SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.20 issue2Promoting Listening Fluency in Pre-Intermediate EFL Learners Through Meaningful Oral TasksTackling Intermediate Students’ Fossilized Grammatical Errors in Speech Through Self-Evaluation and Self-Monitoring Strategies author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand

Article

Indicators

Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • Have no similar articlesSimilars in SciELO
  • On index processSimilars in Google

Share


Profile Issues in Teachers` Professional Development

Print version ISSN 1657-0790

profile vol.20 no.2 Bogotá July/Dec. 2018

http://dx.doi.org/10.15446/profile.v20n2.67095 

Issues from Teacher Researchers

Self and Peer Correction to Improve College Students’ Writing Skills

La auto y la co-corrección para mejorar la habilidad escrita de estudiantes universitarios

Irais Ramírez Balderas *   , Patricia María Guillén Cuamatzi **  

* Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mexico, irais.ramirezbalderas@uatx.mx.

** Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mexico, patriciamaria.guillencuamatzi@uatx.mx.

Abstract

This paper describes college students’ writing development process during their foreign language classes throughout a semester. Self and peer correction were implemented to promote error awareness along with the use of an error code and error log in a fifth semester class. The results show that both strategies benefited students’ writing skills and self-awareness which in turn produced, among other outcomes, the development of critical self-assessment of their writing and responsibility for their own learning. This study highlights the importance of allocating class time for continuous training to allow students to systematize their writing practices.

Key words: Peer correction; self-correction; writing skills

Resumen

Aquí se describe el desarrollo de la escritura de un grupo de universitarios durante un semestre. Se implementaron las estrategias de auto y co-corrección para promover la conciencia del error a través del uso de un código y un registro de error con un grupo de quinto semestre. Los resultados muestran que ambas estrategias beneficiaron las habilidades de escritura de los estudiantes y su conciencia de los errores además del desarrollo de la auto-crítica de su escritura y la responsabilidad por su aprendizaje. Se resalta la importancia de proveer a la escritura un espacio dentro de la clase donde la práctica constante produzca la sistematización de las prácticas de escritura.

Palabras-clave: auto-corrección; co-corrección; habilidades de escritura

Introduction

The current education goals in the B.A. program in English Language Teaching (ELT) of the Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala (UATx) include the development of academic literacy including writing in English. Due to the challenges that the development of academic writing poses, it has emerged as a research interest in higher education in Mexico as evidenced by the studies carried out on this topic and context (Encinas, Keranen, & Salazar, 2010; Englander, 2010; Martins, 2005; Mora, 2017; Roux, 2012; Roux, Mora, & Trejo, 2011). According to Hidalgo (2010), such challenges may be caused by the lack previous instruction in academic writing in both Spanish and English. In order to develop students’ writing skills, a series of strategies should be implemented in the general English classes to help them become more independent and effective writers which, in turn, could benefit their motivation as well as their transit to writing more complex texts such as academic documents.

Writing, as the other three language skills, is an intellectual, creative, and methodological process that implies the investment of time and practice to develop it to the fullest in order to achieve clarity and effectiveness. There is a series of steps and strategies that may facilitate it for learners like generating ideas; assembling them coherently; organizing them to write a first draft, which is revised several times; rewriting until the final version is produced. The revision stage is crucial since it promotes and orientates the improvement of the text. If self and peer correction are added as strategies during this stage, learners do not only gain a more appropriate and accurate final version of their text but also knowledge of the writing-as-a-process stages. In addition, the learners can use error codes and error logs during self and peer correction in order to provide and follow-up explicit feedback in an attempt to foster self-awareness of the areas that need improvement. The knowledge and awareness resulting from the practices described above seem to help learners to produce better drafts, be more independent writers, and motivate them to cope with the difficulties of developing the writing skill.

The B.A. Program in Language Teaching at Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala

This study was carried out with students of fifth semester of the B.A. in language teaching at UATx in Mexico. The university has implemented a new educational model called “Humanistic and Integrative Model Based on Competencies” (Ortiz, 2014), which follows the socio-constructivist theory centered in learning.

