Matching Items (11)

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Discourse markers as predictors of success for the TOEFL

Description

ABSTRACT The teaching of formulaic sequences (FSs) to improve speech fluency is a time honored tradition in the field of English as a Second Language (ESL). However, recent research seems

ABSTRACT The teaching of formulaic sequences (FSs) to improve speech fluency is a time honored tradition in the field of English as a Second Language (ESL). However, recent research seems to indicate that certain discourse markers, specifically transition and personal stance markers, are more useful than other FSs. This study is an attempt to partially replicate (on a very small scale) one of these studies to see if the findings are similar when the standardized test materials are from the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) rather than the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The hope is that teacher researchers could have access to readily available, standardized assessment materials with which to create their own research studies consisting of a standardized pretest and posttest. Four students of various levels in an Intensive English Program (IEP) were given a practice listening and speaking exam utilizing TOEFL preparation materials found online. The results were analyzed to see if there was a noticeable correlation between the use of the specified discourse markers on the speech portion of the test and the performance of the students on the listening portion of the test. The findings show some discrepancy between the two studies' results. It appears possible to have a high perceived fluency rate and still have a lower overall speaking fluency when taking into account listening comprehension and various other measures.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Examining an Out-of-Class Collaborative Writing in an Interdisciplinary Research Project in Science and Technology Studies

Description

This dissertation explores the nature of collaborative writing in an interdisciplinary research context beyond classrooms. Most of the current studies in collaborative writing in second language contexts are based on

This dissertation explores the nature of collaborative writing in an interdisciplinary research context beyond classrooms. Most of the current studies in collaborative writing in second language contexts are based on collaborative writing in classroom-based contexts such as English as a Second Language courses with undergraduate students. Collaborative writing tasks are getting its popularity both in classrooms and beyond classrooms with various purposes and objectives. Thus, it is more likely that multilingual writers encounter some kinds of collaborative writing tasks in various contexts. For writing instructors and writing curriculum developers, it is important to understand various types of collaborative writing tasks and their writing practices.

The current study investigates the nature of collaborative writing in an interdisciplinary collaborative research project. The study examines the processes of a multilingual writer’s literacy development in collaborative writing tasks. Based on a qualitative case study, the study focuses on identifying what literate activities were involved in, what effects from the writing collaboration were observed, and what factors influenced this multilingual writer’s writing development. I analyzed various sources of data such as writing samples, writing journal notes, observation fieldnotes, project documents, and the interviews from the focal participant, the graduate student, and two other co-authors as informants in the study. Based on a multilingual writer’s perspective, the findings show what the collaborative writing practices look like in an interdisciplinary research setting. The findings indicate that a multilingual writer’s writing skills were constantly evolving while interacting with collaborators through various phases of collaborative writing. Particularly tasks in collaborative revision process such as mediating the gaps between co-authors and responding to research members were crucial in developing awareness for audience and content organization. Drawing on a naturalistic qualitative study, this dissertation discusses that studies of collaborative writing in second language learning contexts needs to provide broader perspective and aspects of collaborative writing in various settings that multilingual writers engage in. The research concludes with a discussion of pedagogical implications, limitations of the study and future research.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Analyses of receptive and productive Korean EFL vocabulary: computer-based vocabulary learning program

Description

The present research study investigated the effects of 8 versions of a computer-based vocabulary learning program on receptive and productive knowledge levels of college students. The participants were 106 male

The present research study investigated the effects of 8 versions of a computer-based vocabulary learning program on receptive and productive knowledge levels of college students. The participants were 106 male and 103 female Korean EFL students from Kyungsung University and Kwandong University in Korea. Students who participated in versions of the vocabulary learning program with target-word based sentences as well as definitions tended to perform better on receptive and productive vocabulary assessments than those who participated in versions of the program with definitions of words only. Furthermore, results indicated that the difference in receptive scores from immediately after the program to one week later showed a higher drop-rate than the difference in productive scores. In addition, female learners performed receptively better than male learners in post and one-week delayed tests, but significant gender difference failed to occur for the productivity measure. Overall, these results emphasized the importance of productive vocabulary knowledge for better retention of English vocabulary words.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Exploring teachers' writing assessment literacy in multilingual first-year composition: a qualitative study on e-portfolios

