Tài liệu English writing skills and critical thinking skills of freshman college students in the university of transport technology system in three provinces of vietnam basic for functional writing activity

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THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines ENGLISH WRITING SKILLS AND CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS OF FRESHMAN COLLEGE STUDENTS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF TRANSPORT TECHNOLOGY SYSTEM IN THREE PROVINCES OF VIETNAM: BASIS FOR FUNCTIONAL WRITING ACTIVITY A Dissertation Presented to The Faculty of Graduate School Batangas State University Batangas City, Philippines In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Major in English By: NGUYEN THANH TU (GOODLOOK) June 2014 i THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines TABLE OF CONTENTS Page TITLE PAGE………………………………………………………...... i TABLE OF CONTENTS……………………………………………... ii LIST OF TABLES…………………………………………………..... v LIST OF FIGURES…………………………………………………… vii CHAPTER I. THE PROBLEM Introduction.............................................................. 1 Statement of the Problem…………………………… 7 Scope, Delimitation and Limitation………………..... 8 Significance of the Study…………………….……… 9 II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE Conceptual Literature………………………………... 11 Research Literature…………………………………. 45 Synthesis……………………………………………... 52 Theoretical Framework……………………………… 55 Conceptual Framework……………………………... 59 Hypothesis……………………………………………. 61 Definition of Terms………………………………….. 61 ii THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam III. IV. BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines RESEARCH METHOD AND PROCEDURE Research Design……………………………………... 64 Research Enviroment………………………………... 64 Subject of Study……………………………………… 65 Data Gathering Instrument………………………...... 66 Data Gathering Procedure…………………………... 66 Statistical Treatment of Data………………………... 68 PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,INTERPRETATION OF DATA………………………… V. 70 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION Summary of Findings……………………………….. 117 Conclusions………………………………………….. 129 Recommendations…………………………………... 130 BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………………………… 131 APPENDICES A. Quetionaire for Student....................................... 138 B. Questionaire for Teacher.................................... 148 C. Validation Letter of Questionaires...................... 157 D. Sample Letter..................................................... 160 E. Photographs of UTT .......................................... 163 iii THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines F. Documents for Approval Sample Letters............ 166 G. Documents for Administration of Questionaires. 168 CURRICULUM VITAE iv THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines LIST OF TABLES Table Title Page 1 Distribution of Respondents……….…………………... 66 2 Gender Profile of Student Respondents …………..… 71 3 Profile of Parent's Educational Attainment ............... 72 4 Profile of Place of Origin of Student Respondents… 73 5 Profile of High School Attended by the Student Respondents………………........................................ 6 Profile of Exposure to English Media by the Student Respondents………………………………………........ 7 Performance Discourse of Student Component Respondents of the in Writing Performance of Student Grammatical Component Respondents of the Skills in Writing Performance Mechanics of Student Component Respondents of the Skills in Writing Performance of Student Respondents 78 the Skills Test……..................................................................... 10 77 the Test……………………………………………………….. 9 75 the Test………................................................................. 8 74 in the 80 v THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam Morphology Component BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines of the Writing Skills Test……...................................................................... 11 Performance of Student Respondents in the Syntax Component of the Writing Skills Test ......................... 12 83 87 List of Student skills Validated by 20 Teacher Respondents as Lexical and Syntactic Competencies of Freshman Students......................... 13 89 List of Student Critical Thinking Skills According to the Frequency of Use by Freshman Students as Perceived by the Teacher Respondents……………. 14 List of Student Lexical and Syntactic Skills According to Their Importance as Perceived by the Teacher Respondents……………………………………………... 15 91 93 Student's t-test Comparison of the Mean Scores for the Level of Writing of Students Versus Teachers Assessment of the Critical Writing Skills Shown as pValues……………………………………………………. 16 94 List of Component Skills of Writing to be Used as Topics for the Design of Functional Activities and the Basis of their Choice……………………………………. 96 vi THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines LIST OF FIGURES Page Figure 1 The Reasearch Paradigm……….`…………………... 60 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM Introduction The study of the English language has taken a multifaceted dimension and has span from the knowledge-based format to the skillbased format. It has also moved from theory to practice and much more as the business world has taken an aggressive position to demand the criteria for hiring their personnel to include certified demonstrable English language skill. While it is true that the skill components of the English language include macro and micro skills, it becomes a challenge to the various investigators, evaluators, learners and teachers where the focus of the skills acquisition should be. Other linguistic experts advocate that the focus should be in speaking or oral communication and this should be developed to an advance level like a functional speaking skill. If this direction is pursued, it will carry with it the necessary pedagogical components from the theory to practice, that would best and effectively achieve the objective of becoming a functional speaker. In the same way that others would focus on writing or written communication as a skill requiring advanced level of competency, there are bandwagon of 2 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines concepts and pedagogical practices gearing towards the effective development of writing skills. Surprisingly, in the literatures and in practice, these two linguistic skills are biasedly given the priority focus, seldom can be heard of for functional listening or functional reading as if these skills are not equally important. Apparently these skills are considered to be assumed skills at the back of speaking and writing skills. Moreover, the business sector, the sector that creates the demand for the commercial value of human skills would put a high tag price for highly competent speakers and writers rather than the highly competent listeners and readers. Thus, the speaking and writing skills especially