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This study aimed to investigate the influence of the conference method on narrative essay writing in senior secondary schools in Mangu Local Government Area. The research design used was a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) experimental design, where participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental group or the control group. The population consisted of 2,065 SSII students from 24 public senior secondary schools, and a sample of 100 students was selected from two government senior secondary schools. The instrument used for data collection was the Narrative Essay Writing Assessment Test (NEWAT), which measured students’ narrative essay writing skills. The data analysis involved descriptive statistics and t-tests. The findings of the study indicated that the conference method had a positive impact on various aspects of narrative essay writing, including idea generation, organization of ideas, and sentence construction skills. The study concluded that the conference method was effective in enhancing narrative essay writing skills among senior secondary school students and recommended its integration into the curriculum, teacher training and professional development, and the creation of a supportive classroom environment.




Writing is a means of human communication that represents language and ideas with symbols. It is considered a defining characteristic of humans (Vaesen, 2012). The history of writing traces back to the beginning of the Bronze Age around 3500 BC with the earliest form of writing known as proto-cuneiform script. Over time, different systems of writing developed independently around the world with each system having a specific writing tool, medium, set of basic symbols, and rules for their assembly. The basic tools and materials used for writing have evolved significantly from early tools like stone, clay, leaves and wood to modern tools like pens, pencils, keyboards and screens. However, the fundamental purpose of writing remains as a means to record and transmit information and ideas between individuals, societies and across generations. Contemporary theories also highlight additional functions of writing such as promoting critical thinking, problem-solving abilities and cognitive development.

Essay writing is a vital component of academic discourse, allowing individuals to articulate and communicate their thoughts, ideas, and arguments in a structured and coherent manner. According to Smith (2018), essays serve as a platform for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of a particular topic, as well as their ability to critically analyze and evaluate relevant information. Additionally, essay writing encourages independent thinking and research skills, as individuals are required to gather evidence from various sources to support their claims (Jones, 2016). Furthermore, essays provide a platform for individuals to develop and refine their writing skills, including effective organization, clarity of expression, and proper citation of sources (Johnson, 2010). The process of essay writing involves several stages, such as brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising, and editing, which contribute to the development of critical thinking and analytical abilities (Smith, 2018).

Essay writing plays a crucial role in education and academic settings as it serves multiple purposes and benefits. Firstly, essay writing allows students to demonstrate their understanding of a subject matter and showcase their critical thinking skills (McMillan, 2002). Through the process of researching, analyzing, and synthesizing information, students gain a deeper comprehension of the topic. This helps them develop the ability to formulate coherent arguments and support them with evidence (Hill, 2016). Moreover, essay writing enhances students’ communication skills by requiring them to express their thoughts and ideas in a clear and organized manner (Clark, 2015). The process of structuring an essay, including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, teaches students how to effectively present their ideas and convey their message to the intended audience. Furthermore, essay writing fosters independent learning as it encourages students to engage in self-directed research (Lea & Street, 2006). By exploring different sources and perspectives, students develop their research skills and become more knowledgeable on a given topic.

There are several effective methods for teaching essay writing that have been widely explored in educational research. One approach is the process-oriented method, which emphasizes the various stages of writing, such as prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing (Hillocks, 2002). This method encourages students to engage in brainstorming, outlining, and organizing their ideas before composing their essays. Another method is the genre-based approach, which focuses on teaching students the specific characteristics and structure of different essay genres (Martin, 2009). This method helps students understand the expectations and conventions associated with different types of essays, such as argumentative, descriptive, or compare and contrast essays. Additionally, the collaborative approach involves peer feedback and group discussions, where students can exchange ideas, provide constructive criticism, and learn from one another (Paulus, 2009). This method promotes active learning and encourages students to consider different perspectives. Finally, the use of technology, such as online platforms or essay writing software, can provide interactive and engaging tools to support the teaching and learning of essay writing (Boscolo et al., 2007). These methods contribute to the development of students’ writing skills by providing guidance, scaffolding, and opportunities for practice and feedback.

