Topic familiarity, writing performance and critical thinking skills of English department students

Indah, Rohmani Nur (2013) Topic familiarity, writing performance and critical thinking skills of English department students. Doctoral thesis, State University of Malang.

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Abstract

The present study explores critical thinking skills and writing performance of argumentative writing based on topic familiarity. It seeks the evidence for the best pattern of relationship among topic familiarity, writing performance and critical thinking skills. Understanding the patterns of relationship of the three variables is an important step to develop teaching syllabus, material and evaluation method on writing courses. Moreover, examining these skills and finding the patterns of relationship are equal to the steppingstone to further develop learners’ academic achievement and their future academic success. Therefore, this study examined the path model to figure out the true contribution of topic familiarity toward writing performance and critical thinking skills.
This study was carried out by employing the ex-post-facto design to English Department students at UIN Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang as the accessible population. All of 121 students taking Writing III course were taken as the sample. The instruments used were writing prompts and rubrics for assessing topic familiarity, writing performance and critical thinking skills. Pilot studies were done prior to the data collection to ensure that the instruments are reliable and valid to achieve the objective of the study. To collect the data on the scores of topic familiarity students are asked to write the mind maps based on the prompts. While the data on the scores of the writing performance and critical thinking skills were taken from the students’ argumentative essays based on the prompts. Path Analysis was used to figure out the best pattern of relationship among topic familiarity, writing performance and critical thinking skills.
The verified patterns of relationship show that on student initiated topic critical thinking skills are initiated by topic familiarity and can be mediated by writing performance. Topic familiarity also has direct contribution toward critical thinking skills on student initiated topic. Similarly, on teacher initiated topic, critical thinking skills are initiated by topic familiarity and can be mediated by writing performance as well. However, as there is no significant relationship between the topic familiarity of teacher initiated topic and critical thinking skills, the topic familiarity of teacher initiated topic does not have direct contribution toward critical thinking skills. The finding also indicates that the verified path model serves as the best pattern and can be used as a framework to predict the success of the students’ critical thinking skills. Within the verified patterns of relationship, the writing performance in teacher initiated topic records the highest contribution toward critical thinking skills. It identifies the strong bond between writing performance and critical thinking skills as supported by several studies. It means that the higher the students’ writing performance the better reflection of their critical thinking skills will be. As the implication, writing teachers should foster the students’ writing skills regardless the type of topic chosen to develop their critical thinking skills.
Based on the findings, several recommendations are made. English educators are suggested to integrate the training of critical thinking into English language teaching contexts. Writing teachers are suggested to encourage students to develop their background knowledge on various topics for better critical thinking and guide students through effective modelling. Future researchers are recommended to explore critical thinking in broader population, using other instruments to assess different types of writing modes and to see the reflection of critical thinking in various field of expertise.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2003 Language Studies > 200302 English Language
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Department of English Language and Letters
Depositing User: Dr. Rohmani Nur Indah
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2016 09:16

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