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A Comparison of Two Approaches to

Genre-Based Writing Instruction with


an Initial Score Rating, Participant
Learning Styles and Proficiency
Paul White
MA in Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Liberal Arts
University of Groningen
Supervisor:
Wander Lowie
July 2008

Contents
ABSTRACT................................................................................................................................................. 4
INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................................... 5
1.1 MOTIVATION.......................................................................................................................................... 5
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTION............................................................................................................................ 5
1.3 OVERVIEW............................................................................................................................................ 5
BACKGROUND.......................................................................................................................................... 5
2.1 GENRE................................................................................................................................................ 5
2.1.1 Genre in Second Language Writing Instruction ......................................................................... 5
2.1.2 The Pedagogical Debate in Genre-Based Instruction................................................................ 5
2.1.3 Pangs 2002 Study..................................................................................................................... 5
2.2 LEARNING STYLES................................................................................................................................. 6
2.2.1 Learning Styles Research in Second Language Writing Instruction...........................................6
2.2.2 Learning Styles and Proficiency................................................................................................. 6
2.2.3 Learning and Teaching Styles.................................................................................................... 6
2.3 OTHER VARIABLES................................................................................................................................ 6
2.3.1 Transferability of Knowledge...................................................................................................... 6
2.3.2 Interfering Variables................................................................................................................... 7
2.3.3 Student Motivation Levels.......................................................................................................... 7
METHOD..................................................................................................................................................... 9
3.1 EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND MATERIALS................................................................................................... 9
3.1.1 Experimental Design.................................................................................................................. 9
3.1.2 Reacting to Design Needs Identified by Previous Studies......................................................... 9
3.1.3 The Research Report as an example of Academic Genre......................................................... 9
3.1.4 Systematic Functional Linguistics and Context........................................................................ 10
3.1.5 The Contextual and Textual Lessons....................................................................................... 11
3.2 BACKGROUND DETAILS......................................................................................................................... 11
3.2.1 The Participants....................................................................................................................... 11
3.2.2 The Experimental Setting......................................................................................................... 11
3.3 ASSESSMENT

AND

DATA ANALYSIS METHOD............................................................................................ 11

3.3.1 Assessment Methods and Data Collection............................................................................... 11


3.3.3 In-Depth Interviews.................................................................................................................. 12
RESULTS.................................................................................................................................................. 13
4.1 DATA ANALYSIS................................................................................................................................... 13

4.1.1 Descriptives............................................................................................................................. 13
4.1.1 Learner Progress vs. Learning Style........................................................................................ 13
4.1.2 Learner Progress vs. Proficiency Level.................................................................................... 13
4.1.3 Learner Progress vs. A Combined Measure of Proficiency and Learning Style.......................13
4.1.4 Learner Progress vs. Initial Score Measure............................................................................. 13
4.1.5 Qualitative Analysis of the Results........................................................................................... 13
4.2 OTHER MEASURES.............................................................................................................................. 14
4.2.1 Transferability of Knowledge.................................................................................................... 14
4.2.2 In-depth Interviews................................................................................................................... 14
4.2.3 Motivational levels.................................................................................................................... 14
4.3 DISCUSSION....................................................................................................................................... 15
CONCLUSION........................................................................................................................................... 16
5.1 GENERAL CONCLUSION........................................................................................................................ 16
5.2 DRAWBACKS OF THE STUDY................................................................................................................. 16
5.3 RECOMMENDED FOLLOW-UP WORK....................................................................................................... 16
APPENDIX................................................................................................................................................ 17
APPENDIX CONTENTS PAGE....................................................................................................................... 17
APPENDIX A: FULL KTS II PERSONALITY TYPE DESCRIPTORS......................................................................... 18
APPENDIX B: DITIBERIO DESCRIPTORS........................................................................................................ 19
APPENDIX C: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS........................................................................................................... 19
APPENDIX D: PROFICIENCY C-TEST............................................................................................................. 20
Learner Version................................................................................................................................ 20
Answer Version................................................................................................................................. 20
APPENDIX E: ABC ADVERTISEMENT COMPANY CASE STUDY.......................................................................... 22
Background Details for ABC Advertisement Case Study.................................................................. 22
Conceptual Model for ABC Advertisement........................................................................................ 24
APPENDIX F: FULL MODEL FOR RESEARCH REPORT...................................................................................... 25
APPENDIX G: CRITERIAL AND HOLISTIC ASSESSMENT GRID............................................................................ 26
APPENDIX H: OPERATIONALISATION OF SYSTEMATIC FUNCTIONAL CRITERIA IN THE CONTEXTUAL AND TEXTUAL
LESSONS................................................................................................................................................. 27
APPENDIX J: COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK (CEF) MODEL FOR GRADING REPORTS.................................... 28
REFERENCES.......................................................................................................................................... 31

I would like to acknowledge the initial guidance given to me by Dr. Marjolijn Verspoor,
the encouragement and assistance with my experimental design from my supervisor Dr.
Wander Lowie, Laura Maruster, Professor of the Statistic Skills course at the
Rijkuniversiteit Groningen for her assistance in collecting suitable materials, and for
continuous support and encouragement through months of daily work in the library from
Vicky Iliodromiti.

Abstract
The purpose of the current investigation was to seek relationships between English L2
undergraduate writing progress in four classes employing two pedagogically-diverse
approaches to genre-based writing instruction (textual/contextual) with participant
learning style and proficiency levels. Other variables such as initial score ratings in a
pre-experimental writing assignment were used relating to progress in the experimental
lessons, with transferability of knowledge and motivation, amongst other situational
variables, relating to a post-experimental free-production writing assignment were
considered. Using the best writing assignments from the previous years students, a
genre-analysis was conducted upon which lesson content in the textual and contextual
class was built. Results revealed no relation between the participants progress and
their learning preferences, their proficiency level, or a combination of these two
variables. However, a relationship was discovered between the participants progress
and their initial score rating, and between their highest in-class score and their grades
on the post-experimental writing assignment. The study concludes that participants
exposed to both methods progressed, that this progress did not relate to their general
level of proficiency or learning style preferences, and that the lower a participants initial
score rating the more they progressed over the course of the experimental lessons,
regardless of the instructional type to which they had been exposed. The study thus
acts as a confirmation to previous findings for the effectiveness of employing a explicit
genre-based approach to writing instruction in the L2 academic writing classroom, and
to the transferability of genre knowledge outside the classroom environment.
Word Count 23,198

Introduction
1.1 Motivation
In the introduction to her book Genre in the Classroom, Ann M. Johns (2002) argues
that second language (L2) writing instruction has undergone a major paradigm shift in
the last 15-20 years, moving from The Process Approach (see Feez, 2002; Johns,
1990; Silva, 1990) to a contextual approach in which the writer works within a social
environment that can be viewed through the analysis of genre exemplars,
characterised as purposeful, situated and repeated social responses (see also Miller,
1984) .
Although not widely employed in academic English writing courses in Europe, genrebased instruction in academic writing instruction is widely employed in Australia and the
U.S.A.

Three competing theoretical schools emerged from these foundations, The

Sydney School representing a systematic functional linguistics (SFL) approach to genre


analysis (see Halliday, 2004), The New Rhetoric (NR) (see Johns, 2002) which draws
on postmodern social and literary theories (see Bakhtin, 1986), and English for Specific
Purposes (ESP) (see Swales, 1990) which, rather than taking a theoretical perspective,
views genre as a tool in the teaching of academic and professional communication skills
to L2 learners.

The main theoretical tension between the SFL and NR approaches

(both of which are drawn on by ESP) is the viewing of a genre as something stable,
structured and therefore open to explicit description by SFL advocates, or as something
much more flexible, determined by the communicative intention of the individual within
his/her community by NR advocates.

SFL genre research has thus tended to

concentrate on the supplying of a coherent framework from which teachers are able to
draw on in the classroom (see Rothery, 1996; Feez, 2001). In contrast to this wholly
linguistic approach, NR genre research has concentrated on uses of genre by expert
users, examining issues like the historical evolution of genres (Atkinson, 1996), the
process of producing academic articles (Myers, 1990), and the study of genres in the
workplace (Pare, 2000; Dias et al., 1999).
6

Although very few studies have attempted to compare the pedagogical benefits of
employing each of the schools approaches in the L2 classroom (see Tardy, 2006 for an
overview), Terence Pang (2002), Professor of English at Lingnan University in Hong
Kong, has undertaken research from an ESP perspective to compare the effectiveness
of two related pedagogic approaches, naming them textual (related to SFL) and
contextual (related to New Rhetoric), concluding that ...the textual-analysis approach
worked better with subjects with low or high initial scores, but not those with a medium
initial score... [whereas] contextual-analysis subjects with low and medium initial scores
made considerable progress, but those with high initial scores actually displayed slightly
negative progress... (p.157).

The assumption that the instructional approaches

themselves engender this type of reaction from learners of varying initial levels of
written production requires further research.
The realisation that language learning success cannot be fully explained by language
aptitude alone, but is also affected by motivation, personality and demographic factors
has been gaining increasing support (see Oxford, 2005 for an overview of recent
studies). Ehrman and Oxfords 1995 study into end of course proficiency ratings and
psychological type (as determined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Myers
1962, 1987; Myers & McCauley, 1985 1), showed significant correlations between
personality type and proficiency.

Carrel, Prince and Astikas (1996) attempted to

correlate personality type with more longitudinal language performance measures


however found no relation to exist. The disadvantages of the two studies is in Ehrman
and Oxfords (1995) use of a snap-shot proficiency test as their measure of proficiency,
and both studies disregard for the importance of instructional type and construction of
language performance measures as biasing factors towards a particular set of learning
styles2.
1


To be discussed in greater depth in section 2.2.1 Learning Styles Research in Second


Language Writing

2
7

1.2 Research Question


The focus of the current study is to directly compare the longitudinal progress of
learners in classes employing a textual or contextual approach to genre-based writing
instruction with participant learning styles and proficiency. The study seeks to control
for the effect of instructional approach and will employ an unbiased measure of learner
progress towards either instructional approach.

Learning style will be determined

through the bi-polar measures of a test derived from the MBTI, and proficiency by a CTest3.

Following from the results of Pangs (2002) study into the predictive power of

initial score rating, Ehrman and Oxfords (1995) study into the correlations of personality
type and proficiency, and Carrel et al.s (1996) failed attempt to correlate language
performance with learning styles, the research question related to the primary concern
of the study is:
Will the effectiveness of a textual or contextually-based genre approach to writing
instruction correlate with participant initial score rating, learning styles, proficiency level,
or a measure combining learning styles and proficiency level?
Whilst this is the primary concern of the study, other measures will be employed, firstly
to allow a comparison of highest in-class score rating with that on a post-experimental
report (to measure transferability of knowledge), secondly to measure motivational level
as related to the post-experimental report, and thirdly, to include other areas of interests
and/or interfering variables such as sensory preferences, preferred teaching style and
biological factors which are to be assessed qualitatively for their impact on the study
results.

As will be explained in greater depth in section 2.2.2 Learning Styles and Proficiency

3


Both of which will be discussed in more depth in 3.3.1 Assessment Methods and Data
Collection section

1.3 Overview
The next section contains a review of background literature related to the two
pedagogical

approaches

and

to

the

measuring

of

learning

styles.

The

operationalisation of theoretical perspectives in the current experiment and the resultant


research hypotheses will be given. The Method section will comprise of how the two
approaches were implemented into a series of lessons, assessment materials as well
as other details of the experimental design such as in-depth interviews. Finally, the
results and conclusion sections illustrate the key findings in relation to Pangs (2002)
study, amongst other studies, focusing on issues such as learning styles and
proficiencys relation to the participants progress in in-class writing assignments, and
the transferability of knowledge outside the academic writing classroom.

Background
2.1 Genre
2.1.1 Genre in Second Language Writing Instruction
The study of genre is nothing new; texts having been analysed for the presence or lack
of certain contextually-related linguistic, lexical, grammatical or discourse/rhetorical
features since the early 1960s 4. The transformation of genre from a primarily textual
pursuit as characterised through this early text-type definitions used in register analysis
to a concept that incorporates ideas of context, content, readers and writers roles and
community values (see Berkenkotter & Huckin, 1995; Halliday & Hasan, 1989, Purves,
1991) came as a result of the influence of the communicative language pedagogical
movement started in the 1970s (for one of the earliest proponents see Hymes, 1967).
This division was drawn out in the L2 writing classroom into a divergent view of the goal
of instruction; either building the awareness, explicitly or implicitly, of textual features
4


See Barber (1962), Halliday, McIntosh & Strevens, (1964) for register analysis on scientific
English, Gustafsson (1975) on legal English, and Crystal and Davy (1969) for an analysis of a variety of
forms

such as verb or conjunction type5 (see Kalantzis & Wignell, 1988 for an explicit
approach; Holborow, 1991 for implicit), or instead the encouragement of learners to
recognise speaker intentions behind speech events related to the situational variables
underlying a genre (see Yunik, 1997).
The one unifying concept in the field is that text-type or genre can be identified by
knowledgeable writers and readers through the typical forms of utterances (Bakhtin,
1986, p.63) employed. It is the process by which this identification takes place in the L2
writing classroom which is at the centre of the current pedagogical debate in genrebased instruction. Should the L2 learner be directed towards the linguistic features, like
the use of conjunction and reference systems of a particular text exemplar in a genre, or
to the contextual conditions, for instance author intention or author-audience
relationship, under which the text was constructed? The first, SFL-inspired approach
resembles a textual and the second NR-inspired approach a contextual pedagogical
orientation to genre-based instruction.
2.1.2 The Pedagogical Debate in Genre-Based Instruction
Textual and contextual approaches to genre-based writing instruction are related to the
method of text analysis in genre research and to its mode of presentation. Although
there are many approaches possible to both the analysing of text and classroom
instruction, all approaches share ...the same goal of adding to a model of language use
that is rich in social, cultural, and institutional explanation; that links language to context;
and that has practical relevance for teachers by offering useful ways of handling
conventionalised aspects of texts. (Hyland, 2004, p.195).

To understand how the

approaches differ, it is useful to look at the current debates within each.


