ISLAMIC AZAD UNIVERSITY AT CENTRAL TEHRAN
FACULTY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES
A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN TEACHING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (TEFL)
The Difference between Introverted/Extroverted EFL Learners’ Cooperative Writing
Supervisor: Dr. Abdollah Baradaran
By: Mohammad Reza Alavi
The present study is an attempt to investigate the difference between extrovert and introvert EFL learners’ cooperative writing. Initially 150 intermediate learners were asked to participate in the study. They sat in a PET and 90 homogenous learners, in term of language proficiency, were selected to fill Persian translation of Eysenck Personality Inventory questionnaire. Based on the results, 30 introvert and 30 extrovert learners were randomly assigned to two experimental groups. Both groups received a model of cooperative learning, i.e. Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (CIRC) as their treatment. After the treatment was done, they were asked to cooperatively write two essays in descriptive voice on two different topics. Their writings were scored based on Jacobs, Zingraf, Wormuth, Hartfiel, and Hughery (1981) scoring profile by two raters, and the mean of each student’s scores was considered as their cooperative writing score. Then the performance of extrovert and introvert learners on the test was compared using independent samples t-test. The results indicated that introvert learners significantly outperformed extrovert learners.
My special gratitude goes to my advisor, Dr. Baradaran, whose great ideas and comments were an extra-ordinary help to me all throughout my work. I would have never been able to bear the burden of this work to the end without his ubiquitous guidance and feedbacks. He is a true educator who educates his students to be better human beings through scientific pursuits rather than become apt subjects of a narrow field without much empathy and I’m proud of having had the chance to be his student.
I also wish to extend my gratitude towards both of my examiners, Dr. Rezaei and Dr. Jabarpoor, who kindly accepted to review my work and be my examiners.
TABLE OF CONTENT
TABLE OF CONTENTSi
LIST OF TABLESiii
LIST OF FIGURESiv
C H A P T E R I: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE1
2.1 Statement of the Problem5
3.1 Statement of the Research Question8
4.1 Statement of the Research Hypothesis9
5.1 Definition of Key Terms9
6.1 Significance of the Study10
7.1 Limitations and Delimitation11
C H A P T E R II : REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE12
2.2 Need for Writing13
2.3 Cooperative Writing: subcategory of Cooperative Learning15
2.4 Cooperative Writing Features17
2.4.1 Positive Interdependence and Individual Accountability18
2.4.2. Processing Group Interaction18
2.4.3. Peer Feedback19
2.5. Cooperative writing in EFL classrooms19
2.6. Perspectives on cooperative writing21
2.7. Benefits of Cooperative Approach in EFL Writing Classroom25
2.8. Preparing EFL Students for peer response in writing classrooms26
2.9. Guidelines for preparing EFL students for peer response27
2.10. Personality Factors and Teaching Writing30
C H A P T E R III : METHODOLOGY37
3.3.1 Personality Questionnaire39
3.3.2 Preliminary English Test (PET)40
3.2.2 Essay Writing Test42
3.2.3 Writing Rating Scales42
3.6. Statistical Analysis45
C H A P T E R IV: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION47
4.2. Participant Selection48
4.2.1. Descriptive Statistics of the PET Piloting49
4.2.2. Descriptive Statistics of the PET Administration50
4.2.3. Identifying the Degree of Extroversion51
4.4. Testing the Null Hypothesis56
C H A P T E R V : CONCLUSION, PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS61
5.2. Restatement of the Problem62
5.3. Pedagogical Implications64
5.4. Suggestions for Further Research66
APPENDIX A: Eysenck Personality Inventory77
APPENDIX B: Preliminary English Test (PET)80
LIST OF TABLES
Table 4.1 Descriptive Statistics of the PET Piloting49
Table 4.2 Reliability of the PET in the Pilot Phase50
Table 4.3 Descriptive Statistics for PET Proficiency Test51
Table 4.4 Descriptive Statistics of the Participants’ Performance in EPI52
Table 4.5 Descriptive Statistics of the Participants’ E-Score in EPI53
Table 4.6 Reliability of the EPI Questionnaire54
Table 4.7 Descriptive Statistics for the Essay Writing Posttest in Both Groups54
Table 4.7 Independent Samples T-Test on the Performance of Both Groups in the Essay Writing Posttest56
