use the rhetorical forms and conventions of written discourse; 8. Appropriately accomplish the communicative function of written texts according to form and purpose; 9. Convey links and connection between events, and communicate such relation as main idea, supporting idea, new information, given information, generalization, and exemplification; 10. Distinguish between literal and implied meanings when writing; 11. Correctly convey culturally specific references in the context of the written text; 12. Develop and use of writing strategies, such accurately assessing the audience’s interpretation, using pre-writing devices, writing the fluency in the first drafts, using paraphrases and synonyms, soliciting peer and instuctor feedback, and using feedback for revising and editing. It can be seen that the checklist can be very helpful in planning a specific technique or writing module, focusing on clearly conceptualized objectives, and putting testing criteria.
The procedures in teaching writing itself, according to Ur (1996: 162 – 163), must take into accounts whether the writing is as a means or as end. If it is as an end, writing is simply used as either as a means of getting the students to attend to and practice a particular language point or as a testing method. If it is meant to be an end, at the micro level, the students practice specific written forms at the level of word or sentence and at the macro level, the emphasis is on content and organization. Finally, the combination of writing as a means and an end is in the form of purposeful and original writing with the learning or practice of some other skill or content. Therefore, it is of importance to clarify the objective of the teaching of writing as it determines the classification of writing activities.
4. Writing – an Overlooked Skill
The complexity of factors involved in effective writing would presume that a substantial amount of time is dedicated to writing in language programs. Nonetheless, as White and Arndt (1991:1) point out, ‘it has tended to be a much neglected part of the language programme’, despite the power of writing as a permanent record, as a form of expression and as a means of communication. It would seem that, in general, this may still be very true today for a number of reasons, and when the writer refers to writing, it is the writing of whole texts, not writing which is mainly used to assist in the learning of new structures or vocabulary on a sentence level, used by teachers to monitor and diagnose students’ problems (Hedge, 2005: 10). In the era of communicative teaching, it is possible that communicative competence is often misunderstood as only referring to oral skills when in fact communicative competence involves all four skills in language, and writing (of whole texts) may often be neglected by teachers and students for all the wrong reasons: Students in the main consider writing to be important but regard writing assignments as “tedious” mainly due to: − the design or purpose of writing activities in course books and their unrealistic or non-authentic nature;
− the non-interactive nature of the activity; − finding the process of generating ideas difficult; − finding the process of organizing ideas difficult; − not enjoying it when they have limited time to complete assignments, as in exam situations Teachers on the other hand, often pressed for time to complete a set program, may in many instances cut writing assignments or relegate them to homework. It is interesting to verify that writing assignments are often found at the end of each unit in course books and may on occasions have a weak or non-authentic contextual link to the unit. Perhaps this sub-consciously influences teachers to send them as homework assignments with little or no prior discussion in class to provide support or a framework that will aid students to generate ideas. Teachers may also find that they have very little direct control over how students write, due to the intricate nature of writing. Despite spending a substantial time correcting, making suggestions, teachers verify that over time very little improvement occurs. Students repeatedly make the same mistakes, whether these are linguistic or structural.
5. Process Writing
If the teaching of writing is divided into separate stages to reflect the various moments involved in the process of writing then perhaps many of the obstacles experienced by both students and teachers can be addressed. Writing practice in the classroom however, is often taken up for display purposes, to assess if students have learned language structures taught in class and for examination purposes. Here, the teacher is concerned with the final product of writing: an essay, a report, an article or story, based on standard models; that these meet the standard English rhetorical style; and are grammatically correct and organized in a conventional manner (Brown, 2001: 335). Thus writing is apparently used to promote language learning, through models, rather than to encourage creativity and communication and language acquisition. To an extent, students simply have to follow a structure that has been
provided, ‘copy’ the main structures and ‘fill in’ the rest depending on the context or writing task. An example might be a commercial letter, I’m writing to inform you that…, or report which are made up of pre-set expressions and sentences. Good writers will manage without any real difficulty and will know how to include more detailed information, whereas weak writers will limit themselves to the pre-set structures and will not learn nor practice how to develop ideas and put these into words. Process writing may be a more effective method of teaching writing as it helps students to focus on the process of creating text through the various stages of generating ideas, drafting, revising and editing, a number of activities which can be represented as in the figure below.
Figure 2.1 Stages involved in process writing (Hedge, 2005:51)
White and Arndt (1991:3) describe writing as “A form of problem-solving which involves such processes as generating ideas, discovering a ‘voice’ with which to write, planning, goal-setting, monitoring and evaluating what is going to be written as well as what has been written and searching for language with which to express exact meaning.” In a simplified manner, Figure 2.2, tries to demonstrate the complex and recursive nature of writing and the interaction between the different operations which may occur simultaneously (White and Arndt,1991:4; Hedge, 2005:50). Cognitive process or thinking is not linear. However, writing is linear and a writer must know how to organize his/her thoughts and message in an appropriate manner. Many writers often do not know what they want to write beforehand and many ideas are only revealed once the writer has started. They then move backwards to revise and change words or structures before they move forwards and they continue doing this
until they are satisfied with the end result. Thus, writing is a ‘process through which meaning is created’ (Zamel, 1982: 195).
Figure 2.2 A Model of Writing (White and Arndt,1991:43)
a. Generating Ideas
Many reading activities or lessons include pre-reading tasks with the aim of activating learners’ background knowledge (schema). This is a top-down approach which aids students to predict the type of information they will encounter and will help them interpret the text, as readers will only have to concentrate on what they do not know. The same concept should be used in writing. Lessons should try to take an organic and experiential approach, in other words, allow students to put into practice what was taught, or discussed in class, with authentic or semi-authentic tasks. One activity naturally flows into the next. The first part of the lesson may almost be considered the pre-writing stage to develop ideas. An example might be a descriptive essay which follows a lesson or section on adjectives. An opinion essay could follow a class discussion about a specific topic. Another good pre-writing activity is the use
of brainstorming, especially if we consider the complexity of writing and how generating ideas is an essential stage in the writing process (White and Arndt, 1991:17). The objective of brainstorming is to stimulate the imagination to produce ideas on a topic or problem. This is particularly useful for those less imaginative students who do not exercise their creative abilities frequently and thus find it difficult to generate or recall encyclopaedic/world knowledge and link ideas together. Is it not possible to assert that like many other skills, creativity and imagination must be developed through practice. Text below is a clear example of the difficulty in generating ideas as the student limited himself to mentioning the items stated in the task assignment. The writer of the text does not provide any additional detailed information or develop the topic further. No motivation to write is present. This text resembles more the act of note taking than it does a final draft as paragraphs have not been structured nor have the ideas been developed appropriately. Travelling by train on holiday has many advantages, but on the other hand it has many disadvantages. The cost depends on the train. If we are talking about an executive train, of course is more expensive than an ordinary train. If the travelling is to long, you can meet nice and kind people. Other advantage are the waiters. They are very polite and sympathetic. Moreover, trains are, in my opinion, the most comfortable vehicles. One of the disadvantages are the rest room, sometimes, they are not very clean and the poop are left to the train away, and it’s disgusting. To sum up, trains are very environmental friendly, because they can transport many people only on one time.
White and Arndt (1991: 18) suggest that brainstorming should be unhindered and non-critical to promote productivity and creativity. Brainstorming should be used to identify purpose and audience (if these are not pre-set), to develop the topic and the organization of ideas. One of the reasons why this student is unable to
perform to set standards may have been the lack of purpose or audience in his writing. He does not know who he was writing to nor why. If the set task states something similar to: ‘the school is planning a trip to Paris. Despite many requests to fly we would prefer to travel by train. Please provide a list of advantages and disadvantages of travelling by train on holiday to present to the student council.’ the task can be facilitated and the writer can compare and contrast the train with other means of transportation. The statement can motivate the writer to ponder more on his/her development of ideas. Any type of writing done in real life is for a purpose with a reader in mind, thus the interactive nature of written texts is implicit. For this reason any type of writing task should stipulate why the student is writing to fulfill some kind of communicative purpose, whether stimulated or real, and who for, to provide a sense of audience, hence providing a context. Hedge point outs that when the context is explicit, students write more effectively and appropriately (2005: 11). The sense of audience and purpose will influence the writer with his/her choice of content, style/genre and will determine other lower-end choices such as vocabulary and grammatical forms or how information will be ‘packaged within a sentence’ (Nunan, 1999:272) thus taking a top-down approach to writing. A visual display of how lower order choices determined by higher order one is shown in the figure 2.3 below.
Figure 2. 3 – Top-down Choices
Dear Syahid, I live in the centre of a town called Solo. My house is near a fantastic bowling club and I love playing bowling! Usually, I play bowling in the evening, after school, and in the weekends, with my friends. Sometimes, I also play bowling with my family but, of course, I always win! I have joined a club too, called “Super Bowling Club”. There I can play with many good bowling players and learn many things. Someday, if you want, you can come and play with us! You will see that it’s great!
I am waiting for you, Gatot Kaca
If Syahid is a friend then clearly he will know where the writer lives. In addition to not mentioning the letter that is received in the opening of the letter, the student is providing information which is shared (common knowledge) and thus unnecessary. As the student does not take the audience or purpose into consideration, this influences the structuring of the letter – the paragraph ‘I have joined a …’ should really be in the first or second paragraph. It also influences the choice of vocabulary: this is an informal letter between friends, it should ‘sound’ chatty as if Gatot Kaca is talking to Syahid. This can be accomplished with discourse markers and fillers such as ‘well’, ‘by the way’, ‘you know’ instead of the ‘usually’ and ‘sometimes’ which make the letter sound more like a description of a daily routine exercise. This demonstrates how choices from the top-end affect lower-end consequences. Another equally important outcome of brainstorming is that it encourages interaction among students and teachers. Communication takes place within the classroom for a real purpose – to solve a problem, gather information, whether the brainstorming is executed with the whole class or in groups. Willis (1990: 59) argues in favor of ‘language for real communication’ as students present their ideas with no
predetermined language, they choose what to say and how to say it - choice is the essence of communication. Thornsbury (1996: 282) also states that communication initiated by students to negotiate meaning promotes learner involvement. It seems to lead to more learning as students are paying attention to and are more responsible for the activity, transforming the activity into a student-centered task which according to White and Arndt (1991:20), promotes a cooperative approach to learning. A simple method to prompt the process of brainstorming, to be used individually or in group, is the use of simple questions such as ‘Who’ ‘What’ ‘Where’ ‘When’ ‘Why’ and ‘How’ along with other more complex ones. The use of a “Why?” and “How?” can prompt more detailed information for “In the city we have so many opportunities to study, to work, to have a better and maybe brilliant future.” b. Focusing, Structuring and Writing the First Draft
After the initial stage of brainstorming, student gather their ideas and subsequently select and outline them to write the first draft. As a follow-up of brainstorming White and Arndt (1991) and Hedge (2005) suggest the technique of fast-writing (free-writing) and loop writing. The purpose of free-writing is to write without any inhibition concentrating more on content rather than on form. With loop writing the student writes about one idea, and then summarizes that stretch of text in one sentence. This sentence then leads to another loop. This technique could help students avoid vague statements, the repetition of ideas and help to produce natural flowing text. An example is given below
Concentration must be paid to the global organization of the text depending on the purpose, as information must unfold in a structured form in order to achieve coherence. Students must be made aware of this. A good idea to help those who have
problems organizing their thoughts is to make a visual plan for the text. Most of the problems due to structuring can be avoided during a drafting stage with explicit reference to patterns of discourse organization in class and adequate feedback from classmates. The prior choice of a discourse pattern might have also influenced the choice of vocabulary items, as particular words have a tendency to occur with particular text-patterns (top-down choices) (McCarthy,1991:82). Possible structures may include: − Problem – solution − General – specific − Claim – counterclaim − Question – answer − Cause and effect − Chronological order The text is usually divided into introduction, body paragraph(s) and conclusion. In addition to being aware of the possible text structures, students should be aware that effective paragraphs contain good topic sentences which introduce what the topic is about as well as the purpose of the paragraph, and these should be written in such a way as to attract the reader’s attention. These are then followed by supporting sentences which develop the topic.
c. Revising and Redrafting/ Editing
Revising is part of the writing process which entails assessing what has already been written and is an important source of learning (Hedge, 2005). Sommers (1982: 154 in Zamel, 1985: 96) states: We need to sabotage our students' conviction that the drafts they have written are completed and coherent. Our comments need to offer students revision tasks ... by forcing students back into chaos, back to the point where they are shaping and restructuring their meaning. This is one of the most crucial and beneficial stages in the writing process, when the most meaningful learning will take place that will aid students in future
writing as they will have the opportunity to receive feedback while the experience is still ‘fresh in the mind’ (Hedge, 2005: 121). In general, students receive feedback from teachers the day after the writing task has been completed, mistakes are highlighted and corrected, and suggestions for improvement are provided. In certain occasions students may be ‘spoon-fed’ and this may account for why there is no real improvement in subsequent drafts or writing tasks. The teacher has done all the work; consequently learners do not mentally correct their mistakes as meaningful learning may not have taken place. Once again there is an opportunity to transform this task into a studentcentered activity thus promoting real communication amongst students. Students may work in pairs or groups and correct, provide feedback on each other’s text. This collaborative work generates discussion and activities which may increase students’ awareness of problems they may have in their own writing when they have to clarify ideas or expressions used in the text (Hedge, 2005:122). By providing students with the opportunity to correct and provide feedback on their classmates’ texts, they are learning by doing and as Hedge points out (2005:18), ‘accuracy work which is comparatively spontaneous’ is ‘certainly more meaningful and motivating’. Through peer-correcting, there is also less of a chance of the teacher misinterpreting and dictating students’ intentions by correcting with what the teacher thinks is best and which may not necessarily be what the student originally intended. During the peer-correcting stage teachers have the opportunity to work face to face with individual students, as everyone is busy doing something. This is an excellent opportunity for teachers to take on the role of ‘facilitator’, to provide guidance in the thinking process without imposing their own thoughts and beliefs on student’s writing (Brown, 2001:340) and an opportunity to diagnose and address specific problem areas. This revising not only addresses such features as form, discourse organization, paragraph structure, and cohesive devices but encourages students to be more than just mere language learners but rather developing writers (Zamel, 1985). It is an excellent opportunity for learners to acquire less frequent core vocabulary, which is needed if one takes into consideration that written texts have
more lexical density than that of an oral text. Teachers may address such issues as collocations, raise student awareness of the feasible partnership between words and thus help them to make better use of the language they already know and build on it. In addition to collocations, there are idioms, fixed and institutionalised expression and synonyms for the interchangeable use of words used to enrich the development of ideas, raise awareness on the syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationship between words, the referential, metaphorical and connotational meaning of words and how the choice of words and structures may influence the message, and how to incorporate stylistic resources - a long list of teaching resources which goes beyond the scope of this paper. Linguistic resources which in other teaching situations may not have such a meaningful opportunity to be taught as students will be learning ‘by doing’. To attain a good balance between all the components involved, the amount of planning and revising varies according to the kind of writing that is required. Thus a holiday postcard may be written spontaneously, while the process of writing a letter of complaint to a service provider will resemble figure 3.4. It includes all the interactive stages of process writing. Thus this process may be shorter or much longer depending on the purpose and the audience of the text.
Figure 2.4 – Interactive Stages of Process Writing
d. Quality in Writing
All these issues are quite uncomplicated matters, but nonetheless crucial features in effective writing which must be taught and will require plenty of time and
practice to develop. Hedge (2005: 119) divides the quality of writing into two different groups: ‘authoring’ made up of skills involved in the process of writing and ‘crafting’ – skills involved in the appropriate and accurate choice of language . Figure 2.5 lists the different components included in each group.
Figure 2.5 – Quality Writing (Hedge, 2005: 119)
It is interesting to note that criteria set by examination councils to grade written papers are very similar in that they mark for content, organization, cohesion, register, format and target reader (Cambridge ESOL). Thus, if students learn to develop their skills and writing through process writing, then product writing will improve as well. No one ever learned how to swim by being thrown into the deep end, just as no one will ever learn how to write simply by being told to write. Writers need to write a lot to become good writers and they need the opportunity to practice various types and functions of writing to develop skills and build competence and confidence and progress toward autonomy. The various stages implied in process writing will encourage students to exploit the language resources they possess and build on them as they know they will not be judged or critiqued right away but will have an
opportunity to revise, improve and correct before being evaluated. It is through time and practice and through well planned stages that we may change students’ negative views and attitudes towards writing. To sum up, the result of process writing activities in the classroom is more than just the mere written text. Through integrated teaching, learners’ language competence is comprehensively fostered from different sides so as to develop both receptive and productive skills resulting in an overall improvement of students' language competence.
