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Writing is an important skill for language production. However, it is considered a difficult skill, particularly in English as a second language (ESL) contexts where students face many challenges in writing. Therefore, the present study was conducted with an aim to investigate problems in Pakistani undergraduate ESL learners' writing and factors that hinder their writing skills. It also aimed at obtaining suggestions on how to improve Pakistani ESL learners' writing skills. For this purpose, focus groups of Pakistani English language teachers'and undergraduate ESL learners were conducted. Writing samples were also collected from 30 ESL undergraduate learners to find the major problems in their writing. The interviews and essays were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The findings reveal that the major problems in Pakistani undergraduate ESL learners' writing are insufficient linguistic proficiency (including command over grammar, syntax and vocabulary), writing anxiety, lack of ideas, reliance on L1 and weak structure organization. These challenges are influenced by various factors including untrained teachers, ineffective teaching methods and examination system, lack of reading and writing practice, large classrooms, low motivation and lack of ideas. The study also sheds light on the remedial measures such as increased reading, conscious and incidental vocabulary teaching, writing practice, trained teachers, reforms in the examination system, and writing competitions.
ESL Learners’ Writing Skills: Problems, Factors and Suggestions
Muhammad Fareed Almas Ashraf Muhammad Bilal
Abstract: Writing is an important skill for language production. However, it is considered
a difficult skill, particularly in English as a second language (ESL) contexts where students face
many challenges in writing. Therefore, the present study was conducted with an aim to investigate
problems in Pakistani undergraduate ESL learners’ writing and factors that hinder their writing
skills. It also aimed at obtaining suggestions on how to improve Pakistani ESL learners’ writing
skills. For this purpose, focus groups of Pakistani English language teachers’and undergraduate
ESL learners were conducted. Writing samples were also collected from 30 ESL undergraduate
learners to find the major problems in their writing. The interviews and essays were analyzed
using thematic content analysis. The findings reveal that the major problems in Pakistani un-
dergraduate ESL learners’ writing are insufficient linguistic proficiency (including command over
grammar, syntax and vocabulary), writing anxiety, lack of ideas, reliance on L1 and weak struc-
ture organization. These challenges are influenced by various factors including untrained teachers,
ineffective teaching methods and examination system, lack of reading and writing practice, large
classrooms, low motivation and lack of ideas. The study also sheds light on the remedial measures
such as increased reading, conscious and incidental vocabulary teaching, writing practice, trained
teachers, reforms in the examination system, and writing competitions.
Keywords: Writing skills; Writing in ESL context; Pakistani ESL learners’ Writing skills;
Writing problems.
1 Introduction
Writing is a significant skill in language production. Its significance increases when it comes
to writing in English language which is extensively used for global mediation of knowledge
(Mahboob,2014;Mansoor,2005;Marlina & Giri,2014;Rahman,2002). Hyland (2003)
believes that performance in language development is subject to improvement in writing
skills. A text of an effective ESL writer must be cohesive, logical, clearly structured, inter-
esting and properly organized with a wide range of vocabulary and mastery of conventions
in mechanics (Jacobs & L,1981;Hall,1988). However, writing is often considered merely
a part of teaching and learning grammar and syntax, which resultantly underestimates the
nature and importance of writing, and affects its growth. Therefore, the development of
Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities, NED University of Engineering & Technology
MS Applied Linguistics Candidate, Department of Humanities, NED University of Engineering & Technology
Visiting Faculty, Department of Humanities, NED University of Engineering & Technology. MS Applied
Linguistics, Department of Humanities, NED University of Engineering & Technology.
Journal of Education and Social Sciences
Vol. 4(2): 1, 2016
Journal of Education & Social Sciences
this skill draws considerable attention for its learning and teaching from the very early
phase of language education. Nunan (1989) argues that writing is an extremely difficult
cognitive activity which requires the learner to have control over various factors. These
factors vary from academic background and personal interest of the writer to various psy-
chological, linguistic and cognitive phenomena (Dar & Khan,2015;Haider,2012;?,?).
In Pakistan, the writing skills of the students are alarmingly weak and substandard.
Although, English language users in Pakistan have exponentially increased to 49% in 2003
from 2% in 1961 (Dar & Khan,2015), they still face issues in English language, partic-
ularly in writing. These issues generally arise from incompetence in syntax, coherence,
idea expansion, content selection, topic sentence, rhetorical conventions, mechanics, orga-
nization, lack of vocabulary, inappropriate use of vocabulary. However, further research
is required to explore and examine the factors that adversely affect writing skills of the
students, because issues in writing can be more efficiently addressed if the factors that
generate them are identified (Hyland,2003). This study intends to investigate problems
in students’ writing, the factors that generate these problems, and finally, suggestions of
the participants on how to improve learners’ English language writing skills.
