Academic journal article International Education Studies

Investigation of Writing Strategies, Writing Apprehension, and Writing Achievement among Saudi EFL-Major Students

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Investigation of Writing Strategies, Writing Apprehension, and Writing Achievement among Saudi EFL-Major Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

The tenet of this study is to investigate the use of writing strategies in reducing writing apprehension and uncovering its effect on EFL students' writing achievement. It also attempts to explore associations between foreign language apprehension, writing achievement and writing strategies. The primary aims of the study were to explore the relationship between writing strategies that EFL university students employ and writing apprehension, relationship between writing strategies use and students' writing achievement, and differences between high and low writing anxiety in their writing strategy use. Data were drawn from 198 (68 males and 130 females) EFL-major university students. The participants were asked to respond to a Writing Anxiety Inventory (SLWAI; Second Language Writing Anxiety Inventory) (Cheng, 2004) and to complete a Writing Strategies Inventory (Petrie & Czarl, 2003). Some interviews were also conducted with some students to explore salient effective writing strategies that they used and the difficulties they faced during writing composition. Correlation, t-test, and ANOVA analyses were used to determine relationships between writing strategies and writing achievement and between students of high and low anxiety. The results of the study calls into question the common assumption that some of the Saudi undergraduates' writing apprehension is pertinent to writing achievement. The results indicated that students with low writing anxiety were more users of writing strategies than the high anxious ones. Moreover, a significant negative correlation was found between students' writing apprehension and their writing achievement.

Keywords: writing apprehension, writing strategies, EFL-major students, gender, writing achievement

1. Introduction

Writing is claimed to play an important role in intellectual development and career preparation (Gere, 1985). Öz contends: "Writing is the written expression of thoughts, desires, emotions, and schemes; and this requires skill rather than knowledge" (2006, p. 251). So to speak, writing is a skill that serves individuals' communication needs as well as their learning. As writing skills of students develop, they begin to apply their knowledge to the written expression more and more easily and go beyond what they have learnt (Raimes, 1983). According to Dyson (1995), writing is not merely an individual activity but a process which requires social interaction. Rayers (1987) maintain that the fledgling young who begins to write should write in a shared way to accelerate the process. Therefore, the learner is expected to develop a better technical point of view toward writing and have an increased awareness of his/her own responsibilities. One of the key factors which affect writing is the writing strategies. Findings of a number of previous studies suggest that teaching strategies for managing text production is an effective way of improving the writing of students with learning disabilities or poor writing skills (e.g. De la Paz, 1999; García & Arias-Gundin, 2004; García & de Caso, 2004; García-Sanchez & Fidalgo-Redondo, 2006; Graham, Harris, & Mason, 2005; Graham, Harris, & Troia, 2000; Graham, Macarthur, Schwartz, & Pagevoth, 1992; Harris, Graham, & Mason, 2006; Lei, 2008). Most language learners at all levels believe that writing is one of the most difficult language skills to master (Kurt & Atay, 2007; Latif, 2007).

Writing is an essential language skill that is vital to academic success. Since it is an active, productive skill, students learning to write in a foreign language (FL) face multiple challenges (Erkan & Saban, 2011). The complexity of writing in FL as a task tends to heighten anxiety levels in students who are taking writing courses. This anxiety can often lead to discouragement, and thus may result in negative attitudes towards writing (Gere, 1987; Sharpies, 1993). Most students, low and high achievers alike, find writing difficult and view it as something they just have to persevere through in order to pass certain exams (Yavuz & Genç, 1998). …

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