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Implementing the process writing approach

in the English language classroom:

Αn innovation for the development of young learners’

writing skills in the Greek state primary school

by

Alexandra Anastasiadou

A thesis submitted for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics

at

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

School of English

VOLUME 1

November 2010
To my husband

Θάνο Γκιάτα

for his endless patience, understanding and support


Acknowledgements

I would like to express my deepest thanks to the many people who have contributed di-
rectly or indirectly to the completion of this thesis:
• The headmasters of the schools where the research took place.
• The teachers of English and the teachers of Greek whose classes participated in
the research.
• My colleague Exarchou Chrysoula for accepting to be the second examiner of
the pre- and post-writing test of this study.
• Mr Tzanas Konstantinos for providing guidance with the statistical analysis of
the research.
• My colleagues Bikiaropoulos Nikos, Papageorgiou Ioannis and Papahristou
Stergios for their technical support during the whole process of organising this
work.
• My colleagues Blakou Theodora, Exarchou Chrysoula, Zambiadou Katerina,
Tsertikidou Kiki and Vrettou Athina for their support and commiseration
throughout the whole process.
• The students who participated in this research and all my students so far from
whom I have learnt so much.
• The colleagues who participated in the interviews.
• Mrs Moira Hill, my tutor on the MA course and my personal mentor, for her
constant encouragement, helpful suggestions and psychological support during
my whole postgraduate studies. Finally, I thank her for always being willing to
offer me time that well exceeded her obligation.

A different kind of thanks goes to:


• My father Tasos, who has always been my source of inspiration and who pro-
vided me with strength in all my academic (and not only) endeavours, but did
not have the opportunity of seeing this one completed.
• My sons Giorgios and Tasos for failing to provide them with everyday indul-
gences, due to my devotion to life-long learning.

A great debt of gratitude is owed to the three members of my supervising committee


whose academic expertise, devoted supervision and constant support contributed greatly
to the completion of the present thesis. More specifically:
• Dr Sougari Areti-Maria, my main supervisor, for being extremely supportive
and encouraging, and especially for building excellent human relationships
through a harmonious cooperation. Her commitment to supervising my thesis
was exceptional. She has contributed to the development of my academic think-
ing with her insightful comments and for that I am deeply indebted to her.
• Dr Psaltou-Joycey Aggeliki, the second member of my supervising committee,
for her invaluable guidance on the organisation of the research and critical
comments during the whole process.
• Dr Trifona-Antonopoulou Niovi, the third member of my supervising commit-
tee, for always being willing to listen to me, discuss any arising problems and
provide scholarly comments to my work.
Table of Contents

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ........................................................................................................ I


LIST OF FIGURES.......................................................................................................................II
LIST OF TABLES ...................................................................................................................... III
ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................................. 1
CHAPTER 1.................................................................................................................................. 3
INTRODUCTION – CONTEXT OF THE THESIS ..................................................................... 3
1.1 AIM AND SCOPE OF THE PRESENT THESIS: APPLICATION OF PROCESS WRITING IN
TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS ................................................................................................... 3
1.2 NEED FOR THE PRESENT RESEARCH .................................................................................... 6
1.3 HYPOTHESES OF THE PRESENT STUDY ................................................................................ 7
1.4 LAYOUT OF THE THESIS ....................................................................................................... 8
1.5 CONCLUDING REMARKS .................................................................................................... 11
CHAPTER 2................................................................................................................................ 12
THE NATURE AND PROCESS OF WRITING –..................................................................... 12
MAIN APPROACHES TO TEACHING WRITING ................................................................. 12
2.1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 12
2.2 THE NATURE OF WRITING .................................................................................................. 12
2.2.1 Writing versus speaking ............................................................................................ 13
2.2.2 Cognitive models of the process of writing ............................................................... 16
2.3 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TEACHING WRITING ....................................................................... 26
2.4 BASIC PRINCIPLES USED IN THE TEACHING OF WRITING ................................................... 29
2.4.1 The Communicative Approach - Theoretical background and implications ............. 30
2.4.2 Main principles employed in the teaching of writing ................................................ 35
2.4.2.1 Writing environment......................................................................................................... 35
2.4.2.2 Assimilating the characteristics of various genres ........................................................... 39
2.4.2.3 Students’ written output as opposed to their reading input.............................................. 41
2.4.2.4 Contextualised writing ..................................................................................................... 42
2.5 INTEGRATING WRITING WITH THE OTHER SKILLS ............................................................. 44
2.6 AN OVERVIEW OF THE MAIN APPROACHES TO TEACHING WRITING .................................. 50
2.6.1 Controlled or guided composition ............................................................................. 50
2.6.2 The product-oriented pedagogy................................................................................. 51
2.6.3 Emergence of the process pedagogy ......................................................................... 52
2.6.4 The genre approach ................................................................................................... 57
2.6.5 Selecting the most appropriate approach .................................................................. 60
2.7 CONCLUDING REMARKS .................................................................................................... 63
CHAPTER 3................................................................................................................................ 65
RESEARCH REVIEW OF CONCEPTUAL AND LANGUAGE LEARNING ISSUES
CONCERNING YOUNG LEARNERS: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROCESS-
APPROACH ............................................................................................................................... 65
3.1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 65
3.2 PRESENTATION OF THE PROCESS-FOCUSED APPROACH .................................................... 65
3.2.1 Stages of the process-oriented pedagogy .................................................................. 66
3.2.2 Establishing a theoretical background of process writing ........................................ 71
3.3 HOW YOUNG LEARNERS THINK, LEARN AND WRITE IN L1 AND L2: APPROPRIACY OF THE
PROCESS APPROACH ................................................................................................................ 76
3.3.1 Young learners’ linguistic and cognitive development .............................................. 77
3.3.2 The Multiple Intelligences framework ....................................................................... 78
3.3.3 The significance of social interaction in the development of knowledge .................. 80
3.3.4 Encouraging young learners to be active participants in the learning processs ...... 81
3.3.5 Providing children with input within the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) ..... 82
3.3.6 Presenting students with meaningful and purposeful activities ................................ 83
3.3.7 Supplying students with a supportive, non-threatening, enjoyable learning
environment ........................................................................................................................ 84
3.3.8 Training young learners to become more autonomous and independent.................. 85
3.3.9 Krashen’s theory of second language acquisition ..................................................... 86
3.3.10 Summary of theories about young learners ............................................................. 89
3.4 ANALYSIS OF RESEARCH ON PROCEDURES EMPLOYED IN L1 WHICH ARE REFLECTED IN L2
LEARNING AND WRITING ......................................................................................................... 90
3.4.1 Research on transferring strategies from L1 to L2 ................................................... 91
3.4.2 Overview of research on switching to L1 when composing in L2 ............................. 95
3.5 REVIEW OF RESEARCH ON THE PROCESS APPROACH IN L2 CONTEXTS ............................. 99
3.5.1 Research on studies of the introduction of the process paradigm in various ESL/EFL
contexts ............................................................................................................................. 100
3.5.2 Review of research on peer feedback ...................................................................... 105
3.5.3 Research on training learners to respond to their peers’ texts ............................... 110
3.5.4 Overview of research on teacher feedback.............................................................. 113
3.5.5 Research on learners’ preferences of teacher versus peer response....................... 123
3.5.6 Research on students’ expectations of feedback...................................................... 125
3.5.7 Research on students’ revision techniques .............................................................. 127
3.6 CONCLUDING REMARKS .................................................................................................. 130
CHAPTER 4.............................................................................................................................. 132
EDUCATIONAL CONTEXT IN GREECE FOR TEACHING ENGLISH - TEACHING
WRITING IN THE SIXTH GRADE OF PRIMARY SCHOOLS: SUGGESTIONS FOR ITS
IMPROVEMENT ..................................................................................................................... 132
4.1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 132
4.2 TEACHING ENGLISH IN GREECE ...................................................................................... 133
4.3 PHILOSOPHICAL ASSUMPTIONS OF EDUCATION NOWADAYS........................................... 136
4.4 THE GREEK MODEL OF EDUCATION ................................................................................ 137
4.5 GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF THE CROSSCURRICULAR UNIFIED FRAMEWORK OF
PROGRAMMES OF STUDY FOR THE PRIMARY AND THE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ...................... 139
4.5.1 Structure of the curriculum...................................................................................... 143
4.6 THE RELATED ANALYTICAL PROGRAMMES OF STUDY OR INDIVIDUAL SUBJECT
CURRICULA ........................................................................................................................... 144
4.7 THE INDIVIDUAL CURRICULUM FOR ENGLISH ................................................................. 146
4.7.1 Applicability of the process paradigm to the new curriculum ................................. 150
4.8 COMPARISON OF THE NEW CURRICULUM WITH THE PREVIOUS ONE ............................... 154
4.8.1 Similarities............................................................................................................... 154
4.8.2 Differences............................................................................................................... 155
4.9 PRESENTATION OF THE SYLLABUS OF ENGLISH FOR THE SIXTH GRADE OF PRIMARY
SCHOOL ................................................................................................................................. 158
4.10 EVALUATION OF THE SYLLABUS IMPLEMENTATION IN CLASSROOM REALITY ............. 161
4.11 DEVELOPMENT OF WRITING IN THE SIXTH GRADE SYLLABUS: A PROPOSED FRAMEWORK
FOR ITS IMPROVEMENT.......................................................................................................... 164
4.12 THE PARALLEL SYLLABUS: APPROPRIATENESS TO PROCESS WRITING, THE NEW
CURRICULUM, THE PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING WRITING AND THEORIES ABOUT YOUNG
LEARNERS ............................................................................................................................. 168
4.13 CONCLUDING REMARKS ................................................................................................ 172
CHAPTER 5.............................................................................................................................. 174
METHODOLOGY OF THE RESEARCH ............................................................................... 174
5.1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 174
5.2 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES ................................................................................................. 174
5.3 RESEARCH DESIGN .......................................................................................................... 175
5.3.1 Method of research .................................................................................................. 176
5.4 METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH ....................................................................................... 177
5.4.1 Instrumentation........................................................................................................ 177
5.4.2 Validity and reliability of the tools and statistical methodology ............................. 178
5.5 PARTICIPANTS ................................................................................................................. 179
5.5.1 The students’ level ................................................................................................... 181
5.6 PLACEMENT TEST ............................................................................................................ 182
5.7 ENTRY WRITING TEST - EXIT WRITING TEST ................................................................... 183
5.8 QUESTIONNAIRES - PILOT, PRELIMINARY, FINAL ............................................................ 187
5.9 INTERVIEWS .................................................................................................................... 190
5.10 WRITING LESSONS ......................................................................................................... 191
5.11 CONCLUDING REMARKS ................................................................................................ 195
CHAPTER 6.............................................................................................................................. 196
RESULTS OF THE RESEARCH: PRESENTATION AND EXPLANATION ...................... 196
6.1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 196
6.2 QUALITATIVE EVALUATION ............................................................................................ 196
6.2.1 Teachers’ interviews ................................................................................................ 196
6.2.2 Students’ writings .................................................................................................... 198
6.2.2.1 Analysis of the entry and exit writing texts ..................................................................... 198
6.2.2.2 Analysis of the interim writings ............................................................................ 206
6.3 QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS ............................................................................................... 210
6.3.1 Statistical treatment ................................................................................................. 210
6.3.2 Students’ performance in the entry and exit writing test ......................................... 211
6.3.3 Raters’ evaluation ................................................................................................... 215
6.3.4 Students’ attitudes traced in the questionnaire ....................................................... 215
6.3.4.1 General attitudes towards writing .................................................................................. 216
6.3.4.2 Attitudes towards specific techniques which can help students improve their writing ... 222
6.3.4.3 Attitudes towards teacher correction ............................................................................. 228
6.3.4.4 Attitudes towards peer correction .................................................................................. 232
6.3.4.5 Background information about self-evaluation, purpose for studying English and
attending lessons in private schools ........................................................................................... 236
6.4 CONCLUDING REMARKS .................................................................................................. 241
CHAPTER 7.............................................................................................................................. 242
DISCUSSION OF RESULTS ................................................................................................... 242
7.1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 242
7.2 DISCUSSION OF THE HYPOTHESIS AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS ....................................... 242
7.2.1 Attained proficiency................................................................................................. 243
7.2.2 Gender-related differences ...................................................................................... 246
7.2.3 Students’ attitudes ................................................................................................... 248
7.2.3.1 General attitudes towards writing and specific techniques which can help students
improve their writing.................................................................................................................. 250
7.2.3.2 Attitudes towards teacher correction ............................................................................. 254
7.2.3.3 Students’ attitudes towards peer correction ................................................................... 255
7.3 APPLICABILITY OF THE PROPOSED FRAMEWORKS .......................................................... 257
7. 4 PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS- SUGGESTIONS ............................................................... 260
7.4.1 Focusing on the process of writing.......................................................................... 261
7.4.2 Capitalising on cooperation .................................................................................... 261
7.4.3 Improving the learning context (materials, teachers) ............................................. 262
7.7 CONCLUDING REMARKS .................................................................................................. 265
CHAPTER 8.............................................................................................................................. 267
CONCLUSION: FOSTERING AUTONOMY IN L2 WRITING ............................................ 267
8.1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 267
8.2. MAIN AIM AND FINDINGS OF THE PRESENT THESIS. ....................................................... 267
8.3 DEVELOPING INDEPENDENCE IN L2 WRITING ................................................................. 268
8.4 LIMITATIONS OF THE PRESENT STUDY ............................................................................ 271
8.5 NEED FOR FURTHER RESEARCH ....................................................................................... 272
REFERENCES IN ENGLISH .................................................................................................. 275
REFERENCES IN GREEK ...................................................................................................... 296
i

List of Abbreviations

CCA Crosscurricular Approach

CEFR Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

EFL English as a Foreign Language

ESL English as a Second Language

ESP English for Specific Purposes

FEK Government Gazette

FL Foreign Language

IQ Intelligence Quotient

L1 First/Native language

L2 Second language

LAD Language Acquisition Device

LEP Low English Proficiency

LTM Long Term Memory

PPP Presentation, Practice, Production

SFL Systemic Functional Linguistics

SL Second Language

SLA Second language acquisition

TEFL Teaching English as Foreign Language

ZPD Zone of Proximal Development


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List of Figures
Figure 1 Identifying the organisation of the writing process (Hayes & 18
Flower, 1980: 11)
Figure 2 The knowledge-telling model of the writing process (Bereiter & 21
Scardamalia, 1987: 8)
Figure 3 The knowledge-transforming model of the writing process (Be- 23
reiter & Scardamalia, 1987: 12)
Figure 4 The suggested model of the writing procedure based on Bereiter 24
& Scardamalia, 1987
Figure 5 Integrated skills model (Burgess, 1994: 309, 310) 45

Figure 6 The proposed model of process writing 73

Figure 7 Comparison of pre- and post- scores of the two genders of the 213
control group
Figure 8 Comparison of pre- and post- scores of the two genders of the 213
experimental group
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List of tables
Table 1 Independent samples t-test for marks at pre-test according to group 211

Table 2 Independent samples t-test for marks at pre-test according to 211


Gender
Table 3 Two-way ANOVA results for the mean scores of the marks re- 211
garding gender and group
Table 4 Two-way ANOVA results for pre- and post-test mean scores of 214
the experimental and control group regardless of gender
Table 5 Two-way ANOVA results for the post-scores by gender and group 214
(Tests of Between-Subjects Effects)
Table 6 Raters’ agreement for pre-study and post-study test of the experi- 215
mental and control group
Table 7 General attitudes towards writing of the experimental and control 216
group prior to the study
Table 8 General attitudes towards writing of the experimental and control 218
group after the study
Table 9 General attitudes towards writing of the experimental group prior 219
to and after the study
Table 10 General attitudes towards writing of the control group prior to and 221
after the study
Table 11.5 The use of linking words to produce a well-organised text 223

Table 11.8 Student participation in the correction of their text 223

Table 12.4 Brainstorm some ideas alone or with the whole class before writ- 225
ing
Table 12.6 Draft and redraft the text and try to improve before presenting the 225
final product
Table 12.8 Student participation in the correction of their text 226

Table 12.10 The contribution of one’s partner to the correction of one’s errors 226

Table 12.11 Teacher correction of all mistakes 226

Table 12.12 Using a dictionary for unknown words 227


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Table 13 Attitudes towards teacher correction of the experimental and con- 228
trol group in the beginning of the study
Table 14 Attitudes towards teacher correction of the experimental and con- 229
trol group at the end of the study
Table 15 General attitudes towards writing of the experimental group in the 231
beginning and at the end of the study
Table 16 General attitudes towards writing of the control group in the be- 232
ginning and at the end of the study
Table 17 Attitudes towards peer correction of the experimental and control 233
group at the entry point of the study
Table 18 Attitudes towards peer correction of the experimental and control 234
group at the exit point of the study
Table 19 Attitudes towards peer correction of the experimental group at the 234
entry and the exit point of the study
Table 20 Attitudes towards peer correction of the control group at the entry 236
and exit point of the study
Table 21 Overall proficiency in English as compared with the proficiency of 237
classmates
Table 22 Importance of becoming proficient in English 237

Table 24 Preference of learning English 238

Table 25 Receiving private instruction in English apart from school 238

Table 26 Years of private instruction 239

Table 27 Attendance of English classes at a private language school (fron- 240


tisterio) or in private lessons at home
Table 28 Preference of preparing writing assignments at home or at school 240

Table 29 Placement in private tuition (language school or private lessons) 241


1

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate whether the process writing (White & Arndt,

1991) approach to teaching writing, which focuses on the process rather than the prod-

uct of writing, can enable young learners of the sixth grade of the Greek state primary

schools to become more independent writers in their L2.

The present research was conducted in two state schools in a town in northern Greece

during the school year 2007- 2008, addressing the main hypothesis:

► The process approach to writing helps sixth grade students of the Greek state primary

schools develop their writing skills in English.

To this end, two experimental and two control groups were randomly chosen in

the two participating schools. The students’ level was specified through the Oxford

Quick Placement test, which is a standardised test, and a pre-test defined their original

writing performance, while a post-test detected their writing attainment at the end of the

study. A questionnaire was administered to students in the beginning and the end of the

research to trace their attitudes towards writing at the entry point and explore any altera-

tion of stances after the study.

The control group followed the materials assigned by the Ministry of Education

for this grade, whereas the experimental group members attended a supplementary writ-

ing syllabus designed by the researcher under the philosophy of process writing.

The results indicated that the present research verified the aforementioned hy-

pothesis that the process approach to writing aids sixth grade students of the Greek state

primary schools to develop their writing skills in English. To be more specific, the term

writing skills is used to imply both the students’ writing proficiency and their attitudes

to writing. A significant implication for teaching writing is that a meaningful, encourag-


2

ing framework can support the students of this level whose linguistic resources are still

limited, since it instills favourable attitudes towards writing. The thesis concludes with

recommendations based on the findings and suggestions for future research.


3

Chapter 1

Introduction – Context of the thesis

1.1 Aim and scope of the present thesis: application of process writing
in teaching young learners
“Writing has been a central topic in applied linguistics for over half a century and re-

mains an area of lively intellectual research and debate. Its complex, multifaceted nature

seems constantly to evade adequate description and many forms of enquiry have been

summoned to help clarify both how writing works and how it should be taught.” (Hyl-

and, 2002a: 1).

Many researchers (Kroll, 1990; Brookes & Grundy, 1990; Grabe & Kaplan,

1996; Tribble, 1996; O’Brien, 1999; Hyland, 2002a) agree that the teaching of writing

has always been a key issue in all educational systems, and many, often contradictory,

attitudes have been articulated about the best ways of teaching it. This emphasis on

teaching writing cannot be appropriately applied in the Greek state primary school,

since only three 45-minute periods are allocated for the teaching of English in the 3rd,

4th, 5th and 6th grades. This allocation leaves little time to prioritise the teaching of writ-

ing and consequently poorly-organised texts are produced by the students.

Having in mind the significance of teaching writing, and taking into account the

fact that little time is devoted to writing in the sixth grade of the Greek state primary

school and considering the poor quality of the produced written texts at this level, the

decision was taken to initiate the present research so as to find appropriate methods to

render students into efficient writers.

Having worked at the Greek state primary education for thirteen years, it has be-

come apparent to the present researcher that the materials set by the Ministry of Educa-

tion for the sixth grade - at the time of the conduct of the study - that is, coursebook and
4

workbook Fun Way English 3, do not promote the teaching of writing. The selection to

concentrate on the teaching and improvement of writing skills was based on two reaF-

sons. On the one hand, writing is considered by Nunan (1989: 35), among others, as the

most difficult of the four skills to master, making it necessary to assign enough class-

room time to boost the students’ writing capacity; on the other hand, the students of this

grade enroll to high school the next year, where there is excessive preoccupation with

correct written expression, because it is through the written medium that students will

continue their school progress, since all major exams in Greece demand advanced writ-

ing skills. Therefore, it is a prerequisite to aid our learners to write legibly, fluently and

coherently.

Thus, the original assumption of the present research is that it is the syllabus and

the lack of active student participation in the writing process which deprives learners of

developing writing skills in English. Consequently, a new syllabus was suggested by the

present writer for the purposes of the present research based on the “process-focused”

(White & Arndt, 1991) approach to writing, which aims to familiarise students with the

process of writing and on approaches about correct learning methodologies for young

learners. The current study compares the existing syllabus at the state primary schools,

which prioritises the product of writing, with the experimental syllabus focusing on the

process of writing on three parameters: 1) the performance parameter: whether the pa-

rallel syllabus will manage to ameliorate the students’ written attainment, 2) the atti-

tude parameter: how much the applied syllabus will influence the students’ perceptions

about writing, that is, general attitudes towards writing, attitudes towards specific tech-

niques which can help students improve their writing, and perceptions about teacher and

peer correction, and 3) the gender parameter: whether the gender affects the students’

reaction to the intervention.


5

The decision to prepare a supplementary syllabus under the “process-focused”

pedagogy to writing and investigate its application and efficacy was reached after a sys-

tematic literature review about the nature of writing, the principles employed in the

teaching of writing, the theories about how young learners think and learn, as well as

the investigation of the main approaches to teaching writing. This literature exploration

revealed that, rather than following a fixed, linear procedure, writing is a recursive,

problem-solving process during which the writers move backwards and forwards with a

view to reformulating their text. The writers need knowledge of the social situation

whereby writing takes place, the topic they are dealing with, the target reader, the pur-

pose of their writing and the discourse type of the demanded text. Furthermore, it is

through experimenting with errors and participating in correcting their own and their

partners’ writings that students can recognise their deficiencies and manage to ameli-

orate their performance. As far as how young learners think and learn, the literature ex-

amination showed that they mature both linguistically and cognitively through the help

of their teacher and partners, and active involvement in the learning process by using

purposeful activities in an enjoyable learning context. If the teaching of writing is ap-

plied in this framework, then they can become independent writers who can reflect on

their own learning and thinking strategies. Finally, the overview of the main approaches

to teaching writing singled out the process writing approach as the most appropriate in

order to enable the students of this level to become better writers.

The process writing paradigm encompasses all the above mentioned elements

highlighted in the literature review and aids students to generate ideas and relevant vo-

cabulary for a specific topic, audience, purpose and context, experiment with the cha-

racteristics of various generic text types, plan and replan their ideas so as to produce a

first draft. This first draft is corrected through the feedback of the teacher or their peers,
6

a second draft is produced, commented on, reread and rewritten until the final product is

produced. The employment of process writing offers the proper milieu for the learners

of this age to participate actively in learning how to write successfully benefiting from

the aid of their classmates or the teacher, who is more knowledgeable than them. This is

achieved with meaningful, communicative tasks in a non-threatening environment.

Moreover, the literature review involved studies focusing on process writing as a

whole or its stages in various contexts with a view to establishing similarities and diver-

sities with the current research. Finally, a small scale research entailed gender-related

differences as far as SLA is concerned with a view to justifying the performance and

reaction of the two sexes to the introduction of the process writing approach.

1.2 Need for the present research


The literature review of the researches on the process approach in L2 contexts, which

will be fully analysed in sections (3.5.1 – 3.5.7) of this thesis, centred on the following

issues:

• Introduction of the process writing in product-oriented educational settings:

Pennington, Brock & Yue (1996) in Hong Kong, Akyel, & Kamisli, (1996) in

Turkey, Kern & Shultz (1992), Gallego De Blibeche (1993) and Gomez, R.,

Parker, R., Lara-Alecio, R. & Gomez, L. (1996) in U.S.A., and Hammouda

(2005) in France.

• Significance of peer revision: Hedgecock & Lefkowitz (1992) in U.S.A., Vil-

lamil & De Guerrero (1996, 1998) in Puerto Rico, and Jacobs, Curtis, Brain &

Huang (1998) in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

• Training of students to provide feedback to their partners’ texts: Berg (1999)

and Bodwell (2004) in U.S.A., and Min (2006) in Taiwan.


7

• Importance of teacher response to students’ pieces of writing: Lalande (1982) ,

Zamel (1985), Truscott (1996, 1999, 2007), Ferris (1999, 2004) and Chandler

(2003) in U.S.A., Cohen & Cavalcanti (1990) in Brazil, Truscott & Hsu (2008)

in Taiwan, Bitchiner (2008) in New Zealand, and Bruton (2009) in Spain.

• Learners’ preferences of peer versus teacher reinforcement: Jacobs, Curtis, Brain

& Huang (1998) in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and Tsui & Ng (2000) in Hong

Kong.

• Students’ expectations of feedback: Hyland (1998) in New Zealand, Hyland &

Hyland (2001) in New Zealand, and Nelson & Carson (1998) in U.S.A.

• Learners’ revision strategies: Porte (1997) in Spain and Sengupta (2000) in

Hong Kong.

Few studies have been carried out in Greece regarding early primary students

(Giannakopoulou, 2002), Greek high school students (Hasiotou, 2005; Koutsogeor-

gopoulou, 2007; Drepanioti, 2009) or process writing through the use of computers (Ni-

kolaki, 2005; Simou, 2006; Takou, 2007). Since there is a scarcity of studies on the em-

ployment of process writing in L2 contexts at the upper state primary school both in

Greece and internationally, the present writer has decided to initiate this research in the

Greek state primary school milieu to explore the applicability and efficiency of the

process paradigm to improve the students’ performance and cognition at this level.

1.3 Hypothesis of the present study


Based on the considerations referred to in the previous sections, the following general

hypothesis was formulated:

► The process approach to writing helps sixth grade students of the Greek state primary

schools develop their writing skills in English.

In order to render the research more specific, three research questions were established:
8

• Will the students of the experimental group of the sixth grade of state primary

schools, who receive process writing tuition, outperform the students of the con-

trol group as far as the overall writing ability in English is concerned?

• Will there be any gender differences, as previous research has suggested? More

specifically, will the girls of the experimental group respond more positively to

this approach and present better results than the boys?

• Will the application of process writing positively influence the attitudes and per-

ceptions towards writing of the students of the experimental group?

1.4 Layout of the thesis


The thesis consists of eight chapters:

Chapter one is the introduction to the aim and the content of the present thesis. It

establishes the theoretical setting of the research, articulates the hypothesis and research

questions, and justifies the conduct of the research by referring to similar studies in dif-

ferent contexts and highlighting the scarcity of relevant studies in the Greek primary

school context.

Chapter two discusses the nature of writing and the most famous cognitive mod-

els describing the process of writing. The theoretical foundation of the Communicative

Approach concerning the teaching of writing is presented coupled with the basic prin-

ciples of teaching writing. An overview of the main approaches to teaching writing are

described with the aim of justifying the selection of the process-approach as the most

appropriate in promoting writing abilities.

A cognitive model, based on Bereiter & Scardamalia (1987: 8) depicting the

process writers go through is proposed by the present researcher (Figure 4). This sug-

gested framework encompasses all the necessary information for the completion of a

task, that is, knowledge of the topic, the purpose, the reader and the genre of the text.
9

The text knowledge and discourse knowledge refer to the appropriate register, content

knowledge involves activation of relevant ideas and social context knowledge takes into

account the social environment where the writing takes place. As soon as all the pre-

vious types of information are mobilised, data stored in memory are drawn, tested and

written down in the form of a first draft which is revised, reread and rewritten. This pro-

cedure continues until the formulation of the final product.

Chapter three explicitly demonstrates the philosophy and the stages of the proc-

ess approach. As the target group of the present thesis is the primary school learners, the

theories of how young learners think and learn are referred to and the efficiency of the

process paradigm for this level is explored with reference to the conceptual develop-

ment of the students of this age. Studies referring to procedures used in both L1 and L2

writing are presented. Researches carried out in L2 contexts about the various stages of

the process paradigm are demonstrated. Finally, a schematic representation of the proc-

ess writing approach, which is deemed as appropriate for young learners, is offered by

the current writer (Figure 5) encompassing all the components entailed in writing,

namely cognitive, practical, procedural as well as human resources: particularly the

teacher, the writer and the peers.

Chapter four presents the goals of education nowadays in general and the educa-

tional reality in Greece in specific. The philosophy of the general national curriculum is

discussed along with the curriculum of teaching English and an evaluation of the

equivalent syllabus for the teaching of English in the sixth grade of the Greek state pri-

mary schools focusing on writing. The inadequacies of this framework in the teaching

of writing are highlighted and an experimental syllabus is suggested in line with process

writing.
10

Chapter five provides the context and the methodology of the research. The ad-

dressed hypothesis and research questions are articulated and a justification for their

choice is provided. The participants and instrumentation of the study are analytically

introduced.

Chapter six discusses and accounts for the results of the research. A qualitative

and a quantitative analysis of the findings is involved. The qualitative one entails the

evaluation of the students’ produced texts, according to criteria set in the marking

scheme which was designed by the writer, and the teachers’ attitudes towards writing.

The quantitative analysis refers to the students’ performance at the entry and the exit

point of the study along with their responses to the questionnaires, reflecting their per-

ceptions regarding successful techniques for learning how to write efficiently. These

data aspire to demonstrate whether the process writing approach can help young learn-

ers to enhance their writing proficiency and affect their stances towards writing.

Chapter seven presents the extracted results and discusses them with reference to

the hypothesis and research questions, so as to show whether these hypotheses have

been verified. The findings are interpreted and compared with the results of similar

studies, which are mentioned in chapter three, in order to trace similarities and differ-

ences. The employment of the cognitive model proposed in chapter two (Figure 4) is

discussed and the application of the process writing schematic representation (Figure 6),

suggested in chapter three, is verified within the greater context of the crosscurricular

orientation of the general national curriculum. Besides, the pedagogical implications of

the findings are pondered about and useful recommendations are provided.

Chapter eight presents the final conclusions of the whole thesis. Ways of foster-

ing autonomy in L2 writing are provided and the contribution of the present thesis to the
11

Greek state language classroom reality is discussed. Finally, the limitations of the pre-

sent research are provided and explained, and proposals for further research are offered.

By conducting this research, the aim is twofold: 1) to investigate whether the

application of the process writing approach through a specially-organised intervention

can aid the students of the sixth grade of Greek state primary schools become better

writers in English, and 2) whether, through carefully-designed materials in the Greek

classroom reality, the students can be encouraged to become more active participants in

the learning process, and acquire practical skills as well as metacognitive and metalin-

guistic abilities.

1.5 Concluding remarks


This chapter has demonstrated the aim and scope of the current research. The theoretical

background, which led to the decision of researching the efficacy of the “process writ-

ing” approach to writing in the sixth grade students of the Greek state primary school,

was established. Relevant studies were mentioned with the aim of justifying the origi-

nality and necessity of the present thesis. The general hypothesis of the study and the

research questions were articulated. Finally, the organisation of the thesis in its various

parts was presented.


12

Chapter 2

The nature and process of writing –

Main approaches to teaching writing

2.1 Introduction
This chapter will investigate the nature of writing and the differences between the writ-

ten and spoken mode. The most prevalent cognitive models of the process of writing

will be presented and an attempt will be made to produce a revised framework which

encompasses all the vital aspects of writing. The theoretical assumptions of the Com-

municative Approach in language teaching and their application to writing will be pre-

sented alongside with the basic principles employed in the teaching of writing. The sig-

nificance of integrating writing with the other skills in the classroom will also be

pointed out. Finally, an overview of the main approaches to teaching writing will be

presented with a view to selecting the one that is considered to be the most suitable for

promoting the writing skills in the context of the present thesis.

2.2 The nature of writing


As the aim of this thesis is to investigate the improvement of the students’ writing skills

in the Greek state primary English language classroom through the application of proc-

ess writing, it is necessary for our discussion first to provide a definition of writing and

second to examine what it entails and which basic assumptions underlie its nature. As

far as the definition is concerned, it is difficult to define writing as it is a “semantically

loaded” word (Colgan, 1996: 23) influenced by beliefs about literacy and culture, edu-

cational setting and prevailing pedagogical trends. It carries both “informative and af-

fective connotations” (Colgan, ibid), the former showing the need for a clear explana-
13

tion, while the latter exhibit our commitment to students to find the pedagogy which

best suits their needs.

Concerning the second preoccupation of what writing involves, Kroll (1990) al-

leges that in order to be effective teachers of writing, EFL professionals are in need of

an understanding of what is involved in foreign language writing and in writing as a

skill in general. They require specific perspectives, principles and tools so as to reach a

decision about how to present writing in another language to students. Moreover,

Brookes and Grundy (1990) acknowledge that there are difficulties in teaching writing

for two important reasons, which are: (a) although all teachers realise the significance of

writing and its incorporation in their teaching programme, they confess being unable to

find interesting methods to teach it and boost their students’ motivation, and (b) a major

obstacle during writing is to make decisions about presenting different ways of express-

ing ideas. It is self-evident that this second difficulty is more insurmountable for non-

native speakers, who need extra practice in order to equal the performance of their na-

tive counterparts. Other difficulties in teaching writing skills arise from the specific fea-

tures of writing, which will be fully exemplified in the following section where writing

is analysed in contrast with speaking, since they represent the oral channel and the writ-

ten medium of language production.

2.2.1 Writing versus speaking

In order to put forward the characteristics of writing, the difference between the written

and oral language must be first highlighted. We all learn to speak before we learn to

write. Specifically, speech is universal as everyone, who is not constrained by any

physical impairment, acquires his/her mother tongue in the first years of life, but not

everybody, who possesses the ability to speak, learns to read and write. In this sense,

speaking is a natural attribute developed biologically, whereas writing presupposes the


14

mastery of certain skills which, rather than being automatic, require specific practice

and teaching. Written language is different from spoken discourse and learning to write

is not a logical extension of speaking a language, because the two processes are not

identical, as will be shown in the following discussion of this section.

Grabe & Kaplan (1996) summarise the differences of the spoken and the written

channel as structural and organisational variations, different applications of various lin-

guistic traits, diverse limitations in production and functions and finally dissimilar em-

ployment of various versions of oral and written texts. Having analysed the previously

mentioned differences between the spoken and written mode, various authors (Brookes

& Grundy, 1990; O’Brien, 1999) claim that we use speech mainly to establish human

relationships, the most important function of speech being interaction. Written lan-

guage, on the other hand, mostly exhibits a transactional function by conveying factual

information. Written language can be stored so that communication can take place over

space and time. It is slow to reflect change in structure, well-organised, takes time and

gives us the opportunity to go back and amend what we have written, whereas the spo-

ken version is usually spontaneous and unrehearsed, has many varieties and is changing

continually. Another divergence is that of formality. Speech takes place mostly in in-

formal contexts in everyday life, while writing is usually connected to formal settings.

There is a higher proportion of lexical words to grammatical ones in writing, as well as,

high density of information compared to the spoken mode.

Furthermore, Byrne (1988) draws a clear distinction between the written and

spoken channel. Speech is highly contextualised rendering references clear. Speaking

depends on a shared channel environment and involves real-time monitoring, since

speakers and listeners are in physical contact interacting and exchanging roles. Speakers

can backtrack or clarify their ideas guided by the listener’s reaction and intervention. In
15

this way, the spoken mode is transitory, intended to be understood immediately, requir-

ing thus less planning. Sentences are often incomplete and ungrammatical exhibiting

“prosodic features” (Tribble, 1996: 16), which are non-verbal characteristics of spoken

English employed to encompass utterances with meaning. The most important of these

features are rhythm, pauses, repetition and redundancy. On the contrary, writing has its

own context and therefore has to be fully explicit. The reader is not present and some-

times is not known to the writer. Writing is permanent and can be reread as often as

necessary at the reader’s own pace.

Analysing this difference of context between the oral and written language,

Hedge (1988) points out that there are a lot of devices available to a speaker to convey

meaning. These features are called “paralinguistic” (Tribble, 1996: 16), because they do

not constitute a systematic part of the language, even though they add meaning to our

utterances. The paralinguistic characteristics include the way we speak, for example

loudly or softly, the use of gestures, facial expressions, stress, hesitations and above all

immediate feedback from the listener in order to clarify the message. A writer has to

bridge the lack of immediate interaction with the readers trying to anticipate their reac-

tions in order to embed them into the text. Effective writing requires organisation of

ideas and information and a careful selection of language and grammatical structures to

formulate a style appropriate to the topic and the intended readership. Sentences are ex-

pected to be carefully formed and organised in order to construct a text, using devices

such as punctuation, capitals, and other types of typology like bold, underlined or itali-

cised text and linking words to convey meaning, since writing cannot directly replicate

the aforementioned non verbal features employed in speech. As writing and speaking

are quite disparate from each other, and, because the written mode is a different channel

of communicating, it is evident that writing skills demand suitable teaching. Much as


16

the spoken and written forms of language exhibit so many diversities, “they are not in-

dependent but interrelated forms, embodied, at the level of phonology and graphology,

in two different mediums” (Byrne, 1988: 14). This implies that they should not be sepa-

rated but their differences must be accommodated in teaching through the integration of

the four skills.

Having presented the dissimilarities between writing and speaking, the next sec-

tion will discuss the most prevalent cognitive models of writing in order to select the

most appropriate one for the context of the present study.

2.2.2 Cognitive models of the process of writing

In this section, an attempt will be made to analyse the process of writing and introduce

and examine the most-widely accepted cognitive models with a view to highlighting

their elements and revising them so as to embrace the procedures both elementary and

advanced writers go through when composing a text.

Previous research on the nature of writing (Flower & Hayes, 1980; Byrne, 1988;

Hedge, 1988; White & Arndt, 1991; Ellis & Brewster, 1991; Brewster, Ellis & Girard,

1991; Philips, 1993; Tribble, 1996; Hyland, 2002a; Hyland, 2003b) has shown that writ-

ing is not only different from spoken discourse for both young and adult learners, but it

is also far from being a simple matter of transcribing language into written symbols.

Moreover, as cognitive skills are involved while writing, adequate mastery of language

does not automatically lead to success in writing. White & Arndt (1991) support the

view that it is a problem-solving process, which entails such processes as generating

ideas, planning, gauging what is going to be written as well as what has been written.

Posed like this, writing is a recursive, not a linear process enabling writers to look back

over what they have produced so far. Hence, writers move not only forwards in their

piece of writing but also backwards revisiting prior stages before completing their text.
17

Writers encounter a sequence of problems starting from the high level of deciding on a

purpose and a message to be transmitted to the lower level of organising sentences, vo-

cabulary and spelling. So good writers plan for longer time and can create better plans,

which, then, they revise and reorganise focusing on both global and local level, and, as a

result, this process guarantees a better outcome. O’Brien (1999) points out that it is

clear that writing entails thinking, and, if teachers want students to write well, they must

urge and train them to think creatively.

The two most influential cognitive representations of the procedures of writing

are the Hayes & Flower (1980) model and the Bereiter & Scardamalia (1987) model,

which will be fully discussed below:

The Hayes & Flower (1980) model


In an attempt to explore this inner intellectual procedure and locate its components,

Hayes & Flower (1980: 11) divide the writer’s world into three major parts, that is the

“long-term memory”, “the task environment” and “the writing process” presenting the

organisation of writing in Figure 1.

Three kinds of knowledge are needed in our Long Term Memory (LTM) in or-

der to write, which are “knowledge of topic”, “knowledge of audience” and “stored

writing plans”. In order to expect students to cover a wide range of topics, we must be

sure that they already have or that they obtain the relevant information about a theme

before they start writing meaning that they need knowledge about the concepts included

in the subject area.

Besides, knowing who the reader is makes writing easier, because the writer is

familiar with the context in which the text will be read, since he/she is aware of the in-

terests and degree of knowledge he/she shares with the person he/she is writing for. The

writing plans refer to previous experience of writing that the writer has stored in his/her
18

memory. These plans entail knowledge of written language from the level of spelling,

through morphology, syntax and vocabulary to the higher levels of register and genre.

In other words, they include all aspects of the language system that are deemed neces-

sary for the completion of the task.

TASK ENVIRONMENT

WRITING ASSIGNMENT TEXT

Topic
Audience PRODUCED

Motivating Cues
SO FAR

THE WRITER’S LONG PLANNING TRANSLA- REVIEWING


TERM MEMORY TING
GENERATING

Knowledge of Topic ORGANISING READING

Knowledge of
Audience GOAL
SETTING EDITING
Stored Writing Plans

MONITOR

Figure 1: Identifying the organisation of the writing process (Hayes & Flower 1980:

11)

The “task environment” includes all the elements “outside the writer’s skin”

(Hayes & Flower, 1980: 12) that influence the performance of writing. It consists of two

parts, that is the “writing assignment” and “the text produced so far”. The former in-

cludes the given “topic”, the intended “audience” and “motivating cues”, which in a

classroom situation can be in the form of visuals, a brainstorming activity or class dis-

cussion about the theme, to mention but a few. The latter is the passage that is formu-
19

lated as writing proceeds. The writer rereads this text occasionally, and this reading has

an impact on the writing which follows.

“Planning” is the first step of the writing process during which the writer draws

the required information from ‘the task environment’ and from his/her LTM in order to

design his/her writing. A vital part of “planning” is “generating” ideas for the specific

topic having in mind the intended audience. The second element of the planning process

is “goal setting” that is deciding on the main messages the writer wants to communicate

and why. Once the writer has defined his/her targets for writing, he/she proceeds to “or-

ganising” the material he/she wants to present. “Organising” operates at two levels: the

global and the local. The first involves the organisation of the ideas, while the second

refers to decisions about sentence entailing the presentation of grammar, information

and the use of cohesive links among the various parts of the text. In the stage of “trans-

lating” the writer transfers all his/her previous thinking on to paper in the form of a first

draft. Then he/she “reviews” this draft in order to reassess it, he/she “rereads” it at-

tempting to view his/her own work with the eyes of an unknown audience and finally

he/she “edits” it. During the whole writing process, the writer “monitors” his/her deci-

sions about purpose, audience, message and language.

Hyland (2003b) contends that the model proposed by Hayes & Flower (1980) is

probably the most widely accepted model by L2 writing teachers. By developing this

cognitive model of the writing process, Hayes & Flower showed that composing is an

interactive activity aiming at a certain target. In order to support their theory with re-

search, they used protocols, transcripts and videotapes of students thinking aloud while

composing. These data analysed the mental processes advanced writers go through in

their effort to present a written text.


20

Initially, this model provoked both approval and criticism. Speaking in favour of

the model, Grabe & Kaplan (1996) point out that despite the critique, it is valid and jus-

tified through the findings from Hayes & Flowers’ research programme. This evidence

demonstrated the recursiveness of writing and the interaction among parallel processes.

Moreover, new horizons were opened for viable hypotheses and explicitly designed

methods. On the contrary, North (1987) describes it as vague, while Dobrin (1986) and

Smagorinsky (1994), all of them cited in Grabe & Kaplan, 1996) question the reliability

of the protocol analysis as a methodology for the study of the procedures of writing.

Later, Flower (1989, 1994) complemented the model by adding the social context which

functions together with the cognitive attempts of the writer extending this writing model

with the prevalent notions of the 1990s, which prioritised the social element. Neverthe-

less, this revised framework did not have the same impact as the original as it was not

considered as important as the first one.

The Bereiter & Scardamalia (1987) schematic representation


Much as the Hayes & Flower’s (1980) model evolved to embody the social element, it

exhibits a shortcoming in its notion that all writers follow the same process, the only

difference being that skilled writers do it in a better way than inexperienced ones. Bere-

iter and Scardamalia (1987) tried to fill this vacuum by developing a new model of the

writing process, which was based on the assumption that there cannot be a single pattern

for all writers but diverse models are employed at different levels of writing develop-

ment. They claim that the skilled performers do not just use the same model with novice

writers in a more effective way, but they can apply a superior kind of writing process,

which the unskilled writers have not mastered yet. Their theory, which proposes two

models instead of a universal one, gives scope for more thinking. Based on research

findings, they reached the conclusion that novice writers begin writing sooner, thus de-
21

voting less time to planning. These writers present less sophisticated notes, make simple

revisions and concentrate on content neglecting writing objectives and problems which

arise when composing. They try to keep the task as less complex as possible in order to

manage to accomplish it. As a result, the “knowledge-telling” model (Figure 2) is ap-

propriate for them, especially when writing about concrete things, such as describing

personal feelings or experiences, journal and diary writing, and narratives. More spe-

cifically this model is deemed as suitable for primary school students (ibid: 10), who are

the focus of the present thesis, since it follows a simple procedure.

MENTAL REPRESENTATION
OF ASSIGNMENT

CONTENT KNOWLEDGE-TELLING DISCOURSE


KNOW- PROCESS KNOW-
LEDGE LEDGE

LOCATE TOPIC LOCATE GENRE


IDENTIFIERS IDENTIFIERS

CONSTRUCT
MEMORY PROBES

RETRIEVE CONTENT FROM


MEMORY USING PROBES
FAIL

RUN TESTS OF
APPROPRIATENESS

PASS
WRITE
(NOTES, DRAFTS, ETC)

UPDATE MENTAL
REPRESENTATION OF TEXT

Figure 2: The knowledge-telling model of the writing process (Bereiter & Scardamalia,
1987: 8)

As can be seen from this model, the information needed for the completion of a

writing task is retrieved from the nature of the assignment, the topic and the genre.

Relevant ideas are drawn from memory and tested for their appropriateness. If they are

found proper, they are written down, otherwise another search into memory is initiated.
22

Nevertheless, this pattern is not suitable for more complicated tasks, which presuppose

more sophisticated organisation of ideas to meet the expectations of the audience and

the requirements of the assignment. In this case, the “knowledge-transforming” model is

employed (Figure 3 - page 23).

In this “knowledge-transforming” model, the assignment guides the writers to

analyse the problems of composing and define the targets, so as to overcome the emerg-

ing obstacles, such as content production, readership expectations, writer purpose, suit-

able genre, and lexical and organisational appropriateness. As one problem is encoun-

tered, another may arise, so the expert writer turns to either the content problem space

or the rhetorical problem space in order to confront the problems of composing. The

information of one area is used as feedback for the other and vice versa. The outcome of

the solution of the encountered problems is used for the initiation of the “knowledge-

telling” process, which is now only a part of the overall pattern. This component acti-

vates writing, and, when new problems emerge, the problem-solving procedure is

brought into action again.

As with all theories, the Bereiter & Scardamalia model presents certain limita-

tions, as well. Firstly, the context must be specified through the elaboration of the vari-

ous sub-sections of the model. Grabe & Kaplan (1996) also argue that there is no indi-

cation when or how the transition to the more complicated process is accomplished and

whether it can be acquired by all writers. In an attempt to defend their model, Bereiter &

Scardamalia claimed that various school curriculums include undemanding, non-

motivating writing programmes, which do not promote the complex writing process.

Students create a “contextual module” (Bereiter, 1990), which encompasses knowledge,

skills, objectives and feelings. Augmented motivation will lead students to the intention

to learn and the development of more complex writing ability. As a result, learners will
23

deploy an active problem-solving system, which goes beyond the school writing tasks

and enables students to confront more cognitively challenging activities.

MENTAL REPRESENTATION
OF ASSIGNMENT

PROBLEM ANALYSIS AND


GOAL SETTING

CONTENT DISCOURSE
KNOWLEDGE KNOWLEDGE

PROBLEM
CONTENT TRANSLATION RHETORICAL
PROBLEM PROBLEM
SPACE PROBLEM SPACE
TRANSLATION

KNOWLEDGE-
TELLING
PROCESS

Figure 3: The knowledge-transforming model of the writing process (Bereiter & Scar-
damalia, 1987: 12)

Having analysed the constituent parts of the two most referred to schematic rep-

resentations of the cognitive processes that writers go through, while striving to produce

a text, a revised, more comprehensive framework of the writing process will be pre-

sented by the current writer in the following section.

The suggested writing process framework


Comparing the two prevalent cognitive models of the writing process, we can say that

although the Hayes & Flower’s original version of 1980 was greatly improved by

Flower through incorporating the contextual component, the Bereiter & Scardamalia

proposal is more complete as it accounts for the differences between skilled and less-
24

skilled performers. In this thesis the “knowledge-telling” model is opted for, since the

focus is on young learners who are less experienced writers. In an effort to complement

the Bereiter & Scardamalia (1987) model and include all the elements of writing, certain

dimensions have been added presenting the organisation of the writing process, which

can be seen in Figure 4.

The following components have been added to the original: First of all, the task

component including all the subcomponents of the audience, purpose, and generic and

topical selection. All these dimensions are very important elements in defining the type

of the required text. Moreover, rereading and revising have also been encompassed

MENTAL REPRESENTATION
OF ASSIGNMENT

KNOWLEDGE-
CONTENT DISCOURSE
KNOWLEDGE TELLING KNOWLEDGE
PROCESS
TASK

LOCATE SET LOCATE LOCATE


TOPIC PURPOSE AUDIENCE GENRE

CONSTRUCT
MEMORY PROBES

RETRIEVE CONTENT FROM MEMORY


USING PROBES
FAIL

RUN TESTS OF
APPROPRIATENESS
PASS
WRITE
(NOTES, DRAFTS, ETC.)
FAIL

REREAD - REVISE

PASS
UPDATE MENTAL SOCIAL
TEXT REPRESENTATION OF TEXT CONTEXT
KNOWLEDGE KNOWLEDGE

Figure 4. The suggested model of the writing procedure based on Bereiter & Scardama-
lia( 1987)
25

as substantial metacognitive processes, which will either lead to the production of the

text or initiate repair strategies to reformulate it. The new element of text knowledge

refers to anticipated register requirements and appropriate linguistic selection, hence

integrating the textual factors in the model. Finally, the social context knowledge, which

has also been incorporated in Figure 4, accounts for the type of the text according to the

communication purpose and channel, and the social situation where the writing takes

place. These modifications in the model are made with the aim of presenting a pattern,

which embodies the mental processes of the writers, the linguistic and textual elements

that determine the writing and the socially contextual variables, which influence the

kind of writing. The present researcher believes that this model is appropriate for teach-

ing writing to different writers in diverse situations and especially for young learners

who attempt to master the strenuous skills of articulating their ideas in written form in

L2. This revised model is open to new investigation, criticism and further elaboration

from a willing researcher. Relevant questions to be examined and answered are:

• How would the model function under time constraints?

• Does low motivation and interest affect its dynamics?

• Is the model influenced by limited knowledge of topics?

• Does limited linguistic knowledge affect the model?

Having highlighted the characteristics of writing, its differences from speaking

and after presenting the most influential models of the cognitive processes that take

place during composition, the next section of this chapter (2.3) will consider the impor-

tance of integrating the teaching of writing in the language classroom.


26

2.3 The significance of teaching writing


Since it is complicated to learn to write even in the mother tongue, it is advisable for

teachers to teach their students the creative activity of writing in English (Raimes,

1983a). Different theoreticians have presented various reasons for including the teach-

ing of writing in a second/foreign language teaching programme. First of all, Byrne

(1988) puts forward certain advocacy statements why teachers should teach writing. In

the early stages of a course, writing serves a variety of pedagogical purposes:

1. The introduction of writing empowers instructors to cater for different learning

styles and students’ needs. Some learners, especially the ones who are not very

competent at the oral linguistic form, feel more secure if they are allowed to read

and write in the target language.

2. Writing provides the learners with some tangible proof that they are making

progress in the foreign language. Maybe it is not a true measure of their

achievement, but, nevertheless, it satisfies a psychological need. Moreover, stu-

dents can check their writing more easily than they monitor their spoken output,

as writing is more conscious and permanent.

3. Exposure to a foreign language through more than one channel appears to be

more productive than depending on a single medium alone. Even at an elemen-

tary level, there are many opportunities to capitalise on activities that integrate

the four skills.

4. Writing provides variety in classroom tasks, serving as a break from oral work.

It gives students the opportunity to work at their own pace, making them feel

more relaxed. This is very significant especially for young learners, since they

exhibit great variations of capacities and actual performance at this age, as they

are still developing both linguistically and cognitively.


27

5. Written language can present contexts for learning, that is, the students will both

“learn how to write” and “write in order to learn”. Seen in this sense, writing

will become both a “channel” and a “goal” (Byrne, 1988: 6-7).

Moreover, O’Brien (1999) provides some more justifications for including the

teaching of writing in the EFL classroom. Writing gives teachers and students a perma-

nent evidence of written work, which can be used to assess learners and diagnose prob-

lematic areas in order to design follow-up work. Writing skills are sometimes neglected

in L1 and if we integrate them in L2, this may help students develop their writing ca-

pacities in L1 as well. Learning to write promotes creative thinking, and all education

should aim to develop students cognitively. Learning to write presupposes to take into

account the students’ wants and preferences, which will improve their communicative

skills.

Finally, Davis (1995) also supports the importance of writing training following

Krashen’s (1985) tenets. Based on Chomsky’s (1969) distinction between “compe-

tence”, which is a person’s knowledge of language and “performance” that is the actual

use of language, Krashen, in his language acquisition theory (which will be fully pre-

sented in the following chapter), supported the view that our deep conscious knowledge

of language is converted into performance, through teaching. Speaking competence can

be more easily transformed into performance, especially in L1 settings, whereas writing

performance is more difficult to be achieved in both L1 and L2. Hence, Davis (ibid) ad-

vises teaching writing explicitly to build:

• Confidence in students. Training makes learners realise that writing ade-

quately, rather than being an inborn talent, is an ability that can be devel-

oped just like any other.


28

• Knowledge of the process of writing, the steps that must be followed and

the decisions that can be made.

• Reinforcement in the form of feedback, which enables students to monitor

their progress.

It is evident from the above discussion that writing training can make writers

more confident and self-conscious by creating a learning environment, where there is a

constant effort to improve the students’ writing skills. Therefore, it is advisable to in-

corporate the teaching of writing in the English language classroom.

Having outlined the characteristics of writing and the significance of teaching

written language, many linguists (Raimes, 1983b; Hedge, 1988; Kroll, 1990; White &

Arndt, 1991) corroborate devoting classroom time to writing both in L1 and L2 settings.

Raimes (1985), in particular, advises teachers to help their students to exploit this ex-

traordinary power of language, adding that the time the students need to write has to

take precedence over the time teachers need to complete a syllabus or cover course ma-

terials. In order to become a good writer, a student has to produce many pieces of writ-

ing, this being especially true of low performing writers, who require a lot of practice.

These students can benefit from working in the classroom on writing tasks that the

teacher has carefully planned to fulfil the needs of both the whole class and the indi-

viduals. If low performers feel some signs of success through the teacher’s and their

peers’ support, they will begin to develop self-confidence in writing and so start “on the

upward spiral of motivation and improvement” (Hedge 1988: 11).

Krashen (1977, 1981, 1982) in his monitor model stressed the importance of

time on one aspect of writing, which is grammatical accuracy. He claimed that under

certain conditions, the learners can apply internalised grammatical rules to change and

improve their spoken and written output. One of the necessary variables is considered to
29

be the time allotted to a task. Time is also a key presupposition in other elements of

writing, such as the layout and coherence of a text.

Similarly, Kroll (1990) adds that more time must be given to writing and an ef-

fort should be made to make the best of this extra time by maximising students’ strate-

gies for composing and enabling them to locate the attributes of successful writing.

Only in this way will the extra time employed for writing be spent more productively.

Finally, Tribble (1996) summarises the benefits of teaching our students writing

in three aspects, the first being to give them opportunities for creative language use.

Second, writing has a general educational value, as our students will have to sit written

examinations. Writing is very important for it is by their capacity to express themselves

in the written mode that the students will succeed or fail in the educational system. Con-

sequently, if teachers help learners to become better writers, then they aid them to gain

success in the educational system. Third, apart from the educational setting, instructors

prepare their students for life beyond school. Posed like this, if students are deprived of

the opportunity to write well, they may be excluded from a wide range of social roles

some of which are connected with power and prestige.

2.4 Basic principles used in the teaching of writing


The nature of writing and the significance of incorporating the teaching of writing in the

foreign/second language classroom were analysed in sections 2.2 and 2.3. The princi-

ples employed in the teaching of writing will be presented in part 2.4.2. These princi-

ples derive from the characteristics of writing specified so far and the theory of the

Communicative Approach to teaching language. These theoretical assumptions of the

Communicative Approach will be the focus of the following section (2.4.1)


30

2.4.1 The Communicative Approach - Theoretical background and implications

The Communicative Approach appeared in the 1960s as a reaction to the Situational

Language teaching model, which was the major approach to teaching English as a for-

eign language in Britain, supporting the view that language is taught by practising struc-

tures in situation-based activities.

Influenced by Chomsky’s (1957) theory of the uniqueness and creativity of lin-

guistic utterances as opposed to structural theories of language and attempting to ad-

vance his view of “competence”, which primarily refers to abstract grammatical abili-

ties, Hymes (1972: 281) introduced the term “communicative competence”, which is the

ability to use language according to the context. Following this thread of thought, other

British applied linguists (Halliday, 1975; Candlin, 1976; Widdowson, 1972, 1978) sin-

gled out the communicative dimension of language, which is based on the tenet that ut-

terances carry meaning. As a result, there was a shift of emphasis from the what is

taught to how it should be taught. Even though the Communicative Approach appeared

first in Great Britain, it soon expanded all over Europe and in America, presenting dif-

ferent ramifications which, however, all agree that communicative competence is the

target of language teaching, and all four skills must be emphasised in an effort to relate

language and communication.

According to Littlewood (1981), the Communicative Approach is effective in

offering whole-task practice by employing various tasks designed to suit the learners’

level. One example is to ask students in class to interview each other, then write a report

and present it in class activating, thus, not only speaking, listening, writing and reading,

but their thinking skills, as well. In such an environment, natural learning is achieved,

and positive relationships are established among the students and between the students

and the teachers. Moreover, Senior (2000) contends that a classroom with this warm
31

atmosphere fulfils the social needs of students, who support each other, rendering this

learning milieu ideal for both adult and young learners.

One of the most important contributions of the Communicative Approach is that

it puts emphasis on both functional (in the sense of use) and structural (i.e. organisation)

aspects of language as long as meaning is conveyed and communication is achieved.

Finocchiaro and Brumfit (1983) present the main characteristics of the Communicative

Approach. Meaning is considered of paramount importance and attempts to communi-

cate through reading and writing can be encouraged from the very beginning. In EFL

settings, L1 can be used in the classroom, where students may need or even profit from

it. Mistakes are seen as routes, leading learners to self discovery of correct forms. Even

though fluency is the primary goal, accuracy is not neglected, but it is always embedded

in context. In this regard, the teaching of grammar is not incompatible with the Com-

municative Approach, but it must be taught in context instead of the decontextualised

drills that were used in previous methodologies. Consequently, it is wrong to assume

that explicit grammar teaching must be avoided in the Communicative Approach

(Thompson, 1996). On the contrary, grammar is necessary for efficient communication,

especially for weaker students who need help to augment their language competence. A

recommended method for these students is the “retrospective approach” of grammar

(Thompson, 1996; cited in Tan, 2004) in which learners are first exposed to new lan-

guage in meaningful milieu to assimilate its function before they focus on the gram-

matical forms. Swan (1985) also emphasises form by claiming that an enriched vocabu-

lary bank will ease students’ communication.

Krashen (1982), presenting his theory of second language acquisition and learn-

ing, was also in favour of the communicative tenets. Acquisition implies the uncon-

scious internalised system of language structures through using language as communi-


32

cation, while learning is the purposeful presentation of the acquired language. The learnt

system acts as the monitor of the output of the acquired data. In this light, Krashen sup-

ports the view that second language learning derives from using language communica-

tively rather than simply practising linguistic structures.

In practice this means that in order to promote second language learning, teach-

ers need to employ tasks, which involve real communication in meaningful texts using

as many authentic texts as possible. Much as the Communicative Approach attends to

meaning and communication, it, nevertheless, does not undervalue the linguistic, social,

cognitive and individual aspects in both L1 and L2 acquisition. Furthermore, the needs

of the learners are of primary significance. Referring to the students’ needs, expecta-

tions and motivation, Tan (2004) argues that they should be seriously considered along

with their cultural background in order to design appropriate communicative activities.

Furthermore, McGroaty & Galvan (1985) contend that culture affects our notions of

language and education and these views influence our expectations of language teach-

ing. In this perspective, Tan (ibid) theorises that the benefits of the Communicative Ap-

proach can be maximised, if it is introduced gradually to certain cultures like the Asian

ones, where the students are not expected to express themselves freely.

Morrow (1981) presents the following principles for the application of the

Communicative Approach in the classroom:

a) Know what you are doing. This implies that each activity should have an

easily identifiable purpose.

b) The whole is more than the sum of the parts. The concept of communica-

tion lies beyond the level of the sentence in longer chunks of language and

it functions with real language in situations approximating real-life.


33

c) The processes are as important as the forms. Accuracy has to be consid-

ered along with appropriacy, which means that the application of structures

in the target language must be realised within a communicative frame-

work.

d) To learn it, do it. The learners are actively involved in the communicative

environment and learning becomes their responsibility.

e) Mistakes are not always a mistake. Trying to express something in L2,

which students have not mastered yet, is a vital element of attempting to

communicate in the foreign language. Even though the students make

some mistakes, teachers must at least credit them for using whatever re-

sources they own in order to convey meaning. This, by no means, implies

the stance that teachers must ignore mistakes, because many times they

may impede communication rather than promote it. Moreover, not attend-

ing to students’ formal errors may lead to fossilisation. Therefore, Morrow

(ibid) advocates that the best way to assist students to avoid mistakes is by

teaching them not only the correct forms but also their appropriate use.

McDonough & Shaw (2003) add another equally important principle, which is

that the communicative framework applies to all four language skills. There are plenty

of activities compatible with the Communicative Approach as long as they require in-

teraction, negotiation of meaning and information sharing in the form of providing some

clues to certain students, while concealing them from the others urging them thus to in-

teract in real life situations where a person possesses some information which the others

ignore.

Applied in writing especially, according to Brookes & Grundy (1990), the char-

acteristics of the Communicative Approach imply that students have something mean-
34

ingful to say and try to communicate this message to someone else. Learners work in

groups promoting, therefore, communication and at the same time have the opportunity

to gauge their own performance and that of their partners gaining double benefits in this

way. Finally, students develop register consciousness by raising their awareness of the

interdependence between texts and context, which in turn defines the power of the par-

ticipants and determines the distance or the intimacy of the language they use.

Useful writing activities for the EFL classroom within the communicative

framework are presented by Johnson (1981):

1. Information gap activities: They are very efficient for the teaching of writing

for two reasons. The first is that they ease the conveying of a message, while

the second is the genuine flow of information, since the students write to

each other about things they do not already know. The teacher creates infor-

mation gaps by providing student A with information which is not revealed

to student B. Communication is achieved by “bridging the information gap”

(ibid: 98) with student A being the “producer” and student B the “receiver”.

2. Jigsaw activities: The teacher organises such activities in a way that all stu-

dents are both producers and receivers. So, student A is given some informa-

tion, while student B is supplied with another piece of information. Thus,

when they write to each other there appears the need to exchange informa-

tion to complete the “jigsaw”.

