Fishing out students' difficulties in technical writing.

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Author: Adrias, Agnes Dulce P.

Accession Number: 76AR

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Copyright Year: 2009

Abstract:

This qualitative research reviewed the curriculum of English 104 (Technical Writing) in the light of Tyler and Taba's linear curriculum development. Faulty structures in grammar and basic research writing were fished out from the on-the-spot narratives and research outputs of 72 BS Medical Technology students enrolled in English 104 (Technical Writing) class handled by this researcher during the second semester of school year 2008-2009 at the University of San Agustin, Iloilo City. The writing difficulties were analyzed according to grammar rules in English and the standard research writing format, then interpreted through Skinner's operant conditioning, Guthrie's contiguity theory, Thorndike's connectionism, Gestalt learning theory, Tolman's sign of learning and Gagne's hierarchy of learning behaviors.In grammar, the most common difficulties were (in order): confusion in verb tense, unclear language presentation of ideas, confusion in the use of troublesome words, confusion in subject-verb agreement, and missing prepositions. In basic research writing, students' outstanding difficulty was their failure to proofread their finished work for spelling, word usage,syntax, and semantics. Students' writing was affected by their inadequacy and uncertainty in the correct use of English grammar rules, lack of vocabulary writing, and failure to proofread their inadequacy and uncertainty in the correct use of English grammar rules, lack of vocabulary writing, and failure to proofhead their finished work for inavertent errors.The cited theories and psychologies of learning pointed out gaps in students' acquisition of acceptable writing skills, such that this researcher theorized that: A good grasp of grammar and adequate vocabulary are pre-requisite skills to good writing, since vocabulary is the framework of speaking and writing , as much as listening and speaking. The habit of good reading finds its way into effective writing, as much as listening and speaking; The habit of good reading finds its way into effective writing, as writing clarifies thinking, short of it, ideas, no matter how bright, get dim when not expressed clearly; Proofreading is rethinking; Writing is sustained deep learning and empowers might the tip of the pen. The researcher's challenge then is translating findings and insights into innovative and purposive strategies to improve objectives, skills, and content of English 104 syllabus.


Keywords: Students' difficulties in technical writing

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