Previous studies have attempted to categorize these factors into some broad domains,
for example, teachers’ incompetence (Haider,2012;Mansoor,2005;Harmer,2008), stu-
dents’ lack of interest (Byrne,1991;Harmer,2008) methodological inappropriacy (Ahmad,
Khan, Munir, et al.,2013;Javed, Juan, & Nazli,2013;Siddiqui,2007). However, there is
still a need of further research that could explore the origin of these factors and their sub-
sequent conversion into permanent writing problems of students’ written discourses. The
current study, along with teachers’ and students’ perceptions, explores and examines the
students’ opinions and their written texts to identify their writing problems and the factors
that generate these issues coupled by suggestions from the respondents on the improvement
of ESL learners’ writing skills. It will bring the latent psychological and cognitive factors
into light for further enquiry and suitable solution.
Literature Review
Writing is the most challenging area in learning second language. It is based on appropriate
and strategic use of language with structural accuracy and communicative potential (Dar
& Khan,2015;Hyland,2003;Mahboob,2014). Kellogg (2001) opines that writing is a
cognitive process that tests memory, thinking ability and verbal command to successfully
express the ideas; because proficient composition of a text indicates successful learning
of a second language (Geiser & Studley,2002;Hyland,2003;McCutchen,1984;Nicker-
son, Perkins, & Smith,2014). Therefore, learning how to write has gained considerable
importance for the last two decades due to two factors: its use as a tool for effective com-
munication of ideas, and the extensive research work carried out in this area to examine
various issues faced by L2 writers (Dar & Khan,2015;Graham & Perin,2007;Haider,
Student writers face various writing problems at different stages of their learning. Gen-
erally, these problems can be classified into linguistic, psychological, cognitive and pedagog-
ical categories (Haider,2012;Hyland,2003). They struggle with the structural components
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of English; because an inappropriate structure complicates the content and comprehension
of the text, which a reader deciphers through involvement of a mental process (Quintero,
2008;Nik, Hamzah, & Rafidee,2010). Similarly, an incoherent text fails to communicate
ideas which causes lack of confidence in learners even if they have mastered syntactic,
lexical and grammatical command over text composition (Rico,2014). Students’ lack of
confidence is also caused by a teaching strategy which does not conform to students’ learn-
ing styles and cultural backgrounds (Ahmad et al.,2013). It is argued that poor writing
skills originate from two factors: the teacher and the learner. Teachers lack appropriate
pedagogic approach to teach writing, including providing prompt and effective feedback to
students, and most crucially, teachers’ lack of ability to motivate students. On the other
hand, students face numerous challenges: effects of L1 transfer lack of reading, motivation,
and practice. In Pakistan, student writers encounter psychological, cognitive, social and
linguistic problems while converting ideas into text (Bilal, Tariq, Din, Latif, & Anjum,
2013;Dar & Khan,2015;Haider,2012;Mahboob & Talaat,2008).
Numerous factors that affect students’ writing skills have been identified in literature.
These are associated with the motivation of learners who are generally unclear about the
purpose and significance of their text in their L2 learning. Similarly, social media, in-
consistent feedback from teachers, learners’ lack of analytical and evaluative approach,
and large and unmanageable class sizes also negatively impact the structural and com-
municative accuracy of the students’ texts (Pineteh,2013). Most of the students find it
very challenging to obtain sufficient and relevant source information, paraphrase or sum-
marise information, and use an appropriate academic writing style (Gonye, Mareva, Dudu,
& Sib,2012;Kalikokha,2008). It is caused by delayed essay writing instruction, large
classes, students’ negative attitude towards their academic English course, L1 transfer,
and lack of dialogue between students and teachers about the constructive steps that need
to be taken to address these problems. In Pakistan, insufficient time for teaching writing,
improper A/V aids, overcrowded classrooms, traditional pedagogy and students’ weak aca-
demic backgrounds have been reported to be some of the factors affecting students’ writing
skills (Bilal et al.,2013;Butt & Rasul,2012). Similarly, outdated textbooks that neither
promote the importance of a writing skill, nor give any opportunities, too consequently
fail to invoke an audience (Haider,2012). Another body of research critiques incompe-
tent teachers who instead of promoting creative skills urge students for rote learning and
exam-oriented language production (Mansoor,2005;Rahman,2002;Siddiqui,2007).
Students’ writing ability can be improved by fostering their interest, motivation and en-
joyment for writing, through technology (Graham & Perin,2007). Similarly, some metacog-
nitive, cognitive and socio-affective strategies could also be used for enabling the students
to know and practically exercise the writing process (O’Malley & Chamot,1990). Further,
the teachers can adapt their pedagogic approaches and can mutually design such tasks that
could motivate and encourage students by giving them liberty of choosing topics of their
interest (Pineteh,2013;Quintero,2008). It will reshape their writing patterns, presum-
ably, through extended practice and by involving physical and cognitive skills which give
the writer control over the expression of linguistic and domain-specific knowledge (Kellogg
& Raulerson,2007). In addition, it will be convenient for language and content teachers
to monitor their students from broad perspectives (Nik, Sani, Kamaruzaman, Hasbollah,
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et al.,2010). Most importantly, it is necessary that attitudes towards writing and dealing
with its issues are changed. Teachers must employ strategies to elicit ideas from students
to be penned down on a piece of paper to promote their verbal ability. Moreover, instant
and critical feedback needs to be given on their output, so that their confidence is elevated
This study adopted a qualitative approach to explore the writing problems, factors that
hamper writing development, and suggestions to improve writing skills of Pakistani un-
dergraduate ESL learners. The research was carried out to answer the following research
What are the major problems in Pakistani undergraduate ESL learners’ writing skills
at undergraduate level?
