An investigation into the improvement of the 12th form students’ writing skills through supplementary reading materials at Lý Thường Kiệt high school, Hà Nam

  • Số trang: 92 |
  • Loại file: PDF |
  • Lượt xem: 80 |
  • Lượt tải: 0
nguyetha

Đã đăng 7932 tài liệu

Mô tả:

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES ------------------- TRẦN THỊ CẨM VÂN AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE 12th FORM STUDENTS’ WRITING SKILLS THROUGH SUPPLEMENTARY READING MATERIALS AT LÝ THƯỜNG KIỆT HIGH SCHOOL, HÀ NAM (NGHIÊN CỨU VỀ VIỆC CẢI THIỆN KỸ NĂNG VIẾT THÔNG QUA CÁC TÀI LIỆU ĐỌC BỔ TRỢ CỦA HỌC SINH LỚP 12 TRƯỜNG THPT LÝ THƯỜNG KIỆT, HÀ NAM) M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS Field: English Teaching Methodology Code: 60140111 Hanoi, 2015 VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES ------------------- TRẦN THỊ CẨM VÂN AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE 12th FORM STUDENTS’ WRITING SKILLS THROUGH SUPPLEMENTARY READING MATERIALS AT LÝ THƯỜNG KIỆT HIGH SCHOOL, HÀ NAM (NGHIÊN CỨU VỀ VIỆC CẢI THIỆN KỸ NĂNG VIẾT THÔNG QUA CÁC TÀI LIỆU ĐỌC BỔ TRỢ CỦA HỌC SINH LỚP 12 TRƯỜNG THPT LÝ THƯỜNG KIỆT, HÀ NAM) M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS Field: English Teaching Methodology Code: 60140111 Supervisor: Dr. Phạm Đăng Bình Hanoi, 2015 DECLARATION I declare that this thesis and the work presented in it are my own and have been generated by me as the result of my own original research. I confirm that this thesis is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Arts and that this thesis has not previously been submitted for a degree or any other qualification at any other universities or institutions. Hanoi, April, 2015 Trần Thị Cẩm Vân i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First, I would like to express my sincere thanks to my supervisor Dr. Phạm Đăng Bình for his generous assistance and guidance, especially for his sympathy throughout the research process. My special thanks go to all the teachers in the faculty of Post Graduate Studies, University of Languages and International Studies for their useful lectures, materials, guidance and enthusiasm during my course. I also highly appreciate the cooperation of my colleagues and Class 12A1 and Class 12D1 students at Lý Thường Kiệt High School in Ha Nam. Last, I would like to express my gratitude to my family and my friends, who have always encouraged me and supported me to fulfill this study. ii ABSTRACT The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of integrating supplementary reading materials in writing lessons of the 12th form students at Ly Thuong Kiet high school. Along with it, the most popular difficulties and possible suggestions to enhance students’ writing skills through reading would be discussed. The study revolves an experimental research with the participation of 5 teachers and 90 students of 12th form at Lý Thường Kiệt High School, Ha Nam province. To collect data for this study, two pre-task questionnaires, two post-task questionnaires, a pre-test and a post-test were employed. After examining the responses from the pre-task questionnaires, the author designed and integrated a set of nine supplementary reading texts and respective reading and writing exercises into writing lessons of 45 experimental students in 9 weeks of the first semester of the school year 2014-2015. During the same time, 45 students of the control group only received writing exercises. The results from the post-task questionnaires, the pre-test and post-test showed that there had been a significant improvement in the students’ writing skill in terms of vocabulary, ideas and organization after they took part in the supplementary reading integration programme in comparison with the students of control group. Moreover, most of students of the experimental group acknowledged the benefits of the supplementary reading integration programme and expected that such programme would be applied in the future. iii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS EFL : English as a Foreign Language ESL : English as a Second Language MOET : Ministry of Education and Training LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Students' Writing Proficiency ................................................. 22 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Class 12A1 and Class 12D1 Pre-test Score ............................ 25 Figure 2: Class 12A1 and Class 12D1 Post-test Score .......................... 26 Figure 3: Opinions on role of writings skill in learning English ............ 27 Figure 4: Opinions on time spent for writing skill at school ................. 28 Figure 5: Students' Writing Practice Frequency .................................... 28 Figure 6: Difficulties that students encounter when writing .................. 29 Figure 7: Methods Teachers use to instruct students to develop their writing skill .......................................................................................... 29 Figure 8: Opinion on effect of the supplementary reading integration programme.. ......................................................................................... 30 Figure 9: Benefits that students could gain from the supplementary reading integration programme ............................................................. 31 Figure 10: Continue designing supplementary reading materials to develop students' writing skill or not .................................................... 32 Figure 11: Tasks students should do ..................................................... 32 Figure 12: Tasks teachers should do ..................................................... 