The B.A. in language teaching is an on-site program based on competencies development with 58 learning units organized in eight semesters during which English or French is taught as a foreign language (learners decide on their preferred language). The courses comprising the program are distributed among three main areas: basic, vocational-discipline, and elective. The basic area is made up of 11 units that enable students to obtain the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values needed to access higher learning units. The vocational-discipline area comprises 31 learning units and aims to deepen the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values needed to exercise their labor as language teachers. Finally, the elective area is made up of 12 learning units, eight related to linguistics and language teaching and four in which students have the possibility of choosing an additional foreign language.

Teaching Writing as a Process

Teaching writing as a process presupposes a change in the teachers’ approach and practices. Murray (2003) holds that many English teachers “teach writing as a product, focusing their critical attention on what their students have done, as if they had passed literature in to us” (p. 3). That is, many teachers tend to consider learners’ writing as if it were literature which it is not. Moreover, English teachers tend to assign a specific subject or theme for the learners to write about which may, on the one hand, demand knowledge about a topic that students are not familiarized with and on the other, play against their motivation if the learners are not interested in the topic.

When teaching writing as a process, teachers should not expect students to write well from the beginning since teachers should consider the stages of pre-writing, writing, and re-writing. Learners usually read the final text and are not aware of the drafting and correcting that are necessary to produce it. That is why teaching writing should be approached in a way that learners are guided through the edition process, which helps them to become aware not only of the stages for producing a text but also of the strategies that work for them to improve their writing.

In addition, the use of tools like the error code and error log is beneficial for the development of their autonomy as writers. Lalande (1982) found that American students who used error codes to correct errors in German had greater improvement in writing than the students who had their errors corrected by their teachers, while Ferris (2011) states that a longitudinal study showed a clear advantage for the use of error logs to improve students’ writing even though the results are not conclusive (due to the small sample included in the study). It is the teacher’s role is to facilitate the time and opportunities for learners to write in a social environment using self-help and external tools. The use of tools provided by the teacher such as an error code and an error log along with explicit guidance may help students to become cognitively aware of the process of writing a text.

Writing as a Process

Writing-as well as reading-is not an innate ability or competence since it goes beyond knowing how to write a simple message to communicate something. Tierney and Pearson (1983) argued that it involves “continuous, recurring and recursive transactions among readers and writers, their respective inner selves and their perceptions of each other’s goals and desires” (pp. 18-19). Within this complexity, they claim that the writing process contains five main stages: planning, drafting, aligning, revising, and monitoring which will be briefly described below.

Planning

The planning stage is believed to be what differentiates novice and expert writers. Hayes and Flower (1980) suggest that the former scarcely plan their text while the latter set explicit rhetoric objectives that allow them to revise globally their text which benefits its effectiveness. Understanding that learners are at different stages of development and providing them with knowledge about the stages of the production of written texts is a good beginning for the advancement of the teaching of writing.

For Tierney and Pearson (1983), this stage of writing entails two complementary processes: goal-setting and knowledge mobilization. Goal-setting planning includes a series of other steps such as setting the topic, objectives, goals, and purposes of the text to be produced. On the other hand, knowledge mobilization refers to brainstorming, that is to say, the generation of first ideas. Some of the strategies that can be taught in this stage comprise note-making, outlining, mind mapping, and free writing, among others. McDonald and Salomone (2012) include other essential strategies like thinking, talking to other people, and reading related material which seem obvious to experienced writers but are sometimes neglected by novice writing learners.

In sum, planning allows the writer to consider the subject and the audience which raises awareness of the appropriate level of formality and language required to produce the text. Once the writer has a clearer notion of the purpose of the text as well as the main idea(s) and has gathered details, examples, reasons, or content that could be included in the text, s/he is ready for the next stage.

Drafting

During this stage, the writer makes a case and structures a rough version of the text. It is at this stage where the main ideas and the writer’s position should be clarified. This is why it takes into consideration the stage of alignment because, while the learners are drafting, they must adapt their text to the audience they are writing for and they must follow the appropriate rules of language and vocabulary. However, this stage should not be confused with revision since its purpose is to write. After revision and correction, the writer will be able to fine tune the text.

Aligning

The process of aligning not only focuses on the coherence of the text but also on the writer’s stance about the topic and the mode. The stance might be challenging, sympathetic, or critical, to mention some, and the impact mode refers to the effect that the writer desires to generate: convincing, persuading, supporting, and so on. Aligning also takes into account the audience that will read the text. It is not the same to produce a written text for college students as for primary school students.

