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USING SUBSITUTION TABLE TO HELP 6A2 STUDENTS TO WRITE SIMPLE SENTENCES

1.0 INTRODUCTION
Writing is one of the basic skills that should be acquired by primary schools by the end of 6-year
schooling. Pupils should be able to master it so that they will be able to face the challenge of
learning the language in secondary school.
A substitution table is an arrangement in columns of units which may be combined to make
sentences. From a table containing five or six columns and the same numbers of horizontal
lines, hundreds of sentences may be made. They will be grammatically possible, though they
may not all make sense. The sentence pattern is a useful guide to learner, but unless he or she
has reached the stage at which is familiar with grammatical terminology. The substitution table is
probably more valuable. It also provides models for learners to practice target language and
support the development features within the context of the curriculum. They are motivating and
generate a sense of achievement. Substitution tables can be used to support talk and provide a
scaffold which enables learners to write correct simple sentences. They are often used to
provide an opportunity for independent work with meaningful written work.
1.1 REFLECTION ON TEACHING EXPERIENCE
During my teaching and learning process at SK RKT SRI LEDANG, I was assigned to teach
English Language to the 6 Aspiration class. There were sixteen pupils in the class, eight girls
and eight boys. I was able to build good rapport with the students. My experience of teaching
the writing skill in the year 6A2 low proficiency class. I noticed that the pupils were weak in all
basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar. I observed that the pupils were
reluctant to write when asked to do so. Due to lack of proficiency, they hesitated to try and did
not have enough confidence when writing tasks were assigned. When I asked them, the general
response was that the writing was the most stressful activities as they did not know how to write
even simple sentences. It happened because, after I interviewed some pupils about their
previous teacher taught them. I was shocked because, the previous teacher asked them to copy
from the answers sheet provided, from the textbook and some passages. They had to copy
without understanding it. As they were low proficiency class, they were copy all the texts just too
complete all the teacher asked them to do. They copy for nothing because they do not know
what they are copying.
1.2 RELATED THEORY

Skinner (as cited by Santrock, 2010) views language as a form of behaviour and language
learning as a process of habit formation. The behaviourist theory emphasizes more on repetition
and drillings. Repetition is seen as important to bring about habit formation and learning
(Nesamalar Chitravelu, Saratha Sithamparam and Teh Soo Choon, 2005). Behaviourist theory
tells that in learning pupils need a lot of drilling from the teacher in order to understand the
language that are being taught before they can produce it own individually.
According to Vygotsky although children might learn some concepts through their everyday life,
they would not develop thought or skills using symbolism, such as speaking, reading, or writing
without adult modeling, help and instruction (as cited in Woolfolk, 2010). This means that the
children would not learn independently but can go on to achieve next stage with the help and
guidance from others. This shows that teachers roles in helping the pupils to learn the language
are very important. In agreement with this, Widininggrum (2009) mentioned that teachers have
to help, encourage and provide learners with many opportunities.
All the above, discussed theory of learning and literature suggest that the substitution table is
one of the ways to make sure that pupils are trained to write accurately. Fewer errors will be
made for the grammar as they are fully controlled by teacher. Nesamalar Chitravelu et al. (2005)
is in support of this when she mentioned that there are writing tasks that provide pupils practice
in writing error-free sentences or paragraphs on a given topic. She defined that controlled
writing is a characterized by maximal teacher input and minimal pupil input. Pupils do not
contributing ideas; neither do they organize their writing. Though seemingly outdated, this is
useful technique for encouraging writing among beginners who have little knowledge of English
grammar and limited vocabulary.
2.0 - ISSUE OF CONCERN
In my school for Year 6 students undergo English lesson for ten periods in a week. It is because
the students will have their UPSR examination around September. They have to struggle much
to master on how to write correct sentences. What I am worried about my students is they
cannot construct simple sentences as writing is being emphasis as one of the basic skills that
need to be acquired by pupils. It is observed that that low proficiency pupils make many silly and
they cannot write even simple sentences. Due to this pupils were struggling with the ability to
construct simple sentences. According to Goh Lay Kuen (2012) making simple sentences have
proved to be the basic skill before pupils are able to make compound and complex sentences.
By giving opportunities to carry out a piece of writing in classroom with the help from the teacher

