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Second language writers’ processes, performance and perceptions in ESL Composition : Case studies of… Hayward, Lynda Joyce 1994

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SECOND L A N G U A G E WRITERS' PROCESSES, P E R F O R M A N C E AND PERCEPTIONS IN ESL COMPOSITION: CASE STUDIES OF JAPANESE STUDENTS by L Y N D A JOYCE H A Y W A R D B.A. , The University of Saskatchewan, 1973 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE F A C U L T Y OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF L A N G U A G E EDUCATION We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November 1994 © L y n d a Joyce Hayward, 1994 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department o] The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T This study describes the products, processes and perceptions of Japanese E S L students with varying degrees of writing expertise in their LI as they engaged in English composition tasks. Case studies were impressionistically chosen from profiles which included the writers' range of experience in L I writing, their attitude toward LI writing, their self-ratings of their L I writing ability and holistically assessed samples of their LI writing. Of the six chosen, three had relatively strong backgrounds in Japanese writing; three did not. Writers were observed across two E S L compositions tasks— a description and an argument. Written products were holistically assessed using the E S L Composition Profile (Jacobs, Zinkgraf, Wormuth, Hartfiel and Hughey, 1981). Protocols of the writers' "thinking-aloud" during composing sessions and retrospective interviews held immediately afterward yielded qualitative data concerning the types of processes - which writers engaged in as they composed. Descriptions of the writers' perceptions of the task demands and their previous writing instruction in Japanese and English (L2) are considered in interpreting the findings. On the first task (the argument), writers with more LI writing expertise performed better than writers with less expertise in LI writing; on the second task (the description), they performed better than two of the three less expert L I writers. Better performance of the stronger LI writers was observed across all categories of the E S L Composition profile: content, organization, language use, vocabulary and mechanics. Process data showed that stronger L I writers exhibited more control over the planning of their texts. Their "think-aloud" protocols were more often done in English and generally provided a richer source of data than those of less proficient L I writers. No correspondence was found between second language proficiency, according to either measure, and written products or writing processes. Data i i from interviews held with the writers suggested that they had received little explicit writing instruction in LI or L 2 . Writers appeared to lack familiarity with various modes of English discourse organization which led them to view the task demands as similar. i i i T A B L E OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents i v List of Tables •• v i i Acknowledgements v i i i Chapter One: Introduction 1 1.1. Identification of the Problem 1 1.2. Purpose of the Present Study 3 1.3. The Research Questions 4 1.4. Significance of the Problem 5 Chapter Two: Review of Relevant Literature 7 2.1. LI Writing Competence and L2 Writing 7 2.1.1. Descriptions of Second Language Writers 7 2.1.2. Composing Processes Across Languages Evidence of Transfer 11 2.2. Linguistic Proficiency and L2 Writing 20 2.3. Cultural and Rhetorical Conventions of L I Writing 23 Chapter Three: Design of the Study 28 3.1. Participants 29 3.1.1. Recruitment Procedure 29 -3,1.2. Profiles of Participants 30 3.2. Case Selection 33 3.2.1. The Screening Questionnaire 35 Self Rating of LI Writing Ability 35 Previous Writing Experience 36 Students' Feelings About Writing 36 3.2.2. LI Writing Samples 36 3.2.3. Measure of English Proficiency 37 T O E F L Scores 37 Oral Proficiency Interview Scores 38 3.3. Data Collection 38 3.3.1. Setting .-. 38 3.3.2. Writing Tasks 39 3.3.3. Think-Aloud Procedure 39 3.3.4. Retrospective Interview Procedure 40 3.3.5. Final Interview 41 3.4. Coding of Data 41 3.4.1. The Think-Aloud Protocols 41 3.4.2. Written Products 42 3.5. Data Analysis ....42 i v Chapter Four: Findings and Interpretation 43 4.1. Performance on the E S L Composition Tasks 43 4.1.1. Research Question la: Stronger and Weaker LI Writers' Performance on E S L Composition Tasks 43 4.1.2. Research Question 2a: Performance Ratings and E S L Proficiency 49 4.1.3. Interpretation of Performance Findings 50 4.2. Writing Processes of Case Study Writers. 53 4.2.1. Writing Processes and LI Writing Expertise 53 Advance and Emergent Planning 53 Attention to Aspects of Composing 57 Decision Making 60 Use of LI in Composing 61 Word Choice 63 Interaction with Text 65 4.2.2. Interpretation of L2 Writing Processes and Second Language Proficiency 68 4.3. Writers Preparedness for E S L Composition Tasks 70 4.3.1. Research Question 3a: Writers' Perceptions of Tasks 70 Writers' Reactions to the Topics 70 Writers' Perceptions of Constraints Placed Upon Them by the Writing Tasks 71 Perceived Requirements of the Writing Tasks 75 Interpretations of Writers' Perceptions of Tasks 76 4.3.2. Writers' Perceptions of Performance 78 Writers' Perceptions of Product Quality 78 Writers' Satisfaction with Their Written Products 80 Summary of Perceptions of Performance... 80 4.3.3. Research Question 3b: Writing Instruction in L I and L2 81 Instruction Received in L I Writing 81 Instruction Received in L2 Writing 82 Interpretation of Previous Writing Instruction 83 Chapter 5: Discussion and Implications 84 5.1. Discussion 84 5.2. Limitations of the Study 91 5.3. Implications 92 5.3.1. Implications for Writing Assessment/Placement....92 5.3.2. Implications for Instruction 93 5.5.3. Implications for Further Research 95 References 97 Appendix A: Screening Questionnaire 101 Appendix B: Japanese Writing Sample Prompts 104 Appendix C: Changes to E S L Composition Profile 105 Appendix D: L2 Writing Prompts 108 Appendix E : Thinking Aloud Practice Problems 109 Appendix F: Retrospective Interview 110 Appendix G: Think Aloud Protocol Transcribed with Text I l l Appendix H: Categories for Coding Think Aloud Protocols 114 Appendix I: Final Interview Questions 117 Appendix J: E S L Composition Profile Score Sheet 119 v i LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Description of Case Participants 32 Table 2: LI Writing Profile of Less Expert LI Writers 34 Table 3: LI Writing Profile of More Expert LI Writers 34 Table 4: E S L Composition Profile Scores and Ranks for Topic 1 44 Table 5: E S L Composition Profile Scores and Ranks for Topic 2 45 Table 6: Performance on E S L Composition Profile Categories for Topic 1 46 Table 7: Performance on E S L Composition Profile Categories for Topic 2 47 Table 8: Performance on E S L Composition Profile Categories: Means of Stronger and Weaker LI Writers and Overall Means 48 Table 9: Performance Rankings on Topic 1 and Topic 2 and Measures of E S L Proficiency 50 Table 10: Time Spent Composing and Length of Texts 66 Table 11: Ratings of Feelings and Satisfaction with Products - Topic 1 79 Table 12: Ratings of Feelings and Satisfaction with Products - Topic 2 79 Table 13: Self Ratings of L2 Writing Ability and Satisfaction with Written Products i 80 v i i A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S I would like to express my gratitude to my co-advisors, Dr. Margaret Early and Dr. Patricia Duff, for their expert guidance at all stages of this project and for the pleasure of working in a collaborative relationship with them. I would also like to thank Dr. Peter Gouzouasis for his helpful suggestions for the writing of the thesis. For the strong support I received from within the Ritsumeikan/UBC program, which manifested itself as access to subjects, facilities and expertise, I am indebted to William McMichael and Jean Hamilton. I also wish to extend heartfelt thanks to friends and family members who never failed to come through with what I needed when I needed it. I am especially grateful to Brent, Alyssa and Max for their patience and flexibility; to Mom and Dad for their faith and support; to Connie Glover and Karen Werner for their frequent words of encouragement; to my fellow-graduate student, Roberta Buck, for our strategy sessions at the beach and elsewhere; and to Sandra Sammartino, for the once-a-week yoga classes which boosted my inner strength. Last but not least I owe a debt of gratitude to the six writers who made this study possible. v i i i CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1.1. IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM Exploratory studies in the area of second language writing have found that composing processes of second language writers are influenced by the degree of writing skill which individuals have developed in their first language (Jones & Tetroe, 1987; Raimes, 1987). A recent study (Cumming, 1989) has suggested that first language (LI) writing expertise and second language (L2) proficiency make quite different contributions to the processes and products of writing in a second language. Linguistic proficiency appears to enhance the overall quality of the product but not to influence the writing process. Generalizability of this finding, however, is currently limited to college level, Francophone E S L students in Canada. The contribution of writing expertise in languages distinctly different from English to E S L composing has yet to be determined. Early case studies of second language (L2) writers found that students with more effective composing skills resembled their native-speaker counterparts who were "skilled" in writing (Zamel, 1983), whereas, processes of those L2 writers who lacked composing competence resembled "basic" writers (Raimes, 1985; Zamel, 1983) described in first language (LI) composition research (Perl, 1978). Although writing processes of native and non-native writers appear to be similar, there remains one obvious difference in that the second language writer has an L I . Questions about how or whether E S L writers make use of their LI as they compose and how the LI either enhances or inhibits second language writing have been been the subject of another body of research (Jones & Tetroe, 1987; Friedlander, 1990; Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992). Studies which have observed the same individuals producing texts in LI and L2 have been undertaken with small numbers of subjects representing various first language backgrounds. 1 Three findings are recurrent: (1) individual writers have composing styles which remain constant across languages (Arndt, 1987; Carson & Kuehn, 1992; Hall, 1990; Pennington & So, 1992; Uzawa & Cumming, 1989); (2) there is a great deal of variation in composing styles even among individuals within the same language group (Arndt, 1987; Raimes, 1985) and (3) L2 linguistic proficiency has not been shown to systematically affect L2 writing processes (Cumming, 1989; Jones & Tetroe, 1987; Raimes, 1987). Cross-linguistic studies have also identified ways in which individual writers respond to the additional cognitive load of composing in a second language. Less planning (Jones & Tetroe, 1987), diminished content (Lay, 1982); more time consuming revisions (Hall, 1990), composing in LI (Jones & Tetroe, 1987), and lowering the standards of their LI writing (Uzawa & Cumming, 1989) have been observed. Being able to apply LI strategies to L2 composing can be seen as an asset for those with highly developed composing skills (e.g., professional writers of Cumming, 1989) or a liability, for writers who have not developed effective L I composing processes (Arndt, 1987). The suggestion that good writers in LI will become good writers in L2 supports a model of first and second language interaction put forth by Cummins (1981). Cummins explains parallel performance in LI and L2 composition as a transfer of literacy skills between languages. In this model the ability to produce context-reduced academic prose in LI and L2 is seen to be a function of a common underlying competency which Cummins' refers to as C A L P (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency). According to Cummins, this specialised type of proficiency develops in an academic context and is distinct from the language of everyday communication. Raimes (1987), however, has noted that "many E S L students are not skilled and proficient writers in their first language; indeed many correspond to basic writers in that they are likely to have received little practice and. little instruction in writing in any language" (p. 441). Since this 2 underlying proficiency (CALP) may not be assumed present in all E S L writers (Mohan & Lo, 1986), variables such as educational background and first language writing history are relevant to investigations of the relationship between individuals' L I and L2 writing performance. In a quantitative investigation of the writing processes and products of 23 French Canadian students, Cumming (1989) teased apart the variables of L2 language proficiency and L I writing expertise which he claimed earlier studies (with few exceptions) had confounded. Cumming utilized a first language writing sample and individuals' self reports to establish three levels of first language writing expertise: basic, average and professional. Language proficiency was determined by the score on an oral interview. Based upon these writers' performance on three writing tasks, Cumming concluded that language proficiency and writing expertise made separate contributions to the outcome. Data from his process measures indicated that use of problem-solving strategies varied with L I writing expertise rather than with second language proficiency. Like expert L I writers, professional writers controlled their composing by: (1) attending to complex aspects of writing while making decisions, (2) making extensive use of heuristic search strategies for evaluating and resolving problems, and (3) utilizing well-differentiated control strategies. Second language proficiency only enhanced the overall quality of the writing. The notion that some aspects of writing expertise are transferable across languages lends support to Cummins' (1981) model. 1.2. PURPOSE OF T H E PRESENT STUDY The purpose of the present study composing processes of a small number composition tasks, (2) to establish how is (1) to describe the written products and of Japanese students engaged in two E S L their products and processes vary with either expertise in L I writing or E S L proficiency, and (3) to elicit information from the writers' point of view about their experiences with the writing tasks and their history of writing instruction. An exploratory case study design has been adopted to fulfil these purpose. Case study writers have unique profiles of LI writing expertise and L2 proficiency; unlike participants in many case studies of writing processes, individuals in this study were not students in a process-based writing classroom. They were exchange students in an integrated content-based program and consequently did not receive form-focused E S L instruction. 1.3. THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS The specific questions to be addressed are: la. Do Japanese writers with, more expertise in LI writing, as determined by self report and holistically assessed writing samples, produce higher quality English compositions, as assessed by a holistic measure, than Japanese writers with less expertise in L I w r i t i ng? lb. Are the L2 writing processes of Japanese writers with more expertise in LI similar to those of less expert LI writers? 2a. To what extent does the quality of written compositions vary with the writers' E S L proficiency as measured by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)? To what extent does it vary with E S L proficiency as measured by the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)? 2b. To what extent do writing processes vary with E S L proficiency as measured by T O E F L ? To what extent do they vary with students' levels of English proficiency as measured by a test of oral proficiency (OPI)? 4 3 a. How do Japanese writers perceive the demands of writing English compositions in a descriptive and an argumentative mode within the circumstances of this study? 3b. How has their writing instruction in LI and L2 prepared them to perform these tasks? 1.4. SIGNIFICANCE OF T H E PROBLEM Research in the area of second language writing is frequently conducted with small numbers of subjects, from a single (or at best a few) mother tongue backgrounds. A challenge to researchers in this area, therefore, is to develop ways of extending the findings of one study to learners from other language and cultural groups. The current study speaks to several questions which have been addressed in recent studies in the area of second language writing, but not with Japanese students. These include general questions, such as how individuals approach E S L composition tasks and how they cope with the increased cognitive load of composing in a second language. They also include specific questions, motivated by the research of Cumming (1989), concerning how Japanese writers' performance and processes in E S L composition are affected by first language writing expertise and second language proficiency. It is hoped that answers to these questions will lead to a better understanding of the instructional needs of Japanese E S L writers. An exploration of writers' perceptions of the demands of the composition tasks and an examination of the writing instruction that their performance is based upon will, likewise, contribute to this understanding. This thesis will be presented in five chapters. In Chapter Two, literature relevant to the current study will be reviewed; this chapter will focus on the contributions of LI writing competence, linguistic proficiency, and cultural and linguistic conventions promoted in the LI to writing competency in L2. In 5 Chapter Three, the methodology which has been adopted for the current study will be described. Findings will be reported and interpreted in Chapter Four. In Chapter Five, implications and limitations of the study and questions arising from the current research will be discussed. 6 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF R E L E V A N T L I T E R A T U R E This chapter reviews research relevant to the role of (1) first language writing competence, (2) E S L proficiency, and (3) cultural and linguistic conventions promoted in the L I , in second language writing competency. 2.1. LI WRITING C O M P E T E N C E AND L2 WRITING 2.1.1. Descriptions of Second Language Writers Writing processes of second language learners have been the subject of numerous exploratory investigations since the early 1980's. These studies, many of which have been replications of case studies of native speakers (Emig, 1971; Perl, 1980; Pianko, 1979), have had as their objective describing the processes of college level writers learning to write in a second language. Case studies of both first and second language writers have frequently highlighted the types of processes that relatively "skilled" and "unskilled" individuals engage in as they write (Raimes, 1985; Zamel, 1983). In order to determine the relevance of first language writing pedagogy to E S L , descriptions of E S L students' composing processes have frequently been compared with descriptions of native speakers. Such comparisons are made possible due to the utilization of similar measurement techniques with both populations. This section will survey some of the early descriptive studies of college level E S L writers which address questions of how second language writers compose and how the strategies and behaviours of "unskilled" L2 writers differ from their more "skilled" counterparts. The Studies Studies done by Zamel (1983) and Raimes (1985) compared college-level L2 writers with basic writers in L I . 7 Zamel (1983) observed advanced E S L students as they composed successive drafts of two course-related assignments and interviewed them afterward about their processes. The composing processes of those judged to be "unskilled" were similar to those reported in Perl's (1981) case studies of unskilled native speaker writers in that they revised less and spent less time writing than their more skilled counterparts. Whereas skilled writers in both studies tended to work at sentence or paragraph level, unskilled writers worked with smaller "chunks" of discourse and paused more frequently. Zamel's more skilled writers were concerned with surface level features at a later stage—in fact they developed strategies which allowed them to "pursue the development of their ideas without being sidetracked by lexical and syntactic difficulties" (p. 75). Generally speaking, they had a better understanding of the writing process. For them, making meaning was seen as the primary focus; encoding that meaning was secondary. Zamel's (1983) descriptions of non-native speaker (NNS) writers also provides evidence that "certain composing problems transcend language factors and are shared by native and non-native speakers of English" (p. 168). Raimes (1985) used think-aloud protocols and Perl's (1981) coding scheme in an attempt to learn more about the writing processes of less skillful second language writers as they composed an in-class essay. Although these writers found the task of composing in English "involving and exhausting" (Raimes, 1985, p. 245), they demonstrated a commitment to it. They resembled other unskilled writers studied (Perl, 1979; Zamel, 1983) in that they did little planning either before or during writing. A difference which Raimes (1985) noted in her subjects was that they seemed less concerned with accuracy than other unskilled writers had been. Unlike Perl (1981), Raimes (1985) did not find a clear profile of the unskilled E S L writer in her study; patterns of behavior were too inconsistent. She did find, however, that composing competence did not correspond with linguistic competence and that "students whose proficiency is judged as insufficient for 8 academic course work generate language and ideas in much the same way as more proficient students" (p. 249). Some of the less effective composing processes reported in case study research may actually reveal undesirable by-products of instructional techniques. Jones (1985) applied Krashen's monitor theory (1982) to analyze processes of two advanced E S L writers with contrasting approaches to the writing process. He found that monitoring did not improve writing; he speculated that excessive use of the monitor might result from instruction which emphasized form. Rorschach (1986) had readers revise essays which had already received teacher feedback. Data from revised essays and interviews indicated that emphasis on form over content resulted from awareness of the reader. Hildebrandt (1985) observed that Spanish speakers writing in community college classes had preferences for the personal, creative mode which conflicted with the expected ".academic" mode. Using think-aloud protocols, Raimes (1987) compared the writing processes of four subjects who had gained entry into college courses with four in a remedial course. Those with the greatest writing ability, as determined by course placement, actively revised and edited their work more than the remedial students did. They demonstrating "a heightened awareness of options and thus a higher level of concern about the reader's expectations of correctness" (p. 459). Students in the remedial course, on the other hand, seemed to think in terms of what was "right and wrong," not about stylistic options. Raimes noticed that the two students who edited the most were the only two to rate their LI writing ability as good or excellent. Furthermore, these two writers were the most fluent in conversation. These data suggest the possibility that commitment to revising and editing may be linked to the writer's LI writing ability or to proficiency in English. Overall, Raimes concluded that L2 writers in her study had many similarities with L I writers; one difference was that they were less inhibited 9 about editing and correcting their work. Summary Several early investigations into the writing processes of college E S L writers have been case studies, often conducted by instructors on their own students. The