Reflective Blogfolios in the Language Classroom: Impact on EFL Tertiary Students’ Argumentative Writing Skills and Ways of Knowing

Ammar Abdullah Mahmoud Ismial


The emerging paradigm shift in educational contexts from walled classroom environments to virtual, hybrid, blended, and lately personal learning environments has brought about vast changes in the foreign language classroom practices.  Numerous calls  for experimenting with new instructional treatments to enhance students' language performance in these new learning environments have been voiced by researchers and language educators in different settings. The current study aimed at investigating the impact of using reflective blogfolios in teaching argumentation to EFL tertiary students on their argumentative essay writing skills and ways of knowing. As well, the study investigated the relationship between student's ways of knowing and their argumentative writing capabilities. The participants of the study were fifty one EFL tertiary students in the Emirati context. Two assessment instruments were used, including a ways-of-knowing scale and a rubric for tapping EFL students' argumentative writing skills. Results of the study indicated that using reflective blogfolios in the foreign language classroom brought about significant changes in EFL tertiary students' argumentative writing skills and their ways of knowing. Results of the study also indicated that connected ways of knowing were better predictors of EFL tertiary students' argumentative writing performance than separate ways of knowing. Details of the instructional intervention, the assessment instruments, results of the study, implications for foreign language instruction in virtual learning environments, and suggestions for further research are discussed.

Keywords: Reflective blogfolios, argumentative writing skills, ways of knowing

Full Text:



Almelhi, A. (2014). The effects of teaching argumentative reading and writing by integration in an e-learning environment on literacy development in EFL college students. International Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 4(5), 85-102.

Ananyeva, M. (2014). Blogfolios and their role in the development or research projects and advanced academic literacy classes for ESL students. Tech Trends, 58(5), 22-26.

Andrews, R. (2009). The importance of argument in education. London: UK Institute of Education.

Andrews, R. (2010). Argumentation in higher education: Improving practice through theory and research. New York: Routledge.

Andrews-Weckerly, S. Ferretti, R. P. & Lewis, W. E. (2004). Determinants of the quality of arguments written by students with and without learning disabilities. Paper presented at the Annual Pacific Coast Research Conference. San Diego, CA.

Andriessen, J., Baker, M & Suthrs, D. (2003). Arguing to learn: Confronting cognitions in computer-supported collaborative learning environments. Springer Publishing.

Arsyad, S. (2000). The Indonisian and English argument structure: A cross-cultural rhetoric of argumentative texts. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 22(2), 85-102.

Attwell, G. (2007). Personal learning environment- the future of e-learning? E-learning Papers, 2 (1). ISSN 1887-1542. Retrieved on June 3rd, 2010 from

Barnhardt, R. & Kawagley, A. (2005). Indigenous knowledge systems and Alaska native ways of knowing. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 36(10, 8-23.

Barnett, R. (2008) A will to learn: Being a student in an age of uncertainty. Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education/Open University Press.

Baron, C. E. (2006). Ways of knowing: A quantitative analysis of the intersection between the Ways of Knowing Model and Perry’s Scheme of Intellectual Development. Paper presented at the Adult Education Research Association Conference. Retrieved on June 25th, 2014 from

Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R. & Tarule, J. M. (1997). Women's ways of knowing: The development of self, voice and mind. New York: Basic Books.

Boyd. D. (2006). A bloger's blog: Exploring the definition of a medium. Reconstruction, 6(4). Retrieved on June 23, 2014 from

Burr, V. (2003). Social constructionism (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

Cargile, A. C. (2006). Imagining culture with a little help from the pushmi-pullyu. In L. A. Samovar, R. E. Porter, & E. R. McDaniel (Eds.), Intercultural Communication (pp. 16-21). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Carter, M. (2007). Ways of knowing, doing, and writing. College Composition and Communication, 58(3), 385-418.

Chatti, M. A. Augustiawan, M. Jarke, M., & Specht, M. (2010). Toward a personal learning environment framework. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 1(4), 71-82.

Chen, C. H. & She, H. C. (2012). The impact of recurrent online synchronous scientific argumentation and conceptual change. Education Technology & Society, 15(1), 197-210.

Chinn, C. A. (2006). Learning to argue. In A. M. O'Donnel, C. E. Hmelo-Silver & G. Ertens (Eds.), collaborative learning, reasoning, and technology (pp.355-383). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Clinchy, B. (1996). Connected and separate knowing: Toward a marriage of two minds. In N. R. Goldberger, J. M. Tarule, B. Clinchy, & M. F. Belenky (Eds.), knowledge, difference, and power, (pp. 205-247). New York: Basic Books.

