Follow-up Project: TimO: Text Revision in Multilingual Secondary Schools

Introduction

To date, little is known either about the effects of language-based interventions in writing class or about writing competencies in both languages of students raised speaking a heritage language. The goal of the SimO project was thus twofold: First, the study aimed to investigate whether different writing settings in German led to a change in the quality of students’ texts. Second, it explored the cross-linguistic potential of such interventions for the heritage language Turkish. To this end, 322 6th grade students participated in a longitudinal project in which each student wrote seven texts in each language, culminating in a total of 2166 German descriptive texts and, for the 91 students also attending Turkish language classes, 607 comparable descriptive texts in Turkish. The task in all phases was to improve a poorly written character description of a superhero or villain. Texts were rated according to various aspects of quality.

What is investigated?

In TimO, the focus shifts from the quality of the students’ written texts to their writing process, and specifically to the types, numbers and quality of revisions they carry out in both languages. In writing research, revision is considered paramount to the quality of written texts and the development of writing skills; however, it, too, has received little attention in bilingual writing studies, and specific concepts for its training are lacking. TimO therefore sets both research and pedagogical goals. The German and Turkish texts written during the SimO intervention study are analysed according to their scope, their development over the course of the study and their interlingual correspondences. Specifically, students’ choices as to how (for example, by deleting text passages) and which content (text schemata such as comparison) to revise are examined. Of special interest is whether individual characteristics of the learners themselves or language-specific qualities better predict the use and quality of revisions.

Expected outcomes

On the basis of these findings, and in cooperation with participating schools, we aim to develop a cross-linguistic pedagogical model that focusses on revision as a central activity, emphasising the importance of revision in all languages and supporting students’ transfer of revision skills between and across languages.

Implications for educational practice