One effective method for teaching essay writing is the conferencing approach, which involves one-on-one or small group discussions between the teacher and students (Rogers & Graham, 2008). During these conferences, the teacher provides personalized feedback and guidance to students, focusing on specific aspects of their writing, such as content, organization, and grammar (Graham et al., 2012). Conferencing allows teachers to tailor their instruction to individual student needs and provide targeted support for areas that require improvement. The teacher can engage in dialogue with students, asking probing questions to help them reflect on their writing choices and make revisions (Cho & MacArthur, 2010). This method promotes metacognitive awareness, as students become more conscious of their writing process and the decisions they make. Conferencing also builds a supportive and collaborative relationship between the teacher and students, fostering a positive classroom environment where students feel comfortable seeking feedback and asking questions (Rogers & Graham, 2008).

The conferencing method has shown significant influence on narrative essay writing in senior secondary schools. Research indicates that conferencing provides students with personalized feedback and guidance, which helps them develop their narrative writing skills (Hillocks, 2010). Through one-on-one or small group discussions, teachers can address specific concerns related to content, structure, character development, and plot progression (Graham & Hebert, 2011). Conferencing allows teachers to provide timely feedback, identify areas for improvement, and offer suggestions for revision (Gillespie & Graham, 2010). This individualized attention helps students understand their strengths and weaknesses as narrative writers, enabling them to make targeted revisions and improvements to their essays. Moreover, the interactive nature of conferencing encourages students to actively engage in the writing process, promoting metacognitive awareness and reflection on their narrative choices (MacArthur et al., 2016). The supportive and collaborative environment created during conferencing sessions also enhances students’ motivation and confidence in their writing abilities (Graham & Perin, 2007).

It is in line with the above discussion that this study seeks to find out the influence of conference method on narrative essay writing in senior secondary schools in Mangu Local Government Area.


Senior secondary school students are suppose to exhibit proficient narrative essay writing skills that enable them to effectively express their ideas, thoughts, and experiences. This is because they have been exposed to writing right from junior secondary classes. However, the current situation indicates that senior secondary school students face significant challenges in developing and demonstrating strong narrative essay writing abilities. They struggle with organizing their ideas coherently, using appropriate language and vocabulary, and structuring their essays effectively. In an effort to address these challenges, various teaching methods have been implemented over time in senior secondary schools. One such method is the conferences approach, which involves interactive sessions between teachers and students, providing personalized feedback, guidance, and support to enhance their narrative essay writing skills.

Despite the implementation of different teaching methods, including traditional approaches and technology-enhanced instruction, the problem of inadequate narrative essay writing skills among senior secondary school students still persists. Students continue to struggle with expressing their ideas creatively, developing engaging narratives, and effectively communicating their thoughts in written form. The lack of proficiency in narrative essay writing has far-reaching effects on the academic performance and overall educational experience of the students. It hampers their ability to effectively convey their knowledge, thoughts, and experiences in written assignments and examinations. Additionally, it limits their opportunities for self-expression, critical thinking, and personal growth. Furthermore, it may impede their future educational prospects and success in various higher education and career pathways.

Given the persistent challenges faced by senior secondary school students in Mangu Local Government Area in narrative essay writing, there is a pressing need to investigate the influence of the conferences method on enhancing their narrative essay writing skills. This research aims to determine whether the conferences approach can effectively address the existing difficulties and promote significant improvements in the students’ narrative essay writing abilities.

While previous studies have explored various teaching methods and approaches for essay writing, there is a notable gap in the specific examination of the influence of the conferences method on narrative essay writing skills in senior secondary schools within the context of Mangu Local Government Area. This research seeks to fill this gap by providing empirical evidence on the effectiveness of the conferences approach in improving narrative essay writing proficiency among senior secondary school students in the local educational setting.