3. Activity sequences: These activities are very popular in the Communicative

Approach, because they achieve integration of skills, which will be fully

analysed and justified later in section 2.5, and provide contextualisation for

the following tasks, supplying, in this way, a purpose for writing. The most

important principle in these activities is the “task-dependency” (Johnson


35

1982: 170 - 171) principle, whereby the learner is required to utilise the data

obtained from one activity to complete a subsequent one.

2.4.2 Main principles employed in the teaching of writing

The description of the nature of writing and the processes that skilled writers follow,

which were presented in sections 2.2 and 2.3, as well as the tenets of the Communica-

tive Approach, which were specified in part 2.4.1, lead to four principles of writing as

were explicitly expressed by O’ Brien (1999):

2.4.2.1 Writing environment

The first principle in writing is that writing teachers should be aware of the difficulties

students encounter when creating a text in order to help learners become effective writ-

ers. These difficulties must be taken into consideration and be incorporated in teaching

and in the assessment of the students’ work. This awareness has the following four im-

plications in practice:

(a) Writer-reader relationship


The first consideration is who the writer is. Grabe & Kaplan (1996) posit the argument

that knowing who the writer is, that is, the age, level, and cultural background rather

than his or her individual character is of great importance in the kind of writing that will

be employed in classroom. For example, the beginner who has no experience in writing

in L2 has different needs than another student who has received more years of formal

tuition or a university student who has to prepare an assignment on a scientific article.

The second preoccupation is that writing tasks must have a defined audience.

Byrne (1988) claims that who the students are writing for influences how they write and

what to write about, while Hayes & Flower (1980: 12) use the term “task environment”

to refer to the target, audience and layout of the final text. As in real life there is always
36

a reason for writing, it is important in classroom milieu to set an imaginary reader to

give the students an aim for writing.

Readership is of considerable importance. Skilled writers are sensitive to their

reader, in that they establish and maintain contact with him/her. They think about what

the reader is interested in or needs to know through shared information. They consider

how much of the knowledge is common with the addressee and how much needs to be

made more explicit. Less skilled writers produce what is called “writer based” (Hayes &

Flower, 1980) rather than “reader based” texts, that is, writing which prioritises topic

ignoring the reader, resulting thus in ambiguity. Consequently, their writing does not

guide the reader and in this sense it is less accessible.

The written text will be affected by the amount of topical knowledge common to

the writer and reader. This common knowledge or lack thereof determines the details,

the ideas and information that must be employed.

(b) Aim of writing


Tracing the purpose of the writing is another vital section in the writing process, as this

directs writers in selecting the content they should include and the way they must pre-

sent it. Any piece of writing must have the target to communicate something. Grabe &

Kaplan (1996) claim that according to the Gricean maxims the objectives of writing

should be to inform, to be factually correct, relevant and unambiguous. Seen in this

light, the purpose of writing must serve the structural and functional dimension of the

text. On the structural aspect, the purpose is related to the notion of genre, that is the

accepted organisation of the text type, which represents “how writers typically use lan-

guage to respond to recurring situations” (Hyland, 2007: workshop), whereas on the

functional level, the purpose of writing is not relevant to a specific genre. Rather it de-

pends on the kind of informational content the writers want to convey. Trying to present
37

the aspect of purpose as an independent component of writing which can be separated

from genre and audience, Grabe & Kaplan (ibid) give the example that a writer could

write two texts to the same recipients and in the same genre i.e. a letter, each text having

a different functional purpose, though, (i.e. information-seeking, apology, invitation)

communicating, therefore, diverse messages.

The students need a firm grounding about the purpose of the communication.

Speaking about the teaching of English as an international language, Wingard (1981:

145) contends that different writing assignments have different targets and some of

them may be “multi-purpose”. He also considers the element of interest and unpredict-

ability as of great importance for the students, which implies describing something that

the reader does not already know, giving an opinion or solving a problem.

(c) Error correction


The importance of treating errors should be stressed to students. For the sake of this

discussion, it is vital to mention the various terms used to refer to students’ deficiencies

while writing. Talking about errors, Edge (1989: 11) divides “mistakes up into different

categories according to the teacher’s opinion of how a mistake fits in with an individual

student’s stage of learning in his or her class”. Slips are the types of mistaken forms that

a student can easily self-correct. Errors are mistakes, which a student cannot correct

alone, but where it is clear which form he/she wanted to use, and where the class is fa-

miliar with that form. Attempts are the kinds of mistakes, which are made, because the

learners have not yet mastered the language necessary to express what they want to say,

or where the intended meaning and the structure being used are not clear.

This research will be concerned with errors and attempts, since the former sig-

nify deficient forms that lead students to get engaged in challenging correction proce-

dure, which is a little bit above their cognitive and linguistic ability, while the latter help
38

boost the learners’ performance. For the sake of uniformity, the term error will be used

in the present thesis to apply to both types of incorrect forms.

Shaughnessy (1977; cited in Kroll, 1990) indicates that the errors learners make

are not purposeful efforts to violate language or indifference to details. In contrast, er-

rors are mistaken interpretations of language. Moreover, White (1988: 95) points out

that in the Chomskyan view of language the role of error in both native and second lan-

guage learning has been reassessed. Instead of being viewed as “vicious tendencies”,

errors can be regarded as evidence of improvement. As a result, errors are seen both as

inevitable and as a natural part of learning a language. In this sense, they must be seen

positively in writing, because they can become useful tools to help pupils understand

their inadequacies and try to improve their performance. Many researchers (Edge, 1989;

Lee, 1997; Frankenberg-Garcia, 1999) propose that students participate in the correction

and evaluation of their pieces of writing individually, in pairs, groups or as a whole

class both during writing and after the text has been produced, after receiving enough

training in viewing their own written work and the writings of their peers critically as

readers. This will help them locate and correct their errors and, at the same time, acquire

good writing strategies for their future texts ensuring that they will become “learners

rather than leaners” (Byrne, 1988).

In selecting which errors to rectify, White & Arndt (1991) propose the estab-

lishment of some priorities. Two criteria may be followed: communicative effect and

frequency. Global errors detracting effective communication must be dealt with, while

the recurrent ones also need special attention. This selective error treatment according to

the needs and proficiency of the students is preferable to a comprehensive one, because

it may confuse and discourage the learners. Besides, Byrne (1988) supports the tenet

that teachers must also provide students with positive feedback indicating not only their
39

defects but their good points, too. In this way, the learners will recognise that they make

progress, on the one hand, and the other hand, their interest in writing will be rein-

forced. The identification of the errors will shape the form of the remedial work.

(d) Editing
Students must be encouraged to proof-read their writings for spelling, capitalisation,

punctuation and grammar, as suggested by Jacobs (1986) with the aim of rectifying

these distracting characteristics and disambiguating the structures in the sentences. Ac-

curacy in written work must be highlighted from the early stages in an effort to stress

that the students are responsible for their own texts. If teachers do not insist on it from

the very beginning, it will be difficult to encourage the pupils to correct their work accu-

rately later. A simple code for correction, which all the students understand, should be

used.

2.4.2.2 Assimilating the characteristics of various genres

The second principle in teaching writing is that becoming able to write in EFL/ESL en-

tails much more than simply mastering a linguistic base to convey meaning. Familiari-

sation with the conventional structures of different kinds of texts in the target language

is also necessary. Various researchers (Berkenkotter & Huckin, 1995; Cazden & Gray,

1992, cited in Grabe & Kaplan, 1996), having conducted studies on the importance of

written texts in promoting writing, alleged the need to provide learners with various

models of writing. Only in this way will the students recognise the techniques in which

words and structures are connected to achieve meaningful communication. Conse-

quently, teachers should expose their students to examples of the text types they want

them to produce, preferring the use of authentic materials.

Learners should be aware that each discourse type has its own special character-

istics. Hyland (2002b) believes that teachers must provide students with the structural
40

understanding of texts and metalanguage to analyse them, rendering thus the learners

independent in criticising and finally producing texts. One way of achieving this is to

require from students to compare well-organised and poorly-organised texts. Crystal

(1988) presents a list of the features of the different discourse modes offering scope for

examination to teachers and students:

1. The typographical, in the sense of how the information is arranged by the author.

2. The discourse organisation: whether it is sequenced in the patterns of general-

particular, thesis-support, problem-solution, cause-effect, or if it is conceptual,

such as comparison and grouping.

3. Paragraphing: Paragraphs can be long, short, or present no divisions.

4. The sentence structure and length: Sentences can be simple, compound and

complex, whereas clauses may be independent or dependent, finite or non-finite.

5. The packaging of information in sentences: Information is distributed in sen-

tences following the norm: old then new. However, in narratives we sometimes

use the flashback technique starting from current events and moving backwards

to previous facts with a view to creating impression and suspension.

6. Cohesion is achieved through the use of various connecting devices including

pronouns, conjunctions, reference, etc.

7. Verbs and verb forms: Different verbs can be used to match the desired effect

like stative or dynamic in different tenses, namely simple past in narrative and

imperative in instructions.

When teachers expose students to different text types, the latter will form

“schemata” or plans for these discourse types in their long-term memory. Carrell &

Eisterhold (1988: 79) make a distinction between “content” and “formal” schemata.

“Content schemata” are associated with the content area of the text, while “formal” ones
41

relate to the previous knowledge of organisational structures of different genres. The

more “writing plans” the learners have stored in their memory, the easier it will be for

them to present a text that fits a particular text type. A communicative furtherance of the

“schema theory” corroborates the notion of mastery and recognition of the formal and

content schemata by the reader, too. Coherence of a text is hence achieved through the

shared background knowledge between the writer and the reader. More specifically,

there must be a match between the schemata of the audience and the layout and content

of a text.

Summarising this principle, Grabe & Kaplan (1996: 205-207) use the term

“what is written” which encompasses content, genre and register. Content is the back-

ground knowledge that enables students to express their ideas better when the topic is

familiar to them. Genres are discourse types having predictable characteristics, purpose

and layout. Finally, register is the kind of language used to fit the topic of writing and

interpersonal relationships between the writer and the reader. For example, different

style and lexes are used when writing an article about a famous star from an article

about medicine. Moreover, the correlation with the audience determines the register.

2.4.2.3 Students’ written output as opposed to their reading input

The third principle is that, when teachers choose texts representing various genres, they

have to bear in mind that learners can read more advanced language than the one they

can produce. Cabrera & Bazo (2002) support the view that the level of the language in-

put should be higher than the level we expect learners to present. This criterion dis-

suades teachers from having excessive expectations from the learners. Teachers must

carefully select texts to expose students to correct forms. These texts should provide

learners with “superior data” (Prabhu, 1987; cited in White, 1988: 107), which will help

them improve their internal systems of language. This principle is in accordance with
42

Krashen’s (1985) input hypothesis claiming that input texts must be comprehensive and

above the learners’ level of proficiency in order to improve their performance. This is

achieved due to the fact that students can understand new language with the help of con-

text, knowledge of the world and background linguistic competence. Instructors, never-

theless, should be aware that learners can form less sophisticated texts than the ones

they encounter.

2.4.2.4 Contextualised writing

The fourth principle is to encourage students to produce complete texts rather than iso-

lated sentences from the early stages. Since the teachers’ goal is to promote the stu-

dents’ ability to write a text, one way of providing the appropriate guidance is by em-

ploying whole passages for practice from the very beginning. Grabe & Kaplan (1996)

recommend the introduction of writing activities early enough to promote experimenta-

tion with the organisation of texts and language. In the early stages these texts need not

be long. Rather they will be “basic minimum” (Wingard 1981: 146) texts with a set

goal. Moreover instructors are advised to give their pupils enough practice in the impor-

tant features, which make a text coherent, such as textual arrangement, logical distribu-

tion of information from old to new and cohesive devices.

It is generally recognised that a text must be well-organised and follow easily

identifiable patterns if the writer intends to make it reader-friendly. A very useful tech-

nique for planning a text is by using metastatements. These are statements that help the

writers to recapitulate what they have already said and predispose their readers for the

forthcoming parts. Even if students are quite young, they can receive practice in using

some simple phrases. In the packaging of information, O’Brien (1999: 29) talks about

the “given-new contract” or the “given-new principle” to stress that comprehension and

recall is easier if a text follows this principle. The writer begins from “given” or
43

“shared” (ibid: 28) information which he/she has already supplied in the text or sup-

poses that the readers possess from their knowledge of the world. After ensuring that the

text includes all the necessary information he/she proceeds to present new things. This

continuation of old-new is achieved through the use of cohesive ties.

Halliday & Hasan (1976) mention five types of cohesive devices which help

connect sentences into meaningful units: reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction

and lexis. Reference devices are grammatical words like pronouns, possessive and de-

monstrative determiners, and comparative items referring to an item mentioned previ-

ously or afterwards. Three types of substitution are distinguished: nominal, verbal and

clausal. In nominal substitution the words one and ones substitute a noun. In verbal, the

verb do replaces a previously mentioned verb, whereas clausal substitution occurs when

so or not are used instead of a whole clause. While in substitution an item is replaced, in

ellipsis something is omitted, be it a noun, a verb or an entire sentence. Conjunction co-

hesion includes four types: 1. additive (and, or, nor, not… either) 2. adversative in pre-

senting something which is against expectations (i.e. yet, though, but, however, on the

contrary…) 3. causal (so, thus, for this reason, consequently, if…then, etc) 4. temporal,

that is, those referring to time (next, earlier, meanwhile, until then, at last etc). Two

categories are listed in lexical cohesion: reiteration and collocation. Reiteration entails

the repetition of the same item or the use of a synonym or a subordinate. Collocation

means the use of complementary terms, antonyms and pairs from an ordered series. A

careful application of lexical cohesion renders a text more interesting and readable.

Summarising the significance of cohesive devices, Hedge (1988) points out that

these are the means by which parts of a piece of writing are linked as logically related

sentences. These linking words signal the relationship between ideas making the

writer’s intentions obvious. They present clearly the development of meaning that the
44

writer is trying to convey and help readers predict what will follow. Another strategy to

check coherence is “topical structure analysis” which deals with both global and local

coherence (Connor & Farmer 1990: 126-128). While this analysis does not ignore the

rhetorical roles of sentences, it also takes into account the semantic meaning of sen-

tences, and their relation and sequencing to build meaning. Therefore, students focus on

global coherence, that is, what the text is about and local connections in the way the

sentences are related to each other and to the overall discourse topic.

Much as cohesion is important to make the meaning of a text accessible, it is not

enough to make a piece of writing coherent. Other factors are also needed to render a

written passage understandable such as its content, the reader’s background knowledge

in the form of stored “schemata” and finally the purpose of a text which makes it mean-

ingful to readers (Carrell, 1982).

Following the discussion of the two previous sections (2.3 and 2.4), the tenet

adopted in this thesis is the one expressed by O’Brien (1999) that a well-balanced Eng-

lish course must include both writing to learn and learning to write with a little more

attention paid to the latter as it was neglected in the past.

2.5 Integrating writing with the other skills


Having stressed the significance of teaching writing following the prevailing principles

in the preceding section, it is of utmost importance to discuss the necessity of integrat-

ing writing with the other skills in the English language classroom in the current sec-

tion.

In real life, we very seldom use only one skill at a time. Instead, we exercise two

or more skills at the same time. Talking about this simultaneous practice of skills,

Brookes & Grundy (1990) present an example of people taking a telephone message.
45

These people listen, speak, write the information down and then read it in an integrated

display of multi-skill competence.

McDonough & Shaw (1993) contend that the classroom situation can never be

exactly the same as real life but every effort should be made to replicate it. If instructors

want the learners’ performance in classroom setting to mirror real world, they must fol-

low an integrated approach, the aim of which is to enable students to transfer naturally

between one mode and another. Thus, the occasions of a student’s unbalanced second

language performance which results from teaching each skill separately are minimised.

Particularly, in order to find out appropriate contexts for teaching written work, students

must also be provided with opportunities for combining it effectively with other class-

room activities involving reading, speaking and listening.

A very clear definition of the use of the integrated-skill approach in language

teaching is presented in the Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics. Richards et al.

(1985: 144) clarify that it is “ the teaching of the language skills of reading, writing, lis-

tening and speaking in conjunction with each other as when a lesson involves activities

that relate listening and speaking to reading and writing”.

Supporting the integration of skills, Burgess (1994) recommends the intermin-

gling of the four major aspects of language so as to reflect real world communication.

The implementation in the classroom of a framework whereby practice of the receptive

skills of reading and listening precede and lead to the output ones of speaking and writ-

ing is suggested. An integrated skills model is represented (Burgess, 1994: 309, 310) in

the following Figure 5:

Listening
and / or → Speaking → Writing
Reading
Figure 5 Integrated skills model (Burgess, 1994: 309, 310)
46

The use of certain knowledge structures such as grids, flow charts and tree dia-

grams under the name of “ideational frameworks” (Burgess, 1994: 310), which facilitate

the processing of information and its transmission from the receptive to the productive

channels, are also recommended.

With respect to integrated skills, Byrne (1981: 108-112) makes a distinction be-

tween two different approaches to be used in the classroom. In the first approach, inte-

gration is seen as “reinforcement” in the sense that the skills are linked in a way that

what has been learnt and practised is further reinforced and “extended” through more

activities that require the use of the other skills, too. This method of connecting skills is

considered as pedagogically correct, supplies teachers with an easily applicable pattern

to employ and has influenced the organisation of teaching materials into units and les-

sons. The prevalent motif is transition from the spoken channel to the written one in the

beginning and vice versa in later stages. However, as easily usable as this approach may

be, it is questionable whether it exposes students to a real communicative setting where

the four skills are practised naturally.

Thus, Byrne (1981: 108, 109) provides another approach in which the skills are

introduced and established “naturally” in the classroom. To achieve this, he recom-

mends not to follow a specific pattern but to try to incorporate the skills normally as in

real life, where there is not a predetermined sequence of the skills. In the real world,

there is always a reason to exercise a skill instead of another. To word it differently, the

learners speak, listen, read and write in any order that the situation requires and only

when it is appropriate to do so. This notion of “open-endedness” (ibid: 112) gives the

students freedom to make some decisions about the most suitable ordering of the skills,

hence contributing actively to their learning procedure. This second approach, which
47

attracts the students’ motivation in that they can acquire a better insight of the mecha-

nism of communication will be applied in the present thesis.

Placing the integration of skills in a different framework, Oxford (2001) con-

tends that EFL teaching resembles a tapestry created from many strands such as the

mentality of the teacher, the students, the educational setting and the mother tongue of

the learners and the teacher. Another substantial strand in this tapestry is the employ-

ment of the four skills. Only if all the strands are interwoven smoothly, will the tapestry

be strong and beautiful. In the classroom reality, this means that the integrated-skill ap-

proach will maximise authentic communication in an EFL/ESL environment and assist

students to interact naturally in and through the language. On the other end is the segre-

gated-skill approach or language-based approach, which focuses on teaching language

for language sake rather than prepare learners for real life communication.

The use of two forms of integrated-skill instruction is proposed (Oxford, 2001):

a) The content-based instruction concentrates on learning content through

language be it English, science or social studies. Effective as this form of tui-

tion may be, the nature of content differs according to the students’ linguistic

level.

b) Task-based instruction involves tasks requiring communicative language

use. Nunan (1989: 10) gave the definition of a communicative task as “a

piece of classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipu-

lating, producing or interacting in the target language while their attention is

principally focused on meaning rather than form”. Task-based teaching em-

ploys pair and group work, is applicable to all levels of language proficiency

by adjusting the tasks to fit the abilities of the pupils and is especially suit-
48

able for young students, as it involves them in authentic communication

without overburdening them with unnecessary demands.

Specific psychological and practical reasons why writing must be integrated

with listening, speaking and reading were outlined (Wingard, 1981):

a. If the four skills are analysed, an overlap among the vital elements involved

in them is found. Consequently, teaching the skills in unison makes for

economy in learning.

b. There are different types of learners in the way they perceive information:

the “visual” who need to see in order to learn, the “auditory” who require to

hear so as to assimilate new knowledge and the “kinaesthetic” who acquire

information through muscular movement. Chrysochoos, 2002 advises teach-

ers to make their lessons more efficient and holistic, so as to help all types of

learners. This can be best achieved by employing activities which integrate

the four skills.

c. Output skills acquired through more than one channel are more likely to be

learnt well, because the channels support each other. As a result, practice in

the four skills can be mutually reinforcing.

The above arguments show the need for a multi-skill approach to the teaching of

writing. The implication for the classroom is that writing work should develop from

reading, listening and speaking. This can be best attained when learners read or listen to

various discourse types, discuss about ideas and the format of the required text, and fi-

nally give feedback to each other. A key factor for offering students more opportunities

for combining skills is to get them to work in pairs and groups. Holding class discus-

sions is an advisable method to discover lexes and ideas for writing. Students create

lists, which are a useful vocabulary resource for them. Furthermore, through talking to
49

each other and the teacher, they extend their ideas and the content of their writing. In

this regard, speaking facilitates and shapes writing. Moreover, writing helps the devel-

opment of the other skills. Zamel (1983; cited in Grabe & Kaplan, 1996), argues that

writing in early stages has a positive impact on developing reading skills.

Having highlighted the reasons for integrating writing with the other skills in a

communicative lesson, the principles for an “integrated lesson” (Nunan, 1989: 130 -

131) are presented here:

1. Authenticity. Authentic input texts should be used for learners to read or lis-

ten to.

2. Task continuity. Task continuity entails the ordering of tasks in a sequence

where doing an activity depends on the successful completion of a previous

one. In practice, this may mean that a reading activity can lead to class dis-

cussion or individual writing.

3. Real world focus. This can be achieved by allowing students to perform

tasks that reflect the real life.

4. Language focus. This principle is founded on the notion that students im-

prove their linguistic and cognitive performance through exposure to a vari-

ety of linguistic input and patterns through self-discovery.

5. Learning focus. Tasks following the integrated skills model enable students

to learn-how-to-learn in order to become independent learners who can trace

their progress by acquiring transferable learning strategies.

6. Language practice. Students are given enough practice at speaking, listen-

ing, reading and writing.

7. Problem-solving. Problem-solving tasks which the students perform either

individually or cooperatively can improve learning.


50

2.6 An overview of the main approaches to teaching writing


Since the attributes of writing, the principles of teaching writing and the importance of

focusing on the writing skills have been stressed in the present chapter so far, it is nec-

essary to make reference to the main methods of teaching writing. Particularly, Silva

(1990) points out that professionals who teach English as a foreign or second language

need to understand what L2 writing entails, in order to be successful teachers of writing.

Teachers have to be familiar with principles and models about SL writing and develop

an ability to analyse and evaluate different approaches. This part focuses on the ap-

proaches to ESL writing in an effort to highlight their strong and weak points. In par-

ticular, this section presents the prevalent pedagogies in ESL writing instruction from

1945 up till now, describes their strengths and weaknesses and singles out the most effi-

cient model. When describing these pedagogies and selecting the most appropriate

model for teaching writing, the emphasis will mostly lie on writing in general, while the

appropriacy of the selected approach to enable young learners to become better writers

will be discussed in chapter three.

2.6.1 Controlled or guided composition

The first model which prevailed in the years 1945-1965 was controlled or guided com-

position which, as Silva (1990) suggests, seems to have its roots in Charles Fries’

(1945) oral approach, the predecessor of the audiolingual method of second language

teaching, which requires students to repeat the oral model language produced by the

teacher. Underlying controlled composition are the beliefs that language is speech and

that learning is habit formation influenced by behavioural linguistics. When its basic

tenets are examined, it is not surprising that from this perspective writing was regarded

as a result of imitation and of secondary concern.


51

Pincas (1962) defines this approach as a manipulation of fixed patterns, a sys-

tematic imitation which leads to originality. Thus, learning to write in a second lan-

guage is deemed as an exercise in habit formation. In this sense, the text becomes a col-

lection of sentence patterns and lexical items, that is, a linguistic artifact and a means

for language practice. In the writing context in the ESL classroom (ibid: 13) there is

negligible concern for audience or purpose. Seen from this angle, writing is a decontex-

tualised framework of impersonal activities.

2.6.2 The product-oriented pedagogy

The mid-sixties brought an increasing awareness of ESL students’ needs regarding the

production of written discourse. Therefore, there was a shift of focus to product and the

product-centred approach emerged, which is a traditionally text-based approach (Trib-

ble, 1996: 37).

Young (1978), a supporter of the product-oriented pedagogy, claims that its

main components are attention to the composed product in contrast to the composing

process and emphasis on words, sentences and paragraphs. Students were given artifi-

cial topics for writing, producing only one piece of writing. Teachers were considered to

have a professional obligation to rectify errors, instilling the concept of correctness and

conformity. All errors concerning surface grammar were corrected by the teacher with-

out designing any follow-up work to remedy them, though. An essay was regarded as an

extension of paragraphs into a larger chunk of discourse. Model texts were presented to

learners as authoritative texts in order to blindly apply their structure to another piece of

writing. Seen from this perspective, writing was considered as simply arranging sen-

tences and paragraphs following a specific layout. Similarly, Badger & White (2000)

present this approach as being concerned with knowledge of the structure of language,

writing development being thus simply imitation of input.


52

Raimes (1983a, 1991; cited in Grabe & Kaplan, 1996) stressed that emphasis on

organisation and usage was considered as crucial for L2 students in order to develop

writing ability. The product pedagogy was based on Byrne’s (1986) PPP model. Ac-

cording to this model, a writing lesson is best developed through three stages:

• Presentation. In this stage students are introduced to appropriate language

through various activities and textual conventions by examining model texts.

• Practice. Controlled practice normally follows the presentation stage. The

aim of this phase is to develop mastery of the generic structures and the or-

ganisation of texts by means of drill-like activities. The focus of this stage is

on accuracy.

• Production. During this phase, the learners try to produce texts freely in or-

der to develop productive skills.

Nevertheless, Skehan (1996) contends that the theory for a PPP approach has

been discredited. The belief that a systematic focus on a particular form leads to learn-

ing and automatisation, that is, students will learn what is taught in the order in which

they are exposed to it no longer carries much value in linguistics or psychology. Break-

ing subject matter down and sequencing it in a series does not guarantee mastery. Spe-

cifically, Ellis (1994; cited in Nunan, 2004) outlines, that in the case of second language

acquisition, learners seldom acquire one item perfectly one at a time, therefore, there

arises the need to readdress the various items that have been taught before.

2.6.3 Emergence of the process pedagogy

The linearity in text production, which entailed adding sentences in a sequence, as well

as, the concern with form and predetermined patterns of the product-approach invoked

dissatisfaction from various theorists in the early 1980s (Taylor, 1981; Zamel, 1982;

Raimes, 1983b) who supported the view that writing is not the cut-out plan that was be-
53

lieved to be the prevalent model until then. Rather, it was a circular, generative process

to discover and convey meaning. Seen in this light, the form is the means to depict ideas

and content rather than the dominant preoccupation of the writer. So, the text is a prod-

uct whose organisation and final presentation is determined by its content and purpose,

constituting the origin of the process approach. Speaking about the written product,

Steele (2005) argues that the process approach does not avert all interest from the prod-

uct. On the contrary, it aims at the best final product possible, the differentiation being

that the outcome of writing is not preconceived. Taking this stance a step further, Hedge

(1994) claims that process writing takes equal consideration of both the written form

and the writers concentrating on their level and needs for writing.

Apart from the linear sequencing of writing, the writing-as-a-process approach

came as a “reaction to earlier” (Grabe & Kaplan, 1996: 86) instruction, as it freed tui-

tion from the prevailing model consisting of three or five paragraphs and the unques-

tionable uniformity to the ordering of the text. Furthermore, it questioned the exagger-

ated emphasis on grammar and the belief that each student should work individually,

the only contact being the teacher providing summative feedback, which requires the

teacher to provide comments at the end of writing, only after the texts have been pro-

duced. Another difference between the product-centred and process-focused methods is

that the latter according to Campell (1990) abandons the tenet that writing is a separate

skill in itself. In the process-oriented class, writing is integrated with the other skills es-

pecially reading as the class works with authentic or specially written texts in an attempt

to analyse them and embed their features in their writing. The process writing approach

has been recommended to all writing milieux from kindergarten to academic writing.

Other linguists instead of the “process approach” used the term “writer-based”

(Hyland 2002a: 22) approach, while others (Edelsky and Smith, 1989; Gomez et al.,
54

1996) named it ‘free writing’. Of primary interest is the writer, the reader and the nego-

tiation of meaning between them. As can be seen, the process theory was influenced by

the Communicative Approach to language teaching. Although the process approach had

been prevailing in L1 writing since 1970, it was Zamel (1976) who first introduced

process writing to the ESL/EFL context with her article “Teaching Composition in the

ESL Classroom: What can we learn from the research in the teaching of English?”. Af-

ter its introduction to L2 writing, the process approach has been championed as the ideal

pedagogy for teaching children and non-native speakers of English to write (Murray,

1984; Calkins, 1986).

Another key factor that promoted the development of the process approach was

the shift of interest to the writing process. Researchers wanted to know how good writ-

ers differed from weak writers with the aim of designing a model that can help students

improve their writing ability. So, theorists focused their attention on how students gen-

erate ideas, plan their text, revise and rewrite it to produce the emergent text. Matsuda

(2003) influenced by Susser (1994) points out that the two essential traits of the process

paradigm are student awareness of the writing procedure and intervention by the teacher

and peers, and regards the process method as the most successful pedagogical shift in

the field of teaching writing.

Specifically, Faigley (1986) identified two groups in the process pedagogy: the

expressivists (Elbow, 1973; Berlin, 1988) who viewed writing as a creative art and the

cognitivists (Flower, 1985, 1989; Spack, 1984; Zamel, 1983; Raimes, 1987) who re-

garded writing as a problem-solving activity. Moreover, Faigley (1986) added the social

aspect to the expressivist and cognitive dimensions of the process movement.

Later other linguists (Hedge, 1988; Byrne, 1988; White & Arndt, 1991, Grabe

& Kaplan, 1996; Trimmer, 1998) elaborated more on the approach keeping its creative
55

thinking aspect but also embedding other vital elements such as purpose and audience,

context and the organisational pattern of the text type. In other words, they incorporated

the interactive, structural and social angles in writing. Another advocate of the social

perspective of the process method is Smith (2001) who regards this approach as sociali-

sation rather than mere cognition. This socialisation is realised through the active rela-

tionship of the learners with background knowledge and experience, and the collabora-

tion of teachers and students in the common target to convey meaning.

Hence, the process approach started as a cognitive one but soon it encompassed

the social perspective, by focusing on audience, which is a vital social aspect. Apart

from the cognitive and social, the writing-as-a-process approach also focuses on linguis-

tic skills in the form of planning, drafting and text organisation, as well as, employing

specific language to signal and arrange opinion (White & Arndt, 1991).

When the social element became salient in the process pedagogy some theorists

tried to use different terminology. Trimbur (1994: 109) first coined the term “post-

process” era in an effort to embrace the “social turn” (ibid: 109) in teaching writing.

Trimbur even questioned the role of the teacher as a facilitator as expressed in the proc-

ess paradigm claiming that, since it is the teacher who finally judges the students’ texts,

he/she keeps the old role of the omnipotent evaluator. Much as the teacher’s role was

challenged, it has a different dimension in the process-as-an-approach, because the in-

structor assists students with generating ideas, organising and revising their texts.

He/She tries to teach them strategies rather than simply be the recipient of their final

product. The fact that he/she assesses the learners’ writings does not undervalue his/her

role as an assistant, because the pupils themselves need this evaluation of their texts to

monitor their success. Defending the process method, Schilb (1999) posits that adding

the social component to teaching writing does not necessarily imply banning the term
56

with a view to replacing it with a new one. Moreover, McComiskey (2000; cited in Ma-

tsuda, 2003: 73) tries to present “post-process” as an extension of the process method-

ology rather than its rejection. Referring to this debate, Atkinson (2003: 10, 11 and per-

sonal communication, March 06, 2006), clarifies that by using the “post-process” term

he does not mean a paradigm shift, but he supports the tenet of keeping the process

method and expanding it with social and cultural aspects. He even admits that were he

to be in charge of an L2 writing classroom, he would definitely use the main stages of

the process method, namely pre-writing, drafting, revising and feedback tasks. Another

eminent linguist on second language writing, Matsuda (2003: 65, 78) argues that the

notion “post-process” must not be considered as a new approach but as the continuation

of the process pedagogy and the “recognition of the multiplicity of L2 writing theories

and pedagogies”. Finally, Casanave (2003) also supports the expansion of the process

pedagogy to include sociopolitical issues, since people from different nationalities learn

to write in English as an L2 which prevails Internet communication, international com-

merce and scientific publication. In this regard, the sociocultural background of diverse

L2 writers is equally important with their linguistic performance and the cognitive proc-

esses they go through when preparing a piece of writing. Nevertheless, she is unwilling

to abandon the term process in order to replace it with “post-process”.

Much as the process paradigm was presented as the ideal approach to teach stu-

dents how to write well, it also encountered a lot of criticism. Reid (1984a, b) claims

that it neglected individual differences, and variations in writing tasks and situations.

Moreover, it paid no attention to linguistic proficiency and cognitive development of the

students and took no consideration of the cultural element. Horowitz (1986) added that

it overconcentrated on the individual element at the expense of the sociocultural dimen-


57

sion. Hyland (2002a) supported Horowitz’s tenet and complemented that the process

method excessively emphasised the psychological factors in writing.

Refuting the opponents of the writing-as-a-process approach who regarded it as

monolithic and formulaic, it was argued that process writing challenged the previous

“reductionist and mechanistic models” (Lockhart & Ng, 1995: 606). So, rather than a

universal formula, the process writing approach caters for different levels in language

and cognition. O’Brien (1999) recommends different application of the method to fit the

various ages and levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced. Arguing in favour of the

process model, White & Arndt (1991) concentrate on the situation and context. More-

over, the sociocultural aspect is not downgraded. Many theorists (Raimes, 1983b;

Byrne, 1988; White & Arndt, 1991) have argued that the social issue is substantial

through the awareness of audience, the attempt to follow a purpose and the collabora-

tion of the students. Specifically, Raimes (1991) recommends synthesising elements

from the writing product, the social context and the content about the subject. Grabe &

Kaplan (1996) also highlight the social perspective by stressing that process writing is a

contextualised activity. Maybe the cultural component was underemphasised in the be-

ginning but more recent researches (Holliday, 1994; Pennington et al., 1996; Ham-

mouda, 2005) filled this gap trying to explain the influence of the cultural background

of the students on their acceptance of the process approach and suggested slight altera-

tions of the model to fit the cultural differences and expectations of the learners.

2.6.4 The genre approach

The last important approach to teaching writing is the genre approach. According to

Hyland (2002a: 18), genres are established ways of using language with each discourse

type exhibiting specific recurrent characteristics, genres, being thus “abstract, socially

recognised ways of using language”. Every text follows the conventions of a recognis-
58

able genre, and in this sense it is a major element of the paradigm, which also focuses

on the reader and presupposes that the content and the form of a written product should

match a social purpose. Writers undertake special roles determined by social contexts.

Each successful text must take into consideration the writer’s knowledge of its context

and the readers who are included in that context. “Writing is neither simply words on

page nor an activity of solitary individuals. Rather it is always a social practice, embed-

ded in the cultural and institutional contexts in which it is produced and the particular

uses that are made of it” (Hyland, 2002a: 48).

Different definitions of the term genre have been coined by various theorists.

Three schools within the genre pedagogy are distinguished by Hyland (2002b: 114):

1. The New Rhetoric orientation in which genre is regarded as “a socially stan-

dard strategy, embodied in a typical form of discourse, that has evolved for

responding to a recurring type of rhetorical situation” (Coe & Freedman,

1998: 137).

2. Halliday’s (1994) Systemic Functional Linguistics SFL movement focused

on the significance of the social purpose of genres and the rhetorical struc-

tures that are employed to fulfil these goals.

3. The third orientation is the ESP approach which regards genre as a group of

communicative events used by a specific discourse community whose mem-

bers have common communicative goals. The most eminent adherents of this

third ramification are Swales (1990, 1993), Johns (1997) and Master (2000).

Speaking about discourse community, Grabe & Kaplan (1996) contend that

the new element in the social issue of the genre pedagogy is that the social

milieu defined by the readers is achieved through the tenet of discourse

community especially in academic writing.


59

All the above schools of the genre approach agree on the social component of

genre, in the perspective that written language is socially situated. To express it differ-

ently, genres are diverse ways that groups of writers use to smooth out the communica-

tion between readers and writers about different kinds of texts. The social element is

very important, and, therefore, language is seen as a means used by people in an agreed

way to get things done. The language form is also deemed very important in the genre-

based approach, because, it is through the generic organisation of a text, that the stu-

dents try to realise meaning and communicate with other people. Important as this no-

tion of the social situatedness of the writing may be, the present writer believes that the

genre theory is deficient in ignoring the cognitive struggle of the individual writers to

transcribe their ideas.

The genre approach exhibits a similarity to the product-centred method in its

emphasis on the written product. The difference of the two pedagogies is that in product

there is guided imitation, whereas, in genre there is conscious discovery and application

of rules of the written product, which varies according to the social context, where it is

presented. Much as the genre adherents (Cope and Kalantzis, 1993; Coe, 1994) stressed

its efficacy, Grabe & Kaplan (1996) remark that a careful examination of the stances of

the proponents of the genre approach shows that they do not reject the process writing

pedagogy but propose that it is valid in the social context which defines the goal of writ-

ing. Taking this notion a step further, they argue that the writing process is vital in writ-

ing research and instruction, but the linguistic form, as is reflected in genre, must also

be incorporated.

The genre paradigm evoked a lot of criticism one of which was its “narrow fo-

cus on language and text” (Kamler, 1995: 9). The positive part of the genre approach is

that writing takes place in a social situation serving a particular purpose and learning is
60

achieved through conscious analysis and synthesis. Its negative point is that it down-

plays the cognitive process the learners go through in order to create a text. Rather it

regards learners as passive. Even though Hyland (2003a) argues that genres are not

fixed and monolithic, the present writer’s opinion is that they require uniformity, since

there is a shared knowledge of the organisation of texts in easily identifiable patterns in

a language. Some theorists (Dixon, 1987; Raimes, 1991; cited in Hyland, 2003a) cor-

roborate that genres may become moulds which confine students’ creativity. Luke

(1996) also levels critique at the genre pedagogy by pointing out that its emphasis on

the properties of texts does not necessarily lead to critical reproduction of similar texts

but may result in uncritical, prescriptive presentation of pieces of writing. Taking this

criticism a step further, Freedman & Medway (1994: 46) caution against “a recipe the-

ory of genre”, which will provide students with ‘how-to-do’ lists, while Harbord (2005:

5) claims that the genre approach “is inherently prone to prescription” and as such runs

counter to the philosophy of learner-centred teaching. Moreover, Hyland (2003b) men-

tions two more limitations of the genre pedagogy, which are excess emphasis on written

products and downgrading of the skills needed in text production. Finally, O’Brien

(2004) admits that the genre pedagogy does not attempt to build models of the writing

process and seems to be greatly preoccupied with the product. She gives credit, though,

to its important place in writing research.

2.6.5 Selecting the most appropriate approach

Speaking about the process and genre pedagogies in L2 literature, Hyland (2003a)

claims that the process theory, having borrowed the notions of cognitive psychology

and L1 pedagogy, has been influential in teaching writing. It is alleged that the great

contribution of the process approach is that it has emphasised the individuality of the

writers and the importance of the process itself. However, cognition and writing proce-
61

dures are not enough to describe writing. A sense of purpose of situation, the social set-

ting and the appropriate linguistic resources are also needed. In this regard, the genre

approach complemented the process movement by putting greater emphasis on the role

of communication (Tribble, 1996). Much as the social context, the readership, the goal

and the exploration of the characteristics of the texts are substantial elements of writing,

they had already been encompassed in the process literature by Raimes (1983b), Byrne

(1988) and White & Arndt (1991), since the process approach gradually developed to

become not just a single method but an inclusive one which incorporates many orienta-

tions. In this vein, it seems that the elements of establishing the social context of a piece

of writing and experimenting with the organisation of different text types have been in-

formed by the genre approach. Nevertheless, these two vital elements have been fully

assimilated in the process writing philosophy and, what is more, they have been em-

ployed in a more fruitful way (White & Arndt, 1991):

• Familiarisation with the conventions of different kinds of texts

• Comparing and contrasting features of various text types

• Creating a file of diverse discourse types

• First generate ideas on a certain topic and then decide on the appropriate genre

• Write a text and then compare it with a similar one

• Clarify culture-specific and event-specific references

• Consider the context of writing.

This evolution is an answer to the opponents of the process approach who tried

to present it as a decontextualised, “inner directed” (Bizzell, 1992) struggle of a lonely

individual in an attempt to convey meaning. Other researchers (Cope & Kalantzis,

1993) argued that process writing subtracted the power of teachers rendering them by-

standers. In no other pedagogy, though, is the role of teachers more crucial than in the
62

process one where the teachers are expected to help students to explore the recognised

ways of text organisation, generate ideas, plan their draft according to purpose, audience

and social setting and finally revise their writing. Furthermore, teachers promote their

students’ metacognitive awareness of their writing processes.

It is obvious that each approach has its strengths and limitations rendering, thus

difficult the selection and application of one of them. Different linguists give various

advice on the selection of a viable approach to fit most learning contexts. Silva (1990)

gives some very good guidelines on what components instructors need to take into con-

sideration when evaluating pedagogies to the teaching of ESL writing. Teachers have to

consider what is involved in L2 writing, how students can be assisted to produce mean-

ingful texts, and, at the same time, acquire transferable writing habits. The essential re-

quirements are:

1. the L2 writer in terms of linguistic proficiency, cognitive development, cultural

background and reasons for participating in a writing programme

2. the process of writing (i.e. what is entailed, while learners are striving to com-

municate their thoughts)

3. the readers in the sense of fulfilling their expectations

4. the written text as far as global and local organisation is concerned

5. the context and purpose of writing

6. effective research.

Similarly, Johns (1990) suggests that an approach to ESL composing should

conform to some essential elements in order to be complete. It must encompass the rela-

tionships among the aforementionted basic dimensions in writing: the writer, the topic,

the reader, the purpose, the text and the context. Moreover, Grabe & Kaplan (1996) ad-

vise practitioners to abandon dichotomies and seek the good points of each approach
63

with a view to formulating a comprehensive theory of teaching writing, which will en-

compass:

1. The nature of coherent discourse which is proper to the discourse type and the

task, the topic, the purpose and the audience.

2. The set of processes which are followed to generate the written text.

3. The social requirements that affect the writing and the writer.

It seems sensible to admit that a single method to teaching writing cannot be de-

signed to fit all students in all learning situations. There is no single theory on which all

linguists and teachers can agree but the process-theory appears to integrate these vital

components fulfilling the requirements for a complete pedagogy. The present researcher

believes that, while genre and product pedagogies exhibit some vital components of

writing, the process-oriented paradigm encompasses all of them. Rather than ignoring

the other approaches, process writing assimilates some of their properties in an effort to

exploit them in a more productive way, maximising therefore the students’gains. It can-

not be claimed that it is perfect or a panacea but it is the only method which attempts to

include all the necessary presuppositions of good writing. Much as the process method

seems promising to promote the learners’ ability to confront different kinds of written

assignments, it occasionally needs adaptations to address the diverse cultural back-

grounds and needs of various student populations (Hammouda, 2005).

2.7 Concluding remarks


The properties of writing and its differences from spoken discourse were presented in

this chapter in an effort to prove the necessity to focus on the teaching of writing. The

most influential cognitive models of the process of writing were discussed and a revised

one was proposed with a view to producing a comprehensive framework which exem-

plifies all the elements that influence writing. The key tenets of the Communicative Ap-
64

proach with its impact on language teaching and on shaping the principles for teaching

writing were shown in order to highlight the prevailing methodological trends and prac-

tices which promote writing. The importance of integrating writing with the other skills

in the classroom was outlined so as to replicate real-life conditions. The last part of the

chapter compared and contrasted the strengths and weaknesses of the main approaches

to teaching writing with the aim of selecting the most appropriate, which in the present

researcher’s view is the process approach. This paradigm is in accordance with the cur-

rent pedagogical and methodological tendencies and practices as far as teaching writing

is concerned. It is the ambition of this thesis that students will profit substantially from

the adoption of this pedagogy and will be empowered to experiment and familiarise

themselves with the process of producing various texts and acquire enabling skills

which can aid them with their future writings.

Chapter three will describe the philosophy and stages of process writing, explore

its appropriacy for young learners through investigating the theories about how they

think, learn and write in L1 and L2, and discuss how the knowledge of L1 influences

the development of L2 writing referring to germane studies. Other relevant researches

concerning the process approach will be presented in L2 settings.


65

Chapter 3

Research review of conceptual and language learning issues concern-


ing young learners: The effectiveness of the process approach

3.1 Introduction
Chapter three will present the underlying assumptions and the phases of the process

writing approach. Since the present thesis explores the appropriateness of the process

pedagogy for primary school learners, it is necessary to refer to the conceptual devel-

opment and the language learning methods, which are suitable for students of this age.

Hence, theories of how children think, learn, and write both in L1 and L2 will be dis-

cussed and the efficacy of the process paradigm for this level will be examined. The

children’s writing development will be viewed from a socio-cultural, generative and de-

velopmental aspect.

Procedures employed in L1 writing that are also reflected in L2 writing devel-

opment will be investigated exploring relevant researches. Studies conducted in L2

situations about different stages of the process pedagogy will be presented with the aim

of clarifying the lack of equivalent research in the Greek primary school context, which

necessitates the current study.

3.2 Presentation of the process-focused approach


Having selected the process writing approach as the most efficient pedagogy for teach-

ing writing (section 2.6.5), an effort will be made in this part to fully describe its tenets,

stages and theoretical background.

The “process-focused” (White & Arndt, 1991) approach to writing has a goal to

equip writers with skills in order to shape their ideas into a coherent message. This

method emphasises the process, not the product, giving the students the opportunity to
66

improve their writing. The process-approach developed through research (Zamel, 1983;

Byrne, 1988; Hedge, 1988) into the procedures that skilled writers appear to follow so

as to produce a successful piece of written work. The research indicated that good writ-

ers start with a plan in their heads, organise what they want to write down, and bear in

mind who they are addressing. Then, they draft parts of their writing, review and finally

edit their work. In this sense, able writers exhibit a purpose, fend for their readers and

have a direction in their writing.

3.2.1 Stages of the process-oriented pedagogy

Emig (1971) identified five stages of the composing procedure in the process approach:

(a) prewriting (being motivated to write, getting ideas together, outlining and rehears-

ing, making notes), (b) drafting (writing in progress individually or collaboratively), (c)

revision (replanning, adjusting according to readers and redrafting), (d) editing (getting

ready for publishing the written text), and (e) publication (sharing the product with the

public).

Later various linguists (Hedge, 1988; White & Arndt, 1991; Pinheiro, 1996;

Tribble, 1996; Young, 1998; Hyland, 2003b; Steele, 2005) presented different models

of the stages of the writing process. Steele (2005) argued that the process pedagogy

lends itself to a great array of classroom activities and can have any number of stages,

even though teachers usually establish a typical ordering of phases. Moreover, Tribble

(1996: 39) contended that the entire process does not constitute a fixed sequence but a

“dynamic and unpredictable process” whereby the writers can move backwards and

forwards at any time while preparing their piece of writing. Finally, Hyland (2003b), in

an attempt to complement the model, added two more stages: one in the beginning and

the other in the end. The former is selection of topic by the teacher or in cooperation

with the students, and the latter is follow-up tasks, which address weaknesses.
67

Pinheiro (1996: 124) exemplified the steps of the approach. The first stage, that

is the preparation stage called prewriting or prework is crucial, because it leads up to the

writing activity. It includes prewriting tasks, which, according to Scott & Ytreberg

(1990), are very useful because they help with the production of proper language and

stimulate relevant ideas. This phase motivates students to write and provides them with

the feeling that, whenever they are supposed to write, they will have in mind the ideas

and lexes they need. This part of the lesson must include dynamic and challenging tasks

that bring in new vocabulary as well as help the pupils develop views about a specific

topic.

A useful way to help students to organise their writing is through conferencing

(Hedge, 1988) which is a face-to-face conversation between the teacher and the pupils.

This can happen in the prewriting stage to assist the students to generate ideas or while

writing when the teacher can offer support with the language and the organisation of

ideas. Conferencing has the advantage of enabling the teacher to pay attention to each

student individually and as a result give better advice. In this way, learners realise that

writing is something that can be planned and ameliorated and, at the same time, discuss

what they are writing and analyse the process. Recommending variety in prior activities,

Byrne (1988) suggested the use of visual materials, conversation, reading, or listening to

a text in order to identify the characteristics of its discourse type. Mackbeth (2010)

claims that this exploitation of various text types involves students in identifying their

organisation and use rather than controls and limits student writing as was the case with

the model texts employed in the product-centred approach.

According to Swales (1990), an inherent problem in the area of experimentation

with different text types, is that samples of a genre may present various patterns in

terms of structure, style, content and eventual audience. Each discourse mode like In-
68

struction, Description and Short stories to mention but a few, covers a range of different

kinds of texts, which may also exhibit their own features. This leads to the conclusion,

that a lot of effort needs to be made in classroom in order to analyse the typical features

of various genres. Integration of the four skills is also achieved in this way.

White & Arndt (1991: 11) suggested another stage as an introduction to a writ-

ing course, called glimpsing the process. This stage intends to give students an insight

into what they actually do when they write. This phase involves “composing aloud”,

that is, verbalising thought while students are writing. This procedure assists learners to

identify the thinking used while writing and provides important implications about the

construction of coherence of the text. Pupils are audiotaped and at the end of the session

they listen to the cassette trying to analyse their reaction. A questionnaire may be given

to them activating their awareness of the steps followed in their effort to transcribe

meaning into words.

After the theme is brainstormed through the above mentioned preliminary work,

conducted usually in groups or pairs, the writers attempt to produce the first draft. Af-

terwards, they try to evaluate this piece of writing, through revising it with the aim of

clarifying expression and accomplishing factual and grammatical accuracy. As reading

one’s own work is not easy, since writers tend to read what they intend to be there, it is

good to give students a checklist and a list of symbols for error correction in order to

judge their text. Students usually have the impression that rectifying a text means look-

ing for errors of spelling, grammatical structure, word order, and punctuation. While

this is very important, the significance of the coherence of the writing at the drafting

stage must also be insisted on. Various authors (Beach, 1976; Sommers, 1978; Perl,

1979; Bridwell, 1980; Flower & Hayes 1981; Faigley & Witte, 1984; Anson, 1989), re-

searching how native English writers revise their drafts, found out that inexperienced
69

writers insist on the lexical level and apply rules of style and usage even if they are not

suitable. Advanced writers, on the other hand, manage to revise at multiple levels - lexi-

cal, phrasal, sentential, appropriateness, etc. - and as a result shape the argument to

match the purpose of writing. If L1 writers face these problems while revising, it is un-

avoidable that L2 writers encounter greater constraints. In this respect, students need

guidance to acquire viable revision strategies.

Learners can also benefit from peer correction by exchanging their drafts with

their fellow students. After that, the writers read their own corrections and their peers’

comments and make the necessary modifications, producing, thus, the second draft.

Here they must be reminded that, since there is not a unique best way of arranging in-

formation, they may change the organisation to add new ideas which may come up.

Then the teacher reads the students’ drafts and provides oral or written feedback. When

evaluating a piece of writing, teachers can apply the following criteria (Hedge, 1988):

1. The content in the sense of determining if the text serves its purpose.

2. The style according to the target audience.

3. The organisation and development of ideas in a clear and logical manner.

4. Handwriting in the presentation of the script.

5. Accuracy in using the conventions, such as spelling and punctuation.

6. Complexity in manipulating the structure of sentences and joining the ideas.

7. Range in the variety of vocabulary.

It is needless to say that instructors do not correct all the mistaken forms in a written

work, because that would discourage the students.

Raimes (1983a) suggested that teachers should examine content and errors in

structure in the beginning and leave other linguistic features after the ideas have been

fully elaborated. A useful strategy for teachers providing feedback to student writing is
70

to underline the grammar errors without providing the correct forms, leaving thus the

initiative to pupils to rectify their deficiencies (Fathman & Walley, 1990). Hence, the

students’ creativity is developed and corrected forms are acquired by learners and ap-

plied in future writings. So, it is essential to make the norm that a lot of writing and cor-

rection is done in the classroom. In this way, the teacher can talk to individual students,

while others are doing other tasks and at the same time monitor the learners’ perform-

ance in progress.

O’ Brien (1999) alleged that this intervention by the teacher during the writing

process is more effective in leading to student improvement than comments written on

the final text. Speaking about the same issue, Leki (1990) contended that teacher re-

sponse to student writing can take two forms: oral, in conferencing, and written. Written

treatment of student writing may be distinguished into middle and final or summative,

the former referring to students’ drafts while the latter seeking to improve the final

product. It is also pointed out that, as the target of writing teachers is to teach writing,

they are forced away from the content of a written text to the way this content is pro-

duced. Byrne (1988: 29) redefined the role of teachers when reading students’ drafts,

advising instructors to surrender the role of “judges” and always bear in mind that what

learners write are attempts, however inefficient, to communicate. There is a great ten-

dency on behalf of the teachers to focus on what is wrong, just because it is there for

them to read repeatedly. But if instructors intend to be really readers and facilitators

rather than omniscient judges, they should concentrate more not on what the pupils have

failed to do but rather on what they have accomplished. They owe it to their students to

correct their written texts with a view to ameliorating their output, but it would be de-

moralising to annihilate their motivation through excessive correction. Cohen & Caval-
71

canti (1990) proposed striking a balance between criticism and praise in feedback, espe-

cially for weaker students who are eager to see that they have done something right.

Finally, the pupils guided by the teacher’s and peers’ aid, rewrite their drafts

forming the final product, which is also evaluated by peers and the teacher. Through the

above procedure, writing teachers involve their students in the process of writing by

emphasising that drafting and redrafting, reading and rereading not only leads to a good

piece of writing but is also a proof of the students' creativity (Raimes, 1985). Besides

enhancing learner creativity, process writing influentially boosts the students’ compe-

tency in writing. In an effort to explore the learning strategies employed in successful

writing, Baroudi (2008 and personal communication, October 3, 2009) administered a

questionnaire to university students concerning five writing components: rehearsing,

drafting, revising, student-writers’ role and the role of instructional materials. This

multi-itemed questionnaire traced the writing strategic behaviour of students and found

out that the most competent student-writers follow process writing in that they tend to

audience, purpose, multiple drafting, recursiveness, meaning seeking, verbalisation of

both content and form, editing and in general all the aspects that the process paradigm

has tapped so far.

3.2.2 Establishing a theoretical background of process writing

After describing the stages of the process approach, an effort will be made in the present

section to establish its theoretical foundation. The theoretical basis of the process ap-

proach lies on Vygotsky’s (1978) notion of Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

which pointed out that children can improve their performance through the collaborative

interaction between themselves and a person more knowledgeable than themselves.

Within the process writing framework, this support is provided by the teacher in helping

students to trace the purpose, the audience, the topical content, the layout of similar
72

texts exhibiting the required genre properties, the generation of ideas and intervention in

the stages of revising.

Furthermore, the process approach helps the students to develop their creativity.

Wingard (1981: 167, 168) uses this word in a double function. First of all, it is the crea-

tive self-expression of the students while writing, with creativity implying emphasis on

meaning without ignoring the form. The other sense of “creativity” is the one which is

also employed by the eminent theorist Chomsky (1975) as expressed in his theory of

Language Acquisition Device (LAD), in which he supported the view that all children,

while learning and using their mother tongue, can formulate sentences they had never

had the opportunity to read or hear before. Wingard (1981) claims that this notion of

creativity is also applicable to ESL/EFL settings. Seen from this perspective, “creativ-

ity” is a universal human attribute that cannot be interpreted in a behaviouristic theory

of learning, which in the case of writing is realised through habitual imitation of certain

patterns. By generating ideas, organising their content, drafting, revising and reorganis-

ing their text, the learners exhibit a unique capacity of creating meaning and form,

which other pedagogies to teaching writing cannot account for. In this light, an appro-

priate schematic model for the process approach could take the form as shown in Figure

6 (page 73).

Figure 6 encompasses all stages, components and participants involved in the

process writing approach. It indicates that writing is cyclical rather than linear and high-

lights the interactions between the subcomponents of writing. The writer takes into con-

sideration the task requirements encompassing the target reader, the purpose of writing,

the type of the text, the topic requirements and the social situation within which the

writing is formulated. The teacher is also related to all these elements in an attempt to
73

help the student to fully understand and apply the task requirements. Besides, the task

requirements affect the text, as they specify its form and content.

Social
Situation
+
Purpose
+
Audience
+
Gentre
+
Topic

Teacher Revising Writer

Text

Figure 6 The proposed model of process writing


74

These task specifications trigger the process of writing in a recursive sequence.

Planning involves activating the necessary information which leads to generating ap-

propriate ideas and vocabulary and presenting the first draft. Responding to this draft

results in revising and redrafting until the final product is edited. This circular process

interacts with the text, because the process leads to the formulation of the text and the

text feeds the process. Both the teacher and the writer participate in the writing process

and in the generation of the text.

Even though this suggested framework (Figure 6) is regarded as applicable for

learners at all levels, it is particularly appropriate for young learners as it familiarises

them with all the essential elements embedded in writing and at the same time involves

them in the writing process actively. This involvement is very crucial because students

at this age are evolving both their cognition and language skills, and, therefore, are in

need to both take part in and assimilate the learning process, as well as improve their

linguistic resources. They get used to participating actively in creating a piece of writ-

ing, which is crucial, as they are not yet familiar with the requirements and steps en-

tailed in this complex procedure.

More specifically, they begin to realise that the purpose and audience of writing

are important components. They learn to read the rubrics of a written task carefully, so

as to follow the topic specifications and define the social environment whereby writing

is embedded. They begin to experiment with different genre conventions. They get in-

volved in the cyclical writing process, during which they are given practice in the for-

mulation of ideas and employment of appropriate language, and become aware of the

significance or revising, redrafting and collaboration in the whole procedure. This coop-

eration with the teacher and their partners during writing is of utmost importance, due to
75

the fact that it is a new practice for them. Finally, the entire process captures their inter-

est and ensures their concentration, whose span is limited at this age (Gude & Cliff,

2003)

The proposed model in Figure 6 is also in accordance with the proposed sche-

matic representation of the cognitive model of writing as shown in Figure 4 (section

2.2.2). More specifically, Figure 4 indicates the linguistic, social, organisational and

cognitive variables incorporated in writing in theory, while Figure 6 displays what actu-

ally writing entails in practice within the process writing orientation.

The teaching environment where the process approach is employed gives learn-

ers two vital scaffolds: (a) time to experiment with their ideas and (b) feedback on what

they produce. Shuying (2002) advises teachers to be ready to deal with the unexpected

in class. Even though the process-model has clearly defined steps, all students are not

the same and sometimes an unpredictable situation may arise, specifically with young

learners who are not experienced, yet. The teachers must be prepared to readjust the

necessary vocabulary, stress the purpose of writing, monitor coherence and semantic

conformity, activate student initiative and logical thinking and maintain learners’ inter-

est.

Finally, Steele (2005) contends that the process approach is similar to task-based

learning, and Raimes (1991) points out that there are parallels between the process writ-

ing paradigm and communicative, task-based, cooperative curriculum development.

This implies that students are given considerable freedom to experiment with ideas and

forms through purposeful activities in order to obtain transferable techniques which will

eventually turn them into independent writers.


76

3.3 How young learners think, learn and write in L1 and L2: Appro-
priacy of the process approach
As the aim of this thesis is to establish the appropriacy of process writing for the stu-

dents in the English language classroom at the sixth grade of the Greek primary school,

an attempt will be made in this section to present the theories of child development and

learning in order to investigate the efficacy of the process approach to promote the

young learners’ writing competency.

Unlike older learners, young children are still developing cognitively, socially,

and physically and deserve teaching methods that are proper to their needs. The general

aims of early foreign language learning should appear attractive to children, avoiding

being overdemanding and unrealistic.

Philips (1993) claims that the younger the children are, the more holistic learners

they will be. They react to language according to what it does or what they can achieve

with it, rather than responding to it as an abstract system. This has both advantages and

limitations: on the one hand, they respond to the meaning underlying the language,

without emphasising on individual words or sentences, and, on the other, they do not

make the analytical links that older students are able to accomplish. Younger learners

have the privilege of being great mimics, are unselfconscious, not feeling uncomfortable

about attempting to use the language even when their competence is limited, and are

usually positively predisposed to the activities the teacher has designed for them.

Thus, when planning courses and lessons, teachers should take into considera-

tion the theories of child development and learning, the ways in which children learn a

language and studies of the kinds of classroom conditions which promote language

learning and teaching writing in particular, in both L1 and L2 settings, as will be dis-

cussed in sections 3.3.1 to 3.3.10.


77

3.3.1 Young learners’ linguistic and cognitive development

Children already possess certain capacities and attitudes when they come to class. Al-

though young learners at the age of twelve have begun to develop mental maturity and

metalinguistic awareness, they still have far to go in these areas, as well as in the do-

main of world knowledge in order to obtain the levels of adolescents. Their cognitive

level is not very sophisticated yet, since they are developmentally immature, not yet

ready to fully assimilate abstract notions (Dewey, 1916, 1956; cited in Smith, 2001).

Another eminent theorist Piaget (1971; cited in Wood, 1998: 37, 39) emphasises the

significance of biological and evolutionary limitations on human intellectual develop-

ment. He advocates that until the age of eleven children are capable of forming concrete

thoughts and only after this age can they start to think more abstractly. Therefore, they

should start with concrete experience which will act as background expertise from

which they will develop less concrete concepts. This is especially true for the students

under consideration in the present thesis, since being twelve years old, they are –

according to Piaget- at the threshold of developing abstract reasoning through partici-

pating actively in the learning and thinking process.

O’Brien (1999) outlines that in teaching writing to young learners we must al-

ways bear in mind that not all text types are suitable for all levels of students. Most

teachers evaluate difficulty only as far as grammar and vocabulary are concerned. But it

would be fairer for the developing pupils to think of difficulty in terms of discourse lay-

out, too. It is self-evident that it is easier to write following a sequence as in instructions

and narratives rather than present the discourse organisation of argumentative essays. It

is generally accepted that it is less difficult to describe only one thing than it is to com-

pare and contrast two or more things. Writing about well-known things, like describing

their best friend or giving information about themselves in a letter or an e-mail to a pen-
78

pal, is causing less anxiety to young learners than writing generally about topics they do

not fully know yet, such as “the advantages and disadvantages of living in a city”

(O’Brien, 1999, Vol. 1, Un.2: 16). Moreover, with regard to writing, Leki (1990) sug-

gests aiming primarily at assisting pupils to grow intellectually as they struggle to for-

mulate their ideas. Special attention must be paid to the linguistic and cognitive level of

young learners especially when applying feedback to their drafts. Thus, it is advisable to

follow the tenet supported by most researchers (Perl, 1979; Raimes, 1983a) which rec-

ommends focus on content in early drafts leaving emphasis on accuracy for later drafts,

in order to avoid overburdening the still evolving learners.

3.3.2 The Multiple Intelligences framework

The way young learners think and learn is closely related to the concept of human intel-

ligence. Gardner (1983) argued against the traditional view of intelligence as exhibiting

a unified character and rejected the traditional IQ intelligence test (1985) called the

Stanford-Binet, which measured only logic and language corroborating that intelligence

is an inborn ability that cannot be improved. Instead, Gardner (1983) claims that the

brain possesses other equally important types of intelligence apart from reasoning and

language. All people exhibit these intelligences in different degrees and relationships.

Rather than being unchanged, he alleges that all types can be upgraded through proper

practice. The implication of this theory on teaching is that various learners display di-

verse combinations of intelligences, learning styles and preferences, which must be

traced and accommodated in teaching.

