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Bristol University - 25.5.2012 A genre-based approach to written feedback on writing exercises in English as a second language Claudia Böttger & Nicole.

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Presentation on theme: "Bristol University - 25.5.2012 A genre-based approach to written feedback on writing exercises in English as a second language Claudia Böttger & Nicole."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bristol University A genre-based approach to written feedback on writing exercises in English as a second language Claudia Böttger & Nicole Diedrichsen Europäische Fernhochschule Hamburg - University of Applied Sciences

2 Challenges 1:4 appeals from students are on the type of feedback they get Annual student evaluation of distance teaching on all B.A., M.A. and M.B.A.s show that feedback causes discontent foreign languages and business communication is largely exempt from this Process of Quality Assurance Agency underway - focus on research-based teaching Launch of pilot project on student support systems at distance university (May 2012) Feedback particularly important during first year (Tait 2003; Chetwynd & Dobbyn 2011)

3 Students Adult learners studying while at work Studying for business-based B.A., M.A. and M.B.A. Mandatory Business language module years of age 48 % male – 52 % female At work most of them engage in NNS-NNS (written) interactions on a weekly/regular basis (Highly) motivated, but very busy

4 Tutors 6 tutors business English 2 tutors business Spanish 2 tutors business French Degrees in second language teaching (B.A., M.A., Ph.D.) Experienced as language teachers, translators and authors

5 Background Considerable differences in types of feedback given by tutors varying according to tutor to types of language exercises wanted by students and their reported uses of it Feedback is too short Comments are not clear and not helpful.

6 Functions of feedback helps clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, expected standards) facilitates the development of self assessment (reflection) in autonomous learning provides assessment to students about their learning triggers tutor and peer dialogue around learning encourages positive motivational beliefs and self esteem in autonomous learners opens opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance gives information to tutors to help devise learning material for autonomous learners. (Nicol 2007)

7 Purpose of study To sensitize tutors to form and function of written feedback by using a corpus- based approach (Swales & Feak 2009a, 2009b) To give support to students to adequately exploit feedback's potential in distance-learning context by analysing written feedback as a genre from a textlinguistic perspective (Mauranen 1993; Bhatia 1998; Hyland 2011).

8 Agenda Background Methodological considerations Discussion of examples Next steps

9 Form and function of genres Genres are historically grown and institutionally shaped textual patterns have a set of communicative purposes may vary their generic function, i.e. across domains, media, cultures and over time. The rationale for the genre shapes the schematic and rhetorical structure of the discourse determines and constrains choice of content and style. (Swales 1990; Bhatia 2003)

10 Genre analysis provides framework for move analysis rhetorical move structure analysis explores communicative function of text identifies words/phrases associated with it.

11 Corpus on feedback to business English tests Corpus on Feedback on writing texts for Business English in international contexts (internal) London Chamber of Commerce (B2) Business English Cambridge (B2) International legal English certificate, Level B2/C1 Pilotstudy For each of these 4 tests: corpus of 20 feedback samples

12 Subcorpus on feedback to ILEC test International legal English certificate, Level B2/C1 Reading test: 1. multiple-choice cloze, emphasis on lexis 2. Open cloze, emphasis on structure 3. Word formation, emphasis on lexis 4. Text preceded by multiple matching questions 5. Text from which sentences have been removed and placed in jumbled order after the text. 6. Text followed by four-option multiple-choice questions. Writing test: writing a letter and memorandum

13 Subcorpus on feedback in EFL Subcorpus: Feedback on ILEC test 1 page template to write a commentary and give marks 20 feedbacks of 2 different types of feedback 10 feedbacks on written EFL tests with good grades 10 feedbacks on written EFL tests with bad grades

14 Subcorpus on feedback on poor writing Subcorpus: Feedback: negative news Research on negative news in different institutional settings (hospital, business settings, consultations etc.) (Bührig & Meyer 2007, Böttger & Bührig 2010) Highly complex communicative task Helps identify specific learner needs (retrospection) At the same time must encourage learner (foreward-looking)

15 Agenda Background Pilot project on business writing Methodological considerations Discussion of examples Next steps

16 Communicative pattern of negative news Naming the negative news - Describing the negative news. Buffer - Opening with general comment. Closing - Announcing future steps; foreward looking statement. Reasons for negative news - Explaining the causes for negative news. Argumentative moves for communicating negative news effectively (Swales & Feak 2009a, 2009b; Guffey 2010)