6. Students’ Difficulties in English Writing
When discussing the difficulties students have writing in English, it is important to first determine what the student is attempting to communicate to their reader. A teacher can then decide which strategies to adopt to help the student improve their writing skills to achieve their goal. These strategies can take many forms but a ‘communicative approach’ to language learning, according to McDonough and Shaw (1993: 181 - 182), would involve an extension of the size of language stretches that can be dealt with from sentence to discourse level and “require learners to understand the overall purpose of a piece of writing, not just the immediate sentence-bound grammatical context.” They state that considerations of both ‘cohesion’ and ‘discourse coherence’ make up some of the criteria used when evaluating a piece of writing as communicative or not, and that sentence-level critiquing and grammar practice is not omitted but is “set in the context of a longer and purposeful stretch of language.” Writing, then, they suggest, is seen as primarily message-oriented, so a communicative view of language is a necessary foundation. Difficulties students appear to have writing in English and strategies to help them overcome these difficulties will be discussed within this communicative context.
a. Some Issues on the Teaching of Writing
1) Process vs Product
The process vs. product discussion cited by Brown (1994: 320) and others is one area where fundamental differences on what the objectives of a writing task should be are illustrated. Are student writing compositions supposed to meet certain standards of prescribed English rhetorical style, grammar, and audience expectations? Or, conversely, should writing be seen more as a ‘process’ where learners are “allowed to focus on content and message” and where “their own individual intrinsic motives” become the focus of their learning rather than the mastery of certain structures or models? Nunan (1991: 87) comments that in the process approach the focus is on: “quantity rather than quality, and beginning writers are encouraged to get their ideas on paper in any shape or form without worrying too much about formal correctness. The approach also encourages collaborative group work between learners … and more controversially, attention to grammar is played down.” Brown quotes Peter Elbow (1973: 14-16) when attempting to highlight the different approaches in the process vs. product debate. He states that instead of focusing on the written ‘product’ we should think of writing as an “organic, developmental process in which you start writing at the very beginning – before you know your meaning at all –and encourage your words to gradually change and evolve.” However, as Brown himself admits, the real emphasis of process writing must be seen as “a balance between process and product” since “product is, after all, the ultimate goal.” Swan (1997: 81) too, makes the point that we should teach ‘use’ as well as ‘meaning’ and not neglect the structural elements (for instance, lexis) through which meaning is ultimately conveyed.
2) First Language Interference
Another issue related to the teaching of writing is the consideration of to what extent a student’s first language may interfere with their writing in a second. Brown (201: 323) recommends that teachers adopt a “weak” position when attending to first language interference. He suggests that student’s “cultural/literary schemata” should be thought of as “one possible source of difficulty.” He adds that recent studies in ‘contrastive rhetoric’ have shown the significance of “valuing student’s nativelanguage-related rhetorical traditions” and of leading them through a “process of understanding those schemata, but not attempting to eradicate them.” He considers this self-understanding on the part of the students may “lend itself to a more effective appreciation and use of English rhetorical conventions.” Nunan (1991: 144) also outlines the different elements of the contrastive hypothesis where ‘negative transfer’ and ‘positive transfer’ refer to the interference the first language may have on the second, but states that attempts to prove definitively this relationship have yet to be made. 3) Audience
A third factor when discussing writing in the classroom is the notion of the writer’s ‘audience.’ Callow and John (1992: 8-12) states that a communicator must be constantly aware of the addressee as they attempt to convey their message. The need to be understood “prompts the communicator to be aware of the addressee’s initial state of knowledge,” and their “continued comprehension.” It is these factors, for Callow, which produce the true orientational elements in a written composition. McDonough and Shaw cite Byrne (1988: 183) as one of several authors on writing skills who stress that: “writing is a process of encoding (putting your message into words) carried out with the reader in mind.” The overall organization of a piece of writing is “best considered in relation to audience and purpose,” while stylistic choices “depend on why and for whom we are writing.”
b. Discussing the Difficulties
1) Assessment Criteria
McDonough and Shaw (1993: 190) suggest that when assessing students’ writing we need to take into account the “appropriacy of the writing to its purpose and its intended audience as well as topic and content criteria.” Brown (2001: 342) talks of six general categories often used as the basis for evaluating student writing: content, organization, discourse, syntax, vocabulary, and mechanics (adapted from J. D. Brown, 1991). Brown’s list above - where the order emphasizes the importance of content, organization, and discourse over syntax, vocabulary, and mechanics - will serve as a useful framework for assessment criteria. Another important overall consideration involves the degree to which the student writing succeeded or failed to effectively convey its message to the reader. Bozek (1991: 29) states that difficulties of this sort arise when writers misperceive their readers and assume that they will: “read every word of the document and will know what action to take as a result of the information presented in the document.” With these assumptions, he says, writers often produce documents which are too long, do not clearly specify action requests, or must be read in their entirety for readers to find key points.
The term ‘content’ for Brown (2001) includes how effectively a writer relates ideas in their writing and develops those ideas through personal experience, illustration, facts and opinions. Use of description and consistent focus in the writing is also important. It is apparent that lack of content negatively affects the writer’s ability to convey their message.
The term ‘organization’ for Brown (1994) includes such things as effective introductions, logical sequence of ideas, and appropriate length.
For Brown (1994), ‘discourse’ refers to such things as the student’s effective use of topic sentences, paragraph unity, transitions, cohesion, and rhetorical conventions.
Syntax, vocabulary, and mechanics were all sources of writing difficulty for the students. Even short sections of writing had a tendency to demonstrate a combination of such difficulties. Richards and Schmidt (2002: 535) define that ‘syntax’ is concerned with the ways in which words combine to form sentences and the rules which govern the formation of sentences, making some sentences possible and others not possible within a particular language. ‘Vocabulary’ is defined as a set of lexical items, “including single words, compound words, and idioms” (Richards and Schmidt, 2002: 580). Spelling and punctuation are the most prominent of the mechanical difficulties in the student writing. Most are minor, but others occasionally lead to a breakdown in fluency, or even meaning, for the reader.
c. Suggesting Strategies
1) Higher/Lower Order Concerns
Keh (1990: 297-302) distinguishes between difficulties in student writing as either surface mechanical errors (lower order concerns, or LOC), or issues related to
the development of ideas, organization, and overall focus (higher order concerns, or HOC). Keh promotes the notion of focusing on HOCs and states that: “the rationale here is that LOCs may disappear in a later draft as the writer changes content.” She states, for example, that students may eliminate paragraphs or rewrite sentences where surface problems existed.
One suggested strategy for helping students experiencing writing difficulties of the HOC kind is to involve the students directly in the evaluation process. The writing samples under discussion can be displayed by overhead projector or distributed as copies throughout the class. Students can ask questions about the sample including: Are the author’s points clear? Do they give enough examples to support their views? Do they provide a good conclusion? This is what Keh refers to as an example of peer/group feedback and is included in a larger category known as ‘conferences.’ Nunan (1991: 87) also comments on the classroom technique of ‘conferencing’ and its emergence from the process approach to writing. He states: “the aim of conferencing is to encourage young writers to talk about their initial drafts with the teacher or with fellow students.” He adds that the technique draws on principles of discovery learning and links reading with the writing process.
Another suggested strategy is careful planning of the assigned writing task. Bozek (1991: 55) states that effective subject lines and headings are one way writers can help their readers obtain the pertinent information they need from a document. Readers can “scan for the main ideas of a written composition and pick and choose the sections of the document that most interest them and set their own reading priorities.” He adds that proficiency in these skills on the part of the writer allows for multiple-reader flexibility and can appeal to readers with different levels of subject matter expertise.
Richards and Lockhart (1996: 65) suggest that there is a difference in strategies used by skilled and unskilled writers and that skilled ones tend to: “spend time thinking about the task and planning how they will approach it; they gather and organize information; and they use note taking, lists, and brainstorming to help generate ideas. On the other hand, unskilled writers tend to spend little on planning; they may start off confused about the task; and they use few planning and organizing strategies.” In addition, sequencing strategies such as pre-writing, drafting and revising are generally acknowledged as assisting students in generating new ideas and plans for their writing.
4) Pair Work
A further suggested strategy for helping students with their writing is the inclusion of pair work in the curriculum. Students are required to comment on what they consider difficulties in their partner’s written composition. This can be through employing their own schematic knowledge of written English, or by utilizing a similar list of criteria as mentioned above (for peer/group feedback). Richards and Lockhart (1996: 152-65) suggest that students interacting in groups or pairs are given “the opportunity to draw on their linguistic resources in a nonthreatening situation and use them to complete different tasks.” For example, in a writing class: students may work in pairs to read each others assignments and provide suggestions for improvement. This feedback may address content, organization, or clarity of expression, and serves to provide information that may be useful to the student when revising the piece of writing. Chaudron (1988: 134) comments as well on the nature of feedback and how it can affect student attitudes to learning: “…the function of feedback is not only to provide reinforcement, but to provide information which learners can use actively in modifying their behaviors.” He later goes on to state that: “information available in feedback allows learners to confirm, disconfirm and possibly modify the hypothetical, “transitional” rules of their developing grammars” but that these things depend on the writer’s willingness to accept feedback given to them.
d. Discussing Potential Beneficial ‘Side-Effects’
1) Overall Targets
Writing exercises must be aimed at skill building and more complex communication as the overall targets. Faster student writing speed, increased length and difficulty level of sentences, and heightened confidence in their writing abilities are some of the potential benefits of such exercises. Providing as many opportunities as possible to actually use the phrases and patterns introduced in the model writing is one way of helping students acquire the target language. Listening to peer comments regarding their writing, defending their work, or providing feedback themselves to other students in the class, all serve to further exposure and enhance acquisition.
Topic and concluding sentence tasks challenge students to construct a sentence or passage based on the surrounding language context. The inference skills and schematic knowledge required to complete such an exercise is potentially applied to similar writing situations of their own (e.g. business correspondence, etc.). Benefits to overall skill building include decision-making regarding the appropriacy of certain language. Potentially, students can utilize such decision-making skills and whatever new vocabulary they have acquired – when revising and redrafting their own work. Awareness of language appropriacy and certain rhetorical devices are heightened by such tasks as students work to construct the most effective and communicative (and thereby, grammatical) writing possible.
3) Pair Work/Peer Correction
In addition to employing the skill building techniques of reading, listening and speaking, pair work and peer correction both allow learners the opportunity to
bring whatever schematic knowledge they have to the writing task at hand. Pairs or small groups of students can assist each other when evaluating one another’s writing. A written composition read aloud can be checked by both the writer and others for appropriate syntax, cadence, stress, and logical sequencing, among other things. As a consequence, pair work and peer correction can facilitate a range of other skills. Reading, listening and speaking skills are all utilized and therefore have the potential to improve along with the writing skills being practiced.
Having a student rewrite or redraft their written document challenges them to reassess what they are trying to achieve. Incorporating whatever suggestions others (teacher, pair work partner, etc.) make exposes them to a high occurrence of recycled language and this sort of repetition is thought to aid acquisition. (Nunan, D. 1991: 52) states that such activities, especially when done as pairs, allow students to gain insight into their own approach to learning: A teacher who…talks about, analyses, compares, contrasts and reflects on written texts, whether they be published texts or the students’ own writing, not only promotes an interest in written texts, but provides the students with a language that enables them to reflect on and analyze written texts themselves. It enables the students to…develop an insight into what makes one text successful and another unsuccessful. (Hammond 1989: 19). The suggested strategies aimed at incorporating as much reading, speaking and listening activities as possible into their design. So, not only are the students developing and improving writing skills they need to complete their job-related tasks, but they are furthering their overall communicative skills in the language as they attempt to master the complexities of English grammar, syntax and, generally, how to convey meaning through written form. What evolved from the above discussion is the notion that a teacher should consider elements of both ‘process’ and ‘product’ in any discussion involving strategies to assist students in improving their writing skills. Without knowledge of writing techniques such as sequencing or repetition structures (important conveyers
of meaning) a student’s ability to effectively communicate what they want in the target language is drastically reduced. As the suggested strategies outlined above illustrate, there are a number of ways that a teacher can make their teaching of writing communicative while still moving learners towards a desire for accuracy.
B. The Review of Paper Based Portfolio Learning
Barrett and Knezek (2003) make the argument that electronic portfolios should be electronic versions of paper portfolios. The same thinking about purpose, pedagogy and assessment lies behind both kinds of portfolio. With this in mind, the discussion will begin with paper based portfolios learning: the different types of portfolio; their uses; their benefits; problems, issues and tensions that arise relating to their use; and the essential elements that need to be present in their design to ensure their success as learning, development and assessment tools. This section also covers their uses in a variety of disciplines. Following this, electronic portfolios will be discussed in depth: how they differ from traditional portfolios, their benefits, and issues relating to their use. In adopting electronic portfolios as a medium for student learning, certain criteria ensure success and several barriers to implementation exist. In addition, several educational and technical considerations are inherent when adopting an electronic portfolio system.
1. The Nature of Paper Based Portfolio Learning
A simple search of the Internet using the key words "language portfolios" and "portfolio assessment" shows how popular these concepts are in educational circles: the former produced about 150,000 mostly European-based hits and the latter about 250,000 mostly US-based hits. Many of these articles naturally link portfolios with personal skills like reflection. The concept of portfolio has long existed in many fields outside the classroom. For example, artists, architects, and photographers use portfolios to illustrate their work to potential clients; financial advisers speak of a client`s
investment portfolios (Barrett, 2006: 1). In education, however, portfolios are a relatively new phenomenon and their full potential needs to be explored. In reviewing the literature, different definitions of portfolios are provided. The National Education Association (1993: 41) defines a portfolio as “‘a record of learning that focuses on the students’ work and her/ his reflection on that work. Material is collected through a collaborative effort between the student and staff members and is indicative of progress toward the essential outcomes.” A commonly accepted definition of a portfolio is provided by educators in the Pacific Northwest who form the Northwest Evaluation Association (Paulson, Paulson, and Meyer, 1990: 60): “A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student’s efforts, progress and achievements in one or more areas. The collection must include student participation in selecting contents; the criteria for selection; the criteria for judging merit; and evidence of student selfreflection.” According to Herman and Stephen (undated: 137), it is a process that can serve a variety of purposes. It is stated by Richards and Schmidt (2002: 406) that portfolio is a purposeful collection of work that provides information about someone’s efforts, progress or achievement in a given area. They further assert, “It is a learning as well as assessment tool.” Stiggins (1994: 87) also adds that a portfolio is "a means of communicating about student growth and development" and "not a form of assessment". According to Barrett (2001: 110), a learning portfolio normally contains work that a learner has collected and selected to show growth and change overtime. A critical component of a learning portfolio is the learner`s reflection on the individual piece of work (often called an artifact) as well as an overall reflection on the story that the portfolio should tell. The learner’s reflections provide the rationale that specific artifacts are evidence of achieving the stated standards or goals. In the context of the teaching of writing, a portfolio can be defined as “a collection of texts the writer has produced over a defined period of time” (Hamp-
Lyons, 1991: 262) and the collection may consist of “selected but not necessarily polished or finished pieces” (Privette, 1993: 60). Based on the definitions above and the teaching of English writing as the topic in this research, it can be concluded that portfolio is a purposeful learning record of students’ works collected through a collaborative effort between the student and the teachers as a reflection of the student’s efforts, progress and achievements in English writing competence. The next term modified by the term ‘portfolio based’ is learning. It is stressed by Hohn (2005: 283) that dictionaries typically define learning as the act of acquiring knowledge and skills through observation, study, or instruction. Mazur (2008) states that learning is acquiring knowledge or developing the ability to perform new behaviors. He further underlines, “It is common to think of learning as something that takes place in school, but much of human learning occurs outside the classroom, and people continue to learn throughout their lives.” According to Wildman (2008: 573 – 579), based on the framework that looks at learning in terms of observable behavior learning is defined as any relatively permanent change in behavior that is not the result of normal growth or maturation. On the basis of the second framework that views learning as a cognitive activity, learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge and the ability to use knowledge to solve problems. Lastly, in the point of view on how people work and learn in cultural settings, learning is defined not as the acquisition of knowledge but as participation in meaningful social practices. As can be concluded from the above definitions, learning is the process by which change in behavior, knowledge, skills, etc., comes about through practice, instruction or experience and the result of such a process. As a term, portfolio based learning applied in this research is a concept that views portfolio as an educational concept, while a more popular term, portfolio assessment, looks at portfolio as a concept of assessment (Dasim Budimansyah, 2003: 7). The noun phrase of portfolio based learning is also stated by Pitts (2009) in his article entitled How to Understand Portfolio Based Learning and van Wesel and Prop (2008: 1) in their paper by saying that portfolio-based learning finds increasing
implementation in a variety of educational and professional learning contexts. Similarly, it is pointed out that “Also complicating research and literature regarding portfolios in education is the fact that there are many purposes for portfolios in education: there are portfolios that center around learning, assessment, employment, marketing, and showcasing best work. With so many purposes for developing portfolios, it becomes clear that the term "portfolio" should always have a modifier or adjective that describes its purpose.” Thus, portfolio based learning in this research can be defined as the process of change in English writing competence as a result of the teaching of English writing based on purposeful record of students’ works collected through a collaborative effort between the student and the teachers as a reflection of the student’s efforts, progress and achievements. The traditional storage format for portfolios in education is paper-based, usually in manila folders, three-ring notebooks or larger containers. Most often, the artifacts are comprised of text and images on paper, although the use of video or audio tape has been emerging (Barret: 2001). To conclude with, paper based learning portfolio as the title of this research can be concluded as the process of change in English writing competence as a result of the teaching of English writing based on purposeful printed/ handwritten record of students’ works collected through a collaborative effort between the student and the teachers as a reflection of the student’s efforts, progress and achievements. The topic of the next section is on the bedrock of portfolio based learning and the answers for a question of “what is it the paper based portfolio learning for?”