methodology used has been adapted from similar investigations in L I (Perl, 1980; Pianko, 1979) and common scoring instruments have made comparisons between L2 and LI studies possible in some cases. Findings suggest that for good second language writers, writing is a recursive not a linear process and that skilled L2 writers are capable of interacting with text in ways comparable to skilled LI writers (Raimes, 1987; Zamel, 1983). They seem to have a superior understanding of the process of composing compared with their less skilled counterparts. Unskilled writers in LI and L2, on the other hand, appeared to share composing problems which suggests that these problems transcend language factors (Zamel, 1983). Although the behaviours exhibited by unskilled writers had some common features, their individual differences made it more difficult to characterize them as a group (Raimes, 1985). A number of factors which constrain L2 writers were identified by these investigators. Some writers did not appear to understand the writing process (Zamel, 1983). Others were overly concerned about form which made them slaves to their own error correction (Jones, 1985). Some students did not feel comfortable with modes of writing which were required in an academic context (Hildebrandt, 1985). Linguistic proficiency did not appear to be directly linked to writing processes (Raimes, 1985). Exploratory studies such as these have played a heuristic role in the development of an understanding of second language writing processes. There are limitations of this research paradigm, however, which have sometimes been overstepped in the interpretation of the findings. First, comparison of "skilled" and/or "unskilled" writers across boundaries of a single study is not justified as no 10 common criteria have been established (Raimes, 1985). Second, writing proficiency in the "skilled-unskilled" dichotomy has sometimes been determined by holistic evaluation of samples of students' second language writing. According to Cumming (1989), this type of measure confounds two of the variables which inform the current study: proficiency in the second language and expertise in writing. Third, there may be a prejudicial effect from researchers using their own students or former students as subjects (Silva, 1989). It is highly possible that students will intentionally exhibit the composing processes which have been stressed in their instruction. In other words, they may display processes which their instructor is committed to rather than ones which they have a personal commitment to. 2.1.2. Composing Processes Across Languages: Evidence of Transfer This section will review comparative studies which address questions of how or whether E S L writers use their LI linguistic and composing skills when writing in a second language. If they are good writers in their L I , will they automatically become good writers in their L2? Conversely, if they are weak in LI writing, will that weakness limit their ability to succeed in L2 writing? In order to gain a better understanding of the relationship between LI and L2 writing, more recent studies have observed the same individuals producing texts across languages. Some cross-linguistic studies have sought to identify features which are common to writing across languages by comparing the processes and product features of texts written by the same individuals in LI and L2 under controlled conditions (Arndt, 1987; Carson & Kuhn, 1992; Hall, 1987; Pennington & So, 1992; Uzawa & Cumming, 1989). Others have experimentally manipulated conditions under which either LI or L2 writing occurred (Friedlander, 1990; Jones & Tetroe, 1987; Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992). These experimental manipulations have included task (Jones & Tetroe, 1987), the language in which planning was done 11 (Friedlander, 1990) and the language which was used for composing (Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992). Findings of these studies offer some insight into the question of How LI composing skills affect those in L2. Studies reported here involve adult post-secondary E S L or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners' writing in both LI and L2. In all studies, writers' L2 proficiency was determined to be at the intermediate to advanced level. Studies without manipulation Researchers comparing the processes of composing in LI and L2 have frequently incorporated case study designs with four to six subjects, from either one or several different language backgrounds. Data typically include LI and L2 texts which are similar with regard to discourse type, purpose and/or audience and process measures derived from "think-aloud" protocols and/or interviews held after each composing session. Arndt (1987) found that composing activities of her post-graduate students remained constant as they produced written texts in their LI (Chinese) and in English. Moreover, despite the fact that she was working with a fairly homogeneous group in terms of academic achievement and language proficiency, writers' composing styles were dissimilar to one another; this suggested that their cognitive processes played a larger role in the composing process than their level of language proficiency. Some writing problems were revealed in subjects' texts whether they were writing in LI or L2. Arndt found that students verbalized elaborations and clarifications which would have illuminated their text but they did not include them. Possible exposure to rigid instructional models that emphasized development of preplanned notions, disallowing spontaneous elaborations, was the explanation offered. Uzawa and Cumming (1989) also did an exploratory study of learners of a distinctly "foreign" language; this study set out to observe the processes of 12 intermediate level, Anglophone students studying Japanese as a foreign language in Canada. A piece of expository writing was done in English and in Japanese on the topic "World Explorations in the 15th Century"; a graphic organizer containing key historic events of that period was provided. Most composing was done in the native language, English, and then transposed into Japanese. Writers exhibited two strategies for dealing with the increased cognitive load of composing in Japanese. These were strategies for "keeping up the standard" of their mother tongue writing or for "reducing the standard." Writers in other words faced "tension between (1) trying to attain the standards they usually achieve in their mother tongue writing, stretching their linguistic resources to reach this goal or (2) sacrificing the possibility of attaining such standards, producing words and syntax in Japanese which came readily without too much bother" (p. 184). Uzawa and Cumming compare this mental dialectic with that proposed in Bereiter and Scardamalia's (1987) cognitive model for composing in L I . Such a theory of cognitive strategies provides an alternate explanation for textual features usually accounted for by "contrastive rhetoric" (Uzawa & Cumming, 1989). Hall's (1990) subjects were advanced students from four different language backgrounds: Polish, Norwegian, French and Chinese. Each subject wrote two essays in LI and two in L2. A striking similarity was found in revisions made across languages with regard to linguistic and discourse features. Stages at which changes were initiated were also similar. Hall concluded that his proficient writers did a combination of transferring their revision processes and adapting revising processes to new problems which existed in L2. Carson and Kuehn (1992) provide evidence that good LI writers become good writers in their L2. They investigated the role of transfer and loss of LI in the development of L2 academic writing proficiency. This study involved 48 native speakers of Chinese attending post-secondary institutions in the United 13 States. The subjects represented three proficiency groups: low intermediate, high intermediate and advanced. Comparison/contrast compositions in English and Chinese were evaluated on 6-point scales of discourse competence. Data suggested that good LI writers become good L2 writers. This supports Cummins' (1981) model which claims that the common underlying cognitive/academic language proficiency has different LI and L2 surface manifestations both at a comparable level. Attrition in first language writing skills was also observed. That is to say that as L2 writing proficiency increased through exposure to a formal academic setting, L I writing proficiency regressed. Carson and Kuehn's data suggest that necessary conditions for the transfer of discourse competence are (1) exposure to L2 in an academic context and (2) writing aptitude. Students with the lowest levels of L2 proficiency had the best LI writing skills which supports the hypothesized attrit ion. To investigate the correspondence between writing processes and written products of writers, Pennington and So (1992) did case studies of six female Singaporean university students writing in their first languages (English or Chinese) and their L2, Japanese. Parallel narratives were produced by writers in both languages. The investigators wanted to know whether "utilization of strategies and behaviours characteristic of skilled writers" (Pennington & So, 1992, p. 45) would be predictive of high ratings on written products. Clear relationships between these variables were not found, particularly in L I . However, the same consistency in writing processes across languages as reported by other researchers (Arndt, 1987; Hall, 1990; Jones & Tetroe, 1987; Uzawa & Cumming, 1989) was noted. Like Cumming (1989), Pennington and So (1992) found high levels of process skill were related to self-reports of experience and interest in writing, whereas the quality of written products in L2 appeared to be tied to language proficiency. 14 Summary Although studies reported in this section provide more information about writing processes across languages than the simpler case studies described in Section 2.1.1.,. they are still of an exploratory nature. Findings are based on an extremely small number of writers representing an extremely small number of language groups and are not generalizable. These studies (Arndt, 1987; Carson & Kuehn, 1992; Hall', 1990; Pennington & So, 1992; Uzawa & Cumming, 1989) noted that writers had individual composing styles, which were seemingly unrelated to their LI type or to their level of L2 language proficiency (at least within the intermediate to advanced range), that they applied across languages. Being able to apply LI strategies to L2 composing was an advantage for professional writers, such as those described by Cumming (1989). In fact, this group had such an advantage that their L2 writing benefited less from increased E S L proficiency than did that of average writers. For less skillful writers, however, poorly developed strategies in L I appear to be a liability when applied to second language composition (Arndt, 1987). None of these studies addressed motivational factors. Uzawa and Cumming (1989) suggest that writers composing in L2 are forced to make a choice as to whether to "raise or lower" their standards. We do not know what factors contribute to the choice of one of these options over another. Furthermore, some studies describe E S L writers as highly dedicated to the experimental composing tasks and others not. How dedicated writers are to composing tasks may reflect interest or personality variables. On the other hand, it could be an artifact of the students' relationships with teacher/researchers who are often conducting this type of research. Studies Involving Experimental Manipulation A longitudinal study of six Spanish speakers composing in English and in 15 Spanish (Jones and Tetroe, 1987) provided evidence that the quality, but not the quantity of planning transfers from LI to L2. Patterns of planning based on an analysis of verbal protocol data were consistent between the two languages as hypothesized. In other words, the best planners in Spanish were the best planners in English as well. These data were evaluated using a goal-setting hierarchy which assessed levels of abstraction in planning. When conventional writing tasks were used, little planning was observed in either language. The planning processes which were in evidence, however, were the same in both languages indicating some transfer of composing patterns. The interaction between composing skill and second language competence was of interest. Subjects who planned the most did so in English, possibly because they were the most proficient. The subjects who did the least planning, however, did so in their L I , Spanish. Jones and Tetroe (1987) interpreted the finding that "failure to plan at a more abstract level in the second language" (p. 50) was not attributable simply to low proficiency, but rather saw it as further evidence of transfer of patterns from L I . At a later stage of the same study (Jones & Tetroe, 1987), narratives and arguments were assigned which incorporated an ending-sentence intervention designed to compel more planning. This experimental intervention increased the amount of planning in LI and L2, again demonstrating that linguistic proficiency is not the only factor limiting the planning behavior of second language writers. On the narrative task, writers were given six plot components to be integrated into the story. A l l subjects were less successful at this task in English suggesting that "working in an unfamiliar language does take up cognitive capacity that would be used for other tasks, such as monitoring and revising the plan, in first-language composition" (Jones and Tetroe, 1987, p. 53). Although none of their subjects had sufficient language proficiency to perform the task as well in English, the level of abstraction they applied to the task was similar in both 16 languages. It has been suggested (Friedlander, 1990) that when the topic is unfamiliar, topic knowledge may have to be retrieved from memory in LI then translated to English before writing can begin. This act of translation is a constraint on the writer's composing processes as it "can lead to an overload on their short-term memory and a diminishment in the quality of the content of their writing" (p. 110). Friedlander hypothesized that positive transfer of first language-related content would be enhanced when writers used the language in which the information was acquired to plan. In an earlier study (Lay, 1982), four Chinese subjects switched to their first language when writing about topics related to their first language background. Lay (1982) found that essays in which there were more switches to the native language were of higher quality in terms of ideas, organization and details. Friedlander (1990) randomly assigned 28 Chinese-speaking students to either a matched condition, where language of planning and language of topic knowledge were the same, or a mismatched condition, where they were unrelated. Both topics, writing about a Chinese festival and writing about adaptation to a U.S. university system, were presented in the form of letters to be written in English. Superior plans and texts were produced when writers were allowed to do their planning in the language of topic knowledge. More detailed plans were produced in the matched condition and plans were significantly longer. Unfortunately, however, other variables were confounded with language of planning. Higher quality products on the Chinese topic, regardless of language, could have resulted from the compare/contrast genre being easier for these students or from the students' greater familiarity with the topic. Kobayashi and Rinnert (1992) manipulated the process by which Japanese students at two levels of proficiency produced texts in English in an E F L context. Compositions were either written in English directly or written in Japanese and 17 translated into English. The purposes of this study were to examine differences in resulting texts and to investigate the relationship between the two approaches and levels of proficiency. Differences in the texts were clearly related to E S L proficiency. Although all translations were rated significantly higher than direct compositions on holistic measures of content, organization and style, this approach was of more benefit to lower proficiency students than to higher, proficiency students. "In the translation versions, these (lower proficiency) students developed more ideas with explanations and specifics, which captured the readers' attention, and they also used more sophisticated vocabulary and grammar and a greater variety of form" (Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992, p. 201). Higher proficiency students made more errors in the translation version than in direct writing. There was some difference between higher-proficiency and lower-proficiency level students' perceptions of the process. Those with greater proficiency favoured the direct composition and reported that their writing was better in this condition. Two proficiency measures were used, an oral measure and an overall measure which was grammar-based. The oral proficiency measure correlated more highly with measures of writing quality than did the measure of grammatical knowledge. Kobayashi and Rinnert concluded that use of the first language may be advantageous to students at lower levels of second-language proficiency in early stages of writing connected with the exploration of ideas. Unfortunately, due to the contrived nature of their design, the question of how students at these two levels of proficiency use their first language in actual composing situations is left unanswered. Summary Studies in this section demonstrate that composing in a second language carries a considerably greater cognitive load than composing in L I ; as well, they alert us to some of the strategies which second language writers employ to cope with this. Effects of an increased cognitive burden were manifested in several 18 ways: L2 revisions were more time consuming and more numerous (Hall, 1990), less material was retrieved from memory (Friedlander, 1990); fewer plot components could be incorporated into the planning of a narrative (Jones & Tetroe, 1986) and lower level students were less able to express and develop ideas (Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992) than they were when they composed in LI and translated. Behaviors such as composing in the LI (Jones & Tetroe, 1986) and "lowering or keeping up the standard" (Uzawa & Cummings, 1989) have been inferred to be strategies for dealing with the complexity of composing in an L2. This section of the review considered the question of how the LI is used in planning. Consistency in patterns of planning has been noted across languages (Jones & Tetroe, 1987); however, as with other aspects of composing, a great deal of individual variation has been observed. Some subjects planned very little (Jones & Tetroe, 1987), but this was consistent across LI and L2. Low-level planners in Jones and Tetroe's (1987) study chose not to plan in English; instead, they relied on their L I , Spanish. Clearly in this situation, lack of English proficiency was not the explanation for the lack of planning. Jones and Tetroe were able to demonstrate in another way that factors other than second language proficiency are at play in determining the quantity of planning as they were able to increase the amount of planning which took place in LI and L2 by manipulating the task. In this situation, subjects could keep up with the level of abstraction in L2 writing, even though they were not able to maintain the quantity of planning. Uzawa and Cummings (1989) found that their intermediate level foreign language students did the majority of their planning in their L I , English. Other studies suggest that there may be more of a tendency to plan in LI with some topics than with others (Lay, 1982; Friedlander, 1990). Kobayashi and Rinnert looked at the quality of texts which resulted from writing directly in English versus writing in the LI (Japanese) then translating into English. The process of writing in the LI benefited writers at lower proficiency levels. It 1 9 appeared that using their LI afforded them a better opportunity to explore ideas. These studies suggest that use of the LI in composing is a stepping stone to being able to compose exclusively in the L2. Whether that dependency on the LI diminishes partly or wholly as a function of increased second language proficiency has not yet been established. It is possible that other competencies which lessen the reliance on LI can be developed through instruction . 2.2. LINGUISTIC PROFICIENCY AND L2 WRITING Studies which demonstrate the role of first language planning strategies in L2 composing emphasize that L2 writing ability is not determined simply by becoming more proficient in L2 (Jones & Tetroe, 1987; Raimes, 1987). However, as the previous section has shown, lack of familiarity with the linguistic code is an obvious constraint for L2 writers. It is common, therefore, for second language writing researchers to include a measure of L2 proficiency (Arndt, 1987; Carson & Kuehn, 1992; Jones & Tetroe, 1987; Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992; Pennington & So, 1989; Raimes, 1985, 1987). This section of the review will consider relationships which have been observed between L2 proficiency and composing processes and between L2 proficiency and quality of L2 written products. It will discuss what predictions can be made about composing processes and composing products on the basis of L2 proficiency and what measures of L2 proficiency are most appropriate for investigating these relationships. Raimes (1987) found very little correspondence between proficiency as measured by the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency and course placement, evaluation of written products or composing strategies. From this she concluded that "linguistic proficiency on a multiple choice test is not the only factor to influence evaluation of an L2 written product" (p. 448). Kobayashi and 20 Rinnert (1992), on the other hand, found significant correlations between language proficiency scores and writing scores. Compositions of their subjects at higher levels of proficiency were longer and more syntactically complex than those at lower levels. They noted that an oral proficiency measure was, not surprisingly, more predictive of writing evaluation scores than a grammar-based one: "In this sense, it seems logical that oral proficiency, which is inclusive of grammar (or grammatical knowledge) and the ability to use the knowledge for actual production of statements,. is closely related to writing performance" (Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992, p. 203). Pennington and So (1992) did not find a clear relationship between quality of processes and products, particularly in L I . Nor did they find the same degree of correspondence in quality between LI and L2 essays as a previous study (Leung, 1984). Pennington and So claimed that for their subjects, general level of L2 proficiency was a better predictor of the quality of written products than a measure of the writer's skill in LI composition. In some studies, products written in the L2 have been directly or indirectly used to establish levels of language proficiency. This essentially confounds language proficiency in the L2 with level of composing skill (Cumming, 1989, 1990). Cumming (1989) assessed the relative contributions of linguistic skill and writing process skill to writing performance in a second language. In his study the performance of young Francophone adults was compared across three writing tasks (a letter, an argument and a summary). He found that both English p'roficiency and writing expertise in French significantly affected the quality of compositions and problem solving strategies. Moreover, analysis indicated that "writing expertise and second language proficiency each make quite different contributions to the processes and products of writing in a second language" (Cumming, 1989, p. 118); this was especially true with the more cognitively demanding writing tasks (the argument and the summary). Although proficiency 21 in the second language, as assessed by an oral measure, affected the quality of the text produced,, it did not substantially influence writers' decision making processes. Language proficiency was seen as "an additive factor, enhancing the overall quality of writing produced" (Cumming, 1989, p. 81). Writing expertise, as established by self-ratings and holistic ratings of compositions written in LI related to composing processes in definable areas: qualities of discourse organization and content, attention to complex aspects of writing during decision making, problem-solving behaviours and well-differentiated control strategies. Both language proficiency and writing expertise enhanced the overall quality of writing judged according to content, discourse organization and language use. Summary Cumming's (1989) study stands alone as an investigation into the relative contributions of writing expertise and linguistic proficiency. His finding that these factors exerted independent effects led Cumming to the conclusion that they are "psychologically distinct" and "contribute different elements to second-language writing performance" (p. 124). The overall writing quality is enhanced by L2 proficiency but proficiency does not enhance the quality of thinking which occurs. More control over the writing process was. demonstrated by writers who had developed their writing competence in their L I . This is further evidence for Cummins' (1981) theory that there are underlying competencies which can be transferred across languages. Generalizations which can be made from this study of course are limited to this population, these levels of proficiency and these composition tasks. This study has, nevertheless, cast new light on the roles played by these two variables. The strength of relationships observed between linguistic proficiency and writing processes or written products may depend on the type of measurement used (e.g., oral or grammar-based). Kobayashi and Rinnert (1992) found productive measures of linguistic ability to be more sensitive in predicting 22 relationships with writing than ones which were grammar-based. 