The Effects of peer editing versus co-writing on writing in Chinese-as-a-foreign language




Tian, Jun

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The study, using a within-group design with eighteen adult high-beginner Chinese L2 learners, investigated the effects of peer review and co-writing on writing in Chinese-as-a-foreign language. Three writing conditions (peer review, co-writing, and individual writing) and three narrative writing topics were counterbalanced for the collection of data, including forty-five writing products, seventy-two questionnaires, videorecorded screen activities and interactions. The research has three main aims: (a) to investigate the effects of peer review and co-writing on writing with respect to fluency, complexity, and accuracy, (b) to explore the nature of verbal interactions during peer review and co-writing, and (c) to investigate students’ perceptions of the three writing activities. With regard to writing performance, the research found no statistically significant differences in measures of fluency and complexity. However, peer review and co-writing resulted in significantly more accurate writing than individual writing, but no difference was observed in the two collaborative writing activities. The analysis of verbal interactions indicated that (1) there were significantly more on-task episodes in peer review than in co-writing; (2) there were significantly more language-related episodes (LREs) and content-related episodes in peer review than in co-writing, while there were significantly more idea-related episodes and text-assessing episodes in co-writing than in peer review; (3) students paid significantly more attention to LRE-lexis and LRE-grammar in peer review than in co-writing, and the differences were mainly observed in discussions on word meanings, verb forms, word usage, and sentence/phrase meanings; and (4) there were also significantly more spelling episodes in peer review than in co-writing. Concerning students’ perceptions, although students tended to prefer co-writing to peer review and peer review to individual writing, they held competing attitudes toward the three activities and believed each of the three had their own strengths, which could not be replaced by the advantages of the other. The findings suggest that peer review, co-writing, and individual writing play different roles in Chinese L2 learners’ development of writing skills, as measured by a range of linguistic indices and as revealed by students’ evaluations. Thus, they are all important because they direct learners to different aspects of their language development.



second language writing, collaborative writing, peer editing, co-writing, individual writing, Chinese-as-a-foreign language, writing quality, student perceptions, interaction