Thesis statement on group dynamics

The teachers of both groups completed a classroom behavior profile shown in Appendix F and wrote observation reports of students' behavior during peer review. The main purpose of the present study was to examine the nature of peer response in the foreign language and second language writing of student populations in two different learning settings: Israel and the U.

The focus of the study was on the question of whether there were differences in peer responses and whether there were differences in attitudes toward peer response between students in the two countries. An underlying assumption was that students from different cultures would use different social rules for criticizing a peer's writing and that there would be a difference in peer dynamics between a relatively homogeneous EFL group in Israel and a heterogeneous ESL group in the U.

As this cross-cultural study was a preliminary exploration of the two environments, other differences within the multicultural ESL group were not examined. The careful structuring of the peer response task facilitated the comparison between the Israeli FL group and the U.

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L2 group. A comparison of the responses, as they appeared on the two peer response sheets, was done using the rubrics shown in Table 2. T-tests performed on these results revealed statistically significant differences on all three items.

The results are summarized in Table 3. T-tests performed on the Response Sheet 2 results showed statistically significant differences on main idea and topic sentence, on order of paragraphs, and on complete sentences. No statistically significant differences were found on the other items. The results are summarized in Table 4. Notable differences were found between the Israeli FL group and the U. L2 group in their peer responses. The scores of the Israelis on the two response sheets suggest a somewhat higher degree of cooperation in their revising behavior.

The most striking difference between the groups was in the amount of writing done on the peer response sheets and the specificity of the comments. The students in the U.

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The Israelis, on the other hand, wrote briefer comments. Extensive comments by U. There were some responses that were irrelevant to the question on the response sheet. For example, in answer to the question on paragraph order on Response Sheet 2, a U. An example of the personal involvement of some U.

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I am confused now. As responses to the general impression question, two other U. One wrote: "My general impression is even we know that we are going to die, we have to be patient and wait. Don't kill yourself, just wait until what's going to happen, because life is a gift from God. Don't make yourself to live or to die. Just wait what's going to happen. Sometimes a miracle occurs.

So you have to precious your life. The brief comments of the Israeli peers were for the most part devoid of personal reactions. Instead, they gave practical suggestions.

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An example of an Israeli peer response to a question on body paragraphs was, "The second reason should be more detailed. It should also be noted that many Israelis exhibit an instrumental approach to learning. Most come to the university as older students, after a period of army service, and they want to get through their studies expediently. This may be reflected in the brevity of their comments. A tendency in the U. The Israeli group tended to be more supportive.

But it doesn't contain the necessary facts, evidences that could convince the reader. It's that I need more examples. I think my thesis argument and topic sentence are strong enough to support my main idea. The Israelis tended to be more supportive in general, usually responding to the general impression question with praise.

It should be noted, however, that when Israeli peers made negative comments, they were specific and relevant.

For example, in response to the question on body paragraphs, one Israeli peer wrote, "The second argument isn't expressed well enough. I suggest to emphasize the difficulty to adapt to a partner in life. You have to write 2 reasons why the number of demonstrations should be minimized. It should be emphasized that in both groups, more extensive comments were made mainly by students with a higher language proficiency.

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These students seemed to feel more confident about their critical evaluations as well. Another explanation of the difference in the amount of comments between the groups arises from teacher observations of the peer response sessions. In the Israeli group, there was much more oral response than was reflected in the written comments. The oral response sessions were experienced by the Israeli students as a lively process of negotiation. During those sessions, conducted in the students' common L1, the writers and reviewers engaged in a vibrant discussion of the essays, arguing back and forth on specific points, asking for clarification, defending positions, and negotiating the development of the essay.

When it was time to put this down in writing on the peer response sheet, however, the enthusiasm declined somewhat and the resulting comments in most cases were brief. According to the teacher's observations, the students in the U. Although they engaged in a productive oral discussion, it appeared to the teacher that lack of a common L1 as well as the cultural diversity of the U.

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Moreover, the teacher noted a certain atmosphere of conflict in the group. One example of a U. He did not indicate whether the paragraphs were in the best possible order See Appendix D , Question 4 ; instead, he stated that he would do the essay differently. Another example of an unwillingness to actively help a fellow student was in the response, "I don't have time to find the thesis statement. He had few positive comments and felt that his fellow students were not capable of offering constructive comments about his writing.

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Consequently, the other students did not want him as a peer responder. The differences in the two learning environments affected the dynamics of the peer response session. As evidenced in the observation reports of the oral sessions, the Israeli group, with Hebrew as their common L1, was able to engage in productive peer response sessions. Their verbal exchanges were understood by all the members of the group and trusted for the most part. They shared similar types of speech and attitudes about criticism. This observation is in line with the findings of Villamil and de Guerrero The researchers noted that the use of a common L1 provided a means of task control for the ESL Spanish students in their study.

The common L1 served as a facilitator for conducting their discussions and for solving revision problems.

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Alongside the differences observed between the two groups, it should be noted that during the peer process, the revision behavior of the students in both learning environments underwent similar changes. In the initial stages of peer discussion, most of the students in both groups expressed a product-oriented approach to writing and had less understanding of the need for examining the writing process.

The students' focus was on finding mistakes and fixing them so that they could get a better grade. Over time and with training, students did learn to value the process aspect of composition.