It is clear that the changes required by the text do not occur on a single draft. Alignment presupposes a cycle of recurrent rewriting, revision, and drafting. The revision process is a fundamental stage for improving the quality of the text produced and offers vast opportunities for teachers to provide learners with the tools and strategies that may facilitate their independence and progress in their development as writers.

Revising

According to Hinkel (2015), “to be college and career-ready writers, students must take task, purpose, and audience into careful consideration, using words, information, structures, and formats deliberately” (p. 24) so writing is not merely taking ideas from one’s head and placing them onto the paper. A writer must choose the lexical items that best represent his/her ideas and cause the desired impact. This stage is not only about accuracy; it comprises coherence and flow. For Tierney and Pearson (1983), revising is an ongoing process of rethinking the paper, reconsidering the arguments, reviewing the evidence, refining the purpose, and reorganizing the presentation. It is this stage of the process that shows the writers’ degree of autonomy since the more capable they are of identifying the weaknesses of their text and adapting it to the requirements of the audience, the more autonomous they are, which may be an indicator of the learners’ progress in the spectrum that ranges from novice to experienced writing.

Revising can be assisted by an external agent which can be the teacher or a classmate as well as a tool like the aforementioned error log and error code. Both agents and tools provide learners with feedback and support that may help them to focus on specific areas to improve. The constant use of such tools may benefit the internalization of the criteria commonly used to evaluate writing which would facilitate the monitoring stage.

Monitoring

Writers must be able to evaluate what they have developed. This is called monitoring which according to Tierney and Pearson (1983), “occurs tacitly, but it can be under conscious control” (p. 17). The monitor favors the evaluation and tracking of, as well as the control over, the other stages (i.e. planning, alignment, drafting, revising) because it evaluates if they have been done properly. This stage together with revising can be supported by self and peer evaluation and error codes and logs because novice writers are unaware of the weaknesses of their texts and find it difficult to focus on certain areas to improve. If such agents and tools are not used, learners may become overwhelmed by the difficult tasks of revision and monitoring which may demotivate them and cause the infamous writer’s block.

Correction in Writing as a Process

In the past, the evaluation of written texts in the English as a foreign language (EFL) context was limited to the identification and/or correction of the linguistic errors produced by the learner, especially spelling and grammar as stated by Zohrabi and Rezaie (2012). This approach resulted in the disregard of essential aspects related to the text itself, to the learners, and to the process of writing. For Cassany (2000) writing should be understood beyond the mechanics of writing such as spelling, calligraphy, and layout to incorporate aspects that are more helpful to determine the adequacy of a text like vocabulary, grammar, cohesion, structure, and register. Taking these aspects into consideration may provide useful information to the learners so their texts may better match their teachers’ expectations.

As for the students, the traditional approach constrains learners’ participation in the assessment of their own texts causing underdevelopment in the awareness of their weaknesses. Such weaknesses may be in the text as a product and/or in the process of writing since learners are used to submitting a written assignment and obtaining a score sometimes without receiving formative feedback which would provide suggestions for improvement. This approach may affect their motivation for writing. This is why Cassany (1989) suggests what he calls comprehensive evaluation which takes into account the text produced by the learner in addition to the sequence of actions followed to produce it; from the preparation to the production and the edition stages. The previous comments do not mean that traditional correction should be completely eliminated from the teachers’ practices since they should be sensitive to the learners’ needs in terms of their level of L2 proficiency and development as writers. Learners in basic or elementary levels of L2 seem to expect and want error correction that includes the linguistic ones as well. This can be done by balancing the types of feedback in addition to focusing on different aspects of writing according to the different stages of the writing process.

If writing is not taught as a process, it becomes a one-time text production, so the learner writes an assignment with the objective of fulfilling a requirement set by the teacher. That is, viewing writing as a process instead of as a product which would encourage learners to see writing as an opportunity to express their views about a topic and as a learning experience built on the possibility of improving the text through drafting, correcting, and editing to submit a final version of which they may feel proud and satisfied.

