Improving explanation writing skills of junior secondary learners in life sciences : a case study

Josua, Helena Megameno N. (2010) Improving explanation writing skills of junior secondary learners in life sciences : a case study. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Learners in the Junior Secondary Phase (Grades 8 to 10) are often required to answer open-ended questions which require a response in the form of an explanation. As frequently reported in the external examiners‟ reports of Life Sciences, learners do not write adequate explanations as responses to explanatory questions. This thesis reports on action research based on my experience as a Life Sciences teacher trying to address this problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop suitable, manageable and effective strategies that I could implement in order to improve my teaching of explanation writing skills of in the Junior Secondary school learners with a view to enhance curriculum content knowledge in Life Sciences. The intervention was carried out in a Grade 10 Life Sciences class which consisted of 35 learners. The first cycle consisted of seven lessons carried out over two weeks in normal school time. The main sources of data from my lesson interventions were the learners‟ written work, their journal entries, the researcher‟s journal, the field notes from the non-participant observer and interviews with two focus groups. Both the interviews and the lessons were recorded and transcribed. The research data reveals that the ability of the Junior Secondary learners to write explanations was hindered by language problems. In addition, a lack of integration of language issues into the subject content was a contributing factor to their inadequate writing skills. Spelling errors and lack of expression in English second language contribute to the problem of writing good explanations. The data has also revealed that learners‟ writing skills can be improved by implementing suitable teaching strategies, such as the curriculum cycle as proposed by Gibbons (2002). The curriculum cycle can be modified to fit the learners‟ needs and the real teaching situation. The amount of practice required to master the skill of writing in the genre of explanations should be considered.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:English language, Teaching
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
ID Code:2560
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:03 Apr 2012 13:23
Last Modified:03 Apr 2012 13:23
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