The Construction and Efficacy of Web-Based Interactive Teacher Commentary System Iii: Multi-Dimensional Analysis of Peer Review through Activity Theory
In L2 writing, giving written comments is one of the most important tasks for writing teachers and is highly rated by their students. Previous studies have mostly examined the effects of form-focused or content-focused feedback on the improvement of students’writing. In recent years, research in teacher commentary have noticed that how teachers give comments and how students take them in writing revision is a complex process, which may be affected by factors from teachers’ belief, the contexts where teachers are situated, and the relationship between teachers and students (Goldstein, 2005; Leki, 1990; Prior, 1995). This three-year project, drawn from the inspiration of research called for exploring the complexity of teacher commentary and peer review in L2 writing and for pedagogical implementations of increasing writing centers in Taiwan, aims to explore EFL writing teachers’ beliefs on their commentary, the types of comments they respond to student writing, and the influence of a Web-based Teacher Commentary System (WITCS), on teacher commentary and peer review. The project adopts Activity Theory as the theoretical framework of the project to explain the complex interwoven factors underlying teacher commentary and peer review. The project is conducted in three stages. In the first stage, the project targets five English writing teachers, three native speakers and two non-native speaking of English in a writing center at a public university and explore how they provide to written comments, how their personal and contextual factors influence their commentary, and how their students perceive teachers’ commentary to their revision. In the second stage of the project, WITCS will be developed based on the commentary types and teacher as well as students’ needs collected and analyzed from the data in the first stage of the project. The research focus aims to explore how WITCS, as a mediated artifact, play roles in writing teachers’ commenting behaviors and how both teachers and students perceive teacher commentary through the system. Activity Theory will serve as the theoretical and analytical model to identify the important elements in the process of teacher commentary via WITCS. The third stage aims to investigate the efficacy of using WITCS as an editing platform for peer review. The study will be conducted in two writing courses.The four writing task involving both peer review via face-to-face and WITCS will be examined. The results of the project are expected to provide an in-depth understanding of the process of teacher commentary from both teacher and student perspectives and the factors influencing teacher commentary and students’ adoption of teacher comments. The online commentary system is expected to increase the efficacy of teacher commentary and facilitate the process of giving and receiving teacher commentary in English writing classes. Finally, the examination of WITCS in teacher-student conferencing and peer review broadens the application of WITCS in feedback from other important sources. The pedagogical implication drawn from the study results may help writing teachers gain a better understanding about teacher commentary, computer-assisted commentary system, and peer review via different communicative and editing modes.