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Use of Computers in the Teaching of ESL Writing: Effectiveness of Text Analysis and Word Processing

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Title: Use of Computers in the Teaching of ESL Writing: Effectiveness of Text Analysis and Word Processing
Authors: Pennington, Martha C.
Brock, Mark N.
Issue Date: 1989
Abstract: This paper offers an assessment of the utility and effectiveness of text analysis and word processing in ESL composition. It includes a review of previous findings and a discussion of an investigation conducted by the authors on computer-assisted composition tutorials involving four non-native university students. In the investigation, two of the students revised their compositions based on surfaceoriented feedback from a text analysis program reinforced by a tutor, and the other two revised according to an approach combining word processing and processoriented input from the same tutor. The students using the text analysis program and receiving exclusively surface-oriented feedback produced a higher proportion of short sentences, shorter drafts, and fewer meaningful revisions than the students receiving process-oriented feedback. The findings of this and other investigations are reviewed in a context which addresses the nature of ESL writing and of these two different computer-assisted media. Focusing on questions of purpose, suitability, potential outcomes, and term of results, the authors conclude that use of word processing seems justified as a medium for enhancing the creative revision process of ESL students, while use of text analysis with this same population of students is less obviously justified.
Pages/Duration: 29 pages
Appears in Collections:Working Papers

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