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Oral and Written Communication in Writing Conferences at the Primary School Level Lizanne Lafontaine, Université du Québec en Outaouais

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Presentation on theme: "Oral and Written Communication in Writing Conferences at the Primary School Level Lizanne Lafontaine, Université du Québec en Outaouais"— Presentation transcript:

1 Oral and Written Communication in Writing Conferences at the Primary School Level Lizanne Lafontaine, Université du Québec en Outaouais Sylvie Blain, University of Moncton This study was made possible thanks to the financial support provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Symposium Success Factors in the Development of Literacy Skills in French-Canadian Schools 15 th European Conference on Reading August 7, 2007, Berlin

2 Issues Disappointing results from Francophone students in NB and QC with respect to written productions (groupe DIEPE, 1995; Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, 1994; ministère de lÉducation du Québec, 2001) Several studies have examined the impact of verbal peer feedback in first and second languages (writing conferences, PRGs), both among children and adults ( Blain, 2001; Blain and Painchaud, 1999; Connor and Asenavage; 1994; Mendonça and Johnson, 1994; Nelson and Murphy, 1993) Studies dealing with conversation structure among students in the context of mutual assistance and developing writing skills, as well as their effects on task problems such as autonomous writing, are few in number and warrant further study (Dreyfus and Cellier, 2000 ; Le Cunff and Jourdain, 1999; Ceillier, 2003; Caillier, 2003)

3 Issues (contd) Which pedagogy should be encouraged in minority linguistic settings (and also in majority settings…) in order to promote the development of literacy skills? (Cormier, 2005) Creation of a positive language connection and optimization of the linguistic production and reception in the French language Positive language connection Do not denigrate English Emphasize on improved status of French Accept vernacular language and build on its basis Shift from informal situations to formal situations Let the students express themselves in order to learn: entering into genuine discussions helps the development of oral skills, which are linked to a predominantly Francophone identity Do not simplify matters

4 Research Questions 1. Does the manner in which students interact during PRGs motivate the children to take into account, or not, the comments of their peers? 2. Do the reviews (arising or not from peers) help improve writing quality? 3. Does ongoing verbal feedback during PRGs promote better oral language quality?

5 Theoretical Framework Oral language as a teaching object through didactic gender models (Dolz and Schneuwly, 1998; Lafontaine, 2001; 2003) and oral integrated into classroom instruction (Nonnon, 2001; Le Cunff, 1999) Reflective oral: learning by interacting, factoring in the recipient, active listening, rephrasing, speaking to develop social skills, scaffolding, oral language allowing reflective writing feedback (Cellier, 2003; Lusetti, 2004; Bouchard, 2004; Auriac-Peyronnet, 2003; Chabanne and Bucheton, 2002; Delabarre and Trégnier, 2001; Plane, 2001; Nonnon, 2000) Structure of discursive behaviors and interactions that support understanding in French classes (Ceillier, 2003; Caillier, 2003; Dreyfus and Cellier, 2000 ; Durand, 1998 ; Le Cunff, 1993 ; Le Cunff, Turco and Gadet, 1998 ; Trégnier, 1990) Linguistic insecurity in Francophone minority settings (Boudreau and Dubois, 1992)

6 Theoretical Framework (contd) Writing Process: planning, text set-up, revision (Flower and Hayes, 1981; Scardamalia and Bereiter, 1986; Bruer, 1993; Fayol,1993) Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky) Studies outcomes on PRGs among primary school students (Blain and Painchaud, 1999; Messier, 1989; Samway, 1987; Urzua, 1987; Russell, 1983; Sudol and Sudol, 1991; Blain, 1997 and 2001; Brakel-Olson, 1990; MacArthur, Schwartz and Graham, 1991) Essential Instructional Components for Literacy (The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy and Numeracy Instruction…, 2005) Instructional Strategies supporting French- language education (The Report of the Expert Panel…, 2005; Larkin, 2001; Hogan and Pressley, 1997)

7 Instructional Intervention: PRGs PRGs: Meeting between a writer and their peers during which the writer reads out loud their text and receives comments from group members on both the content and the form of the text A) Individual text writing B) Teams of 4: first meeting (consistency and structure) Each writer reads their text out loud Each writer receives verbal feedback: Positive comments Questions Specific suggestions C) Individual review to integrate or not comments D) Teams of 4: second meeting (error correction) Peers read a writers text They verbally outline errors they found, explaining the source of the error to the writer E) Individual review to integrate or not comments

8 Methodology Participants: Two fourth-grade classes in Moncton (NB) and two in Gatineau (QC) (two control groups [CGs] and two experimental groups [EGs]) for a total of 72 participants for writing and 16 in oral (2 EGs) Data Collection - Writing: One essay per month during 6 months: first draft and final copy for a total of 852 essays Data Collection - Writing and Oral : Three series of PRGs recorded on audiotape for 16 children (2 PRGs per province = 8 children per province): October, December and Mars, 2003 Three series of semi-directed interviews for 8 children having participated in PRGs (4 per province)

9 Methodology (contd) Data Analysis - Writing: Three actions taken: 1. Word count (MS Word); 2. 5-point holistic score (Blain, 2001); 3. Analytical score obtained using three measures for the content (communication, organization, consistency) and five measures for the form (syntax, lexicon, punctuation, grammar and usage). Two judges who were unaware of the studys objectives assessed the 852 essays Data Analysis - Oral: PRGs: Speech Components: pragmatic, discursive, linguistic, metalinguistic, self-work, metalinguistic knowledge (Le Cunff and Jourdain, 1999) Discursive behaviors: explain, justify, rephrase, discuss, convince, interrupt, deny, suggest, etc. Scaffolding adults and peers discursive behaviors (language intervention whereby the speaker helps someone else overcome difficulties)

