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The Impact of Habits of Mind (HoM)–based Strategies on Enhancing EFL Writing Skills and Self- Efficacy for Preparatory School Pupils

Mansoura University

Faculty of Education

Curriculum & Instruction Dept

Screenshot 2023-12-16 at 4.05.43 PM

The Impact of Habits of Mind (HoM)–based Strategies on Enhancing EFL Writing Skills and Self- Efficacy for Preparatory School Pupils

M.A degree in Education 

Submitted by

Nancy Gamal Ali El-Nagar

Supervisors:

Dr. Aly AbdelSamea Qoura

Professor of TEFL
Curriculum & Instruction Dept
Faculty of Education
Mansoura University

Dr. Rehab Hamadtoh Abu-Alghait Gohar

Lecturer of Curriculum & Instruction:
TEFL
Faculty of Education
Mansoura University

The Impact of Habits of Mind (HoM)–based Strategies on Enhancing EFL Writing Skills and Self- Efficacy for Preparatory School Pupils.

By

Nancy Gamal Ali El-Nagar

Supervisors

Dr. Aly AbdelSamea Qoura

Dr. Rehab Hamadtoh Abu-Alghait Gohar

Abstract

This study aimed at investigating the impact of using Habits of mind-based strategies (HoM) on improving preparatory stage students writing skills and self-efficacy. To fulfill the purpose of the study, three instruments were constructed; a HoM checklist  designed by the researcher to determine the most important HoM  needed at this stage, a pre-post writing test, and a self-efficacy scale used befor and after the experiment to measure pupils’ self-efficacy towards writing EFL. The validity and reliability of the study instruments were established before their use in the study. The study adopted the quasi-experimental design. The sample of the study consisted of 60 pupils randomly selected from prep two  grade of Al-Nasr English School, in Tanta city, where 30pupils represented the experimental group and 30 represented the control group.  The HoM-based strategies  training was administered to the experimental group, whereas the control group received the regular teaching. Results of the post administration of the study instruments revealed that HoMSs led to significant improvement in pupils writing skills, and their self-efficacy. Therefore, it was concluded that using HoMSs was highly effective in improving the participants’ performance. 

Introduction

Learning English as a foreign language needs a variety of social, psychological environments and attention. Learners need a chance to use the target language in real situations in order to be successful. In order to create a better educational environment that encourages learners to be improved, this could happen through communication, attitudes, and skills, sharing and exchanging values. So, the emphasis in teaching English as a foreign language may be placed on their personal and professional needs. The primary aim of English language teaching in EFL program is to develop communicative competence to help learners produce fluent language which is correct and appropriate in social situations. 

Writing is very important for communication. A person can communicate a great number of messages to all kinds of readers only through writing. Pupils need regular opportunities at school to practice writing in all subjects. Pupils can be better writers by following a consistent approach to the writing process in all subject areas and by following explicit instructions in writing. 

Boscolo & Hidi (2006) pointed out that writing is a complex activity involving cognitive, metacognitive and affective processes and demanding the mastery of different types of knowledge.

Effective writing skills are considered to be indispensable to participate and communicate in contemporary society. Therefore, education is found accountable for preparing children to be socially active by giving them high quality writing and supporting them to develop essential writing skills (Zimmerman, 2007).

In order to help school pupils write better, a number of studies focused on making the pupils deal with writing habitually, to think in English and express their thinking through writing. So, some studies focused on habits of mind (HoM) as a means to do so.

HoM are “the characteristics of what intelligent people do when they are confronted with problems, the resolutions of what immediately apparent” ( Costa & Kallick, 2004).

Costa (2008) indicated that when we teach with the HoM, we are interested in how students behave when they do not know an answer. The HoM are sound in response to problems and questions. HoM are intellectual behaviors that lead to productive actions. HoM include making choices about which patterns we should use at a certain time because it is a composite of many skills, past experiences, cues, and attitudes which means that we prefer one pattern of intellectual behavior over another.

Self-efficacy was considered to be responsible for second and foreign language learning achievement to a greater degree. The use of HoMSs in the classes may improve the learners’ self-efficacy about their writing. Bandura (2000) stated that “when faced with obstacles… those with a strong belief in their capabilities will redouble their efforts to master the challenge”.

