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Title: Developing the writing skills of ESL students through the collaborative learning strategy
Authors: Al-Besher, Khaled
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of using collaborative learning to improve the writing skills of students of English as a second language. The aim was to determine whether students who were involved in collaborative leaning produced better written texts in terms of organization, development, coherence, structure, vocabulary and mechanics than students who wrote individually, and whether engaging in collaborative learning had a positive effect on the attitudes and perceptions of learners. The subjects of the study were 48 male Saudi Arabian university students distributed randomly in two groups: 23 were assigned to the experimental group and were taught to write essays collaboratively, while the other 25 were assigned to the control group and taught to write essays individually. Both groups of students were asked to write an essay and complete questionnaires at the beginning and at the end of the study. Four students from the treatment group were selected at random for interview at the end of the study. The experiment consisted of a total of eleven weeks of teaching writing skills. The post-test scores and questionnaire responses of students in the treatment group were compared not only with those of students in the control group but also with their pre-test scores and responses. The study results indicated that collaborative writing benefitted the students a great deal in terms of the quality of their writing (development, cohesion and organization); however, it was also found that collaborative writing did not help them much in terms of the accuracy of their writing (mechanics and structure). The analysis of the data obtained from the questionnaires and interviews revealed that the attitudes of students in the experimental group had improved after their involvement in collaborative learning settings. The overall conclusions were therefore that not only did students who wrote their essays in collaboration with each other produce better written texts than those who wrote their essays by themselves, but also that involvement in collaborative learning had a positive effect on the students’ attitudes towards writing in English.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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