Departmental Bulletin Paper How Conferencing Can Aff ect Motivation, Attitude and Production in EFL Writing Classes

HINKELMAN, Don  ,  KNODELL, John Stephen

Attitude, genuine interest, motivation and past experiences have been identified by researchers to be essential components of language acquisition, their absence found to inhibit the achievement of linguistic proficiency (Roessingh, 2005; Wong & Nunan, 2011). Using an action research paradigm, the research conducted for this inquiry sought to discover whether conferencing could positively affect students' attitude, motivation and performance in an L2 writing course given to Japanese high school students. The inquiry sought to use conferencing to provide stakeholders the opportunity to clarify and interpret errors, develop a teacher-student rapport, reduce student anxiety, and negotiate course content by incorporating students' ideas for writing topics in the course. The inquiry discovered that conferencing proved to be effective in reducing student anxiety regarding class participation and homework. Conferencing also helped foster a rapport with students that seemed to create a classroom environment more conducive to student participation, motivating students to dictate the course of their own learning by taking control of classroom discourse on writing topics chosen by the students. Conferencing also gave students the opportunity to express their opinions on course topics, which subsequently led to an altering of topics used as writing assignments. My findings suggest that English language writing teachers in EFL contexts should consider conferencing to positively affect student attitude and motivation which can lead to improvements in students' written production.
Research Note

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