Some proponents of the textual approach favour instruction of lexicogrammatical
constructions in L2 writing classes based on the observation that the demands of a
genre may differ between the learners first and second languages. To accommodate
for these differences some researchers have divided texts into exposition genres; field
5


10

Usually related to Hallidays (2004) conception of SFL

or laboratory reports, essays, assignments, seminar papers, dissertations, and theses


(see Drury & Gollin, 1986; Jones, Gollin, Drury & Economou, 1989).

Others have

defined texts according to intentions or moves common across different types of texts;
using theme, reference, lexical cohesion, and conjunction as markers of communicative
intention (see Jones et. al., 1989). Elements of natural discourse are then taken to be
the result of a combination of lower level functional units of speech. Units such as field
(social activity), tenor (the interpersonal relationships among people using language),
and mode (the part played by language in building communication) (see Christie,
1991a, p.142) combine with higher the higher social purpose (or genre) to determine
language choices.

These fields are strongly related to functional linguistics (see

Halliday, 2004), an issue which will be discussed in greater detail in the 3.1.3 The
Contextual and Textual Lessons section. The underlying assumption upon which a
textual orientation to genre pedagogy is based is that L2 writing learners will not be able
to recognise and use these basic elements of textual construction, due to the influence
of their first language (L1) or insufficient exposure to the L2.
Contextual proponents on the other hand argue that only through an understanding of
communicative intent, amongst many other non-linguistic contextual circumstances, can
the L2 writing learner come to understand the use of lexicogrammatical constructions.
Bhatia (1997b) argues for awareness-raising in relation to knowledge of activities, that is
tools, methods and the interpretative framework used in real-life instances of a situation,
and knowledge of situation, referring to familiarity with the rhetorical and conceptual
context. This combines having background knowledge of a particular community with
knowledge of how to communicate in this community in accordance with a socialgenre. A major debate within the contextual approach is from what evidence does one
gain contextual knowledge of a genre.

Holborow (1991) for instance advocates

analysing a situation from a target text, whereas Ventola (1994) employs genre flow
charts to enable learners to create texts within the social restrictions of a particular
genre. Ventola sees the basic components of a text being moves, units of the text
representing a particular communicative intention of the writer, and speech acts,
discourse level combinations of moves in the pursuit of wider communicative goals (see
also Swales, 1990). Holborows realisation of a contextual approach does not differ from
11

a textual one in regards to linguistic content, but only in the focus of the textual analysis,
which is to be on inferring the context from textual features.
Flowerdew (2002) summarizes the main characteristic differences between the two
methods. He sees the textual approach as applying theories of functional grammar
and discourse and concentrating on the lexico-grammatical and rhetorical realisation of
communicative purpose, with the contextual approach originating with the purposes
and functions of genres and attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviours of members of the
discourse communities within which genres are situated. (p.91).

Whilst both

approaches are often used inter-changeably in many L2 English writing courses around
the world, the impact of effectiveness of each has, as yet, been directly investigated by
a single study.
2.1.3 Pangs 2002 Study
A single study in the field of research into genre use in L2 writing classrooms has tried
to directly compare the effectiveness of the two pedagogical approaches of textual and
contextual. Terence Pangs (2002) study Textual Analysis and Contextual Awareness
Building: A Comparison of Two Approaches to Teaching Genre, separated English L2
undergraduates at Lingnan University in Hong Kong into two groups defined by their
pedagogical approach, both of which were aimed at the writing of a film review as an
exemplar of a particular text genre.
The subjects, all first year students in a first year bachelors English course Models of
Speech and Writing, had a background in genre analysis, and in the experiment were
exposed one of the two approaches, with pre- and post-tests used to measure progress.
The contextual exposure group took part in activities such as brainstorming various
contextual factors (such as writer role, audience and register), analysing texts of slightly
different genres (a film review versus a movie guide) for differences caused by context,
and were finally instructed to write a film review after gaining an understanding of
specific contextual circumstances. The textual group, on the other hand, analysed the
linguistic and functional features of texts from macro to micro-level over several
activities, being explicitly taught to recognise some structures by their teacher, and
compared texts from similar genres, before finally constructing a text in a particular
12

genre from its likely textual components. Although the two methods attempted to mirror
one another, the contextual group did sometimes speak about textual patterns with the
textual group discussing some contextual factors when assigning a text to a specific
genre.
Although the two groups produced similar scores in their post-experimental written
product, the author observed that the textual analysis group wrote more mechanistically,
with the contextual group showing a greater understanding of more general discourse
functions.

The author found that both groups progressed considerably, related to the

grading criteria used, but that this depended on the learners initial scores. Low and
medium initial score learners performed best in the contextual approach, whereas low
and high, but not medium, level learners improved the most in the textual group. A
case-by-case analysis also revealed that there was greater consistency in the medium
initial score learners in the contextual group, than in the low initial score learners, some
of whom improved considerably whilst others did not make much progress. A general
conclusion as to the fact that the contextual approach is most suited to medium level
learners, and the textual to the low and high level, seems plausible.
Despite the overall balancing of results by initial score in the study, the considerable
amount of variation found by Pang, with some learners improving dramatically whilst
others quality of written production actually declined, raises questions concerning the
predictive validity of initial score as determining learner response to a particular
teaching method. The current study proposes to satisfy the research need identified by
assessing the effectiveness of a textual and contextual approach not only in relation to
learners initial scores, but also to their levels of proficiency and individual learning
styles.

It is forecast that a combination of learners general proficiency level and

learning preferences will be a greater predictor of positive reaction to either of the


approaches than initial score level.

13

2.2 Learning Styles


2.2.1 Learning Styles Research in Second Language Writing Instruction
To explain the concept learning styles I think it necessary to first distinguish this from
the more widely known and used concept of learning strategies. Learning styles are
the overall patterns that give general direction to learning behavior (Cornett, 1983,
p.9), whilst learning strategy relates to specific actions, behaviours, steps, or
techniques... used by learners to enhance their own learning. (Scarcella & Oxford,
1992, p.63).

Learning style, whilst open to developmental factors, seems to be a

construct much less flexible than learning strategy, which is employed by the learner in
a more conscious fashion.

Whilst learning style includes such areas as sensory

preferences, personality types, desired degrees of generality and biological differences,


learning strategies are arranged by their cognitive, metacognitive, memory-related,
compensatory, affective and social elements.
The term learning styles is used to encompass four aspects of personality; attitudes and
interests (Extroversion/Introversion), preferred instructional methods (Sensing/Intuiting),
cognitive

aspects

(Thinking/Feeling),

and

finally

preferred

learning

strategies

(Judging/Perceiving). These four categories can be related respectively to the four bipolar measure of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI Myers 1962, 1987; Myers &
McCauley, 1985, as shown in the brackets above), a personality test employed in many
studies attempting to compare learning styles with various measures of L2 proficiency
(see Carrell, Prince and Astika, 1996 for an overview).

Based on the work of

psychologist Carl Jung, this test is the frequent choice of researchers in education as it
is particularly suited to applications in teaching and learning. (Kent & Fisher, 1997).
The four bi-polar dimensions have been labelled as shown in Table 1 (see Appendix A
for the full descriptors).
TECHNICAL TERMS
(E)
Extroversion
(S)
Sensing
(T)
Thinking
(J)
Judging

MEANING
Expressive
Observant
Tough-Minded
Scheduled

TECHNICAL TERMS
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.

(I)
Introversion
(N)
Intuiting
(F)
Feeling
(P)
Perceiving

MEANING
Attentive
Introspective
Friendly
Probing

Table 1 evaluative expressions for the 4 bi-polar personality dimensions used in both the MBTI
and KTS II, see www.keirsey.com.

14

2.2.2 Learning Styles and Proficiency


Whilst many studies have manipulated or encouraged learners use of strategies, most
learning style investigations have sought straightforward correlations between
personality traits and second language proficiency (see Oxford, 2003 for an overview).
Related to the four scales, some research (Brown, 1987) has found interactions
between the extroversion-introversion scale and learning success in different class
sizes, extroverts being more successful in large classes, whilst others found that
introverts are not disadvantaged (see Ehrman and Oxford, 1990b). Ehrman and Oxford
(1995) tested a large sample of 885 people from various American government
departments on areas such as aptitude, age, sex, motivation, anxiety, self-esteem,
tolerance of ambiguity, risk-taking, language learning strategies and language learning
styles. Regarding the measures used in the MTBI, the study found no relation on the
extroversion-introversion, thinking-feeling, or judging-perceiving scales to end of
language course proficiency levels. The Sensing-Intuition scale (Appendix B), relating
to how individuals receive and make sense of incoming data from the external world,
did correlate with proficiency levels.

Intuitive learners who view the world as

possibilities and options, preferring abstract problems and seeing the big picture at the
expense of detail, scored better than Sensing learners, who are more factually-based,
relating information to their environment, with a focus on concrete problems and
preferring structured input. Teaching style was not, however, controlled for in this study,
and therefore conclusions regarding correlations between language learning success
and personality type must be taken as provisional at best.
Carrel, Prince and Astika (1996), in their comparison of personality types and
proficiency, found no direct, simple relationships between learning styles and language
performance measures. (p.95).

From this, and related to previous studies, they

conclude that cognitive differences and language aptitude provide better predictive
variables for proficiency levels than personality types. However, they also mention in
their conclusion that the overwhelming majority of their learners were Sensing-ThinkingJudging types who are guided by concrete facts, sequential learning and prefer order
and organisation in formalised, structured instruction. Not only the learning environment
15

but also the tests used to assess language performance during the experiment matched
these majority learning types. The authors sum up; had we employed other types of
language achievement measures more oral, social interactive, open-ended, less
structured measures we might have obtained different results with these STJ
learners. (p.97).
The clear and serious scientific disadvantage of the uncontrolled for variance in the
method of teaching in both the Ehrman and Oxford (1995) and the Carrel, Prince and
Astika (1996) studies above highlight the difficulties involved in seeking correlations of
learning style with measures of general proficiency. Until work is done which actively
attempts to control for method of instruction and uses measures of development rather
than snap-shot proficiency measures, no definitive answer to the question of the nature
of the correlation between learning styles and L2 learning success can be made.
2.2.3 Learning and Teaching Styles
Whilst every teacher strives for variety in classroom activities, the above studies into
learning styles and proficiency raise the question of whether variety or tailoring of
teaching to students learning styles is most effective in the L2 classroom. A number of
varying opinions have been voiced on the subject, with studies focusing on the
approach of the teacher, the need for learners to respond to and employ a number of
learning styles and strategies, correlations between teacher personality type and learner
performance, and finally the use of learning styles questionnaires in adult composition
classes.
Learning style is the biologically and developmentally imposed set of characteristics
that make the same teaching method wonderful for some and terrible for others. (Dunn
& Griggs, 1988, p.3). Dunn and Griggs (1988) claim that there is a positive correlation
between learning style and pedagogical approach would seem to be a reasonable
assumption to make. However, in the conclusion to her overview, Oxford (2003) raises
the issues of the benefit language teachers can gain from knowing their learners
preferred learning styles and strategies whilst also warning against the tailoring of
teaching to these same preferences; L2 teachers would do better to employ a broad
instructional approach... to meet the needs of all learners in the class (p.16). However,
16

whilst Oxford makes the underlying assumption that it is best to match teaching and
learning styles, but that this is simply not possible given the variety of student learning
styles in a real-world classroom, Kyriacou, Benmansour and Low (1996) argue against
any complementing of teaching and learning styles at all. They state that; ...research
on learning styles should not be characterised as an attempt to identify which style
works best, or how teachers need to match activities to learners preferences. (p.23).
Rushton, Morgan and Richard (2007) in their study into the personality types of Primary
School teachers in Florida, found that teachers with an ENFP (Extrovert, Intuitive,
Feeling and Perceiving) personality type were more likely to be amongst the most
innovative teachers as they are more ready to accept and lead changes, as compared
to the largest group of teachers, ISFJ (Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, Judging) who
preferred maintaining the status quo and using well tried and tested methods.
Torkerlson Gray (1998) used the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (a personality tested
based on the MBTI) to investigate learners preferred writing processes in her adult
composition classes.

Employing Jensen and DiTiberios (1989) (See Appendix B)

adapted definitions of the MBTI bi-polar measures, relating them to the writing process,
the learner reports in Torkerlson Grays study reveals both the general accuracy of the
test in comparison to her learners introspective judgements, as well as the benefit of
encouraging such introspection in the L2 classroom. All this leads to a very complex
picture of the possible reasons to or to not attempt to match teaching approach with
learning style, of the pure impact of the personality type of the teacher on any class,
regardless of student learning styles within that class, and of the possible beneficial
outcomes of awareness-raising of student learning styles regardless of instructional
approach.
The current study seeks to measure any positive or negative correlation of the
participants learning style with developmental reactions to two pedagogical approaches
measured longitudinally, whilst also employing a measure of general proficiency. The
researcher does not wish to make the assumption of Dunn and Griggs (1988) or Oxford
(2003), that teaching and learning styles should, optimally, be matched. Related to the
two instructional approaches, the researcher does however expect that a sensing
participant, that is one keen on receiving structured input in a more traditional fashion,
17

will benefit more in the textual class, whereas and intuiting participant, that is one more
guided by content than structure, preferring more holistic input, will benefit more in the
contextual class.

The researcher is still open to the possibility that teaching and

learning style interact best when they are contrasting, to stimulate learners full range of
learning strategies. Therefore, a sensing participant would perform better with contentoriented input in the contextual class, whereas a intuiting participant would perform
better with the structured input of the textual class. The current study also takes the
observations of Rushton, Morgan and Richard (2007) into account by measuring the
personality type of the teacher (the researcher) and considering the effect this may have
on the results when drawing conclusions. The learning styles test implemented in this
study, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II (KTS II see www.keirsey.com, also Keirsey
& Bates, 1984), includes a section on the interaction of teacher-learner personality
types, a discussion of which will be incorporated into in-depth interviews, which also
encourage the learners own introspective judgements as advised by Torkerlson Gray
(1998).

2.3 Other Variables


2.3.1 Transferability of Knowledge
Pangs (2002) study, being set in a genre-based course for learners of translation
needed no measure of transferability of knowledge, as the ability to conduct a genre
analysis was the aim of the course itself.

