EXPLORING THE EFFECTS OF DISCUSSION AND TEXT PLANNING STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE AND ASSESS WRITTEN COMMMUNICATION SKILLS

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In school just like in life, the written communication skills are fundamental. These skills involve, especially, constructing texts for different uses and purposes, efficient elaboration of information and the correct use of linguistic expressions. Writing means knowing the rules of grammar but also reflecting on specific situations and contexts, considering the language functions, goals and communication needs. Increasingly, however, technology increases the problems which children and young people have to achieve correct and effective speeches, which are logically organized.To promote and evaluate written expressive competence (logical structuring of a text, flexibility, verbal fluency, critical sense, grammatical correctness, pragmatic awareness) in students between the ages of 8 and 12 years a specific training program was realized. The educational activities were conducted from March to June 2015, in the Palermo area. The didactic action provided a learning environment based on discussion and problem solving through team work. The generation of ideas was supported by the active search for information through reading of printed texts and digital tools (web quests). Writing review and correction, as well as decision-making process, was assisted by text planning strategies (idea lists, associative clusters, concept maps, semantic networks). Written composition, with a purpose and a real recipient was an authentic learning task because it stimulated team work and encouraged material sharing and knowledge transformation.The investigation was realized with two different almost-experimental designs: a single recurrent group with an interrupted time series and another with a control group with similar characteristics. Data collection was carried out through observation instruments, some already validated and others created ad hoc. Pre- and post-test performances were compared within the same group of student who participated in the enhancement activities by use of the discussion and the planning strategies. It was found that activities created in order to increase the skills of convergent, divergent and critical thinking improved the student’s written expressiveness, much more than in the control group, which did not use knowledge organization and construction tools also mediated by computers. Pragmatic awareness, practiced in a communicative situation in which the pupil writes for real recipients also improved. Writing with a specific purpose requires preparation of a clear and correct language, understandable text structuring, appropriate delivery according to the task and context; the tools of organizing and constructing are essential.Although the findings concern only experimental situations that cannot be generalized, the interventions taken confirmed the efficacy of the procedures used.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDULEARN16 Proceedings
Pages1184-1193
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameEDULEARN PROCEEDINGS

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