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1.

0 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of study
As we are concern, there are some skills needed to be acquired by the pupils in
learning English Language. One of the crucial skills to be developed by pupils is writing.
Writing is considered as a productive skill. Pupils have to use their thinking skill and write
something. Writing begins as simple as scribbling and can be more complex to
thousands words. For young learners, they can write up to a short story.
Coulmas, F. (2003) indicates that one definition of writing is a system of recording
language by means of visible or tactile marks. In writing, pupils need to put their
thoughts into the visible form. Further saying, relevant things that come to their minds
can be written as long as they learn to write. Pupils can write for themselves and also to
be read by others.
In our daily lives, we encounter a lot of written sources like newspaper, memo and
notices. Some of these are taught in primary school. They are stated in the Curriculum
Standard. Therefore, it is necessary for the pupils to improve their writing skill. Pupils
may not be an expert to write some of these. At least they have some exposure to
different kinds of writing.
Based on Chitravelu, N. (2005), These writing tasks should, as far as possible be
integrated with learning in other skill areas so that they occur naturally and students can
perceive the usefulness and value of learning to write. By integrating writing with other
skills, pupils can improve this skill parallel with other skills. This shows that writing is an
important skill as well as others. Therefore, writing skill has to be given extra attention
too. This is because most pupils are less proficient in writing which makes them
demotivated.
1.2 Context
I am the student teacher of IPG Kampus Pulau Pinang and from January 2013
intake. It was my last year in degree programme. I was in my semester eight while
carrying out the action research. I was assigned to be the trainee teacher for a school in
North Seberang Perai for about three months in the previous semester. I continued my
internship at the same school for about one month.
The major subject that I taught was English and the minor subject was Visual Arts.
During my third practicum, I taught English for Year 5. This was quite tough because
their syllabus was getting complex. So, I paid more attention in planning the lesson that
suits their Standard Curriculum. The participants needed to be prepared with higher
order thinking skills and 21st century learning style.

The school assigned for me was situated in the north region of Seberang Perai. This
school is located near the village area. It was not very near to the town. The capacity of
pupils was quite big around 600 pupils. Each standard was comprised of three classes.
The school was categorised as B level for their performance. There were a few English
teachers in this school that I could learn from.
Most of the pupils in this school came from the village nearby. Their discipline was
average, not too good and not too bad. Most of the teachers said that the pupils must be
treated quite strictly. They would not learn seriously if the teacher did not act firm during
the lessons. Most of them were quite weak in English especially the class that I taught.
They were given intensive class during the weekends.
1.3 Reflection on Teaching and Learning Experience
In primary school, there must be some issues arise in learning English Language
especially writing skill. Some of the pupils are less proficient in this skill. From my
observation, during English lesson, participants were unable to write well. They were
hesitant to write because they did not know how to develop points to write a story. When
I asked them about a topic, they had some ideas in their minds but they could not
organize in writing. Unfortunately, they needed guidance in developing their ideas to
write a good piece.
During writing lesson, pupils took quite a long time to write on their own. They were
more likely to copy than write. Some can write well even though their grammar is lacking.
That is what I wanted to focus. Pupils were more likely to copy the answers rather than
produce themselves. They did not have the confidence to write or were not trained to
think by themselves.
Throughout the writing lessons, I thought that the participants needed a lot of writing
practice. They had to practice solving high order thinking questions as well. This can be
done in order to improve their writing ability. Participants would be able to develop the
points well if they were trained to think critically. It could help them write a short story
easily. Collins, R. (2014) points that, Teachers should not only teach the language and
concepts but also tell students what they are doing and why higher-order thinking skills
are necessary for them to problem-solve at school and in life.
Based on my experience, participants performance in English was not very good.
One of the reasons is the participants background. Most of the participants came from
low income family and they did not practise English at home. So they had a little
exposure outside school time. Sometimes, I had to use direct translation method to make
them understand the lesson. This was not a good method if it is used frequently.

