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The use of process writing and Internet technology in a Taiwanese college English writing class

by Huang, Mei-ching.

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this action research was to evaluate the effectiveness of using process writing and Internet technology for helping Taiwanese college students overcome the difficulties they encounter in learning to write in English. This study also examined the attitudes of the students and their teacher towards the implementation of the On-line Writing Project, which were on-line English writing lessons I created, integrating process writing and the Internet, as well as the influence of Chinese/Taiwanese culture on the implementation of the On-line Writing Project. In this semester-long study, I implemented the On-line Writing Project as the co-teacher of an English writing class at a university in Taipei, Taiwan. The teacher and his 16 students participated in this study. I collected nine kinds of data, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The results of the quantitative analysis showed that both the On-line Writing Project and the peer reviews were effective, that the students responded positively to process writing, peer reviews, and the use of Internet technology in their English writing course, that the students liked teacher feedback on their writing better than peer feedback and thought that teacher feedback was more helpful than peer feedback, and that the Online Writing Project decreased the value the participating students placed on searching the World Wide Web but increased their excitement about e-mailing and the trust in their partners’ efforts in peer reviews. The pre-interviews revealed the difficulties the participating students encountered in learning to write in English and their hopes for an effective, interesting, and interactive iii English writing class. Accordingly, the On-line Writing Project was designed, implemented, and evaluated. I generated several assertions after cross-referencing both the quantitative data and the qualitative data. Generally speaking, the On-line Writing Project was helpful, and process writing and the Internet technology helped the students in several ways. The On-line Writing Project did not change the students’ attitudes towards English writing to a great extent; nor did their knowledge of basic English writing principles improve to a great extent; however, their attitudes and behaviors in relation to the course transformed radically. Specifically, their excitement for the WWW cooled because of the slow connecting speed, the malfunction of the server, and the difficulty of finding what they needed; nonetheless, they maintained their enthusiasm for e-mailing native English speakers. They were motivated to come to class more often, work harder, write better, and participate in the On-line Writing Project actively. They also cooperated and helped each other. Although the students were equipped with basic English writing knowledge and were capable of indicating their partners’ weaknesses related to content/organization, they were not skilled at giving specific suggestions on how to revise content/organization. However, they were critical of their peers’ comments: they adopted few incorrect comments even though they revised a great deal and incorporated considerable peer feedback. Chinese/Taiwanese culture influenced the implementation of the On-line Writing Project in several ways. Specifically, the participating students were eager for negative feedback, especially from the teacher. Their belief in the teacher as the authoritative iv and single carrier of knowledge, as derived from Chinese/Taiwanese culture, resulted in their lower evaluation of peer feedback, despite the fact that teacher feedback was seldom given and more difficult to understand. Feeling a lack of authority in students, the students did not completely trust their own and their partners’ abilities as peer reviewers, either. On the other hand, although the students were not one hundred percent honest to their peers because they considered themselves to be lacking in authority and avoided hurting their peers, they gave their peers considerable negative feedback, contrary to the speculation that Chinese/Taiwanese students may sacrifice honest feedback to maintain group harmony because of the influence of collectivist culture. The participating teacher had not thought highly of using the Internet technology in English writing classes before he participated in the On-line Writing Project; however, his evaluation of the Internet technology was greatly enhanced. He developed a positive attitude towards process writing, especially when it was combined with Internet technology. On the whole, the participating teacher gave a high commendation to the On-line Writing Project and was impressed with its motivating effects on his students. v
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School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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