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An Investigation of the Iranian EFL Learners’ Perceptions Towards the Most Common Writing Problems

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Inasmuch as the fact that writing is a cognitively demanding task and as a step toward overcoming some of the barriers English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners face during writing performance, this study attempted to investigate Iranian EFL learners’ perceptions toward the most common writing difficulties. To this end, 120 Iranian EFL learners from Golestan University, Iran, filled out a reliable and validated questionnaire. The results of the questionnaire and the semi-structured interviews (N = 24) revealed that most of the participants agreed that for teaching grammar and punctuation, they should be embedded in a context and be integrated with the four skills. They also believed that teachers should use punctuation appropriately in their writings themselves and teach them to students explicitly. Besides, it was believed that through using mnemonics, students can better learn words spelling. The results of the interviews revealed grammar, spelling, punctuation, choice of words, organization, and familiarity with genres and rhetorical structures, negative transfer from Persian to English, and idiomatic expressions and collocations are the other factors that make the writing task difficult. Based on the students’ perceptions, the findings of this study can inform English language teachers to teach grammar, punctuation, and spelling by contextualizing them in an appropriate context, and they offer some practical implications for teachers, learners, material developers, and curriculum designers in this regard.
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Original Research
Introduction
Learning and teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL)
are always painstaking tasks, especially when they come to
places where English serves a very limited purpose. In this
regard, it can be argued that although English language
teaching in Iran has a history of, at least, more than 50 years,
due to the limited use of English language in daily interac-
tions and inappropriate measures taken to its teaching, learn-
ing EFL is a great challenge for many students as their scores
in English state-level school exams reveal (Amirbakzadeh &
Vakil Alroaia, 2020; Davari & Aghagolzadeh, 2015; Iranmehr
& Davari, 2018). Another possible reason for this ineffective
English language teaching and learning tendency may be the
great effect that testing has on what is taught in the schools.
Therefore, for most students, vocabulary and grammar les-
sons are learnt through rote memorization to pass the tests,
rather than learning them to be able to use them in real-life
situations for real purposes (Akbari, 2015).
Due to the neglect of the writing skill in the educational
process and its challenging nature, writing is considered as
one of the most demanding skills for EFL students to learn
(Du, 2020; Gholaminejad et al., 2013; Jabali, 2018; Tillema,
2012). Therefore, difficulties faced by L2 student writers
across a wide range of proficiency levels have received great
prominence for a long time (Al Mubarak, 2017; Bitchener &
Basturkmen, 2006; Braine, 1995; Casanave & Hubbard,
1992; Johns, 1995). Despite its complex nature, writing is
used by a vast majority of people each day to accomplish
different purposes such as expressing one’s ideas, attitudes,
and opinions, sharing information, one’s feelings and ideas,
and persuading others. People may also write for personal
enjoyment through such activities as diary or journal writing.
In the educational context, writing can be employed to take
919523SGOXXX10.1177/2158244020919523SAGE OpenDerakhshan and Karimian Shirejini
research-article20202020
1Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran
2Islamic Azad University, Gorgan, Iran
Corresponding Author:
Ali Derakhshan, Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department
of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and Social
Sciences, Shahid Beheshti Campus, Golestan University, Shahid Beheshti
St, Gorgan, Golestan 49138 15759, Iran.
Email: a.derakhshan@gu.ac.ir
An Investigation of the Iranian EFL
Learners’ Perceptions Towards the
Most Common Writing Problems
Ali Derakhshan1 and Roghayeh Karimian Shirejini2
Abstract
Inasmuch as the fact that writing is a cognitively demanding task and as a step toward overcoming some of the barriers
English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners face during writing performance, this study attempted to investigate Iranian
EFL learners’ perceptions toward the most common writing difficulties. To this end, 120 Iranian EFL learners from Golestan
University, Iran, filled out a reliable and validated questionnaire. The results of the questionnaire and the semi-structured
interviews (N = 24) revealed that most of the participants agreed that for teaching grammar and punctuation, they should
be embedded in a context and be integrated with the four skills. They also believed that teachers should use punctuation
appropriately in their writings themselves and teach them to students explicitly. Besides, it was believed that through using
mnemonics, students can better learn words spelling. The results of the interviews revealed grammar, spelling, punctuation,
choice of words, organization, and familiarity with genres and rhetorical structures, negative transfer from Persian to English,
and idiomatic expressions and collocations are the other factors that make the writing task difficult. Based on the students’
perceptions, the findings of this study can inform English language teachers to teach grammar, punctuation, and spelling by
contextualizing them in an appropriate context, and they offer some practical implications for teachers, learners, material
developers, and curriculum designers in this regard.
Keywords
EFL learners, learners’ perceptions, writing difficulties, common written problems
2 SAGE Open
important notes while learning and writing academic reports,
theses, essays, and compositions to meet the demands of
intended authorities, among other things (Hyland, 2013).
Thus, incorporation of the writing skill into the EFL teaching
syllabus in schools is recommended as writing can solidify
what students have learnt through other skills, provide the
chance for students to work with language in context, and
enable students to go beyond what they have learned by
employing the learned points in writing tasks (Raimes,
1991). In other words, writing can be both an end in itself
and a means in help of English learning. For instance, learn-
ers can use writing to consolidate learning of new structures
or vocabulary or employ it to help them remember new items
in a language. Furthermore, through writing practice, teach-
ers can track students’ progress and diagnose their weak-
nesses and strengths and subsequently provide feedback to
students (Hyland, 2019; Parr & Timperley, 2010).
In spite of these advantages, effective writing requires a
number of competencies such as high degree of organization
in the development of ideas and information, high degree of
accuracy so that there is no ambiguity in meaning, the use of
complex grammatical devices for signaling emphasis, and a
careful choice of vocabulary items, grammatical patterns,
and sentence structures to create a style which is appropriate
for the intended purpose and audience (Hedge & Kavanagh,
1988). In addition, a common complaint that has been often
heard is that university students are incapable of expressing
themselves in a clear, correct, and comprehensible manner in
writing. Students’ problems in writing may occur due to
many factors. One of the causes for this challenge might be
the complex nature of the writing skill itself (Gautam, 2019;
Nasser, 2016; Patience, 2020). Byrnes (2002) postulated that
certain psychological, linguistic, and cognitive factors make
the writing skill a complex discourse medium for most peo-
ple in both native and second languages.