De La Paz, S. (2005). Effects of historical reasoning instruction and writing strategy mastery in culturally and academically diverse middle school classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2), 134-144.

De - Rycher, A. (2011). The effect of online reading on argumentative essay writing quality. GEHA Online Journal of Language Studies, 11(3), 147-161. Retrieved June 10, 2013 from:

Deatline-Buchman, A. & Jitendra, A. (2006). Enhancing argumentative essay writing of fourth-grade students with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 29(1), 39-54.

Dickey, M. D. (2004). The impact of web-logs (blogs) on student perceptions of isolation and alienation in a web-based distance-learning environment. Open Learning, 19(3), 279-291.

Ebner, M. (2009). Introducing live micro-blogging: How single presentations can be enhanced by the mass. Journal of research in innovative teaching, 2(1), 108 - 119.

Eldaly, H. (2012). Cross-cultural and cognitive variation in the persuasive writing of Arabic and Spanish speakers: A qualitative analysis. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Studies, 2(7), 51-81.

Facione, P. (2009). Critical thinking. California: California Academic Press.

Fageeh, A. & Mekheimer, M. (2013). Effects of Blackboard on EFL academic writing and attitudes. The JALTCALL Journal, 9(2), 169-196.

Fahim, M. & Hashtroodi, P. (2012). The effect of critical thinking on developing argumentative essays by Iranian EFL university students. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(4), 623-638.

Feldman, M. S., Khademian, A. M., Ingram H., & Schneider, A. L. (2006). Ways of knowing and inclusive management practices. Public Administration Review.66, 89-99.

Felton, M. K. & Herko, S. (2004). From dialogue to two-sided argument: Scaffolding adolescents' persuasive writing. Journal of Adult and Adolescent literary, 47(8), 672-683.

Ferretti, R. Andrews-Weckerly, S. & Lewis, W. (2007). Improving the argumentative writing of students with learning disabilities: Descriptive and normative considerations. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 23, 267-285.

Ferretti, R. Lewis, W. & Andrews-Weckerly, S. (2009). Do goals affect the structure of students’ argumentative writing strategies? Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 577-589.

Galotti, K. M., Reimer, R. L. & Drebus, D. W. (2001). Ways of knowing as learning styles: Learning MAGIC with a partner. Sex Roles, 44(7/8), 419-436.

Graham, S (2006). Strategy instruction and the teaching of writing: A meta-analysis. In C.A. MacArthur, S. Graham & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of writing research (pp. 187-207). New York: Guilford Press.

Graham, S. & Perin, D. (2007). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(3), 445-476.

Grami, M. (2012). Online collaborative writing for ESL students using blogs and feedback checklists. English Language Teaching, 5(10), 43-48.

Hall, R. (2009). Towards a fusion of formal and informal learning environments: The impact of the Read/Write Web. Electronic Journal of E-learning, 7 (1), 29-40. Retrieved on May 25, 2013 from

Hedge, T. (2005). Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Bonus, S. & Wright, E. (2004). Bridging the gap: A genre analysis of weblogs. Proceedings of the 37th Hawai'i International Conference on System Sciences. Los Alamitos: LEEE Computer Society press.

Hirose, K. (2003). Comparing L1 and L2 organizational patterns in the argumentative writing of Japanese EFL students. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 181-209.

Hofer, B. K. (2008). Personal epistemology and culture. In M. S. Khine (Ed.), Knowing, knowledge and beliefs: Epistemological studies across cultures (pp. 3 - 22). Dorchert, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Jonassen, D. H., & Kim, B. (2010). Arguing to learn and learning to argue: Design justifications and guidelines. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58(4), 439–457.

Kachru, Y. (2005). Culture and argumentative writing in world Englishes. In K. Bolton & B. Kachru (Eds.), World Englishes: Critical concepts in linguistics (pp.19-36). Abingdon: Routledge.

Karolides, N. (2013). Reader response in secondary and college classrooms. New York: Routledge.

Kessler, G., Bikowski, D. & Boggs, J. (2012). Collaborative writing among second language learners in academic web-based projects. Language Learning and Technology, 16(1), 91-109.

