Mujgan Buyuktas Kara, Elke Van Steendam, Gert Rijlaarsdam, Huseyin Kuru


We implemented an intervention of four lessons and tested the effects of two instructional modes as compared to the regular curriculum practices for completing a synthesis task at the preparatory program of a Turkish university. Participants were 48 upper-intermediate EFL learners (mean age=18) assigned to three conditions. The presentational condition received direct strategy instruction supported by mnemonics; the modeling condition observed a video of a peer doing the task using the same strategies mnemonic. In the control condition, there was no explicit reference to strategies; rather, students inferred the necessary information about writing an effective synthesis text from the instruction and the lesson materials. We hypothesized that both of the experimental conditions would have a positive effect on students’ synthesis text quality and writing processes and that modeling of explicit strategy use would have an effect over and above the other conditions. Results showed that students in the modeling condition improved their source use skills significantly more than students in the presentational condition, which was maintained in the delayed posttest four weeks later. No statistically significant condition effect was observed for content and authenticity of students’ texts. The modeling condition also showed and reported a more process-oriented approach to writing.  

Full Text:



Baker, S., Gersten, R., & Graham, S. (2003). Teaching expressive writing to students with learning disabilities: Research-based applications and examples. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36, 109 - 123.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social privates of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1987). The psychology of written composition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Berninger, V. W., & Swanson, H. L. (1994). Modification of the Hayes and Flower model to explain beginning and developing writing. In E. Butterfield (Ed.), Advances in cognition and educational practice. Children’s writing: Toward a process theory of development of skilled writing (Vol. 2, pp. 57–82). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Bouwer, R., Béguin, A., Sanders, T., & Van den Bergh, H. (2015). Effect of genre on the generalizability of writing scores. Language Testing, 32(1), 83-100. doi: 10.1177/0265532214542994

Braaksma, M. A. H., Rijlaarsdam, G., & Van den Bergh, H. (2002). Observational learning and the effects of model-observer similarity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 405-415.

Braaksma, M. A. H., Rijlaarsdam, G., Van den Bergh, H., & Van Hout-Wolters, B. H. A. M. (2004). Observational learning and its effects on the orchestration of writing processes. Cognition & Instruction, 22, 1–36.

Braaksma, M. A. H., Van den Bergh, H., Rijlaarsdam, G., & Couzijn, M. (2001). Effective learning activities in observation tasks when learning to write and read argumentative texts. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 1, 33e48.

Breetvelt, I., Van den Bergh, H., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (1994). Relations between writing processes and text quality: When and how? Cognition and Instruction, 12(2), 103-123.

British Council (2015). The State of English in Higher Education in Turkey. A Baseline Study. Retrieved August, 2016, from

Brunstein, J. C., & Glaser, C. (2011). Testing a path-analytic mediation model of how self-regulated writing strategies improve fourth graders’ composition skills: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(4), 922–938.

Clachar, A. (2000). Opposition and Accommodation: "An Examination of Turkish Teachers' Attitudes toward Western Approaches to the Teaching of Writing" Research in the Teaching of English, 35(1), 66-100. Retrieved from

De La Paz, S. & Graham (2002). Explicitly teaching strategies, skills, and knowledge: Writing instruction in middle school classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94 (4), 687 – 698.

De La Paz, S. (2005). Teaching historical reasoning and argumentative writing in culturally and academically diverse middle school classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 139–158.

De Groot, A. D. (1980). Over leerervaringen en leerdoelen [About learning experiences and teaching goals] Handboek voor de onderwijspraktijk, 10 (november), B.1-B. 18. Deventer, The Netherlands: Van Loghum Slaterus.

Dörnyei, Z. (2009). The 2010s. Communicative Language Teaching in the 21st Century: The “Principled Communicative Approach”. Perspectives, 36(2), 33-43.

Erkan, Y. D., & Saban, A. I. (2011). Writing performance relative to writing apprehension, self-efficacy in writing, and attitudes towards writing: A correlational study in Turkish tertiary-level EFL. The Asian EFL Journal Quarterly, 13(1), 163-191.

Fidalgo, R., Torrance, M., & Garcia, J. N. (2008). The long-term effects of strategy focused writing instruction for grade six students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33(4), 672–693.