It is worth mentioning that due to the significance and
challenging nature of the writing skill, researchers have
focused on writing difficulties encountered by learners in
various EFL contexts. In this regard, some empirical studies
have attempted to identify writing difficulties and ways to
overcome such writing problems (e.g., Al-Khasawneh &
Huwari, 2013; Chen & Wu, 2001; Jafari & Ansari, 2012).
More specifically pertained to the concern of the present
study, few empirical investigations have worked on EFL stu-
dents’ attitudes and perceptions toward problematic areas in
writing (e.g., Al Mubarak, 2017; Bani Younes & Salamh
Albalawi, 2015; Jabali, 2018; Mwangi, 2017). To the best of
the researchers’ knowledge, however, no study has used
questionnaires to examine students’ perceptions and attitudes
toward sources of EFL writing difficulties in the context of
Iran. Therefore, to continue and add to this relatively new
and burgeoning line of research, this study aims to investi-
gate Iranian EFL learners’ perceptions toward the most fre-
quently encountered difficulties experienced during writing
performance.
Review of the Related Literature
Learners’ perceptions of the difficulties they experience when
writing in English play a momentum role in the process of
teaching and learning, which can per se help teachers allevi-
ate some of the difficulties learners encounter. The develop-
ment of students’ L2 writing can be affected by multifarious
factors, including L1 writing ability, choice of lexicons, mas-
tery of grammatical structures, organization, familiarity with
the rhetorical structures, L2 proficiency, and writing experi-
ences in both languages (Bitchener & Basturkmen, 2006;
Cooley & Lewkowicz, 1995; Dong, 1998; Kubota, 1998).
Cooley and Lewkowicz (1995) enumerated some of the
difficulties as using the appropriate style of writing, organiz-
ing coherent ideas and consolidated arguments, and express-
ing their ideas coherently and cohesively in English.
Difficulties with vocabulary choice, particularly with respect
to levels of appropriateness and formality, were potential
sources of difficulty to obscure meaning. On a par with this
study, Dong (1998), investigating nonnative graduate stu-
dents’ writing in science, found that all of the students
expressed that they thought vocabulary choice was important
for expressing ideas and arguments, and 30% of the L2 stu-
dents mentioned that they had difficulties with vocabulary
choice. Besides, only 49% of English as a Second Language
(ESL) students stated that they had difficulty with grammar
and mechanics. It was also found that students had difficulty
with sequencing and development of propositions and with
the appropriate use of transitions between propositions and
topics. Furthermore, James (1984) observed that some diffi-
culties at the sentence level would contribute to blurring the
meaning; the identified factors include complex sentences,
overlong, faulty referencing, lexical difficulties related to
specialized vocabulary, as well as signposting weaknesses.
Khan (2011), conducting a study to explore the obstacles
of Saudi university students in writing, mentioned that learn-
ers face difficulties in phoneme clusters, spellings, grammar,
doubling of subjects, language interference, doubling of
preposition, articles, tenses, appropriate vocabulary, wrong
use of prefixes, and suffixes. Khan (2011) recapitulated that
these writing difficulties can be attributed to lack of English
language curriculum, unfavorable teaching methods, inap-
propriate language environments, and the lack of personal
motivation on the part of the learners themselves. In line with
Khan’s (2011) findings, Al Mubarak (2017), investigating
the academic writing problems faced by undergraduate stu-
dents during 15 graduation projects at Al Imam Al Mahdi
University-Sudan, reported that grammatical inaccuracies
hinder the process of writing, among which punctuation, the
use of prepositions, weak expressions, unparalleled struc-
ture, consistency, and the use of irregular verbs are of upmost
important which need to be taken into account.
Akbari (2015) sought to diagnose and remedy English
writing problems of 20 EFL students from Nile Valley
University. To this aim, the participants were asked to write
Derakhshan and Karimian Shirejini 3
a composition of about 250 to 300 words for describing their
hometown or village. The results of the data analysis revealed
that the students had problems at the levels of morphology
and syntax, usage errors, and mechanics of writing such as
spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. The recommenda-
tions to improve the participants’ writing performance were
revising their written work aloud, making natural pauses
when they speak to help them with punctuation, using dic-
tionaries to correct spelling mistakes, and reading exten-
sively in English.
Another line of inquiry has underlined the identification of
major sources of writing problems encountered by EFL learn-
ers. For instance, in a study done on 60 Iranian EFL students at
Sobh-e-Sadegh University in Isfahan, Iran, Jafari and Ansari
(2012) attributed writing failure of Iranian EFL learners to
various sources such as learners’ lack of motivation, low pro-
ficiency, low level of vocabulary knowledge, L1 interference
into the L2 learning process, and psychological factors like
anxiety. They argue that if students work collaboratively, they
can learn more and have less difficulty in writing.
Similarly, Al-Khasawneh and Huwari (2013), conducting
a semi-structured interview with 10 EFL learners at Taibah
University, mentioned grammatical weakness, low level of
language knowledge practice, and educational background
as potential sources of learners writing difficulties. They
stressed that the most significant reason lies in the fact that
Arab students do not possess the knowledge of even basic
English in spite of the fact that they are taught English in
schools. Or, it is probably because of the fact that the school
teachers do not pay enough attention to the teaching of
English. It is inferred that the teaching/learning situation in
Saudi Arabia indicates that Saudi students do not practice
enough writing in and out of the classroom, and that the
grammar rules their teachers teach in the classroom are not
really put into practice in students’ actual writing.
More related to the concern of this study was an empiri-
cal research done by Bahloul (2007), which focused on
spelling and punctuation difficulties in writing performance.
The results of this study revealed that the main cause of
spelling errors is irregularity of the English writing system.
Henderson (1981) also confirmed that lack of one-to-one
correspondence between the sound and spelling systems is
the main reason for this confusion. Lee and Tajino (2008)
conducted a study to find out 95 first-year Japanese univer-
sity students’ perceptions toward the difficulty with aca-
demic writing in English. They reported that the students
perceived language-related components of academic writ-
ing to be more difficult compared with structure/content-
related components. Furthermore, it was revealed that many
students found research design particularly difficult.