Description

This project investigated second language writing teachers’ writing assessment literacy by looking at teachers’ practices of electronic writing portfolios (e-WPs), as well as the sources that shape L2 writing teachers’

This project investigated second language writing teachers’ writing assessment literacy by looking at teachers’ practices of electronic writing portfolios (e-WPs), as well as the sources that shape L2 writing teachers’ knowledge of e-WPs in the context of multilingual First-Year Composition (FYC) classrooms. By drawing on Borg’s (2003) theory of teacher cognition and Crusan, Plakans, and Gebril’s (2016) definition of assessment literacy, I define L2 teachers’ writing assessment literacy as teachers’ knowledge, beliefs and practices of a particular assessment tool, affected by institutional factors. While teachers are the main practitioners who help students create e-WPs (Hilzensauer & Buchberger, 2009), studies on how teachers actually incorporate e-WPs in classes and what sources may influence teachers’ knowledge of e-WPs, are scant. To fill in this gap, I analyzed data from sixteen teachers’ semi-structured interviews. Course syllabi were also collected to triangulate the interview data. The interview results indicated that 37.5 % of the teachers use departmental e-WPs with the goal of guiding students throughout their writing process. 43.7 % of the teachers do not actively use e-WPs and have students upload their writing projects only to meet the writing program’s requirement at the end of the semester. The remaining 18.7 % use an alternative platform other than the departmental e-WP platform, throughout the semester. Sources influencing teachers’ e-WP knowledge included teachers’ educational and work experience, technical difficulties in the e-WP platform, writing program policies and student reactions. The analysis of the course syllabi confirmed the interview results. Based on the findings, I argue that situated in the context of classroom assessment, institutional factors plus teachers’ insufficient knowledge of e-WPs limit the way teachers communicate with students, whose reactions cause teachers to resist e-WPs. Conversely, teachers’ sufficient knowledge of e-WPs enables them to balance the pressure from the institutional factors, generating positive reactions from the students. Students’ positive reactions encourage teachers to accept the departmental e-WPs or use similar alternative e-WP platforms. Pedagogical implications, limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are reported to conclude the dissertation.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Second Language Writing in Intensive English Programs and First Year Composition

Description

The study develops a better understanding of what is valued in L2 academic writing in IEP and FYC programs through a comparative case study approach, identifying the assumptions and underlying

The study develops a better understanding of what is valued in L2 academic writing in IEP and FYC programs through a comparative case study approach, identifying the assumptions and underlying values of program directors and instructors in both types of instructional settings. The goal of the study is to understand more about second language writing pedagogy for international students in these programs, as well as to provide university administrators with a better understanding of how to improve writing instruction for multilingual students, who have become a key part of the U.S. higher education mission. Data include program-level mission statements, course descriptions and objectives, curricular materials, as well as interviews with teachers and program directors. Major findings show that there is a tension between language-focused vs. rhetoric-focused approaches to second language writing instruction in the two contexts. IEP instruction sought to build on students' language proficiency, and writing instruction was rooted in a conception of writing as language organized by structural principles, while the FYC program emphasized writing as a tool for communication and personal growth. Based on these findings, I provide recommendations for improving graduate education for all writing teachers, developing more comprehensive needs analysis procedures, and establishing administrative structures to support international multilingual students.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Exploring student engagement with written corrective feedback in first-year composition courses

Description

This study provides insights into the nature of L2 writers' engagement with written corrective feedback (WCF) - how they process it and what they understand about the nature of the

This study provides insights into the nature of L2 writers' engagement with written corrective feedback (WCF) - how they process it and what they understand about the nature of the error - to explore its potential for language development. It also explores various factors, such as individual, socio-contextual, and pedagogical, which influence the extent of student engagement. Data include students' revisions recorded with screen-capture software and video-stimulated recall. The video-stimulated recall data were transcribed and coded for evidence of processing, error awareness, and error resolution. In addition, I conducted interviews with students and their instructors, and through a thematic analysis, I identified individual and socio-contextual factors that appeared to influence students' engagement.