2. Constructivist Learning
As stated before, portfolios are derived from constructivist perspectives. Constructivist learning has emerged as a prominent approach to teaching during this past decade. Constructivism represents a paradigm shift from education based on behaviorism to education based on cognitive theory. It is stated by Prawat (2008: 182) that constructivism is a learning theory based on the notion that students
actively construct knowledge. While behaviorist epistemology focuses on intelligence, domains of objectives, levels of knowledge, and reinforcement, constructivist epistemology assumes that learners construct their own knowledge on the basis of interaction with their environment. As portfolios are based on constructivist philosophy, Klenowski, Askew, and Carnell (2006: 278) give a definition of constructivism that is useful for those thinking of implementing portfolio assessment: “knowledge is constructed through activities such as participatory learning, open-ended questioning, discussion and investigation. Facilitation helps learners construct their own schema for internalizing information and organizing it so that it becomes their own”. There are two major strands of the constructivist perspective: cognitive constructivism and social constructivism. Cognitive constructivism is based on the work of Piaget. His theory emphasizes the need for students to have a rich environment for exploration, thus giving students opportunities to assimilate and accommodate new knowledge (Gutek: 2008). Social constructivism is based on the work of Vygotsky whose theory of learning emphasizes the importance of the social and cultural context for learning (Thompson: 2008). He claims that it is the collaboration between people that causes learning to occur, not just a rich, interesting environment. Although these two strands are different in emphasis, they share many common perspectives about teaching and learning. In many cases the strengths of one theorist complement the weakness of the other. Developing a portfolio is an individual activity. It is the students themselves who decide the goals and contents of their portfolios, artifacts they will use to document their learning, and the formats they will use to develop and present their portfolios. However, both peers and teachers play a very important role in this process because teachers should be ready to support and provide advice to their students, and students will learn most from their peers especially from those who had the same experience. It can be hard for students to finish their projects without the collaboration with their classmates. Therefore, this study will combine the ideas of Piaget with those of Vygotsky and use the general term, constructivism, as the theoretical framework.
According to constructivism, learning is an active process and should be whole, authentic, and real. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development suggests that learners cannot be “given” information which they immediately understand and use. Instead, they must “construct” their own knowledge. They learn by fitting new information together with what they already know. Learners learn best when they actively construct their own understanding. Learning is also affected by the context, the beliefs and attitudes of the learner. Vygotsky's 1978 zone of proximal development is the idea that human learning presupposes a specific social nature and is part of a process by which children grow into the intellectual life of those around them. Learners are encouraged to invent their own solutions and to try out ideas and hypotheses (Daniels: 2001: 56). They build their knowledge through experience. Creating portfolios helps students to continue their learning as a Dewey’s famous quotation goes, “The educational process has no end beyond itself; it is its own end” (Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009). Learning, for Dewey, has different angles. In one sense, learning is a kind of activity which includes experiencing, trying, doing, acting, observing, playing, communicating, working, making, and studying. In another sense, learning is a mental process involving thinking, using intelligence, making judgments, and looking for meanings, connections and possibilities. In other words, in the process of learning, one needs to use the mind to organize activities, and intelligence to direct them. In addition, a learning activity is not an activity that occurs just in the mind, although it involves the mind; it occurs in a social medium through social interaction, especially in “the very process of living together”. Dewey emphasized that learning is a social activity and should take place in a social medium. For Dewey, social participation is a way of exchanging and expanding experiences. Through this activity one increases one’s social interest, skills, understanding, and virtue which, in turn, help further learning. According to Prawat (2008: 183), Dewey favors ‘‘the guide on the side’’ approach. The assumption here is that a student can create meaning only by working in his or her own experiential workspace, the 4 or 5 inches of brain between the ears. The role of the teacher is to quietly nudge the process along, to point out in a gentle
way any problems the student may be encountering in figuring out how to construe a new experience, to bring to the fore the most important aspects of that experience, and so forth. The type of pedagogy that best fits this view of learning is portfolio based learning. Dewey believes that learning requires some outside guidance from ‘‘the guide on the side’’ such as teachers, parents, or social institutions. For Dewey, since not all experiences are educative, in order to help children to have educative experiences, guidance from the teacher is still necessary. Dewey also advocated that learning should meet students’ needs. He suggested child-centered learning and using the child’s impulses, needs and experiences as the starting point of learning. Piaget developed Dewey’s idea in creating a meaningful learning environment for students. According to Piaget, in a constructivist classroom, students must be given opportunities to construct knowledge through their own experiences. Less emphasis is put on directly teaching specific skills and more is put on learning in a meaningful context. Exploring interesting things within a classroom encourages students to become active constructors of their own knowledge through experiences that encourage assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation occurs when students try to compare old information to new information they come across to see if new information fits with older information already learned. Accommodation occurs when students take the new information and then either save it in their mind since it is similar to older information or try to discard the information if it doesn’t fit with the existing information or develop new categories to accommodate the new information. Creating portfolios offers a vast array of such opportunities. In this learning environment, students’ conceptual and experiential background can be expanded. In addition, Pitts (2009: 1) points out: “Educational programs most likely to be effective include interactivity, reflection and relate to personal professional experiences. Through this, learners are given more autonomy and responsibility for their learning. Portfolios are an ideal vehicle for capturing such learning experiences
through the recording of reflective purposes and can contain a wide range of materials and media.” First referred to by Dewey in 1933, and achieving expansion in the 1980s with authors such as Schon, reflective practice has been defined as: the process of internally examining and exploring an issue of concern, triggered by an experience, which creates and clarifies meaning in terms of self, and which results in a changed concept perspective (Pitts, 2009: 1). In constructivist learning theory, practical experience is at the centre of professional learning, and it is has been suggested that educational programs should include reflective processes based on personal experiences. The greatest strength attributed to the portfolio approach is individuality as stated by D’Angelo, Touchman, and Clark (2009: 263) that Radical constructivism proposes that the construction of knowledge takes place solely in the learner’s mind and on an individual level. Based on the discussion above, that paper based portfolio learning in the teaching of writing is based on the learning theory of constructivism can be concluded from the fact as follows: 1. It matches assessment to teaching. The products that are assessed are mainly products of class work, and are not divorced from class activities like test items. 2. It has clear goals. They are decided on at the beginning of instruction and are clear to teacher and students alike. 3. It gives a profile of learner abilities. The abilities can be viewed from three perspectives: depth, breadth, and growth. In terms of depth, it enables students to show quality work, which is done without pressure and time constraints, and with the help of resources, reference materials and collaboration with others. In the aspect of breadth, by portfolio based learning a wide range of skills can be demonstrated. Finally, in the perspective of growth, it shows efforts to improve and develop, and demonstrates progress over time. 4. It is a tool for assessing a variety of skills. Written as well as oral and graphic products can easily be included. 5. It develops awareness of own learning. Students have to reflect on their own progress and the quality of their work in relation to known goals.
6. It caters to individuals in the heterogeneous class. Since it is open-ended, students can show work on their own level. Since there is choice, it caters to different learning styles and allows expression of different strengths. 7. It develops social skills. Students are also assessed on work done together, in pairs or groups, on projects and assignments. 8. It develops independent and active learners. Students must select and justify portfolio choices; monitor progress and set learning goals. 9. It can improve motivation for learning and thus achievement. Empowerment of students to prove achievement has been found to be motivating. 10. It is an efficient tool for demonstrating learning. Different kinds of products and records of progress fit conveniently into one package; changes over time are clearly shown. 11. It provides opportunity for student-teacher dialogue. Enables the teacher to get to know each and every student. Promotes joint goal-setting and negotiation of grades.
3. Characteristics of Paper Based Portfolio Learning
In relation to the platform of portfolio as a learning tool Richards and Schmidt (2002: 406 - 407) list some characteristics of portfolio as applied in language learners. They are: 1. the learner is involved in deciding what to include in the portfolio; 2. the learner may revise material in the portfolio after feedback from the teacher or others; 3. the learner is required to assess or reflect on the work in the portfolio thus becoming aware of personal development; 4. there is evidence of mastery of knowledge; 5. it may include various forms of work, such as written work, audio recording, video recording, etc. McAlpine (2006) also proposes some characteristics of portfolio as follows: 1. accentuate the positive, and generally include samples of "best performance"
2. show systematic evidence of student achievement 3. reflect a sample of student work over time 4. include a rich variety of style and content, and 5. encourage higher levels of reflective practice and self assessment. Another list of portfolio’s characteristics is postulated by Kemp and Toperoff (1998: 1). They are: 1. A portfolio is a form of assessment that students do together with their teachers. 2. A portfolio is not just a collection of student work, but a selection - the student must be involved in choosing and justifying the pieces to be included. 3. A portfolio provides samples of the student’s work which show growth over time. By reflecting on their own learning (self-assessment), students begin to identify the strengths and weaknesses in their work. These weaknesses then become improvement goals. 4. The criteria for selecting and assessing the portfolio contents must be clear to the teacher and the students at the outset of the process. 5. The entries in an EFL portfolio can demonstrate learning and growth in all language domains/skills, or can focus on a specific skill such as appreciation of literature, or writing. Similarly, Yance (1992) as cited by Park (undated: 1 – 2) states that all portfolios, regardless of the particular context, share three essential characteristics. Firstly, they are longitudinal in nature. That is, in a portfolio classroom, the teacher sets out quite explicitly to create the time necessary for writers to develop. In practice, what this means is that the piece initiated on Monday need not be submitted a week or two later for a final evaluation. Instead, it can be reshaped and revised in light of what is learned days or weeks or even a month or two later. Secondly, portfolios are diverse in content. That is, as a system, the portfolio is open rather than closed and its contents are intended to be diverse and inclusive. Thirdly, portfolios are almost always collaborative in ownership. In other words, portfolios are created collaboratively by the student as author, working with the teacher and other students as partners, who respond to and advise the writer, helping to evaluate and rework and
select pieces to be submitted for the institutional assessment that fully determines the grade. After doing analytical reading, to emphasize the fundamentally
developmental character of a valid portfolio system, the writer set forth the following principles and features: 1. A portfolio is a printed/ handwritten collection of work, but it is a collection that is a subset of a larger archive. Theoretically, the archive is the whole of a student’s work, but more practically and more frequently, it is a subset of writing completed in a class, a program, and a school. 2. The process by which the subset is created is one of selection, which is the second principle of portfolios. How entries are selected varies according to the rhetorical situation contextualizing the portfolio. 3. A third principle is reflection, the process by which a student explains his or her learning. 4. A fourth principle is communication, in the sense that the writing portfolio, like any portfolio, will communicate something about the writer, about what he or she values, about the context in which the writer has worked, and so on. Based on the characteristics above, it is necessary to indicate essential elements of the paper based portfolio. Kemp and Toperoff (1998: 3) identify such elements as: 1. Cover Letter “About the author” and “What my portfolio shows about my progress as a learner” (written at the end, but put at the beginning). The cover letter summarizes the evidence of a student’s learning and progress. 2. Table of Contents with numbered pages. 3. Entries - both core (items students have to include) and optional (items of student’s choice). The core elements will be required for each student and will provide a common base from which to make decisions on assessment. The optional items will allow the folder to represent the uniqueness of each student. Students can choose to include “best” pieces of work, but also a piece of work which gave trouble or one that was less successful, and give reasons why.
4. Dates on all entries, to facilitate proof of growth over time. 5. Drafts of aural/oral and written products and revised versions; i.e., first drafts and corrected/revised versions. 6. Reflections can appear at different stages in the learning process (for formative and/or summative purposes.) and can be written in the mother tongue at the lower levels or by students who find it difficult to express themselves in English. a. For each item - a brief rationale for choosing the item should be included. This can relate to students’ performance, to their feelings regarding their progress and/or themselves as learners. Students can choose to reflect upon some or all of the following: What did I learn from it? What did I do well? Why (based on the agreed teacher-student assessment criteria) did I choose this item? What do I want to improve in the item? How do I feel about my performance? What were the problem areas? b. For the whole portfolio (the cover letter – see above).
4. Types of Paper Based Portfolios
In writing class, paper based portfolio includes: 4. Showcase portfolios that highlight the best products over a particular time period or course such as the best examples of different writing genres (an essay, a poem, a short story, a biographical piece, or a literary analysis; 5. Process portfolios that concentrate on such journey of learning as different stages of the process an outline, first draft, peer and teacher responses, early revisions, and a final edited draft; and 6. Evaluation portfolios that exhibit a series of evaluations over a course and the learning or accomplishments of the student in regard to previously determined criteria or goals such as documents tests, observations, records, or other
assessment artifacts required for successful completion of the course (Fernsten, 2009: 694). Two types of portfolios are required for this research: process portfolios and showcase portfolios, the former to be maintained by students and the latter by the reseracher. A process portfolio has also been referred to as a “working portfolio” as “it serves as a holding tank for work that may be selected later for a more permanent assessment or display portfolio” and it is differentiated from a work folder as it “is an intentional collection of work guided by learning objectives”. Showcase portfolios (or display or best work portfolios), refer to portfolios meant for exhibiting students’ best work. The process portfolio in the writing course thus functions as a “working” Portfolio comprising everything from brainstorming activities to drafts of finished products while the showcase portfolio functions as a record of the specific assignments set for the successful completion of the research.
5. Implementation of Paper Based Portfolio Learning
a. Implementation Stages
The following is the guidelines of Guidelines for Paper Based Portfolio Learning in Teaching English adapted from Kemp and Toperoff’s (1998: 4 – 7). 1. Identifying learning goals to learn through the portfolio The very first and most important part of organizing portfolio based learning is to decide on the learning goals. These goals will guide the selection and assessment of students’ work for the portfolio. To do this, the teachers of English must ask themselves “What do I want the students to learn?” and choose several goals to focus on; for example, general goals such as improvement in writing competence, and specific goals such as writing a procedure text. This stage is so important because teachers have to know what their goals are in terms of what the students will be able to do. Moreover, students have to know what they need to show evidence of in their portfolios.
