Introduction instruction from the teachers and ample time for

Introduction

One of the universal goals
in education is to reach proficiency level of literacy among students. This
objective is challenging not just for teachers but also for students in the
domain of writing (Cole, 2015). Berman & Cheng (2010) stated that students
identify writing as more difficult than listening and reading which was affirmed
by Nesamalar et. al, (2001),  who stated
that, writing is the skill that most students are least proficient when
acquiring a new language. Consequently, teachers must adequately expose the
students through various avenues and must acknowledge the students’ needs and
interests in the writing process (Ismail, 2009).Furthermore, writing being an important
skill in the L2 acquisition requires sufficient instruction from the teachers and
ample time for the students to effectively and efficiently communicate in both academic
and real life situations (Ismail, 2009). Additionally, writing is an essential
component of language. When students write, thoughts and knowledge on
grammatical structure are blended which form into a unique and meaningful text (Jones
et. al, 2010).

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Research
Methodology

            To
determine the level of the Grade 4 pupils’ writing skills, pre-writing assessment
was conducted. The written samples were scored using the WIDA
(World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) writing rubrics.
The results revealed that 44.82 students were in the Entering Level, 34.82 students
are in the Beginning Level and the 20.69 students are in the Developing Level.

 

Theoretical
Framework

            This
BOYSAN intervention program aims to improve the writing skills of the students
which is anchored on the following theories: Content-based Instruction,
Literature-based Instruction and Grammar Translation Method.

Content-based instruction
(CBI) emphasizes the multiple benefits of integrating language and content instruction
for L2 students (Stoller & Grabe, 1997). Thus, the language serves as a
medium for learning content and content as a source for learning the language.
The principles of CBI are embedded on the ideology of CLT since they involve an
active participation of students in the exchange of content (Villalobos, 2014).
With this, CBI yields purposeful and meaningful language use for both academic
and social setting. Therefore in teaching the language, exposure to certain
content must be interesting and relevant to the students (Brinton, 2003)

            Literature-based
Instruction supports students in developing literacy by the use of authors’
expository and narrative works. Through authentic experiences and getting
support from more-experienced individuals, students improve their reading and
writing skills (Wells, 1990). Research shows that literature-based instruction
helps all students become better readers, writers, and thinkers (Tunnell &
Jacobs, 1989). Hence, the teacher’s role includes planning themes, helping
students activate the appropriate prior knowledge, and supporting students in
reading and responding to the literature in appropriate ways (Martinez &
Roser, 1991). In some instances the teacher plans and teaches mini-lessons
using the literature as a model for helping students learn a needed strategy or
skill (Trachtenberg, 1990). 

            Grammar
Translation is a method of teaching grammatical
rules to students and then applying those rules through translating sentences
between the L1 and L2. Its purpose is to assist students read and understand
foreign language literature (Larsen-Freeman, 2000). This method is useful for
students in L2 acquisition since it enriches one’s vocabulary, increases the usage
on figures of speech and widens the ability of interpretation and imitation which
leads student in producing similarly good texts (Hell, 2009). As a result, students
enhance their abilities to learn independently (Fish, 2003).

            With
the knowledge on various theories, the researchers decided to have specific strategies/techniques
to be implemented before, during and after the theme writing.

 

 

Prior
Knowledge Activation

Motivation and
interest are crucial for students’ success in the classroom. With the
informative and challenging activities, students learn complex
skills (Grabe & Stoller, 1997). The presence of intrinsic and
extrinsic motivation aids in the improvement and the achievement of a certain
goal. The students make greater connections between topics, elaborations with
learning material and recall information
better when they are motivated and interested in
the material they are learning (Alexander, Kulikowich, & Jetton, 1994:
Krapp, Hidi, & Renninger, 1992).

 

Scaffolded Instruction

            Scaffolded
instruction is a technique used to advance students for better understanding
and independent learning (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1986; Vygotsky, 1978). At
the beginning of learning process, students are provided with support then gradually
taken away to allow independence. If students are unable to attain such, the
teacher brings back the support system until they are able to achieve
independence and success (Cooper, 1993). However, the support system takes
place in a number of ways – the organization of selections in the theme, the
amount of prior knowledge activation provided, the way students interpret the
literature and the types of students’ responses.

 

Topical
Revision Analysis

            Since
writing is a recursive process, students are to pre-write, write and revise composition.
Revision can be regarded as the principal aspect of the composing process, as
some scholars remarked, “writing is rewriting” (Murray, 1978). TRA as a
promising revision strategy developed by Lautamatti (1978) that focuses on
semantic relationships between sentence and discourse topics. Its purpose is to
describe the coherence of the text and examine the correlation of the sentences
to progressively build meaning. It helps students to consider the discourse
level in connection with the surface level of their narrative. Based on
empirical support, this approach is what successful and experienced writers
follow when they write (Farmer et. al, 1990).

            There
are three crucial principles of TRA that students need to understand: (1)
identification of sentence topic, (2) determining sentence progression and (3)
charting the progression of the sentence. To identify the sentence topic,
students must be familiar with the arrangement of the information within the
paragraph in order to recognize what is the topic  and comment
sentence. In determining sentence progression, students must be aware of the
three kinds of topical progression such as parallel, sequential and extended
parallel progression. Then in charting the progression of the sentence, students
must construct a diagram corresponds to the structure of the composition. The
diagram as stated by Connor and Farmer is constructed by placing sentence
topics with parallel progression exactly below each other.

This method will serve as
a supplementary tool for students to reconsider and gauge the consistency of
their writing and would not replace the teacher/peer correction technique (Connor
et.al, 1990).

 

Journal
Writing

            This
technique allows student and teacher to communicate via a designated notebook for
written dialogue (Wong Mei et. al, 2006). According
to Lee (2010), it motivates students to write more with richer in content. The
journal does not only provide consistent practice for students but also allows the
teacher to have an easier holistic access which in return gives way to more individualized
feedback.

 

 

 

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