The aim of this study is to examine the influence of the conference method on narrative essay writing among senior secondary school students in Mangu Local Government Area. The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To determine the extent to which the conferences method enhances students’ ability to generate ideas in narrative essay writing.
  2. To investigate the impact of the conferences method on the organization of ideas in narrative essay writing among senior secondary school students.
  3. To evaluate the influence of the conferences method on improving students’ sentence construction skills in narrative essay writing.


            The study will be guided by the following research questions:

  1. To what extent does the conferences method help senior secondary school students in generating ideas for narrative essay writing?
  2. What is the impact of the conferences method on the organization of ideas in narrative essay writing among senior secondary school students?
  3. How does the conferences method influence the sentence construction skills of senior secondary school students in narrative essay writing?


The following hypotheses are formulated to guide the study and will be tested at a 0.05 level of significance:

  1. There will be no significant difference in the ability to generate ideas for narrative essay writing between senior secondary school students exposed to the conferences method and those not exposed to it.
  2. There will be no significant difference in the organization of ideas in narrative essay writing between senior secondary school students exposed to the conferences method and those not exposed to it.
  3. There will be no significant difference in sentence construction skills in narrative essay writing between senior secondary school students exposed to the conferences method and those not exposed to it.


The findings of this study hold significant implications for various stakeholders, including senior secondary school students, teachers of English Language, school administrators, policy makers, parents, future researchers, as well as library and internet users.

For senior secondary school students in Mangu Local Government Area, the study’s outcomes can be highly beneficial. By exploring the influence of the conference method on narrative essay writing, students can enhance their writing skills, critical thinking abilities, and overall academic achievement. The findings of the study provide a practical approach for students to improve their narrative writing proficiency. Through the conference method, students can engage in meaningful discussions with their teachers, receive personalized feedback, and develop a deeper understanding of narrative structure and techniques. This approach empowers students to express their ideas coherently, showcase their creativity, and excel academically in the field of narrative essay writing.

Teachers of English Language can gain valuable insights from the research findings and enhance their instructional strategies. The study’s outcomes offer evidence-based guidance on incorporating the conference method as a pedagogical tool for narrative essay writing instruction. By adopting this innovative teaching method, teachers can foster a supportive and collaborative learning environment that promotes students’ narrative writing skills. The conference method allows teachers to provide individualized feedback, address students’ specific writing needs, and guide them in improving their narrative composition. This knowledge inspires teachers to adopt student-centered approaches, enhance their teaching effectiveness, and ultimately contribute to the overall improvement of students’ writing abilities.

School administrators and principals can find value in the study’s outcomes as they seek to improve the quality of education within their institutions. The findings inform decision-making processes regarding curriculum development, resource allocation, and educational outcomes. Administrators can utilize the research findings to make informed decisions about integrating the conference method into the English Language curriculum, allocating resources for teacher training, and ultimately improving students’ narrative writing skills. By recognizing the effectiveness of the conference method in enhancing students’ narrative essay writing, administrators can support and promote its integration, leading to enhanced educational outcomes and student achievement.

Educational policymakers at the state and national levels can utilize the research findings to inform policy decisions. The study’s outcomes contribute to discussions on educational reforms and strategies for enhancing students’ narrative writing skills. Policymakers can use the research findings to inform decisions regarding curriculum development, teacher training programs, and educational reforms. By recognizing the benefits of incorporating the conference method in narrative essay writing instruction, policymakers can influence policy decisions that foster better writing skills among students, leading to overall improvements in the educational landscape.

Parents and guardians of students in Mangu Local Government Area indirectly benefit from the study as their children’s academic achievement improves. By supporting their children’s participation in conferences with teachers, parents and guardians can play an active role in nurturing their children’s narrative writing skills. Understanding the benefits of the conference method, parents and guardians can encourage their children to actively engage in the writing process, seek feedback, and refine their narrative compositions. This collaborative effort between parents, students, and teachers creates a supportive learning environment that fosters students’ narrative writing abilities.

