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A Prefabricated-chunk-supported Study of English-writing for Chinese Non-majors

Author: YuYaLi
Tutor: YanPeiHeng
School: Northwest University for Nationalities
Course: Curriculum and Pedagogy
Keywords: prefabricated chunk English writing learning and teaching application study
CLC: H319
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 21
Quote: 0
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Abstract


Writing ability, as one of the important language skills, has been paid more and more attention by English learners, teachers and researchers who regard English as a foreign language (EFL) both at home and abroad. And how to improve writing ability? An appropriate writing method-choosing is one of the most important perspectives for researchers to be in. Hence, to train learners to master the use of some useful writing methods is supposed to be of help to their writing achievement. For many years, how to help EFL/ESL students improve their writing ability has been a heated topic in English teaching, many researchers devoting themselves to English teaching have been trying on a better approach for a better quality of English writing. This study is an empirical one based on prefabricated chunk which is employed in college English writing-teaching.Cognitive scientist Newell (1990) thinks that: Chunk is the unit of memory organization. In the process of writing and communication, it can be easily extracted and used without conscious efforts. Therefore, prefabricated chunk is also the ideal unit for language storage and output. Based on the early research, especially on Nattinger and DeCarrico’s viewpoint of prefabricated chunk, an applied study is made to check the students’compositions aiming at investigating whether or not the learning of prefabricated chunks improves non-English-major students’writing ability.The experiment involved 119 students coming from two classes in class B21 and B22 grade 2009 in Northwest University for Nationalities. The two classes were designated randomly as one experimental group (EG) and one control group (CG). Class B21 was the controlled group (CG) and Class B22 was the experimental group (EG). The training program has lasted for 16 weeks, and the two class students were taught by the author herself in NWUN.In this experiment, prefabricated chunk was applied as an approach to the experimental group. Some related exercises and tests were prepared for them. The teacher didn’t teach any knowledge about prefabricated chunk in the control group through the whole term. In order to get more explicit and comprehensive data to draw more convincing conclusions, the writer has adopted both quantitative and qualitative methods including four main research methods: questionnaire, classroom experiment, pre-test, post-test and post-training interview.In the mean time, at the end of the term, it has been proved that the new approach is effective for college non-English-major students’writing by analyzing the writing scores. First, by employing prefabricated chunks, EFL learners will produce better essays than those who do not; Second, prefabricated chunk approach will enhance EFL learners’confidence in writing; Third, being taught prefabricated chunks in class, EFL learners will pay more attention to the usage of prefabricated chunks and improve the accuracy of words used in their writing. Therefore, the writer proposes: to strengthen the prefabricated chunk teaching can help college non-English majors go beyond the limitations of grammatical competence to express their ideas fluently and it also can enhance their self-confidence and enthusiasm in writing. Then twice as much can be accomplished with half the effort in our practical writing classroom.Last of all, several pedagogical implications for writing education for college students come out from the study and suggestions for further research in this field are put forward, in the hope of being of some help to writing education for college non-English-major students.

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CLC: > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching
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