Thus, Gardner (1983) proposes the “Multiple Intelligences Model”, which is

considered as culture-free. Seven different types of intelligence are distinguished. “Lin-

guistic Intelligence” is the ability to use language creatively focusing on meaning rather

than form. “Visual or spatial” is the capacity to form mental models of the world and
79

recreate visual experience in the mind’s eye. To fully understand and process informa-

tion students need to “see” first. “Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence” helps learners with a

well-coordinated body to explore knowledge by connecting physical and mental skills.

“Interpersonal” ability evolves through the interaction with other people, while the “In-

trapersonal” one assists someone to manage his/her feelings and apply his/her talents.

“Musical intelligence” is associated with both physical potential in music and mathe-

matical ability. Finally, “Logical-mathematical intelligence” is the ability to think ra-

tionally and is linked with abstract reasoning. As a result, language teaching is not con-

fined to linguistics, but it also incorporates music and rhythm, activity of the body, in-

terpersonal communication, rational thinking, images and organisation of nature and

builds on these innate talents or “frames of mind”.

A classroom context which takes into account all “frames of mind” gives more

opportunities to students to improve their capacities and acquire new skills than those in

a traditional classroom. Such empowered pupils will finally become better second lan-

guage users as all their special traits are being exploited. So, teachers have the onus to

design multisensory activities, boosting thus their students’ L2 competence and contrib-

uting to their overall cognitive amelioration. In writing applied to young learners, par-

ticularly, “linguistic intelligence” is promoted through creating class newspapers, sto-

rywriting and journal keeping and “logico-mathematical intelligence” is developed by

presenting sequences of events. In “spatial intelligence” learners exploit visuals, use

mind maps and produce imaginative storywriting, while rehearsed and written roleplays

are ideal for “bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence”. “Musical intelligence” can be improved

by asking students to listen to music connected to a topic and then ask them to write

about it. Pair and group work boosts “interpersonal intelligence” and eventually “in-
80

trapersonal ability” is established through individual student work and personal journal

keeping.

3.3.3 The significance of social interaction in the development of knowledge

Wood (1998) reports that both Vygotsky and Bruner are exponents of the view that

children’s language and learning improvement takes place through the process of social

interaction. Through this cooperation, children are assisted to move from their egocen-

tric self to a more sociocentric persona. According to Bruner (1975, 1978), learners

need “scaffolding”, that is help by the teacher and more capable peers in order to per-

form better. A very important factor in encouraging students to collaborate with others

rather than work individually is by stressing the importance of group work. The benefits

of pair and group work must be justified to young learners in order to engage them ac-

tively in the learning process and raise their expectations.

Thus, from the Vygotskean perspective, students need extensive practice and

some guidance in writing in order to internalise writing purposes and tasks. This theory

stresses the role of teachers and peers and the need to set purposeful activities. More-

over, writers must practise a variety of writing activities and work out different genres

and rhetorical structures with the cooperation of their peers and teachers. Another viable

technique to assist students when writing is through reading and commenting on their

drafts. O’Brien (1999) suggests advising learners to write using every other line. In this

way, there is plenty of space for the necessary intervention by them, their peers and the

teacher. Teacher and peer feedback on students’ drafts helps learners realise that both

the teacher and fellow students act as collaborators rather than judges.

Grabe & Kaplan (1996) advise teachers to offer writing scaffolding by employ-

ing the process approach developing, in this way, the students’ metalinguistic lexes and

skills to empower them to talk about their writing, and the difficulties they encounter in
81

searching for words and organising their ideas. “Scaffolding” also implies helping stu-

dents to develop an adequate array of vocabulary in order to be able to translate their

ideas in written form. During prewriting the pupils discuss, brainstorm or create mind-

maps where useful vocabulary may be mentioned, which can be employed for meaning-

ful writing activities. For example, the students can create sentences using these words

and keep them in a personal word bank to be called upon when deemed necessary.

It is, therefore, significant that work in the classroom is constructed so that every

child can interact with other students and the teacher when writing.

3.3.4 Encouraging young learners to be active participants in the learning process

Wood (1998), influenced by Piaget, presents an important educational message, which

is that children have to be active and constructive in order to develop knowledge and

intelligence. Motor activity and practical problem-solving involve children in acquisi-

tion. Besides, Brewster et al. (1991) believe that teaching means facilitating discovery,

not just presenting knowledge. This discovery is a key element of the process pedagogy

and allows full rein to the enormous potential with which, to varying degrees, children

are naturally gifted.

For young learners to be cognitively active participants in learning when writ-

ing, they need to encounter challenges. A very useful way of challenging students is by

exposing them to different kinds of texts, to analyse their characteristics and understand

that different discourse patterns will allow them to convey information and interact with

others. This knowledge will help them to choose the linguistic medium which is suitable

to the purpose and content of the writing task. Moreover, Kamperelis (1999; cited in Lu,

2000) maintains that through exploration and experimentation, children refine their old

forms of writing by adding more sensitive awareness of the audience, pursuing their
82

purpose more diligently, presenting longer, more complex and more coherent texts at

the same time.

3.3.5 Providing children with input within the Zone of Proximal Development
(ZPD)

In the context of ZPD (see 3.2.2), one of his main contributions to educational theory,

Vygotsky (1978) raises the importance of imitation not as a mechanical activity but as a

relational one. In this way, children formulate a method of processing information in

order to attain knowledge.

In the classroom reality this has to do with ways in which teachers can intervene

and arrange activities and materials to help push the children along. The implication of

this theory on the teaching of writing, in particular, is the use of the process-focused ap-

proach in order to enable students to become efficient writers. O’Brien (1999) advocates

the use of some guidance in the early stages of L2 writing as learners lack adequate lin-

guistic and cognitive proficiency. One effective method to achieve this is by exposing

students to correct forms that is using a lot of model texts of the same type. As students

proceed in a more advanced level, guidance can take the form of locating and assimilat-

ing the patterns of the model texts. Going a step further, O’Brien (1999) points out that

if teachers give a writing task without some kind of assistance, they are in a situation

where they test students rather than teach them.

Silva (1990) outlines that the teacher can offer valuable input in ZPD by helping

students define the purpose and audience of the writing, develop viable strategies for

starting their text in the form of generating ideas and information, building up relevant

vocabulary, and deciding on organisation and procedure. Then, the students are assisted

in drafting by being encouraged to produce multiple drafts, in revising through adding,

erasing, amending and changing the arrangement of ideas, in editing by paying attention
83

to lexes, grammar, sentence formulation and mechanics and finally in presenting their

polished product.

3.3.6 Presenting students with meaningful and purposeful activities

As children grow older they usually exhibit an interest in writing if they are offered the

opportunities to see more competent adults writing and are invited to participate in liter-

acy activities suitable to their proficiency including shopping lists and listening to short

stories (Martens, 1996 and Purcell-Gates, 1996; cited in Lu, 2000). In this perspective,

children begin to realise that both oral and written language are purposeful and mean-

ingful.

It is essential in the classroom milieu to provide students with ever challenging

learning situations. Wood (1998) argues that instructors should present the learners with

meaningful activities that make sense to them and involve easily recognisable objectives

in that students can easily understand what is requested in each task. Johnson (1982: 24

- 29) calls the purpose of a task “outcome”, regarding it as an essential characteristic for

a motivating activity. Activities with an observable outcome increase the learners’ inter-

est by providing them with a well-defined target.

In writing, this has to do with offering students exercises exhibiting the “task

environment”. This means that learners are aided to spot the audience and the purpose.

In the case of readership, pupils marshal events and ideas to meet the knowledge and

expectations of the addressees. As far as the purpose is concerned, the students’ aware-

ness is raised of the goal underlying their text enabling them, thus, to connect what they

want to write with how it can be conveyed. Moreover, as the produced text is very sig-

nificant, the learners are aided to reassess and improve it.


84

3.3.7 Supplying students with a supportive, non-threatening, enjoyable learning


environment

Children need to feel secure in the environment where they learn (Williams, 1998).

Their knowledge, interests and emotions are of primary importance and must be pro-

moted and built on. Motivation is also a key issue in a supportive learning context.

Grabe & Kaplan (1996) propose certain methods to boost motivation, such as writing in

limited time, competitions for the best beginning or end in a piece of writing, defining

good and poor organisation and setting rewards for the best written product.

Williams & Sternberg (1993) believe that, in an encouraging learning situation,

the learners are taught that all people make mistakes, because that is how they learn.

Translated into the classroom setting, this attitude calls for providing a positive, enjoy-

able atmosphere whereby students can work. In teaching writing, this means that teach-

ers must find ways to raise the learners’ awareness of their errors and concentrate on the

points about which the pupils are more uncertain rather than deal with all the mistaken

forms simultaneously, which is disheartening for students. A vital element in creating a

non-threatening environment and enhancing their motivation is to give positive feed-

back to students at beginning levels who are striving to produce a written text. Frank

(1979; cited in Grabe & Kaplan, 1996) gives useful directives to teachers of young

learners within the process-focused context:

1. Build a comfortable atmosphere and give guidelines for suitable criticism

(i.e. find a funny word, find the most interesting ending).

2. In the beginning, use anonymous writings from outside the classroom for

criticism. In this way, students will feel more comfortable when their piece

will be discussed.

3. Try to pick out the positive points but avoid overpraising.

4. Help pupils with drafting.


85

5. Be specific in your remarks. For example, locate unclear sentences and rec-

ommend avoidance of repeating the same words.

6. Omit activities that are not popular to pupils.

In addition, Grabe & Kaplan (1996), offering suggestions for the establishment

of an encouraging milieu while teaching writing, advocate using personal topics and

dealing with more academic ones latter. The tasks chosen must present easy access to

background information, while more complex activities, which further search for and

synthesise information will be left for more advanced levels. Finally, Krashen (1985),

who believes in a natural acquisition of language, is also a proponent of instruction and

context in giving students comprehensible input and creating a non-threatening spirit in

classroom. So practice and guidance are needed in classroom especially for beginners as

the world input is too complex for them. Moreover, speaking on behalf of tuition, he

argues that attending language classes provides a better environment for beginners to

learn the foreign/second language than going to the country of the target language. Nar-

row input must be used in early stages to lower the learners’ anxiety.

3.3.8 Training young learners to become more autonomous and independent

Many researchers have emphasised the importance of teaching students how to learn in

order to render them independent. Williams (1991: 206), referring to young learners,

considers “learning how to learn” as a key principle. Wood (1998: 98) claims that, in

the Vygotskean point of view, through instruction, the children gain not only “local ex-

pertise” about given tasks, but they also gradually learn how to structure their learning

and reasoning. Going a step further, Bruner (1988: 265) advises the instilment of “meta-

cognition” on pupils, that is, the development of their ability to reflect on their own

learning and thinking.


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Ellis & Brewster (1991) propose many activities throughout the process-oriented

writing lesson, which focus the students’ attention on how to learn and what to learn.

Such tasks are: an awareness of visual and audio clues that assist students to reach

meaning, predicting, which engages pupils in the process and develops their self-

confidence, hypothesising, classifying, comparing, self-questioning in order to identify

aspects of learning that may be difficult for them and finally working independently of

the teacher, risk-taking and self-assessing, which will encourage them to take on re-

sponsibility for their own learning. Seen from this angle, it is important that the writing

materials of a syllabus for young learners are designed to support and foster growing

independence.

However, this self-dependence is not easy to achieve, especially in these early

stages. Therefore, Grabe & Kaplan (1996: 272 - 274) propose the use of “sheltered in-

struction” in the very beginning. It is important to supply young learners with support to

shelter them, while they are struggling to establish basic proficiency in writing. Brain-

storming and discussion activities should take place before writing to assist pupils with

content. Verbal and visual prompts can be given to learners to generate and arrange

ideas so as to become better writers. In no way should this guidance, though, decrease

the students’ sense of ownership of their own writing. Only in this way, will the young

learners become independent while writing and develop the ability to think about the

way they learn and write.

3.3.9 Krashen’s theory of second language acquisition

All the theoretical approaches discussed so far in sections 3.3.1 to 3.3.8 refer both to

mother tongue and second/foreign language learning. There are some theories, neverthe-

less, which apply only to the learning of an L2. The most eminent second language ac-

quisition theorist is Krashen who presented the “Input Hypothesis” (Krashen 1985: 1-
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4), which is the central part of an overall innatist theory of SL acquisition. Although

Krashen (Krashen & Terrell, 1983) views language as a means for communicating

meaning, he does not undervalue the mastery of structures in stages in order to achieve

the transmission of meaning. This is exemplified in his “Input Hypothesis” which com-

prises five hypotheses:

1) The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis. There are two different ways of developing

competence in a second language. Acquisition, a process similar to first language mas-

tery in children, is subconsciously developed through understanding and producing lan-

guage for communication. Learning, on the other hand, is the conscious possession and

application of language.

2) The Monitor Hypothesis. This hypothesis shows how acquisition and learning are

combined. When we express utterances in a second language, we draw on our acquired

system, while the conscious system functions as a monitor to modify and correct the

output before it is presented orally or written.

3) The Natural Order Hypothesis states that we master language rules in a predictable

pattern, some of them being acquired earlier while others later. This hypothesis applies

both to first and second language acquisition.

4) The Input Hypothesis. In this hypothesis, Krashen (1985) asserts that one acquires

language by exposure to comprehensible input. If language input is always at the stu-

dents’ present linguistic level, there will be no opportunities for challenge and risk, both

vital elements for successful learning. If, on the other hand, the input contains forms and

structures just beyond the learner’s level of linguistic competence (what he calls “i+1”,

that is input plus one), then both acquisition and comprehension will occur. Compre-

hension of these superior data is made feasible through the context, extralinguistic in-

formation and knowledge of the world. The “Input Hypothesis” supports Chomsky’s
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(1975) theory of Language Acquisition Device (LAD), which guarantees the mastery

and production of utterances never heard or read before and extends it to second lan-

guage acquisition. It is worthy noting that individuality in learning such as left versus

right brain abilities and differences in cognitive level or learning style must not be ig-

nored. Nevertheless, there is universal uniformity in the way learners process and pos-

sess language. This gap between the learners’ abilities and the level of input stimulates

the students to develop their language further, while the message remains accessible.

5) The Affective Filter Hypothesis. The “affective filter” is an imaginary barrier pre-

venting learners from acquiring language from the available input. “Affect” refers to

such things as motives, attitudes and emotional states. Research in second language ac-

quisition has singled out three factors influencing this acquisition:

a. Motivation. Highly motivated students are better performers.

b. Self-confidence. Learners with increased self-confidence do better.

c. Anxiety. Pupils with low anxiety are more successful.

When the learner is relaxed and motivated, then the filter is “down” and acquisition can

take place. In a research about the influence of the affective filter on various learner

ages, Krashen & Terrell (1983) found out that although older students learn faster dur-

ing the early phases, as they can process comprehensible input better, young learners

outperform them later due to their low affective filter, since they are not so self-

conscious yet, and, as a result, they do not feel embarrassed to express their ideas. An-

other aspect of learning that Krashen emphasises is the role of the materials used in

classroom, which should maximise comprehension and communication.


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Following the above mentioned tenets, Tough (1991: 219 - 224) advises instruc-

tors to “support” young learners in the EFL classroom by providing frequent interaction

to individual children.

3.3.10 Summary of theories about young learners

When applied to the teaching of writing, the above mentioned theories (sections 3.3.1-

3.3.9) call for providing students with assistance where and when it is due. Specifically,

Byrne (1988), referring to young learners, summarises some advice for teaching writing

in the process approach classroom:

a. Give the pupils ample chances to apply orally learnt language in writing. In brief,

they will need a great deal of writing activities to consolidate key structures and lexes.

b. Supply tasks that the students are able to do at their own speed. Some pupils may fin-

ish an activity fairly quickly. In this case, it is advisable for teachers to extend the activ-

ity or prepare an extra activity of differentiated difficulty. Slower pupils, on the other

hand, should be offered the time to complete the activity in some form, otherwise, they

will feel that they have failed becoming, therefore, discouraged.

c. Collaborate with students. Most of the learners will need the teacher’s help to develop

their piece of writing.

d. See that the pupils consider writing as a means of communication. This can be easily

achieved by asking the pupils to write to each other, which is a task that the students

favour a lot at this age.

e. Encourage them to be creative. At this stage, they have a fair amount of imagination

and they should be encouraged to make use of it.

f. Render writing activities enjoyable. This is a very significant prerequisite. Bear in

mind that the students are starting on a programme that will continue for years. It would

be wrong if they were put off at this early age through lack of interest or a sense of fail-
90

ure. Therefore, fun is one of the main elements they must get from a writing pro-

gramme.

In conclusion, the process approach, which is task-based, is ideal for young

learners, as it takes into account their cognitive and linguistic development, engages

them in interaction with the teacher and their fellow students without imposing undue

demands on them. Furthermore, it urges them to participate actively in the learning

process with the aim of becoming autonomous learners. Especially, for young learners

at the age of twelve years who are the focus of this thesis, Raimes (1993: 239) recom-

mends process writing as a means for learning how to learn and formulating ideas rather

than simply a medium to exhibit learning or to present well-elaborated ideas. All these

are achieved in an encouraging environment, providing them with some guidance which

they need because of their age and lack of experience without inhibiting or moulding

their imagination, though. In this aspect, Wingard (1981) contends that as the learners

are still quite young, teachers must strike a balance between over explicit guidance or

excess freedom. This balance can be achieved in teaching writing following process

writing as it provides clear stages without, however, numbing the students’ self-

expression

3.4 Analysis of research on procedures employed in L1 which are re-


flected in L2 learning and writing
This section focuses on how attributes of first language learning and writing can inform

practice in second/foreign language settings referring to relevant studies, most of which

refer to older students, as few researches concerning young learners have been con-

ducted in this context.

Trying to analyse the interaction of the first language with the second language,

Baker (2000) claims that in the thinking quarters of the brain the two languages feed
91

each other. Children have a predisposition to use language and there are common char-

acteristics between acquiring the mother tongue and learning to use a second/foreign

language. Tough (1991: 222) points out that in the past it seems to have been agreed

that what had been established in learning an L1 was likely to “interfere” negatively

with learning an L2, since languages have such different structures. More recent re-

search, nevertheless, supports the view that where one language is established before

acquiring a second, then strategies developed in learning the first language will “trans-

fer” to the process of learning subsequent languages, providing a positive aid. All the

researches that will be reviewed in the subsequent sections (3.4.1 - 3.4.2), adopted the

case study approach, involving an individual, a group, a class or a “communicative in-

teraction in a particular situation” (Johnson, 1992: 76).

Two kinds of studies will be presented below: those focusing on the transference

of writing abilities from mother tongue to the target language (section 3.4.1) and re-

searches investigating the strategies of switching to L1 when encountering problems

while composing in L2 (section 3.4.2).

3.4.1 Research on transferring strategies from L1 to L2

Referring to writing, Kroll (1990) claims that a number of studies have indicated that,

regardless of a language prescription, writers will transfer writing abilities and strategies

from their first language to the second language.

Edelsky (1982), exploring the writing of nine 1st, nine 2nd and eight 3rd graders

in a research of a bilingual programme during a school year, showed that writing

knowledge moves from the mother tongue to the target language. She concluded that

students employ their experience and strategies from their first language writing to

composing in their second language so as to formulate hypotheses about writing in L2.

Examining how ESL writers generate texts in L1 and L2, Jones & Tetroe (1987), dis-
92

covered that ESL writers used in English both good and weak writing strategies ac-

quired in their L1.

Zamel’s (1983) study of six advanced L2 students also supported the tenet of

transference of abilities in writing from L1 to L2. Using the case study approach, she

observed and recorded six of her own university students, who were selected from dif-

ferent linguistic backgrounds, while they composed, interviewed them upon completion

of their writing tasks and collected their written texts for which they had been given as

much time as they deemed necessary. The skilled writers in her experiment spent more

time planning, drafting, and revising than the unskilled ones, they focused on meaning

and regarded writing as a process of discovering and exploring ideas. In striking con-

trast, the less able students concentrated on grammatical errors and considered writing

as a static series of words, sentences and paragraphs. Both skilled and less able per-

formers employed strategies in their L2 writing, which they had acquired in their L1

context.

Similar findings were reported in Arndt’s (1987) exploratory study of six Chi-

nese postgraduate students who presented academic texts in both their L1 and L2. Using

the technique of protocol analysis, which involves the writers in composing aloud into

tape recorders trying to verbalise their thoughts as they strive to write, she admitted that

the composing activities of the writers were discovered to be “consistent across lan-

guages” (ibid: 257) and where writers are efficient or inefficient in their mother tongue

they are expected to perform similarly in their L2 writing. A different finding of this

study, though, was that despite the assumed homogeneity of the group in terms of aca-

demic and linguistic competence, there was little similarity in writing performance due

to individual style. Apart from highlighting the transference of viable techniques from

L1 to L2, this research also had another implication. While the underachieving L2 writ-
93

ers would benefit from a process-oriented approach to writing, the students also need

help with “the demands of writing-as-text” (ibid: 265). In practice this means that teach-

ers should aid low performers both to develop their writing strategies and promote their

linguistic competence in the target language. This finding is in concordance with the

present writer’s view presented in the previous chapter that the process approach fo-

cuses on the procedure without undervaluing the product.

Having conducted a case study focusing on a different issue, namely the role of

cognitive models in general and their impact on task performance, Devine, Railey &

Boshoff (1993) seem to have reached conclusions contradictory to the aforementioned

researches in that they claim to have proved that L1 and L2 writers possess dissimilar

cognitive models which influence their writing performance respectively. A small sub-

ject pool was selected consisting of 10 L1 and 10 L2 students studying at separate

American colleges attending similar courses, though, and achieving equal scores in their

essays. The instrumentation entailed a questionnaire and an essay assigned to be com-

pleted in ninety minutes. The questionnaire was designed to trace the three variables to

be examined, that is personal, task and strategy properties. Three major areas emerged

from the questionnaire: (a) grammar and correctness, (b) communication in the sense of

considering audience and expressing opinions, and (c) personal voice in the form of

self-expression. Only four of the participants exhibited a “single-focused” model relying

on one of the previously mentioned areas, while the vast majority, be it L1 or L2 stu-

dents, presented a “multidimensional” model based on a variety of concerns.

Although the results showed that most L1 and L2 students employed a multi-

dimensional model, one component of which was grammar, the researchers claimed that

this similarity is superficial because a closer examination of the questionnaires revealed

an interesting difference. L1 writers did not perceive any conflicts in their model
94

whereas 5 of 7 L2 performers admitted a tension between grammar and their personal

voice. Finally, the researchers concluded “tentatively” (ibid: 215) that differences in

task performance are attributed to application of different cognitive models, without be-

ing willing to generalise their findings due to the small sample size, though. It is the

current writer’s belief, however, that the similarities are more and more significant than

the differences, which are due to individual preferences of the participants, rather than

the employment of a dissimilar cognitive model indicative of important differentiation

between L1 and L2.

The common element of these studies is that they prove that the similarities be-

tween L1 and L2 writing outnumber their differences. However, special attention must

be paid to teaching EFL/ESL writing, since it involves a completely new context re-

gardless of the common elements of the two languages. Effective writing requires a

number of capacities such as a well-developed organisation of ideas and information in

order to avoid ambiguity and a careful selection of vocabulary, grammatical patterns

and syntactic structures to fit the topic and the intended reader. Hedge (1988) believes

that these demands present certain problems to foreign writers of English. Even the stu-

dents who can write adequately in their mother tongue need to master a wide range of

lexes in order to be able to express their ideas in L2. They also require help to identify

the layout of texts, as it is possible that they differ from one language to another. Be-

sides, teachers should show great concern to familiarise their pupils with the process of

composing in English.

Furthermore, as the students write in a language with a different cultural back-

ground, they need specific knowledge concerning writing. Grabe & Kaplan (1996) sug-

gest providing learners with knowledge of the genres in the target language, the appro-

priate writing conventions, adequate coherence strategies and finally the features and
95

expectations of the readership in the target culture to compensate for the gap of limited

vocabulary.

3.4.2 Overview of research on switching to L1 when composing in L2

All the studies included in this section concern adult learners. A major limitation of all

ESL writers, especially beginners, is the lack of adequate linguistic data. As a result,

when they are in need of information, they turn to their mother tongue and then translate

into English. Far from overloading their short-term memory and subtracting from the

quality of their writing, this switch to native language improves their writing “in terms

of ideas, organisation and details” (Lay 1982: 406).

Friedlander (1990) attested this notion indicating that translating assists ESL

writers in quality rather than limits them when producing L2 texts, especially in the first

stages when they are acquiring a new language. He advanced the hypothesis that ESL

writers can plan better and present texts with improved content when given the opportu-

nity to plan in the language in which the information of the topic was acquired. Twenty-

eight Chinese university students participated in the study responding to two letters. In

order to reply to one letter they created a plan in their native language, while for the

other they were encouraged to organise their thoughts in English. The results of the

analysis supported his original hypothesis, that is, information encoded in one language

can be retrieved more easily in the same language. Moreover, he found out some other

useful evidence: (a) L1 aids L2 in the development of content, layout, and details, and

(b) translation from L1 does not seem to constrain writing time and quality of text.

Wolfersberger (2003) also dealt with L1 to L2 translation in his study with three

female Japanese speaking subjects aged 26 -28, selected for their beginning English

proficiency. He sought to answer the following question: “What L1 composing proc-

esses and strategies do lower L2 proficiency writers transfer to L2 writing?” The find-
96

ings showed that while some L1 writing processes were transferred to L2, the extremely

limited linguistic proficiency in English did not facilitate the participants to employ the

already acquired L1 strategies. The researcher suggested the following compensating

strategies to deal with L2 language issues and ease transfer of L1 composing processes:

(a) Teachers should try to reduce the cognitive load of the task by urging students to

employ the most widely accepted compensating strategy of translation. Thus, learners

with very limited competency in the target language can write the draft in their mother

tongue and then try to translate it referring to a dictionary or the researcher. (b) Rather

than writing a whole draft in L1, learners can use L1 only during brainstorming, genera-

tion of ideas and the stage of organising. (c) A third technique is to show high tolerance

for errors and ambiguity in the L2 in the beginning, encouraging learners to focus on

content and layout of their writing.

Uzawa’s (1996) study combined both the exploration of transference between

the two languages and the issue of translation. The participants were 22 Japanese stu-

dents aged 19-23, having received tuition in English for six years in Japan and one year

in Canada, where the study was conducted. The difference in this study was that the

term translation was used with its literal meaning, that is, rewriting in one language a

text originally written in another one, rather than resorting to L1, while writing in L2 to

compensate for encountered difficulties.

The results showed: (a) The participants’ attention patterns in the L1 and L2

tasks were similar, with their metacognitive level being quite high, while their linguistic

use was low. In the translation, the pattern was exactly the opposite in that the learners

exhibited low cognitive attention but improved focus on language use. (b) The partici-

pants’ scores on the use of language in L1 and L2 writing were similar but their scores

on language use in translation were far better than in the L2 writing task.
97

Another comparison of language-switching was made in Woodall’s (2002) case

study considering different parameters though, namely, how L1 use in L2 writing is af-

fected by L2 competency, task difficulty and L1/L2 relationship. The participants, 28

adults (9 L2 Japanese, 11 L2 English and 8 L2 Spanish) in a university context, strati-

fied into an advanced and an intermediate group were assigned two tasks: an easy one

(i.e. a letter) and a more difficult one (i.e. an essay) in a three-week period. The results

indicated that less able L2 learners turned to their L1s more often, while the task diffi-

culty contributed to the duration of switching in that more difficult tasks increased the

time of L1 use. The third variable of the study, which examined whether the L2 was

cognate with English or not, showed that for students of a cognate language, longer use

of L1 resulted in higher quality texts, while for students from a very disparate linguistic

background it related to lower quality texts. Trying to interpret the last finding, the re-

searchers assumed that individual differences must be taken into consideration. In par-

ticular, it was revealed that some learners employed their L1 as a useful tool, whereas

others only exploited it as a means to achieve cognitive stability. Concluding this study,

the researcher pinpointed that “language-switching may be driven by the mental opera-

tions of private speech for solving L2 problems with L1 resources”.

The last research to be reviewed in this section addressed a similar issue with

Woodall’s (2002) experiment, that is, how ESL/EFL writers use their first language

when composing in L2 and how such L1 application is determined by L2 proficiency

and the nature of writing tasks. Wang & Wen (2002) worked with 16 Chinese EFL uni-

versity students who were labelled as average using the think-aloud method to gain

knowledge into what the learners were thinking while composing two L2 tasks, one of

which was categorised as easily manageable (i.e. narration), while the other was deemed

as more demanding (i.e. argumentation).


98

The results attested the employment of Chinese during L2 writing, the extent of

which, though, varied among the students and the activities. More L1 was employed in

the story than the argumentative writing but this was mostly due to the fact that the two

tasks had different prompts, evoking thus dissimilar student response. There were two

more interesting findings in this study: (a) the writers tended to rely on their native lan-

guage when they were managing the writing process, generating and organising ideas

but displayed the tendency to apply more the L2 when examining the task type and con-

structing their text, (b) the use of L1 decreased as the writers developed in L2.

To sum up, most of the researches on L1 - L2 relationship have shown that L1

writing process strategies are marshalled into L2, and writing in the two languages

shares more common characteristics than differences. Where diverse properties were

detected, they concerned quantitative rather than qualitative aspects. An indicative ex-

ample is that second language writers present shorter texts (Friedlander, 1990) than the

ones they produce when writing in their mother tongue. A qualitative difference that

Woodall (2002) highlighted is that the L2 writers have two languages to rely on which

places them in a more advantageous position as opposed to their L1 counterparts, by

providing them with the opportunity to resort to L1 when in difficulty. It seems that this

last belief, rather than differentiate writing in the two languages, further confirms their

correlation and the positive transference of strategies from one medium to the other.

Most L2 writers bring with them the knowledge of writing in their L1, which is a factor

not to be underestimated. Nevertheless, they also carry the constraints of their limited

proficiency of L2 and lack of rhetorical organisation of texts in the target language, re-

quiring, thus, special teaching.


99

3.5 Review of research on the process approach in L2 contexts


The previous section (3.4) of this chapter presented researches on strategy transference

from L1 to L2 writing and on resorting to mother tongue when facing trouble sources in

second/foreign language writing. This section will concentrate on studies about the

various aspects of the process writing paradigm in L2 contexts with a view to highlight-

ing its efficacy and tracing any similar studies in the English language classroom in

Greek primary schools.

Grabe & Kaplan (1996) point out that research on L2 writing started in the early

1970s in an effort to assist international students who pursued further studies in Ameri-

can and British universities and improve the competence of domestic students from mi-

nority languages who usually fail the writing tests. Research on L2 writing in EFL

learning circumstances received less attention than L1 settings. The central points of

these studies were the nature of writing, the social contexts and the various methods for

teaching writing. Similar recent researches were conducted in Japan and Hong Kong

(i.e. Pennington et al., 1996) because many native students go to the USA and the UK

for tertiary education, hence appropriate methods are sought to meet their writing needs.

In the beginning, L2 research relied heavily on L1 research methods. Reasonable

as it may be to apply to L2 research methods effective in L1, this does not imply that L2

study derives directly from L1, since it deals with different problems of dissimilar

learners. These different L2 students must acquire writing abilities, which will fulfil di-

verse needs depending on the standards of their institution, the requirements of the cen-

tral educational system and the influence of their background and mother tongue. Con-

sequently, a wholesale employment of L1 research methodology is not enough but dif-

ferent research and tuition is necessary for them.


100

Researches on the process approach in L2 settings, the most influential of which

will be reviewed in sections (3.5.1 - 3.5.7), mostly employed the case study method and

focused on the following points:

• Introduction of the process approach in traditionally product-oriented education-

al systems

• Importance of peer feedback and training of learners to respond to their fellow

students’ texts

• Significance of teacher response to student writings

• Combination of peer and teacher reinforcement

• Students’ preferences and response to teacher and peer feedback

• Learners’ revision strategies.

3.5.1 Research on studies of the introduction of the process paradigm in various


ESL/EFL contexts

A number of studies explored the challenge of introducing the process approach to a

product-oriented educational tradition by Pennington, Brock & Yue (1996) in Hong

Kong, Akyel & Kamisli, (1996) in Turkey, Kern & Shultz (1992) and Gallego De

Blibeche (1993) in USA, and Hammouda (2005) in France. Although these contexts

seem very disparate, important similarities were revealed in the teachers’ and learners’

original attitudes towards the innovation.

Pennington et al. (1996) observed eight classes in a secondary school in Hong

Kong taking part in the introduction of the process-focused approach. The aim of the

research was to investigate the impact on teachers and their students of the introduction

of the process approach to writing for six months. After this period, the instructors

could decide to continue their adoption or not for one more year. The results indicated a

cause-effect relationship between the students’ perceptions and the teachers’ mentality.
101

The two classes who reacted positively to the experiment were taught by a teacher who

opted for the process paradigm and applied it regularly into her teaching. On the con-

trary, the group, which rated the new approach most negatively, was influenced by the

teacher who was an adherent of traditional language drills and grammatical accuracy

and who had been unwilling to integrate the new pedagogy from the beginning of the

research. Thus, they proved that the success of an approach reveals instances of teacher

bias. Additional findings of this study were that all students valued peer feedback and

teacher-student conferencing and that L1 use helped with the implementation of the ap-

proach.

Hammouda’s (2005) study revealed the students’ conceptions of writing and

their expectations of a writing programme. Realising the preponderance of the process-

oriented pedagogy in writing for academic purposes, she attempted to introduce it in a

French university in a period of three years employing observation and teacher-student

dialogue. The various components of the taught course were: the audience and the

learners’ positioning to it, the communicative purpose, and the appropriate organisation

and style. The target of the programme was to lead students to understand that success-

ful writing entails negotiation of meaning with the likely reader and to equip them with

the tools to become expert writers who can manage by themselves in the professional

world.

At the end of the semester, the investigator was surprised to find that her stu-

dents reacted negatively to the change characterising her approach as too “esoteric” with

few examples and limited guidance. Trying to explain this dissatisfaction, she reached

the conclusion that useful as the approach may be for the Anglo-Saxon mentality, it may

show cases of incompatibility when applied in a different culture. The tradition of teach-

ing writing in France (which is quite similar to the Greek context) is both centralised
102

and defined by the Ministry of Education with a high exam-orientation. In this setting,

the learners attempt to master texts for only one reason: to pass the final exam of high

school to get the certificate of Baccalaureate. Drafting is unfamiliar to students and writ-

ing is regarded as the final end of the process not the initiation of a dialogue. In this

vein, her approach was contrary to the writers’ expectations who had been accustomed

to being given texts to assimilate their ideas and structures rather than discover knowl-

edge by themselves and express their individual voice. A second effort to employ the

method with more explicit instruction was once again not very successful, as French

students are used to expecting to be directed and given the answer. As a result, the re-

searcher had to fine-tune the approach to meet the writers’ long-held learning schemata

in that she carefully directed them supplying part of the answer but also had the students

find out a section of the reply on their own, applying dialogue, examples to aid them get

there and personal letters. She concluded the research by admitting that the proc-

ess/genre approach is quite flexible and can be redefined to fulfil different learning

styles and educational directives.

The three following studies (i.e. Kern & Schultz, 1992; Gallego de Blibeche,

1993; Akyel & Kamisli, 1996) show consistent findings in that they presented positive

results from the application of the process paradigm.

Kern & Schultz (1992) tried to trace the effects of a change of the approach in

the teaching of writing. The new teaching project concentrated both on the process and

the product. As the purpose of the study was to detect the amount of change in students’

writing performance, there was no control group in the study. Furthermore, the students

were divided into low, middle and advanced performers based on their grade at the ini-

tial writing test, since one of the research questions was whether the improvement was

related to their skill level at the beginning of the study. Seventy-three students in the
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third and fourth semester of an American University participated in the experiment pro-

ducing four argumentative writings in French, at four points during the academic year,

which were rated holistically by expert assessors. The participating teachers had re-

ceived special training by a coordinator so as to achieve instructional uniformity among

the various classes. Moreover, the coordinator ensured the equal employment of the

programme through classroom visits and monitoring of grades. All the three groups im-

proved their L2 competence as compared to the previous performance of the second

year’s students before the new policy was introduced.

Working in a US university context, Gallego de Blibeche (1993; cited in

O’Brien, 2004) compared the impact of the process approach and the product method on

students’ output. Two groups of elementary level college learners of Spanish took part

in this case study. The experimental group received practice in the various stages of the

process methodology, that is, pre-writing, generation of ideas, pair work, drafting and

peer revision. The control group, on the other hand, followed grammar exercises and

was asked to produce compositions which were valued for grammar errors, without hav-

ing been provided with any assistance, though. The experimental group produced better

texts in terms of length and quality of organisation but both groups benefited equally in

content, language use, syntactic complexity and error treatment.

Similarly, Akyel & Kamisli (1996) sought to confirm the possible gains of the

process approach in the English Education Department of a university in Turkey, which

employed English as the main language of tuition. They conducted a small-scale study

as far as time was concerned, that is, during 1.5 semesters - 19 weeks. One of the re-

search questions of this study was whether L2 writing instruction affects learners’ L2

writing processes and if so, in what ways. The subjects produced two writing tasks in

the beginning of the semester and two at the end. They also filled in questionnaires con-
104

cerning the writing strategies they employed, as well as, their attitudes towards writing.

Furthermore, the researchers interviewed the participating students so as to investigate

their previous experience of writing in English and Turkish, their perceptions towards

writing and their opinion about any changes they had undergone during the writing tui-

tion they had received.

The students practised various components of process writing such as brain-

storming, familiarising themselves with genre conventions, coherence, list making, cub-

ing and keeping journals. They were trained to elicitation of ideas in groups, drafting

and redrafting following peer and teacher commentary and editing. The investigators

reported that the students profited in that they spent more time on pre-writing, whereby

they were engaged in brainstorming and generating ideas about the given topic. The par-

ticipants also devoted more time for planning, rehearsing, pausing and organisation. The

protocol analysis indicated that the learners had become more confident about and criti-

cal of their writing. Moreover, they decreased the occasions of surface level corrections

and they achieved better grades for their compositions at the exit point of the study. Fi-

nally, the learners adopted a positive attitude towards writing in the classroom, organis-

ing their ideas into a coherent whole, and receiving peer and teacher feedback. A limita-

tion of the study was the small number of participants, that is, eight students matricu-

lated in the freshman English composition courses.

A study with diverse results is the one by Gomez, R., Parker, R., Lara-Alecio, R.

& Gomez, L. (1996), trying to explore the appropriateness of process writing against the

product method with a group of low achieving English proficient (LEP) sixth grade SL

students. The participants were 48 Hispanic learners in an intensive six-week summer

programme. Eight classrooms were employed, of which three were assigned with proc-

ess writing without a time limit and five product writing with a time limit. The students
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were randomly stratified to classrooms in such a way that each class included equivalent

proportions of low, middle and high performers at English. Four types of indices of

writing were used: (a) countable micro-indicators of quality, (b) analytic ratings, (c) ho-

listic scores of communicative effectiveness and (d) productivity index, that is, totality

of written words. The results showed that in the five analytic ratings - topic, organisa-

tion, meaning, sentence and mechanics - the product writing students either outper-

formed or equalled (in organisation) the process writing ones. The process writing stu-

dents gained in meaning but the differences of the two groups were not statistically sig-

nificant. The process writing learners performed relatively better at productivity. The

writers did not want to generalise from a single study conducted in a period of six

weeks but urged further studies. They did emphasise, though, the short time of the re-

search as Staton (1982) suggested that process writing requires at least twenty-four

weeks to be most productive. In the present writer’s opinion, the fact that the students

who followed the process method did not yield the expected benefits may be attributed

to their limited linguistic resources, time of application of the research, and the quality

of the employed materials, which constrained the application of effective composing

processes rather than an inherent problem in the application of the method.

3.5.2 Review of research on peer feedback

A host of studies addressed the hypothesis “What benefit is supposed to accrue from

peer response?” These researches have supplied evidential support that peer feedback

can prove to be helpful at promoting the students’ linguistic and cognitive performance.

An early empirical study testing the efficacy of a cooperative revision-based

method in FL was conducted by Hedgecock & Lefkowitz (1992) in Michigan State

University. This investigation involved 30 English speaking students attending a first-

year French course and exhibiting basic writing skills. The students were divided into
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an experimental group (14) and a control group (16). Both groups were given two writ-

ten assignments (one in the fourth week and the other in the seventh), each one requir-

ing three separate drafts. The control group received only the instructor’s written re-

sponse, whereas in the experimental group assistance was provided in small groups con-

sisting of three learners each, with participants reading their texts aloud to the other

group members, who replied orally following a specific written protocol.

The final products of both the assignments were gathered, randomised and as-

sessed by four experienced raters using a 0 to 100 rating scale focusing on content, or-

ganisation, grammar, lexes and mechanics. The outcomes of this investigation were

very important: (a) the performance of the peer oral-conference group equalled that of

the control group, and (b) while the teacher-guided group improved the grammatical

performance, the experimental group displayed improvement in the areas of content,

layout and vocabulary. Summarising the results of their study, the researchers con-

cluded that the oral-feedback method received by fellow students can be viewed as a

medium which enables the learners to self-correct their errors and develop their writing

skills in a supportive, collaborative situation whereby they can become independent

writers. It seems that the most striking element in this study was the finding that stu-

dents with minimum writing skills in a foreign language, that is, with limited linguistic

and cognitive skills are able to profit from peer review. This finding is useful as the par-

ticipants of the research in the present thesis are pupils with elementary writing capac-

ity.

Another representative study was that of Villamil and De Guerrero (1996) con-

ducted in a university of Puerto Rico. Two rhetorical modes were asked to be produced

by the 54 participants: narration and persuasion. A four-week training period preceded

the study during which the students were given practice in the two modes and in peer
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revision. The learners were then paired for each response session, one of them acting as

a writer, while the other undertook the role of the reader whose duty was to assist the

author revise his/her writing. The interactions of the students’ dyads were recorded and

transcribed in order to be analysed and provide results.

The findings demonstrated that: (a) The learners engaged in seven types of so-

cial-cognitive activities when cooperating in pairs: reading, assessing, dealing with

problem sources, composing, writing comments, copying and talking about task proce-

dures. (b) In order to ease the feedback procedure, the writers applied five mediating

techniques that included employing symbols and external assistance, such as dictionar-

ies and prompt sheets, switching to L1, offering scaffolding, turning to interlanguage

knowledge (i.e. selecting the structure which sounded more familiar to them), vocalis-

ing private speech in the form of inner utterances directed to self-improvement and re-

lease of affective load. (c) The social behaviour of the learners during their collabora-

tion exhibited four major aspects, which are management of text ownership, affectivity

in the sense of companionship and the concern for not harming each other’s emotions,

cooperation and undertaking reader/writer roles.

This variety of activities adopted by students proved that peer response is an ex-

tremely complicated process offering learners mutual scaffolding to attain task targets,

improve writing skills and discourse techniques. Another noticeable characteristic of

this study was the eager collaboration of the learners in an atmosphere of “camaraderie

and compromise” (ibid: 68), which is typical of the Puerto Rican cultural mentality.

This finding is also corroborated by Nelson & Carson’s (1998) study that will be ana-

lysed later (cf. section 3.5.6), showing the significance of the educational and cultural

background in formulating the students’ conceptions of and reactions to peer assistance.


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In another study conducted in similar conditions, that is, with 14 intermediate-

level Spanish speaking EFL learners in a Puerto Rican private university, Villamil and

De Guerrero (1998) once again attempted to verify the impact of peer response on their

partners’ writings. This experiment also focused on narration and persuasion but posed

two different questions: 1) How were the recommended revisions integrated in the final

products? 2) How were problematic areas rectified in terms of the following language

dimensions: content, organisation, vocabulary, grammar and mechanics? Seven dyads

of learners were tape-recorded cooperating on drafts for each discourse type. The

method involved the writers reading their texts aloud with the readers reacting to con-

tent and layout first and focusing on language usage and mechanics later. The tape-

recordings, drafts and written texts were analysed and remedies were classified as “in-

corporated, not incorporated, further revised, and self-revised”. Most of the revisions in

both peer interactions (74%) were embedded in the polished versions, 8% received

more revision and 18% were not taken into account. A different finding revealed in this

research was that 39% of the integrated revisions were self-revisions, which indicated

the range of the author’s self-regulation, textual ownership and control.

As far as the second question is concerned referring to the kind of language as-

pect the effected revisions involved, it was shown that in both modes grammar ranked

first, whereas layout was the least dealt with. In other words, students insisted on focus-

ing on grammar despite the explicit instructions to attend to content and organisation

first and then to language use and mechanics. The experimenters attributed this reaction

to three plausible explanations: (a) ESL intermediate learners are not very confident

about their mastery of linguistic structures, thus they are in need of concentrating on

correct usage, (b) students may have attempted to rectify the linguistic deficiencies

which might have obscured the content of the writing, and (c) learners were influenced
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by their previous language tuition with its strong emphasis on form. The authors con-

cluded that peer assistance can help students to achieve effective revision within their

linguistic potential, to obtain a sense of audience and to internalise the social dimension

of writing. Therefore, they recommended the use of peer response as a complementary

means of feedback in the ESL/EFL setting.

A last study referring to the controversy of whether to include peer feedback or

not was carried out by Jacobs, Curtis, Brain & Huang (1998). They worded their hy-

pothesis quite differently from the other researches: “If peer feedback is not valued by

L2 learners, ESL learners who have experience with both teacher and peer feedback will

prefer not to receive peer feedback as one type of feedback on their writing” expecting

that the results would reject it. The participants were 121 first and second year under-

graduate ESL students in two universities, one in Hong Kong (44 subjects) and the other

in Taiwan (the remaining 77). The former students exhibited upper intermediate or

higher proficiency, while the latter ranged from lower to upper intermediate. All of

them were accustomed to the process approach during their university writing courses,

even though they had been exposed to more teacher-oriented methods prior to their ter-

tiary education.

The participants were asked to complete anonymously questionnaire data on

whether they prefer to get peer response to their writing as one type of feedback or not

and at the same time were requested to briefly justify their choice. A significant per-

centage of the writers (93%) demonstrated that they preferred to receive student assis-

tance among the kinds of feedback they were given when writing. The two most preva-

lent explanations of peer response preference were that other students came up with

more ideas and were capable of locating problems which the writers could not spot

themselves. The findings of the present study showed that SL students who are familiar
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with the process-oriented paradigm favour peer reinforcement as one type of commen-

tary on their writing. The researchers concluded by offering suggestions on how to inte-

grate peer review in the second language writing classroom. They urged teachers to

supply sample peer feedback forms, give models of productive comments, stress the

significance of both praise and criticism, and finally discuss instances of student review

with the whole class with a view to distinguishing between useful and ineffective peer

response.

3.5.3 Research on training learners to respond to their peers’ texts

As peer feedback seems to have positive effects on students’ writing improvement, it is

truism that specific training and guidance is needed to attain successful application in

order to ensure maximum results.

Influenced by Nystrand’s (1984) tenet that peer feedback presupposes careful

designing on the teacher’s part and that learners should be shown how to react to writ-

ing in a peer setting, Berg (1999) investigated in a quasi-experimental study whether

trained peer response shapes ESL writers’ revision types and quality of writing. Two

intermediate level classes and two intermediate-high level ones in a university-based

intensive English programme in a large city in U.S.A. participated in the study, which

took place over two separate 11-week terms. The former classes focused on academic

paragraph, while the latter practised academic essays. None of the 46 participants had

received any previous practice in peer review to writing. The subjects were classified

into a trained (experimental) group and an untrained (control) group as far as peer re-

sponse is concerned.

Based on Faigley and Witte (1984), Berg attempted to measure the number of

meaning changes made by students in their second drafts, in terms of addition of new

content or deletion of existing content. The students’ first and second drafts were as-
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sessed by two independent evaluators who achieved consistent rater agreement. The re-

sults showed that the trained learners outperformed the untrained ones in the number of

meaning changes in the revised drafts. Berg ended her experiment by offering the fol-

lowing classroom implications: (a) the classroom environment is one of learning and

peer response can be beneficial in terms of learning opportunities, and (b) in order for

peer reinforcement to work, student training seems to be of principal importance.

Lawrence & Sommers (1996; cited in Bodwell, 2004) offered detailed stages to

engage students in peer response groups. These steps include analysis of transcripts and

video-taped lessons of peer correction, and specific practice. A case study which cor-

roborates this tenet was conducted by Bodwell (2004) in a family literacy programme

involving four Latin-American women. The teacher, an Anglo-American fluent in Span-

ish, tried to revise one student’s draft with a view to improving its textual organisation

and content. Even though the teacher tried to engage the learners in an effort to amelio-

rate the text, the subjects used the text to discuss about the appropriacy of their maternal

practices towards their children. This proves that the teacher and the participants had

different orientations. The former focused on the semiotic aspect of the text, while the

latter paid attention only to the social implications of the ideas presented in the draft.

These findings show that students need scaffolding at peer response strategies in order

to meet the expectations of this productive procedure.

Although previous studies had managed to prove the impact of trained peer re-

sponse on revision types and text quality, Min (2006) felt that a “thorny” question still

remained unanswered, which was whether the quality-improving modifications made by

trained ESL response groups in Berg’s study (1999) were a direct outcome of the train-

ing. Thus, Min (2006) initiated a preliminary classroom study to investigate the extent

of trained responders’ review in terms of types of revision and textual quality. The par-
112

ticipants were 18 of the author’s Chinese speaking sophomore students in an EFL writ-

ing class in a university of Taiwan, none of whom had received any peer feedback prior

to the experiment. This writing course was held twice a week over eighteen weeks every

semester aiming at refining the learners’ writing capacities in expository essays. The

training consisted of four hours of in-class demonstration and one hour of responder-

teacher conference.

Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were used. As far as the quantitative

analysis is concerned, the teacher and two independent assessors employed a multiple-

trait approach (Hamp-Lyons, 1991a, b) to evaluate revision quality before and after peer

response training, managing to achieve a high inter-rater reliability. The qualitative

analysis entailed a text analysis comparing the number of peer comments used in revi-

sions and the ratios of peer-initiated revisions prior to and post the coaching of students.

The results demonstrated that trained peer reinforcement had a significantly higher in-

fluence on writers’ revisions after peer review training with 90% of the total revisions

being triggered by peer assistance. Regarding quality, the revisions made before the

peer response coaching focused mainly on the word level, whereas after the specific

training the produced revisions concerned development of ideas, coherence and layout.

Stated differently, the overall quality was refined. Min used an effective tool that was

not employed in previous studies comprising written commentary through which she

could tally the reviewer’s comment with the writer’s reaction in order to specify revi-

sions presented in relation to peer feedback from those that did not. Min attributed the

success of peer review training to the inclusion of the individual teacher-responder con-

ferences that played a complementary role to the whole class demonstration. She con-

tended that only by using a “step-by-step” (Min, 2006: 135) procedure of introducing
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students to peer feedback will the learners be empowered to explore texts from different

angles and rectify possible incongruities.

3.5.4 Overview of research on teacher feedback

Another major focus of research has been the effectiveness of teacher feedback on the

development of the students’ cognitive and linguistic ability in L2 writing. This type of

research has been burgeoning in EFL writing for many years, given its strong support

from Vygotsky’s (1978) ZPD, which is a theory of social learning.

Zamel (1985), a pioneer of the process approach to writing, undertook an early

study to explore ESL teachers’ responses to student writing. Specifically, she examined

the comments, reactions and grades by instructors to their students in their own univer-

sity ESL writing courses. She pinpointed that as these essays were originally intended to

be placed in the students’ writing files rather than included in a research, it is unlikely

that the instructors’ reactions were affected by the artificial conditions established in an

experiment. The replying methods of fifteen teachers were measured, each one evaluat-

ing at least two different texts of three or more learners. The total number of the studied

texts was 105. The findings denoted that the ESL instructors attended primarily to lan-

guage-specific errors and problems. Their reactions were inconsistent, their remarks

vague, and, at times, contradictory, and their treatment of texts was as a final product

rather than a draft in need of improvement. Whenever the teachers did address aspects

of content and layout, the students did not have the opportunity of ameliorating their

writing, for two reasons. The first was that the writers did not produce a second draft in

which to handle these vital elements of writing. The second was that this commentary

was also expressed vaguely leaving learners little initiative for essential revisions even

if they had been asked to do so in a subsequent draft.


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The researcher pointed out that such a response to students’ writing fails to make

learners understand that writing entails presenting a text that evolves. Therefore, she

offered the following advice to instructors to help them record their responding behav-

iour with a view to rendering it more student-friendly and productive: (1) Teachers need

to replace vague comments that could be appended to any student writing with “text-

specific guidelines” (1985: 95), their primary concern being the communicative efficacy

of the text. (2) Instructors should take into account the complexity of the task and be

sensitive when replying to demanding assignments, so as to avoid averting students

from taking the risks needed for their evolution as writers. (3) Students must be given

time to integrate teachers’ responses into their texts in a second or even a third draft if it

is considered as necessary. (4) Priorities must be established in the review of drafts and

the ensuing revisions, and students should be encouraged to react respectively dealing

with certain concerns prior to others. (5) By working with the students to create mean-

ing through responses, teachers relinquish their role of authority and act as facilitators.

(6) Finally, this dynamic interaction can be better attained not only through written

commentary but also in face-to-face conferences during which meaning is discovered

both by the reader and writer.

Cohen & Cavalcanti (1990) tried to address the following hypotheses: (a) what

do language teachers concentrate on while giving feedback on written essays in an ad-

vanced L1 or FL writing course?, (b) what is the students’ response towards this feed-

back?, and (c) how do students benefit from the assistance they get? Two separate stud-

ies were conducted in Brazil in L2 contexts: one in a private EFL institute and another

in a university department of English. Two sets of subjects took part in the project: two

experienced teachers and six students - three for each group representing high, interme-

diate and poor writers.


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The EFL institute teacher focused on form indicating the type of error without,

however, correcting it. Her preoccupation was the problems rather than the strengths.

Her students realised her lack of attention to content and would have liked more assis-

tance in this sector. The university teacher valued form without ignoring content, which

she regarded as promoting the learners’ logical reasoning. Her comments varied accord-

ing to the writer and the composition, pointing out deficiencies rather than merits. The

university students regarded their teacher’s role both as an evaluator and an adult reader

who is truly interested in their writing. Regarding feedback, they were not always sure

how to handle it. A characteristic which is prevalent in both settings is that high and in-

termediate writers turned to the teacher for help more often, while the low achievers

opted for assistance from previous compositions or a dictionary. Concluding their re-

search, Cohen & Cavalcanti advised teachers to supply more positive comments and

guide students to get the most out of feedback.

A significant part of the research in this area focused on the effectiveness of

grammar correction with its central part being the debate between two eminent profes-

sors and researchers: Truscott and Ferris. The disagreement, which is still continuing,

started with Truscott’s (1996) article “The Case against Grammar Correction in L2

Writing Classes”, where he took a very strong position claiming that not only is error

correction harmful and but it should also be abandoned. Using evidence from previous

research, he posited that teachers failed to detect errors, to explain them clearly and to

be consistent rendering thus grammar correction ineffective. One of his sources was

Kepner’s (1991) study, which lasted a semester in a college FL Spanish writing context.

Two diverse types of feedback were given to the 60 participating students producing

journal writing, which were error correction and message-related response. The results

showed that learners who had received the message-related comments produced better
116

writings, which did not include more mistakes than the writers who had been assigned

only the error treatment technique. She concluded that error correction does not seem to

enhance students’ accuracy or the content of their texts, while the message-related rein-

forcement has the capacity to heighten writing evolution both in “ideational quality and

surface-level accuracy” (Kepner, 1991: 310).

Truscott’s extreme tenet of abolition of error correction provoked a rebuttal from

Ferris (1999) who described Truscott’s admonition as “premature”. While agreeing with

Truscott that vague error correction is not only ineffective but may also misguide stu-

dents, she called upon previous studies (Ferris, 1995; Reid, 1998) to defend error cor-

rection which is “selective, prioritised and clear” (Ferris, 1999: 4). She ended by stating

that teachers should continue to provide error correction in L2 writing classes citing

evidence from surveys of student opinions about teacher feedback which have con-

firmed their preferences of receiving grammar correction from their teachers (Leki,

1991; Hedgecock & Lefkowitz, 1994). In addition, she pointed out that it is imperative

to train students on how to profit from this kind of feedback in order to improve their

editing skills.

The debate was continued with Truscott (1999) replying to Ferris (1999) in a

later article stating that much as Ferris attempted to reject his beliefs, she did not man-

age to challenge his argument that correction not only makes students “shorten and sim-

plify their writing to avoid being corrected” (Truscott, 1999: 117) but also decreases

their chances to experiment with writing and practise new forms. In this perspective,

grammar correction hinders rather than assists the development of writing. He con-

cluded by remarking that his research has offered the teachers the opportunity to opt for

a correction-free tuition in their teaching and admitted that it is up to the individual in-
117

structors to consider seriously both the case against grammar correction and the one in

favour of error treatment so as to decide which best serves their teaching situation.

In a state-of-the-art article, Ferris (2004) recapitulated the outcomes of the de-

bate up until then. She presented three major observations: (1) The existing research

base does not adequately compare the texts of students who have received grammar cor-

rection for a long period of time with those of writers who have no receipt of error

treatment. (2) The previous researches are not easily comparable as they exhibit mis-

match in design. (3) Previous research predicts, without conclusively proving, positive

impact of written error feedback in two aspects:

A. The first is the correlation of the appropriacy of writings of students who received

error response with the texts of writers who did not. One of these studies was conducted

by Fathman & Whalley (1990) with 72 students enrolled in intermediate ESL college

writing classes at two different colleges. The participants were randomly divided into

four groups: Group 1 received no response whatsoever; Group 2 got only grammar

feedback; Group 3 had content reinforcement; and Group 4 was provided with both

grammar and content review. The students were asked to write a story based on a se-

quence of eight pictures. The results showed that students improved grammatical accu-

racy only when given adequate guidance and all writers improved content irrespective

of the type of review they had received. The first finding corroborated Ferris’s advice

for clear error response on the part of the teachers.

B. The second is the measurement of the progress of students in linguistic accuracy.

Ferris (2004) refers to relevant studies (Lalande, 1982; Chandler, 2003) for evidence:

Lalande (1982) conducted a study with 60 students studying German as a for-

eign language in the State University of Pennsylvania with a view to answering the

question whether students will benefit more if teachers mark errors for them to correct
118

than when instructors rectify the mistaken forms themselves. He found that the experi-

mental group, which received specific information on the type of errors made, improved

significantly compared with the control group, whose deficiencies were simply rectified.

Chandler (2003) conducted two studies with an experimental and a control

group. The first research gauged whether error correction improved accuracy in student

writing involving music majors in the first and second year of an American conserva-

tory attending high intermediate and advanced writing classes. The experimental group

consisted of 15 undergraduates and the control of 16 students. Both classes were taught

by the same teacher-researcher and both got feedback, the difference being that the ex-

perimental group was required to correct every assignment responding to all the errors

underlined by the instructor before tackling with the following assignment, while the

control group remedied all their located errors at the end of the semester. The results

signified that the experimental group students improved their writings in accuracy with-

out reducing fluency or quality, whereas the control group did not exhibit any linguistic

improvement.

Summarising the existing findings until then, Ferris acknowledged a substantial

shortcoming, which is shortage of evidential support from well-organised, longitudinal

and easily replicable studies. Therefore, she recommended the undertaking of re-

searches, which last over a long period of time addressing the “big question” (ibid: 56) -

whether or not error review aids students to improve their linguistic accuracy in writing

and exhibit a transferable design. In the meantime she provided the following advice:

(1) Error treatment must be included in L2 writing instruction and executed clearly and

consistently by teachers. (2) Different types of errors should be treated diversely. (3)

Learners should be encouraged to revise their texts after receiving feedback ideally in

classroom, where they benefit from peers and teacher.


119

In an attempt to examine the studies about corrective feedback on form,

Guénette (2007) followed a different perspective based on Ferris’s (2004: 50) acknowl-

edgement that the existing research is incomparable due to inconsistencies in design.

Consequently, instead of challenging the effectiveness of teacher feedback, she con-

ducted a meta analysis of various studies reviewed by Truscott (1996) and Ferris (2004)

focusing on corrective feedback trying to investigate whether their findings may be at-

tributed to the layout and methodology of the research, as well as, other external factors

beyond the control and the surveillance of the researcher.

Guénette concluded that dissimilarity in the design features of the experimental

studies under discussion make comparisons very difficult. First of all, she contended

that, even though the researchers (Lalande, 1982; Fathman & Whalley, 1990) claim that

their subjects display similar proficiency levels, the criteria used for this classification

are not very clear. This vagueness at the definition of the students’ levels makes repli-

cability and the validation of results by other researchers nearly impossible. Therefore,

the effects of feedback or lack thereof may be accounted for by proficiency levels rather

than any flaws of the feedback itself. Second, on the issue of including an experimental

and a control group, the reviewer believes that the existence of both groups is not suffi-

cient. What is needed is two groups that are as far as possible comparable in terms of

performance level and writing conditions. Only in this way can the comparison of the

two treatments of correction inform us about the efficacy of error correction.

Moreover, the difference in the students’ reaction to correction may be depen-

dent on the employment of different ways of eliciting correct answers and feedback

techniques instead of any dissimilarities between the involved groups or the duration of

the study. Guénette refers to Chandler’s (2003) research, whereby the expected treat-

ment of the underlined errors from the two groups was different, which may explain the
120

improvement of accuracy of the experimental group. Another factor which renders vari-

ous studies difficult to compare is the use of different classroom activities and student

motivation. Concluding her review, the author admitted that teachers should provide

feedback but cautioned against any universal recipes. She acknowledged that no matter

what the cornerstone of feedback is, be it content or form, or both of them, it must be

explicit so that the students understand what kind of treatment they receive and what

they are supposed to do with it.

Advancing the stream of opposed views about error correction, Truscott (2007)

attempted to prove the negative effects of grammar correction on student writing, with-

out rejecting the significance of provision of comments on content and clarity, though.

After conducting a contrastive analysis of a wealth of mainstream studies corroborating

a favourable view of correction, he reached the conclusion that “research evidence

points strongly to the ineffectiveness of correction” (ibid: 255).

Specifically, he claimed that correction has a small harmful impact on student

writing ability and if it has any genuine effects, it can be confessed at a 95% certainty

that these gains are so trivial as to be insignificant. He even claimed that there are some

factors that bias the results favouring the correction groups. These two factors are: (1)

The setting of the testing- the time when the post-test is conducted - earlier or later- is

crucial and may tamper with results. (2) Avoidance - corrected students have the ten-

dency to shorten or simplify their texts in order to escape correction. Consequently, any

rise of scores on accuracy may not really mean improvement but it might well imply

that learners have got enough practice in avoiding employing structures they usually get

wrong. All researchers would admit that avoidance is a strategy that poses barriers to

rather than boosts student progress in writing capacity.


121

Truscott (2007) even put forth that not only do most researches present feeble

benefits of grammar correction but also fail to highlight the decline of students’ accura-

cy due to given error correction. He concluded by stating that, although he does not

doubt that correction can help students rectify the text on which treatment was provided,

he strongly questions whether and how correction influences student potential to em-

ploy language in realistic ways, such as writing and speaking in meaningful, commu-

nicative settings.

In an attempt to verify his last conclusion, Truscott conducted a study (Truscott

& Yi-ping Hsu, 2008) with forty-seven EFL graduate students from a university in Tai-

wan assigned to an experimental and a control group. The participants were requested to

write a narrative in class and revise it in next class. The experimental members had their

errors underlined in order to revise them, while the control subjects did not obtain any

feedback whatsoever. Matching the results of similar studies, the experimental group

was significantly more successful than the control one. One week later the two groups

produced another narrative to measure retention of learning. The findings showed that

both groups were almost identical in terms of errors and the researchers contended that

improvement during revision does not guarantee the efficacy of correction for ameli-

orating the students’ writing skills.

