Keywords: Self-regulation strategies, writing skills, action research, strategy training
Writing is one of the most difficult tasks with multiple challenges for students learning a foreign language. An important element in helping students develop their writing ability is the identification of the problems they face while writing and the use of pedagogical interventions which raise their awareness and help them use their own learning strategies to handle. Zimmerman and Riesemberg (1997) suggest that higher levels of self-regulation are important to skilled writing because composing is an intentional activity that is quite often self-planned and self-sustained. This study aims to explore the effectiveness of strategy instruction on foreign language learners’ writing skills and self-regulation abilities through an action research perspective. The data were collected via learners’ diaries, reflections, essays, questionnaires and checklists. The project was carried out in a classroom of 18 students within three cycles of action for three weeks, each cycle evolving on the previous one. In the first two cycles, students were given self-regulation strategy instruction and modelling, then assigned writing tasks. Their strategy use was investigated through a questionnaire, diaries and reflections. In the third cycle, students’ errors and difficulties were the focus and their opinions were taken via reflection paragraphs. The results showed that strategy training could help students improve their writing skills but further instruction and feedback were needed as they used a small number of strategies and only a slight improvement was seen in their writings.