In Senguptas (1999) study of rhetorical

consciousness-raising in L2 reading, although learners developed the ability of


recognising reader-friendly elements in a text, they were not able to transfer this
knowledge into their own writing. Other barriers to the transfer of knowledge beyond
the L2 writing class have been found such as the perceived difference between a
language-centred English course and learners other content-driven courses (Leki &
Carson, 1997), the viewing of the ESP class as a course requirement and idea of
building language knowledge from later real-world experience (Parks, 2000b), and the
perceived conflicts of audience, purpose and content between ESP and other classes
(Hansen, 2000). One positive study found that learners remembered specific genre
features a full year after instruction (Hyon, 2001), and finally Gosden (1998) concluded

18

that authenticity of content may be a defining factor in the transferability of knowledge


beyond the L2 classroom. The current study seeks this authenticity by basing the
lesson content on a corpus of collected papers written by learners from the previous
academic year, and the inclusion of a post-experimental, free-production research
report which is to be graded for content by the participants statistics lecturer and for
English by the researcher, rather than only for language content. The assignment is
also to be completed outside the experimental lessons. Due to these factors, it is
presumed that this assignment indicates a measure of transferability.
2.3.2 Interfering Variables
The core focus of the current study is to seek to clarify the relationships between the
variables participant initial score, learning style, proficiency and learner progress as
measured through in-class writing assignments. The author wishes to acknowledge
though, that due to the in-situ nature of the study, many other uncontrolled for variables
might well have an outcome on the results.
The content of the lessons will be presented using Microsoft Powerpoint presentations
with some use of animation and paper hand-outs. This obviously favours those pupils
who prefer a visual rather than auditory, kinesthetic or tactile approach to learning.
Biological differences between learners and between the four lessons such as
biorhythms, sustenance, differing classrooms locations and weather conditions may
also affect the results of the study. Teaching style preferences, possibly drawn from
past experiences and varying affective filters of the different learners might also affect
the reaction learners have to a particular teaching method. One constant in the study
was the class times, though many students experienced difficulties in reaching the
University on time due to a bus strike.
2.3.3 Student Motivation Levels
The central concern of the researcher in relation to interfering variables regards the
participants levels of motivation. It must be acknowledged, that whilst all participants
are subject to the same incentives of grades for the English and Statistics Skills courses

19

(to be discussed in detail in section the Method section), motivation levels, particularly
towards the improving of English skills, will vary greatly between the participants.
It is intended that these variables be covered in the final 1-to-1 interviews, as advised by
Torkerlson Gray (1998), that the researcher will hold with each participant individually.
The devising of questions for this (see Appendix C) will be discussed in detail in the
section 3.3.3 In-Depth Interviews.

2.4 Hypotheses
Before stating my hypotheses, I think it necessary to review the main variables in the
current study.

Fig. 1. A diagrammatic illustration of the variables with their factors included in the current study.

The primary focus of the current study revolves around the interaction of participant
initial score, learning styles, proficiency level, and a contextual and textual approach to
genre-based writing instruction. I think it would be helpful at this stage to re-state the
exact meaning of the variables and their factors.
-

Instructional Method:

Textual using the structures of functional grammar, applied to the genre-analysis of a


text, to highlight the textual features which combine to form the field, tenor and mode of
a particular genre.
Contextual

starting from a deep analysis of situational factors, such as setting,

purpose, author intention, author-audience relationship, and then progressing to their


textual realisation in a particular genre.
-

Initial Score:

The score that each participant gains on the first, pre-experimental in-class writing
assignment in both instructional approaches6.
6
20

Participant Learning Styles:

Sensory Perception (S) are learners who are more comfortable when receiving very
structured input, upon which they can build more complex structures for particular
communicative acts. They feel more comfortable using tried and tested methods than
experimentation with new ways of learning, and attend closely to structural accuracy at
every stage of the writing process.
Intuitive Perception (N) are learners who are more guided by communicative content
than the production of a particular style. They are more willing to use their imagination
and experiment with new learning and writing processes and techniques. When writing
they let one idea trigger another rather than conforming to a pre-decided, rigid structure.

Learner Proficiency Level:

A concurrent general proficiency level is to be ascertained at the outset of the


experimental lessons through the administering of a C-Test constructed from general
English texts of different genres (see Appendix D).
Related to the earlier critique of Erhman and Oxfords (1995) finding of a positive
correlatoin between sensing learners and general proficiency levels in an end-of-course
test, the current study seeks to clarify this relationship by proposing the following
hypothesis:
A postive relationship between participant learning styles and instructional
approach, with sensing participants benefitting from a textual approach and
intuiting participants benefitting from a contexutual, will correlate with learner
progress.
Related to Carrel, Prince and Astikas (1996) experimentally-flawed attempt to find a
relation between participant learning styles and general proficiency levels, the current


The assessment criteria behind this score will be discussed in detail in section 3.3.1
Assessment Methods and Data Collection.

21

study wishes to isolate the effect of proficiency levels on learner progress.

The

following hypothesis was thus devised:


Measures of learner progress in the experimental lessons of both instructional
approaches will correlate with learner proficiency levels.
Related to the previously mentioned studies, the researcher also wishes to test whether
a combined measure of participant learning styles and proficiency has predictive validity
concerning learner progress in the experimental lessons. The hypothesis relating to this
is:
Measures of learner progress will correlate with a combined calculation of
proficiency level and participant learning style.
Related to Pangs (2002) findings concerning the predictive validity of initial score on
learner progress through his experimental lessons, the following hypothesis was
devised:
Measures of learner progress will positively correlate with the participants initial
score ratings.
Related to the secondary concerns of the current study, as previously outlined in the
section 2.3 Other Variables, two statistically-testable hypothesis have been formed in
relation to previous findings. Related to Senguptas (1999) failure to find transferability
of knowledge outside the L2 writing classroom, and taking into consideration in the
design of the current study Leki and Carsons (1997) review of student attitudes towards
academic English courses and Gosdens (1998) advising the use of authentic materials,
the following hypothesis will be tested:
The participants highest grade in the in-class writing assignments in the
experimental lesson will positively correlate with the participants postexperimental research report grades.
Finally, related to section 2.3.3 Motivation Levels, the following hypothesis has been
devised:
22

The post-experimental research report grades of the participants will correlate


with their motivation levels measured by number of hours spent on writing the
report.

23

Method
3.1 Experimental Design and Materials
3.1.1 Experimental Design
The method employed consists of an in-situ, two group study with multiple data
collection points, a post-experimental report to measure transferability of knowledge,
individual feedback sessions related to the participants first draft reports, and finally, indepth interviews to assess participants learning process and to encourage introspective
reflection (see Figure 2, p.27). No control group was included for the reason that the
results of the study are to be analysed in relation to each individuals learning style and
proficiency and their progression through the experimental lessons of both instructional
approaches.

Hence, the aim of the study is not to determine the most effective

instructional method, which would entail comparing the groups as a whole, but instead
to judge whether the performance of each learner in a particular instructional setting
positively correlates more closely with individual learning style, proficiency level, a
measure including both, or initial score results.
3.1.2 Reacting to Design Needs Identified by Previous Studies
Three main areas of concern arising from previous studies into genre-based instruction
in L2 writing classes have been analysed and taken into account in the design of the
current experiment; prior knowledge and experience, textual modelling, and explicit
instruction.
Pang (2002) designed his experimental study with the aim of introducing learners to a
new genre, movie guides and film reviews, of which they had not had experience of
writing before. Reppen (1995) found with 5 th grade learners that prior writing experience
in other genres in the L2, in this particular case story-telling, interfered with learners
understanding of how to create the style of a new genre. Hyon (2001) found that a
genre-based method was easier to those L2 learners without prior knowledge of a
particular genre (research articles), whereas Johnstone et al.s (2002) study with L2

24

undergraduates found that repeated experience improved learners production of a


genre.

The basis of the current study is a research report, the type of which the

participants had not previously produced. Both the concerns raised by Reppen, as to
the interference of previous writing experience, and Hyon, regarding the greater efficacy
of explicit instruction to those with no previous experience, has been taken into account
in the design of the lessons in the current study. The participants attention was drawn
to both the best practise elements related to the previous years report used in the
genre analysis, as well as the inappropriate transfer of forms from other genres, such as
the overuse of personal participants (I, you, we etc.).
Pang (2002) used real movie guides and film reviews, some brought to class by
learners, as the basis for many textual and contextual activities in his two groups.
Henry and Roseberry (1998) found that providing learners with a model text without
explicit instruction allowed L2 learners to increase their cohesion scores through
employing better text structures. Hanauer (1998) also found increased poeticity in L2
learners writing as a result of the providing of a model poem. Charney and Carlson
(1995) used model texts with L1 undergraduate psychology learners, finding that
participants were not able to distinguish between necessary and unnecessary elements
but that the models did positively affect content and organisation. As the basis of the
current study was the previous years students texts, careful attention was paid to
drawing the participants attention to both good and bad elements of model texts.
Although not perfect models, the texts formed a very good basis for encouraging
participant reflection in both the textual and contextual groups of the elements needed
in a well-written academic paper, such as the research report they produced.
Pang (2002) employed an explicit approach to the instruction of both the textual and
contextual groups in his study, recording similar outcomes. Hyon (2002) found that L2
learners were better able to locate information and gain an understanding of a genre as
a result of receiving explicit instruction. Hammond and Macken-Horarik (1999) also
found that learners naturally developed metalanguage for talking about texts through
explicit instruction. Whether or not this is considered as a desirable outcome, still other
studies, such as Carter et al. (2004) also found that learners were better able to develop

25

an understanding of a genre, in this case of a scientific research paper, by gaining such


a level of awareness. The current study employed an explicit, teacher-led instructional
style at the start of the lessons, combined with exercises such as textual analyses and
contextual brainstorming session to encourage an explorative and discovery aspect to
re-enforce explicit instruction.
To summarize, the elements included in the present study related to previous findings
are the following:
-

The focusing of the teaching to illustrate differences between the genre under
study and previous ones the learners had been exposed to.

The use of model texts as a basis for reflection related to the two approaches.

An explicit instructional style in both approaches, combined with more reflective


exercises.

Finally, related to the writing of their first drafts of the research reports, the learners
received face-to-face feedback from their teacher (the researcher), conforming to the
pedagogical approach of their experimental lessons, from which they tried to improve
their final draft before handing it in for grading (see Figure 2, p.27).

A general

assessment of academic style based on modified CEF descriptors (Appendix E) is to


form the basis of their course grade. This is to act as a confirmatory measure of
academic style in relation to the criterial assessment and holistic measure (Appendix
G).
3.1.3 The Research Report as an example of Academic Genre

The basis of the genre analysis, from which the lesson contents are derived, is a
scientific Research Report that the participants must write for both their first year
Academic English and Statistics Skills courses.

The report is to be written by the

participants after the experimental lessons, with sections to be graded on statistical


content by their statistics lecturer and for language by their English teacher (the
researcher). The goal of the assignment, as defined in the statistics course outline, is
to exercise practical steps needed to perform scientific research (from Statistics 1:
26

Statistical Skills for IB&M, see http://www.rug.nl/staff/j.l.miedema/teaching for an outline


of the course). The purpose of the assignment given by the English department is to
...combine your knowledge of Research Methods with an analysis of statistical data to
produce a convincing research report. In doing this, you will need to demonstrate a
good control over formal written and spoken English and an ability to structure your
ideas coherently within the standards expected in business research (from English for
Learners

of

International

Business

and

Management,

Year

1,

see

http://www.rug.nl/ocasys/feb/vak/show?module=15308 for an outline of the course).


The participants were assigned a company which has a problem needing to be solved
through in-depth research. The learners first formulate a description of the problem and
understand a conceptual model which identifies all possible causes for a situation (see
Appendix E for an example of the materials). They are not required to analyse all the
possible causes, but instead, through working in small groups of 4, and after defining
the population, sample and control variables, choose 1 possible cause (independent
variable) to investigate individually. The assignment thus combines group and individual
work, see Table 2.
Table 2 - Overview of responsibilities per assignment components.
ID
A

Component description
postulate propositions and operationalize
concepts
develop questionnaire
define population and sample
analyze the data by using statistical techniques
control variable

B
C
D
E

Who is responsible
Each team member
Each team member
Group
Each team member
Group

The post-experimental Research Report consists of sections written together as a group


and sections written individually. Detailed instructions relating to a scientific research
process is given in the Statistics Skills course outline, shown in Table 3 (See Appendix F
for the full instructions).
Table 3 Overview of the process of writing the post-experimental Research Report
F
1
2
3

27

The research is concisely described in a report


Introduction (in your own words).
Theory (A1, A2, A3 are described).
Research design (C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, D2, D3 are described, B1 is only

described in general terms, D1 and B1 are in the appendix).


4 Analyses and results (E1, E2 (by using a table), E3, E4 and E5 are described in
your own words; SPSS-output is in the appendix).
5 Conclusions are drawn with respect to the propositions. You give also a reflection
on the research.
Whilst sections 1, 3 and 5 (shown in Table 3) are formulated as a group related to group
decisions and the synthesis of all individual contributions to the assignment, sections 2
and 4 are related to the individuals investigation of a single possible cause or
independent variable. Sections 2 and 4 are used for grading the participants language
use in the report, thus making the participants English grades related to their personal
abilities. The codes in each section refer to a detailed description of the assignment
process (see Appendix F) that the learners are advised to follow closely. Whilst this
limits the range of formats the participants can employ, it has been given as a model to
follow due to the participants previous lack of experience in writing scientific reports. It
is thus a guide to conducting a statistical study rather than to the final organisation of
the written report.
The corpus which the researcher gathered to perform the genre analysis prior to the
lessons consisted of the best reports from the previous years students. The fact that
these reports were not professionally written would seem to go against some of the
basic principles of conducting a genre analysis, that is, in relating features of a writing
community to written texts.

However, the researcher not only identified ample

contextual factors within the university, academic setting in which the reports were
written, but also identified through the analysis of the texts WMatrix2 (see
http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/wmatrix/tutorial/) many common organisational and linguistic
elements between these high level learner reports, that were not evident in reports
achieving a lower grade7. Thus, despite the detailed structure given to the learners in
their statistics skills course (see Appendix F), a coherent writing community was
identified which could be seen to define the aspects of successful reports.

