Referring principally to ESL, Frodesen and Holten (2003) state that "grammar is indisputably an
essential element of second language writing instruction, but the ways in which it is integrated
with other components of writing courses have varied" (p.141). In one intervention study of an
intermediate Spanish content course, the effects of grammar supplementation and error
correction feedback on writing were explored (Frantzen, 1995). While the results suggested that
a grammar review is a beneficial addition to a content course, there were no significant
differences between groups in terms of their scores on writing samples. In addition Reichelt
(2001) noted design flaws in Frantzen's study: no real control group, the same topic was used for
both pretest and posttest writing samples, and the overall quality of writing was not measured.
Also confounding the results is the fact that both a daily grammar and error correction feedback
on written work were involved. Thus, there is a need to further the understanding of language
researchers and pedagogues as to the effects of explicit grammar practice on intermediate
university-level learners' composition.
The role of the teacher. Further complicating the teaching of writing in foreign language
settings is the fact that many language teachers do not consider composition instruction a
primary part of their responsibility (Kassen, 1995). Also, teaching and improving writing are
time-intensive endeavors. Part of the writing process is revision, feedback, and editing. A teacher
can be overwhelmed trying to give assistance and feedback to each student. Due to the fact that
curriculum in first and second year language instruction primarily focused on pronunciation,
vocabulary acquisition, learning grammatical structures, and culture, often there is little emphasis
on writing and certainly not in-class writing. As well, class sizes are often larger than ideal due
to increased enrollments, particularly in Spanish. Given these conditions, providing personalized
assistance to individual students can be difficult. The lone teacher is simply not able to provide
Oxford, Raquel Malia Nitta. Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4688/. Accessed May 23, 2013.