Volume 24, Issue 2 (summer 2022)                   Advances in Cognitive Sciences 2022, 24(2): 57-70 | Back to browse issues page

Research code: 7756

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Fayyazi M S. Development of an educational package based on the cognitive construal operations of perspective and figure-ground and its effect on the sixth-grade primary school students’ descriptive writing skill. Advances in Cognitive Sciences 2022; 24 (2) :57-70
URL: http://icssjournal.ir/article-1-1343-en.html
Assistant Professor in Linguistics, Asian Cultural Documentation Center, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (602 Views)
Writing can be narrowly viewed as a particular kind of verbal production skill where text is manufactured to meet a discourse demand, or more broadly, as a complex, integrated performance that cannot be understood apart from the social and cognitive purposes it serves. Cognitive models consider writing as a problem-solving activity that involves coordinating multiple cognitive processes like other complicated intellectual ones. The findings of Daneshgar in the Academy of Persian Language and Literature revealed that Iranian students possess limited writing ability in comparison with reading, speaking, and listening skills (18). This approach provided the basis for the research's main question: how can the Iranian primary school students’ descriptive writing skills be improved by teaching construal operations like perspective and figure-ground?. The research aimed at developing an educational package consists of perspective and figure-ground construal operations and investigating its effect on the sixth-grade primary school students writing skills. The research questions were: (1) in describing a scene, what is the ground and what factors influence the choice of perspective; (2) how is it possible to teach the offered educational package to the students; and (3) how can the effectiveness of the educational package on the student writing skill be evaluated.

The present study was mixed (qualitative-quantitative) in terms of research paradigm, applied in terms of purpose, and quasi-experimental with a pretest-posttest design with a control group in terms of method. The statistical population included all sixth-grade male and female students of the primary school in Rasht in the academic year 2020-2021, of which 40 students were selected by random sampling method and assigned to the experimental and control group (20 people in each group). Since there was no writing test corresponding to the present research purpose, the research instrument included the 10-item researcher-made questionnaire in which cognitive skills of creative thinking, information processes, reasoning, decision making, memory thinking, awareness, information assessment, problem-solving, research, and perception were evaluated concerning the construal operations of perspective and figure-ground. To assess the validity of the test, it was given to four experts in the fields of cognitive linguistics, cognitive psychology, cognitive education, curriculum planning, and a sixth-grade teacher. Its content validity was determined to be 80% by Content Validity Index (CVI). The reliability of the tests was measured by reference to the retest method. Specifically, the test was conducted twice on the same samples over the period of ten days. The correlation between their different sets of results was then calculated. A correlation assured the reliability of the test of 86%. For designing and compiling a training package, the theoretical concepts of construal operations of perspective and figure-ground were studied in reliable sources, and the affecting factors on choosing perspective or figure were identified. The experts assessed the designed package, and the revised version was then applied in the training sessions. The experimental group received the training package, while the control group was trained by the usual method based on the curriculum of the Ministry of Education. The revised form of the training package was developed by the TBLT method during 13 45-60-minute sessions in two sessions per week for the experimental group. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the training was conducted virtually using Adobe Connect Application. After completion of the instructional program, a posttest was given to both experimental and control groups under the same condition. Data were analyzed using the analysis of covariance in SPSS-26.

The result showed that the utilization of theoretical concepts of construal operations, including perspective and figure-ground, made the production of writing educational packages possible. To adequately fulfilling this aspiration, theoretical concepts of cognitive linguistics and cognitive education were closely integrated. This educational package established a basic framework of key components of perspective and figure-ground to promote students’ descriptive writing skills. Students acquired familiarity with the ground and the influence factors on choosing perspective in a scene. Moreover, the findings of the research introduced TBLT as a practical method for teaching the offered educational package to the students. Through the task cycle, generating, organization and goal-setting occur. In addition, the result revealed that the education package of cognitive construal operations affected students’ descriptive writing (P<0.01). In other words, the writing score of students participating in cognitive construal operation training sessions increased significantly compared to the control group.

In line with McGutchen (2007) (9) and Bazerman (2009) (12), writing is a problem-solving task. Therefore, designing writing educational package based on cognitive construal operations introduces greater transparency to the trainers at primary school. This package accurately determines the cognitive components that are relevant for descriptive writing. Teaching educational package using the TBLT method, which aligns with Hayes and Flower’s (2017) three stages of planning, translation, and reviewing facilitate students’ writing skills. Consequently, implementing an educational writing package makes the students perform better in writing descriptive texts. As a result, the educational package of cognitive construal operations can be suggested as a facilitator in teaching descriptive writing to both teachers and students.

Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines
Among the ethical principles observed were not violating the rights of individuals participating in the research, respecting human rights, and keeping the results of their research confidential. Before the intervention, the participants explained the study’s objectives, and informed consent was obtained from them. Also, after completing the training sessions on the training groups and performing the posttest, the treatment sessions were intensively performed on the control group to observe the ethical principles. This research has been carried out following the ethical principles of the Journal of Advances in Cognitive Sciences and the Ethical Codes of the International Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE).

Authors’ contributions
The article's author article has not received any contribution to the writing process.

The article's author is taken from the research project entitled "The effect of teaching construal operations such as perspective and figure-ground on the sixth-grade primary school students", Written  the code number 7756. The research was funded by a grant from the Cognitive Sciences and Technologies Council.

The researcher expresses her profound gratitude to the Cognitive Sciences and Technologies Council for its financial support. In addition, she would like to thank all the students and school officials for their cooperation.

Conflict of interest
The study did not have any conflict of interest.
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Type of Study: Research |
Received: 2021/10/13 | Accepted: 2022/04/13 | Published: 2022/08/11

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