Acknowledging the importance of the research design on the produced findings,

as evidenced in Ferris (2004) and Guénette (2007), Bitchiner (2008) conducted a care-

fully organised research so as to smoothe out design incongruities and focus on the ac-

tual factors which affect corrective feedback administered in a study.

Seventy-five low intermediate international ESL students in two private lan-

guage schools in New Zealand participated in the experiment. The subjects produced

three pieces of writing of the same genre, which was a description of a picture so as to
122

be involved with tasks of similar layout and difficulty. The feedback was targeted to

two types of errors only. Specifically, the definite article ‘the’ and the indefinite article

‘a/an’ were selected in order to boost the effectiveness of correction. The students’ texts

were received in a pre-test, an immediate post-test, eliminating, in this way, the interfer-

ence of extraneous variables, and a delayed post-test after two months to measure the

levels of retention of the performance exhibited in the immediate post-test. The partici-

pants were allocated to four groups: (1) direct corrective feedback plus written and oral

meta-linguistic explanation, (2) direct corrective feedback and written meta-linguistic

aid, (3) direct corrective treatment only, and (4) no feedback to the control group.

Bitchiner reported that students who had received written corrective feedback

outperformed the control group members in terms of accuracy in the immediate post-

test and that this attainment was present in the delayed post-test.

The latest contribution to the debate of error correction is the one by Bruton

(2009), who explored the aforementioned study by Truscott et al., (2008) with the aim

of interpreting the conclusions of this experiment. Thus, Bruton indicated that Truscott

et al.’s claim that gains in error correction are not transferred to subsequent new texts,

are based on wrong assumptions due to inefficient design of the research. He observed

that the errors of the second writing task bear no resemblance to the errors of the first

text, rendering, therefore, the statistical analysis irrelevant, as it is based on dissimilar

data. Moreover, the most frequently recurring error in the first text (i.e. verb to be) was

used successfully most of the times in the second written attempt.

Therefore, he offered alternative patterns in research design. One variation is, in-

stead of using an experimental and a control group, to concentrate on certain linguistic

features over a period of time and define which of them will be rectified and which will

not be amended. In this way, the comparisons will be made between the error rates of
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the corrected and non-corrected characteristics. The other alternative is to separate a

specific set of traits and trace their progress longitudinally. Although this second sug-

gestion reminds us of a PPP exercise, rather than meaningful writing under the process

writing philosophy in a communicative setting, it certainly fits/belongs to the domain of

corrective feedback focusing on form.

The present author believes that in this debate the case for error correction is

stronger than the one against it. Since certain studies have proved that error correction

do help students improve their writing and others have highlighted the students’ prefer-

ence for teacher guidance, teachers must go on supplying students with specific and se-

lective error treatment. Truscott (1999) posited that correction must be avoided until an

extremely cogent case will be made favouring its use. This notion will be contradicted

and worded the other way round, claiming that correction should be given to students

unless some studies explicitly prove that all learners, under all circumstances are

harmed by error treatment.

3.5.5 Research on learners’ preferences of teacher versus peer response

A significant body of research investigated the relative value of teacher and peer feed-

back and the students’ preferences towards these two types of response. Jacobs et al.,

1998) attempted to trace the students’ choice between peer and teacher feedback, in

their study as was presented earlier in this thesis (cf. section 3.5.2). The 121 Chinese

participants, who were familiar with an educational system which is considered as

teacher-centred, throughout the experiment produced multiple drafts of an essay, receiv-

ing both peer and teacher comments either orally or in written form during a semester.

When questioned what kind of support they preferred, they replied that they wanted

both teacher and peer review. Another interesting finding was the subjects’ acknowl-
124

edgement of profiting from giving feedback. The researchers concluded that rather than

exclude each other the two types of feedback exhibited complementary roles.

Another case study that confirmed the results of the previous research was con-

ducted by Tsui & Ng (2000) in the Hong Kong upper secondary setting with 27 sub-

jects. They attempted to explore the role of teacher and peer feedback in the revision of

two tasks in a six-week cycle. The response involved: (a) teacher comments on the first

draft in whole-class discussion, (b) students’ written response on a partner’s first draft,

(c) students talking about peer commentary in groups, (d) teacher comments on second

draft, and (e) final revision. Quantitative and qualitative methods for data analysis were

employed, including audiotapes of peer review sessions, measure of integration of peer

and teacher response, a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with six students.

The analysis of the questionnaires revealed that the writers preferred teacher comments

compared to students’ feedback and embodied them more often in their writing. The

employed interviews, however, showed that the subjects who had employed both forms

of reinforcement admitted having gained a “sense of audience” when working with their

fellow students. They also gained responsibility of their own writing, due to the fact that

they had to select whether to use a comment or not. In addition, peer comments contrib-

uted to raising students’ awareness of their good and bad points and enhanced coopera-

tive learning. Finally, writers who had applied more teacher feedback, rather than un-

dervalue peer response, acknowledged its contribution to familiarising them with the

writing process.

The above mentioned studies on peer feedback, teacher response and a combina-

tion of both forms of review indicate that the types of feedback are so varied that, as

Lynch (1996) suggests, the teachers should provide students with a range of response
125

types so as to enhance their opportunities of success instead of relying on only one

technique.

3.5.6 Research on students’ expectations of feedback

Other studies on students’ conceptions of teacher and peer feedback centred on the

learners’ disparate expectations and interpretations, and the role of cultural origin.

Hyland’s (1998) study of students’ response to teacher feedback shed light on

misconceptions that can appear when learners attempt to interpret teacher assistance. In

her two case studies in an English proficiency course lasting fourteen weeks in a univer-

sity context in New Zealand, she used a variety of data sources, including observation

notes, interview transcripts, questionnaires, teacher think-aloud protocols when provid-

ing feedback and written texts. The participants were two experienced teachers and six

students from two classes, one preparing learners for undergraduate studies and another

training students for postgraduate studies. After the analysis of the data, the individual

style of teacher response surfaced and the personal nature of writing was outlined.

Hyland reported that students’ self-confidence may be negatively influenced by teacher

comments even when they are positive leading, thus, writers to demotivation. One par-

ticipant confessed having received positive assistance which, however, did not pertain

to the parts of the texts whereby she was uncertain. Another learner was even annoyed

by reinforcement professing preference of assistance in the sections which needed fur-

ther elaboration. Hyland ended the study by remarking that future researches could in-

vestigate the interaction between the teacher’s attitude to a student and the extent and

kind of feedback provided.

In another study, Hyland & Hyland (2001) also examined the writers’ interpreta-

tions of the teachers’ positive and negative commentary, and suggestions to their writ-

ing. The context, duration and participants in this study were similar to the previously
126

mentioned experiment. Various source data were examined such as interviews, ques-

tionnaires, analysis of texts, observation of classes and verbal reports. The feedback of

two ESL instructors to 6 students from two classes (one undergraduate, the other post-

graduate) was explored showing that out of 495 feedback points 44% were praising,

31% concerned criticism and 25% of the comments involved suggestions for improve-

ment. Most of the times praise was direct but occasionally the practitioners attempted to

alleviate the negative points. This confused the students who misinterpreted the teach-

ers’ mitigated response. It seems that much as the writers need positive reinforcement in

order to feel they are progressing, they also require special attention to their weak ele-

ments so as to be given the opportunity to improve them and, therefore, develop linguis-

tically and cognitively.

One important requirement to take into consideration when exploring the stu-

dents’ reaction to peer and teacher feedback is the different cultural and educational

background of the EFL students which instils diverse values on them. Nelson & Carson

(1998: 128,129) posited that the cultural concept of “power distance” influences the ef-

ficacy of L2 peer response. By “power distance”, they mean the interpersonal relation-

ship or affect which, translated in an educational context, refers to the distance between

the teacher and students. In countries where this distance is large, the teachers are re-

garded to be omniscient, and, as a result, their feedback is viewed as superior to the one

of the peers.

In order to verify these notions, Nelson & Carson (1998) conducted a study on

the perceptions of EFL learners towards the effectiveness of peer response employing a

microethnographic study, which typically centres on details of a particular linguistic

phenomenon (ibid: 116). The participants were eleven Chinese and Spanish-speaking

students in an advanced ESL writing class at a large metropolitan university in the USA
127

following the process approach in their writing classroom. The results showed that both

Chinese and Spanish writers valued effectiveness in the form of change. Therefore,

since positive remarks did not require any change, they avoided mentioning them, pre-

ferring negative remarks as they contributed to the improvement of the draft.

Another finding was the students’ preference of teacher feedback over that of

their peers reflecting their belief that, since the teacher is the expert, it is sensible to

provide more productive comments. Furthermore, they showed interest in global feed-

back feeling that sentence-level and grammar comments were not very helpful in revis-

ing their drafts. Finally, this study showed the impact of cultural differences on the per-

ception of effectiveness of peer reinforcement. As Chinese students belong to a culture

treasuring collectivism, they focused on the need for consensus in order to establish a

positive group climate even at the expense of improving their text. As a result, they

sometimes avoided criticising their partners and disagreeing with the other students of

the group. On the other hand, the Spanish students who come from a Western European

culture which values the individual voice, concentrated on the improvement of the es-

says, considering the task dimension as more important than the social element. In other

words, the members of the Spanish group collaborated with the aim of ameliorating

their texts rather than maintaining group harmony.

3.5.7 Research on students’ revision techniques

Few studies centred on a noticeable aspect of the process pedagogy, namely the learn-

ers’ revision strategies. The most important of them was conducted by Sengupta (2000)

who explored the results of teaching revision techniques in three classes in a Hong

Kong secondary school. The subjects were 15-16 year old students learning English in

an educational system not favouring process writing. As a result, the participants were

not accustomed to revising and needed special instruction.


128

All three groups were asked to produce a prewrite sample and to fill in a ques-

tionnaire. Then, the subjects were asked to produce multiple drafts of six compositions.

The two experimental classes (consisting of 40 and 38 students respectively) received

specific guidance in revision after the first draft, whereas the control group (40 learners)

was not provided with any assistance whatsoever. The purpose of revision instruction

was to render the subsequent draft more accessible to the audience concerning appropri-

acy, adequacy and layout of information. In this way, the responsibility of the commen-

tary transferred from the teacher to a fellow student and eventually to the writers them-

selves. The results showed that, after three terms at the end of the academic year, the

two groups who had received tuition in revision exhibited more progress than the group

following the traditional method. Questionnaires and interviews carried out after the ex-

periment showed that students valued the knowledge they had obtained on both theo-

retical and practical grounds, as they gained insight into how teachers think and self-

confidence in succeeding in the Hong Kong examination system.

Studies on revision have highlighted the differences between skilled and less

skilled writers, proving that expert writers take into account parameters such as reader-

ship, topic, organisation and revisions on a global level with low performers amending

the local level (Zamel, 1983 - c.f. 3.4.1).

Porte’s (1997) research, which lasted nine months, is indicative of these differ-

ences in approaching revision between proficient and less proficient L2 writers. Sev-

enty-one second year students (28 male, 43 female) in a university of Granada, Spain

were selected. Two methods of measuring the writers’ competence were used, that is

semi-structured interviews and audio tapes of the students while revising. The design of

the interviews was formulated with a view to activating students’ thinking about their

writing and revision techniques.


129

Most participants confessed not having received any explicit instruction in revi-

sion. This accounts for their narrow outlook of revision, which they perceived as a

proofreading exercise, with the majority of the subjects concentrating on the word and

its cosmetic changes such as spelling, word endings and search for synonyms. The pre-

sent writer believes that maybe this behaviour is due to their limited linguistic ability

leading them to overfocusing on the word level, leaving the more complex issues of

content and organisation for later stages when they feel more secure about their lan-

guage use. The pragmatic aim of achieving a higher grade for their writing was one of

the main reasons which made students consider revision as worthy. Furthermore, this

case study confirmed the implicature of the teachers’ perceptions of feedback and

evaluation of the students’ conceptions of revision by showing that the writers’ revision

techniques mirror teaching strategies. Porte concluded that even though a direct cause-

effect relationship between teachers’ preferences and students’ revising behaviour can-

not be claimed, there is enough evidence of such an influence, which must make in-

structors sceptical when trying to substantiate the etiology of inadequate writing and

plan methods to remedy these inefficiencies. He implied that the best way to help low

performers is to attempt to improve existing revision techniques avoiding the employ-

ment of advanced methodologies which are far beyond the students’ level.

Hillocks (1986; cited in Gomez et al., 1996) stated that most researches about

the efficacy of the process approach were conducted with adults especially in academic

environments with the theorists testing their tenets with their own students. These par-

ticipants are named as “subjects of convenience” Krapels (1990: 48) who are the re-

searcher’s own students and therefore not chosen randomly. As Krashen (1977) justifia-

bly argues that research results with adult learners are not necessarily applicable to

young learners, studies focusing on young students must be initiated since they exhibit
130

quite different properties from older subjects. Only a few studies have been conducted

in Greece lately concerning early primary students (Giannakopoulou, 2002), Greek high

school students (Hasiotou, 2005; Koutsogeorgopoulou, 2007; Drepanioti, 2009) or

computer assisted process writing (Nikolaki, 2004; Simou, 2006; Takou, 2007).

Given the apparent scarcity of studies on FL writing at the upper state primary

school both in Greece and internationally, the present researcher has decided to venture

this experiment in the Greek state primary school situation to investigate the applicabil-

ity and efficacy of the process paradigm to ameliorate the students’ performance and

cognition at this level.

3.6 Concluding remarks


Having selected the process approach to teaching writing as the most suitable paradigm,

this chapter analysed its theory, stages and implications. The theories of child develop-

ment and learning were presented in an effort to discuss and locate the properties of

good educational practice in the teaching of writing concerning the process pedagogy,

which fits the cognitive and developmental level of young learners. The procedures

used in the acquisition of writing in the mother tongue which are also present in the tar-

get language were mentioned and corroborated by relevant research showing the mu-

tual influence of the two languages. An overview of research, although far from com-

prehensive was supplied as regards the wholesale application of the process approach or

the efficacy of some of its stages in L2 situations.

In the following chapter the philosophy of the Greek national curriculum and a

detailed evaluation of the equivalent syllabus for the teaching of English in the sixth

grade of the Greek state primary schools will be demonstrated. The inconsistencies

between the aims of the official curriculum and syllabus and the classroom reality will
131

be indicated. Problematic areas of this framework which need adaptation will be

presented, focusing on the teaching of writing.


132

Chapter 4

Educational context in Greece for teaching English - Teaching writing


in the sixth grade of primary schools: suggestions for its improvement

4.1 Introduction
This part of the thesis will present the aims of education nowadays and the educational

context in Greece both state and private in relation to the teaching of English and spe-

cifically writing. In particular, since the main preoccupation of the present thesis is the

state sector, there will be a discussion of the philosophy of the new general national cur-

riculum, the curriculum of teaching English and a detailed evaluation of the equivalent

syllabus for the teaching of English in the sixth grade of the Greek state primary

schools. The employed coursebook will be introduced with a focus on writing. A com-

parison of the current national curriculum to the previous one will be made. Throughout

the discussion, the focal consideration will be on the inconsistencies between the aims

of the curriculum and syllabus and classroom reality. Problematic areas of this frame-

work, which need further elaboration will be highlighted, concentrating on the teaching

of writing. Finally, a complementary syllabus for the improvement of writing will be

proposed, which is in alignment with process writing, the directives of the new curricu-

lum, the principles of teaching writing and theories about the proper learning environ-

ment for young learners.

For our discussion, it is imperative to adopt a clear definition of the terms “cur-

riculum” and “syllabus”, as various theorists (Brumfit, 1984; White, 1988; Nunan,

1989; Pantaleoni, 1991) have presented different definitions. Brumfit (1984: 75) re-

stricts the term “syllabus” to what the responsibility of the language teacher is, with

“curriculum” implying the total provision within a school. Both White (1988: 4) and

Nunan (1989: 14) agree that syllabus refers to the content of an individual subject, whe-
133

reas “curriculum” deals with the totality of content to be taught and aims to be realised

in an educational programme. Pantaleoni (1991: 302) specifies more clearly this distinc-

tion between curriculum and syllabus, supporting the view that the former entails broad

institutional and classroom goals, while the latter is a more day-to-day, localised guide

for the teacher, which concentrates on “what” should be taught and learnt, providing at

the same time a rationale for “how” this content must be selected and ordered. This

point of view, which regards syllabus as subordinate to curriculum will be followed in

the present thesis.

4.2 Teaching English in Greece


The English language is deemed as very prestigious in Greek reality among all ages,

since it is regarded as a means of professional and financial success. A certificate in

English is considered as an important qualification in promoting someone’s career op-

portunities. English is indispensable in scientific and other academic research and for

business people who seek to cooperate with other companies all over the world. Young

people, who want to have access to English-language movies and music, need an ade-

quate command of the language. English is also used for correspondence with pen pals,

school exchange programmes funded by the European Union, attending international

conferences and for travelling abroad. Moreover, English is the predominant language

for accessing information in and communicating with other people through the Internet.

Seen from this perspective, it is evident that English has become an international lan-

guage used by people from different cultural and national origin as a means to commu-

nicate. To this end, Sifakis & Sougari (2004) suggest offering both native and non-

native speakers ample practice in order to “render their discourse internationally com-

prehensible”.
134

Due to this significance of English, the state primary schools began to offer

English-language tuition from the fourth grade in 1992 and from the third grade in

2003, whereas English had been taught in secondary education since 1945. As far as

time allocation to teaching English is concerned, the number of teaching hours is three

45-minute periods a week in primary school, and the first grade of both junior high

school and senior high school, whereas two teaching sessions per week are allotted for

the second and third grades of lower secondary school and upper secondary school. In

the fourth, fifth and sixth grade of elementary school there is a set book issued by the

Pedagogical Institute, which is an institution responsible for advising the Greek Minis-

try of Education on pedagogical and methodological issues. These set books, at the time

of the conduct of the present research, were Fun Way English 1, Fun Way English 2 and

Fun Way English 3 respectively. New assigned books were introduced in the fourth,

fifth and sixth grade of primary school, and the junior high school in the academic year

2009-2010, while for the third grade of primary education and the senior high school,

the teachers of each school can select a book from various independent publishers,

which they consider appropriate for their students.

There are also private FL schools “frontistiria” where parents send their children

to further their English instruction. According to Nikolaou (2004: 61), the proliferation

of private FL schools is indicative of the unsatisfactory level of FL tuition in state

schools. There are four reasons, which render FL schools more prestigious than state

schools: (1) they train their students for all the accredited external examinations (Cam-

bridge, Michigan, State Certificate - KPG, Edexcel, City and Guilds, Toeic, Bulats, Edi)

that are available in Greece, providing them with the opportunity to obtain a much de-

sired recognised English proficiency certificate, (2) classes are much less crowded and

tend to be more homogeneous compared to the ones in state schools, (3) more time is
135

allocated to the teaching of English than the time set by the Ministry of Education for

state schools, and (4) finally, the directors of these schools are free to select more ap-

pealing and effective teaching materials according to the needs of their students. Fur-

thermore, many learners opt for private lessons at home, which give them the opportu-

nity to save time and proceed with English at their own pace.

Within this setting, writing is perceived as very important, as it is through the

writing skills that students will sit for and succeed in the aforementioned proficiency

exams, complete their curriculum vitae when applying for a job either abroad or in

Greece in international companies and communicate with their Internet friends. Moreo-

ver, academics and researchers need to write in English in order to publish their articles

in established journals and cooperate with colleagues all over the world.

Referring to the educational reality in Poland, Reichelt (2005: 215) contends that

various contextual factors shape the English-language teaching of writing in different

situations. In Poland, these factors are: advancement of someone’s career, pressure by

different examining bodies and lack of L1 and EFL writing instruction. The educational

milieu in relation to the English-language teaching of writing is similar in Greece.

Even though the importance of teaching writing in English is more than evident,

up until now, it has not been emphasised per se in state and private language schools.

Rather, it has been perceived as an extension of the other three skills and L1 abilities.

Little attention is paid to writing in the state sector due to time limitations. Although

more time is spent on writing in private language schools, it mainly involves the trans-

mission of certain techniques, in that the learners receive tuition in writing which pre-

pares them for the exams they will sit for later. These exams have an obvious washback

effect on the parents and students’ mentality and expectations, which is reflected in

classroom practice. This means that teachers in reality are expected to provide students
136

with clear-cut formulas to help them cope with writing in the university entrance exams

for the department of English Language and Literature and the other aforementioned

prestigious examinations. Consequently, neither state nor private instruction aims at

enabling the students to acquire viable writing strategies.

As the present thesis concentrates on the state sector, the next section will con-

sider the current educational changes which affect the state curriculum design.

4.3 Philosophical assumptions of education nowadays


Our era is characterised by various social, political, financial and cultural changes.

Moreover, sweeping scientific and technological variations occur. As a result, a new

framework of educational and social needs arises concerning the possession, manage-

ment and implementation of knowledge (Government Gazette 303/13-03-03: 3733).

Access to knowledge and information is of primary importance to personal improve-

ment, while lack thereof leads to social inequity. Moreover, the continuous inventions

and innovations in different scientific fields renew knowledge and propel both individu-

als and societies to adopt life-long learning in order to avoid lagging behind. Further-

more, globalisation creates a social milieu with a variety of cultural, linguistic, racial

and socio-economic properties, which calls for ruling out the predominance of one cul-

tural formula and appearance of instances of racism and xenophobia.

In this emergent situation, it is necessary to establish behavioural models based

on the respect of mental and humanistic values. In this vein, the traditional role of

school, which was constrained to the transmission of knowledge is questioned. Thus,

the Greek school is required to contribute to the shaping of individuals with integrity

and self-awareness and simultaneously satisfy the totality of emotional and cognitive

needs as well as the interests of students. To this end, it is deemed as imperative for the

modern school to establish the subsequent priorities (ibid: 3734):


137

1. to ensure the conditions that will allow the learners to develop a strong cha-

racter with self-confidence, emotional stability, critical reasoning, as well as,

willingness for initiative and collaboration; a democratic and free persona

with social and humanistic values without religious and racial prejudices.

2. to create the opportunity for every single citizen to renew his/her knowledge

and skills through a life-long learning process.

3. to empower students to critically access the technological innovations of in-

formation and communication.

4. to perpetuate the cohesion of society by offering equal learning opportunities

to all people and nurturing positive attitudes and values.

5. to instill the spirit of the European citizen without degrading the national

identity and cultural heritage, though.

6. to promote cooperation and collectivism together with personal responsibili-

ty.

This orientation is consistent with the directives of the European Union about education

as it is declared in article 126 of the Maastricht Treaty (7th February, 1992).

Having presented the educational orientations, which are determined by the so-

cial, political, financial and cultural changes on a global scale, an attempt will be made

in the following sections to analyse the Greek framework of education and curriculum

philosophy.

4.4 The Greek model of education


In the light of the changes mentioned in the previous section and the need for reconcep-

tualisation of the role of the school, the Ministry of Education has defined the following

general principles of education (Government Gazette 303/13-03-03: 3734-3736):


138

(a) Providing general education that entails the familiarisation with the basic compo-

nents of different scientific domains and the development of cognitive and metacog-

nitive abilities, which will enable students to interpret concepts, phenomena and

processes rather than merely memorise and accumulate knowledge.

(b) The cultivation of the students’ skills and interests. According to the tenets of the

Communicative Approach (see chapter 2 – section 2.4.1), the learners must “learn-

how-to learn” in order to approach knowledge actively and creatively, and they

should also “learn how to react” so as to use the knowledge acquired at school to

meet the pressing requirement for specialisation in the job market. In this sense, the

Analytical Programmes of Study will prepare students to confront unemployment

and social exclusion.

(c) Provision of equal opportunities for learning to all students, especially to those be-

longing to minorities or students with special physical or mental needs.

(d) Reinforcement of cultural and linguistic identity in a multicultural society. On ac-

count of globalisation and participation in the European Community, the Greek so-

ciety, nowadays, exhibits a different structure consisting of a vast majority of Greek

citizens and a minority of citizens from other countries. Education must aim at

maintaining the national, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of citizens of

Greek origin, who will respect the cultural and linguistic diversity of other people.

(e) Sensitisation about the necessity of protection of the natural environment. As there

is a two-way relationship between society and education, social needs inform the

content of school knowledge and at the same time the educational system contri-

butes to the development of society. In this perspective, one of the major preoccupa-

tions of school is to sensitise students about the right use of natural resources and

the protection of nature.


139

(f) Rendering the learners ready to exploit the new technologies of information and

communication in order to obtain knowledge critically, and promote individualised

and life-long learning.

(g) Promotion of the physical, mental, emotional and social development of the stu-

dents, which will lead them to self-awareness and make them responsible for the

quality of their own life and the society where they belong.

(h) Sensitisation of learners on issues of human rights, global peace, human dignity,

freedom of speech and prevention of any kind of discrimination.

4.5 General principles of the Crosscurricular Unified Framework of


Programmes of Study for the primary and the junior high school
Following the previously presented principles of education in Greece (section 4.4) and

the international radical changes (section 4.3), the Greek Ministry of Education com-

missioned the Pedagogical Institute with the design of the new Crosscurricular Unified

Framework of Programmes of Study and the individual/discrete Analytical Programmes

of Study for the primary school and junior high school, which comprise the compulsory

education (Government Gazette 303/ 13-3-2003). These had to be in accordance with

the Greek Constitution and the directives of the European Union. The former deter-

mines the emotional, mental, professional and physical education of Greek citizens,

aiming at the development of their national and religious identity, and their nurturing

into free and responsible individuals (article 16, paragraph 2, 2001). The latter favours

the development of European citizens who will preserve their national heritage and at

the same time be willing to cooperate with people from other countries towards a uni-

fied Europe. Particularly, following the global tendency, the European Union, according

to Karatzia-Stavlioti (2002), prioritised modifications in the educational contexts of its

member states, focusing on curriculum innovations based on the integration of the


140

crosscurricular approach.1 The basic assumption of the crosscurricular paradigm is the

synthesis of school knowledge by abolishing the boundaries of the school subjects fos-

tering, in this way, a multidimensional analysis of concepts that entails diverse subject

areas. At the same time, its target is the promotion of the learners’ critical reasoning,

discovery of knowledge and socialisation.

The prevalent model of the Greek educational system so far has been the dis-

crete teaching of the various scientific subjects, leading thereby to the compartmentali-

sation of the national curriculum. The new component in the revised curriculum, which

is, at the same time, its organising principle, is the crosscurricular approach (henceforth

CCA) which, as Karatzia-Stavlioti (2002) maintains, is a holistic perception of know-

ledge that allows students to formulate a personal opinion about different scientific is-

sues that are interrelated and connected to every day life. In this light, students will form

their own “cosmo-idol”, their own cosmo-theory about the world they live in. The new

element aims at applying a new pedagogical trend to teaching that emphasises the inte-

gration rather than the individualisation of knowledge, with a target to easing the syn-

thesis of information, the weaving of school subjects and the collaboration of teachers.

It is claimed (ibid: 62) that the CCA is both content-oriented, as it focuses on the con-

tent of teaching, and process-oriented concentrating on the procedure of teaching and

learning. The CCA is based on the principles of active involvement in the acquisition of

knowledge, which should be infused in the new books to be used in primary and sec-

ondary schools. Matsaggouras (2003: 107 - 111) puts forward the most important of

them:

1. Student-centredness. Learners should be trained to take decisions either in-

dividually or cooperatively, get involved in planning the activities they will

1
Matsaggouras (2003: 48 - 50) opts for the term “inter-disciplinary” approach rather than crosscurricular
since the discrete subjects are kept as the key elements of organising school knowledge.
141

engage in and finally receive practice at self-evaluating both the product and

the process of their learning according to the preset aims.

2. Active involvement in learning. Throughout the learning process, the stu-

dents select and process knowledge, and reach conclusions through expe-

riential learning. Nunan (2004: 12) corroborates that experiential learning is

a fundamental concept for task-based language teaching and curricula. This

approach considers the students’ experience as an impetus for the learning

process. Students develop intellectually and cognitively when they are ac-

tively involved in tasks, the central point of experiential learning being the

notion of “learning by doing”, which is contrary to the passive transmission

of knowledge from the teacher to the students.

3. Discovery of knowledge. Through problem-solving and knowledge discover-

ing, learners “learn-how-to-learn” and acquire viable strategies.

4. Collaboration. Collaboration refers both to student-teacher relationships and

student-student ones. It should be noted that self-dependence is promoted

within a context of cooperative communication, whereby there is mutual

trust, sharing of information, confrontation of ideas, acceptance of the diver-

sities of other people, free expression and collaborative action.

5. Provision of information. There is a clear-cut distinction between informa-

tion and knowledge as stated by Matsaggouras (2003). In this perspective, it

is imperative for teachers to provide students with relevant information that

will be the departure point to build knowledge by means of various

processes.

6. The holistic approach. It consists of two components, the first being that the

children should be engaged in learning with their whole entity, that is, cogni-
142

tively, emotionally and kinaesthetically. The second tenet of this methodolo-

gy maintains that acquisition of new elements should always be done

through continuous reference to the overall system they belong to. Trans-

lated into classroom milieu, this means, that the students must synthesise the

various parts of the puzzle of knowledge bearing in mind the final represen-

tation, which will arise with the completion of the puzzle.

These key principles of the CCA are best achieved through project work, which,

as Chrysaphidis (1998; cited in Glabadanidou, 2004) maintains, is a course of action

that has been agreed upon and well-organised in advance by both teachers and students,

and which aims at the solution of a particular problem. It is pointed out by Matsag-

gouras (2004) that even though the eminent pedagogist J. Dewey (1916) first employed

the principles of project work, it was W. Kilpatrick in 1918 who first used the term and

exemplified its methodology in his article “The Project Method”.

In school reality, projects entail carrying out certain themes chosen by the child-

ren. The most frequent activities in the context of a project are experiential and commu-

nicative, encourage participation, initiative, collaboration, creativity and dialogue, and

relate the programme to everyday life and as a result connect school with local commu-

nity. The emphasis is on formulation of small groups, which is the most effective strate-

gy to carry out a project.

This section analytically described the principles and underlying components of

the Crosscurricular Unified framework of Programmes of Study. An attempt will be

made in the subsequent section to describe the organisation of the curriculum.


143

4.5.1 Structure of the curriculum

Based on the directives of the Common European Framework (2001), the new curricu-

lum has been organised in two different axes, which, nevertheless, are parallel and com-

plementary and allow for inclusion of partial objectives and competences:

There is a vertical axis consisting of independent subjects, which, as Matsaggou-

ras (2002: 31) puts forward, intends to ensure cohesion within a specific field of know-

ledge from one unit to another, from one grade to the following, from primary to sec-

ondary education.

The second means of organisation of the curriculum is the horizontal axis inter-

relating the various fields of knowledge through a parallel or successive teaching of dif-

ferent issues by means of many disparate subjects and the realisation of crosscurricular

activities and projects.

Three parameters must be taken into consideration for the effective application

of the above axes:

1. The aims of education of every cycle, namely primary and secondary school.

2. The continuation of the independent teaching of each school subject (Gov-

ernment Gazette, 303/13-03-2003: 3738).

3. The existing educational situation, which must be upgraded qualitatively.

The first contradiction in the design of the curriculum arises here in the second

dimension mentioned above. Although the new curriculum favours the crosscurricular

connection of the various school subjects, at the same time it very clearly defines the

maintenance of discrete scientific fields as one of the major goals of education.

The current curriculum, as all the previous ones, is “fully centralised” (Nunan,

1988: 21), devised by a government department and then disseminated to the learning

institutions which are under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. It was published
144

by the Pedagogical Institute on behalf of the Ministry of Education and contains guide-

lines for both primary and lower secondary schools. The curriculum is organised in two

cycles, one for the elementary education and the other for junior high schools.

In primary school, in particular, the revised curriculum has as a target the estab-

lishment of basic concepts and values and the development of a positive attitude to-

wards learning throughout one’s life, collaboration and responsibility. These goals have

to be consistent with the students’ individual needs and their perceptive and emotional

level.

An analysis of the philosophy, basic components, structure and nature of the

new national Greek curriculum along with specific suggestions for its best realisation

was discussed in sections 4.4 - 4.5.1. The subsequent section will focus on the individu-

al subject curricula.

4.6 The related Analytical Programmes of Study or Individual Subject


Curricula
The general part of the Crosscurricular Unified Framework of Programmes of Study can

be regarded as the basic frame of reference for the design of the framework of the vari-

ous school subjects and the relevant Individual Subject Curricula (Government Gazette:

303/13-03-2003: 3740). Regarding its structure each Individual Subject Curriculum in-

cludes:

1) Goals. These are in line with the general aims of the educational system and take

into account the students’ age and perceptive level.

2) Objectives. They represent the guidelines for the organisation of the content of

the subjects and are divided into cognitive ones referring to the acquisition of

knowledge, affective objectives entailing the learners’ emotional development

and adoption of positive attitudes, and finally psycho-kinetic ones involving the
145

fostering of pupils’ practical skills, which are essential for their school career

and later life.

3) Thematic units. The content of each subject derives from the corresponding dis-

cipline after any necessary modifications. This content is arranged in a spiral

way, thereby obviating overlapping and repetition. Moreover, continuity of

knowledge is ensured and integration of knowledge from different disciplines is

sought. Last, flexibility in content selection is of paramount importance in order

to adjust to rapid changes in scientific and technological development.

4) Indicative activities. They are divided into two major categories: Subject-

oriented activities promoting the aims of a specific domain and cross-thematic

ones involving diverse school subjects.

5) Suggested methodological approaches. These refer to effective teaching practic-

es in every subject, which contribute to the holistic development of learners as

individuals and social beings. The following teaching strategies are recommend-

ed to be used either separately or in combination:

i. Exploration and discovery. It helps learners to acquire knowledge by

themselves by means of learning “how-to-learn”. It involves the techniques

of observation, comparison, measurement, classification, brainstorming and

experimentation, to name only a few.

ii. School trips to the environment. This contact with the natural and human-

made environment is in accordance with experiential learning and can, in

the long-run, help students with their career choice.

iii. Presentations using appropriate teaching aids. Such materials include

transparencies, videotapes, computers, models, etc. rendering, thus, learn-


146

ing easier and more natural. Special care should be taken to enable stu-

dents to discriminate between virtual reality and the real world.

iv. Teacher-pupil discussions and group discussions. Discussions empower

students to question, evaluate, reach conclusions or express their opinions.

v. Direct method of teaching - Narration. The teachers can use this tradi-

tional way of teaching whenever it seems appropriate.

vi. Collaborative teaching. It offers an ideal context for collective data

processing or as a means for promoting personal learning.

This part of chapter 4 concentrated on the philosophical assumptions and prin-

ciples of the Individual subject curriculums. The next section (4.7) will refer to the

overall aims and specific objectives of the curriculum for English.

4.7 The individual curriculum for English


Following the general tenets of CCA and the individual subject curricula, the curricu-

lum for English was designed (304/13-03-2003: 4085 - 4113) for the three years of pri-

mary school - fourth, fifth and sixth grade and lower secondary school. Later, the curri-

culum for the third grade of primary school was also defined (1325/ 06-09-2003: 1- 21).

The main aim of teaching English is to contribute to the cultivation of the pupils’ ability

to use English in real-life communication situations, in predictable or unpredictable

contexts, which will help them in their personal, school and social life in the short-term

and at the same time empower them to cope with the requirements of their later social

and professional life, in the long-run. The communicative orientation follows Widdow-

son’s (1978: 3) attitude about “usage” and “use”, whereby “usage” is the manifestation

of correct knowledge of the language system and “use” is the appropriate exploitation of

this knowledge for a communicative purpose. The current curriculum aspires to be


147

learner-centred (Nunan, 1988), since it intends to assist learners to gain the necessary

communicative and linguistic tasks rather than just acquire the totality of the language.

Teaching English is determined by a framework of guiding principles whose basic

components are literacy, multilingualism and multiculturalism. Literacy leads to the

mastery of the structure of language through acquiring listening, speaking, reading and

writing skills. In this sense, language can be seen as an end in itself. Multilingualism

embraces English with a new dimension rendering it a social and cultural medium apart

from a communication code. Multiculturalism results from the communication with na-

tive and non-native speakers, which is conducive to a multicultural awareness (Gov-

ernment Gazette 304/13-03-2003: 4086 - 4113).

In such a framework, the overall aim is not compartmentalised knowledge from

the single domain of the English subject but rather the participation in the process of

learning through cooperative techniques drawing upon diverse scientific disciplines in

accordance with the inter-disciplinary and crosscurricular approach.

The teaching of English aspires, in particular, to promote the students’ linguistic

education and communicative ability.

The linguistic aspirations are as follows:

• Broadening the communicative spectrum of the students.

• Enabling learners to use a foreign language to search for, access and process

information which is relevant to their needs and interests.

• The opportunity to become familiar with other ways of organising thought.

• The development of the key skill of “learning how-to-learn” through expe-

riential learning.

• The promotion of “linguistic awareness”.

• Empowering a person to act as a mediator.


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• Familiarisation with other cultural values and attitudes.

Communication by means of the English language implies:

• Mastery of the basic elements about the structure and function of the foreign

language.

• Development of:

a. receptive skills, namely reading and listening

b. productive skills, which entail the transmission of messages encoded in

short or long texts through speaking and writing

c. communication skills, which serve information exchange between two or

more people

d. communicative strategies that assist the achievement of communication

e. the capacity of parallel use of mother tongue and L2 and transference of

messages from one medium to the other. This parallel use of the two lan-

guages can ensue naturally through crosscurricular activities.

The curriculum is divided into two parts: one for primary education and the oth-

er for lower secondary education. The objectives of the curriculum for primary school

children include: (a) the acquisition of the phonemic and graphemic system of the lan-

guage; (b) comprehension and production of written and oral discourse; (c) interpreta-

tion of unknown words through context; (d) development of cognitive and linguistic no-

tions e.g. existence, space, time, quantity, relativity of actions and events, and logical

processing; (e) practice of language functions such as asking for information, thanking,

apologising and forgiving, enumerating, summarising, agreeing or disagreeing, asking

for and giving directions, narrating an experience and expressing emotions; (f) parallel

use of L1 and L2 or transference from one medium to the other; and (g) development of

the ability to “learn how-to-learn”, to discover, cross-check and disseminate informa-


149

tion, to predict and hypothesise to mention only a few (ibid: 4088- 4098). Various in-

dicative themes and activities are provided to assist the realisation of the aforemen-

tioned objectives. The curriculum for high school involves more complex notions, func-

tions and communicative activities.

As far as writing is concerned, the curriculum clearly defines the required skills

of the students of primary schools (ibid: 4089 - 4090, 4094 - 4097). The learners are re-

quired to produce short descriptions of their family, other people, animals, objects, daily

life, free time activities, their future plans, and finally past, present and future events.

They should be able to utilise information from various sources in order to develop a

written text regarding healthy diet such as a recipe, visits to museums and monuments,

holidays and various professions. They ought to be in a position to write letters or e-

mails thanking, apologising, accepting apologies, and expressing likes and dislikes.

They are expected to produce short stories or imaginary fairy tales and to narrate ex-

periences. Finally, especially in the sixth grade, where they are considered as more ad-

vanced, they must possess the ability to produce coherent written texts including linking

words, relative clauses and expressions which show that they can discern the differences

among the various verb tenses.

It seems that the CCA will have a beneficial influence in the teaching of English,

as it will not be taught in isolation but in connection with the other subjects emphasising

its contribution to communication and pinpointing the usefulness of studying English to

students. Moreover, by means of project work, English will be employed as a source of

information and communication rather than a boring collection of grammar rules and

accumulation of vocabulary. Finally, the new curriculum for the teaching of English,

which is learner-centred and task-based through projects and other activities, is in line

with the underpinning principles of the process approach to teaching writing. Special
150

care should be taken, though, to avoid overemphasis of the crosscurricular aspect at the

expense of the acquisition and exploitation of English as a foreign language.

4.7.1 Applicability of the process paradigm to the new curriculum

Having outlined the key elements and aims of the general curriculum and the individual

curriculum for English, an attempt will be made in this section to examine the appropri-

ateness of the process paradigm to the new curriculum philosophy.

The appropriateness of the process approach to different EFL students depends

on the overall educational, social and cultural philosophy of a nation. Heath (1991), a

researcher on language socialisation, claims that different cultures view individuals in a

diverse way. In America, individuality is stressed and students are encouraged to ex-

press their opinion. Group work is also valued and learners are often engaged in colla-

borative work. Other cultures, nevertheless, credit learning in groups more and down-

grade individual initiatives. Having conducted a research in the orientation of the Chi-

nese educational system, Cortazzi & Jin (1996) pointed out that there is lack of the no-

tions of individuality, self-expression and experiential learning, because the priority is

to be part of a group or community. In this setting, knowledge is the product of mastery

rather than discovery. Therefore, “process writing” may be more suitable to students

from Western countries, where individuality, self-discovery and learning-how-to-learn

is socially embedded and follows the values of local cultures, rather than students from

backgrounds where the personal element is downplayed to the benefit of the collective

effort.

This tenet was verified by Scollon (1991) through his research with his Taiwa-

nese university ESL students who had difficulty in accepting the process approach, due

to the lack of credit for the autonomous mind in the Eastern cultures. Moreover, Nelson

& Carson (1998: 126, 127) (see section 3.5.6), investigating peer revision with Chinese
151

and Spanish tertiary students, concluded that their Chinese students focused on agree-

ment, fearing that if they threatened the “face” of their fellow students, they would jeo-

pardise the group harmony. Thus, their performance of consensus rather than disagree-

ment was due to their culturally inherent values of empathy and conformity, preventing

them from giving productive feedback. The Spanish students, on the other hand, exhi-

bited no culturally-originated inhibitions to articulate their opinion valuing, thus, the

improvement of the essay more than the maintenance of the social relations of the

group.

In some countries, like America and the United Kingdom, peer revision is orga-

nised as a cooperative group activity in which students comment on each other’s writing

in an effort to achieve individual improvement. Specifically, Elbow (1973), speaking of

the advantages of peer or group feedback, contends that writers little by little develop

their judgement, become able to distinguish what is bad or good and eventually use their

fellow students’ comments to improve individually. Taking this notion a step further,

Atkinson (1997) states that the social aspect of critical thinking is linked with indivi-

dualism, in the sense that cultures which prize uniqueness as a person favour the expres-

sion of personal voice as long as the “rules and the roles” (Heath, 1991: 12, 13) of the

others are respected.

Another substantial issue contributing to the success of the application of the

process approach is the notion of textual ownership in the educational and academic set-

ting of a country. Ramanathan & Atkinson (1999) highlight that in the USA text owner-

ship is considered as vital, while borrowing an author’s ideas without acknowledging

the appropriate references equals stealing called plagiarism. In other cultures, though,

like in India learning by heart, even whole essays is a highly praised practice, hence

students are expected to memorise texts as a demonstration of academic progress and a


152

means to succeed in academic exams. Atkinson (personal communication, October 20,

2006), reaffirmed the significance of culture on teachers’ attitudes about educational

expectations but cautioned against stereotype biases.

In light of the above discussion, it is obvious that process writing is more appli-

cable in student-centred educational systems, which promote critical thinking and self-

discovery of knowledge along with group work. The new national curriculum with its

emphasis on the crosscurricular aspect favours self-development through personal and

group exploration, because its foundation is learner-centredness and task-based learn-

ing.

Specifically, for the individual curriculum of English, experiential learning in

language teaching and task-based language instruction play the central role. Kohonen

(1992; cited in Nunan, 2004) presented the most articulate notions of experiential and

task-based learning:

• Emphasis on the discovery and transformation of knowledge within the learner

instead of transmission of knowledge from the instructor to the student.

• Urging the learners to interact in small cooperative groups.

• Adoption of a holistic stance towards content promoting, in this way, the crea-

tion of well-rounded knowledge.

• Embrace of process rather than product through learning how-to-learn, self-

inquiry and development of social and communication skills.

• Concentration on learner-centred rather than teacher-oriented learning.

• Establishment of intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation.

This very basis of the curriculum for English with its focus on learner-

directedness, experiential and task-based learning is ideal for the application of the

process pedagogy, which includes in its core synthesis of knowledge by the students,
153

active collaboration of learners, emphasis on process, development of critical thinking,

problem-solving, social and cognitive skills, and finally a student-directed orientation to

teaching. In this perspective, the process writing approach is seen as ideal for promoting

writing abilities in the primary school, as students are given motivation to experiment

with ideas and forms.

In the high school context, the expectations are quite different, though. Al-

though, the curriculum philosophy also refers to junior high school, the highly exam-

orientation of the Greek educational system counterbalances this philosophy. Since stu-

dents are expected to enrol to university, when they finish the upper secondary school,

through a heavily competitive system after sitting exams in six different subjects ac-

cording to the field they want to study, all the participants in the procedure (students,

teachers, parents) insist on the rote reproduction of these six subjects and the sterile

transmission of knowledge. Knowledge is regarded as something that must be mechani-

cally mastered rather than consciously acquired. In this environment, there is no room

for discovering information, developing learning strategies and promoting both individ-

ual and group growth. It is evident that the process pedagogy will be valued very little

especially in senior high school, where regurgitation of other authors’ opinions is

stressed.

Process writing is similar to task-based learning (Raimes, 1991; Steele, 2005)

and fits perfectly with the crosscurricular philosophy, which relies heavily on tasks. Be-

sides, Brewster et al., (1991) believe that teaching means facilitating discovery, not just

presenting knowledge. This discovery is a salient element of the process paradigm and

allows full rein to the huge potential with which, to varying degrees, children are gifted

by nature. This discovery of knowledge is in accordance with the principles of the new

curriculum as presented in section 4.5 and 4.7.


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4.8 Comparison of the new curriculum with the previous one

The new general curriculum and individual curriculum for the English language have

been discussed so far in this chapter. However, there is a need to refer to the previous

curriculum as well, since the syllabus for primary schools under discussion, that is, the

coursebooks Fun Way English 1, Fun Way English 2 and Fun Way English 3, was de-

signed according to the previous curriculum, although it could be readjusted to fit the

demands of the new one. This syllabus was in effect until the academic year 2009–2010

although the new curriculum was specified in 2003.

4.8.1 Similarities

There are similarities and differences between the current curriculum and the previous

one. The first similarity is their communicative orientation. The present curriculum aims

at rendering the students able to communicate information. Similarly, the old curricu-

lum aimed at the development of the students’ skills and abilities through their commu-

nication with other people (Dendrinos, Triantafillou, Tagglidis, Kosovitsa, Kinigou,

Liarou, Mouzekiti & Sepyrgioti, 1977). Moreover, socialisation, cooperation, citizen-

ship awareness, professional opportunities, development of critical thinking, participa-

tion in discussions, use of technology, promotion of experiential learning and discovery

of knowledge, which will assist pupils to learn how-to-learn are common elements in

both frameworks.

Another similarity concerns the accommodation of new knowledge. The previ-

ous curriculum perceived knowledge as a learning experience (Dendrinos et al., 1997),

which is the result of a complicated spiral process, whereby new information is con-

nected to previously assimilated information and to the students’ prior experiences.

Much in the same vein, in the current curriculum, assimilation refers to the modification
155

of the child’s existing schemes to incorporate new knowledge. One more shared ele-

ment is the fact that both programmes have identical objectives for primary and lower

secondary school children. In the primary school cycle, in particular, students are di-

rected towards the mastery of the phonemic and graphemic system of the language,

comprehension and production of oral and written discourse, practice of similar notions

and functions, parallel employment of the mother tongue and the foreign language and

development of specific skills and abilities (Government Gazette, 304/13-03-2003:

4088 - 4098; Dendrinos et al., 1997: 77 - 89).

A last common characteristic is that the central Authorities in the Ministry of

Education undertook the task of designing the aims and objectives of the curriculum and

syllabus for both programmes. Curriculum planning, which is the first stage in curricu-

lum development, was assigned by the Ministry of Education to the Pedagogical Insti-

tute. The same team also carried out the second stage, that is, the specification of the

“ends and means”. The objectives of the syllabus and the methods to achieve them were

specified, although there is no indication whether and how a needs analysis, which is

considered by West (1994) as imperative for the definition of the goals, took place. The

teachers’ opinion and students’ needs were not investigated in the first place implying

that both the previous and current curricula and the syllabus were imposed on them.

4.8.2 Differences

The most significant difference between the two frameworks is the crosscuricular orien-

tation of the new one. The new curriculum for foreign languages defines a double goal

of teaching modern foreign languages: (a) the development of language skills that will

enable pupils to communicate in different linguistic and cultural milieux, and (b) the use

of language not only for communication purposes, but also as a tool for acquiring and

processing knowledge and information from different subject areas (Government Ga-
156

zette, 304/13-03-2003: 4085). Such an approach was not dominant in the previous cur-

riculum. There was an attempt in the old Analytical Programme of English to benefit

from knowledge from other subjects - i.e. students analyse and draw conclusions from

information on specific cognitive subjects such as History, Religion, Mathematics etc.

transmitted in writing or orally in the classroom (Dendrinos et al., 1997: 76), but it was

fragmentary without constituting a basic element of the design of the curriculum.

A second dissimilarity is the interpretation of the function of language. Although

the previous curriculum prioritised language as meaningful communicative behaviour,

at the same time, it maintained that the English language constitutes a goal in itself, for

example it is demanded from the pupil, to understand and produce simple written and

oral texts (Dendrinos et al., 1997: 77). This dimension of language as a target is not ap-

parent in the new framework. Specifically, even though the new curriculum aims at fos-

tering language skills, that is, reading, listening, speaking, writing, little in its assump-

tions is language considered as a goal (see section 4.7).

A new element prevailing in the new programme, which was not highlighted in

the old one, is multiculturalism and respect of cultural diversity as more and more na-

tions are becoming multicultural and the fabric of society changes by being enriched

with diverse cultural, linguistic, national and socio-economic attributes.

A last difference is that the present curriculum followed the logical sequence of

curriculum design, which entails first the definition of the aims and objectives of the

curriculum and later the presentation of the syllabus. Thus, it was first presented in 2001

and finally articulated in 2003. In 2002 the writing of the new coursebooks for English,

which constitute the new syllabus, started. The new coursebooks were introduced to

schools after seven years, that is, in 2009-2010 with many problems (the CDs and

teacher’s books were not available in the beginning of the school year), while, in the
157

mean time, the old coursebooks Fun Way English 1, Fun Way English 2, Fun Way Eng-

lish 3 were used. In the old framework, a major discrepancy appeared in that the sylla-

bus was defined, and the teaching materials were distributed before the curriculum was

officially published. Therefore, the syllabus was a “syllabus without a curriculum” (Du-

bin & Olshtain, 1986: 44) for two years. In other words, the syllabus was an “a priori”

syllabus (Richards & Rodgers, 2001: 25) determined in advance of teaching.

A curriculum is considered as coherent when there is harmony between its four

stages - planning, specification of ends and means, programme implementation, class-

room implementation - and each level gives feedback to the previous and the next one

(O’Brien, 1999). Seen in this light, it seems that there is no coherence in the Greek pri-

mary school situation. Not only is there lack of cooperation between the four stages of

curriculum development but also some parts are missing: needs analysis and teacher

training in the second and third phase respectively. The teachers’ opinion and students’

needs were not investigated in the first place, and when they were asked through ques-

tionnaires (concerning the previous curriculum and syllabus), they were not taken into

consideration, as there was no change in the coursebooks. The teachers, even after the

introduction of the new coursebooks in 2009 - 2010, prefer to select books from inde-

pendent British or local publishers rather than the set book, because they believe that

they are more reader-friendly and more appropriate for their students. Moreover, the

students’ opinion about the content and the realisation of the curriculum, which is con-

sidered as indispensable by Nunan (1988: 2) in the “learner-centred” methodology, was

not asked. Therefore, both the new and the old curriculums are “student-centred” in the-

ory but “authority-oriented” in practice.


158

This part compared and contrasted the new curriculum with the previous one

and demonstrated inconsistencies in their design. The following section will present the

syllabus of English for the Greek state primary school.

4.9 Presentation of the syllabus of English for the sixth grade of pri-
mary school
The curriculum for the primary education is implemented through the use of a syllabus

for each grade, which, at the time of conducting the present research, were, as already

mentioned, Fun Way English 1 (Sepyrgioti, Karidi & Kosovitsa, 1999) for the fourth,

Fun Way English 2 (Sepyrgioti, Papapetrou, Karidi, Kosovitsa & Kortesi, 2000) for the

fifth and Fun Way English 3 (Sepyrgioti, Papapetrou, Karidi, & Kosovitsa, 1999) for the

sixth grade. Even though the syllabus claims to have a similar orientation with the pre-

vious curriculum, this cannot be true, because the materials writers did not have the re-

quirements of the curriculum in mind when designing them, due to the fact that the syl-

labus was created before the specifications of the curriculum were defined (see section

4.8.2). It is obvious that if the syllabus did not relate to the previous curriculum, in no

way can it be in compliance with the new one, which follows the latest assumptions of

education.

For thirteen years after the introduction of the syllabus to schools, although the

teachers strongly reacted to the quality of the materials and questioned their efficacy,

and even though a new curriculum was introduced in 2003, the same syllabus, which

was outdated, remained and was taught to students until the school year 2009 - 2010.

The description of the syllabus for the sixth form is found in the table of contents of the

coursebook and some instructions about its exploitation are found in the teacher’s book.

Its “underlying methodological philosophy is based on the principles of the communica-


159

tive approach, although the “eclectic” approach has also been exploited in many ways”

(Sepyrgioti, Karidi & Kosovitsa, 1999: 8 -10).

The materials under consideration used for the sixth grade of primary school con-

sist of a student’s book - Fun Way English 3, a workbook, a teacher’s book and a cas-

sette. The book contains 10 units organised under Byrne’s (1986) PPP cycle. According

to this model, the lesson is best presented through three stages:

• Presentation. In this stage students are introduced to new language and func-

tions usually through listening to or reading a text.

• Practice. Controlled practice normally follows the presentation stage. This phase

aims to develop mastery of the language structures with its focus being on accu-

racy.

• Production. During this last phase, the learners try to use language freely in or-

der to develop fluency skills both at speaking and writing.

Each unit in the book begins with a picture story giving the new language and

functions in context. The stories are presented in dialogues, which are escorted by rec-

orded material whereby the characters are native speakers. There is a continuity of

theme talking about the life of the children of two families - the Browns and the Greens.

The topics are appropriate to the students’ level - ‘me’, ‘my family’, ‘my town’, ‘shop-

ping’, ‘the environment’. Although the subject matter refers to the students’ interests

such as mysteries and aliens, it is clearly a pretext for language work.

Graded tasks (recognition, guided/free practice) follow so that pupils are ade-

quately exposed to the language. In recognition activities, the students are demanded to

identify the language structures and functions provided in each unit, in guided practice

tasks they are offered the opportunity to master these structures focusing on correct

forms, while in free practice exercises the learners use the language in real-life situa-
160

tions. A reading text, which is relevant to the theme of the unit, is included. These texts

are “specially written” materials constructed for the second language learner, which “at-

tempt to maintain the authenticity of genre” (Wallace 1992: 79). Every unit requires a

piece of writing through project work related to the thematic subject of the unit. Accord-

ing to Piaget (1951; cited in Andrews et al., 2000, Vol.1, Unit 3), project work can help

children learn and develop, since it engages them in investigative work, encourages

autonomous learning and allows for crosscurricular work. This link with the other sub-

jects taught at school is regarded by various linguists (Gibbons, 1991; Bearne, 1998;

Andrews, Hunter, Joyce, Superfine, O’Brien & Thorp, 2000) as an approach, which sat-

isfies the needs of all pupils. In this sense, this syllabus exhibits some scarce elements

of the new crosscurricular programmes of study. At the end of each unit, there is a sec-

tion called extension” which entails revision, recycling of the new language and further

elaboration of the topic with a text and “pre-reading” exercises, “while-reading” activi-

ties and “post-reading” ones to help the students negotiate with the passage.

The recorded material includes the tapescripts of the picture stories and the lis-

tening tasks. The materials producers contend that the students benefit by using the cas-

settes as they listen not only to native speakers, but also to the voices of native children

of their age (Sepyrgioti et al., 1999). The passages on the cassette, however, are read

aloud without displaying the features of spontaneous speech like repetitions, pauses,

hesitations, incomplete sentences, fillers (i.e. er, mm) and overlapping of speakers, as

suggested by Brown and Yule (1983), so as to enable students to receive practice and

finally acquire real-life spoken discourse.

The workbook provides practice through more graded exercises, which exem-

plify the topic and the structures presented in the main coursebook. The teacher’s book
161

provides detailed lesson plans and suggests ways of using the various sections of the

course.

Following the aforementioned description, one can conclude that the teaching

materials for the sixth grade under discussion exhibit a “coursebook-based frame-

work”.2 There are certain advantages in the present framework due to the fact that it is

sequenced, tidy, ready-made, time-saving and invaluable for inexperienced teachers.

Nevertheless, it exhibits certain shortcomings, because it leaves teachers little initiative

to employ other materials due to time constraints. The materials designers encourage the

teachers to adapt the various parts according to the needs of their specific students, sup-

plementing it with materials of their own and providing additional or remedial work.

Moreover, the new curriculum had rendered it imperative to use new materials under its

underlying philosophy, since these coursebooks were out-dated and needed renewal.

Nevertheless, the instructors do not have enough time or the appropriate expertise to

create and utilise extra teaching materials.

Having presented the sixth grade syllabus, the following section will display its

classroom realisation.

4.10 Evaluation of the syllabus implementation in classroom reality


This section will compare the principles of the curriculum and the aspirations of the syl-

labus designers, on the one hand, and the way in which they are realised in the syllabus

under consideration, on the other. Classroom implementation entails decisions that

gauge the nature of teaching and learning in the classroom milieu. An effort will be

made to examine whether there is alignment between the stated goals of the syllabus

and what really happens in practice.

2
A “framework” (Andrews et al. 2000, Vol.1, Unit 3: 3) is a diagrammatic representation of a course
outline clearly stating the targets of this course and showing how diverse elements interconnect to reach
totality.
162

Dubin and Olshtain (1986) support the view that a curriculum entails a broad

description of general aims, whereas a syllabus translates the philosophy of the curricu-

lum into a series of sequenced steps leading towards more specifically defined objec-

tives. The main target of the current curriculum is the development of the students’

communicative and linguistic ability as explicated in section 4.7.

A first reading of the teacher’s book gives the impression that the aim of the syl-

labus is in accordance with that of the previous and the present curriculum. The syllabus

designers claim that they followed the principles of the “communicative” approach and

that the “eclectic” approach has also been exploited in many ways (Sepyrgioti et al.,

1999: 8) in order to fulfil one of the main purposes of the syllabus, which is to encour-

age learners to use the foreign language to talk and write about themselves, as well as

the world around them and to process the information they receive in English. The stu-

dents’ receptive and productive skills, which have already been mastered in their mother

tongue, are developed and practised in the target language. The learners’ prior know-

ledge is mobilised and a communicative context is created in order to enable them to

interact in a natural and purposeful way. New grammatical items, language functions

and forms are presented to pupils through activities calling for communication (ibid: 9).

The objectives of the syllabus are presented to be in alignment with those of the

curriculum as they were articulated in section 4.7 and 4.8 of the present thesis. The stu-

dents of this level have mastered the phonemic and graphemic system of the English

language. Cognitive and linguistic notions are specified: existence (e.g. some, any, no),

time (e.g. going to, past continuous), quantity (i.e. comparative, superlative), quality

(i.e. physical condition: well, bad, healthy), and relativity of actions and events (e.g. ad-

verbials of frequency). Moreover, language functions such as expressing opinions and

beliefs, giving advice, and expressing obligation are practised.


163

A careful inspection of the materials, nevertheless, shows an inconsistency be-

tween the proclaimed aims of the materials writers and the actual contents of the book.

Although, the central point of the syllabus is to aid learners to communicate in real-life

situations, there are few communicative activities to facilitate the pupils to interact by

receiving and transmitting information. On the contrary, most tasks fail to activate per-

sonal involvement of the learners, due to the fact that most of the times they involve

purposeless repetitions of the same structures.

The materials display some other problematic areas, as well, such as overde-

manding vocabulary, which is at times inappropriate to the students’ level, e.g. water-

vendors and maiden voyage. There are no authentic texts as all the input materials for

listening and reading are specially written for the second language learner. Thus, the

students are deprived of the opportunity to interact with passages produced by real writ-

ers/speakers for real readers/listeners outside the classroom, which will help them de-

velop their predictive and inference skills and eventually prepare them to interact ade-

quately with real-world input. Most of the activities for the receptive skills aim at test-

ing comprehension rather than actually mobilising the skills and helping them develop

transferable abilities. Speaking tasks are mainly used to practise language not the skill

itself, since they do not have an “information gap”, so there is no obvious reason for

students to speak in order to communicate a message. They are highly controlled focus-

ing on correct forms with the learners repeating the model language. Almost all writing

activities in the coursebook assign writing as a project without helping the pupils to

generate proper ideas and relevant language and produce well-organised texts. In gen-

eral, there are no tasks that engage students in meaningful writing activities (i.e. the

purpose, audience and context of the requested writing are inadequately presented).

Moreover, the four skills are taken for granted and are, consequently, tested rather than
164

taught and practised in order to help students become efficient readers, writers, listeners

and speakers. Finally, the four skills are treated separately instead of in an integrated

way, which is contrary to the use of language skills in every day communication as was

presented in section 2.5 of the present thesis.

The teaching framework of the sixth grade of the Greek state school at the time

of the current research was described and evaluated in this section in an attempt to trace

its inadequacies. From the above mentioned shortcomings of the syllabus, the present

researcher decided to concentrate on ameliorating writing, because “writing is a skill

traditionally viewed as difficult to acquire” (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1987: 4). Advanc-

ing this notion, Nunan (1989) refers to writing as the most difficult of the four skills for

both first and second/foreign language users. He states that all children, except those

with disabilities, learn to comprehend and speak their native language. Not all of them

learn to read, while fewer manage to write fluently and legibly. An effort will be made

in the following two sections to show how the teaching of writing can be improved, fol-

lowing the latest methodological principles for developing writing discussed in the lit-

erature about writing and in research findings about young learners, as they were ana-

lysed in chapter two and three of this thesis.

4.11 Development of writing in the sixth grade syllabus: A proposed


framework for its improvement
Writing in the coursebook Fun Way English 3 is mostly developed through project

work, which can be carried out either in groups e.g. (1) preparing a school exhibition

with pictures and captions about the environmental problems (Unit 2), (2) organising

radio and TV commercials, writing invitation cards, making an advertising poster or

preparing a newspaper announcement with a view to advertising their school bazaar

(Unit 3), and (3) writing a funny version of a well-known fairy tale or both in groups
165

and individually e.g. (1) presenting a funny accident through a comic strip (Unit 4), (2)

describing a monster of the Greek mythology using pictures and captions (Unit 5), (3)

making a questionnaire to find out about their fellow students’ lifestyle (Unit 6) (4) de-

scribing their ideal holidays accompanied with a map and pictures (Unit 7), (5) looking

for information in encyclopaedias and magazines in order to describe one traditionally-

living tribe (unit 8), and (6) designing a questionnaire about their fellow students’ ex-

periences and presenting them in a draft (Unit 9).

There are also writing assignments in the workbook: a description of their holi-

days, their best friend and their pet (Unit 1), a letter to their penfriend about their birth-

day party (Unit 2), a letter to a penfriend describing their ideal school (Unit 3), a de-

scription of a monster (Unit 5), a description of one’s neighbourhood in twenty years

from now (Unit 7), and a short story guided by a picture and questions (Unit 10).

Since the written assignments of both the coursebook and the workbook are

mostly assigned as homework, there is no time in the classroom to develop the students’

writing skills. As a result, it was deemed appropriate to attempt to create a parallel syl-

labus for teaching writing, for the purpose of the current research, following Harley’s

(1998) tenet who points out that, when a characteristic in second language proves defi-

cient, it is worth planning a part of the syllabus to ameliorate it. Consequently, a parallel

syllabus was prepared following the process writing approach and the crosscurricular

orientation of the Analytical programmes of study. This supplementary syllabus consists

of seven writing lessons aimed to be taught to the experimental groups of the research.

