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Young CLIL learners' perceptions of their strategy use during an on-line writing task

by Yvette Coyle & Julio Roca de Larios  (University of Murcia, Spain)

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While research on early language learning has increased considerably in recent years, children’s L2 writing underexplored as an area of inquiry. A small number of studies framed within the writing-to-learn-the-language strand of L2 research (Manchón, 2011) have explored children’s FL writing and feedback processing within an instructional context (Coyle & Roca de Larios, 2020; Coyle et al; 2018; Roca de Larios et al, 2021). This research has contributed to our understanding of the potential impact of both on fostering children’s FL development. Yet despite the spread of content-based language teaching across Europe, little is known about children’s writing in CLIL classrooms. Most CLIL research to date has tended to be product-oriented and concerned with comparing the written performance of older high school students with that of learners in mainstream EFL classrooms (Gené-Gil et al (2015; Roquet & Pérez-Vidal, 2015). As a result, there is a lack of information on the cognitive processes children employ while engaging in writing tasks and, specifically on the strategic actions involved in planning, composing and monitoring their FL output. The study presented here addresses this research gap by identifying the writing strategies reported by a group of 9-10-year-old CLIL learners while writing a sequential explanation text in English (Brisk, 2015) during a live Zoom session with the researchers. On completing the written task, stimulated recall interviews were conducted to elicit information on the learners’ perceptions of their own writing processes. The interview data was transcribed and the resulting protocols coded using categories adapted from Macaro (2007) and Campillo et al (2012). Analysis of the data revealed that the multimodal classroom activities the children had engaged in prior to the written task influenced their strategic behaviour, particularly in relation to processes of planning and formulation. Pre-task planning was found to facilitate the writing task although difficulties in information retrieval while composing led some children to resort to compensatory strategies to solve their language-related problems. The findings will be discussed and conclusions drawn for teaching and researching writing with younger learners.

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References:

 

Brisk, María Estela (2015). Engaging students in academic literacies. Routledge.

 

Campillo Ferrer, José María  / López Serrano, Sonia / Roca de Larios, Julio (2018). “Spanish children’s use of writing strategies when composing texts in English as a foreign language”. In: Learning to Write Effectively: Current Trends in European Research 25, 191.

 

Coyle, Yvette / Roca de Larios, Julio (2020). “Exploring young learners’ engagement with models as a written corrective technique in EFL and CLIL settings”. In: System, vol. 95.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2020.102374

 

Coyle, Yvette / Cánovas Guirao, Josefa / Roca de Larios, Julio (2018). “Identifying the trajectories of young EFL learners across multi-stage writing and feedback processing tasks with model texts”. In: Journal of Second Language Writing 42. 25-43.

 

Gené-Gil, Maria / Juan-Garau, Maria / Salazar-Noguera, Joana (2015). “Development of EFL writing over three years in secondary education: CLIL and non-CLIL settings”. In: The Language Learning Journal 43 (3). 286-303.

 

Macaro, Ernesto (2007). “Do near-beginner learners of French have any writing strategies?”. In: Language Learning Journal 35. 23-35.

 

Manchón, Rosa (2011). “Writing to learn the language”. In: Manchón, Rosa (ed.). Learning-to-Write and Writing-to-Learn in an Additional Language. 61-82. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company.

 

Roca de Larios, Julio / García Hernández, Francisco Javier / Coyle, Yvette (2021). “A theoretically-grounded classification of EFL children’s formulation strategies in collaborative writing”. In: Language Teaching for Young Learners 2. 300-336.

 

Roquet, Helena / Pérez-Vidal, Carmen (2015). ”Do productive skills improve in content and language integrated learning contexts? Thecase of writing”. In: Applied Linguistics 38 (4). 489-511.