Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 4 December 2023                    Pp. 358-371

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Writing Assignments Difficulties, Factors, and Solutions: ESL Teachers’ Perspectives

Afnan Farooqui
English Language Institute
Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia


 Received:08/20/2023                     Accepted:12/09/2023                  Published:12/15/2023


Writing assignments have been considered challenging for English as a Second Language (ESL) students. Several studies have investigated writing difficulties, primarily focusing on lexical and grammatical problems. However, few studies have explored challenges at various stages of writing. This research examines teachers’ views on the challenges ESL tertiary students face when writing descriptive essays in the three primary stages: pre-writing, during writing, and post-writing. It also explores the factors contributing to these challenges and provides suggestions for overcoming them. Explanatory research was conducted by collecting quantitative and qualitative data from a web-based questionnaire and semi-structured interviews and analyzing those datasets separately. Fifteen English teachers participated in the online survey, and five teachers underwent individual interviews. This research reveals the problems ESL tertiary students encounter at the different stages of writing essays. In the pre-writing stage, students struggled most with outlining. During writing, they worked most on avoiding plagiarism, writing well-structured sentences, and linking between sentences. In the post-writing stage, they worked most with editing and revising. The teachers identified a lack of knowledge and creativity, over-dependence on teacher feedback, and unawareness of the writing process as the main factors behind these difficulties. The teachers suggested numerous solutions to overcome the challenges, including continuous writing training, teacher guidance, and increasing students’ awareness about writing stages by applying different digital techniques.
Keywords: editing and revising, lack of knowledge, over-dependence, outlining, three primary stages of the writing process

Cite as: Farooqui, A. (2023). Writing Assignments Difficulties, Factors, and Solutions: ESL Teachers’ Perspectives.
Arab World English Journal, 14 (4): 358-371.


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Received: 08/20/2023  
Accepted: 12/09/2023
Published: 12/15/2023   

Afnan Farooqui is an Assistant Professor at the English Language Institute at Umm Al-Qura University (UQU). She holds the degree of PhD in English Language Teaching from the University of Essex, UK. Her research interests include English for Specific Purposes (ESP), Genre analysis, academic writing, Corpus Linguistics, and vocabulary teaching. ORCID ID-