10 Methodology (contd) Data Analysis – Oral (contd) INTERVIEWS: Integration or non integration of comments Impact (positive or negative) of speech PRGs AND INTERVIEWS: Verbatim transcription and content analysis by category using Atlas.ti Interjudge reliability Analysis tools on the quality of oral language (criteria drawn from the theoretical framework and curriculum programs - MÉQ and MÉNB, 2001): Assessment grid for oral language quality Writers table Skills scale

11 Outcomes: Question #1 PRGs and interviews: Peer comments that are integrated into the text because verbalization is done in a polite, kind, relevant or justified manner (supporting material in PRGs) These comments are also integrated because the writer (according to analysis of interview verbatims): Appreciated the suggestions made by their peers Agreed with the suggested correction Checked the correction using reference tools Integrated their own corrections on an individual basis Agreed with the adults suggestion

12 Outcomes: Question #1 (contd) In PRGs, speech focuses on the following components: Metalinguistic knowledge: error finding and explaining, correction proposals Pragmatic: discussions on challenging situations (ideas conveyed in the text, acceptance or non- acceptance of the misformulated comments) Discursive: discussions on discursive behaviors (PRGs procedures) Behaviours ask, suggest and explain/justify as required in the PRGs procedures Linguistic: discussions on textual consistency

13 Outcomes: Question #1 (contd) Peer support contributes to skills development in literacy by: Questioning (Whats the characters name?) Encouraging (You need to add an s because there are several ghosts) Reformulating (You need to add some adjectives to your text […]; you need to elaborate in order to better describe your character; you know, add a couple of adjectives.)

14 Outcomes: Question #2 Pearsons correlation ranges from to Better correlation for the assessment of the form (from to 0.938) Except for the lexicon (only 0.281): criterion removed Measures obtained for the content ranged from 0.5 to Pearsons correlation for the holistic score is 0.53 We didnt keep the essays for which the difference between the judges was too large in order to improve the agreement ratio The content correlation is higher (ranges from to 0.847) The holistic score correlation is at 0.59 For the remainder of the essays, we calculated the average score given by both judges

15 Question #2 (contd): Word Count (Sig = 0.89)

16 Question #2 (contd): Holistic Score (Sig = 0.961)

17 Question #2 (contd): Total Analytical Score (Sig = 0.248)

18 Question #2 (contd): Differences between both settings Sig = 0.00 (Percentage error - Form)

19 Question #3 : Average of Speaker Types and Skills Scale per province QC: Average to good speakers; acquiring- level scale NB: Weak to average speakers; acquiring- level scale No significant improvement in oral language quality: remains the same from one PRG to another Oral skills used unconsciously

20 Question #3 (contd) Similarities between both provinces: Oral knowledge acquired: Varied lexicon Rephrasing Reasoning Use of connectors Complex sentences and prosodic features among the strongest students Active listening (developed throughout the PRGs) Oral knowledge not acquired : Construction of interrogative sentences Volume of the voice, intonation and fluidity among the weak students Articulation and pronunciation Vocabulary: use of Anglicisms Speaker types and skills scales remain unchanged Use of a familiar language register encouraging discussions

21 Question #3 (contd) Differences between both provinces: NB: weaker articulation and pronunciation, greater English influence: lexical Anglicisms (well, so) and semantical Anglicisms (non jai pas); complete sentences in English NB: greater difficulty in formulating complex sentences, because of too many short sentences; incorrect interrogative sentence structure (où cque tas trouvé ça: addition of pronoun ce); QC: lexical Anglicisms (Game boy, Barbie, fun) and interrogative sentence structure (Tu veux-tu?; addition of pronoun tu) associated with a familiar language level QC: omissions and repetitions, "parrot" (repeating profusely what others have already said) QC: vague and meaningless statements (Add more verbs to your text.)

22 Study Limitations Small groups met outside of the classrooms: biased image of real-life situation PRGs taped but not filmed: absence or lack of certain data Oral as an Instructional Medium: PRGs only perceived as a way to improve writing skills and not as a way to develop or teach oral knowledge Strong adult presence in PRGs in QC and inconsistent adult presence in NB

23 Conclusion: In QC and NB regarding the Development of Success Factors in Literacy Lack of significant improvement in writing quality may be due to: Small number of PRGs (3 in total for 7 productions) The CG was also helped to review their texts, either from the teacher or from the reference tools; we can therefore consider both groups as being experimental The major diffrences noted between the minority and majority settings with respect to the form confirmed the test outcomes at the national level (PIRS). The significant differences between both settings (minority and majority) may have contribued to the lack of significant differences between CGs and EGs. Structure of literacy skills (oral/writing) with respect to the language (syntax, consistency, lexicon, spelling, etc.). Structure of social skills (listening, consideration of others, etc.). Regular participation to PRGs didnt help children improve their oral language skills (speaker types and skills scales remain unchanged). Oral communication is not didacticized by teachers: it is rather integrated into classroom instruction, but unconsciously.

24 Conclusion: In QC and NB regarding the Development of Success Factors in Literacy (contd) The instructional intervention (PRGs) fulfills some of the essential components of literacy and puts forward some instructional strategies promoting French learning: Instructional Components: Re-use Appropriate Language Guided practice in writing and transfer possibility Clear and well-organized teaching Instructional Strategies: Scaffolding: common objectives, identification of the students needs and progress follow-up, adequate assistance, perseverance in the pursuit of the objectives, feedback, control of the level of frustration and risk taking, integration and autonomy Modelling Guided practice

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