Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Judith A. Anderson

Second Advisor

O. Jane Thayer

Third Advisor

Edwin Hernandez

Abstract

Problem. Questions have been raised regarding the number of limited-English-proficient students who enter undergraduate schools every year. This study was designed to look at the effectiveness of the Writing Workshop model in improving English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) college students' writing skills in a small liberal arts university in Puerto Rico.

Method. Students registered in two Intermediate English-as-a-Second-Language writing classes were asked to take a pretest-posttest related to writing skills and a pretest-posttest related to composition skills to indicate their level of agreement for each of the 22 statements on a Likert-type (survey) instrument--strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (4)--related to their attitudes toward learning and writing in English. They were also asked to indicate to what extent the Writing Workshop helped them improve their writing skills on a Likert-type (survey) instrument--never (1) to very much (5). Descriptive statistics and a paired samples t test were used to answer the research questions. The sample size was 35; however, some fluctuations were registered because of absences to class.

Results. The results indicated that, in general, participants in the survey had a positive attitude toward learning and writing in English. There was a significant difference in writing skills based on the pretest and posttest (p < 0.05). There was a positive difference in composition skills based on pretest and posttest (p< 0.05) for the Writing Workshop class with the highest percentage of limited-proficient students. Finally, students from both groups acknowledged that the Writing Workshop had helped them to better understand the writing process. Students perceived classroom environment, peer response, collaborative writing and speaking as the components that helped them the most in improving their writing skills.

Conclusion. In general, the Writing Workshop has been effective in helping students improve their writing skills. This study provides evidence of the Writing Workshop as a promising tool that can be used to enhance ESL students' writing skills in Puerto Rico.

Subject Area

English language--Study and teaching (Higher)--Foreign speakers, English language--Composition and exercises--Study and teaching (Higher)--Puerto Rico

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