Self-efficacy is “what people believe they can do with whatever skills and abilities they possess” (Bong & Skaalvic,2003). Students with positive self-efficacy tend to deal with a demanding task as a challenge; on the other hand, students with negative self-efficacy beliefs tend to avoid challenging tasks and difficulties (Kim & Lorsbach, 2005).

As for academic context, students’ ability to carry out the tasks can be predicted through their self-efficacy beliefs (Skaalvik, 2008). Self-efficacy influences the individuals’ strength of commitment and aspirations, analytical thinking, motivation, and confronting obstacles and problems (Jungert, 2009).

In spite of the importance of the writing skill, a great number of studies developing difficulty in their studies such as (Masood, 2005; Isa 2012) Also, HoM-based strategies training, hence considerable effective in helping students to improve their writing skill (Schwartner, 2005).

The present study tries to investigate the effectiveness of a HoM-based strategies in developing EFL preparatory school pupils writing skills and their self-efficacy.

⬥ Review of literature

The Writing Skill

Writing skill has been defined by many researchers as Oluwadia (1992) pointed out that writing is a process which can relate feelings of the students and thoughts together to communicate by discovering the most efficient form of language. Similarly, Haring-Smith (1994) defined writing as a social activity and a process of sharing thoughts or opinions with someone else. 

Brunning & Horn (2000) suggested that this complex process creates motivational challenges for writers. Especially novice writers experience cognitive constraints while composing texts. Silva and Leki (2004) described writing as a sociocultural cognitive process. Learning writing in a new language is considered a complex task that involves socialization.

Boscolo & Hidi (2006) pointed out that writing is a complex activity involving cognitive, metacognitive and affective processes and demanding the mastery of different types of knowledge. According to the social cultural theory, writing can no longer be seen as a lonely endeavor. But, Writing is considered a social activity in which co participation and guided instruction are basic (Nolen, 2007).

McKinley (2013) defined writing as a difficult and sophisticated process to learn. Achieving mastery is not only grammatical patterns but also the rule of writing such as high degree of organization in ideas and also choosing the appropriate vocabularies and sentence structure to create a style which is appropriate to subject matter.

Based on the previous definitions, the researcher  defined writing skill in this study as a means for communication, reinforcement, training, and fluency. Moreover, writing is a social activity and a sophisticated process which demands construct grammatically correct sentences and communicating ideas to the reader.

Importance of writing:

 Mastery of writing today means more than mastering basic skills and conventions. Writing proficiently involves learning to solve problems creatively, collaborating effectively, and participating in dynamic communities of practice (Johnson –Eiola, 1997).Writing is a translation of thinking and basic to learning. Writing tasks are critical tools for intellectual and social development (Horn & Brunning, 2000). Hyland (2002) described writing as a ”social-practice” embedded in the cultural context in which it is produced. Writing is considered an important way of language learning, and has been known as the base of education.

Johnstone (2002) indicated that writing includes three elements which are: long term memory that involves idea of the topic and plans, environment of the task which includes the problems, and finally the processes of writing that include monitoring sub-processes.

Leki (2003) added that writing plays a great role in professional advancement. So, learning to write is considered a proof that one has learned a language. Reeve (2005) mentioned that writing was the base of other skills and is not separated in the ESL. Effective writing skills are considered to be indispensable to participate and communicate in contemporary society. Therefore, education is found accountable for preparing children to be socially active by giving them high quality writing and supporting them to develop essential writing skills (Zimmerman, 2007)

Isleem (2012) indicated the importance of writing as follows:

  1. It is important in helping students to express their creativity and to communicate. In addition to that, it is crucial in developing linguistics and concepts of the students.

  2. Writing enhances the structure, idioms, and grammar which in turn help the non-natives to learn the English language. It also, helps students to take risks and explore their ideas. 

