by Myriam Abdel-Malek

Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Year: 2017
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2154076
Full text PDF: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/31510/1/Abdel-Malek_Myriam-Dissertation.pdf;http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/31510/


Studies with English language learners have demonstrated that the genre-based approach to writing informed by systemic functional linguistics (SFL) provides teachers and students support during reading and writing instruction. Nevertheless, in foreign language (FL) contexts, research on the application of this approach is still in its infancy. Additionally, there are no studies done in the less commonly-taught languages context, such as Arabic. This mixed methods study investigated the application of the genre-based approach in a second semester university level Arabic class with 15 students during a three-week unit of study. The purpose of this study was to (1) conduct a functional grammatical analysis of the Arabic Recount genre, (2) document the qualitative and quantitative changes in students writing of an Arabic Recount genre after the genre-based approach was implemented compared to students initial writing, (3) examine the relationship between learning to write a Recount and reading a Recount in the same genre, and (4) observe the metalanguage students used during the joint construction of a Recount with their instructor. Data came from pretest and posttest scores of a written Recount, reading comprehension test scores of a Recount, a post-study survey, transcription of video-taped genre-based lessons, and an SFL analysis of pretest and posttest for a focal group of students. Findings revealed that students Recount genre writing significantly improved on the posttest compared to the pretest because of the genre-based approach to writing the Recount. The qualitative analysis for the pretest and posttest corroborated the statistical analysis and depicted the lexico-grammatical variations and challenges in students Recount writing, indicating the features that would need additional emphasis during instruction. Findings also showed that there was no relationship between the writing of a Recount and reading a text in the same genre, which pointed to the need for scaffolding of explicit instruction in reading various genres. Additionally, findings on the metalanguage use showed that metalanguage served as a functional, rather than formal, concept. Discussion of the pedagogical and research implications of the findings indicates valuable areas for future research.