27 SES 08 B, Textual Resources for Fostering Students' Argumentation and Knowledge Construction
This abstract outlines some relevant information about our study, which compares two strategies for the development of ideas concerning argumentative writing.
Written texts produced by Portuguese students generally show scarce vocabulary and very few ideas. They often lack writing strategies, such as planning and revising, and are unstructured at the utmost (1).
Argumentative writing tends to potentiate students’ writing difficulties (2), for it involves taking a position about a subject in a well-organized essay, which has to be supported by reasons. Furthermore, the author must produce refutations to all the opposing arguments, and use linking words to lead the reader from one part of the essay to another with the purpose of convincing him (3). Although persuasive writing is thought to be difficult because it is more cognitively demanding than narrative writing (4), this text type is often not accurately taught. Nevertheless, argumentative writing skills are important to the exercise of democratic rights and responsibilities since they help develop critical thought in European citizens within a globalized world (5).
Our study aims to approach the following questions. First, we will be investigating the correlation between reading texts and persuasive writing in relation to generating ideas that will sustain a claim. That means we intend to point out whether (or not) there is a transfer of ideas from reading to writing. Second, we intend to clarify which of the two strategies considered in this study and applied to texts reading (the jigsaw or the individual approach) best favour the development of argumentative writing skills. Finally, we aim to determine whether the strategies from the Self-Regulated Strategies Development (SRSD) for planning and composing argumentative texts improve the writing hability this text typology of 9th grade Portuguese students (6).
To address these issues, we designed an instructional program which is framed mainly by two theoretical concepts. The first concerns the development of vocabulary and ideas; the second is related to planning and writing an argumentative text. To carry out the first component, we compared two distinct strategies of reading texts, namely, one based on cooperative work guided by jigsaw theoretical principles and the other consisting of an individual approach. The planning and writing components of our program are based on the SRSD model and its mnemonics for the persuasive text, which has been previously translated and adapted to the educational context of our students (7).
a. Collaborative learning – the jigsaw
The jigsaw constitutes a complex teaching strategy, combining moments of individual and collaborative learning; therefore promoting positive interdependence among all group members in order to achieve learning objectives - common as well as individual (8). In fact, the positive interdependence is one of the most distinctive features of cooperative learning(9), since the design of sub-tasks in the setting of cooperative learning is an effective factor that improves the adolescent students’ text composing skills (10).
b. The SRSD
The SRSD is a learning program consisting of direct and explicit writing instructions, which contains mnemonics to teach students how to plan, compose and revise specific texts, while incorporating general writing strategies and self-regulation proceedings, like goal setting, self-instructions, self-reinforcement, self-monitoring and self-evaluation (11). The SRSD follows cognitive principles like modelling, scaffolding and automation of self-regulatory strategies to make students attain more confidence in tasks such as writing composition, increasing their knowledge about writing processes, developing positive attitudes towards it and, in general, improving their writing performance (11).
We assume the effectiveness of the SRSD’s teaching strategies, which has been confirmed by evidences, in particular, about the writing strategies to compose an argumentative text in a classroom (12).
(1) GAVE. Relatórios.Testes intermédios, 2009/2010; Testes intermédios, 2010/2011. Lisboa: Gabinete de Avaliação Educacional - Ministério da Educação e Ciência. (2) Applebee, A. N. (1984). Writing and Reasoning. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 54, No. 4, (pp. 577-596). URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1170176. Accessed: 21/12/2011. (3) Newell, G. E. et al. (2011). Teaching and Learning Argumentative Reading and Writing: A Review of Research. Reading Research Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 3, (pp. 273-304). (4) Crowhurst, M. (1990). Teaching and Learning the Writing of Persuasive/Argumentative Discours. Canadian Journal of Education / Revue canadienne de l'éducation, Vol. 15, N. 4, (pp. 348-359). URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1495109. Accessed: 08/02/2013. (5) Crowhurst, M. (1988). Research Review: Patterns of Development in Writing Persuasive/Argumentative Discourse. The University of British Columbia. PDF-Document. Accessed: 15/05/2013. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41228654. Accessed: 08/02/2013 (6) Harris, K., Graham, S., Mason, L. H., & Friedlander, B. (2008). Powerfull writing strategies for all students. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc. (7) Festas, I., Damião, H., Oliveira, A., Rebelo, J. A., Rocha, R., Vaz, J. (2011). Adaptação e implementação do programa de escrita SRSD (Self-Regulated Strategy Development). Comunicação oral apresentada no Simpósio Composição de textos no XI Congreso Internacional Galego-Portugués de Psicopedagoxía, Coruna, 7/09/2011. (8) Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1999). Learning together and alone. Cooperative, competitive, and individual learning. 5th edition. Needham Heights, Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon. (9) O’Donnell, A. M. (2006). The Role of Peers and Group Learning. In P. A. Alexander, & P. H. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of Education (pp.781-802). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Publishers. (10) Graham, S. & Perin, D. (2007). Writing next: Effective strategies to improve writing of adolescents in middle and high schools- A report to Carnegie Corporation of NewYork. Washington D.C.: Alliance for Excellent Education. (11) Harris, K. R. & Graham, S. (2009). Self-regulated strategy development in writing: Premises, evolution, and the future. British Journal of Educational Psychology Monograph Series II, 6, 113–135. (12) De La Paz, S. & Graham, S. (2002). Explicitly Teaching Strategies, Skills, and Knowledge: Writing Instruction in Middle School Classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 94, No. 4, (pp. 687–698). DOI: 10.1037//0022-06184.108.40.2067. (13) Kuhn, D. & Udell, W. (2003). The Development of Argument Skills. Child Development, Vol. 74, No. 5 (pp. 1245-1260). URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3696176. Accessed: 19/02/2013.
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