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 4.1 Histogram of the Scores Obtained on the PET Piloting49
Figure 4.2 Histogram of the Scores Obtained on the PET Administration51
Figure 4.3 Histogram of the Participants’ Scores in EPI52
Figure 4.4 Histogram of the E Scores of the Participants in EPI53
Figure 4.5 Histogram of the Writing Posttest Scores Obtained by the Introvert Group55
Figure 4.6 Histogram of the Writing Posttest Scores Obtained by the Extrovert Group55
C H A P T E R I
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Living in 21 century and being a part of the global village, writing in English is a fundamental skill. Writing well is a necessity for academic success and a basic requirement for communication. ” It is unique and stands out of the four skills of language because its nature allows for examination and reexamination, debate and decision making, choice and revision and cognitive activities which require higher order thinking skills of communicator” (Hobson& Schafermeyer, 1994, p.51 ).
By the sake of writing, learners can participate in a productive practice which sometimes can motivates them to learn new language elements and structures during constant process of reviewing and drafting. Moreover, according to Celce-Murcia (1991), it fosters higher order cognitive activities and mental processing, which is an important component of learning. In addition, it invites feedback, either overt or covert, based on which students make adjustments in their learned language system.
Writing has always been regarded as an important part of academic life which serves different functions and purposes. But writing has always been a difficult skill (Graham, Harris & Manson, 2005) so teachers need some ways to encourage learners and motivate them to write. One way for motivating learners to write is use of cooperative learning techniques. Humans are social and cooperation has been used in all aspects of our lives. So, cooperative learning groups in learning situations can be an acceptable teaching approach. (Johnson & Johnson, 1994; Kagan, 1990; Slavin, 1995).
According to Deutch (1999) Kurt Lewin field theory and social interdependence have great roles in cooperative learning. Social interdependence started in early 1900s. Kurt Koffka who was one of the major figures of Gestalt psychology suggested that interdependence is different in dynamic wholes. “For interdependence to exist there must be more than one person or entity involved, and the persons or entities must have impact on each other in that a change in the state of one causes a change in the state of the others. It may be concluded that it is the drive for goal accomplishment that motivates cooperative and competitive behavior.” (Sharan, 2010, p.113)
In the late 1940s, one of Lewin’s graduate students, Morton Deutsch, extended Lewin’s reasoning about social interdependence and formulated a theory of cooperation and competition. Deutsch’s basic premise was that the type of interdependence structured in a situation determines how individuals interact with each other which, in turn, largely determine outcomes. “Positive interdependence tends to result in promotive interaction; negative interdependence tends to result in oppositional interaction, and no interdependence results in an absence of interaction.”(Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Holubec, E. 2008, p.121)
Cooperative writing is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning. In this way students will interact with each other and the teacher during the instructional session. As Johnson & Johnson (2008) stated within cooperative situations, individuals seek outcomes that are beneficial to themselves and beneficial to all other group members.
“The basic elements are Positive interdependence, Promotive interaction, Interpersonal and small group skills, Group processing, and individual and group accountability which are essential for effective group learning, achievement, and higher-order social, personal and cognitive skills (e.g., problem solving, reasoning, decision-making, planning, organizing, and reflecting).” (Johnson, D.W & Johnson R.T. 2005, pp.285-360)
According to Sharan, Y. (2010) the benefits of cooperative learning are a better mutual relationship, respect, and higher communication. It also has advantages in thinking strategies. Competitive learners have difficulty in obtaining a balance between being competitive and interacting with others. Their emotional interaction and trust are two other concerns.
