Tài liệu A study on “ using graphic organizers to teach writing for class 10v

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------------------------------- A STUDY ON “ USING GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS TO TEACH WRITING FOR CLASS 10V” 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction 1.1. Rationale. 1.2.Purpose of the study. 1.2.1. Hypothesesof the study 1.2.2. Research Questions. 1.2.3. Significance of the Study. 2. Literature review 2.1. Theoretical considerations 2.2. The reality of teaching and learning writing at Son La specialized high school 3. Methodology Section. 3.1. Participants and setting 3.2. Data sources and research material 3.3. Data collection procedure: 4. Research Schedule: 4. 1. Intervention 4.1.1. Pre – intervention. 4.1.2. Intervention. 4.1.3. Post – Intervention. 5. Applications of the study in the Units 6. Findings. 7. Closing Remark. References Appendix 2 1. Introduction 1.1. Rationale In the process of globalization, English plays an important role in enhancing economy, politics, culture and international relations between many countries. Therefore, there is a great demand for teaching and learning English in the world as well as in Viet Nam. English users today focus more on the ability to communicate in spoken and written languages. However, according to Trang and Baldoff (2007), the education quality has not met the society’s expectation because mostly high-school graduates cannot communicate in English effectively in both oral and written forms. Under the urgent demand of improving the qu lity, Vietn m’s English l ngu ge te ching h s recently undergone a comprehensive reform. Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training has issued a new set of textbook for high school students in order to develop students’ communic tive competence. he new textbook displ ys two new teaching approaches. They are learner- centered and communicative ppro ches. owever, reg rding Vietn m’s context, the ch nge will cre te lot of difficulties to teachers of English who are too familiar to the old teaching methods, especially in teaching writing skill, which seems to be the most difficult work in teaching English. At Son La high school for gifted students, teaching writing skills is really a big challenge. One of the major reasons for students' low performance in writing; however, is the traditional methods adopted to teach this skill. In fact teaching writing in this part of the word does not go far beyond "the teacher assigns a topic, the students write and the teacher evaluates and (at his/her best) provides feedback"(Marshi&Henatabad, 2011. p.79 ) Such an approach to teaching writing, in the researchers' point of view, is very unproductive and demotivating. It induces the learners to develop negative attitudes towards writing. To make teaching writing more fruitful and less boring, more modern innovative techniques such as graphic 3 organizers are worth considering and being utilized in teaching English writing. Another problem is the students’ low level of English proficiency. That is why they find it difficult to write. Moreover, lack of motivation also faces the students. They often get bored and indifferent in the writing lessons. In my opinion, the current problem must be worked out and appropriate teaching techniques should be made. Up to present, a few researches have been carried out on the teaching of writing for students in Son La. As a teacher of English, who is aware of the fact, I wish to contribute some suggestions for possible improvements in the teaching and learning of writing skill by the means of graphic organizers. 1.2. Purpose of the study In response to the problem of student' insufficient writing ability, comes this research as an attempt to determine whether using graphic organizers helps to improve Son La high school for gifted students' writing performance as measured by scores from a modified writing proficiency rubric developed by The Georgia Department of Education (2008). This research also intends to see how the use of such techniques impacts the students' attitudes towards writing. 1.2.1. Hypotheses of the study Through the use of graphic organizers to teach writing, it is hypothesized that: 1.2.1.1. Students' writing performance will improve significantly. This hypothesis is based on the assumption that graphic organizers provide scaffolding or support for new information, help to focus attention, organize information, select relevant vocabulary and offer a reminder for previous information. 1.2.1.2. Students' attitudes towards writing will become more positive. This hypothesis is based on the assumption that these organizers create 4 an enjoyable learning atmosphere that enhances meaningful learning. Hence they serve to improve performance and prevent frustration and boredom. 1.2.2.Questions of the study This research is intended to answer two questions that are directly related to the above hypotheses. 1- What is the effect of using graphic organizers on students' writing performance? 