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On Effective Instruction of the Japanese Relative Clause

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This study was designed to test a new method of instruction for Japanese language students' re-acquisition of the Japanese relative clause structure. 10 Japanese language students who had already been exposed to the Japanese relative clause in their previous semester

This study was designed to test a new method of instruction for Japanese language students' re-acquisition of the Japanese relative clause structure. 10 Japanese language students who had already been exposed to the Japanese relative clause in their previous semester were asked to take a pretest that assessed their (a) knowledge of basic grammar concepts such as a "subject" and "predicate," (b) their ability to apply those basic grammar concepts to the Japanese language, and (c) their grasp of the rules applying to the formation of the Japanese relative clause. Students were then placed into a control group containing 6 students and an experimental group containing four students. The experimental group received additional lessons consisting of explicit instruction of basic grammar in both Japanese and English, as well as basic noun relativization rules in each language. The study found that the explicit instruction helped student comprehension of the relative clause structure, although some difficulties remain in identifying the relative clause and in constructing it on their own.

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2013-05

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The impact of strategy instruction on source-based writing

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This study examines the effects of providing persuasive writing and reading comprehension strategy training on source-based essay writing. Strategy training was administered through the use of the Writing Pal and the Interactive Strategy Trainer for Active Reading and Thinking (iSTART).

This study examines the effects of providing persuasive writing and reading comprehension strategy training on source-based essay writing. Strategy training was administered through the use of the Writing Pal and the Interactive Strategy Trainer for Active Reading and Thinking (iSTART). The impact of both individual (writing or reading) and blended strategy training on source-based writing was investigated. A total of 261 participants completed the study; after removing incomplete and second language participants the source-based writing and system performance was assessed for 175 participants (n no instruction = 48, n iSTART =41, n Writing Pal =41, n blended =45).

Results indicated that participants who received blended strategy training produced higher quality source-based essays than participants who received only reading comprehension, writing strategy training, or no training. Furthermore, participants who received only reading comprehension or writing strategy training did not produce higher quality source-based essays than participants in the no-training control group. Time on task was investigated as a potential explanation for the results. Neither total time on task nor practice time were predictive of group differences on source-based essay scores. Analyses further suggested that the impact of strategy training does not differ as a function of prior abilities; however, training does seem to impact the relation between prior abilities and source-based essay scores. Specifically, prior writing ability was unrelated to performance for those who received writing training (i.e., Writing Pal and blended conditions), and prior reading ability was unrelated to performance for those received the full dosage of iSTART training. Overall, the findings suggest that when taught in conjunction with one another, reading comprehension and writing strategy training transfers to source-based writing, providing a positive impact on score. Potential changes to the Writing Pal and iSTART to more closely align training with source-based writing are discussed as methods of further increasing the impact of training on source-based writing.

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Date Created
2015

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Good Writing" in increasingly internationalized U.S. universities: how instructors evaluate different written varieties of English

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This study investigates how university instructors from various disciplines at a large, comprehensive university in the United States evaluate different varieties of English from countries considered "outer circle" (OC) countries, formerly colonized countries where English has been transplanted and is

This study investigates how university instructors from various disciplines at a large, comprehensive university in the United States evaluate different varieties of English from countries considered "outer circle" (OC) countries, formerly colonized countries where English has been transplanted and is now used unofficially and officially to varying degrees. The study was designed to address two gaps in the research: (1) how instructors in increasingly internationalized U.S. universities evaluate different written varieties of English, since many international students may be writing in an L1 other than American English, and (2) how instructors' first language and/or disciplinary backgrounds appear to affect their evaluations. Through a comparison of rankings and qualitative analysis of interview data, the study examines whether the participating instructors value the same features and characteristics in writing, such as text and organization features, found in American English and varieties of OC written English. In addition, it examines whether one's first or native language or one's disciplinary training affects the perception and evaluation of these particular varieties of English. This study showed that what is currently valued and expected by instructors from various disciplines in U.S. universities is what may be identified as an "American" style of writing; participants expected an organization providing a clear purpose up front, including paragraphs of a certain length, and containing sentences perceived as more direct and succinct. In addition, given the overall agreement on the element of good writing demonstrated in how composition and content area professors ranked the writing samples, my study suggests that what is being taught in composition is preparing student for the writing expected in content area classes. Last, my findings add to World Englishes (WE) research by adding a writing component to WE attitudinal research studies, which have previously focused on oral production. Almost equal numbers of Native and Non-Native English Speakers (NESs and NNESs) participated, and the NNESs appeared more tolerant of different varieties, unlike the preference for inner circle norms noted in previous studies. This study, therefore, has implications for writing research and instruction at U.S. colleges and universities, as well as informing the field of World Englishes.

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Date Created
2014