Self-Correction in Writing

Teachers have traditionally provided feedback on errors to students; however, in current teaching approaches other ways of providing feedback and correcting have been incorporated. According to Bitchener, Young, and Cameron (2005), self-correction is an indirect feedback where the teacher provides students with choices that would allow them to discern the correct form by themselves. These authors consider that regardless of the mode, that is, self or peer, it is the teacher who makes the errors salient in a way that seems accurate since teachers usually set the items that should be corrected bearing in mind the students’ stage of linguistic and writing proficiency. Another feature of self-correction is that it draws the students’ conscious attention to their individual errors which pushes them not only to notice their errors but to correct them. This, in turn, can be a good form of becoming aware of their most common errors and identify problem areas to resolve.

Studies on self-correction (Hanrahan & Isaacs, 2001; Kubota, 2001; Maftoon, Shirazi, & Daftarifard, 2011) have found its positive effects such as the reduction of the amount of errors made by the students. Other findings are that self-correction was more effective than teachers’ correction and recasts, plus it favored the learners’ positive attitude towards error correction and triggered meta-cognitive discussions in the classroom which could provide opportunities for learning. Fahimi and Rahimi (2015) also found that self-assessment instruction prepares students to plan and revise their texts as well as to evaluate the progress of their writing. The results above make a case for instructing and involving students in self-correction practices with the objective of not only improving their writing but also their metacognitive skills.

Peer Correction

Also known as peer feedback or peer review, peer correction has proved to be an effective means of aiding writing development since it actively involves learners in the learning and teaching process. Some authors (Kamimura, 2006; Zeng, 2006) have shown that peer feedback offers many ways to improve learners’ writing. This method consists of learners giving and receiving feedback about their writing from their peers, that is, other learners. It may be implemented in the classroom to “enhance learner autonomy, cooperation, interaction and involvement” (Sultana, 2009, p. 12). Thus, comparing one’s writing to others’ offers the opportunity to broaden and deepen learners’ thinking and understanding of their writing process and language use in two ways: As readers, they enhance their critical reading skills and as writers, learners foster their critical thinking skills when revising their pieces of writing on the basis of peers’ feedback (Moussaoui, 2012). Some of the most important benefits of implementing peer correction in the classroom are that the learning responsibility is shared with learners which shows them that their opinion is valued; both teachers and learners gain insights into the writing process; learners’ active participation in the correction activity “provides a more supportive atmosphere as the feedback received from classmates is less threatening, and as a result of these the authoritative role of the teacher is no more reinforced” (Pishghadam & Kermanshahi, 2011, p. 218); it saves time and effort for many EFL instructors (Miao, Badger, & Zhen, 2006) and allows teachers to assess learners’ writing on a regular basis thereby reducing the negative effects of time constraints and large class sizes. In addition, it is not uncommon that learners give feedback according to given criteria established by the teacher which may be checklists, feedback sheets, error codes, and error logs. These tools are helpful for the process of error correction and provide learners with a guide to classify errors which may reduce levels of anxiety.

Self and peer correction, according to Yang’s (2010) research results, empower the students to monitor, evaluate, and edit their texts to improve them since self-correction facilitates the identification of grammatical errors. In addition, peer correction helps them to notice the others’ opinions about their texts. In this way, students provide and receive support from each other building a true learning community which is the aim of the educational model at UATx.

Error Code

In order to support learners to carry out the revision stage, error codes and logs can be used. Correction codes are instruments that provide learners with feedback on their writing which allows the students to revise their understanding of certain linguistic items. In this way, learners identify errors or what they believe are errors about the form and function of a variety of lexical and grammatical elements.

Using error codes is practical and beneficial since it helps teachers and learners to approach text revision as a problem-solving task; they provide learners not only with clear parameters about what to revise but also with a common set of symbols which standardizes the text reviews as long as the code is clear and has been explained to the users. Buckingham and Aktuğ-Ekinci (2017) consider that the correction codes also help teachers to provide individualized feedback in subsequent drafts in a timely manner without putting an extra workload on themselves. Actually, the code symbols prevent the use of many words to provide feedback and allow a more efficient use of time. In addition, if error codes are used during self and peer correction, during the teaching of writing as a process, learners may become more reflective about and autonomous in their writing.

Error Log

Along with error codes, learners may also use an error log for written accuracy in particular. In this study the students used the error log to keep track of the number of errors made with regard to some error categories such as verb tense, subject-verb agreement, word choice, punctuation, and capitalization, among others. This instrument aids learners to monitor the kind and frequency of the errors they make in the writing tasks so that they will become aware of those linguistic items that they need to improve upon.