It is even better if they do this fixing of goals together with the students, asking them, for example, what they need and want to achieve in the different language domains and skills. They will usually show good understanding of goals “We should be able to correct our written mistakes.”) and hopefully these will then become common goals for teacher and class. Or they can give a list of goals for the students to rank, and use the results for establishing the criteria for assessment. 2. Introducing the idea of portfolios to the class. Teachers of English will need to present the idea of a portfolio to their classes. They can start by explaining the wor- from portare (carry) and foglio (sheet of paper). If possible, they may ask an artist or a student of art, architecture or design to bring in their portfolio; this will help convey the principle of a portfolio as a selection of a student’s work, showing progress in different areas or skills. It is also a good idea to show the students examples of English portfolios prepared by other classes, and, ideally, even a portfolio of their own (showing, for example, the development of their work with the class). It is worth directing students’ attention at this stage to the main aspect of portfolios, which is their use as a learning tool. 3. Specifying portfolio content. Specify what, and how much, has to be included in the portfolio - both core and options (it is important to include options as these enable self-expression and independence). Specify for each entry how it will be assessed. The students should be acquainted with the scoring guides/rating scales that will be used before performing the task. Portfolio entries can take many forms - written, audio and video-recorded items, artifacts (e.g., a T-shirt, an annotated drawing, a model), dialogue journals, etc. 3. Give clear and detailed guidelines for portfolio presentation. Explain the need for: clear and attractive presentation dated drafts attached reflections or comment cards. Explain how the portfolio will be graded and when it needs to be ready (final and mid-way dates).
Remember - unfamiliar ways of teaching and assessment are potentially threatening and confusing to students. It is important to present the portfolio guidelines clearly, and to go over the guidelines periodically. Although all the guidelines - goals, content, timetable, etc. should be presented to the class orally, so that they can discuss the procedure and ask questions, there should also be written guidelines to back-up the points discussed and for reference while preparing the portfolio. It is helpful to prepare these guidelines in question-andanswer form. These can be written in the student’s mother tongue if necessary. 4. Notify other interested parties. Make sure that the school principal is aware of the new learning procedures. It is also a good idea to inform parents about the portfolio based learning and allow them to comment on the work. 5. Preparation Period Support and encouragement are required by both teacher and students at this stage. The students will get it from the understanding teacher. Teachers will get it by doing portfolio based learning as teamwork in their staff or joining or initiating a support group to discuss questions with colleagues as they arise. Devote class-time to student-teacher conferences, to practicing reflection and self-assessment and to portfolio preparation, since these may be new skills for most students. Reflection and self-assessment do not come naturally to people who have had little practice in it, and require learner training. For example, encourage them to ask themselves: What did I learn from that activity? Which is my best piece? How can I improve this? This can be done by class brainstorming (what are some possible reasons for including an item in your portfolio?) or in pairs - “portfolio partners” - who help each other select samples of their work (written comments on their work from a peer can also be included in the portfolio). Teachers should start with more structured forms of reflection and slowly proceed to more open reflective comments. This is training in a life-skill, and is well worth the time and effort spent in class. Give guiding feedback. The finished portfolio may be due only at the end of the semester, but it is a good idea to set regular dates at which
time several portfolio-ready items (i.e. with drafts and reflections) will be handed in, so that students know whether they are on the right track. Alternatively, the teacher can have a portfolio project on a single unit of material so that both teacher and students will acquire experience in this kind of learning over a shorter period of time. Ownership: To ensure that the portfolio represents the student’s own work, some items can be done completely in class. The teacher might also decide to have a test (preferably with corrected version) included as a core item together with reflection on what the student learned from doing the test and revising it. Furthermore, the teacher may ask the students to explain in their reflections who helped them to improve their work (a peer, a parent, a spellchecker) and what they learned from revising their work. 6. Assessing the portfolios and giving feedback. Each portfolio entry needs to be assessed with reference to its specific goal(s). Since the goals and weighting of the various portfolio components have been clearly fixed in advance, assessing the portfolios is not difficult. Self and peer-assessment can be used too as a tool for formative evaluation, with the students having to justify their grade with reference to the goals and to specific pages in the portfolio. This actually makes the teacher’s job of assessing the portfolio much simpler, because the pupil has done the groundwork of proving how far each goal is met in the portfolio. It takes some of the burden off the teacher and helps students to internalize criteria for quality work. Students can even generate their own report cards based on their portfolios. After all the efforts that the students have invested in their portfolios, it is recommended that the teacher provides feedback on the portfolios that is more than just a grade. One possibility is to write a letter about the portfolio, which details strengths and weaknesses and generates a profile of a student’s ability, which is then added to the portfolio. Another option is to prepare certificates which comment on the portfolio strengths and suggest future goals. 7. Student-teacher conferences. An important element of the portfolio philosophy of shared and active assessment is that the teacher should have short individual meetings with each
pupil, in which progress is discussed and goals are set for a future meeting. Students and teachers should document these meetings and keep the goals in mind when choosing topics for future meetings. In this way student-teacher conferences play an important role in the formative evaluation of a student’s progress. They can also be used for summative evaluation purposes when the student presents his final portfolio product and together with the teacher decides on a final grade. This is a student’s chance to negotiate the portfolio grade using evidence of achievement according to the agreed goals. Notes from these conferences can be included in the portfolio as they contain joint decisions about the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. These conferences can be prepared for in pairs, where students practice presenting their portfolios. 8. Follow-up. After the portfolios are complete, it is a good idea to have an exhibition of portfolios and/or student-led parent-teacher conferences, in which students present their portfolios to their parents.
b) Paper Based Portfolio Learning for the Teaching of Writing
In assessing writing competence through portfolios, the following will explain the stages of one activity from beginning to end and show how the portfolio based learning can be implemented in the classroom: Table 2.1 – Stages of Portfolio Implementation Goal Correct copying Sample Classroom Portfolio Evidence Assessment Tools Activity Transfer selected Handwriting Teacher/peer information from sample, “a text I compliment text copied” Project – me/my family/neighbourhood etc. (first draft, revised/ edited draft, final written product) Rating scale, Self/peer assessment with revising/editing checklists
Expressing feelings Write caption and ideas describing favorite person or object Write about hobby, favorite person etc. + comment (why I
Sample Classroom Portfolio Evidence Activity like it/her) Journal Dialogue journal entry
factual Write note/ caption Written product /ad/ newspaper with first draft, article revised/edited draft and final copy Write guided (Guided) comment comment card on card on task task Cover letter Explain why favorite task was included Write cover letter Supplement: Process writing
Review and reflect
Teacher’s log (minimum/partial/ maximum investment) Teacher’s rating scale, Self/peer assessment with revising and editing checklists Scale to assess quality of reflection (clear/partial/poor evidence of review and reflection)
Portfolio assessment and process writing are natural partners, since both show effort and development very clearly. This supplement will introduce the way how to apply some principles and techniques of process writing. Process writing is an approach to teaching writing which tries to simulate the process that many writers go through in their native language. In this way it does not only focus on the final product but also on the stages along the way, such as gathering ideas, noting them down, reorganizing and rephrasing them and preparing a final, accurate version. In other words, process writing marks a shift from exclusive emphasis on the products of writing to emphasis on the process of writing and on interactive learning between teachers and students and among students themselves. The five stages of the writing process can be referred to as: 1. Prewriting Before students start on their writing task, it is important to define the three corner stones of any piece of writing: the audience, the purpose and the form.
In real life, every piece of writing is influenced by who it is written for (its audience) and why it is being written (its purpose). It is helpful to reproduce this procedure in the classroom. For example, instead of telling the students "Write a composition about your holiday", the instructions could be "Write a postcard to a friend about how you are spending your holiday". Some examples: Table 2.2 - Prewriting Audience a firm Purpose to complain about a faulty a letter item purchased your mother to inform about your a note Form
absence the general public to report an accident a newspaper article
Prewriting helps to stimulate student interest, develops concepts and ideas, and gives students confidence. Some prewriting activities are brainstorming, mapping, listing and outlining. Samples of pre-writing tools: Figure 2.6 - Outline
The tree outline can help prepare pupils in writing a description (e.g., My cat Icha), where the different branches represent the different paragraphs (e.g., his physical description, how I look after him, why I love him so much) 2. Drafting Writing the first draft enables the student to write freely and without frustration. It is important that the student puts the message down as soon as possible after the prewriting stage without worrying about grammar, spelling or punctuation. Some guidelines for students: 1. Write the draft immediately after the prewriting stage. 2. Write on every other line. 3. Don't worry about mistakes at this stage. 4. Complete the draft in class. 3. Revising/ Editing Revision gives the student the opportunity to: 1. Improve the content 2. Improve the organization
3. Improve the sentence structure 4. Make vocabulary more exact 5. Reduce sentences for conciseness or expand for clarification Editing eliminates or reduces spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. During this stage teacher's feedback is important and valuable. A few suggestions: 1. Make concrete suggestions for improvement in an encouraging way. 2. Have students share their writing with a partner or small group. 3. Use a writing improvement checklist, such as the “Story Checklist” below. 4. Use a mechanics checklist, such as the “Self and Peer Editing Checklist”. Table 2.3 - Samples of Revising/Editing Checklists Self Assessment Revising Checklist for Story Name _______________ Title __________________ Date __________ Directions: Read the story to yourself. Then check your story for each item below. Make any changes to make your story better. 1. ……………..... 2. ……………..... 3. ………………. 4. ………………. 5. ………………. 6. ………………. The title goes with my story. I like the beginning. I used good descriptive words to describe what I meant. Each sentence makes sense. The order is logical. I like the ending.
5. Publishing/ Sharing Some suggestions: 1. a class/school magazine 2. thank you letters 3. letters to authors of books read
4. letters to celebrities 5. e-mail projects with other schools 6. bulletin boards 7. booklets for others to enjoy
6. Advantages of Paper Based Portfolio Learning
Portfolios have great value for the student. Because the collection of artifacts should be driven mainly by the student; it is bottom-up, reflective, intrinsic and meaningful, thus, self-motivational. Engel (1996: 25) states, “Portfolios allow
children to express themselves. Even if students are told what artifacts that are to be used, in the reflection portion the students can tell why they did the artifact as they did”. Portfolios also allow for individualization; the brightest and best students will still be allowed to express themselves fully, but portfolios will allow the more reserved students to come to the front of the class, as well. Engel (1996: 25) notes: “Many children are inexpressive in schools; portfolios allow them to be expressive. Characteristics and habits of mind, although not always acquired in school, can, nonetheless, be sustained there. Curiosity, confidence, and imagination must be recognized, valued, and given opportunity for expression. These are the sources of energy, not only for school learning, but for lifelong learning. . . . Portfolios can capture and reveal significant aspects of personal meaning. When reviewing portfolios with children, teachers find that they are indeed using ‘new instruments and looking in new places’. The new instruments are the portfolios themselves. The new places are the products of the active, creative, energetic, imaginative, constructive, and meaning-making minds of children.” Portfolios also have the advantage of maintaining a students’ work for an extended period of time. This is a significant dynamic, which deserves emphasis. Without a systematic scheme for retaining students’ work it can be rightfully assumed that once papers and assignments are returned to students this same work often fails to make its way out of the classroom. Instead, the work might be deposited in the trash, or even just left strewn about the classroom. Essential learning opportunities are wasted with this type of practice. Wolf (1996: 108) states:
“The use of portfolios engages students in constructing a story--a long-term account--of what and how they learn. As they page through their collections in April or June, they are struck by what they have learned. But that in itself is a story. With time, experience, and conversation, students’ ability to read their own portfolios with depth and understanding also develops. Early on, students appraise their own work using only standard and flat-footed criteria: neatness, length, or the grade written at the top. As little as six months later, they notice and care about a widened range of characteristics. Their judgment is variegated; they know a piece of work can open with fireworks and fizzle in closing.” Further, portfolios may: 1) represent a wide rage of student work in a given content area, 2) engage students in self-assessment and goal setting, 3) allow for student differences, 4) foster collaborative assessment, 5) focus on improvement, effort, and achievement, 6) link assessment and teaching to learning 7) focus on actual pieces of student work, not approximations supplied by a score on a standardized test, and, 8) present a learning history (Grady, 1996: 75). While the above discussion is intended to give a broad overview of the advantages of portfolios, the next portion is attributed to the teaching of English writing in particular. Park (undated: 2) lists two advantages. The first one is what he states as “one advantage cited frequently in the portfolio literature” is the notion of student authority or ownership enabled by the opportunity students have to review their writing and decide which pieces they will present to the teachers and what they would like teachers to see in that writing. For reasons such as this, portfolios stimulate student interaction with peers and student ownership in the learning process. This feeling of ownership is enhanced by the fact that the portfolio experience is not a brief, one-shot presentation of writing. A greater sense of authority or ownership, in turn, can increase learner motivation, since learners feel a greater personal stake in the work they produce. Another often cited benefit of portfolios is that portfolios can be used to encourage students to reflect on the pieces they write and on the processes they use to write them. Student reflection on their writing in preparation of a portfolio is a key concept in portfolio pedagogy and an essential aspect of learner-directed assessment.
7. Disadvantages of Paper Based Portfolio Learning
The management portion of this review examines the disadvantages a teacher might encounter should they, either, presently use portfolios, or decide to employ them in the future. Perhaps as expected transition to a different educational practice and the apparent burden presented by time constraints are real issues to be considered. Other issues such as individualized grading can also be problematic. True assembly line education is convenient and time effective, but is it best? The scales of advantages versus disadvantages should always be tipped in favor of the students’ achievement. Black (1996: 54) supports this by stating: “Time and grades are among the other concerns. Managing portfolios takes time. But, teachers who change from traditional assessment to portfolio assessment are more likely to manage their time without frustration if they change teaching styles at the same time. Grades are another sticky issue. How can teachers assign grades when they’re assessing students’ portfolios for effort, progress, and insight? High school students and their parents might object to portfolio assessment on the grounds that college admissions offices require grades and class rankings.” Granting school rankings, transition issues, logistics, and other concerns their fair measure, the availability of time appears to stand alone as the most often cited disadvantage for the use of portfolios in the classroom. Glazer, Rooman and Luberto (1996: 78) state: “A major concern was the amount of time and effort required to implement the use of portfolios in the daily classroom”. Melograno (1996: 154), when looking at the use of portfolios, adds “teachers may say, ‘I have too many students and not enough time.’ The reality for most teachers is to manage students first and deliver some kind of instruction second”. Danielson and Abrutyn (1997: 43) classify time, perhaps the most often cited disadvantage, as nothing more than a challenge. They state: “Many educators think that their days are already full and they cannot possibly add another major initiative to their work with students. Practitioners most apprehensive about the time demands of portfolios tend to regard the processes of instruction, testing, and portfolio development as three discrete tasks. They point out that they are already pressed for sufficient time to cover all the content of the curriculum and doubt that they could add another
element to the instructional process curriculum and doubt that they could add another element to the instructional process.” In terms of the teaching of writing, Park (undated: 2) lists some disadvantages in handling portfolio based learning such as the complexity involved in grading such collections of writing (developing appropriate grading guidelines), maintaining consistency in portfolio grading, and avoiding subjectivity in grading. A possible solution to these problems is the development of explicit instructions for both students and instructors that ensure consistency and reliability in both the compilation and evaluation of portfolios (Park, undated: 2).
C. The Review of Electronic Portfolio Learning
1. The Nature of Electronic Portfolio Learning
Portfolios can be presented in different formats, and electronic portfolios are one of them. The paper based portfolio learning is stated by Meo (2002) as one of the most pervasive innovations recommended by educational reformers of the 1980s and 1990s while the electronic portfolio one is acknowledged by Barret (2001:1) as “an innovation of the early 1990s”, an electronic portfolio (also know as an ePortfolio, eportfolio, efolio, digital portfolio, webfolio and so on) is essentially an electronic version of a paper-based portfolio, created in a computer environment, and incorporating not just text, but graphic, audio and video material as well. An early definition is established by the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (Cambridge, 2004) that electronic portfolio is a collection of authentic and diverse evidence, drawn from a larger archive representing what a person or organization has learned over time on which the person or organization has reflected, and designed for presentation to one or more audiences for a particular rhetorical purpose. Later on, Abrami and Barrett (2005) define an electronic portfolio as: “a digital container capable of storing visual and auditory content including text, images, video and sound…designed to support a variety of pedagogical processes and assessment purposes”. Lastly, Challis (2005) providing a more in depth definition states that an
ePortfolio is described as selective and structured collections of information, gathered for specific purposes and showing/evidencing one’s accomplishments and growth which are stored digitally and managed by appropriate software, developed by using appropriate multimedia and customarily within a web environment and retrieved from a website, or delivered by CD-ROM or by DVD. Therefore, electronic portfolios keep all the features of portfolios, that is, a carefully selected collection of exemplary artifacts that allows demonstration of one’s work and accomplishments. But an electronic portfolio developer uses electronic technologies to collect and organize portfolio artifacts in many media types, such as: audio, video, graphics, and text. Different from the traditional formats of portfolios, electronic portfolios are easily accessible and are easy to update. In addition, the hyperlinks among standards, artifacts, and reflections provide a much richer picture of a student’s abilities and growth than paper based portfolios do. Lastly, based on the preceding discussions, in this research it can be concluded that electronic portfolio learning is an electronic versions of paper based portfolio learning previously defined with some differences in the way it is developed, accessed, updated, and enriched with many media types, such as: audio, video, and graphics.
