Action Research: Problem Solving

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Kadri, H. is an English academic writing teacher who is working in Department of Writing Studies (DWS) at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). She teaches four sections of English academic writing courses (WRI 001: Fundamentals of Academic Discourse, WRI 101: Academic Writing and WRI 102: Writing and Reading across the Curriculum) each academic semester. She is now teaching a combination of WRI 101 and WRI 102; however, the concentration of this paper will be about a problem reported in the WRI 101 level. Her students in both levels come from all majors in AUS and have different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. WRI 101 students are at the academic level of Freshman I, Freshman II or Sophomore I. They join WRI 101 based on their matriculation from either WRI 001 or ELP 200 level course offered by the Achievement Academy (AA) Department in AUS, placed directly into WRI 101 based on their result in the EPT (English Placement Test), or failed WRI 101. The problem originated when the teacher introduced her WRI 101 students to the skills of summary and paraphrase applied in different tasks throughout the semester such as persuasive essays and to write a summary and critique. According to the course syllabus, students get introduced to the summary and paraphrase skills in week two all through week seven, and then they come back to it before the end of the semester in week 13. After explaining the key concepts of summary and paraphrase to her WRI 101 students, she wanted to test their level of understanding to the target skill. She decided to put them in groups to work on summary and paraphrase activities in class. The students were asked to work in groups and elicit the main idea from the reading and the sub-main ideas in the remaining parts of the same reading piece. All students were informed before the start of the activity that their individual work in the group activity would count towards their class participation grade. While working in...
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