EFFECT OF TEACHERS’ DIRECT AND INDIRECT WRITTEN FEEDBACK ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY LEARNERS’ GRAMMATICAL SECTION OF WRITING IN FAGGE LGA, KANO STATE

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EFFECT OF TEACHERS’ DIRECT AND INDIRECT WRITTEN FEEDBACK ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY LEARNERS’ GRAMMATICAL SECTION OF WRITING IN FAGGE LGA, KANO STATE  

ABSTRACT

 

 

 

This research work examined the impact of teachers’ direct and indirect coded written feedback on the performance of senior secondary students’ grammatical component of writing. The study was undertaken to determine whether written feedback can help senior secondary school students in Fagge LGA of Kano State improve their writing performance. Four research questions and four hypotheses guided the study. The study used a quasi- experimental design of pre-test, post-test of the experimental and control group. The study has a population of 2272 senior secondary year two students. A sample of 120 students was drawn from the population for the study. The subjects were randomly assigned into three feedback groups (Indirect feedback, Direct feedback and No feedback). The experimental groups were taught writing using the process approach and given written feedback to revise their essays. The control group was taught using the conventional method without feedback. The students in each group produced three narrative essays. The experimental groups made two revisions based on the feedback provided. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequencies and percentages, mean and standard deviations to answer the research questions. Dunnett’s T3 Test at alpha level of p≤0.05 was conducted to test the research hypotheses. The results of data analysis indicated significant differences in the mean performance scores between the experimental groups and the control group. The two experimental groups significantly outperformed the control group. This showed that there was a positive impact of written feedback on the students writing performance. Furthermore, no statistically significant difference was found between the two experimental groups at the post test. The study concludes that teachers’ written feedback, either direct or indirect feedback strategy is an effective tool in promoting students writing performance. Based on the findings, the study recommends amongst others that teachers provide students with written feedback to improve their writing performance.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

      1.1                                            Background to the Study

Writing is desirable tool in human life because it is extensively used in education and all professions.Teaching students to write well is a priority and goal of any education system. Writingfacilitates the process of sharing information and knowledge. It is a form of communication where students or writers put their ideas on paper. It is a determinant of students‟ success in and out of school. Students are required to write meaningfully across all subject areas. The ideasstudents want to communicate are conveyed through wellstructured sentences in connected paragraphs. The correct application of grammar, mechanics and punctuation are basic principles of good writing skills. Good writing skills enable students to communicate their ideas with clarity and ease of understanding for the reader. Improper grammar can affect the meaning and clarity of intended message. The more students write accurately the better the reader will understand them. Writing is a skill that can boost or hinder students‟ academic achievement or career.Poor writing skills create a negative impression of the writer.

 

Effective writing is critical to students‟ school success. Writing is an important part of the curriculum of secondary schools. The essence of teaching and learning writing in schools is to help students to become proficient in writing. Students who cannot express themselves comprehensively in writing would not be able to communicate their knowledge to teachers. Words are structured into sentences based on the conventional rules of grammar. Words have to be used rightly for students to write intelligibly.

Students‟ writing is the primary means by which teachers and examiners assess students learning. Written assignments help teachers to know what students have mastered and what they have not properly learnt. Writing stimulates students‟creativity. Writing equips students with communication and thinking skills. The writing process is linked to learning, it helps students to learn how to compose ideas and organize their thoughts.

 

Grammar is the rule of using the right wordsto construct meaningful sentences in communicating ones ideas.It is impossible to talk about any language without the knowledge of its grammar. Grammar tells us how sentences are formed. It is fundamental in writing compositions in English. We study grammar because the knowledge of sentence structure enables us to convey messages and interprets written textscorrectly. Grammar instruction in writing can help students improve their writing performance (Noguchi 1991).  A piece of writing is not just about using words and sentences to communicate but also ensuring that the words and sentences aregrammatically and logically linked.Many L2 learners possess some knowledge of grammar rules;howeverthey fail to apply the knowledge in writing compositions. The acquisition of tense and aspect forms is a problematic area of English grammar for L2 students. Teachers‟ written feedback could guide students to use learnt grammatical forms in written communication. This is because it may be easier for students to learn grammar usage in writing than in isolation.