What are the factors that affect Pakistani undergraduate ESL learners’ writing skills
at undergraduate level?
How can Pakistani undergraduate ESL learners’ writing skills be improved?
To answer these questions, data were collected through four focus group interviews with
undergraduate ESL learners and English language teachers. A focus group collects data
through interviews with a group of four to six people. It is advantageous when the respon-
dents are similar and their interaction yields the best information (Creswell,2012). Eleven
students and ten English language teachers were selected as the sample of the focus group
interviews. The ESL learners’ groups comprised of 18% male and 82% female participants
whereas the teachers’ group consisted of 50% male and 50% female respondents. The re-
spondents’ consent was obtained prior to the interviews; they were also assured of complete
confidentiality. The interview questions were carefully designed and checked for self and
expert validity as (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison,2013) states that validity is an important
requirement and a touchstone for both qualitative and quantitative research. The ques-
tions were piloted on a similar group before the actual data collection. Besides ensuring
that an instrument works well with respondents, piloting also helps in verifying the clarity
of questions, and removing ambiguous language (Cohen et al.,2013). In addition to the
focus group interviews, writing samples (descriptive, narrative and argumentative essays)
of 30 undergraduate ESL learners from four public and private sector universities were also
collected. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data since thematic analysis identifies
the emerging themes and patterns in the qualitative data. The researcher immerses in the
data and recognizes the relationship between ‘codes, concepts and themes’ (Savin-Baden
& Major,2013).
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Findings of this study have been categorized into following three major areas: problems in
Pakistani undergraduate ESL learners’ writing, factors responsible of these writing prob-
lems and suggestions to improve ESL learners’ writing skills. The findings of the writing
samples analysis is also discussed under writing problems section.
Problems in ESL Learners’ Writing
The students and teachers delineated several problems in the writing of undergraduate ESL
learners. They agreed that ESL learners lack knowledge of appropriate vocabulary:‘I can-
not come up with the words like how to express my (thoughts).’ (FS3). ‘They don’t know the
appropriate use of words.’ (FT2). Learners also have difficulties in grammar and syntax.
They make mistakes in subject-verb agreement, pronouns, tenses, articles, prepositions
and basic sentence structures. ‘The major problem is with the uses of tenses and articles
and preposition.’ (FT5).‘I always have issues with sentence structure.’ (FS2).Additionally,
lack of ideas affect learners’ writing skills.‘Until and unless students have information with
them, they will not be able to pour any idea through their pen onto the page.’ (MT3).
Organized writing is also a challenge to learners as their writing lacks coherence, consoli-
dation of knowledge and use of formal transitional and cohesive devices. ‘(Students) do not
organize’ (MT5).‘Most of them are not able to consolidate their knowledge. When you ask
them to write about themselves, they (cannot).’ (FT1). ‘Writing is different from speech,
(students’) writing is actually speech put on the page.’ (MT4).
Findings from Written Samples
The analysis of ESL learners writing samples revealed a total of 1217 problems in grammar,
syntax, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, word form and word order, spoken expressions,
contracted forms, cohesion, repetition of ideas and L1 influence. (See Table 1)
The highest number of errors was made in grammar. Grammatical errors included
errors of different word classes, subject-verb agreement, and forms of singular and plural,
for example, ‘these applications gives a proper protocol to communicate others’, ‘these
channels provide numerous number of information’, ‘every day the situation goes bad to
bad’ and ‘their personality impress by everyone’.
Grammar was followed by syntax. Syntactical errors show learners’ lack of command
over structure of a sentence. They wrote sentences like, ‘I am going in weekend and more
enjoy our family and see previous struggle.’ The third highest number of errors belonged
to vocabulary, for example, ‘Using the connection between the student and teacher, this
(psychological) error from our society can evaporate’.
Spelling and punctuation errors were also found in abundance. Some spelling errors
were ‘invension’ (invention), ‘indivisually’ (individually) and ‘fascility’ (facility), whereas
punctuation errors included capitalization, use of comma and apostrophe, as in the follow-
ing examples: ‘I see more school students.’; ‘In this Era we cannot even imagine’; and ‘I
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had with my friends family and cousin.’