33 iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Declaration ........................................................................................... i Acknowledgements............................................................................... ii Abstract ................................................................................................ iii List of Abbreviations ............................................................................ iv List of Tables ....................................................................................... iv List of Figures iv TABLE OF CONTENTS..................................................................... v PART A: INTRODUCTION .............................................................. 1 1. Statement of the Problem .............................................................. 1 2. Aims of the study .......................................................................... 1 3. Research questions ........................................................................ 1 4. Scope of the study ......................................................................... 2 5. Significance of the study ............................................................... 3 6. Method of the study ...................................................................... 3 7. Design of the study ....................................................................... 3 PART B: DEVELOPMENT............................................................... 4 CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................... 4 1.1. Definitions of Writing ................................................................ 4 1.1.1. What is Writing? ................................................................. 4 1.1.2. Rationale behind teaching Writing ...................................... 5 1.1.3. Approaches to Writing Instruction ...................................... 6 1.1.3.1. Text-Centred Approach .................................................. 6 1.1.3.2. Writer-Centred Approach ............................................... 8 1.1.3.3. Reader-Centred Approach .............................................. 9 1.2. Definitions of Supplementary Reading Materials ....................... 9 1.2.1. What is Supplementary Reading Materials? ........................ 9 v 1.2.2. Suitable Supplementary Reading Materials for EFL Teaching and Learning Process ..................................................... 11 1.2.3. The Influence of Reading on Writing .................................. 12 1.2.4. Researches on Adopting Reading Materials to Enhance Writing ......................................................................................... 13 1.3. Conclusion ................................................................................. 14 CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .............................. 16 2.1. Investigation Context ................................................................. 16 2.2. Participants ................................................................................ 16 2.3. Data Collection Instruments ....................................................... 17 2.3.1. Questionnaires..................................................................... 17 2.3.1.1.Student Questionnaires ...................................................... 17 2.3.1.2.Teacher Questionnaires ..................................................... 17 2.3.2. Pre-Test and Post-Tests ....................................................... 18 2.4. Scoring Rubric for Writing ……………………………………. 18 2.5. Experimental Intervention: Supplementary Reading Material 21 Integration ........................................................................................ 2.5.1. The Supplementary Reading Materials ................................ 21 2.5.2. Supplementary Reading Material Integration Procedure .... 21 CHAPTER 3: RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS ............................... 22 3.1. Analysing Writing Test Results.................................................. 22 3.1.1. Analysis of Writing Proficiency .......................................... 22 3.1.1.1. Analysis of Word Choice ................................................. 22 3.1.1.2. Analysis of Convention .................................................... 23 3.1.1.3. Analysis of Coherence...................................................... 23 3.1.1.4. Analysis of Ideas .............................................................. 23 3.1.1.5. Analysis of Organization .................................................. 24 vi 3.1.1.6. Analysis of Writing Test Scores ....................................... 25 3.2. Evaluating Responses from Questionnaires................................ 27 3.2.1. Evaluation of Responses from Pre-task Questionnaires ....... 27 3.2.2. Evaluation of Responses from Post-task Questionnaires .... 30 3.3. Summary.................................................................................... 35 PART C: CONCLUSION ................................................................. 34 1. Conclusion on Major Findings ...................................................... 35 2. Pedagogical Implications .............................................................. 36 3. Limitations of the Study................................................................ 36 4. Suggestions for Further Studies .................................................... 37 REFERENCES ................................................................................... 