Method

The main objective of this exploratory study was to find out if the use of self and peer correction processes in the English class during writing instruction resulted in higher quality texts. The specific objectives were to find out what were the most common types of errors made by the students and discover if the recurrent use of self and peer correction had an impact on the amount of errors made.

The participants were nine students, seven females and two males whose ages ranged from 20 to 22 years old. They were in the sixth semester of the B.A. in language teaching at UATx. In order to learn about the participants’ writing habits, a short survey was applied to the learners; it helped to set the students’ writing practices. Furthermore, the data were collected through two written assignments based on the tasks of the course book and which were revised using an error code and implementing peer correction so two versions of each assignment were submitted (rough and final drafts). In addition, students were asked to register their errors in an error log in order to monitor the type and amount of errors made. At the beginning of the semester the teacher explained how to use the error code and that the writing skill was going to be developed in a systematic way. That is, carrying out the five stages of the writing process. The first assignment was to write a paragraph about their college life-style, the second text produced was an invitation letter to spend the summer with a close friend, the third was a fiction story, and the last one was to express their thoughts about students who work. The second text ranged from 100 to 150 words while the last one ranged from 350 to 400 words.

The error code and error log used for self and peer correction was taken from Zemach and Rumisek (2003) who suggest a list of 25 error symbols (see Appendix A) with their definition and exemplification to clarify each one. In the regular English class, students submitted their writing tasks as a first draft and they were redistributed by the teacher to implement peer correction. After this first review, students were required to check their partners’ identification of errors and correct them (self-correction) with the intention of improving their writing. Finally, a final draft was submitted to the teacher. Students were also required to include the first peer-reviewed draft with the final version of every written assignment as evidence of the process. Moreover, students were asked to fill in the error log (Appendix B) according to the mistakes marked during peer correction process (Appendix C).

Findings

The most salient information coming from the short survey applied at the beginning of the semester was that two of the students wrote first in Spanish and then translated their texts into English while the rest wrote directly in English. Of the latter, five used prewriting strategies like making notes but four of them did not. All the participants considered that the most challenging elements as regards writing in English were the use of grammar rules, writing interesting texts, and originality. Eight participants thought expressing their ideas and the use of appropriate vocabulary were quite challenging. On the other hand, five of them considered that generating ideas for writing was quite easy.

The error code provided the students contained symbols for 25 types of errors like spelling, word order, wrong form, adding and eliminating words, connectors, and run-on sentences, among others. Students 3 and 9 had the highest rates of types of errors with 12 followed by Student 5 with 11 types of errors, and Students 1 and 7 had five types of errors. Appendix D shows the texts produced by Student 3 before and after peer correction. The lowest rate was five types of errors made by Students 2, 4, 6, and 8. It was interesting to see that even though some students clearly had a higher level of proficiency in English, they had errors that seemed to be fossilized. For example, Student 2 had only six types of errors which were word choice, articles, unclear sentences, verb tense, verb form, and missing words. She committed a mistake related to verb tense only in her first version of Assignment 1 and never made it again but the other five types of errors were present in all of her texts which led the researchers to hypothesize that some of those errors were real problem areas for the student although unclear sentences and missing words could be corrected once the student develops more awareness of the audience and is guided to write her ideas more explicitly.

The most common errors that the participants made in general in their four texts submitted were word choice, verb form, and missing words. It was also found that these types of errors continued to occur throughout the different assignments. This information helped the teacher to implement activities that would help the students to express the doubts they had about the three types of errors and practice them such as extracting parts of the texts and sharing them with the class to find possible solutions to the errors, explaining why the word or verb form should be changed. In some cases, students were recommended to do certain grammar exercises, however, they were suggestions that may or may not have been followed by the learners. Since participation in those activities was not assessed due to the fact that they were not included in the official syllabus and evaluation criteria for the course, we could not attest for their effect. Another common error was word order. This type of error appeared at different points of the participants’ writing but eight of the nine students corrected this error successfully in the final version of the second assignment.

On the other hand, the type of error that students did not find in any occurrence was unclear fragments. However, it is worthwhile to mention that the texts analyzed were peer and self-corrected so the teacher at that point had not yet provided feedback; that is, the teacher could identify other errors that the students overlooked. The following types had a single occurrence: the improper use of capitalization, singular, plural, pronouns, and subject-verb agreement. This is due to the fact that most of the students in this group had an appropriate level of English from the first semester and were the first generation of the program which means that most of them had taken an entrance level test. Most of the students in this group had taken extra school English classes and some had recently returned to Mexico from the United States where they had studied in high schools. The following paragraphs will refer to specific participants that attracted our attention because of the results in their error logs.