will assure better writing and better simple sentences as a basic knowledge of writing. I felt
restrain about this issue as writing is the skill most pupils are least proficiency in. I decided to
use substitution table as an intervention strategy in helping the pupils to construct simple
sentences in writing.
2.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT
The pupils of year 6A2 class cannot construct even simple sentences in writing.
2.1.1 PRELIMINIARY INVESTIGATION
I will collect the pupils previous exercise book, the worksheets they have done
previously and I will interview the students on how the students think the way their previous
teacher taught them.
2.1.2 ANALYSIS OF PRELIMINIARY INVESTIGATION
After I had checked their worksheets and their exercise book. Surprisingly I found that
they copied the passages in their textbook blindly, they also copied without understanding it.
They copied the exercises as their teacher asked them to copy. They copied just to copy to
complete their work with blank mind.
2.1.3 STRATEGY
To overcome the problem I decided to use substitution table as an intervention strategy
in helping the students to construct simple sentences meaningfully.
2.1.4 CRITERIA OF SELECTION.
Why I choose substitution table because of:

WORKABILITY

This substitution table is really controlled writing. Substitution table is laid out in a grid
and the learner moves from left to right, making a selection in each column in order to
construct a sentence. Cells could include words or phrases. These could also be
accompanied by supporting visuals in order to support understanding. It also identify the
language function. This means the pupils need to think carefully about what the
language the researcher wants the learners to practice is. This substitution table is really
works because the researcher chooses a simple language form that is commonly used

in English. To make the learners more understand the researcher also provides pictures
to support understanding particularly for the learners. The list of possible words the
researcher choosing is made up of useful curriculum-related vocabulary that the
researcher wants the learners to practice. The researcher believes that the substitution
table is workability because the researcher can uses the substitution table with the whole
class, it support everyone in the class. It helps learners to generate grammatically
accurate sentences while still having an element of choice over the content so learners
will be writing their own sentences not just copying a model.

SIGNIFICANCE
The significance of this substitution table is the researcher can get immediate
respond from the learners. By using it, the researcher hopes that the learners really
appreciate the tables. They are a useful learning tool for the beginner learners who
cannot construct simple sentences. It also can motivate them in construct simple
sentences independently.

PRACTICALITY
Practicality involves the nitty-gritty (H.D. Brown, 2001) of man-power, materials and
time. The researcher will make the best use of what is available to her. It refers to
facilities available to test developers regarding both administration and scoring
procedures of a test. My intervention will be done in simple several paper
worksheets, does not energy and cost consuming. Other than that, the intervention
will do in the classroom during the end of the lesson which is in the production stage.
It is time efficient. The intervention is practical for daily classroom use.

CONTROL
This substitution table is easy to control and also it easy for the learners to respond
and to understand on how to construct simple sentences.

COLLABORATION
The researcher will share her intervention strategy with others English teacher in her
school. The Bahasa Melayu teacher also can use intervention strategy to the low
proficiency class for them to write correct sentences.

RELEVANCE TO SCHOOL
The researcher will share her intervention strategy with others English teacher in her
school to increase the number of students who can write correct sentences.