Table 1
Reliability and Validity Values
Writing Problem Frequency of Occurrence
Grammar 551
Syntax 171
Vocabulary 157
Spelling 113
Punctuation 95
Verb Form and Word Order 55
Spoken Expressions 61
Others 14
Total 1217
Learners also used incorrect word forms like (psychological) disorderness, energetic
drinks and ‘I was feeling such a greatness’. Similarly, the order of words was also found
to be inappropriate causing difficulty in expression of meaning. They wrote: ‘That was
probably my unforgettable day of life’, and ‘after completing the long 2 hours journey.’
As pointed out by the respondents, the use of spoken and informal style of writing was
also observed. Spoken expressions like ‘lets talk about television first’ and ‘now if we talk
about life without them’ were used by learners in their writing. Moreover, the learners
used the contracted form mostly in their negative sentences using don’t, won’t, and can’t.
Another set of errors belonged to cohesion, repetition of ideas and influence of Urdu.
Although they did not occur as frequently as other problems, they also need to be ad-
dressed. Repetition of ideas indicates lack the ideas whereas lack of cohesion and rare use
of transitional devices lead to lack of unity and coherence. The influence of Urdu was also
evident in sentences like, ‘Chain of tears comes outside’ and ‘Increase the hateness in their
hearts’ which reflects student’s thinking process in Urdu.
Factors Responsible of ESL Learners’ Writing Problems
The data revealed that there are various factors at play hindering the development of un-
dergraduate ESL learners’ writing skills. First of all, writing is not given much importance
in our society. It is considered as a secondary skill to speaking. Consequently, the cul-
ture of reading and writing does not flourish at academic and social level and these skills
remain ignored. ‘(Students) have never been given the idea that they need to be good
writers. Writing does not get maximum of instruction’ (MT4). ‘Writing is one of the skills
which is least liked in our society’ (MT2). Similarly, the examination system does not
encourage learners’ creative writing. Instead, it encourages memorization and plagiarism.
‘Our examination system does not encourage our students to be analytical or critical. We
give them twenty minutes for writing 200 words essay, so we encourage them to memorize’
(MT2). Writing anxiety is also considered to be a hindrance in learners’ production of
well-organized text. ‘There is so much tension that give mental difficulty’ (FS8). ‘They
must be facing debilitate anxiety because of which they may not be able to write’ (MT3).
Similarly, reliance on Urdu for processing thoughts and ideas also results in weak writing.
‘They think in Urdu and then they try to translate into English’ (FT4).
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Untrained teachers and ineffective teaching method are also influential in developing
learners’ writing skill, absence of which affects writing adversely: ‘(Institutes) are not
having trained teachers who can develop the (writing) skill’ (FT4). ‘The teaching style
is outdated’ (FS6). Exposure to receptive skills and writing practice are also required to
develop one’s writing skill. The amount of these provided to learners inside and outside
the classrooms is not enough to master the skill. ‘Receptive skills are not considered very
important for the writing’ (FT1). ‘(Students) do not practice. If practice starts (at school),
then they will have developed (writing) sufficiently to meet the requirements of a university’
(MT3). Large classrooms and lengthy courses are also potential factors; our classrooms fail
to provide conducive environment to learners resulting in poor writing skill development.
‘Writing always needs peaceful environment, our classrooms are not peaceful.’ (MT4).
‘The course outline is not good enough. They are outdated’ (FS6). Lack of motivation on
the learner as well as teachers’ part was also put forth as a potential challenge faced by
learners. ‘Teachers expect the students to write very well but the teacher never motivates
them to write by themselves’ (FT2). Additionally, lack of ideas and concentration was
also discussed as factors resulting in writing problems. ‘Because we don’t (have) the actual
knowledge of the topic’ (FS1). ‘I think lack of concentration also affects our writing’ (FS7).
Suggestions to Improve ESL Learners’ Writing Skills
To improve undergraduate learners’ writing skills, the respondents suggested several reme-
dies. To begin with, reading was suggested in order to develop better writing and to enrich
vocabulary. The conscious teaching of vocabulary was also emphasized: ‘We can do some
good reading so that we can get good vocabulary, and improve our writing’ (FS7). ‘(Stu-
dents) should be taught words, either through incidental vocabulary learning or intentional
vocabulary learning’ (MT3). Developing a writing culture and providing opportunities for
writing practice were also suggested. For respondents, importance should be given to writ-
ing as it is given to speaking skill: ‘By making students write daily for fifteen or twenty
minutes we can improve their writing skills’ (MT3). ‘From early classes, we need to incul-
cate at least the culture of writing as we do with the speaking part’ (FT3). A change is
also required in the examination system. According to respondents, it should not promote
memorization and plagiarism. ‘Our education system shouldn’t be about rote learning’
Similarly, the importance of effective teachers cannot be denied. Therefore, it is very
important that they are trained not only in effective teaching practices but also in providing
positive and constructive feedback.‘Institutes should provide skillful teachers for the writing
and should provide trainings, particularly for language teachers’ (FT1). ‘If we are going
to appreciate and motivate their efforts, (it will) encourage them to write more (FT4). To
motivate learners towards writing, changes in writing courses and arrangement of writing
competitions were also emphasized: ‘We can arrange some extra courses based on tenses,
articles, and structure and some creative writing competition’ (FT5).