2. Constructivist Learning
As previously discussed, the same pedagogical thinking lies behind both kinds of portfolio, the electronic portfolio learning are derived from constructivist perspectives. The main difference is that the students and the teachers need an extra skill in developing their electronic portfolios, i.e. learning with technology. In their book “Learning with Technology”, Jonassen, Peck, and Wilson (1999) discuss how educators can use technologies to support constructivist learning. In the past, students learned from technology as a medium for delivering and communicating messages. Computer programs were developed with the belief that they could convey information (and hopefully understanding) more effectively than teachers. But constructivists believe that neither teacher nor computer programs can
convey understanding, which can only be constructed by learners. Therefore, Jonassen, Peck, and Wilson argue that technologies are more effectively used as tools with which to construct knowledge. Their perspective is that technology is a tool with which to think and learn. According to Jonassen, Peck, and Wilson, students cannot learn from teachers or technologies. Rather, students learn from thinking -- thinking about what they are doing or what they did, thinking about what they believe, thinking about what others have done and believe, thinking about the thinking processes they use -- just thinking. They point out, “Thinking mediates learning. Learning results from thinking” (p. 2). They emphasize that thinking is engaged by activity and different activities engaged different kinds of thinking. That is to say, different kinds of thinking are required to memorize a list, read a book, understand a lecture, solve a problem, design a new product, or argue for a belief. These activities can be presented and supported by teachers and technologies. But teachers and technologies do not necessarily cause thinking, so they do not necessarily cause learning. They may, if the learner has a need or desire to learn, but they may not, if the learner is thinking about something else. Therefore, Jonassen, Peck, and Wilson (1999: 2) conclude: “The role of teachers and technologies in learning is indirect. They can stimulate and support activities that engage learners in thinking, which may result in learning, but learners do not learn directly from the technology; they learn from thinking about what they are doing. Technology can foster and support learning if they are used as tools and intellectual partners that help learners to think.” They further discuss that students learn from experiencing phenomena (objects, events, activities, and processes), interpreting those experiences based on what they already know, reasoning about them, and reflecting on the experiences and the reasoning. This process is called meaning making. Meaning making is at the heart of constructivism. Electronic portfolios influence student learning through the process of construction and through collaboration with and feedback from the teachers. In the words of Klenowski, Askew, and Carnell (2006: 268):
“To use portfolios to support professional development, learning and technology requires tutors to understand some key assessment concepts such as the link between learning objectives as success criteria, the use of rich questioning and the role of feedback in a pedagogy focused on learning, selfand peer-assessment.” Acosta and Liu (2006: 21) envisage electronic portfolios as a way of shifting the locus of control from teacher to student, which entails changes in curriculum design and leads to the development of social capital. They define social capital as “using collective power and resources to improve and benefit society and the individual through strong relationships and active interactions” (Acosta & Liu, 2006: 21). Electronic portfolios can help students to make connections between different aspects of their lives and help them to form their social identities, and their identity within their discipline of study.
3. Implementation of Electronic Portfolio Learning
a. Guidelines of Implementation
As portfolios move from traditional paper-based creations to electronic, webbased platforms, the teachers must continue to focus on how the medium supports and influences the purpose of the portfolio. Some general guidelines for implementing electronic portfolios in a program are offered by Bergman (undated) cited by Ali (2005). It is suggested that one must start slowly and seek linkages for stakeholders. Students and teachers should be realistic with the design of portfolios and their own expectations from the portfolios. They should also make use of available models that have relevance to portfolio development and gain acceptance from the head of the institution before they begin. Teachers must encourage students to ‘own’ their portfolios, and should clearly communicate implementation steps and timelines. On the other hand, students must be selective in their design and strategy, and must allow for continuous improvement and growth as their portfolios evolve. Teachers and students should together incorporate assessment from stakeholders
(parents, prospective, employers, department heads etc) in all phases and components of portfolio development.
b. Steps for Electronic Portfolio Development Process
Barret (2001: 5), after combining both the Multimedia Development Process and the Portfolio Development Process, purposes five stages of electronic portfolio development process. The stages are: 1. Defining the Portfolio Context & Goals: 2. The Working Portfolio: 3. The Reflective Portfolio: 4. The Connected Portfolio: 5. The Presentation Portfolio. The above stages are then developed by Ali (2005) who states there are the nine steps in developing electronic portfolios. 1. Define aim of the portfolio. The first step is to decide whether the portfolio will be used for formative evaluation or summative evaluation. The content and organization of the portfolio will depend on its aim. Needs analysis should be carried out before beginning the portfolio development process. 2. Take into account the type and extent of technology available to your students. Do not expect your students to develop an electronic portfolio if they do not have access to the required hardware and software. Again, needs analysis would help in identifying students’ technological needs and availability. 3. Take students’ consent for portfolio development. If portfolio development is not part of the curriculum and you want to initiate it into your own individual teaching methodology, you will have to first take students’ consent. It should be remembered that it is essentially learner centered and the students have to be ‘involved’ right from the planning to the assessment.
You will also need to take permission from parents to use their child's work, name, and perhaps a photo. 4. Define an audience for the portfolio. This would motivate and boost students to work harder on their portfolios. Audience may range from parents, teachers, and administrators to relatives and other students. In case of webfolios the students have to be very cautious with their work since it can be accessed by anyone. 5. Empower students. The main aim of portfolio development is to get students to work on their Math, Science, English composition, or art etc. Students should select work that best shows their achievement of the curriculum goals. They should include the first draft and the final draft to show progress or they may choose to include multiple drafts. 6. Involve students in peer correction or review. It is amazing how much students can learn through their peers’ comments on their work and through their own comments on some one else’s work. Peer review on students’ portfolio work should become an essential part of the process of portfolio development. 7. Incorporate feedback mechanism into student portfolios. About midway through the portfolio development process brief feedback must be given to the students so that they know if they are going in the right direction. Feedback could also be posted onto the electronic portfolios if students do not mind and find it encouraging. 8. Encourage reflective practice. An essential inclusion in the portfolios is the reflective notes. Documentation of thoughts makes the portfolios more personal and provides a view into the student’s performance and abilities. They exhibit the thought processes and critical thinking capabilities of the students, which may not be evident from a mere collection of their work. Reflective notes tell us how the learners feel about the learning process.
9. Evaluate the presented portfolio. The main aim of assessment may be to evaluate the work included in the portfolio and to see if there has been significant progress from the first draft. However, it must also be noticed if all the required contents are included; that there are no typing/mechanical errors; and that the portfolio is well organized and presentable for WWW publication or saving onto a CD-ROM.
As a paper based portfolio must include some essential elements, a simple student electronic portfolio should include (based on Ali (2005)): 1. Title. The title card consists of the student’s and teacher’s names and the academic year. It may include a picture or video of the student. 2. Table of Contents. This is a summary of the portfolio. Links may be added to guide the viewer. 3. Samples of work. Include the first draft and the final draft to show progress. You may choose to include multiple drafts. 4. Short resume. This acts as a window into the student’s life and makes the portfolio more personal. 5. Student’s reflective notes. 6. Letter to viewers. 7. Viewer comments box.
c. Creating Electronic Portfolios
This section outlines the equipment, and planning required for creating and saving an electronic portfolio.
According to Barrett (2000), to begin with, students would require at least the following equipment: Computer – IBM or Macintosh. It should have audio and video display hardware.
Scanner and/or a Digital Camera. Multimedia Software Program. The most popular software used for electronic portfolio development are Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat, digital and analog video, and WWW pages created with HTML editors like Netscape Composer, Microsoft FrontPage, or Adobe PageMill. The choice of software can either restrict or enhance the development process and the quality of the final product. Different software packages each have unique characteristics, which can limit or expand the electronic portfolio options. Barrett (2000) suggests six levels of electronic portfolio software. Table 2.4 – Six Levels of Electronic Portfolio Software Level I Level II No digital artifacts. Some video tape artifacts Word processing or other commonly used files stored in electronic folders on a hard drive, floppy diskette or LAN server Level III Databases, hypermedia or slide shows (e.g., PowerPoint), stored on a hard drive, Zip, floppy diskette or LAN server Level IV Portable Document Format (Adobe Acrobat PDF files), stored on a hard drive, Zip, CD-R/W, or LAN server Level V HTML-based web pages created with a web authoring program and posted to a WWW server Level VI Multimedia authoring program, such as Macromedia Author ware or Director, pressed to CD-R/W or posted to WWW
2) Planning It is suggested to create a flowchart on paper to plan what to put in each link of the portfolio. Students should choose the appearance of the portfolio webpage and links. This is also the stage when the students should decide and work on the content of the portfolio. If the portfolio is to be hosted on the WWW then a free or cheap web hosting site should be contacted at this point.
3) Creating and Saving the Portfolio
Design a portfolio by including graphics, photos, clip art, scanned images, videos, and sound etc. Add text to it and buttons to create links. This stage is the most technical and would require some help from the teacher unless the students have a technological edge over the language instructor which is not uncommon these days! Finally students should store and present their portfolio. They could choose to save it on computer hard drive, videotape, a WWW or LAN server, flash disk, Zip disk or onto a CD-ROM.
d. Publishing Electronic Portfolio
Here are the basic steps for using WordPress to construct an interactive electronic portfolio. Note that WordPress is primarily a blog, so the first page is organized in reverse chronological order. However, the latest version of WordPress also allows pages to be set up and show as tabs at the top of the page. In this example, “home” is the blog; “welcome!” is a page that the teacher set up explaining the focus of this site; “my portfolio” is a set of pages and sub-pages that contain my portfolio; and “how to” is this page. 1. Purpose. Decide on the purpose for the portfolio. What are you trying to show with this portfolio? Are there outcomes, goals, or standards that are being demonstrated with this portfolio? In this example, we will use an electronic portfolio to provide formative feedback on student work. • • Identify how you are going to organize the portfolio. Will it be around the outcomes, goals or standards that you identified in this first step? Set up a “parent” page that will serve as the opening page/Introduction to the portfolio
Set up a template for students, if appropriate.
2. Collection/Selection. What artifacts will you include in your portfolio? Create a digital archive of work. Offline, this archive would be on a hard drive, flash drive, iPod or local area network server; online, these files can be stored anywhere on the Internet, as long as each document has a unique URL. Use a simple table to list the artifacts, and assign (classify) each one to the outcome/goal/standard that the artifact will demonstrate. Once these categories are identified, set up sub pages for each major category you have identified. Add the artifacts (through hyperlinks) to the appropriate sub-pages in the portfolio. Reflection. Reflection is the heart and soul of a portfolio. Reflection provides the rationale for why these artifacts represent achievement of a particular outcome, goal or standard. Write a brief reflection on each artifact (what is the context in which this artifact was developed? Why was it included in the portfolio?). You might also write a reflection on each grouping of artifacts (by outcome/goal/standard). The Introduction page should contain an overview of the portfolio. It serves as a “letter to the reader” and provides an explanation of the overall goals of the portfolio. 3. Connection/Interaction/Dialogue. This stage provides an opportunity for interaction and feedback on the work posted in the portfolio. This is where the power of Web 2.0 interactive tools becomes apparent. Teachers and peers can use the feedback features of the software, such as comments, to provide feedback on the work posted in the ePortfolio. Teachers often provide exemplars for different levels of achievement, and provides a rubric for evaluation.
The portfolio developer should be given the option of updating the work, based on the feedback and the rubric. 4. Presentation/Publishing. The portfolio developer decides what parts of the portfolio are to be made public. However, the decision on which blog provider the subjects of this research publish their portfolios will depend on discussion between the researcher and the participants. It is assumed that the most familiar blog providers for the students (blogger and wordpress) are easier to master. Blogs are easy-to-create and easy-to-maintain websites. Blogs have been around for over 10 years, but have become more popular since hosting websites such as Blogger.com introduced itself in 1999. Blogs function mostly as online journals and their content is traditionally personal. Blogs can be updated at any time using software that allows users with little or no technical background to create, design and maintain the blog.
4. Advantages of Electronic Portfolio Learning
The use of electronic portfolios offers a number of advantages over traditional paper based portfolios, such as portability, accessibility, distribution ability, and repeatability of performances.
a. First Benefit
Electronic portfolios increase students’ hands-on technology skills and enable them to demonstrate effective and appropriate use of technology. Testerman and Hall (2000/2001) find in their study that electronic portfolios help educational leaders enrolled in a doctoral program extend their understanding of technology and learn applications worthwhile for personal and professional involvement. Testerman and Hall indicate that creating portfolios helped students to understand the methodology for archiving, indexing, and organizing new materials through an electronic media. “The portfolio can become the foundation repository for future uses such as
employment applications or demonstrations of comprehensive technology skills, knowledge, and synthesis” (p. 202). They state, “The skills acquired through preparing and presenting an electronic portfolio provide graduate students the ability to develop other useful applications for personal and professional improvement” (p. 205). Similarly, Purves (1996) find that portfolios are not simply an alternative to a test, but represent a different way of viewing the nature of curriculum and instruction. Portfolios transfer the focus of the course from the teacher to the student. “They call for maturity and independence on the students’ part, and they make any course become a matter of student learning rather than of teacher instruction” (p. 146).
b. Second Benefit
improvement. Ellsworth (2002) reports her findings from a three-year case study of an elementary school in which student portfolios were implemented as part of a comprehensive school reform effort. Her participants are seventeen classroom and specialist teachers who are involved in the implementation of portfolios over three years. The result indicates that portfolios are an important mechanism through which teachers came to a deeper understanding of their professional practices and that teachers start to recognize changes in classroom practice and schoolwide responsibilities and to identify organizational structures and professional development opportunities needed for the inquiry and reform process. In her study, “teachers reported significant professional growth as a result of implementing student portfolios in an environment where they could inquire and reflect on what the portfolios were telling them” (p. 353).
c. Third Benefit
Electronic portfolios motivate involvement in learning. In a paper describing the electronic portfolio project, Swain and Ring (2000) discuss the benefits of electronic portfolios in educational technology. They state: “Creating portfolios gives students the opportunity to create a learning environment which demonstrates what they learned, as well as providing students an opportunity to work on an open-ended project. An additional benefit of electronic portfolios is that students will leave their educational program with a product demonstrating their knowledge and abilities.” (p. 340) d. Fourth Benefit
Electronic portfolios motivate self-assessment. “Portfolio assessment allows for the specific talents and abilities of individuals to be highlighted as preservice teachers evaluate their own work and products” (Gatlin and Jacob, 2002: 35). Delett, Barnhardt, and Kevorkian (2001) indicate that portfolio assessment is an ongoing, interactive assessment that actively involved both the teacher and the students in the process of learning. In the environment of electronic portfolio, both teachers and students found themselves in new roles with new responsibilities. According to them, portfolios are one means of developing a learner-centered classroom. “Well-designed portfolios offer students the opportunity to become actively involved in the learning process by contributing to instructional planning and assessment” (p. 560). They find that portfolios are most useful as tools for assessing progress in language development by establishing a partnership between teachers and students in the language classroom.
e. Fifth Benefit
Electronic portfolios motivate reflective learning. Porter and Cleland (1995) states that the power of reflection helps students and teachers move beyond seeing the portfolio as a mere alternative to traditional assessment to appreciating its value
as a leaning strategy. In this capacity, Porter and Cleland think that portfolios become vehicles for reflection in which learners examine where they have been, where they are now, how they got there, and where they need to go next. They stress, “A portfolio is comprised of a collection of artifacts accompanied by a reflective narrative that not only helps the learner to understand and extend learning, but invites the reader of the portfolio to gain insights about learning and the learner” (p. 23). Crafton (1991: 314) states, “When learners have a chance to reflect on their reading, writing, language experiences, they can assume an altered stance on their learning and see it in a new way. They also become aware of and learn to value the strategies they are developing” (p. 314).