Student 4, who probably had the highest level of proficiency, can be said to have committed only one type of error at a time. That is to say, the six types of error she produced were made only once each but in different moments. For example, in the first draft of Assignment 1 there were errors of word form and subject-verb agreement which were successfully self-corrected in the final version where there was a missing word error. The same happened in the second assignment where in the first version, the student had a word order error and in the final version had a word choice error and run-on sentence. We consider that different errors come up in different versions of the assignment because, in each stage, the students extended their compositions which would potentially open the door to additional unsupervised errors.

In terms of the frequency of errors tracked in the error log, it was observed that the errors participants had from the first to the fourth assignment varied. Five participants showed a decrease in their mistakes having from one to six fewer errors. In two cases, they had the same number of errors in the first and final writing; however, in the final version of Assignment 2 and first draft of Assignment 4 they reduced their errors. Only in one case, the participant kept the same number of errors in the first and final draft of Assignment 2 and the final version of Assignment 4 and increased one in the first draft of Assignment 4. Interestingly, the remaining participant made more errors in the last three writings than in the first one which could have been caused because she went from producing a very controlled and short first text to freer, more extensive texts. This is another effect observed during the teaching of writing as a process. It seems to encourage students to write more and take more risks since they appreciated the opportunity they had to experiment with language as the assignments required them to express themselves.

Furthermore, when students received the second draft of the assignment, they went through the revision process which comprises identifying, classifying, and correcting the mistakes they made. They also dealt with the topic of the fourth assignment which was “students who work” because some of them are workers as well as students. With the implementation of these processes, it was possible to create a favorable environment to develop students’ writing skill to do their best with the aid of the materials and the input from peers and the teacher.

Even though number and frequency of errors are important elements to measure progress, a more important effect was sought and achieved-raising students’ awareness of writing as a process and experiencing the benefits of self and peer correction in the hope that they will continue to implement such stages and tools in their future academic writing tasks.

Another aspect observed was that students worked more comprehensively, engaging with their classmates as writers and readers which provided them with benefits such as more confidence to write and lower levels of anxiety. In addition, the roles of the agents in the classroom were reorganized since the teacher was not seen as the owner of knowledge but as a facilitator, as Topping (1998) pointed out:

Peer assessment involves students directly in learning, and might promote a sense of ownership, personal responsibility and motivation . . . Peer assessment might also increase variety and interest, activity and interactivity, identification and bonding, self-confidence, and empathy with others-for assessors, assesses, or both. (p. 256).

That is, teammates enjoyed the same academic status which made them feel more comfortable when working in pairs, to ask when they had doubts, and to propose and provide solutions not only to their own problems but to their peers’ too.

Conclusions

As a conclusion of this classroom experience, it can be said that self and peer correction as well as the writing as a process approach are worthwhile practices that can be implemented in the writing tasks included in the regular English textbooks. Self-correction raises the students’ awareness about their errors, allowing them to correct the errors themselves and in that process become responsible for their learning and therefore, more independent of the teacher. It also helps them to focus on their own errors as opposed to what happens normally in the classroom where, due to time constraints, teachers address the most common errors found in the assignments which might not be completely relevant to the students who do not make such mistakes.

As for peer correction, it was evident that the way students provided feedback to their partners was done in a friendly, respectful manner which brought about opportunities for them to confirm or disconfirm what they believed was right or wrong. Sometimes the assessment could be wrong because the feedback came from a partner, however, the students were close enough to ask for clarification from the student who provided feedback and with the help of the teacher, find out who was right, leading to learning.

It was also observed that the students developed evaluative and critical skills from their second draft since their errors declined. Spelling, capital letters, pronoun errors, and the rest committed only once proved to be easy to correct. Some of these errors are identified and marked by the computer but it has been seen that when the students do not receive feedback or receive it but in an untimely manner, they continue to make these errors. If peer and self-correction help learners to polish their texts even a little, it will still save time for the teacher when checking their texts and teachers will be able to focus on items that the students have not been able to resolve themselves.