However, some other empirical investigations have cho-
sen learners’ attitudes or perceptions toward the writing pro-
cess and writing difficulties encountered in this process as
their focus of inquiry. For instance, Jabali (2018) examined
attitudes toward writing in general and writing differences
faced during writing performance in English and Arabic in
particular, among a group of 102 EFL students at An-Najah
National University, Palestine. The results of this study
showed that the higher was the level of students’ language
proficiency, the less was their level of anxiety and apprehen-
sion toward writing. Moreover, it was reported that in gen-
eral, the participants had positive attitudes toward writing
and writing-related issues such as instructional approaches,
writing strategies, and writing materials used in their writing
classes. Bani Younes and Salamh Albalawi (2015) explored
the most prevalent writing difficulties faced by 40 English
language and translation major sophomore female students
from Tabuk University, Saudi Arabia. Their findings indi-
cated that the most common problems significant in the stu-
dents’ writing productions were classified into three types:
(a) grammatical problems such as tenses, prepositions, sub-
ject–verb agreement, and article use; (b) punctuation prob-
lems; (c) spelling problems such as difficulty in appropriate
use of substitution, omission, addition, disordering, segmen-
tation, and unrecognizable words. To follow such a relatively
new and fledgling line of research and bridge the gap in the
literature, this study aimed to replicate Bani Younes and
Salamh Albalawi’s (2015) study in the context of Iran while
taking more participants (N = 120) into account. While myr-
iad of studies in the past have focused on sources of writing
difficulties encountered by EFL learners as outlined above,
there is dearth of research on examining learners’ percep-
tions and attitudes toward common problematic areas stu-
dents have to tackle with during writing production.
Investigating learners’ difficulties in writing can help teach-
ers to diagnose students’ mistakes which per se help them
write appropriately in English. To fill this lacuna in the
Iranian context, this study aimed to explore Iranian univer-
sity EFL students’ perceptions toward the most common dif-
ficulties found in writing production.
Research Question
This study attempted to find an answer to the following
research question:
Research Question 1: What are the Iranian EFL learn-
ers’ perceptions toward the most common writing
difficulties?
Method
Participants
The participants of this study were selected from univer-
sity students and graduates from Golestan University, Iran.
The resulting sample included 120 teaching English as a
Foreign Language (TEFL) students or graduates from both
genders (i.e., 36 males and 84 females). Furthermore, they
were all natives in Persian and their age ranged from 16 to
4 SAGE Open
35 years. Of the 182 participants who were available based
on convenience sampling, 120 of them filled out the ques-
tionnaire. The design of this study was descriptive and an
ex-post facto because there was no treatment. They all
filled out the consent form. In addition, 40% of the partici-
pants were at upper intermediate level and 34.2% of them
were at the intermediate level, and the rest were advanced
(25.8%) based on the results of Oxford Quick Placement
Test.
Instruments
To collect data regarding the participants’ perceptions
toward the most prevalent writing difficulties faced when
writing in English, the questionnaire developed by Bani
Younes and Salamh Albalawi (2015; see Appendix A in
Supplemental Material), measuring the respondents’ per-
ceptions regarding common writing problems, was utilized.
This questionnaire included three main sections containing
22 items, which was based on a 5-point Likert-type scale
ranging from “1” strongly disagree to “5”strongly agree.
The first eight items in the scale are about grammar, and the
following six items deal with punctuation, and finally, the
last eight items have to do with spelling. The Cronbach’s
alpha reliability coefficient reported for the scale in this
study is .78. Moreover, a semi-structured interview was
conducted with 20% of the students (N = 24) to triangulate
the data and probe more deeply into their perceptions of
writing difficulties.
Data Collection Procedure
To gather the required data, the questionnaires were distrib-
uted to 182 male and female participants whose level of
proficiency was measured via Oxford Quick Placement
Test. The hard copy of the questionnaire was distributed
among the participants who accepted voluntarily to partici-
pate in the study. Besides, the participants were ensured of
the anonymous nature of the data collection process. They
only provided information regarding their gender, level of
English, writing level, which were going to be used only for
research purposes. As the participants were from English-
related majors, they had no problem in answering items of
the scale which were in English. The required time esti-
mated for answering the scale was about 10 to 15 min.
Besides, 24 participants were selected voluntarily to take
part in the semi-structured interview to talk about their
English writing difficulties they have encountered and how
they can solve them. Each interview lasted for about 10 to
12 min, and all the interviews were recorded, transcribed,
and coded.
Data Analysis
The collected data were analyzed for descriptive statistics,
such as mean, frequency, and percentage. The interviews
were thematically analyzed, some of which have been
reported here.
Results
Descriptive Statistics
Table 1 represents the descriptive statistics, including mini-
mum, maximum, mean, and standard deviation related to the
participants’ answers to the 22 items of the questionnaire.
Accordingly, Item 13 (i.e., my teacher uses the punctuation
marks in her writing and teaching) was the most preferred
item in this questionnaire with a mean of 4.04. Items 18 (i.e., I
will be a better speller if I became a better reader) and 22 (i.e.,
knowing the roots and affixes of words and their meanings can
help learners with their spelling) were ranked second and third
with means of 3.91 and 3.90, respectively. Items 19 (i.e., text-
books can’t help to develop my spelling) and 4 (i.e., my focus
should not be on the correctness of the sentence) were the least
preferred items with the means of 2.55 and 2.58, respectively.
In order for the scale to be used in this study, some of the items
in the scale were adapted to take account of the Iranian linguis-
tic and cultural background of the participants.
Furthermore, Figure 1 shows the means related to the first
eight items of the scale, pertaining to grammar.
According to Figure 1, when comparing the means of
these eight items which refer to grammar as one of the causes
of writing difficulty, it was found that Item 5 (i.e., I learn
grammar along with other language skills) had the highest
mean (3.73). The second highest mean (3.70) belonged to
Item 1 (i.e., I learn grammar items through a context). Based
on what was reported, it can be said that the Iranian EFL
learners believe that to overcome grammatical difficulties in
writing performance, one should learn grammar along with
other skills and through a context.
The means of the next six items dealing with punctuation
as a source of writing difficulty are presented in Figure 2.
As can be seen in Figure 2, Item 13 (i.e., my teacher uses
the punctuation marks in his or her writing and teaching) has
the highest mean (4.04), while Item 12 (i.e., I think that Persian
punctuation system and the English punctuation system are
same) has the lowest mean (2.7). Therefore, the participants
believed that teachers should model correct punctuation use in
their own writing and teach them explicitly in the classroom.
Figure 3 demonstrates the means of the last eight items
relating to spelling.
Based on Figure 3, Items 18 (i.e., I will be a better speller
if I become a better reader) and 22 (i.e., knowing the roots
and affixes of the words and their meaning can help learners
with their spelling) have the first and second highest means
of 3.91 and 3.90, respectively. Therefore, the participants
believed that they can overcome spelling difficulties in writ-
ing by reading a lot in English and working on roots and
affixes of words.