Fidalgo, R., Torrance, M., Rijlaarsdam, G., van den Bergh, H., & Álvarez, M. L. (2015). Strategy-focused writing instruction: Just observing and reflecting on a model benefits 6th grade students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 41, 37-50.

Flower, L. S., & Hayes, J. R. (1977). Problem-solving strategies and the writing process. College English, 39(4), 449-461.

Flower, L.,& Hayes, J. (1981). A cognitive process theory of writing. College Composition and Communication, 32, 365 - 387.

Grabe, W., & Stoller, F. L. (2001). Teaching and researching reading. London: Pearson Education.

Graham, S. (2006). Strategy instruction and the teaching of writing: A meta-analysis. In C. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of writing research (pp. 187 207). New York: Guilford.

Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (2003). Students with learning disabilities and the process of writing: A meta-analysis of SRSD studies. In L. Swanson, K. R. Harris, & S. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of research on learning disabilities (pp. 383–402). New York: Guilford.

Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(3), 445-476.

Groenendijk, T., Janssen, T., Rijlaarsdam, G., & Van den Bergh, H. (2008). How do secondary school students write poetry? How creative writing processes relate to final products. L1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8(3), 57-80.

Groenendijk, T., Janssen, T., Rijlaarsdam, G., & Van den Bergh, H. (2013). Learning to be creative. The effects of observational learning on students' design products and processes. Learning and Instruction, 28, 35-47.

Harris, K. R., & Graham, S. (1996). Making the writing process work: Strategies for composition and self-regulation. Cambridge, MA: Brookline.

Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. Guilford Press.

Hinkel, E. (2015). Effective curriculum for teaching second language writing: Principles and techniques. Routledge: New York.

Kirkgoz, Y. (2005). ‘English language teaching in Turkey: Challenges for the 21st century’, in G. Braine (Ed.), Teaching English to the world: History, curriculum, and practice (pp. 159-175). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kirkgoz, Y. (2007). English language teaching in Turkey: Policy changes and their implementations, Regional Language Centre Journal, 38(2), 216-228.

Klein, J., & Taub, D. (2005). The effect of variations in handwriting and print on evaluation of student essays. Assessing Writing, 10(2), 134-148.

Leki, I., & Carson, J. (1997). Completely different worlds: EAP and the writing experiences of ESL students in university courses. TESOL quarterly, 31(1), 39-69.

Malhotra, N. K. (1991). Mnemonics in marketing: A pedagogical tool. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 19(2), 141-149.

Manchón, R. (Ed.). (2009). Writing in foreign language contexts: Learning, teaching, and research (Vol. 43). Multilingual Matters.

Martínez, I., Mateos, M., Martín, E., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2015). Learning history by composing synthesis texts: Effects of an instructional programme on learning, reading and writing processes, and text quality. Journal of Writing Research, 7(2).

Mason, L.H., Hickey Snyder, K., Sukhram, D.P., & Kedem, Y. (2006). Self-regulated strategy development for expository reading comprehension and informative writing: Effects for nine 4th grade students who struggle with learning. Exceptional Children, 73, 69–89.

Mason, L.H., Reid, R., & Hagaman, J. (2012). Building comprehension in adolescents: Powerful strategies for improving reading and writing in content areas. Baltimore: Brooks Publishing Co. Inc.

Mateos, M., & Solé, I. (2009). Synthesising information from various texts: A study of procedures and products at different educational levels. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 24(4), 435-451.

McPherson, F. (2000). The memory key. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books.

Ozsevik, Z. (2010). The Use of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT): Turkish EFL Teachers’ Perceived Difficulties in Implementing CLT in Turkey. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from:

Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A. F., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. J. (1991). A manual for the use of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire (MSLQ). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, National Center for Research to Improve Postsecondary Teaching and Learning.

Plakans, L. (2009). The role of reading strategies in integrated L2 writing tasks. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 8, 252–266.

Reber, A. S. (1976). Implicit learning of synthetic languages: The role of instructional set. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 2, 88-94.

Rijlaarsdam, G., Braaksma, M., Couzijn, M., Janssen, T., Kieft, M., & Broekkamp, H. (2005). Psychology and the teaching of writing in 60 minutes. In P. Tomlinson, J. Dockrell, & P. Winne (Eds.), Pedagogy and the Teaching for learning. BJEP monograph, Series II, No. 3 (pp. 127e153). Leicester, UK: The British Psychological Society.