Personality types are distinguished from personality traits, which come in different levels or degrees. For example, according to type theories, there are two types of people, introverts and extroverts.), Myers and Briggs (1995 as cited in Bernsterin, Penner, Clarke, Stewart, and Roy 2008) introversion and extroversion are part of a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle.
Although extroversion maybe considered as socially desirable, it is not always an advantage. Conversely, while introversion maybe perceived as less socially desirable, it is strongly associated with positive traits such as intelligence and giftedness for many years, researchers have found that introverts tend to be more successful in academic environments, which extroverts may find boring. Personality traits, along with other factors such as skill and interest, are used to predict future academic and career performance.”(Ryckman 2004, p.61).
2.1 Statement of the Problem
Many EFL teachers complain and wonder why their students do not show considerable improvement in their writings every time they check the students’ writings. This shortcoming on the part of a student’s maybe partly due to personality traits and partly due to atmosphere of the class which is more competitive and teacher-centered rather than cooperative and learner-centered.
Surely, these teachers are not aware of benefits of cooperative writing. Moreover, they may not be aware that learning will not occur at all until students are motivated and psychologically and affectively ready to learn.
Furthermore, teachers probably expect all the students to the inputs in an identical way despite their totally different personalities. Put in other words, these teachers ignore the fact that each student is totally different human being with his/her unique cognitive style and personality.
According to Hobson & Schafermeyer (1994) writing is a productive activity that involves learners in an active participation and activates their mental processing by its nature of revision, examination and decision making which require higher order of thinking skills.
It also seems that teachers need to create a classroom atmosphere that encourages students to participate in all activities including writing. In most of the cases, classes are populated and consist of mixed-ability students, with fast and slow students together. Given these situations, how can the teacher involve all the students in the activities and let them have an active role in the class? A possible solution to this problem is that the teacher should increase the opportunity for students’ participation. Many ways have been proposed in this regard. One way is Cooperative Writing.
The researcher’s interest in Cooperative writing came from the observation of Iranian EFL learners in Tehran institutions and universities which had problems in group work with their learning and mostly had competitive rather than cooperative interests and how it is possible to boost cooperation among them through teaching writing skill.
“Almost all researchers working on CL have consensus on that the learners performance improves through cooperative learning (Johnson & Johnson,2008; Kagan, 1990; Slavin, 1995; Sharan, 2010, as cited in shideh, 2011). Casteling (1996) states that cooperative learning changes the role of students from relatively passive spectators to active participators.
There is also conflicting suggestions about the differences between learning achievements of extroverted and introverted learners (e.g. Berry, 2007; Van Dael, 2005). Furthermore, only a few researches have been done in order to compare EFL learners’ personality trait of extroversion/introversion and their performance in cooperative writing tasks, e.g., in Iran, Shideh (2011) has investigated this relationship in speaking tasks.
By a meticulous look at what was mentioned above, it can be suggested that teachers can prepare opportunities to make use of benefits of group work and advantages proposed by cooperative writing. In this regard, writing skill which has the characteristics suited for cooperative tasks could be a good choice.
Up to here, it could be said that cooperative writing can involve most of the students in the process of learning. But we need to investigate difference between extroverted/introverted EFL learners cooperative writing. So, this study is conducted to see if there is a difference between EFL learners’ personality trait of extroversion/introversion cooperative writing.
3.1 Statement of the Research Question
To investigate the difference between extrovert/introvert EFL learners’ cooperative writing the following question was proposed.
1. Is there any significant difference between extrovert/introvert EFL learners’ cooperative writing?
4.1 Statement of the Research Hypothesis
To provide answer to this question the following Null-Hypotheses was proposed:
Q1. There is no significant difference between extrovert/introvert EFL learners’ cooperative writing.