in the English language are valuable items, hot assets that can make or break one’s career. Between speaking and writing however, linguistic experts would consider writing as the more advanced skill for a number of reasons. Speaking is a skill that is easily learned first and one need not be an expert in grammar to be able to speak English fluently. A fluent speaker like a TV host or news commentator may be very eloquent but could be in fact, a lousy writer. A good writer however, implies an expertise and skill in speaking. One cannot be a good writer and yet become a poor speaker as the tools in writing are at the writer’s disposal and 3 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines conveniently captured in concept and use during a speaking activity. Thus writing is the most advance form of skill in the English language. Writing as an act is encoding an idea, a thought, a reflection; a process of putting one’s thought into words. And this would require that the words are organized to convey the idea, the way the writer would want the reader to receive the message and experience the writer’s concept. Thus the demand for writing is more rigorous than speaking. In writing, one must have an extensive vocabulary at once disposal to be able to use the right words corresponding to the idea or message. Thus the writer, must have a full grasp of the common meaning and special meaning and use of those words. The writer must also know how sentences are constructed in the English language so that these sentences become coherent and cohesive. Then comes the other fine details of grammar, syntax, morphology to further create a linguistic impact. Writing can be easy if the topic is of the interest to the writer and the writer has a choice of what to write about. The writing becomes more difficult when it becomes purposive and the sentence construction would demand complex sentences, and ideas have to be captured in a very precise and few words. Thus, both simple and purposive writing demand a strong cognitive skill to the writer. The cognitive skills entail 4 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines an implicit ability to the writer to shift through facts that are relevant to the topic of concern and be able to weigh them accordingly if they have substance that are relevant and can be incorporated in the developing concept. The educational system with its language curricula considers this gradating degree of writing skills development where at the elementary levels, students are required to write formal themes compositions with a freedom of topic choice at the beginning and later a specific chosen topic given by the teacher as the basis. In the secondary level, writing skills are developed through essays and reaction papers. In the tertiary level, it is a blend of the secondary level materials as well as the writing of a thesis, a more extensive type of writing piece that would cover an analytical step where an idea is expounded, from the information of previous literatures and moving forward to a proposed idea or concept and providing evidence for the new proposal. The process goes on and on in the tertiary and higher levels of education. Hence, cognitive skill is vital in each step of the writing skills development. Critical thinking on the other hand as stated by Michael Scriven and Richard Paul in the Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analysing, 5 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. It entails the examination of those structures of elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue: assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference. Motivation plays an important role in critical thinking. It is often manifested in the skilful manipulation of ideas in service of one’s own or one’s groups’ vested interest when grounded in selfish motives. It becomes a higher order intellectually when grounded in fair-mindedness and intellectual integrity. Critical thinkers live rationally, reasonably and analyse, assess, and improve thinking. In developing the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, humility, civility, empathy, sense of justice and confidence in reason critical thinkers work diligently. As in the case of students, critical thinking can be manifested on different levels. They need first to recall by retrieving information from 6 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines long term memory like recognizing differences or understanding meaning. Students may also engage in summarizing the differences for them to understand meaning. They may also analyse concept into its logical parts. They can also make comparison and contrast and analyse similarities and differences. Students then may engage in evaluation using set of criteria and may identify references and construct their own meaning. Rational thinking and finding solutions are clearly the focus of critical thinking. Students must focus on the quality of their thinking and explore whether or not their thinking is good to their lives. They must also think about their choices, engage in fair-minded questions formulation, avoiding simplistic thoughts, and show relationship. As college teacher teaching Basic English, I observed students have difficulty in writing longer composition. They tend to commit errors in the construction of sentences, failed to observed correct punctuations, and other aspects in mechanics of writing. Their levels of critical thinking in terms of cognitive, affective, and their disposition are needed to determine as they also play significant role to their learning. With these contentions, this prompted the researcher to conduct the study. 7 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines Statement of the Problem This study will address the following research questions: 1. What is the demographic profile of students in terms of 1.1 gender; 1.2 parent's educational attainment; 1.3 student's place of origin 1.4 type of school attended (high school); and 1.5 exposure to English media 2. What is the level of writing skills of students relative to: 2.1 discourse component (cohesion, coherence) 2.2 grammatical component; 2.3 mechanics; 2.4 morphology; and 2.5 syntax? 3. How do teachers assess the critical thinking skills of students? 4. How do students level of writing skills and teacher assessment of students’ critical thinking skills compare? 5. What functional writing activities may be proposed to enhance student's writing and critical thinking skills? 