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ERIC Number: ED532010
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 318
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-6420-4
Toward a Student-Centered Understanding of Intensive Writing and Writing-to-Learn in the Spanish Major: An Examination of Advanced L2 Spanish Students' Learning in the Writing-Intensive Spanish Content Course
Strong, Robert Marvin
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Minnesota
The purpose of this study is to build upon our understanding of the place and value of writing in the advanced foreign language curriculum. Specifically, the study examines how students in writing-intensive Spanish-major courses are affected by the writing-intensive (WI) requirement at the University of Minnesota. Writing-Across-the-Curriculum (WAC), an educational movement which began in the 1960's in England and whose most fundamental tenet, writing-to-learn, emphasizes the value of writing in the learning process, has led to the establishment of writing-intensive curricula in post-secondary institutions throughout North America. The study is an attempt to give students a voice in the FL curriculum inasmuch as it investigates students' perceptions and attitudes regarding the writing-intensive requirement and explores what they believe they learn, in terms of the course content, writing skills and the Spanish language, as a result of their participation in the writing-intensive Spanish course. Both qualitative and quantitative data were employed in the study. Qualitative data were gathered by means of focus group interviews and open-ended questions on a written survey. Quantitative data were collected via the aforementioned survey and by way of pre- and post-write samples whereon errors per T-unit (E/T) analyses and topical structure analyses (TSA) were performed for verification of improvement in linguistic accuracy and coherence in students' writing respectively. No statistically significant improvement was found in terms of linguistic accuracy (E/T) or coherence (TSA) over the course of the semester and findings suggest that writers in Spanish as a FL may be more apprehensive about writing in Spanish than are English L1 writers about writing in English. Additionally it was found that many advanced Spanish student writers perceive that the workload associated with the WI requirement is excessive and that writing in Spanish as a FL is generally harder than writing in L1 English. On the other hand, however, many Spanish students expressed a belief that the WI requirement was no harder for them than for students writing in English and some expressed the sentiment that WI was actually more advantageous for Spanish students than for English L1 students given the value of writing for the language learning process. With regards to students' beliefs about their learning resulting from engaging in intensive writing in the advanced Spanish classroom, findings show that students generally believe that they learn not only how to be better writers but also that they improve in their abilities with the Spanish language and, especially, in their understanding of the subject matter of the course. Additional findings regarding students' learning of the Spanish language are that students generally believe that not only their Spanish grammar and vocabulary improved as a result of their participation in the intensive writing in the WI course, but also their ability to speak in Spanish. Based on the findings of the study, it is proposed that foreign language education practitioners be especially sensitive to students' perceptions and beliefs regarding both negative and positive aspects of writing in the FL curriculum. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A