5.1 Definition of Key Terms
a) Cooperative writing: by cooperative writing students become capable of constructing knowledge and developing writing and social skills through interactions with their peers. Cooperative writing entails the production of a shared document where group members engage in substantive interaction, shared decision-making and responsibility for the document (Allen et al. 1987). In this research, cooperative writing is operationally defined as the mean of scores participants obtain in the final two essay writing test which are done based on the Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (CIRC) model.
b) Extrovert: A person whose interests and energies are more often directed out towards other people and events than toward the person and his/her own inner experiences.(Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2002). In this study, extrovert learners are operationally defined as those who scored above 12 in the extroversion section of Eysenck Personality Inventory.
c) Introvert: The person who is usually quiet and reserved with tendencies toward reclusiveness. These people avoid social contacts with others and are often preoccupied with their inner feelings, thoughts and experiences.(Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2002). In this study, introvert learners are operationally defined as those who scored below 12 in the extroversion section of Eysenck Personality Inventory.
6.1 Significance of the Study
The first significant aspect of the study is to investigate the cooperation on writing. If there is any significant relationship then we could benefit from this technique in other skills too. Using cooperation we can also define real-life tasks so that students can play roles like what happens in real situation. By cooperative writing we can also know our students personalities better and help them in their learning process. The other significant aspect of this study is to consider the students’ personality traits of extroversion and introversion. Considering these traits we can also extend our knowledge about needs and interests of each group and provide materials and environment that suits more to them. Combination of a class is like a puzzle, to gain the more interactive form of the class, we need to somehow know our students personalities, in so doing we can benefit cooperative writing.
7.1 Limitations and Delimitation
Following limitation is expected to be imposed on this study:
i. Since the educational culture in Iran is individualistic, it is difficult to convince learners to work in groups.
ii. The majority of the students depend on the teacher providing them with the correct answers. Therefore, persuading students to work in groups requires a lot of effort.
iii. Since CIRC, by definition, is developed for the upper elementary grades (Stevens et al., 1987, as cited in Slavin, 2011, p 14), the participants of this study were limited to upper elementary learners.
Moreover, following delimitation is directed to the study:
i. All the participants of the study will be selected from male students. Since the effect of gender on personality types has been proved, a mixed study, where the gender plays as a moderator, will be a good case of further research.
C H A P T E R II
REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
In this chapter, the researcher tries to review the most prominent literature related to the cooperative writing. He tries to establish a link between such topics as ‘need for writing’, ‘cooperative writing’.
2.2 Need for Writing
We, as human beings, need to communicate with each other. When we learn a second language, we learn to communicate with other people: to understand them, talk to them, read what they have written and write to them. An integral part of participating in a new cultural setting is learning how to communicate when the other person is not right there in front of us listening to our words and looking at our gestures and facial expressions (Raimes a, 1983). Olshtain (1991) believes that it is via writing that a person can communicate the variety of messages to a close or distant known or unknown reader or readers. Therefore, writing as a communicative activity needs to be encouraged and nurtured during a language learning course.
Raimes (1983 b, p. 3) argues that:
“… The fact that people frequently communicate with each other in writing is not the only reason to include writing as a part of our second language syllabus. There is an additional and very important reason: Writing helps our students learn. How? First, it reinforces the grammatical structures, idioms, and vocabulary that we have been teaching our students. Second, when our students write, they also have a chance to be adventurous for the language to go beyond what they have just learned to say, to take risks. Third, when they write, they necessarily become involved with a new language; the effort to express ideas and the constant use of eye, hands and brain is a unique way to reinforce learning. As writers struggle with what to put down next or how to put it down on paper, they often discover something new to write and a new way of expressing their ideas. They discover a real need for finding the right word and the right sentence. The close relationship between writing and thinking makes writing a valuable part of any language course.”
Here, the advantage of writing over other skills is more obvious. Writing requires a greater in-depth knowledge of the grammar system than the receptive skills and perhaps even than the other productive skill, i.e. speaking. Writing practice can also serve as a medium of conscious attention to language forms that is not possible in other languages skills. There may raise a question here: Is it not enough to teach the students just how to speak English adequately? To answer this question we have to consider some differences between speaking and writing.