The findings of the study indicate that the processing of WCF and error awareness may be affected by pedagogical factors, such as the type of feedback and its delivery method. In addition, I found that while socio-contextual factors, such as grading policy, may influence students' attitudes toward the importance of grammar accuracy in their writing or motivation to seek help with grammar outside of class, such factors do not appear to affect students' engagement with WCF at the time of revision.

Based on the insights gained from this study, I suggest that direct feedback may be more beneficial if it is provided in a comment or in the margin of the paper, and that both direct and indirect feedback may be more effective if a brief explanation about the nature of the error is included. In addition, students may need to be provided with guidelines on how to engage with their instructors' feedback. I conclude by suggesting that if WCF is provided, students should be held accountable for making revisions, and I recommend ways in which this can be done without penalizing students for not showing immediate improvements on subsequent writing projects.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Exploring teacher knowledge in multilingual first-year composition

Description

This project examines how writing teachers of multilingual students conceptualize their pedagogical practices. Specifically, it draws on work in teacher cognition research to examine the nature of teacher knowledge and

This project examines how writing teachers of multilingual students conceptualize their pedagogical practices. Specifically, it draws on work in teacher cognition research to examine the nature of teacher knowledge and the unique characteristics of this knowledge specific to the teaching of second language writing. Seeing teacher knowledge as something embedded in teachers’ practices and their articulation of the goals of these practices, this project uses case studies of four writing instructors who teach multilingual students of First-Year Composition (FYC). Through qualitative analysis of interviews, observations, and written feedback practices, teachers’ goals and task selection were analyzed to understand their knowledge base and the beliefs that underlie their personal pedagogies.

Results from this study showed that while participants’ course objectives were primarily in alignment with the institutional goals for the course, they each held individual orientations toward the subject matter. These different orientations influenced their task selection, class routines, and assessment. This study also found that teachers’ understanding of their students was closely tied with their orientations of the subject matter and thus must be understood together. Findings from this study support a conceptualization of teacher knowledge as a construct comprised of highly interdependent aspects of teachers’ knowledge base.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Phasehood of wh-questions in modern standard Arabic

Description

Wh-questions have been widely discussed in different languages such as English, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, and Russian, but little attention has been paid to the structure of wh-questions in Modern Standard

Wh-questions have been widely discussed in different languages such as English, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, and Russian, but little attention has been paid to the structure of wh-questions in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Thus, this dissertation attempts to analyze the structure of wh-questions using the current frameworks: Minimalism and Cartography.

In the late 1990s, Chomsky established the Minimalist Program which aims to describe the clause structure in as simple and economic mechanism as possible, and he advanced his famous research program to include phase theory, which aims to restrict the syntactic operations. On the other side, Rizzi (1997, 2001) proposed the Cartographic approach. In this approach, Rizzi attempted to analyze the left periphery domain in detail, and suggested the split CP hypothesis. Following those two approaches, Ginsburg (2009) and Totsuka (2015) unified them into one approach and suggested that ForceP, TopicP, and IntP are phasal domain while FocusP, FinP, and WhP are not. An overview of the Chomskyan model and Rizzi’s approach has been provided in Chapter 2. Also, this dissertation discussed the unified approach by Ginsburg (2009) and Totsuka (2015).

