Omani Undergraduate Students’, Teachers’ and Tutors’ Metalinguistic Understanding of Cohesion and Coherence in EFL Academic Writing and their Perspectives of Teaching Cohesion and Coherence
Al Siyabi, J
Date: 30 September 2019
University of Exeter
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education
My interpretive study aims to explore how EFL university students verbally articulate their understanding of cohesion and coherence, how they perceive the teaching of cohesion and coherence and how they reflect on the way they have attempted to actualise cohesion and coherence in their EFL academic texts. The study also looks at how ...
My interpretive study aims to explore how EFL university students verbally articulate their understanding of cohesion and coherence, how they perceive the teaching of cohesion and coherence and how they reflect on the way they have attempted to actualise cohesion and coherence in their EFL academic texts. The study also looks at how their writing teachers and tutors metalinguistically understand cohesion and coherence, and how they perceive issues related to the teaching/tutoring of cohesion and coherence. It has researched the situated realities of students, teachers and tutors through semi-structured interviews, and is informed by Halliday and Hasan’s (1976) taxonomy on cohesion and coherence. Further, the study employs text analysis of students’ essays to find out how well students write with cohesion and coherence. It explores the diversity, density and accuracy of cohesion devices as well as some coherence-related concepts (i.e. text unity, content, logic, writer’s subject and background knowledge and relationships with the reader). The study is largely qualitative, but it also has a quantitative element. It implements the triangulation of different sources of information: three participant groups (students, teachers and tutors) and two research methods (semi-structured interviews and text analysis). The study findings indicate that the students found it hard to verbally articulate what cohesion and coherence are, and defined the two terms through referring more to concepts that were related to coherence than cohesion. They also struggled with writing cohesive and coherent texts. There were also some synergies and discrepancies between teachers and tutors in how they metalinguistically understood cohesion and coherence, and how they perceived issues related to the teaching of cohesion and coherence. The study offers a deep discussion on its findings regarding its context and the prevailing body of research in the area. Its discussion focuses on researching cohesion and coherence and metalinguistic understanding in writing. It also discusses the characteristics of students’ writing regarding their writing cohesion and coherence, the influence of Arabic on the cohesion and coherence of their EFL academic writing, and the teaching of cohesion and coherence. The study offers some significant implications that inform practice, decision making and future research.
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