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The major language issues in the learners’ writing were of grammar and syntax. These
errors included incorrect use of prepositions, articles, tenses, singular/plural, verbs, sen-
tence structure, and the use of informal and spoken expressions. Vocabulary also poses
a problem for learners as they are not aware of collocational and connotational meanings
of the words. Haider (2012) also found similar problems of vocabulary in their studies.
Corresponding to the finding of (Megaiab,2014), spelling and punctuations errors were
also found in abundance in writing samples. However, these errors were not highlighted as
a problematic area by any of the present research participants during the interviews. ESL
learners tend to spell words according to their sound, a process referred to as phonetic
perception by (Al-Khairy,2013) resulting in incorrect spelling. Similarly, learners do not
possess topic-related knowledge. When students do not possess knowledge, they cannot
write well.
The study revealed many diverse reasons such as, society, culture, the teaching-learning
context and the learners themselves affecting the development of writing skills in one way
or the other. The writing part in an exam paper usually has repeated topics encouraging
the learners to memorize the ready-made essays on the recurrent topics. Ahmed (2010) also
observed similar effects of examination on ESL learners’ writing skills. Likewise, the class
room environment is not conducive to learning; congested rooms situated at noisy locations,
large number of learners, and lack of other basic facilities hinder the process of writing skill
development. The teachers also fail to impart effective writing skills and strategies to the
learners. On the other hand, as identified by (Nik, Sani, et al.,2010), undergraduate
ESL learners are not motivated to improve their writing skills. The concentration and
efforts are limited only to attempt the writing section of the exam papers. This trend
further reflects in lack of interest in reading and writing practice. There can be various
reasons: workload of different subjects, domestic and financial responsibilities, absence
of motivational feedback, family background and simply lack of interest. The learners
also rely on their first language as a backup strategy when they find difficulty in writing
in English. They tend to translate words and borrow syntax of Urdu which varies from
English to a great extent; this eventually results in poor writing as observed by (Myles,
2002). Effective feedback from peers and teachers can also play an important role, however,
the concept of feedback is not correctly recognized in the current context. It is considered
to be highlighting mistakes in writing without taking into consideration the level, needs,
and proficiency of the learners. Only trained teachers can carry out these responsibilities
in an effective and productive way.
These problems and challenges can be resolved by several remedial measures at indi-
vidual as well as institutional level. The participants suggested teachers should increase
learners’ exposure to all four skills with specific emphasis on reading and writing. Al-
Khairy (2013)’s findings also emphasize the need of qualified, trained and motivated teach-
ers. Constructive feedback should be provided by the teachers to help learners, criticism
on their writings should be minimized, and writing competitions should be organized to
motive the learners. It was also suggested that these modifications should be implemented
at secondary and intermediate levels so that learners face less difficulties in writing skills
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at tertiary level.
The research was conducted with an aim to explore undergraduate ESL learners’ writing
problems, factors hampering development of their writing skills and suggestions to improve
their writing skills. Hence, considering the problems, factors and suggestions this study
has explored, it can be concluded that Pakistani undergraduate ESL learners face various
problems in their writing but their writing skills can be improved by taking into account the
reasons of these problems. The findings of the study can be generalized to the ESL learners
and English language teachers at tertiary level in Karachi; however the small sample size
is a limitation of this study.
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... With the advent of Covid-19, writing has become a more valued skill globally since practitioners, no matter in which sector they work, have become highly dependent on written computer-mediated communication for effective exchange and dissemination of information in their fields (Wood & Schatschneider, 2021). Despite this increased worldwide significance of writing, L2 writing is still not a popular activity for ESL/EFL students in some educational contexts as they feel anxious and challenged when asked to do a writing task in English (Alisha et al., 2019;Anh, 2019;Faraj, 2015;Fareed et al., 2016;Ibnian, 2017;Qomariyah & Permana, 2016;Sabuncuoğlu, 2018;Selvaraj & Aziz, 2019). ESL/ EFL learners' writing difficulties get more prominent at tertiary-level as they are required to undertake various academic writing tasks in English, all of which have a huge impact on their overall academic performance (Graham & Perin, 2007;Tavşanlı et al., 2020). ...
... In light of recent developments in language education, ESL/EFL teachers have abandoned writing practices which required students to write a complete essay in one sitting and started teaching writing as a recursive process and a means of communication in the language classroom (Bayat, 2014;Faraj, 2015;Graham & Sandmel, 2011;Sabuncuoğlu, 2018). Nowadays, language teachers view writing as a creative activity and are aware of the fact that students need guidance not only with the linguistic aspects of writing but also in producing the content of their essays (Fareed et al., 2016;Ibnian, 2017;Selvaraj & Aziz, 2019;Tavşanlı et al., 2020) Although there is abundant research on writing pedagogies (Li et al., 2022), studies that specifically focus on idea generation or activation are scarce (Jouhar & Rupley, 2021;Wood & Schatschneider, 2021;Zarrinabadi & Rahimi, 2021). To fill this research gap, there is a need for studies that will yield evidence as to how scaffolding can be provided in L2 writing classes when students suffer from lack of background knowledge on the writing topic. ...