2.2 DEFINITION OF TERMS


Macmillan dictionary define sentence as a group of words, usually including subject and a verb
that express a statement, question, or instruction. A written sentence begins with a capital letter
and ends with a full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark. In this research, the substitution
table is a table of sentences in which equivalents may be substituted for their elements and
which are used esp. in grammar drill. Substitution table works best at the beginning levels. They
enable students to focus on structure while learning related vocabulary. (ESL. Gold, 2009).
Using substitution table as the intervention is related with drilling, which is under the theory of
behaviourism. The most basic kind of drill is a repetition drill and the key to its success is for the
students to know exactly what it is they should be repeated. If you get someone to repeat
something often enough, theyll usually get it right in the end. (Philip, 2000). Thus, if the
students used the substitution table for several times, they may get familiar with the terms need
to be used to construct sentences. Using substitution table in constructing sentences offers
many benefits to the pupils. Teacher trainer, 1988 stated that non-native speakers of English
who have learnt English the hard way and have often seen substitution tables generally dont
find them difficult. Based on the research made by the teacher trainer academy, it stated that At
pre-service level it is generally very little ability to analyze, to see what is similar, to see what is
different, and to manipulate form. Working with substitution tables, often, only for short periods,
is one way of learning about language. of mistakes. (Khan, 2005) in a research carried out
among 30 Form Five students found that most of the students are weak in grammar. Lim Ho
Peng (1976) stated that these are several general types of recurrent errors in learners such as
spelling mistakes, wrong use of prepositions, confusing use of structural verbs, concords and
tenses. All of this knowledge is important as they will be used in constructing sentences. If they
are lacking in those aspects, it will be a problem for them to construct sentences properly. This
case study also showed that upper level Malaysian students are facing the problem in and
what's more for elementary students, which is still young and did not know much knowledge.
3.0 OBJECTIVE
3.1 GENERAL OBJECTIVE
The general objective of this research is to help year 6A2 pupils write simple sentences
using substitution table.
3.2 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE

To investigate if substitution table can help to construct simple sentences of year 6A2
pupils.
3.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
According to Harmer (2011), the best way to teach writing is that by the bottom-up method. This
bottom up-method begins with the introduction with the correct sentence pattern and the SVA
rule especially knowing the Subject (S) and Verb (V). In addition, upon learning how to construct
a sentence, then it starts to focus on the spelling, punctuation and even penmanship. The
research questions of this research can be specified as follows
1. How can substitution table help students to write simple sentences?
2. Can the substitution table help students to write simple sentences?
4.0 TARGET GROUP/PARTICIPANTS
The participants of this case study will include 8 girls and 8 boys students from year 6 Aspiration
from SK RKT SRI LEDANG JEMENTAH SEGAMAT. Most of the students are from middle class
families where their parents work as estate worker and their English Language proficiency is
also lack. As they are from last class, they can be classified as low proficiency level students.
4.1 SOCIO-ECONOMIC BACKGROUND
As the students are from middle class families background, they always faced difficulty with
English Language. But their parents are very supportive.
4.2 PROFICIENCY LEVEL
The level of proficiency of the students from this class is low proficiency level. These students
partially cannot understand some short conversations on simple topic. They rather use gestures
and nonverbal cues to sustain conversation in English. Besides I have also found out they
prefer their mother tongue in daily conversation including during English lesson.

5.0 ACTION
After identifying the problems, the researcher decided to use Kemmiss Model of Action
Research (1983) to determine whether the use of substitution table could help pupils construct

simple sentences. There are two cycles in this model and there are four stages for each cycle
such as planning, action, observe and reflect.
5.1 ACTION RESEARCH MODEL
In conducting this study, I used classroom action research. Action research is any systematic
inquiry conducted by teacher researchers, principals, school counselors, or other stakeholders
in the teaching/learning environment, to gather information about the ways that
their particular schools operate, how they teach, and how well their students learn (Mills 2000:
7). Furthermore, Nunan (1990: 64) states that action research contributes to professional
development, particularly in encouraging self-directed teachers, who are capable, through
action research, of furthering their own professional self-development. According to Kemmis
(1990) cited in Mills (2000: 17), action research consists of cycles. Every cycle consists of four
steps; planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. The design was presented as follows:

1. Cycle 1
(1) Planning
It is the first step in doing an action research. This step is about
the activity of problem identification. It is the most important step in
conducting action research as by knowing the problems the writer could
find a solution to solve the problem. This plan is use to get the
optimum result. The problem was they cannot construct simple sentences. I will prepare
lesson plan. I will also prepare substitution table as my intervention with words and pictures
that will be used in teaching on how to construct simple sentences. Finishing those activities,
I will continue to prepare the materials used to explain about the substitution table. The end
off of this step, I will be preparing the instrument to measure the students whether they
master the material.