2- How does the use of graphic organizers impact the students' attitudes towards writing? 1.2.3.Significance of the Study This research is significant as it attempts to investigate the impact graphic organizers may have on the writing ability and attitudes towards writing English of the 10th grade students at Son La specialized high school towards this significant skill. This study is also significant because its results would demonstrate the viability of using such an occidental innovative technique; the graphic organizers to improve the writing proficiency of a group of the 10th grade students as well as their attitudes towards this important skill. If this technique proves to be useful, then it goes without saying that it will be adopted to teach this vital skill to attain better writing performance. Better writing performance secures the academic future of the students and facilitates their educational progress. 2. Literature review 2.1. Theoretical considerations 2.1.1. Definitions of writing There are a lot of definitions of writing. According to Byrne (1991), writing can be defined as the act of forming graphic symbols. When we write, we use graphic symbol (alphabet, grammar, and structures) to make visual meaningful utterances. Therefore, on one level, writing can be said to be the act 5 of making marks on flat surface of some kinds. However, writing is not just simply putting words, sentences together. Many researchers tended to focus on the nature of writing as an entity of linguistic creation. For example, Brannon, Knight and Neverow- urk ( 982, p. 2) pointed out “ writing is cre tive rt, not as assembly line operation of locking words together into sentence and bolting sentences together into paragraphs in accordance with a predefined pl n.” Other researchers considered writing as a communicative process with purposeful interaction between the participants. For example, NuNan (1999, p. 100) st ted, “Writing is not solit ry ct, r ther, it is the result of the inter ction mong people, contexts, nd texts.” Oluw diy ( 990) considered the n ture of writing s “ process” of “vi -text communic tion” between n ddresser nd n addressee. However, writing, in l ngu ge te chers’ opinions, is “ l ngu ge skill which is difficult to cquire” ( ribble, 996, p. 3). t is “ process th t occurs over a period of time, particularly if we take into account the sometimes extended periods of thinking th t precede cre ting n initi l dr ft.” ( Harris, 1993, p. 10). In short, the definitions of writing are various. However, writing is characterized with some basic features, i.e. being linguistics, creative, progressive and interactive. Besides, the word “writing” itself m y imply n ct, a process, or a skill, which needs practice and study to develop. It requires both physical and mental powers from the writers. 2.1.2. The importance of writing NancieAtwel (1998) a leading writing practitioner reflecting on the importance of writing, referred to it as a way of life. She explains that writing is a means to acquire and attain language, confirming that it is an important mode of communication through which life experience and personal views can be shared. 6 At another level, Graham and Perin (2007) describe writing as skill that draws on the use of strategies to accomplish a variety of goals. They affirm that writing is a means of extending and reinforcing knowledge. They add that writing acts as an effective tool for acquiring new information. 2.1.3. Difficulty of teaching writing Albeit the importance of writing, many scholars and researchers admit that teaching this skill is a complex and cumbersome process (Calkins, 1994; Marten, Seagraves, Thacker & Young, 2005). Other researchers confirm that teaching writing is just as complicated as writing itself(Graham and Perin (2007). Ching and Chee (2010) admit that teaching writing is demanding and cumbersome. As a teacher of writing for a long time, I acknowledge the difficulty and complexity of teaching English writing. However, it should also be acknowledged that the traditional methods which are widely adopted to teach this skill in this part of the world is one of the major causes for the poor level of the students' writing performance. 2.1.4. Effective writing teaching requirements Effective writing teaching requires the use of assistive devices to support and maintain the learning of this skill (Dell, Newton &Pertraff, 2008). It is not enough for the teachers of writing to be highly qualified, but that their practices of instruction follow scientific based research. Strangman&Dalton (2005) outlines the major principles of effective writing instruction. These involve providing support for recognition through (presentation), support for strategic learning through (expression) and support for affective learning through (engagement). Use of mind maps and graphics, says Strangman, provides the teacher with tools and strategies that help him/her to adhere to the above principles of effective writing teaching. 