In addition to the overview of the general frameworks, this dissertation discussed the clause structure such as the word order, left periphery domain (i.e., CP), and resumption in MSA. Furthermore, Chapter 2 presented the earlier studies on the wh-questions in MSA and highlighted the major gap which this dissertation attempts to fill. In these studies the structure of wh-questions in MSA were mis-analyzed because the surface structure of the nine wh-questions might look the same, but, in fact, they are not. Therefore, this dissertation attempts to (re)study the structure of wh-questions with taking into consideration the resumption and [definiteness].

In Chapter 3, the methodology and corpus analysis, which is used in collecting the wh-questions in MSA, are discussed. Finally, Chapter 4 analyzed the corpus findings based on the unified approach by Ginsburg (2009) and Totsuka (2015) and showed some evidence that man ‘who’ and ayy ‘which’ questions in MSA are in phasal phrase (i.e., IntP) while the rest of wh-questions are not.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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A framework for understanding second language writing strategies

Description

This study articulates a framework of writing strategies and validates the framework by using it to examine the writing process of researchers as they write journal articles for publication. The

This study articulates a framework of writing strategies and validates the framework by using it to examine the writing process of researchers as they write journal articles for publication. The framework advances a definition of writing strategies and a classification system for categorizing strategies that is based on strategic goals. In order to develop the framework, I first synthesize existing literature on writing strategies found in second language writing studies, composition studies, and second language acquisition. I then observe the writing process of four researchers as they write journal articles for publication and use the framework to analyze participants’ goals, their strategies for accomplishing goals, the resources they use to carry out strategies, and the variables that influence their goals and strategies. Data for the study was collected using qualitative methods, including video recordings of writing activities, stimulated-recall interviews, questionnaires, and semi-structured interviews. The study shows that the framework introduced in the study is useful for analyzing writers’ strategies in a comprehensive way. An operationalizable definition of ‘writing strategies’ is the conscious and internalized agentive ideas of a writer about the best way to act, often with the use of resources, in order to reach specific writing goals embedded in a context. Writing strategies can be categorized into seven types of strategic goals: composing, coping, learning, communicating, self-representation, meta-strategies, and publishing. The framework provides a way to understand writing strategies holistically—as a unit of goal, action, and resource—and highlights variability in writers’ actions and use of resources. Some of this variability in writers’ strategies can be explained by the influence of various contextual factors, which are identified in the analysis. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of how the framework can be used to inform future research and classroom teaching on writing strategies.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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A sociocultural approach to the study of L2 writing

Description

Using a sociocultural framework, this dissertation investigated the writing processes of 31 ESL learners in an EAP context at a large North American university. The qualitative case study involved one

Using a sociocultural framework, this dissertation investigated the writing processes of 31 ESL learners in an EAP context at a large North American university. The qualitative case study involved one of the four major writing assignments in a required first-year composition course for ESL students. Data were collected from four different sources: (a) A semi-structured interview with each participant, (b) process logs kept by participants for the entire duration of the writing assignment, (c) classroom observation notes, and (d) class materials. Findings that emerged through analyses of activity systems, an analytical framework within Vygotskian activity theory, indicate that L2 writers used various context-specific, social, and cultural affordances to accomplish the writing tasks. The study arrived at these findings by creating taxonomies of the six activity system elements - subject, tools, goals, division of labor, community, and rules - as they were realized by L2 writers, and examining the influence that these elements had in the process of composing. The analysis of data helped create categories of each of the six activity system elements. To illustrate with an example, the categories that emerged within the element division of labor were as follows: (a) Instructor, (b) friends and classmates, (c) writing center tutors, (d) family members, and (e) people in the world. The emergent categories for each of the six activity system elements were then examined to determine if their effects on L2 writing were positive or negative. Overall, the findings of the present study validate arguments related to the post-process views that an explanation of L2 writing processes solely based on cognitive perspectives provides but only a partial picture of how second language writing takes place. In order for a more comprehensive understanding of L2 writing one must also account for the various social and cultural factors that play critical roles in the production of L2 texts.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012