8 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines Scope, Delimitation and Limitation of the Study This study is focused on determining the level of students’ writing skills in terms of discourse components, grammatical components, mechanics, morphology and syntax as well as the level of students’ critical thinking skills. Responses of 306 first year English language students from tertiary schools in Vietnam and the respective English teachers of these students using the stratified random technique were analysed. The students were made to answer to a validated teacher made questionnaire designed to assess their level of writing skills while the teachers were asked to answer a survey cognitive skill assessment questionnaire where they rated, based on their perception, the critical thinking skill level of their students. These two questionnaires were the source of quantitative data that were analysed statistically. The study site were the tertiary schools in an urbanized area and the study covered a period of six months from July to December 2013. Demographic information was gathered from the students and teachers through the questionnaires but their names were not revealed. The respondents were those currently enrolled in an English course. The teacher respondents were the respective teachers of the evaluated students as they were the ones assessed their students’ cognitive skills. The students’ respondents were limited only to 9 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines those who were enrolled in their Basic English course in the stated covered period and teachers who were teaching other English courses were not included in the study. Descriptive method of research was used in the study to determine the levels of writing and critical thinking skills of students. The study made used of teacher made test for student respondents and survey questionnaire for teacher respondents. Significance of the Study This study is important to different individuals, organizations and policy makers. Students. This will be significant to the students as they will have a chance to participate in a writing skills assessment study. The results of this work will benefit the students in general because a remedial strategy in this case a functional writing activity will be designed catering to their specific needs. Teachers. This will benefit the teachers not only because the will be involved in the study but they will also gain insights from the results and will have a chance to utilize the developed remedial activities for their future students. Administrators. Results of the study will benefit them as they will be guided by the findings on what decisions they will make regarding 10 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines the adequacy of the students’ writing skills and implement remedial measures that will improve students’ English writing skills of their schools. Parents. Findings of the study give them information as to the level of writing skills of their children and may find ways of helping them improve these skills through active participation in the learning process. Policy-makers. The policymakers will be benefited from the insight that will be gathered in this study. They will be able to formulate specific and relevant laws that could influence the current educational system as they will have a concrete basis for doing so. 11 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines CHAPTER II REVIEW OF LITERATURE This chapter presents the relevant conceptual and research literature which have bearing to the present study. The literatures included are found substantial to the study and gives the necessary background to understand the present research. It also presents the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of the study, synthesis, and hypothesis, and definition of terms. Conceptual Literature The following concepts which focused on English language skills, writing skills, critical thinking skills, functional English writing activities were reviewed to substantiate the study. English Language Skills. The ability to comprehend receptive language and use expressive language to communicate is referred to as language skills. An individual who possesses good spoken language skills is presumed to easily master reading and writing skills. The concept of skill presupposes the possession of specific knowledge and characteristics as well as the capability to utilize the knowledge with a certain level of proficiency. In the context of the English language skills, there are macro and micro skills that comprise the entire language skill 12 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines spectrum (www.englishclub.com/learn-english/language-skills.htm), thus proficiency in the English language requires a demonstrable proficiency in the macro and the micro skills as well and these can be probed with a variety of tools or test instruments. The four component skills of language also referred to as the macro skills have been recognized as an established concept by language educators, these being the cornerstones for language learning to achieve complete communication. In learning the native language, these macro skills develops in a sequential manner where learning begins with listening followed by speaking, then by reading, and finally writing. Thus, the four language skills referred to are: listening, speaking, reading and writing (www.englishclub.com/learn- english/language-skills.htm). It is understood that these four language skills are related to each other in two ways: the direction of communication whether in or out and the method of communication that is whether spoken or written. In the communication paradigm, the input process is sometimes called reception and output process is called production. The term spoken is referred to as oral and the term written is sometimes referred to as textual. While these four language skills are called the macro-skills, the term micro-skills is used to refer to the linguistic components such as 13 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam grammar, vocabulary, BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines pronunciation and spelling (www.englishclub.com/learn-english/language-skills.htm). Considered receptive skill in the oral mode is listening or listening comprehension. This means that listening pertains to listening and understanding what is heared and not mere hearing of sounds without understanding. When the first language is learned, the process was spontaneous and all the skills and background knowledge needed to understand what is heard, was complex but outside of one’s awareness. The process becomes clear when what is involved in learning to understand what is heard in a second language is examined. Listening situations can either be interactive or non-interactive. In interactive listening situations, a face-to-face encounter occurs like conversations and telephone calls, in which parties are alternately listening and speaking, and in which they have a chance to ask for clarification, repetition, or slower speech from each other. Non-interactive listening situations would include listening to the radio, TV, films, lectures, or sermons. In these situations the person usually don't have the opportunity to ask for clarification, slower speech or repetition. According to Richards (1983, cited in Omaggio, 1986) there are micro-skills involved in understanding what someone is saying in an interactive listening situation. These micro-skills involve the following:
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