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MotivatingPolishMaturaStudentsToWriteInEnglish-GESICKA.pdf (3.89 MB)

Motivating Polish Matura Students to Write in English

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thesis
posted on 2022-12-08, 09:10 authored by Barbara Gesicka

The thesis presents the action research that was conducted among 129 students and 5 teachers in th e Polish secondary school in Łódź. The main research question investigated in this thesis is: how can Polish Matura students be best motivated to write in English. Before starting this action research a questionnaire was prepared to elicit the students' and teachers' attitudes to writing in English. The participants put the language skills in the order of importance and the results showed that writing was considered as the skill most difficult to teach and learn. To investigate this problem in more detail, the action research started with the preliminary stage, when the researcher analysed the participants' background and factors influencing their opinions about writing in English. The results showed the negative perception of writing skills as difficult and time consuming. The research evidence indicated that although the students were generally motivated to write in English, this motivation was mostly influenced by grades and exams, and rarely triggered independent development for future purposes. As far as teachers were concerned, the research evidence showed that there was a mismatch between teachers' and students' perceptions of what is interesting, relevant and motivating in writing activities. In the students' view, there was a need to extend the range of types of activities and topics, to rethink their relevance to students' individual needs and interests, to relinquish teacher’s control to encourage the students’ autonomy and incorporate the students’ motivation gained outside the school context. 

A set of innovative techniques was designed to be consistent both with the results of the preliminary research, and with current theoretical and methodological theories of EFL writing and motivation. The process of implementing these techniques during Intervention 1 is presented. After Intervention 1 the results were analysed and interpreted and the modified techniques were implemented during Intervention 2 to address the remaining difficulties such as reluctance to engage personally in designing tasks and discouraging influence of failure. At this stage the potential usefulness of these techniques in motivating Matura students to write in English was assessed and validated. The results showed a number of positive outcomes such as significantly better motivation and self perception of the students, positive response to audience, critical involvement with the text, and sharing ideas for writing. 

In the light of theoretical arguments and the research evidence presented, the thesis concluded that it is possible and desirable to design innovative techniques of motivating Matura students to engage in independent development of writing skills for future purposes. Considering wider implications, these innovative techniques, or parts of them, could be adapted and applied in other contexts.

History

Qualification name

  • PhD

Supervisor

Timmis, Ivor

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date

2016-01-01

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Language

  • eng

Publisher

Leeds Beckett University

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