7 Currently, visual organizers are widely incorporated in teaching writing. These tools areclaimed to provide learners with a concrete structural framework of information and help to focus the learners' attention on key ideas and the conceptual relations between these ideas rather than the apparently isolated facts (Delrose, 2011). In fact, the use of graphic organizers enhances understanding, organizing and meaningful learning, and in this way facilitates the complex task of learning writing while serving to prevent boredom (Janssen, Beissner&Yacci, (1993). Lee (2004) regards graphic organizers as the most effective tools for teaching and improving writing skills. In fact, dozens of empirical studies were conducted to verify the efficacy of such organizers, and almost all of these studies asserted their viability for teaching writing. It is found that these organizers help the students visualize the abstract ideas, divide the writing tasks into smaller palatable parts, and monitor their writing progress (Unzueta, 2009). 2.1.5.Graphic Organizers Graphic organizers are defined by Bishop (2013) as visual displays of key content information designed to guide learners and to enhance their comprehension. They are sometimes referred to as concept maps, cognitive maps, or content maps, but they are all used to serve one purpose. They are meant, says Baxendell (2003) to help students clearly see how ideas are organized within a text or surrounding a concept. Through the use of organizers, learners acquire the structure of abstract concepts. A graphic organizer is a visual graphic display that shows the relation between facts, terms or ideas within a learning task (Hall &Strangman, 2002). The visual representation of graphic organizers provides learners with a structural framework of information to be learned. This helps to direct the learners' attention to key concepts and conceptual relationships. The use of such organizers, thus promotes understanding, and enhances organization and long 8 term retention of information. It stresses meaningful learning which serves to facilitatelearning and minimize boredom (Janssen, et al, 1993). 2.1.6. Students' attitudes towards writing The ability to write clearly, consciously and efficiently is important to achieve academic success. However, many students have limited writing abilities and struggle to write compositions that adequately convey their thoughts and ideas (Unezueta, 2009). Indeed, the writing process can be very cumbersome and difficult to master. Actually many students are classified as low achievers in this skill. This situation is quite frustrating and leads many students to develop negative attitudes towards this essential skill. Educators can play a major role in helping students overcome this problem. It is important for teachers to provide students with interesting, authentic and meaningful writing experiences (Chohan, 2011). When these types of experiences are provided for the students, they become more engaged and interested in their learning. According to Chohan (2011), writing is better learned when students are engaged, helped to organize their thoughts, and allowed to express their own experiences. Lancaster (2013) reports that when students have the chance to participate in writing workshops and used a variety of graphic organizers, writing becomes meaningful, creative and more enjoyable. Furthermore, when learners are offered the opportunity to practice writing under stress-free conditions, they become more comfortable and confident in the writing process. Marten ,L. Seagraves ,R. Thacker, S. &Young, L. (2005) add that teaching writing via the use of graphic organizers is meaningful and interesting because it effectively shows students' growth with respect to their writing abilities. Lancaster (2013) confirms that the use of graphic organizers in teaching is one way to create a learning atmosphere where students love writing. Teachers can 9 prevent writing failure and students' frustration when successful, meaningful ways of teaching are used. 2.2. The reality of teaching and learning writing atSon La specialized high school 2.2.1. The teacher’s and students’ attitudes towards the teaching and learning of writing Writing is not highly appreciated by the students and even the teachers do not take the importance of writing seriously. This is because of the main purpose of teaching and learning English at Son Laspecializedhigh school. The results of the final exam and university entrance exam are considered the most importance of teaching and learning English at school so both the teachers and students there focus mostly on grammar and reading skill rather than on other skills such as speaking, listening and writing. This cert inly ffects the students’ writing competence and prevents the improvement of their writing ability. onsequently, most of the te chers nd the students think the students’ writing competence is bad. 2.2.2. Students’ difficulties in learning writing The 10th form students at Son La Specialized