Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Effect of Dialogue Journal Writing through the Use of Conventional Tools and E-Mail on Writing Anxiety in the ESL Context

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Effect of Dialogue Journal Writing through the Use of Conventional Tools and E-Mail on Writing Anxiety in the ESL Context

Article excerpt


ESL/EFL Anxiety has been reported as one of the foremost factors affecting ESL learners' performance. Hence, identifying methods to assist language learners to alleviate their ESL anxiety deserve to be considered by the educators. This study compared the effect of dialogue journal writing (DJW) through two different modes of learning and teaching: conventional (using pen and paper or Microsoft Word) and online (using e-mail) on the writing anxiety. Forty-two students from an intact class undergoing the TESL program participated in the study. After going through seven weeks where students wrote their dialogue journals (using two different tools) in dyadic groups, pre and posttest writing anxiety questionnaire (Second Language Writing Anxiety Inventory) showed statistically no significant difference between groups in terms of writing anxiety, however mean scores revealed that e-mail group's writing anxiety have been alleviated greater than their counterparts in conventional group. It shows e-mail has potential in assisting students in lowering their anxiety towards writing.

Keywords: Dialogue journal writing, E-mail, Conventional tools, Writing anxiety

1. Introduction

Anxiety in language learning has been discussed for many years and a great number of studies have endeavored in identifying factors which contribute to ESL anxiety. Unlike these studies, the current study aims to examine tools in delivering the instructions. Today, as the growing number of technology applications in classes is more observable, identifying their promising effectiveness in language learning seems indisputable. On the basis on this, this study investigated how different modes of writing, conventional (using tools such as pen and paper and Microsoft Word) and online (using e-mail) can affect students' writing anxiety. Therefore, it is hoped that the findings of this study will assist language educators in identifying the effectiveness of applying e-mail in writing classes in order to alleviate students' writing anxiety. In this study, conventional tools are offline tools; such as pen and paper and Microsoft Word Processor which students usually use in writing dialogue journals. E-mail is a type of internet application which provides opportunity for students to send and receive massages online at anytime and anywhere.

2. Background

DJW in the prevailing teaching and learning context has the potential to cater to a non-threatening context for learning where students can communicate with their teacher or other students. Wang (1998) defines dialogue journal as "a daily written communication between two persons." (p. 3). In the classroom setting, these people can be teacher-students or student-student when engaging in the writing activity, topics are not assigned and they are free to write on their preferred topics and concerns. The outputs are not graded or corrected forthrightly; instead the teacher will provide feedback to the students and correct the mistakes indirectly. This reciprocal interaction provides communicative context for English as a Second Language (ESL) learning as the purpose of dialogue journal writing is not focusing on forms, but communication (Wang, 1998). Besides that, one of the most notable benefits of using dialogue journal writing in classes is providing low anxiety conditions for learners (Holmes and Moulton, 1995). According to the prior studies in language learning, anxiety has the essential role in language learning due to its negative relationship to learners' language learning performance (Atay and Kurt, 2006). On the contrary, "positive affective states (i.e., enjoyment) can provide additional incentive for students to learn and could help increase student enthusiasm for a subject matter'' (Liu et al. (2003, p. 263). In this aspect, the role of anxiety in learning can be evidently appreciated.

In the past, using pen and paper was the primary mode of journal writing. Nevertheless, current advances in computer technology have brought breakthrough and undeniable opportunities in language learning which have radically affected the way English is taught and learnt. …

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