The general area of this paper is the effects of teacher-student writing conference on ESL writers. Because of the importance of this emerging pedagogical practice in the field of language teaching. Many researches have been conducted to explore how teaching and learning writing can be more effective through this interactive context of teacher-student writing conference.
Conferences provide a chance for students to think about their learning, reflect upon their work, and understand their performance and the progress they made or notice the lack of progress in some areas of their learning.
Based on the reviewed articles, researchers’ findings revealed the effectiveness of teachers and students’ conferences with second language (L2) writers which for many years have been thought to be valuable learning experience. However, these studies contribute to a small, but growing body of research about how enormously writing conferences can benefit L2 writers.
Despite the concrete results about the effectiveness of this pedagogical practice, further research is needed to understand in a more comprehensive way their effectiveness in second language learning and particularly for beginner writers. For instance, further research is needed to measure how participant increase their vocabulary in RR or ER programs. Moreover, further research on RR should investigate the relationship between reading fluency and comprehension skills with larger sample and more reliable and valid tests. It is important also to understand how good and poor readers differ in their awareness of reading strategies. More importantly, researchers should consider more and investigate why some readers fail to improve their comprehension even after their reading fluency is improved.
The goal of this paper is to examine some empirical research articles that delt with the topic of teacher student conferences. These articles aim at clarifying and shedding light on some methods and techniques that are useful in second language teaching. It will not only help in designing stimulating teaching practices but also it helps to be mindful of the existing facts and issues that may arise while implementing them.
This paper will be organized as follow. First, the first summary is about student and teacher conferencing as an effective process in assessment. Second, the second summary is about different studies that aimed at exploring the eminence of this pedagogical practice. Third, some teaching implications will be suggested.
Description of the articles:
In a research conducted by Ewart (2009), he employed two frameworks for analysis of negotiation and scaffolding to investigate the discursive quality of two teachers. Six conferences were audio recorded. In both settings, in class and a computer laboratory, the conversations were private. Teachers’ focus was about content and organization rather than language issues. Teacher (A) made written comments on student’s writing drafts before the conference and talked about them during the meeting while teacher (B) didn’t write on learner’s draft paper until he met students.
Results of the study showed that negotiation and scaffolding were found in all conferences. However, results indicate also that when there is negotiation around fewer topics which focus on content lead to more revision and students’ participation.
In another research conducted by Eckstein (2013). The study aimed at extracting insights and perceptions from instituting intensive L2 writing conferences program for students at five level of English language proficiency. Survey responses from 14 teachers and 546 students in the intensive English program were analyzed in Brigham Young University. The writing conference program (WCP) was created where teachers met with students outside the class and face-to-face to discuss their draft essays.
Results showed that both students and teachers would find conferencing to be a helpful practice. However, less-proficient language users tended to less admire this practice. Noticeably, they were less interactive during the experience than the more-proficient peers who valued teachers’ conferencing while providing feedback and they had a more collaborative interaction in the program.
In the same context, a study by (Mccarthey, 1992) investigated the changing practices of two teachers in conducting writing conferences with elementary student. The purpose of the study is to demonstrate how teachers viewed their role and their ways of acting out in writing conferences. Teachers in this study participated in the Teachers College Writing Project which consisted of trying to change the dominant patterns of writing instruction in the classroom.
The research describes 2 teachers selected from 10 participating teachers in the TCWP to be investigated as case study. They were experienced elementary teachers teaching in New York city Public schools. Data were collected from three sources: classroom observations, semi-structured interviews, and post-observation interviews conducted after the classroom observations.
Both teachers established a more balanced view of the writing conference. The balance they reached reflected their changing conceptions about TC, the content of the conferences, and the interactions of the teachers and students during the conference. As a result, there was less emphasis on mechanics and more attention was devoted to the ideas expressed. Moreover, Student involvement and student talk increased as the teachers shifted their roles during this process.
In a recent study conducted by Maliborkska and You (2016) examining the perceptions of f L2 writers and experienced writing instructors toward writing conferences in a writing course. One hundred students and eight instructors participate in this study. Teachers employed a number of teaching formats such as lectures, group conferences, individual conferences, and peer reviews. Two sets of survey questionnaires were designed to obtain students’ and teachers’ perception about conferencing. Results not only revealed that writing conferences aid the revision process but also showed the positive attitude that students had toward this writing component which helped them get a personalized support with writing.
Similarly, the study of (Sperling, 2015) attempts to understand the effectiveness of teaching and learning of writing in an explicit interactive classroom context. By observing a teacher\’s interactions with his students as they learn to write in a ninth-grade English class for. Six case study students were examined. Findings from this study not only support the notion that instructional dialogue is effective in teaching and learning writing, but also shows the collaborative process perceived positively by learners.
After reviewing the literature related to the students and teachers’ conferences and by taking into consideration the results of the empirical studies discussed in this paper. As an English language teacher I would suggest three pedagogical suggestions that can be possible to be applied in ESL classroom concerning L2 writing and teachers and students conferencing.
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