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Wednesday, July 3 • 4:15pm - 4:55pm
Feedback as knowledge practice: Code clashes in teacher practice and student expectations

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Feedback on student writing has received much research attention in the last three decades hence, there is vast literature available on feedback practices for writing instructors. One area that has not received adequate research is the impact of the quantity and quality of teacher-feedback on student motivation or ability to revise their texts in contexts such as first-year composition or English for Academic Purpose writing programmes where students can produce multiple drafts before final submission. A few scholars have raised concerns with
with writing instructor’s reluctance to comment qualitatively or provide text-specific commentary on student writing. Such practices seem to be rooted in the dominant process or psycho approaches to writing to which composition teachers popularly subscribe. In process orthodoxies of writing, teachers take on the role of non-interfering bystanders who encourage their students to avoid authoritative domination as writing instructors. However, a lack of explicitness in writing pedagogy - such as those provided by genre informed methods – tend to favour middle-class English speaking ‘native’ writers because they have often already learned implicit codes of literacy. Second language writers are therefore often disadvantaged because they lack the ‘inner-directed’ language capacities pre-supposed in psycho/process approaches to writing instruction. This issue motivated this study since students in the context of study were all second language writers. The study aimed to investigate the impacts of teacher feedback on student ability to revise their texts in a first-year composition programme at a Sino-American university in China. Conceptual tools from the Specialisation Dimension of LCT was selected for its power to reveal the knowledge codes that underlie teacher feedback practices and student expectations. Analysis of teacher comments on student drafts and interviews with students and teachers reveal code clashes between student expectation and teacher practice in almost all five criteria of generic writing rubric used for composition programmes: information flow, grammar, vocabulary, content or ideas, and mechanics. Teachers strongly favoured commenting on grammar and vocabulary revealing a knower code (ER-, SR+) feedback practice, whereas students largely expected feedback on content /ideas revealing an emphasis on epistemic relations (ER+, SR-).

In cases where students did report satisfaction with teacher comments on content or ideas, analysis of the writing tasks revealed a social relation basis since the writing tasks required students to use their own experience or previous knowledge rather than use a conceptual or procedural benchmark. Student interviews also revealed reduced motivation to revise their essays when there were too much or too few feedback comments. The study recommends criteria-based feedback training for writing instructors as a first-step to increasing student motivation to revise their texts. Training for question setting for writing instructors is also recommended.

Wednesday July 3, 2019 4:15pm - 4:55pm SAST
Room B45

Attendees (5)