How Does Perception Of Self- And Peer Language Proficiency Affect Students' Interaction In Adult Esl Essay Writing?

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How Does Perception of Self- and Peer Language Proficiency Affect Students' Interaction in Adult ESL Essay Writing?

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In recent decades, more and more international students have come to the United States to pursue higher education, which requires the ability to write academic papers in content areas. As a result, English as a second language (ESL) courses have become a common way to prepare and support these English language learners (ELL) for their college life. Among the four language dimensions (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), writing as a productive skill in the written mode is commonly considered as the most difficult for ELL sin that, in addition to linguistic knowledge and language use negotiated during the process, the development and presentation of thoughts are required in a structured way (Ekbatani, 2011). For these reasons, the finding of an effective writing instructional strategy is significant for these adult ESL learners.

Since Vygotsky (1978, 1987) developed his sociocultural theory, student interaction has been used as an instructional strategy in adult ESL writing classrooms. In order to explore the factors that would influence the effectiveness of interaction, studies have been conducted on the characteristics of interaction (Donato, 1989; Ohta, 1995; Swain, 1995), the patterns of pair interactions (Storch, 2001a, 2001b, 2002a, 2002b), and different learner proficiencies (Watanabe & Swain, 2007). However, little research has documented how awareness of one's own language proficiency and that of others would affect student interaction. Thus, the current study seeks to conduct an in-depth analysis of how adult ESL students perceive their own and their partners' proficiency levels and how these perceptions affect the nature of interactions in an adult ESL writing class setting.

Research Question

As from the above introduction about the research which shows that there is a gap between the foreign students and national students of America. This gap prevails because of the language barrier among the two identified groups. Students, who are coming from other regions of the world to USA, have to adopt English as their primary language in order to proceed with their educations. On the basis of this gap, which is further explained through the literature review, the present study was conducted to have a further more detailed analysis on how the adult ESL learners are able to perceive their own language and its proficiency. This included the perceptions of the learner proficiency, its influences and how these ESL adult learners interact with each other at work and any other situation. As such, this study's overall research question is

How does an individual's perception of self- and peer-language proficiency affect his or her interactions in peer review sessions in an adult ESL writing class?



The methodology for this study was based on a qualitative design of phenomenological research (Gass& Mackey, 2000, p. 1). By conducting two focus groups of peer responses where students worked on revising their academic essays, the researcher was able to closely observe and examine students' interactions in a situated ...
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