2.3 Cooperative Writing: subcategory of Cooperative Learning
Johnson& Johnson (1994) have summarized these principles in their definition of cooperative learning: “First, knowledge is constructed, discovered, and transformed by students. Faculty create the conditions within which students can construct meaning from the material studied by processing it through existing cognitive structures and then retaining it in long-term memory where it remains open to further processing and possible reconstruction. Second, students actively construct their own knowledge. Learning is conceived of as something a learner does, not something that is done to the learner. Students do not passively accept knowledge from the teacher or curriculum. Students activate their existing cognitive structures or construct new ones to subsume the new input. Third, faculty effort is aimed at developing students’ competencies and talents. Fourth, education is a personal transaction among students and between the faculty and students as they work together. Fifth, all of the above can only take place within a cooperative context. Sixth, teaching is assumed to be a complex application of theory and research that requires considerable teacher training and continuous refinement of skills and procedures” (p1:6)
Kagan (1995) states: cooperative writing was developed originally for educating people of different ages, experience and levels of mastery of the craft of interdependence. He sees education as a reacculturation process through constructive conversation. Students learn about the culture of the society they wish to join by developing the appropriate vocabulary of that society and by exploring that society’s culture and norms. Cooperative writing may be used in different situations. For example students work in pairs together in a Write-Pair-Share procedure, where students consider a question individually, discuss their ideas with another student to form a consensus answer, and then share their results with the entire class. The use of pairs can be introduced at any time during a class to address questions or solve problems or to create variety in a class presentation. The Jig Saw method (Aronson 1978) is a good example. Students become “experts” on a concept and are responsible for teaching it to the other group members. Groups subdivide a topic and members work together with those from other groups who have the same topic. They then return to their original groups and explain their topic. Slavin developed the STAD method (Student Teams-Achievement-Divisions) where the teacher presents a lesson, and then the students meet in teams of four or five members to complete a set of worksheets on the lesson. Each student then takes a quiz on the material and the scores the students contribute to their teams are based upon the degree to which they have improved their individual past averages. The highest scoring teams are recognized in a weekly class newsletter. In another method developed by Slavin- TGT (Teams-Games-Tournaments) instead of taking quizzes the students play academic games as representatives of their teams. They compete with students having similar achievement levels and coach each other prior to the games to insure all group members are competent in the subject matter. Other structures include: CIRC- Cooperative Integrated Reading and Comparison (Madden, Slavin, and Stevens), Learning Together (Johnson& Johnson), Jigsaw II (Slavin).
2.4 Cooperative Writing Features
The features that occur or emerge during cooperative writing reveal that students are capable of constructing knowledge and developing writing and social skills through interactions with their peers. However, affective conflict may sometimes hinder successful cooperation if not handled appropriately.
One of the ways to promote social interaction among learners in the writing class is to involve them in cooperative writing or group writing activities. Cooperative writing entails the production of a shared document where group members engage in substantive interaction, shared decision-making and responsibility for the document (Allen et al. 1987). Cooperative writing can be employed in different contexts and at various levels.
2.4.1 Positive Interdependence and Individual Accountability
In this research, positive interdependence is encouraged in several ways: in the pair step of Write-Pair-Share, students exchange information which they might later be called upon to share with the entire class; the two members of each pair share roles as they use their one computer to search for information; again, in Write-Pair-Square-Share students are asked to pass on information provided by their partner; and students serve as and are listed as editors of their group mates’ essays. Individual accountability is fostered when students work alone in the Write steps of Write-Pair-Share and Write-Pair-Square-Share, in the Square and the Share steps when they are asked to demonstrate that they understood what their partners have told them, and in the essay writing in which each student must produce their own drafts and give feedback on others’ drafts.