In

comparison with Yeungs (2007) analysis of real-world business reports as a genre, it


7


A detailed explanation of how this analysis was carried out is included in section 3.3.2 Data
Analysis Techniques.

28

was thus clear that it was not the assignment instructions (see Appendix F) that defined
the style of report, but instead the setting in which the report was written. In Yeungs
comparison of research articles (RAs) with real-world business reports, Yeung says ..in
contract to RAs, they [Business Reports] do not begin with a survey of relevant
theories.. (p.162). This, amongst many other issues raised by Yeung such as macrostructure organisation, down to verb (or in the language of Functional Linguistics,
transitivity options), shows the reports in the current experiment to be defined as
academic through their macro-function of knowledge proving, down to their linguistic
features of long noun phrases and sentence organisation (Theme-Rheme in Functional
Linguistics terms). The elements of the genre analysis will be brought into greater
clarity in the following section 3.1.3 The Contextual and Textual Lessons.
3.1.4 Systematic Functional Linguistics and Context
The basis of both the genre analysis of the previous years research reports and the
analysis of all in-class and post-experimental work was a criterial assessment based on
Pangs (2002) study (sse Appendix G). The structure of the assessment can be divided
between that which is NR inspired, sections A and B, and that which is SFL inspired,
section C. These criteria will now be discussed with reference to their main proponents,
J.M. Swales (1990) in NR, and M.A.K. Halliday (2004) in SFL. The author will also refer
to the work of

Jones et. al (1989), the compilers of the criteria before they were

adapted by Pang (2002), and then subsequently further adapted for the purposes of the
current study.
Section A, entitled by Pang (2002) as Thematic and Discourse Functions, together with
section B, entitled Moves and Overall Schematic Structure cover areas of social and
speech acts inline with the theoretical foundations of NR. As explained by Jones et al.
(1989), within section A, thematic functions, that is the organisation of the text according
to its major goals, with consistency of language employed, is related to discourse
funtions in the structure in which these goals are communicated. In the case of the
post-experimental research report in the current study, this entailed organising the text
in logical steps, mirroring the process of statistical research whilst employing the correct
statistical terminology.
29

Related to section B, the schematic structure of the reports

included what Jones et al. (1989) define as explaining what, when giving definitions of
variables, with explaining why when justifying the steps taken in performing the
statistical research.

Related to moves, John Swales (1990) defines a move as a

section of text encapsulating one communicative function, which can be subdivided into
several steps. This can be spread out over several sentences, in contract to speech
acts which are usually contained within a single sentence, and form the next layer of
text-structure down from ovxerall schematic structure. In relation to Chapter 2 of the
post-experimental research report, the researcher identified the following obligatory
moves:
-

Introduction to Variable

Conceptual Definition

Operational Definition

Indicators

Validity

Some optional moves, used by some, but not all of the previous years students,
include; experimental situational details, questionnaire, overview of next section. The
students in-class writing assignments were assessed for thematic and discourse
elements and moves and overall schematic structure qualitatively by the researcher,
highlighting areas of the text in order to do so.
The SFL-inspired section C in the criterial rating has been broken down into three
separate sections, part 1 relating to the SFL concept of as field (social activity), part 2
represents tenor (the interpersonal relationships among people using language), and
mode (the part played by language in building communication) (see Christie, 1991a,
p.142) as can be seen in Appendix G. Whilst being strongly related to the semantic
meaning in the text, and therefore also the social context, Halliday (2004) explains, a
clause is a unit in which meanings of three different kinds are combined. Three distinct
structures, each expressing one kind of semantic organisation, are mapped on to one

30

another to produce a single wording (p.64). Halliday further ellucidates the situation by
referring to field as the clause as a message, tenor as the clause as exchange, and
mode as the clause as representation. Each part has a direct relationship to and
influence on the others within the social context in which the text was produced.
Therefore, whilst each part will be dealt with separately below, it must be remember that
any change in one necessitates changes in the other parts to maintain thematic and
discourse unity.
Related to the first part, field, or the clause as a message, there are three sub-areas to
be discussed: lexis, transitivity and participant. Benson and Geaves (1981) identified
three areas of lexis of importance in academic writing: field-specific lexis, non-specific
but clustering-specific lexis, and inter-field lexis. Related to the research reports which
formed the basis of the genre-analysis in the current study, field-specific lexis were
mainly statistical terms, but also included some report-specific terms, clustered lexis
included examples such as in order to, in this case etc., and inter-field terms included
to influence, description and question. In terms of context, the correct choice of lexis
reflects the writers ability to demonstrate competence and therefore membership of a
particular community. Transitivity of verbs, as understood in Functional Linguisitics as
construeing the world of experience into managable set of PROCESS TYPES.
(Halliday, 2004, p,170, capitals taken from the original text). The first level classification
of these process types are; relational, verbal, mental, behavioural, material and
existential. Whilst there is a sub-set of categories under each of these, I think it not
necessary to get into such depth here. Suffice to say that, as Halliday presents the
categories as part of a wheel (p.172), each blends into the next, and in fact one verb
can fall into different categories dependent upon the semantic meaning of the clause.
As related to the research report, the material, relational, and verbal transitivity options
were most commonly used, with some, although ill-advised, use of the mental option.
By choosing process types, the writer thus creates an image of the field of activity,
which in the case of the research report means using the material/doing processes over
verbal/saying or mental/thought (the second words relate to the presentation of
transitivity in the contextual class, see Appendix H). Finally, participants, usually found
in the subject or complement positions, are simply the actors taking part in any
31

particular process. This can be sub-divided into personal/impersonal levels, with the
high-level reports in the current study showing limited use of the personal forms
(including names and personal pronouns), with a greater use of inanimate participants,
such as steps in the statistical research process. Related to context, this increases the
feeling of distance between writer and reader and therefore conforms to the formality of
the setting.
Related to the second part of the section C, the clause as exchange, again, three subareas can be identified; cohesion, theme-rheme relations, and format. Jones et al.
(1989) identify three sub-areas under cohesion; conjunctions, references, and lexical
chains.

While conjunctions can be easily understood under the categories internal

(such as and, but etc.) and external (such as subsequently, therefore), references
can be pronouns, demonstratives, comparatives, and also perform endophoric,
anaphoric, esophoric or exophoric functions within the text. To simplify the picture,
related to the research reports in the current study, the high-level reports used an
increased amount of esophoric (within nominal group), anaohoric (from the preceding
text) and exophoric (relating to shared knowledge outside the text), most commonly with
the words the and this.

Lexical chains are described by Jones et al. (1989) as

consisting of synonym and repetition, taxonomic relations of hyponym and use of


meronyms.

Whilst there was little call for the use of hyponyms due to the rather

simplistic nature of logical progression through the research reports, the higher level
reports did use synonym and repetition related both to material verbs (see above) and
variation of field-specific words (e.g. hypothesis and proposition) where possible.
Related to the context of writing, increased use of reference to show shared
understandings between reader and writer led to a reduced need for both internal and
external conjunction, as did the limited possible use of lexical chains. Theme-Rheme
are functional linguistic substitutes for the common ideas of subject and predicate. To
quote again Halliday (2004): The Theme is the elements which serves as the point of
departure of the message; it is that which locates and orients the clause within its
context. The remainder of the message, the part in which the Theme is developed, is
called in Prague School terminology, the Rheme. (p.64). Halliday goes on to explain
that in English, the unmarked position of the theme is the start of the sentence. The
32

theme should not be confused with the traditional concept of subject, although these
two often co-incide, but is instead the first phrase of a sentence. Other concepts of
Given and New also often co-incide with theme and rheme, but not necessarily so.
However, due to the fact that the research reports, that the current study is based on,
were knowledge proving as a function, generally did supply given information (often
from the preceding sentence) in theme position, with the rheme supplying new
information regarding this. One slight variation seen was when the theme of 2 or 3
subsequent sentences could be supplied by the rheme of the initial sentence, when
more information giving was necessary.

The flowing of theme-rheme through

consecutive sentences resulted in what has been called the dance between writer and
reader, with the writer trying to anticipate the thoughts of the reader when moving
through a text.

Finally, related to the tenor, format can be understood in its very

common sensical, everyday meaning of the layout of text on a page. The higher level
reports tended to have an increased amount of white space, to easy the psychological
impact on the reader, and used headings and sub-headings and bullet-points when
necessary, although did not overuse these, to present clear, orderly thinking. Some of
the highest level reports also presented simplistic diagramatic illustrations of the
interaction of the variables under consideration in their reports.
To consider mode, part 3 of section C on the criterial assessment (Appendix G), this
represents the clause as representation, and again consists of three sub parts; mood,
modality and formality. Mood as determined by Halliday (2004) consists of the subject
and finite verb of the sentence, and acts as the guarantor for the truth of what is
expressed. This can be illustrated through the everyday occurence of tag questions
and minimal question answers which use only the subject and operator, e.g. The
dukes given away that teapot, hasnt he? Oh, has he? (p.111).

Related to the

research reports, to maintain a true representation of processes, the mood usually


consisted of a past or past passive finite verb with an impersonal subject (see
participants above).

Modality is explained by Halliday (2004) as relating to

intermediate degrees, between the positive and negative poles (p.147). This could be
achieved either by the use of a modeal operator in the verbal group (e.g. that should be
John), or by the use of a modal adjunct of probability (e.g. thats certainly John), or
33

usuality (e.g. he usually sits there all day). In relation to the research reports, the use
of modal adjuncts over modal operators was encouraged (in line with the
recommendations of Jones et al, 1989), which combined with the use of impersonal
participants and the maintaining of distance between writer and reader.

Fnally,

following the observations of Jones et al. (1989) of student writing problems, formality
was defined in relation to the research reports as increased length of noun phrases,
including the nominalisation of verbs (e.g. to measure measurement), adjectives (e.g.
important the importance of), and conjunctions (e.g. because the cause of), as
well as a decreased use of finite verbs with increased use of gerunds, infinitives and
verbs of causation (e.g. to cause, to lead to, to result in). In relation to the context of
writing, it was explained that the reducing of sentences to pure concepts allowed for the
highest level of conciseness, whilst maintaining the depth of analysis of a field, and so
conveys the necessary information to the reader in the most efficient fashion.
The table in Appendix H gives a short explanation of how the features above were
taught in the lessons, with a short example or explanation of each in relation to the
target research report. Related to Figure 2 (this page), the content of the first lesson for
both groups is not given, as this lesson consisted only of a proficiency test, a preexperimental writing assignment to ascertain base levels for all participants, and a short
introduction to genre analysis in-line with the two approaches. The lesson did not,
however, cover any of the following areas in any depth. Questions are given with the
contextual categories and definitions with the textual in-line with the manner of their
presentation in the experimental lessons. As can be seen, the various descriptions of
different elements of lesson content somewhat overlap within each instructional
approach, reflecting how they were presented in the lessons themselves.
3.1.5 The Contextual and Textual Lessons

Fig. 2. A diagrammatic illustration of the symmetry of the Contextual and Textual Experimental
Lessons. Each horizontal sections illustrate a stage in the experiment. These are split into two
collomns to indicate the experimental lessons and feedback related to instructional approach.

34

The content of the lessons in the two experimental groups was kept as similar as
possible through the defining of lesson activities in relation to the assessment criteria
adapted from Pangs (2002) study.

Pangs systematic functional linguistics criteria

(right-hand column in Fig. 2) were connected with contextual areas of concern as taken
from Paltridge (2001) (left-hand column in Fig. 2). The precise correlation of the two
approaches can be seen in the criterial assessment form (Appendix G). In line with the
principles of genre-analysis set forth by Ken Hyland (2004) in his book Genre and
Second Language Writing, both approaches were taught explicitly, but also included
brainstorming elements to raise awareness of situational factors in the contextual
lessons, and analysis of target texts throughout all four lessons for both groups. As
Pang (2002) mentions in relation to his own study, the contextual elements were
sometimes discussed in the textual group, just as textual elements were mentioned in
the contextual group. However, the instructor guided the learners towards these shared
elements from different perspectives and only rarely mentioned any elements of the
opposing approach. All lessons in the current study were recorded for later analysis
and confirmation that teacher-learner interactions conformed to the intended method of
instruction.

3.2 Background Details


3.2.1 The Participants
24 first year students of B.A. International Business and Management at the University
of Groningen in The Netherlands formed two in-situ groups, randomly specified at the
start of the academic year. The learners were mainly Dutch first language with English
as their L2, however there were three exceptions with first languages of German,
Bulgarian and Filipino. The learners were already participating in a year-long course
entitled English for International Business and Management taught by the researcher.
All learners achieved a B2-C1 grade (on the Common European Framework scales, see
www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/CADRE_EN.asp) in the taking of the European DIALANG
test (see www.dialang.org) seven months prior to the commencement of the
experiment. Although this test does not include written production, together with a
general proficiency C-test and the pre-experimental writing assignment administered in

35

the first experimental lesson, the participants were considered to have a sufficient level
of English for academic study.

The main English course employed a mixture of

Process pedagogical elements with more traditional methods using cloze grammar and
general syntax exercises in a book entitled Writing Academic English (Oshima &
Hogue, 2006) and mainly vocabulary exercises from Market Leader Advanced
(Dubicka & OKeeffe, 2006). The participants had not had any exposure to genre-based
writing instruction prior to the current study.
3.2.2 The Experimental Setting
The experimental lessons themselves formed part of the scheduled course and were
given instead of a more traditional method concentrating on such elements complex,
compound sentences, with such grammatical elements as conjunctions, all explained in
relation to general short text examples, unrelated to the participants course, using a
textbook entitled Writing Academic English (Oshima & Hogue, 2006). The stated aim
of the general English course is:
The course trains the language skills of participants so that they can successfully
follow the IB&M [International Business and Management] programme and aims to
improve their oral and written English skills to a level that would enable them to
function professionally in an international company. The minimum Common European
Framework (CEF) level required to pass this course is B2.2.
(see http://www.rug.nl/ocasys/feb/vak/show?module=15308 for a course outline)

Throughout the rest of the course, taught by the researcher, learners undertook meeting
roleplays as the basis for the writing of short meeting reports, gave two oral
presentations, and completed cloze academic writing activities and business vocabulary
exercises. The learners were then required to develop a portfolio with such content as
personal reflections on the presentations and the use of online resources such as the
Academic

Word

Highlighter

(see

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~alzsh3/acvocab/awlhighlighter.htm ) as well as all written


content for review at the end of the course.