38 APPENDICES..................................................................................... vii I PART A: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale Although writing is an important skill in teaching and learning English, it seems to be undervalued inside the classroom. The neglect of this skill causes the 12th graders at Ly Thuong Kiet (LTK) high school to be weak and poor writers though writing is a compulsory part in the national GCSE examination. It is noticed that English teachers in LTK high school often use a methodology based on teacher-talk and note-taking practices, mainly explaining some new words and structures before asking students to write. Therefore, the 12th students could not express well in English due to the lack of format instruction, useful language, topic background, idea organization, etc. Among many methods of improving students’ writing skill, integrating two language skills, reading and writing has been proved to have positive effects on students’ writing skills in many researches. Brown (1987) stated that “by reading and studying a variety of relevant types of text, students can gain important insights both about how they should write and about subject matter that may become the topic of their writing”. Reading inspires students, helps them to think critically and analytically. Reading also provides students with ideas for their essays because they often lack the experience for complex subjects. Moreover, reading supplies grammar, syntax, language or organization for students as a model. Despite many advantages, this method hasn’t been deployed in the context of high school in Vietnam. All these mentioned reasons above have inspired the researcher to carry out the study titled “An investigation into the improvements of the 12th form students’ writing skills through supplementary reading materials at Lý 1 Thường Kiệt High School, Hà Nam” as an attempt to help improve writing skills of students. 2. Aims of the Study This study aims to evaluate the effects of integrating supplementary reading materials in writing lessons of the 12th form students at LTK high school. Therefore, the researcher’s first objectives are to find out the difficulties the students are facing, and how much the new method helps improve their writing. A number of lessons which are planned based on this method will be applied in classroom for a period of time to answer that question. In addition, some practical suggestions and strategies will be recommended to teachers at LTK high school with a view of making full use of reading supplementary materials in writing lessons. 3. Research Questions In short, the study is designed to answer the following questions: 1. What possible problems are the 12th form students at Ly Thuong Kiet High School faced with in writing? 2. To some extent can the application of reading supplementary materials have effects on students’ writing proficiency? 3. What are the possible suggestions to enhance students’ writing skills at Ly Thuong Kiet high school? 4. Scope of the study Due to the time constraints and content of a minor thesis, the research attempts to investigate the effects of supplementary reading materials on writing proficiency of two 12th form classes at LTK high school in 9 weeks. The researcher will employ 90 students and 5 teachers of English for collecting data. 2 5. Significance of the study This study could be some help to teachers and students at LTK high school. For teachers, they can improve their understanding of the relationship between reading and writing. From this, they can find more suitable and effective teaching methods to help students better their writing. For students, they can get access to a new teaching method which encourages their involvement and participation in writing process. 6. Method of the study This study is an experimental research conducted by using quantitative methods. Two classes are randomly selected as control group and experimental group. Questionnaires are also employed for both students and teachers to elicit the information on students’ perceptions and attitudes toward writing lessons, difficulties encountered in writing and suggestions to improve the teaching and learning writing skills. 7. Design of the study The study consists of three parts: - The Introduction: presents the rationale, the aims, the scope, the significance, the methods and the design of the study. - The Development: consists three chapters: Chapter 1: Literature Review Chapter 2: The Methodology Chapter 3: Results and Discussions - The Conclusion: summarises the major findings, pedagogical implications, limitations of the study and recommendations for further research 3 PART B: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW 1.1. Definition of Writing 1.1.1. What is Writing? In various studies, the nature of writing has been defined as a cognitive process: Nunan (1999:273) asserted that "Writing is a complex, cognitive process that requires sustained intellectual effort over a considerable period of time." In line with Nunan, Kate and Guy (2003:1480) stated that “writing is a process of exploring one’s thoughts and learning from the act of writing itself from what thoughts are”. These interpretations confirmed the definition of writing as a complex process of exploring one’s thought, discovering ideas and generating meaning (Flower and Hayes, 1980). However, for pedagogical purpose in English as a foreign language (EFL) class, writing is considered as “a language skill which is difficult to acquire” (Tribble, 1996:3). O'Maggio (1986) contended that writing in a second language is not simply a matter of how to write new things down in a new code. Similarly, Silva (1993) insisted that "Writing is considered a productive skill because the writer creates new language and does not only interpret existing information." When engaged in writing activities, learners are expected to demonstrate: “a high degree of organization in the development of information, ideas, arguments, a high degree of accuracy so that there is no ambiguity of meaning; the use of complex grammatical patterns and sentence structures to create a style which is appropriate to the subject matter and eventual readers”.