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An Empirical Study On The Application Of Continuation Task Based On Alignment To English Writing Instruction

Posted on:2016-12-10Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:L L ZhangFull Text:PDF
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This thesis aims to study the application of continuation task based on alignment in English writing teaching. Alignment has aroused considerable interest in second language acquisition. Wang Chuming(2010)suggested that continuation task is an effective way in which strong alignment can take place between learners and the input text, and he manifested that alignment on the lexical and grammatical level do exist in a continuation task. This gives some enlightenment on English writing teaching. However, the key point of continuation task’s promotion effect for learning is whether its alignment effects have long-term effect, or whether learners acquire the language in the process of alignment, which has not been testified so far. And this is just the entry point of this research to study whether continuation task can improve learners’ writing competence.In order to achieve the goal, three research questions were put forward:(1) Does alignment in continuation task have long-term effect on the lexical level of students’ writing?(2) Does alignment in continuation task have long-term effect on the grammatical level of students’writing?(3) Can continuation task promote students’ writing performance?Continuation task served as a writing teaching method in this empirical study to compare with the traditional writing teaching. Participants in the research were 88 art majored freshmen in the Northwest Normal University. They came from two parallel classes. There were 42 students in one class which was randomly decided to be the experimental group. And there were 46 students in the other class which was randomly decided to be the control group. Before the experiment, a pretest was taken to make sure that there was no significant difference in two group’s writing performance(t=.321, df= 86, p= 0.749>0.05). Then two groups accepted two different kinds of English writing training for a period of 13 weeks. The experimental group accepted continuation task training while the control group accepted traditional writing training. At the end of the experiment, a post-test was taken.The study answered three research questions respectively through comparison of keywords list, error frequencies and mean writing scores between the two groups. Firstly, the keywords list comparison through the corpus software Ant Conc 3.2.4 shows that the experimental group tended to largely use the words they had read in the input texts of the continuation tasks. And this indicates that the alignment in continuation task has longterm effect on the lexical level. The analysis of the error frequencies shows that compared with the pretest, the experimental group performed significantly better in grammar(t= 2.478, df= 86, p=.016<.05), especially in verb tense(t= 2.140, df= 86, p=.048<.05). This proves that the alignment in the continuation task also has long-termeffect on the grammatical level. And lastly in the writing scores comparison, the scores of the experimental group was significantly higher than that of the control group(t = 3.377, df=86, p=.001<.05).From the results stated above, we can conclude that alignment in the continuation task has long-term effect both on the lexical and grammatical level, and that continuation task is an effective way to improve learners’ writing performance. English teachers should make full use of this method in writing teaching. And at the same time, this research also has some suggestions for further studies, like how continuation task can improve writing performance of students in different language levels, how continuation task can promote students’ writing performance in other writing styles besides narration, which still need exploration.
Keywords/Search Tags:continuation task, alignment, structural priming, writing performance
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