Porter and Cleland (1995: 37 – 50) summarize the advantages of reflection through their studies with their own students in the following aspects: 1. Reflection allows learners to examine their learning process. 2. Reflection allows learners to take responsibility for their own learning. 3. Reflection allows learners to see “gaps” in their learning. 4. Reflection allows learners to determine strategies that support their learning. 5. Reflection allows learners to celebrate risk-taking and inquiry. 6. Reflection allows learners to set goals for future experiences. 7. Reflection allows learners to see changes and development over time.
5. Disadvantages of Electronic Portfolio Learning
The literature review showed that electronic portfolios not only have many benefits but also have problems to be considered.
a. First Disadvantage
The first problem deals with deficient hardware and software. Bartlett (2002: 93) finds equipment problems in her study. Her students complain, “All the
equipment (video camera, computer with movie making capabilities) isn’t available to everyone.”
b. Second Disadvantage
The second problem is concerned with considerable investment of time and effort. Research suggests that the implementation of electronic portfolios requires considerable investment of time and effort from both the instructor and the student. Campbell and Brummett (2002: 27) also point out the amount of time consumed in developing electronic portfolios and state, “No portfolio is ever done; it will always be a work-in-progress. As skills develop, knowledge expands, and becomes more refined so, too, will the portfolio”.
c. Third Disadvantage
The third disadvantage that must be taken into account is insufficient attention and instruction on reflection. Reflection is an essential part of the electronic portfolio process. The result of Cunningham and Benedetto’s (2002) study indicates that students spend a great deal of time selecting video clips to communicate their growth, but less on reflection of the performance captured in the video segment. They think, “the greatest influence on program-wide integration is the realization that the creation of a meaningful and reflective video takes a great deal of time; not because of technology, but because critical reflection is a skill that teacher candidates are just beginning to develop during their programs” (p. 552).
Based on the preceding discussion, the literature review suggests that developing an electronic portfolio is one of the effective ways of carrying out constructivism learning theory because it helps students to construct their individual knowledge and skills. The power of reflection helps students and teachers move beyond seeing the portfolio as a mere alternative to traditional assessment to appreciating its value as a learning strategy. Developing and creating electronic
portfolios not only force students to examine their learning process, determine learning strategies, but also allow them to set goals for future learning. Through this process, students effectively use technology to construct knowledge. Likewise, too great an emphasis on students meeting standards for competency will endanger the reflective and learning potential of electronic portfolios. To be successful users of electronic portfolios, students need to understand the reasons for constructing a portfolio, be given clear guidelines, and have access to an electronic portfolio system that is easy to use and gives them as much flexibility or as much structure as they require. They also need the support of their teachers. The teachers need to be committed to the portfolio process, and willing to give students regular and useful feedback on their work and reflections. Institutions need to be aware of the impact that an electronic portfolio development will have. Electronic portfolios need to be an integral part of a program of study, not an ‘added-on’ assessment, which may necessitate the review and restructuring of courses. The type of portfolio required, its purpose and its audience need to be clearly articulated. Students and the teachers using an electronic portfolio system need the time, skills and resources to do so successfully. Institutions need to provide strong leadership to encourage their staff to participate in an electronic portfolio development, whilst also enabling collaboration and staff input into decision-making. Institutions also need to recognize that the process of implementing an electronic portfolio system is a long-term one, and it may take several years before the full benefits will be seen.
6. Points of Difference from Paper Based Portfolio Learning
On the basis of the previous discussion, it can be concluded that there is a variety of points of difference, which are summarized here. Electronic portfolios: • Are easier to search, and records can be simply retrieved, manipulated, refined and reorganized; • Reduce effort and time; • Are more comprehensive and rigorous;
• Can use more extensive material; • Include pictures, sound, animation, graphic design and video; • Are much smaller; • Are cost effective to distribute; • Are instantly accessible; • Can have an organizational structure that is not linear or hierarchical; • Are easy to carry and share with peers, supervisors, parents, employers and others; • Allow fast feedback; • Showcase the technological skills of the creator; • Provide access to a global readership if they are based on the web. Below is a chart that identifies the portfolio development processes identified in the portfolio literature, and the technological strategies that enhance the process. Table 2.5 – Comparison of Development Processes Paper Based Portfolio Processes • Collecting • Selecting • Reflecting • Projecting • Celebrating Electronic Portfolio Processes • Archiving • Linking/Thinking • Storytelling • Collaborating • Publishing
D. The Review of Writing Interest
1. The Definition
Five minutes of work on a writing task may feel like hours to a student who does not know what the next steps need to be, or even what the longer- range goals for the work are—especially if the student does not have a developed interest for the writing task. Similarly, a student with a well-developed individual interest for English may be able to briefly glance at the differences between recount text and
narrative text and decide he knows them, while another, equally able student with a less-developed interest for English, has to work after school to learn these text types. This illustration informs that interest factor in the teaching of writing is of importance. The first definition of interest in this section is by Hurlock (1978: 420) that defines interests as sources of motivation which drive people to do what they want to do when they are free to choose. It is also stated by Getzels in Smith and Dechant (1961: 273) that interest is a characteristic disposition, organized through experience, which impels an individual to seek out particular objects, activities, understanding, skills, or goals for attention or acquisition. Interest is also defined as one’s consciousness that an object, person, problem or situation has relation to him (Witherington in Buchori (2000: 122)). Lastly, interest describes the cognitive and affective relationship between a student and particular classes of subject matter (Renninger, no year: 705). Based on the definitions above, it can be concluded that interest is one’s cognitive and affective consciousness, organized through experience, which impels someone to seek out particular objects and motivates him to do the activities he likes in order to strive a particular goal. According to Gelb and Whiting (2008) writing is a way of recording language in visible form and giving it relative permanence. Byrne (1993: 1) emphasizes: “But writing is clearly much more than the production of graphic symbols, just as speech is more than the production of sounds. The symbols have to be arranged according to certain conventions to form words, and words have to be arranged to form sentences, although again we can be said to be 'writing' if we are merely making lists of words, as in inventories of items such as shopping lists.” He further (1993: 1) concludes that writing is a sequence of sentence arranged in a particular order and linked together in certain ways. Writing, more particularly, refers to two things: writing as a noun, the thing that is written; and writing as a verb, which designates the activity of writing. It refers to the inscription of characters on a medium, thereby forming words, and
larger units of language, known as texts. It also refers to the creation of meaning and the information thereby generated (“Writing,” 2009). According to Petty and Jensen (l980: 362), writing is the mental and physical act of forming letters and words. But it is much more than that, it is putting words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, spelling word correctly, punctuating and capitalizing in customary ways, and observing conventions in written forms and more. Writing is a process of expressing thoughts and feelings of thinking and shaping experiences. The last definition refers to a process taking place in human’s brains. That is why the definition becomes a starting point in defining the term of writing. Writing, thus, can be defined as a mental and physical process of expressing thought and feelings by forming words into a sequence of arranged sentences leading to the creation of meaning and the information. The writing interest, therefore, can be defined as one’s cognitive and affective consciousness, organized through experience, which impels someone mentally and physically to express thoughts and feelings by a sequence of arranged sentences leading to the creation of meaning and the information. The importance of writing interest is supported by the fact that one of the foci of the actions to improve the writing curriculum is to raise students’ interest in writing, assuming that increased interest leads to more involvement in learning (Rijlaarsdam and Van Den Bergh, 2005: 9).
2. Types of Interest
According to Schraw and Lehman (2009: 510), researchers have identified two types of interest. They are: 1. Situational interest. It is spontaneous, transitory, and environmentally activated. Situational interest often precedes and facilitates the development of personal interest. Situational interest appears to be especially important in catching students’ attention. It increases learning when the task or to-be-learned information is novel or when
information is relevant to a task or learning goal. Text variables such as coherence, identification with characters, suspense, and the concreteness and image-ability of salient text segments also increase situational interest. 2. Personal interest. Personal interest, also referred to as individual interest, is less spontaneous, of enduring personal value, and activated internally. Its development is often preceded and facilitated by situational interest. Compared to situational interest, this type of interest may be more important in holding students’ attention. Personal interest increases learning due to increased engagement, the acquisition of expert knowledge, and making mundane tasks more challenging. Therefore, personal interest is also important because it appears to mediate the relationship between short-term situational interest and long-term mastery and learning within a domain. In addition, several studies suggest that personal interest increases the amount and quality of information processing.
Correspondingly, Renninger (no year: 705) identifies three types of interest, each of which reflects differing amounts of knowledge, value, and feelings. They are as follows: 1. Situational interest. Situational interest refers to the short-lived or momentary attention to, or curiosity about, particular subject matter, and can be accompanied by either positive or negative feelings. 2. Individual interest (sometimes referred to as Topic interest). Individual interest is a relatively enduring predisposition to experience enjoyment in working with particular subject matter. An individual interest may or may not provide a student with the support to put forth effort when faced with a difficult task, presumably because the identification of individual interest in terms of enjoyment provides no information about the depth of a student’s knowledge about the topic. 3. Well-developed individual interest.
Well-developed individual interest is a relatively enduring predisposition to reengage particular classes of subject matter over time. A student with a welldeveloped individual interest for a subject has more stored knowledge and stored value for that subject than he or she has for other subjects. With more stored knowledge and stored value for a given subject matter, the student is positioned to begin asking curiosity questions that drive knowledge acquisition, consolidation, and elaboration, and that leads the student to persist in the face of frustration or difficulty. Well-developed interest is the type of student interest to which most people are referring when they talk about interest and its impact on learning. For example, students who immerse themselves in a task they have been assigned, or who are willing to expend a lot of effort to master a skill that will allow them to begin work on some future project, are likely to have a well-developed interest for the subject of that project. Importantly, the student who has a well-developed interest for a subject area may not seem to be aware that he or she is exerting effort. Instead, it appears that interest may free up possibilities for students to push themselves, just as it frees up their ability to process interesting stories.
It can be seen that the third type in the second classification is a more developed type of the second one. Another conclusion is that all types of interest require conditions that allow the interest to be maintained, to continue to deepen, and to merge with other content. In the teaching of writing, it is important for the teachers of English to provide students with meaningful choices, well organized tasks that promote interest, and the background knowledge necessary to fully understand a topic. Even students with a well-developed interest for a particular subject need to be supported to continue challenging what they know and assume in order for their interest to be sustained.
3. Aspects of Interest
It is stated by Renninger (no year: 706) that interest needs to be understood as a cognitive and affective relationship between a student and a particular subject that varies depending on the type of interest being described. In the same way, Hurlock (1987: 422-423) identifies two aspects of interest such as cognitive aspect and affective aspect. Cognitive aspect is based on the concept of development about the areas related to the interest. Concept that makes up the cognitive aspects of interest is based on personal experiences, which learned at home, at school, and in community. The cognitive aspect of students’ interest in school, for example, is based on concept of school as a place where they can learn and have opportunities for contact with their friends. Subsequently, affective aspect or the emotional weighting of the concept that makes up the cognitive aspect of interest is expressed in attitude toward the activities. It is the development of personal experience, from attitude of such significant people as parents, teachers, and peers toward the activities interest give rises to. For instance, students who have a pleasant relationship with teachers usually develop favorable attitudes toward school. Because of the way a teacher of English let a certain students know how rich and famous J. K. Rowlin as the author of Harry Potter, he takes a deep interest in writing. It can be seen that the two aspects are important but the affective one is more important than the cognitive one because of playing a greater role in motivating action. In this point of view, Hidi (no year: 1991) states that interest undoubtedly has a strong emotional component and points out that this aspect may play a critical role in how interest influences The affective aspect of interest can be said to tend to be more resistant to change.
4. Developing Sustained Interest
Mitchell (1993) as cited by Schraw and Lehman (2009: 511) originally proposed a simple three-stage model in which situational interest leads to personal
interest, which leads to higher learning. Schraw and Lehman (2009: 510 - 511) then put forward a more sophisticated model proposed by Hidi and Renninger (2006). In the model, interest develops through four continuous stages, including triggered situational interest, maintained situational interest, emerging personal interest, and well-developed individual interest. Triggered situational interest refers to a change in interest that is related directly to a temporary change in the stimuli, environment, or to-be-learned information. These changes may be evoked by a wide variety of factors, including highly relevant information, surprising or unexpected information, information that is incongruous with the task, a change in environment, or the enthusiasm of a teacher or mentor. Maintained situational interest refers to a state of focused attention and greater personal investment with the to-be-learned information. These changes usually are supported externally by a stimulating text, task, or teacher. In addition, maintained interest is sustained through meaningful tasks and personal involvement. Emerging individual interest refers to a state in which interest does not need to be sustained externally and one in which the interest becomes an enduring disposition. These changes are supported by increased curiosity, greater domain knowledge, and a perceived sense of pleasure and usefulness in the activity. Well-developed individual interest refers to an enduring change in disposition for the information or activity. These changes are characterized by positive affect, greater intrinsic motivation, extensive knowledge about the domain, a high level of procedural expertise, and an ability to monitor and self-regulate one’s future development in the domain.
5. Effects on the Teaching of Writing
Definitive evidence indicates that situational and personal interests are related to learning in three important ways (Schraw and Lehman, 2009: 511). Based on their explanation, the writer draws a relationship between writing interest and the teaching of writing in three ways. The first way is that interest increases motivation,
engagement, and persistence. Situational interest has a positive effect on extrinsic
motivation, whereas personal interest has a positive long-term effect on intrinsic motivation. Presumably, external factors such as teachers and interesting writing tasks provide external motivation to learn more about a domain. Once situational interest develops into well-developed individual interest, external factors likely play a smaller role in motivation, whereas intrinsic motivation and enjoyment play larger roles. Extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are essential precursors to engagement. Students who are interested in a topic or activity are more likely to engage and persist, which in turn leads to the acquisition of writing competence. Motivation helps individuals to develop the confidence to undertake a new learning activity or to venture into an unfamiliar intellectual domain such as publishing their works on line or to a wider audience. In turn, motivation and engagement facilitate persistence within a domain that is necessary to develop true writing competence. Persistence produces greater writing competence, which increases confidence and self efficacy, and makes it easier and more enjoyable to learn. The second way that interest is related to the teaching of writing is through strategy use. Students who are interested in writing a topic report using more strategies are more likely to monitor their performance and shift strategies when necessary and are better able to self-regulate their learning. Increased strategy use, metacognitive monitoring, and self-regulation improve the efficiency of writing competence and knowledge acquisition as well as the amount of information learned. Finally, the third way that interest affects the teaching of writing is through deeper information processing. High-interest learners were more likely to construct deeper mental representations of a text. This correlation may be due in part to the fact that high-interest learners are more likely to possess topic-specific knowledge and learning strategies. Yet regardless of knowledge and strategies, students with high levels of interest are more likely to engage in an activity, persist, report positive affect, and focus more of their effort on constructing a deeper understanding of writing competence that they are studying.
6. Raising Interest in Writing
As shown by the preceding discussion, interest is an important precursor to learning and is changeable. A number of suggestions are included below that are based on some studies on writing. Thus, it is reasonable to use as many strategies as are feasible in the classroom. The first suggestion is to expand the notion of written text, using out of school cultural practices as a resource for writing in secondary school. Based on their study, McClenaghan and Doecke, (2005: 124) put out: “Popular cultural texts – digital media texts, chat groups, the internet – play a particularly significant role in adolescents’ communicational webs. Such concepts are important, not simply because they highlight new forms of communication, but because they sensitise us to the ways in which literacy practices are bound up with the network of relationships in which people find themselves. Individuals do not simply ‘read’ or ‘write’ or ‘speak’ or ‘listen’ (i.e., the traditional way in which we conceptualise the components of the English curriculum); these acts are social practices, embedded in specific sets of social relationships, which are mediated in technologically complex ways.” Another suggestion is to understand student’s perceptions about the dualism students have to deal with when writing in private at home is introduced into the public space of the school. Because in his study, it becomes clear that students experience a clear difference between private home writing and school writing, even if the genre is poetry, Erixon (2005: 140) concludes: “We have, however, to accept that genuine communication between students may be less easy to establish. As a result of projects like The Garden of Thought ritual activities are expressed alongside elements of communication. That is certainly a step in the right direction.” A more traditional move to enhance interest in writing is by developing (research) projects in class, where writing supports the development of the project, and writing is the ultimate educational aim. Munch (339 - 347) in secondary and Oliver (369-382) in primary education report on these kinds of writing environments.
