How Does Focus on Form Affect the Revising Processes of ESL Writers?: Two Case Studies
Author(s)Kim, Eun-Young Julia
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AbstractThis study considers the ongoing “grammar correction debate” in second language writing by examining how a focus on formal accuracy would affect the revising processes of ESL writers and the students’ written products. A case study approach was used to find out how two ESL students would respond in the two different rewriting situations: (a) when there is no explicit expectation for them to produce grammatically correct text, and (b) when this expectation was clearly present. The protocol analysis and interviews with the participants showed that students’ revision processes had not been affected by the kind of instruction and expectation given. In both tasks, students concentrated on building up their content, rather than attending to grammar and mechanics. The explicit instruction to work on the grammar did not result in a better written product in terms of formal accuracy, either. Based on these findings, this study claims that teaching and attending to grammar may not necessarily inhibit students from developing fluency and that ESL students do need guidance in developing skills in both rhetorical and formal aspects of English composition to be able to produce academically acceptable prose.