2.3. C U L T U R A L AND RHETORICAL CONVENTIONS OF LI Previous sections have reviewed studies that suggest that literacy skills acquired in L I are an asset to the second-language writer. Not enough research has been done in this area to determine whether this "positive" transfer is the expected result for all writers irrespective of their first language backgrounds. Some languages like Japanese are, after all, very different from English (i.e., Japanese uses a different writing system and has a markedly different sentence structure) whereas others, like French, are more similar. If composing processes are transferred across languages surely they are influenced by the cultural, discursive and linguistic conventions of the writer's first language. Some of these influences, such as the way in which texts are organized, "have long provided the impetus for contrastive analysis" (Grabe & Kaplan, 1989, p. 263). Others such as contrasts in instruction have been subsumed by a broadened version of contrastive rhetoric described by Grabe and Kaplan (1989) as "the study of LI rhetorical influences on the organization of text in an L2, on audience considerations, on goal definition; it seeks to define LI influences on text coherence, on perceived audience awareness, and on rhetorical context features" (p. 266). These types of influences are of particular concern to populations of L2 writers in higher educational contexts. This section will present some studies which have investigated differences between writing in English and writing in foreign languages, notably Japanese. The notion of contrastive analysis proposed by Kaplan in the 1960's suggested that negative transfer would occur when speakers of other languages approached organizing their thoughts in written English. Kaplan based this 23 hypothesis on his observation that compositions produced by second language Speakers from various language backgrounds were organized differently. This explanation for perceived inadequacies in the compositions of NNSs has been challenged and several competing hypotheses have been put forward. Mohan and Lo (1985) challenged an early claim of contrastive rhetoric that "each language and each culture had a paragraph order unique to itself" (p. 517). Evidence has come to light showing that within languages, multiple patterns exist. It is, therefore, not appropriate to make generalizations about a single organizational pattern used in Japanese (Hinds, 1987). Furthermore, there is evidence that certain literary forms such as the Chinese Eight-Legged Essay (ba-gu wen) (Mohan & Lo, 1985) and the Japanese four-part essay (ki-shoo-ten-ketsu) pattern) are not the common instructional fare in China and Japan that the contrastive rhetoricians first reported (Liebman, 1992). Early on, Kaplan (1972) predicted that negative transfer would occur in the E S L composition of Chinese writers due to their use of indirect patterns; this would not satisfy English readers who expect writing that is essentially "linear and direct". Mohan and Lo (1985) did not accept the claim that Chinese paragraph development was, in fact, indirect. Their examination of Chinese prose revealed similarities between the organization of exposition in Chinese and exposition in English which led them to the conclusion that transfer would more likely be positive than negative. They suggested alternative explanations for errors in organization including inadequate proficiency in E S L , lack of familiarity with the topic, excessive concern with grammatical correctness and lack of familiarity with L2 expository conventions. Mohan and Lo (1985) attributed any differences in the ability of Chinese and Western students to organize texts to the emphasis of the E F L programs they had been exposed to. Interviews with Hong Kong teachers and a survey of Chinese 24 studying English composition in Vancouver revealed that in Hong Kong composition was more oriented to sentence level accuracy than to discourse strategies at the text level. Students who had studied in Hong Kong said that they found the narrative mode easiest and expository and argumentative modes more difficult. This corresponded with the amount of practice which they reported having had with these modes of writing Liebman's (1992) survey of 35 Japanese and 54 Arabic students studying in the United States revealed differences in perceptions about "rhetorical instruction" which they had received in their native languages in their respective countries. Both groups of students reported receiving instruction which emphasized grammar and organization. The organization pattern which most students reported having been taught, however, was that used in the U.S. (Introduction/Development with Support/Conclusion) not the ones described by Kaplan (1966) or Hinds (1980, 1982). Japanese students claimed that they had received little direct writing instruction in high school as it was assumed that they had mastered "writing" in elementary school; instruction which they did report was product-focused. It appeared from the responses of Liebman's Japanese students' that "expressive" and "poetic" functions of writing (as categorized by Britton, Burgess, Martin, McLead & Rosen, 1975) were emphasized over "transactional" functions; the reverse of this was true for the Arabic students. Furthermore, 43% of Liebman's Japanese subjects indicated teachers' evaluation criteria included honest self-expression as well as organization, grammar and clarity. This finding contradicts the claim made by Carson (1992) that "self-expression is not important and not encouraged" (p. 49) in Japanese school compositions. According to Carson, the focus of writing instruction through Junior High School is learning formulas for writing (e.g., being able to follow a model). It has been said that Japanese dislike specifying detail and prefer to "read 25 between the lines" (Kinoshita, 1988). This rhetorical difference is explained by Hinds (1987) in terms of reader versus writer responsibility. As there is heavy responsibility on the part of the reader of Japanese to understand what is being suggested, it is classified as a reader-responsible language. In English, however, "it is the writer's task to provide appropriate transition statements so that the reader can piece together the thread of the writer's logic which binds the composition together" (Hinds, p. 146). A perceived difference in directness of rhetoric between writing in English and writing in Japanese was reported by Japanese graduate subjects in Silva's (1992) investigation of students' perceptions of how writing in English compares with writing in various native languages. Silva used members of his Own composition class who represented six native languages (Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic/French, Portuguese and Tamil). Students were asked to describe their perceptions of differences in essays written in English and in their native languages for an audience of readers of a professional journal (TESOL Quarterly) . From the total pool of responses, Silva identified three main categories of perceived differences: differences in process, rhetoric and language. References to language differences were expressed with the greatest frequency. The only references made to "directness" were reported by the two Japanese students. Summary In its modernized form contrastive rhetoric states that due to cultural factors not all students' have received the same orientation to literacy (Grabe & Kaplan, 1989). As much of one's orientation to literacy is transmitted through schools, important insights into differences between groups of E S L students may be gained by examining the nature of writing instruction they have received in their L I as well as in their E S L classes (Liebman, 1992). Japanese students have been found to have had little direct composition instruction at all in their LI (Liebman, 1992) and to have had more exposure to expressive than transactional 26 functions of writing (Carson, 1992; Liebman, 1992). Furthermore, it has been observed that exposure to English language composition training does not guarantee an exposure to discourse strategies in English composition, as E E L writing instruction in some countries is oriented to sentence-level accuracy (Mohan and Lo, 1985). An understanding of writers' composing processes and written compositions will be ameliorated by an examination of the contexts in which they have been oriented to writing. I 27 CHAPTER THREE: DESIGN OF T H E STUDY A descriptive case study design was adopted for the purpose of addressing the primary . research questions set out in the introductory chapter. These were: la. Do Japanese writers with more expertise in LI writing, as determined by self report and holistically assessed writing samples, produce higher quality English compositions, as assessed by a holistic measure, than Japanese writers with less expertise in LI w r i t i n g ? lb. Are the L2 writing processes of Japanese writers with more expertise in LI similar to those of less expert LI writers? 2a. To what extent does the quality of written compositions vary with the writers' E S L proficiency as measured by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)? To what extent does it vary with E S L proficiency as measured by the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPT)? 2b. To what extent do writing processes vary with E S L proficiency as measured by T O E F L ? To what extent do they vary with students' levels of English proficiency as measured by a test of oral proficiency (OPI)? 3a. How do Japanese writers perceive the demands of writing English compositions in a descriptive and an argumentative mode within the circumstances of this study? 3b. How has their writing instruction in LI and L2 prepared them to perform these tasks? The writing processes of six Japanese writers with varying competence in L I writing were observed across two English composition tasks. Case study data consisted of: (a) profiles of LI writing expertise, (b) assessments of the quality of compositions written in L2, (c) descriptions of the writers' composing processes in L2, and (d) self-report data concerning writers' reactions to task demands and their impressions of their own performance. Relationships among data from these sources were explored within each case study. Patterns across cases were also examined. 28 A screening questionnaire was developed for the purpose of establishing potential subjects' writing expertise in L I . This questionnaire elicited information concerning types of writing which writers had done in their L I , their attitudes toward writing in L I , and a self-evaluation of their LI writing ability. Two samples of their LI writing were also collected and holistically assessed by two raters. Profiles of LI writing expertise were used to select six case study writers-three with relatively strong backgrounds in L I writing and three without. Those selected for participation in the study were asked to complete two English composition tasks, a description and an argument, representing different modes of writing done in English. Verbal protocols were employed to collect writing process data as each writer composed. Retrospective interviews followed each writing session during which writers were asked about the task and for their impressions of their own performance. Holistic assessments of compositions were used to assess the quality of written products. Final interviews were held with students in order to get more in-depth information about writing instruction which they had received in LI and L2, and to give them feedback on writing which they had done as part of the study. This study was by nature of its design descriptive, therefore, no formal hypotheses or statistical analysis are included. As complex factors which made each case unique could not be easily teased apart, caution will be exercised in drawing comparisons between these writers or generalizing from these findings to other learners. Details of the participants, setting, tasks, data collection techniques, and data analysis follow. 3.1. PARTICIPANTS 3.1.1. Recruitment Procedure The objective was to recruit Japanese writers with varying amounts of LI 29 writing expertise from within the Ritsumeikan/University of British Columbia (UBC) Academic Exchange Program. This program, offered at U B C for students in their third year of study at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, is an integrated language and content program and as such offers credit course in content areas rather than traditional skill-based E S L courses. Program participants had been in Canada for approximately five months at the time the study was conducted. The researcher visited classes in the Ritsumeikan program to inform students of the study. As she hoped to attract subjects who had low ability and/or low interest in writing as well as those with high ability/interest, an analysis of subjects' writing performance in English was offered as an incentive. Those interested in participating were asked to attend a meeting during which they completed a screening questionnaire concerned with their writing background. (See Section 3.2.1. for a description of the screening questionnaire.) The researcher made special arrangements to meet with any interested students who were unable to attend the group meeting. The questionnaire included a request for a one-page sample of their writing in Japanese. Additional meeting times were set up with small groups of students during the following two weeks for the purpose of collecting an additional sample of their LI writing. (See Section 3.2.2. for more details concerning L I writing samples.) 3.1.2. Profiles of Participants Six students from the initial group of fifteen volunteers were chosen to become case studies. Although the ideal was to find individuals with a range of first language writing expertise similar to Cumming's (1989) "basic", "average" and "professional" writers, no writers with professional L I writing experiences were part of the volunteer group. It was, therefore, assumed that those who did volunteer fell along a continuum from Cumming's "basic" to "average" writers. While variation in the case study participants' LI writing expertise is both 30 acknowledged and valued in this study, in some sections cases will be examined within the context of others who have similar LI writing backgrounds and/or will be contrasted with others with whom they do not share LI writing characteristics. For ease of reporting, comparisons will be made between stronger LI writers (SLIWs) and weaker LI writers (WLlWs). SLIWs shared the following characteristics: (1) they reported that they liked writing in L I very much and sometimes did it for pleasure; (2) they reported having done writing for purposes beyond writing letters to family and friends and completing school assignments; (3) they rated themselves as average or above average in LI writing ability Compared with others in the program on a global self report measure; and (4) their combined scores from two holistically assessed samples of their writing in LI were higher than those of the W L l W s . W L l W s were alike in these ways: (1) they reported that they didn't like writing in LI very much and only did it when necessary; (2) their LI writing experiences were limited to doing assignments for school and writing letters to their friends or family; (3) they rated their LI writing ability as average or below average compared with others in the program and (4) their combined scores on holistically assessed writing samples of their LI writing were lower than the SLIWs'. Writers described as being relatively stronger (or weaker) in terms of L I writing expertise did not differ from each other in E S L proficiency as measured by T O E F L or OPI. (TOEFL Scores of SLIWs were 497, 550 and 573; those of W L l W s were 500, 543 and 570. OPIs of SLIWs were 2.0, 1.0, and 2.0. Those of W L l W s were 1.0, 1.9 and 1.9.) Of those chosen for case studies, three were majoring in International Relations; other majors were Education, Social Science and Literature (see Table 1 on p. 32). A l l of these students were educated in Japan; none had had extensive 31 experience (more than two months) studying abroad before this program. A l l of them had taken a one-term E F L academic writing course in Japan prior to their participation in this program. According to their final interview reports, this was the only instruction in English Composition that any of them had ever received. Table 1 Description of Case Study Participants English proficiency Name Gender A g e Major TOEFL OPI a Yuko F 20 Social Sciences 497 2.0 A k i M 20 Education 500 1.0 H i r o M 19 Int. Relations 543 1.9 K e n j i M 20 Literature 550 1.0 Koj i M 20 Int. Relations 570 1.9 M a r i k o F 20 Int. Relations 573 2.0 Note. Int. Relations indicates they were majoring in International Relations. a Oral Proficiency Interviews were conducted at the beginning of the program (4 months prior to case selection). The maximum score was 5.0. On a more personal note, writers described as having greater expertise in L I writing reported a broader range of LI writing experiences through which they had written for a variety of audiences. Kenji was an aspiring playwright who had written plays in Japanese which had, in fact, been performed. Yuko had written (as a volunteer) for an educational company that produced publications 32 for high school students about university life and Mariko had published her poems and short stories in a university magazine. Individual participants will remain anonymous and will be referred to throughout by their pseudonyms. 3.2. C A S E SELECTION Several aspects of each writer's background in LI writing were considered in establishing LI writing expertise. A profile of each prospective case was constructed based upon self report data from the screening questionnaire (see Appendix A) and results from holistically assessed samples of Japanese writing (see Appendix B). From these sources of data, three relatively strong and three relatively weak LI writers were impressionistically identified (see Table 2 and Table 3 on page 34). In case selection, preference was given to cases that met the criteria of (a) being distinct and interesting and (b) having internal consistency, such that there was agreement among two or more sources regarding the individual's relative expertise in LI writing. Where individuals reported their LI writing ability as average, the relative strength of their LI writing expertise was determined from other indicators. As the study also addressed the issue of L2 proficiency, cases with varying degrees of E S L proficiency were chosen across the continuum of L I writers. Efforts made by the researcher to establish gender balance were only partially successful and the two females among the case study participants were both SLIWs. 33 Table 2 LI Writing Profiles of Less Expert LI Writers Self rating of Holistic assessment Enjoys writing Did LI for of LI samples of LI samples in LI? range of purposes? Koj i Below Average Relatively Weak No No Hiro Below Average Relatively Weak No No A k i A v e r a g e Relatively Weak No No Table 3 LI Writing Profiles of More Expert LI Writers Self rating of Holistic assessment Enjoys writing Did LI for of LI samples of LI samples in LI? range of purposes? Y u k o Average Average Yes Yes M a r i k o A v e r a g e Relatively Strong Yes Yes K e n j i Above Average Relatively Strong Yes Yes 34 3.2.1. The Screening Quest ionnaire A screening questionnaire (Appendix A) designed for the purpose of collecting self-report data was completed by prospective subjects who attended an information meeting called by the researcher. Questions dealt with the following aspects of LI and L2 writing background as they were considered relevant to case study selection. Self Rating of Writing Ability Students were asked the following question: "Compared with other people in this program, how would you rate your writing ability in Japanese?" below average average above average A parallel item asked, "Compared with other people in this program, how would you rate your writing ability in English?" To account for possible reluctance on the part of Japanese people to admit that they were better than others in the same group, students were also asked to comment on how easy or difficult it would be for'them to complete specific writing tasks in both languages (e.g., write a letter to people they did not know, write reports at school, write reports at work) according to a 5-point Likert-type scale. This item was adapted from a scale used by Cumming (1989) and was considered in conjunction with the students' global measures of their own ability. Answers on this scale were as follows: 1 = No, too difficult; 2 = Not very well, always difficult; 3 = Yes, but sometimes easy, sometimes difficult; 4 = Yes, usually easy; 5 = Yes, very well, always easy. 35 Previous Writing Experience One item asked students to indicate the types of writing they had done in Japanese; another identically phrased item asked about types of writing they had done in English. For both items response categories included: "written a book or professional article, written for a magazine or newspaper, written poetry, short stories or plays, kept a journal or diary, written papers in high school, written papers in university and other (please explain)." Students' Feelings About Writing Students' feelings about writing in English and Japanese were assessed by two multiple choice questions which asked which of three statements best described their feelings about writing in each language: "I like writing in Japanese/English a lot and sometimes do it for pleasure"; "I don't like writing in Japanese/English very much and do it only when it's necessary" and "I dislike writing in Japanese and try to avoid it whenever possible." 