(Hedge, 2005:7). 4 In short, Mochamad Lainuddin (2009) analysed that writing skill “is the ability to use the structures, lexical items, and their conventional representation in ordinary matter of fact of writing.” To clarify skills needed in writing, Heaton (1975:138) suggested four factors: (1) Grammatical skill: The ability to write correct sentences. (2) Stylistic skill: The ability to manipulate sentence and use language effectively. (3) Mechanical skill: The ability to use correctly those conversations peculiar to the written language e.g. punctuation and spelling (4) Judgment skill: The ability to write in an appropriate manner for a particular purpose with an ability to select, organize and relevant information. In conclusion, to teachers and learners in language classes, the most appropriate concept of writing is that writing is regarded as a productive skill which is difficult to acquire but fundamental in English learning process. 1.1.2. Rationale behind Teaching Writing Raimes (1983:3) listed three main reasons for teaching writing in language class as followed: "Writing helps our students learn. How? First, writing reinforces the grammatical structures, idioms, and vocabulary that we have been teaching our students. Second, when our students write, they also have a chance to be adventurous with the language, to go beyond what they have just learned to say, to take risks. Third, when they write, they necessarily become very involved with the new language; the effort to express ideas and the constant use of eye, hand and brain is a unique way to reinforce learning." Tribble (1996:11) emphasised that writing “normally requires some form of instruction” and that “it is not a skill that is readily picked up by exposure”. Harmer (2004) had the same point of view as Tribble and added that: “being able to write is a vital skill for 'speakers' of a foreign language as 5 much as for everyone using their own first language. Training students to write thus demands the care and attention of language teachers” (Harmer 2004: 3-4). In summary, the reasons for teaching writing skill in language classes is the essential role of writing in the process of learning English as a foreign language. Writing helps to enhance vocabulary and grammar while it enables the students to create their own products and practice using language. Teachers should play the role of helping students to master writing skill and students should appreciate the importance of writing in learning English. 1.1.3. Approaches to Teaching Writing Methods of teaching writing usually concentrate on some particular aspects of the writing contexts. Hyland (2002) classified three main approaches to the task of teaching writing, including: approaches focusing on texts; those focusing on the processes and those focusing on the readers. In other words, they are known as Text-Centred Approach, Writer-Centred Approach and Reader-Centred Approach respectively. 1.1.3.1. Text-Centred Approach Text-centred approaches consider writing as a product, viewing writing as the words on a page or screen, and seeing texts either as objects or as discourse. Texts as Objects First of all, seeing texts as objects means understanding writing as the application of rules. This view sees texts as arrangements of words, clauses, and sentences, and those who use it in the classroom believe that students can be taught to express exactly what they mean by learning how to put these factors together effectively. In the writing classroom, teachers emphasise language structures, in these four stages (Hyland, 2003): 6 • Familiarisation: learners study a text to understand its grammar and vocabulary • Controlled writing: then they manipulate fixed patterns, often from substitution tables • Guided writing: then they imitate model texts – usually filling in gaps, completing texts, creating topic sentences, or writing parallel texts. • Free writing: learners use the patterns they have developed to write an essay, letter, etc. Texts as Discourse The second perspective sees texts as discourse – the way we use language to communicate, to achieve purposes in particular situations. This approach has been criticised for stifling creativity by imposing models on students but it is also praised as learners' understanding of both the rhetorical structure and the linguistic features was increased by the genre-based instructions (Henry & Roseberry, 1998, pp. 154-155) Here the writer is seen as having certain goals and intentions and the ways we write are resources to accomplish these. Teachers working with writing in this way seek to identify the how texts actually work as communication, regarding forms of language as located in social action. Genre theories suggest that a teacher who understands how texts are typically structured, understood, and used is in a better position to intervene successfully in the writing development of his or her students. 