The content of these lessons is based on the written assignments of the coursebook and

workbook Fun Way English 3, so as to provide the opportunity to require similar pieces

of writing of both the experimental and control groups with a view to obtaining compa-

rable results.
166

The proposed framework is based on Figure 6 (p. 167) showing the stages of

process writing. This framework was fully analysed in section 3.2.2. but it is presented

again for convenience. The writing lessons will be organised around this framework as

follows:

A. Awareness: it involves the social situation, purpose, audience, genre and topic and it

includes planning and generating.

B. Creation: it consists of drafting, responding, revising, redrafting, responding, revis-

ing, redrafting and finally editing in compliance with the social situation, purpose, audi-

ence, genre and topic.

As can be easily seen from Figure 6 all parts interact and give feedback to each

other. During the awareness stage, the social situation, the aim, the intended reader, the

discourse type and the topic of a specific written assignment will be identified. Useful

ideas will be activated through brainstorming, mindmapping, classroom discussion, use

of other subjects and employment of information from various sources, such as bro-

chures and magazines. Relevant vocabulary will be elicited through tasks requiring tran-

sition of information from a passage to another medium such as notes, charts and grids.

Different discourse types will be explored by asking students to identify the characteris-

tics of diverse passages, while the coherence and organisation of a written text will be

practised through the use of cohesive devices, ordering jumbled paragraphs to create a

text, and comparing and contrasting similar texts.

In the second stage - that is, creation- the students will try to produce their first

draft using prompts such as notes, visuals, tables, etc. The teacher or the peers will re-

spond to this first draft enabling the learner to revise and redraft it. Successive drafts

will be produced and revised in a similar way until the final product will be edited fol-

lowing the task requirements which were analysed during awareness by the students
167

including the topic, the social situation, the target audience, the purpose and the organi-

sation of the required text. This piece of writing will be corrected by the teacher in order

to provide the final feedback to students.

Social
Situation
+
Purpose
+
Audience
+
Gentre
+
Topic

Teacher Revising Writer

Text

Figure 6 The proposed model of process writing


168

Having proposed a framework for improving the teaching of writing in the sixth

grade of the Greek state primary school, the parallel writing syllabus will be presented

along with the justification for its selection in the subsequent section.

4.12 The parallel syllabus: appropriateness to process writing, the new


curriculum, the principles of teaching writing and theories about
young learners

This section will introduce the supplementary syllabus and discuss its alignment with

the process writing approach, the CCA of the new curriculum, the principles of teaching

writing (see chapter 2) and theories about how young learners learn a foreign language.

Lesson One (appendix IX) aims to familiarise students with different discourse

types and realise the influence of the target reader and the purpose of writing on the

produced text. The passages are relevant to the students’ interests, and their level is ac-

cording to Krashen’s “i+1”, a little beyond the students’ linguistic level, so as to engage

them in a challenging but not threatening learning situation. With the exploration of the

characteristics of each text, the young learners are “scaffolded” to decide on the layout

of different genres. The students’ “interpersonal intelligence” is mobilised, since they

work in pairs or groups.

The other six writing lessons follow themes, texts or written assignments found

in the coursebook or the workbook in accordance to Brewster et al.’s (1991) proposal to

expect learners in the English lesson to produce a written text which is linked either to a

topic or a story they have received practice on. This constitutes a thematic building of

the parallel syllabus, which has a twofold aim: to present familiar themes and create the

opportunity to introduce similar written assignments to both experimental and control

group. All the stages of process writing are incorporated in each


169

lesson, that is, analysis of the “task requirements/specifications”, generation of ideas,

preparation of a first draft, response by the teacher or a partner, revising by the students,

presentation of a second draft, response by the teacher, revising by the student and edit-

ing of the final product, which receives feedback from the teacher. Throughout the

process there is constant interaction among the students, the teacher and the text. Each

writing lesson focuses on different aspects of error correction such as organisation of

ideas, spelling errors, punctuation errors, deficiencies in the use of verbs, good points,

weak points, etc. (see symbols for error correction appendix VII).

Lesson Two involves the familiarisation with and presentation of a thanking let-

ter, which is included in the new curriculum requirements. It starts with a brainstorming

activity, eliciting students’ prior knowledge about the themes we write in a thanking let-

ter and assisting, in this way, the flowing of ideas in the stage of “generating ideas”, as

presented by White & Arndt (1991: 17 - 18).

The students experiment with the organisation of a thanking letter through prob-

lem-solving activities that enable them to work in a challenging learning environment,

which, at the same time, boosts their “linguistic” and “logical-mathematical or abstract

intelligence”. Students produce two drafts and receive feedback from the teacher fol-

lowing a specific checklist. In this way, they are provided with assistance within their

“Zone of Proximal Development” in order to produce their final product.

Lesson Three was designed in line with the affirmation of the importance of in-

tegrating the English lessons with the other subjects in the new Crosscurricular Pro-

grammes of Study. Its content reflects History and Literature, two of the major subject

areas taught in the Greek state school. Students talk about tragedy and comedy and the

masks worn in these two kinds of plays. Moreover, through a quiz they realize that dif-

ferent people may regard different events as either funny or tragic. A “top-down” proc-
170

ess under the “schema theory” (Anderson & Pearson, 1988: 37) is utilised so as to acti-

vate the students’ accumulated knowledge that will lead them to be active participants

in a meaningful, clear context.

The students are offered questions with a view to being assisted to produce their

text, which lowers their “affective filter”. They are “scaffolded” by their peers, after

having received special practice in the correction code (appendix VII), in their first

draft, whereas they receive feedback in their second draft and their polished product

from the teacher.

In Lesson Four, the students are required to write a story using a series of pic-

tures taken from Heaton (1967), which are given in a jumbled order so as to make the

task more challenging, improve the students’ inference skills and train the students to

become more independent and autonomous. Their “visual or spatial intelligence” is de-

veloped through the exploitation of visuals along with their “logical-mathematical intel-

ligence”, as they try to present the sequence of events.

Useful vocabulary is provided taking into consideration the fact that the learners

are still developing linguistically and cognitively, and as a result they need help within

their ZPD. The learners produce two drafts, the first being corrected by their partner,

while the latter is rectified by the teacher and finally they present the final text.

The aim of Lesson Five is to improve the students’ writing skills in a lesson

whereby all four skills are integrated replicating, thus, real life (see section 2.5). Rele-

vant vocabulary is introduced by employing a kitchen robot, based on an idea by Philips

(1993) offering, in this way, valuable assistance to “visual” learners. During listening,

the students are cognitively engaged in an effort to create the discourse type of a recipe

and then they attempt to trace its characteristics in order to assimilate its format. In

terms of error correction, both the good and weak points of the drafts are sought. All the
171

tasks foster autonomous learning and lead students to participate in the process of learn-

ing how-to-learn.

Lesson Six incorporates crosscurricular elements, since the students are given

information about the local History, Geography and Environmental Education in order

to create a travel brochure about their area through the process writing approach. This is

in accordance with one of the requirements of the new curriculum for the English lan-

guage, which demands from students to employ information taken from various sources

in order to develop a written text (see section 4.7). Special leaflets were taken from the

local Prefecture concerning the resorts, the possible activities, archaeological sites, en-

tertainment and shopping, and accommodation of the area the students live in.

The students’ “abstract intelligence” is improved through the elicitation of in-

formation along with their “interpersonal intelligence”, while working in pairs. Learners

are asked to identify the proper layout of a tourist guide and, in this way, they are en-

couraged to be active participants in the learning process, having, therefore, the oppor-

tunity to get practice in learning-how-to-learn and discovery of knowledge, which are

two vital elements of the philosophy of the new curriculum. Furthermore, they interact

in an appropriate, meaningful and enjoyable environment for young learners. The new

element of this lesson is that both the drafts and the final text are written by pairs in-

stead of individual writers, which is a focal point under the collaboration orientation of

process writing. Moreover, the first draft is corrected by another pair, while the second

and final ones are rectified by the teacher.

In Lesson Seven, the students are required to describe their real or imaginary

pet. They brainstorm ideas to be included in a pet description and negotiate the organi-

sation of the required genre with the aim of improving their inference skills and getting

involved actively in the discovery of knowledge. Another description of a pet, written


172

by a student of their age, is given to them after their first draft, so as to compare and

contrast it with their own text and become able to discriminate between bad and good

writing. This is in compliance with the recommendation to introduce texts written by

other people “after the students have written something of their own, so that the text is

now a resource for further ideas rather than a model for mimicry” (White & Arndt,

1991: 5, 6).

The learners are “scaffolded” by using cohesive devices in order to organise

their ideas coherently. The first draft is corrected and modified by the students them-

selves, while they compare it with another text. Their second draft is commented on by

the teacher and the students produce the final product. Only in this way can the students

participate in error treatment and the amelioration of their piece of writing and simulta-

neously develop their “metacognition” (Shorrocks, 1991: 269), which is the ability to

realise and ponder about their thinking and learning process. In this perspective, the stu-

dents learn how-to-learn, reason and manipulate their mental activities.

It follows, therefore, that the most substantial contribution of the proposed writ-

ing framework is that it enables the teacher to use supplementary data in order to help

students unravel the process of writing and acquire transferable writing skills.

4.13 Concluding remarks

The educational context in Greece concerning the teaching of English and specifically

the teaching of writing was presented in this chapter of the thesis. The characteristics

and objectives of education globally nowadays were demonstrated with a view to focus-

ing on new trends of curriculum design. The new national curriculum with its crosscur-

ricular orientation was outlined. The individual curriculum for English was presented

with an emphasis on its requirements about the production of the written mode. An ef-
173

fort was made to investigate the appropriateness of the process pedagogy to the underly-

ing philosophy of the curriculum. The previous curriculum was also described, since the

syllabus under discussion in the present thesis was constructed in accordance to its di-

rectives.

The corresponding syllabus was presented and an attempt was made to locate re-

levance and coherence between the curriculum requirements, the aspirations of the ma-

terials designers and syllabus application in classroom. The shortcomings of the sylla-

bus construction and realisation were highlighted concentrating on the teaching of writ-

ing. An alternative framework for the presented syllabus, with the aim of incorporating

the process writing approach so as to improve the learners’ writing abilities, was sug-

gested.

The next chapter will present the methodology of the research, the hypothesis, the

research questions, the participants, the instrumentation and the implementation of the

writing lessons in the classroom setting.


174

Chapter 5
Methodology of the research

5.1 Introduction
Chapter 5 of the thesis will describe the context and methodology of the research. The

hypothesis and the research questions to be addressed will be presented and their selec-

tion will be justified. The number and profile of participants will be given and the tools

of the study (i.e. questionnaires, interviews, placement test, entry and exit writing test

and writing lessons) will be explicated.

5.2 Research hypothesis


In most researches hypotheses arise from previous studies and are either further devel-

oped or tested in a different situation. In this way, the hypothesis is both based on rele-

vant literature and theoretically informed. The main hypothesis of the current thesis

about the ability of the process approach to improve the learners’ writing performance

derives from a vast amount of literature, as was explicitly presented in chapter two and

three and, simultaneously, it is based on theory. Speaking more specifically, it is based

on a theory of teaching writing and it is informed by the cognitivist, social and expe-

riential view of learning.

In an effort to limit the focus of the hypothesis so as to render it more informa-

tive, the overall aim of this research is defined as follows: to determine the degree to

which the process approach in writing can help the students of the sixth grade of the

Greek state primary school to become better writers in L2.

Therefore, the main preoccupation of the present thesis is to approach the fol-

lowing hypothesis:
175

► The process approach to writing helps sixth grade students of the Greek state primary

schools develop their writing skills in English.

Having decided on the main hypothesis to be addressed in the present thesis, it

was deemed significant to formulate specific research questions, so as to plan and con-

duct the research more effectively.

Consequently, this study will attempt to verify the application of the above men-

tioned hypothesis and trace its implications. Furthermore, a number of research ques-

tions will be tackled with, which are listed below in order of relevance:

• Will the students of the experimental group of the sixth grade of state primary

schools, who receive process writing tuition, outperform the students of the con-

trol group as far as the overall writing ability in English is concerned?

• Will there be any gender differences, as previous research has suggested? More

specifically, will the girls of the experimental group respond more positively to

this approach and present better results than the boys?

• Will the application of process writing positively influence the attitudes and per-

ceptions towards writing of the students of the experimental group?

The results of the research will be used to inform teaching practice as the two processes

seem to feed each other (Mc Donough & Mc Donough, 1997).

5.3 Research design


As the purpose of the research has been set and a concrete hypothesis and research

questions have been articulated, this part of chapter five will indicate how the research

will be operationalised.
176

5.3.1 Method of research

Having conducted a review of the relevant literature about educational research, the

conclusion has been reached that the present research contains elements of three major

research methods: the experiment, the action research and the case study (Nunan,

1992b; Wallace, 1998; Cohen et al., 2000).

In the present context a true experiment is conducted in that a pre- and post-

writing test is employed and careful sampling is applied dividing the subjects into con-

trol and experimental groups, which are compared under controlled conditions. There

are certain independent and dependent variables (i.e. the method of teaching writing, the

students’ performance and attitudes, and gender). More specifically, the writing tuition

is the independent variable and the writing performance as well as the learners’ attitudes

towards writing the dependent ones. Therefore, it can be assumed that if the writing in-

struction is improved, then the students’ writing performance along with their percep-

tions towards writing will be ameliorated too. The variable of gender is also taken into

account in the present thesis, that is, it is explored whether gender affects the students’

reaction to the intervention and their writing competence. The quantitative approach is

followed along with the qualitative one and the results are intended to be conclusive.

There is random assignment of classes as experimental and control rather than assign-

ment of individual subjects. In fact, the students were randomly assigned in these

classes in the first place when they were in the first grade of primary school and re-

mained like this ever since.

There are certain elements of action research in the present research, as there is

a real problem in the classroom concerning the teaching of writing, which must be con-

fronted, and the research is collaborative in the sense that the present researcher is the

teacher of writing and at the same time cooperates with the teachers of the classes. Fur-
177

thermore, it is context-specific, develops reflective practice and links research and class-

room reality.

The characteristics of the case study in our research lie in the fact that detailed

data from various sources are gathered: students’ level, writing lessons, students’ per-

formance and attitudes, students’ gender and teachers’ practices. The aim of relying on

different data is to encompass enough appropriate details, so that an administrator work-

ing on a similar case will be able to correlate his/her decisions to what is described in

the current research. Consequently, there will be an attempt for disseminating the results

through discussing with other colleagues and publishing the findings.

5.4 Methodological approach


5.4.1 Instrumentation

As already stated in the previous section, a combination of quantitative techniques that

yield numerical results and qualitative ones investigating the participants’ perceptions

towards writing has been selected in order to “ensure greater reliability through triangu-

lation” (Hyland, 2002a: 158). The objective was to use more than one method of col-

lecting data in order to ensure a more extensive and balanced research. Furthermore,

exclusive reliance on a single method was avoided, which could affect, bias or even dis-

tort the investigated event. Besides, if the methods contrast, the researcher is more con-

fident about the procedure and results. “If findings are artefacts of method, then the use

of contrasting methods considerably reduces the chances that any consistent findings are

attributable to similarities of method” (Lin 1976; cited in Cohen et al., 2000).

Specifically, the instruments used in the present research are the following:

(1) The Oxford Quick Placement test (2001) administered to identify the level of the 90

participating students (Experimental – 44 students, Control – 46 students).


178

(2) An entry writing test to specify the students’ writing performance in the beginning

of the study.

(3) An exit writing test to detect the students’ writing capacity at the end of the research

with a view to tracing any differentiation between the entry and exit point.

(4) Pilot questionnaires to 90 students the year prior to the study in order to check the

effectiveness of the items and design the final version.

(5) Preliminary and final questionnaires provided to the 90 subjects of the present study

to specify their attitudes towards writing and highlight any dissimilarities in the begin-

ning and the end of the study.

(6) Seven writing lessons based on the written assignments of the coursebook and the

workbook. During these lessons the control group followed the materials of the course-

book, while the experimental group were administered specially-designed materials.

The aim was to explore whether the teaching intervention in the experimental group

would differentiate their writing performance and attitudes towards writing in compari-

son with the one of the control group.

(7) Interviews with five teachers of English to determine their teaching practices in writ-

ing at this level.

These tools will be fully described and justified in sections 5. 6 – 5.10 of the thesis.

5.4.2 Validity and reliability of the tools and statistical methodology

The main preoccupations of a research, is its reliability referring to the extent to which

the scores of an instrument are free from errors of measurement and its validity gauging

how far an instrument measures what it has been constructed to measure (Dörnyei,

2003). In other words, the validity of the study investigates if its outcome is generalisa-

ble and applicable to further studies and similar contexts and, on the other hand, the re-

liability explores the consistency of the produced data. Generalisability in research may
179

be interpreted as comparability and transferability (Cohen et al., 2000), which in the

present writer’s opinion refers to the present study, since its findings can be applied to

the general population exhibiting similar traits. More particularly, the reliability and va-

lidity of each part of instrumentation of the current research will be fully explicated in

the following relevant sections.

5.5 Participants
The focus of this research was placed on the sixth grade learners of the Greek state pri-

mary school, as they already possess enough linguistic background, having received tui-

tion in L2 in the previous three years, to follow a methodology, which will promote

their writing capacity. Furthermore, they have already mastered composing strategies in

their mother tongue that can be transferred to L2 writing.

Rather than just follow ready-made methods and instructions, while conducting

a research, Tsopanoglou (2000: 106, 107) advises researchers to be resourceful and

original. That is, while sampling as well as during other phases of the study, the re-

searchers need to be inventive rather than blindly employ predescribed rules.

Seen from this perspective, a selection procedure for the sample was considered

as necessary regarding the spatial boundaries of this research. In order to achieve more

generalisable results, it would be ideal to implement the study in as many schools as

possible. Such an ambitious plan, nevertheless, would be beyond the available resources

for practical reasons such as the amount of time needed, the requirement of the re-

searcher’s presence in every single teaching institution in order to obtain more reliable

data, as well as, difficulty in collecting and analysing the outcomes. An adequate range

of sampling was, consequently, needed which could provide enough data to draw evi-

dential conclusions. A sample of 44 control students and 46 experimental ones was se-

lected, aiming at having enough data to reach viable and transferable conclusions, be-
180

cause a sample size of 30 is considered to be the minimum number of cases (Cohen et

al., 2000) in order to obtain statistical analysis of the data, while 50 participants are

needed (Dörnyei, 2003) in order to reach statistical significance of the results.

Therefore, the research was conducted in the sixth grade of two state primary

schools in a medium-sized town in Northern Greece exhibiting similar traits as far as

the location and the student population are concerned. Both schools are 1km and a half

away from the town centre. The majority of the students are Greek and a percentage

(8% - 10%) of them belongs to families who have emigrated from the countries of the

former Soviet Union, Albania and Romania. These two schools represent the reality of

the schools in our area, as well as, the vast majority of all Greek state schools, which

have had students of Greek origin and students from immigrant families during the last

seventeen years.

Four mixed proficiency (see 5.5.1) classes participated in the project: two expe-

rimental (44 students) and two control (46 students). One class from each school was

randomly selected as the experimental group, while the other two classes served as con-

trol group. In Greek state schools, the students are allocated in classes alphabetically

minimising, therefore, the risk of selection bias.

A longitudinal research was adopted, whereby we have to establish a way of

identity marking to follow someone’s development and link questionnaires with other

data e.g. codes are given to the participants in order to ensure anonymity and be able to

match various data, at the same time. In this vein, the subjects in the current research

were given a number and a letter according to the group they belonged to - that is E for

experimental or C for control. Thus, the students were given precoded identification

numbers to ensure anonymity and at the same time safeguard matching of response and

respondent and “data linkability” (Dörnyei, 2003: 94). Nevertheless, most of them con-
181

tinued to write their full name on all the documents they produced (i.e. questionnaires,

tests and writing pieces). This is not against the correct practice since Gliksman, Gard-

ner & Smythe (1982; cited in Dörnyei, 2003), advise researchers that if participants in-

sist on writing their name, to explain to them that their identity is needed because we

want to match the original questionnaires with further questionnaires and other data and

that their names will not be disclosed.

Two teachers participated in the research one teaching the experimental and con-

trol classes in one school and the other teaching the two other experimental and control

classes in the second school. Only one of the two colleagues was familiar with the

process writing pedagogy, although she admitted that she did not have time to practise

it, so the researcher had to explain its philosophy to the other teacher. As it would have

taken a lot of time to train the two teachers and the presence of the researcher was re-

quired during the writing lessons so as to monitor the procedure, the researcher decided

to conduct the research by herself to save time and achieve more reliable results. The

two colleagues were present during the writing sessions in their own classes, but it was

the researcher who did the teaching and the research to both the experimental and con-

trol group.

5.5.1 The students’ level

The Pedagogical Institute (http://www.pi.schools.gr) has classified the students of the

sixth grade of primary schools at A2- level of the Common European Framework of

Reference for Languages (to be referred to as CEFR from now on), which is a useful

tool issued by the Council of Europe in order to provide a common basis for the objec-

tives, content and methods for the teaching of foreign languages. A2- level corresponds

to the early/lower Waystage level. A learner at the A2 level is considered an advanced

basic user of the foreign language and globally “Can understand sentences and frequent-
182

ly used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic per-

sonal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communi-

cate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information

on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her back-

ground, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need” (CEFR, 2001:

24). As far as the overall written production is concerned the following requirements

apply to this level: “A2: I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters

in areas of immediate need. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thank-

ing someone for something” (CEFR, 2001: 26).

In an early effort to define the purposes of using an L2, the Council of Europe

commissioned Van Ek & Trim (1998) to create the specifications of Waystage 1990

level, which were later complemented in CEFR (2001). Waystage 1990 offers indicative

functions, notions, sociocultural competence and compensation strategies, which are

appropriate for learners at this level. It was designed primarily around functions and no-

tions, divided into general and specific. Lexical and grammatical forms were not consi-

dered as a starting point, but they were given the secondary role of tools for conveying

meaning.

Later, CEFR assigned equal importance to forms and communication of mes-

sage, claiming that languages are based on an organisation of form and an organisation

of meaning. In this sense, it is evident that a language user should assimilate both forms

and meanings irrespective of the focus of the applied approach.

5.6 Placement test


All four groups participating in the research sat a test to determine their level and ex-

plore if it matches the classification of the Pedagogical Institute, as stated in the pre-

vious section (i.e. A2-). Specifically, the students took the reading, vocabulary and
183

grammar sections of the Oxford Quick Placement test (2001), which is a standardised

test, trialled with more than 5.000 students in 20 countries. Two versions were used to

minimise the risk of cheating. The placement test showed that half of the students of

each class belonged to level A1 and the other half to A2 (control group in school num-

ber one: Α1:13 and Α2: 14, experimental group: Α1: 14 and Α2: 13, control group in

school number two: Α1: 12 and Α2: 6 (5 children were borderline) Β1:1, experimental

group Α1: 08 and Α2: 09) confirming the classification of the Pedagogical Institute of

A2-, that is, between A1 and A2, as mentioned in section 5.5.1.

It is worth mentioning that, although it is a widely accepted reliable test, it con-

sists mainly of texts with topics which are unfamiliar to children without activating any

relevant background knowledge. Consequently, the students have no resources to turn

to, as prior knowledge in the form of schemata of the world in general or a specific cul-

ture is not mobilised in order to aid comprehenders to process the information. Moreo-

ver, Greek young learners are not familiar with this kind of test, which demands cogni-

tive and inference skills rather than purely linguistic ones (e.g., in version 2, page 2 the

students were asked to decide where they can see the following notice: KEEP IN A

COLD PLACE A. on clothes B. on furniture C. on food. The children concentrated on

the word ‘cold’ and selected the first option instead of the correct one which was C as

they deduced that we need more clothes when it is cold).

5.7 Entry writing test - Exit writing test


An entry writing test was given to the participants to monitor their writing performance

and make an attempt to trace any differentiation and improvement at the exit point of

the study. The content of the writing test was chosen following two criteria: (1) the re-

quirements of the students at this level - A2 Basic user as explicitly expressed in the

Common European Framework - CEFR (2001: 24) “Can communicate in simple and
184

routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and rou-

tine matters” and (2001: 26) “I can write a very simple personal letter”, and (2) the writ-

ing tasks they were asked to perform in their previous coursebook Fun Way English 2

which were constricted to sending a card and writing a letter. As a result, the control and

experimental subjects of the research were required to write a simple letter expressing

their feelings about the beginning of the school year, describing their holidays and ask-

ing about their reader’s holidays (appendix IV). This letter fulfils the expected perform-

ance of a basic user at level A2 and at the same time covers the functions and the lin-

guistic structures (grammar, vocabulary range, spelling and punctuation) the partici-

pants were taught at school the year previous to the study.

For the assessment of the writing test, an “assessor-oriented scale” CEFR (2001:

38) was employed to inform the evaluation process. Such scales pinpoint how well the

learners perform and are sometimes negatively worded. Some of them are holistic scales

involving only one descriptor for every level, while others are analytic concentrating on

various aspects of student performance. As a result, holistic assessment is a global one

based on the assessor’s intuition, whereas analytic assessment examines different as-

pects separately having established specific rating criteria for each one of them. In this

sense, an analytic marking scheme was designed, as it provides more detailed informa-

tion about the students’ good and weak points.

In an attempt to form an appropriate rating scale for the participants of this level,

CEFR was thoroughly investigated. Several parameters and categories were found

which, nevertheless, “are indicative classificatory tools without being obligatory” (ibid

CEFR: 109). Waystage 1990 of Council of Europe (CEFR, 2001: 116) prioritises the

communicative functions and notions and regards forms, both lexical and grammatical

of secondary importance. In the CEFR (2001: 116), though, meaning and form are
185

complementary ways of dealing with language and in this perspective they should both

be assessed. More specifically, communicative competence has the following compo-

nents in the CEFR (2001: 118):

• Linguistic competence

• Sociolinguistic competence

• Pragmatic competence

Furthermore, the assessing scale of Cambridge ESOL Examinations KET (1998,

2006) was consulted as it grades the written performance of students of the same level,

that is A2. Useful elements were also taken by the criteria used by the KPG (the state

certificate of language proficiency) (Dedrinos, 2007) for assessing B1 level - as the re-

levant requirements for the A1 and A2 level had not been formulated at the time of the

application of the entry writing test - and an effort was made to readjust them for level

A2-.

Consequently, three criteria with respective sub-criteria, which assess both

meaning and form, were selected to be included in the analytic rating scale:

Criterion 1: Sociolinguistic Competence. If the learner responded in terms of (a) com-

munication of message, (b) fulfillment of required function, and (c) audience awareness.

Criterion 2: Linguistic Appropriateness. The written text was assessed for (a) spelling,

(b) punctuation, (c) grammatical accuracy, and (d) vocabulary range.

Criterion 3: Pragmatic Competence. The written text was assessed for (a) organisation

according to genre, (b) cohesion, (c) style, and (d) coherence.

An analytic marking scheme was formulated (appendix VI) including all the

above parameters ranging from grade 1 (indicating a very poorly-presented text) to

grade 10 (representing an excellent written product for this level). The underpinning

philosophy of the current analytic scale is to trace what the learners have achieved ra-
186

ther than what they have done wrong. At this level, the expectations of students’ written

production are not very demanding. The specifications of CEFR (2001) allow for

breakdowns and misunderstandings especially in non-routine situations. Emphasis is put

on communication of meaning and coherence, whereas linguistic errors which do not

seriously impede intelligibility are permitted following the CEFR directives, i.e. “uses

some simple grammatical structures correctly, but still systematically makes basic mis-

takes” (2001: 114) and “can write with reasonable phonetic accuracy (but not necessari-

ly fully standard spelling) short words that are in his/her oral vocabulary” (2001: 118).

As a result, misspelling, as well as, minor morphological and grammatical errors are not

penalised, unless they affect the response semantically and pragmatically.

An exit writing test (appendix V) of similar difficulty was administered to the

students at the end of the study with a view to tracing their performance and investigat-

ing any amelioration of the proficiency of the experimental group as opposed to the con-

trol one.

Both entry and exit writing tests were graded by two properly trained raters, one

being the researcher and the other an experienced fellow teacher, holder of a Master’s

Degree specialising in the teaching and testing of the four skills in English. Both raters

familiarised themselves with the marking scheme (appendix VI), designed by the re-

searcher, in order to apply the predetermined criteria. A high inter-rater reliability was

achieved as it will be explicitly shown in chapter 7 - section 7.3.3. The entry - exit test

reliability is shown in that they are free of errors of measurement as the great inter-rater

reliability clearly indicates. The validity of both entry and exit tests is great, due to the

fact that they measure the students’ writing performance according to the terms desig-

nated by the rating scale.


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5.8 Questionnaires - pilot, preliminary, final


A questionnaire was administered to the learners in the beginning and the end of the

study with a view to tracing:

1. their attitude towards writing, importance of collaboration, drafting and redraft-

ing, self, peer and teacher correction, purpose, and audience of a written text,

2. their attitude towards specific techniques which can help students improve their

writing, and

3. their background and aim of learning English.

More specifically, the target was to explore whether the aforementioned attitudes were

the same at the entry and exit point of the study or if they changed due to the interven-

tion.

The questionnaire was selected as a useful research instrument for many rea-

sons, because, even though it is time-consuming and labour-intensive in design and

analysis, it exhibits several advantages. First, it saves time to administer and yields data

in a short period of time with a minimum amount of resources. Second, the results are

controlled by questions providing thus, a lot of precision and clarity. Thirdly, the col-

lected data are amenable to quantification. Moreover, it has the advantage of addressing

the target group in a consistent manner.

A pilot questionnaire (appendix I) was given to 90 students of this age in the two

schools participating in the study and two more schools in May 2007, which is the year

previous to the research. The collected feedback from the administration of this pilot

questionnaire was used to formulate the actual pre-study (appendix II) and post-study

(appendix III) questionnaire, which aspired to spot the students’ original preferences,

needs and expectations from writing in general and a writing session in particular and

trace at the end of the observation period whether their perceptions have been modified
188

or remained the same. There were minor alterations to the pilot questionnaire concern-

ing the layout and the wording with the aim of rendering it more reader-friendly.

The content of the applied questionnaire was theory-driven to avoid serious

omissions covering as many aspects as possible (Dörnyei, 2003), (i.e. the process writ-

ing philosophy and the principles employed in the teaching of writing) without being

too long, though. In determining the items scientific knowledge, creativity, common

sense and practicability were used.

Designing the questionnaire


As the main aim of the questionnaire was to seek quantifiable answers, closed-

ended items were chosen involving ready-made response options to choose from by cir-

cling or ticking in the selected box. Their most salient advantage is that coding and ta-

bulation is easy and prevents rater subjectivity. They are suitable for quantitative, statis-

tical analysis because the replies are easily coded and entered into a computer database.

At the same time, these items measure qualitative aspects, that is the respondents’ opi-

nions and beliefs towards writing. Particularly, Yes/No questions and multiple choice

questions, which are easy to answer, were employed. Factual questions were applied,

which “tap divisions in the population being polled” (McDonough & McDonough,

1997: 174). This item was about the sex: male or female. Moreover, ranked items,

which require the informants to rank the alternatives, were used. Finally, scaled ques-

tions in the form of the Likert scale were included.

Only two open-ended items were employed, since they are regarded as uneco-

nomical, even though, they give freedom to participants to elaborate on their opinions:

the last item in part two C – giving reason for learning English and part two E – provid-

ing private language class and coursebook attended.


189

Some parts of the questionnaire were worded by the researcher: (a) General atti-

tudes towards writing, (b) Attitudes towards specific techniques which can help students

improve their writing, and (c) Part two: D and E – Information about attendance of les-

sons in private language schools. The section referring to attitudes towards teacher cor-

rection and attitudes towards peer correction was based on an idea expressed by Hedge-

cock and Lefkowitz (1994), and the second part - Background information about self-

evaluation and purpose for studying English was based on an idea by Oxford (1990:

282). The same questionnaire was given to students at the end of the study to trace any

changes of stance towards writing. The second part of the entry questionnaire was miss-

ing in the exit questionnaire, as it entailed background information, which did not alter.

Content validity of the questionnaire:

The questionnaire was constructed in the students’ mother tongue, since the respondents

are young learners. Then an experienced colleague translated it “back into the original

language as a check on the comparability of the translated version” (McDonough &

McDonough’s, 1997: 178). The validity of the questionnaire was checked with the help

of the supervising professors and then it was piloted. After receiving the feedback from

the piloting and validating the items as far as the statistical items are concerned, the ne-

cessary changes were made and the final version was produced.

Reliability:

The internal consistency of the questionnaire was confirmed through the homogeneity

of the various multi-item scales employed (Dörnyei, 2003). In other words, the homo-

geneous items in the different parts verified the internal consistency of the questionnaire

in its design and consequently its reliability.


190

5.9 Interviews
Interviewing is considered as a useful qualitative method in researching writing. In the

present research, the researcher employed structured interviews whose agenda was to-

tally predetermined by the interviewer by employing a set of questions in a specific or-

der (appendix XI).

These structured interviews were used with the two participating teachers and

three other colleagues working in the Greek state primary school to determine their

teaching practice in writing. The teachers were experienced colleagues having worked

for 15–25 years in state primary schools. Three of them have a bachelor, whereas the

remaining two hold a Master’s degree in TEFL.

These interviews were regarded as effective techniques due to the fact that both

the interviewer and interviewees had the opportunity to clear up all the included points

in a face-to-face discussion. Confidentiality was agreed in the sense that the intervie-

wees’ identity cannot be revealed. The flow of the discussion was gauged by the inter-

viewer through posing specific questions.

These questions involved: (1) teacher training on teaching writing, (2) efficacy

of the school materials to promote writing skills, (3) applied methodology for writing,

(4) the nature of assigned written tasks, (5) preference for preparing the written assign-

ments at school or at home, (6) employed methods of feedback, (7) familiarity with var-

ious marking scales and (8) expectations of student reaction to given feedback.

The interviews (CD) showed that most teachers, unless properly trained during a

Master’s degree course, which specialises in teaching and testing the four skills, test ra-

ther than teach writing. Teachers are not familiar with the “process-approach” and

usually assign the writing tasks of the book as homework depriving, therefore, the stu-
191

dents of the opportunity to collaborate with their teacher and peers. Most teachers be-

lieve that there is not enough time to devote the appropriate attention to writing tasks.

5.10 Writing lessons


Seven writing lessons (samples in appendix IX), which were spread out throughout the

school year, were conducted following the writing assignments of the coursebook and

workbook assigned by the Ministry of Education for this grade at the time of the con-

duct of the research, that is, Fun Way English 3. Two control and two experimental

groups took part in this research following Wallace’s (1998: 160) suggestion that in a

research, whereby a control and an experimental group are involved “some treatment

(e.g. a lesson, a syllabus, new materials, etc.) that is given to the experimental group is

not given to the control group”. Therefore, the experimental group was given specially

written materials created by the researcher under the philosophy of the “process-

approach”, while the control group followed the materials of the coursebook. The idea

is “to seek to discover if one variable influences another by holding other factors con-

stant and varying the treatment given to two groups” (Hyland 2002a: 170). In other

words, the two groups will be assessed at the end of the study to identify which one will

develop better writing ability and adopt positive attitudes towards the process of writ-

ing: the one using the materials assigned by the State or the other employing the spe-

cially developed syllabus (see section 4.11–4.12), which has the “process writing” ap-

proach as its focal point. Both groups were given the same writing task to complete at

the end of each lesson, being allowed the same amount of time. The writing lessons

were presented as the parallel syllabus in 4.12, whereas in this section their implementa-

tion will be described.

The first lesson aimed at familiarising students with various text types, their cha-

racteristics, as well as the purpose and audience of writing. The students in the experi-
192

mental group worked in teams. In the beginning there was noise in the classroom, as

they were not used to working in groups in any of their classes, either in English or in

Greek. Then they started to collaborate and managed to find the traits of the different

genres. Some of them wrote them down in English, whereas others wrote them in

Greek. The researcher did not intervene to correct the students’ mistakes. Finally, two

learners, a boy and a girl in the experimental group, volunteered to write down the rules

for the characteristics of various discourse types. In the control group the students just

read the texts with no further elaboration.

The second writing lesson followed page 24 of the book Fun Way English 3

(appendix X - writing a letter). The students of the control group were allowed to look

at the model text on page 24 and were given 20 minutes to write a piece of writing like

the first draft of the students in the experimental group. The members of the experimen-

tal group produced two drafts and a final product. Each successive writing was better

than the previous one regarding content, ideas and organisation. Most students showed

progress from the first draft to the final product. Feedback was given to the final prod-

uct by the researcher to both groups. To be more specific, the feedback provided to the

experimental group is analysed in section 4.12. The commentary given to the control

group mostly aimed to highlight good points and focus on recurring errors in order to

help them improve their writing without discouraging them, though.

A special lesson was prepared for the experimental group, providing them prac-

tice with correction codes. The researcher prepared a correction code based on Pinheiro-

Franco (1996) and Chrysochoos, Chrysochoos & Thompson (2002), (appendix VII),

where there are symbols, their meaning and examples. After explaining the code to the

students, the teacher provided two texts with correction symbols for the students to find

out the mistakes and correct them. In the third text, the students were requested to spot
193

the errors and mark them with the equivalent symbols, so as to be ready to apply this

procedure when trying to correct their partners’ writings. Most of the students did not

find any serious difficulty in identifying the errors, which was a surprise to the re-

searcher, as it was believed that it would be quite hard for the learners, since it was the

first time they dealt with a correction code. As was expected, the weak students certain-

ly needed more practice and guidance.

The third writing lesson followed page 43 of the book (appendix X - a funny ac-

cident). The students of the control group were allowed 20 minutes to write their text,

like the students in the experimental group. The students were allowed to look at the

model text at page 39 and 42 as well as the instructions and questions on page 43 of the

book. The students of the experimental group produced two drafts and a final product.

Each successive writing was better than the previous one concerning verb tense, gram-

mar and development of ideas (correction code). Most students showed progress from

the first draft to the final product. The lesson was crosscurricular complying with the

main orientation of the new curriculum. A student brought information about comedy

and tragedy and more information was supplied by the teacher.

The fourth writing lesson followed page 50 of the book (appendix X - a story

with pictures). Both groups wrote a story based on a series of pictures. The students of

the experimental group produced two drafts before their final product exhibiting im-

provement as far as verb tense, grammar and development of ideas are concerned. This

was the first writing lesson where peer correction was implemented in the first draft,

whereas the second draft was corrected by the teacher. The majority of the students ma-

naged to spot the mistakes and write the equivalent symbols above. The weak students

could not trace the errors, so their partner had to cooperate with another student during
194

this phase. The students benefited from peer correction but they benefited more from

teacher correction as it was more complete.

The fifth writing lesson followed page 63 of the book (appendix X - a recipe),

involving both groups in producing a recipe. The experimental group presented two

drafts and a final piece of writing whereby the first draft was corrected by peers and the

second by the teacher.

The sixth writing lesson followed page 70 of the book (a travel brochure). The

teacher gave extra information to the control group about the local area in order to pro-

vide them with equal opportunities with the members of the experimental group. The

learners in the experimental group were provided with brochures about this area, issued

by the local Prefecture, in order to draw useful elements for their own travel brochure.

They worked in pairs, which is considered as an important element in the “process writ-

ing” approach. Each pair produced two drafts and a final product. The pairs corrected

each other’s first draft, while the teacher commented on the second draft. Each piece of

writing was better than the previous, regarding organisation, style, vocabulary choice,

and development of ideas following the administered correction code. Most pairs

showed progress from the first draft to the final product.

The seventh writing lesson followed page 81 of the book about animals and page

12 (appendix X) of the workbook about their real or imaginary pet. It demanded from

both groups the description of their favourite animal/pet. The students of the experimen-

tal group produced two drafts and a final writing. The first draft was corrected by the

students themselves, whereas the second one was examined by the teacher. The correc-

tion procedure in each writing lesson focused on different kinds of mistakes like spell-

ing, grammar, punctuation, development of ideas, etc.


195

5.11 Concluding remarks


This chapter analysed the methodology and context of the research. The main hypothe-

sis and research questions were presented along with a justification for their selection.

The participating students were presented and their level was described. The cooperat-

ing teachers were introduced and their teaching experience, as well as, the way they

teach writing was shown. The teaching practices of writing of three other colleagues

were explored. The instrumentation of the study (i.e. placement test, exit and entry writ-

ing test, questionnaires, interviews, and writing lessons) was fully described and its re-

liability and validity was discussed. The implementation of the suggested syllabus was

presented.

Chapter 6 will focus on the presentation and analysis of the research data. A sta-

tistical analysis, both qualitative and quantitative, will be given along with a discussion

of whether the hypothesis and research questions of the study have been verified or not.
196

Chapter 6
Results of the research: Presentation and explanation

6.1 Introduction
The results of the research will be discussed in this chapter. An attempt will be made to

present a qualitative evaluation of the students’ writings and the teachers’ practices and

attitudes towards teaching writing. The quantitative analysis of the grades to students’

pre-study and post-study writings and of their answers to the questionnaires will also be

analysed. The purpose of the analysis is not only to provide a detailed presentation of

the data gathered, but more importantly to investigate the relationship between variables

that will aid the formation of meaningful conclusions about the efficacy of the process

writing approach to ameliorate the students’ writing performance and influence their

stance towards the process and product of writing.

More specifically, the findings will show whether the original hypothesis and

the secondary research questions (see chapter 5, section 5.2) have been verified, that is,

if the process approach to writing can help the students to improve their writing skills in

English, whether the experimental group will outscore the control one, if the girls will

present more positive results than the boys and finally whether the students’ attitudes

towards writing will remain the same or change due to the impact of the application of

the process approach.

6.2 Qualitative Evaluation


6.2.1 Teachers’ interviews

Five teachers, working at various state primary schools, participated in the interviews

(appendix XII- CD), two of whom were the teachers whose classes took part in the re-

search and the other three were colleagues who volunteered to offer their viewpoints, so
197

as to have a greater pool of teaching practices in writing. None of them had received

any special training on teaching writing during their undergraduate studies. This va-

cuum was compensated either at postgraduate studies or seminars by the school advi-

sors and private publishers. All participants agreed that the existing teaching materials

were insufficient in promoting the students’ writing skills.

Only two of them (teachers number 3 and 5) were familiar with the process writ-

ing approach due to the fact that they had attended a Master’s course focusing on the

teaching and testing of the four skills. Of these two teachers only one admitted devoting

time occasionally to do writing assignments at school and as a result, having the oppor-

tunity to teach the students the process of writing. She said that during writing she gave

feedback both on meaning and form to students through employing both teacher and

peer feedback. The other Master’s degree holder said that, although she was familiar

with the process writing pedagogy, she could not find enough time to practise writing at

school, so she usually requested that her students prepare the writing tasks at home.

Both of them provided students with useful guidance in writing assignments even

though the written texts were required to be prepared at home. Specifically, they tried to

brainstorm relevant ideas, highlight the intended audience and trace the characteristics

of the expected genre.

The other three colleagues (teachers number 1, 2 and 4), who were not familiar

with the process writing paradigm, informed the researcher that they assigned writing as

homework without offering the students the opportunity to participate actively in the

formation of their own text and, in this way, be accustomed to learning-how-to-learn.

The pre-writing aid administered to students was as follows: (1) they encouraged the

students to follow the organisation of the model text in the book by reproducing its

layout rather than trying to explore and assimilate its charactertics, (2) they explained
198

the instructions, and (3) they offered useful vocabulary. It is obvious that in this stage

the students were guided into writing instead of being facilitated to discover knowledge

by themselves. In rectifying the learners’ writings, they concentrated mostly on the

structural organisation of the written texts and corrected the errors themselves without

employing other kinds of feedback, such as self- or peer-correction. This attitude re-

flects the predominantly existing reality in Greek state schools concerning writing.

Writing is either neglected or assigned as homework with the teachers providing feed-

back, which is usually ignored by the students, since it is not a starting point for confe-

rencing between the teacher and the learners. Consequently, writing is tested rather than

taught without enabling the students to collaborate with their classmates and teacher, to

experiment with ideas, revise and redraft their text so as to ameliorate it and finally to

develop transferable abilities.

6.2.2 Students’ writings

While the results of the entry and exit writings will be presented after their numerical

grades are statistically analysed, some observations about the qualitative aspect of the

aforementioned writings as well as some of the interim pieces of writing can be pre-

sented here. This discussion will show that the experimental group outperformed the

control one in the textual, ideational and organisational level of the writings.

6.2.2.1 Analysis of the entry and exit writing texts

For the sake of the presentation of the results, it should be mentioned that all the stu-

dents were assigned a code number and a letter - either ‘E’ if they belonged to the expe-

rimental group or ‘C’ if they were members of the control group. It must also be hig-

hlighted that the learners’ writings, which are included in the present discussion, are in-

troduced exactly as they were presented by them without any corrections.


199

An entry and an exit writing test (appendix IV, V) concerning an informal letter

to a cousin both exhibiting a similar topic and difficulty level were administered to the

students.

The requirements of the entry test were the following:

You are Dimitris. You live in Katerini. This is the beginning of the school year. Send a

letter to your cousin George who lives in Boston with his family.

Say: How you are and how you feel about the beginning of the school year.

Where you went for holidays and what you did there.

Ask: About his summer holidays.

Start and finish your letter appropriately and at the end of your letter add something you

have forgotten.

Write up to 100 words.

As can be easily seen from the aforementioned rubrics of the entry test, there are four

parts of message which must be communicated:

1. How Dimitris is and how he feels about the beginnning of the school year.

2. Where he went for holidays and what he did there.

3. Dimitris asks about George’s holidays during summer.

4. The letter begins with the address and Dear George, and finishes with Love,

Dimitris and a P.S.

All the above parts were underlined in the instructions of the test in order to guide the

students.

The rubrics of the exit test were as follows:


200

You are Dimitris. You live in Katerini. Your cousin George, who does not speak Greek

well, lives in Boston with his family. This is the end of the school year. Send a letter to

your cousin George.

Write: How you are and how you feel about the end of the school year.

Where you will go for holidays and what you will do there.

Ask: Ask his plans about his summer holidays.

Start and finish your letter appropriately and at the end of your letter add something you

have forgotten.

Write up to 100 words.

Some of these pieces of writing, corresponding to the entry test and the exit test

respectively for each group, will be discussed here, in relation to the marking scheme,

which was designed by the researcher (appendix VI), in order to trace any differences

and test the efficacy of the intervention. More specifically, the writings of one experi-

mental and one control group student from level A1 and level A2 will be presented ex-

actly as they were worded.

Level A1

Experimental group

►Case one Student 30 E - Level A1

Entry text

15-10-07
16 Aggeli Gatsiou
T.K. 60100
You live in Katerini. This is the beginning of the school year. Sand a letter to your
cousin George who lives in Boston with his family.
201

I am a well and I thane well about the beginning of the school year. Go to went
Θάσος. We eat fishs and we play volleyball, the boys play football.
How are his summer holidays? I went to with his family?
Love
Katerina
P.S. I went for your letter.

Exit text
Greece
16 Ageli Gatsiou
Katerini 60100
21/5/08
Dear George
Hi, how are you and how you feel about the end the school? I am very good and I am
happy because end the school.
We will go summer holidays to Paros. We will eat ice-cream and we will go every day
to the beach.
Where will you go for summer holidays?
Love Dimitris
P.S. You will go here will play with my friends and stend your photos.

In the first text, the student communicated successfully only one part of the mes-

sage, while she partly attempted the others (i.e. she signs off using her name instead of

Dimitris). In most of the parts, the student copies the instructions, whereas the spelling,

grammar and vocabulary errors render parts of the text difficult to understand (i.e. the

postscript).

In the final text, on the other hand, all the aspects, that is Communicative Com-

petence, Linguistic Appropriateness and Pragmatic Competence, are more successfully

addressed. There is a fairly good organisation of ideas with only a few problematic

grammatical and lexical structures, which partly affect intelligibility (i.e. postscript). On

the whole, the second text is far better than the first one.
202

Control group
►Case two Student 64 C - Level A1

Entry text

15-10-07
Dear George
Thank for you letter
How are you I’m fine
Have got new friends. You’re good stiuden. Go football. Play computer. Watch TV. I
watch the Satarday has got the tv at four o’clock Mega Sumusu. You watch I watch
wvatch basketball in Boston.
How is Boston is beautiful
Im wainting for you letter
Love
Dimitris
P C I go in Igoumenitsa. and I have a new bike

Final text
16-5-08
Dear George I am a cousin the Katerine in Greece I will a go Santorine will, go and
you will go? How you are in Boston . In Katerine is a very good has got a very good
days has got hot and very people go a beach and do sunbuth and drink kafe, orange
juice, lemon, juice, melon juice, evry juice, carrot juice and eat shrips, fish. The center
have got very people very people go a Net café a cafe a fast food a shop a supermarket
The man go a stadium a cafe and drink kafe, freddo and orange juice, jerry juice, lemon
juice melon juice and eat hampurger, potaetos, tomatoes.

In this case the first writing is very weak. The topic is unsuccessfully attempted,

the ordering of ideas is poor, the text is mostly incoherent and the cohesion is seriously

problematic requiring considerable effort by the reader. The spelling, punctuation,

grammar and vocabulary errors are so frequent that a few parts of the text are unintellig-

ible.
203

Even though the second text is longer, it is weaker than the first one presenting

all the above mentioned shortcomings, as well as being besides the point, since the au-

thor describes his hometown rather than present his holidays. Furthermore, the layout of

an informal letter is not followed (i.e. Love Dimitris and P.S.) although it is included in

the requirements of the task.

Level A2

Experimental group
►Case three Student 53 E - Level A2
Entry text

15-10-07
Dear George
How are you in boston? Are you OK? Here in Katerini weare all OK but the school
year is beginning. How are you feeling?. Did you go for holidays? I go for holidays
in Mykonos . It was really nice. I was swimming in the morning then I go for fishing
with my father. How about your summer holidays? I hope see you soon. Whith love Alex
(his surname- not to be provided for anonymity reasons).
Katerini 60100
P.D
I’m writing for your letter. And your dog isn’t in life

Final text

60100
Greece
Katerini
19 Pythagora
Dear George
204

I’m really fine and very very happy because the scools will end at two weeks. but I’ll
loose my friends and that’s something bad maybe very bad. If we go for holidays we’ll
go to germany with my family. There I have my cousins. I’ll play ther with them. What
will you do on your summer holidays? Please write me soon.
Love
Dimitris
P.S. If you want come in Greece

In the first piece of writing the three parts are communicated, whereas the fourth

is partly attempted (i.e. there is no address) and partly incorrect (that is, he signs off

with his own name and surname instead of using the name given in the rubrics. More-

over the postscript is incoherent). There is a fairly good organisation of ideas and the

text is generally coherent. There are a few problematic grammatical structures - wrong

use of tenses.

The second text far exceeds the first one in structural organisation, communica-

tion of message, coherence, cohesion, sequencing of ideas and audience awareness.

More specifically, all four parts of the message are adequately introduced, the ideas are

well-organised creating a coherent text with correct cohesive devices. There are some

structural errors (i.e. loose, come in Greece), which do not affect the meaning, though.

Control group

►Case four Student 2 C - Level A2

Entry text

35 Xandou St.

Dear George,
I’m sick. I feel happy because I see my friends. in school I went from holidays in
Xalkidiki. There I went to swim, ate many ice-creams and bote souvenirs. There I lived
two weeks.
205

Were were you went in summer? Haved fun? What you did there? What do their
parents?
Love
Dimitris
P.S. In my holidays I went in Patra, Sparty and in Athens.
Final text
Xanthou 35
T.K. 60100
20/5/08
Dear George,
How are you? I’m fine and happy, because is the last week. I play all day and go out
with my friend.
I’ll go with my syster and my parents to Corfu. I’ll take with me lots of money I’ll go
swimming, I’ll play beach volleyball, football and basketball. I’ll travel by fery. I’ll go
shopping all day. I’ll eat out with my parents and my sister. That’s all for me.
Where you will go for holidays? Will you go to island? I wish you to be happy and
excited.
Love
Christos

In the first piece of writing, two parts of the message are adequately communi-

cated, whereas the others are unsuccessfully attempted (i.e. the postscript is correct but

irrelevant, since in the main text the student mentioned having gone to Chalkidiki on

holidays and then in the postscript three other holiday destinations are mentioned). The

ideas are disorganised, although the text is generally coherent. Furthermore, there are

frequent errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar.

The final text is greatly improved. Three parts of the message are explicitly

communicated and one is partly unattempted (i.e. there is no postscript) and partly in-

correct in that he signs off with his own name rather than the one given in the instruc-

tions. There are some spelling errors with no impact on meaning, and in grammar

agreement is occasionally ignored. (e.g. Where you will go for holidays?)


206

The brief analysis of the texts in this section shows that in both levels A1 and

A2, although some control students displayed remarkable improvement (case four),

most of them (e.g. case two) exhibited similar performance both at the entry and exit

text, as no special guidance was given to them on how to improve their writing skills by

focusing on the process of writing. On the other hand, the experimental group members

have been trained to read the rubrics carefully, follow the task specifications, try to or-

ganise and reorganise their ideas, be careful while correcting their errors, and, as a re-

sult, they are able to present better texts than the control group participants.

6.2.2.2 Analysis of the interim writings


Having discussed the students’ performance at the starting and finishing point of the

research, this section will concentrate on the students’ writings in two lessons with a

view to comparing and contrasting the texts produced by the members of the two

groups.

Level A2

Experimental group
►Case one Student 33 E - Level A2

Lesson seven (appendix IX) - Description of a pet

First draft

My pet’s name is “Mermedia”. She is a fish girl and I have bought her when I was fife
years old. Mermedia is bluck and a little fat. She eat food for fish and she leaves in a
beautiful bowl with clean water and wonderful water-plant. But every Saturday I put
her bowl in a cupboard, ’cause my cousin is visit us with her cat. This kitty is brown
with white and he has green eyes. Her name is Fisarionas and he always, when he is
coming, he is break a doll of my collections with my dolls. I love Fisarion and we have
fun together as and with Mermedia.
207

Second draft (after receiving peer feedback)


My pet’s name if Fisharionas. He is a horse and he has brown eyes. He is brown and he
has blong hairs and he leaves in our garden and he likes to play with my sister’s puppy,
Samantha. Samantha is white and she has blue eyes and she loves to come with me at
the park for a walk. She is eat food for dogs. Fisharionas is eats horse’s food and he is
a wonderfull player to volley. We play together and because he knock the ball with his
head I am call him Voukefala. I love Fishariona as and Samantha. We have fun to-
gether.

Third draft (after receiving teacher feedback)


My pet’s name is Fisharionas. He is a horse and he has brown eyes. He is brown and he
has blont mane. Fisharionas lives in our garden and he likes to play with my sister’s
puppy Samantha. Samantha is white and she has blue eyes. She likes to come with me to
the park for a walk. She eats food for dogs. Fisharionas eats horse’s food and he is a
wonderfull player at volley. We play volley together and, because he knocks the ball
with his head I call him Voukefalas. I love Fishariona as Samantha. We have fun to-
gether.

It is more than obvious that the student had the chance to draft and redraft the

text improving it in all aspects, that is, ideational, organisational and structural and fur-

thermore the opportunity arose to change the content of the first draft. In the first at-

tempt, a fish was described as a pet, whereas in the second draft the focus shifted and a

horse was described. This is in compliance with White & Arndt’s (1991) tenet that, al-

though students may start with a general organisational plan, they have to readjust their

original arrangement as new ideas arise during the course of composing. Stated differ-

ently, writing must be considered as an on-going re-organisation and re-structuring of

ideas and content, rather than a procedure whereby the ideational and structural layout is

“a preliminary and finite stage” (ibid: 78). This shows that far from numbing the stu-

dents’ initiative and modelling their thought, as some critics of the process writing ap-

proach claimed (section 2.6.3 of the present thesis), it boosts their resourcefulness.
208

►Case two Student 8 C - Level A2


Lesson seven - Description of a favourite pet
My pet is a dog. It name is Lacy. It’s breed is kolei.
She is tall, she has orange and white colour. It has black eyes and short ears. It
is the most beautiful and cute in the world.
Lacy eats crockets, bones and apart from those and meet.
She is like to play football and chasing.
She always want to play and when she saw me she barks.

Since the control group students wrote only the final product, without being able

to write and rewrite their text, this student presented the above piece of writing and was

not given the opportunity to reformulate and ameliorate its shortcomings through peer

and teacher feedback.

Level A1

Experimental group

►Case three Student 46 E - Level A1


Lesson four (appendix IX) – A story describing a series of pictures
First draft
The angry monkey
One upon a time a men sat under tree to relax. The monkeys were climbing the tree.
next the man was sleeping and the monkeys goh down and took the hats.
The monkey were wearing the hats and the man stood up and started shouting and they
started shouting too. After he is scratched hat and monkeys scrahed had too. Next the
man threw his hat and finaly the monkeys started the hats.

Second draft (after receiving peer feedback)


The angry monkeys
Ones unop a time a man sat under a tree to relax. The monkeys were climbing the tree
Then the man sleep and the monkeys goht down and took the hats.
209

The monkeys were wore the hats and the man stood up and started shouting and they
started shouting too. After he scratched head and monkeys scahed head too. Next the
man threw his hat and finaly the monkeys started the hats.

Third draft (after receiving teacher feedback)


The angry monkeys
Once upon a time a man sat under a tree to relax. The monkeys were climbing on the
tree. Then the man slept and the monkeys goht down and took the hats.
The monkeys wore the hats and the man stood up and started shouting and they
started shouting too. After he scratched head and monkeys scrahed head too. Next the
man threw his hat and finaly the monkeys started threw his the hats.

Control group

►Case four Student 10 C - Level A1


Lesson four - A story describing a series of pictures
The thiefs monkeys
The men going to sheled the hats in the forest. Over there had monkeys in the tree. The
men sit down under the forest and he slept. The monkeys fell down and took the hats of
the men. When the men woke up and he saw the monkeys with her hats The men started
to scream and monkeys, too. While he scathed her head and the monkeys, too. In the
and the men think an idea. Flew her hat in the ground and monkeys, too. Then, the men
took her hats of monkeys.

Both student 46 E and 10 C presented a weak text concerning the use of tenses,

sequencing devices and presentation of ideas. Only student 46 E, though, had the oppor-

tunity to improve the piece of writing through multiple drafting, whereas student 6 C

produced only one final product and could not benefit from peer and teacher correction

in order to rectify and ameliorate his writing.

This section presented a partial qualitative analysis of the students’ writings,

which is far from being comprehensive. The approach followed in this analysis focused
210

on the strengths and weaknesses of the written texts and delved into their improvement

either between the entry and exit point of the study or at separate writing lessons with a

view to examining whether this amelioration or lack thereof was connected to the appli-

cation of “process writing”. In order to draw more generalisable conclusions, however,

it is necessary to proceed to quantitative analysis.

6.3 Quantitative analysis


6.3.1 Statistical treatment

The statistical analysis was conducted employing the SPSS 15.0 (SPSS Inc, Chicago,

IL) and a p-value < 0.05 was considered as significant. Various descriptive and inferen-

tial tests were used (Dörnyei 2003: 114, 115). Specifically, extensive use was made of

the following tools: paired t-test, independent samples t-test, repeated measures

ANOVA, χ2 test of independence and Pearson’s correlation. Findings are expressed as

mean ± SD for quantitative variables and percentages for qualitative ones.

More specifically, the independent samples t-test was employed to measure the

grades and attitudes of both the control and experimental group at the entry and exit

point of the study. The paired t-test was used to determine if there is a significant differ-

ence between the average values of the attitudes towards certain aspects of writing of

either the control or the experimental group (within group comparison) both at the be-

ginning and the end of the intervention. ANOVA tests gauged the mean scores of the

experimental and control group regarding gender and group prior to and after the re-

search. Pearson correlation detected the raters’ agreement on student performance at

pre- and post- writing test. Finally, the chi-square tests defined the statistical signific-

ance or lack thereof of the answers of both groups to certain attitudes towards writing

techniques at the beginning and the end of the research.


211

6.3.2 Students’ performance in the entry and exit writing test

Table 1 indicates that no statistical significance was detected between the experimental

and control group in the beginning of the study, therefore, it can be easily concluded

that the two sample groups are homogenous presenting equal writing performance

Table 1 Independent samples t-test for grades at pre-test according to group


p
GROUP N Mean SD t - score
(t-test)
CONTROL 46 4.27 2.62
-1.365 0.176
EXPERIMENTAL 44 5.08 2.98

A t-test was computed to test for differences in grades between male and female

participants at the entry point of the research. The mean score of the girls is 5.45 and for

the boys 3.85 irrespective of the group they belong to (Table 2). Since significance is

0.007, and therefore p< 0.01, it can be deduced that the difference in performance be-

tween the two sexes is statistically significant.

Table 2 Independent samples t-test for grades at pre-test according to gender


p
GENDER N Mean SD t - score
(t-test)
MALE 44 3.85 2.70
-2.779 0.007 < 0.01
FEMALE 46 5.45 2.73

Table 3 presents both gender and group regarding the mean score of the grades

showing that both parameters are statistically important influencing the performance. In

the control group the boys provided a mean score of 3.54 in the beginning of the study

and 3.85 at the end. The girls attained 5.26 in the entry test, while they reached the

mean of 5.50 at the exit. This leads us to the conclusion that female students of the con-

trol group were better in the beginning and retained this proportion of superiority until

the end of the study as compared to male students but neither sex of the control group

presented any important improvement.

Table 3 Two-way ANOVA results for the mean scores of the grades regarding gender and
212

group

95% Confidence
Interval
GROUP GENDER RATERS N Mean SD
Lower Upper
Bound Bound

PRE 24 3.54 2.51 2.43 4.65


MALE
POST 24 3.85 2.71 2.72 4.99
CONTROL
PRE 21 5.26 2.45 4.08 6.45
FEMALE
POST 21 5.50 2.39 4.28 6.72

PRE 19 4.39 2.91 3.15 5.64


MALE
POST 19 5.87 3.14 4.59 7.15
EXPERIMENTAL
PRE 25 5.60 3.00 4.51 6.69
FEMALE
POST 25 6.92 2.94 5.80 8.04

On the other hand, it is more than clear, judging from the results, that the expe-

rimental group enhanced their writing performance. The results show that there is a sig-

nificant improvement in that the boys from a mean score of 4.39 reached 5.87, while the

girls started with a mean score of 5.60 to result in 6.92. Consequently, both the girls and

the boys yielded a substantial improvement, which verifies the first research question as

presented in section 5.2.

If the girls’ and boys’ attainment is compared, it can be deduced that in both the

control and the experimental group the female students were better at the starting point

and remained better at the final point of the study. What is worth noticing is that there is

an inconsistency here. In concordance with the second research question that the girls of

the experimental group would present better results than the boys of the same group

(section 5.2), the girls indeed attained higher mean grades. On the other hand, though,

they had a similar percentage increase with the boys showing that the improvement be-

tween the two sexes had a parallel rise, therefore, the two sexes of the experimental
213

group seem to have benefited equally from the intervention. This finding runs counter to

the second research question that girls would respond more positively and in general it

is contrary to most bank of research between the two genders. The following two fig-

ures (Figure 7 and Figure 8) present diagrammatically the male-female differences of

the two groups in the present study.

Gender
------ Male
 Female

Figure 7 Comparison of pre- and post- scores of the two genders of the control group

Gender
------ Male
 Female

Figure 8 Comparison of pre- and post- scores of the two genders of the experimental
group
214

Table 4 clearly shows that, whereas the control group increased their perfor-

mance very little, the experimental one had a substantial rise from a mean score. The

final mean score of the control group reflects lack of important rise of achievement,

while the mean score of the experimental group indicates a significant amelioration.