3.2.2. L I Writing Samples On two separate occasions, samples of Japanese writing were requested. The tasks were: (1) to write a letter to a Ritsumeikan University newspaper describing the impact participation in the UBC program would have on the writer's future life and (2) to take a position in an argument about television violence. The two samples were sought to reflect the two different genres of writing which would later be required in the L2 composition tasks. For each topic students were instructed to write about one handwritten page and no time limits were set Writing was done in the presence of the researcher and other students engaged in the same writing task. 36 Japanese writing samples were holistically assessed by two graduate students in Language Education, both teachers and native speakers of Japanese, using categories and rating procedures from Jacobs, Zinkgraf, Wormuth, Hartfiel and Hughey's (1981) E S L Composition Profile. Before this instrument could be applied to samples of non-English writing, however, descriptors stated in the E S L Composition Profile had to be modified in order to reflect what constitutes good writing in Japanese. Alterations were made to the E S L Composition Profile criteria by the raters, in collaboration with the researcher, and "are outlined in Appendix C. There was complete agreement regarding all proposed changes. Compositions were assessed on three levels: (1) content, (2) discourse organization and (3) language use according to Cumming's modification (1989) of the E S L Composition Profile in which weighted scores within each category were converted to a 4-point scale and categories of "vocabulary", "language use" and "mechanics" were conflated to a single category of "language use". For each category, 1 = very poor, 2 = poor to fair, 3 = average to good and 4 = very good to excellent. The total possible score, therefore, was 12. For each task, independent judgments of both raters were tallied. In cases where there was a discrepancy of more than two points, a third rater was consulted and scores of the two closest raters were used; this followed one of the recommended procedure as described by Jacobs et al. (1981). A composite score with a maximum score of 48 was then created by combining the sum of two raters' scores on the two compositions. This score was considered in conjunction with self-report measures previously described in Tables 2 and 3 (see p. 34) in determining an individual's relative expertise in L I writing. 3.2.3. Measures of English Proficiency Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Scores 37 Participants in the Ritsumeikan Program frequently re-took the T O E F L in an attempt to achieve the required score for admission to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (TOEFL 580) at U B C . With the prospective subjects' permission, their most recent T O E F L scores prior to case selection were obtained from the Program Director. Oral Proficiency Interview Scores An Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) was administered to participants in the Ritsumeikan Program by program instructional staff at the beginning of the program (September, 1993) and again in April , 1994, approximately two months after the study was done. Access to this data was gained through the Program Coordinator with the students' consent; it provided a descriptive measure of subjects' proficiency in oral English which been found in a previous study (Kobayashi and Rinnert, 1992) to be a correlate of English writing proficiency. A score of 1.0 corresponds with an intermediate level of proficiency, a score of 2.0, an advanced level and a score of 3.0, a superior level of proficiency. (The maximum score of 5.0 indicates a level of functioning equivalent to that of a highly articulate educated native speaker.) 3.3 D A T A COLLECTION 3.3.1. Setting Participants met individually with the experimenter at Ritsumeikan House on two separate occasions for the purpose of writing compositions in English. These sessions were held in either the computer lab or a private office equipped with a Macintosh computer. A l l composing was done on Macintosh Classics with the word-processing program "Claris Works", as this was the standard way in which students produced written work within the Ritsumeikan program. A l l case 38 study participants had had more than one term to develop the necessary computer skills. 3.3.2. Writing Tasks At separate writing sessions participants wrote a letter and an expository argument. The letter was similar to tasks used by Raimes (1987) and Cumming (1989) in that it provided a specified purpose and audience and allowed students to-compose on the basis of familiar experiences. Writers were required to describe the program in which they were participants to the readership of a U B C campus newspaper. The expository argument was that used by Cumming (1989) to represent "the kind of writing conventionally required of students in composition tests and courses." This topic was designed to place greater intellectual demands on the writers; it required them to take a stand on the statement "Some people believe a woman's place is in the home; others do not" and to defend their position. At the beginning of each composing session the researcher introduced the topic of the writing session with a written copy of the prompt (see Appendix D). As in the LI writing, instructions were to write until they felt they had fully expressed themselves as there was no time limit. Subjects were also told that they could use dictionaries and/or pens and paper if they wished. While these writers knew that their written products would be evaluated (the researcher had offered to share the results of this evaluation with them), they were not given an explicit explanation about the criteria that would be applied. 3.3.3. Think-Aloud Procedure Collection of think-aloud protocols is an established procedure in research on writing processes in which individuals are instructed to verbalize their thoughts as they compose. During each composing session case study participants 39 were required to "think aloud," in whatever language they were using at the time. Prior to their first session, they were given instruction in the thinking-aloud technique according to the procedures laid out in Ericsson and Simon (1984). This involved watching a demonstration and doing practice problems (see Appendix E). At the beginning of each writing session the researcher spent a few minutes reviewing the procedure with the writer and told them that if they were not spontaneously "thinking aloud" as they composed, they would be reminded to do so. Each session was tape-recorded for the purpose of documenting the "thinking-aloud" process; videotaping was done to record the context in which "think-aloud" comments were made. 3.3.4. Retrospective Interview Procedure After each writing session, writers were interviewed about their experience with the writing task. The interview involved asking a standard set of questions (see Appendix F) as well as reviewing portions of a videotape of the session. This gave the researcher the opportunity to question the writer about what s/he had been thinking during substantial pauses. The retrospective interview served three purposes: (a) to elicit feedback from the participant about the task; (b) to elicit feedback from the participant about his/her performance on the task; and (c) to provide an additional source of information about the writer's composing processes. Collecting process data from an alternate source provided a means of dealing with concerns that second language writers might be unable to cope with the demands of "thinking aloud" and/or that "thinking aloud" might actually interfere with the composing process. Retrospective interviews with writers have not been widely reported in writing process research and the focus on the writers' perceptions of task requirements and their performance on the task is unique to the current study. 40 3.3.5. Final Interviews Participants met individually with the experimenter for a final interview (see Appendix I). One purpose of this interview was to question individuals about instruction which they had received in both Japanese and English composition. A second was for the researcher to provide the writers with an analysis of the writing which they had done as part of the study. Assessment tools used in the study were explained to the participants and criteria for judging content, organization and language use were discussed. By asking students what advice they would give to someone who needed to improve within each assessment category (content, discourse organization, language use), the researcher attempted to learn more about each person's knowledge about what good writers do. Finally, subjects were asked for any other comments they might have about use of think-aloud protocols and about their own participation in the study. 3.4. CODING OF DATA 3.4.1. The Think-Aloud Protocols Audiotapes and videotapes of each writing session were used to transcribe the "thinking-aloud" of the the writer and to establish the context of these comments within the text (see Appendix G for an example of text with transcribed "think-aloud" comments). A l l "thinking-aloud" done in English was transcribed by the researcher; transcriptions of any verbalizations made in Japanese were done by a Japanese native speaker. Due to the exploratory nature of the study, preestablished coding categories were not used. Upon completion of the transcription process, the researcher identified emergent themes from the "think-aloud" data from which a 41 classification scheme was established (see Appendix H). Coding was performed as a means of orienting the researcher to qualitative trends in the data and no tabulation was attempted. 3.4.2. Written Products Compositions were assessed holistically using the E S L Composition Profile (Jacobs et al., 1981) by two raters who had no familiarity with the writers. This instrument was applied to L2 writing samples in its unmodified form (without the modifications introduced by Cumming, 1989) in order that finer discriminations in the quality of compositions might be detected (see Appendix J). Raters' total scores for each task were rank ordered and coefficients of inter-rater reliability were assessed. For Topic 1 (the argument) r s =1.0 and for Topic 2 (the description) r s = .93. Independent judgments of the two raters were averaged for the analysis. 3.5. D A T A ANALYSIS For each of the case studies, it was the intention of the researcher to provide a description of the writer in terms of LI writing expertise, English language proficiency, the type of writing processes which they engaged in and the quality of L2 writing which they produced on two English writing tasks. Comparisons between data from different sources were done impressionistically. With one or two exceptions, tests of statistical signifigance were not employed. 42 CHAPTER FOUR: FINDINGS AND INTERPRETATION Findings of the study will be reported as they address the research questions posed in the first chapter. The first section of this chapter describes the performance of case study writers on E S L composition tasks and pertains to questions la and 2a. The second section describes the writing processes of individual writers; the research questions addressed are those in lb and 2b. The final section, which corresponds to the third research question, describes (1) writers' perceptions of task demands and (2) the fit between task demands and previous instruction. 4.1. PERFORMANCE ON THE ESL COMPOSITION TASKS This section addresses research questions la and 2a posed in Chapter 1: la. Do Japanese writers with more expertise in LI as determined by self-report and holistically assessed writing samples, produce higher quality English compositions, as assessed by a holistic measure than Japanese writers with less expertise in LI? 2a. To what extent does the quality of written composition vary with the writers' ESL proficiency as measured by T O E F L and OPI? 4.1.1. Research Question la: Stronger and Weaker L I Writers' Performance on E S L Composition Tasks Compositions written on both topics, an expository argument about the role of women and a letter describing their program, had similar distributions of scores on the E S L Composition Profile. Topic 1 (Tl) scores (derived by averaging the assessment scores of two independent raters) ranged from 62.5 to 81.0 and had a mean of 72.8. Topic 2 (T2) scores ranged from 55.0 to 79.0 and had a mean of 70.9. 43 Overall E S L Composition Profile scores and rankings of individual writers on the two tasks are shown in Table 4 below (Topic 1) and Table 5 on page 45 (Topic 2). The highest E S L Composition scores on T l were those of Mariko (8L0), Kenji (78.5) and Yuko (76.0), all of whom were classified during case selection as stronger writers in their L I . Both Hiro and Koji, who were classified as weaker LI writers, had slightly lower scores (73.5 and 69.0 respectively) within the same range of the scale (average to good). Aki , another WL1W, was the only writer whose score (62.5) fell within a lower range of the scale (fair to poor) (see Table 4 below). Higher average scores of the SL1W group on T l were obtained across all categories of the E S L Composition Profile (see Table 6 on page 46). It should be noted, however, that Hiro consistently received higher ratings in each category than other W L l W s . Table 4 E S L Composition Profile Scores and Ranks for Topic 1 E S L Composition Score Range of Scale R a n k Weaker LI Writers Koj i 69.0 Avg to Good 5 H i r o 73.5 Avg to Good 4 A k i 62.5 Poor to Fair 6 Stronger L I Writers Y u k o 76.0 Avg to Good 3 M a r i k o 81.0 Avg to Good 1 K e n j i 78.5 Avg to Good 2 Note. E S L Composition Scores represent the mean of two trained, independent raters' assessments (r = 1.0). 44 Table 5 ESL Composition Profile Scores and Ranks for Topic 2 ESL Composition Score Range of Scale Rank Weaker L I Writers Koji 68.5 Avg to Good 5 Hiro 76.5 Avg to Good 2 A k i 55.0 Poor to Fair 6 Stronger L I Writers Yuko 79.0 Avg to Good 1 Mariko 72.5 Avg to Good 4 Kenj i 73.5 Avg to Good 3 Note. ESL Composition Scores represent the mean of two independent raters' assessments (r = .93). On T2, Yuko received the highest score (79.0). Hiro received the second highest score (76.5), outperforming two SLIWs, Kenji (72.5) and Mariko (73.5) (see Table 5 above). It is interesting to note that in categories of content and organization he had the highest ratings of any case study writers. Other WLlWs, Koji (68.5) and Aki (55.0), had scores which were assessed lower than SLIWs and again, Aki's overall score again fell within the "fair to poor" range of the scale. 45 Table 6 Performance on ESL Composition Profile Categories for Topic 1 Cont Org Lang Voc Mech Total (30) (20) (25) (20) (5) (100) Weaker L I Writers Koji 23.0 14.0 13.5 15.0 3.5 69.0 Hiro 24.5 15.5 15,0 14.5 4.0 73.5 A k i 21.5 12.5 12.0 13.5 3.0 62.0 WL1W Mean 23.0 14.0 13.5 14.3 3.5 68.3 Stronger LI Writers Yuko 25.5 13.0 18.5 15.0 4.0 76.0 Mariko 27.0 15.5 18.0 16.5 4.0 81.0 Kenji 27.0 16.5 15.0 16.0 4.0 78.5 SL1W Mean 26.5 15.0 17.2 15.8 4.0 78.5 Overall Mean 24.3 14.9 15.0 15.1 3.6 72.9 Note. Cont = content; Org = organization; Voc = vocabulary; Lang = language use; and Mech = mechanics. Rank ordering of the overall scores on T l (see Table 4 on page 44) revealed that on the more cognitively demanding task (the argument) stronger LI writers' received the three highest performance scores and WLlWs received the three lowest. 46 Table 7 Performance on ESL ComDosition Profile Cateeori ;s for Tonic 2 ESL Composition Profile Categories Cont Org Lang Voc Mech Total (30) (20) (25) (20) (5) (100) Weaker LI Writers Koji 22.5 15.5 13.0 14.0 3.5 68.5 Hiro 27.0 18.0 14.5 14.5 3.0 77.0 A k i 18.0 11.5 11.5 12.0 2.0 55.0 WL1W Mean 22.5 15.0 13.0 13.5 2.8 66.8 Stronger L I Writers Yuko 26.5 16.0 17.5 15.0 4.0 79.0 Mariko 25.0 12.5 14. 5 17.0 3.5 72.5 Kenji 25.0 15.5 16.0 14.0 3.0 73.5 SL1W Mean 25.5 14.7 16.0 15.3 3.5 75.0 Overall Mean 24.0 14.8 14.5 14.4 3.2 70.9 Note. Cont = content; Org = organization; Voc = vocabulary; Lang = language use; and Mech = mechanics. * On the second topic (the description), Hiro (classified as a WL1W) performed better than Mariko and Kenji (both SLIWs). Other WLlWs, however, remained in the lowest ranked positions. Performance differences existed, 47 therefore, between two out of three WLlWs and the SLIWs. Hiro performed better on this composition task possibly by taking advantage of the longer, more involved prompt that suggested both content and a possible organizing framework (see Appendix D). Table 8 Performance on ESL Composition Profile Categories: Means of Stronger and Weaker LI Writers and Overall Means ESL Composition Profile Categories Cont Org Lang Voc Mech Total (30) (20) (25) (20) (5) (100) Weaker LI Writers Topic 1 23.0 14,0 13.5 14.3 3.5 68.3 Topic 2 22.5 15.0 13.0 13.5 2.8 66.8 Stronger LI Writers Topic 1 26.5 15.0 17.2 15.8 4.0 78.5 Topic 2 25.5 14.6 16.0 15.3 3.5 75.0 A l l Writers Topic 1 24.3 14.9 15.0 15.1 3.6 72.8 Topic 2 24.0 14.8 14.5 14.4 3.2 70.9 As was noted in the the previous chapter, tests of significance were not performed due to the design of the study. It is interesting to summarize, however, prevailing trends in the data: (1) In general, the cases identified as being 48 stronger LI writers performed moderately better on the Jacobs et al. (1981) scale than the weaker L I writers; (2) this trend seemed consistent across categories of the E S L Composition Profile with the exception of the category of Organization on T2 (see Table 8 on page 48) where less of a difference was noted between writers; and (3) this trend seemed consistent across both modes of writing (description and argument) with the exception of Hiro's performance on T2. It should be noted that Hiro's performance on both tasks appeared more similar to the stronger than the weaker LI writers, but this was especially so on T2. 4.1.2. Research Question 2a: Performance Ratings and English P r o f i c i e n c y Linguistic proficiency measured by T O E F L scores alone did not seem to correspond with performance (see Table 9 on p. 50) as is supported by evidence of correlation coefficients of r s = .43 (p = 0.40) for T O E F L and Rank 1 and r s = -.37 (p = 0.47) for T O E F L and Rank 2. The best performance score on T l was Mariko's (81.0) and the best on T2 was Yuko's (79.0). Mariko's T O E F L score was the highest in the group (573); whereas, Yuko's (497) was the lowest. T O E F L scores of the two writers at the low end of the performance continuum were equally polarized. Aki , who had the lowest overall scores on both composition tasks had a T O E F L score of 500 (three points higher than Yuko's); Koji, whose performance was closest to Aki's had a T O E F L score of 570 (three points lower than Mariko's). Likewise, measures of oral proficiency from September, 1993 did not seem to be good indicators of performance on E S L composition tasks as students with the lowest OPI scores at that time, Aki and Kenji, performed quite differently on the E S L composition tasks. From more recent OPI scores (April, 1994 or 2 months after the study) it appeared that the writers were at similar levels of oral proficiency, with the exception of Aki . It is interesting to note that Aki whose oral proficiency 49 seemed to lag behind the others also received performance scores on both composition tasks which were substantially lower--his scores, in fact, fell within a lower range of the Jacobs et al. (1981) scale. It can be seen, however, from the case of Koji, that having a reasonable level of oral proficiency did not assure good L2 writing performance. Table 9 Performance Rankings on T l and T2 and Measure of E S L Proficiency Measure of E S L Proficiency TOEFL OPI (09/93> OPI (04/941 Rank T l Rank T2 Yuko 497 2.0 2.9 3 1 A k i 500 1.0 6 6 H i r o 543 1.9 — 4 2 K e n j i 550 1.0 3.0 2 3 Koj i 570 1.9 2.9 5 5 M a r i k o 573 2.0 2.9 1 4 Note. A second measure of Hiro's oral proficiency was not available as he did not show up for the OPI interview. 4.1.3. Interpretation of Performance Findings Yuko and Mariko's L2 writing was consistently evaluated highly. These women writers had relative expertise in LI writing and relatively high levels of proficiency in oral English. Their T O E F L scores were, however, at the opposite ends of the range of the participants in this study. Kenji, the only writer in the group who rated himself as above average in 50 L I writing ability, had E S L Composition Scores only slightly lower than Mariko's on T l and in third position after Yuko and Hiro on T2. Nevertheless, he seemed to be unable to "keep up the standard" of his LI writing in L2. Kenji had a mid-range T O E F L score. Due to radical changes in his OPI scores between the beginning and the end of the program there is uncertainty regarding his level of oral proficiency at the time of this study. It is, therefore, difficult to attribute the discrepancy between the level of his LI and his L2 writing ability to his lack of oral language proficiency. Hiro, was a weaker LI writer, with English proficiency scores similar to those of Kenji. Unlike Kenji, however, he considered himself to be below average compared with others in the program in LI writing ability. It was, therefore, surprising that he performed as well as he did, surpassing Mariko and Kenji on T2. Few explanations can be offered on the basis of this data alone for his strong performance on T2 other than (1) he seemed to have a nonchalant attitude toward the writing task which could have given him an advantage over other writers who were nervous and (2) the prompt itself provided an organizing structure which he may have been skilled at following. Koji and Aki were weaker LI writers whose below average self-ratings of L2 writing ability did, in fact, correspond with their performance on the two English composition tasks; both of Aki's scores fell within the "fair to poor" range of the E S L Composition Scale. These writers had very different levels of E S L proficiency. Koji was among the most proficient cases according to both T O E F L and OPI scores; Aki's proficiency was low according to both measures. These results show that writers with greater expertise in LI writing performed better on an English composition task in the mode of an argument. Three SLIWs performed better than two of the W L l W s on a composition in the descriptive mode. With the exception of Hiro's superior performance on T2, there is little in the performance data that supports the researcher's assumption that 51 the argument was a more cognitively demanding task (Cumming, 1989). The fact that lower scores of the SL1W group and higher scores of the WL1W group do not dramatically differ within each category and in some cases overlap (see Table 6 on p. 46 and Table 7 on p. 47) reflects the view of the researcher stated in Chapter 3 that W L l W s and SLIWs represent writers along a continuum of basic to average writers. Higher and lower T O E F L scores were found at all levels of performance. The fact that this measure of language proficiency did not correlate with performance scores on either of these writing tasks is consistent with the conclusions of Raimes (1987) and Kobayashi and Rinnert (1992) who found that grammar-based measures of oral proficiency did not correlate strongly with performance on composition tasks. It is possible, however, that a stronger relationships would be detected if measure of "performance" were to involve an analysis of text structure (i.e., syntactic complexity) (Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992). Such analysis, however, is beyond the scope of the current research. It is also possible that one of the T O E F L sub-test (i.e., Structure and Written Expression) may be a better predictor of second language writing performance than the total score. Measures of oral proficiency have been associated with better performance on holistically rated samples of L2 writing in previous studies (Cumming, 1989; Pennington & So, 1992). One writer, Aki , who had low oral proficiency relative to other writers, also received the lowest performance scores. It is possible that this study did not include writers with a wide enough range of oral fluency for more of an association with performance to be noted. The fact that A k i , who had neither strong LI writing expertise nor high E S L proficiency, received lower performance scores on both tasks than other W L l W s who had greater E S L proficiency supports the claim that second language proficiency plays an additive role in the determination of L2 writing (Cumming, 52 1989). Cumming suggested that in terms of L2 writing performance, more expert LI writers benefit less from higher L2 language proficiency than basic or average LI writers. Aki's poor performance suggests that language proficiency may, in fact, be more important for basic than average LI writers in ESL composition. 4.2. WRITING PROCESSES OF CASE STUDY WRITERS This section will discuss individuals' approaches to composing processes and will address research questions lb and 2b stated in the introductory chapter: lb. Are the writing processes of Japanese writers with more expertise in LI similar to those of less expert LI writers? 