Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Effect of Process Writing Practice on the Writing Quality of Form One Students: A Case Study

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Effect of Process Writing Practice on the Writing Quality of Form One Students: A Case Study

Article excerpt

Abstract

Teachers who teach English as a second language are committed to develop an understanding and improvement of second language writing as learning to write in the second language is a complicated process. Despite the numerous research on second language writing, the phenomenon of writing is constantly under investigation as teachers want to share the findings of each study which provides knowledge that resonates with their teaching experience. This case study is a report about the effect of process writing practice on the writing quality of three Form one students. This study uses observation, interview, students' drafts, and writing and examination scores as sources for data collection. The analyses show some effects on their writing pace and writing quality. The findings also reveal that students are able to attempt writing despite the difficulty of the given writing task.

Keywords: Process writing practice, Second language learner, Writing quality

1. Introduction

Writing in language classrooms is inevitably an important skill and therefore, becomes the focus of instruction. According to Hyland (2003), writing has been identified as one of the essential process skills because our world has been driven by text and numerical data more than ever. The status of writing has been further strengthened due to the expansion of knowledge and studies of genre and writing processes. This creates a great interest in the approaches of second language writing instruction that incorporate current theory and research findings.

Students perceive productive skills namely speaking and writing as more difficult skills than listening and reading (Berman & Cheng, 2010). In the context of Malaysia, writing is the skill that most students are least proficient in (Nesamalar, Saratha & Teh, 2001). The interference of the first language will affect the way sentences are structured and ideas are presented. A study carried out on the essays of Malaysian secondary students showed that most errors made in written work were mainly tenses, subject verb agreement, prepositions and the mechanics of writing (Darus & Ching, 2009).

Although research and theories on how to teach students to write using composing strategies are provided in literature, teachers need time to learn how to explain, model, and scaffold the strategies to students in classrooms (Pressley et al., 2007). Besides, some composing strategies and writing models need to be adapted accordingly to meet the needs of students of different proficiency levels, learning motivation and social background.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

Despite the explosive growing field of second language writing, teaching writing to ESL learners remains a challenge in Malaysia. Research shows that students are less competent in using the language due to high incidence of linguistic errors in their essays (Darus & Ching, 2009; Darus & Subramaniam, 2009; Jalaluddin et al., 2008).

The Form one English syllabus specifies the application of process writing skills in presenting information (Ministry of Education, 2003). Based on reports of writing instruction in Malaysian classrooms made by Heng and Chan (1996), Mahaletchumy (1994), and Bhajan (1995), the process writing practice is yet to be implemented by teachers during writing lessons. According to Chow (2007), the reason why traditional writing instruction remains dominant is the teachers' attitude. Teachers who are taught and trained in the product writing practices naturally conduct writing lessons according to the way they learn writing in school, teachers training college or university. Their pedagogical belief strongly influences their teaching practices. Moreover, the emphasis of linguistic accuracy and writing mechanics in the assessment of students' writing causes concern among teachers to instruct students to produce work that shows good use of language with error free structures. Although process writing instruction was introduced in the late 1980s, writing in the Malaysian classrooms remains structural and teacher-centred (Chow, 2007). …

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