... Although plenty of research studies have been conducted on the "effectiveness of intensive language programs" (Li et al., 2022, p.11), a considerable number of ESL/EFL students who study in these programmes still find L2 writing challenging (Alisha et al., 2019;Anh, 2019;Faraj, 2015;Fareed et al., 2016;Ibnian, 2017;Qomariyah & Permana, 2016;Sabuncuoğlu, 2018;Selvaraj & Aziz, 2019). Considering the scarcity of research on ESL/ EFL students' writing problems due to their insufficient knowledge about L2 writing topics (Bayat, 2014;Ibnian, 2017;Selvaraj & Aziz, 2019), the present study intended to investigate the use of content-schemata activation as a means for scaffolding ESL/EFL students in their challenging L2 writing practices. ...
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It has been observed that Turkish university students suffer in L2 writing when they lack background knowledge about the writing topic. Triggered by this observation, this study intended to explore effectiveness of content-schemata activation for scaffolding Turkish students in their challenging L2 writing practices. Study participants, students studying at an English-medium university in Turkey, were asked to write an essay on a specific topic at the beginning of the week before participating in any activities and then they were asked to write a second essay on the same topic after being engaged in various skills activities designed to activate their content-schemata. The same procedure was repeated for seven weeks with a different topic each week. To gather data, students’ first and second essays were compared and students’ and teachers’ perceptions regarding their experiences in English writing classes were elicited through questionnaires. As study findings reveal that content-schemata activation leads to the production of better essays in terms of content and that both students and teachers are positive about the use of skills activities for idea generation prior to essay writing, integration of activities that would activate students’ content-schemata into the language curriculum in other ESL/EFL educational contexts is highly recommended.
... Fareed et al. [11] observed EFL students in Parkistan also face many grammatical problems in writing. Difficulty in using cohesive device, such as reference, ellipsis, substitution, and cohesive ties were also reported by learners in Egypt in the study of Ahmed [12]. These results suggest that writing pose a challenge to the EFL learners for whom language is always a problem. ...
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This study intended to examine the level of writing strategies and writing proficiency of students at a vocational college in China. 308 students at a private vocational college in China were selected as respondents. Then, the relationship between writing strategies and writing proficiency was explored by SPSS. The findings indicated that the vocational college students applied the writing strategies at a low level. And they were at relatively low levels of writing proficiency. Also, there was no difference in writing strategies when grouped based on major or language proficiency. However, the proficient learners applied more cognitive strategies in writing. Besides, the science learners did better in terms of content and argumentation, and the proficient learners outperformed in structure and organization. Furthermore, a strong link was shown by the Pearson analysis between writing strategies and writing proficiency. An implication of the study was that students need to be encouraged to use various strategies to improve their writing.
... Although it is considered as significant skill because it is used to communicate ideas and analyze various issues faced by L2 writers, writing is regarded as difficult to be mastered (Fareed et al., 2016). Some challenges such as lacks of adequate vocabulary, inadequate grammar, and lack of access to reading materials are chalked to be the causes of students' difficulties to master writing skills (Alsubaie & Madini, 2018;Moses & Mohamad, 2019). ...
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Motivation is considered as an important point in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learning process especially when dealing with difficult language skills to teach such as writing. In regards to the difficulties to master writing skills, teachers have a significant role to improve students’ motivation through certain activities or strategies which can be defined motivational strategies. One of motivational strategies that can be adopted by teachers to enhance students’ motivation to write is using blank comic strips in writing classes. The present study applies a conceptual approach by proposing several steps that can be used by teachers when using blank comic strips to improve students’ motivation to write. Firstly, teachers need to suit the blank comic strips used with the learners’ interests. Secondly, teachers need to provide the benefits of writing ideas on blank comic strips. Thirdly, teachers can use technology that allows students to create or publish their works in the internet so that they will be more motivated to produce more creative writing. The present study also discusses implications and further studies.
... This can be clearly seen when they pursue higher education, especially when English is not their first language (Ariyanti & Fitriana, 2017). Pairing this with the lack of comprehension of what they have learned results in poor quality essay writing, in addition to the lack of motivation and initiative to improve by the students (Fareed et al., 2016). They concluded that the factors leading to this are diverse, and among them is the lack of interest in reading and writing practice, which was also a suggestion made by the study on what should be improved by teachers. ...
