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Home Journal Index 2022-4

EFL College Students' Cross-genre Writing Performance: An Exploratory Study

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Jing Cai
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China

Xiaoqing Luo
Ludong Primary School, Humen, Dongguan, China

Whether the writing ability of one genre can indicate another remains an interesting question for teachers, learners and researchers. However, cross-genre writing performance is still relatively under-researched in English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) learning context. This exploratory study aims to examine the general cross-genre writing ability of EFL college students, by contrasting their narrative and argumentative writing performance and investigating the correlation of them. 96 scored essays (48 narratives, 48 argumentative) were collected from a genre-based writing course. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were adopted to investigate individuals’ cross-genre writing ability. Unlike prior research on EFL cross-genre writing, a significant difference of writing performance was found between two genres, with argumentative outperforming narrative. There also exists a moderate positive correlation between narrative and argumentative writing performance. The in-depth follow-up interviews with six participants of distinct writing proficiency revealed four major factors that may influence cross-genre writing ability, including: overall writing proficiency, mastery of genre-specific features, frequency of genre practice, and the amount of participatory generic input in writing instruction. The findings suggest that cross-genre writing ability varies across individuals and is difficult to acquire with above-mentioned challenges. Pedagogical implications for genre-based writing instruction in EFL classrooms are finally provided.

Cross-genre writing ability, EFL writing performance, narrative writing, argumentative writing, genre awareness