How can the use of blog software facilitate the writing process of English language Learners? By Arslan & Şahin-Kızıl (2010)

Posted: November 30, 2018 by sevalatici in Uncategorized

According to literature, blogs offer various advantages in teaching writing such as fostering teacher-student and student-student interaction, offering writing practice, enabling the students to work in their own time and at their own pace. Process oriented writing focuses on continuous interaction among peers as well as between students and teachers. Peer reflection is valuable because it helps students develop an understanding of good writing.

In this article, researchers present the results of their study conducted with fifty intermediate level EFL students in Karadeniz Technical University. They test the impact of blog use on the writing performance of their students in a process oriented writing task. In this study, both the control and experimental groups followed similar procedures while doing the process-writing task. They were first taught the target paragraph types, then necessary language to write those specific paragraphs. Students received teacher modelling and were asked to choose a topic to write about. After this stage, the two groups’ tasks differentiated from each other.  The control group did their pre-writing activities in class time, received feedback from their teacher only and did not publish their work anywhere. However, they wrote reflections and shared them with their classmates only. The experimental group students wrote their paragraphs on their blogs in addition to having access to their tutor’s blog, where they could access model texts and extra input. In feedback stage they received feedback both from their teachers and their peers. They published their final papers on their blogs and wrote reflections on each other’s pages.

Efficacy of this procedure was calculated by comparing the pre test and post test results of both groups. The control group improved their scores by 6.321 points at the end whereas the experimental group improved by 16.197 points. The main concern of the study was to focus on whether the students improved their content and organizational skills along with an increase in grammatical and lexical areas. The researchers state that there was a dramatic increase in overall scores, especially in content and organization areas but they couldn’t find a meaningful difference in other fields: grammar and vocabulary.

The gap between the scores of the two groups could be explained by the positive effects of blogging such as easy access to instruction outside the school, abundance of feedback received, increased exposure time and more motivation. However, the number of participants is very small, a big concern for the generalizability of the results. Still, the researchers suggest that teachers integrate blog writing into process oriented writing tasks.

 

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