Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Research Background
English,as a lingua franca,plays an increasingly important role in internationalcommunication.Accordingly,English has also aroused more and more attention dueto its communicative nature in China.In general,cultivating students'subject literacyis the core of English curriculum learning,so attention should be paid to thecultivation of students'language abilities.As one of the productive skills,writingskills play an essential role in learning English.It requires students to write a newdiscourse that is appropriate to the context of communication to interact with thereaders,in which learners need to use the required vocabulary and grammaticalstructure correctly as well as select the appropriate types of discourses in writingaccording to the purpose of expression and the audience.However,until now,thereare still many problems in junior high school English writing,such as the illogicalstructure of articles,lack of coherence in articles,etc.Although English writing hasattracted more and more attention in recent years,the teacher tends to emphasizestandardized writing,which limits students’use of language items and is more aboutteaching students test-taking skills.With the application of this teaching mode,theteacher focuses on the explanation of vocabulary,grammar and other language itemsin writing,while neglecting the cultivation of students'thinking abilities.Over time,students lack sufficient knowledge base and basic writing skills,so they becomeintimidated by the difficulties in writing,thus resulting in writing anxiety(Deng,2022).It can be seen that great attention should be paid to English writing anxiety.Furthermore,since English writing in junior high school is oriented towardsthe National Matriculation English Test and the cultivation of writing ability is notaccomplished in a short time,but accumulated step by step,the teacher should guidestudents to improve their writing ability consciously in writing tasks.
1.2 Research Purpose
According to Krashen’s affective filter hypothesis,high anxiety students expressin writing will seriously affect their writing performance.Generally speaking,thereasons why students suffer from high anxiety in writing tasks mainly involve lackingknowledge bases for writing and insufficiency of writing skills.Wang(2018)claimedthat the comparative continuation based on the Xu-argument can increase the intensityof interaction between the learners and the texts,as well as increase learners’accumulation of knowledge,which can provide comprehensible input for learners torelease their pressure of writing.Therefore,taking junior high school students asparticipants,this study explores the application of comparative continuation to junior high school English writing teaching,with the aim of figuring out whether thecomparative continuation can be an effective writing method to alleviate students’writing anxiety and in what ways the comparative continuation can effectivelyalleviate junior high school students’writing anxiety.What’s more,the effects ofcomparative continuation on students with different anxiety levels are furtherexplored.
Chapter Two Literature Review
2.1 Writing Anxiety
The definition and classification of writing anxiety are discussed in this section,which also summarizes the previous studies on writing anxiety at home and abroad.
2.1.1 Definition of writing anxiety
As the focus of language teaching has shifted from teaching to learning,learners'internal emotions have aroused great attention.A great body of studies has shown thatlearners'emotional situation is one of the biggest factors affecting second languageacquisition.In terms of writing,more and more scholars have focused on the learners’writing anxiety.However,there is no a clear definition of writing anxiety becausedifferent scholars have different definitions according to their own understandings.
The definition of writing anxiety was first proposed by foreign scholars.In 1973,Brown explored the relationship between emotions and FLL and proposed thestructure of anxiety.He believed that anxiety,as an emotional factor,affects languagelearning.If learners produce negative emotions to a high degree in the learningprocess,their language learning will be hindered.For the relation between languageand anxiety,oral communication is the first aspect that combines specific skills withforeign language anxiety,and it is found that oral communication anxiety is commonin FLL(Clevenger,1959;Heston&Paterline,1974;Wheeless,1975).Based on theresearch on oral communication anxiety,Daly and Miller(1975:245)distinguishedwriting anxiety from other types of anxiety in FLL:“It refers to individuals'negative behaviors in the face of high requirements for writing ability,such as avoiding writingas much as possible and being afraid of external evaluation for their own writing”.
2.2 Comparative Continuation
This section introduces the definition and advantages of comparativecontinuation,and summarizes the previous studies on comparative continuationabroad and at home.