(2) Acting
The second step is acting. It is the implementation of planning.
The purpose is try to find out the solution to solve the problem faced by the students during
the teaching learning process. In this section, I will set up several activities that I have plan. I
will give students some pictures with words. Next, I will ask them to repeat the words after
me. Then, I will ask the students to take a sentence from the table and write it on the white
board. In this part, I will use substitution table drill technique. In this technique, I will ask
students to change the picture and words. After that, I will ask the student one by one to
change the sentence based on the pictures that I will give to them. In knowing the students
progress, I will give the students an
assessment test.
(3) Observing
This section is used to observe the students response during the teaching learning process
whether or not they will make some progress while the researcher teaching and learning
process. In this section, I will observe all the activities during the research by watching the
teaching learning process carefully. Observation is need to plan a further strategy or to
revise planning which will be applies in the next cycle. There are some aspects that should
have been observed. They are studentsenthusiasm during the lesson, the students
response to the lesson, the mastery of the students in doing exercise and their achievement
in construct simple sentences.
(4) Reflecting
The last step is evaluating the steps of the teaching learning process whether needs to be
improve or not in order the result is satisfied. In this step, I will try to inspect the students
progress in construct simple sentences. Not only to know the students progress, reflecting
is also used to analyze some problems that have not been solved. In short, the purpose of
reflecting is to revise the plan for the next cycle.
2. Cycle 2
(1) Planning
After analyzing cycle 1, I design a lesson plan for cycle
2. Moreover, I also prepare some words without pictures. Finally, I set up the
instrument to measure the students mastery in on how to construct simple sentences.

(2) Acting
Basically, the action in this cycle is not significantly different.
First, I give students another substitution table but this time without pictures. After that I ask
them to write it on the white board. Same as the cycle 1, I ask students to construct
sentences. Then, ask them one by one to write the sentences based on the words I
give to them in the table. Finally, I give them an assessment to know the
students progress.
(3) Observing
It is an activity in which I analyze and collecting the result of
the action by collecting the result of the test, calculating the students
scores and the mean of the scores. It is intended to know to what extent
the result of cycle 2 reached the objective. There are some aspects that
should have been observed. Like in cycle 1, there are students enthusiasm
during the lesson, the students response to the lesson, the mastery of the
students in doing exercise and their achievement in the constructing the simple sentences.
(4) Reflecting
It is an activity which purposes to find out significant progress
of cycle 1 and cycle 2. Furthermore, it is the time to analyze the result of
questionnaire.

5.2 DATA GATHERING METHODS

Three different kinds of data were used in this research: pre-test and post-test, document
analysis and questionaires the students.

Pre-test Pre-test was given to the students in the first step of collecting
data. Pre-test was used to identify the students ability in constructing
simple sentences before the treatment was given. In other words, it told
the beginning conditions of the students ability in constructing simple
sentences.

Post-test was conducted to measure the students achievement after the


treatments. The test was the same as the pre-test. Result of the post-test
was analyzed to see to what extent substitution table helps the students
mastery in constructing simple sentences.

Questionnaires deal with the number of questions that should be


answered by the students. According to Tuckman (1978: 197),
questionnaires are a way of getting data about persons by asking them
rather than watching them behave or by sampling a bit of their behavior.
Questionnaire is a number of written questions to get information from
respondent (Arikunto, 2006: 151). Questionnaire was used to find
information about the students reflection toward the learning process by
using single slot substitution drills. The questionnaire that was used was
based on students need, interest, like, and dislike about teaching and
learning process by using substitution table drills. Data from questionnaire
was used to indicate the students problem and to know the effect of the
action research activities to the students.

Document analysis. This method emphasizes the look at the documents


such as students exercise book and their previous exam paper. Students
workbook will serve as an evidence when analyzing how they constructing
simple sentences during writing lesson.