Figure 4 represents the means of all 22 items of the scale.
According to Figure 4, the highest means belong to Item
13 with the mean of 4.04, Item 18 with the mean of 3.91,
Item 22 with the mean of 3.90, and Item 11 with the mean of
3.75, respectively. In other words, beside other consider-
ations, the participants believe that teachers are required to
use punctuation correctly in their own writing and explicitly
Derakhshan and Karimian Shirejini 5
instruct them to students; reading more in English can
improve students’ spelling; by learning roots and affixes,
they can better learn the spelling of words; and, this year,
they are better in using punctuations.
Interview Results
A semi-structured interview in a face-to-face interaction was
conducted to investigate what Iranian EFL learners think
about the most frequent writing problems and how to solve
them. Lynch (1996) argued that semi-structured interviews
enhance the understanding of the data, consolidate the find-
ings, and make the data collection more systematic, com-
pared with the informal conversational approach.
Consistent with the results of the questionnaire, all the
interviewees mentioned that making grammatical sentences
is the most challenging concern for them. They stated that it
sounds easy to write a single sentence correctly, but putting
the sentences in a coherent and cohesive paragraph is a big
challenge. In line with the data collected from the question-
naire, the interviewees also reported that spelling and punc-
tuation make difficulty for them when they want to write
sentences and specifically paragraphs. Furthermore, choice
of words, organization, and familiarity with genres and rhe-
torical structures, as well as idiomatic expressions and col-
locations are the other factors which make the writing task
difficult. Due to word limit, some of the interviewees’ state-
ments are reported as follows:
Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for the Questionnaire Items.
Items NMinimum Maximum M SD
Item 1 120 1.00 5.00 3.70 0.85
Item 2 120 1.00 5.00 3.62 0.82
Item 3 120 1.00 5.00 2.70 1.13
Item 4 120 1.00 5.00 2.58 1.04
Item 5 120 1.00 5.00 3.73 0.95
Item 6 120 1.00 5.00 2.91 1.05
Item 7 120 1.00 5.00 3.36 0.76
Item 8 120 1.00 5.00 3.29 0.92
Item 9 120 2.00 5.00 3.68 0.87
Item 10 120 1.00 5.00 3.75 0.85
Item 11 120 1.00 5.00 3.77 0.91
Item 12 120 1.00 5.00 2.70 0.96
Item 13 120 1.00 5.00 4.04 0.83
Item 14 120 1.00 5.00 3.68 0.987
Item 15 120 1.00 5.00 3.65 1.02
Item 16 120 1.00 5.00 3.65 0.81
Item 17 120 1.00 5.00 3.63 0.88
Item 18 120 1.00 5.00 3.91 0.88
Item 19 120 1.00 5.00 2.55 0.985
Item 20 120 1.00 5.00 3.50 0.799
Item 21 119 1.00 5.00 3.35 0.907
Item 22 120 1.00 5.00 3.90 0.961
Valid N (listwise) 119
0
1
2
3
4
Item1 Item2Item3 Item4Item5 Item6Item7 Item8
Mean
Figure 1. The bar graph of the means of eight grammar items.
0
1
2
3
4
5
Item9 Item10Item11Item12Item13Item14
Mean
Figure 2. The bar graph of the means of six punctuation item.
6 SAGE Open
Student 1:
I think it is difficult for me to arrange the components of a
sentence and relate sentences together. I think by writing about
different topics, learning about linking words or coordinate
conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs, mastering the organization
of writing, I can learn better.
Student 2:
My main problem is sentence structure, especially some of the
sentences that are exceptional or have specific structures. I guess
by seeing more examples and practicing, I can solve this problem.
Student 3:
I have problems with punctuations and basically the rules and
regulations of a proper text. I guess I can solve it by practicing
and studying more about them, and teachers have not put
emphasis on them.
Student 4:
I assume I have three major problems in writing. First and the
most important one is that I can’t keep the formal form of the
essay; in other words, I don’t know how to use professional
words in my writings. My second problem is with endings, as
you may notice last semester from my speaking, I don’t know
how to end my essays. The third one is punctuation. I don’t
know where and how to use them in my essays.
Student 5:
For some words there are three or four or more synonyms,
they all mean the same thing and I get confused. I think by
reading different English articles, books, reports, etc., we can
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
Item15 Item16 Item17 Item18 Item19 Item20 Item21 Item22
Mean
Figure 3. The bar graph of the means of spelling items.
0
1
2
3
4
5
item1
item2
item3
item4
item5
item6
item7
item8
item9
item10
item11
item12
item13
item14
item15
item16
item17
item18
item19
item20
item21
item22
Mean
Figure 4. The bar graph of the means of all 22 questionnaire items.
Derakhshan and Karimian Shirejini 7
get familiar with different kinds of writings and also the usage
of different words.
Student 6:
I guess I cannot translate verbs and pronouns from Persian to
English correctly. To solve this problem, I need to be fluent in
grammar and vocabulary.
Student 7:
I think the most challenging issue for me is that I don’t know how
to make ideas coherently linked and conclude my writing.
Organizing ideas and including supporting sentences are difficult
for me. I guess by reading more passages, increasing my vocabulary,
learning structures, and brainstorming, I can write better.
Student 8:
In writing, the most difficult part for me is the words I’m gonna use.
For example, I’m gonna write an important letter, and I want to
show my understanding of English and the topic I’m gonna write
about. In my head, when I try the topic in Persian, it’s a good piece
of writing, but when it comes to English writing, my hands are tied
up. In my opinion, for a problem like this, there should be a way to
use those words which are used less in English and use them.
Student 9:
My problem with writing English sentences is that 1. I can’t
make wording; 2. I don’t know how to finish my writing; 3. I’m
also weak at grammar. I think to boost my writing skill, I can
increase my vocabulary, read more books and stories, and
strengthen my knowledge of grammar.
Student 10:
Well, for me using the right verbs is somehow puzzling. I mean
the correct tense of verbs you know, using different timing, etc.
the other one is how to arrange the paragraphs in the best way,
and I think teaching us the right format in class could help us.
The last one for me is using nice words and expressions. For
solving this, I think my own practice only works.
Student 11:
The most important part of practicing as an English learner is
speaking and then learning grammar. When I write, I sometimes
get confused about the spelling of words such as quit, quiet, and
quite. We don't spend enough time for writing and its methods,
maybe someone should force us to write an essay. Then, we can
solve our alphabetical, grammatical, and orthographic problems.