2b. To what extent do writing processes vary with the writer's level of English proficiency as measured by TOEFL and by a test of oral proficiency? 4.2.1. Writing Processes and LI Writing Expertise Writers' composing processes will be discussed according to emergent themes which were observed by the researcher over the two writing sessions and reflected in the think-aloud protocols of individual writers. Differences between writers in terms of their (a) planning, (b) aspects of composing attended to, (c) decision making, (d) use of L I , (e) word choice and (f) interaction with text will be highlighted. Any comments made by the writers throughout the study which illuminate aspects of their composing processes will also be included. (Think-aloud comments quoted will be represented in plain text if they were made in English and in italics if they have been translated from Japanese; pauses will be indicated by a series of dots.) 53 Advance and Emergent Planning The three writers identified during case selection as having less expertise in L I writing appeared to do little or no planning during the writing sessions. For the most part, references to both advance and emergent planning were absent from these writers' protocols. Koji, who described himself as below average in his LI writing ability, did not make reference to planning in his thinking aloud. His compositions received relatively low scores for content on each writing task and for organization on the argument. Hiro, another writer who considered himself to be below average in Japanese writing, was able to obtain higher scores on content and organization than the other WLlWs. On his second composition (the letter), he, in fact, received the highest organization score of anyone. It is puzzling how Hiro achieved these higher scores as no planning was evident in his verbal protocols and he came into the second writing session looking only half awake: Ar...what should I write? I'm sleepy. Now I have to explain something. He wrote a composition about the same length as the previous one; his think-aloud comments were, however, fewer. (There was perhaps a connection between the improvement in his performance on T2 and short cuts he was taking with the think-aloud process.) Although Aki described his LI writing ability as average, he said he didn't like writing very much and only did it when necessary. References to advance planning were notably absent in Aki's think-aloud protocols. On both writing tasks, Aki produced only a one paragraph composition; these received the lowest scores of any writers in the categories of content and organization. On T l , both Aki and Hiro decided to disagree with the argument. Throughout 54 the session Aki brainstormed reasons to support this position and accepted them all without evaluation or consideration of their relative importance until finally he said "Since I can't find further reasons, I would like to go to conclusion." Both he and Hiro used the "what's next?" strategy Cumming (1989) associated with inexpert writers. On T2, Aki obviously used the prompt to direct his writing in lieu of creating a plan of his own: How about length of program? (Aki - T2) How about—I mean, next is student. So—next about residence. (Aki - T2) So next is—so required course—what kind of class we can take. (Aki - T2) So next is program goals—about program goals. (Aki - T2) Like Cumming's (1989) inexpert writers, these W L l W s "formulated their gist in progressive but constrained steps, focused exclusively at the level of a single phrase, sentence or thought" (p. 113). The three writers identified as having more LI writing expertise made more references to planning overall. References to advanced planning, however, were made by only by Kenji and Mariko. Yuko's planning style, which she herself described as very Japanese, was to write everything that she thought and rearrange it later. She reread her text frequently, which seemed to be device she used for generating content and maintaining coherence. As she did not construct an overview in advance, her decisions about what should and should not be included had to be made along the way. The following is a comment made by Yuko as she was thinking aloud. And ya, women have to be in the house because women cannot earn much money than man. Do I have to write about that? I'm thinking, thinking. Which is better? (Yuko - T l ) 55 Yuko received relatively high scores for content on each topic and for organization on T2. Her score in the category of organization on her first composition (the argument) was, however, quite low. She seemed unaware of problems in organization on T l . Ironically, she felt her organization in T2 was weak and after writing this composition commented that she needed an outline, which she had not made. On both occasions, Kenji did some oral brainstorming as a means of generating a picture of his finished text before beginning to write. So, topic is this program and we need length of program, program goals, students arid required courses that...(Reading prompt: chose one which you have found particularly interesting)..some of them were boring (Reading again: and explain why you found it valuable.) OK. Right. Length of program..7 months. Goal is... What is the goals? I don't know. And let me see., together to communicate with people in other culture. Maybe students. Rits Students' required courses...about inter-cultural communications, language learning, society of Canada and Pacific Rim studies. Maybe that's all. So, how to to make a structure. This writing should be a letter, so what kind of letter do I need? do I want to write? Umm, a student's point of view. Ummm. Okay. (Kenji - T2) Kenji's planning at the macro level was later supplemented with emergent planning at the local level. In the following comment he expands upon the topic of courses which he mentioned in his earlier brainstorming. Let's think about the benefit and the good point of this course—these courses. First, these are based on the Canadian way, not the Japanese way so such a Canadian way is very useful for Japanese—we Japanese. Different thinking style very shigeiki teiki [stimulating]—exciting maybe. (Kenji - T2) Although Kenji's scores for content and organization were both relatively high, in the retrospective interview after T l , he said that he had had difficulty because he did not have an outline or framework. This had been difficult to create, he explained, because he had had to plan fast. 56 Mariko, at the beginning of T l , made a brief outline and did some oral brainstorming about the topic. She was the only writer to use paper and pen to do so although all writers were informed that this would be acceptable. In the second session (composing the letter) she made very general reference to organization. First I write general information such as the number many of us are coming here or length of program or course include in this program, about the Rits house. Second is why this program, no, no...student's feelings and about life here or about studying. And last part is my personal opinion. (Mariko - T2) Nevertheless, her organization score was lower (T2) when she did not begin by preparing an outline. Brainstorming was a planning device used by two SLIWs to generate content. With the exception of Mariko who made an outline for T l , none of the subjects showed any signs of preplanning discourse organization. Two SLIWs, Kenji and Yuko said in their retrospective interviews that an outline was in fact necessary. Kenji's reason for bypassing this step was that he felt he couldn't afford the time even though he knew that no time would be imposed. Attention to Aspects of Composing Aspects of composing—content, discourse organization and language use— which writers attended to in their decision making were observed. As Cumming's (1989) coding procedure was not followed, it is not possible to comment on the relative proportions of decision making statements in which writers made reference to single versus multiple aspects of their writing. Unlike other writers, Koji attended to mechanics (spelling, capitalization) and language use (looking for correct translations, verb tenses, correct English phrasing) in the majority of his references. Although Koji's level of E S L proficiency was relatively high according to both T O E F L and OPI scores, it became 57 apparent that he matched the description of a monitor-overuser (Cumming, 1989; Jones, 1985) as his excessive concerns with accuracy predominated the writing process. In trying to construct the phrase, "She didn't really want to go to work," he goes through the following rehearsal: Very—she didn't—very like—I want—I like—I like basketball very much. I want—I really want—didn't really—didn't really want to go to work. (Koji - T l ) The number of think-aloud comments which Koji directed toward searches for appropriate translations of Japanese terms and his heavy reliance on his dictionary, confirmed his self report that not having an adequate vocabulary was a constraint on his writing. Hiro, like Koji, felt that he was weak in vocabulary. In Hiro's think-aloud comments on the argument he is both searching for conceptual support for his position and for words or expressions which will allow him to express these. So I don't want my child (oops) I need this? I can't express well enough. Strict...I think this part is weak. Well, it's okay.....sooo. Oh! it's difficult. What is the word for sodateru....sodateageru. ...bring up....though it's an easy word. (Hiro - T l ) There were few references to discourse organization. Hiro's think-aloud comments were, in fact, scant on the second composing task. Although most of Aki's think-aloud comments focused on gist, to a lesser extent he attended to organization and language use. Yuko was a person who described herself as an average writer in both Japanese and English compared with other people in the same program. There were reasons to believe that Yuko had more confidence in her writing ability than these "average" ratings would suggest. When asked how easy it would be for her to perform specific writing tasks in both languages she answered that she 58 would usually find them "easy"; no other case study writers were as confident. Yuko's thinking aloud reflected attention to gist, language use and discourse organization. Some of her concerns about language use were stylistic whereas those of other writers tended to be grammatical or lexical. "However". I use "however" last sentence so I don't want to use two sentences. Is there another word? "But" is not good word. (Yuko - Tl) It seemed that she frequently identified and solved problems without engaging in any heuristic search strategies. What can I talk about other things? What else should I talk about my program? Okay. About holiday. (Yuko - T2) Kenji, the only writer to rate his ability to write in Japanese as above average, also paid attention to multiple aspects of composing. Like the expert writers of Cumming (1989), he sometimes refers to complex aspects of composing. For some people, it is ideal that women is in the home but why is it stereotype? Because what? In other words, women's place is in the home is that women's work is housekeeping. So what? Introduction—first two paragraphs. Second- Third. It should be conclusion how can I say it is a stereotype? A kind of prejudice? Image? Stereotype. (Mariko- Tl ) Kenji's thinking aloud in the descriptive mode shows him paying more attention to searching for lexical items in English than most other writers. (This is discussed further in Section Mariko's thinking aloud was similar to Kenji's in that she also commented on gist, organization and language use. There were nevertheless some differences Whereas Kenji seemed to be working out his position, Mariko's comment suggested that she was working from a previously established point of view. 59 Some people believe a women's real task is have children and keep a family but who know it? Who can show it is absolutely right? There is no evidence I think. Some women don't like taking care of children. Some women don't like housework. Anyway, some men likes cooking. Some men like cleaning. , That's true. (Mariko - Tl) Mariko does not search for vocabulary. The aspects of language use which concern her are grammatical. As in Cumming's (1989) study, gist seemed to predominate as the aspect of writing most attended to in the decision making statements of most case study writers. Verbal protocols of SLIWs tended to contain decision statements which made reference to content, discourse organization and language use. Decision Making In Cumming's study, more expert writers were observed to shift their attention between local levels of decision making and higher levels of planning. Unlike' more expert writers who worked at the sentence or paragraph level, less expert writers tended to work with smaller chunks of discourse. More expert writers also pursued surface features of their text at a later stage (Zamel, 1983). Writers in this study ranged from Koji (WL1W), who compulsively worked with small chunks of discourse, to Mariko (SL1W), who seemed oblivious to local level concerns. The goals which she said she had set for herself were more abstract than the simple generation of text; she was motivated to find original arguments and to convey a balanced point of view. Aki was unlike other WLlWs, especially Koji, in that he was careful not to let decisions about surface features distract him from planning the gist. Though preposition is difficult for me, I keep typing without being afraid of making mistakes. (Aki - Tl) Likewise, Kenji, one the SLIWs, made decisions simply to move on when posed 60 with a decisions about grammar or spelling. I don't know if its correct grammar or not. Anyway (Kenji - T l ) In Cumming's (1989) study more and less expert L I writers differed in the extent to which they used heuristic search strategies for evaluating and resolving problems. This difference was most pronounced with writers who had professional expertise; average writers made only a slightly smaller proportion of statements in which problems were identified without resolution or heuristic searches than basic writers. No effort was made in the current study to quantify these. An examination of think-aloud protocols for all writers, however, revealed the presence of problems stated with and without heuristic searches and resolved and unresolved. These seemed to be distributed throughout the protocol comments of writers in the SL1W and WL1W groups. Use of LI in Composing Only two W L l W s , Aki and Hiro did the majority of their thinking aloud in L I . Two other writers, Koji and Kenji, used LI when searching for lexical items. Koji went back and forth between the Japanese terms he knew and possible English translations. Frequently, he used his dictionary to find an English equivalent: "male's job, males yakumei, yakumei, yakumei duty" (Koji - T l ) . During the thinking aloud process, Hiro did a considerable amount of code switching. Japanese seemed to be the language in which he did most of his reasoning . Why? Why does someone think like that? (Hiro - T l ) What shall I write? What else? What else? (Hiro - T2) Is there such as word? (Hiro - T l ) 61 Use of English was limited to words or expressions which he was considering using in his text. Consider the following example: Hito, hito...exciting person...Arr..what should I put it? I'll put interesting here. (Hiro - Tl) Aki , who had little confidence in his English writing ability (he said that grammar and spelling were problematic for him), was very reliant on Japanese during the composing process. During the first writing session, he used his LI exclusively in his thinking aloud. The instructions had stated he was to think-aloud in whichever language he was working in at the time. Although he began the second writing session by thinking aloud in English, Aki reverted to speaking in Japanese at a point where his writing deviated from the prompt to express an opinion that he said was very important to him. So I'm want to write down my complaint. From now I speak Japanese. • ( Aki - T2) Composing in Japanese then translating into English was problematic from Aki's point of view because the process was time consuming. He did not seem to be aware that there were any other drawbacks to it. Yuko and Mariko, on the other hand, used no Japanese in their thinking aloud even though instructions which they had received clearly stated that thinking aloud in either language was acceptable. Mariko, like Yuko, composed in English without consulting her dictionary. During the final interview, she stated that she thinks in English when writing in English about 60% of the time; the language she thinks in depends upon the subject. The obstacle to thinking in English when the subject is complex is that she doesn't have an adequate vocabulary. It appeared from Mariko's exclusive use of English in her think-62 alouds protocols and her familiarity with the subject matter of these writing tasks (see section 4.3.1.) that these tasks were not difficult enough for her to have to use her L I . Kenji's use of L I was limited to situations where he was searching for lexical items in English which were comparable to those he was familiar with in Japanese. Not having the vocabulary which he was accustomed to working with in Japanese seemed to be a major constraint for him. Here he is looking for the word "threshold." Gokakuten [threshold]. Oops. What shall I say? This time I also suffered from knowledge of words. Oh, I don't know the English words, not so much. Anyway, the mark, the score, Japan...maybe here is no need. (Kenji - T2) Word Choice This section will deal with whether or not writers deliberated over their choices of words or phrases like the Cumming's (1989) professional writers. Among the WLlWs, this tendency was observed to some extent in Koji. Koji was frequently searching for words, however, it seemed as though he was seeking words or phrases which were grammatically correct as opposed to looking for words which would communicate a particular nuance. For example, here he is looking in his dictionary for a verb to use in a sentence in which he is trying to communicate that his mother gave birth to a child. omoni [give birth] - birth—bore, bore - Chigau [wrong] -birth, bir th-bear—bore (Koji - T l ) Hiro, likewise, uses the dictionary when he is seeking the correct word to use. Seishinteki ni. It's opposite to physically. Mentally.../ forget an easy word. (Hiro - Tl) 63 Aki also used the dictionary on occasion, however, he operated within the limits of his working vocabulary more than Koji and Hiro did. From the following comment it is evident that he had other strategies, such as thinking of a synonym, which he used when he didn't know a word; picking up his dictionary was not his first reaction. / don't know the work for "shinka" [evolution] and can't find the synonym so I consult the dictionary. (Aki - T2) Yuko worked through both writing tasks without consulting her dictionary. Instead, she did considerable oral rehearsing to assist her in selecting the word or phrase which "sounded right." In one of her retrospective interviews (Tl) she stated "finding the right words to use" as one of the challenges of the writing task. In terms of deciding which words to use she struggled to find the correct word forms or expressions she needed to express certain concepts. For example, here she is expressing uncertainty concerning how to write about getting married. Do not get--get married—do not get marriage—some women do not get marriage—do not get marriage—do not get married. (Yuko - T l ) Eventually, she was successful using this technique, which she frequently applied to other similar problems. As mentioned in Section 4.2.5., Yuko was not reliant upon LI in composing. Although she enjoyed writing in both languages, Yuko said she'd been concentrating on English writing since coming to Canada. As an example of this, she had kept a journal in Japanese before but for the past year and a half had been keeping her journal in English. Kenji, who had considerable confidence in his LI writing ability, felt that he "suffered from lack of vocabulary" in English (see Section 4.2.5.). Although he said that he did all his thinking in English when composing in English, he made 64 several statements like the following: Ya, actually, still the program itself is still not completed. Completed to structure? Humm Ya. Umm. Ryudoteiki [fluctuating]. Yes ryudoteiki. Now I still wondering what words should I use? (Kenji - T2) Mariko was most like Yuko as she was more interested in how words could be used within a particular context than she was in finding a particular lexical item. In this example she was working at the sentence level to find just the right expression that she needed. Just prior to writing "well, since they say studying is the most important thing to do here, I'm going to talk about it a lot," she deliberated about how this notion should be phrased. I'm going to talk about it. First of all, I'm going to talk about i t -talk about it much—I'm going to talk about many things—I'm going to talk a lot of—I'm going to talk a lot about it. Oh no, no no, Hmmmm. (Mariko - T2) Interaction with Text SLIWs spent an average of 15.34 minutes more engaged in the composing process on T l and an average of 25 minutes more on T2. They also produced longer texts; on T2, SLIWs' texts were twice as long as those written by W L l W s . As writing sessions were conducted individually, there was no possibility that writers were influenced by others in the same group. Hiro spent the least amount of time on task, which was about half the time spent by some SLIWs. Two of the SLIWs, Mariko and Yuko, produced much longer texts than other writers in response to the same prompt. 65 Table 10 Time Spent Composing and Length of Texts Topic 1 Topic 2 Weaker L I Writers Minutes Minutes (words) (words) ~~Koji _ 5 1 ~49 (378) (283) Hiro 32 35 (239) (204) A k i 41 43 (143) (187) A v e r a g e 41 42 (253) (224) Stronger L I Writers Yuko 58 66 (467) (597) M a r i k o 51 68 (432) (503) K e n j i 61 72 (232) (307) Average 56 68 (377) (469) Overall Average 59 55 (315) (346) 66 Summary Raimes' (1987) found that writers with a higher level of process skill interacted more with their texts. In other words, they did more of everything— planning, rehearsing rescanning, revising and editing—than more basic writers. Although these behaviors were not quantified in the current study, SLIWs appeared to have a stronger commitment to the tasks than the WLlWs, which they demonstrated by spending more time composing and by producing longer texts. It was difficult to categorize the writing processes of either SLIWs or WLlWs as process data in this study were not quantified. While certain observations were made regarding how individuals approached the task of composing, tendencies noted in one case did not necessarily apply to other writers in the group. Only general statements can, therefore, be made concerning the think-aloud protocols of the two groups of writers. Those of SLIWs (1) were more extensive, providing a richer source of data than those of WLlWs, (2) made reference to multiple aspects of composing (gist, discourse organization, language use), and (3) were done in English. It is possible that one or more of these characteristics were indications that the SLIWs adapted well to the procedure of thinking aloud. From this it might be inferred that they were more comfortable with composing generally and could handle the additional burden imposed by this procedure. At their best "protocols give us an extra-ordinarily detailed, blow by blow record of a writer's constantly shifting conscious attention" (Flower & Hayes, 1981, p. 233). This was not the case with the WLlWs. Koji's think-aloud protocols were almost exclusively filled with concerns about correct language use. The other two WLlWs, Aki and Hiro (on Tl) , produced more substantial think-aloud protocols than Koji; a large proportion of their thinking-aloud, however, was done in L I . It is possible that composing in L2 while thinking aloud was too demanding for these writers and that using LI to compose (which all writers said they would do if the task were difficult enough) or not engaging fully in the 67 think-aloud process were their coping strategies. Qualitative differences between the think alouds of experts and novices have been noted before. As Bereiter and Scardamalia (1986) observed: Although protocol analysis tell us quite a bit about what experts do, they leave us more in the dark about novices, whose protocols are mainly distinguished by what "is not there (p. 277). SLIWs spent more time composing on each topic, an average of 15 minutes more on T l and 25 minutes more on T2. Although specific composing behaviors were not quantified in this study, SLIWs seemed to operate somewhat like Raimes' (1987) high interactors who not only spent more time on composing tasks similar to the ones in this study but who also did more of everything than low interactors. In general, SLIWs seemed to have had a higher level of commitment to the writing tasks. There were also some features which were common to the writing processes of all writers. Almost everyone commented in their think-alouds or in interviews that lack of vocabulary was a problem associated with composing in a second language. This is consistent with the emphasis on linguistic differences found in a survey of ESL writers' perceptions of how writing in an L2 differed from writing in their native languages (Silva, 1992). 