The processes of peer and self-correction carried out systematically contributed to maximizing students’ writing skills through the support of several parties such as error correction tools (the error log and error code) and input from their peers and teachers along with their previous knowledge. In turn, the interaction of these aspects as well as others as motivation to write, interest in the topic, and so forth, bring about chances for discussion, awareness raising, and noticing which can be used as bonding mechanisms by which the students and teachers work together to improve the students’ skills. This formative orientation may result in the formation of a learning community where everybody contributes to each other’s learning.

Because this is a small exploratory study, the authors cannot claim that self and peer correction resulted in significant progress, however, it was observed that throughout the semester of implementation, students became quite comfortable with providing and receiving peer correction and their attitude towards writing seemed to improve. The authors consider these practices should be explored further as well as their results. In order to do so, more English teachers working in this program could be instructed in the writing as a process approach as well as the self and peer correction practices so there is a higher possibility of researching their effects in the development of the writing skill as well as in providing learners with continuity and homogeneity (at least as much as possible and appropriate) in the approach to error treatment and to writing. This is especially important in our context because the students are English teacher trainees who will have the responsibility of developing better literacy practices in their future students.

References

Bitchener, J., Young, S., & Cameron, D. (2005). The effect of different types of corrective feedback on ESL student writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14(3), 191-205. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2005.08.001. [ Links ]

Buckingham, L., & Aktuğ-Ekinci, D. (2017). Interpreting coded feedback on writing: Turkish EFL students’ approaches to revision. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 26, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2017.01.001. [ Links ]

Cassany, D. (1989). Describir el escribir: cómo se aprende a escribir [Describing writing: How you learn to write]. Barcelona, ES: Paidós. [ Links ]

Cassany, D. (2000). Reparar la escritura: didáctica de la corrección de lo escrito [Repairing writing: Didactics of text correction]. Barcelona, ES: Graó. [ Links ]

Encinas, F., Keranen, N. S., & Salazar, M. G. (2010). An overview of EFL writing research. In S. Santos (Ed.), EFL writing in Mexican universities: Research and experience (pp. 8-21). Tepic, MX: Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit. [ Links ]

Englander, K. (2010). An analysis of the awkward scholarly writing in English by L2 writers. In S. Santos (Ed.), EFL writing in Mexican universities: Research and experience (pp. 55-71). Tepic, MX: Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit. [ Links ]

Fahimi, Z., & Rahimi, A. (2015). On the impact of self-assessment practice on writing skill. Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 192, 730-736. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.06.082. [ Links ]

Ferris, D. R. (2011). Treatment of error in second language student writing. Michigan, US: The University of Michigan Press. https://doi.org/10.3998/mpub.2173290. [ Links ]

Hanrahan, S., & Isaacs, G. (2001). Assessing self- and peer-assessment: The students’ views. Higher Education Research and Development, 20(1), 53-70. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360123776. [ Links ]

Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. (1980). Identifying the organization of writing processes. In L. Gregg & E. Seinberg (Eds.), Cognitive processes in writing: An interdisciplinary approach (pp. 3-30). Hillsdale, US: Lawrence Erlbaum. [ Links ]

Hidalgo, H. (2010). Higher education in Mexico and its writing practices: The role of literacy. In S. Santos (Ed.), EFL writing in Mexican universities: Research and experience (pp. 181-208). Tepic, MX: Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit. [ Links ]

Hinkel, E. (2015). Effective curriculum for teaching L2 writing: Principles and techniques. New York, US: Routledge. [ Links ]

Kamimura, T. (2006). Effects of peer feedback on EFL student writers at different levels of English proficiency: A Japanese context. TESL Canada Journal, 23(2), 12-39. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v23i2.53. [ Links ]

Kubota, M. (2001). Error correction strategies used by learners of Japanese when revising a writing task. System, 29(4), 467-480. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0346-251X(01)00026-4. [ Links ]

Lalande, J. F. (1982). Reducing composition errors: An experiment. The Modern Language Journal, 66(2), 140-149. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1982.tb06973.x. [ Links ]

Maftoon, P., Shirazi, M. A., & Daftarifard, P. (2011). The effect of recast vs. self correction on writing accuracy. BRAIN: Broad Research in Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience, 2(1), 17-28. [ Links ]

