Improving Writing Proficiency, Autonomy, and Critical Thinking Ability through Process-Based Writing Instruction: A Study of Iranian EFL Learners

Afsaneh Bashiri, Mohsen Shahrokhi


The present study intended to examine the potential role of process-based approach on improving the writing skill, critical thinking ability, and autonomy among Iranian EFL learners. To this end, 60 Iranian intermediate EFL students aged 18-23 were selected from among 120 available Iranian EFL learners. The students were selected based on the result of the Oxford Placement Test (OPT) and further were divided into two groups of control and experimental. Initially, a questionnaire of autonomy was employed by the researchers to retrieve the participants’ opinions in the experimental group about the extent to which they considered themselves autonomous. Next, a pre-test for assessing critical thinking ability and a pre-test for assessing writing skill of the participants were administered to both groups. The control group only received the conventional classroom instruction on writing skill which was based on product-based approach, but students in the experimental group students were taught to write using the process-based approach. After 12 weeks of instruction based on process-based approach, the questionnaire of autonomy was again administered to the experimental group; and a post-test for critical thinking and a post-test for writing were administered to the participants in both experimental and control group. The data collected were subject to statistical analysis. The results revealed that process-based approach was of positive effect on learners' writing proficiency, critical thinking ability, and autonomy.



Process-Based approach, writing ability, critical thinking, learner’s autonomy, EFL

Full Text:



Applebee, A. N. (1986). Problems in process approaches: Toward a reconceptualization of process instruction. In A. R. Petrosky and D. Bartholomae (Eds.), the teaching of writing. Chicago, Ill: National Society for the study of Education.

Bell, J. & Burnaby, B. (1984). A Handbook for ESL Literacy. Toronto: OISE.

Benson, P. (2001). Concepts of autonomy in language learning. In R. Pemberton, E. S. L. Li, W. W. F. Or, & H. D. Pierson (Eds.), Taking control: Autonomy in language learning (pp. 27-34). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Borjian, M. (2009). English education in post-revolutionary Iran (1979-2008): The politics of educational borrowing and lending. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Columbia University, United States of America.

Breen, M. (1984). Process syllabus for the language classroom. In C. J. Brumfit (Ed.), General English syllabus design ELT Document, 118, (pp. 47-60). Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Croes, M.J. (1990). The efficacy of employing a writing process approach for the instruction of language arts with learning disabled elementary students. Dissertation Abstracts International, 51(12A), 4083. (UMI No.AAI9115193).

Curtis, A. (2001). Hong Kong Student Teachers' Responses to Peer Group Process Writing. Asian Journal of English Language Teaching, II: 129-143.

Crystal, D. (1997). English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

De La Paz, S., & Graham, S. (2002).Explicitly teaching strategies, skills and knowledge: Writing instruction in middle school classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(4), 687-698.

Dean-Rumsey, T. A. (1998). Improving the writing skills of at risk students through the use of writing across the curriculum and writing process instruction. Dissertation Abstracts International, 37(06A), 1598. (UMI NO.AA11395724).

Elbow, P. (1973). Writing without teachers. New York: Oxford University Press.

Elbow, P. (2003). Writing with power. New York: Oxford University Press.

Eldar, D., Paul, L. (1994). Research Within Reach: Oral and Written Communication. St. Louis, MO: CEMREL, Inc., development model. New Directions for Community College, 130, 39-48.

Faigley, L. et al. (1996). Assessing Writing Knowledge and Processes of Composing. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Farhady, H., & Hedayati, H. (2009). Language assessment policy in Iran. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 29, 132-141.

Farhady, H., Sajadi Hezaveh, F., & Hedayati, H. (2010). Reflections on foreign language education in Iran. TESL-EJ, 13 (4).Retrieved January 1, 2012, from

Goatly, A. (2000). Critical reading and writing. London: English Route.

Goldstein, A., & Carr, P. G. (1996). Can students benefit from process writing? Washington, DC: Natinal Center for Education Statistics.

Graddol, D. (1997). The Future of English? London: British Council.

Graves, D. (1983). Writing: Teachers and Children at Work. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Educational Books.

Harris, E.A. (1992). The relationship of attitudes and writing abilities to computer writing and peers critique of writing. Disserttation Abstract International, 53 (06A), 1828. (UMI No.AAI9224268).

Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon.

Hyland, K. (2002). Genre-based pedagogies: A social response to process. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 17-29.

Jones, D. (2007). The fundamentals of critical reading and effective writing. Retrieved August 27, 2010, from

Jones, E. A., Hoffman, S., Moore, L. M., Ratcliff, G., Tibbetts, S., & Click, B. A. L. (1995). National assessment of college learning: Identifying college graduates’ essential skills in writing, speech and listening, and critical thinking. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.

Littlewood, W. (1996). Autonomy: an anatomy and a framework. System, 24:4, 427-435.

Murray, D. (1972). Teach writing as a process not product. In R. Graves (ED.), Rhetoric and Composition; A source-book for teachers and writers (pp.89-92). Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook.

Murray, D. (1985). A writer teaches writing (2nd Ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin

Nunan, D. (1995). ATLAS Learning-centered Communication. Boston: Heinle & Heinle/International Thompson Publishing.

O’ Brien, T. (2004). Writing in a foreign language: Teaching and learning. Language Teaching 37: 1-28.

Parson, G. (1985). The Writing Process and the Microcomputer. Two Revolutions in the Teaching of Writing. A Manual f or Secondary Teachers. Juneau, AK: Alaska State Department of Education.

Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2003). The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. Dillion Beach CA: The Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Renner, C. E. (1996). Enrich learners’ language production through content-based instruction. Paper presented at a National Conference on Lingua e Nuova Didattica, Modena, Italy. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 411 694).

Riazi, A. (2005). The four language stages in the history of Iran. In A.M.Y. Lin and P.W. Martin (ed.). Decolonization, globalization: Language-in-education policy and practice, (98–114). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Richards J. C. & Renandya, W. A. (2002). Methodology in Language Teaching: An Anthology of Current Practice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Smith, C. B. (2000). Writing instruction: Changing views over the years. ERIC Digest D155.

Sommers, N. (1982). Revision strategies of student writers and experienced adult writers. College Composition and Communication, 31, 378-88.

Steele, V. (2004). Product and process writing. Retrieved on 5th Sept. 2010 from

Tribble, C. (1996). Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

University College. (2006). Critical thinking as a core academic skill: A review of the literature. Adelphi, MD: University of Maryland University College.

White, L. & Marika, R., Ngurruwutthun, D. (1992). Always together, Yakagäna: Participatory

Research at Yirrkala as part of the development of Yolngueducation. Convergence, 25(1), 23–39.

Yeung, Y. (2008). The Impact of the Process approach to the Teaching and Learning of Writing on the Development of Learner Autonomy in Writing in the Secondary School Classroom in Hong Kong. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.