Using Engagement with Instructor Feedback to Nurture First-Year Writing Students’ Self-Efficacy



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Many students enter college with low self-perceptions about their writing skills. Research indicates that first-year writing instructors typically rely on the semi-self-regulated steps of the writing process to help students develop positive feelings about their writing. First-year composition courses employ instructor-provided feedback, whether oral or written or both, as a process for helping students improve their writing skills; therefore, an important consideration for teachers of first-year writing is how to engage students in the feedback provided. One way to make instructor feedback useful and meaningful to students is to create opportunities for conversation between student and instructor in advance of the revision stage. By combining instructor feedback with student-composed revision plans, instructors and students can participate in dialogic feedback that encourages both critical thinking and critical revision (Berzsenyi, 2001; Muldoon, 2009). Dialogic feedback diminishes students’ misinterpretations of instructors’ comments and gives students a better understanding of their writing and which skills to work on as they progress. This study investigated students’ interaction with instructional feedback as a method for impacting students’ self-efficacy in first-year composition. Results suggest that active engagement with instructor feedback has the ability to raise students’ confidence, persistence, and performance and should be considered, consequently, as an integral part of the feedback process.



Self-efficacy, Revision, Instructor feedback, First year writing