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revision, academic writing, teacher comments, writing process, technology


The debate over the efficacy of written teacher comments has raised a variety of questions for consideration by both researchers and practitioners. Teachers can use written comments, in Vygotsky’s (1978) framework, to scaffold the development of student writing. By reflecting on his or her own commenting process, a teacher can assess and modify his or her comments as well as the method by which the comments are delivered. This study examines how four second-language (L2) students responded to comments on a series of three papers. The results show that students overwhelmingly followed the strategy training given during class on how to respond to teacher’s comments; however, the strategies used to make changes did not always result in a positive revision. While students believed they followed the teacher’s suggestions, they did not always pay attention to the paper as a whole, which resulted in problems with coherence or grammar, and even instances of plagiarism. Results indicate that strategy training does not guarantee an outcome of successful revision. This suggests that revision will be more effective for student paper development if understood as part of the creative process of writing rather than mere error correction. Based on these results, several proposals are made for modifying the comment process.



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