Moreover, it is remarkable to state that fifteen students from the forty-four participants

of the experimental group exhibited a noticeable improvement of two grades between

their performance at the entry test and the exit test, whereas only three out of the forty-

six members of the control group reached the same improvement. These data show that

the intervention in the experimental group was successful and supports the first research

question of this thesis that having received process writing tuition, the students of the

experimental group of the sixth form of state primary schools will outperform the stu-

dents of the control group as far as the overall writing ability in English is concerned.

Table 4 Two-way ANOVA results for pre- and post-test mean scores of the experimental and
control group regardless of gender
GROUP SCORES MEAN SD N
PRE 4.34 2.60 45
CONTROL
POST 4.62 2.67 45
PRE 5.08 2.99 44
EXPERIMENTAL
POST 6.47 3.04 44

Table 5 illustrates that both the gender and the group affect the students’ output.

For the two parameters the difference was significant at 0.017 level (gender) and 0.049

level (group). No statistical significance was found for the interaction between gender

and group, which means that gender and group have affected the final score as distinct

variables.

Table 5 Two-way ANOVA results for the post- scores by gender and group (Tests of Between-
Subjects Effects)

F p
GENDER (main effect) 5.88 0.017 < 0.05
GROUP (main effect) 3.98 0.049 < 0.05
215

GENDER by GROUP(interaction effect) 0.229 0.633

6.3.3 Raters’ evaluation

Pearson’s correlation coefficient was computed to compare the raters’ agreement. As

can be seen in Table 6, a very high coefficient magnitude was established for the expe-

rimental group both at the pre-study (0.982 at p<0.01) and post-study test (0.979 at

p<0.01). The correlation was also highly significant for the control group (0.983, p<0.01

for pre-test and 0.978 for post-test).

Table 6 Raters’ agreement for pre-study and post-study test of the experimental and control
group

Experimental Control
0.982(**) 0.983(**)
PRE RATER
P (2-tailed) N P (2-tailed) N
Pearson Correlation
0.000 44 0.000 46
0.979(**) 0.978(**)
POST RATER
P (2-tailed) N P (2-tailed) N
Pearson Correlation
0.000 44 0.000 45
p<0.01 level (2-tailed)

If the raters’ agreement would be at 1, they would have achieved absolute

agreement. Since their correlation is at around 0.98 in all four cases, which is very close

to 1, this proves that they reached an extremely high agreement, yielding thus a high

inter-rater reliability and validating the employed marking scheme (appendix VI).

6.3.4 Students’ attitudes traced in the questionnaire

In this section, the results collected from the analysis of the answers to the various items

of the questionnaire will be discussed. This questionnaire (appendix II) is divided into

five parts:

(1) General attitudes towards writing.

(2) Attitudes towards specific techniques which can help students improve their writing.

(3) Attitudes towards teacher correction.


216

(4) Attitudes towards peer correction.

(5) Background information about self-evaluation, purpose for studying English and

attendance of lessons in private language schools or private lessons at home.

6.3.4.1 General attitudes towards writing

For the sake of our discussion, it should be clarified that the Likert scale was used and

the items of the questionnaire were coded as follows: always- 1, usually- 2, sometimes-

3, rarely- 4, never- 5, which means that the lower the mean score, the more the students

agree with the given statement.3

A. Comparison between the experimental and control group


Table 7 puts forward the respondents’ attitudes towards the listed topics (i.e. organisa-

tion of a piece of writing, student-student and teacher-student cooperation) in the ques-

tionnaire (appendix II) in the beginning of the study. An independent samples t-test was

employed to trace any differences of opinion between the two groups before the study

started. It is more than evident that both teams provided similar answers and stances to-

wards writing, their only statistically significant differentiation being in statements three

and statement eleven. The outcome of this part corroborates that the two groups were

homogeneous in the beginning of the research as far as their attitudes towards writing

are concerned. To be more specific they admitted being able to generate ideas about

various topics and being in need of help so as to spot their mistakes in their text. On the

other hand, they were against cooperation for the improvement of their writing.

Table 7 General attitudes towards writing of the experimental and control group prior to the
study
GROUP CODE: E for ΕXPERIMENTAL AND C for CONTROL
) the phrase which shows what you
Tick (
Group N Mean SD p
think about each sentence
E 44 2.57 .974
1. I like writing in my English class .299
C 46 2.37 .826

3
This codification was applied in all the parts of the questionnaire which employ the Lickert scale.
217

) the phrase which shows what you


Tick (
Group N Mean SD p
think about each sentence
E 44 2.59 .844
2. I can write good texts in English .984
C 46 2.59 .979
E 43 2.51 1.055
3. I can think of ideas about a topic easily .041
C 46 2.02 1.164
E 44 1.68 .674
4. I can write better if the topic is familiar to me .261
C 46 1.50 .837
5. I know how to organise my texts (paragraph E 43 2.40 1.050
.624
sequencing, logical development etc.) C 46 2.28 1.109
E 43 2.37 1.070
6. I can write alone (without help) .945
C 45 2.36 1.151
E 44 3.20 1.193
7. I want my teacher to help me when I write .056
C 44 3.70 1.231
8. I need help in order to come up with relevant E 44 3.09 1.254
.400
ideas C 45 3.31 1.203
9. I need help before writing (with the topic, or- E 44 2.86 1.250
.928
ganisation) C 45 2.89 1.369
10. I need help when writing to organise my ideas E 44 3.16 .987
.115
and my text C 45 3.53 1.217
11. I need help after I finish writing to spot my E 44 2.73 1.336
.018
mistakes C 45 3.40 1.304
12. I can spot my mistakes if the teacher gives us a E 44 3.27 1.264
.469
code for error correction C 46 3.48 1.410
13. I feel embarrassed when my classmates know E 44 2.57 1.283
.436
my mistakes C 46 2.35 1.386
14. I would like my partner to help me to correct E 44 4.07 .950
.069
my mistakes and organise my text C 46 4.46 1.048
15. If I get help in one lesson, I know how to do a E 44 1.98 1.000
.489
better piece of writing next time C 46 1.83 1.060

Table 8 presents the participants’ responses towards the same topics at the final

point of the study. An independent samples t-test was computed to find out any diffe-

rentiation of attitudes between the two groups at the end of the research. A statistical

difference arose in twelve (2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) out of the fifteen items.

A close examination of the results implies that, while the control group remained almost

in the same levels (items 3, 4, 7, 14), the experimental group changed their stances dras-

tically in almost all items except 1, 2 and 4. This finding proves that the experimental

participants’ opinion towards writing was affected by the application of the process

writing component and it substantiates the third research question as presented in sec-
218

tion 5.2, which is: the application of process writing will influence the attitudes and per-

ceptions towards writing of the students of the experimental group. Specifically, the ex-

perimental group participants feel more confident about their ability to write good texts

in English, elicit relevant ideas about a topic and present better texts in future written

assignments. Furthermore, they value the importance of collaboration in the sense of

help provided by (a) the teacher in pre-, while-, and post-writing, and (b) the partner’s

feedback.

Table 8: General attitudes towards writing of the experimental and control group after the
study
) the phrase which shows what you
Tick (
Group N Mean SD p
think about each sentence
E 44 2.32 1.095
1. I like writing in my English class .493
C 46 2.48 1.110
E 43 2.05 .872
2. I can write good texts in English .051
C 46 2.39 .774
E 44 2.05 .914
3. I can think of ideas about a topic easily .021
C 44 2.50 .902
E 44 1.32 .601
4. I can write better if the topic is familiar to me .130
C 46 1.52 .658
5. I know how to organise my texts (paragraph E 44 1.95 .888
.015
sequencing, logical development etc.) C 46 2.39 .774
E 44 2.34 1.098
6. I can write alone (without help) .179
C 45 2.02 1.118
E 44 1.34 .713
7. I want my teacher to help me when I write .000
C 46 3.78 .841
8. I need help in order to come up with relevant E 44 1.50 .762
.000
ideas C 45 3.98 .866
9. I need help before writing (with the topic, or- E 43 1.26 .621
.000
ganisation) C 46 4.07 1.041
10. I need help when writing to organise my ideas E 44 1.41 .583
.000
and my text C 46 4.07 1.041
11. I need help after I finish writing to spot my E 44 1.48 .902
.000
mistakes C 46 2.46 .912
12. I can spot my mistakes if the teacher gives us a E 44 1.66 .861
.000
code for error correction C 46 4.65 .900
13. I feel embarrassed when my classmates know E 44 4.50 .849
.000
my mistakes C 46 1.74 1.255
14. I would like my partner to help me to correct E 44 1.61 .689
.000
my mistakes and organise my text C 46 4.48 .863
15. If I get help in one lesson, I know how to do a E 44 1.14 .462
.000
better piece of writing next time C 46 2.43 .655
219

B. 1 Responses of the experimental group in the beginning and the end of the research
While the previous section compared and contrasted the answers of the two groups in

both the entry and exit point of the study with a view to delving into the homogeneity of

the samples in the beginning of the study and finding any change in attitude at the end

of the research, this part will examine both groups separately in order to measure possi-

ble alterations of their perceptions.

Table 9 shows that the impact of the application of process writing resulted in an

overwhelming alteration of the experimental subjects’ opinion towards writing and the

main principles of the process paradigm, such as task environment (item 4), teacher and

peer collaboration (items 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14) and teacher feedback (items 7, 12).

Moreover, they became more confident about their ability to write good texts in English

and come up with relevant ideas more easily (items 2, 3). The paired t-test yielded sta-

tistically significant results in 13 out of 15 items. A striking finding was item 6 whereby

they exhibited a similar attitude both in the beginning and the end of the study. This cla-

rifies that when asked if they can write alone, they felt confident but when the questions

about the given aid became more specific, they realised the importance of the assistance

from the teacher of the partner.

Table 9 General attitudes towards writing of the experimental group prior to and after the study
) the phrase which shows what you think about
Tick (
N Mean SD p
each sentence
Pre- I like writing in my English class 44 2.57 .974
1 .140
Post- I like writing in my English class 44 2.32 1.095

Pre- I can write good texts in English 43 2.58 .852


2 .002
Post- I can write good texts in English 43 2.05 .872
Pre- I can think of ideas about a topic easily 43 2.51 1.055
3 .024
Post- I can think of ideas about a topic easily 43 2.07 .910
4 Pre- I can write better if the topic is familiar to me 44 1.68 .674 .012
220

) the phrase which shows what you think about


Tick (
N Mean SD p
each sentence
Post- I can write better if the topic is familiar to me 44 1.32 .601
Pre- I know how to organise my texts (paragraph
43 2.40 1.050
sequencing, logical development etc.)
5 .003
Post- I know how to organise my texts (paragraph
43 1.98 .886
sequencing, logical development etc.)
Pre- I can write alone (without help) 43 2.37 1.070
6 1.000
Post- I can write alone (without help) 43 2.37 1.092
Pre- I want my teacher to help me when I write 44 3.20 1.193
7 .000
Post- I want my teacher to help me when I write 44 1.34 .713
Pre- I need help in order to come up with relevant
44 3.09 1.254
ideas
8 .000
Post- I need help in order to come up with relevant
44 1.50 .762
ideas
Pre- I need help before writing (with the topic, or-
43 2.86 1.265
ganisation)
9 .000
Post- I need help before writing (with the topic, or-
43 1.26 .621
ganisation)
Pre- I need help when writing to organise my ideas
44 3.16 .987
and my text
10 .000
Post- I need help when writing to organise my ideas
44 1.41 .583
and my text
Pre- I need help after I finish writing to spot my
44 2.73 1.336
mistakes
11 .000
Post- I need help after I finish writing to spot my
44 1.48 .902
mistakes
Pre- I can spot my mistakes if the teacher gives us a
44 3.27 1.264
code for error correction
12 .000
Post- I can spot my mistakes if the teacher gives us
44 1.66 .861
a code for error correction
Pre- I feel embarrassed when my classmates know
44 2.57 1.283
my mistakes
13 .000
Post- I feel embarrassed when my classmates know
44 4.50 .849
my mistakes
Pre- I would like my partner to help me to correct
44 4.07 .950
my mistakes and organise my text
14 .000
Post- I would like my partner to help me to correct
44 1.61 .689
my mistakes and organise my text

Pre- If I get help in one lesson, I know how to do a


44 1.98 1.000
better piece of writing next time
15 .000
Post- If I get help in one lesson, I know how to do a
44 1.14 .462
better piece of writing next time
221

B.2 Responses of the control group in the beginning and the end of the research

On the other hand, Table 10 shows that the attitudes of the control group presented sta-

tistically significant changes for about half the items of the questionnaire, namely nine

of the fifteen all of which were also significant for the experimental group. What is

worth noticing, nevertheless, is that in most items, which exhibited statistical signifi-

cance, instead of improving their attitude towards writing the control group members

became less confident towards the principles of writing, that is, task environment (item

3), and teacher and partner collaboration (items 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15). Specifically,

they do not value teacher and peer cooperation and feel embarrassed if exposed to part-

ner commentary.

Table 10 General attitudes towards writing of the control group prior to and after the study
) the phrase which shows what you think about
Tick (
each sentence N Mean SD p

Pre- I like writing in my English class 46 2.37 .826


1 .417
Post- I like writing in my English class 46 2.48 1.110
Pre- I can write good texts in English 46 2.59 .979
2 .107
Post- I can write good texts in English 46 2.39 .774
Pre- I can think of ideas about a topic easily 44 1.98 1.089
3 .002
Post- I can think of ideas about a topic easily 44 2.50 .902
Pre- I can write better if the topic is familiar to me 46 1.50 .837
4 Post- I can write better if the topic is familiar to .888
46 1.52 .658
me
Pre- I know how to organise my texts (paragraph
46 2.28 1.109
sequencing, logical development etc.)
5 .498
Post- I know how to organise my texts (paragraph
46 2.39 .774
sequencing, logical development etc.)
Pre- I can write alone (without help) 44 2.34 1.160
6 .036
Post- I can write alone (without help) 44 2.05 1.120
Pre- I want my teacher to help me when I write 44 3.70 1.231
7 .543
Post- I want my teacher to help me when I write 44 3.80 .851
Pre- I need help in order to come up with relevant
44 3.34 1.200
ideas
8 .001
Post- I need help in order to come up with relevant
44 3.98 .876
ideas
Pre- I need help before writing (with the topic,
9 45 2.89 1.369 .000
organisation)
222

) the phrase which shows what you think about


Tick (
each sentence N Mean SD p
Post- I need help before writing (with the topic,
45 4.07 1.053
organisation)
Pre- I need help when writing to organise my ideas
45 3.53 1.217
and my text
10 .005
Post- I need help when writing to organise my
45 4.07 1.053
ideas and my text
Pre- I need help after I finish writing to spot my
45 3.40 1.304
mistakes
11 .000
Post- I need help after I finish writing to spot my
45 2.47 .919
mistakes
Pre- I can spot my mistakes if the teacher gives us
46 3.48 1.410
a code for error correction
12 .000
Post- I can spot my mistakes if the teacher gives
46 4.65 900
us a code for error correction
Pre- I feel embarrassed when my classmates know
46 2.35 1.386
my mistakes
13 .004
Post- I feel embarrassed when my classmates
46 1.74 1.255
know my mistakes
Pre- I would like my partner to help me to correct
46 4.46 1.048
my mistakes and organise my text
14 .868
Post- I would like my partner to help me to correct
46 4.48 .863
my mistakes and organise my text
Pre- If I get help in one lesson, I know how to do a
46 1.83 1.060
better piece of writing next time
15 .001
Post- If I get help in one lesson, I know how to do
46 2.43 .655
a better piece of writing next time

6.3.4.2 Attitudes towards specific techniques which can help students improve their
writing

A. Comparison between the experimental and control group before the study - question-
naire (appendix II)4
In this section, all the tables will be commented on. The tables which exhibit statistical-

ly significant differences will be presented, while all the other ones with non-

statistically significant differences will be included in appendix VIII.

Table 11.5 shows the first differentiation between the two groups at 0.008 level

with the control group favouring the importance of using linking words in order to pre-

sent a well-organised text while the experimental group, even though they yielded a

very high percentage (72,7%), lagged behind the one of the control group by 20%.
4
This part of the questionnaire was administered to the students at the beginning and the end of the study.
The answers to the first part are presented in tables 11.1 - 11.12 while the results of the final part are ex-
hibited in tables 12.1 - 12.12.
223

Table 11.5 The use of linking words to produce a well-organised text


χ2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ2 (1)=
N % N % N % N % N % N % 6.972,
27.3
p=0.008
32 72.7 12 43 93.5 3 6.5 75 83.3 15 16.7
p<0.005

A variation at 0.028 level arose in statement number 8 (Table 11.8), whereby the

vast majority of the experimental group (80.5%) prioritised their participation in the

correction of their piece of writing, while only half of the control subjects regarded this

statement as a good idea.

Table 11.8 Student participation in the correction of their text


χ2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ2(1)=
N % N % N % N % N % N % 4.810,
p=0.028
33 80.5 8 19.5 27 58.7 19 41.3 60 69.0 27 31.0 p<0.005

No statistical significance arose between the two groups in the other tables (ap-

pendix VIII):

Both groups exhibit an overwhelming percentage distribution pattern with

93,2% of the experimental group and 84,8% of the control group reporting favourable

disposition towards the opinion that familiarisation with a text genre can aid students

produce a similar text (Table 11.1).

Both groups provided equally high percentages in acknowledging the impor-

tance of task environment, that is, the audience and purpose of writing in Tables 11.2

and 11.3.

The low proportion of both teams points to the fact that neither group prioritises

the importance of writing down relevant ideas either alone or as a whole class before
224

starting their text (Table 11.4). This may indicate that they believe that there is not

enough time or this task will not be useful to them.

A meagre proportion of both groups (Table 11.6) favoured the idea of drafting

and redrafting, which is a totally new concept for them, producing thus similar distribu-

tion of responses.

High endorsement ratings were given by both groups to the belief that it is a

good procedure to try and correct their piece of writing as soon as they finish (Table

11.7) and that they can learn through their errors (Table 11.9).

In Table 11.10 students of both groups reached a substantial agreement by giv-

ing minimal approval to the importance of peer correction, a fact reflecting the pre-

dominant teaching practice in the Greek school where children are not used to being ex-

posed to the opinion of their classmates about their pieces of writing.

The respondents of both teams rated very high the role of the teacher as an om-

niscient judge who must correct all the mistakes (Table 11.11), an attitude long-

ingrained in the Greek educational mentality.

Finally, both groups in a high proportion agree on the necessity to use a dictio-

nary to find unknown words (Table 11.12).

It is apparent from the analysis in this section that the attitudes of the two groups

are similar in all items apart from two (item 5 and 8), leading us to the conclusion that

the perceptions of the two groups about certain techniques, which can aid them to im-

prove their skills, were similar in the beginning of the study. We will now proceed to

examine whether these attitudes remained the same at the end of the study.

B. Comparison between the experimental and control group after the study

At the end of the study the groups yielded the following findings:
225

In table 12.4 a great difference at 0.000 level arose between the two groups. Al-

though the control group yielded 19.6% in favour of brainstorming - a percentage al-

most identical to their original 21.7%, the percentage of the experimental group soared

from 34.1% (Table 11.4) to 97.7% reaching thus almost unanimous endorsement. This

result reflects the importance of the impact of brainstorming and experimentation with

ideas, which was part of the writing lessons under the process writing philosophy that

were presented to the experimental group.

Table 12.4 Brainstorm some ideas alone or with the whole class before writing
χ2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
2
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ (1)=
N % N % N % N % N % N % 56.319,
p=0.000
43 97.7 1 2.3 9 19.6 37 80.4 52 57.8 38 42.2 p<0.001

As was expected in the third research question, the experimental group changed

opinion in the end of the research, prioritising drafting, redrafting and revising, because

these techniques were practised during the writing lessons. On the other hand, the con-

trol group percentage fell from 21.7% (Table 11.6) to 8.7% (Table 12.6), since they are

totally unaware of the terms of drafting and redrafting. The computed chi-square test

yielded a statistical significance of 0.000.

Table 12.6 Draft and redraft the text and try to improve it before presenting the final product
χ2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ2(1)=
N % N % N % N % N % N % 71.446,
p=0.000
43 97.7 1 2.3 4 8.7 42 91.3 47 52.2 43 47.8 p<0.001

Table 12.8 displays an interesting finding. Even though there was a statistical

difference of 0.028 in the beginning, this diversity rose to 0.000 as the percentage span

between the two groups became wider. This result was more than expected by the re-
226

searcher due to the fact that the experimental group subjects were actively involved in

rectifying their own pieces of writing.

Table 12.8 Student participation in correcting their text


χ2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ2(1)=
N % N % N % N % N % N % 52.745,
p=0.000
42 95.5 2 4.5 9 19.6 37 80.4 51 56.7 39 43.3 p<0.001

The next item corroborates the influence of process writing on the experimental

group which unanimously (100.0%) acknowledged the importance of collaboration with

their partners, whereas the control group retained (4.3% - Table 12.10) the concept of

text ownership in a very limited scope admitting that they prefer not to share their piece

of writing with their partner. Therefore, the statistical significance reached 0.000.

Table 12.10 The contribution of one’s partner to the correction of one’s errors
χ2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
2
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ (1)=
N % N % N % N % N % N % 82.344,
p=0.000
44 100 0 0.0 2 4.3 44 95.7 46 51.1 44 48.9 p<0.001

In the next item, the experimental group changed their stance drastically con-

cerning teacher correction. Having realised during the intervention that the teacher

should be selective in error treatment so as to be more effective, they considered the

correction of all errors as a bad practice. The control group, on the other hand, raised

their percentage from 89.1% (Table 11.11) to 97.8% (Table 12.11), creating thus a sta-

tistical variation at 0.000.

Table 12.11 Teacher’s correction of all the mistakes


χ2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
2
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ (1)=
N % N % N % N % N % N % 78.428,
p=0.000
2 4.5 42 95.5 45 97.8 1 2.2 47 52.2 43 47.8 p<0.001
227

Finally, even though there was no differentiation in the last item in the begin-

ning of the research, the variation again reached the highest level of 0.000 (Table 12.

12) with all the experimental group students admitting the importance of looking up an

unknown word in a dictionary, while the control group ones downgraded the use of dic-

tionaries in classroom. The obvious explanation for this finding is the fact that the ex-

perimental group students could have access to reference sources while writing, whereas

these materials were not available for the control group members as is the norm in the

Greek state school reality. It is worth mentioning, however, that the researcher provided

help with unknown words to the control group so as to offer equal treatment to both

groups.

Table 12.12 Using a dictionary for unknown words


χ2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ2(1)=
N % N % N % N % N % N % 52.267,
p=0.000
44 100 0 0.0 12 26.1 34 73.9 56 62.2 34 37.8 p<0.001

No statistically significant differences between the two groups accrued in the

rest of the tables (appendix VIII):

Both groups yielded similar preferences in connection to the task environment

agreeing that the genre, the audience and the purpose are important elements to be taken

into consideration when producing a text (Tables 12.1, 12.2, 12.3).

The low differentiation (experimental 72.7% and control 93.5% - Table 11.5)

that appeared in item 5 in the original questionnaire was smoothed out in the final ques-

tionnaire with the overwhelming majority of both groups (Table 12.5) underpinning the

importance of a well-organised text. This raises again the importance of the process

writing tuition, which led the experimental group to realise the significance of practising
228

cohesive devices to produce a coherent piece of writing.

The results in item 7 were similar to those of the original questionnaire (Table

11.7 and Table 12.7) with the overwhelming majority of the two groups admitting the

importance of the attempt to correct their own writing. Similarly, no differentiation (Ta-

ble 12.9) occurred in statement 9 from the original answers (table 11.9).

It is more than apparent that the students’ answers in questionnaire 2 at the end

of the study showed the alteration of the attitudes of the experimental group towards

brainstorming, pre-writing activities, drafting and redrafting, collaboration, use of vari-

ous sources while writing, and selective error correction. This finding substantiates the

third research question as proposed in section 5.2 of this thesis.

6.3.4.3 Attitudes towards teacher correction

A. Comparison between the experimental and control group - (appendix II)


Table 13 shows the respondents’ attitudes towards teacher correction as expressed in the

beginning of the study. An independent samples t-test was computed to examine any

diversity of perceptions between the two groups at the starting point of the study. It be-

came evident that both groups presented similar responses and stances towards teacher

feedback, their only statistically important differentiation arising in item 8. The outcome

of this part clearly highlights that the two groups were homogeneous in the entry point

of the study regarding their attitudes towards teacher treatment of their texts.

Table 13 Attitudes towards teacher correction of the experimental and control group in the be-
ginning of the study
Generally I improve in writing when my
Group N Mean SD p
teacher
1. comments on the content of my writing (i.e. E 44 1.84 .914
.155
ideas, evidence, examples, etc.) C 46 2.17 1.253
2. comments on the organisation of my writ- E 43 2.00 .845
ings(i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical devel- .187
C 46 2.33 1.383
opment, etc.)
3. comments on my writing style (i.e. expres- E 44 2.16 1.055 .780
229

Generally I improve in writing when my


Group N Mean SD p
teacher
sion, tone, etc.) C 45 2.09 1.294
4. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word E 44 1.89 .868
.744
usage) C 46 1.83 .877
E 43 3.51 1.369
5. highlights grammatical mistakes .116
C 45 3.93 1.116
6. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctu- E 44 3.57 1.301
.143
ation, spelling, capitalisation, etc.) C 46 3.93 1.041
E 44 3.75 1.296
7. identifies errors with correction symbols .457
C 46 3.93 1.041
E 44 3.80 1.231
8. highlights errors with a red-coloured pen .029
C 46 4.33 1.034
E 44 1.64 .780
9. comments on the good points of my writing .543
C 46 1.52 .983
10. comments on the weak points of my writ- E 44 3.95 1.140
.082
ing C 46 4.33 .845

Table 14 shows the subjects’ answers to the same topics at the end of the study.

An independent t-test revealed that, whereas the control group remained almost in the

same levels (items 1, 3, 8, 9) or became more negative towards teacher feedback (items

5, 6, 7, 10), the experimental group altered their attitudes considerably in all statements

adopting a positive viewpoint to teacher treatment of errors, as compared to their atti-

tudes prior to the study. Once again, the results of this part of the questionnaire demon-

strates the impact of the employment of the process writing pedagogy on the experimen-

tal students’ attitudes corroborating the third research question.

Table 14 Attitudes towards teacher correction of the experimental and control group at the end
of the study
Generally I improve in writing when my
Group N Mean SD p
teacher
1. comments on the content of my writing (i.e. E 44 1.18 .390
.000
ideas, evidence, examples, etc) C 46 2.15 .698
E 44 1.14 .347
2. comments on the organisation of my writ-
ings (i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical devel- .000
C 46 1.96 .729
opment, etc.)
3. comments on my writing style (i.e. expres- E 44 1.20 .594
.000
sion, tone, etc.) C 46 2.09 .865
4. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word E 44 1.20 .462
.000
usage) C 46 1.61 .537
230

Generally I improve in writing when my


Group N Mean SD p
teacher
E 44 2.14 .765
5. highlights grammatical mistakes .000
C 46 4.50 .723
6. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctu- E 44 2.25 .686
.000
ation, spelling, capitalisation, etc.) C 46 4.37 .711
E 44 1.18 .390
7. identifies errors with correction symbols .000
C 46 4.52 .691
E 44 3.07 .587
8. highlights errors with a red-coloured pen .000
C 46 4.52 .836
E 44 1.05 .211
9. comments on the good points of my writing .028
C 46 1.22 .467
10. comments on the weak points of my writ- E 44 1.66 .834
.000
ing C 46 4.74 .713

B. 1 Responses of the experimental group in the beginning and the end of the research

Sub-section A of this section 6.3.4.3 investigated the responses of the two groups in the

starting and exit point of the study in order to decide if there was homogeneity of atti-

tudes towards teacher correction in the beginning of the research on the one hand, and to

examine any alteration of attitude in the end of the research, on the other hand. Subsec-

tion B will focus on each group separately to measure any alterations of their percep-

tions.

In Table 15 the change of attitude of the experimental group members towards

teacher error treatment can be easily seen. This change is statistically important in all

statements indicating that due to the application of the process writing approach the ex-

perimental team expressed their expectations to receive both positive and negative criti-

cism from the teacher regarding the ideational, organisational and structural level of

their writings, and to be given a special code by their instructor in order to attempt to

remedy their texts alone.


231

Table 15 General attitudes towards writing of the experimental group in the beginning and at
the end of the study

Generally I improve in writing when my teacher N Mean SD p


Pre- comments on the content of my writing (i.e. ideas,
44 1.84 .914
evidence, examples, etc.)
1 .000
Post- comments on the content of my writing (i.e.
44 1.18 .390
ideas, evidence, examples, etc.)
Pre- comments on the organisation of my essays (i.e.
43 2.00 .845
paragraph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
2 .000
Post- comments on the organisation of my essays (i.e.
43 1.14 .351
paragraph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
Pre- comments on my writing style (i.e. expression,
44 2.16 1.055
tone, etc.)
3 .000
Post- comments on my writing style (i.e. expression,
44 1.20 .594
tone, etc.)
Pre- checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage) 44 1.89 .868
4 .000
Post- checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage) 44 1.20 .462
Pre- highlights grammatical mistakes 43 3.51 1.369
5 .000
Post- highlights grammatical mistakes 43 2.12 .762
Pre- highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation,
44 3.57 1.301
spelling, capitalisation, etc.)
6 .000
Post- highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation,
44 2.25 .686
spelling, capitalisation, etc.)
Pre- identifies errors with correction symbols 44 3.75 1.296
7 .000
Post- identifies errors with correction symbols 44 1.18 .390
Pre- highlights errors with a red-coloured pen 44 3.80 1.231
8 .003
Post- highlights errors with a red-coloured pen 44 3.07 .587

Pre- comments on the good points of my writing 44 1.64 .780


9 .000
Post- comments on the good points of my writing 44 1.05 .211
Pre- comments on the weak points of my writing 44 3.95 1.140
10 .000
Post- comments on the weak points of my writing 44 1.66 .834

B. 2 Responses of the control group in the beginning and the end of the research

Table 16 shows that the control group presented statistically significant variations in

half the items, particularly five out of ten (items 5, 6, 7, 9, 10). What is interesting, nev-

ertheless, is the fact that the mean scores of the answers indicate that only in one item

(9) did they change favourably to teacher feedback focusing on the good points of their

writing. In the other four statements they became more negative to instructor correction
232

concerning feedback based on underlining of the errors without providing the correct

alternative and the provision of negative comments on their texts.

Table 16 General attitudes towards writing of the control group in the beginning and at the end
of the study
Generally I improve in writing when my teacher N Mean SD p
Pre- comments on the content of my writing (i.e. ideas,
46 2.17 1.253
evidence, examples, etc)
1 .901
Post- comments on the content of my writing (i.e.
46 2.15 .698
ideas, evidence, examples, etc)
Pre- comments on the organisation of my essays (i.e.
46 2.33 1.383
paragraph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
2 .091
Post- comments on the organisation of my essays (i.e.
46 1.96 .729
paragraph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
Pre- comments on my writing style (i.e. expression,
45 2.09 1.294
tone, etc.)
3 1.000
Post- comments on my writing style (i.e. expression,
45 2.09 .874
tone, etc.)
Pre- checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage) 46 1.83 .877
4 .077
Post- checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage) 46 1.61 .537
Pre- highlights grammatical mistakes 45 3.93 1.116
5 .006
Post- highlights grammatical mistakes 45 4.51 .727
Pre- highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation,
46 3.93 1.041
spelling, capitalisation, etc.)
6 .022
Post- highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation,
46 4.37 .711
spelling, capitalisation, etc.)
Pre- identifies errors with correction symbols 46 3.93 1.041
7 .001
Post- identifies errors with correction symbols 46 4.52 .691
Pre- highlights errors with a red-coloured pen 46 4.33 1.034
8 .290
Post- highlights errors with a red-coloured pen 46 4.52 .836
Pre- comments on the good points of my writing 46 1.52 .983
9 .033
Post- comments on the good points of my writing 46 1.22 .467
Pre- comments on the weak points of my writing 46 4.33 .845
10 .004
Post- comments on the weak points of my writing 46 4.74 .713

6.3.4.4 Attitudes towards peer correction

A. Experimental versus control group


Table 17 exhibits the attitudes of the participants of the two groups in the beginning of

the research showing that only one statistically significant response (at 0.038<0.050)

occurred, which concerns the provision of negative comments from a partner (item 10).
233

This difference demonstrates that the control group members were more negatively dis-

posed to a peer offering negative commentary on their writings than their experimental

counterparts. It is worthwhile noticing that both groups were homogenous in the fact

that they were heavily unfavourably disposed to correction originating from a classmate.

In fact, peer correction is a totally new notion in the Greek educational context.

Table 17 Attitudes towards peer correction of the experimental and control group at the entry
point of the study
Generally I improve in writing when my
Group N Mean SD p
partner
1. comments on the content of my writing (i.e. E 44 4.05 .834
.533
ideas, evidence, examples, etc.) C 45 4.16 .824
2. comments on the organisation of my writings E 44 4.09 .858
(i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical development, .342
C 46 4.26 .828
etc.)
3. comments on my writing style (i.e. expres- E 44 4.11 .868
.422
sion, tone, etc.) C 45 3.96 .976
4. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word E 44 4.00 .940
1.000
usage) C 46 4.00 1.011
E 43 4.33 .808
5. highlights grammatical mistakes .412
C 46 4.46 .690
6. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctua- E 43 4.21 .940
.473
tion, spelling, capitalisation, etc.) C 46 4.35 .875
E 43 4.30 .989
7. identifies errors with correction symbols .529
C 45 4.42 .783
E 44 4.30 .930
8. highlights errors with a red-coloured pen .949
C 46 4.28 .958
E 44 2.50 1.067
9. comments on the good points of my writing .537
C 46 2.35 1.251
E 44 4.18 .922
10. comments on the weak points of my writing .038
C 46 4.57 .807

Table 18 shows the respondents’ opinions towards peer feedback at the end of

the research. The employed independent samples t-test presented a considerable diffe-

rentiation at 0.000< 0.050 between the two groups in all items except the ninth where

they responded similarly regarding encouraging commentary by a peer. The results in-

dicated a clear favourable diversion of the experimental group to peer feedback, while

the original aversion of the control group either remained similar (items 1, 2, 6) or was

reinforced in statements 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10.


234

Table 18: Attitudes towards peer correction of the experimental and control group at the exit
point of the study
Generally I improve in writing when my part-
Group N Mean SD p
ner
1. comments on the content of my writing (i.e. E 44 1.48 .731
.000
ideas, evidence, examples, etc.) C 46 4.52 .623
2. comments on the organisation of my writings E 44 1.50 .731
(i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical development, .000
C 46 4.61 .649
etc.)
3. comments on my writing style (i.e. expression, E 44 1.57 .695
.000
tone, etc.) C 46 4.35 .566
4. Α checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word E 44 1.59 .757
.000
usage) C 46 4.46 .546
E 43 2.74 .759
5. highlights grammatical mistakes .000
C 46 4.70 .553
6. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctua- E 44 2.75 .651
.000
tion, spelling, capitalisation, etc.) C 45 4.71 .626
E 44 1.43 .789
7. identifies errors with correction symbols .000
C 46 4.78 .417
E 44 3.23 .711
8. highlights errors with a red-coloured pen .000
C 46 4.85 .363
E 44 1.34 .745
9. comments on the good points of my writing .335
C 46 1.50 .810
E 44 2.00 .863
10. comments on the weak points of my writing .000
C 46 4.89 .315

B. 1 Responses of the experimental group in the beginning and the end of the research

Table 19 compares the original beliefs of the members of the experimental group to

their final perceptions as far as peer correction is concerned. The computed paired t-test

showed an overwhelmingly significant difference of 0.000 in all items. This signifies

that, although the students were against peer feedback before the study, they were influ-

enced by the process writing component that was incorporated in their syllabus and be-

came in favour of collaboration in error correction, which is a central issue in the

process philosophy.

Table 19 Attitudes towards peer correction of the experimental group at the entry and the exit
point of the study

Generally I improve in writing when my partner N Mean SD p


Pre- comments on the content of my writing (i.e. ideas,
1 44 4.05 .834 .000
evidence, examples, etc.)
235

Generally I improve in writing when my partner N Mean SD p


Post- comments on the content of my writing (i.e.
44 1.48 .731
ideas, evidence, examples, etc.)
Pre- comments on the organisation of my writings (i.e.
44 4.09 .858
paragraph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
2 .000
Post- comments on the organisation of my writings
44 1.50 .731
(i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
Pre- comments on my writing style (i.e. expression,
44 4.11 .868
tone, etc.)
3 .000
Post- comments on my writing style (i.e. expression,
44 1.57 .695
tone, etc.)
Pre- checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage) 44 4.00 .940
4 .000
Post- checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage) 44 1.59 .757
Pre- highlights grammatical mistakes 42 4.33 .816
5 .000
Post- highlights grammatical mistakes 42 2.76 .759
Pre- highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation,
43 4.21 .940
spelling, capitalisation, etc.)
6 .000
Post- highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation,
43 2.74 .658
spelling, capitalisation, etc.)
Pre- identifies errors with correction symbols 43 4.30 .989
7 .000
Post- identifies errors with correction symbols 43 1.44 .796
Pre- highlights errors with a red-coloured pen 44 4.30 .930
8 .000
Post- highlights errors with a red-coloured pen 44 3.23 .711
Pre- comments on the good points of my writing 44 2.50 1.067
9 .000
Post- comments on the good points of my writing 44 1.34 .745
Pre- comments on the weak points of my writing 44 4.18 .922
10 .000
Post- comments on the weak points of my writing 44 2.00 .863

B. 2 Responses of the control group in the beginning and the end of the research

Similarly, the answers of the control group presented statistically significant variation at

the entry and exit point of the study in all items as evidenced in table 20. However, it is

easily recognisable that this change in attitude was contrary to the change of the expe-

rimental group. Whereas the experimental group resulted in being in favour of peer cor-

rection, the control group became more opposed to all aspects of peer feedback apart

from item 9, which is about receiving encouraging comments by a partner.


236

Table 20 Attitudes towards peer correction of the control group at the entry and exit point of
the study

Generally I improve in writing when my partner N Mean SD p


Pre- comments on the content of my writing (i.e. ideas,
45 4.16 .824
evidence, examples, etc.)
1 .006
Post- comments on the content of my writing (i.e.
45 4.53 .625
ideas, evidence, examples, etc.)
Pre- comments on the organisation of my writings (i.e.
46 4.26 .828
paragraph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
2 .012
Post- comments on the organisation of my writings
46 4.61 .649
(i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
Pre- comments on my writing style (i.e. expression,
45 3.96 .976
tone, etc.)
3 .018
Post- comments on my writing style (i.e. expression,
45 4.36 .570
tone, etc.)
Pre- checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage) 46 4.00 .011
4 .009
Post- checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage) 46 4.46 .546
Pre- highlights grammatical mistakes 46 4.46 .690
5 .026
Post- highlights grammatical mistakes 46 4.70 .553
Pre- highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation,
45 4.36 .883
spelling, capitalisation, etc.)
6 .017
Post- highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation,
45 4.71 .626
spelling, capitalisation, etc.)
Pre- identifies errors with correction symbols 45 4.42 .783
7 .002
Post- identifies errors with correction symbols 45 4.78 .420
Pre- highlights errors with a red-coloured pen 46 4.28 .958
8 .000
Post- highlights errors with a red-coloured pen 46 4.85 .363
Pre- comments on the good points of my writing 46 2.35 1.251
9 .000
Post- comments on the good points of my writing 46 1.50 .810
Pre- comments on the weak points of my writing 46 4.57 .807
10 .008
Post- comments on the weak points of my writing 46 4.89 .315

6.3.4.5 Background information about self-evaluation, purpose for studying English and
attending lessons in private language schools or private lessons at home

This part of the questionnaire (appendix II) was administered only in the beginning of

the research to trace background information about the students’ level, purpose of learn-

ing English, attendance of lessons in private language schools and selection of the place

where they prefer to produce their writings in English. More specifically, they compared

their mastery of English to that of their classmates, they expressed how important they
237

rank the need to learn English, their target of studying English, whether they attend pri-

vate lessons and if so the duration and the class they attend, if they prefer to write by

hand and finally if they want to do their written assignments at home or at school.5

Table 21 shows the percentage distribution of the students’ subjective evaluation

of their knowledge of English as compared to the one of their classmates. The table

clearly shows that the control students rate their knowledge as higher than the experi-

mental group, but the computed chi-square test did not yield any significant difference.

Table 21 Overall proficiency in English as compared with the proficiency of classmates


EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
N % N % N %
VERY GOOD 8 18.0 17 37.0 25 27.8
FAIRLY GOOD 17 38.6 13 28.3 30 33.3
GOOD 9 20.5 10 21.7 19 21.1
POOR 10 22.7 6 13.0 16 17.8
2
χ (3)=4.784, p=0.188

Table 22 questioned the participants about how important they consider the ne-

cessity to learn English. The overwhelming majority of the respondents both experi-

mental and control stated that they believe it is very important to learn English well. No

statistically significant difference was found.

Table 22 Importance of becoming proficient in English


EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
N % N % N %
VERY IMPORTANT 36 81.8 37 80.4 73 81.1
IMPORTANT 5 11.4 5 10.9 10 11.1
A LITTLE IMPORTANT 3 6.8 3 6.5 6 6.7
NOT AT ALL IMPORTANT 0 0.0 1 2.2 1 1.1
2
χ (3)=0.970, p=0.809

The students were asked to choose the four most important reasons from a list of

10 reasons why they want to learn English or state any other personal motivation (sec-
5
The tables which present interesting findings will be discussed in this section, whereas the rest of the
tables will be introduced in appendix VIII.
238

ond part- section C (appendix II). The four options which ranked higher were the fol-

lowing: (1) I need it for my future studies, (2) I want to get a certificate (i.e. Lower, Pro-

ficiency), (3) I need it for my future career, and (4) I need it for travelling abroad. From

these preferences number 1, 2 and 4 presented no significant difference between the two

groups, whereas number 3 yielded a significant variation at 0.002 with the control

group outscoring the experimental one by 91.3% versus 63.6%, χ2(1)= 9.960, p.002 -

Table 23.7 (appendix VIII - tables 23.1 - 23.11).

Table 24 shows that the vast majority of both groups like English without pre-

senting any important differentiation.

Table 24 Preference of learning English


EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
N % N % N %
YES 42 95.5 41 89.1 83 92.2
NO 2 4.5 5 10.9 7 7.8
2
χ (1)= 1.254, p=0.263

Table 25 presents that the substantial majority of both groups have been receiv-

ing private tuition in English apart from the lessons in the state school. What is striking

here is the fact that the percentage distribution is similar - 81.8% for the experimental

and 82.6% for the control group and thus, no significant diversity can be found between

the two groups. This substantiates the fact that the difference in performance at the exit

point of the study is due to the intervention applied by the researcher rather than any

other external factors.

Table 25 Receiving private instruction in English apart from school


EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
N % N % N %
YES 36 81.8 38 82.6 74 82.2
NO 8 18.2 8 17.4 16 17.8
2
χ (1)= 0.010, p=0.922
239

In the following Table 26 there is once more a parallel distribution of students

from the two groups according to the years of private tuition they have attended, that is

ten experimental students and thirteen control members attended one to three years, and

26 experimental participants and 25 control subjects received private instruction which

lasted four to five years. As there is no important statistical difference between the two

groups, this finding shows that both groups start from an equal basis concerning tuition

in school and private instruction.

Table 26 Years of private instruction


EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
N % N % N %
1-3 YEARS 10 27.8 13 34.2 23 31.1
4-5 YEARS 26 72.2 25 65.8 51 68.9
χ 2(1)=0.357, p=0.550

Even though Table 27 yields no statistically significant results regarding the

kind of private tuition the students have received, it contains important data for the

present study. Private tuition is differentiated into private language schools - frontistiria

and private lessons. A sizeable percentage of the control group - 25% have attended pri-

vate lessons, whereby students can receive individualised instruction and therefore ben-

efit more than lessons in a frontistirio where there are groups of students. Only a meagre

minority of the experimental group - 8.3% attended private lessons at home and 2.8%

answered that they have received both kinds of private instruction. The results of this

item are important, since they show that the control group members have received better

private tuition than the experimental ones, thus, one would expect the former to perform

better in writing than the latter. Consequently, any differentiation in performance would

corroborate the importance of the employment of the process writing component with

the experimental group.


240

Table 27 Attendance of English classes at a private language school (frontistirio) or in private


lessons at home
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
N % N % N %
FRONTISTIRIO 32 88.9 30 75.0 62 81.6
PRIVATE LESSONS 3 8.3 10 25.0 13 17.1
BOTH 1 2.8 0 0.0 1 1.3
2
χ (2)=4.636, p=0.098

Table 28 shows that the vast majority of both groups prefer to prepare their writ-

ing assignments at home. This statement provides no statistical difference and yet it is

outstanding, since it mirrors the prevalent practice in writing in the Greek state primary

school where writing is assigned as homework depriving, therefore, students of collabo-

ration with the teacher and the rest of the class, and the opportunity of being exposed to

the process of writing.

Table 28 Preference of preparing writing assignments at home or at school


EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
N % N % N %
AT HOME 38 86.4 39 84.8 77 85.6
AT SCHOOL 6 13.6 4 8.7 10 11.1
BOTH 0 0.0 3 6.5 3 3.3
2
χ (2)=3.370, p=0.185

The last item of this part requested the students to state which grade they have

attended in private tuition. A Pearson chi-square test was computed to rate the

crosstabulation among the five grades but yielded no significant difference between the

two groups (Table 29). Half of the students of both groups have finished grade A senior

and a large percentage of them - 30.6% experimental and 28.2% control - have attended

B senior. According to the classification of the Pedagogical Institute (http:// pedagogical

institute.gr), grade As corresponds to level A2- and grade Bs to level A2+, that is stu-

dents attending the As grade exhibit the same level with the students of the sixth class

of the state primary school, whereas students attending the Bs grade are half a level
241

higher. Once more, the statistical results show that the students of both groups started

from an equal basis in the beginning of the study and no factors other than the applica-

tion or not of the chosen intervention influenced their final performance.

Table 29 Placement in private tuition (language school or private lessons)


EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL
Ν % Ν % Ν %
Aj 1 2.8 3 7.7 4 5.3
Bj 7 19.4 5 12.8 12 16.0
As 17 47.2 19 48.7 36 48.0
Bs 11 30.6 11 28.2 22 29.3
Cs 0 0.0 1 2.6 1 1.3
Total 36 100 39 100 75 100
2
χ (4)=2.328, p=0.676

6.4 Concluding remarks


The main findings of the present research were analysed in this chapter. A qualitative

analysis of the students’ writings and the teachers’ interviews was made. A detailed

quantitative analysis of the grades in the entry and exit writing test was provided along

with an analysis of the raters’ agreement. The results of the questionnaires were dis-

cussed and a comparison of the performance of the boys and girls was provided. A lim-

ited discussion was given during the presentation of the findings, where it was deemed

as appropriate. The obtained data showed that the reaction of the students to the teacher-

designed intervention under the process writing philosophy was positive both in per-

formance and attitudes. An attempt will be made in chapter 7 to further comment on and

interpret the findings, on the one hand, and draw relevant pedagogical implications, on

the other.
242

Chapter 7

Discussion of results

7.1 Introduction
Having presented the results gathered from the qualitative and quantitative analysis of

the research in the previous chapter, this chapter has the following targets: first of all, to

examine whether the hypothesis and research questions of this thesis have been verified

or not and trace plausible explanations for this verification or lack thereof. Second, an

attempt will be made, on the one hand, to interpret the extracted data of the study in de-

tail with reference to the hypothesis and research questions and on the other, to compare

and contrast them to the results of similar studies. Moreover, the pedagogical implica-

tions of the findings will be discussed and relevant recommendations will be made.

7.2 Discussion of the hypothesis and research questions


In the present thesis an attempt was made to demonstrate that reading the instructions of

a required written assignment and trying to stitch together various sentences and ideas is

not enough to produce a decent piece of writing and at, the same time, enable students

to become independent writers in a foreign language. It was deemed as appropriate to

employ the process approach in order to teach learners the procedure which leads to

successful writing. Therefore, the main preoccupation of the present thesis was:

1) to address the main hypothesis in general:

► The process approach to writing helps sixth grade students of the Greek state primary

schools develop their writing skills in English.

and 2) to tackle with the research questions that were set from the beginning:
243

• Will the students of the experimental group of the sixth grade of state primary

schools, who receive process writing tuition, outperform the students of the con-

trol group as far as the overall writing ability in English is concerned?

• Will there be any gender differences, as previous research has suggested? More

specifically, will the girls of the experimental group respond more positively to

this approach and present better results than the boys?

• Will the application of process writing positively influence the attitudes and per-

ceptions towards writing of the students of the experimental group?

The aim of the following sections (7.2.1, 7.2.2, 7.2.3) is to negotiate the applicability

and sustainability of these questions.

7.2.1 Attained proficiency

This part focuses on the first research question:

• Will the students of the experimental group of the sixth grade of state primary

schools, who receive process writing tuition, outperform the students of the con-

trol group as far as the overall writing ability in English is concerned?

In the present study, two measures of English language proficiency were employed: the

grade the students obtained in the entry and exit writing test, and the level of the stu-

dents according to a standardised test - Oxford Quick Placement Test. The Oxford

Quick Placement Test confirmed the classification of the students at the level deter-

mined for this grade by the Pedagogical Institute (see section 5.4). The students’ profi-

ciency and improvement was measured through the entry and exit writing test, which is

a concrete criterion in writing examining the exact performance of the same students

throughout the school year. Therefore, the efficacy of the present intervention is deter-

mined through the written attainment of the learners who were the recipients of this spe-
244

cial treatment, resulting, thus, in safe conclusions about the success of this special

treatment.

Similar to Akyel & Kamisli’s (1996) study, the present research used a pre- and

post- test, and student self-evaluation in the beginning and the end through a question-

naire about their strategies and perceptions towards writing. Moreover, both studies em-

ployed a standardised test to detect the subjects’ level, which in both cases corres-

ponded to the expected proficiency of learners at their age. The students following the

process approach spent more time in pre-writing, planning and drafting. The learners

achieved better grades for their final compositions and developed positive attitudes to-

wards writing. Writing in the classroom improved their writing skills in English. They

valued organising ideas into a coherent whole and admitted benefiting from teacher and

peer feedback rather than writing in isolation. The only discrepancy between the two

studies is the fact that in Akyel & Kamisli’s one there was only a limited number of ex-

perimental students.

The findings under discussion are diverse from the ones provided by Gomez et

al., (1996), whereby the experimental groups achieved little gains compared to the con-

trol ones, namely in meaning and productivity. A striking datum in this study was that

the product writing students either outperformed in topic, organisation, meaning, sen-

tence and mechanics or equalled in organisation the process writing ones. A possible

explanation for this discrepancy is the fact that the participants in the Gomez et al.’s ex-

periment were of low proficiency lacking, thus, the necessary linguistic background,

which would enable them to fully capitalise on the process writing approach. Moreover,

this incongruity may be due to the different length of time, due to the fact that the pre-

sent study lasted 30 weeks as opposed to the six weeks of the other study. It should be

mentioned, of course, that during the current experiment the researcher visited the
245

classes 13 times, because it would not be feasible to interfere with the regular lessons of

state schools every single week. Nevertheless, this shows that the present study lasted

much longer and the actual time of intervention in this case was more than double from

that of the other study.

The statistical analysis of the students’ grades at pre-test showed that the writing

performance of the two groups (experimental and control) was similar (Table 1),

whereas the exit grades of the current research showed that the experimental group out-

performed the control one at a marginal significance 0.049<0.05 (Table 5). The qualita-

tive interpretation of the writings in section 6.2 also indicated that the students of the

experimental group produced better texts at the organisational and ideational level ex-

hibiting greater creativity than the participants of the control group.

The results of the numerical grades and the qualitative analysis of the students’

writings both sustain the first research question which refers to the improvement of the

overall writing ability referring both to amelioration of numbers and quality.

More specifically, the qualitative analysis concerning the writing competence in

the exit test has illustrated that giving students a topic to write about does not automati-

cally result in a good piece of writing. If that was the case, we would assume that even

the learners of the control group without any guidance would have achieved similarly

good performance as the ones in the experimental group, who received specific instruc-

tion on the process of writing through specially designed materials. It must be admitted

that some students who belonged to the control group produced very good pieces of

writing both during the study and at its exit point (e.g. student 9 C). Such cases may in-

fluence the statistics, through tampering with group mean scores and obscuring the dif-

ferences between the experimental and control group. On the other hand, it is easily no-

ticeable that although these students presented carefully organised writings, they lacked
246

the resourcefulness and quality which the students who belonged to the experimental

group developed through the various stages of process writing (e.g. student 33 E). Con-

sequently, it can be deduced that instruction may not play a pivotal role for students

who possess linguistic and cognitive abilities as evidenced in Hatzitheodorou (2005).

Nevertheless, the vast majority of students who are in need of improvement in both lan-

guage and cognition will profit from writing instruction based around the concepts of

process writing.

7.2.2 Gender-related differences

This section will investigate whether the second research question was verified.

• Will there be any gender differences, as previous research has suggested? More

specifically, will the girls of the experimental group respond more positively to

this approach and present better results than the boys?

In a comprehensive review, Sunderland (2000) argues that SLA research has shown that

there are differences between the two sexes and that girls usually outperform boys. In a

survey regarding attitude and motivation of American students studying Spanish as a

second language, Muchnick and Wolfe (1982) reported that females had significantly

higher scores on all factors included in the research. In another study, Sung and Padilla

(1998), explored motivation among 591 elementary- and secondary- level students in

California public schools learning Chinese, Japanese and Korean as a foreign language.

One of their conclusions was that female students, regardless of the grade level or the

language programme type, had higher instrumental and integrative motivation to learn

Asian languages than their male counterparts. A similar study is found in Nikolaou’s

(2004) doctoral thesis where he acknowledges that the girls devote more time to study-

ing English, and are more motivated and willing to do their homework than boys. The

difference is significant at p<0.001 level. In his research, Pearson’s product moment


247

correlation proved a low but important relationship between school marks, motivational

urge and motivational intensity. These findings show that students who try more and

have a greater desire to learn English, also achieve higher grades. Consequently, female

performance is better than male output.

Initially, as evidenced in Maccoby & Jacklin (1974; cited in Sunderland, 2000),

this female superiority in SL learning was explained through biological dimensions,

contending that this precedence of the girls was due to neuro-physiological differences.

Later, however, there was a change of the researchers’ focus (Ekstrand, 1980; Sung &

Padilla 1998) and the explanation of gender-based diversities shifted from biology to

socio-cultural factors, which attribute to female students roles that lead to positive per-

ceptions to SL learning.

The results of the present study indicate that unlike the previously mentioned

studies and contrary to the second research question, better performance does not seem

to be totally dependent on the factor of gender. In fact, there is an inconsistency here,

because part of the research question was proved but part of it was rejected. On the one

hand, the statistical analysis shows that the difference in performance between the two

sexes is statistically significant for both the experimental and control group at the outset

of the study and at the end of the research, indicating that the girls performed better in

the pre- and post- test. This numerical superiority of the girls proves that females indeed

presented better results. On the other hand, the percentage rise of the mean scores of the

experimental group at the entry and exit point (Table 3 and Figure 7) show a parallel

increase between the two genders. Consequently, the hypothesis is substantiated on sta-

tistically significant terms but not in absolute mean scores.

This runs counter to the original assumption that the girls would respond more

positively, as both sexes seem to exhibit similar reaction to the intervention. One plaus-
248

ible interpretation of this outcome might be that since the applied treatment was new

and challenging, it made the boys work harder, and, as a result, it proved quite effective

and affected both genders positively. This is an issue which is important and needs fur-

ther research to examine whether appealing methods and well-designed materials could

trigger similar results to both sexes and result in equal improvement. This kind of re-

search might substantiate that boys do not lag behind due to biological, motivational or

social reasons but demand interesting instruction techniques in order to fully display

their potential. This point of view is also corroborated by Sunderland (2000) who cau-

tioned us about the fact that “any apparent superior proficiency as regards scores” (ibid:

204) may partially be accounted for by the design of the study.

7.2.3 Students’ attitudes

The third research question will be tackled with in this part of the thesis:

• Will the application of process writing positively influence the attitudes and per-

ceptions towards writing of the students of the experimental group?

The students’ attitudes towards writing in general, specific techniques that can help

them become better writers, attitudes towards peer and teacher correction, background

information about themselves and opinions about certain problems they face during

writing were traced through the questionnaires. These attitudes can be divided into two

sets. The first set can be viewed as ingrained attitudes referring to the ones students

have formed so far about writing, which they bring to the learning procedure. The

second set of attitudes are designated as developed attitudes, because they appear as the

result of the work done with the learners at school during the research. The former were

sought in the original questionnaire of the present research, whereas the latter were the

focal point of the final questionnaire with a view to investigating any change from the

ingrained attitudes to the developed ones.


249

As was shown in chapter 6, the statistical analysis of the answers to the ques-

tionnaires revealed a homogeneity between the two groups regarding the ingrained atti-

tudes towards writing. Both experimental and control groups undervalued the impor-

tance of pre-writing activities, planning, drafting and redrafting, collaboration, peer and

teacher correction (Table 7). Their greatest reaction was against peer feedback and re-

ceiving negative comments either from the teacher or from their partner (Tables 13 and

17). Moreover, they demanded correction of all their errors by their teacher, whom they

considered as an expert, rather than being given help to spot their flaws and try to cor-

rect them themselves acquiring, in this way, transferable writing and correcting tech-

niques. These perceptions hardly need an explanation, since the Greek educational sys-

tem and the teaching of writing in specific promotes collaboration only in theory and

seldom in practice. Furthermore, drafting and redrafting is a totally new notion to Greek

students and peer correction, especially the negative one, is a source of embarrassment.

In the final questionnaires, the developed attitudes were different with a statis-

tical significance between the two groups. The control group retained their original

aversion towards collaboration, drafting and redrafting, and peer correction or even be-

came more hostile to these practices, due to the fact that they are unfamiliar with these

procedures. On the contrary, the experimental group adopted a very positive mentality

towards these techniques, as they had become familiar with their usefulness during the

intervention. This proves that the alteration of the perceptions of the experimental group

is due to the specially-designed instruction during the research, whereby they realised

the value of learning the process of writing, the role of the teacher as a facilitator rather

than a guide who leads them to a piece of writing, and finally the importance of receiv-

ing and providing both positive and negative commentary. Consequently, the third re-

search question was verified (Tables 8, 14 and 18).


250

7.2.3.1 General attitudes towards writing and specific techniques which can help stu-
dents improve their writing

A. Students’ expectations of collaboration


This part will deal with the expectations the learners displayed about both teacher and

peer collaboration at the end of the study and simultaneously it will compare these aspi-

rations with the ones of similar studies.

In the present study, the participants of the experimental group exhibited over-

whelming approval of teacher help at the end of the study. Moreover, even the control

subjects appreciated the positive commentary by the teacher. This finding is diverse

from the ones in Fiona Hyland’s (1998) study of students’ reaction to teacher feedback,

whereby some misunderstandings of the learners’ interpretation of teacher assistance

surfaced. She concluded that teacher comments, even when they are positive, may affect

in a negative way students’ self-esteem and lead them to discouragement.

Furthermore, in the present study, the experimental students were given special

aid to their good and weak elements both by the teacher and their partners throughout

the intervention. The weak points were highlighted neutrally without any special effort

either to mitigate them or to embarrass the students. Maybe this practice provided the

students with the opportunity to develop linguistically and cognitively without demoti-

vating them. As a result, the experimental students responded positively to negative crit-

icism, whether it originated from the teacher (Table 15 - item 10) or from their partner

(Table 19 - item 10). On the contrary, the control group members were opposed to nega-

tive commentary provided both by the teacher and by their peers (Table 16 - item 10

and Table 20 - item 10). In contrast, Hyland & Hyland (2001), investigating the writers’

reaction to both positive and adverse commentary provided by the teacher, reported that,

as the instructors tried to alleviate the negative points to avoid student demotivation,

they ended in confusing the students rather than helping them.


251

Finally, the present writer hopes that this research is a furtherance of the one

conducted by Nelson & Carson (1998) exploring the learners’ reaction to teacher and

peer commentary with students of Chinese and Spanish origin in an American universi-

ty following the process approach in their writing classroom. While trying to investigate

the influence of different cultural and educational backgrounds of the EFL students on

their perceptions of teacher and partner assistance, they found out that this background

plays a vital role in the formulation of the learners’ conceptions. More specifically, they

reported that the Chinese students, who come from a culture which treasures collectiv-

ism rather than individualism, preferred consensus so as to maintain positive group rela-

tionships at the expense of improving their writing abilities. Consequently, they were

cautious to avoid negative comments, which would create embarrassment. On the con-

trary, the Spanish students who represent Western mentality, which prioritises the indi-

vidual voice, employed both positive and adverse treatment concentrating on the ameli-

oration of their writing instead of worrying about the implications of their comments on

the social structure of the group.

In the Greek context, the individual element is valued in a different dimension,

though. Greeks feel inconvenient and get strongly discouraged when receiving negative

criticism, whichever the source of the commentary. In the first writing lesson, the re-

searcher felt disheartened and became dubious of the possibility of collaboration be-

tween the students and the teacher but mainly among the students, due to the intense

aversion of the learners to cooperation. Little by little, during the following lessons they

realised the importance of giving and receiving feedback, which led them to harmonious

collaboration and to the point of asking themselves to work with their partners. As a re-

sult, in the post questionnaires the experimental students responded in favour of the
252

treatment of both the strong and less strong points of their writings carried out by the

teacher or their partners (Table 15 - items 9, 10 and Table 19 - items 9, 10).

B. Students’ conceptions about drafting and redrafting


The present subjects were opposed, at first, to drafting and redrafting, since they consid-

ered it as a waste of time. This is an obvious consequence of the regular practice in the

Greek school system, in which the students are not encouraged to draft and redraft their

texts, while writing, with the aim of improving it. Later, when they realised that in this

way their final product was polished, they accepted it as a useful means of improve-

ment. This change of attitude is apparent in the final questionnaires of the experimental

participants (Table 12.6), whereas the control group members remained indifferent to

this unfamiliar technique. These conclusions are contradictory to the ones in Ham-

mouda’s (2005) study whose students reacted to drafting and sought for ready-made an-

swers.

There is also a discrepancy concerning drafting between the study by Nelson

and Carson (1998) and the present one under discussion. Whereas in the former the sub-

jects showed preference to global feedback believing that sentence-level and grammar

comments were not very helpful in reshaping their drafts, the participants of the latter

showed interest in all kinds of commentary, be it in surface or deep level, in order to be

enabled to revise their drafts (Tables 9, 15 and 19).

C. Students’ attitudes to the application of the process approach


As far as the application of process writing is concerned, in the current experiment, the

students of the experimental group highly rated the elements of the approach, namely,

specification of purpose, audience and social context, elicitation of relevant ideas and

vocabulary, collaboration, rereading and revising. This can be attributed to two factors:

(a) the special treatment they received under the process writing philosophy by the re-
253

searcher, which led them to grant credit to its gains, and (b) the reflection of the re-

searcher’s preference of the application of the approach on the students’ positive atti-

tudes. Their teachers of English as well as their teachers of Greek also acknowledged

the significance of the impact of the process-focused pedagogy both in L1 and L2 writ-

ing. In the same line, although conducted with a dissimilar target, Pennington et al.’s

(1996) study had consistent results with the present research. She observed eight classes

in secondary school in Hong Kong participating in the introduction of the process-

focused approach, with the aim of investigating the teachers’ and students’ reactions to

this application. The results demonstrated a causal relationship between the learners’

attitudes and the teachers’ options. The classes who rated the new approach more posi-

tively were the ones whose teacher favoured the process paradigm.