The study also has the potential to inspire future researchers to explore similar topics or expand upon the findings. It serves as a basis for further research, contributing to the body of knowledge on effective teaching strategies and their impact on students’ achievement in narrative essay writing. Future researchers can build upon the study’s findings, deepening our understanding of effective instructional approaches and continuously improving education in the context of narrative writing.


One possible theory that can be used for the study is Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory emphasizes the role of social interaction and cultural context in cognitive development. According to this theory, learning is a socially mediated process that occurs through collaborative activities and interactions with more knowledgeable individuals, such as teachers or peers. The central concept in this theory is the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), which refers to the gap between a learner’s current level of ability and their potential level of development with guidance and support.

Applying Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory as a theoretical framework for the study, the conference method can be seen as a social and collaborative tool that facilitates learning and cognitive development in the context of narrative essay writing. The conference method involves interactions between students and teachers, providing opportunities for feedback, guidance, and scaffolding. Through these interactions, students can engage in dialogues, receive support, and co-construct knowledge.

The conference method aligns with Vygotsky’s emphasis on social interaction and collaborative learning. It creates a supportive environment where students can engage in meaningful discussions, receive feedback on their writing, and acquire new knowledge and skills. The ZPD concept suggests that the conference method can help students bridge the gap between their existing writing abilities and their potential development by providing guided support, thus facilitating their growth in narrative essay writing.

By using Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory as a theoretical framework, the study can explore how the conference method, as a socially mediated approach, influences narrative essay writing skills among senior secondary school students. It allows for an examination of the social and interactive processes that occur during conferences and how these interactions contribute to students’ writing development within the specific cultural context of Mangu Local Government Area.


This study aims to determine the effects of the conference method on senior secondary students’ achievement in narrative essay writing in Mangu Local Government Area (LGA), Plateau State, Nigeria. The study will specifically focus on public senior secondary school students within Mangu LGA. Within the scope of this research, the study will specifically determine the following aspects of writing such as: idea generation, idea organization and sentence construction. Idea generation is the ability of the students to brainstorm ideas relating to their essay topics. Idea organisation refers to the structure and coherence of the essay, ensuring that ideas are effectively presented and connected. Sentence construction is students’ ability to adhere to the rules of sentence construction such as subject-verb-agreement. In terms of geographical location, the study is limited in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria. In addition, it is being limited to public secondary schools, mainly because a significant number of public-owned schools have been observed to ‘under-perform’ (that is, fall below the national performance average) in essay writing both in internal and external examinations in recent years.


The following terms used in the study are defined operationally:

Achievement: This refers to the level of achievement of Senior Secondary School students in essay writing as measured by a scale as follows: 0-39 (fail), 40-49 (Pass), 50-59 (Good), 60-69 (Very Good), and 70-above (Excellent).

Essay writing: In the context of this study, essay writing refers to the task of writing on topics that are relatively simple or familiar to senior secondary school students. These topics are usually chosen to match the students’ language proficiency level and aims at facilitating their engagement and comprehension during the writing process.

Idea generation: This is the creativity of the writer. The ideas that are being sourced for in an essay in order to form paragraphs are what is referred to as idea generation. Idea generation is a critical aspect of essay writing that involves the ability to generate relevant and compelling ideas to support the main topic or thesis statement. It requires students to brainstorm, explore various perspectives, and gather information to develop a coherent and well-supported argument.

Idea Organisation: Idea organisation here refers to how coherently and cohesively a student arranges their essay writing. It involves structuring the essay in a way that effectively presents the main argument and supporting points. Organisational techniques such as outlining, creating topic sentences, and using transitional phrases help students to present their ideas in a clear and cohesive manner. This refers to the logical arrangement of ideas in an essay to give it better understanding.

Senior Secondary School Students: In this study, senior secondary school students refer to students who are enrolled in the last three years of secondary education in Mangu Local Government Area (LGA), Plateau State. These students are typically between the ages of 15 and 18 and are studying various subjects as part of their curriculum.

Sentence construction: This is the ability of the students to effectively use appropriate words and grammatically accepted sentences within properly organised paragraphs to enhance meaning in written composition.

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