Exploring student and teacher beliefs about writing ...
Exploring student and teacher beliefs about writing conferences on international foundation programmes Dr Zulfi Qureshi University of Liverpool BALEAP 2019, Leeds [email protected] What am I going to talk about? Key terms: beliefs, conference Why did I want to explore this issue? How did I investigate it? What did I learn? Using the participants own words Implications for international students, EAP practitioners and course providers
References Questions Key term: Belief and Conference Belief: a form of thought, construction of reality, ways of seeing and perceiving the world and its phenomena which are co-constructed within our experiences and which result from an interactive process [with] the world and with others (Barcelos 2014) Conference: a term used more commonly in US literature to what we might call a tutorial, viz. a face to face meeting between a teacher (or tutor in a writing centre) and a student writer to discuss a written draft. Advocates see it as a place to promote dialogic feedback, explain complex issues and give students a space to express their voice and ownership over their writing. Critics highlight the challenges it presents for L2 writers in particular, viz. to listen, speak and understand in real time
Why did I want to explore this issue? Me: Did you like the conference? St: It was OK but you dont tell me what I want for my essay you only want me talk! Student B E L I E F
S Teacher How did I investigate it? The research context Doctoral study UK university setting Year round International Foundation Programme (IFP) Students had to write one long essay per semester with two drafts Department exercised a process-oriented approach blended with a genre-oriented one Students received written and spoken feedback on every draft (4 conferences over 2 semesters) 4 international students - 2 from each IFP stream (high and low) 2 EAP writing teachers Questionnaires and follow up interviews at the start Each conference was audio recorded, transcribed over the year (16 conferences) Post stimulated-recall interviews to discuss the conference
Data analysed to uncover beliefs students and teachers had about conferences Case studies How did I investigate it?: The participants Students: Layla: 24, graduate from Saudi Arabia. She wanted to do a Masters in Business the following year. IELTS 4.5-5.0 Alex: 20, completed 2 years of a Business degree in China. He wanted to do final year in the UK but English level was too low, so joined IFP. IELTS 4.5-5.0 Kazumi: 21, exchange student from Japan studying Intercultural Communication. He wanted to improve his academic English. IELTS 5.5-6.0 Maria: 26, graduate from Cyprus. She joined the IFP to improve her academic English skills. IELTS 5.5-6.0 Teachers: Joan: 36, Cert. Tesol, over 10 years EFL/EAP experience. Taught Layla + Alex
Derek: 37, Cert. & Dip. Tesol, over 7 years EFL/EAP experience. Taught Kazumi + Maria The students beliefs What did I learn? Laylas beliefs about conferences I like it the teacher talk but I think the balance between the teacher and the student [is important]' 'I expect [the teacher to] give me more example'
I understand but just I want check this sure' 'It [written and spoken feedback] helps me to avoid my mistakes 'I feel relaxed because I know my teacher' 'If I need I will [speak up]
What did I learn? Alexs beliefs about conferences two peoples have thinking and we can get more idea tell me whats wrong I want to show my mind Joan ask more question for me - it can help me to remember
If the teacher tell me everything that essay is not mine it's the teachers I must want to know why, why I have to What did I learn? Kazumis beliefs about conferences If the relationship is like close, I think students will be able to talk more' 'I needed more help'
'The good thing I found is he followed the structure' 'I think culture could be the problem' 'I thought this is the western style ... it's up to me' 'I ran out of time' 'I agreed with this so yeah I change it it doesnt mean I
followed him' What did I learn? Marias beliefs about conferences 'the aim of the feedback to know what is wrong with my essay' 'spoken feedback is an opportunity for both to talk' 'it is not clear if I have to change it' 'I cant accept my
teachers feedback if I dont agree with him' 'I want [him] to give me more examples' 'the aim of these conferences is to resolve my questions about writing' The teachers beliefs
What did I learn? Joans beliefs about conferences Im aware that I wont probably get as much from a Japanese or a Chinese student ideally we want the students to take some kind of control Ive got a responsibility to direct them in the way that I think is best for their essay I dont want to do it for her but if she cant
do it herself on balance I will speak more usually I was thinking about my answers last week and I kind of felt it doesnt kind of maybe fit what I think a conference should be like What did I learn? Dereks beliefs about conferences it is important to allow students to take ownership for their writing
there is a danger of teachers stamping their own authority on students work my own approach centres around coaching rather than traditional teaching I think youve got to adapt yourself to each individual Ideally I would prefer the
student to control the direction of the conference although in reality this would rarely happen teacher and student fit in to roles encapsulating certain expectations with regards to who does what Student vs. Teacher beliefs about writing conferences Students shared beliefs I want my errors fixed
I want feedback to be detailed Teachers beliefs Joan was more accepting of this than Derek but neither teacher was keen Less alignment here between students and teachers beliefs I want to share my ideas I want to keep some ownership over my text Both Joan and Derek were willing to do this because it fit their view of conferencing
More alignment here between students and teachers beliefs Implications Other beyond IFPs? Others kinds of 1:1 interactions such as dissertation supervisions, speaking tests with an interlocutor Uncovering student beliefs about a range of academic practices including classroom practice, assessment, on-line or blending content, projects, portfolios etc. References
Black, L. (1998). Between Talk and Teaching: Reconsidering the Writing Conference. Logan, MT: Utah State University Press. Goldstein, L. M., & Conrad, S. M. (1990). 'Student input and negotiation of meaning in ESL writing conferences'. TESOL Quarterly, 24(3), 443-460. Harris, M., & Silva, T. (1993). 'Tutoring ESL students: issues and options'. College Composition and Communication, 44(4), 525-537. Kalaja, P., & Barcelos, A. M. F. (Eds.). (2003). Beliefs about SLA: New Research Approaches. New York: Springer. Maliborska, V., & You, Y. (2016). 'Writing conferences in a second language writing classroom: Instructor and student perspectives'. TESOL Journal, 7(4), 1-24. Nan, F. (2012). 'Bridging the gap: Essential issues to address in recurring writing center appointments with Chinese ELL students'. The Writing Center Journal, 32(1), 50-63. Ried, J. (1994). 'Responding to ESL students' texts: The myths of appropriation'. TESOL Quarterly, 28(2), 273292. Tobin, L. (1990). 'Productive tension in the writing conference: Studying our students and ourselves'. In T. Newkirk (Ed.), To Compose: Teaching Writing in High School and College (pp. 95-112). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
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