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Teaching ecuadorian efl university students academic writing utilizing sentence structure formulas

Author: 
Angel M. Dávila and Erika V. Espinoza J.
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

This exploratory sequential mixed methods study investigated the effects of using sentence structure formulas to teach EFL university students basic academic writing skills. Thirty level B2 EFL students from an Ecuadorian university participated in this research. Two types of data were collected and analyzed, namely, qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data were gathered through semi-structured interviews. Quantitative data were collected through opinion academic essays administered both at the beginning and at the end of a pedagogical intervention using sentence structure formulas. Findings revealed that assisting academic writing with sentence structure formulas helps EFL students write more well-structured academic essays. Three major positive effects were found: 1) use of more varied sentence types and sentence patterns in academic essays, 2) less errors with complements of main verbs, and 3) less punctuation errors. The results showed that pedagogical interventions focused on sentence structure can be applied as a first stage in the process of teaching academic writing. Participants said that they felt more confident to write academic essays after they were taught the different sentence structure formulas, both based on punctuation and on the six types of verbs that constitute the essence of sentences in English. This study suggests that EFL learners may benefit from focusing on sentence structure formulas when they are at the onset of their academic writing learning process.

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