  3. Writing has a great role in the professional and academic success.

  4. In educational contexts, writing is basic for thinking and learning. It is also important in social development. 

Writing sub- skills

Palmer (1986) analyzed the writing skills in the following way:-

  1. Graphical skills: Punctuation and spelling.
  2. Grammatical skills: pupils’ ability to use various sentence constructions successfully. 
  3. Rhetorical skills: five elements exist under rhetorical skills (invention, arrangement, diction, memory and delivery).
  4. Expressive skills: pupil’s ability to express meanings through various styles.
  5. Organizational skills: Organizing information into paragraphs and texts. Also, the sequencing of ideas.

 

Kailani (1989) & El-nagar (2002) mentioned stages of writing sub-skills as follows:

  • Knowing the English alphabet.

  • Knowledge of sentence structures.

  • Knowledge of writing mechanics as (spelling, punctuation … etc.)

  • Sounds’ relationship understanding and written symbols.

Habits of Mind (HoM)

Costa & Kallick (2000) indicated that habits of mind are behaviors that intelligent people do when they confront problems or dilemmas. Costa & Kallick (2004) focused on 16 HoM that teachers and parents can teach, cultivate, observe, and assess. The intent is to help students get into the habit of behaving intelligently.

The researchers Hargreaves & Fink (2006) observed that the improvement of the schools depends on habits of mind. Gardner (2008), recited five HoM which created the acronyms CREDS: creating, respectful, ethical, disciplined, and synthesizing. Newkirk (2009), considered HoM as crucial to exercising judgment on complicated matters, whether in the workforce or as an engaged and thoughtful community member.

In the present study, the researcher defines HoMSs as important strategies which help students to improve their learning especially their writing skills; they make solving problems an ordinary and easy task through ( questioning& posing problems, thinking& communicating with clarity and precision, thinking about our thinking, applying past knowledge to new situations, gathering data through all senses, learning continuously).

Describing the HoM 

The 16 HoM identified by Costa & Kallick include:- 

Persisting: imagine what might have occurred if more or less persistence was shown in a given scenario. Efficacious people are able to analyze a problem, and develop a system or strategy to attack it. Students often give up when they do not immediately know a solution to the problem. They, sometimes, have difficulty staying focused for long time. All of this may be due to their limited repertoire of problem solving strategies. So, they have few alternatives if their first strategy does not work.

Managing impulsivity:  model the use of patience in the classroom, including wait time during discussion. Effective problem solvers always think before they act. They establish a goal before they begin and trying to clarify and develop a strategy for a problem. They consider alternatives and results of several directions before they take actions. Duckworth & Seligman (2005) mentioned that ”Highly self-disciplined adolescents outperformed their more impulsive peers in every academic performance variable, including report card grades, standardized achievement test scores……………. Self discipline predicted gains in academic performance over the school year”.

Listening to others with understanding and empathy: seek to understand other person’s thoughts and ideas. Highly effective persons spend a lot of time and energy listening (Covey, 1989). Psychologists believe that listening to another person and understanding his/her point of view is one of the highest forms of intelligent behavior. To listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being said beneath the words (Senge, Roberts, Ross, Smith, and Kleiner, 1994).

Thinking flexibly: look at a situation from different perspectives and consider options. Flexible people have the ability to change their minds when they receive additional data and they can draw upon a repertoire of problem solving strategies. They are able to shift through multiple perceptual positions.

Thinking about our thinking: (metacognition) be aware of your own thoughts, feelings and actions. Students can map out their own thinking process. It is the ability to stand off and examine our own thoughts while we engage in them and the ability to know what we know and what we do not know. It is the ability to plan a strategy to produce the needed information or to be conscious of our steps and strategies during problem solving. The major components of metacognition are developing a plan of action, maintaining that plan in mind, and evaluating the plan upon its completion.

Striving for accuracy and precision: construct a desire for exactness, fidelity and truth. People who value accuracy, precision, and truthfulness take time to check over their products. They review the rules and the models they are to follow, and they review the criteria they are going to use to make sure that their final product will match the criteria exactly.

Questioning and posing problems: develop a question attitude, taking into consideration what data are needed, find problems and trying to solve them through strategies. Effective problem solvers know how to ask questions to fill in the gaps between what they know and what they don’t know. They may pose questions about alternative points of view, questions that make connections and relationships, or hypothetical problems characterized by ”if”.