2.4.2. Processing Group Interaction
The students are given time to discuss how well their group is working together. This processing of group interaction helps groups learn how to collaborate more effectively. In this research, students will be asked to process how well they and their partners have given praise to each other. When the writing task has been completed, they do this by looking again at both the praises they made in their partners’ writing and the praises given to them by their peer reviewer.
2.4.3. Peer Feedback
The writings are peer-reviewed by group mates according to a suggested peer review checklist. Writings are returned to the authors for revising. When revisions have been made, the same group mate proofreads. Students, next, are to find one person not in the class to read their story. The goal here is to provide feedback on the clarity and affective impact of the text, as well as to educate others about endangered species. Readers’ reactions are reported to group mates. Afterwards, further revisions can be made.
2.5. Cooperative writing in EFL classrooms
Students often learn more effectively when asked to perform various tasks in pairs, small groups and teams than when working alone. In the domain of EFL writing instruction, there is a growing interest in cooperative writing, which usually takes place within the context of writing groups, that is, small groups of students working together on a writing task. This normally occurs in the form of peer review situations in which students, working in groups, offer authentic audience feedback from which they learn to revise their papers. Recent improvements in technology and the quality of writing software have fueled the interest in cooperative writing by making possible new and exciting ways in which students can use computers to share comments on papers. (Hirvela, 1999) Wikipedia is one huge, interesting example of cooperative writing.
In a major study of cooperative writing instruction, Ede and Lunsford (1990) raise the same concern in their review of the cooperative writing literature: “…though these studies emphasize the importance of cooperative writing, all assume single authorship as a model. Peers can work effectively in every stage of the writing process except for drafting… students inevitably draft alone”(p.9)
Through cooperation, students experience meaningful opportunities to practice what they are learning with their peers and to broaden that knowledge while engaging in the give- and- take of pair or small- group activities. Whatever the language skills being taught; listening, speaking, reading or writing; cooperatively oriented tasks enrich and extend the learning process when developed with proper care.
2.6. Perspectives on cooperative writing
Major works on cooperative writing (Bruffee, 1993; Ede and Lunsford, 1990) agree that applications of principles of cooperative learning to writing instruction are fairly recent, dating back to the early 1970s, but have significantly influenced the development of contemporary composition theory and pedagogy, especially with respect to teaching writing to native speakers of English. As Bruffee (1993) notes in explaining why compositionists are attracted to cooperative writing, “traditionally… we assume writing and reading to be intrinsically individual activities. But studying the process of writing casts serious doubt on these traditional assumptions”(p.160).
Influenced by social constructionist views of the development of knowledge and discourse practices, writing theorists generally now “see writing as embedded in social interaction”( Bruffee, 1993, p.199) and “writing as a social process”(Ede and Lunsford, 1990, p.108). That is, writing is situated in a larger social context, and writers are in an ongoing state of dialogue with their intended reading audience and the context in which the text will be read as they plan and compose the text. Writing does not occur in a vacuum; rather, it is shaped by the expectations and demands of its intended community of readers. Hence, while the writer may compose alone in the actual writing of a text, a social dimension is present that can influence the production of that text.
Given this socially oriented view of writing, it would seem to make sense to create more classroom conditions in which students engage directly and productively in dialogue with peers. Through their creation of writing groups and various group- oriented activities, writing teachers would enable students to function simultaneously as writers and audiences within authentic communicative contexts. As Belcher, 1990 points out, cooperative writing groups constitute genuine reading audiences for each of the writers within a group, with writers then writing with the needs and characteristics of that audience in mind as they compose and revise texts. By engaging in this more overly social process of writing students experience increased opportunities to review and apply their growing knowledge of second/foreign language writing through dialogue and interaction with their peers in the writing group.