The main goal of English instruction in Indonesia is that at the end of the study, students master language skills involving listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In relation to writing competence, the goal is to enable the students to express the meanings in written interpersonal and transactional discourses formally and informally in the forms of recount, narrative, procedure, descriptive, news item, report, analytical exposition, hortatory exposition, spoof, explanation, discussion, and review in a context of daily lives. To achieve this goal, some innovations have been applied, in this case paper based portfolio learning and electronic portfolio learning. Those types of portfolio based learning have strengths as well as weaknesses. Nevertheless, students’ writing interest also plays an important role in achieving the goal. It is the essential for learning process. Seeing the characteristics that the electronic portfolio learning possesses, it is suitable for the teacher to put this kind of portfolio based learning into practice to students who have high writing interest. High-interested students will generate full interest and participation during the learning with technology. Another factor is that they get involved in the process of construction and through collaboration with and feedback from the teachers. That their works are published on-line with unlimited audience in the virtual world is an added value that increases their writing interest. Meanwhile, the paper based portfolio learning possesses characteristics that are nearly similar to the usual in-class writing instruction. The students, particularly low-interested students, cannot meet the media to share their writings except those who are their teachers/ classmates. They are also not challenged to learn with technology. Most of peer reviewing and teacher’s feedback take place in a classroom setting only. From such reason as this, the students not only can take teacher’s feedback and peer reviews anytime and anywhere but also update and revise their works. Considering the explanation above, the writer assumes that electronic portfolio learning is better applied for high-interested students while paper based
portfolio learning is better applied for low-interested students in improving students’ writing competence. Therefore, the thinking framework can be drawn as follows. Figure 2. 7 – The Thinking Framework
The hypotheses of the study are formulated as follows: 1. There is a significant difference in the students’ writing competence between the students taught using electronic portfolio learning and those taught using paper based portfolio learning. 2. There is a significant difference in the students’ writing competence between the students taught using electronic portfolio learning and those taught using paper based portfolio learning for those having high writing interest. 3. There is a significant difference in the students’ writing competence between the students taught using electronic portfolio learning and those taught using paper based portfolio learning for those having low writing interest. 4. There is an interaction those portfolio based learning and writing interest in terms of students’ writing competence.
CHAPTER III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The word methodology is derived from the word ‘method’ that means ‘the way of doing something’ (Hornby, 1995: 671). The aim of methodology is, according to Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000: 44) citing Kaplan’s words (1973): “to describe and analyze these methods, throwing light on their limitations and resources, clarifying their presuppositions and consequences, relating their potentialities to the twilight zone at the frontiers of knowledge. It is to venture generalizations from the success of particular techniques, suggesting new applications, and to unfold the specific bearings of logical and metaphysical principles on concrete problems, suggesting new formulations”. In summary, the methodology is aimed at helping the researcher to understand, in the broadest possible terms. Correspondingly, research methodology consists of the assumptions, postulates, rules, and methods—the blueprint or roadmap—that researchers employ to render their work open to analysis, critique, replication, repetition, and/or adaptation and to choose research methods (Schensul, 2008: 516). In this chapter, the writer gives details on Research Methodology. He begins with the aims of the study to undertake. In so doing, the rest of this chapter will be on the right track. Secondly, setting of the research in terms of time and place of the research is talked over. The next things he considers are the method of the research. After that, the subject of the research is discussed under the following headings: population, sample, and sampling. The last two parts are concerned with technique of collecting data and technique of analyzing data.
A. The Aims of the Study
This research is aimed at: 1. Knowing whether there is difference in English writing competence between students taught by electronic portfolio learning and those taught by paper based portfolio learning. 95
Knowing whether there is difference in English writing competence between students taught by electronic portfolio learning and those taught by paper based portfolio learning for those who have high writing interest.
Knowing whether there is difference in English writing competence between students taught by electronic portfolio learning and those taught by paper based portfolio learning for those who have low writing interest.
Knowing whether there is interaction between the two portfolio based learning and writing interest in terms of students’ English writing competence.
B. Setting of the Research
1. Time of the Research
This comparative study is planned to carry out in seven months from July 2009 to January 2010. The following is the schedule of this comparative research:
Table 3.1 - Time Schedule AUGUST JULY SEPT NOV OCT DEC
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pre Research Proposal Literature Review Instrument Development Data Collection & Analysis Report Writing Document Submission
2. Place of the Research
This research is conducted at Sekolah Menengah Atas Negeri 2 Sampit (henceforth, SMA Negeri 2 Sampit), a state owned Senior High Schools in East Kotawaringin regency, Central Kalimantan province. Located at Jalan Gunung Kerinci No. 3 0531-24312 Sampit 74312, SMA Negeri 2 Sampit is a computer laboratory equipped school in addition to an internet accessed laboratory. The previous one consists of 40 unit of desktop computers linked with a network and the latter one consists of 20 unit of desktop computers linked with Jaringan Pendidikan Nasional (Jardiknas), a nationally linked educational network and PT Telkom’s Speedy Internet. Besides that, the school’s policy has managed an internet course in its Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan, School Based Curriculum. The course itself is given to the first year student in the first semester and once a week in a period of 2 x 45 minutes. The writer himself was the person who took the responsibility of managing both of the computer laboratory and internet laboratory from 2005 to 2008.
C. The Method of the Research
Research, according to Richards and Schmidt (2002: 456), is the study of an event, problem or phenomenon using systematic methods, in order to understand it better and to develop principles and theories about it. Another definition of the term is organized study, i.e. methodical investigation into a subject in order to discover facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based on the facts discovered (“research,” 2008). The last definition the writer cites is from Nunan (1992: 3) stating that research is a scientific method for gaining knowledge through investigation or experimentation to find out empirical facts that may verify the hypothesis proposed before.
Based on the definitions above, it can be concluded that research is a scientific study organized to understand a phenomenon better by doing experimentation leading to verify a proposed hypothesis. In connection with the aims of the study and the discussion above, the method of the research is of great significance to take into account before the research begins. As this study is designed to obtain data from the students’ writing competence when they are taught by electronic portfolio learning and by paper based portfolio learning, experimental research seems ideally suited to this study. In other words, the method applied is an experimental one. Experimental method, as stated by Richards and Schmidt (2002: 191), is an approach to educational research in which an idea or hypothesis is tested or verified by setting up situations in which the relationship between different participants or variables can be determined. In educational setting, Mayer (2009: 394) is of the opinion that: “experimental research is generally recognized as the most appropriate method for drawing causal conclusions about instructional interventions, for example, which instructional method is most effective for which type of student under which conditions”. At its simplest, experimental researcher’s approach is described by Kerlinger (1970) cited by Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000: 44), “If x, then y; if frustration, then aggression…the researcher uses some method to measure x and then observes y to see if concomitant variation occurs.” In other words, the experimental method is intended to investigate the effect of a treatment (X) for the effect (Y). However, Banister (2008: 27) identifies some requirements for conducting an experimental research as follows: 1. Randomly selected participants who are randomly assigned to groups (experimental and control); 2. Independent treatment variable that can be applied to the experimental group; 3. Dependent variable that can be measured in all groups.
The requirements are certainly hard to meet by the writer. In addition to this, Muijs (2004: 25 – 26) also point outs, “In everyday settings, any causal effect found in an experimental setting is likely to be influenced by a whole load of contextual factors and influences which will tend to make the relationship far less predictable than in a laboratory setting.” He also says that another problem with experimental research is that it can be difficult to put into practice in educational settings. In implementing an intervention that is specifically designed to take place in a classroom, he thinks that there would be problems in trying to randomly allocate pupils to teachers who did and did not implement the intervention. Finally, the lack of control over the environment is another thing he worries about. He further maintains, “In a classroom situation, there is a whole variety of other influences that may affect outcomes, making it difficult to ascribe effects to the intervention.” Due to the discussion above, the writer conducts a quasi-experimental design. As suggested by its name, it is the design that comprises quasi experimental research approximate experimental method (Pion and Cordray, no year: 2024). Pioneered by Thomas Campbell and Julian Stanley in the 1960s by publishing a handbook chapter titled “Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Research” (Donmoyer, 2008: 715), a quasi experimental is characterized by several things, i.e. it has both pre- and posttest; it has experimental and control group; it has no random assignment of subjects (Nunan, 1992: 41). Kraska (2008: 836) characterizes such an experimental research as follows: Nonrandomized Control Group, Pretest-Posttest Design, Time Series, Single-Subject Designs, and Factorial Designs. Therefore, there are two groups in the study, i.e. an experimental group and a control one. The experimental group is the class that is taught by electronic portfolio learning and the control group is the class taught by paper based portfolio learning. Moreover, the experimental one attends a class equipped with Internetaccessed computers whereas the latter one receives instruction in a class with no Internet-accessed computers. It also implies that, if needed, the control group is allowed to use computer in a computer equipped classroom to build and print out their portfolios such as for editing, reviewing, etc. Each student in the experimental one is asked to build their own blogs guided by the writer. To sum up, the main
difference between the two groups is that the experimental one builds a collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed on the Web while the control one builds a collection of paper based work that provides information about the students’ efforts. Instruction or treatment will be delivered in eight, ninety-minute periods, typical of secondary school in Indonesia. The control and experimental groups are given the same teaching learning material and assignments as regular practices. In addition, at the end of the treatment, the writer gives a questionnaire about students’ writing interest. The students’ writing interest is classified into two categories, namely high writing interest and low writing interest. By so-doing, the writer can find out what type of portfolio based learning can be used to teach students having high motivation and those having low writing interest. Prior to the treatment, the groups are given post test which is the same as the pre test. The writer then compares the improvement of English wiring competence from pre test to post test between the two groups to find out whether there is a different influence between electronic portfolio learning and paper based learning. As one of the characteristics of quasi experimental research is factorial design and the researcher wants to assess both independent variables, factorial design is used to analyze the main effects for both experimental variables as well as an analysis of the interaction between the treatments. The factorial design, founded by a British statistician Ronald Fisher, allows the researcher to simultaneously study the impact of multiple variables (Sheskin, 2008: 374). He further asserts: “An example of a more complex design commonly employed in psychological research is the factorial design, which is able to simultaneously evaluate the impact of two or more independent variables on one or more dependent variables. A major advantage of the factorial design is it allows the researcher to identify an interaction between variables. An interaction is present when subjects’ performance on one independent variable is not consistent across all the levels of another independent variable.” (2008: 378). This research is designed to describe and to prove the effectiveness of electronic portfolio learning to improve students’ writing competence and to get the
students interested to learn. The proposed 2 x 2 factorial design is shown at the following table: Table 3.2 - Research Design Factor A PORTFOLIO BASED LEARNING ON LINE (Experimental Group) (A1) HIGH (B1) LOW (B2) A1B1 OFF LINE (Control Group) (A2) A2B1
D. The Subject of the Research
According to Saumure and Given (2008: 644), population as a concept in research methods refers to every individual who fits the criteria (broad or narrow) that the researcher has laid out for research participants. It is also said by Fraenkel and Wallen (2003: 103) that population is the group to which the results of the study are intended to apply. It may be called that population is any of individuals having the quality or characteristic in common from which a researcher may get the data. The target population in the present study is the tenth graders of SMA Negeri 2 Sampit in the 2009/2010 academic year. The total population is 192 students. They are grouped into a class of 32 students making a total of six classes. They are XR1, XR2, XR3, XR4, XR5, and XR6
Sample (in statistics and testing) is any group of individuals that is selected to represent a population (Richards and Schmidt, 2002: 465). According to Bloor and
Wood (2006: 154), a sample is representative of the population from which it is selected if the characteristics of the sample approximate to the characteristics in the population. Based on the statements above, it can be concluded that sample is representative elements from a larger population taken from certain rules. The sample used in the research is two classes of the tenth graders at SMA Negeri 2 Sampit in the 2009/2010 academic year. One class is the experimental class and the other one is the control class. As the sample, the students have common characteristics of population as follows: 1. The students study at the same school, specifically SMA Negeri 2 Sampit in the 2009/2010 academic year. 2. The students are at the same grade, namely the tenth grade. 3. The students are taught by the same teacher. 4. They are more homogenous than the eleventh graders and twelfth graders are because they have not been grouped into some classes of Natural Science Program and Social Science Program. XR1 is chosen as the experimental group consisting of 32 students while XR4 is chosen as the control group consisting of 32 students. Since the research design is a 2 x 2 factorial design (see Table 3.2 above), each class is divided into two groups, students who have high writing interest and those who have low writing interest. As a result, there are four groups: (1) students having high writing interest who are taught by electronic portfolio learning; (2) students having low writing interest who are taught by electronic based portfolio learning; (3) students having high writing interest who are taught by paper based portfolio learning; and (4) students having low writing interest who are taught by paper based portfolio learning.
According to Johnson and Christensen (2000: 156), “Sampling is the process of drawing a sample from a population”. Sampling, as stated by Richards and
Schmidt (2002: 465), is the procedure of selecting a sample. Thus, sampling can be said as a technique used for getting samples. According to Sridhar (2008: 18), based on representation basis the types of sample designs can be classified into probability sampling and non-probability one. Cohen and Holliday (1979, 1982, 1996) and Schofield (1996) in Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000: 99) also state there are two main methods of sampling. They are probability sample and non-probability sample. Therefore, it can be concluded that there are two types of samples, i.e. probability sample and non-probability sample. In this study, the writer applies two types of sample. Firstly, he utilizes a nonprobability sample, namely purposive sampling. Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000: 99) put out, “In this way, they build up a sample that is satisfactory to their specific needs”. In addition, it involves the selection of cases on the basis of the researcher’s own judgment about which will be the most useful (Bloor and Wood, 2006: 134). From the statements above, it can be said that in applying a purposive sample a researcher selects a sample according to a specific criteria. In this case, the writer selects the tenth graders as the sample because they are still homogenous in term of having the same courses while in the second or third year they will major either at Natural or Social Science Programs. Another reason is that they have an internet course in the first half of the 2009/2010 academic year. SMA Negeri 2 Sampit has included the course in its School Based Curriculum since the 2006/2007 academic year. Secondly, the researcher makes use of probability sample because he draws the sample randomly from the wider population (Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 2000: 99). In line with the explanation above, Sridhar (2008: 24) points out that in probability sampling each unit of the population is assigned equal probability. In other words, every element has equal chance of being selected. There are several types of probability samples: simple random samples; systematic samples; stratified samples; cluster samples; stage samples, and multiphase samples. For the purpose of this research, the writer uses cluster random sampling, a probability sample in which the elements are all the members of randomly selected sampling units, each of which is a collection or cluster of elements
from the population sampled (Schofield, 2006: 34 – 35). Likewise, Sridhar (2008: 33) asserts that in a cluster sampling a large area of in interest is divided into a number of smaller non overlapping areas/ clusters. In his research, the writer picks up two classes (sub groups) from a larger group of six classes (tenth graders) then uses the two classes (subgroups) as a basis for making judgments about the larger group. All in all, he selects groups or clusters of subjects rather than individuals. This sampling strategy is applied because administrative problems will be posed by the writer if he gathers a simple random sample. Another reason is that it is completely impractical to select students as individuals. The method involves selecting at random from a list of the population (a sampling frame) the required number of subjects for the sample. To do this, the writer operates MS Excel 2007 through Adds-ins of Data Analysis (Sampling). It intends to determine classes. The procedures of randomizing sample by Sampling of Data Analysis in MS Excel 2007 are as follows: 1. Defining the population; 2. Numbering each class from 1 to 6 (referring to XR1, XR2, XR3, XR4, XR5, and XR6) by typing 1 to 6 in an Excel document; 3. Inputting the range and number of samples, namely 2 samples; 4. Inputting the cells in which the sample out will be displayed; 5. Clicking OK. The first sample displayed is the experimental group taught by electronic portfolio learning whereas the second one is taken as the control group taught by paper based portfolio learning.
E. The Techniques of Collecting Data
This section moves to a closer-grained account of instruments for collecting data, how they are used, and how they are constructed. In connection to the design of the research, the writer identifies two kinds of instrument for data collection in what follows.