Student 12:
In my opinion, some factors make writing challenging. 1. Not
knowing the meaning of words or poor vocabulary, 2. not
knowing the correct sequence of words; in other words, poor
grammar which makes us write incomplete and awkward
sentences, and 3. not knowing how to pronounce words correctly
or poor spelling are the most common writing difficulties for me
and I think with the constant discussion in the class, watching
movies, reading various books and articles we can solve them.
Student 13:
There are usually petty struggles I have to overcome such as
forgetting the spelling of certain words and not knowing
grammar rules properly. And, I sometimes can't find the right
words for my ideas and sentences. I think that studying more
books would help to solve my problems and instructors need to
make us aware of our mistakes and need to give us feedback.
Student 14:
I think there are various difficulties regarding to writing, but
mostly poor vocabulary, especially for verbs (using stronger
verbs rather than weak ones to convey meaning more practically),
applying nice and neat grammar structures and keeping an eye
for word order come up to my mind. On the other hand, some
less-noticed flaws like incomplete paragraph design, redundancy
and even wrong punctuation can lead to a result which won't
seem quite desirable. As far as I can see, the more we explore
through multiple words and texts in order to face different
occasions, structures and samples and follow them in to our own
writings so that we can learn how to use them, the better and
smoother we will turn into. It seems to me a matter of time and
practice.
Student 15:
For me, the first problem is grammar because sometimes I don’t
know how to write a sentence with a correct structure. The other
problem is converting Persian sentences into English sentences,
which is because of lack of vocabulary and grammar. I guess I
need to read and write more.
Discussion
As academic writing can be considered as an integral part of
English learning process, recognizing the learners’ academic
writing difficulties and their perceptions toward such prob-
lematic areas are of crucial importance in the educational con-
text. Furthermore, as Al Murshidi (2014) stated, writing is
found to be one of the most challenging skills to be learned
and taught. To deal more tangibly with such issues in the
development of the writing skill, various studies in the past
have attended to identify major sources of writing difficulties
and suggesting practical solutions to overcome such barriers
experienced in the way toward successful writing performance
(e.g., Akbari, 2015; Al-Khasawneh & Huwari, 2013; Bahloul,
2007; Chen & Wu, 2001; Jafari & Ansari, 2012).
Very few studies have investigated the EFL learners’ per-
ceptions toward their writing difficulty. Two exceptions in
8 SAGE Open
this regard are studies conducted by Jabali (2018) and Bani
Younes and Salamh Albalawi (2015) which attest to the
fledgling nature of this line of research which needs to be
supported via more future pertinent empirical studies.
However, these two studies were conducted in the contexts
of Palestine and Turkey, respectively. To elaborate more on
the results of the two mentioned studies in this area, the aims
of the Jabali’s (2018) study were twofold: first, to identify
Palestinian EFL learners’ attitudes toward writing, and sec-
ond, to scrutinize whether students perceive any significant
difference between how they express their ideas in English
and Arabic writing productions. In sum, his findings indi-
cated that students showed positive attitudes toward the
writing process in general and to textbooks, instructional
approaches, and strategies used in the writing classes.
Moreover, in a study done on 40 English major participants
in Turley, Bani Younes and Salamh Albalawi (2015) asked
the participants about the writing problems they encounter
when writing in English. According to the results, the partici-
pants believed that the three most common sources of writ-
ing difficulty for them were (a) grammatical problems such
as tenses, prepositions, subject–verb agreement, and article
use; (b) punctuation problems; and (c) spelling problems
such as difficulty in appropriate use of substitution, omis-
sion, addition, disordering, segmentation, and unrecogniz-
able words. In line with the two previous studies on learners’
perceptions toward writing difficulties, the results of the
present study indicated that among the 22 items of the scale
measuring learners’ perceptions toward the most common
writing difficulties which are grammar, spelling, and punc-
tuation, learners had the highest perceptions toward Items
13, 18, and 11 which pertain to punctuation, spelling, and
again punctuation, respectively. In other words, among the
three sources of writing difficulty underlying the items of the
questionnaire used in this study, learners diagnosed some
aspects of spelling and punctuation, rather than grammar, to
contribute to writing difficulties.
The results of follow-up interview also confirmed that
grammatical structures, spelling, and punctuation are diffi-
cult to master. The students also agreed that organization,
choice of lexicons, collocations, idiomatic expressions, and
rhetorical structures can add to the daunting challenge of
writing. For instance, Student 1 stated that
I think it is difficult for me to arrange the components of a
sentence and relate sentences together. I think by writing
about different topics, learning about linking words or
coordinate conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs, mastering
the organization of writing, I can learn better.
This quotation emphasizes that grammatical rules are priori-
tized over other elements, which is in congruity with the stu-
dents’ perceptions stated in the questionnaires. Moreover,
Student 13 mentioned that “There are usually petty struggles
I have to overcome such as forgetting the spelling of certain
words and not knowing grammar rules properly.” This quote
confirms that students linger behind spelling and grammar.
Other students cited that vocabulary, organization, idiomatic
expressions, and negative transfer from Persian to English
are some of the writing challenges. For example, Student 6
reported that “I guess I cannot translate verbs and pronouns
from Persian to English correctly,” confirming that teachers
need to make students aware of intralingual errors and pro-
vide them with enough corrective feedback.
The results of the present study lend credence to Al
Mubarak’s (2017) study in that punctuation, spelling, and
grammatical structures play indispensable role in the process
of writing, and students had difficulty mastering them. Al
Mubarak found that punctuation, the use of prepositions, weak
expressions, unparalleled structure, consistency, and the use of
irregular verbs play crucial roles and make writing difficult.
Moreover, our results are consistent with Mahmoud’s (2005)
study in that syntactic mistakes and students’ blunders such as
verbs and prepositions are major obstacles for EFL learners. In
addition, in line with our findings, Farouq (2012) argued that
grammar is the most difficult area for L2 learners. This idea
was also supported with the postulations put forth by Nyasimi
(2014) who contends that besides facing challenges in the use
of correct sentence structure and paragraph development, stu-
dents need to struggle in creating coherent text. The interview-
ees in our study also reported that linking ideas coherently and
cohesively is one of the challenges they usually encounter.
Student 7 mentioned that “I think the most challenging issue
for me is that I don’t know how to make ideas coherently
linked and conclude my writing. Organizing ideas and includ-
ing supporting sentences are difficult for me.”