2.2.1 Definition of comparative continuation
In 2005,there was a dilemma that Chinese students could not properly useEnglish in daily life although they have learned it for many years.To get out of thispredicament,Wang(2005)proposed the Length Approach,that is,to adjust the lengthof the article and gradually increase the writing volume,which can stimulate themotivation to write,it provides learners with more opportunities for language use.TheLength Approach has provided a new direction for FLT.Later,inspired by theInteractive Alignment Model that claims successful communication is a process thatgreatly relies on the alignment at different levels,Wang(2012)put forward thereading-writing integrated continuation task,in which the end part of the article is cut,then,learners imitate the proceeding text on the basis of understanding and continueto finish the article logically.Its role in facilitating effects has also been well-certified and gradually promoted in FLT.However,with its application,there appeared someproblems with insufficient interaction and unsatisfactory alignment effect.Therefore,to improve the intensity of interaction and alignment effect of tasks,Wang(2018)proposed two variants:iterative continuation and comparative continuation,whichfurther promoted the development of Xu-argument,which is based on theXu-argument and Interactive Alignment Theory(IAT).For one thing,in the iterativecontinuation task,the reading materials in the reading-writing integrated continuationtask are divided into several paragraphs and the continuation should be done for atleast two rounds.More importantly,it focuses on narrative.For another thing,in thecomparative continuation task,according to a complete article containing comparableviews,learners need to summarize comparable views,create transitional contextbased on the full understanding of the texts,then continue to write the main points,and finally summarize or draw inspiration in the last paragraph,so as to finally form acomplete and coherent article(Wang,2018).
Chapter Three Theoretical Framework ............................ 29
3.1 Interactive Alignment Theory .................................... 29
3.2 The Xu-argument ................................... 31
Chapter Four Methodology .................................. 37
4.1 Research Questions ....................................... 37
4.2 Research Participants ........................... 37
Chapter Five Results and Discussion ..................... 53
5.1 Results of the Questionnaires ................................... 53
5.2 Results of the Semi-interview .................................. 59
Chapter Five Results and Discussion
5.1 Results of the Questionnaires
The SLWAI questionnaire was applied to investigate participants’changes ofwriting anxiety and the effects of comparative continuation on junior high schoolstudents’writing anxiety.It contains 20 items in the form of a Likert 1-5 point scale.Besides,SLWAI questionnaires were finished by the participants in EC and CC beforeand after the experiment.A total of 180 questionnaires were distributed and 180copies were recovered,with a 100%recovery rate.The data collected from theSLWAI questionnaires were reported and analyzed as follows:
To answer the first research question,the data from EC and CC are analyzed toexamine whether there is a significant effect of comparative continuation on thealleviation of junior high school students’writing anxiety.
(1)Analysis of the pre-questionnaire in EC and CC
Before conducting the teaching experiment,the SLWAI questionnaire is finishedby 90 participants in EC and CC to investigate whether there is a significantdifference in writing anxiety between EC and CC and whether a follow-up experimentcan be conducted.In the end,a total of 90 valid questionnaires are collected.
Chapter Six Conclusion
6.1 Major Findings
Based on the result of previous studies that the comparative continuation canalleviate students’writing anxiety,the present study aims to explore the effects ofcomparative continuation on junior high school students’English writing anxiety byfocusing on the two research questions:1)Can the comparative continuation alleviatejunior high school students’English writing anxiety?If yes,in what aspects can thecomparative continuation alleviate junior high school students’English writinganxiety?(Classroom teaching anxiety,conceiving anxiety,avoidance behavior andlack of confidence)?2)What are the differences in the effects of comparativecontinuation on the alleviation of junior high school students with different anxietylevels?To answer the research questions,the empirical research was conducted andthe data were analyzed,including the quantitative data from the SLWAIquestionnaires and the qualitative data from the semi-structured interviews.Afteranalyzing all statistics,the major findings of the research are presented as follows:
In the first place,in response to the first question,an eight-week experiment wascarried out,in which the data of the pre-questionnaire in EC and CC are analyzed toget the participants’changes of writing anxiety after the treatment.The results showthat the overall writing anxiety of students both in EC and CC is at the middle level.After the experiment,the overall writing anxiety was significantly released in EC,butnot in CC.Therefore,it is suggested that the comparative continuation cansignificantly alleviate participants’English writing anxiety since the high-quality reading material serves as scaffolding to help participants reduce their pressure ofwriting.To be specific,the effects of comparative continuation on writing anxiety aremainly reflected in four aspects:classroom teaching anxiety,conceiving anxiety,avoidance behavior,and lack of confidence.The results indicate that the comparativecontinuation can significantly alleviate conceiving anxiety and avoidance behavior.