Applying past knowledge to new situations: apply prior knowledge to new situations. For example, use question stems like “What do you remember about . . . When have you ever seen anything like this….

Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision: avoid vagueness, overgeneralizations, and deletions. In other words, be clear. Language refinement plays important role in enhancing a person’s cognitive ability to think critically. So, enriching specificity of language produces effective thinking.

Gathering data through all senses: playfully allow students to gather data through all sensory ways: auditory, visual, gustatory … etc, in addition to traditional textual sources. Willis (2007) mentioned that the more data stored in the brain about the subject, the more interconnection there is. That means that students will have more opportunities to regain all these data from their storage areas in response to a single cue. This strengthens the data into something that’s learned rather than just memorized.

Creating, imagining and innovating: always try different ways, generate new ideas, and seek originality and fluency. Stern berg (2006) indicated that all human beings have the capacity to generate novel, and genius products and techniques. So, they can develop it. Creative people try to conceive solutions to problems in a different way and examining alternatives from many views. They are open to criticism being judged and they seek feedback to refine their techniques.

Responding with wonderment and awe:  try to find awesome and mysterious things in the world. Efficacious people search for problems to solve for themselves. They enjoy the challenge of problem solving that they seek puzzles from others. Cole (1999) illustrated that one efficacious person is chemist Dr. Ahmed zewail, a Nobel Prize winner, who said ”I love molecules; I want to understand why do they do what they do”.

Taking responsible risks: create an environment where failure is analyzed. Risk takers seem uneasy about comfort, and place themselves in situations they don’t know what the results will be. They accept uncertainty, confusion, and the risks of failure, and they learn to view challenging, interesting, and producing. However, they don’t behave impulsively. Their risks are educated.

Thinking interdependently: work with others and learn from them in various situations. Collaborative persons know that all of us together are more powerful mentally and physically than any one individual. Working in groups require justifying ideas and solution strategies.

Learning continuously: learn from experiences have the desire to know more and more. People with this habit are always striving for improvement, learning, growing, and modifying themselves. They deal with situations, problems, conflicts, and circumstances as opportunities for learning (Bateson, 2004).

Finding humor: laugh a little, look for the unexpected in life, or laugh at yourself when you can. ”Laughing is an instinct that can be traced to chimps, and it may reinforce our social status” (Hubert, 2007). Scientists have discovered that laughing has positive effects on psychological functions.

HoM through the Curriculum

Costa & Kallick mentioned that the HoM offer valued intellectual dispositions toward which teachers and students consistently work. They (HoM) provide guidelines for interaction process. Since groups become more skillful in using the HoM, we can find that through HoM the group builds the atmosphere of trust in interaction throughout the organization. The HoM facilitate the creation of a shared vision (Senge, 1990).

Partnership for 21st century skills (2007) declared that the school’s vision must seek to create learners who have high-proficiencies, self-confidence, and desire to continue learning in addition to meeting challenges creatively. According to this vision, students need to be prepared with the following skills:

Problem solving & critical thinking.

Self-direction.

Innovation & creativity.

Communication & flexibility.

Self-direction & initiative.

Social skills.

Responsibility & productivity.

Learning with HoM can help students to go through that vision. It provides a map for classrooms, individuals, and for a full system to enhance curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Curriculum designers have emphasized coverage of content and drill in test-related knowledge. Thinking becomes the focus of curriculum because schools begin to embrace the HoM. This is a mind shift for many educators. Costa & Kallick (2008) in their book ” Learning and Leading with HoM” give us example about elevating the curriculum, the example was that, if the intent of instruction is behavioral and there is a body students need to learn, then only certain habits would be necessary. Students would need to use clear language, and remain open to continuous learning. However, the learning would be teacher-directed and would not require many of the other habits. On the other hand, if the intent of instruction is developing student’s sense of curiosity, awe, creating, imagining, and innovating, here, the constructivist curriculum is more likely to provide cognitive tasks with higher levels of thinking.

