Promoting Writing Competence and Positive Attitudes among College Students in a CLIL English Course


  •  Sulaiman Alrabah    
  •  Shu-hua Wu    

Abstract

The study targeted a group of 27 students at a college in Kuwait who were enrolled in a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) English course during the academic year 2015-2016. The purpose of the study was to monitor students’ assessments of their writing competence in English and to measure their attitudes toward the CLIL course. Data collection utilized a total of five focus-group interviews with the students which were recorded and transcribed, and a category system was generated to describe the commonalities in the participants’ responses. Additionally, an online survey using Google Forms was based on the categories delineated from the interview data. The Microsoft Excel program was used for counting the means, standard deviations, and percentages for each of the survey items. The results of the study indicated that the majority of the students (80%) thought that the CLIL course enhanced their writing competence both within and beyond the sentence level. Writing skills within the sentence level included the accurate use of punctuation marks and capitalization rules. Writing skills beyond the sentence level included paragraph organization, use of proper transition words, and writing cause-and-effect paragraphs. Approximately 20% of the students did not think CLIL improved their writing competence beyond the sentence level. Furthermore, the students displayed highly positive attitudes toward all aspects of the CLIL course. Implications were drawn for specialized teacher training to cope with the demands of CLIL courses, and longitudinal studies to track students’ development of writing competence over time.



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