Reconceptualising feedback as interactional contingent scaffolding: Improving argumentation in second language undergraduate writing: A praxiology
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Current conceptual models of feedback in L1 writing pedagogy advocate a dialogic approach which can encourage independence and scaffold learning effectively. This represents a departure from the monologic ‘error correction’ approach which is still favoured in EAP classrooms. In this thesis, a ‘praxiology’ (Elliott, 1991) is outlined, which draws on theoretical models from both L1 and L2 writing pedagogy and comprises theoretical principles and practical strategies for a dialogic feedback practice to support L2 writers in realising the task of argumentation in their academic writing. A dialogic feedback framework (DFF) was developed through a comprehensive practitioner inquiry with the guiding research question: how can written commentary feedback be used more effectively to improve argumentation in second language writing? This inquiry was conducted over three stages. The first stage of the inquiry comprised an examination of conceptual models and challenges of feedback, and the learning and teaching of argumentation through a review of existing literature and in two published studies I conducted. The first of these published studies evaluated the effectiveness of an interactive self-evaluation essay cover sheet that I had developed. In the second published study, I explored the problems with argumentation that I identified in L2 undergraduate writing at the paragraph level, specifically in relation to the role of metadiscourse in developing an argument. In the second stage of the inquiry, I developed a proposed set of theoretical principles and strategies for a dialogic feedback practice to support L2 writers in the high task of argumentation. Feedback was re-conceptualised as ‘interactional contingent scaffolding’ (Hammond & Gibbons, 2005) through inter-related elements in a supporting chain, based on Beaumont, O’ Doherty and Shannon’s (2011) dialogic feedback cycle, rather than as monological and corrective comment solely on current text. In an approach grounded in socio-constructivism, practical strategies were framed using Ajjawi and Boud’s (2017) concept of ‘episodes of dialogue’. These practical strategies were operationalised in two tutorial classes of a first-year first semester course at one campus of an Australian university in Queensland – Griffith University. Teacher and student-generated data were collected through classroom observations and questionnaires, and from four case studies using a variety of instruments and methods. In the final stage of the inquiry, I used these findings to articulate the theoretical principles and practical strategies of an enhanced DFF. Qualitative and quantitative findings from this practitioner inquiry suggest that, although a dialogic and collaborative approach to feedback is unfamiliar, and therefore challenging for learners, this principled framework has pedagogic value for L2 novice writers.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Hum, Lang & Soc Sc
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Second language writing
Written commentary feedback