36

3.3 Assessment and Data Analysis Method


3.3.1 Assessment Methods and Data Collection
Adapted from Pangs (2002) study, a set of criteria was used as a measure of
assessment for all production activities in and after the experimental lessons, carried
out on both a holistic scale and one grounded in systemic functional linguistics
(Appendix G; see also Drury & Gollin, 1986; Jones et al., 1989).

The criterial

assessment devised by Drury and Gollin (1986) and Jones et al. (1989) covers the
major areas of schematic structure, lexis, and grammar and is divided into 3 parts;
thematic and discourse function and their application in moves (A), overall schematic
structure (B), and lexico-grammatical features in the realisation of field, mode and tenor
in discourse (C). The criteria has been adapted to be appropriate to both instructional
approaches (see Appendix G). Whilst these start from the same genre-based analysis
of a text corpus, they also aim towards the same results, that is the use of appropriate
discoursal and linguistic features in a written text, and have therefore been judged to be
equivalent. As Pang (2002) notes; a competent writer should be able to represent
register via the mood system [item 3a in Appendix G] and attitudes through modality
[item 3b]. (p.154).
impressionistically

The scoring of the criterial assessment is to be calculated


(with

scale

from

very

competent,

competent,

limited

competence to not yet) and are to be collated inline with Pangs (2002) adopted 10point scale (see also Nunan, 1991), on which half-points were possible, to arrive at an
overall value as to the texts similarity to the target genre.

All in-class writing

assignments, as well as the post-experimental research report, are to be marked


anonymously by the researcher, with the in-class assignments also being marked in a
random order, to maintain marking standards between the 4 assignments. To make
sure that the evaluation process does not favour those learners exposed to the textual
instructional approach two further measures will be employed; a holistic rating scale
(Appendix G) and context-related post-instruction interview questions (Appendix C).
These measures of general academic style (the holistic scales, see Couture, 1985), and
awareness of context (related to Pangs (2002) Writing Strategy Questionnaire, p.155,
159-160) in conjunction with the learning preferences shown in the learning styles test

37

should allow the researcher to arrive at a balanced evaluation of the participants


individual progress in either of the two pedagogical approaches.
To measure participant learning styles, the Kiersey Temperament Sorter II was
employed in the current study (KTS II see www.keirsey.com, also Keirsey & Bates,
1984). This test is derived from the MBTI but is considerably easier to use due to its
online format and the applicability of its learning styles format of the MBTI to the L2
classroom. Though being more concise than the MTBI, the KTS II results, in terms of
the 16 possible combinations of personality dimensions, has proven to be concurrently
valid with the MBTI (see Kelly & Jugovic, 2001). Jensen and DiTiberio (1989) linked the
MBTI descriptors to writing process (see Appendix B), which were shown to display a
high degree of accuracy related to learners own post-test introspections in an adult
English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom (see Torkerlson Gray, 1998). In the
current study, the participants completed the test before the experiment but only
received feedback after the completion of the experimental lessons and the submission
of the final draft of the research report to ensure that these results did not interfere with
their performances during or after the experimental lessons. The Jensen and DiTiberio
descriptors were subsequently presented to the participants in a post-experiment
interview, and, being regarded as reflecting preferences for a particular instructional
approach to the teaching of academic writing, were then compared to the learners
measured progress through, and introspection regarding, the approach they were
exposed to.
A general proficiency C-test (see Appendix D) was administered at the start of the first
lesson to both groups of learners. It was designed by the researcher in accordance with
the principles set out in Eckes and Grotjahns (2006) study, which showed such a C-test
to be concurrently valid with the German TestDaf, which extensively covers the skills of
reading, listening, writing and speaking. In line with their design, the test was based on
five texts, containing 20 blanks each, with spelling errors marked as incorrect whilst
semantically and grammatically acceptable variants of the target words were marked as
correct. The five texts on which the test was based were taken from two international

38

newspapers, a fictional book, a travel guide and the blurb of an academic textbook to
increase the tests construct validity.
Four in-class writing assignments were given during the course of the experimental
lessons (see Appendix K). The first, given at the start of the first lesson, acted as a preexperimental base measure as to the features of the target genre that learners employ
without having received any instruction. Three further assignments were given at the
end of each of the following lessons to measure the participants progress. All four
assignments were based on a business case study ABC Advertisement (see Appendix
E), which none of the participants were to use in their post-experimental research
reports, or had had previous exposure to. This meant that neither group was
advantaged by having any additional background knowledge of the content of the
writing exercises in the lessons. These direct writing tasks (requiring the production of
100-300 words) were semi-scripted (Appendix K; see also Weir, 1993) to avoid guiding
learners as to necessary overall schematic structure or moves, and thus remaining
pedagogically unbiased towards either instructional method. Kroll (1990, p.140-154)
found no difference in learners control of syntax or organisational skills when comparing
timed classroom assignments with those written without time pressures at home. The
assignments in the current study will be written under classroom conditions, although in
allowing learners ample time, no negative effects of pressure are expected.
3.3.2 Data Analysis Techniques
This section will cover the two steps of analysis from which the relevant data was
gathered; the analysis of the in-class and post-experimental written assignments, and
the statistical models applied to the resulting data.
WMatrix2 (see http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/wmatrix/tutorial/) is an online, automatic-coding,
semantic and syntactic analysis tool developed by Paul Rayson at the University of
Lancaster. The software contains 3 main listings, word, part of speech (POS), and
semantic (using USAS tags).

Related to section 3.1.4 Systematic Functional

Linguistics and Context and the criterial assessment (see Appendix G), the lists were
used to ascertain data for the following criteria:

39

Word list Topic-Related Lexis was seen by comparing each participants text to
the British National Corpus (BNC, see www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk) of written English
to find flied-specific, word clustered, and

inter-field lexis.

The number of

personal participants was also seen.


-

POS list this list proved to be a versatile tool for measuring the use of a number
of areas.

Firstly, cohesive structures, such as conjunctions (e.g. and, but,

because etc.), reference words (e.g. this, the), together with certain adverbs
(e.g. consequently, subsequently etc.) were isolated and compared with a
participants total word count.

The total number of nouns used was also

calculated in comparison to total word count to give an indication of formality.


Modality was seen through the isolating of modal verbs, and certain adjectives
(e.g. possible, probable etc.).

Finally, both modality and transitivity was seen

through isolating the verbs used and subsequently running them through the
semantic list, as will now be explained in greater depth.
-

Semantic list the transitivity of the various verbs used was identified by the
automatic assigning of semantic categories which was then related to Hallidays
(2004) verb transitivity options. Modality as expressed through verb choice, such
as to confirm, to guarantee or to make sure were found.

Although these proved useful measures, the output provided did not suffice in making
final judgements, as from a systematic functional perspective, this can never be
attempted in isolation from semantic meaning. Also, the software could not produce
data to assist in the analysis of such areas as Thematic Purpose, Move and
Schematic Structure, Format or Theme-Rheme relations which were instead
assessed subjectively by the researcher in line with Pangs (2002) approach.
In order to determine which statistical models best fit my data, it is first necessary to
specify the nature of all measurable variables in the study (see Table 5)

40

Table 4 An overview of the variables included in the present study, with their statistical
type and levels.
Variable
Instructional
Method
Learner
Progress (over
the 4 in-class
writing
assignments)
Sensing /
Intuition Scale

Statistical Type
Nominal

Levels
2 levels Textual, Contextual

Ordinal Scale
(due to the
subjective criterial
assessment,
Appendix G)
Ordinal Scale

0-5, on a half-point scale

Proficiency CTest

Interval Scale
converted into
Categorical Ordinal
Scale
Ordinal Scale
(due to the
subjective criterial
assessment,
Appendix G)

Initial Score

Highest Score

Ordinal Scale
(due to the
subjective criterial
assessment,
Appendix G)

PostExperimental
Research
Report Results

Ordinal Scale
(due to the
subjective criterial
assessment,
Appendix G)

Motivational

Ordinal Scale

41

3 levels
1 = positively correlated to method
2 = neutral to either method
3 = negatively correlated to method
3 levels
1 = low proficiency
2 = medium proficiency
3 = high proficiency
3 levels
1= low initial score, between 0-3 on criterial
scale
2 = medium initial score, between 3.5-5.5 on
criterial scale
3 = high initial score, equal to or above 6 on
criterial scale
3 levels
1= low highest score, equal to or lower than 6
on criterial scale
2 = medium highest score, between 6.5-7 on
criterial scale
3 = high highest score, equal to or above 7.5
on criterial scale
3 levels
1= low final result, between 7-7.5 on the
criterial scale
2 = medium final result, between 8-8.5 on the
criterial scale
3 = high final result, 9 or over on the criterial
scale
3 levels

Level

1 = 4 or fewer hours spent in writing the


report
2 = between 4 and 7 hours inclusive, in
writing the report
3 = 8 hours or more in writing the report
To apply statistical models to my results, I will treat learner progress not as an ordinal
variable but as an interval one. The justification for such a move is that this variable is
calculated by subtracting the difference between a participants pre-experimental writing
assignment score from their highest subsequent score, whether this occurs in the
second, third or fourth test. This variable then possesses a high degree of accuracy of
measurement as the outcome value does not depend on the many factors influencing a
participants writing on any one particular day.
Related to hypotheses 1, 2, 3, and 4 this conversion will allow for the application of oneway ANOVA tests to judge the influence of the sensing/intuition results, and proficiency
on learner progress, by assigning these participant scores to 3 groups on an ordinal
scale, in-line with Pangs (2002) grouping of initial scores of his participants. A two-way
ANOVA will be conducted to measure learner progress against both sensing/intuition
and proficiency results together. A further one-way ANOVA will be applied to test the
relationship between initial score on the pre-experimental writing assignment and
learner progress. After assertaining the researchers learning preferences using the
KTS II, a Spearman correlation test will be carried out between participants learning
style and learner progress to measure the influence of teacher learning preferences on
the experimental conditions.
Related to hypotheses 5, and 6, Spearman correlation tests will be carried out using the
following variables: participants highest score and their post-experimental research
report results to measure transferability of knowledge, post-experimental research
report results and motivation level to isolate the effect of motivation on the report
grades. An alpha level of 0.05 will be applied to all statistical tests.
3.3.3 In-Depth Interviews
Interviews were conducted with each learner individually to cover areas such as the
accuracy of the learning styles report (especially related to the Jensen and DiTiberio

42

(1989) defining of the sensing/intuition scale), sensory preferences, preferred teaching


styles, motivation, biological differences and affective filters (see Appendix C).
Questions were designed to address these areas either directly, as in the case of the
validity of the learning styles report, sensory preferences, preferred teaching styles and
biological factors, or indirectly as in the case of motivation. I preferred to approach this
indirectly in order to make the scale of motivation more objective and measurable by
regarding amount of time spent on the project to correlate with a learners motivation
level.

This of course has the drawback that highly proficient and possibly highly

motivated learners might spend less time on the writing of the research report than less
proficient and less highly motivated learners, but this factor was judged by the
researcher as having limited impact. Groupings were subsequently formed according to
amount of time spent (see Table 5, p.39-40), and therefore motivation level, to see if this
could be directly correlated with the participants final grade on their research reports.
The other factors were analysed qualitatively, as, due to their introspective nature, no
common groupings between participants responses were possible.

43

Results
4.1 Data Analysis
4.1.1 Descriptives
The textual group progressed slightly more than the contextual group through the four
writing assignments given in the experimental lessons, with average progress in scores
of 2.875 and 2.27 respectively. This, however, must be viewed in light of eventual group
numbers, with a experimental mortality rate of 33% in the textual group, as compared to
only 8% in the contextual group, leaving participant numbers at 8 in the textual and 11 in
the contextual. This unfortunately meant that the textual group was too small to perform
statistical tests on, though as will be seen, this was compensated by the fact that the
learning styles variable was calculated in a manner incorporating the approach each
participant was exposed to. Despite the inequality between the groups, and the small
eventual size of the textual group, proficiency levels were judged to be equally
distributed in both groups according to the results of a T-test, showing no significant
difference (t(17)=2.2; p<0.05), with the contextual group (M=69.73, SE=2.8) scoring
slightly lower than the textual group (M=74.2, SE=1.9). Also, the CEF grades given for
the participants post-experimental research reports correlated highly with the results of
the criterial analysis, a Pearson test showing a value of 0.71, p<0.05.
4.1.1 Learner Progress vs. Learning Style
The first hypothesis of this study concerned the possible interaction of learner progress
measures taken during experimental lessons and participant learning styles, more
specifically ratings on the sensing/intuition measure in the online KTS II personality test.
The results of a one-way ANOVA showed that there was no significant effect of learning
style on learner progress, F(2,16)=0.49, p<0.05.

No connection between learner

progress and learning styles has thus been found. The test was carried out for all
subjects in the study, as the variable learning styles, being measured as correlated with
or against the teaching method, incorporated the two instructional approaches (see
Table 5, p.39-40).
44

The researcher also performed a post-experimental Pearson correlation test of


participants with similar learning preferences to the teacher/researcher, that is intuitive
rather than sensing and the learner progress of all participants. No significant results
were found at p<0.05, indicating that teacher learning preferences did not benefit
participants with similar learning preferences and supporting earlier postulations that
each instructional group was exposed consistently to one of the two instructional
approaches.
As was mentioned in the Method section, the aim of the current study was not to
determined the better instructional approach, textual or contextual, but to identify the
determinates of learner progress in reference to these. Considering that learning styles,
a variable calculated in relation to instructional approach, seems not to affect learner
progress, and that overall progress in the two groups was very similar, it is assumed for
now that instructional approach is not the only or even major determinate of learner
progress in general. Therefore, the following statistical tests will be conducted on all the
subjects of the present study.

