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A Research on Teaching Extensive Writing

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A Research On Teaching Extensive Writing

ÐŽ§The best way to test peopleÐŽ¦s writing ability is to get them to write.ЎЁ

- Hughes, 1989:75 in Charles & Bachman (eds), :1)

I. INTRODUCTION

This study was set out to measure the writing ability of students in terms of number of words that were written by students in certain time. This study was carried out at the Nong lam University ÐŽV Center for Foreign Studies in Ho Chi Minh City. The researcher would like to investigate whether the intermediate students could complete their writing with from 250 to 300 words in twenty minutes. This investigation was carried out for the overlook from the researcher towards the National Certificate Examination, level A, level B and level C. In this kind of tests, in the writing section, students were asked to write from 250 to 300 words in only twenty minutes. Many of them were failed just because of their writing skills. Therefore, the researcher was trying to apply an effective way of teaching writing to help students improve their writing abilities.

In the process of learning English, most of learners said that listening and speaking were the most important skills. In addition, these two subjects were interesting to be studied. Consequently, students often felt bored when they study Reading or Writing. Most writing teachers said that their students were lazy to write and they were afraid of writing. As a result, students usually failed in the National Certificate Examination mostly because of the writing section.

In Viet Nam, there were not enough good books for teaching writing. There were some books which were good for teaching writing in other countries but they were not appropriate in a country whose English was taught as a foreign language like in Viet Nam. Frequently, writing classes in Viet Nam were not motivated enough to be learned. Also, The methods of teaching writing skills here were mostly intensive. In these classes, students were given some sentences and asked to rewrite them in different ways but keeping exactly the same meaning as the given ones (Withrow, 1987). Students were also asked to do the word order in jumbled-word sentences or fill in the blanks with verbs or verb phrases (Segal & Pavlik, 1996). These kinds of exercises in some way were good for students in terms of helping students with the abilities to write sentences in different ways. However, they did not work well in helping students write essays. Students just paid attention to the techniques of changing some kinds of sentences. As a result, they were stuck in writing essays because writing essays was something different. It required students abilities to write, especially a habit of writing. Therefore, the researcher tried to do a research to investigate the effective ways to improve studentsÐŽ¦ writing skills.

Research Questions:

1. Could students write from 250 to 300 words in an only 20-minute writing?

2. Does the extensive writing method help students improve their writing skills better than the intensive writing method?

II. LITERATURE REVIEW

Nowadays, we all know that ÐŽ§The ability to write effectively is becoming increasingly important in our global community, and instruction in writing is thus assuming an increasing role in both second and foreign EducationЎЁ (Bachman & Alderson, 2002). Bazerman (1989) stated that ÐŽ§writing makes things happen in the social world, and much of that social world is embodied in previous pieces of writingЎЁ. Alderson & Bachman (2002) confirmed that ÐŽ§the ability to speak and write a second language is becoming widely recognized as an important skill for educational, business and personal reasons.ЎЁ Therefore, ÐŽ§Writing will be an essential component in the learning programЎЁ (Tribble, 1999)

ÐŽ§There are many types and many reasons for learning to write.ЎЁ (Tribble, 1999) ÐŽ§If writing ability is seen as an inherent and relatively unchangeable talent, students tend to be more anxious and to think less of themselves as writersЎЁ (Palmquist & Young, 1992, in Alderson & Bachman, 2002: 25). Many people think of writing in just this way: ÐŽ§My life will be miserable until I get this paper written, but I donÐŽ¦t know what to write.ЎЁ (Bazerman, 1989). For those students who have the same above ideas, Michaels (2004) suggested that ÐŽ§the only way to do it is to do it: by writing, writing and writing.ЎЁ He added ÐŽ§Write, write and write some more. Think of writing as a muscle that needs lots of exercise.ЎЁ Spinelli (2004) gave us a rule that ÐŽ§The golden rule of writing is to write what you care about. If you care about your topic, youÐŽ¦ll do your best writing, and then you stand the best chance of really touching a reader in some way.ЎЁ When you get started writing ÐŽ§ideas are the cheapest part of the writing. They are free. The hard part is what you do with ideas youÐŽ¦ve gathered.ЎЁ (Yolen, 2004) Bazerman (1989) had a great advice for writing students ÐŽ§some of the pleasure of writing is to find a beautiful phrase or a striking thought; yet good writing begins with understanding why you are writing and then developing an effective writing strategy to meet the situation.ЎЁ

The more the students write, the better skillful they are. Classroom is not the only source of language input, students can also read and write outside the classroom (Jacobs & Reynandya, 1999). Lettman (1990) stated that ÐŽ§Students produce their own writing, guided by warm-up activities, brainstorming activities, guidelines for paragraph organization, and topical assignments that allow me of vocabulary as well as sentence and discourse level grammar.ЎЁ Hughes (1989:75 in Charles & Bachman (eds), :1) gave us the best statement of checking writing that ÐŽ§The best way to test peopleÐŽ¦s writing ability is to get them to write.ЎЁ This is also the philosophy that the researcher would like to make an investigation on teaching extensive writing to intermediate students.

III. RATIONALE OF THE RESEARCH

1. English requirements in Viet Nam:

English nowadays in Viet Nam is very widely taught throughout the country. In the past, children started to learn English when they went to secondary schools. But today, English is brought to many schools to be taught. Children could learn English when they are in grade 3.

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