high school are sixteen years old. Although they have been learning English for four years at lower-secondary schools, their English knowledge is still limited. Besides, they have no clear determination on English learning goal. Students have to face many difficulties that are from two causes: (1) from the students themselves, and (2) from the te chers’ lectures. In terms of the first cause, the majority of the students have trouble with writing because of their low level of English proficiency. Their vocabulary and sentence structures are poor. Grammar mistakes and spelling are also a common fear for many of them. Besides, their low background knowledge also makes them feel stressed when writing. Many of the students said they found it hard to generate ideas and make an outline because of their low background knowledge. 10 Their low motivation is also a problem. These students consider the result of the exams as the most importance of their learning. Therefore, they care much about grammar, structures and reading skill. This, obviously, decreases their interest in writing. Moreover, they consider time limitation as a trouble. Many of them said they sometimes did not have enough time to complete writing tasks at class. The main reason for this is because of their low level of English proficiency and low background knowledge. In terms of the second cause, the students do not highly asses their te chers’ ssist nce. hey find their te chers’ feedb cks re not comprehensive nd their te chers’ instructions re not dequ te. 2.2.3. The new “TiengAnh 10” textbook. he new “ ieng nh 0” is the first of three-level English language set of textbooks for the Vietnamese upper secondary school. It follows the systematic, cyclical and theme-based curriculum approved by the Minister of Education and Training on 23rd November 2012. The aim of this set of textbooks is to develop students’ communic tive competence in listening, speaking, reading and writing so that when finishing upper secondary school, students will achieve level three of the Vietnamese Foreign Language Competence Framework (equivalent to B1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). 2.2.3.1. Grade 10 writing objectives The aim of the course is to equip students with English writing skill for basic communication. For grade 10 students, the objective is to develop students’ bilities to provide 0 - 180 word paragraphs or short essay on familiar topics. 2.2.3.2. Writing lessons The writing subsection prepares students to cope with the two biggest problems they usually experience, which are lack of ideas and lack of necessary language to express ideas. It often begins with a pre-writing activity that 11 presents the topic and gives students an opportunity to brainstorm ideas related to the given topic. In the following activity, useful phrases are presented and practiced so that students can use them later. Sometimes, a model text is presented with one or two tasks for students to study its structure and format before producing their own text. This approach to writing gives students some guidance so that they feel more confident and are better prepared for the writing task. In order to realize the course objective, the writing section focuses on daily and popular topics. The required competences and objectives of the writing lesson in each unit are detailed in the following table: Units Required tasks 1. Family Life Writing about doing household chores 2. Your body and you Writing about what to eat and not to eat 3. Music Writing a biography 4. For a Better Writing an application letter for volunteer work Community 5. Inventions Writing about the benefits of an invention 6. Gender Equality Writing about the disadvantages of working mothers 7. Cultural Diversity Writing about some typical characteristics of Vietnamese people 8. New ways to learn Writing about the advantages of electronic devices as learning tools 9. Preserving the Writing about environmental problem and give some Environment practical advice on how to preserve the environment 10. Ecotourism Writing a travel brochure promoting an ecotour Table 1: Checklist of writing tasks in TiengAnh 10 textbook 12 3. Methodology section 3.1. Participant and Setting The participants of this study were the students from class 10V with 32 students majoring in literature. They are chosen to be the first students to study the new textbook designed for those who have been studying English for 10 years from grade 3 to grade 12. To study this textbook, students have to achieve level two of the Vietnamese Foreign Language Competence Framework (equivalent to A2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). However, the number of the students that can meet the requirement is very small, about 15in the total of 32 students. Consequently, I faced a lot of challenges when teaching students the new textbook, especially writing skill. 