In year 5 stream, this was the second class. The participants were classified into
average to low ability in English Language. So, they were not very good in English. I
could see from their previous test results. Most of them got B or C for their English test.
This was the written test that comprised of two papers. I wanted to focus on Paper 2
which needed them to write a short story. I knew most of them scored very little in this
area.
2.0 RESEARCH FOCUS
2.1 Identification of Research Focus
Writing is quite a big challenge for primary school participants. During primary school,
it was their first attempt and exposure towards the writing process. I was sure some of
them faced difficulty in writing skill. It could be as simple as writing sentences or as
complex as writing paragraph. Participants had been introduced with paragraph writing
since year 4. Hence, they should be able to write at least one paragraph.
What I want to focus in this research is on how to develop points in writing a short
story. Some of the participants did not know how to develop points in their writing. They
might have some ideas about a certain topic or about pictures given but did not know
how to put into words. Participants would just write blindly without considering the right
points related to the topic.
From my previous experience with the participants, they just knew how to write
sentences but somehow their grammar is lacking. However, I did not want to focus on
the grammar. I wanted to focus on the smoothness of their writing by developing some
relevant points regarding the topic. By doing so, they would write freely although there
were some mistakes on grammar.
Based on Katie Lancaster (2013) cited in Sundeen (2007) states that, Student must
be provided with effective strategies to expand their skills and become independent
writers. This is why I wanted to introduce a strategy for the participants to improve their
writing skill. By doing so, participants got the flow of the story. They could list out some
important points regarding the story. Participants practised this method starting with a
stimulus-given story to free writing story. In the future, they can write freely and
confidently.
Annamaria Pinter (2006) indicates that, learners may also be ready for freer
writing. Older learners may begin to see clear reasons for writing This means that
participants needed to start writing from primary school so that they can develop free
writing afterwards. That is why I focused on the writing ability of the participants. There
were a lot of time and space provided to the participants to improve this skill. As we all
knew, in KSSR, a modular approach was applied which stresses on every skill. So, every
week, participants had the chance to learn writing.

Peter Elbow (2010), states that the most effective way to improve your writing is to do
freewriting exercise regularly. Regarding this research, I wanted to focus on writing skill. I
would like to see the participants put their thoughts into words smoothly. This was
because they struggle a bit to write stories.
2.2 Reconnaissance
I had collected some preliminary data regarding the action research. This was done
to support the problem concern. I needed to see if the problem really occurred among
the participants. At first, I asked the English teacher of that particular class. She
explained about the participants level and behaviour in the class. I sorted out the ones
with average level and another with below average level. When I did group writing tasks,
I mixed them with various abilities.
Another reconnaissance that I did was looking into the participants exercise books.
Exercise books were one of the written sources coming from the participants. From this, I
found out that they were weak in writing. During my lessons, they tend to copy the
suggested answers only. The participants were not really good in parallel writing as well.
They were not used to the technique.
Besides that, I looked into the participants achievement in the English test. I checked
their School Based Assessment result to see their level. From their first test, I found out
that not a single participant got A in English. I decided to categorise the participants into
below average level. Some of them were weak in Paper 2 which was my focus in this
study.
From the documents identified, the problem could be getting serious if it did not be
given a solution. Some participants were not very confident to write. They did not know
how and where to begin writing. That was why I want to focus on writing skill. I believed
that all of them could write. It happened that the participants were not aware of how to
put their ideas into the written form.

