Vol 5 No 2 (2019)

Published: 2019-11-26

Editorial Section

Editorial Introduction

Betsy Gilliland, Grant Eckstein

Featured Articles

Simultaneous Oral-Written Feedback Approach (SOWFA): Students’ Preference on Writing Response

Jim Hu

This article reports on a study that investigated the preferences of L2 university students regarding effective writing response strategies. The following questions guided the study: 1) Do L2 university students prefer to receive direct or indirect teacher feedback on writing problems? 2) Do the students prefer to receive (a) written corrective feedback (WCF) only or (b) oral feedback in one-to-one conferences as well as WCF? 3) In the case of 2(b), do the students prefer to receive oral feedback during or after WCF? The study employed mixed methods involving quantitative surveys of 30 Canadian university students from two EAP writing classes and qualitative interviews with 11 of those surveyed. Results demonstrate that the students preferred direct feedback more on grammar, vocabulary, register, and clear expressions than on mechanics. They also preferred direct feedback more at the course start than toward the end. More importantly, the students preferred coursework-based conferencing (Eckstein, 2013), particularly, simultaneous oral-written feedback (SOWF), a format that allows students and teachers to negotiate (Nassaji, 2017) and dialogue (Grigoryan, 2017) while teachers mark assignments. The article details the reasons behind student preferences and discusses the advantages and feasibility of a simultaneous oral-written feedback approach (SOWFA).


What LMS Site Statistics Tell Us about Timing Instructor Feedback on Student Writing

Angela Laflen

This article reports the results of a study using site statistics collected by a learning management system that compares students’ rates of opening instructor feedback on drafts and graded papers. It also examines whether students’ rates of accessing feedback on drafts and graded papers changed over the course of the semester from the first paper to the final paper, and it considers the relationship between student grades and the number of times students opened feedback attachments on their drafts. This study confirms current best practice recommendations advising instructors to provide feedback on drafts and illustrates the importance of attending to the structural dimension of feedback.

Bridging instructor intentions and student experiences: Constructing quality feedback, evaluating writing features, and facilitating peer trust as goals of peer review

Mary K. Stewart

Peer review is a cornerstone of writing pedagogy, and, as such, has received considerable attention in the literature. Nevertheless, peer review remains challenging to design, in part because there are multiple potential goals for peer review. This article draws on existing literature to describe the ways we talk about the purpose of peer review in composition scholarship, and then presents interview data to illustrate first-year composition instructors’ and students’ perceptions of the goals of peer review. Across the literature and within the qualitative data, three goals of peer review emerged: constructing quality feedback, evaluating writing features, and facilitating peer trust. The data also revealed a disconnect between student and instructor expectations for peer review. This article recommends more narrowly defining the goals of peer review and deliberately articulating those goals to students as a way to bridge the gap between instructor intentions and student experiences.

Responding to Writing Fluency: An Analysis of Writing Teacher Preparation Materials

Daliborka Crnkovic Padon

The purpose of the present study is to examine the resources available to writing teachers for responding to grammatical issues in student writing. The study analyzes two sets of data: (1) the position statements issued by the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Council of Writing Program Administrators, and the National Council of Teachers of English; and (2) the bestselling writing teacher preparation materials. The results are discussed through the theoretical lens of communities of practice (Wenger, 1998) in order to portray how the field of Composition Studies—as a community of practice—models responding to linguistically diverse L1, L2, or international students. The results show that the expectations set by the position statements are not met by the writing teacher preparation materials, thus lacking resources for teachers to respond to students rhetorically and in the context of writing. Based on these findings, I discuss implications for responding practices and propose future avenues for research on preparing teachers to respond to student writing.

Interaction and Participation in the Small Group Writing Conference

Chun-Chun Yeh

Previous research has established the importance of giving and receiving feedback in students’ writing development. The present paper investigates a less widely studied approach to providing feedback—the small group writing conference, which is attended by a number of students (usually four) and led by the teacher to discuss student drafts. Adapting a framework outlined in a previous study (Ching, 2014), this paper analyzed the interactions or relationships at work in two group conferences in an EFL context. Findings revealed that the instructor was involved in four fifths of all interactions, suggesting a prominent role played by the instructor in the two conferences. On the other hand, only limited interactions among student participants were found, while the reader-writer interactions tended to be unidirectional and mediated by the instructor. Results also indicated that when learners took the initiative in peer response, the instructor was more likely to participate in a collaborative way and as an equal. Pedagogical implications are discussed.

A Comparison of L1 and ESL Written Feedback Preferences: Pedagogical Applications and Theoretical Implications

Tyler Carter, Suthathip Thirakunkovit

This study explores the perceptions of first-year composition (FYC) students towards written teacher feedback and compares the preferences of L1 and ESL writers. We used an online questionnaire to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. The first part of the questionnaire consists of 43 Likert items that asked students to rate teacher feedback in the context of a selected argumentative essay, and the second part is two open-ended questions that asked students their opinions on teacher feedback. A total of 345 FYC students participated in the study. Even though our results showed several predictable findings (e.g., that both L1 and ESL writers appreciate specific feedback that offers directions for improvement rather than general comments regarding errors in the writing, and ESL writers particularly prefer direct corrective feedback), we have found several other more noteworthy similarities and differences (e.g., that L1 writers prefer to receive grammatical feedback as much as ESL writers do, and L1 writers preferred comments that allowed for negotiation, whereas ESL writers preferred comments that highlighted the rightness or wrongness of global and language concerns). Ultimately, these findings are meant to help FYC instructors work with L1 and ESL writers in classrooms that contain both.


Teaching Articles

Creating Space for Student Engagement with Revision: An Example of a Feedback-Rich Class for Second Language Writers

Kyung Min Kim

Given that feedback from different sources is combined to ripple through the entire revision process, it is important to create a space where students can understand and interact with different modes of feedback in order to work through it. However, pedagogy for the use of multiple feedback sources from a practitioner’s perspective has been rare. To address this paucity of attention, this article suggests a feedback-rich framework to help students grow as independent writers who can navigate the various interactional spaces for their writing. This teaching article presents a narrative example of a feedback-rich environment for an ESL first-year composition class. Teacher observations of student work and reflection indicate that the emphasis on multiple forms of feedback and reflection helped the students become more analytical about their revision, more active in writing conferences, more willing to solicit feedback, and thus more engaged with revision. 

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