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implies the successful transmission of ideas from an addresser to an addressee via a text, and this exchange of information becomes a powerful means to motivate and encourage the development of language skills.
Besides, writing is an interactive process by nature since it evolves out of the symbolic interplay between writer, text and reader. Interactive writing becomes thus full of value, communicative and purposeful; at the same time, it enables the students to permanently challenge their current language practices and gain the most from the experience. Making writing interactive requires imagination on the part of the teacher, but is rewarded by the creativity and enthusiasm that most students display in response. There are some more considerations. These days, less attention is paid to accuracy in grammar though it is certainly true and many still believe that without a sound basis of the formal linguistic system, the students cannot hope to develop into effective writers.
Although pair and group work are common in language classrooms, few have investigated the benefits of students’ jointly written texts. Thus, this study follows some techniques for increasing writing accuracy of Iranian EFL writers. Since the gap in this regard is highly felt in language classes.
2.7. Arguments for and against pair work in writing: To use it or not to?
To improve a student’s writing ability, much attention is usually needed from the teacher as approaches to teaching writing since it often requires more personal attention where monitoring and scaffolding input can be given by the teacher (Leki & Carson, 1994). This is fiscally impractical as a teacher with an average classroom has about 30 students to handle. Therefore, many teachers select willingly to make their students do collaborative writing to solve the logistic burden on themselves. Collaborative writing is an increasingly popular practice in today’s classrooms due to the benefits of social constructivism, which is the theoretical basis of the activity. Ideally, students’ writing skills grow when they scaffold on each other’s strengths and produce a collaborated piece of writing together.
Now that more frequent classroom teachers are motivating students to write collectively, foreign language writing teachers have concerns about its efficiency basically because of the reservation that students are not cognitively developed and linguistically advanced in judging about writing or editing works of their peers .
Also, some students take this opportunity to “free-ride”. As a result, work load is not done fairly. Due to the culture or individual personality, some domineering students decide to finish most parts of the work, leaving very little to the passive ones. Students dividing sections of the essays for team members to work on also discourage collaborative discussions and make the work non-coherent.
Although some teachers may not be aware, collaborative writing has lots of benefits (Kessler et al., 2012; Leki, 1993; Storch, 2005). Due to a pedagogical shift from teacher centered lessons to student centered lessons, the teaching of writing has also shifted in its lesson design to collaborative writing in ESL classrooms (Ellis, 2001; Li et al., 2012). Collaborative writing can take many forms: a simple basic five paragraph essay, a story board presentation, a novel, a documentary, a blog or even a website.
In student centered lessons where these collaborative writing tasks are found, there is a paradigm shift from the teacher being the sole source of knowledge to the teacher as a facilitator. Meaning is not given to the students as straightforward as it used to be in teacher-centered classrooms (Piccinin, 1997). However, students cannot be completely left on their own lest they do not perceive prior instructions correctly, or sway from the objectives of the lesson, just as discussed previously how collaborative writing can become cooperative writing when parts of the essay are delegated separately to different members. Therefore, the teacher must play their part as a facilitator to monitor students’ progress in the collaborative activity.
Some teachers argue that collaborative work reduces individual thought. Vygotsky believes just the opposite and suggests that interaction is essential to the development of individual thought ( Vygotsky,1962; 1978). Collaborative effort allows students to change roles; they act both as students and teachers by exhibiting a degree of self-reliance that simply is not possible in teacher- centered environments.
Many studies have pointed out that if group work is not effectively executed by the teacher, students will not take it seriously, socialize more instead of working, allocate most work to a team member, complete the activity superficially and not engage themselves with the learning process (Clark, 2003).
Teachers shouldn’t leave pair work only because they are not satisfied that everyone is doing correct thing or that students are using their native language. It is important to remember that if half the class is not doing the right thing that still means the other half of the class are. As a result, instead of one or two students doing something useful while the others sit back, 10 or 20 students are working constructively. Teachers must not drop pair work just because it is not successful for all students all the time. A moment’s reflection will serve to remind teachers that when traditional question and answer lessons are taking place there is no guarantee that these are working successfully for most of the students – they may be sitting there quietly, but that doesn’t mean everyone is working.