4.2.2. Interpretation of L2 Writing Processes and Second Language P r o f i c i e n c y This section will address Research Question 2b: To what extent do writing processes vary with the writer's ESL Proficiency as measures by TOEFL and OPI? Writing processes observed in this study did not correspond with the writers' level of ESL proficiency as measures by a grammar-based measure (TOEFL). This finding is consistent with those of Cumming (1989) and Raimes (1987). The contrast in writing processes between Koji and Mariko, who had the 68 highest TOEFL scores (570 and 573), was particularly striking. Koji was very constrained in his writing processes by his preoccupation with grammatical correctness whereas Mariko shared many of the characteristic of more expert writers (Cumming, 1989). Likewise, there was little similarity between the processes of Yuko and Aki, who had the lowest TOEFL scores (497 and 500), or Hiro and Kenji, who had similar TOEFL scores (543 and 550). Hiro did all of his thinking aloud in L I and his text emerged in a rather unmonitored state. Kenji, on the other hand, did extensive thinking aloud in L2, frequently working out his ideas (knowledge-transforming) in the process. Other researchers have suggested that a measure of oral language proficiency may be more closely related to process skill (Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992; Pennington & So, 1992). Measures of oral proficiency were, however, somewhat problematic in this study. Since the relative levels of writers' oral proficiency changed between the OPI administered at the beginning and that administered at the end of the program, there is uncertainty regarding relative writers' proficiency levels at the time of the study. Furthermore, no final OPI score was available for Hiro. On the basis of April, 1994 scores, oral proficiency did not appear to correspond with writing processes. It must be stressed that these case studies were selected, in part, on the basis of self-declared strengths and weakness in writing ability and were not meant to be representative of other writers at a given level of proficiency. 6 9 4.3. WRITERS' PREPAREDNESS FOR ESL COMPOSITION TASKS This section addresses the third and final research question stated in the introductory chapter of this thesis: 3a. How do Japanese writers perceive the demands of English composition tasks in expository and argumentative modes? 3b. How has the writing instruction which they have received in L I and L2 prepared them for these tasks? 4.3.1. Research Question 3a: Writers ' Perceptions of Tasks Findings in this section relate to research question 3a and are based upon writers' think-aloud protocols and their responses to questions in the retrospective interviews held after each composing session (see Appendix F). Writers' Reactions to the Topics Writers' reactions to T2 (the description of the program) were all as positive or, in the case of four writers, more positive than their reactions to T l (the argument). Some but not all writers, commented on the difficulty of the argument. Aki said that it was difficult during the retrospective interview; Koji and Kenji made similar comments in their think-aloud protocols. (Possible explanations for differences in writers' perceptions of Tl's difficulty level will be discussed in ) The second topic, the description of the program, was generally perceived as easier. Most writers felt it was a relatively easy topic because it was something they were very familiar with. Only Koji indicated that he thought it might be 70 hard. (Koji was a writer who found T l difficult as well.) Although the type of writing requested in the prompt could have been interpreted simply as description, a number of writers viewed this task as an opportunity to express some of their dissatisfaction with the program. Having a prior opinion seemed to be related to perceptions of topic difficulty. Mariko said this was easy because she already had a set opinion about it. Aki said "I have a complaint about this program" and saw the writing session as an opportunity to express that. The advantage of having a prior opinion is more fully discussed in the next section. Writers' Perceptions of the Constraints Placed Upon Them by the Writing Tasks Observations noted in this section are derived from references made to the task in think-aloud protocols (see Appendix H) and comments made by writers in the section of the retrospective interview which focused on task performance (see Appendix F). They provide a means of assessing task difficulties from the perspective of the writers. Some of the constraints which these writers articulated follow. Having to Have a Point of View In retrospective interviews after the first topic, "Women's Place is in the Home," writers made numerous references to having (or not having) a prior point of view on this issue. This seemed to be a factor influencing how difficult the task was perceived to be and how much or how little writers liked the topic. The two women writers, whose reactions to T l were the most positive, had some familiarity with the topic. Yuko said that she remembered having done an oral presentation on this topic; Mariko said she liked the topic because she was interested in "gender issues." 71 Several male subjects, on the other hand, indicated that not having a prior opinion was a source of difficulty for them. Aki said the topic was difficult for him because he didn't absolutely disagree. When asked what he disliked about what he had written, he said that he felt he had gone back and forth on his opinion. Koji said he didn't like the topic because social issues were difficult for him; he wasn't very satisfied with what he wrote because he didn't have a very strong opinion. A difficulty identified by Kenji was deciding which position to take in the beginning. He said that because his own opinion on the issue was "fuzzy" he found it difficult to draw a yes/no conclusion. He also indicated that it was not his own style to do so. Not Having Access to Facts In the retrospective interview after T l only Kenji indicated that he had had difficulty finding accurate information to support his opinion. Other writers commented that this was a difficulty they encountered while writing on T2. Yuko mentioned in her interview that not having access to accurate statistics was a problem. In the think-aloud protocols, as well, several comments suggested that writers didn't have access to all the information that they needed to write knowledgeably about the program. The following are questions which writers seemed unable to answer: English Education? I'm not sure what Safder was teaching me? (Mariko -T2) Why few UBC students come to Ritsumeikan instead of 100 students? Maybe there is no space or....I don't know why the number is different. (Yuko - T2) Goals is What is the goals? I don't know. (Kenji - T2) 72 Other TAP statements reflected concerns over how accurate the content was. Is it exaggeration? (Kenji - T l ) Five people? I don't know how many. One, two, three, four, five. I think over five people. About eight people. One two. three, four, five, six, seven? Oh, I don't know how many. (Yuko - T2) Having to Write Something on the Spot Both Kenji and Aki commented that the first topic, the argument, was a surprise and that they felt they had produced compositions which were below average compared with the quality of writing they usually did in English. Aki was extremely nervous throughout the first writing session. When asked what would have made him less nervous, he said seeing the topic in advance. No comments of this nature were made in reference to the second topic. Time Pressure The one-shot nature of each writing task made writers feel a time pressure even though their instructions stressed that there was no time limit. There were, however, some cases where writers were limited in the amount of time they could spend on the task because they had other classes to attend. Kenji mentioned that time constraints interfered with his ability to develop an outline or framework. He also said that the difficulty which he had in drawing a conclusion was connected with lack of time. After the second writing task, Koji reported difficulty describing courses which he felt was related to time pressure. If he had had more time, he said that he would have complained more about the program. Thinking Aloud and the Research Setting Two think-aloud comments from the first writing session suggested that 73 performance may have been adversely affected by the writers' discomfort with aspects of the research setting itself. One, made by Aki , referred to the research setting generally. Well, I can't think well, because I am embarrassed by the situation that I am experimented. (Aki -Tl) The other, made by Mariko, referred specifically to thinking aloud. I'm not sure about the structure thinking aloud. It sometimes disturbs the actual thinking in the brain I think. (Mariko - T l ) It seemed possible that writers adjusted to these difficulties as no such comment were made by any of the writers during or after T2. Uncertainty Regarding Organization The organization of T2 seemed to be a concern for the three writers who received the lowest performance ESL Composition Profile scores (Kenji, Koji and Hiro). They expressed uncertainty about how to start. Kenji said: This writing should be a letter, so what kind of letter do I need—do I want to write? Umm. A student's point of view. O.K. Dear, dear what? Dear editor or something. (Kenji - T2) In the retrospective interview, Koji said he wondered how formal the beginning of the article should be. Aki , who also said the beginning was difficult, didn't write any introduction at all and when asked why not said he felt the title explained what the article was about. Aki also experienced difficulty writing a conclusion because he didn't feel he was able to evaluate the program as a whole. (This is discussed more thoroughly in the next section.) 74 Perceived Requirements of the Writing Tasks References made in retrospective interviews and think-aloud protocols to writers' perceptions of the requirements of T l and T2 are discussed below. Topic 1 In each retrospective interview, writers were asked if writing done during that session was similar to writing they had done before. Four situations in which writing tasks similar to T l had been encountered were identified. Yuko had taken part in a Japanese essay competition when she was in Junior High School. She found elements of that competition (e.g., having to write something on the spot) similar to the research composition tasks. Hiro said that the English Speaking Society he belonged to in Japan had written something like this a few times. Aki related this writing task to a final paper he had done the previous term at UBC; it was similar in that he had had to agree or disagree with a given statement. Only Koji identified this as the type of writing task which is involved in the Test of Written English (TWE). It seemed that the writers had a formula in mind for writing an argument. Aki summarized what he thought was required like this: First you should think for or against, and then show your own examples, and finally conclude your own opinion as you did in the introduction. ( Aki - Tl) From the following comment made 50 minutes after she began her composition, Yuko made it clear that she knew an opinion was required; she appeared to be less clear about the point in the composition when this should be expressed: Which side I'm stand? So my state is that (Yuko - Tl) 75 Some writers believed that both sides) of the argument had to be presented: And I have to write the opposite opinion to confirm my ideas so I'll change the paragraph. (Mariko 1) Writers had various interpretations of how their opinions should be supported. Kenji and Aki took somewhat of an academic approach to supporting theirs, both referring to the increase in service sector work in developed countries (reasons why women can work outside of the home). Yuko and Mariko discussed reasons women are kept at home and Koji and Hiro wrote about their mothers' experiences within their respective families. Topic 2 In the case of T2, writers seemed to interpret the question, "Was this type of writing task similar to writing you have done before?" to mean "have you written on this subject before?" Most of them said it was similar to a writing assignment which they had done for a class a few months earlier. That assignment had required them to write a journal entry, not a letter, describing one course within the program. With the exception of Mariko, no one had ever written a newspaper article. A comment from one of the writers, Koji, suggested that he did not have a clear idea what type of writing was, in fact, required. After reading the prompt, he said, "Give description..description... description. What shall I do? Description". Other writers were uncertain about how this type of writing should be begun or concluded (see Section on page 71). Interpretations of Writers' Perceptions of Tasks Although Topic 1, previously used by Cumming (1989), was designed to be the more cognitively demanding topic, it was not perceived to be equally difficult by all writers. The women writers, by virtue of their previous interest in the 76 women's issues, seemed to have advantages over the males, who had not given this particular issue prior thought. It seems likely that the cognitive demands of the task were reduced for those who had previously thought about their position. Although students had not done much writing in the transactional mode (see Section, they did seem to recognize the basic task requirements. Several of these writers claimed to have written one or more arguments before (see Section; when asked if they had written anything like T2 before they reported experiences they had had with a related, albeit less complex topic, not with the genre. It is possible, therefore, that T2 required writers to work in a less familiar rhetorical mode. On both writing tasks, several writers had the idea that they needed to include an explicitly stated opinion. This could be a carry-over effect from instruction in LI (see Section that had stressed writing in the expressive mode (Liebman, 1992). Writers seemed naive to the existence of any other devices which could be used to persuade an audience. Moreover, writers showed little awareness of the use of rhetorical forms in English and think-aloud comments from both topics indicated that writers were seeking a mix which should include facts, personal experiences and personal opinions. This generic approach to both ESL writing tasks suggests that these Japanese writers may have been identifying the persuasive writing task (the argument) in terms of its expressive rather than its transactional function (Liebman, 1992). Previous case studies of second language writers have not reported findings concerned with the requirements of the writing tasks from the point of view of the writers. As references to students' perceptions about the tasks were liberally scattered throughout think-aloud protocols and were very accessible through retrospective interviews, this type of data could prove to be a rich vein in the process of discovering the instructional needs of ESL writers. 77 4.3.2 Writers' Perceptions of Performance During retrospective interviews which were held after each writing session, writers were asked to rate their levels of satisfaction with their written products on a 5-point Likert scale. They also were asked to compare the quality of their compositions with the writing which they usually did in English (average, above average or below average). Feelings about the topic were also rated on a 5-point Likert Scale. Writers' Perceptions of Product Quality On both topics, writers who were the most satisfied with their compositions were the ones who had the most positive feelings about the topic. The relationship between these ratings was particularly strong with Topic 1 where there was an almost perfect correspondence (see Table 11 on the next page). More positive feelings about the second topic in the case of three writers, Aki , Hiro and Kenji were only associated with a higher rating of satisfaction the case of Kenji (see Table 12 on the next page). The majority of the writers did not change their ratings of how satisfied they were with what they had written from topic to topic. Kenji was an exception; he liked the second topic much more than the first and felt considerably more satisfied with the composition he produced during the second session. Two writers, who did not have more positive feelings about the second topic (Aki and Mariko), however, were also more satisfied with what they wrote in the second session. Generally, students who had rated themselves as average in English writing ability compared with other students in the program were more satisfied with the quality of their written compositions on both topics than students who had described themselves as below average (see Table 13 on page 80). 78 Table 11 Writers' Ratings of Feelings about the Topic and Satisfaction with Their Written Products- Topic 1 Feelings about Satisfaction with the topic a the product h A k i . . . 2 2 Hiro 3 3 Yuko 4 4 Mariko 4 4 Koji 2 2 Kenji 3 2 Note. a 1= disliked the topic; 5= really liked it. b 1 = not happy at all; 5 = very happy. Table 12 Writers' Ratings of Feelings about the Topic and Satisfaction with Their Written Products- Topic 2 Feelings about Satisfaction with the topic a the product b A k i 4 2 Hiro 5 3 Yuko 4 4 Mariko 3 4 Koji 2 3 Kenji 4 4 Note. a 1= disliked the topic; 5= really liked it. b 1 = not happy at all; 5 = very happy. 79 Table 13 Self Rating of L2 Writing Ability and Satisfaction with Written Products Self-rating of L2 Satisfaction with Satisfaction with Writing Ability Topic 1 Topic 2 A k i Below Average 2 2 Hiro Below Average 3 3 Koji Below Average 2 3 Yuko Average 4 4 Mar iko Average 4 4 Kenj i Average 2 4 Note. 1 = Not happy at all; 5 = very happy Writers' Satisfaction with their Written Products There was no correspondence between the judgments of individual writers about their own work and the scores on the ESL Composition Profile. Most writers indicated the same level of satisfaction with both compositions. Although Kenji and Koji reported having higher levels of satisfaction with the pieces which they wrote in response to Topic 2, their Overall Scores on the second composition were, in fact slightly lower. Summary: Perceptions of Performance Writers who felt more positive about T l , felt more satisfied with what they had written. More positive ratings of the second topic did not, however, produce higher ratings of satisfaction with written products, which tended to remain constant across the writing tasks. Writers' ratings of how satisfied they were with their individual compositions tended to correspond closely with their global 80 assessments of their L2 writing ability and did not seem to be sensitive to performance differences across these writing tasks. 4.3.3. RESEARCH QUESTION 3B: WRITING INSTRUCTION IN LI AND L2 During final interviews held with each of the case study writers, they were questioned regarding the nature of the instruction which they had received in LI and L2 (see Appendix I). Instruction Received in L I Writing Writers didn't recall receiving any explicit instruction in LI writing. As Koji expressed it, "I think I didn't learn that." Writers did, however, recall doing various writing assignments which were they were given in elementary school. These included: writing based upon personal experience (done during summer vacation), responses to books, and journal entries made after field trips. These types of writing, although not explicitly taught, did receive teacher feedback. The nature of teacher feedback was not explored in the current study. In kokugo (Japanese classes), students read texts and teachers pointed out the writing patterns used in these passages. (Most students did not recall being required to actually do compositions.) They referred to two forms of Japanese composition: the three-part essay (hajime-naka-owari,, which corresponds with introduction, body, conclusion) and the four part essay (ki-sho-ten-ketsu). Of these, they said that the hajime-naka-owari was the least difficult and they seemed to recall being exposed to this pattern much earlier than the ki-sho-ten-ketsu pattern, most likely during elementary school and junior high school. (-These students admitted that their recollections regarding the timing of their early school experiences were subject to error.) 81 Two of the writers said that the ki-sho-ten-ketsu pattern was very difficult and that they couldn't write in this style. This seemed to indicate that the ki-sho-ten-ketsu pattern was more of a literary ideal than a pattern that all educated adults should master. Instruction Received in L2 Writing When asked to recall the nature of the instruction they had received in L2 composition, writers made a distinction between English instruction which they had received in junior high school and high school and the one-term Academic Writing course they had taken in preparation for their year at UBC. Prior to the Academic Writing Course, all writers said that they hadn't learned anything about English composition. Unanimously, they described this as typical for most Japanese junior high school and high school students. They recalled the following aspects of learning to write in English: (1) learning to translate Japanese words, idioms and sentences; (2) studying grammar; and (3) writing sentences or paragraphs from a model (only in the case of Kenji). Yuko pointed out that, although she hadn't done so, some students studied how to write if they were preparing for the Test of Written English (TWE) and Hiro said it was typical for students who wanted to learn how to. write English to do so from a book. These findings are consistent with reports that English composition in Hong Kong emphasized sentence level accuracy rather than discourse strategies (Mohan & Lo, 1986). According to student reports this Academic Writing course, taught by a native speaker, emphasized organization. The major assignment involved writing from sources, using citations. No mention was made of studying various modes of English writing. 8 2 Interpretation of Previous Writing Instruction It has been suggested by Liebman (1992) that in order to understand ESL students' orientations to literacy it is necessary to examine instruction which they have received in LI as well as L2. Reports from these Japanese students concerning the nature of their LI writing instruction are consistent with the following findings reported by Liebman (1992): (1) They had received little or no direct instruction in LI writing; (2) they had had more experience with topics which emphasized the expressive than the transactional functions of writing (according to Britton et al.'s categories of writing functions, 1975) and (3) they had been exposed to more than the single rhetorical pattern (ki-sho-ten-ketsu) which was a focus of early contrastive analysis (Kaplan, 1966). With regard to writing instruction received in L2, these students, like those reported by Mohan and Lo (1985) had not received English instruction which focused on writing at a discourse level writing until they took an Academic Writing course in preparation for this program. Their English writing instruction in junior high and high school had consisted of grammar, translation and a focus on correctness at the word and sentence levels. The high degree of uniformity in the instruction which these students had received in L I and L2 writing and the fact that little of this instruction was directed to writing in the modes required on the composition tasks included in this study may be factors contributing to the finding that scores of stronger and weaker LI writers did not vary much in the category of "organization" on the ESL Composition Profile (Jacobs et al., 1981) (see Section 4.1.3.). 