The Impact of Blog Peer Feedback on Improving Iranian English Foreign Language Students' Writing

The Impact of Blog Peer Feedback on Improving Iranian English Foreign Language Students' Writing

Mohsen Shahrokhi (Shahreza Branch, Islamic Azad University, Iran) and Shima Taheri (Shahreza Branch, Islamic Azad University, Iran)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0177-0.ch017
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Abstract

The present study is an attempt to investigate (a) whether using blog peer feedbacks have any statistically significant effect on improving Iranian students' EFL writing skill, and (b) whether participants at different proficiency levels react differently to blog peer feedbacks, as far as their writing improvement is concerned. To this end, sixty Iranian female English Foreign Language (EFL) learners were selected based on their performance on the Oxford Placement Test (OPT) and were then divided into two groups. The first thirty-participant group was taught through the conventional face-to-face method; the second thirty-participant group, which consisted of the same proficiency level members as the first group, received blog peer feedbacks as the treatment. After three months of instruction, a post-test was administered and the results were subjected to statistical analysis. The ensuing analysis revealed that using blog peer feedbacks can have a statistically significant impact upon improving the writing skills of EFL learners.
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Literature Review

There are many advantages in using the Internet, as seen in Fox’s (1998), Singhal’s (1997), and Warschauer’s (1997) studies. First, taking part in the Internet activities is intrinsically motivating for students, since they consider it as a trendy and useful tool, enabling them to be connected with the world. As English is currently the main language of the Internet, learners develop an appreciation for the usefulness of learning the language. Using the net also gives students control over their learning, enabling them to go at their own pace and choose their paths according to their individual needs. It helps in promoting learner independence and the development of learning strategies, provided that learners receive appropriate guidance (Moras, 2001).

Secondly, the World Wide Web (WWW) gives students instant access to a wide range of native-language materials, from newspaper and magazine articles to radio broadcasts and informal chat rooms, and also to material prepared specially for learners, such as grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary exercises and tests. Apart from retrieving information from the Internet, learners can also create their own materials and share them with partner classes or with the general public. This possibility can also generate a great deal of interest for learners, as learners communicate with a real audience (Moras, 2001). Because the internet is primarily text driven, it appeals to shy students, giving them time to think and participate in exchanges in a chat room, e-mail, or class conferencing.

Another positive outcome of the Internet use is improving reading and writing skills. Furthermore, because the language that is used on the Internet tends to be lexically and syntactically more complex than oral discourse, students can potentially gain a broader range of English. Communication with native speakers forces students to practice specific skills such as negotiation, persuasion, clarification meaning, and requesting information.

Finally, the Internet allows learners to participate in the culture of the target language and to see real language in context, away from course books and the classroom (Moras, 2001). An integral part of the internet are weblogs, which are useful for different purposes, including teaching and learning a new language.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Writing Skill: The ability to write correctly and communicatively in a language, and be able to edit it.

Peer Feedback: The use of classmates or learners at the same proficiency level in commenting on other learners’ writing performances.

Language Proficiency: The level competence of a foreign language learner that enables him/her to perform both in written and oral forms.

English Foreign Language: Learning or teaching English as a foreign language by native speakers of other languages.

Blog: A blog is an online journal that can be updated frequently by an individual and used for personal, educational, and commercial purposes.

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