Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

L2 Learning-to-Write through Writing Conferences: A Mixed Methods Research Study
by Imai, Junko, Ph.D., University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2019, 367; 27544976
Abstract (Summary)

A writing conference (WrC) is a one-on-one consulting session concerning a student’s written academic work that takes place in a novice–expert pair. The literature on second language (L2) WrCs commonly addresses issues such as how novice writers learn to write, writers’ communicative responsibilities, and the challenges involved in L2 WrCs (e.g., Cumming & So, 1996; Ewert, 2009; Patthey-Chavez & Ferris, 1997; Young & Miller, 2004). L2 writing research has identified conditions that lead to successful textual revisions by coding texts, while conference studies have illustrated dominance and miscommunication in WrC talk by analyzing discursive practices. Yet these approaches are rarely employed together to understand data from the same participants and contexts, and most studies have been conducted on a small scale.

To understand the effectiveness, meaningfulness, and challenges of L2 WrCs, I introduced WrCs in a college-level English for Academic Purpose (EAP) program in Hawai‘i. Employing a sequential explanatory mixed-methods research design (Creswell, 2009), I collected pre and post questionnaires and essays from 108 learners. Over the course of the semester, 33 student–tutor pairs met for WrCs outside of regular EAP class times. I video recorded the WrCs, collected the students’ drafts and revisions, and conducted playback interviews with each participant. I statistically compared the quality of the students’ texts and attitudes, coded the topics discussed, discourse structures, and revision types, and explored the participants’ performances qualitatively. While the findings of the quantitative analysis indicate marginal effectiveness of L2 WrCs, the coding analysis demonstrates the diversity of the participants’ engagement in the WrCs. Qualitative analysis of selected WrCs illustrates the active participation and scaffolding that occurred in individual sessions, shows the interactive structure of the WrCs, and validates quantitative and coding results. Finally, the study explores the convergence and divergence of the findings from the different analyses, allowing a mixed-methods interpretation that casts new light on WrCs and L2 learning-to-write. Pedagogically, this study addresses the following matters: (a) whether WrCs are useful, (b) whether L2 learners should attend WrCs, (c) what learners and their tutors discuss during WrCs, and (d) how learners and tutors participate in WrCs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brown, James Dean
Commitee: Day, Richard, Gilliland, Elizabeth, Higgins, Christina, González-Lloret, Marta, Aranda, Lucía
School: University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Department: Second Language Studies
School Location: United States -- Hawaii
Source: DAI-A 81/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: English as a Second Language, Linguistics, Pedagogy
Keywords: Learning-to-write, Mixed-methods research, Second language acquisition, Second language writing, Self-regulation, Writing conference
Publication Number: 27544976
ISBN: 9781392495612
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