HoM implementation:

Cooper & Jenson (2009) suggested some actions for implementing HoM. These actions are:

Determine what skills students need to know

Knowing the skills students need depending on knowing the sort of world they are going to cope with. But, unfortunately, teachers do not know what kind of situations or world students will deal with. So, what is  needed is to produce confident, and efficacious students who can deal with any problem in the right way. This could happen by implementing HoM into the classroom and emphasize the importance of processes as well as results.

Guide students to specific idea

In order to go through the process of learning, it has to be well planned. First of all, teachers have to know their educational goal. By depending on the HoM , the goal is to teach the curriculum in a way that help students have the skills needed for them to behave intelligently when they face problems. This goal will provide students with the skills to become independent thinkers and prepared to be life-long learners.

Raise the HoM to the consciousness level

Teachers and students need to understand how the HoM can develop their thinking process. This consciousness of HoM takes time because it is a developmental process. Self-awareness is important to self-manage and manage relationships with others. 

Teachers and students need to understand how the HoM can develop their thinking process. This consciousness of HoM takes times because it is a developmental process. Self-awareness is important to self-manage and manage relationships with others. 

Using the HoM vocabulary develops a common language within the learning community, whether it is the classroom, the school, or the wider parent group and it help to develop the linguistic intelligence that’s stored in the memory and can be retrieving at any time. The vocabulary must not be vague, or fluffy, and it must ensure accuracy and precision.

Make the teacher a collegial learner

The teacher must be in control but as a respected mentor. This copes with Kohn (1996) slogan ”doing with”. This removes seeing the feedback as a thread and makes students accept the feedback from the teacher easily. This way, both the teacher’s and student’s capabilities are increased. These actions are important to the growth of interpersonal intelligence of both students and teachers.

Use thinking time to maintain focus

The teacher employes this thinking time during asking questions to the students. There is a pause between stages of asking the question. There is a pause after asking the question, before calling on the student to answer, and there is a pause before calling on another student to reflect on the answer. The teacher is only involved when a summary or comments is required at the end. These roles keep students actively focus. It is an ideal process for metacognitive process.

School management support

A lot of members, principals, and management in the school have an important role in implementing the HoM. The information has to be provided to students in a friendly language, to staff in a teacher language, and to parents in a parent-friendly language. Also, HoM was integrated into the management process.

Merge the HoM into curriculum

HoM needed to be explicitly integrated into the curriculum to be used in every lesson and every activity.

Relate new ideas with past knowledge

The teacher needed to convey the information in an authentic manner.

Know where you are and what the next step is

Rubrics can help provide The HoM or any other skills with a sense of where you are and what is the next step to achieve the goal. In other words it provides a clear idea of the target and the steps to reach it. They became more effective when they are constructed with student input.

Different Approaches to Develop HoM

Anderson & Costa (2008) indicated that based on the HoM dimensions there are a lot of approaches to improve HoM. These approaches are:

Cognitive tasks: This approach asked teachers to present students with problems, and dilemmas whose resolutions are not apparent.

    • Purpose: The purpose of this approach is to plan for the use of HoM when presented with cognitive tasks or when problems are challenging and whose answers are not known.
    • Strategies: According to Moulds (2006) cognitively demanding tasks are:
      • Involve students in solving problem.
      • Require students to use complex process and engage them in the learning process.
      • Connect to the world beyond the classroom.

 

A cognitively demanding task engages students in a variety of activities which include solving a problem, or making a difficult decision. For example, a 5th grade teacher asks his students to compare two versions of the famous stories. Students work in groups and start taking notes about the plot, the characters, and draw conclusions about the accuracy of the historical events after finding the similarities and differences between the two stories. (Regan, 2009).

After telling the goal of the lesson, the teacher may pay the attention of the students to use one or more HoMSs by telling them that (you are going to work in groups and it is important to strive for accuracy in determining his historical truth and to communicate our ideas with clarity).

  • Assessment: in this approach students have the chance to assess themselves by documenting their insights in portfolios, or PowerPoint presentations.

 

Building intuitive awareness: The teacher model appropriate use of HoMSs to build awareness of the HoM in the classroom and outside it.