Questionnaires are often referred to under different names, such as “nventories”, “forms”, “opinnionaires”, “tests”, “batteries”, “checklists”, “scales”, “surveys”, “schedules”, “studies”, “profiles”, “indexes/indicators”, or even simply “sheets” (Aiken, 1997 in Dornyei, 2003: 5). Brown (2001: 6) defines that questionnaires are any written instruments that present respondents with a series of questions or statements to which they are to react either by writing out their answers or selecting from among existing answers. Moreover, (Wilson and Sapsford, 2006: 121) states that a questionnaire is a structured set of questions, containing all necessary instructions, for respondents to fill in by themselves. In conclusion, a questionnaire is a set of written items for respondents to fill in by themselves based on the instruction given. In this study, the writer uses a questionnaire to get information from the students about their writing interest. Because the questionnaire asks for information about the respondents, i.e. their writing interest, in a non-evaluative manner, it does not have good or bad answers. Accordingly, in order to elicit more truthful responses, it is of significance to think about the issue of confidentiality from the students. The writer puts a notice that the questionnaire cannot be seen by anyone in the school and only members of the research team will have access to the students’ answers. The most important step in preparing the questionnaire items is to specify their content in explicit terms. Since the design of this questionnaire is to measure students’ writing interest, the researcher concentrates on some aspects of the writing interest. Based on the theoretical reviews as discussed in the previous chapter and the identification of some main dimensions, forty items is produced, all targeting important characteristics of writing interest. The questionnaire type constructed by the writer belongs to 'Closed-ended' Questionnaire Items. These items do not require the respondents to produce any free writing; instead, they are to choose one of the alternatives, regardless of whether their preferred answer is among them (Dornyei, 2003: 35). In particular, the writer
uses the Likert scale, one of scaling techniques. In this research, “the most commonly used scaling technique” (Dornye, 2003: 5) consist of a series of forty statements all of which are related to the writing interest. The tenth graders of SMA Negeri 2 Sampit as respondents are asked to indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree with these items by marking (e. g., circling) one of the responses ranging from 'strongly agree' to 'strongly disagree.' Each response option is assigned a number for scoring purposes (e. g., 'strongly agree' = 4, 'strongly disagree' = 1). The following is an example of the questionnaire’s response item.
Figur 3.1 A Likert Scale
Strongly Agree (SA)
Strongly Disagree (SD)
The number of response options each scale contains four responses options. The researcher prefers using an even number of response options because of the concern that certain respondents might use the middle category ('neither agree nor disagree, ' 'not sure, ' or 'neutral') to avoid making a real choice, that is, to take the easy way out. To provide a total score that reflects writing interest, the scoring of negative items is reversed. A student having high writing interest agrees with positive items and disagrees with negative ones. A student having low writing interest, on the contrary, disagrees with positive items and agrees with negative ones (Tuckman, 1978: 179 – 181). Table 3.3 - Scores of Writing Interest Questionnaire Response Item Strongly Agree (SA) Agree (A) Disagree (D) Strongly Disagree (SD) Positive Item 4 3 2 1 Negative Item 1 2 3 4
In fact, validity and reliability are two key concepts in measurement theory, referring to the psychometric properties of the measurement techniques and the data
obtained by them. Therefore, the items of the questionnaire are tried out to know the validity and the reliability. The try out of questionnaire is performed before treatment and it is carried out to the other classes (XR2, XR3, XR5, and XR6 = 4 classes), which are not the experimental group and the control one. For this reason, the next two sub section is concerned with the two significant concepts.
The writing interest questionnaire is a measurement instrument and, accordingly, it must possess adequate validity too. Validity is the extent to which a psychometric instrument measures what it has been designed to measure (Dornyei , 2003: 110). According to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, published in 1999 by the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education, validity is defined as the extent to which empirical evidence and theory lend support to the interpretation and inferences made about test scores for particular uses (Leighton, 2008: 995). In addition, Blaxter (1995: 200) asserts that validity deals with whether the researcher’s methods, approaches, and actually relate to, or measure, the issues he or she has been exploring. Based on the three definitions, it can be concluded that validity is the extent to which an instrument measure what it is designed to measure based on empirical and theoretical evidences. To measure the validity of the instrument, the writer uses internal validity. This kind of validity refers to the extent to which any findings obtained are exclusively the result of the variables being studied here or are potentially affected by other factors that are not part of the original relationship studied (Porte, 2002: 37). The statement supports the definition previously stated by Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000: 126) who point out that internal validity is concerned with the question, do the experimental treatments, in fact, make a difference in the specific experiments under scrutiny. Lastly, Arikunto (2002: 160) states that an instrument will have an internal validity if every part of the instrument supports its mission in opening the data from the variable being studied.
In this research, a statistical procedure is applied to the questionnaire to estimate its validity or generally to determine what it measures, and how well it does so. The procedure named Point biserial correlation (rpbi) is a correlation coefficient calculated between a dichotomous nominal variable and a continuous (interval) variable. The formula looks like this:
If ro is higher than rt, the item under analysis is valid.
According to Miller (2008: 851), reliability is concerned with inconsistent or random errors of measurement. Another explanation is from Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000: 117) who maintain: “Reliability is essentially a synonym for consistency and replicability over time, over instruments and over groups of respondents. It is concerned with precision and accuracy; some features, e.g. height, can be measured precisely, whilst others, e.g. musical ability, cannot.” Prior to the explanations above, Nunan (1992: 231) defines the reliability as (a) the extent to which an independent researcher, on analyzing one’s data, would reach the same conclusion, (b) a replication of one’s study yield similar result. The reliability, in this context, refers to the accuracy (consistency and stability) of measurement by a test. From the explanations above, it can be sum up that reliability refers it refers to the consistency of the test score. In the research, the writer uses one main form of reliability, namely internal consistency. It is stated by Muijs (2004: 73) that internal consistency reliability refers to how homogeneous the items of a test are or how well they measure a single construct. Considering the practically and efficiency, the way the writer calculates internal consistency reliability is by Cronbach’s alpha to test internal reliability and correlate performance on each item with an overall score. It is stated by Duwi Priyatno (2008: 25) that the alpha method is suitable for scale scores (e.g. 1-4, 1-5)
or interval scores (e.g. 0-20, 0-50). The Cronbach’s alpha test of internal reliability calculates the average of all possible split-half reliability coefficients and a computed alpha coefficient varies between 1, denoting perfect internal reliability, and 0, denoting no internal reliabilit y. The formula of the Cronbach’s alpha test of internal reliability is shown below:
Definitions k = = = the number of items on the test. the variance on each item. the total variance on the test.
If rkk is higher than rt, the items of the instrument under analysis is reliable. The valid and reliable items are managed to get the data of the experimental and control class. Afterward, the instruments are administered to 27% of upper group (group of high writing interest) and 27% of lower group (group of high writing interest) from both classes. Hence, there are eighteen students from the experimental class and eighteen students from the control one (27% x 32 students = 9 students of upper group, 27% x 32 = 9 for lower group) (Sudjana, 1991: 398-400).
To get the data of students’ writing competence, the writer uses a test. It is defined by Boyle and Fisher (2007: 11) that a test is a form of systematic assessment, with standardized procedures, from which numerical scores are taken. In simple term, Brown (2003: 3) points out that a test a method of measuring a person's ability, knowledge, or performance in a given domain. In brief, a test is a systematic procedure to measure an individual’s competence in a given domain. Brown (2003: 43) lists five types of language tests. They are language aptitude test, proficiency test, placement test, diagnostic test, and achievement test.
Reviewing the purpose of the research, the writer designs an achievement test. The primary role of the test in this research is to determine whether the treatment given gains a significant effect and appropriate competence writing is acquired by the end of a period of research. In short, the test is designed for purposes of comparison of two groups taught by portfolio based learning, i.e. electronic portfolio and paper based portfolio. Tests are the most effective instrument to reveal one’s proficiency in a certain subject. In this study, the writer uses an essay test. The test given is in accordance with Standar Isi Bahasa Inggris SMA, a guideline of English Language Teaching for senior high schools on the standard of competencies and basic competencies. It is stated that in term of writing skill in the first half of the academic year the tenth graders are able to “Mengungkapkan makna dalam bentuk teks tulis fungsional pendek (misalnya pengumuman, iklan, undangan dll.) resmi dan tak resmi dengan menggunakan ragam bahasa tulis secara akurat, lancar dan berterima dalam konteks kehidupan sehari-hari. Mengungkapkan makna dan langkah-langkah retorika secara akurat, lancar dan berterima dengan menggunakan ragam bahasa tulis dalam konteks kehidupan sehari-hari dalam teks berbentuk: recount, narrative, dan procedure.” (Departemen Pendidikan Nasional, 2006). Therefore, before and after the treatment the students are asked to perform their writing competence through free writing. The criteria that underlie rating the writing test are content, organization, language use or grammar, vocabulary, and mechanics (Genesse and Upshur, 1996: 207). The writing test is rated by two raters on a score scale of 0 – 100 according to the standards (rubric) below. If the two ratings differ by more than 20 point, a third rater evaluates the response and resolves the score. As a replacement of validity and reliability issue, in writing test it is known as “readability”. It is stated by Wolfe (no year: 1972) that the term has also been used to describe the legibility of writing or the interest value of texts. In this case, before administering the test, the writer asks for his colleague’s opinion and some students at same level whether the writing test provided is readable or not.
Table 3.4 - Analytic Scale for Rating Writing Test (Based on ESL Composition Profile) No. 1 Content: The appropriateness with the title chosen. Categories Level 30 – 27 26 – 22 21 – 17 16 – 13 2 Organization paragraph unity, coherence, and cohesion 20 – 18 17 – 14 13 – 10 9–7 3 Vocabulary the precision of using Vocabulary 20 – 18 17 – 14 13 – 10 9–7 4 Language Use/ Grammar tenses and pattern 25 – 22 21 – 18 17 – 11 10 - 6 5 Mechanics spelling and punctuation 5 4 3 2 Total 100 Criteria Excellent to very good Good to average Fair to poor Very poor Excellent to very good Good to average Fair to poor Very poor Excellent to very good Good to average Fair to poor Very poor Excellent to very good Good to average Fair to poor Very poor Excellent to very good Good to average Fair to poor Very poor
F. The Technique of Analyzing the Data
As previously stated, the objective of this study is to investigate the combined effect of electronic portfolio learning and writing interest in improving students’ writing competence. The experiment investigating the combined effects of two or
more independent variables is called a factorial design and the results are analyzed by means of multifactor analysis of variance (Ary, 1985: 169). In the preceding part of this section, it is maintained that there are four groups of students and the data to analyze are arranged into 4 groups as shown below. Table 3.5 - Groups of Data The scores of students having high writing interest who are taught Data A by electronic portfolio learning; The scores of students having low writing interest who are taught Data B by electronic based portfolio learning; The scores of students having high writing interest who are taught data C by paper based portfolio learning; The scores of students having low writing interest who are taught D are by paper based portfolio learning.
In the following table, the design of multifactor analysis of variance is shown.
Table 3.6 - The Design of Multifactor Analysis of Variance Factor A PORTFOLIO BASED LEARNING ELECTRONIC PAPER BASED (Experimental Group) (Control Group) (A1) (A2) A1B1 A1B2 A1 Definitions: A1B1 = the mean score of writing test of students having high writing interest who are taught using electronic portfolio learning. A1B2 = the mean score of writing test of students having low writing interest who are taught using electronic portfolio learning. A2B1 A2B2 A2 B1 B2
HIGH (B1) LOW (B2)
the mean score of writing test of students having high writing interest who are taught using paper based portfolio learning.
the mean score of writing test of students having low writing interest who are taught using paper based portfolio learning.
the mean score of writing test of experimental class taught by using electronic portfolio learning.
the mean score of writing test of experimental class taught by using electronic portfolio learning.
the mean score of writing test of students having high writing interest.
the mean score of writing test of student having low interest.
What should be analyzed are as follows: 1. Descriptive Statistics: Mean, Standard Error of Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Variance, Skewness, Standard Error of Skewness, Kurtosis, Standard Error of Kurtosis, Range, Minimum, Maximum, and Sum. 2. Prerequisite testings (normality and homegeneity) Normality Normality is calculated for each group of data in Table 3.5. If obtained Lo is lower than Lt or Lo < Lt, it can be concluded that sample is in normal distribution. The analysis of comparative test can be continued if the four samples are in normal distribution. Homogeneity Homogeneity is also calculated for all of the four groups of data in Table 3.5. The formula to calculate homogeneity is shown below.
is lower than
, it can be concluded that the data
are homogeneous. Thus, the comparative test can be continued. 3. Multifactor Analysis of Variance The steps are as follows: Analysis: Formulating the hypothesis a. H01 : There is no significant difference in the students’ writing competence between the students taught using electronic portfolio learning and those taught using paper based portfolio learning. b. H02 : There is no significant difference in the students’ writing competence between the students having high writing interest and those having low writing interest. c. H03 : There is no significant difference in the students’ writing competence resulted from the interaction between the two variables, portfolio based learning and level of writing interest. d. Ha1 : There is a significant difference in the students’ writing competence between the students taught using electronic
portfolio learning and those taught using paper based portfolio learning. e. Ha2 : There is a significant difference in the students’ writing competence between the students having high writing interest and those having low writing interest. f. Ha3 : There is no significant difference in the students’ writing competence resulted from the interaction between the two variables, portfolio based learning and level of writing interest. Deciding the level of significance The level of significance used is α = 5%. Deciding F computation (MANOVA). The F computation is carried out as follows. 1. The total sum of squares:
2. The sum squares between groups:
3. The sum squares within groups:
4. The between-columns sum of squares:
5. The between-rows sum of squares:
6. The sum of squares interaction:
7. The number of degrees of freedom associated with each source of variation: • df for between-columns sum of squares = C – 1 = 2 – 1 = 1 • df for between-rows sum of squares = R – 1 = 2 – 1 = 1 • df for interaction = (C – 1) (R – 1) = 1 X 1 = 1 • df for between groups sum of squares = G – 1 = 4 – 1 = 3 • df for within-groups sum of squares = ∑(n-1) = 8+8+8+8 = 32 • df for total sum of squares = N – 1 = 32 – 1 = 31 where : C R G n N = the number of columns = the number of rows = the number of groups = the number of subjects in one group = the number of subjects in all groups.
Table 3.7 Summary of A 2 X 2 Multifactor Analysis of Variance Source of Variance SS df MS F Ft(.05) Ft(.01) Between column (Portfolio Based Learning) Between rows (Writing Interest) Columns by rows (interaction) Between Groups Within groups Total 8. Between column q = 9. Between column (HI) q= 10. Between column (LI) q = or q =
11. The test statistic is obtained by dividing the difference between the means by square root of the ratio of the within group variation and the sample size. TS: q = 12. Tukey test is used to know which teaching model is more effective or better to teach writing.
If Fo between columns is higher than Ft(.05), the difference between column is significant. It can be concluded that the two portfolio based learning differ significantly from each other in their effect on the performance of the subjects in the experiment.
If Fo between rows is higher than Ft(.05), the difference between rows is significant. It can be concluded that the performance of those subjects having high writing interest and those having low writing interest is significant. A higher level of performance can be expected when the writing interest is high than when it is low.
If Fo interaction is higher than Ft(.05), there is an interaction effect between the two variables, the portfolio based learning and writing interest level. There is no significant difference in the students’ scores resulted from the interaction between the two variables, the portfolio based learning used and level of motivation. It means that the effect of portfolio based learning on writing competence depends on the writing interest level of the students.
Test Criteria: H0 is accepted if –F table ≤ F observation ≤ F table H0 is rejected if –F observation < - F table or F observation > F table. Comparing F observation and F table a. If Fo between columns is higher than Ft(.05), the difference between column is significant. H01 is rejected and it can be concluded that there is a significant difference in the students’ score between the students taught using electronic portfolio learning and those taught using paper based portfolio learning. b. If Fo between rows is higher than Ft(.05), the difference between rows is
significant. H02 is rejected and it can be concluded that there is a significant difference in the students’ scores between the students who have low writing interest and those who have high writing interest.
c. If Fo interaction is higher than Ft(.05), there is the interaction effect between the two variables, portfolio based learning and writing interest level. H03 is rejected and it can be concluded that the effect of portfolio based learning on writing competence depends on the writing interest level of the students.
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