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The effects of interaction on the writing of English composition: an exploratory study in secondary schools in Tanzania.

Kapoli, Ireneus Joseph (1992) The effects of interaction on the writing of English composition: an exploratory study in secondary schools in Tanzania. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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This study, based on classroom observation of ESL students, is an attempt to explore the effects of prior interactions on the learners' performance in communicative writing tasks. The study seeks to ascertain how classroom discourse generated by students as they interact prior to writing is shaped by the tasks and how it subsequently contributes to the quality of the written compositions. The basic hypotheses projected for the study were that different tasks would generate different quantities and qualities of interaction patterns which would correspondingly affect the written compositions. The nature of the tasks was seen as being instrumental in determining the variety of words rather than the amount of words used and that determined the quality of the compositions. Similarly, the generation of complex syntactic and cohesion features by the subjects was closely associated with the opportunity they were afforded by the tasks to interact. Narrative composition tasks in which there was substantial interactions were more likely to generate these language features than were the descriptive composition tasks in which there were restricted patterns of interaction. The study reveals, however, that the interaction patterns arising from the oral language gave rise to language features which got incorporated into the written compositions but did not conform with the conventions of the written language. Moreover, the discourse acts employed did not invariably bring about a coherent semantic relationship among propositions because of the subjects' low language proficiency and their inability to appropriately employ cohesion features associated with the expression of propositions. A survey among subjects of the study shows that collaborative learning in pairs or groups is regarded as being more favourable to promoting features of language that lead to good quality compositions than a teacher-fronted approach, although input from the latter is seen as a prerequisite for the smooth running of pair work and group work. However, there is a general consensus that group work is a better method of learning than pair work, apparently because group work, offers opportunity for more substantial interactions than pairwork which often culminates in interlocutors being unable to sustain a conversation in English.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Tanzania,ESOL education,Written work,Classroom interaction,Language and education,Group work,Secondary education
Subjects: Departments > Lifelong and Comparative Education
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Welshman
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2014 15:00
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2015 10:47
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