Furthermore, our findings are consistent with those of
Li and Zeng (2019) as they found that the difficulties in
academic writing mainly lay in vocabulary, grammar, and
writing resources. Our results contradict those of Lee and
Tajino’s (2008) in that they observed that the students per-
ceived language-related components of academic writing to
be more difficult than structure/content-related components.
Our findings also resonate those of Mwangi’s (2017) as
Mwangi found that students had difficulty with spelling, use
of correct vocabulary, formation of tenses and plural forms
of words, and proper punctuation.
Conclusion and Pedagogical
Implications
Writing is hypothesized to be a cognitively demanding task
(Tillema, 2012). The challenge is even more intense in the
EFL context in which learners are exposed limitedly to the
target language (Marashi & Dadari, 2012). Chau (2006)
explained that because, compared with the other three lan-
guage skills, writing seems to be more difficult and time-
consuming to teach, less prominence and time is allocated to
Derakhshan and Karimian Shirejini 9
teaching and practicing writing in the classroom. Therefore,
research on identifying sources of writing difficulties, under-
standing learners’ perceptions toward such problematic areas
in writing, and providing practical ways to overcome these
challenges may have a potential role in directing present
instructional tendencies toward the writing skill.
To this aim, the present empirical research attempted to
identify 120 Iranian EFL students’ perceptions toward the
most common sources of writing difficulties through ques-
tionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The frequency
results of each item shed light on this issue by revealing that
most of the participants considered grammar, punctuation,
and spelling as sources of writing difficulties. Furthermore,
the respondents’ answers to items of the scale represent their
perceptions toward how to overcome writing difficulties and
reduce writing errors. Specifically, the participants believed
that teachers should teach grammar, punctuation, and spelling
through embedding them in an appropriate context and inte-
grating them with other language skills, and teachers should
first model good punctuation use for students in their own
production and then teach them with the aim of consolidating
what students have been exposed to indirectly earlier. The
results of the interviews indicated that grammar, spelling,
punctuation, paragraph coherence, organization, words, and
rhetorical structures make the writing task difficult. Students
also mentioned that teachers need to give them more extra-
curricular activities, and they need to put more emphasis on
writing in and outside the class to make the writing task easier
and more enjoyable. Teachers also need to feel responsible to
provide their students with enough corrective feedback.
The results of the present study will yield fundamental
insights regarding the major sources of writing difficulties
and their significance from the students’ point of view that
could contribute to beneficial guidance for teachers, material
designers, and students. The findings also have the potential
to suggest some practical solutions to the challenges faced by
EFL learners in academic writing production. Besides such
pedagogical applications, these outcomes have some implica-
tions in the realm of research. As pointed out previously,
related research in the past has been obsessed with identifying
major sources of writing difficulty while totally neglecting
students’ perceptions toward problematic areas in writing.
Therefore, this study and that of Bani Younes and Salamh
Albalawi (2015) will be pioneers in this regard which can
prompt more research in the future about such learners’ per-
ceptions to consolidate past findings or provide new discover-
ies in this area.
In the light of the results gained, some suggestions could be
of help for EFL teachers. If teachers are able to recognize the
sources of difficulties that their students experience and con-
template on their underlying cause of the problem, they can
resolve the problem during their teaching and provide students
with remedial solution. Furthermore, identifying the current
problems of academic English writing classroom which are
necessary to be improved from the students’ vantage point can
usher teachers to encourage innovation in education ideas,
teaching methods, and teaching materials. The results of the
present study should be generalized with some caution to other
educational contexts as they were based on a sample of 120
participants chosen from one university in Iran. Moreover, this
study identified students’ perceptions toward writing difficul-
ties in isolation. Future studies can consider such learners’ per-
ceptions in company of other related variables such as learner
academic performance and examine their potential associa-
tions. Even other studies can examine learners’ perceptions
through more qualitative means journal writing to gain more
in-depth understanding of these processes.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect
to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, author-
ship, and/or publication of this article.
ORCID ID
Ali Derakhshan https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6639-9339
Supplementary Material
Supplementary material for this article is available online.
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The present study intended to explore the contribution of Edmodo Social Learning Network (ESLN) to Iranian EFL learners' writing accuracy. The participants were 63 male and female Iranian EFL learners chosen from a pool of 78 learners based on their performance on an Oxford Placement Test. The 63 selected learners were divided into two groups consisting of 33 and 30 learners in the experimental and control group, respectively. Prior to treatment, both groups were given a writing pretest to measure their writing accuracy. Next, the participants in the experimental group practiced writing via Edmodo while the learners in the control group received the conventional instruction of writing. After ten sessions of treatment, both groups were given the writing posttest. Moreover, 15 participants in the experimental group were interviewed to explore their perceptions of the efficacy of Edmodo in improving their writing accuracy. The results of ANCOVA indicated that Edmodo led to significant improvement of writing accuracy. The results of the content analysis revealed that learners held positive attitudes towards the use of Edmodo. In particular, learners perceived that Edmodo was a useful platform in enhancing their writing accuracy as this platform promoted collaboration, motivation, and engagement.
... Harmer (2007) states that this skill should be taught to students because through the visual demonstration of how language is constructed, they will acquire the language and reinforce what they have learned. Due to the complex nature of English-writing and limited linguistic knowledge of EFL learners; however, teaching and learning English-writing in EFL contexts is a challenging process (Derakhshan & Shirejini, 2020;Ghoorchaei & Khosravi, 2019;Nguyen, 2021;Syafii & Miftah, 2020). It is true that besides learning the language, EFL learners need to learn how to develop their ideas in order to produce texts with the rhetorical features that they have never had in their first language (L1). ...
... It is true that besides learning the language, EFL learners need to learn how to develop their ideas in order to produce texts with the rhetorical features that they have never had in their first language (L1). Derakhshan and Shirejini (2020) also say that while L1 writers face difficulties in fluency of writing, EFL writers encounter challenges of linguistic aspects and writing strategies. As stated by Ghoorchaei and Khosravi (2019) and Nguyen and Suwannabubpha (2021), this challenge would be compounded if students did not learn this skill in their previous schooling. ...