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This study integrates game-based learning (GBL) in sociology lessons to investigate its impact on students’ essay writing. The study had a sample size of seven students from a Year 12 Sociology class in one of the high schools in Brunei Darussalam. This qualitative research made use of data collection instruments consisting of pre-test and post-test essay questions, semi-structured interviews, and lesson observations. Findings from the study have shown that the implementation of games that utilize civilization-building elements such as city building and resource management in a sociology lesson had a significant impact on students' performance in essay writing, specifically the quality of their argument, provided that they were used within the right context. The study also found an increase in students’ motivation, collaboration, and enjoyment of learning, attributing this to the games' designs and their easy accessibility via smartphones. Students’ perceptions of the use of GBL indicated a willingness to use it again as a learning tool in the near future. The findings provided insights into this area of study and may be able to provide useful information to educators, especially sociology teachers, who wish to make use of games to aid in making their students' learning an enjoyable experience in their lessons.
... Concerns about the academic abstract writing skills of undergraduate and graduate students in higher education are well documented [25,38,86]. From a faculty member's perspective, writing well is more than just following writing conventions. ...
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The significance of novice researchers acquiring proficiency in writing abstracts has been extensively documented in the field of higher education, where they often encounter challenges in this process. Traditionally, students have been advised to enroll in writing training courses as a means to develop their abstract writing skills. Nevertheless, this approach frequently falls short in providing students with personalized and adaptable feedback on their abstract writing. To address this gap, we initially conducted a formative study to ascertain the user requirements for an abstract writing training tool. Subsequently, we proposed a domain-specific abstract writing training tool called ALens, which employs rhetorical structure parsing to identify key concepts, evaluates abstract drafts based on linguistic features, and employs visualization techniques to analyze the writing patterns of exemplary abstracts. A comparative user study involving an alternative abstract writing training tool has been conducted to demonstrate the efficacy of our approach.
Bu araştırmada üçüncü sınıfa devam eden ve yazma güçlüğü olan bir öğrencinin yazma becerisinin geliştirilmesi amaçlanmıştır. Bu amaç doğrultusunda zihinsel, işitsel veya görsel olarak herhangi bir sorunu olmayan ancak yazma güçlüğü gösteren bir öğrenci ile araştırma yürütülmüştür. Araştırma eylem araştırması olarak desenlenmiştir. Uygulama öncesinde ve sonrasında öğrenciye kopya ve dikte edilen metinler yazdırılmış, aynı zamanda yazma hızı tespit edilmiştir. Öğrencinin yazdığı metinler ‘’Çok Boyutlu Okunaklılık Ölçeği’’ ve ‘’Yazım Hataları Formu’’ ile analiz edilmiştir. Verilerin toplanmasında aile ve öğrenci ile yapılan görüşmelerin yanı sıra araştırmacı günlüğünden de yararlanılmıştır. Öğrencinin yazma becerisini geliştirmek amacıyla haftada 4 saat olmak üzere 8 hafta sürecek bir eylem planı hazırlanmıştır. Uygulama sonucunda eylem planının yazma becerisinin geliştirilmesinde etkili olduğu, öğrencinin kopya ve dikte edilen metinlerde yazı okunaklılığının arttığı, yazma hatalarının kopya edilen metinde azalmasına rağmen dikte edilen metinde harf ekleme/atlama ve harf karıştırma sorunlarının devam ettiği tespit edilmiştir. Bununla birlikte öğrencinin yazma hızında beklenilen düzeyde bir gelişme olmadığı belirlenmiştir.
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The purpose of this research is to describe the implementation of the Google Classroom application to improve creative writing skills in students of the PGSD FKIP Unismuh Makassar study program. This research is a quantitative research. The research sample is 30 people. The instruments to be used in this research are: observation notes, questionnaires and performance tests. The data obtained were analyzed using quantitative descriptive analysis using the SPSS 25.0 for windows program. Based on the research results, it is known that there is an increase in creative writing learning outcomes of 23.98%. These results indicate that the Google Classroom application can improve creative writing learning outcomes and improve student performance in online learning.
Writing is a complex and essential skill that plays a significant role in communication, education, and professional endeavors. However, many students encounter various difficulties when engaging in writing tasks, especially in covid-19 pandemic. The aim of the research is to find out student’s writing difficulties in online learning during COVID-19 pandemic at 4TH semester in Muhammadiyah University of Bengkulu. The design of this research was descriptive method. The instrument of the research was questionnaire. The result showed that there are four factors that make fourth semester students have writing difficulties in online learning during pandemic Covid 19, namely : organization, content of the text, grammar and vocabulary mastery. The dominant factor of the students writing difficulties is vocabulary mastery. It implies that the students need to practice regularly and set aside dedicated time for writing practice. In addition, the students can seek support if they are still facing persistent challenges in writing, consider seeking additional support from lecturers, counselors, or professionals specializing in learning writing difficulties to help them in personalizing strategies and interventions tailored to the students' specific needs especially enhancing their knowledge about organization, content, grammar and add their vocabularies. Key words: Writing, Online Learning, Writing Difficulties
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Background: Like other professional institutions i.e., medical, law and engineering, at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, all the core subjects are taught through English and all the exams (both oral and written) are conducted in English; hence, proficiency in English is an essential need of every student. As a majority of the agriculture students perform poorly in the core subjects due to their weakness in the English language, therefore, this study was undertaken to explore the attitudes of agriculture students towards the English language and its four skills i.e., listening, speaking, reading and writing. Purpose: The main goal of the study was to investigate the Agriculture students’ attitude towards the English language and its basic skills. Moreover, the present study is also an attempt to unearth the differences, if any, in the attitudes of the male and female students towards English. Method: This study employed a mixed-methods approach to address the research questions. To obtain valid and reliable results, the researcher considered application of both the quantitative and qualitative approaches to be very appropriate for the collection and analysis of data for the present study. The quantitative data were collected by means of a five-point Likert scale questionnaire with 30 closed items and was analyzed using SPSS version 20.0. The qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews from 30 purposively selected students and were analyzed using thematic analysis. Conclusion: The findings revealed that the agriculture students had positive attitudes towards the English language and its four skills. The study also highlighted that there was no statistically significant difference in the attitudes of students by their gender; however, the female students displayed slightly more positive attitudes towards English as compared to their male counterparts. A majority of the students regarded writing in English as a hard task. However, most students desired achieving high proficiency in all the four skills of English language.