D. Students’ perceptions towards task specifications and pre-writing aid


Both experimental and control groups of this research exhibited favourable disposition

to familiarisation with the discourse type of a text, which can aid the students to pro-

duce a similar text. They also agreed that the target reader and the purpose are signifi-

cant components to be taken into account while writing. These similar preferences were

evident in the beginning and the end of the research and mirror that all the students, no

matter what instruction techniques were used during teaching writing, can appreciate the

importance of the context of writing.

Concerning brainstorming and experimenting with ideas either alone or as a

whole class before starting writing their text, neither group endorsed this practice, due

to the fact that they were not aware of its usefulness in the beginning of the study. In the

end of the study, the control group yielded a similar low preference towards elicitation

of ideas, as they were unfamiliar with this technique. On the other hand, the experimen-
254

tal group prioritised this practice, which reflects the impact of the employment of

process writing on their perceptions towards writing.

7.2.3.2 Attitudes towards teacher correction

The participants of the experimental group of this study became aware of the benefits of

teacher feedback at the end of the intervention in the form of pre-, while- and post-

writing help regarding experimentation with ideas and forms, topic exploitation, organi-

sation of their text, and error correction. Furthermore, they realised the importance of

being given a special code for correction by their teacher in order to trace and rectify

their errors by themselves and be actively involved in the learning process through in-

teresting problem-solving activities. On the contrary, the control group members did not

favour this kind of guidance, as they had not been provided with any of these proce-

dures apart from summative teacher feedback at their final product.

Zamel’s (1985) study is in compliance with the preferences of the present expe-

rimental group members at the end of the intervention. Particularly, she concluded that

instructors should be more specific in the corrections, avoiding vague remarks and give

time to their learners to integrate this commentary in a second or third draft.

The experimental subjects of the current research seem more confident on how

to benefit from help given to them during a writing lesson than the students participat-

ing in Cohen & Cavalcanti’s (1990) research in a university department of English, who

were not always sure how to treat teacher feedback.

In another experiment in a private EFL institute conducted by Cohen & Caval-

canti (1990), the teacher focused more on form resulting to the students’ preference for

more assistance with content. The attitude of these students is in line with the percep-

tions of the experimental subjects of the current thesis as expressed in Table 15, where
255

they admit with a statistical significance of 0.000 that they need attention to all levels,

that is sequencing of ideas, writing style, grammar, vocabulary and mechanics.

The preference to be given a special code in order to correct their texts articu-

lated by the members of the present experimental group is in the same vein with La-

lande’s (1982) findings. Having carried out a study, where he corrected the errors of the

control group while he provided a correction code to the experimental group in order to

rectify their deficiencies themselves, Lalande found out that the experimental group im-

proved significantly compared with the control group.

Finally, the experimental subjects of our study realised that the teacher should be

selective in error treatment so as to be more effective regarding, therefore, the treatment

of all errors in a piece of writing as bad practice. This was due to the fact that each writ-

ing lesson concentrated on different aspects of errors dealing with two or three types of

mistaken performance at a time. This method, rather than entangling learners with all

errors, gave them the opportunity to concentrate on a limited number of errors of similar

nature providing them with a specific focus and maximising their benefits. This percep-

tion is in accordance with Ferris’s (1999: 4) tenet that teacher correction should be “se-

lective, prioritised and clear”.

7.2.3.3 Students’ attitudes towards peer correction

As far as peer feedback is concerned, the findings of the current research are consistent

with the results of the related studies presented in Chapter Three (section 3.5.2) al-

though the subjects involved in those experiments had received more detailed training at

peer feedback, because that was the focus of their research. Moreover, in this thesis the

main purpose was to examine the process approach as a whole rather than divide it in its

constituents, which would be an overambitious plan.


256

The students of the experimental group in the present study opted for peer com-

mentary as their answers clearly indicated in the questionnaires at the exit point (Table 8

and 9 - item 14, Table 12.10, and Table 19). These results revealed that the student col-

laboration at commenting on each other’s texts influenced positively their stances to-

wards their partner’s contribution to the improvement of their writings. They even ac-

knowledged the importance of receiving feedback on their weak points by their fellow

students, although this kind of commentary was a source of embarrassment for them in

the beginning of the study.

Similarly, all researches presented in section 3.5.2, (Hedgecock & Lefkowitz,

1992; Villamil & De Guerrero, 1996; Villamil & De Guerrrero, 1998; Jacobs et al.,

1998) showed that SL students, who are familiar with the process-oriented pedagogy,

are in favour of peer reinforcement as one type of feedback on their writing.

Part 7.2.3 of this thesis discussed whether the third research question was con-

firmed. As was demonstrated, the final questionnaires showed an alteration of the atti-

tudes of the experimental students towards writing in general and the application of

process writing in specific. Almost all their responses exhibited a statistically significant

difference from their original answers in favour of the process writing paradigm. This

change of stances was expected by the researcher, since it was deemed that the duration

of the study would not be enough for spectacular changes in the numerical performance

of the participants, but it would be adequate in rendering their perceptions more posi-

tive.

Summarising section 7.2 it can be said that the target of this research has been to

investigate the applicability of the process writing approach to the Greek state primary

school and its possibility for replicability. The statistical data help us posit that the re-

sults are sustainable, that is, it can be claimed with certainty that the present research
257

substantiated the general hypothesis of this thesis that the process approach to writing

helps the sixth grade students of the Greek government primary schools to develop their

writing skills in English. The term skills implies both the students’ writing performance

and their attitudes to writing.

7.3 Applicability of the proposed frameworks


Drawing on the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the research, it can be posited

with certainty that the applicability and the efficacy of the suggested model of the cog-

nitive process writers go through (Figure 4 - page 258) as well as the proposed process-

writing framework (Figure 6 - page 260) were validated.

As far as the first model is concerned, the topic, the target, the intended audience

and the discourse type determine the formulation of the text. To this end, the relevant

ideas and the social situation whereby the writing takes place play an important role. As

soon as these subcomponents have been specified, the process of writing is initiated,

during which the text under preparation is formed, tested, rewritten, and corrected until

the polished product is produced. This model indicates that the linguistic, textual, orga-

nisational and ideational elements of writing, the social variables, and the mental

process of the writer are interwoven in the creation of the required piece of writing.

The above model is the general framework within which writing is created.

However, the second proposed schematic representation is more elaborate and detailed,

since it analytically represents the whole procedure followed during the process writing

approach. It clearly shows that the process of writing is recursive rather than linear and

explicitly displays the relationships and interactions between the various subelements of

writing as well as the interconnections of the participants.


258

MENTAL REPRESENTATION
OF ASSIGNMENT

KNOWLEDGE-
CONTENT DISCOURSE
KNOWLEDGE TELLING KNOWLEDGE
PROCESS
TASK

LOCATE SET LOCATE LOCATE


TOPIC PURPOSE AUDIENCE GENRE

CONSTRUCT
MEMORY PROBES

RETRIEVE CONTENT FROM MEMORY US-


ING PROBES

FAIL
RUN TESTS OF
APPROPRIATENESS
PASS
WRITE
(NOTES, DRAFTS, ETC)

FAIL
REREAD - REVISE

PASS
UPDATE MENTAL SOCIAL
TEXT REPRESENTATION OF TEXT CONTEXT
KNOWLEDGE KNOWLEDGE

Figure 4: The suggested model of the writing procedure based on Bereiter & Scarda-
malia, 1987

In particular, the writer should conceptualise the knowledge he/she shares with

the intended reader, be aware of the generic type and the purpose of the text, read care-

fully and ponder about the topic, and last take into consideration the social context with-

in which the writing takes place. The teacher is also connected with all these elements in

an effort to aid the learner to fully comprehend and monitor the task requirements.

Moreover, these task requirements interact with the text, in the sense that they deter-

mine the constructed piece of writing.

The task specifications initiate the process of writing in a reciprocal interaction.

Planning entails eliciting the required information in order to generate relevant ideas
259

and result in the first draft. Responding by the teacher or the partner evokes revising,

which in turn leads to redrafting and a new response to the written piece so far. Revising

is activated again to result in editing. Revising plays a vital role in the procedure, be-

cause it relates to all stages, feeding most of them and being triggered by responding.

Rather than following a sequence in line, the whole process is cyclical, whereby the

writer can move backwards and forwards. This process and the text are interdependent

with each other, as the process generates the text and the text mobilises the process.

Both the teacher and the writer are involved in the writing process and in the

creation of the text. Furthermore, they enter a mutual relationship in the entire endea-

vour.

This framework is fully developed if writing is integrated with the other skills,

as was discussed in section 2.5, and when it is congruent with the crosscurricular orien-

tation of the national curriculum, which was articulated in part 4.5 of this thesis.

In this way, the writers can maximise their writing capacity, adopt positive men-

tality towards writing and acquire transferable writing techniques as was the case with

the members of the experimental group of the research under discussion.

Moreover, this framework proved appropriate for young learners for the follow-

ing reasons: (1) they learnt to read the rubrics of an assignment carefully to determine

the audience, topic specifications, purpose, layout of the text and context of the writing

task, (2) they realised the contribution of collaboration in boosting their performance,

(3) they became aware that writing is not a finite, predetermined product to be corrected

in red pencil, but a dynamic creation amenable to change and amelioration, and (4) they

internalised the notion that process writing is a problem-solving procedure involving

them into discovery of knowledge, learning-how-to-learn, and rendering them, eventual-

ly, into independent writers.


260

Social
Situation
+
Purpose
+
Audience
+
Gentre
+
Topic

Teacher Revising Writer

Text

Figure 6: The proposed model of process writing

7. 4 Pedagogical implications- Suggestions


In this section an attempt will be made to present some suggestions on an effective fo-

cus of teaching writing, the significance of collaboration, the design of appropriate ma-
261

terials, the training of teachers and the need for further research about the process of

writing. Being by no means hard-and-fast rules that instructors must blindly follow,

these recommendations can be considered as substantial guidance to ameliorate the stu-

dents’ writing skills in L2 and as a result in L1.

7.4.1 Focusing on the process of writing

The following recommendations are provided concerning the process of writing, which

will render students able writers:

1. Train students in the process of writing and show them the importance of plan-

ning, drafting, redrafting (as a result of feedback) and revising before the final

editing in improving their pieces of writing at the organisational, structural and

ideational level. This will boost the learners’ linguistic and cognitive develop-

ment.

2. It is worthwhile to devote time to writing in the state school, since writing does

not entail only presenting a good piece of a specific genre but it also enables

students to express their thoughts correctly in writing, which is necessary for all

students as all major exams in Greece are in written form depending, therefore,

largely on the students’ ability to handle the written medium appropriately.

7.4.2 Capitalising on cooperation

The suggestions offered in this section are not meant to be a kind of prescription for

successful writing, but they point to a meaningful exploitation of one of the most centre-

stage elements of process writing, that is, cooperation:

1. Promote cooperation among students through meaningful communicative oppor-

tunities. In this way, young learners will engage in the process of writing in a

challenging context, they will be active participants in the learning process and

improve their writing skills through social interaction. Students will work in
262

pairs or groups or as a whole class during generating ideas, planning, giving and

receiving feedback, drafting and redrafting, and editing.

2. Encourage more collaboration between the teacher and the students, providing

thus children with input within the Zone of Proximal Development with the as-

sistance from one more knowledgeable than themselves. The teacher can aid the

students produce better writings during the various stages of the process ap-

proach as discussed in section 3.2.1. Effective feedback can be given to them

through oral or written collaboration.

7.4.3 Improving the learning context (materials, teachers)

The analysis of the teachers’ interviews has shown that the materials designated by the

Ministry of Education, the time allotted to the teaching of writing and pre- or in-service

training courses for state EFL teachers are not adequate. Consequently, the present

writer’s suggestions as to how the above mentioned parameters will be improved are as

follows:

1. The materials used at state school should be optional rather than predetermined

by the Ministry of Education giving each teacher the opportunity to select the

syllabus which he/she believes is appropriate to the needs of his/her students. In

this matter there is a disagreement with Nikolaou’s (2004: 329) viewpoint who

claims that teachers are “ignorant of - and more often than not indifferent to”

their students’ needs for L2 learning. The present author contends that teachers

are the most appropriate decision makers in detecting their students’ motivation

and choosing the relevant materials. The school committee can cover the ex-

penses as has been the case with the books for the third grade of the primary

school so far. Moreover, the parents’ committee can be asked to contribute to


263

these expenses. In the case of the novice teachers, they can consult more experi-

enced colleagues in order to make an appropriate selection.

2. Should the Ministry of Education, following the maxim “free education for all

citizens”, select to produce a set book for all schools, which is the norm for pri-

mary schools, they have to hire well-qualified materials writers, who are familiar

with process pedagogy, to produce syllabuses equipped with lessons which will

foster the procedure of writing. At the same time, teachers should be given the

freedom to supplement the materials according to their students’ needs.

3. The next step would be to familiarise teacher trainers with the process approach

who will sensitise instructors to the usefulness of the chosen writing framework.

Pre- and in-service courses for EFL teachers should be designed focusing on the

teaching of process writing. In this way, instructors will get familiar with this

approach, realise its merits and become fully equipped to teach their students the

process of writing rendering them, thus, independent writers. It hardly needs

emphasising that special training courses should be organised for state school

teachers regularly to offer them expertise not only in teaching writing but gener-

ally provide them with adequate theoretical and practical information about ad-

vances in pedagogical practices.

4. As far as the syllabus under discussion is concerned (Fun Way English 3),

teachers could use supplementary materials to cover its inadequacies as they

were presented in chapter four of this thesis. Specifically for writing, they could

develop writing lessons under the process writing approach to concentrate on the

process of writing, after receiving appropriate training on this approach. By no

means is it posited that the foreign language teachers should turn into materials

writers, but the most resourceful of them can create new or adapt the existing
264

materials. Moreover, they could incorporate in the writing lesson elements of the

other subjects in alignment with the directives of the new Crosscurricular Pro-

grammes of Study. In this light, the necessity to link the English writing lesson

with the other subjects taught at school will be highlighted stressing, therefore,

the practical usefulness of the English lesson and transforming an instrumental

orientation into a meaningful learning experience.

5. The teachers need to reconsider their role as feedback and reward providers. As

it was fully explicated in section 3.2.1 of the present thesis, the teacher’s role is

redefined leaving the position of a judge to proceed to the fruitful post of a fa-

cilitator. They should centre more on what the students have achieved rather on

what they have done wrongly. A balance can be stricken between criticism and

encouragement giving all students, especially the weaker ones, the opportunity

to have the sense of accomplishment and feel the need to improve their perform-

ance.

6. More time ought to be allocated to the teaching of English. English is taught

three hours per week in primary school, and the first grade of both junior high

school and senior high school, whereas two teaching sessions per week are allot-

ted for the second and third grades of lower secondary school and upper second-

ary school. If teaching time is increased by one hour, then there will be more

time to deal with writing as well as the other skills.

7. Following Hammouda’s (2005) recommendation to fine-tune the process/genre

approach to fulfil different learning and educational contexts, the current author

recommends that the teachers in Greek state primary schools should devote

some time to adjust the students to work cooperatively and get used to the idea

that other students will see and correct their errors. This is very significant, due
265

to the fact that cooperation during writing and exposure to peers’ criticism is less

than unusual in the predominant Greek educational ethos. As this research

showed, however, as soon as the learners overcame the inconvenience they felt

and received their partners’ correction without embarrassment, they realised the

importance of cooperation, and both criticism and praise becoming, thus, more

than willing to cooperate with the other students in order to provide and receive

assistance mutually. In general, instructors should neither be too eager to adopt

imported innovations without investigating their compatibility with their educa-

tional mentality, nor be too negative and reject methodologies which have been

tested in other learning milieux. They can choose the golden mean and try to use

approaches that have been successful in other countries being ready to do any

necessary adjustments to fit the local context and boost the motivational disposi-

tion of their learners.

8. A final suggestion is that writing instruction must start from a young age as the

process of becoming an experienced writer, be it in an L1 or in an L2 is a long

and strenuous one. The present writer believes that students can start discussion

of topic, purpose, audience and social situation of a specific piece of writing as

well as drafting, redrafting and self-correction at the third grade of primary

school. Genre analysis along with peer-correction can be integrated gradually in

the fourth grade. This procedure will allow the writing skills to develop little by

little and good writing processes to be established.

7.7 Concluding remarks


The focus of the present chapter was an attempt to interpret the results of the study as

they were presented in chapter six, to analyse the pedagogical implications and to make

recommendations in order to improve the existing practices in the Greek state primary
266

schools as far as the teaching of writing is concerned. The verification of the hypothesis

and the research questions was discussed and the relevance of the current study to other

similar ones was investigated. The following chapter will describe the final conclusions

of the whole thesis, offering, at the same time, suggestions for further research and out-

lining the limitations of the study.


267

Chapter 8

Conclusion: Fostering autonomy in L2 writing

8.1 Introduction
Having interpreted the results of the research and discussed the pedagogical implica-

tions of the findings in the previous chapter, this chapter will summarise and present the

final conclusions of the whole thesis in light of the findings of the present study. Fur-

thermore, the limitations of the current research will be presented and accounted for,

and possibilities for further research will be suggested.

8.2. Main aim and findings of the present thesis


The main aim of the present thesis was to explore the following hypothesis:

► The process approach to writing helps the sixth grade students of the Greek state

primary schools develop their writing skills in English.

and at the same time investigate whether the students of the experimental group will

outperform the ones of the control group in writing performance and attitudes towards

writing and if the girls will respond more positively than the boys.

The statistical results, as presented in Chapter 6 and interpreted in Chapter 7,

substantiated the general hypothesis and proved its possibility for replicability. More-

over, the main findings of the research questions are: (a) the experimental group stu-

dents outperformed the control group members due to the application of the process

writing approach, (b) the girls of the experimental group performed better than the boys

but both genders exhibited similar, parallel improvement of their written performance,

and (c) the experimental group subjects developed positive attitudes towards pre-,

while- and post- writing assistance both by the teacher and their peers, they valued col-

laboration and active participation in the formulation of their text through drafting, re-
268

vising, rereading and redrafting. These results were compared and contrasted with the

findings of similar studies, and their pedagogical implications were discussed along

with relevant recommendations for successful teaching of L2 writing.

8.3 Developing independence in L2 writing


The data collected in the present experiment by no means have the ambition of

representing the lower intermediate learner of English in different institutional environ-

ments, that is, private schools and “frontisteria”. Nevertheless, due to the impressive-

ness of the results, since statistically significant findings were obtained and because an

adequate number of participants, in statistical terms, were involved, it can be claimed

that “when modified to meet the needs of different instructional settings, the techniques

advocated in this study are worthy of implementation on a trial basis” (Lalande, 1982:

146). Furthermore, Cohen et al. (2000) claim that generalisability in research may be

interpreted as comparability and transferability, which, to the present author’s thinking,

refers to the study under consideration, since the findings can be applied to the general

population exhibiting similar traits, that is, the students of the sixth grade of Greek state

primary schools.

It should have become apparent from the discussion of the curriculum require-

ments, the syllabus deficiencies as well as the presentation of the findings coupled with

the detailed discussion of the data that the teaching of writing in Greek state schools

leaves a lot to be desired, on the one hand, (as was shown with the control group) but,

on the other hand, could be drastically ameliorated if the process writing approach is

introduced (as was clearly indicated with the experimental group). As a result, the

teaching of process writing can be integrated in the syllabus of English in both primary

and secondary schools, following Cotterall & Cohen’s (2003) advice to incorporate the

process of learning and model the kind of learning, which the students will try indepen-
269

dently in the future, if we want to create curriculums and syllabuses that promote learn-

er autonomy.

Communicative language teaching, which has long preserved a theoretical non-

practical status despite the many references and seminars on this issue in Greece, should

be creatively implemented in classroom. Therefore, the teaching of the process of writ-

ing should be given prominence in the EFL context. In this learning environment, the

knowledge and writing potential will accrue as a result of student participation in pur-

poseful activities which synthesise background knowledge with newly obtained data.

Combined and well-orchestrated efforts should be made by the educational authorities

and the teachers themselves with a view to improving the existing situation. It is more

than sensible that the overwhelming responsibility lies on the Ministry of Education and

the Pedagogical Institute, since these are the main administrative authorities in charge of

setting the educational goals, preparing the appropriate materials and training the teach-

ers to well-established methodological innovations. Teachers must redefine their role as

educators, become more reflective about their teaching practices and seek opportunities

for professional development. Only in this way will the students be enabled to learn

how to write in L2 and transfer these skills to their mother tongue and any other foreign

languages they learn in order to be equipped with the ability to express themselves in

writing and take advantage of the prestige the written medium gives to the person who

can employ it aptly.

Another important issue to be taken into consideration is the observation made

by Villamil & De Guerrero (1998) that in no case does the intermediate ESL student’s

maximum writing skills match those of the expert writers, irrespective of whether they

are natives or learning a second/foreign language. It would then be unfair to them if

teachers demand error-free revised drafts. This remark stresses the importance of feed-
270

back which, nevertheless, must be altered to avoid the frequent phenomenon where cor-

rection starts positively only to end in rendering the students demotivated. Consequent-

ly, feedback can act as “an initial stimulus” (Hyland, F. 1998: 264) implying that it can

trigger a series of revisions which further the issues that the original feedback intended

to address. In other words, feedback can develop into a useful tool with the aim of aid-

ing students to rectify their texts, in the short term, and apply the gains of correction in

future writing, retaining, in this way, the benefits of corrective feedback so as to pro-

mote their writing capacity, in the long run.

As already stated above the focal purpose of this thesis was to explore whether

the process writing (White & Arndt, 1991) approach to teaching writing, which focuses

on the process rather than the product of writing, can enable young learners of the sixth

grade of the Greek state primary schools to become more independent writers in their

L2. The results substantiated the efficacy of the process writing approach and more spe-

cifically it was shown that it is of utmost importance to help students realise that a piece

of writing is not a final, predetermined product but a dynamic procedure, which follows

a cyclical process and can be reorganised and improved. Only if we give them ample

time in practising how sentences and ideas can be formed and reformulated through

drafting, revising and redrafting can we equip students with the necessary skills in writ-

ing. Moreover, familiarisation with the expectations of the audience, the target and the

topic of writing provides them with the ability to cope with the context of different writ-

ten texts assigned to them. Another important factor is to stress the importance of colla-

boration between the teacher and the students, and among the students in pairs, groups

or as a whole class. A last important consideration to be taken into account is to engage

students into meaningful activities, since, being young learners, they are in need to be
271

involved in a purposeful, encouraging environment which retains their attention and at

the same time boosts their creativity and resourcefulness.

The contribution of this thesis has been to show that the process writing ap-

proach can turn sixth grade learners of the Greek state school into more autonomous,

competent users of written discourse. The aspirations of the present author were not to

provide a new recipe for successful writing, but to test the applicability in the English

language classroom in Greece of a well-established paradigm in British and American

classrooms. It is hoped that this study has offered useful insights into what procedures

can aid students become better writers in their L2. Specifically, the application of the

process paradigm was shown to be beneficial in many ways, such as improvement of

proficiency, acquisition of positive attitudes towards collaboration and active self-

involvement during writing, and development of autonomy and independence in writing

and in learning, in general. Learners in the process classroom were aided to assume

more responsibility as writers participating meaningfully in the procedure of their own

learning. Finally, one major contribution of the present thesis is the fact that it has

shown that pedagogical and methodological innovations can succeed in the Greek state

school if they are carefully designed and implemented.

8.4 Limitations of the present study


1. Limitations in the design
The major limitation in the layout of the current research is that it only gauges students’

performance in an immediate post-test. In this way, learners’ written attainment is easily

attributable to the employment of the intervention or lack thereof, eliminating the effect

of other variables. Time constraints made the administration of a delayed post-test im-

possible, as the school year finished rendering the investigation of the students’ profi-
272

ciency in L2 writing over time unfeasible. This delayed test might include the influence

of other intervening factors but it would examine the retention rate of the positive ef-

fects of the process writing approach on students’ written output and of their changed

attitudes after a period of time. Therefore, a clearer picture might emerge if both short-

term and long-term effects were available.

2. Limitations in the implementation


Although there were not “any circumstances (foreseen or unforeseen) that may have af-

fected the results in a systematic manner” (Dörnyei, 2003: 124), there were some limita-

tions in the implementation of the study showing inherent problems in education in gen-

eral and the Greek educational reality in specific. Some students were absent during

some writing lessons, being deprived consequently of the opportunity to capitalise fully

on the collaboration during the teaching sessions. A lot of hours were missed, as is the

norm in the Greek state school, due to excursions, educational visits to various places,

rehearsals for theatrical plays and participation in sports events to mention but a few.

This entailed the researcher to go to school for a programmed writing lesson and be ob-

liged to leave and come again on another day, because half of the students were absent

participating in a basketball game. Another time an unexpected earthquake drill inter-

rupted the lesson. These incidents were obstacles in the continuation of the study.

8.5 Need for further research


The research carried out and reported in the current thesis has substantiated that the

process writing paradigm can function effectively in the primary school milieu. How-

ever, further research is proposed in other contexts, such as secondary schools and terti-

ary education, so as to test and prove its usefulness. The present writer believes that this

research could be extended to private language schools, although they are exam-
273

oriented and seem to prefer providing students with ready-made formulas about writing

rather than spend time teaching them the process of writing.

Another issue worthy exploring would be to compare the implementation of the

process writing approach to students of primary, junior high and senior high school in-

vestigating, thus, proficiency, age and motivation differences.

Furthermore, another topic worthy of examination could concentrate on the effi-

cacy of the process writing paradigm to the Greek language classroom. To the best of

the present writer’s knowledge, there are very few studies in Greek so far. One of them

was the one conducted by Fterniati & Spinthourakis (2004) in the fifth and sixth grade

of three Greek primary schools. They investigated the efficacy of the process-focused

versus the product-oriented approach to improve the students’ written attainment in

Greek. Three experimental and three control groups participated in this study, whereby

the former followed materials specially designed by the researcher whereas the latter

attended the state produced coursebook. The findings proved that both good and weak

students of the experimental groups benefited from the intervention, which corroborates

the view that the focus on the process of writing appears to be fundamental to the stu-

dents’ development of communicative written competence. The conduct of these ex-

periments would lead to the establishment of widely-accepted writing strategies irre-

spective of the target language.

8.5 Concluding remarks

It is well known that writing in an L2 is a difficult task especially for young learners. It

is hoped that by investigating the efficacy of “process writing” (White& Arndt, 1991) in

training the students of the sixth grade of the Greek state primary schools to receive

practice in the procedure of writing and become autonomous writers in English, the pre-
274

sent thesis has contributed to the facilitation of teaching and learning in this specific

area.
275

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West, R. (1984) “Needs Analysis in Language Teaching” Language Teaching 27/1: 1-19.
White, R. & V. Arndt, (1991) Process Writing. Harlow: Longman.
White, R. (1988) The ELT Curriculum: Design, Innovation and Management. Oxford:
Basil Blackwell.
Widdowson, H. G. (1972) “The Teaching of English as Communication” English Lan-
guage Teaching 27/1: 15-18.
Widdowson, H. G. (1978) Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford Uni-
versity Press.
Williams, M. (1991) “A Framework for Teaching English to Young Learners’ in Brumfit
et al., (1991 eds) Teaching English to Young Learners. London: Collins
ELT.
Williams, M. (1998) “Ten Principles for Teaching English to Young Learners” IATEFL
Newsletter, 142/ April-May: 6-8.
Williams, W. & Sternberg, J. (1993) “Seven Lessons for Helping Children Make the Most
of Their Abilities” Educational Psychology, 13/ 3 & 4: 317 - 331.
Willis, J. & Willis, D. (1996) Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Oxford:
Heinemann.
Wingard, P. (1981) “Writing” in Abbott, G. & Wingard, P. (1981 eds) The Teaching of
English as an International Language: a Practical Guide. London: Collins.
Wolfersberger, M. (2003) “L1 to L2 Writing Process and Strategy Transfer: A Look at
Lower Proficiency Writers” TESL-EJ 7/2: 1-12.
Wood, D. (1998) How Children Think and Learn. Oxford: Blackwell.

Woodall, B. (2002) “Language-switching: Using the First Language while Writing in a


Second Language” Journal of Second Language Writing 11: 7-28.
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295

Young, R. (1978) “Paradigms and Problems: Needed Research in Rhetorical Invention” in


Cooper, C. & Odell, L. (1978 eds) Research on Composing: Points of View. Urbana,
Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English.
Zamel, V. (1976) “Teaching Composition in the ESL Classroom: What Can we Learn
from Research in the Teaching of English” TESOL Quarterly 10: 67-76.
Zamel, V. (1982) “Writing: the Process of Discovering Meaning” TESOL Quarterly, 16:
195-209.
Zamel, V. (1983) “The Composing Processes of Advanced ESL Students: Six Case Stu-
dies” TESOL Quarterly 17: 165-187.
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296

REFERENCES IN GREEK

(2001) Άρθρο 16 Ελληνικού Συντάγµατος Αθήνα: Ελληνική Βουλή.


(2001) Φ.Ε.Κ. αρ. φύλλου 1375/ 18-10-2001. Αθήνα: Υπουργείο Εθνικής Παιδείας και
Θρησκευµάτων-Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο.
(2002) Επιθεώρηση Εκπαιδευτικών Θεµάτων. Τεύχος 7 Αθήνα: Παιδαγωγικό
Ινστιτούτο.
(2003) Φ.Ε.Κ. Τεύχος Β΄ αρ. φύλλου 303/ 13-03-2003 Παράρτηµα, Τόµος Α.΄ Αθήνα:
Υπουργείο Εθνικής Παιδείας και Θρησκευµάτων – Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο.
(2003) Φ.Ε.Κ. Τεύχος Β΄ αρ. φύλλου 304/ 13-03-2003 Παράρτηµα, Τόµος B.΄ Αθήνα:
Υπουργείο Εθνικής Παιδείας και Θρησκευµάτων – Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο.
(2003) Φ.Ε.Κ. αρ. φύλλου 1325/06-09-2003. Αθήνα: Υπουργείο Εθνικής Παιδείας και
Θρησκευµάτων – Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο.
Καρατζιά-Σταυλιώτη, Ελ. (2002) «Η ∆ιαθεµατικότητα στα Αναλυτικά Προγράµµατα
Σπουδών: Παραδείγµατα από την Ευρωπαϊκή Εµπειρία και Πρακτική» Επιθεώρηση
Εκπαιδευτικών Θεµάτων, τεύχος 7: 52-65 Αθήνα: Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο.
Ματσαγγούρας. Ηλ. (2002) «∆ιεπιστηµονικότητα, ∆ιαθεµατικότητα και Ενιαιοποίηση
στα Νέα Προγράµµατα Σπουδών: Τρόποι Οργάνωσης της Σχολικής Γνώσης»
Επιθεώρηση Εκπαιδευτικών Θεµάτων, τεύχος 7: 19-36 Αθήνα: Παιδαγωγικό
Ινστιτούτο.
Ματσαγγούρας, Ηλ. (2003) Η ∆ιαθεµατικότητα στη Σχολική Γνώση. Εννοιοκεντρική
Αναπλαισίωση και Σχέδια Εργασίας. Αθήνα: Γρηγόρης.
Ματσαγγούρας, Ηλ. (2004) Οµαδοσυνεργατική ∆ιδασκαλία και Μάθηση. Αθήνα:
Γρηγόρης.
Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο (http:// www.pi.schools.gr).

Τσοπάνογλου, Α. (2000) Μεθοδολογία της Επιστηµονικής Έρευνας και Εφαρµογές της


στην Αξιολόγηση της Γλωσσικής Κατάρτισης. Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδόσεις Ζήτη.
Χρυσαφίδης, Κ. (1998) Βιωµατική-Επικοινωνιακή ∆ιδασκαλία (Η εισαγωγή της
Μεθόδου Project στο Σχολείο). Αθήνα: Gutenberg.
Implementing the process writing approach

in the English language classroom:

Αn innovation for the development of young learners’

writing skills in the Greek state primary school

by

Alexandra Anastasiadou

A thesis submitted for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics

at

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

School of English

VOLUME 2

November 2010
Table of contents

LIST OF TABLES ....................................................................................................................................... I


APPENDIX 1 ...............................................................................................................................................1
PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE..........................................................................................................................1
IN GREEK AND IN ENGLISH...................................................................................................................1
Pilot Questionnaire in Greek ..............................................................................................................2
Pilot questionnaire in English.............................................................................................................9
APPENDIX II.............................................................................................................................................16
Students’ entry questionnaire in Greek.............................................................................................17
Ερωτηµατολόγιο µαθητών.................................................................................................................17
APPENDIX III ...........................................................................................................................................31
EXIT QUESTIONNAIRE..........................................................................................................................31
IN GREEK AND IN ENGLISH.................................................................................................................31
Students’ exit questionnaire in Greek ...............................................................................................32
Students’ exit questionnaire in English.............................................................................................37
APPENDIX IV ...........................................................................................................................................42
ENTRY WRITING TEST..........................................................................................................................42
APPENDIX V ............................................................................................................................................45
EXIT WRITING TEST ..............................................................................................................................45
APPENDIX VI ...........................................................................................................................................47
MARKING SCHEME................................................................................................................................47
APPENDIX VII..........................................................................................................................................50
ERROR CORRECTION ............................................................................................................................50
APPENDIX VIII ........................................................................................................................................56
NON SIGNIFICANT RESULTS ...............................................................................................................56
Table 11.1 .........................................................................................................................................57
Table 11.2 .........................................................................................................................................57
Table 11.3 .........................................................................................................................................57
Table 11.4 .........................................................................................................................................58
Table 11.6 .........................................................................................................................................58
Table 11.7 .........................................................................................................................................58
Table 11.9 .........................................................................................................................................59
Table 11.10 .......................................................................................................................................59
Table 11.11 .......................................................................................................................................59
Table 11.12 .......................................................................................................................................60
Table 12.1 .........................................................................................................................................60
Table 12.2 .........................................................................................................................................60
Table 12.3 .........................................................................................................................................61
Table 12.5 .........................................................................................................................................61
Table 12.7 .........................................................................................................................................61
Table 12.9 .........................................................................................................................................62
Table 23.1 .........................................................................................................................................63
Table 23.2 Learning English because I have friends or classmates who learn this language..........63
Table 23.3 Learning English because I like this subject...................................................................63
Table 23.4 Leaning English because I like my teacher of English....................................................63
Table 23.5 Learning English because I want to get a certificate (i.e. Lower, Proficiency) ..............64
Table 23. 6 Learning English because I need it for my future studies ..............................................64
Table 23.7 Learning English because I need it for my future career................................................64
Table 23.8 Learning English because I need it for travel .................................................................64
Table 23.9 Learning English because I need it to communicate with foreigners .............................65
Table 23.10 Learning English because I am interested in the culture of native speakers ................65
Table 23.11 Learning English for other reason (please state)..........................................................65
APPENDIX IX ..........................................................................................................................................66
SAMPLES OF WRITING LESSONS .......................................................................................................66
LESSON 1................................................................................................................................................67
(Experimental group)........................................................................................................................67
LESSON 1................................................................................................................................................75
(Control group).................................................................................................................................75
PART OF LESSON 4..................................................................................................................................82
(Experimental group)........................................................................................................................82
Lesson 4 ............................................................................................................................................84
(Control group).................................................................................................................................84
PART OF LESSON 7..................................................................................................................................86
(Experimental group)........................................................................................................................86
Lesson 7 ............................................................................................................................................88
(Control group).................................................................................................................................88
APPENDIX X ............................................................................................................................................89
PAGES FROM FUN WAY ENGLISH 3.....................................................................................................89
STUDENTS’ BOOK AND WORKBOOK ................................................................................................89
APPENDIX XI ...........................................................................................................................................99
TEACHERS’ INTERVIEWS.....................................................................................................................99
IN GREEK AND IN ENGLISH.................................................................................................................99
TEACHERS’ INTERVIEWS IN GREEK ......................................................................................................100
TEACHERS’ INTERVIEWS IN ENGLISH ....................................................................................................104
APPENDIX XII........................................................................................................................................107
TRANSCRIPTIONS OF INTERVIEWS IN CD .....................................................................................107
APPENDIX XIII ......................................................................................................................................108
REFERENCES.........................................................................................................................................108
i

List of tables
Table 11.1 Familiarisation with the organisation of a text in facilitating pro-

duction of a similar text 57

Table 11.2 The importance of target reader when writing a text in English 57

Table 11.3 Familiarisation with the purpose of writing in facilitating produc-

tion of a better text 57

Table 11.4 Brainstorm some ideas alone or with the whole class before Writ-

ing 58

Table 11.6 Draft and redraft the text and try to improve before presenting the

final product 58

Table 11.7 Student participation in revising their text when they finish it 58

Table 11.9 Learning from one’s own mistakes 59

Table 11.10 The contribution of one’s partner to the correction of one’s errors 59

Table 11.11 Teacher correction of all mistakes 59

Table 11.12 Using a dictionary for unknown words 60

Table 12.1 Familiarisation with the organisation of a text in facilitating pro-

duction of a similar text 60

Table 12.2 The importance of target reader when writing a text in English 60

Table 12.3 Familiarisation with the purpose of writing in facilitating produc-

tion of a better text 61

Table 12.5 The use of linking words to produce a well-organised text 61

Table 12.7 Student participation in revising their text when they finish it 61

Table 12.9 Learning from one’s own mistakes 62

Table 23.1 Learning English because it is one of our school subjects 63

Table 23.2 Learning English because I have friends or classmates who 63


ii

learn this language

Table 23.3 Learning English because I like this subject 63

Table 23.4 Leaning English because I like my teacher of English 63

Table 23.5 Learning English because I want to get a certificate (i.e. Lower,

Proficiency) 64

Table 23.6 Learning English because I need it for my future studies 64

Table 23.7 Learning English because I need it for my future career 64

Table 23.8 Learning English because I need it for travel 64

Table 23.9 Learning English because I need it to communicate with foreign-

ers 65

Table 23.10 Learning English because I am interested in the culture of na-

tive speakers 65

Table 23.11 Learning English for other reason (please state) 65


1

APPENDIX 1
PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE
IN GREEK AND IN ENGLISH
2

Pilot Questionnaire in Greek

Στα παρακάτω 2 ερωτηµατολόγια θα βρεις προτάσεις σχετικά µε τρόπους που µας βοη-
θάνε να γράφουµε εκθέσεις µας στα αγγλικά.
Αφιέρωσε λίγο από το χρόνο σου, 20-30 λεπτά της ώρας, για να διαπιστώσεις µε ποιους
τρόπους µπορείς να βοηθηθείς να παράγεις γραπτά κείµενα καλύτερα.

ΟΛΕΣ ΟΙ ΑΠΑΝΤΗΣΕΙΣ ΣΟΥ ΘΑ ΘΕΩΡΗΘΟΥΝ ΕΜΠΙΣΤΕΥΤΙΚΕΣ


ΣΤΟΙΧΕΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΑΘΗΤΗ/ΤΗΣ ΜΑΘΗΤΡΙΑΣ: (Bάλε  στη σωστή απάντηση)

Σχολείο:_______________________________________
Έτος γέννησης: _________________________________
Φύλο  Αγόρι  Κορίτσι

Ερωτηµατολόγιο 1
Παρακαλώ να διαβάσεις προσεκτικά την πρώτη πρόταση και µετά βάλε ένα  µέσα
σε ένα µόνο τετράγωνο από τα πέντε που είναι δίπλα της προς τα δεξιά και που σε εκ-
φράζει περισσότερο. Μετά θα διαβάσεις την δεύτερη και θα βάλεις πάλι ένα  σε ό,τι
ταιριάζει περισσότερο σε σένα. Μετά θα κάνεις το ίδιο και για τις υπόλοιπες ερωτήσεις
µέχρι την 15.

) στη φράση που δείχνει


Βάλε ( Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
ναι φορές όχι
τι γνώµη έχεις για κάθε πρόταση.
1. Μου αρέσει να γράφω εκθέσεις
στo µάθηµα των Αγγλικών.
2. Μπορώ να γράφω καλά κείµενα
στα Αγγλικά.
3. Μπορώ να σκεφτώ ιδέες για
ένα θέµα εύκολα.
4. Μπορώ να γράψω καλύτερα αν
το θέµα µου είναι γνωστό.
5. Γνωρίζω πώς να οργανώνω τα
γραπτά µου (σειρά των παρα-
γράφων, λογική ανάπτυξη ι-
δεών κ.λ.π.)
3

6. Μπορώ να γράφω µόνος/µόνη


µου (χωρίς βοήθεια).
7. Θέλω το δάσκαλο/τη δασκάλα
µου να µε βοηθάει όταν γράφω.
8. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια για να σκε-
φτώ ιδέες σχετικές µε το θέµα.
9. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια προτού
αρχίσω να γράφω (επεξήγηση
στο θέµα, στην οργάνωση)
10. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια όταν γρά-
φω για να οργανώσω τις ιδέες
µου και το γραπτό µου.
11. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια όταν τε-
λειώσω το γραπτό µου για να
εντοπίσω τα λάθη µου.
12. Μπορώ να εντοπίσω τα λάθη
µου αν ο δάσκαλος/ η δασκάλα
µας δώσει έναν κώδικα διόρ-
θωσης λαθών.
13. Αισθάνοµαι αµήχανα όταν οι
συµµαθητές/συµµαθήτριες µου
γνωρίζουν τα λάθη µου.
14. Θα ήθελα να µε βοηθήσει ο δι-
πλανός µου/η διπλανή µου να
διορθώσω τα λάθη µου και να
οργανώσω το γραπτό µου.
15. Εάν µου δοθεί βοήθεια σε ένα
γραπτό θα ξέρω πώς να γράψω
καλύτερα την επόµενη φορά.
4

Ερωτηµατολόγιο 2
Παρακαλώ να διαβάσεις προσεκτικά την πρώτη πρόταση και µετά βάλε ένα  µέσα
σε ένα µόνο τετράγωνο από τα δύο που είναι δίπλα της προς τα δεξιά και που σε εκ-
φράζει περισσότερο. Μετά θα διαβάσεις την δεύτερη και θα βάλεις πάλι ένα  σε ό,τι
ταιριάζει περισσότερο σε σένα. Μετά θα κάνεις το ίδιο και για τις υπόλοιπες ερωτήσεις
µέχρι την 10.

Είναι οι παρακάτω συµβουλές καλές ή κακές; ∆ιάβασε ΚΑΛΗ ΚΑΚΗ


).
προσεκτικά και σηµείωσε τη γνώµη σου µε ένα (

1. Όταν γνωρίζεις την οργάνωση ενός κειµένου, µπορείς εύ-


κολα να γράψεις ένα παρόµοιο κείµενο.

2. Όταν γράφεις, προσπάθησε να έχεις στο µυαλό σου τον


αναγνώστη στον οποίο απευθύνεσαι.

3. Πριν αρχίσεις να γράφεις, προσπάθησε να καταγράψεις


σχετικές ιδέες µόνος/µόνη ή µε την τάξη σου.
4. Χρησιµοποίησε συνδετικές λέξεις για να παρουσιάσεις
ένα καλά δοµηµένο κείµενο (κείµενο που έχει καλή σύν-
δεση).
5. Όταν τελειώσεις το γραπτό σου, προσπάθησε να το διορ-
θώσεις.

6. Μπορείς να διδαχθείς από τα λάθη σου.

7. Μπορείς να συµµετέχεις στη διόρθωση του γραπτού σου.

8. Ο διπλανός/ Η διπλανή σου µπορεί να σε βοηθήσει να δι-


ορθώσεις τα λάθη σου.

9. Ο δάσκαλος/Η δασκάλα σου πρέπει να διορθώνει όλα τα


λάθη σου.

10. Όταν δεν γνωρίζεις µία λέξη, χρησιµοποίησε το λεξικό


σου.
5

Στο παρακάτω ερωτηµατολόγιο θα βρεις προτάσεις που αναφέρονται στην γνώµη που
έχεις για τα Αγγλικά, το λόγο που µαθαίνεις Αγγλικά και άλλες πληροφορίες για το
χρονικό διάστηµα που ασχολείσαι µε τα Αγγλικά.

ΟΛΕΣ ΟΙ ΑΠΑΝΤΗΣΕΙΣ ΣΟΥ ΘΑ ΘΕΩΡΗΘΟΥΝ ΕΜΠΙΣΤΕΥΤΙΚΕΣ


ΣΤΟΙΧΕΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΑΘΗΤΗ/ΤΗΣ ΜΑΘΗΤΡΙΑΣ: (Bάλε  στη σωστή απάντηση)

Σχολείο:_______________________________________
Έτος γέννησης: _________________________________
Φύλο  Αγόρι  Κορίτσι

Ερωτηµατολόγιο 3
Α
1. Τι γλώσσα µιλάς στο σπίτι σου _____________________
2. Πώς θα χαρακτήριζες τις γνώσεις σου στα Αγγλικά σε σχέση µε τους συµµαθητές/
τις συµµαθήτριες σου;
Πάρα πολύ καλές Αρκετά Καλές Καλές Μέτριες

3. Πώς θα χαρακτήριζες τις γνώσεις σου στα Αγγλικά σε σχέση µε τους ανθρώπους που
η µητρική γλώσσα τους είναι τα Αγγλικά;
Πάρα πολύ καλές Αρκετά Καλές Καλές Μέτριες

4. Πόσο σηµαντικό είναι για σένα να µάθεις καλά Αγγλικά;


Πάρα πολύ Πολύ Μέτρια Λίγο Καθόλου

5. Ποιος είναι ο σκοπός για τον οποίο µαθαίνεις Αγγλικά


Βάλε ένα  µόνο στους τέσσερεις πιο σηµαντικούς σκοπούς για σένα:

_________ είναι ένα από τα µαθήµατα του σχολείου


_________ έχω φίλους ή συµµαθητές που µαθαίνουν αυτή τη γλώσσα
6

_________ µου αρέσει το µάθηµα


_________ µου αρέσει η δασκάλα/ ο δάσκαλος µου των Αγγλικών
_________ για να πάρω ένα πιστοποιητικό γλωσσοµάθειας (π.χ. Lower, Proficiency)
_________ θα µε βοηθήσει στις σπουδές µου αργότερα
_________ µου χρειάζεται στο επάγγελµα που θα ακολουθήσω
_________ µου χρειάζεται όταν θα ταξιδεύω στο εξωτερικό
_________ µου χρειάζεται για να συνεννοούµαι µε ξένους στα Αγγλικά
_________ µε ενδιαφέρει ο πολιτισµός των ανθρώπων που τη µιλούν
_________ για άλλο λόγο (παρακαλώ να τον γράψεις): _________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________

Β
Παρακαλώ να διαβάσεις προσεκτικά την πρώτη πρόταση και µετά βάλε ένα  µέσα
σε ένα µόνο τετράγωνο από τα δύο που είναι δίπλα της προς τα δεξιά και που σε εκ-
φράζει περισσότερο. Μετά θα διαβάσεις την δεύτερη και θα βάλεις πάλι ένα  σε ό,τι
ταιριάζει περισσότερο σε σένα. Μετά θα κάνεις το ίδιο και για τις υπόλοιπες ερωτή-
σεις., µέχρι την 7.

Πληροφορίες για τον εαυτό σου. ∆ιάβασε προσεκτικά Α Β


τις ερωτήσεις και απάντησε για τον εαυτό σου βάζο-
) στη σωστή στήλη.
ντας ένα (
1. Σου αρέσουν τα Αγγλικά; Ναι Όχι
2. Έχεις παρακολουθήσει µαθήµατα Αγγλικών εκτός από
Ναι Όχι
το σχολείο;
3. Εάν ναι, πόσα χρόνια; 1-3 χρόνια 4-5 χρόνια
4. Παρακολούθησες µαθήµατα Αγγλικών σε ιδιωτικό Ιδιαίτερα
Φροντιστήριο
σχολείο-φροντιστήριο ή ιδιαίτερα µαθήµατα στο σπίτι; Μαθήµατα
5. Μπορείς να χρησιµοποιήσεις ηλεκτρονικό υπολογιστή; Ναι Όχι
6. Προτιµάς να γράφεις τις εκθέσεις σου µε το χέρι (σε
Ναι Όχι
αντίθεση µε τον υπολογιστή);
7. Προτιµάς να γράφεις τις εκθέσεις σου στο σχολείο; Ναι Όχι
8. Προτιµάς να γράφεις τις εκθέσεις σου σαν εργασία στο
Ναι Όχι
σπίτι;
7

Στo παρακάτω ερωτηµατολόγιο θα βρεις προτάσεις σχετικά µε τρόπους που µας βοη-
θάνε να διορθώνουµε και να βελτιώνουµε τις εκθέσεις µας στα αγγλικά.
Αφιέρωσε λίγο από το χρόνο σου, 20-30 λεπτά της ώρας, για να διαπιστώσεις µε ποιους
τρόπους µπορείς να βοηθηθείς να παράγεις γραπτά κείµενα καλύτερα.

ΟΛΕΣ ΟΙ ΑΠΑΝΤΗΣΕΙΣ ΣΟΥ ΘΑ ΘΕΩΡΗΘΟΥΝ ΕΜΠΙΣΤΕΥΤΙΚΕΣ


ΣΤΟΙΧΕΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΑΘΗΤΗ/ΤΗΣ ΜΑΘΗΤΡΙΑΣ: (Bάλε  στη σωστή απάντηση)

Σχολείο:_______________________________________
Έτος γέννησης: _________________________________
Φύλο  Αγόρι  Κορίτσι

Ερωτηµατολόγιο 4
(Βασισµένο σε ερωτηµατολόγιο που χρησιµοποιήθηκε από τους Hedgecock, J. and Lefkowitz, N. (1994)
“Ανατροφοδότηση στην ανατροφοδότηση: Αξιολόγηση της ανταπόκρισης των µαθητών στην ανατροφο-
δότηση του δασκάλου/της δασκάλας κατά την παραγωγή λόγου στην ξένη ή δεύτερη γλώσσα” in Journal
of SLW 3: 141-163)

Παρακαλώ χρησιµοποιείστε την παρακάτω κλίµακα για να απαντήσετε στις παρα-


κάτω ερωτήσεις:
6= Συµφωνώ Απόλυτα 4= Συµφωνώ Κάπως 2= ∆ιαφωνώ
5= Συµφωνώ 3= ∆ιαφωνώ Κάπως 1= ∆ιαφωνώ Πλήρως
).
Σηµείωσε την επιλογή σου µε ένα (

1. Γενικά βελτιώνοµαι στο γραπτό λόγο στα Αγγλικά όταν 6 5 4 3 2 1


ο δάσκαλος/η δασκάλα µου (α-θ):

α. σχολιάζει κυρίως το περιεχόµενο του γραπτού µου (δηλ. ιδέ-


ες, παραδείγµατα, κ.λ.π.).

β. σχολιάζει κυρίως την οργάνωση των γραπτών µου (π.χ. σειρά


των παραγράφων, λογική ανάπτυξη ιδεών, κ.λ.π.).

γ. σχολιάζει κυρίως το ύφος του γραπτού κειµένου µου (επίση-


µο, ανεπίσηµο, οικείο, κ.λ.π.).

δ. ελέγχει το λεξιλόγιο µου (δηλαδή σωστή χρήση λέξεων).


8

1. Γενικά βελτιώνοµαι στο γραπτό λόγο στα Αγγλικά όταν 6 5 4 3 2 1


ο δάσκαλος/η δασκάλα µου (α-θ):

ε. επισηµαίνει τα γραµµατικά λάθη (π.χ. λάθος στη χρήση χρό-


νου, λάθος στην κατάληξη).

ζ. επισηµαίνει άλλα λάθη όπως ορθογραφικά, στίξης, κεφαλαία-


µικρά γράµµατα, κ.λ.π..

η. επισηµαίνει τα λάθη µε ειδικό κώδικα για τη διόρθωση τους.

θ. επισηµαίνει τα λάθη µε κόκκινο στυλό.

2. Γενικά βελτιώνοµαι στο γραπτό λόγο στα Αγγλικά όταν 6 5 4 3 2 1


ο διπλανός/ η διπλανή µου (ι-π):

ι. σχολιάζει κυρίως το περιεχόµενο του γραπτού µου (δηλ. ιδέ-


ες, παραδείγµατα, κ.λ.π.).

κ. σχολιάζει κυρίως την οργάνωση των γραπτών µου (π.χ. σειρά


των παραγράφων, λογική ανάπτυξη ιδεών, κ.λ.π.).

λ. σχολιάζει κυρίως το ύφος του γραπτού κειµένου µου (επίση-


µο, ανεπίσηµο, οικείο, κ.λ.π.).

µ. ελέγχει το λεξιλόγιο µου (δηλαδή σωστή χρήση λέξεων).

ν. επισηµαίνει τα γραµµατικά λάθη (π.χ. λάθος στη χρήση χρό-


νου, λάθος στην κατάληξη).

ξ. επισηµαίνει άλλα λάθη όπως ορθογραφικά, στίξης, κεφαλαία-


µικρά γράµµατα, κ.λ.π.).

o. επισηµαίνει τα λάθη µε ειδικό κώδικα για τη διόρθωση τους.

π. υπογραµµίζει τα λάθη µε κόκκινο στυλό.


9

Pilot questionnaire in English

In the two following questionnaires you will find statements about the ways which help
us to write our essays in English.
Please read them for 20 to 30 minutes to find out the ways which you can help you to
produce better written texts.

ALL YOUR ANSWERS WILL BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL


YOUR BACKGROUND: (Put a  in the correct answer)

School ___________________________________________________
Year of birth_______________________________________________
Gender  Boy  Girl

Questionnaire 1
Please read carefully the first sentence and then put a  only in one square from the five
which are on the right and which you feel best expresses your opinion. Then read the
second and put a  again to what is right for you. Then do the same for the rest of the
questions until the 15th.
Put a ( ) in the phrase which Always Usually Some- Rarely Never
shows your opinion about each
times
sentence.
1. I like writing in my English
class
2. I can write good texts in Eng-
lish
3. I can think of ideas about a
topic easily
4. I can write better if the topic
is familiar to me
5. I know how to organise my
texts (paragraph sequencing,
logical development of ideas,
etc.)
6. I can write alone (without
help)
7. I want my teacher to help me
when I write
8. I need help in order to come
up with relevant ideas
9. I need help before writing
(with the topic, organisation)
10. I need help when writing to
organise my ideas and my
10

Put a ( ) in the phrase which Always Usually Some- Rarely Never


shows your opinion about each
times
sentence.
text
11. I need help after I finish writ-
ing to locate my errors
12. I can spot my mistakes if our
teacher gives us a code for er-
ror correction
13. I feel embarrassed when my
classmates know my mistakes
14. I would like my partner to
help me to correct my mis-
takes and organise my text
15. If I get help in one lesson, I
know how to do a better piece
of writing next time
11

Questionnaire 2
Please read carefully the first sentence and then put a  only in one square from the five
which are on the right and which you feel best expresses your opinion. Then read the
second and put a  again to what is right for you. Then do the same for the rest of the
questions until the 10th.
Are the following ideas good or bad? GOOD BAD
Read carefully and mark your opinion with a ( ). IDEA IDEA
1. When you know the organisation of a text , you can pro-
duce a similar text easily
2. When you write a text, try to think of the target reader
3. Before you write, try to brainstorm some ideas alone or
with your class
4. Use linking words to produce a well-organised text
5. When you finish your text, try to revise it
6. You can learn from your own mistakes
7. You can participate in the correction of your text
8. Your partner can help you to correct your errors
9. Your teacher must correct all your mistakes
10. When you don’t know a word, use your dictionary
12

In the following questionnaire you will find statements which refer to your opinion
about the English language, your reason for learning English and some other informa-
tion about the how long you have been learning English.

ALL YOUR ANSWERS WILL BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL


YOUR BACKGROUND: (Put a  in the correct answer)

School ___________________________________________________
Year of birth_______________________________________________
Gender  Boy  Girl

Questionnaire 3
(Based on an idea by Oxford, R. (1990) Language Learning Strategies. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Pub-
lishers)

A
ALL YOUR ANSWERS WILL BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL
YOUR BACKGROUND: (Put a  in the correct answer)

School ___________________________________________________
Year of birth_______________________________________________
Gender  Boy  Girl

1. Which language do you speak at home_______________________


2. How would you rate your overall proficiency in English as compared to the profi-
ciency of your classmates?

Excellent Good Fair Poor

3. How would you rate your overall proficiency in English as compared to the profi-
ciency of the native speakers of the language?

Excellent Good Fair Poor

4. What is your reason for learning English?


) only the four most important reasons for you:
Tick (
________ it is one of the school subjects
13

_________ my friends or classmates learn this language


_________ I like this subject
_________ I like my teacher of English
_________ to get a certificate of proficiency (i.e. Lower, Proficiency)
_________ it will help me with my studies
_________ I need it for my future career
_________ I need it for travelling abroad
_________ I need it for communicating with foreigners
_________ I am interested in the culture of native speakers
_________ other reason (please list):__________________________________
________________________________________________________________

B
Please read carefully the first sentence and then put a  only in one square from the two
which are on the right and which best expresses your opinion. Then read the second
and put a  again to what is right for you. Then do the same for the rest of the questions
until the 8th.

Please give some information about yourself. Read Α Β


carefully the questions and answer about yourself
) in the correct column.
putting a (
1. Do you like English? Yes No
2. Have you received any instruction in English apart Yes No
from school?
3. If so, how many years? 1-3 years 4-5 years
4. Did you attend English classes at a private school Private Private
(phrontisterio) or in private lessons at home? school lessons
5. Can you use a computer? Yes No
6. Do you prefer to write your essays in English by Yes No
hand (instead of using a computer?)
7. Do you prefer to write your essays at school? Yes No
8. Do you prefer to write your essays at home? Yes No
14

In the following questionnaire you will find statements about the ways which help us to
correct and improve our essays in English.
Please read them for 20 to 30 minutes to find out the ways which you can help you to
produce better written texts.

ALL YOUR ANSWERS WILL BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL


YOUR BACKGROUND: (Put a  in the correct answer)

School ___________________________________________________
Year of birth_______________________________________________
Gender  Boy  Girl

Questionnaire 4

(Based on the questionnaire used by Hedgecock, J. and Lefkowitz, N. (1994) “Feedback on feedback:
Assessing Learner Receptivity to Teacher Response in L2 Composing” Journal of Second Language
Writing 3: 141-163)

Please use the following scale to answer to the following questions:


6= Strongly Agree 4= Somewhat Agree 2= Disagree
5= Agree 3= Somewhat Disagree 1= Strongly Disagree
).
Mark your choice with a (

1. Generally, I improve in English when my teacher : 6 5 4 3 2 1


a. comments on the content of my writing (i.e. ideas, examples, etc.)
b. comments on the organisation of my essays (i.e. paragraph se-
quencing, logical development, etc.)
c. comments on my writing style (i.e. expression, tone-
formal/informal, etc.)
d. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage)
e. highlights grammatical mistakes (e.g. wrong tense etc.)
f. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation, spelling, capitali-
sation, etc.)
g. identifies errors with correction symbols
h. highlights errors with a red-coloured pen
15

1. Generally, I improve in English when my partner: 6 5 4 3 2 1


a. comments on the content of my writing (i.e. ideas, examples, etc.)
b. comments on the organisation of my essays (i.e. paragraph se-
quencing, logical development, etc.)
c. comments on my writing style (i.e. expression, tone-
formal/informal, etc.)
d. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word usage)
e. highlights grammatical mistakes (e.g. wrong tense etc.)
f. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. punctuation, spelling, capitali-
sation, etc.)
g. identifies errors with correction symbols
h. highlights errors with a red-coloured pen
16

APPENDIX II

ENTRY QUESTIONNAIRE
IN GREEK AND IN ENGLISH
17

Students’ entry questionnaire in Greek

Ερωτηµατολόγιο µαθητών
Τo ερωτηµατολόγιο αυτό στοχεύει στην εξεύρεση µεθόδων που µπορούν να βοηθήσουν
τα παιδιά να βελτιώσουν την παραγωγή γραπτού λόγου (σκέφτοµαι και γράφω) στα
Αγγλικά.

ΟΛΕΣ ΟΙ ΑΠΑΝΤΗΣΕΙΣ ΣΟΥ ΘΑ ΘΕΩΡΗΘΟΥΝ ΕΜΠΙΣΤΕΥΤΙΚΕΣ

Σχολείο:___________________________________ Έτος γέννησης: ________

Φύλο  Αγόρι  Κορίτσι

Ποια γλώσσα ή γλώσσες µιλάτε στο σπίτι σου; _______________________________

Το βασικό ερωτηµατολόγιο αποτελείται από δύο µέρη.


18

Πρώτο µέρος
Παρακαλώ διάβασε προσεκτικά την κάθε πρόταση και µετά βάλε ένα  µέσα σε ένα
µόνο τετράγωνο από τα πέντε που είναι δίπλα της και που σε εκφράζει περισσότερο.

) στη φράση που δείχνει τι γνώµη έχεις για κάθε πρόταση.


Βάλε (

Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ


1. Μου αρέσει να γράφω γραπτά κείµενα στo µά- ναι φορές όχι
θηµα των Αγγλικών
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
2. Μπορώ να γράφω καλά γραπτά κείµενα στα ναι φορές όχι
Αγγλικά
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
ναι φορές όχι
3. Μπορώ να σκεφτώ ιδέες για ένα θέµα εύκολα

Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ


4. Μπορώ να γράψω καλύτερα αν το θέµα ναι φορές όχι
µου είναι γνωστό
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
5. Γνωρίζω πώς να οργανώνω τα γραπτά µου ναι φορές όχι
(σειρά των παραγράφων, λογική ανάπτυξη ιδεών, κ.λ.π.)
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
6. Μπορώ να γράφω µόνος/µόνη µου (χωρίς βοή- ναι φορές όχι
θεια)
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
7. Θέλω το δάσκαλο/τη δασκάλα µου να µε βοη- ναι φορές όχι
θάει όταν γράφω
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
8. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια για να σκεφτώ ιδέες σχε- ναι φορές όχι
τικές µε το θέµα
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
9. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια προτού αρχίσω να γράφω ναι φορές όχι
(επεξήγηση στο θέµα, στην οργάνωση)
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
10. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια όταν γράφω για να οργα- ναι φορές όχι
νώσω τις ιδέες µου και το γραπτό µου
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
11. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια όταν τελειώσω το γραπτό ναι φορές όχι
µου για να εντοπίσω τα λάθη µου
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
12. Μπορώ να εντοπίσω τα λάθη µου αν ο δάσκα- ναι φορές όχι
λος/ η δασκάλα µας δώσει έναν κώδικα διόρ-
θωσης λαθών
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
13. Αισθάνοµαι αµήχανα όταν οι συµµαθητές / ναι φορές όχι
συµµαθήτριες µου γνωρίζουν τα λάθη µου
19

Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ


14. Θα ήθελα να µε βοηθήσει ο διπλανός µου / η ναι φορές όχι
διπλανή µου να διορθώσω τα λάθη µου και να
οργανώσω το γραπτό µου
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
15. Εάν µου δοθεί βοήθεια σε ένα γραπτό θα ξέρω ναι φορές όχι
πώς να γράψω καλύτερα ένα γραπτό κείµενο
την επόµενη φορά

Είναι οι παρακάτω ιδέες καλές ή κακές;


).
∆ιάβασε προσεκτικά και σηµείωσε τη γνώµη σου µε ένα (

ΚΑΛΗ ΚΑΚΗ
ιδέα ιδέα
1. Όταν γνωρίζεις την οργάνωση ενός κειµένου στα Αγγλι-
κά, µπορείς εύκολα να γράψεις ένα παρόµοιο κείµενο
2. Όταν γράφεις ένα γραπτό κείµενο στα Αγγλικά, προσπά-
θησε να έχεις στο µυαλό σου τον αναγνώστη στον οποίο
απευθύνεσαι
3. Όταν γνωρίζεις για ποιο σκοπό γράφεις το γραπτό σου,
τότε µπορείς να παράγεις καλύτερο κείµενο
4. Πριν αρχίσεις να γράφεις, προσπάθησε να καταγράψεις
σχετικές ιδέες µόνος/µόνη ή µε την τάξη σου
5. Χρησιµοποίησε συνδετικές λέξεις για να παρουσιάσεις
ένα καλά δοµηµένο κείµενο (κείµενο που έχει καλή σύνδεση)
6. Είναι καλύτερο να γράψεις δύο ή τρεις φορές το γραπτό
σου και να προσπαθήσεις να το βελτιώσεις προτού το ο-
λοκληρώσεις, παρά να γράψεις ένα µόνο τελικό κείµενο
7. Όταν τελειώσεις το γραπτό σου, προσπάθησε να το διορ-
θώσεις
8. Μπορείς να συµµετέχεις στη διόρθωση του γραπτού σου
κειµένου

9. Μπορείς να διδαχθείς από τα λάθη σου

10. Ο διπλανός / η διπλανή σου µπορεί να σε βοηθήσει να δι-


ορθώσεις τα λάθη σου
11. Ο δάσκαλος / η δασκάλα σου πρέπει να διορθώνει όλα τα
λάθη σου
12. Όταν δεν γνωρίζεις µία λέξη, χρησιµοποίησε το λεξικό
σου
20

Παρακαλώ διάβασε προσεκτικά τις παρακάτω προτάσεις και σηµείωσε µε  (µόνο σε


ένα κουτάκι) αν συµφωνείς ή διαφωνείς µε αυτές.
Α. Βελτιώνοµαι στο γραπτό λόγο στα Αγγλικά, όταν ο δάσκαλος/η δασκάλα µου …
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
1. σχολιάζει το περιεχόµενο των γραπτών Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µου (δηλ. ιδέες, παραδείγµατα, κ.λ.π.)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
2. σχολιάζει την οργάνωση των γραπτών Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µου (π.χ. σειρά των παραγράφων, λογική ανά- ∆ιαφωνώ
πτυξη ιδεών, κ.λ.π.)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
3. σχολιάζει το ύφος των γραπτών µου (επί- ∆ιαφωνώ
σηµο, ανεπίσηµο, οικείο, κ.λ.π.)