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Writing in English is difficult for multilingual learners, and this is not an exception for Vietnamese students who learnt English as-a-foreign-language (EFL). However, few studies have been conducted on how these learners learnt this skill at their up-secondary schools (U-SS). This study thus plans to explore how 335 Vietnamese students at a U-SS perceived the importance of EFL writing, how they learnt it and what difficulties and expectations/suggestions they had in making the learning of this skill effectively. Employing a 5-point Likert-scale survey, open-ended questions and a focus-group interview, the study found these learners' awareness of the significance of this skill for their future betterment. Moreover, similar to students in other EFL settings, these students learnt this skill for learning other language skills, and their teachers did not have enough time to teach and provide feedback on their writing. However, their positive attitudes and how to learn this skill were greatly influenced by their teachers and educational conditions. These findings are therefore expected to shed more light on learners' perspectives in learning EFL writing at the U-SS level so that relevant support can be provided to help the learning of this skill in Vietnam and in similar EFL contexts.
... Prior research highlighted the perception of English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) learners toward their writing difficulties in different contexts. Previous empirical studies (Al Mubarak, 2017;Bani Younes & Salamh Albalawi, 2015;Derakhshan & Shirejini, 2020;Jabali, 2018;Mwangi, 2017) have investigated EFL students' own perceptions and attitudes toward problematic areas in writing. Jabali (2018) investigated the topic in the Palestinian context; Al Mubarak (2017) in the Sudanese context; Bani Younes and Salamh Albalawi (2015) in the Saudi Arabia context; Mwangi (2017) in the Kenyan context and Derakhshan and Shirejini (2020) in the Iranian context. ...
... Previous empirical studies (Al Mubarak, 2017;Bani Younes & Salamh Albalawi, 2015;Derakhshan & Shirejini, 2020;Jabali, 2018;Mwangi, 2017) have investigated EFL students' own perceptions and attitudes toward problematic areas in writing. Jabali (2018) investigated the topic in the Palestinian context; Al Mubarak (2017) in the Sudanese context; Bani Younes and Salamh Albalawi (2015) in the Saudi Arabia context; Mwangi (2017) in the Kenyan context and Derakhshan and Shirejini (2020) in the Iranian context. ...
... Moreover, the findings are parallel with the conclusion that writing process is a complicated recursive process rather than a simple linear one (Zamel, 1983). Finally, having found that the culture and negative transfer from the mother tongue impact EFL writing (Güngör & Uysal, 2020), the study affirmed the studies of Kaplan (1966), Ostler (1987), Derakhshan and Karimian (2020), and Yang (2019). ...
... Although there have been many studies focusing on the problems of learning EFL writing (Ahmed, 2010;Al-Zankawi, 2018;Derakhshan & Karimian, 2020;Ezza, 2010;Hammad, 2016;Kaplan, 1966;Leki, 2017;Ostler, 1987;Tarnopolsky, 2000;Younes & Albalawi, 2005;Zenouzagh, 2018), this study differs from those ones in some respects. Firstly, the study is an original one in that it presents the causes behind EFL writing problems, the strategies needed to overcome these problems and the intervening factors in EFL writing by making classification. ...
... role of writing, this skill has been investigated by many researchers in recent years (e.g., Crosthwaite, Storch, & Schweinberger, 2020;Karimian Shirejini, & Derakhshan, 2020;Lee, 2020;Yu, Xu, Jiang, & Chan, 2020). The reason why writing is perceived by language learners as the most difficult skill is because they are required to possess a threshold level of L2 background knowledge with regard to the subtleties of writing such as rhetorical organizations, appropriate language use or specific words they wish to use with the aim of engaging in communication with their readers (Abu Rass, 2001;Alamargot & Chanquoy, 2001). ...
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This research study was aimed at examining the potential effect of collaborative corpus-based activities on EFL learners’ writing performance. 90 EFL learners participated in the study and were divided into three groups, namely, two experimental and a control group. All students sat for a writing pretest, followed by practicing writing through using Collins COBULID corpus. Finally, they took part in a writing posttest. The two experimental groups received different treatments and the control group received no treatment. That is, the students in the control group worked with the corpus individually and those in one experimental group were exposed to such treatment and enjoyed collaboration among each other. Students in another experimental group only practiced writing collaboratively while using no corpus. Despite the efficacy of both collaborative writing practice and collaborative corpus-based writing practice in enhancing the students’ writing, results of ANCOVA showed that students in collaborative corpus-based practice group benefited significantly more than the two other groups with regard to the improvement of writing quality. These findings can have implications for teachers, learners, syllabus designers and textbook writers.
... Harmer (2007) states that this skill should be taught to help students acquire the language through the visual demonstration of how it is constructed and reinforce what they have learned. However, due to the complex nature of English-writing and EFL learners' limited linguistic knowledge, teaching and learning English-writing in EFL contexts is a challenging process (Derakhshan & Karimian Shirejini, 2020;Ghoorchaei & Khosravi, 2019;Nguyen, 2021;Syafii & Miftah, 2020). In fact, besides learning the English language, learners need to learn how to develop their ideas to produce texts with the rhetorical features that they have never had in their first language (L1). ...
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Thai students’ writing in English is a chronic problem documented in the literature of English Language Teaching (ELT) in Thailand. However, little research has been conducted on how Thai teachers and students perceive the importance of English-writing and what difficulties and expectations/suggestions they have in teaching and learning this skill at upper-secondary schools (U-SS). This study, therefore, plans to fill this gap by employing two sets of surveys and semi-structured interviews with 114 teachers and 170 students from 30 different U-SS in the Northeastern part of Thailand and two provincial supervisors of Foreign-Language-Education Divisions (Pro-Sup). Besides their various stated personal and contextual problems in terms of time constraint, insufficient resources and poorly-motivated and mixed-ability students, national test structures and the presence of untrained English teachers, the participants acknowledged the importance of English-writing and expected to have this skill taught at all school levels. These findings suggest that to improve the teaching and learning practices of this skill at U-SS in Thailand and other countries with similar contexts, relevant support and necessary reforms from teachers, school leaders and national-test and policymakers are needed.
... Harmer (2007) states that this skill should be taught to help students acquire the language through the visual demonstration of how it is constructed and reinforce what they have learned. However, due to the complex nature of English-writing and EFL learners' limited linguistic knowledge, teaching and learning English-writing in EFL contexts is a challenging process (Derakhshan & Karimian Shirejini, 2020;Ghoorchaei & Khosravi, 2019;Nguyen, 2021;Syafii & Miftah, 2020). In fact, besides learning the English language, learners need to learn how to develop their ideas to produce texts with the rhetorical features that they have never had in their first language (L1). ...