Improving learners‟ written communication is determined in part by correct grammar which is why written feedback in writing has received so much attention over the years.

 

Many L2 learners are not proficient in English grammar. From experience, some reasons for students‟ deficiency in grammar ranges from interference, to incomplete application of rules, ignorance of rule restriction and overgeneralization. Also, students learn grammar forms in isolation and through memorization of rules. Students learning grammar in such ways are less able to use the language for its purpose which is to effectively communicate ideas and information (Cotter, 2013).To be proficient in written communication students have to pay attention to grammar. Grammar is important because it helps to enhance writing accuracy. Grammar rules can help students learn to use English language more accurately in writing. This study is therefore geared towards addressing the problem of learners‟ grammar usagethroughwritten feedback in writing. Promoting students‟ grammar accuracy could lead to improving their writing performance.The students may learn grammar usage in writing faster and retainthe knowledge gained in subsequent writing

tasks.

Feedback is crucial in any learning situation, be it in formal or non formal education as it is natural for learners to commit diverse errors in the process of learning. Feedback as a strategy has been practiced for such a long time that it is arguably linked to almost everythingpeople learn (Evans, Hartshorn, McCollum, & Wolfersberger, 2010). In all instructional process,feedback is the primary method used by teachers to facilitate the achievement of learning goals.Students always look forward to their teachers response on any task they are assigned. They desire to know how well they have performed in a task based on their teachers‟ response. Feedback is information given to students to know the progress they have made and specifying what they should do next to improve future performance.It helps students take corrective measures to reach acceptable performance where they are not performing well. Providing feedback after class instructionsgives learners‟ confidence of attaining set objectives. Hence,Feedback is critical to students‟ learning because it motivates them to put in more effort to achieve a desired goal.

 

Feedback is conceived as information provided by an agent who may be a teacher, peer, parent or self, oran experience adult concerning an individual‟s performance or understanding (Hattie & Timprey 2007).(Hattie & Timprey (2007) regard feedback as a consequence of performance; there must be a learning context to which feedback is addressed. It is the second aspect of the teaching process after students have responded to initial instruction on a task. According to (Hattie & Timprey 2007), the main purpose of feedback is to reduce the discrepancies between students‟current understandingor performance anda goal. Effective feedback indicates to learners the goal they hope to accomplish, the progress being made towards the goaland the activities required to make further progress.

 

Written feedback is essential in teaching and learning writing. It is a desirable tool with the emergence of the process approach which resulted in the shift of focus in feedback strategy.In process-based writing approach, written feedbackis animportant developmental toolused by teachers. Teachersprovide multiple feedbacks to students in the process of writing to improve learners writing development. Teaching students to write well is a priority and goal of any education system.The idea of providing written feedback is to point out learners errors and directly or indirectly correct them. From the written feedbackprovided, students learn the differences between what they produced and what they intended to write. Feedback helps them to revise and write more correctly in future. Kroll (2001) opined that assignment and feedback are central to improving students writing proficiency. The goal of feedback is to help students improve their writing proficiency to a point where they are cognizant of what is expected of them as writers and are able to write with minimal errors and maximum clarity.

 

Weiner (1990) asserts that receiving a reward or feedback for an action usually increases the likelihood that the action will be repeated. Learners who are motivated will learn a second language faster and to a greater degree. Comprehensive written feedback on wrong linguistic forms can increase students‟ grammatical knowledge. Feedback in L2 writing serves two main functionsnamely; a cognitive and a motivational function. Cognitively, it makes students become aware of their advancement in the language and the way forward.  Motivationally, it spurs learners‟ to re-analyze andre-construct their interlanguage system through deeper processing of linguistic forms. Once learners understand why they err and what to do next they develop a feeling of being in charge of their own learning.

 

Theoretically, (Pica & Mayo (2000) stated four important stages that learners must experience to successfully learn a second language. First of all, learners must be given input that is meaningful and comprehensible. Secondly, they must pay attention to the input to understand what it means. Thirdly, they must produce the second language text. Lastly, they should be givenfeedback so as to modify their production for greater proficiency. There has been little emphasis on the final two stages of teaching writing in Fagge LGA of Kano State. Students do not often write essays in schools to improve their writingperformance. Occasionally when they write, they are not usually given feedback to improve on their previous performance.

