Document Type : research paper


1 Shahid Ashrafi Esfahani University

2 Shahid Ashrafi Esfahani University, Isfahan, Iran


The writing process is founded principally upon language learners’ decision making behaviors that are believed to be under the influence of their first language (L1) experiences. Hence, the main objectives of this study are (a) to investigate the extent to which activating cognitive processing strategies can improve second language (L2) learners’ writing skills, and (b) to explore whether L1 writing experiences are transferable to L2 writing situations. Therefore, a class of 33 sophomore students, in Advanced Writing course was selected. They were asked to write a short Persian paragraph on six different topics using different methods of paragraph development such as comparison and contrast, description, cause and effect, narration, process, and classification. Then, the whole term was divided into two main teaching periods, i.e. the Baseline and Treatment phases. Each teaching period consisted of three 2-week time intervals during which a particular type of paragraph development was practiced. To avoid order effect, the paragraph types assigned to Baseline and Treatment phases were randomly selected and assigned. Hence, paragraph types narration, classification, and comparison and contrast were administered during Treatment intervals and description, process and cause and effect were used for the Baseline intervals. The results indicated that triggering the proper cognitive processing and planning strategies would ameliorate the quality of written texts with various rhetorical purposes. However, the findings did not support the second objective of the study, i.e. L1/L2 transferability. This can indicate that teachers should focus on developing a number of strategies, keeping in mind that resorting to L1 composing abilities may not be the only and the best solution.


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