Article
Full-text available
Thai students' writing in English is a chronic problem documented in the literature of English Language Teaching (ELT) in Thailand. However, little research has been conducted on how Thai teachers and students perceive the importance of English-writing and what difficulties and expectations/suggestions they have in teaching and learning this skill at upper-secondary schools (U-SS). This study, therefore, plans to fill this gap by employing two sets of surveys and semi-structured interviews with 114 teachers and 170 students from 30 different U-SS in the Northeastern part of Thailand and two provincial supervisors of Foreign-Language-Education Divisions (Pro-Sup). Besides their various stated personal and contextual problems in terms of time constraint, insufficient resources and poorly-motivated and mixed-ability students, national test structures and the presence of untrained English teachers, the participants acknowledged the importance of English-writing and expected to have this skill taught at all school levels. These findings suggest that to improve the teaching and learning practices of this skill at U-SS in Thailand and other countries with similar contexts, relevant support and necessary reforms from teachers, school leaders and national-test and policymakers are needed.
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As many scholars have realized the significance and urgency of academic English writing research in English-as-foreign-language countries, numerous studies have been conducted on the topic. However, little has focused exclusively on multidisciplinary empirical research on High-level Project (HLP) postgraduates’ academic English writing in China. The present study intends to explore the general tendency of HLP students’ academic English writing. It first investigates the difficulties and writing habits of fifty-one HLP postgraduates in the English training center of a “Project-985” university in China through a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews, and then discusses some problems of the present academic English writing classroom and academic English writing skills that need to be improved promptly.
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Writing has always been seen as the most troublesome and challenging area of language learning for all students without exception especially if it is to be done in a foreign language. Most of these students fail to meet the expectations of instructors both communicatively and linguistically. Those students are, in fact of varied backgrounds, different learning methodologies, varied levels of language skills and experience, let alone different insights, attitudes and conceptions about the writing skill. Consequently, it is significant to exhibit what these students think of writing and how they approach it. This study was meant to serve a two-fold purpose. Firstly, it aimed at examining what the Palestinian EFL students' attitudes towards writing in general are; and secondly, whether the Palestinian EFL students feel any difference between expressing ideas while writing in English and Arabic. The participant of this study were (102) EFL students enrolled in four writing courses offered by the English Department in the Faculty of Humanities at An-Najah National University in the Spring Semester 2016/2017. A 28-item questionnaire modified from Daly-Miller Writing Apprehension Questionnaire and an open-ended question to help respondents freely express their attitudes towards writing were used to answer the questions. The study findings showed that students had positive attitudes toward writing, the various writing courses offered by the university, the textbooks and teaching methods used, and their writing skills and strategies.
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Writing is a very important skill in our daily life. It helps in realizing communication among people in community. It also plays a significant role in language development, learning and teaching. Therefore, teaching such a skill is important particularly to learners of English as a foreign language, where Yemeni learners are a case in point. However, writing instruction involves different challenges that need to be taken into account. This paper aims to highlight the importance of writing for realizing different purposes of human life. It explains the need for writing to achieve communicative purposes. It also states the importance of writing for enhancing learning and teaching. Based on analyzing the current situation of teaching the writing skill and on the basis of previous studies, this paper singles out the most prominent challenges of teaching the writing skill. It shows that these challenges are related to the linguistic and cultural background, the learner, the teacher and the teaching context.
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Academic writing skills mostly involve the linguistic competence development of the students which many English Second Language learners may identify it as a challenging task. The main objective of this study is to look into various challenges encountered by English Second language students in academic writing in ordinary graduation project in the context of universities. Specifically, this research focuses on identifying the problems faced by the Arts Colleges within the University of Al Imam Al Mahdi, Sudan. The researcher used the student’s project graduation to investigate the problems encountered by the students when they used their academic writing skills. To state the obstacles recognized by the examined students in academic writing skills, the researcher employed a descriptive method. The findings of this research revealed the most problematic area faced by the students. Finally, the results of this research may help the scholars to reflect on teaching practices and urge the goverment to help teachers’ attempts to enhance the academic writing skills of their students at the University of Al Imam Al Mahdi, Sudan. Keywords: academic writing, students, problems.
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Based on 55 semi-structured in-depth interviews, this book investigates 15 high-tech engineering co-op professionals’ writing experience in the workplace. It shows how the digital age has had a marked impact on the engineers’ methods of communication at work, and how on-the -job writing has affected engineers’ technical competence, shaped their professional identities, challenged their views on Chinese and English writing, and hindered their success in the workplace. The book identifies three aspects of writing practice: engineers’ linguistic and literacy challenges, the reasons behind these challenges, and coping strategies, which suggest that engineers are underprepared and lack necessary support in the workplace. Lastly, the study shows that engineers need to engage in technical literacy through on-the-job writing so that they can fully deal with workplace discourse and socialize with diverse professional groups. Since the sample group interviewed in this book is engineers who studied at universities in the United States and have a foot in the world of school and work as well as knowledge of both Eastern and Western cultures, the book appeals to teachers, students, engineers and scientists who are interested in scientific and technological writing. It is also valuable for educators who prepare scientists, engineers, and technical communicators for professional roles, as well as for communication practitioners who work with engineers.
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Writing skill is a product of ingenuity carved through knowledge, learning, creativity and intellectual uprightness. An individual with sound writing skills is regarded high in dignity and receives elevated opportunities everywhere in competitive examinations, job opportunities, promotions and social services. Regarding the discipline of teaching and learning a language, proficiency in writing skill deserves an irrelative significance. In spite of being an unsurmountably significant skill, numerous learners and pedagogues still seem to be bewildering for specifying the actual crux of theoretical knowledge and pedagogical procedures of writing in a compact document. In order to bridge up this goal, this study attempts to open some pertinent horizons in terms of its objectives, approaches, types, components and cannons for evaluation through document analysis method, a major component of qualitative research design. Fairly a large number of document based views, ideas, opinions, definitions, approaches and guidelines have been analyzed critically. Obviously, the resources covered in the review, results and discussion section would prove to be reliable sources for the prospective learners and researchers. The study concludes that the teachers and syllabus designers have to keep themselves up-to-date with process based current approaches, methods and techniques alongside their theoretical and practical foundations. The most noteworthy insight drawn is that there are not any specific methods and techniques comprehensive enough to capture all the facets of teaching writing skill. Therefore, the teacher has to select and implement the best ones from a wide range of methods and techniques eclectically by musing on the classroom stakeholders deeply.