Rijlaarsdam, G., & Couzijn, M. (2000) Writing and learning to write: a double challenge. In R. J. Simons, J. van der Linden, & T. Duffy. (Eds.), New Learning. (pp. 157-189). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Rijlaarsdam, G., Van den Bergh, H., & Van Steendam, E. (2015). Writing process theory: A functional Dynamic Approach. In: MacArthur C., Graham S., Fitzgerald J. (Eds.), Handbook of Writing Research, Chapter 4. New York: The Guilford Press, 57-71.

Sawyer, R. J., Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (1992). Direct teaching, strategy instruction,

and strategy instruction with explicit self-regulation—Effects on the composition

skills and self-efficacy of students with learning-disabilities. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 340–352.

Schellings, G., & Van Hout-Wolters, B. (2011). Measuring strategy use with self-report instruments: theoretical and empirical considerations. Metacognition and Learning, 6(2), 83-90.

Schoonen, R. (2005). Generalizability of writing scores: An application of structural equation modeling. Language Testing, 22(1), 1–30.

Schoonen, R., van Gelderen, A., de Glopper, K., Hulstijn, J., Simis, A., Snellings, P., & Stevenson, M. (2003). First language and second language writing: The role of linguistic knowledge, speed of processing, and metacognitive knowledge. Language learning, 53(1), 165-202.

Schunk, D. H. (1996). Goal and self-evaluative influences during children's cognitive skill learning. American Educational Research Journal, 33, 359-382.

Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (1997). Social origins of self-regulatory competence. Educational psychologist, 32(4), 195-208.

Schunk, D. H, & Zimmerman, B. J. (Eds.). (1998). Self-regulated learning: From teaching to self-reflective practice. New York: The Guilford Press.

Spivey, N.N. (1997). The constructivist metaphor. New York: Academic Press.

Sonnenschein, S., & Whitehurst, G. J. (1984). Developing referential communication: a hierarchy of skills. Child Development, 55, 1936e1945.

TechSmith. (2016). Camtasia [Computer Software].

Tillema, M. (2012). Writing in first and second language: Empirical studies on text quality and writing processes. Utrecht: LOT Dissertation Series.

Tillema, M., Van den Bergh, H., Rijlaarsdam, G., & Sanders, T. (2012). Quantifying the quality difference between L1 and L2 essays: A rating procedure with bilingual raters and L1 and L2 benchmark essays. Language Testing, 30(1), 71-97.

Torrance, M., Fidalgo, R., & García, J. N. (2007). The teachability and effectiveness of cognitive self-regulation in sixth-grade writers. Learning and instruction, 17(3), 265-285.

Torrance, M., Thomas, G. V., & Robinson, E. J. (1999). Individual differences in the writing behaviour of undergraduate students. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 69(2), 189-199.

Turkkollu, N. (1994). The error hierarchy of Turkish EFL teachers in their assessment of compositions (Master’s Thesis, Bilkent University). Retrieved from:

Van Steendam, E., Rijlaarsdam, G., Sercu, L., & Van den Bergh, H. (2010). The effect of instruction type and dyadic or individual emulation on the quality of higher-order peer feedback in EFL. Learning and Instruction, 20(4), 316-327. .

Veenman, M. V. J. (2011). Learning to self-monitor and self-regulate. In R. Mayer & P. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of research on learning and instruction (pp. 197–218). New York: Routledge.

Worthen, J. B., & Hunt, R. R. (2011). Mnemonology: Mnemonics for the 21st century. Psychology Press.

Yavuz, D. & Genc, A.B. (1998). Flexibility of setting up a writing unit at YADIM. Unpublished Action Research Study. Çukurova University, Adana, Turkey.

Zimmerman, B. J. (1977). Modeling. In H. Hom and P. Robinson (Eds.), Psychological processes in early education (pp. 37-70). New York: Academic.

Zimmerman, B. J. (1995). Self-efficacy and educational development. In A. Bandura (Ed.), Self-efficacy in changing societies (pp. 202-231). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Zimmerman, B. J., & Kitsantas, A. (2002). Acquiring writing revision and self-regulatory skill through observation and emulation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(4), 660–668.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Prof. Dr. İsmail Hakkı Mirici
Editor in Chief 

Near East University
Ataturk Faculty of Education

Near East Boulevard, 99138
Nicosia, TRNC
Mersin 10 - Turkey