3.2. Data sources and research material Both quantitative and qualitative methods are employed to carry out the study. The study used two major instruments for data collection: a writing rubric (see App. A) and an attitudinal survey (see App. B). The writing rubric based on The Georgia Department of Education Scale was selected and modified by the researcher to assess the various traits of students' writing. The second instrument used in this study was the attitude survey. This survey was intended to measure the students' attitudes and feelings towards writing and their perceptions of the writing task. Informal interviews with the colleagues and the students are also conducted. Besides, reviewing the related documents is also a method to establish the theoretical background for the study. 13 3.3. Data collection procedure: The data collection procedure is indicated in the following chart: 32 grade 10 students The attitude survey Writing pre-test The teaching of writing skills (3 lessons-Unit 3, 4 and 5) 1st writing post – test The teaching of writing skills (3 lessons-Unit 6, 7, 9 ) 2ndwrtiting post - test Compare the results of the pre-test and the two post tests The attitude survey DATA ANALYSIS 4. Research Schedule: 14 4. 1. Intervention 4.1.1. Pre – intervention - This began after I had finished teaching Unit 1 and 2 in the new textbook. This stage lasted for one week during which I met twice with students. In the first lesson, the students were given some explanation of the intended experiment and its expected benefits for them. The concept of graphic organizers was briefly introduced and the students were informed that they were going to learn more about these techniques and their use to enhance writing ability. In the same lesson, the students were given the writing attitude survey. This was a close -ended survey intended to collect some information about the students’ perceptions and feelings towards writing before the graphic organizers' intervention. This survey would be given to the students once more at the end of the study to see if there were any changes in students' attitudes towards writing which could be attributed to the graphic organizers' intervention. In the second lesson of this phase, the participants were informed that they were going to do their first writing assignment. Evaluation was carried out by using the writing rubrics designed for this study. 4.1.2. Intervention I applied graphic organizers in teaching writing skill for 10V in Unit 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10.In the first semester, the students had 2 periodical tests, the teacher used these test as a way to check the development of the students’ ability on writing skill. After each writing lesson, the teacher took notice of any development of students by collecting students’ writing and that was also used for the comparison in collecting date. 4.1.3. Post – Intervention 15 There were two post-writing test, the first one was conducted at the end of the first term and the second was at the end of the second term.The scores of the students were averaged and recorded to be compared to their scores before the intervention or before they received their graphic organizer's training. Results of this comparison would help to answer the major question of this study and to reject or verify its main hypothesis. In the second lesson of this last week of the study, the students were administered the writing attitudes survey. It was the same survey which was given to them during the baseline period. The students’responses to this questionnaire were used to check if the use of graphic organizers had changed their attitudes towards writing. 5. Applications of the study in the Units. Unit 3: MUSIC Writing a biography Early life: Name of the Person: Typical works: Important achievements: 16 Conclusion: Unit 4: FOR A BETTER COMMUNITY Writing an application letter for volunteer work Writer’s address Date Employer’s title Company/ Organization Address Dear ..................................... Paragraph 1: Mentioning the job you are applying for and where you found the job. Paragraph 2: Telling why you are right for the job mentioning your experiences and responsibilities. Paragraph 3: Listing your personal qualities and offering to send references. Paragraph 4: Saying you are available for an interview and when you could start work. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours...................... 17 Unit 5: INVENTIONS Writing about the benefits of an invention Topic sentence Benefit 1: further explanation: Benefit 2: further explanation: 18 Benefit 3: further explanation: Unit 6: GENDER EQUALITY Writing about the disadvantages of working mothers Topic sentence: Supporting idea 1: Explanation 2: Explanation 1: Supporting idea 2: Explanation 1: Explanation 2: Supporting idea 3: Explanation 2: Explanation 1: Concluding sentence: 19 Unit 7: CULTURAL DIVERSITY Writing about some typical characteristics of Vietnamese people Introduction: is is characteristics 1: characteristics 2: is characteristics 3: because because Conclusion: 20 because
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