An investigation into common errors in paragraph writing of the 10th grade students at Hong Linh high school

  • Số trang: 89 |
  • Loại file: DOC |
  • Lượt xem: 30 |
  • Lượt tải: 0
minhtuan

Đã đăng 15929 tài liệu

Mô tả:

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING VINH UNIVERSITY NGUYEN THI THU THUY AN INVESTIGATION INTO COMMON ERRORS IN PARAGRAPH WRITING OF THE 10TH GRADE STUDENTS AT HONG LINH HIGH SCHOOL MASTER THESIS IN EDUCATION NGHE AN - 2014 0 MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING VINH UNIVERSITY NGUYEN THI THU THUY AN INVESTIGATION INTO COMMON ERRORS IN PARAGRAPH WRITING OF THE 10TH GRADE STUDENTS AT HONG LINH HIGH SCHOOL Major:Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Code: 60.14.01.11 MASTER THESIS IN EDUCATION Supervisor: TRAN BA TIEN, Ph.D. NGHE AN, 2014 STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP I hereby acknowledge that this study is mine. The data and findings discussed in the thesis are true, used with permission, and have not been published elsewhere. Author Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my deepest thanks to my supervisor Dr. Tran Ba Tien who has enthusiastically helped and encouraged me during the period of writing this research paper. Without his experienced guidance, valuable comments and tireless help, I couldn’t have completed the study on time. My gratitude also goes to all of the instructors in my MA. program at the Foreign Languages Department, Vinh University. With their precious and professional lectures and tutoring, I can understand difficult basic concepts related to English teaching methodology, I am also grateful to all my friends and colleagues and my beloved family, who gave me useful advice on writing process. Finally, I wish to acknowledge the kind help of the 10 th students at Hong Linh High School who helped me to collect data, and their valuable support for finishing the study. Vinh, September 2014 Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy ii ABSTRACT The findings of the thesis are mainly concerned with the common errors in writing by the tenth-form students at HLHS. The study reveals the most frequent types of errors made by the students. The greatest number of errors occurred in this study were morphological errors, lexical errors, syntactic errors and mechanical errors. The study also shows the errors of paragraph organization due to the fact that students at HLHS lack access to the theory of building a paragraph such as building topic sentences, developing supporting ideas. Based on the findings, implications for enhancing the effectiveness of English paragraph teaching and learning writing are put forward. It is hoped that the results of the study can be beneficial for both students and teachers. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Pages STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP......................................................................... ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS..................................................................................... ABSTRACT............................................................................................................ TABLE OF CONTENTS........................................................................................ LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS................................................................................. LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................. LIST OF FIGURES.............................................................................................. Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION................................................................................. 1.1. Rationale.......................................................................................................... 1.2. Scope of the study........................................................................................... 1.3. Aims and objectives........................................................................................ 1.3.1. Aims.......................................................................................................... 1.3.2. Objectives................................................................................................. 1.4. Research questions.......................................................................................... 1.5. Organization of the study................................................................................ Chapter 2. LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL BACKGROUND..................................................................................................... 2.1. Previous studies............................................................................................... 2.2. Theoretical background................................................................................... 2.2.1. Teaching writing....................................................................................... 2.2.1.1. Definition of writing........................................................................... 2.2.1.2. The reason for teaching writing.......................................................... 2.2.2. Approaches to writing teaching................................................................ 2.2.2.1. Product approach................................................................................ 2.2.2.2. Process approach................................................................................ 2.2.3. Principles of teaching writing................................................................... 2.3. Teaching paragraph writing............................................................................. iv 2.3.1. Definitions of Paragraph........................................................................... 2.3.2. Classifications of paragraph.................................................................... 2.3.2.1. Informative paragraph...................................................................... 