CONTRIBUTIONS OF PRIOR KNOWLEDGE, MOTIVATION, AND STRATEGIES TO KOREAN COLLEGE STUDENTS' L2 WRITING DEVELOPMENT
Chae, Soo Eun
Alexander, Patricia A
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The current study examined Korean college students' L2 writing development and performance, motivation, and strategies while taking ESL writing classes. The present study expands the literature by examining the effects of various learner characteristics on L2 writing development. The selection and the expected effects of learner variables were particularly guided by the Model of Domain Learning (MDL). Prior work has demonstrated motivation, strategy, and prior knowledge are associated with L2 writing development. For example, a study by Leki (2007) showed L2 writing motivation (i.e., goals) to be related to L2 writing proficiency. He (2005) developed a model and a measure for assessing strategies relevant to motivation in L2 writing. The current study sought to expand and elaborate on previous works, as the extant L2 writing literature has been limited in showing changes in learning factors over time and in incorporating learner characteristics into studies of L2 writing. The current study sought to answer the following questions: 1. To what extent and in what manner do Korean college students' initial self-efficacy and interest contribute to changes in L2 writing performance over time?; 2. How are Korean college students' interest and self-efficacy at the beginning (Time 1) and at the conclusion (Time 3) of an L2 writing course related to L2 writing performance and self-reported strategiy use at time 1 and 3?; 3. How is Korean college students' prior L2 writing knowledge associated with their L2 writing motivation, self-reported strategy use, and writing performance? In order to answer these questions, a multi-methods design was performed, where interviews were used to support what was found in analyses results with self-report measures. Results based on growth curve modeling with cohort data at three time points suggested that students' motivational orientation significantly predicts Korean college students' L2 writing performance at the beginning of a semester. However, the influence of initial motivation on the growth rate of L2 writing proficiency, specifically L2 writing performance, was negative. The cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses in this study concluded that the contributions of motivation constructs to L2 writing performance depended on time. While there were a few exceptions (i.e., non-significant relation between L2 prior knowledge and students' interest at Time 1), study findings generally indicated that L1 and L2 writing prior knowledge were significantly related to L2 writing motivation, performance, and strategy use. In addition, interview data demonstrated students' level of L2 writing self-efficacy, interest, and strategy uses. While the records from self-report data and interview data did not perfectly match, the two data sets were similar.