17 Communicative pattern in feedback on poorly written work Naming the mistake - Describing the mistake. Buffer - Opening with general comment or retrospective - on-skills. Closing - Announcing future steps; foreward looking statement. Reasons for marking it as mistake - Explaining the causes for marking it as mistake. Argumentative moves for communicating negative news effectively (Swales & Feak 2009a, 2009b; Guffey 2010)

18 Feedback to poor work Dear Ms Lauder, Here are the results of your test. As you can see you are moving up the ladder step by step, which is very rewarding. The vocabulary exercises in tasks 2 and 4 were your biggest problem. For practice I would suggest you take the vocabulary from task 2 and try to put the words into sentences of your own. As to task 4, practice for this could be looking at the article on p. 4 again. Your letter fulfilled the task and stayed well within the parameters for the number of words. Also your use of register fitted the task in hand. There were, however, a few grammar and a couple of spelling mistakes. This easily happens when one is writing online, I know. Check out the present perfect to see if it is 100% clear. You are working really hard and I am sure you will be going onto the next step soon. As always please do not hesitate to contact me, should you have any queries. Yours sincerely, Penny Buffer: Genuine praise; retrospection Reasons: explains why result is poor Closing: Foreward looking statement & words of en- couragement Giving recommen- dations

19 Feedback to poor work Dear Mr Smith, Thank you for your exam paper. I am sorry to say it is not quite such a good result as last time, but well within the pass range. As you can see by the marks on the right, two of the tasks (2 & 4) presented quite a problem although you received full marks with task 1. The word family exercise was much more difficult this time, so you should not take it too hard. (...) It might, however be an idea to look at the exercise again and work out all the derivations of the stem words. The content and the register of the letter were fine, however, there were several grammar mistakes this time. Could you check out the use of the gerund and the verbs which take it? Please do not hesitate to contact me, should you have any queries. Yours sincerely, Penny Buffer: Regret & assess- ment Reasons: explains why result is poor Closing: Invitation to maintain dialogue Re- commen dation

20 Communicative pattern in feedback on poorly written work Giving marks - Giving mark. Buffer - Opening with general comment or retrospective - on-skills. Closing - Announcing future steps; foreward looking statement. Reasons for marks - Explaining the reasons for marks. Corpus-based findings on rhetorical moves for communicating negative news effectively Recommend- ations Offering advice & recommen- dations

21 Agenda Background Pilot project on business writing Methodological considerations Discussion of examples Next steps

22 Outlook Undertaking more corpus based research Considering culturally determined conventions of conveying negative news in feedback Providing feedback to tutors on students reception of feedback and peer discussion Organizing special topic workshop for tutors Discussing how to make students aware of potential of using feedback for autonomous learning Integrating audio feed-back

23 Bhatia, V. K. (2004): Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-based View. London: Continuum Publishers. Chetwynd, F. & C. Dobyn (2011): Assessment, feedback and marking guides in distance education. Open learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning. Vol 26, Issue 1, Connor, U. (2004): Intercultural rhetoric research; Beyond texts. English for Academic Purposes, p Hyland, K. (2005:) Metadiscourse: Exploring interaction in writing. London: Continuum. Martin, P. M. (2003): A genre analysis of English and Spanish research paper abstracts in experimental Social Sciences. English for Specific Purposes, v. 22, n. 1, p Nicol, D. (2000): Principles of good assessment and feedback: Theory and practice Retrieved 31 October 2009 from Rehbein, J. (1984): Beschreiben, Berichten und Erzählen. In: Ehlich, Konrad (ed.): Erzählen in der Schule. Tübingen: Narr, Swales, J.M. (1990): Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Swales, J. M. & C. B. Feak (2009a): Abstracts and the Writing of Abstracts. Ann Arbor: Michigan Series in English for Academic & Professional Purposes. Swales, J. M & C. B. Feak (2009b): Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills: A Course for Nonnative Speakers of English (English for Specific Purposes. Ann Arbor: Michigan Series in English for Academic & Professional Purposes. Tait, A. (2000): Planning student support for open and distance learning. Open Learning,15(3), References


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