2.8. Small groups or large ones? Which yields better results?
Smaller groups can mainly do an activity faster in short time. Fewer group management skills are required for smaller groups (Langer, 1996). Less noise compared with bigger groups makes them an ideal option in the environments with more limitations. Accordingly, starting with cooperative learning, groups with two members may work optimally. A variety of books on cooperative learning, suggest groups of four. For example, Kagan (1998) suggests cooperative learning techniques in which students work in pairs first; next, the pairs interact together, creating a stunning and enjoyable classroom context.
Peregoy and Boyle also asserted that students in the peer response groups need transparent guidelines in providing their partners with constructive feedback in order to improve their partners’ writing. Adopting Bolye and Charles ’s suggestion and Vygotsky’s (2000) concept in which an individual learns how to extend his/her current competence through the guidance of more experienced individuals,
The researcher of this study developed structured and easily-exercisable-peer-assisted writing ways to somehow account for the insufficient structures in many existing pair writing methods. According to the broad range of the literature on group work and the number of its members, as the author of this paper, and a 9-year teacher who has an ample of experiences in group work, she won’t put her students into the groups bigger than 2 because they don’t get enough chance to act dynamically in such a large group; so, they switch off, get discouraged or frustrated, allow hard-working students do all activities, fall asleep, and etc. But, in a pair, one student is speaking and the other one is listening, trying to formulate a response. Simply put, the smaller the group, the more each member acts and the less chance exists for someone to be left out. In the support of mentioned points above some findings of other researchers will be mentioned in the following section.
2.9. Advantages of pair work
The use of small group and pair work is supported by two major theories of language learning: 1. the psycholinguistic theory of interaction, based largely on the work of Long (1983; 1996), and 2. the sociocultural theory o
f mind, Vygotsky (1978). Both theories emphasize the importance of interaction for learning. However, whereas the psycholinguistic theory focuses on interaction, the sociocultural theory emphasizes the importance of a particular kind of interaction, that of collaboration (Donato, 2004).
According to theoretical considerations above and broad literature review by the author of this paper some of which will be exemplified below, one important strategy for improving EFL writers can be using the technique of pair work with some clearly-identified strategies in the classroom contexts.
Many studies done on L2 collaborative writing show that in the process of co-authoring an essay, much consideration is made not only on grammatical accuracy and lexis but also discourse and language appropriateness (Donato, 1988; Storch 2002). Storch (2005) explains that students are very receptive to feedback as they are responsible for the collaborative writing.
Collaborative writing has been used in composition research and pedagogy in U.S. educational institutes since the 1970s. Collaborative writing encourages social interaction among writers and their peers through activities such as peer response (Ferris, 2002).
Working with others gives students the opportunity to interact with a variety of people and learn from one another. It also encourages cooperation which will help students get along in class and could reduce the number of students too. Via working in pairs, you get the experiences and good understanding about the ways of accomplishing tasks undertaken in workshops. The successful fulfillment of a group task normally implies that you have acquired very essential skills, especially analytical, interpersonal, and communicative competencies, highly demanded and appreciated by teachers. The capability to listen, ask question, convince, esteem the ideas of others, help, share and attend has lifelong value. In the group work with others, tasks can be broken into pieces and the workload can be distributed equally. In this way, students are able to deliver their ideas as well as learning from each other.
In fact, studies of peer interaction from a sociocultural perspective, particularly in L2 instructional contexts, have found that L2 learners can scaffold one another or mutually construct assistance in ways that are similar to how experts scaffold the performance of novices in this way.
Pair work does a great job for exercising different language skills, word checks, as well as completing worksheets. By working in pairs, students gain plenty of practice time. In a group work, students will mostly have more confidence than the time they do exercises individually. In case students compete with their peers, they will be even more stimulated. Groups give students the chances to create more complicated texts, probe relationships between personages, gather knowledge together, and form a more sociable learning context. Also, there are more opportunities for self-correction or peer correction and for debates on a broader range of thoughts and ideas in a large amount. Additionally, you can enhance the working time students have by reducing the groups’ size to two. When you have a large class and require all of the groups to demonstrate materials at the end of the course, forming groups may be essential but you should restrict group size as much as you can. Nevertheless, social interactions and dialogues with others are concerned essentially for learning by social interactionist’ theorist, such as Vygotsky (2000), who stated that learning involves the internalization of social interaction processes which helps the learner progress from complex to conceptual thinking.
In peer response, students gain lots of chances to brainstorm ideas in peer or group forms, yield feedback on each other’s writing and edit for each other’s works.
Brown et al.

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