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
4. ελέγχει το λεξιλόγιο µου (δηλαδή σωστή ∆ιαφωνώ
χρήση λέξεων)

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


5. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα γραµ- Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µατικά λάθη (π.χ. λάθος στη χρήση χρόνου, ∆ιαφωνώ
λάθος στην κατάληξη)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
6. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση άλλα λά- Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
θη όπως ορθογραφικά, στίξης, κεφαλαία- ∆ιαφωνώ
µικρά γράµµατα, κ.λ.π.
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
7. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα λάθη Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µε ειδικό κώδικα για τη διόρθωση τους
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
8. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα λάθη µε Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
κόκκινο στυλό
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
9. κάνει ενθαρρυντικά σχόλια για τα γραπτά Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µου ∆ιαφωνώ

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
10. κάνει αρνητικά σχόλια για τα γραπτά ∆ιαφωνώ
µου
21

Β. Βελτιώνοµαι στο γραπτό λόγο στα Αγγλικά όταν ο διπλανός/ η διπλανή µου:

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


1. σχολιάζει το περιεχόµενο των γραπτών Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µου (δηλ. ιδέες, παραδείγµατα, κ.λ.π.)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
2. σχολιάζει την οργάνωση των γραπτών Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µου (π.χ. σειρά των παραγράφων, λογική ανά- ∆ιαφωνώ
πτυξη ιδεών, κ.λ.π.)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
3. σχολιάζει το ύφος των γραπτών µου (επί- ∆ιαφωνώ
σηµο, ανεπίσηµο, οικείο, κ.λ.π.)

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
4. ελέγχει το λεξιλόγιο µου (δηλαδή σωστή ∆ιαφωνώ
χρήση λέξεων)

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


5. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα γραµ- Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µατικά λάθη (π.χ. λάθος στη χρήση χρόνου, ∆ιαφωνώ
λάθος στην κατάληξη)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
6. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση άλλα λά- Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
θη όπως ορθογραφικά, στίξης, κεφαλαία- ∆ιαφωνώ
µικρά γράµµατα, κ.λ.π.
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
7. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα λάθη Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µε ειδικό κώδικα για τη διόρθωση τους
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
8. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα λάθη µε Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
κόκκινο στυλό
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
9. κάνει ενθαρρυντικά σχόλια για τα γραπτά Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µου
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
10. κάνει αρνητικά σχόλια για τα γραπτά Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µου
22

∆εύτερο µέρος

Βάλε ένα  στα παρακάτω

Α. Πώς θα χαρακτήριζες τις γνώσεις σου στα Αγγλικά σε σχέση µε τους συµµαθητές/
τις συµµαθήτριες σου;
Πάρα πολύ καλές Αρκετά Καλές Καλές Μέτριες

Β. Πόσο σηµαντικό είναι για σένα να µάθεις καλά Αγγλικά;


Πάρα πολύ Πολύ Μέτρια Λίγο Καθόλου

Γ. Ποιος είναι ο σκοπός για τον οποίο µαθαίνεις Αγγλικά;


Βάλε ένα  µόνο στους τέσσερεις πιο σηµαντικούς για σένα σκοπούς:

είναι ένα από τα µαθήµατα του σχολείου


έχω φίλους ή συµµαθητές που µαθαίνουν αυτή τη γλώσσα
µου αρέσει το µάθηµα
µου αρέσει η δασκάλα/ ο δάσκαλος µου των Αγγλικών
για να πάρω ένα πιστοποιητικό γλωσσοµάθειας (π.χ. Lower, Proficiency)
θα µε βοηθήσει στις σπουδές µου αργότερα
µου χρειάζεται στο επάγγελµα που θα ακολουθήσω
µου χρειάζεται όταν θα ταξιδεύω στο εξωτερικό
µου χρειάζεται για να συνεννοούµαι µε ξένους στα Αγγλικά
µε ενδιαφέρει ο πολιτισµός των ανθρώπων που τη µιλούν
για άλλο λόγο (παρακαλώ να τον γράψεις):
____________________________________________________________________
23

∆.

Παρακαλώ διάβασε προσεκτικά την κάθε πρόταση και µετά βάλε ένα  στην αντίστοι-
χη λέξη σε ένα µόνο τετράγωνο και που σε εκφράζει περισσότερο.

1. Σου αρέσουν τα Αγγλικά; ΝΑΙ  ΟΧΙ 


2. Έχεις παρακολουθήσει µαθήµατα Αγγλικών
ΝΑΙ  ΟΧΙ 
εκτός από το σχολείο;
3. Εάν απάντησες ΝΑΙ, πόσα χρόνια; 1-3 χρόνια  4-5 χρόνια 
4. Παρακολούθησες µαθήµατα Αγγλικών σε
Ιδιαίτερα
ιδιωτικό σχολείο-φροντιστήριο ή έκανες ιδιαί- Φροντιστήριο  
Μαθήµατα
τερα µαθήµατα στο σπίτι;
5. Μπορείς να χρησιµοποιήσεις ηλεκτρονικό
ΝΑΙ  ΟΧΙ 
υπολογιστή;
6. Προτιµάς να γράφεις τα γραπτά κείµενα στα
ΝΑΙ  ΟΧΙ 
Αγγλικά µε το χέρι;
7. Προτιµάς να γράφεις τα γραπτά κείµενα στα
σπίτι  σχολείο 
Αγγλικά σαν εργασία στο…

Ε.
Αν στην ερώτηση νούµερο 2 του προηγούµενου µέρους ∆ Aj Bj As Bs Cs
έχεις απαντήσει ναι, σε παρακαλώ κύκλωσε δεξιά ποια τά-
ξη τελείωσες πέρυσι.
Σε παρακαλώ κύκλωσε δεξιά ποια τάξη παρακολουθείς Aj Bj As Bs Cs
φέτος και γράψε στην παρακάτω γραµµή ποιο βιβλίο διδά-
σκεσαι

ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΩ
24

Students’ entry questionnaire in English

This questionnaire aims at finding methods that can help students improve writing in
English.

ALL YOUR ANSWERS WILL BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL

School: ___________________________________ Year of birth: ________

Gender  Boy  Girl

Which language or languages do you speak at home? __________________________

The main questionnaire consists of two parts.


25

Part one
General attitudes towards writing

Please read carefully every sentence and then put a  only in one square from the five
ones which are next to it and which you feel that best expresses your opinion.

) in the expression which shows your opinion about each statement.


Put a (
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
1. I like writing in my English class
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
2. I can write good texts in English
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
3. I can think of ideas about a topic easily
4. I can write better if the topic is familiar to Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

me
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
5. I know how to organise my texts (para-
graph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
6. I can write alone (without help)
7. I want my teacher to help me when I Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

write
8. I need help in order to come up with rele- Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

vant ideas
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
9. I need help before writing (with the topic,
organisation)
10. I need help when writing to organise my Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

ideas and my text


11. I need help after I finish writing to locate Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

my errors
12. I can spot my mistakes if our teacher Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

gives us a code for error correction


13. I feel embarrassed when my classmates Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

know my mistakes
14. I would like my partner to help me to Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

correct my mistakes and organise my text


15. If I get help in one lesson, I know how to Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

do a better piece of writing next time


26

Attitudes towards specific techniques which can help students improve


their writing

Are the following ideas good or bad?


).
Read carefully and mark your opinion with a (

GOOD BAD
idea idea
1. When you know the organisation of a text in English, you
can produce a similar text easily
2. When you write a text in English, try to think of the target
reader
3. When you know the target of your writing, then you can
produce a better text
4. Before you write, try to brainstorm some ideas alone or
with your class

5. Use linking words to produce a well-organised text

6. It is better to draft and redraft your text and try to improve


it before finishing it instead of producing only one final
product

7. When you finish your text, try to revise it

8. You can participate in the correction of your text

9. You can learn from your own mistakes

10. Your partner can help you to correct your errors

11. Your teacher must correct all your mistakes

12. When you don’t know a word, use your dictionary


27

Atttitudes towards teacher correction

Please read the following statements carefully and mark with a  (only one box) if you
agree or disagree.
Α. I improve in writing in English when my teacher …..

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
1. comments on the content of my writing Disagree
(i.e. ideas, examples, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


2. comments on the organisation of my Agree Agree nor Disagree
essays (i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical de- Disagree
velopment, etc.)
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
Agree Agree nor Disagree
3. comments on my writing style (i.e. ex- Disagree
pression, tone-formal/informal, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
4. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word Disagree
usage)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
5. highlights grammatical mistakes (e.g. Disagree
wrong tense, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
6. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. Disagree
punctuation, spelling, capitalisation, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


7. identifies errors with correction sym- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
bols
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
8. highlights errors with a red-coloured Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
pen
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Stroncly
9. focuses on the good points of my writ- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
ten texts
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
10. focuses on the weak points of my writ- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
ten texts
28

Attitudes towards peer correction


.
Β. I improve in writing in English when my partner …..
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
Agree Agree nor Disagree
1. comments on the content of my writing Disagree
(i.e. ideas, examples, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


2. comments on the organisation of my Agree Agree nor Disagree
essays (i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical de- Disagree
velopment, etc.)
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
Agree Agree nor Disagree
3. comments on my writing style (i.e. ex- Disagree
pression, tone-formal/informal, etc)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
4. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word Disagree
usage)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
5. highlights grammatical mistakes (e.g. Disagree
wrong tense, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
6. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. Disagree
punctuation, spelling, capitalisation, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


7. identifies errors with correction sym- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
bols
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
8. highlights errors with a red-coloured Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
pen
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Stroncly
9. focuses on the good points of my writ- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
ten texts
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
10. focuses on the weak points of my writ- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
ten texts
29

Part two
Background information about self-evaluation, purpose for studying
English and attendance of lessons in private language schools or pri-
vate lessons at home

Put a  in one of the following

Α. How do you rate your overall proficiency in English as compared with the profi-
ciency of your classmates?
Excellent Good Fair Poor

Β. How important is it for you to become proficient in English?


Very Not so
Important Moderately A little
important important

C. Why do you want to learn English?


Check with a  only the four most important reasons for you
it is one of our school subjects
I have friends or classmates who learn this language
I like this subject
I like my teacher of English
I want to get a certificate (i.e. Lower, Proficiency)
It will help me with my future studies
I need it for my future career
I need it for travelling abroad
I need it to communicate with foreigners
I am interested in the culture of native speakers
Other reason (please state):
30

D. Please read carefully every sentence and then put a  in only one box with the word
which best expresses your opinion.

1. Do you like English? YES  NO 


2. Have you received any instruction in Eng-
YES  NO 
lish apart from school?
3. If so, how many years? 1-3 years  4-5 years 
4. Did you attend English classes at a private
Private Private
school (phrontisterio) or in private lessons  
school lessons
at home?
5. Can you use a computer? YES  NO 
6. Do you prefer to write your essays in Eng-
YES  NO 
lish by hand?
7. Do you prefer to write your essays in Eng-
home  school 
lish at …

Ε.
If you have answered YES in question number 2 of the Aj Bj As Bs Cs
previous part D, please circle on the right which grade you
attended last year.
Please circle on the right which grade you are attending Aj Bj As Bs Cs
this year and write on the following line which book you
use.
_______________________________________________

THANK YOU
31

APPENDIX III
EXIT QUESTIONNAIRE
IN GREEK AND IN ENGLISH
32

Students’ exit questionnaire in Greek


Ερωτηµατολόγιο µαθητών

Τo ερωτηµατολόγιο αυτό στοχεύει στην εξεύρεση µεθόδων που µπορούν να βοηθήσουν


τα παιδιά να βελτιώσουν την παραγωγή γραπτού λόγου (σκέφτοµαι και γράφω) στα
Αγγλικά.

ΟΛΕΣ ΟΙ ΑΠΑΝΤΗΣΕΙΣ ΣΟΥ ΘΑ ΘΕΩΡΗΘΟΥΝ ΕΜΠΙΣΤΕΥΤΙΚΕΣ

Σχολείο:___________________________________ Έτος γέννησης: ________

Φύλο  Αγόρι  Κορίτσι

Ποια γλώσσα ή γλώσσες µιλάτε στο σπίτι σου; _______________________________


33

Παρακαλώ διάβασε προσεκτικά την κάθε πρόταση και µετά βάλε ένα  µέσα σε ένα
µόνο τετράγωνο από τα πέντε που είναι δίπλα της και που σε εκφράζει περισσότερο.

) στη φράση που δείχνει τι γνώµη έχεις για κάθε πρόταση.


Βάλε (

Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ


1. Μου αρέσει να γράφω γραπτά κείµενα στo µά- ναι φορές όχι
θηµα των Αγγλικών
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
2. Μπορώ να γράφω καλά γραπτά κείµενα στα ναι φορές όχι
Αγγλικά
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
ναι φορές όχι
3. Μπορώ να σκεφτώ ιδέες για ένα θέµα εύκολα

Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ


4. Μπορώ να γράψω καλύτερα αν το θέµα ναι φορές όχι
µου είναι γνωστό
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
5. Γνωρίζω πώς να οργανώνω τα γραπτά µου ναι φορές όχι
(σειρά των παραγράφων, λογική ανάπτυξη ιδεών κ.λ.π.)
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
6. Μπορώ να γράφω µόνος/µόνη µου (χωρίς βοή- ναι φορές όχι
θεια)
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
7. Θέλω το δάσκαλο/τη δασκάλα µου να µε βοη- ναι φορές όχι
θάει όταν γράφω
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
8. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια για να σκεφτώ ιδέες σχε- ναι φορές όχι
τικές µε το θέµα
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
9. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια προτού αρχίσω να γράφω ναι φορές όχι
(επεξήγηση στο θέµα, στην οργάνωση)
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
10. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια όταν γράφω για να οργα- ναι φορές όχι
νώσω τις ιδέες µου και το γραπτό µου
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
11. Χρειάζοµαι βοήθεια όταν τελειώσω το γραπτό ναι φορές όχι
µου για να εντοπίσω τα λάθη µου
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
12. Μπορώ να εντοπίσω τα λάθη µου αν ο δάσκα- ναι φορές όχι
λος/ η δασκάλα µας δώσει έναν κώδικα διόρ-
θωσης λαθών
34

Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ


13. Αισθάνοµαι αµήχανα όταν οι συµµαθητές / ναι φορές όχι
συµµαθήτριες µου γνωρίζουν τα λάθη µου
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
14. Θα ήθελα να µε βοηθήσει ο διπλανός µου/η ναι φορές όχι
διπλανή µου να διορθώσω τα λάθη µου και να
οργανώσω το γραπτό µου
Πάντα Συνήθως Μερικές Συνήθως Ποτέ
15. Εάν µου δοθεί βοήθεια σε ένα γραπτό θα ξέρω ναι φορές όχι
πώς να γράψω καλύτερα ένα γραπτό κείµενο
την επόµενη φορά

Είναι οι παρακάτω ιδέες καλές ή κακές;


).
∆ιάβασε προσεκτικά και σηµείωσε τη γνώµη σου µε ένα (

ΚΑΛΗ ΚΑΚΗ
ιδέα ιδέα
1. Όταν γνωρίζεις την οργάνωση ενός κειµένου στα Αγγλι-
κά, µπορείς εύκολα να γράψεις ένα παρόµοιο κείµενο
2. Όταν γράφεις ένα γραπτό κείµενο στα Αγγλικά, προσπά-
θησε να έχεις στο µυαλό σου τον αναγνώστη στον οποίο
απευθύνεσαι
3. Όταν γνωρίζεις για ποιο σκοπό γράφεις το γραπτό σου,
τότε µπορείς να παράγεις καλύτερο κείµενο
4. Πριν αρχίσεις να γράφεις, προσπάθησε να καταγράψεις
σχετικές ιδέες µόνος/µόνη ή µε την τάξη σου
5. Χρησιµοποίησε συνδετικές λέξεις για να παρουσιάσεις
ένα καλά δοµηµένο κείµενο (κείµενο που έχει καλή σύνδεση)
6. Είναι καλύτερο να γράψεις δύο ή τρεις φορές το γραπτό
σου και να προσπαθήσεις να το βελτιώσεις προτού το ο-
λοκληρώσεις, παρά να γράψεις ένα µόνο τελικό κείµενο
7. Όταν τελειώσεις το γραπτό σου, προσπάθησε να το διορ-
θώσεις
8. Μπορείς να συµµετέχεις στη διόρθωση του γραπτού σου
κειµένου

9. Μπορείς να διδαχθείς από τα λάθη σου

10. Ο διπλανός / η διπλανή σου µπορεί να σε βοηθήσει να δι-


ορθώσεις τα λάθη σου
11. Ο δάσκαλος / η δασκάλα σου πρέπει να διορθώνει όλα τα
λάθη σου
12. Όταν δεν γνωρίζεις µία λέξη, χρησιµοποίησε το λεξικό
σου
35

Παρακαλώ διάβασε προσεκτικά τις παρακάτω προτάσεις και σηµείωσε µε  (µόνο σε


ένα κουτάκι) αν συµφωνείς ή διαφωνείς µε αυτές.
Α. Βελτιώνοµαι στο γραπτό λόγο στα Αγγλικά, όταν ο δάσκαλος/η δασκάλα µου …
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
1. σχολιάζει το περιεχόµενο των γραπτών Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µου (δηλ. ιδέες, παραδείγµατα, κ.λ.π.)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
2. σχολιάζει την οργάνωση των γραπτών Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µου (π.χ. σειρά των παραγράφων, λογική ανά- ∆ιαφωνώ
πτυξη ιδεών, κ.λ.π.)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
3. σχολιάζει το ύφος των γραπτών µου (επί- ∆ιαφωνώ
σηµο, ανεπίσηµο, οικείο, κ.λ.π.)

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
4. ελέγχει το λεξιλόγιο µου (δηλαδή σωστή ∆ιαφωνώ
χρήση λέξεων)

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


5. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα γραµ- Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µατικά λάθη (π.χ. λάθος στη χρήση χρόνου, ∆ιαφωνώ
λάθος στην κατάληξη)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
6. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση άλλα λά- Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
θη όπως ορθογραφικά, στίξης, κεφαλαία- ∆ιαφωνώ
µικρά γράµµατα, κ.λ.π.
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
7. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα λάθη Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µε ειδικό κώδικα για τη διόρθωση τους
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
8. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα λάθη µε Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
κόκκινο στυλό
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
9. κάνει ενθαρρυντικά σχόλια για τα γραπτά Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µου ∆ιαφωνώ

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
10. κάνει αρνητικά σχόλια για τα γραπτά ∆ιαφωνώ
µου
36

Β. Βελτιώνοµαι στο γραπτό λόγο στα Αγγλικά όταν ο διπλανός/ η διπλανή µου:

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


1. σχολιάζει το περιεχόµενο των γραπτών Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µου (δηλ. ιδέες, παραδείγµατα, κ.λ.π.)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
2. σχολιάζει την οργάνωση των γραπτών Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µου (π.χ. σειρά των παραγράφων, λογική ανά- ∆ιαφωνώ
πτυξη ιδεών, κ.λ.π.)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
3. σχολιάζει το ύφος των γραπτών µου (επί- ∆ιαφωνώ
σηµο, ανεπίσηµο, οικείο, κ.λ.π.)

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
4. ελέγχει το λεξιλόγιο µου (δηλαδή σωστή ∆ιαφωνώ
χρήση λέξεων)

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


5. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα γραµ- Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µατικά λάθη (π.χ. λάθος στη χρήση χρόνου, ∆ιαφωνώ
λάθος στην κατάληξη)
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
6. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση άλλα λά- Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
θη όπως ορθογραφικά, στίξης, κεφαλαία- ∆ιαφωνώ
µικρά γράµµατα, κ.λ.π.
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
7. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα λάθη Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µε ειδικό κώδικα για τη διόρθωση τους
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
8. υπογραµµίζει χωρίς διόρθωση τα λάθη µε Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
κόκκινο στυλό
Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ
9. κάνει ενθαρρυντικά σχόλια για τα γραπτά Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
µου ∆ιαφωνώ

Συµφωνώ Συµφωνώ Ούτε Συµφω- ∆ιαφωνώ ∆ιαφωνώ


10. κάνει αρνητικά σχόλια για τα γραπτά Απόλυτα νώ ούτε Πλήρως
∆ιαφωνώ
µου

ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΩ
37

Students’ exit questionnaire in English

This questionnaire aims at finding methods that can help students improve writing in
English.

ALL YOUR ANSWERS WILL BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL

School: ___________________________________ Year of birth: ________

Φύλο  Αγόρι  Κορίτσι

Which language or languages do you speak at home? __________________________

The main questionnaire consists of two parts.


38

Part one
General attitudes towards writing

Please read carefully every sentence and then put a  only in one square from the five
ones which are next to it and which you feel that best expresses your opinion.

) in the expression which shows your opinion about each statement.


Put a (
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
1. I like writing in my English class
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
2. I can write good texts in English
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
3. I can think of ideas about a topic easily
4. I can write better if the topic is familiar to Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

me
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
5. I know how to organise my texts (para-
graph sequencing, logical development, etc.)
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
6. I can write alone (without help)
7. I want my teacher to help me when I Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

write
8. I need help in order to come up with rele- Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

vant ideas
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
9. I need help before writing (with the topic,
organisation)
10. I need help when writing to organise my Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

ideas and my text


11. I need help after I finish writing to locate Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

my errors
12. I can spot my mistakes if our teacher Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

gives us a code for error correction


13. I feel embarrassed when my classmates Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

know my mistakes
14. I would like my partner to help me to Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

correct my mistakes and organise my text


15. If I get help in one lesson, I know how to Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never

do a better piece of writing next time


39

Attitudes towards specific techniques


which can help students improve their writing

Are the following ideas good or bad?


).
Read carefully and mark your opinion with a (

GOOD BAD
idea idea
1. When you know the organisation of a text in English, you
can produce a similar text easily
2. When you write a text in English, try to think of the target
reader
3. When you know the target of your writing, then you can
produce a better text
4. Before you write, try to brainstorm some ideas alone or
with your class

5. Use linking words to produce a well-organised text

6. It is better to draft and redraft your text and try to improve


it before finishing it instead of producing only one final
product

7. When you finish your text, try to revise it

8. You can participate in the correction of your text

9. You can learn from your own mistakes

10. Your partner can help you to correct your errors

11. Your teacher must correct all your mistakes

12. When you don’t know a word, use your dictionary


40

Attitudes towards teacher correction

Please read the following statements carefully and mark with a  (only one box) if you
agree or disagree.

Α. I improve in writing in English when my teacher …..

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
1. comments on the content of my writing Disagree
(i.e. ideas, examples, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


2. comments on the organisation of my Agree Agree nor Disagree
essays (i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical de- Disagree
velopment, etc.)
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
Agree Agree nor Disagree
3. comments on my writing style (i.e. ex- Disagree
pression, tone-formal/informal, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
4. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word Disagree
usage)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
5. highlights grammatical mistakes (e.g. Disagree
wrong tense, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
6. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. Disagree
punctuation, spelling, capitalisation, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


7. identifies errors with correction sym- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
bols
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
8. highlights errors with a red-coloured Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
pen
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Stroncly
9. focuses on the good points of my writ- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
ten texts
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
10. focuses on the weak points of my writ Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
ten texts
41

Attitudes towards peer correction

Β. I improve in writing in English when my partner …..


Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
Agree Agree nor Disagree
1. comments on the content of my writing Disagree
(i.e. ideas, examples, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


2. comments on the organisation of my Agree Agree nor Disagree
essays (i.e. paragraph sequencing, logical de- Disagree
velopment, etc.)
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
Agree Agree nor Disagree
3. comments on my writing style (i.e. ex- Disagree
pression, tone-formal/informal, etc)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
4. checks my vocabulary (i.e. accurate word Disagree
usage)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
5. highlights grammatical mistakes (e.g. Disagree
wrong tense, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


Agree Agree nor Disagree
6. highlights mechanical mistakes (i.e. Disagree
punctuation, spelling, capitalisation, etc.)

Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly


7. identifies errors with correction sym- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
bols
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
8. highlights errors with a red-coloured Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
pen
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Stroncly
9. focuses on the good points of my writ- Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
ten texts
Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly
10. focuses on the weak points of my writ Agree Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
ten texts

THANK YOU
42

APPENDIX IV
ENTRY WRITING TEST
43

Writing test (entry)


(Based on an idea by Anastasiadou, A. (2003)

You are Dimitris. You live in Katerini. This is the beginning of the school year. Send a
letter to your cousin George who lives in Boston with his family.

Say: How you are and how you feel about the beginning of the school year.

Where you went for holidays and what you did there.

Ask: About his summer holidays.

Start and finish your letter appropriately and at the end of your letter add something you
have forgotten.

Write up to 100 words.


44

Answer key to the writing test


There are four parts of message which must be communicated:

1. How Dimitris is and how he feels about the beginnning of the school year.
2. Where he went for holidays and what he did there.
3. Dimitris asks about George’s holidays during summer.
4. The letter begins with the address and Dear George, and finishes with Love Di-
miitris and a P.S.
All the above parts are underlined in the instructions of the test in order to guide the
students.

Sample

15 Marathonos Street,
60 100 Katerini,
Greece.
September 20th 2007

Dear George,

I am fine. How are you? This is the beginning of our school year and I feel a little
sad. Lessons and tests start again! We relaxed for three months. Now we have to get up
early in the morning. I hate getting up early. What about you?

We had wonderful holidays this summer. We went camping in a camping site near
Litohoro. We swam in the sea in the morning and in the afternoons we sometimes went
climbing on mountain Olympus. We met new friends and played a lot of games.

What about you? Where did you go on holidays? Did you go to Disneyland? Please
tell me all about it.

Well, goodbye for now. Write soon!

Love
Dimitris

P.S. I’m sending you some photos of my holidays. Don’t forget to send me some of
your photos, too.
45

APPENDIX V
EXIT WRITING TEST
46

Writing test (exit)

You are Dimitris. You live in Katerini. Your cousin George, who does not speak Greek
well, lives in Boston with his family. This is the end of the school year. Send a letter to
your cousin George.

Write: How you are and how you feel about the end of the school year.

Where you will go for holidays and what you will do there.

Ask: Ask his plans about his summer holidays.

Start and finish your letter appropriately and at the end of your letter add something you
have forgotten.

Write up to 100 words.


47

APPENDIX VI
MARKING SCHEME
48

Marking scheme

[Based on Common European Framework (2001: chapter 5 - p. 108-130), KPG


Script rater guide (Dendrinos, 2007), KET University of Cambridge ESOL Ex-
aminations (1998, 2006)].
Criteria:
Criterion 1: Sociolinguistic Competence. The learner responded in terms of a) com-
munication of message, b) fulfillment of required function, c) audience awareness
Criterion 2: Linguistic Appropriateness. The written text is assessed for a) spelling,
b) punctuation, c) grammatical accuracy, d) vocabulary range
Criterion 3: Pragmatic Competence. The text is assessed for a) organisation accord-
ing to genre, b) cohesion, c) style, d) coherence

All four parts of message clearly com- Minor spelling and punctuation errors 10
municated. Good organisation of ideas. which do not impede communication
Fully coherent text. Simple connectors of meaning. Uses simple grammatical
‘and’, ‘but’, ‘because’ have been used. structures correctly most of the times.
No effort is required by reader. Use of simple vocabulary that is in
his/her range.

All four parts of message communi- Few spelling and punctuation errors 9
cated. Good organisation of ideas. Co- which do not distort meaning. Uses
herent text. Simple and mostly correct simple grammatical structures cor-
connectors used. No effort is required rectly but occasionally mixes tenses
by reader. and forgets agreement. Occasionally
uses inappropriate words.

All four parts of message attempted or Some spelling and punctuation errors 8
three parts of message are clearly com- which do not affect meaning seriously.
municated but one is unattempted. Uses simple grammatical structures
Quite good organisation of ideas. Co- but often mixes tenses and forgets
herent text. Simple and mostly correct agreement. Repetition of vocabulary.
linking words used. Minor effort re-
quired by reader.

Only three parts of message attempted Some incorrect spelling and punctua- 7
or two parts of message are clearly tion, and simple grammatical struc-
communicated but two are unattempted. tures with a few errors which do not
Quite good organisation of ideas. Fairly interfere with intelligibility seriously.
coherent text. A few incorrect cohesive Some incorrect words.
devices. Minor effort required by
reader.

Only two parts of message are ade- Some incorrect spelling and punctua- 6
quately communicated. Fairly good or- tion. A few problematic grammatical
ganisation of ideas. Cohesion devices structures. Some incorrect vocabulary.
are sometimes incorrect or inappropri- These problems partly affect intelligi-
ate. A little effort may be required by bility.
reader.
49

Only two parts of message communi- Frequent spelling and punctuation er- 5
cated. Somewhat disorganised ideas but rors which affect interpretation of
the text is generally coherent. Fre- meaning.
quently incorrect and inappropriate co- Frequent errors in grammar. Limited
hesive devices. A little effort is required vocabulary.
by reader.

Only one part of message communi- Spelling, punctuation, grammar and 4


cated. Poor sequencing of ideas. The vocabulary errors are frequent and
text is mostly incoherent and the cohe- parts of the text are sometimes diffi-
sion is very problematic. Considerable cult to understand.
effort may be required by reader.

Question unsuccessfully attempted. Spelling, punctuation, grammar and 3


Very poor ordering of ideas. The text is vocabulary errors are very frequent
mostly incoherent and the cohesion is and a few parts of the text are unintel-
seriously problematic. Considerable ligible.
effort is required by reader.

Question unattempted. The reader must Spelling, punctuation, grammar and 2


rely on own interpretation. vocabulary errors are so severe that
intelligibility is almost impossible.

No response or scattered words. Intelligibility is impossible. 1


50

APPENDIX VII
ERROR CORRECTION
51

Symbols for Error Correction

(Based on the symbols by Pinheiro Franco, 1996:130 and Chryshoshoos et al., 2002:
82)

Symbol Meaning Example


SP
SP Spelling mistake She’s a teachar.
She is a teacher.
P P
P,P Punctuation errors They both, speak Italian
They both speak Italian.

VM
VM Verb missing He a doctor.
He is a doctor.

WM
WM Word missing was born in New York.
He was born in New York.

/ Omit this word The bag is a blue.


The bag is blue.

WV
WV Something wrong with the He go to school.
verb form He goes to school.

VT
VT Verb tense I go to Athens last week.
I went to Athens last week.
52

G
G Something else grammatical The twin are in the
is wrong garden.
The twins are in the garden.

C
C, C Capitalisation error both brothers are Universi-
C
ty Students.
Both brothers are Universi-
ty students.
WW

WW Wrong word How are you? I’m good.


How are you? I’m well.

WO
WO Word order errors I went yesterday to the club.
I went to the club yesterday.

? I don’t understand what you are trying to say

GP good point
53

Text one

P WM WV G

my favourite animal is lion. It is a strong. It live in Africa. It has got four leg

and a long tail.

VT WV C

It can jump and ran. It eat animals. It lives in small Groups.

GP

I like the lion because it is a beautiful animal.


54

Text two

SP VM P

Mary is my best freend. She twelve years old, and is short. She has blonde hair,

green eyes and wears glass. Mary likes playing tennis but she does not like other sports.

WW

She likes wearing jeans and T-shirts. She is very well at maths and science.

WO

She helps me with my homework always.

She is quiet and funny but she sometimes gets. I love her because I can tell her all my

SP

secreets. P

We play computer games on weekdays and go to the cinema on weekends

WO

We have together a great time.


55

Text three

Vienna St.,
30 700 Salsburg,
Austria.
January 20th 2008

Dear penfriend,

my name Stephanie Dullnig. I’m twelve year old. I’m tall with blond hair and blu

eyes. I living in Salsburg, a town in Austria. Mozart live here.

My father is taxi-driver and my mother is hairdresser. I have one sister Her name

is Maria and she’s ten year old.

I’m of high school in the first grade. My favourite lessons are German and English.

I’m very good at basketball and I like watching TV. When I’m older I want to be a.

I would like to find a penfriend from on Greece.

Love,
Stefanie.
56

APPENDIX VIII
NON SIGNIFICANT RESULTS
57

Table 11.1
When you know the EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
organisation of a text,
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
you can produce a
similar text more eas- N % N % N % N % N % N % χ2(1)= 1.606
ily p=0.205
41 93.2 3 6.8 39 84.8 7 15.2 80 88.9 10 111.1

Table 11.2
When you write a EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
text in English, try to
think of the target Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
χ2 (1)= 0.045,
reader N % N % N % N % N % N % p=0.831
38 86.4 6 13.6 39 84.8 7 15.2 77 85.6 13 14.4

Table 11.3
When you know the EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
purpose of your writ-
ing, then you can pro- Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
duce a better text N % N % N % N % N % N % χ2(1)= 0.912
p=0.340
42 97.7 1 2.3 43 93.5 3 6.5 85 95.5 4 4.5
58

Table 11.4
Before you write, try EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
to brainstorm some
ideas alone or with Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
your class χ2(1)= 1.710,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
p=0.191
15 34.1 29 65.9 10 21.7 36 78.3 25 27.8 65 72.2

Table 11.6
It is better to draft EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
and redraft your text
and try to improve it Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
instead of presenting a χ2(1)= 1.621,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
final product
p= 0.203
5 11.6 38 88.4 10 21.7 36 78.3 15 16.9 74 83.1

Table 11.7
When you finish your EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
text, try to revise it
Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
χ2(1)= 1.957,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
p= 0.162
44 100 0 0 44 95.7 2 4.3 88 97.8 2 2.2
59

Table 11.9
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
You can learn from
your own mistakes Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ2(1)= 2.671,
N % N % N % N % N % N % p= 0.102

43 97.7 1 2.3 41 89.1 5 10.9 84 93.3 6 6.7

Table 11.10
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
Your partner can help
you to correct your Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
errors N % N % N % N % N % N % χ2(1)= 0.956,
p= 0.328
1 2.3 43 97.7 3 6.5 43 93.5 4 4.4 86 95.6

Table 11.11
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
Your teacher must
correct all your mis- Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
takes χ2(1)= 0.079,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
p= 0.779
40 90.9 4 9.1 41 89.1 5 10.9 81 90.0 9 10.0
60

Table 11.12
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
When you don’t know
a word, use your dic- Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
tionary χ2(1)= 0.556,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
p= 0.456
38 86.4 6 13.6 42 91.3 4 8.7 80 88.9 10 11.1

Table 12.1
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
When you know the
organisation of a text, Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
you can produce a χ2(1)= 2.969,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
similar text more eas- p= 0.085
ily 44 100 0 .0 43 93.5 3 6.5 87 96.7 3 3.3

Table 12.2
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
When you write a text
in English, try to Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
think of the target χ2(1)= 0.001,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
reader p= 0.975
43 97.7 1 2.3 45 97.8 1 2.2 88 97.8 2 2.2
61

Table 12.3
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
When you know the
purpose of your writ- Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
ing, you can produce a χ2(1)= 0.002,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
better text p= 0.964
42 95.5 2 4.5 44 95.7 2 4.3 86 95.6 4 4.4

Table 12.5
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
Use linking words to
produce a well- Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
χ2(1)= 0.956,
organised text N % N % N % N % N % N %
p= 0.328
43 97.7 1 2.3 43 93.5 3 6.5 86 95.6 4 4.4

Table 12.7
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
When you finish your
text, try to revise it Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea
χ2(1)= 1.957,
N % N % N % N % N % N %
p= 0.162
44 100.0 0 0.0 44 95.7 2 4.3 88 97.8 2 2.2
62

Table 12.9
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL TOTAL χ2
You can learn from
your own mistakes Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea Good idea Bad idea χ2(1)= 2.969,
N % N % N % N % N % N % p= 0.085
44 100.0 0 0.0 43 93.5 3 6.5 87 96.7 3 3.3
63

Table 23.1 Learning English because it is one of our school subjects


GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
42 45 87
NO
95.5% 97.8% 96.7%
2 1 3
YES
4.5% 2.2% 3.3%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
2
N = 90, χ (1) = 0.393, p = 0.531

Table 23.2 Learning English because I have friends or classmates who learn this lan-
guage
GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
43 44 87
NO
97.7% 95.7% 96.7%
1 2 3
YES
2.3% 4.3% 3.3%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
N = 90, χ2 (1) = 0.301, p = 0.584

Table 23.3 Learning English because I like this subject

GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
23 33 56
NO
52.3% 71.7% 62.2%
21 13 34
YES
47.7% 28.3% 37.8%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
N = 90, χ2 (1) = 3.625, p = 0.057

Table 23.4 Leaning English because I like my teacher of English


GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
36 43 79
NO
81.8% 93.5% 87.8%
YES 8 3 11
64

18.2% 6.5% 12.2%


44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
2
N = 90, χ (1) = 2.850, p = 0.091

Table 23.5 Learning English because I want to get a certificate (i.e. Lower, Proficiency)
GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
11 8 19
NO
25.0% 17.4% 21.1%
33 38 71
YES
75.0% 82.6% 78.9%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
2
N = 90, χ (1) = 0.782, p = 0.377

Table 23. 6 Learning English because I need it for my future studies


GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
9 5 14
NO
20.5% 10.9% 15.6%
35 41 76
YES
79.5% 89.1% 84.4%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
2
Ν = 90, χ (1) = 1.573, p = 0.210

Table 23.7 Learning English because I need it for my future career


GROUP_CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
16 4 20
NO
36.4% 8.7% 22.2%
28 42 70
YES
63.6% 91.3% 77.8%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
2
N = 90, χ (1) = 9.960, p = 0.002

Table 23.8 Learning English because I need it for travel


GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
24 20 44
NO
54.5% 43.5% 48.9%
65

20 26 46
YES
45.5% 56.5% 51.1%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
N = 90, χ2 (1) = 1.102, p = 0.294

Table 23.9 Learning English because I need it to communicate with foreigners


GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
19 31 50
NO
43.2% 67.4% 55.6%
25 15 40
YES
56.8% 32.6% 44.4%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
N = 90, χ2 (1) = 5.338, p = 0.021

Table 23.10 Learning English because I am interested in the culture of native speakers
GROUP CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
41 45 86
NO
93.2% 97.8% 95.6%
3 1 4
YES
6.8% 2.2% 4.4%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
N = 90, χ2 (1) = 1.142, p = 0.285

Table 23.11 Learning English for other reason (please state)


GROUP_CODE
TOTAL
EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
44 45 89
NO
100.0% 97.8% 98.9%
0 1 1
YES
.0% 2.2% 1.1%
44 46 90
TOTAL
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
N = 90, χ2 (1) = 0.967, p = 0.325
66

APPENDIX IX
SAMPLES OF WRITING LESSONS
67

Lesson 1
(Experimental group)
Tasks
A. In pairs discuss what students at your age usually write about.

B. I am going to give you five different kinds of texts: instructions, poems - nursery
rhymes, an invitation card, a fairy tale-fable and a description of a person. You will
work in four groups to find: a) the purpose of the text b) the people it refers to and c) the
characteristics of each text type following the cues:
Text type Cues
Instructions Watch the verb form and the first word of each
sentence. Examine if there is an order.
Poems-nursery Look at the last word of the sentences. Watch
rhymes the position of the verb in the first text.

Invitation card Watch the organisation, the length and the to-
ne of the text.
Fairy tale-fable Examine how the text starts and ends and if
there is an order. Watch the verb form.
Description of a person Look at the organisation: How do we describe
a person?

Group one will examine the instructions. Group two will examine the description of a
person and the invitation card. Group three will examine the poems-nursery rhymes.
Finally, group four will examine the fairy tale-fable. First find the purpose and the audi-
ence of each text and write them down. Then find the characteristics of the text and
write them in a table. When you finish, you will tell the other groups what you have
found. Then, all together try to form your own rules about the different types of texts.

C. Try to compare all the texts to find out which ones follow a chronological order (se-
quence) and which do not. Work in pairs.
68

D. Discuss if it is important to know why we are writing a text and who we are writing
it to. Work in pairs.

Texts

1. Instructions.

A.
Mr Papadopoulos has asked the arts and crafts teacher to write the materials and the in-
structions to make a treasure chest. He will use these instructions with his students to
make a treasure chest and play treasure hunt.

Materials Needed
A small shoe box

Coloured paper
A pencil
Glue
Paints
A pair of scissors
Gold coins
How to make a treasure chest
All you need for this easy craft is a small shoe box with a lid.

First, clean the box.


Second, cut the coloured paper.
Glue the coloured paper around your box.
Next, paint the paper.
Then, draw your favourite animal.
Finally, fill your treasure chest with gold coins.
Now you’ve got a treasure chest. You can play treasure hunt with your friends. Have
fun!!
69

(Adapted from http://www.kidsturncentral.com/themes/piratecrafts.htm)

New words:
Lid: the piece that covers the box.

B.
Mrs Leontiou, the teacher of English at the sixth form of a primary school has asked her
American cousin Helen to write instructions on how to make a Halloween pumpkin
mask so as to show her students how American and English people celebrate Hallow-
een.

How to make
a Halloween pumpkin mask.

Halloween is a time for fun. In U.S.A. and Great Britain people buy pumpkins and
make lamps or they make pumpkin masks. It is very easy to make your own pumpkin
mask. Just follow these instructions:

Materials needed:

• A paper plate
• Coloured pencils
• Scissors
• Hole punch
• Green string or elastic
70

First, draw a jack-o'-lantern's face on the back


of a paper plate.

Second, cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth.


Then, decorate the rest of the jack-o'lantern.

Next, punch a hole in each side of the mask.

Finally, tie some green string to each side (or


use elastic) of the jack-o'-lantern.

Now you’ve got a beautiful pumpkin mask. You can go trick or treat with it. Happy
Halloween!!!!

(Adapted from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/halloween/jolmask/)

New words:
Jack-o-lantern: a pumpkin used in Halloween. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hole punch: a tool for cutting holes. (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)
71

2. Description of a person. (Written by a student).


Mr Wood has asked his class to write a description of their best friend and present it to
their classmates. Helen Papadopoulou described her best friend Mary.

Mary is my best friend. She is twelve years old and is short. She has blonde
hair, green eyes and wears glasses. Mary likes playing tennis but she does not like any
other sports. She likes wearing jeans and T-shirts. She is very good at maths and science
and always helps me with my homework.
She is quiet and funny but she sometimes gets quite angry. I love her because I can tell
her all my secrets.
We play computer games on weekdays and go to the cinema on weekends. We have a
great time together.

3. Invitation card. (Based on an idea by Andrews et al. (2000), Teaching English to


Young Learners: Unit 7).
Peter is having his birthday party on Sunday. He has written an invitation card to his
friend Sara.

15 Cheltenham Str.
Oxford
September 12th 2007
Dear Sara,
Please, come to my birthday party next Sunday 15th September. It starts at 6.00
p.m. There will be clowns, too. Please, phone me or send me an SMS to say if you can
come. Ask your cousin Tony to come with you.
See you soon
Peter
72

4. Poems- Nursery rhymes


These nursery rhymes are written for young children.
The Itsy Bitsy spider
Itsy Bitsy spider climbing up the spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
Now Itsy Bitsy spider went up the spout again!
New words:
spout: a pipe for the water of the rain

From http://www.lovepoems.me.uk/childrens_nursery_rhymes_itsy_bitsy_spider.htm

Mary had a little lamb

Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow;


And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to school one day, which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play, to see a lamb at school.
And so the teacher turned it out, but still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about till Mary did appear.
"Why does the lamb love Mary so?" the eager children cry;
"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know" the teacher did reply.

New words:
fleece: a sheep’s wool
it was against the rule: it was wrong
he turned it out: he made it leave
linger: wait for some time, not leave
reply: answer

(From:http://www.love-
poems.me.uk/childrens_nursery_rhymes_mary_had_a_little_lamb.htm)
73

5. Fable-Fairy tale.
This is a very famous fable written by Aesop for young children.
The Tortoise and the Hare

(Picture taken from http://www.dltk-teach.com/fables/tortoise/)

Once upon a time there was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could
run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, asked him to run a race.
All the animals in the forest came to watch.

Hare ran down the road for some time and then stopped to rest. He looked back
at Slow and Steady and cried out, "How do you think you can win this race when you
are walking along so slowly?"

Hare sat down and fell asleep, thinking, "There is plenty of time to relax." But
he slept too long.

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to
the finish line.

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.
Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was
over the line.

After that, Hare always remembered, "Don't brag about your running very fast, for

Slow and Steady won the race.


74

(Adaptation of Aesop’s ABC fables retold by Heather Forest in


http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/tortoise.html)

New words:
fable: a short story where animals or objects speak like people
speedy: quick, fast
brag: boast, speak proudly about myself
steady: something that is steady continues in the same way
cheer: to shout loudly when you are happy
stretch: when you put your arms and legs out (Collins Cobuild Student’s Dictionary)
yawn: open your mouth wide when you are sleepy or tire
75

Lesson 1
(Control group)
Tasks

I am going to give you five different kinds of texts: instructions, poems - nursery

rhymes, an invitation card, a fairy tale-fable and a description of a person.

Texts

1. Instructions.

A.
Mr Papadopoulos has asked the arts and crafts teacher to write the materials and the in-
structions to make a treasure chest. He will use these instructions with his students to
make a treasure chest and play treasure hunt.

Materials Needed
A small shoe box

Coloured paper
A pencil
Glue
Paints
A pair of scissors
Gold coins
How to make a treasure chest
All you need for this easy craft is a small shoe box with a lid.

First, clean the box.


Second, cut the coloured paper.
Glue the coloured paper around your box.
Next, paint the paper.
Then, draw your favourite animal.
76

Finally, fill your treasure chest with gold coins.


Now you’ve got a treasure chest. You can play treasure hunt with your friends. Have
fun!!

(Adapted from http://www.kidsturncentral.com/themes/piratecrafts.htm)

New words:
Lid: the piece that covers the box.

B.
Mrs Leontiou, the teacher of English at the sixth form of a primary school has asked her
American cousin Helen to write instructions on how to make a Halloween pumpkin
mask so as to show her students how American and English people celebrate Hallow-
een.

How to make
a Halloween pumpkin mask.

Halloween is a time for fun. In U.S.A. and Great Britain people buy pumpkins and
make lamps or they make pumpkin masks. It is very easy to make your own pumpkin
mask. Just follow these instructions:
77

Materials needed:

• A paper plate
• Coloured pencils
• Scissors
• Hole punch
• Green string or elastic

First, draw a jack-o'-lantern's face on the back


of a paper plate.

Second, cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth.


Then, decorate the rest of the jack-o'lantern.

Next, punch a hole in each side of the mask.

Finally, tie some green string to each side (or


use elastic) of the jack-o'-lantern.

Now you’ve got a beautiful pumpkin mask. You can go trick or treat with it. Happy
Halloween!!!!

(Adapted from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/halloween/jolmask/)


78

New words:
Jack-o-lantern: a pumpkin used in Halloween. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hole punch: a tool for cutting holes. (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

2. Description of a person. (Written by a student).


Mr Wood has asked his class to write a description of their best friend and present it to
their classmates. Helen Papadopoulou described her best friend Mary.

Mary is my best friend. She is twelve years old and is short. She has blonde
hair, green eyes and wears glasses. Mary likes playing tennis but she does not like any
other sports. She likes wearing jeans and T-shirts. She is very good at maths and science
and always helps me with my homework.
She is quiet and funny but she sometimes gets quite angry. I love her because I can tell
her all my secrets.
We play computer games on weekdays and go to the cinema on weekends. We have a
great time together.

3. Invitation card. (Based on an idea by Andrews et al, Teaching English to Young


Learners: Unit 7).
Peter is having his birthday party on Sunday. He has written an invitation card to his
friend Sara.

15 Cheltenham Str.
Oxford
September 12th 2007
79

Dear Sara,
Please, come to my birthday party next Sunday 15th September. It starts at 6.00
p.m. There will be clowns, too. Please, phone me or send me an SMS to say if you can
come. Ask your cousin Tony to come with you.
See you soon
Peter

4. Poems- Nursery rhymes


These nursery rhymes are written for young children.
The Itsy Bitsy spider
Itsy Bitsy spider climbing up the spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
Now Itsy Bitsy spider went up the spout again!
New words:
spout: a pipe for the water of the rain

From http://www.lovepoems.me.uk/childrens_nursery_rhymes_itsy_bitsy_spider.htm

Mary had a little lamb

Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow;


And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to school one day, which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play, to see a lamb at school.
And so the teacher turned it out, but still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about till Mary did appear.
"Why does the lamb love Mary so?" the eager children cry;
"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know" the teacher did reply.

New words:
fleece: a sheep’s wool
80

it was against the rule: it was wrong


he turned it out: he made it leave
linger: wait for some time, not leave
reply: answer

(From:http://www.love-
poems.me.uk/childrens_nursery_rhymes_mary_had_a_little_lamb.htm)

5. Fable-Fairy tale.
This is a very famous fable written by Aesop for young children.
The Tortoise and the Hare

(Picture taken from http://www.dltk-teach.com/fables/tortoise/)

Once upon a time there was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could
run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, asked him to run a race.
All the animals in the forest came to watch.

Hare ran down the road for some time and then stopped to rest. He looked back
at Slow and Steady and cried out, "How do you think you can win this race when you
are walking along so slowly?"

Hare sat down and fell asleep, thinking, "There is plenty of time to relax." But
he slept too long.

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to
the finish line.
81

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.
Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was
over the line.

After that, Hare always remembered, "Don't brag about your running very fast, for

Slow and Steady won the race.

(Adaptation of Aesop’s ABC fables retold by Heather Forest in


http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/tortoise.html)

New words:
fable: a short story where animals or objects speak like people
speedy: quick, fast
brag: boast, speak proudly about myself
steady: something that is steady continues in the same way
cheer: to shout loudly when you are happy
stretch: when you put your arms and legs out (Collins Cobuild Student’s Dictionary)
yawn: open your mouth wide when you are sleepy or tire
82

Part of Lesson 4
(Experimental group)
tasks
A. You will work in pairs. I’m going to give you six pictures in a jumbled order.
(Based on an idea by Heaton, J.B. 1967)

Try to put the pictures in the correct order.


83

B. The following verbs show what the man and the monkeys are doing in each picture.
In pairs try to match the verbs with the pictures. Then try to describe what is happening
in each picture:
1. slept was sleeping got down
took

2. stood up and started shouting started shouting too

3. threw started throwing took back

4. sat to relax climbing

5. scratched scratched … too had/got an idea

6. wore and climbed woke up and saw were wearing

C. The following adjectives describe the man in each picture. Try to match the adjec-
tives with the pictures:
disappointed tired sleepy
exhausted glad puzzled
angry happy relaxing
confused surprised
84

Lesson 4
(Control group)
Your teacher asked you to write a story describing the following pictures. Give a title to
your story. The class will choose the best story which will appear in the next issue of
our school newspaper “the Pen”.
85

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86

Part of Lesson 7
(Experimental group)
Tasks
A. Let’s talk about what we expect to read in a description of a pet.

B. Now, in pairs, talk about the organisation of a description of a pet.

C. Your teacher has asked you to write a description of your favourite animal/pet. You
can stick a picture of your pet. The class will decide on the best description which will
be published in the school newspaper ‘The Pen’. Use the notes in exercise A and B and
the information on page 81 of your book and page 12 of your workbook to help you.

D. I will give you a description of a pet. Olga, a twelve-year old girl, describes her pet
to her penfriend Pablo from Spain. Read her description and compare it with your text.
Are there any similarities or differences? Underline them.
My pet is a dog. His name is Hercules and he comes from Greece. He sleeps in his
house in the balcony.
87

He is brown and white and his eyes are brown. His eyes sometimes become sad be-
cause I’ve got homework and he is alone. He likes sleeping. He eats meat and food for
dogs but he doesn’t like bread.
I love Hercules very much because he is a good friend. In my free time, we play
together with a ball. He can run fast and he brings my schoolbag. My mother takes him
for a walk every day. I take him out on Saturdays and Sundays. We go to the park. He
plays with other dogs but he doesn’t like cats.

E. Is there any information in Olga’s description which is not in your draft? What is it?
Now that you have compared your draft with Olga’s, would you like to add or delete
anything in your draft?
88

Lesson 7
(Control group)

Your teacher has asked you to write a description of your favourite animal/pet. You can
stick a picture of your pet. The class will decide on the best description which will be
published in the school newspaper ‘The Pen’. Use the information on page 81 of your
book and page 12 of your workbook to help you.

……………………………………………………………………………………………
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89

APPENDIX X
PAGES FROM FUN WAY ENGLISH 3
STUDENTS’ BOOK AND WORKBOOK
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99

APPENDIX XI
TEACHERS’ INTERVIEWS
IN GREEK AND IN ENGLISH
100

Teachers’ interviews in Greek


Συνεντεύξεις συναδέλφων
Η συνέντευξη αυτή αποτελεί µέρος της έρευνας της διδακτορικής µου διατριβής που
στοχεύει στην εξεύρεση µεθόδων που µπορούν να βοηθήσουν τα παιδιά να βελτιώσουν
την παραγωγή γραπτού λόγου στα Αγγλικά. Τα στοιχεία που θα προκύψουν είναι εµπι-
στευτικά και δεν θα χρησιµοποιηθούν για οποιοδήποτε άλλο λόγο.
Στην παρακάτω συνέντευξη θα συζητήσουµε για τους τρόπους που χρησιµοποιείτε για
να βοηθήσετε τους µαθητές/τις µαθήτριες σας να γράφουνε γραπτά κείµενα στα αγγλι-
κά.

ΟΛΕΣ ΟΙ ΑΠΑΝΤΗΣΕΙΣ ΣΑΣ ΘΑ ΘΕΩΡΗΘΟΥΝ ΕΜΠΙΣΤΕΥΤΙΚΕΣ

Φύλο  Άνδρας  Γυναίκα

 ΟΡΓΑΝΙΚΗ  ΑΠΟΣΠΑΣΗ
ΘΕΣΗ
 ΑΝΑΠΛΗΡΩΤΗΣ/ΤΡΙΑ  ΜΕΤΑΤΑΞΗ

ΠΕΡΙΟΧΗ

ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΥΠΗΡΕΣΙΑΣ [_______]

ΜΕΤΑΠΤΥΧΙΑΚΟ  ΟΧΙ  ΝΑΙ Αν ΝΑΙ, Τοµέας

∆Ι∆ΑΚΤΟΡΙΚΟ  ΟΧΙ  ΝΑΙ Αν ΝΑΙ, Τοµέας


101

Α. Γενικές ερωτήσεις:
1. Έχετε παρακολουθήσει ειδική εκπαίδευση για τη διδασκαλία της παραγωγής του
γραπτού λόγου κατά τη διάρκεια των σπουδών σας ή σε κάποιο σεµινάριο;
2. Τι διδακτικά µέσα υπάρχουν για τους καθηγητές/τις καθηγήτριες Αγγλικών για να
διδάξουν την παραγωγή γραπτού λόγου; Πιστεύετε ότι το βιβλίο του Υπουργείου
Παιδείας επαρκεί για τη βελτίωση της ικανότητας των παιδιών να παράγουν γραπτό
λόγο;
3. Γνωρίζετε για τις κλίµακες αξιολόγησης των γραπτών κειµένων;
4. Γνωρίζετε µορφές ανατροφοδότησης;

Β. Απόψεις σχετικά µε τη διδασκαλία της παραγωγής του γραπτού λόγου


1. Μπορείτε να περιγράψετε τη µεθοδολογία που χρησιµοποιείτε για τη διδασκαλία
της παραγωγής γραπτού λόγου στα Αγγλικά µε τους µαθητές/τις µαθήτριες σας;
2. Ποιες συγκεκριµένες δυσκολίες έχουν οι µαθητές/µαθήτριες σας όταν παράγουν
γραπτό λόγο στα Αγγλικά;
3. Σε ποια σηµεία διαφέρει η διδασκαλία της παραγωγής γραπτού λόγου στα Αγγλικά
µε τη διδασκαλία της παραγωγής γραπτού λόγου στα Ελληνικά;
4. Τι είδους εργασίες παραγωγής γραπτού λόγου δίνετε στους µαθητές/στις µαθήτριες
σας;
5. Πού γράφουν τα γραπτά κείµενα- στο σπίτι ή στο σχολείο;

Γ. Απόψεις και µεθοδολογία σχετικά µε την αξιολόγηση και ανατροφοδότηση


1. Πώς αξιολογείτε τα γραπτά κείµενα των µαθητών/µαθητριών σας στα Αγγλικά;
2. Πόσο χρήσιµη νοµίζετε ότι είναι η γραπτή ανατροφοδότηση του καθηγητή/της κα-
θηγήτριας για τη βελτίωση της παραγωγής γραπτού λόγου των µαθητών/µαθητριών;
3. Πότε αξιολογείτε τα γραπτά κείµενα των µαθητών/µαθητριών σας όταν τους ανα-
θέτετε εργασίες παραγωγής γραπτού λόγου στο σχολείο;
4. Αξιολογείτε τα γραπτά κείµενα των µαθητών/µαθητριών σας όσο γράφουν ή αφού
έχουν τελειώσει το γραπτό τους;
5. Ποιος νοµίζετε ότι είναι ο κύριος ρόλος σας όταν αξιολογείτε γραπτά ένα προσχέδιο
της έκθεσης των µαθητών/µαθητριών σας;
6. Ποιος νοµίζετε ότι είναι ο κύριος ρόλος σας όταν αξιολογείτε γραπτά το τελικό κεί-
µενο των µαθητών/µαθητριών;
102

7. Όταν σχολιάζετε τα προσχέδια των γραπτών κειµένων των µαθητών/µαθητριών,


επικεντρώνεστε σε κάποια σηµεία περισσότερο από άλλα; Ποια είναι αυτά τα ση-
µεία;
8. Επικεντρώνεστε στα ίδια σηµεία όταν σχολιάζετε τα τελικά κείµενα;
9. Κρίνετε ότι η ανατροφοδότηση του δασκάλου/της δασκάλας σε ένα γραπτό είναι
πιο χρήσιµη κατά τη διάρκεια που οι µαθητές/µαθήτριες διαµορφώνουν το γραπτό
τους ή µόλις το ολοκληρώσουν; Γιατί έχετε αυτή τη γνώµη;
10. Όταν δίνετε ανατροφοδότηση, ποια από τα σχόλια σας πιστεύετε ότι είναι περισσό-
τερο χρήσιµα στους µαθητές/στις µαθήτριες για να βελτιώσουν το γραπτό τους;
11. Τι είδους γραπτή ανατροφοδότηση δίνετε συνήθως στα γλωσσικά προβλήµατα των
κειµένων των µαθητών/µαθητριών;

∆. Απόψεις για άλλες µορφές ανατροφοδότησης


1. Νοµίζετε ότι η ανατροφοδότηση που δίνεται προφορικά από τον καθηγητή/την κα-
θηγήτρια (π.χ. σε κατ’ ιδίαν συζήτηση ή καθώς περιφέρεται στην τάξη την ώρα που
γράφουν οι µαθητές/µαθήτριες) είναι περισσότερο ή λιγότερο ωφέλιµη από τη γρα-
πτή αξιολόγηση ή είναι περίπου το ίδιο χρήσιµες; Γιατί;
2. Πόσο χρήσιµη νοµίζετε ότι είναι η ετεροαξιολόγηση (µε τη µορφή της ανατροφοδό-
τησης από ένα/µία ή περισσότερους/περισσότερες συµµαθητές/συµµαθήτριες) στο
να βοηθήσει τους µαθητές/τις µαθήτριες να βελτιώσουν το γραπτό τους; Γιατί το
πιστεύετε αυτό;

Ε. Προσδοκίες για τη στάση των µαθητών/µαθητριών στην ανατροφοδότηση


1. Πώς περιµένετε να αξιοποιήσουν οι µαθητές/µαθήτριες τη γραπτή ανατροφοδότηση
που τους δίνετε στα κείµενα τους;
2. Τι περιµένετε να κάνουν οι µαθητές/µαθήτριες σας εάν δεν καταλαβαίνουν τα σχό-
λια σας ή δεν µπορούν να διορθώσουν τα λάθη τους αφού πάρουν την ανατροφοδό-
τηση;

Ζ. Σκέψεις από την εµπειρία σας για την ανατροφοδότηση


1. Θα µπορούσατε να αναφέρετε µία περίπτωση κατά την οποία αισθανθήκατε ότι δώ-
σατε πετυχηµένη ανατροφοδότηση; Αυτή µπορεί να αναφέρεται σε ένα µαθητή/µία
µαθήτρια ή σε ολόκληρη την τάξη.
103

2. Τι συµβουλή θα δίνατε σε ένα νέο καθηγητή/µία νέα καθηγήτρια που δεν γνωρίζει
την κουλτούρα σας και τα χαρακτηριστικά των µαθητών/µαθητριών σας;
104

Teachers’ interviews in English

(Based on an idea by Hyland, F. & Hyland, K. (2001) “Sugaring the pill: Praise and
criticism in written feedback” Journal of Second Language Writing 10: 185 - 212
and
Reichelt, M. (2005) “English-language writing instruction in Poland” Journal of Second
Language Writing 14: 215-232)

This interview is part of my research for my thesis which aims at finding methods
which can help students improve writing in English. The content is confidential and will
be used only for this thesis.
During the interview we will talk about the ways you use to help your students to pre-
pare their written assignments in English.

ALL YOUR ANSWERS ARE CONFIDENTIAL

Gender Male Female

 PERMANENT  TRANSFERRED
PRESENT
POSITION
 TEMPORARY  SECONDED

AREA ______________________________________________________

YEARS OF WORKING EXPERIENCE [_______]

MASTER’S DEGREE  NO  YES If so, in which department

PhD  NO  YES If so, in which department


105

A. General questions:
1. Have you received any specific training for teaching writing during your studies or
in an in-service seminar?
2. What resources exist for teachers of English-language writing in order to teach writ-
ing? Do you believe that the materials assigned by the Ministry of