 

The learners in this study are not immersed in the language and culture of which they study. Their environment is not English speaking one, the language is not extensively used in the students‟ immediate environment.  So, the students do not have adequate exposure to interact in the language. Senior secondary students in Fagge LGA have extremely limited class time for learning and using English Language. They interact with one another more in their mother tongue or in the language of the immediate environment in school. Inadequate exposure to the language affects the students‟ speaking and writing performance. Consequently, it is mandatory on teachers‟ to provide the continued needed assistance that learners require using written feedback for greater writing proficiency.

Dekeyser (2010) noted that learners‟ need many opportunities to put gained knowledge of grammar forms into practice.

 

The connection between grammar and writing is very significant and worth students attention. The rules of grammar govern the way writing takes place for easy understanding by the reader. It is important for students to know thatproper grammar influences good writing. The place of grammar in writingcannot be over stated. Failure to follow the conventional grammar rules will greatly limit students‟ability to accurately communicate in writing. Students need to learn grammar in writing in order to communicate their knowledge appropriately. Grammar forms are building blocks that help to make students writing readable and understandable.For instance, syntax governs how words are combined in sentences. Punctuationshelp to clarify meaning by indicating a pause or switch to a new thought. Verb tenses are important in establishing effective communication because they play vital roles in constructing meaning.Without the working knowledge of grammar, writing proficiency is impossible.

 

1.2Statement of the Problem

The researcher became mindful of students grammar problems in writing as a resultof personal involvement with students in school. The researcher discovered that the essays written by senior secondary students‟ arebelow the required standard.  The students have problems constructing grammatically correct sentencesin writing essay. The complexities of the English grammar especially the varieties in tense forms and their usages confuse the students.This has resulted in low academic achievement of the students ininternal and external examinations. Poor achievement by students in English language could be traced to poor teaching method (Muodumogu& Odey 2006).

 

Most secondary school students in Fagge LGA are unable to identify and fix grammar errors on their own hence the same errors continue to recur in subsequent writings.  Unfortunately, teachers do not consistently provide written feedback to check grammar errors in learners‟ writing. Most times teachers teach writing for evaluative purposes only. Teachers simply award grades without informing the students what they have done rightly or wrongly. In such a situation students would have false impression about their performances. They would assume all is okay with their writing and have no area to improve on. Occasionally when teachers provide feedback it is not clear enough for students to understand where they erred and how to correct the errors made. Written feedback is geared towards individual linguistic needs. Therefore students need clear written feedback to improve on subsequent writing performance.

 

Teachers do not instruct students to study given feedback to redraft their essays. It is only when students are made to redraft their essays that they can learn from given feedback. In

Fagge LGA teachers employ the product approach in teaching writing where a piece of writing is evaluated as a final product. So, the students are not opportune to improve or refine their writing. Teachers provide written feedback as a basis for discussing grammar errors committed by students. Thus, the students should be encouraged to produce revised versions of an essay in order to apply given feedback. Providing writtenfeedback in students essay is a useful way to preserve the knowledge about grammatical features in a long term memory (Maleki&Eslami, 2013).Without written feedback learners writing could result in unintelligibility and the errors become fossilized.

 

Getting students to write accurate and meaningful texts is an age long issue in schools.Grammar is a tool that enables students to gain control of their composing skill.Grammatical errors in students writing could inhibit their writing performance. When grammar errors are not corrected the erroneous forms may serve as further input to students.Written feedback could help students understand the grammar errors they commit in writing. And requesting them to redraft their essays to incorporate feedback could improvestudents „grammarknowledge as well as writing performance. In view of the problems students face in using grammar effectivelyin written communication, this study investigates the impact of direct and indirect written feedback on the grammatical component of students writing performanceand also to ascertain if the impact of writtenfeedback could be retained in new writing tasks.

 

1.3   Objectives of the Study The objectives of the study are to:

  1. Determine the impact of teachers‟ direct andindirect coded written feedback written feedbackfor use of present tense in the performance of senior secondary students‟grammatical component of writing.
  2. Examine theimpact of teachers‟ direct and indirect coded written feedback for use of past tense in the performance of senior secondary students‟grammatical component

of writing.