83 r C H A P T E R F I V E : DISCUSSION This exploratory study describes the products, processes and perceptions of task demands of Japanese students engaged in English composition tasks. Six ESL students with unique profiles in terms of LI writing expertise and L2 proficiency were impressionistically chosen for case studies. It was the intention of the researcher to examine factors affecting second language writing holistically within each case and to observe any patterns which emerged across cases. This chapter stands back from the detailed analyses of the study (1) to discuss findings within the context of previous research in second language writing, (2) to identify limitations of the current research, and (3) to suggest implications of the current study for those involved in assessment, research and instruction with ESL writers. 5.1. DISCUSSION Previous investigations have consistently noted that there is considerable variation in the writing processes of second language writers. "Skilled" ESL writers are capable of interacting with text like "skilled" LI writers do, whereas, "unskilled" ESL writers may have composing problems similar to those of "basic" LI writers (Raimes, 1985; Zamel, 1983). A few studies have noted the existence of individual composing styles, which have sometimes made it difficult to characterize writers as a group (Arndt, 1987; Raimes, 1985); these individual approaches exist even among writers who are from the same language background or who share similar levels of linguistic proficiency in the L2. Personal approaches to composing seem, in fact, to be transferable across languages (Arndt, 1987; Carson & Kuehn, 1992; Hall, 1990; Pennington & So, 1992; Uzawa & Cumming, 1989). Although similarities between LI and L2 composing exist, composing in an 84 L2 is obviously more difficult (Friedlander, 1990; Hall, 1990; Jones & Tetroe, 1986; Raimes, 1985). Strategies which have been noted for coping with the additional cognitive burden of composing in an L2 are composing in LI and translating (Jones & Tetroe, 1986) and "lowering the standard" of LI writing (Uzawa & Cumming, 1989). Some studies have suggested that better LI writers produce superior written products in L2 (Carson & Kuehn, 1992; Cumming, 1989); these findings lend theoretical support to the notion of a generalized writing expertise (Cummins, 1981). Others, however, suggest that proficiency in the second language is a better predictor of product quality (Pennington & So, 1992). Increased proficiency in L2 has not been associated with superior written products in all studies (Carson & Kuehn, 1992; Raimes, 1987); however, it has been a factor in studies which have used oral measures (Cumming, 1989; Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992). According to the findings of Cumming (1989), proficiency in L2 does not affect composing processes, only the overall quality of the writing. In the current study, six Japanese writers with varying degrees of expertise in writing in their LI were chosen for case studies. The researcher constructed profiles of several factors related to LI writing: experiences in L I writing, the writer's feelings about writing, self-ratings of L I writing ability (globally and in specific situations) and a combined score of two raters on two holistically assessed samples of their LI writing. Attempts were made to select cases which were distinct and interesting. According to the profiles of the six students chosen, three were strong writers in Japanese and three were not. The study makes no claim that there were significant differences between writers' levels of writing expertise. Rather, the case study approach lent itself to an investigation of writers within a range of writing expertise. As there were no professional writers available for inclusion in the study, the researcher assumed that writers chosen fell along a continuum ranging from Cumming's (1989) 85 "basic" to "average" writers. Likewise, cases were chosen to represent various levels of ESL proficiency. Research questions addressed whether writers with more writing expertise would produce higher quality compositions in L2 than writers with less expertise and whether or not they would engage in similar writing processes. Two English composition tasks were used. One, an argument used by Cumming (1989) to represent the kind of writing students do in assessments and on assignments, asked students to take a position on the statement "Women's place is in the home." The second task was designed to give writers an opportunity to write about something familiar with a specified purpose and audience; this was a modification of tasks used previously by Raimes (1987) and Cumming (1989). In this case, writers were asked to describe the exchange program which they were participating in to UBC students via a letter in a campus newspaper. As was the case in Cumming's (1989) study, compositions of more expert writers were judged to be of higher quality on the more cognitively demanding task (i.e., the argument). (Compositions were holistically assessed according to Jacobs et al.'s, 1981, ESL Composition Profile and the scores of two independent raters were averaged.) Superior performance by the stronger LI writers was consistent across each of the ESL Composition Profile categories—content, organization, language use, vocabulary and mechanics. Cumming found a greater difference on the qualities of discourse organization and content with his French Canadian writers. No tests of statistical significance were performed in the current study. On their compositions written on T2 (the letter), the stronger LI writers had higher ESL Composition Scores than two of the weaker LI writers. Difference in LI writing expertise seemed to contribute less to performance on this topic possibly because it (1) allowed students to write on a familiar topic (Cumming, 1989; Raimes, 1987) and/or (2) it featured a more extensive prompt which offered suggestions regarding content and provided a possible organizing 86 structure. From the observations of the writers during composing sessions, transcriptions of their thinking-aloud, and retrospective interviews, some differences in writing processes of stronger and weaker L I writers' composing processes seemed apparent. Processes of stronger and weaker LI writers were difficult to characterize due to the fact that noteworthy processes were not always present in all cases in the group. Similar problems were reported by Arndt (1987) and Raimes (1985). A few key observations were, however, noted. Stronger L I writers interacted more with their texts like Raimes' (1987) subjects, devoting substantially more time to composing (i.e., 15 minutes more on T l and 25 minutes more on T2) and writing longer texts. In addition, all SLWs made reference to multiple aspects of composing in their think-alouds (Cumming, 1989). The thinking aloud of WLls was more often done in L I , contained fewer comments, and/or paid disproportionate attention to a single aspect of writing. This suggests that these writers found the composition tasks more difficult and were unable to handle the additional cognitive challenge of the think-aloud procedure. Making fewer comments (Hiro), thinking aloud in LI (Hiro and Aki), or attending to a single aspect of writing (Koji) were possibly strategies for reducing the load. Similar responses to dealing with the demands of composing in L2 were reported1 by Jones (1985), Jones and Tetroe (1987) and Uzawa and Cumming (1989). It should be noted that one LI writer (Hiro) substantially boosted his performance on T2 when his thinking aloud was reduced to a minimum. The second research question addressed questions related to the contributions of ESL proficiency to the quality of products written in L2 and to writing processes. Two measures of ESL proficiency were used, TOEFL scores and an intake measure of oral proficiency (Oral Proficiency Interview) obtained at the beginning of their program (4 months prior to the study). Neither measure of proficiency seemed to correspond with performance on either task. Writers with 87 nearly identical measures of ESL proficiency received performance scores which, although within the same range on the Jacobs et al. (1981) scale, had substantially different ranks within the group. The lack of correspondence between a grammar-based test, TOEFL, and writing proficiency supports previous findings of Raimes (1987) and Kobayashi and Rinnert (1992). The lack of correspondence between the oral measure (OPI) and performance is noteworthy, however, as other studies have found these factors to be associated (Cumming, 1989; Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992). A more precise measure of oral proficiency or a more comprehensive measure (i.e., a measure which covered macro features of speech such as content and organization) may have yielded different results. One interesting point was that the writer who received the lowest ranked scores on T l and T2, in both cases falling into a category of the scale (poor to fair) lower than all other case study writers, also had the lowest scores on both measures of proficiency. The fact that his written products were judged to be of lower quality than those of WLWls with higher ESL proficiency suggests that ESL proficiency may serve an additive function for writers who lack writing expertise (Cumming, 1989). Future studies are needed to determine if these types of composition tasks would pose as much difficulty for other writers lacking both L I writing proficiency and L2 writing expertise. There was little association between levels of language proficiency and writing processes observed in this study. This finding is consistent with the findings of Raimes (1987) and Cumming (1989). The third and final research question asked writers about (1) their perceptions of the demands of the tasks and (2) their previous writing instruction in LI and L2. Writers' perceptions of task demands have not been reported in previous research and were included in this study in order that writing performance and processes could be viewed in a more complete context. Writers had more favorable reactions to the topic which required them to 88 write in the descriptive mode as they were able to draw upon their personal experience for content. Although these reactions confirmed the researcher's intentions for this to be a less cognitively demanding task, performance measures did not reflect a difference in difficulty between the two tasks. Writers reported a variety of constraints which they felt were operating. Most of these were not task specific; in fact, they could be expected in similar situations which shared the context of "assessment" (i.e., writers were surprised by the topic; they perceived time pressure). Writers seemed to be operating with their own mental "set" which was superordinate to researcher's instructions which stated that there was no time limit and that it would be all right to use paper and pen if they wanted. When asked about the think-aloud procedure, most students said that they had adjusted to it by the second session. Writers knew a formula for writing the argument; however, some of them found it difficult to (quickly) construct a personal point of view. This was much easier for the female writers who had had previous experience with and more vested interest in this topic. While the descriptive task was perceived as familiar, students did not associate it with any particular "English" rhetorical mode. Although writers who were more satisfied with what they had written had more positive feelings about a topic, having positive feelings about a topic did not ensure positive feeling about their performance. How satisfied writers were with a particular composition seemed to correlate with their overall ratings of their L2 writing ability and varied little from task to task. Difficulties which Japanese students have in English composition have been explained by contrastive rhetoric (Kaplan, 1966) which predicted a negative transfer of indirect text structure between Japanese and English or by types of EFL instruction which do not prepare students to work at a discourse level of ideation (Mohan & Lo, 1986). In one of his retrospective interviews, Hiro said that if he were writing the same composition in Japanese, he would have written twice 89 as much. It seems possible that his perception that English writing was more "direct" than Japanese caused him to write less. On the other hand, he may simply have been able to write more in his native language. Students did not recall any receiving explicit instruction in L I writing. Approaches .which they described were similar to those reported by Liebman (1992). Writing assignments were given in elementary school (frequently reports of a personal experience or a personal reaction) and these received teacher feedback; the nature of this feedback was not explored in this study. Writers in this study were eager to express their opinions on both composition topics, even when it was not required. This could be a by-product of writing experience in LI which emphasized expressive rather than transactional functions of writing (Liebman, 1992) or their perceptions that English writing always requires a personal opinion. Through reading they were exposed to two Japanese rhetorical patterns, the hajime-naka-owari form (introduction, body, conclusion) and later the more difficult ki-sho-ten-ketsu pattern. As Mohan and Lo (1986) discovered with students in Hong Kong, these students claimed to be more familiar with the more "western" style pattern (introduction, body, conclusion); none of them used the classical ki-sho-ten-ketsu pattern on a routine basis so it was unlikely that it was the source of any negative transfer effects as suggested by Kaplan (1966). Students had had approximately 8 years of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instruction in Japan. EFL writing instruction which they had received prior to taking an Academic Writing course in preparation for their year abroad had emphasized writing at the word or sentence level—not on a discourse level—just as Mohan and Lo (1986) reported with EFL instruction in Hong Kong. Most of the writers in this study were able to achieve scores on the ESL Composition Profile (Jacobs et al, 1981) in the "average to good" range of the scale. Retrospective interview comments from some students indicated that they could 90 have done better if they had used some form of organizing framework. 5.2. Limitations of the Study As no efforts were made to select writers who were representative of students in the Ritsumeikan/UBC program, generalizations about participants' written products; writing processes or perceptions of the composition tasks cannot be made to that population nor can findings of this study be generalized to other learners. Writers included in this research were alike in several ways. They were approximately the same age, shared the same mother tongue and cultural background, and had had common educational experiences in both LI and L2. One objective of the researcher in case selection, however, was to select writers who varied in terms of their expertise in LI writing. It is regrettable that within this homogeneous group it was not possible to recruit writers with higher levels of writing expertise. Cumming (1989) found that the variable of "writing expertise" was more of an asset for his professional writers; no cases included in this research had professional writing experience. Similarly, writers with a broader range of language proficiency were desirable, but not available. Case selection was done of the basis of measures of language proficiency which were collected in the normal course of events within the program. The measure of oral proficiency was obtained five months prior to the time when L2 writing was done for this study. Considering that students' levels of proficiency were possibly changing rapidly during this period, the accuracy of this measure is in doubt. Efforts should be made in future studies to obtain measures of proficiency which are more precise. It may also be fruitful to include more detailed descriptions of proficiency. TOEFL scores, for example, might be used to better advantage if sub-scores were considered. A measure of oral proficiency which provided information related to specific features of speech might give more insight into the relationship between oral proficiency and writing 91 proficiency. Effects of changing levels of ESL proficiency, which are an inherent factor in ESL immersion programs, could be addressed with a longitudinal design. Whereas previous studies have inferred writing skill in LI from a single criterion (e.g., Pennington & So, 1992), the present research examined L2 written products and composing processes in relation to a cluster of factors related to L I writing (self-ratings of LI writing ability, performance on L I writing tasks, purposes for which writing had been done in L I , and feelings about L I writing)--a kind of LI writing quotient. No attempts have been made in the current study to establish correlations between any one of these factors and L2 writing performance or processes due to the small numbers of students involved. An examination of the trends of the current study, however, suggests that the relative contributions of one or more of these factors to second language writing could be assessed in a larger, more controlled future study. It must be taken into account that the writing tasks used in this study were of a research nature. It is possible that the these writers would exhibit different products and produces in L2 composition if they were free from some of the constraints which they identified in the retrospective interviews (e.g., perceived time pressure, being surprised by the topic, finding the research situation uncomfortable). 5.3. IMPLICATIONS 5.3.1. Implications for Writing Assessment/Placement ESL placement decisions are often based upon a measure of English proficiency such as the TOEFL. It would appear from the findings reported in Section 4.1 that TOEFL and OPI scores do not, however, provide clear indications of an ESL student's level of writing skill. Institutions or departments would make 92 more informed placement decisions if they were to consider L2 writing samples in conjunction with scores on standardized tests. TOEFL now offers the Test of Written English (TWE) to serve this purpose and many universities (e.g., University of California, Los Angeles) have their own writing placement exam. The L2 writing tasks used in the current study, especially the argument (T2), represent the type of writing frequently required of ESL students for assessment purposes. Holistically assessed samples of writing done in English are used alone or in combination with other criteria to make decisions with regard to placement of ESL students into courses and/or programs. Data collected through the use of think-aloud protocols and through retrospective interviews in this study drew attention to factors which may have negatively affected performance on these assessment tests or which may have biased the results in favour of certain subgroups of test takers. These procedures (think-alouds and retrospective interview) could be an effective means of pretesting topics and procedures in situations where writing samples are being collected for either research or assessment purposes. 5.3.2. Implications for Instruction According to the reports of these students, they had received little or no explicit writing instruction in LI or L2 in Japanese schools. When students who have been studying EFL for six or more years arrive in North American classrooms (ESL or regular academic) and are unable to write an acceptable paragraph, teachers are sometimes led to the conclusion that this is a result of the kind of negative transfer of L I rhetorical conventions described by contrastive rhetoric (Kaplan, 1966). The current findings lend support to the alternative explanation put forth by Mohan and Lo (1986) that these deficiencies are a by-product of the nature of EFL instruction which they have received. Case study writers were consistent in their reports of limited explicit writing instruction in 93 LI and all described their experiences as fairly typical of most Japanese students. This finding is consistent with that of Liebman (1992) who described how Japanese learn to write in their native language. Japanese ESL students themselves, therefore, may not recognize their need for L2 writing instruction since they have not had explicit writing instruction in their L I . Furthermore, writers in this study seemed unaware that there were multiple modes of writing in English. The fact that case study writers had only had minimal L2 writing instruction (a one-term course in academic writing) and that they were still in developmental stages as writers suggests that within the context of a study abroad program, especially one in which a lot of writing assignments are required, they could, benefit from explicit L2 writing instruction. During the final interview, when asked how useful the academic writing course had been for doing assignments at UBC, Koji said that it had been very useful to him, but that it didn't provide enough preparation: "Actually, I didn't know anything about writing in English so if I didn't take that course maybe I would have had more hard time." An overall examination of both process and product data suggested that writers experienced more difficulty with language use than they did with content, or discourse organization. This finding is not surprising since these were students in a content-based program and content always figured heavily in the evaluation of any of their written work. Although the researcher became aware over the course of the study that students knew little of rhetorical modes in English, they were familiar with the argument, possibly because it is the form which must be mastered if one wants to do well on the TWE. Discourse organization was not a problem for them on the second topic either as the prompt suggested a possible organizing structure. In terms of language use, however, there were many occasions when writers lamented that they did not have the vocabulary which they needed to adequately express themselves. This is consistent with the comments of Silva's (1992) graduate students which emphasized how challenging 94 linguistic differences are in second language writing. Based upon these observations it would appear that instructional approaches which introduce rhetorical modes and which allow for the development of vocabulary along with ideas in the early stages of the writing process would be appropriate for these students. 5.5.3. Implications for Further Research Writers within the current study were all clearly literate (i.e, they were high school graduates and had gained admission into one of the better universities in Japan). Despite this uniformity in their backgrounds, some performance differences were observed on English composition tasks and these seemed to correspond with their level of writing achievement in L I . One interpretation of this is that the stronger writers had innate or developed talents which contributed directly to their writing ability in LI and L2; another is that this talent contributed to their ability indirectly by fostering an interest in writing. This study does not address the issue of which came first, an interest or an aptitude. Similarily, no insight has been gained into whether the weaker writers were lacking in ability or simply lacked the interest which could have led them to develop the ability to write. Assuming that differences in performance reflect the presence of an underlying "writing ability", it would be worthwhile for teachers and researchers in this field to expand their understanding of the actual traits which this- term encompasses. What are the traits which more skillful writers possess? Are they uniquely applicable within the domain of writing or do they have application across a range of endeavours? Where do they reside? Furthermore, if these traits were identified, could they then be taught? Exploratory studies which involve more extensive observation of one or a few individuals over a longer term and across a broader set of circumstances could be a step toward deepening our understanding of this construct. 