Khine, M. (Ed.) (2008). Knowing, knowledge and beliefs: Epistemological studies across cultures. Dorchert, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Khine, M. & Hayes, B. (2010). Investigating women’s ways of knowing: An exploratory study in the UAE. Issues in Educational Research, 20(2), 105-117.

Knight, K., Elfinbein, M. & Messina, J. (1995). A preliminary scale to measure connected and separate knowing: The knowing scale inventory. Sex Roles, 33(7/8), 449-513.

Kolour, D. (2015). The impact of teaching critical thinking tasks on coherence in argumentative essay writing among EFL learners. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6(7), 460-468.

Lee, S. H. (2008). An integrative framework for the analyses of argumentative/persuasive essays from an interpersonal perspective. Journal of Text and Talk, 28(2), 239-270.

Lewis, M. W. & Dehler, G. E. (2000). Learning through paradox: A pedagogical strategy for exploring contradictions and complexity. Journal of Management Education, 26, 708-725.

Lin, H. T., Kuo, T. & Yuan, S. (2007). A web-based learning portfolio framework built on blog service. Information Technology Journal, 6(6), 858-864.

Liu, X., Magjuka, R., Bonk, C. & Lee, S. (2007). Does sense of community matter? An examination of participants' perceptions of building leaning communities in online courses. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 8(1), 9-24.

Liu, Y. (2009). The impact of cultural factors on Chinese and American college students’ rhetoric choices in argumentative discourse: A contrastive study. Intercultural Communication Studies, XVIII (1), 128-142.

Maftoon, P., Birjandi, P. & Pahlavani, P. (2014). The impact of using computer-aided argumentative writing mapping on the improvement of writing achievement of Iranian learners of English. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(5), 982-988.

Mars, H., & Benton, S. (2009). Relationships between separate and connected knowing and approaches to learning. Sex Roles, 60, 57-66.

Martin, J. N., Nakayama, T. K., & Flores, L. A. (2002). A dialectical approach to intercultural communication. In J. N. Martin, T. K. Nakayama, & L. A. Flores (Eds.), Readings in intercultural communication: Experiences and contexts (2nd ed.) (pp. 3-13). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Mason, R. & Rennie, F. (2007). Using web 2.0 for learning in the community. The Internet and Higher Education, 10(3), 196-203.

Miller, T. R., Baird, T. D. Littlefield, C. M. Kofinas, G. & Redman, C. I. (2008). Epistemological pluralism: Reorganizing interdisciplinary research. Ecology & Society, 13(2), 46. Retrieved on May 12, 2013 from

Nussbaum, M. E. & Kardash, C. (2005). The effects of goal instructions and text on the generation of counterarguments during writing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 157-169.

Nassbaum, M. E. & Schraw G. (2007). Promoting argument-counterargument integration in students' writing. Journal of Experimental Education, 76(1), 59-93.

Osborne, J. (2010). Arguing to learn in science: The role of collaborative critical discourse. Science, 823, 463-466.

Osborne, J., Erduran, S., & Simon, S. (2004). Enhancing the quality of argumentation in school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 4(10), 994-1020.

Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pearson, E., Gkatzidou, V. & Green, S. (2009). A proposal for an adaptable personal learning environment to support learners needs and preferences. In same places, different spaces. Proceedings of Ascilite, Aukland, 2009. Retrieved from, on May 25, 2013

Pelletteri, J. (2005). Negotiation in cyberspace: the role of chatting in the development of grammatical competence. In M. Warschauer & R. Kern (Eds.), Network-based language teaching: Concepts and practice (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Perloff, R. M. (2003). The dynamic of persuasion (2nd ed.) Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Pintrich, P. R. & Zusho, A. (2002). The development of academic self-regulation: The role of cognitive and motivational factors. In A. Wigfield & J. Eccles (Eds.), The development of achievement motivation (pp. 250-279). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Richardson, W. (2003). Weblogs in the English classroom: More than just chat. English Journal, 93(1), 39-43.

Roca De Larios, J. R. & Murphy, I. (2006). Generating text in native and foreign language writing: A temporal analysis of problem solving formation process. The Modern Language Journal, 90, 100-114.

Ryan, M. & David, B. (2003). Gender differences in ways of knowing: The context dependence of the attitudes toward thinking and leaning survey. Sex Roles, 49(11/12), 693-699.