  • Purpose: The purpose, here, is to alert students to new situations where the HoM might be applied.
  • Strategies: Using HoM language help students learn to engage in the habits through recognize opportunities. The teacher provides students with cognitive tasks, and then he recognizes the students’ use of the HoM during their working on these tasks.
  • Assessment: The teacher take his precautions by keeping records and lists in order to know if students participating and attending or if they reflecting on their experience.
  •  

 

Exploring Meanings of the HoM:

  • Purpose: The purpose of this approach is to help students understand the meaning and the purpose of HoM. Students gain a deep understanding of HoM through a lot of activities and some strategies. After understanding the habit, students can recognize skills, strategies and tools during application of the habit.
  • Strategies: There are a wide range of activities can be used. Some teachers prefer to use a list which describes the 16 HoM. Others see that this list of the 16 habits may be too much so, they found it useful to prioritize the list according to students’ needs. Students may be involved in developing meaning for the HoM by making charts or posters, or searching the meaning in the dictionary. Also, teachers can encourage students to describe their times and describe the HoM they have practiced.
  • Assessment: Teachers trying to make sure if students understand well and recognize, defining, describing, or giving examples of the HoM through using writing samples, or check lists.

 

Building depth and Elegance:

  • Purpose: This approach aims at move students to deeper use of HoM to help them build greater value in the habit, and to encourage them on self-monitor, self-modify, and improve their performance of the HoM. Lessons in this approach focus on building commitment to the use of HoM and self-assessment.
  • Strategies: Students are alerted to monitor and record their observations and reflect on what they were aware of and what HoM they used. The teacher can put a problem to students or ask students to describe problem and pose it for themselves. The teacher modifies the students’ strategies through the feedback. The teacher here is a facilitator, a resource, and observer of the students.
  • Assessment: Assessment takes place through interviews, observations, and self-reporting. Students have to ask themselves when confronted with a problem ”what is the most intelligent thing can I do now?”. Assessment at this level is mostly metacognitive.

 

Modeling the HoM

  • Purpose: The purpose here is to provide instruction in which are modeled by the teacher and integrated into the classroom.
  • Strategies: The strategies here are teachers’ behavior in every day instruction. For example, posing questions for students to analyze, listening to students with understanding and empathy in order to encourage students to experience the feeling, and teachers can share their planning with students or design activities to encourage students to work in groups.
  • Assessment: Students are being expected to have excitement about school, greater attitude with problem solve, more self-directness, and more enthusiasm to continue learning.

⬥ Statement of the problem

Based on the review of literature, results of the pilot study, and since HoM based-strategies seem to help pupils learn how to develop a critical stance with their work, and promote the pupils’ ability to tackle the learning process themselves, the current study aims at:                         

        Investigating the impact of using some HoM-based strategies on improving 2nd year prep pupils EFL writing skills and their self-efficacy.

⬥ Questions of the study

The main question is:

         Do HoM-based strategies develop the 2nd year prep school pupils’ EFL writing skills and self -efficacy?

For research purposes this main question can be subdivided to the following questions:

  1. What are the HoM strategies most suitable for enhancing EFL writing for 2nd year prep pupils?
  2. What is the impact of HoM-based strategies on developing 2nd year prep pupils’ EFL writing skills?
  3. What is the impact of HoM-based strategies on enhancing 2nd year prep pupils’ self- efficacy? 

⬥ Purpose of the study

This study aims at: 

          Identifying the use of some HoM based-strategies to develop 2nd year prep students’ EFL writing skills and help enhance their self- efficacy.

⬥ Hypotheses of the study:

This study tested the following hypotheses: 

  • There is a statistically significant difference between the mean scores of the experimental group on the pre and post-test of writing skills in favor of the post-test. 
  • There is a statistically significant difference between the experimental and the control group pupils in the mean score of the pre-post writing skills test in favor of the experimental group. 
  • There is a statistically significant difference in the mean score of the experimental group in the pre-post administration of the self-efficacy scale in favor of the post administration.  
  • There is a statistically significant difference in the mean score of the experimental and the control group on the pre-post administration of the self-efficacy scale in favor of the experimental group.

