Symposium on Teacher Education and Action Research

Rewriting Boundaries: Integrating English and Science Classes Using the PREP Method in Writing Short Essays

 Mark Collin V. de Guzman (Espiritu Santo Parochial School)

This paper is an action research that gauged the effectiveness of an intervention designed to make students use the organizational pattern PREP (Point, Reason, Evidence and concluding Point) Method learned during English classes, in short essays in summative assessments of Science classes. The intervention process is aimed to solve the problem of making students purposely use language arts skills mastered during English class in content subjects through a more purposeful level of subject integration.

Following the genre – based approach to teaching writing, the English teacher treated the writing of short essays as responses in summative tests as a genre, meaning its characteristics were fleshed out and practiced using the PREP Method. Consequently, in the Science class, the teacher highlighted the advantage of using the PREP method in answering summative assessments (particularly, in the laboratory experiment sheets and fourth quarterly exam). Implemented during the last weeks of the final grading period, the intervention process was clipped into a period of three weeks and was focused on a single Grade 9 class.

The results showed that the intervention clearly worked since it made the students use the PREP Method on their own volition and without prompts in a major examination. Albeit limited in scale, the research showed that making learners use language arts skills in content subjects can be achieved only if content teachers are willing to work closely with language arts teachers in developing materials and activities that would allow students to see language as a tool in mastering content.

Can academic writing become learner-centered? Reflections on the pedagogy of writing in the university

Rommel Chrisden Rollan Samarita (De La Salle University, Manila & San Beda College, Alabang)

This participatory action research revisited the writing pedagogy in the Basic Research Skills/English for Specific Purpose course—ENGLRES—an academic writing program offered by the Department of English and Applied Linguistics (DEAL) to undergraduate students of De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines. Using a needs analysis questionnaire, the study documented the learning needs and preferences of 120 university students in academic writing. The survey revealed that among numerous English lessons and skills involved in the academic writing program, students considered (1) topic selection, (2) editing, and (3) thesis statement, as needs in the course. In addition, students preferred (1) writing exercises, (2) conferencing sessions, and (3) library visits in the program. The findings were consistent with the responses of selected students in focused group discussions and the accounts of selected professors in one-on-one interviews on writing pedagogy. With this context, the research considered topic selection as site of intervention and the suggested learning activities as inputs to materials design. The study utilized a teaching module which contains lesson plans, worksheets, and assessment tools on topic selection. Forty (40) university students served as participants in the intervention, which ran for 2 weeks. After delivering the module, the intervention yielded positive results. The study reported (1) the positive attitudes of students on the learning activities, (2) the high scores of students in 3 writing exercises on topic selection, and (3) the noteworthy evaluations of students and professor on the intervention. The study confirmed the pedagogical assertions of Spratt (2001), Lambert (2001), and Nunan (1988) that students’ needs and preferences are at the forefront in reforming the general design of, and the ruling practices in language classrooms. This research poses the possibility of a learner-centered academic writing curriculum as an emergent site in the theory and practice of second language writing.

 

Enhancing Reading Comprehension Through Culturally Relevant Texts and Literature Circles: An Action Research 

Dannah Neriah L. Tan (De La Salle University, Manila) 

This paper reports on the results of an action research that explored the relationship between reading comprehension and cultural relevance of text along with use of literature circles for a group of eight (8) tenth-grade high school students in the Philippines. Cloze tests were first administered to the participants to determine the reading level of the selected texts, which were found to be at the independent reading level, an important prerequisite for literature circles. Reading comprehension was measured by the previously mentioned Cloze tests alongside reading comprehension tests, unaided story retelling, and journal writing. To help define and determine the cultural relevance of texts from the perspective of the participants, the Cultural Relevance Rubric adapted from Ebe (2011) was used. The results of data gathering, including the reading comprehension and cultural relevance scores of the participants, suggest that while participants were able to relate to the stories, there was no significant relationship between reading comprehension and cultural relevance. In spite of this, improvements in reading comprehension of the participants were observed, mainly from the results of journal writing and personal observation. The level of cultural relevance was found to be affected by how closely participants felt the text mirrored events of their personal life. The use of literature circles was met with positive responses and were cited by the participants to be very effective for learning and improvement. Aspects of cultural relevance as seen in the study, as well as implications for text selection and use of literature circles, are also discussed.

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