In-depth, qualitative analysis of learner progress in

relation to the two instructional methods will follow in section 4.1.5 Qualitative Analysis
of Results.
4.1.2 Learner Progress vs. Proficiency Level
The second hypothesis of this study concerned the possible interaction of learner
progress with learner proficiency levels as measured through the administering of a CTest. The results of a one-way ANOVA showed that there was no significant effect of
proficiency level on learner progress, p<0.05. Thus, no connection between learner
progress and proficiency level can be stated.

This result is actually somewhat

surprising by the fact that the uptake of genre elements in writing through explicit modes
of instruction (the category to which both approaches employed in the current study
belong) does not seem to depend upon general proficiency levels.
4.1.3 Learner Progress vs. A Combined Measure of Proficiency and Learning Style
The third hypothesis concerned the possible interaction of learner progress with a
combined measurement of proficiency and learning styles.

45

The results of a two-way

ANOVA showed that there was no significant effect of proficiency and learning styles on
learner progress, p<0.05. Thus again, no connection between learner progress and a
combined measure of proficiency and learning style can be assumed.
4.1.4 Learner Progress vs. Initial Score Measure
The fourth hypothesis of the current study, in line with Pangs (2002) results, concerned
the possible interaction of learner progress with participants scores in the initial, preexperimental writing assignment in the first of the four lessons. The results of a oneway ANOVA showed a significant effect of initial score on learner progress, F(2,16) =
12.8, p<0.05. A Post-Hoc analysis revealed a significant difference between all three
groups; the lowest (M=3.83, SE=0.16), the middle (M=2.44, SE=2.44) and the highest
initial score group (M=1.12, SE=0.24) at p<0.05. Thus, combining the results of both
instructional groups, I can state that learner progress was predicted by their score on
the first writing exercises.

In particular, the lower the initial score, the significantly

greater the progress that was made by a participant over the course of the four
experimental lessons.
A subsequent one-way ANOVA performed on only the subjects of the contextual group
showed a significant affect of initial score on learner progress, F(2,8) = 7.7, p<0.05.
However, a Post-Hoc analysis revealed that there were significant differences only
between the lowest (M=3.75, SE=0.25) and the highest initial score groups (M=1.0,
SE=0.28). The middle initial score group in the contextual class (M=2.12, SE=0.68) did
not differ significantly from either of the other groups. As was previously mentioned, no
analysis of the textual group was possible due to its small size.
4.1.5 Qualitative Analysis of the Results
An in-depth qualitative analysis of the results emanating from the two instructional
approach groups reveals observations concerning the progress of the different initial
score groupings of participants.

Figure 3 shows individual learner progress levels in the textual instructional group. The red
line represents a learner in the highest initial score group, the green lines learners in the middle
initial score group and the blue lines, the lowest initial score group.

46

As can be seen in Figure 3, the textual group, having such a high mortality rate,
provided only 1 learner with a high initial score, 2 with a low initial score, with the other 6
participants belonging to the medium initial score group. Whilst Figure 3 reveals the
overall progress of all learners within the group, no observations can be made regarding
the performance of any particular group. However, interestingly, and in comparison with
Figure 4 (p.46), showing the progress of learners in the contextual group, the scores of
the participants in the textual group remained consistently close to one another through
all 4 writing assignments.

Figure 4 shows individual learner progress levels in the contextual instructional group. The
red lines represent learners in the highest initial score group, the green lines learners in the
middle initial score group and the blue line, the lowest initial score group.

As can be seen in Figure 4, the contextual group provided 3 learners with a high initial
score, 4 with a medium initial score, and 4 with a low initial score. The difference
between the performance of each group is clearly visible. The low initial score group
progressed rapidly through the experimental lessons, with 3 out of the 4 attaining an
equal or higher score on the final writing assignment than all the most successful
participant in the high initial score group. The high initial score group showed a smaller
amount of variation both between the writing assignments and between subjects. The
medium initial score group varied quite dramatically, with one participant progressing by
2.5 points on the criterial scale, whilst another progressed by a mere 0.5 points.

4.2 Other Measures


4.2.1 Transferability of Knowledge
Related to hypothesis 5, a post-experimental research report was included in the design
of the current study to investigate the transferability of knowledge outside the English
writing classroom. A Pearson test of correlation was carried out between the variables
post-experimental research report results and highest score in the in-class writing
assignments, both of which were measured using the experimental criterial assessment
ratings (see both Table 5, p.39-40, and Appendix G). The results of this test were a

47

strong and statistically significant correlation of 0.609, p<0.05. Thus, the participants
performance in the experimental lessons can be said to correlate with their scores in the
post-experimental research report.
Now follows an illustrate of the transferability of classroom knowledge with excerpts
from the research reports from two learners.

Learner A did not attend any of the

experimental lessons, whilst learner B took part in the Contextual lessons and was part
of the low initial scores group.

Multiple grading assignments during the Bachelors

English for International Business and Management course showed learner A


consistently scoring slightly above learner B as assessed by Common European
Framework (C.E.F., see http://www.coe.int/T/DG4/Linguistic/CADRE_EN.asp) set of
criteria (see Appendix E). The following two excerpts were taken from the Theory
section of the research reports (see Appendix F).
a) Operational definition of team size:
We want to measure the conceptual definition, so we will operationalize the
definition. Therefore, the operational definition is: The number of workers with a
given multicultural team.
b) In order to carry out research into this conceptual definition, which is too vague to
measure, an operational definition was created. An operational definition is an
indication of how the abstract concept will be measured. The operational
definition of the independent variable is: The amount of advertisements people
see.
Although it could firstly be argued that the difference in length of excerpts affects any
judgements made about their quality, it was a fact that learner B wrote more than
learner A in total, reflecting as will now be explained, his deeper understanding of the
genre. Referring to the criterial assessment (Appendix G) the following observations
can be made regarding the superior style of learner Bs writing:
- Relating to part A and B of the criterial rating - A greater understanding of
thematic, functional unity and their employment through the use of consistent
language, organisation of text according to the goal of displaying knowledge and

48

the inclusion of not only the obligatory moves of introducing and giving the
definition, but also of providing detailed explanations of statistical concepts.
- Relating to part C of the criterial rating a greater use of nouns, variety of finite
verbs, as in create, measure, impersonal participants, well-organised sentence
structures through attributing theme-rheme positions (with the themes of the
second and third sentence following on from the rheme of the first), a consequent
reduction in conjunction use, a better format, using 1.5 line spacing, use of the
passive mood, and finally a high level of formality through the use of dependent
clauses and long noun phrases.
These excerpts are, unfortunately a little too brief to show exactly how each of these
elements were employed by the learners in their complete research reports, do however
display the use of certain elements, like the use of impersonal participant forms (that is,
not using we) and the understanding of the need to prove knowledge in the genre
setting, very clearly.
Regarding the grades that the participants gained from their statistics course, all except
3 in the contextual group passed. The average group pass grade, including the failed
students, in both groups was within the top 30% of group averages in the year, with 19
groups in total.

The textual group had the third best, whilst the contextual had the

fourth best averaged group results. All participants however complained of the difficult
of understanding and applying statistical knowledge, and for many this area only
became clear when a question and answer session was given by their statistics lecturer
close to the deadline for handing in the report. So, whilst the average score of all
participants in the study was reasonably high, no clear link between improved English
writing scores and statistics scores, as an external measure of genre understanding,
can be stated.
4.2.2 In-depth Interviews
The in-depth interviews conducted after the completion of the post-experimental
research report both acted as a measure of accuracy concerning the learning styles
test, and as an opportunity to qualitatively assess the impact of some interfering
49

variables. The following variables have been assessed qualitatively by the researcher
due to the introspective source of the data.
Related to the learning styles report, 100% of the participants reported it as possessing
a high degree of accuracy, with only one student strongly disagreeing with the Jensen
and DiTiberio (1989) (See Appendix B) measures relating to the receiving of
information. Since this student was also one whose score was perfectly balanced on
the sensing/intuition scale, it was concluded that by the researcher that the learning
styles test has a sufficient level of construct validity.
A surprising degree of variation within the participants was found related to sensory
preferences, with 8 students stating visual, 5 auditory, 5 tactile preferences and 1
kinesthetic. Although interesting in itself, this variation did not seem to have any relation
to either learner progress in the 4 experimental lessons or to the post-experimental
research report grades.
All but 1 student stated that biological factors did not affect their performance either in or
after the experimental lessons.

One student did report feeling ill in the third

experimental lesson, though this seemed to have no affect on her writing assignment,
thus biological differences were ruled out as having any strong influence on the results.
A slight majority of learners admitted a preference for a more communicative, open style
of language learning as opposed to a more structured and traditional approach, with 1
participant stating a preference to have participated in the contrasting instructional
group.

However, compared to both the learner progress measure and post-

experimental research report, there again appeared no clear relation between


participant instructional preferences and participant performance.
4.2.3 Motivational levels
Related to hypotheses 6, motivational levels related to the writing of the postexperimental research report were calculated by assigning the participants reported
number of hours spent in writing the report to three categories (see Table 5, p.39-40). A
subsequent Pearson test of correlation was carried out between this measure of

50

motivation and the variable post-experimental research report score. An insignificant,


weak correlation was found, p<0.05. This indicates that motivational levels did not
directly correspond with the participants performance in the writing of the postexperimental research report.

51

4.3 Discussion
Like Pangs (2002) study, the central finding of the current research study was regarding
the predictive power of the participants initial writing assignment scores on their
progress through genre-based writing lessons.

However, unlike Pangs study, the

researcher of the present study sought to account more specifically for differences of
performance between participants by including measures of learning style and
proficiency.

Although no clear relations could be identified between learning style,

proficiency or a combined measure of both with learner progress, this fact itself raises
some interesting questions regarding genre-based methodology.
No correlation between learning styles and learner progress was found in the present
study.

In relation to Ehrman and Oxfords (1995) finding of a positive correlation

between intuitive type learners and general proficiency but failing to control for
instructional approach, and following Rushton, Morgan and Richards (2007)
observations regarding the importance of teacher learning preferences, no correlation
was found between teacher learning styles and learner progress in the four
experimental lessons.

Thus, the conclusion of the impotency of learning styles on

learner progress seems sound. Pang (2002) concludes his study by observing the
artificiality of the experimental design in separating two approaches which are both
adopted by writer in real life and... are used for the rest of the Hong Kong [ESP]
course. (pp.158). The researcher agrees with the claims of Kyriacou, Benmansour and
Low (1996) that no attempt to match teaching approach and student learning style
should be condoned.
The fact that no connection between learner progress and proficiency level points to a
possible conclusion that the development of genre understanding and competent
production in that genre does not necessarily occur only when or even when an L2
learner reaches a high enough general proficiency level. This then builds upon Hyon
(2002), Hammond and Macken-Horarik (1999) and Carter et al.s (2004) advocation of
explicit teaching approaches to genre-based instruction by showing that genre
competence can be developed in the L2 learner through the use of metacognitive

52

instruction and conscious effort on the part of the learner. This, together with the fact
that, against all expectations, the differences between the initial score groupings saw
the lower initial score groups progressing significantly more than the respectively higher
groups, points to the effectiveness of explicit genre-based instruction.
Considering the progress of individual learners related to the two instructional
approaches, similar conclusions can be made to those of Pang (2002).

The

participants, although few in the textual group, scored similarly through each writing
assignment, illustrating the mechanistic style which this approach encourages.

By

contrast, the contextual learners differed greatly both between writing assignments and
with each other. They did, however, show a greater understanding of the purpose of
including moves in their post-experimental research report, whereas the textual learners
were stronger on formal points of transitivity options and nominalisations.

It is the

contention of the researcher that this illustrates not the superiority of either approach in
itself, but the fact that each approach was better suited to particular areas of lesson
content. Also, although the low initial score group performed extremely well in the
contextual group, the number of participants in the textual class were too few to allow a
valid comparison to be made between the approaches. Therefore, like Pang (2002) the
current researcher concludes that both should be used interchangeably in the L2 writing
classroom.
Regarding transferability of genre knowledge outside the classroom study, the
researcher employed authentic texts, as advised by Gosden (1998), and found, unlike
Sengupta (1999), that learners were able to perform at a similar level in writing an
external, free-production report as their highest level of in-class, semi-structured
production. Issues such as the perceived difference of course goals, audience, purpose
and content to other subjects (see Leki & Carson, 1997; Hansen, 2000), and the
viewing of English as simply a component part of the bachelors course (Parks, 2000b)
were overcome through the dual-grading of the participants research reports between
the English and Statistics departments.

However, despite the participants obvious

improvement in their English skills, this didnt have an umambiguous impact on their
statistics skills grades because of an essential lack of clarity in their understanding of

53

the statistical content demands. This, unfortunately, resulted in the students not being
able to fully grasp the genre, as they did not have the necessary knowledge of activities,
tools, methods and the interpretative framework used by competent memebers of the
genre community in real-life instances of producing a statistical report (see Bhatia,
1997b). It can be concluded that the two explicit approaches still helped learners to
improve their understanding of the genre in class, and that learners were able to quickly
incorporate the new elements presented to improve their writing skills.
The post-experimental, in-depth interviews, whilst confirming the construct validity of the
KTS II (see www.keirsey.com) learning styles test, as well as the introspective benefit
for the participants in administering such a test, in-line with the findings of Torkelson
Gray (1998), did not reveal a strong influence of any of the variables sensory
preferences, biological factors, preferred teaching style related to the experimental
lessons, or motivation levels as related to the writing of the post-experimental research
report. Despite this, the variety of answers given on measures of sensory preferences,
preferred teaching style and motivation would seem to indicate possible areas for future
study.

