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A case study of the influence of freewriting on writing fluency and confidence of EFL college-level students

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Title:A case study of the influence of freewriting on writing fluency and confidence of EFL college-level students
Authors:Hwang, Ju A
Contributors:Brown, James D. (advisor)
Date Issued:2010
Abstract:Freewriting was one of the popular methods used during the late 1960s and early 1970s (Fox & Suhor, 1986) to improve writing fluency. Compared to the numerous studies done on freewriting in English as an L1 using quantitative approaches (Adams, 1971; Davis, 1979; Ganong, 1975; Gauntlett, 1978; Walker 1974; Wienke 1981), few studies have been done in ESL or EFL contexts (Brière, 1966; Cheshire, 1982; Potter 2008). Thus, examining the influence of freewriting on writing fluency in ESL or EFL contexts is required to examine how it can benefit learners in EAP contexts. This case study investigates three areas of importance to the field of L2 writing: (a) to examine the influence of practicing guided freewriting on EFL college-level students‟ writing fluency; (b) to observe if there are any fluency benefits of practicing guided freewriting that transfer to writing fluency in general; and (c) to illustrate how practicing guided freewriting helps improve students‟ confidence in English writing. During the study, a total 208 guided freewriting samples written by eight EFL college-level students over eight weeks were analyzed in terms of fluency by words per minute in order to measure writing fluency, and the results were analyzed using a repeated-measures one-way ANOVA. Students‟ pretest and posttest writings were then compared in terms of fluency (words per minute) by conducting paired-samples t-tests, and the same pretest and posttest writings were also rated for quality so as to observe whether the fluency benefits of freewriting were transferred to new writing done in this EAP context, where the pressure of feedback and grading typically exist. Finally, the results of a survey were analyzed using descriptive statistics to investigate how students perceive freewriting in terms of increasing their confidence in their English writing. The results showed that practicing guided freewriting for eight weeks had a statistically significant influence on improving the students‟ writing fluency. Moreover, it was found that the increased writing fluency might have been transferred to other writing done in this EAP context, where students have more pressure to write due to feedback or grading. Finally, most of the students agreed that practicing guided freewriting had a positive effect on their confidence in English writing. The results of the study highlight the importance of focusing on English writing fluency rather than giving central attention solely to grammatical accuracy in ESL or EFL classes.
Pages/Duration:38 pages
Appears in Collections: SLS Papers

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