2.3.2.2. Descriptive paragraph....................................................................... 2.3.2.3. Narrative paragraph.......................................................................... 2.3.2.4. Persuasive paragraph........................................................................ 2.4. Writing process of paragraph......................................................................... 2.5. Error and error analysis................................................................................. 2.5.1. Error and error analysis........................................................................... 2.5.2. Sources of errors..................................................................................... 2.5.3. Errors in writing...................................................................................... 2.5.4. Error classification.................................................................................. Chapter 3 METHODOLOGY............................................................................... 3.1. Study setting.................................................................................................. 3.2. Participants.................................................................................................... 3.3. Research methods.......................................................................................... 3.4. Research procedures...................................................................................... 3.5. Description of the sample.............................................................................. 3.6. Data analysis.................................................................................................. 3.7. Reliability validity......................................................................................... Chapter 4. FINDING AND DISCUSSION........................................................... 4.1. Error analysis................................................................................................. 4.1.1. Morphological errors.............................................................................. 4.1.1.1. Verb errors....................................................................................... 4.1.1.2. Noun ending errors........................................................................... 4.1.1.3. Article or determiner errors.............................................................. 4.1.2. Lexical errors.......................................................................................... 4.1.2.1. Errors in word choice....................................................................... 4.1.2.2. Errors in word form.......................................................................... v 4.1.2.3. Preposition errors............................................................................. 4.1.2.4. Pronoun errors.................................................................................. 4.1.2.5. Spelling errors.................................................................................. 4.1.3. Syntactic errors....................................................................................... 4.1.3.1. Word order....................................................................................... 4.1.3.2. Omitted words or phrases................................................................. 4.1.3.4. Run-ons - comma splices.................................................................. 4.1.3.5. Fragments incomplete sentence........................................................ 4.1.3.6. Unidiomatic sentence construction................................................... 4.1.4. Mechanical errors.................................................................................... 4.2. Paragraph organization.................................................................................. 4.2.1. Topic sentence........................................................................................ 4.2.2. Supporting sentences.............................................................................. 4.2.3. Concluding sentence............................................................................... 4.3. Some solutions to the problem....................................................................... 4.3.1. Suggestions on teaching how to write a paragraph................................. 4.3.2. Suggestions on reviewing grammar and practicing writing.................... 4.3.3. Suggestions on making drafts................................................................. 4.3.4. Suggestions on teachers’ error correction............................................... 4.3.5. Suggestions on teachers’ checking.......................................................... 4.4. Summary....................................................................................................... Chapter 5. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS......................................... 5.1. Conclusions................................................................................................... 5.2. Implications................................................................................................... 5.3. Limitations..................................................................................................... 5.4. Suggestions for further studies...................................................................... REFERENCES....................................................................................................... APPENDIX............................................................................................................. vi vii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS DA : Discourse Analysis EA : Error Analysis EFL : English Foreign Language ELT : English Language Teaching HLHS : Hong Linh High School L1 : First Language L2 : Second Language S : Subject SLA : Second Language Acquisition TL : Target Language V : Verb viii LIST OF TABLES Pages Table 2.1. Common ESL Writing Errors Based on Ferris’ (2005) Model............ Table 2.2. Description of Major Error Categories (Ferris, 2005).......................... Table 4.1. Categories of errors in the paragraphs written by HLHS students ............................................................................................................. Table 4.2. Morphological errors........................................................................... Table 4.3. Verb Errors.......................................................................................... Table 4.4. Noun ending errors.............................................................................. Table 4.5. Article or determiner errors................................................................. Table 4.6. Lexical Errors...................................................................................... Table 4.7. Syntactic errors.................................................................................... Table 4.8. Mechanical Errors................................................................................ Table 4.9. Topic sentence display......................................................................... Table 4.10. Organization of Supporting Sentence Display..................................... Table 4.11. Concluding sentence display................................................................ Table 4.12. Summary of Errors in Writing by HLHS Students.............................. ix LIST OF FIGURES Pages Figure 4.1. Errors in the paragraphs written by HLHS Students............................ Figure 4.2. Morphological errors........................................................................... Figure 4.3. Verb errors........................................................................................... Figure 4.4. Noun ending errors.............................................................................. Figure 4.5. Article or determiner errors................................................................. Figure 4.6. Lexical errors....................................................................................... Figure 4.7. Syntactic errors.................................................................................... Figure 4.8. Mechanical Errors................................................................................ x Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1. Rationale In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of the English writing skill at high schools in Vietnam. The writing skill is part of the English syllabus at high schools. In a school-year at high school, there are 105 periods for teaching English in which there is one fifth for teaching writing. Writing is one of the five parts of every unit in English textbooks from grade 10 to grade 12. Writing an English paragraph is a main activity as a result of the writing lesson in the tenth form. Some kinds of writing are writing descriptions, writing about people’s background, writing about the advantages and disadvantages of something. Writing paragraphs is basic to students’ development of their writing skill later. Writing a letter, writing a composition and writing an essay are based on writing a paragraph because they are constituted from some paragraphs. Hence it is very important for students to be taught how to write a paragraph. However, knowledge of how to write an English paragraph is not presented in the English textbooks. Although the students are required to write a paragraph, they have not been trained to construct a well-organized paragraph. Though writing a paragraph has been put into the eighth form textbooks, building a paragraph is still strange to HLHS students. They learn to write paragraphs with some help from their teachers. Sometimes their writing is nearly based on a model given out at the first part of a unit in the textbooks or on a reading passage. At the end of each writing lesson, they have to complete their writing task. Correspondingly, the result of teaching the English writing skill is still unsatisfactory and students still have many dificulties in writing English. While teaching English I find that my students have difficulties in writing. Some of these difficulties are problems related to grammar and vocabulary at sentence level. How to organize sentences into a larger unit like the paragraph is an 1 even more important problem. A survey of English paragraphs written by HLHS students indicates that their academic writings lack unity and coherence as they tend to pay attention to accuracy at the sentence level rather than to the development of appropriate discourse organization. Many difficulties in writing lead students to be more susceptible to producing errors. For this reason, I choose to do research on the topic “AN INVESTIGATION INTO COMMON ERRORS IN PARAGRAPH WRITING OF THE 10TH GRADE STUDENTS AT HONG LINH HIGH SCHOOL”. This thesis is carried out with the hope that the research results will provide certain linguistically useful practical knowledge for teachers in charge of the English writing skill at high schools and improving the students’ skill in writing an English paragraph. Therefore, I perform a study to evaluate the writing skills of my students in writing a paragraph in English and identify their errors in order to develop guidelines for correction and improvement of their writing skills. 1.2. Scope of the study The study investigates English paragraphs written by the tenth form Vietnamese students at HLHS, particularly focusing on the discourse features of the English paragraph. The study is confined to the investigation of linguistic errors and organization in an English paragraph. In addition, the study is also restricted to these discourse features in descriptive paragraphs and narrative paragraphs. 1.3. Aims and objectives 1.3.1. Aims This study aims to identify some discourse features of English paragraphs written by HLHS students as well as find out the mistakes they often make when writing English paragraphs and put forward some solutions. 1.3.2. Objectives The objectives of the study are to: - Investigate the discourse features of English paragraphs written by HLHS students (layout, lexical features and syntactic structures). - Identify problems faced by the HLHS students in the process of English paragraph writing. 