There has been extensive research recently on the effectiveness of writing conferences (WCs) in second-
The research questions were:
R1. What were the effects on text quality, self-
R2. Following similar studies of writing conferences, what were the verbal and non-
We recruited 27 exchange students in the ESL program at our former university (12 male, 15 female, mean age 24,3±3,2) from six nations (France 11, Germany 6, Russia 4, Poland 3, Japan 2, Bulgaria 1) to participate. The goals of the experiment were explained to them and their consent was obtained; due to a strike of the regular Research Ethics Board (all members of Teamsters Local No. 2764), the project was approved by the interim board (all clients of the Beauford T. Bates Staffing Agency). Subjects were not paid but did receive one hour of extra credit.
Subjects were randomly divided into three groups of nine. The Control Group was locked in the classroom during the once-
Unfortunately, before the end of the experiment, the strike of the Research Ethics Board ended, and soon afterwards our experiment was cancelled. Thus, we are only able to share provisional results based on the first 8 weeks of sessions.
Research Question 1. The Control Group did extremely poorly on the writing tasks in class; in the beginning all participants were heavily distracted and in general showed regressions in performance equivalent to 1.5 to 2 years of English study. On several occasions fights nearly broke out, and the group was unresponsive and showed a remarkable degree of impatience. On the other hand, the two experimental groups made excellent progress, especially Experimental Group 2.
Research Question 2. The Control Group on the whole showed marked changes in posture, including extreme immobility, grimacing and rictus, compulsive foot-
While for the most part the Control Group displayed the same behaviors throughout the experiment, after the second session three of the students showed the same behavior and performance as in Experimental Group 2. While we are unable to explain this result, it appears to be strongly conditioned by psychological factors: The three subjects, all French females, explained cheerfully, “Well, monsieur, it all depends,” “You see, we are all three in-
The results of this study show that regardless of what WC stands for, it does seem to contribute positively to L2 learning performance.
1 At least we think that’s what was said here.
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