⬥ Definition of terms

Writing  

          The researcher defined writing skill as a means for communication, reinforcement, training, and fluency. Moreover, writing is a social activity and a sophisticated process which demands construct grammatically correct sentences and communicating ideas to the reader..   

Habits of Mind  

          The researcher defined HoMSs as important strategies which help students to improve their learning especially their writing skills; they make solving problems an ordinary and easy task 

Self-efficacy

          The researcher defined self-efficacy as the person’s beliefs and trust in his/her abilities. This self-efficacy can reflects Expectations of person’s behavior in a specific situation. 

⬥ Methods and procedures Participants

The participants of the study were 60 2nd year preparatory stage students from “Al Nasr language school” in Tanta city. The students were randomly selected for the experiment. It was expected that if those students are trained in such a thinking way, their performance in writing and their self-efficacy will be improved. From the researcher’s personal experience as an English teacher in language school, it was noticed that the students have poor writing skills and they lack a lot of thinking habits. 

           The participants were randomly divided into two groups (control and experimental group), each group consisted of 30 students.

Design

        The following study adopted a quasi-experimental design. The researcher used this approach to carry out the training strategies to the participants of the study. This study involved two groups one of them received the regular approach and the other group received the training of the habits of mind based strategies in order to improve their thinking, their writing skills and their self-efficacy. In order to identify the level of the students, the researcher used a writing test which was used as a pre and post-test. 

Instruments

The following instruments were designed and used in the study by the researcher:

  1. The Habits of Mind checklist. 
  2. The EFL writing test. 
  3. The self-efficacy scale. 

⬥ Procedures of the study

In order to answer the questions of the study, the study proceeded according to the following steps:

  1. Reviewing the related literature and previous studies to set the theoretical background of the study.
  2. Preparing a checklist of the HoM-based strategies.
  3. Determining which HoM-based strategies are most suitable for developing the 2nd year prep pupils’ writing skills by presenting the checklist to a group of EFL specialists.
  4. Designing instruments of the study.
  5. Checking reliability and validity of the instruments. 
  6. Adminstring the instruments to participants of the control and experimental groups.            
  7. Adminstring the HoMSs to the experimental group, while the control group studies through the regular approach.
  8. Adminstring the instruments after administering the treatment to the participants of the study. 
  9. Analyzing the data using the appropriate statistical techniques.
  10. Interpreting results.
  11. Presenting conclusion and recommendations.

⬥ Results and discussions

The results of the study are statistically analyzed in terms of its hypotheses and they are discussed in the light of the theoretical background and related studies. Results of the study were reported as follows: 

Table (1): T-Test of the post administration of the pre-post writing test comparing the experimental and the control

Results in table (1) indicate that the experimental group outperformed the control group in all the writing sub skills. A closer look at table (1) revealed that the students mean score in the overall post-writing test in the experimental group was (31.10) and the controlled group overall score in the post-test was (19.27). These results indicated that the higher mean score is the score of the experimental group post-test which is also higher than the control group’s mean score. 

The paired T-test results indicate that the differences between the mean scores of the students in pre and post-writing test in the controlled and experimental group were statistically significant at <0.001* level in favor of the post application of the HoMSs training  in the experimental group.


Table (2): T-Test of the post administration of the pre-post writing test of the experimental group

Table (2) results reveal that the post-administration was substantially more significant than the pre-administration of the experimental group in all the writing sub skills on the writing test and in the total score of the pre-post writing test. Table (2) also reveals that the students mean score in the overall pre-writing test in the experimental group was (18.97). On the other hand, the experimental group’s overall mean score in the post-writing test was (31.10). The increase in the mean score of the experimental group in the post-test imply that the students’ level in overall writing have been developed due to the study.

Table (3): Chi Square of the post administration of the self-efficacy scale comparing the experimental and the control group

The above table (3) indicates that in the experimental group pre-self-efficacy scale the high scale was 53% regarding the negative point (I don’t do it well) while the higher percentage in the control  group in pre self-efficacy scale was 86% regarding the positive point (i do it well). On the other hand, the percentage increased in the experimental group post self-efficacy scale to 90% regarding the positive point (I do it well).