2.3 Research Model and Intervention


There are several models of action research proposed by theorists. Every model
comprises of a few steps to be followed. One of the action research models is proposed
by Kurt Lewin. Kurt Lewin states a few steps in his model which is linear.
By applying this model, the first step to be taken is identifying a general or initial idea.
This was when I identified the problem faced by the participants in learning English. In

this particular class, I found out that most of the participants were weak in writing skill.
This was proved by their performance during my lessons. Another step that could be
joined together with the first step is reconnaissance or fact-finding. After I identified my
research problem, I found out about some reference that can support it. I searched about
writing skill and the suitable intervention to be used. I referred to some journals that were
nearly the same as my research problem.
The second step is planning for the intervention. After finding out some facts about
the problem, I figured out the suitable intervention. I wanted to use graphic organiser as
the intervention. I planned how to introduce the organiser to the participants. Throughout
my writing lessons, I had to find out whether this intervention works well or not.
After that, the third step involved is to take first action step. In this stage, I
implemented my intervention for the problem. I planned some sub-steps to be carried.
During this time, I gave the participants some pre and post intervention tasks. By doing
so, I could see their outcomes.
The fourth step is to evaluate. This was when I collected the data and analyse them.
There were some methods involved in this stage. I used two methods which were
document analysis and interview. Based on these, I knew whether the intervention
helped to overcome the problem or not.
Furthermore, Kurt Lewin proposes another step which is amended plan. I could give
some suggestions for further action if the intervention did not work. There would be
another way to work with this problem. This will be followed with the second action step.
In order to help participants improve writing skill, I figured out an intervention for the
problem. The intervention used is graphic organiser. Based on Katie Lancaster (2013),
Graphic organizer provides a visual representation of key details and ideas for students
who have difficulty organizing information. By using graphic organiser, pupils jotted
down their ideas before started writing. It was a starting point of writing process.
Graphic organiser was used as a tool for the participants to point out ideas that
circulate in their minds. I introduced this intervention to make writing easier for the
participants. Participants made this as a habit before they start writing. They needed to
write down the points first in the organiser then they developed into a story. In the future,
each time they want to write, they should start with using graphic organiser.
To introduce this intervention to my participants, I gave them a template of organiser.
Then, I showed a picture to them. From there, I asked them to give some ideas that can
be written as a story. After that, the participants jotted down some ideas that are relevant
with the story to be written. They wrote down the story based on the points given. By
doing this way, participants could see the flow of the story and decide whether the points
were correct or vice versa. They had an organized way of developing points to write a
story.

This intervention was also used to brainstorm about a topic. If pupils were given a
particular topic, they started to develop the points using the organiser first. Then, they
started to write. I used this intervention during writing lesson. So, each time participants
were given a task of writing, they needed to start with this first. Vivien Perutz (2010),
states that a good essay structure is made easier by prior planning. This was the reason
why I introduced the intervention to the participants.
3.0 RESEARCH PURPOSE AND RESEARCH QUESTION
3.1 Research Purpose
One of the research purposes was to investigate the use of graphic organiser to
improve the writing skill of year 5 participants. I could see that the participants writing
skill was quite weak. In order to help them developing the ideas in writing, I used the
graphic organiser. From that, I observed whether pupils could develop points about the
stimulus or not.
Pupils had difficult time to write a story. This was because they could not just write
freely without a guide. The graphic organiser functioned as a guide to start writing. They
just needed to put their thoughts into the organised way.
3.2 Research Question

Can participants writing skill be improved by using graphic organiser?

4.0 RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS


In order to carry out this action research, I have selected the participants involved.
They were the Year 5 participants of a sub urban school located in Kepala Batas. Most of
the participants lived in the village area nearby. They came from a low income family. I
spotted that a few participants needed to help their family doing work.
Based on the participants profile, I could see that some of the participants were not
coming from English educated family. They did not practise English at home and their
family could not help them so well. The only time left is during school hours which are
English lesson. However, they cannot be solely focus during the lesson because they
were other participants too.
As I mentioned before, the participants involved were 11 years old. They came from
the second class of that particular year. There were 32 of them altogether. 13 of them
were boys and the remaining 19 were the girls. This class consisted of more girls than
boys.

