Introducing Freewriting to a Japanese High School English Class

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Philip Head, University of Kochi

Reference Data:

Head, P. (2016). Introducing freewriting to a Japanese high school English class. In P. Clements, A. Krause, & H. Brown (Eds.), Focus on the learner. Tokyo: JALT.

This paper details a yearlong study of timed freewriting in two 1st-year high school English classes. Although there have been numerous studies on the effect of topic selection on fluency during timed freewriting in Japan, few have looked at student attitudes towards freewriting. In addition, previous research has focused almost exclusively on university EFL classes and has only taken place over the course of a single semester. In this study, four student surveys were collected during the yearlong writing project. These indicated that students gained confidence in their writing ability (although this remained low) and increased their enjoyment of writing. Furthermore, it was found that teacher comments motivated students to write and that students generally desired spelling and grammar correction. Finally, more students preferred writing about teacher-assigned topics than student-selected topics, often due to difficulty deciding what topic they would write about.