Cooperative writing exercises thus operate “… on assumptions of shared authority among group members and the notion that knowledge is socially constructed, not received… “(Schneider, 1990, p.36). These exercises have revolved mainly around peer review activities involving group commentary on individual pieces of student writing, or what might be called peer review/ single author cooperation. Although such peer review activities may well contribute to student learning, there is the concern, raised earlier, that these activities ultimately emphasize individual authorship to the extent that the more significant and longer lasting potential effects of true cooperation are lost, or minimized, as the student writers retreat back into solitary acts of composing following peer review sessions. Cooperation of this kind maintains a focus on writing as a product not a process. (Hirvela, 1999)
In their critiques of peer review work in the L2 context, Carson and Nelson (1996) draw attention to another important concern. They assert that the thrust of most peer review work, which focuses on critiquing texts produced by individual students, works against the collectivist cultural backgrounds and orientations of many L2 writers, particularly those from Asian countries. The assumption they have is that it is not common in some students’ cultures to critique individually produced texts so overly or directly; mechanisms for criticism may be more subtle indirect that is encouraged or expected in much L2 peer response work, and the emphasis may be on maintaining group harmony, rather than on singling individuals out for criticism. Hence, students may find it difficult to offer direct and pointed commentary on individually produced papers, whereas critiquing paper produced by a group rather than a single author minimizing concerns about embarrassing individual students and subsequent loss of face.
Furthermore, as Murray (1992) asserts, “if we want to ensure that our EFL classes prepare students for their life outside the classroom, we must give them opportunities to experience cooperative writing”(p.100). She also recommends that “if we apply some of the principles of successful cooperative writing in our classrooms, we will help our students write for real-world contexts in which they must write”(p.117).
By “the life outside the classroom”, she is principally referring to work contexts in which students cooperate in numerous way in projects, including various kinds of writing. Here the cooperation often leads to something discussed and produced by the entire group, such as a policy recommendation statement or a report of some kind (Hirvela, 1999). There is, thus, a need to expand the use of cooperative approaches to learning in the EFL writing classroom, especially by reconstructing current notions of peer review to include more opportunities for production of group texts. Bosely (as cited in Ede and Lunsford, 1990) captures the spirit of this broader conceptualization of cooperation in this definition: “cooperative writing is defined as two or more people working together to produce one written document in a situation in which a group takes responsibility for having produced the document”(p.15). This kind of cooperation has been explored to a small degree in recent scholarship (Blanton, 1990; Gee, 1996; singh-gupta et al, 1996 and Ting, 1996) but with only a limited emphasis on full-scale group cooperative activities.
2.7. Benefits of Cooperative Approach in EFL Writing Classroom
The major benefit of cooperative approach is that students are talking about what they have learned, or what they are still learning. Instead of writing only the customary and of course useful individual essays, where they are engaged in private attempts to apply knowledge and techniques of writing taught in a writing course, students in this approach are continually talking about writing (and reading). As they compare notes through group discussions of what they have read and how to write about it, they may reinforce knowledge they have already acquired but feel uncertain about. They also may fill in gaps in their understanding of meaningful communicative contexts as they interact with each other, while completing the cooperative tasks. They also have a chance to explore the target language as they debate, within their micro-communities, such issue as appropriate word choice and grammatical structures. All of these benefits are made possible, not only by the cooperative community orientation of this kind of assignment, but also by the fact that the group production mode is sustained throughout the assignment. Whereas uses of cooperative writing that involve peer review leading to single-author texts may interrupt the cooperative process at key moments to allow students to compose or revise individually, a group production approach ensures that students benefit from each other’s input at every stage of production (Hirvela, 1999).
2.8. Preparing EFL Students for peer response in writing classrooms
An important, yet largely ignored aspect of peer response to writing and its implementation in the EFL classroom concerns the preparation of students to participate in the peer response activity. Whether in grade or high school, adult education, or university level writing courses, EFL students are not likely to be experienced peer respondents, nonetheless, these students are often asked to participate in the complex peer response task without adequate preparation. That is, with little or no practice, they are expected to read and respond to someone else’s writing, constructively react to peer feedback on their own writing, and revise their writing based on this feedback.