95 This study, which utilized three measures of proficiency—TOEFL, OPI and the ESL Composition Profile (Jacobs et al., 1981), also raises questions concerning the constructs of language proficiency and writing proficiency. Difficulty arises when trying to formulate conclusions about the relationships between different proficiencies when our understanding of these constructs is defined as "that quality which the test measures." Lantolf and Frawley (1988) have described the current state of affairs as the "tail wagging the dog." It is problematic, since there are currently no measures available for measuring language proficiency or writing proficiency that merit this amount of faith. The Jacobs et al. (1981) scale, for example, provides information concerning five dimensions of writing; clearly this is not inclusive of all attributes of good writing. There is, therefore, a need for future studies which consider the nature of these constructs, independent of the tests which are used to measure them; once a better understanding of what these proficiencies entail emerges, new means of assessing them may follow. 96 REFERENCES Arndt, V. (1987). Six writers in search of texts: A protocol-based study of LI and L2 writing. E L T Journal. 41. 257-267. Bereiter, C. & Scardamalia, M . (1987). The psychology of written composition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 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Research in the Teaching of English. 13. 317-336. Pennington, M . C. & So, S. (1992). Comparing writing processes and products across two languages: A study of Singaporean university student writers. Journal of Second Language Writing. 2. 41-63. Raimes, A. (1985). What unskilled ESL students do as they write: A classroom ' based study of composing. TESOL Quarterly. 19. 229-258. Raimes, A. (1987). Language proficiency, writing ability and composing strategies: A case study of ESL college student writers. Language Learning. 37. 439-468. Reid, J. (1984). Comment on Vivian Zamel's "The composing processes of advanced ESL students: Six case studies." TESOL Quarterly. 18. 149-153. Rorschach, E. (1986). The level of reader awareness: A case study of three ESL student writers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, New York Universi ty. Silva, T. (1989). A critical review of ESL composing process research. Paper presented at the annual TESOL convention, San Antonio, Texas. Silva, T. (1992). LI Vs. L2 writing: ESL graduate students' perceptions. TESL Canada Journal. 10. 27-47. Uzawa, K. & Cumming, A. (1989). Writing strategies in Japanese as a foreign language: Lowering or keeping up the standard. Canadian Modern Language Review. 46. 178-194. 99 Zamel, V. (1983). The composing processes of advanced ESL students: Six case studies. TESOL Quarterly. 17. 165-187. -Zamel. V. (1987). Recent research on writing pedagogy. TESOL Quarterly. 21. 697-715. 100 Name: Major: Appendix A Screening Questionnaire Age: Language of education: Country in which you received your education: Part I - Questions about writing in Japanese 1, Compared with other people in this program, how would you rate your writing ability in Japanese? 2. The next questions asks you to rate your ability to do different kinds of writing in Japanese. (a) Can you or could you write to people you don't know? No, too difficult. NOT VERY WELL, always difficult YES, BUT sometimes easy, sometimes difficult YES, usually easy YES, VERY WELL, always easy (b) Can you or could you write reports at school? NO, too difficult. NOT VERY WELL, always difficult YES, BUT sometimes easy, sometimes difficult YES, usually easy YES, VERY WELL, always easy (c) Can you or could you write reports at work? (If you have never had job which required you to write reports, answer how easy or difficult you think it would be for you.) NO, too difficult. NOT VERY WELL, always difficult above average average below average YES, BUT sometimes easy, sometimes difficult YES, usually easy YES, VERY WELL, always easy 101 3. Please indicate which of the following types of writing you have done in Japanese: written a book or professional article written for a magazine or newspaper written poetry, short stories or plays written letters to friends or family kept a diary or journal written papers in high school written papers in university other: (Please explain) 4. Which of the following statements best describes your feelings about writing in Japanese: I like writing in Japanese a lot and sometimes do it for pleasure. I don't like writing in Japanese very much and do it only when it's necessary I dislike writing in Japanese and try to avoid it whenever possible. Part II - Questions about writing in English 5. Compared with other people in this program, how would you rate your writing ability in English? above average average below average 6. The next questions asks you to rate your ability to do different kinds of writing in English. (a) Can you or could you write to people you don't know? No, too difficult. NOT VERY WELL, always difficult YES, BUT sometimes easy, sometimes difficult YES, usually easy YES, VERY WELL, always easy 102 (b) Can you or could you write reports at school? NO, too difficult. NOT VERY WELL, always difficult YES, BUT sometimes easy, sometimes difficult YES, usually easy YES, VERY WELL, always easy (c) Can you or could you write reports at work? (If you have never had job which required you to write reports, answer how easy or difficult you think it would be for you.) NO, too difficult. NOT VERY WELL, always difficult YES, BUT sometimes easy, sometimes difficult YES, usually easy ' YES, VERY WELL, always easy 7. Please indicate which of the following types of writing you have done in English: written a book or professional article written for a magazine or newspaper written poetry, short stories or plays written letters to friends or family kept a diary or journal written papers in high school written papers in university other: (Please explain) 8. Which of the following statements best describes your feelings about writing in English: I like writing in English a lot and sometimes do it for pleasure. I don't like writing in English very much and do it only when it's necessary I dislike writing in English and try to avoid it whenever possible. 103 Appendix B Japanese Writing Sample Prompts T A S K 1 Please write a one-page composition in Japanese on the following topic: "What effect w i l l participating in a program like this one w i l l have on your future life?" Imagine that you are wri t ing this letter to Ritsumeikan students who are thinking about coming to U .B .C . next year. T A S K 2 Some people think that the violence which people see on television is a major cause of violence in society. Others do not. Take one side of this issue. Write an essay in which you state your opinion and defend it. 104 Appendix C Changes to E S L Composition Profile Criter ia For Rating Japanese Writing Criteria for each descriptor in the ESL Composition Profile (Jacobs et. al. 1981) were examined by experienced Japanese writers to determine their suitability for use in the holistic assessment of Japanese writing. CONTENT DESCRIPTORS Knowledgeable A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. Substantive A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. Thorough development of thesis "Is there a specific method of development (such as comparison/contrast, illustration, definition, example, description, fact of personal experience)?" Change: Japanese methods of development such as Ki-no-ten-ketsu were added to the list of examples of methods of development. Other criteria were acceptable. Relevant to assigned topic A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. ORGANIZATION DESCRIPTORS Fluent Expression A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. "Is there a clearly stated controlling idea or central focus to the paper?" Do topic sentences in each paragraph support, limit and direct the thesis?" Ideas clearly stated/supported The following criteria were dropped: The notion of cohesion (formerly a descriptor of its own -Cohesive) was combined here and the new descriptor name given was Ideas Clearly Related. The only criteria stated for this was: Are there clear relationships between ideas? Succinct "Are all ideas directed concisely related to the central focus of the paper without digression?" Changed to: "Are all ideas directed to the central focus of the paper?" Well-organized A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. 105 Logical sequencing A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. Cohesive "Does each paragraph reflect a single purpose?" "Do the paragraphs form a unified paper?" Since paragraphing is not a part of Japanese writing, these criteria were dropped. This notion of cohesiveness was subsumed within Ideas Clearly Related. LANGUAGE USE DESCRIPTORS (INCLUDES VOCABULARY. LANGUAGE USE AND MECHANICS) VOCABULARY Sophisticated range A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. Effect word/idiom choice and usage A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. Word Mastery form A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. Appropriate register A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. LANGUAGE USE Effective complex constructions Two criteria were dropped: "Are introductory It and There used correctly to begin sentences?" and "Are coordinate and subordinate elements linked to other elements with appropriate conjunctions, adverbials, relative pronouns, or punctuation?" Other criteria were acceptable. Agreement "Is there basic agreement between sentence elements" was retained as a criteria, however, the specific English examples (i.e., auxiliary-verb, subject-verb, pronoun-antecedent, adjective-noun, nouns-qualifiers) were dropped. Tense A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. Number This descriptor was dropped. 106 Word order/function A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. Articles This descriptor was dropped. Pronouns - This descriptor was dropped. Prepositions This descriptor was dropped. Verb Formality This descriptor was added. The criteria was stated as follows: " Is use of desu and masu forms consistent?" Particles This descriptor was added. The criteria was "Are particles used correctly?" MECHANICS Spel l ing "Are words spelled correctly?" was changed to "Are correct Chinese characters used?" Punctuation "Are periods, commas, semicolons, dashes, questions marks used correctly?" was changed to "Are periods, commas and quotation marks used correctly?" Capitalization This descriptor was dropped. Paragraphing This descriptor was dropped. Handwri t ing A l l criteria were acceptable. No changes recommended. 107 Appendix D L2 Writing Prompts TASK 1 Some people believe that a woman's place is in the home. Others do not. Take one side of this issue. Write an essay in which you state your position and defend it. TASK 2 Generally speaking, students at UBC do not know much about the UBC/Ritsumeikan. Program. For this reason a campus newspaper has requested a letter which explains this program from a student's point of view. Please write a letter to the campus newspaper which gives a description of this program. Your description may include things such as length of program, program goals, students, and the required courses. In addition, choose one course which have found particularly interesting and explain why you found it valuable. The following general instructions were given for each task. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS 1. Please think-aloud while you write. If I notice that you are not thinking aloud, I will come and remind you to do so. 2. There is no time limit. Just write until you feel you are finished. 3. After the writing session, I would like to ask you a few questions. 108 Appendix E Th ink ing Aloud Practice Problems 1. What is the result of mult iplying 22 X 36? 2. What is the result of 399 + 516? 3. H o w many windows are there in your parents house? 4. Solve the following anagram: N P E P H A 5. F ind as many words as possible that rhyme with the word "beef". 109 Appendix F Retrospective Interview Focus on Reaction to Task 1. What was your first reaction to this topic? 2. How did you feel about the topic once you got started? (Answer on a 5 point scale where 5 = really liked it and 1= really disliked it.) 3. Was this type of writing task similar to writing you have done before? Where? When? 4. In English composition classes have you ever done this type of writing? 5. If you received instruction in this type of writing, what do you remember about it? Focus on Performance 1. How satisfied are you with the piece you have written today? (Answer on a 5 point scale where 5=very happy and 1= not happy at all) 2. What are two things that you like about what you have just written? Is there anything that you dislike? 3. Were they any places where you had difficulty in writing this ? Where? 4. Would you change anything in this composition if you could? What would you change? 5. Compared with the quality of writing you usually do in English, do you think this piece is average, above average or below average? Why? 110 Appendix G Think-Aloud Protocol Transcribed with Text Mariko Wri t ing about Women's Place Mariko 's Text: [1] I think women's place is not only at home. It should be anywhere.[2] W h y the great number of people have believed [3] [4] this k ind of role?there are some reasons for this. The first is the economic aspect. It is certainly effective to distinguish the role by sex that is, men work outside and women stay home and take care of husband and children as a wife and mother. Thus, economic has developed so quickly. [5] The second reason is the ego of men. Since this [6] system has kept for long long time, men take it granted and women's voices were ignored. [7] [8] Some people say that the true task for women is to have children as one creature of human being, and keep a family. But I wonder who can say it is absolutely right for everyone? As you know,some women like cooking, others don't. O n the other hand, Some men like cleaning the house, others don't. One of my friends say she was scolded [9] when she was a young girl , because she d id not help her mother while cooking. She sa id ," Please ask it for brothers. I am busy." But the brothers d id not have to do it. [10] Mother just scolded her and d id not explain why. From this friend's experience, it is clear that there are no [11] evidence in the theory [12] that only women are good at house keeping. People just believed so [13] because of the ego or social pressure. [14] Then, why women could not say about the inequality? One of the reasons is the economic dependence. They rely on men for the money . So if they want to say something to men, it is dangerous because they might lose the economic basis for their life. This is still a problem, I think. [15] But nowadays, this kind of old thinking is not accepted. If you stick to this way of thinking, you w i l l lose the good brain of women for business. A n d more seriously, there are a lot of problems in our society which need women's point of view. [16] For example, taking care of old people. It was women who mainly took care of them. But their voice for society has been ignored. So the problem is still difficult. If men and women destroy the wal l of the gender, we can see other aspects of problem to solve it Women's place can be everywhere, of course men's place can be everywhere. It should be determined by their talent, way of l iv ing and personal relationship. In order to achieve it both women and men have to have their own economic basis. [17] Mar iko ' s Thinking-Aloud: 1. Structure of the so I just do some brainstorming. I don't think that woman's place is always at home. Many many people, not so much in Canada, I think, but still great number of people think women should be at home because it is very convenient to develop economic growth. That means men work outside and women helps men as a wife by doing cooking or sewing or washing clothes for them. That is effect way for economic growth I think. So what I have to said my position. Personally 111 I am not going to stay all the time at home as wife. I am not even sure whether I ' l l be get married or not. Anyway. That's O K . I ' l l write my position first. I 'm not sure about the structure thinking aloud. It sometimes disturbs the actual thinking in the brain I think. Anyway. . . 2. The economic aspect. Why? I have to say why. Why do many people believe who a long time ago of men so but women's place can be at home and women place can be at home. That's true. It has to depend on each person so it should be determined by their talent and their relationship if they live together or sometime of their no no — their way of l iving. I w i l l think as I write 3. role of the sex? role by the sex? Anyway. . wrong word. W h y the great number of this kind of role by the sex? 4. I want to finish quickly. 5. A n d second reason 6. Because this system has kept too many many years—too many period so no one tries to fix it. 7. A n d I have to write the opposite opinion to to confirm my idea so I ' l l change the paragraph. 8. Some people believe women's real task is have children and keep a family but who know it? Who can show it is absolutely right? There is no evidence I think. Some women don't like taking care of children. Some women don't like housework. Anyway , some men likes cooking. Some men like cleaning. That's true. 9. because she don't like.... because she didn't help cooking 10. That's all I 'm going to write the reason of — how this old theory makes people believe it. So ... 11. this word's spelling have to use the computer 12.1 have to add something here. 13. This is not proper expression. 14. This is the reason why women cannot say the right of equality! This is one of the reasons they are depend...they depend on their husband which means they depend on men in economic—for money. They have no economic power so they can't be independent.They have to obey them. Otherwise they cannot live. That is the problems. 112 15. So, anyway, I have to write something about the future—what should I ' write? 16. about aging, taking care of old people, taking care of old people or .... 17.1 finished. So spell check. 113 Appendix H Categories for Coding Think-Aloud Protocols Reference to Self: (Yellow) • Assessment of ability (good at/not good at) I am not good at student. (Kenji 2) • Comment about Know/edge (know/don't know ) I have no experience to get a job so I don't know exactly that kind of thing. (Kenji 1) • Mention of physical, mental or emotional condition Oh, I'm hungry. (Koji 1) •Motivational factors J want to finish quickly. (Mariko 1) Reference to Task: (Blue) •Perception of task requirements First you should think of for or against and then show your examples, and finally conclude your own opinion as you did in introduction. (Aki 1) • Task strategies Reviewing what I wrote (Mariko 2) I will think as I write (Mariko 1) • Evaluation of task I am not sure about the structure (function) thinking aloud. It sometimes disturbs the actual thinking in the brain I think. (Mariko 1) Ahh, muzukashi! (Koji 1) [It's difficult!] • Evaluation of task performance Not so good conclusion (Kenji 2) Reference to Organization: (Pink) • Reference to planning First I write general information such as the number of—how many of us are coming here or length of the program or course include in this program, about this Rits house. Second is why this program —no , no —student's' feeling and about life here or about studying. (Mariko 2) 114 • Reference to a controlling idea And I have to write the opposite opinion to confirm my idea so I'll change the paragraph. (Mariko 1) • Reference to succinctness I had better to explain about that number. Why few UBC students come to Ritumeikan instead of 100 students. Maybe there is no space or—I do not know why the number is different. I think not necessary to explain that difference. (Yuko 2) • Reference to adequate support/development Is there anything I have to add to this? (Mariko 2) • Reference to logical sequencing And I have to say about course. No, before that I would like—I want to talk about some events. (Yuko 2) • Reference to cohesion What is before sentence? Okay. In Canada the situation is a little bit different because many—If I write about Canada I can compare with Japanese style and Canadian style but I don't know if it's enough or not. I already typed my opinion so had better to write before opinion. {Yuko 1) Reference to Language: (Green) > • Searches for a word or expression males' job, males' yakumei, yakumei. yakumei—duty . (Koji 1) •Evaluation of a word or expression Ya! This expression is better (Mariko 2) This is not proper expression. (Mariko 1) • Questioning word form birth, birth—bear—bore? (Koji 1) • Questioning word order maybe I think exchange culture, culture exchange? (Yuko 2) •Questioning grammatical correctness With— to- or just married. I don't remember. (Koji 1) maybe I made grammatical mistakes but I can't find. (Aki 2) •Reference to mechanical aspects of writing (spelling, punctuation, capitalization) I mistake spell "two". (Aki 2) 115 Reference to Content: (No colour) • statements facts And we have buddy committee. (Yuko 2) • questioning facts English Education? I'm not sure what Safder was teaching me? (Mariko 2) •statements of opinion I think that the office (administration of Ritsumeikan University) should explain what we are supposed to study at U.B.C. before coming here. (Aki 2) • evaluation of issue It's not simple. (Yuko 2) 116 Name Appendix I F ina l Interview Questions Date WRITING INSTRUCTION - HISTORY 1. How many years of English instruction have you had? 2. Were you at any point taught how to write compositions in English? If so, when? What do you remember about this instruction? 3. Do you think that the kind of English writing instruction you had in Japan is typical of that received by most Japanese students? If not, how was it different? 4. How useful has this instruction been to you in doing assignments for your courses at UBC? 5. What do you think would be helpful to improve your current English writing ability? 6. Could you explain how you were taught to write compositions in Japanese? Do you think this was typical of most Japanese students' writing instruction? ESL COMPOSITION PROFILE In a few minutes I'm going to show you the scale that was used to rate your writing samples. This is an ESL composition profile. The authors of this scale and others who think about the evaluation of writing believe that there are certain features which characterize "good" writing. With this scale, raters examine a piece of writing and evaluate it in terms of these features: content, organization, language use, vocabulary, and mechanics. This is how it works. (Students are given more detailed explanation of the assessment procedure.) What do you think of this scale? Could you suggest any ways in which a writer could improve in the area of content, for example, if they wanted to move from a 3 to a 4? In the area of organization? 117 In the area of language use? This instrument was developed to assess English composition. In my study, however, I have worked with native speakers of Japanese to adapt this scale so that it could be used to measure Japanese writing. Writing was still assessed according to content, organization and language use, however, some of the criteria were changed. Do you have any comment about using this scale to measure Japanese writing FEEDBACK ON THINKING ALOUD 1. By doing think-alouds and introspection in this study have you learned anything about how you approach writing that you weren't aware of before? 2. Do you have any comments about the think-aloud procedure? Most of your thinking aloud seemed to be in (English/Japanese); is that the language that you usually use when you write in English? 118 o < r r 00 n O 2 m n z > z o CO r < O > O 73 z o O o > > c CD z > ' c IZATION GE JO IZATION USE "< IZATION n o z H m z H ON < m jo •< •a 8 73 NJ OO O O 50 NJ O > O 00 N J NJ o NJ NJ N J I NJ NJ NJ > < a m - i O a o o o oo oo NJ U J 00 50 < o o o • NJ NJ NJ s1 s1 o m X n m r r-m z H J 119 


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