Academic journal article English Language Teaching

A Think-Aloud Protocols Investigation of Saudi English Major Students' Writing Revision Strategies in L1 (Arabic) and L2 (English)

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

A Think-Aloud Protocols Investigation of Saudi English Major Students' Writing Revision Strategies in L1 (Arabic) and L2 (English)

Article excerpt


This study investigates the writing revision strategies used by 16 Saudi English as foreign language (EFL) students. Two research methods were employed. First, think-aloud reporting was used to gain insightinto the thought processes utilized by the students, and to study the revision strategies that Saudi maleuniversity students make use of while writing compositions in L1 Arabic and L2 English. Second, a semi-structured interview was conducted with the aim of supporting the think-aloud data. Analysis of the think-aloud sessions and the interviews revealed that most of the time, strategies were used more frequently when students wrote in English rather than when they wrote in Arabic. In addition, it was found thatin general, specific strategies used when writing in Arabic were also used when writing and vice versa.

Keywords: writing strategies (WS), writing revision strategies (WRS), and writing process (WP)

(ProQuest: ... denotes formula omitted.)

1. Introduction

What writing revision strategies (WRS) do Saudi male English major studentsemploywhen writing compositions in L1 Arabic and L2 English? This question was the central focus of this study. It has been my experienceas a professor of English as a foreign language, that the majority of students have difficultywithwriting composition, and the reasons may be three-fold. One, a lack of experience using the English language; two, a low level of writing/language proficiency; andthree, poor use of writing strategies. The present study aims to explore WRSin a new context and therefore contribute to the field of L1 and L2 writing. It will consider a comprehensive range of WRS by using two research methods (think aloud and interview), which will provide the L1and L2 literature with crucial information on the use of writing strategies. The primary purposes of this study are to describe and analyze both the writing revision strategies that undergraduate Saudi male EFL students use while writing in L1 and L2 and the possible influence the L1 writing process has on the L2 writing process and vice versa.

This study is of particular significance within the Saudi males EFL context since only one empirical study has looked at the writing composition processes of Saudi males and the writing strategies they use either in Arabic or English. Generally, most of the research that has been done so far on the writing skills of Arabic speaking students learning English as a second or a foreign language has concentrated on the product of writing, with the exception of a limited number of studies in the middle East which looked at one particular aspect of Arabs' writing processes, namely revision (Alam, 1993) and the use of Arabic when writing in English (Al-Semari, 1993).

2. Literature Review

2.1 Writing in Saudi Schools

Broadly speaking, within the Saudi educational system, teaching writing in general, and the process in particular, is neglected in courses that teach both L1 and L2 writing. In other words, the weak L1 and L2 writing skills of Saudi studentscan be attributed to the inadequate teaching and training they receive in the subject in both their native language and EFL in Saudi Arabia. El-sayed, 1983, argued that the problems contributing to the poor quality of Arabic-speaking students' English writing comes from many sources, one of which is the way the teaching of English writing is organized. Compared with many other Arab countries, the method of teaching EFL writing in Saudi Arabia although different is not better.

The teaching methods EFL teachers usually use are more concerned with the structure. Vocabulary and grammar, according to Aljamhoor (1996), are the main concern in teaching English writing in Saudi Arabia. He stated that "Teaching English writing in Saudi schoolsis based on the belief that those students who learn more vocabulary will be good writers. As a result, students are required to memorize a great deal of vocabulary in order to speak, read, listen, and write in English, but little emphasis is placed on other important writing skills, such as planning, and organization" (p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.