Making Text Features Salient To Graduate Student Writers
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In the genre-based approach, models are of critical importance because they function as a learning tool that assists students to be familiar with genre specifics. This mixed method study examines instruction in academic genres using model texts in a university graduate-level writing class. The researcher outlines design-based principles to develop a graduate-level writing course around (1) student input in the choice of models, (2) a variety of different types of models, (3) a variety of different types of noticing activities, (4) peer and instructor feedback with, and (5) statements of general goals and specific writing objectives with progress statements half-way through the course. The ANOVA test revealed that frequent and intentional use of various quality model texts in the writing course led to improvement in student writing. Evidence from writing samples taken at the beginning and the end of the semester-long course showed that the aforementioned instructional principles positively impacted student writing (paragraph development and organization, paraphrasing and citing, mechanics and style). Taken together, the findings indicate that providing students with varying quality models draws students’ attention (noticing) to these features by making them salient through different model-based activities, and provides students a firm foundation in academic writing.