54

Conclusion
5.1 General Conclusion
Related to the six hypotheses stated at the beginning of the study, learner performance
levels in the four experimental lessons was not found to correlate with learning styles,
general proficiency, or a combined measure of learning styles and proficiency, but did
correlate, similarly to Pangs (2002) study, with initial writing assignment results. This
seems to indicate that whilst the difference in instructional approach did not greatly
effect learner performance, the explicit nature of instruction in both groups had an
overall beneficial effect, as is seen through the fact that, generally, the lower the initial
score of a participant, the greater the improvement that was seen. This, together with a
qualitative analysis of post-experimental research reports from a learner in the
contextual class with a participant who did not attend any of the experimental lessons,
seems to confirm the general acceptance of the need for explicit instruction in the field
of genre-based writing pedagogy (for strong advocates of an explicit teaching approach
see Hyon, 2002; Hammond and Macken-Horarik, 1999; and Carter et al., 2004).
Additionally, participants were found to be able to transfer knowledge gained in the
experimental classes to the writing of a post-experiment report, showing the applicability
of a genre-based approach to the experimental setting of International Business and
Management undergraduate, English L2 students. Finally, in-depth post-experimental
interviews with each participant revealed that despite the variety of responses, no direct
relation between sensory preferences, preferred teaching style to learner progress in
the experimental lessons, or motivation levels as related to the writing of the postexperimental research report could be identified.
Despite the lack of findings relating to the impact of learning styles or proficiency on
student performance in a textual and contextually-oriented genre-based writing classes,
the researcher believes the general progress of the participants in the experimental
lessons, the transferability of knowledge, and lack of correlation between uptake of
genre features with general proficiency levels, to be strong indicators of the
55

effectiveness of a genre-based approach to L2 writing instruction, whether this be


approached from a textual or contextual-orientation.

5.2 Drawbacks of the Study


The first and most obvious drawback related to the present study was the complexity of
the experimental design.

In addition to this, the in-situ nature of the experimental

groups introduced interfering variables such as participant expectations from previous


lessons taught, and participant-teacher familiarity. Finally, the difficulty the participants
experienced in relation to the statistical content of their post-experimental research
reports is expected, from a genre point-of-view, to have hampered their application of an
understanding of genre demands as discussed in the experimental lessons.

5.3 Recommended Follow-up Work


The researcher believes that the current study, whilst attesting the to efficacy of a
general genre-based approach to the instruction of academic writing for L2 speakers,
also highlights the essential complexity of conducting an in-situ, longitudinal study.
Taking a dynamic systems theory perspective (DST, see Lowie, de Bot, & Verspoor,
2005 for an introduction), it is the opinion of the researcher that a continued series of
experiments, with in-situ groups, would better form a basis for an understanding of the
complex interaction of the many elements related to the effectiveness of a particular
pedagogical approach to genre-based writing instruction. It is therefore the intention of
the researcher to carry out such repeated experiments with the hope that in doing so,
the effect of all the variables conidered in the present study such as learning and
teaching style preferences, general proficiency levels, sensory preferences, biological
factors and motivational levels will be truly assessed for their potency in determining
learner progress.

56

Appendix
Appendix Contents Page
APPENDIX A: COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK (CEF) MODEL FOR GRADING REPORTS
APPENDIX B: CRITERIAL AND HOLISTIC ASSESSMENT GRID
APPENDIX C: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
APPENDIX E: DITIBERIO DESCRIPTORS
APPENDIX F: SEMI-SCRIPTED WRITING ANALYSIS IN CLASS
APPENDIX G: FULL MODEL FOR RESEARCH REPORT
APPENDIX H: PROFICIENCY C-TEST
Learner Version
Answer Version
APPENDIX J : ABC A DVERTISEMENT COMPANY CASE STUDY
Background Details for ABC Advertisement Case Study
Conceptual Model for ABC Advertisement

57

Appendix A: Full KTS II personality Type Descriptors


-

58

Extraversion (E) and Introversion (I). Extraverted individuals obtain information through an orientation
toward the outer world of people, events , or things. They enjoy meeting new people, thinking aloud, and
being active. Introversion types seek the introspection of ideas, thoughts, and concepts. They prefer to
process their thoughts internally before speaking, have few close friends, and often seek conversations that
tend to be deeper in nature.
Sensing (S) and Intuition (N) relates to individuals preferences in how they receive and make sense of
information or data from the external world. Sensing types are more aware of their senses in relation to
their environment, are often factually based, focus on practical concrete problems, and generally believe
that if something works, it is best left alone. Individuals who have a tendency to understand the world
through an Intuitive process prefer to live in a world of possibilities and options, often looking toward the
future. They also tend to focus on complicated abstract problems, seeing the big picture, sometimes at the
expense of the details (Hirsh & Kummerow, 1997).
Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) are considered the rational processes by which we come to certain
conclusions and judgments regarding the information collected. Thinking types (T) prefer to focus on
making decisions based on an impersonal objective position. Feeling types (F) have a tendency to respond
well and easily to peoples values and are adept at assessing the human impact of decisions.
Judging (J) and Perceiving (P) relates to how we live our outward life. Judging types prefer to live a
structured, organized life. They also tend to be self-disciplined, enjoy making decisions, and thrive on
order. Perceiving types prefer to live a lifestyle that is more e xible and adaptable. They tend to thrive on
spontaneity, prefer to leave things open, require more information in order to make decisions, and often get
things done at the last minute (Sprague, 1997).

Appendix B: DiTiberio Descriptors


-

Extraversion (E) Es generate ideas best by talking about the topic, interviewing people, or actively
experiencing the topic. They tend to leap into writing with little anticipation and then write by trial-anderror. They tend to develop a great deal of material as they write. As a result, their in-class essays and first
drafts may reflect confusion in early paragraphs and clarity in later paragraphs. If they perform traditional
pre-writing strategies (such as outlining), they can often do so more easily after writing a first draft.
Discussing drafts with others helps them to understand the need for revision and what needs to be revised.
Some Es (especially if they are also J) may not revise at all unless they receive oral feedback.
Intraversion (I) Introverts plan before writing and want most of their ideas clarified before they put
words to paper. When they begin to write, they stop frequently to anticipate the direction of the essay and
where their ideas are leading them. They usually spend more time than extraverts between drafts because
they like to have time to consider their revisions. Throughout the writing process, they tend to write alone,
asking for advice only from closest friends or teachers who they trust.
Sensory Perception (S) Sensing types prefer explicit, detailed, and specific directions. Their first drafts
reflect their inductive thought and are often filled with facts that have not yet been related to a central idea
or theme. The may feel more comfortable when following a pattern prescribed by the teacher or one that is
tried and true, one that they have used in the past. Even during a first draft, they may closely attend to
mechanics (grammar, spelling, etc.). They may regard revising as merely correcting or proof-reading.
Intuitive Perception (N) INtuitive types tend to write best when given general directions that allow
their imagination to work. Developing a unique approach to the topic is an important part of their
prewriting phase. At their best, they tend to write quickly, letting one idea trigger another and paying little
attention to mechanics. They tend to innovate organizational patterns. In their first drafts, they may present
generalities or concrete support.
Thinking Judgement (T) Ts tend to select topics that can be written about with emotional distance
rather self-involvement. They tend to make organizational decisions by following a structure, such as an
outline. When writing, they tend to focus on content rather than on how the message is affecting the
audience. As a result, they may sometimes be over blunt.
Feeling Judgement (F) Feeling types prefer topics that they can care about; they often complain about
topics that are dry of boring. When writing, they tend to draw upon personal experience; for example,
their introductions often begin with a personal example. They rely less on structure than Thinking types;
they usually begin with a sentence and then follow the flow of their thoughts. They also tend to make
organizational decisions by anticipating the audiences reaction to their text.
Judgement (J) Js tend to limit their topics quickly and set goals that are manageable. They also tend to
limit their research so that they can begin writing more quickly and complete the project. Their first drafts
tend to be short and underdeveloped, with ideas stated emphatically and often without qualification.
Perception (P) Ps tend to select broad topics and dive into research without limiting them. Topics will
usually be limited only as the deadline approaches. They want to thoroughly research or analyze a topic,
often with a clear focus, before beginning to write and may feel that there is always one more book or
article to read. Their drafts tend to be long and thorough. Their writing may ramble because they are
inclusive of ideas and data.

Appendix C: Interview Questions


Related to Learning Styles:
1. Do you agree with the learning styles report?
2. Which parts did you find particularly accurate/inaccurate?
59

3. Considering that I am an _____ teacher, do you agree with the


teacher-learner relationship section?
4. What is your preferred learning style, a traditional, structured
approach, or a communicative, open approach?
5. Do you find you learn English best by:
- seeing things, such as diagrams or images with powerpoint
during a lecture
- simply listening to the speaker, with or without images
- acting in a situation, which requires you to play in a role of a
person
- acting in a situation, which requires you to change or make
something with your group
6. Do you agree with the Jensen and DiTiberio indicator referring
to your sensing/intuition scale and how this describes your
relation to language learning?
Related to the writing of your Research Report:
7. How many hours did you spend in writing your first draft?
8. How many hours did you spend in correcting your final draft?
9. Which grade was more important to you, English or Statistics
Skills?
10.
Did you feel uncomfortable in any of the lessons, for any
reasons such as illness, hunger, thirst or something connected
to the classroom environment? Which one(s)?
11.
Did you feel the content of the lessons was: too much, just
right, not enough? In which lesson(s) did you feel this?
12.
When writing the report, which of the following did you
think about MOST: the reader, the setting and purpose, the flow
of the text, the structure of the text, using the right verbs,
conjunctions, nouns etc.?

60

Appendix D: Proficiency C-test


Learner Version

Olympic Dream Stays Alive, on


Synthetic Legs
When an international court ruled Friday that a double-amputee sprinter from South
Africa was eligible to compete in this summers Olympic Games in Beijing, the stage
was set for disabled athletes to meet their own trailblazer.
The wate________ ruling ma________ the run________, Oscar Pistorius, t________
first ampu________ to succes________ challenge t________ notion th________ his
car________-fiber prosth________ gave h________ an unf________ advantage
a________ assured h________ right t________ race aga________ able-bod________
athletes in t________ Olympics, sho________ he qua________.

Town Hall on track to burst at the seams


PEAK-HOUR congestion at Town Hall station is heading for crisis point as the State
Government shifts funding priorities to the north-west underground metro.
The overcr________ station has fai________ to me________ safety stan________
since 2001 and st________ lacks fi________ escape sta________. Each d________
150,000 peo________ use the sta________ and th________ figure is pred________ to
exc________ 168,000 by 2016.
Last we________ the Gover________ admi________ a huge su________ of peakper________ passengers was begi________ to aff________ CityRail's performance.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is
eight-thirty in the morning. The wi________, even a________ sixty mi________ an
ho________, is wa________ and hu________. Wh________ its th________ hot and
mu________ at ei________-thirty, Im wond________ what its go________ to be
li________ in t________ afternoon. I________ the wi________ are pun________
odors fr________ the mar________ by t________ road.

An introduction to St. Lucia


St Lucia more than lives up to the paradisiacal Caribbean stereotype: a glorious mix of
honey- and volcanic sand beaches, translucent waters, sheltering reefs swarming with
tropical fish, lush interior rainforests, and a thriving culture that encompasses literature
and theatre as well as music and dance. However, i________ contrast t________
other isl________ in t________ region, wh________ the tou________
infras________ has be________ steadily expa________ since t________ 1960s, St

61

Lucia h________ only rec________ begun t________ attract visi________ in


a________ number. A________ a res________ , tourism h________ a mu________
lower pro________ here.

European Union: Internal Market Law


EU Internal Market Law is the first learner book to focus on this core topic of EU law. It
prov________ a cl________ explanation o________ the esse________ rules
o________ free move________ of per________, goods, serv________ and
cap________, and al________ covers rel________ issues, su________ as
harmo________, the devel________ of EU citize________, human rig________ in
t________ EU, a________ the regu________ of e-comm________.

Answer Version

Olympic Dream Stays Alive, on


Synthetic Legs
When an international court ruled Friday that a double-amputee sprinter from South
Africa was eligible to compete in this summers Olympic Games in Beijing, the stage
was set for disabled athletes to meet their own trailblazer.
The watershed ruling made the runner, Oscar Pistorius, the first amputee to
successfully challenge the notion that his carbon-fiber prosthetics gave him an unfair
advantage and assured his right to race against able-bodied athletes in the Olympics,
should he qualify.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/sports/olympics/17runner.html?
_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Town Hall on track to burst at the seams


PEAK-HOUR congestion at Town Hall station is heading for crisis point as the State
Government shifts funding priorities to the north-west underground metro.
The overcrowded station has failed to meet safety standards since 2001 and still lacks
fire escape stairs. Each day 150,000 people use the station and this figure is predicted
to exceed 168,000 by 2016.
Last week the Government admitted a huge surge of peak-period passengers was
beginning to affect CityRail's performance.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/town-hall-on-track-to-burst-atseams/2008/05/16/1210765174074.html

62

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle


Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig
I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is
eight-thirty in the morning. The wind, even at sixty miles an hour, is warm and humid.
When its this hot and muggy at eight-thirty, Im wondering what its going to be like in
the afternoon. In the wind are pungent odors from the marshes by the road.
Pirsig, R. (1974). Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, New York: William
Morrow & Company, Inc., p.11.

An introduction to St. Lucia


St Lucia more than lives up to the paradisiacal Caribbean stereotype: a glorious mix of
honey- and volcanic sand beaches, translucent waters, sheltering reefs swarming with
tropical fish, lush interior rainforests, and a thriving culture that encompasses literature
and theatre as well as music and dance. However, in contrast to other islands in the
region, where the tourism infrastructure has been steadily expanding since the 1960s,
St Lucia has only recently begun to attract visitors in any number. As a result, tourism
has a much lower profile here, and this low-key feel is one of the island's biggest assets.
http://www.roughguides.com/website/travel/destination/content/?
titleid=48&xid=idh154648512_0675

The Blurb from European Union Internal


Market Law
EU Internal Market Law is the first learner book to focus on this core topic of EU law. It
provides a clear explanation of the essential rules of free movement of persons, goods,
services and capital, and also covers related issues, such as harmonisation, the
development of EU citizenship, human rights in the EU, and the regulation of ecommerce.
Davies, G. (2003). European Union: Internal Market Law, London: Cavendish
Publishing Limited, on back of cover.

