Investigating the Relationship between Personality Type and Writing Performance of Iranian Efl Learners

By Farrokhi, Farahman; Nourelahi, Gholamreza | Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, March 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Investigating the Relationship between Personality Type and Writing Performance of Iranian Efl Learners


Farrokhi, Farahman, Nourelahi, Gholamreza, Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods


1.Introduction

Adapting a similar syllabus design to teach language skills at different contexts is more likely to fail. Although the learners of English language have nearly the same objectives; their methods and learning strategies are remarkably different from each other. Teachers are expected to be aware of differences among learners; moreover, they must be able to tailor the teaching materials such as the textbooks so as to fit the target teaching context (Harmer, 2007). Introverts and extroverts have different priorities in choosing their favorite activity to learn the language skills. While extroverts are interested in having more social interactions with others, introverts prefer concentration and self-sufficiency. These examples confirm the notion that instructors of language should know the answer to 'Does personality type affect the quality of learning language skills or no'?

Teachers usually complain that some students show little interest to the topics of their writing assignments. Also they grumble about the learners' little care and attention to syntactic, semantic or pragmatic aspects of language (Gebhard, 2006). Experienced teachers have a pile of examples stating that some learners write as if they do not like the topic and have tried to whitewash the task; while some others spent enough time to deal with the issue patiently and discuss it with suitable examples and facts. These are only a few examples indicating that instructors of writing courses come across some difficulties in choosing the better or even best methods of teaching how to write. Therefore, the researchers should investigate individual differences in general and personality in specific alongside with the language skills to check if there is any relationship between personality background and language performance. Findings of these kinds of researchers will equip the teachers with useful information and techniques about how to interact with every individual learner (Miller, 2005).

2.Literature Review

During 1950s, teaching English to foreign students was not regarded as a serious and significant academic discipline and writing may be sadly confessed to be the last skill of language which came under academic investigation in the second half of the twentieth century. The reason is quite obvious; the central teaching method during the 1950s put emphasis on oral rather than written proficiency.

Audio Lingual Method (ALM) is an outstanding example that paid little attention to literacy education. But by the 1960s, the number of international students had rapidly increased (Zhang, 2008). Therefore a large number of foreign students entered higher education in English speaking countries. Language teachers of that time felt the need for ways to teach second language writing to the nonnative students but they had not been able to clarify the task.

First language composition was a common practice for L1 students and teachers but the story was a bit different for nonnative speakers of English who needed to improve their writing skill in order to survive in academic world. Pincas (1962) was one of the pioneers who presented her own idea on how to teach L2 writing. Since the dominant language teaching methodology was ALM, her method applied the behaviorism approach to writing instruction and encouraged controlled pattern practice. Various progressive practices were recognized afterwards. Teachers showed great interest in practical application of syntactic structure to paragraph creations which consequently led to emergence of Contrastive Rhetoric (CR).

It did not take a lot of time for L2 teachers to realize that in multicultural classes, students transfer their native language patterns into L2 writing. Kaplan (1966) found the origins of such diversity in ESL students' native language and cultural impact. According to his study about learners' cultural thought patterns, he came across noticeable findings. For example, Englishspeaking writers employed a linear structure with specific details to support the theme. …

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