This study highlights the significance of language and foreign language proficiency in today’s globalized world, where English is the most commonly spoken language. However, students who learn English as a second or foreign language often struggle to master writing skills, which are crucial for effective communication. To address this issue, computational thinking (CT) has been proposed as a method for enhancing English language learning. This study aims to explore students’ perceptions of the usefulness of peer feedback activities in CT-integrated writing courses that utilize rubrics. The research employed a descriptive qualitative approach to analyze the interview transcripts of six participants. The findings indicate that these activities positively impacted participants’ writing skills in terms of content, organization, vocabulary, language use, and mechanics. This study provides valuable insights for educators seeking to improve their English language instruction by incorporating rubric-referenced peer feedback activities into their curriculum.KeywordsComputational ThinkingEnglish WritingRubricPeer-feedback
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Pakistan is among the countries where number of English language users is on rapid growth. Despite English has been an influential language in Pakistan since its independence, learners face difficulties in almost every area of English language learning: Listening, reading, writing and speaking referring to just basic skills of English language. This study focuses on one of the four basic skills: Writing. It measures levels of writing anxiety of Pakistani undergraduate students while writing essays on various topics in English. In this study, 418 students participated which represents both public and private sector universities. Cheng (2004) SLWAI’s instrument was adopted to answer the research questions. Data analysis revealed that majority of the total participants, 61.48 percent has average level of English language writing anxiety. On the other hand, 19.38 percent of the total participants at undergraduate level face high level of English language writing anxiety. Minimum 19.14 percent of the total participants belong to low level of English language writing anxiety. It is interesting to note that both participants from the private and public sector universities experienced average level of writing anxiety. Consequently, English Language Teachers have to adopt/adapt those writing approaches and modify their methods of writing instruction which could help learners decrease their writing anxiety.
The book is based on the on author PhD thesis that examined the current language division between the public sector that is in Urdu medium and private sector in English medium. Recommendations are made to adopt a more democratic language in education policy
This volume offers insights in current theoretical discussions, observations, and reflections from internationally and regionally celebrated scholars on the theory and practice of teaching English informed by a new school of thought, English as an International Language (EIL). This volume provides readers (scholars, teachers, teacher-educators, researchers in the relevant fields) with: Knowledge of the changing paradigm and attitudes towards English language teaching from teaching a single variety of English to teaching intercultural communication and English language variation. Current thoughts on the theory of teaching English as an international language by internationally-celebrated established scholars and emergent scholars. Scholarly descriptions and discussions of how English language educators and teacher-educators translate the paradigm of English as an International Language into their existing teaching. Delineation of how this newly emerged paradigm is received or responded to by English language educators and students when it is implemented. Readers have a unique opportunity to observe and read the tensions and dilemmas that educators and students are likely to experience in teaching and learning EIL.
This paper addresses to evaluate and assess the students' competency in writing skills at Secondary school level in the English Language focusing five major content areas: word completion, sentence making/syntax, comprehension, tenses/ grammar and handwriting. The target population was the male and female students of grade 10 of urban and rural Secondary schools from public and private sector. Forty (40) Secondary schools of District Bahawalnagar, Pakistan were taken using stratified sampling. A sample consisting of 440 students (11students from each school) was randomly selected using a table of random numbers. An achievement test consisting of different items was developed to assess the students' competency and capability in sub-skills of writing such as word completion, sentence making/syntax, comprehension, tenses/grammar and handwriting. Mean score and standard deviation were used to analyze the students' proficiency in each sub-skill. The t-test was applied to make the comparison on the bases of gender, density and public and private sector. The overall performance of all the students was better in comprehension as compared to other sub-skills namely word completion, sentence making/syntax, tenses/grammar and handwriting. The analysis, based on t-value, revealed no significant difference between the performance of male and female students and the students of public and private schools, whereas there was a significant difference between the performance of urban and rural students.