  • Investigate the impact of teachers‟ direct and indirect codedwritten feedbackfor use of progressive tense in the performance of senior secondary students‟grammatical component of writing.
  1. Find out the impact of teachers direct and indirect coded written feedbackfor use of perfective tensein the performance of senior secondary students grammatical component of writing.

 

 

 

 

1.4                                                      Research Questions

The research questions formulated for the purpose of this study are:

  1. What is the mean difference for the use of present tense in the performance of senior secondary students given direct, indirect written feedback and those without it in the grammatical component of writing?
  2. What is the mean difference for the use of

past tense in the performance of senior secondary students given direct, indirect written feedback and those without it in the grammatical component of writing?

 

  • What is the mean difference for the use of

progressive tense in the performance of senior secondary students given direct, indirect written feedback and those without it in the grammatical component of writing?

 

  1. What is the mean difference for use of

perfective tense in the performance of senior secondary students given direct, indirect written feedback and those without it in the grammatical component of writing?

 

1.5                                                     Research Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant mean difference

for use of present tense in theperformanceof senior secondary students given direct, indirect written feedback and those without it in the grammatical component of writing.

 

  1. There is no significant mean difference

for use of past tense in theperformanceof senior secondary students given direct, indirect written feedback and those without it in the grammatical component of writing.

 

  • There is no significant mean difference

for use of progressive tense in theperformanceof senior secondary students given direct, indirect written feedback and those without it in the grammatical component of writing.

 

  1. There is no significant mean difference

for use of perfective tense in theperformanceof senior secondary students given direct, indirect written feedback and those without it in the grammatical component of writing.

 

 

1.6                                                 Significance of the Study

The findings from this studyis hoped to be of immense significance to students, English Language teachers, textbook writers and curriculum planners and the body of research.

 

The study is expected to aid senior secondary students to notice and correct the grammar errors they commit in writing.This will help them to understand how their productions deviate from the target language grammar. Knowing the difference between the wrong forms they use and the intended forms will help them do a deeper processing of the language.

 

 

From this study, English Language teachers would be well informed on the impact of teachers‟ direct and indirect feedback strategy in teaching and developing the writing skills of students. This would motivate teachers to adopt effective feedback strategies to improve their students writing performance.It will also provide teachers with information for planning future instructions and remedial activities.

 

The study is expectedto provide useful facts and information to textbook writers on the grammatical errors L2 learners commit in writing. This will enable textbook writers to improve learners‟ grammar knowledge through exercises in parts of speech and sentence formation. The study would also enable textbooks writers to provide teachers with illustrations on how to use written feedback strategies in correcting grammar errors in students‟ writing.

 

The study would enlighten curriculum planners on the need to ensure that students are taught grammar in context. They can clearly recommend that teachers include grammar instruction when teaching writing. This will help students use learnt grammatical structures in meaningful written communication.From the findings of this research the writer hopes to contribute to the field of research onthe effectiveness or ineffectiveness of written feedback in writing.

 

 

 

 

1.7                                                   Scope and Delimitation

The study is limited to three senior secondary schools in Fagge LGAof Kano State. Limiting the study within the area would make it manageable for the researcher to give accurate results.

 

The study is limited to the effects teacher written feedback on senior secondary students writing. This is because it is the primary duty of teachers‟ to provide learnerswith feedback in learning a language.

Although written feedback is applicable to all SS students‟, the study is limited to SS2 students because it is at this level that elaborate writing is done.

The study is further limited to some frequently made grammatical errors by SS students: errors in verb tenses (present and past) and aspect systems (progressive and perfective).  From experience as a teacher, the researcher discovered that these errors often reoccur in their writings and they would require more guide on their accurate use.

 

The study is limited to direct and indirect coded feedback. In other words the study investigates the impact of direct and coded written feedback on the grammatical component of senior secondary students writing performance.

EFFECT OF TEACHERS’ DIRECT AND INDIRECT WRITTEN FEEDBACK ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY LEARNERS’ GRAMMATICAL SECTION OF WRITING IN FAGGE LGA, KANO STATE  

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