The Chi square values indicate that the differences between the percentages of the students in pre and post self-efficacy scale in the control and experimental group were statistically significant at 0.001 levels in favor of the post application in the experimental group.

Table (4): Chi square of the pre and post administration of the self-efficacy scale on the experimental group

Results in table (4) illustrate that there are differences in the students’ percentage in the pre and post self-efficacy scale in favor of the experimental group post application as this group get the higher percentage (90%). The chi square value indicates that there are a significant differences between the two groups in the pre and post self-efficacy scale at significant level (<0.001*) which indicates that the training had a great effect on improving students’ self-efficacy. 

The results prove that there is an obvious improvement in the writing skills and the self-efficacy of the experimental group pupils, as compared to their performance before conducting the experimental treatment. According to this, the hypotheses of the study were proved and accepted.

⬥ Conclusions

With reference to the results of this study concluded that using HoM-based strategies training can enhance pupils speaking skills as well as their self-efficacy.

⬥ Recommendations

Based on the previous results the present study recommends the following: 

  1. The writing skill should receive appropriate attention in order to be developed especially at primary and preparatory stages. 
  2. HoM-based strategies should be integrated in the curriculum and in the classroom teaching.
  3. Not only writing skills should be tackled inside the classroom, but also evaluating it regularly in order to identify students’ needs and problems.

References

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Bong, M., & Skaalvik, E. (2003). Academic Self- Concept and Self-Efficacy. Educational psychological review, 15, 1-39.  

Costa, A. (2008). The school as a home for mind (pp.29-48). Palatine, lL: Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Chapelle, A & Hegelheimer, V (2004) The Language Teacher in the 21st Century.

Costa, A. and Kallick, B. (2004). Launching Self-Directed Learners. Educational Leadership, 61(1), 51-55. Deci, L & Ryan, M (2000) Handbook of self determination research, Rochester: The University of Rochester Press.

Costa, A.& Kallick,B. (2000). Discovering and Exploring Habits of Mind. Alexandria, VA:  Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, Amazon. 

Cooper, A., & Jenson, G. (2009). Practical Processes for Teaching Habits of Mind. In aosta, A., & Kallick, B. Habits of mind across the curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). 

Covey, S. (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster. 

Duckworth, A., & Seligman, M. (2005). Self discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Psychological science, 16, pp939-944.  

El-nagar, Z. (2002). Spotlight on primary English educational resources, Cairo, Egypt: Academy for educational development.  

Gardner, H. (2008). Five Minds for the Future. Boston, Harvard Business Press.   

Hargreaves, A. & Fink, D. (2006). Sustainable leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. p.259.

Haring-Smith,T. (1994). Collaborative learning in the writing classroom. NY: Harper Collins & College Publishers.   

Isa, F. (2012). The effect of Using Wikis on Improving Palestinian 9th graders’ English Writing Skills and Their Attitudes Towards Writing. Gaza Islamic University. 

Isleem, H. (2012). A Suggested Program Based on Individualized Activities for Developing Palestinian Sixth Graders’ Writing Skills. 

Johnstone, K.M. et al. (2002). Effects of Repeated Practice and Contextual Writing experiences on College Pupils’ Writing Skills, Journal of Educational Psychology, V.94, No.2, pp 305-313. 

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Masood, A. (2005). Exploiting Authentic Materials for Developing Writing Skills. Published MA theses, Pakistan, faculty of social sciences, Journal for the study of English linguistics, 1(1).   

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Moulds, P. (2006). Developing Students Learning Around Important Tasks. Educational Leadership, 61(4), 75-78.

Newkirk, T. (2009) Holding on to good ideas in a time of bad ones. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Palmer,D.(1986). Practical Techniques in Language Learning, London, Edward Arnold Publisher Ltd.

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Senge, P., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Smith, P., & kleiner, A. (1994). Strategies and Tools for Building A Learning Organization. New York, Doubleday.  

Skaalvik, E. (2008). Self-Concept and Self-Efficacy in Mathematics. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publisher.

Willis, J. (2007). Research-based strategies to ignite student learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Zimmerman, B. (2000). Self-Efficacy an Essential Motive to Learn. Educational psychology, 25(1), 82-91.

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