Martins, I. (2005). On academic writing in Latin America: The cases of Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 5(3), 251-263. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10674-005-8559-2. [ Links ]

McDonald, S., & Salomone, W. (2012). The writer’s response: A reading-based approach to writing (5th ed.). Boston, US: Wadsworth. [ Links ]

Miao, Y., Badger, R., & Zhen, Y. (2006). A comparative study of peer and teacher feedback in a Chinese EFL writing class. Journal of Second Language Writing, 15(3), 179-200. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2006.09.004. [ Links ]

Mora, A. (2017). Writer identity construction in Mexican students of applied linguistics. Cogent Education, 4(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2017.1365412. [ Links ]

Moussaoui, S. (2012). An investigation of the effects of peer evaluation in enhancing Algerian students’ writing autonomy and positive affect. Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 69, 1775-1784. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.12.127. [ Links ]

Murray, D. M. (2003). Teach writing as process not product. In V. Villanueva (Ed.), Cross-talk in comp theory: A reader (pp. 3-6). Urbana, US: National Council of Teachers of English. [ Links ]

Ortiz, S. (Ed.). (2014). La formación humanista en la educación superior: modelo humanista integrador basado en competencias. México, D.F.: Gedisa. [ Links ]

Roux, R. (2012). Academic literacy practices in applied linguistics: Hanging around the border of peripheral participation. MEXTESOL Journal, 36(2), 1-15. [ Links ]

Roux, R., Mora, A., & Trejo, N. P. (2011). Exploring writer identity in Mexican EFL students’ academic writing. Íkala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura, 16(2), 93-115. [ Links ]

Pallant, A. (2004). English for academic study. New York, US: Garnet Education. [ Links ]

Pishghadam, R., & Kermanshahi, P. N. (2011). Peer correction among Iranian English language learners. European Journal of Educational Studies, 3(2), 217-227. [ Links ]

Sultana, A. (2009). Peer correction in ESL classroom. BRAC University Journal, 6(1), 11-19. [ Links ]

Tierney, R. J., & Pearson, P. D. (1983). Toward a composing model of reading [Reading Education Report No. 43] Champaign, US: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved from: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/17470/ctrstreadeducrepv01983i00043_opt.pdf?sequence=1. [ Links ]

Topping, K. (1998). Peer assessment between students in colleges and universities. Review of Educational Research, 68(3), 249-276. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543068003249. [ Links ]

Yang, Y.-F. (2010). Students’ reflection on online self-correction and peer review to improve writing. Computers & Education, 55(3), 1202-1210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2010.05.017. [ Links ]

Zemach, D. E., & Rumisek, L. A. (2003). College writing: From paragraph to essay. Oxford, UK: Macmillan Publishers. [ Links ]

Zeng, Y. (2006). Peer feedback in college SLW classroom. Sino-US English Teaching, 3(3), 23-35. [ Links ]

Zohrabi, M., & Rezaie, P. (2012). The role of form-focused feedback on developing students’ writing skill. Theory and Practice in language Studies, 2(7), 1514-1519. https://doi.org/10.4304/tpls.2.7.1514-1519. [ Links ]

How to cite this article (APA, 6th ed.): Ramírez Balderas, I., & Guillén Cuamatzi, P. M. (2018). Self and peer correction to improve college students’ writing skills. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 20(2), 179-194. https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v20n2.67095.

About the Authors

Irais Ramírez Balderas holds a PhD in applied linguistics from Macquarie University (Australia). She is a full-time teacher in the ELT program at Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala and representative of the research group on Teaching and Learning of English. Her research interests include communities of practice, teachers’ professional development, and academic literacy.

Patricia María Guillén Cuamatzi holds a PhD in applied linguistics from Macquarie University (Australia). She is a full-time teacher in the B.A. in the ELT program at Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala. She is a member of the research group on Teaching and Learning of English. Her research interests include communities of practice, learning, and academic literacy.

Appendix A: Error Code (Zemach & Rumisek, 2003)

Appendix B: Error Log (Zemach & Rumisek, 2003)

Appendix C: Pallant’s Writing Model (2004)

Appendix D: Samples of Peer Correction

The extract above shows the errors identified in peer correction. The following extract shows the corrected version produced after peer correction. The version below should be then reviewed by the teacher to provide feedback and polish the text.

Received: August 17, 2017; Accepted: February 08, 2018

Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License