Referring to the academic performance of the participants, the participants were


categorised in average to low level of proficiency in English Language. This was based
on their previous test results. Most of the participants obtained B or C in their English
test. I could say that their writing is quite weak because most of the test is written.
Therefore, they had difficulty in scoring high.
During my lesson, some of the participants understood what I was talking but they
could not respond in English. Sometimes in writing lesson, they had the ideas but they
did not know how to translate in English. They keep asking me to translate for them.
They thought in Malay and needed to translate the words each time they want to write.
Through my observation during the lesson, some of the participants were eager and
interested in learning this subject. They wanted to take part in the activities carried out.
Although they were weak in writing, they tried to write. They did the task given but
needed some guidance. Sometimes I gave them homework to be done. Most of them
were able to hand in the homework another day.
5.0 RESEARCH IMPLEMENTATION
5.1 Implementation of Action
In the beginning of the research, I started with finding the problem faced by the
participants. One of the critical issues was writing skill. I found out that they were weak in
writing a short story. So, I decided to focus on this issue. After that, I began to plan my
intervention. I searched for the suitable one. I looked for some reference that supported
the intervention used. I gave a pre-intervention task before introducing the intervention.
Next, I introduced the intervention to the participants. This was done during writing
lessons. Before they started writing, I asked them to jot down the points of the story first.
After doing so, they started writing following the ideas given. This step was repeated a
few times to see the participants progress. The outcomes were recorded for analysing
purpose.
After that, I observed and recorded their performance. The data collected were
analysed according to the selected methods. I used some methods to analyse the data.
This was to see the results after applying the intervention. From this, I knew whether the
intervention helped the participants or not.
Lastly, I reflected on my intervention. I should find out suggestions to improve the
intervention used so that it became efficient with the participants.
5.2 Data Collection Methods
There are various methods used to collect data. In this research, I used two methods
which were document analysis and interview.
Document analysis

Based on Creswell (2014), Documents consist of public and private records that
qualitative researchers obtain about a site or participants in a study (p.245)
Regarding this research, I looked into the participants private records in school. One of
the document analysis involved is field notes. This method was done by writing down
reflections after every lesson. I observed and recorded the performance of the
participants writing tasks. By doing so, I could see the progress of the participants.
Besides that, I used a pre and post-intervention task. The pre-intervention task was
done by giving the participants a writing task before the intervention is introduced. The
participants wrote down the story straight away. They did not use any technique and just
write freely. After analysing the participants works and getting feedback, I introduced the
intervention. Then they got the post-intervention task. This time, they used the
intervention together with the post-intervention task. I needed to see whether they
understood how to use the intervention or not. The participants were able to fill up the
graphic organiser with ideas.
Interview
Creswell (2014) indicates that, a qualitative interview is carried out by asking general,
open-ended questions to one or more participants and record answers. For this method,
I focused on semi-structured interview. This interview was carried out after applying the
intervention. I wanted to know the participants feedback about what they had learnt. The
participants were guided with a Question-Answer Sheet if they refused to talk about the
problem. Some participants were shy to respond in English.

Figure 1: Lewins model of action research

REFERENCE
Chitravelu, N. (2005). ELT Methodology Principles and Practice. Selangor: Penerbit Fajar
Bakti.
Collins, R. (2014). Skills for the 21st Century: Teaching Higher-order Thinking. Curriculum &
Leadership Journal.
Coulmas, F. (2003). Writing Systems: An Introduction to Their Linguistic Analysis.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Creswell, J. W. (2014). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting and Evaluating
Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Pearson Education Limited.
Elbow, P. (1973). Writing Without Teachers. New York : Oxford University Press.
Lancaster, K. (2013). An Examination of Using Graphic Organisers to Teach Writing: A Case
Study. Eastern Illinois University, 1-42.
Perutz, V. (2010). A helpful Guide to Essay Writing. Anglia Ruskin University.
Pinter, A. (2006). Teaching Young Language Learners. New York: Oxford University Press.