63

Appendix E: ABC Advertisement Company Case Study


Background Details for ABC Advertisement Case Study

ABC-advertisement
ABC advertisement is one of the largest advertising agencies in the Netherlands. This is
true for number of employees as well as for turnover: At this moment there are 738
employees and the turnover is 175.000.000,- .The company was founded in 1978 as
the result of a merger between the ABC, a UK company, and KKSXT, a Dutch company.
Since then, the firm has been growing and is now a concern with several subsidiaries in
which each subsidiary practices the advertisement profession from its own
specialization.
Within each subsidiary there are a number of creative units. These creative units form
the backbone of ABC because they deliver the products to the customers. Besides these
units there is also a small supporting staff for each subsidiary. A creative unit consists of
quite a few creative teams; each team is composed of art directors and copywriters.
Together they develop the advertisement campaign for a customer of ABC. The art
director is responsible for all the visual elements in the campaign, where as the
copywriter takes care of any lingual materials. This reflects texts in advertisements as
well as dialogues in radio en television commercials.
ABC Advertisement develops advertisement campaigns for their customers.
Unfortunately, lately several campaigns were not as success full as was hoped for. The
customers evaluated the campaign negatively and said that consumers didnt
understand the message the campaign was trying to propagate.
The management team of ABC wants that a research is done. Such an investigation
should make clear what the causes for these failures are. When these causes are
known, the management team can take counter measures.
Based on a problem analysis and a conceptual analysis (literature study) a conceptual
model was developed. The following concepts are part of this model:
Concepts in the ABC-case
A0 Success of an advertisement campaign
B0 Creativity of a team
B1 The budget a creative team has
B2 The time pressure as perceived by the creative team members
B3 The number of creative skills in a team
B4 The variety in a team
B5 The extent to which the work is structured
B6 The intrinsic motivation of the team members
C1 (to B0) The experience of the team members
C2 (to B0) The variety in gender within the teams
C3 (to B0) The age of the team members
D0 The intuition of a team member
D1 The imaginative powers of a team member
D2 The self confidence of a team member
D3 The degree to which a team member avoids risks
D4 The degree a team member is open for new ideas
C1 (to D0) The gender of a team member
C2 (to D0) The nationality of a team member
C3 (to D0) The age of a team member

64

Your assignment is to find out which of the possible causes in the conceptual model are
real causes. This research should be done in a methodological and statistical sound
way. For this empirical analysis, several research teams are involved which each only
study a part of the conceptual model. Which concepts and relations your team has to
investigate is on Nestor.

Conceptual Model for ABC Advertisement

65

Appendix F: Full model for Research Report


A
1
2
3
B
1
C
1
2
3
4
5
6
D
1
2
3
E
1
2
3

4
5
6
F
1
2
3
4
5

66

Postulate propositions and operationalize concepts


Propositions are derived in which the exact relationship between the concepts in the assignment is
described.
These concepts are given conceptual and operational definitions.
Based on these operational definitions, for each concept one or several indicators are created. The
content and face validity of these indicators is determined.
Development of questionnaire
Every indicator is translated into a methodological correct question in the questionnaire.
Define population and sample
The population for which you want to make statements (the target population) is defined.
The sampling frame is chosen.
The difference between target and operational population is established, and if the discrepancy is
unacceptable large, another sampling frame is chosen.
The specific type of sample technique is selected.
The sampling procedure (the way the sample is drawn) is described.
The sample size is determined.
Data collection
A brief introduction on the questionnaire is written.
The way the questionnaire is delivered to the respondents and the way the answers are collected
are chosen.
A call-back procedure is selected.
Statistical analyses
The size of response and non-response is determined.
Important characteristics (center, variation, outliers) of each of the indicators are derived.
If several indicators form together one concept, the construct validity of these indicators is
determined. This is done by looking at the correlations between the indicators. If these correlations
are large enough, the indicators can be summed to a new variable. From this time on, the concept
will be represented by this new variable. If the correlations are too small, those indicators are
chosen (possibly just one) that have sufficient construct validity (in case of one indicator, you have
to rely only on face validity) and they are summed to a new variable.
For each proposition a statistical test is done. H 0 and H1, value on test statistic, degrees of freedom,
p-value are derived from the SPSS-output and a significance level is chosen. By comparing the pvalue and the significance level it is decided whether the null hypotheses should be rejected or not.
The control variable is used to eliminate unwanted variance. This is done for at least one
proposition (you may choose yourselves which one).
Are the propositions falsified or not?
The research is concisely described in a report
Introduction (in your own words).
Theory (A1, A2, A3 are described).
Research design (C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, D2, D3 are described, B1 is only described in general
terms, D1 and B1 are in the appendix).
Analyses and results (E1, E2 (by using a table), E3, E4 and E5 are described in your own words;
SPSS-output is in the appendix).
Conclusions are drawn with respect to the propositions. You give also a reflection on the research.

Appendix G: Criterial and Holistic Assessment Grid


Assessment Research Report
Word Count:
A.1
A.2
B.1.
a
B.1.
b
B.2
C.1.
a
C.1.
b

Textual
Displaying overall functional and
thematic unity
Use of appropriate speech acts in
the moves
Incorporation of obligatory moves

1 2 3 4
Contextual
What is the Setting?
What is the Purpose?

Inclusion of optional moves


Sequence moves in an inductive
pattern
Use of topic-related lexis

What is the text about (Content)?

Use of verbs to represent


transitivity options

What events does the writer


emphasise in the text?

What events does the


C.1.
c

writer emphasise?
Use of appropriate participant
form (personal/impersonal)

How does the writer show


him/herself in the text?

How does the writer


show him/herself in
C.2.
a
C.2.
b
C.2.
c
C.3.
a
C.3.
b

67

the text?
Appropriate use of cohesive
devices conjunctions (int.&ext.);
references; lexical chains.
Mastery of theme-rheme relations
Appropriate format
Use of appropriate moods
Use of appropriate modals

How does the writer signal that


something is known?
How do the writer and reader
take part in a dance?
How does the writer present
him/herself best to their reader?
Implicated in C.1.b, C.1.c., and
C.2.b. Not taught explicitly.
How does the writer say that
he/she is unsure about
something?

C.3.
c

Display appropriate level of


formality

How does the writer fit into


his/her writing community?

Global Rating:
Comments:
1. Very Competent

2. Competent

3. Limited
competence

4. Not yet

Appendix H: Operationalisation of Systematic Functional Criteria in the Contextual


and Textual Lessons
An overview of the content of lessons 2, 3 and 4 for both the textual and
contextual groups
L
e
s
s
o
n

Textual Categories
Thematic Purpose
the linking of content
words of the clauses
together to create
purpose through flow
of events, participants
etc.

Contextual Categories
Setting (What is the
setting?) How the
writer states his/her
place within the writing
community.

Related to Research Reports


Text organised according to
goal of knowledge proving.
Employing a consistency of
language, logical progression
and fulfilment of move
functions in appropriate speech
acts.

Move & Schematic


Structure a move is
a distinct
communicative act,
which, combined in
patterns forms the
schematic structure of
a particular genre.

Purpose (What is the


purpose?) How the
writer communicates
his/her particular
message as related to
the writing community,
reflecting their position
in that community.

Topic-related Lexis
words found related
specifically to thematic
purpose, clustering of
words related to
thematic purpose, and
more generic words

Content (What is the


text about?) words
that communicate the
message of the text, as
well as structuring
groups of words, and
more general words

Explaining why, i.e. giving of


justification for each move.
In the Theory section of the
report, the obligatory moves
were:
- Introduction to Variable
- Conceptual Definition
- Operational Definition
- Indicators
- Validity
Optional moves include;
experimental situational
details, questionnaire,
overview of next section.
From Benson and Geaves
(1981)
a) field specific lexicon
- indicators
- variable
- correlation
- hypothesis etc.

68

L
e
s
s
o
n
3

69

used across similar


genre types.

belonging to the larger


academic genre.

b) non-specific but
clustering specific
lexicon
- in order to
- in this case
- on the other hand etc.
c) inter-field
- influence
- investigate
- description
- focus
- question etc.
Nominalisation of verbs,
adjectives, and conjunctions:
- important = the
importance of...
- because = the cause
of ...
- therefore = the
consequence of....
ing and to verbs replacing
finite:
- we measured =
measuring
- should indicate = to
indicate
Causal Verbs replacing
conjunctions:
- cause, lead to, result in

Formality the
creation of style
through structuring of
sentences, particularly
with long noun
phrases, a limited
number of finite
verb(s), limited use of
conjunctions
(particularly external).

Academic Style (How


does the writer fit into
his/her writing
community?) the use
of concept words in
order to make
information as compact
as possible.

Participants
(Personal/Impersonal
) traditionally known
as subject or direct and
indirect object, the
choice of actors in
each move, related to
the event.

Author (How does the


writer show him/herself
in the text?) the choice
of personal or
impersonal actors to
represent distance
between author and
audience in an
academic setting.

Use of personal participants (I,


you, we etc.) only in those
parts of the text which are seen
as a direct communication
between author and reader
introductions, overviews and
conclusions. Substitution for
impersonal form through the
reasoning process.

Format the visual


layout of a text.

Audience (How does


the writer present
him/herself best to their
reader?) How the
writer chooses to
present information.

Clear thematic paragraphs split


by blank lines, bullet-points
used when necessary, justified
text (to both margins) and
ample white space to ease the
psychological impact on the

reader.

L
e
s
s
o
n

Modality degrees
between positive and
negative, as well as
subjectivity-objectivity
cline.

Author-Audience
Relationship (How
does the writer say that
he/she is unsure about
something?) How the
writer maintains
distance even when
expressing uncertainty.

Use of modality in the form of


nouns (it is possible..) rather
than personal (we could...).

Theme-Rheme the
theme is the departure
point for the message
(in the initial position in
English), the rheme is
the rest of the
message.

Reader Expectations
(How do the writer and
reader take part in a
dance?) The writer
anticipates the readers
thoughts by linking the
rheme of the previous
sentence to the theme
of the following.

A close flowing of themerheme in the justification of


knowledge through the speech
acts making up each move.
This leads to a reduced need
for the imposed use of external
cohesion markers (such as
therefore, moreover, however
etc.).

Cohesion
(conjunctions
(int.&ext.); references;
lexical chains)
creating cohesion in
the text through
conjunctions and
adverbs (and, or,
consequently etc.),
references (this, these,
the..), and lexical
chains (e.g. language
language variation
dialect social class)
Verb Types
(Transitivity) choice
of relational, verbal,
mental, behavioural,
material, existential
verb types (see
Halliday, 2004, p.172)

Shared Understanding
(How does the writer
signal that something is
known?) How the
writer communicates
shared concepts with
the reader (the, this...),
and creates a shared
idea of logical
argumentation (and, or
(lexical chains)).

Strong use of reference


systems and lexical chains in
high level texts, resulting in a
reduction in the use of external
conjunction.

Events (What events


does the writer
emphasise in the text?)
The use of doing
(material), logic
(relational), thought
(mental) and message
(verbal) event words.

The use of a large variety of


material/doing verbs when
describing the process of
statistical research, with
relation/logic verbs used in
definitions and conclusions.
Verbal/message verbs should
only be used in introductions,
overviews and final concluding
statements, whilst

70

mental/concept verbs used in


the previous years reports are
better converted into nouns.

71

Appendix J: Common European Framework (CEF) Model for grading reports


Assessment: Individual Chapters in IB&M 1C Research Reports
Criterion

Grad
e

Comments

Structure
Uses organisational devices effectively,
including thesis statements, topic
sentences and sub-points.
Produces a balanced argument.
Layout
Pays attention to detail in layout, including
systematic referencing of sources, layout
of paragraphs, appropriate use of graphs,
tables and charts; spell-checking and
professional appearance.
Range
Demonstrates flexible use of a range of
vocabulary and language in the
appropriate academic context in terms of
formal style.
Coherence
Pays attention to the flow of text, using a
range of appropriate connectors and
cohesive devices, with appropriate
punctuation
Accuracy
Demonstrates grammatical control through
accurate use of a variety of language
forms.
Total

NB: The grade for each of the main categories (in bold) depends on the extent to which the learner fulfils the general descriptor.
Descriptors for measurement are derived from the Council of Europe 2003: Relating language examinations to the Common European
Framework of Reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEF). Written assessment criteria p. 142.

72

Appendix K: Semi-scripted writing analysis in class


Lesson 1:
Writing Assignment 1 Write your Theory section for how the
independent variable Team Variety affects the dependent variable
Creativity. The control variable is Gender. Write at least 300 words.
Lesson 2:
Writing Assignment 2 Write a general Introduction section for a
Report investigating the independent variables Team Variety,
Degree of Structure in Work, Intrinsic Motivation against the
dependent variable Creativity with Gender as the control variable.
Write between 1-2 pages.
Lesson 3:
Re-write the following two paragraphs from the Results and Analysis
section of a learners report in full text:

Spearman Test = not significant (0.097).


No significance between indicator one and three.
Significance between two and three (0.295)
One indicator not accurate enough.
Indicators two and three = sufficient construct validity.
Correlation is statistically significant, p<0.05.
Two and Three response rate = 100% and 93%. One =
91%.
Conclusion = exclude one, keep two and three. Result =
new variable.
73

Lesson 4:
Re-write the following two paragraphs from the Conclusion section
of a learners report in full text:
5.1. Conclusion
Hypothesis 1 no significant relation, power of imagination & intuition.
No results weak power of imagination = low level of intuition
Conclusion power of imagination not causing failing advertising
campaigns
Hypothesis 2 significant, negative relation, self-confidence and intuition
Results employees with high self-confidence given less decision-making
power.
Consequently, a vicious cycle was created subconsciously.
Conclusion management to encourage less self-confident employees in
creating advertising campaigns.

74

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Internet Page References


Academic Word Highlighter, see
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Common European Framework scales, see
www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/CADRE_EN.asp.
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English for Learners of International Business and Management, Year 1, see
http://www.rug.nl/ocasys/feb/vak/show?module=15308.
European DIALANG test, see www.dialang.org.
Statistics 1: Statistical Skills for IB&M, see http://www.rug.nl/staff/j.l.miedema/teaching.
The Keirsey Temperament Sorter II,see www.keirsey.com.

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WMatrix2, see http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/wmatrix/tutorial/.


Wordsmith, see http://wordsmith.org/.

80