As a result of such lack of preparation, the response activity is often an unsatisfactory experience for students and a frustrating one for teachers, to help make it a positive and worthwhile experience, students need to be taught certain skills. As teacher, we need to create a context conductive to involve EFL students in the process of writing and responding to each other’s texts.
Unfortunately, EFL teachers interested in using peer response to writing as a learning tool in their classrooms may find it difficult to locate information on how to train students, specially information that is based on empirical research that outlines exactly how students can be appropriately prepared, such tested and detailed information is important, not because it provides a formula for peer response training in all EFL settings, but because it can serve as a point of departure from which teachers can consider their own classrooms. Concrete descriptions of training found to benefit peer response negotiations and subsequent revision of writing can also serve as a basis for comparisons among training approaches and as guidelines. (Berg, 1999)
2.9. Guidelines for preparing EFL students for peer response
• Create a comfortable classroom atmosphere that promotes trust among students by conducting a number of in- and out- of- class activities.
• Establish the role of peer response in the writing process and explain the benefits of having peers, as opposed to just teachers, respond to students’ writing.
• Highlight the common purpose of peer response among professional and student writers by examining the acknowledgements in textbooks and other publications, and discuss how both ask others to read their work.
• Demonstrate and personalize the peer response experience by displaying several drafts of a text written by someone who the students know that demonstrate how peer comments helped improve the writing.
• Conduct a cooperative, whole class response activity using a text written by someone unknown to students and stress the importance of revising the clarity and rhetorical-level aspects rather than sentence-level errors.
• Address issues of vocabulary and expressions by comparing inappropriate comments with appropriate ones.
• Familiarize students with response sheet by showing samples and explaining its purpose as a tool designed to help them focus on important areas of the writing assignment.
• Involve students in a response to a cooperative writing project by having them use the peer response sheet to response in pairs or groups to a paragraph written by another group of students based on the responses, have the pairs or groups then revise their original cooperative paragraphs.
• Provide revision guidelines by highlighting good revision strategies and explaining that peer response helps authors understand the difference between intended and perceived meaning.
• Study examples of successful and unsuccessful peer responses using videotapes or printed samples to examine level of student engagement, language used, and topic discussed (Baker et al, 1989; Bruffee, 1993; Mittan, 1989; Nystrand, 1984).
Peer response has become a common feature in L2 classrooms, where the process approach to teaching writing is used. The educational context of these classrooms may vary greatly, ranging from children to adult literacy education to intensive or university level EFL. However, regardless of the context, by training students to offer and receive constructive feedback and allowing then to practice these roles, teachers can help make peer response a valuable and successful experience (Connor and Asenavage, 1994; Stanly, 1992).
Many other researchers have also studied cooperation in L2 writing (Mangelsdorf, 1992; Mendonca and Johnson, 1994). Findings suggest that student writers take selective account of peer comments when they revise, preferring to depend more on their own knowledge. Mendonca and Johnson, (1994) also discovered that student writers may not always trust their peers, but the same comment from a teacher will be taken into account when they revise.
Mangelsdorf (1992) reports that peer reviews were always rated negatively by Asian students. And raises the question of the effect of teacher-centered cultures on the way students regard peer comments. Carson and Nelson (1996) believe that cultural factors, such as harmony-maintenance strategies guide Chinese learners when they participate in peer evaluation. Hohn believes that through cooperative writing, students can acquire skill in perspective taking and decision making, gain empathy and self-respect, and develop the habit of working with and for others (1995).
2.10. Personality Factors and Teaching Writing
For any course of language teaching to be effective, students’ needs and personalities should be considered as the most important factors, in that different students with different personalities will show different improvement rates in language skills. In other words, since different students view the language learning from different points of view, it is the responsibility of course designers to design a syllabus appropriate for any given class of students. The tasks should be in line with