Sayed, S. (2012). Formative assessment: Uncovering writing excellence one student at a time. In C.L. Gunn (Ed.). Enhancing teaching and learning in higher education in the United Arab Emirates: Reflections from the classroom. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Schellen, P. & De Jong, M. (2004). Argumentation schemes in persuasive brochures. Argumentation, 18, 295-323.

Schneider, A. & Ingram, H. (2007). Ways of knowing and public policy. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, August 29-September 2. Retrieved on May 25, 2014 from

Schommer-Aikins, M. (20040. Explaining eh epistemological belief system: Introducing the embedded systemi model and coordinated research approach. Educational Psychologist, 39(1), 19-29

Schommer-Aikins, M. & Easter, M. (2006). Ways of knowing and epistemological beliefs: Combined effects on academic performance. Educational Psychology, 26(3), 411-423.

Schommer-Aikins, M. & Easter, M. (2008). Epistemological beliefs’ contributions to study strategies of Asian Americans and European Americans. Journal of Educational Psychology, 4, 920-929.

Schoonen, R. & Golderen, A. (2003). First language and second language writing: The role of linguistic knowledge, speed of processing, and metacognitive knowledge. Language Learning, 5(3), 165-202.

Schwandt, T. A. (2003). Three epistemological stances for qualitative inquiry: Interpretativism, hermeneutics, and social constructionism. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The landscape of qualitative research: Theories and issues (pp.292-331). CA: Sage Publication.

Schwarz, B. B., Neuman, Y., Gil, J. & Iiya, M. (2003). Construction of collective and individual knowledge in argumentative activity. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 12, 219-256.

Seow, A. (2002). The writing process and the process writing. In J. C. Richards & W. A. Renandya (Eds.), Methodology in language teaching: An anthology of current practice (pp.315-320). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Shanahan, T. (2004). Overcoming dominance of communication. Writing to think and to learn. In T.L. Jetton & J.A. Dole (Eds.). Adolescent Research and Practice (pp.59-73). New York: Guilford.

Shea, P. (2006). A study of students' sense of learning community in online environments. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 10(1), 35-44.

Siemens, G. (2008). New structures and spaces of learning: The systemic impact of connective knowledge, connectivism, and networked learning. Retrieved on May, 25, 2013 from

So, H. J. & Brush, T. A. (2008). Student perceptions of collaborative learning, social presence, and satisfaction in a blended learning environment: Relationships and critical factors. Computer & Education, 51(1), 318-336.

Stylinger, M. & Overstreet, J. (2014). Strengthening argumentative writing with speaking and listening (Socratic) circles. Voices from the Middle, 22(1), 58-62.

Szestazy, M. (2004). Teachers’ ways of knowing. ELT Journal, 58(2), 129-136.

Targhi, B., Ebner, M. & Kroell, C. (2012). Personal learning environment – generation 2.0. In T. Amiel & B. Wilson (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2012 (pp. 1828-1835). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Thompson, I. (2013). The mediation of learning in the zone of proximal development through a co-constructed writing activity. Research in the Teaching of English, 47(3), 247-276.

Valsiner, Jaan (2006). Dangerous curves in knowledge construction within psychology: Fragmentation of methodology. Theory & Psychology, 16(5), 597-612.

Van-Eemeren, F. H. & Grootndorst, R. (2004). A systematic theory of argumentation: The pragma-dialectical approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Walter, J. (2011). Variation in the language linguistic systems. London: Routledge.

Wang, Q. (2010). Using online shared workspaces to support group collaborative learning. Computer & Education, 55, 1270-1276.

Wingate, U. (2011). Argument! Helping students understand what essay writing is about. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 10(2), 89-101.

Yang, H. H. (2006). Blogfolios for student-centered reflection and communication. In M. Iskander (Ed.), Innovative techniques in instruction technology, E-learning, E-assessment, and Education (pp. 179-182). Netherlands: Springer.

Yuen, S. C. & Yang, H. (2010). Using blogfolios to enhance interaction in E-learning courses. In S. Yuen, & H. Yang (Eds.), Handbook of research on practices and outcomes in E-learning: Issues and trends (pp. 455-470). Hershey: Information Science Reference.

Zimmerman, B. (2008). Investigating self-regulation and motivation: Historical background, methodological developments, and future prospects. American Educational Research Journal, 45(1), 166-183.

Zohar, A. & Nemet, F. (2002). Fostering students' knowledge and argumentation skills through dilemmas in human genetics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(10, 35-62.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

2010-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.