7 1.1.3.2. Writer-Centred Approach The second broad approach focuses on the writer, rather than the text. There are two broad classroom approaches here as well: Creative Expression and Writing Process. Creative Expression Approach This approach leans heavily on an asocial view of the writer and on an ideology of individualism which may disadvantage second language students from cultures that place a different value on ‘self expression’. In addition, it is difficult to extract from the approach any clear principles from which to teach and evaluate ‘good writing’. It simply assumes that all writers have a similar innate creative potential and can learn to express themselves through writing if their originality and spontaneity are allowed to flourish. Writing is seen as springing from self-discovery guided by writing on topics of potential interest to writers and, as a result, the approach is likely to be most successful in the hands of teachers who themselves write creatively. Writing Process Approach Writing is seen as a process through which writers discover and reformulate their ideas as they attempt to create meaning. It is more of a problem solving activity than an act of communication - how people approach a writing task as the solution to a series of problems. Researches on process approach tells us that writing is about discovering and formulating ideas as we create personal meanings. This approach pursues the goals that: • writers have extensive goals and plans • writing is constantly revised, often even before any text has been produced. 8 • planning, drafting, revising, and editing are recursive and potentially simultaneous. • plans and texts are constantly evaluated by the writer in a feedback loop. Teachers may need to help learners acquire the appropriate cognitive schema or knowledge of topics and vocabulary they will need to create an effective text. Schema development exercises usually include reading for ideas in parallel texts, reacting to photographs, and various brainstorming tasks to generate ideas for writing and organising texts. 1.1.3.3. Reader-Centred Approach A reader-centred view of writing emphasizes the interaction between writers and readers: The process of writing involves creating a text that the writer assumes the reader will recognise and expect. And the process of reading involves drawing on assumptions about what the writer is trying to do. Hoey (2001) says this is like dancers following each other’s steps, each building sense from a text by anticipating what the other is likely to do. This is one of the reasons why writing in English so difficult for speakers of other languages because what is seen as logical, engaging, relevant or wellorganised in writing, and what counts as evidence, irony, conciseness and coherence, are likely to differ across cultures. 1.2. Definition of Supplementary Reading Materials 1.2.1. What is Supplementary Reading Materials? According to McGrath (2013:2), materials include textbooks, commercial materials that are not provided as part of the textbook package, teacher-prepared materials. In the context of this investigation, materials will be referred as materials that can be either designed and exploited for 9 particular language learning purposes and as authentic or real-life materials that can be used in teaching and learning process. In the teaching and learning process, besides mainstream materials (in Vietnam, usually prescribed by Minister of Education and Training), there are supplementary materials. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary 7th Edition defines "supplementary" as "provided in addition to something else in order to improve or complete it". According to McGrath (2002:80), supplementary materials refer to materials taken from another source or any other material that is designed for learning purpose in an attempt to provide additional materials in order to supplement the textbooks. For the purpose of this investigation, supplementary reading materials will be regarded as extra texts, worksheets, books etc. from any reading materials other than textbooks that teachers can use for pedagogical purposes in addition to the official textbooks of the same theme or skill set to complement the textbooks. While textbooks are written to support a specific course and relate directly to the syllabus of that course, reference and general books supplement course textbooks by offering alternative approaches, provide additional information and knowledge of subjects not directly covered by the school curriculum (Rosenburg 1998). Indeed, encouraging and respecting reading choices are important steps towards helping children, young people and adults develop a sense of ownership and self-determination (Sanacore, 1999). On discussing the role of supplementary reading materials, Rosenburg (1998) argued that: “The importance to the educational process of access to a wide variety of reading materials is widely recognized. Without it, what is taught in 10 the classroom is not reinforced and the quality and permanence of the benefits of education are endangered. Such access: • develops the ability to read and extends the vocabulary; • develops a teaching force which is capable of moving beyond the confines of set books and textbooks; • supplements and enriches work done by pupils in the classroom; • encourages independent access to information and arouses the interest of pupils in matters outside the curriculum; • provides training in the use and retrieval of information, a skill which is essential for higher education and lifelong learning." 1.2.2. Suitable Supplementary Reading Materials for EFL Teaching and Learning Process Hetherington (1985) concluded that the following set of questions can serve as guidelines when assessing the suitability of reading materials for particular learners: 1. Will this text interest students? 2. Is there a meaningful purpose for reading this text? 3. Do students have or can teachers provide them with appropriate background knowledge for understanding the content? 4. Is the level of abstractness appropriate? 5. Is the passage complete in itself or has author assumed a lot of other information and inference skills? 6. What kind of extra-textual support is available? 7. Is the text clearly organized with a beginning or introduction and clear sequence signals? 8. Is there sufficient redundancy of ideas? 9. Will the number of difficult vocabulary items interfere with the task which has been set? 11
- Xem thêm -