2 - Provide suggestions for teaching and learning English paragraph writing to HLHS students. 1.4. Research questions Examination of the English paragraphs written by HLHS students aims at answering the following research questions based on the analysis of students’ written products: 1. What are the types of errors in English paragraphs written by HLHS students? 2. What are the features of organization of English paragraphs written by HLHS students? 3. What are some suggestions for the teaching and learning of English paragraph writing at HLHS? 1.5. Organization of the study Chapter 1- Introduction This part introduces the study. It consists of the rationale, the scope of the study, the aims, the objectives and the research questions . Chapter 2- Literature Review and Theoretical Background This part provides the previous study and the theoretical background for the research questions raised in the study. It also includes the working definitions of the key terms in the study. Chapter 3- Methodology This part concerns itself with the research design, the research methods, data description and the procedures of collecting and analyzing the data. Chapter 4- Findings and Discussion This part deals with error analysis, finding errors in students’ writing and their organization of English paragraphs, suggestions for the teaching and learning of writing English paragraphs. Chapter 5- Conclusions and Implications This part gives the summary of the development of the study and presents the conclusions drawn from the study. This is followed by the implications for teaching and learning English and some suggestions for further research. 3 Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL BACKGROUND 2.1. Previous studies Error analysis (EA), offered as an alternative to Contrastive Analysis, has its value in classroom research. Whereas contrastive analysis allows for prediction of the difficulties involved in acquiring a second language, error analysis may be carried out directly for pedagogic purposes. It was S.P. Corder (1967) who first advocated in ELT/applied linguistics community the importance of errors in language learning process. He introduced the distinction between systematic and unsystematic errors. Unsystematic errors appear in native speakers’ language and he called them “mistakes”. Systematic errors, which appear in nonnative speakers’ language, were called “errors”. He states that only “errors” are significant to the language learning process. Dulay and Burt (1974) propose the three categories of errors: developmental, interference and unique. In their work, Dulay, Burt and Krashen (1982) show that acquiring language is a process of “creative construction”. In defining “transfer” and “interference”, Dulay et al. ( 1982) refer to the former as the use of patterns of the first language in the production of the second language. Up to now, so many researches have been done on English errors and mistakes, especially on grammatical and lexical errors. “Common Mistakes in English” written by Fitikites (1961), “Right Words Wrong Words” by Alexander (1994) and “Dictionary of Common Grammatical Errors” published by Thong Ke publishing house (1998) present a large number of errors and mistakes in English such as grammatical, lexical, phonological errors. EA with a discourse analysis perspective makes use of DA. A result of EA is made to show the causal factors of the errors and how the errors may happen in students’ writing or speaking. Based on Corder’s theory (1981), the reason that students usually make errors in writing is the wide differences between the native language and English as the foreign language to be learned. Hence, 4 these differences cause interference (they usually carry over the speech habit of their native language into a second language), over-generalization (they create a deviant structure on the basis of their experience of other structures in the target language) and ignorance (they fail to observe the restrictions of existing structures) in learning English. Gass and Selinker’s theory (1994) of steps in conducting an EA consists of collecting the data, identifying errors, classifying errors, quantifying errors, analysis of source, and remediation in Second Language Acquisition. In Vietnam, the appearance of EA seems to be much later. However, as regards the study of discourse and discourse analysis, there is a variety of linguists who have made every effort to embark in pursuing and applying this new approach into Vietnamese. There are more doctoral dissertations and more master theses related to DA and many pieces of research on errors of particular groups of learners. For instance, in “An Investigation into Common Written Errors Made by High-School Pupils in Danang”, Vo Khac Tien presented most types of common written errors made by high-school pupils in Danang such as misspellings, punctuation errors, lexical errors, verbal errors, prepositional errors, article errors, errors in concord, morphology errors and word order errors. Tran Thi Ngoc Hien in her research “An Investigation into the Common Grammatical Errors Made by the Tenth Form Students at Danang High Schools”, presented most common grammatical errors (errors in tenses, errors in reported speech, errors in conditional sentences, errors in concord, errors in relative clauses, errors in preposition, errors in noun phrase, and errors in the structure “be used for + V-ing”) made by tenth form students in Danang. In brief, EA in the fields of applied linguistics is the study of kinds and quantity of errors that occur. In second language acquisition (SLA), EA studies the types and causes of language errors. Based on the preceding research reports, it can be seen that researchers have investigated errors at different levels. Errors may also be classified according to the levels of language: phonological errors, vocabulary or lexical errors, syntactic errors, and so on. They may be assessed according to the degree to which they interfere with communication. 