The Effectiveness of Corpus- Based Approach to Language Description in Creating Corpus-Based Exercises to Teach Writing Personal Statements

  •  Norah Almutairi    


Using corpora in language teaching has revolutionized language research with its ‘authentic’ appeal. Corpus tools have enabled linguistic researchers and teachers to investigate actual usages and the characteristics of certain genres in order to improve syllabus design and infer more effective classroom exercises. From this perspective, this paper attempts to use corpus tools to investigate the characteristics of one of the most important requirements of university programs admissions which is the personal statement. Despite the immense importance of writing a personal statement in the lives of students wanting to enroll in universities, little research has been conducted on its instructions. More importantly, teaching its features to university students has been neglected although personal statements are an essential genre that should be emphasized in academic writing classes or university preparation courses. The paper aims to investigate if compiling a corpus of personal statements can lead to creating an effective corpus-based activities to be taught in teaching writing a personal statement. Then the paper attempts to evaluate the pedagogical implications of using corpus-based activities and criticized the weaknesses and strengths of corpora as a resource in language teaching. This paper chose to focus on personal statements collected from law students due to the high demand on law colleges in Saudi Arabia and the difficulty of admission requirements. This study used Sketch Engine® to complie a corpus of sixty-seven personal statement with a total word count of 50, 691, then analysed the lexio-grammatical features. The results were used to create corpus-based excersises to be taught in writing courses teaching personal statements.

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