5 2.2. Theoretical background 2.2.1. Teaching writing 2.2.1.1. Definition of writing There are various opinions of writing given by different researchers. Each one has their own idea about writing. Tribble (1996, p. 3) considers writing as language skill involving not just a graphic representation of speech, but the development and presentation of though in a structured way. But Byrne (1988, p. 1) considers writing as the act of forming graphic symbol only such as letters or combination of letters. Besides, Sokolik (2003, p. 88) defined writing as a physical and mental act. It means that writing requires writers to commit words or ideas and to convent ideas, think about how to express them, and organize them into statements and paragraphs. She also considers writing is a process and product, and writing aims at expressing and impressing. The writers have to generate ideas, organize, draft, edit, read, re-read to produce a product-a paragraph, an essay or a report and writers try to express their ideas, feeling to impress their readers in certain ways. Writing involves many different aspects. According to Roger, Phillips and Walters (1995, p. 113), writing involves seven aspects. They are handwriting, spelling, punctuation, sentence construction, organizing a text and paragraphing, text cohesion and style. All aspects are carefully considered by any writers. 2.2.1.2. The reason for teaching writing According to Harmer (1998, p. 79), teaching writing to students of English include some reasons as follows. Firstly, it is reinforcement. Most of students gain great benefits from seeing the written language especially the visual demonstration of language construction is valuable for both their understanding and committing the new language to their memory. So it is very useful for them to write sentences using new language after they have just studied it. Secondly, language development is also a reason for teaching writing. It seems that the actual process of writing helps students to learn language better. The 6 highest level of writing skill involves critical thinking. To deal with their mental activities, students have to construct proper written texts using all their learning experience. Thirdly, the most important reason for teaching writing is that it is a basic productive language skill. Obviously, students need to know how to write a letter, how to write a report, etc. Therefore, they need to know some writings’ conventions such as punctuation, paragraph construction, forms of paragraph. 2.2.2. Approaches to writing teaching In the field of writing, product and process approaches are the most popular. 2.2.2.1. Product approach Product approach is a largely “prescriptive and product-centered” way of teaching writing (Applebee, 1986). Product approach pays much attention to the final outcome of a writing process and supposes that students need to produce only one writing version of the task (Huong, T.T, Minh N.T.T.etal, 2007, p. 57). In general, product approach focuses on the end result of the learning process - what it is that the learner is expected to be able to do as a fluent and competent user of language. With this approach, the favorite class activities are engaged in imitating, copying, and transforming models of correct language. Steel (2002) provides four steps as a model for this approach: Stage 1: Students study a model text and mimic its highlighted features. Stage 2: Students are involved in controlled practice of the highlighted features, usually in isolation. Stage 3: Students work to organize ideas. Stage 4: Students choose from a choice of comparable writing tasks. Individually, they use the skills, structures and vocabulary they have been taught to produce the product to assess their English progress. 2.2.2.2. Process approach Process approach encourages students’ communication of ideas, feeling and experiences (Stanley, 2002). 7 Writing is now a multistage process with teacher intervention as needed, and is evaluated according to how well it fulfills the writer’s intentions (Reid, 1993). Also teaching and learning writing focus on the process rather than the final product. (Huong, T.T, Minh N.T.T.etal, 2007, p. 58). Process approach focuses more on the various class activities which are believed to promote the development of skilled language use. With the process approach, writers are encouraged to get their ideas on paper in any shape or form without worrying too much about formal correctness. It also encourages collaborative group work among students as a way of enhancing motivation and developing positive attitudes towards writing. Moreover, process approach encourages the development of critical thinking skills, which help them to have chances to challenge their social reality (Nunan, D, 1991, p. 87). Roger, Phillips and Walters (1995, p. 115) provide some guidelines for a process writing activity. Introduction: Teachers create a piece of writing for students to write by the way of stimulating students’ interests through listening, speaking or reading activity. Then teacher asks students to discuss the text type, definite the readers who are they and definite the content that the writer is going to inform, etc. Working with ideas: Using maps, picture or sketch, etc. to ask students brainstorm in order to get ideas. After noting down, students need to decide which ideas can be kept and which ones should be rejected and develop them before ordering them logically. Planning: Teachers ask students to remind the typical feature and structure of the text type they are writing, for example of paragraph: introduction to the topic with a topic sentence, the supporting ideas for the topic sentence and the writer’s conclusion. Drafting: The students start to write the first paragraph from their plans. They may use dictionary to find words, grammatical structures if they need. Editing: With the teacher comments, students correct and improve their first paragraph by looking at content, language accuracy, organization, etc. Re-writing: Students write out the final version and teachers have to decide to give the final correction and responses to the students’ writings. 8
- Xem thêm -