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English Language: Action Research Report


This action research has been carried out for the purpose of assisting the pupils of Year 4 Alfa as
they were having difficulty in understanding how to use the correct form of the SIMPLE
PRESENT TENSE. My target group is all 41 pupils in this class. I chose them as I found out their
weakness in this area during a simple exercise in the class. To my surprise, I discovered that most
of them actually had no idea when and when not to plus an ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the verb. They were
unable to tackle questions on this grammar item when they answered some objective questions in
the workbook during the daily lessons as well as in tests and examination. Every time they did the
filling in the blanks exercises, they simply guessed the answers without knowing exactly how to
tackle it. From my observation, most of the pupils in Year 4 Alfa understand what a verb is and I
would regard that their collection of basic vocabulary in verbs is quite rich. In fact, most of them
are also able to differentiate subject and verb quite well. This is the prior knowledge and advantage
that the pupils have acquired. With this prior knowledge, it convinces and enables me to run the
research activities among the pupils. I strongly believe that these activities which I called 2PIC
(further elaborated under Execution of Research section) would benefit and assist them to tackle
this problem later. It involves lots of drilling process and step by step formulas for each activity
along the way, so that it would build the pupils’ confidence when answering such questions.

1.1 Early Observation
Being teaching the English Language subject for almost 7 years, I have discovered
that the SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE has always been a difficult grammar item for the
Level 2 pupils. Most of them failed to correctly answer this type of grammar questions in
classroom exercises, tests and examinations. They simply put ‘s’ or ‘es’ after the verb
reflecting that they were unable to tackle these questions well. Furthermore, I have noticed
that the SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE has been the favourite grammar item under Section C
(Question 16 – 20 : Grammar Item) in Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) Paper 1. In
fact, I would say that it has been a compulsory question every year which made me more
determined to run this research. Who knows if it could contribute 1 mark for all 41 of them
in the UPSR 2012.

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

Taking all these into consideration, I decided to run two survey sessions among the
pupils; Survey 1 and Survey 2. In order to support my survey, I have also decided to run a
pre-test consisting of 30 questions on this item. All 41 pupils were compulsory to answer
this test with the prior knowledge which they have acquired before in the previous lesson or
in their former years both in school and tuition centres.

1.2 Reflection on Previous Lesson

This year, I am teaching the English Language subject for Year 4 Alfa. This is the
first year where the pupils will be introduced to Paper 2 (UPSR format). I believed that
they have good or at least above par writing skill. Therefore, during the lesson, I pasted one
picture on the board with 10 listed words relating to it (Section A question). To assess their
writing ability, I required them to study the picture and construct one simple sentence
which consists of 3 – 5 words (S-V agreement) in 3 minutes on a piece of paper. Before
that, I wrote an example of a sentence describing the picture on the board as reference.
After 3 minutes, I randomly selected 5 pupils to read their sentences. All of them failed to
write the correct form of the SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE. Thus, I decided to collect all
papers and read every sentence. To my surprise, only 6 out of 41 pupils in the class were
able to write the correct form of word, i.e. knew when and when not to plus an ‘s’ or ‘es’
after the verb. From my opinion, based on a small survey I did, they were in the dark on
how to write the correct form of the SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE in sentences. I was very
disappointed because this should not be happening in an excellent class. On top of that,
they will be having their first test in March, which made me even worried. Putting all the
observations together, I decided to propose an action research in order to help the Year 4
Alfa pupils understand this grammar item better and thus, know how to tackle this question
in tests and examinations as well as writing better sentences.

While teaching the SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE in the class, I discovered that most
of the pupils answered the exercise wrongly. Since this was my first time teaching this
class, I decided to run a few instruments before proceeding with the suggested activities
such as in the Proposal Paper in order to evaluate the level of pupils’ understanding on this
Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

item. They were supposed to be able to identify the subject as well as the verb in each
sentence. For subject, I did not include “uncountable nouns” in this research where I only
focused on “countable nouns”, so that pupils can differentiate singular and plural subject
and thus, avoid confusion among them. Being able to differentiate this subject would help
them to tackle the questions more easily and commit lesser mistakes for this grammar item.

2.1 Objectives of Research

2.1.1 General Objective
To improve pupils’ understanding in grammar item; SIMPLE PRESENT
TENSE and able to use the correct form of word/verb in sentences.
2.1.2 Specific Objectives
a) The pupils’ score for the 30-question Post Test should increase from
the Pre-test score after all the activities have been carried out. The
questions required them to fill in the blanks with the correct form of
b) The pupils should gain 1 mark under Section C (Question 16 – 20 :
Grammar Item) in Paper 1 PKSR 2 Examination.

2.2 Target Group

41 pupils of 4 Alfa are involved in this action research. They consist of 21
boys and 20 girls. All the cream are placed in this class and the pupils have the
potential in getting grade A for the subject. However, excellent pupils also
committed mistakes when doing exercises on this particular grammar item.
Therefore, I felt that there was a strong need to assist them for a better
understanding when tackling this grammar questions.

Throughout this research, I have studied the pupils’ attitude and behaviour along the
way i.e. during the lessons in the classroom. I observed a few areas on their interest and
attention as well as how they respond towards my lesson. I even made sure there is a close

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

monitoring on their work in the exercise book. Besides, I also used other methodologies
such as survey, pre-test, research activities and post test.

3.1 Survey
There were two surveys carried out among the pupils before proceeding with other
research activities and tests. The pupils had answered Survey Form 1 and Survey
Form 2. Survey 1 focuses on the pupils’ personal background and interest in
learning while Survey 2 focuses on pupils’ basic understanding on this particular
grammar item; SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE. They answered the surveys and filled
in the forms during the English Language period where I myself read the questions
for them for the purpose of reliance and validation.

3.2 Pre-test
The pupils had to sit for the Pre-test consisting of 30 questions on this item. This is
for the purpose of assessing pupils’ understanding in using the SIMPLE PRESENT
TENSE with the prior knowledge they have acquired before.

3.3 Research Activities

I had prepared four interesting activities to be carried out in the classroom
throughout this research to help the pupils understand this grammar item better and
also at the same time to treat the weaker ones.

3.4 Post Test

This test serves the purpose of assessing the pupils’ achievement after all four
activities have been carried out. It contains the exact 30 questions of Pre-test, as if
the pupils resit for the same paper. From this test results, I would know how well
they have developed in understanding and tackling the question on this grammar
item and whether my treatment works out the way I want.

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

The whole process of carrying out this research took 14 solid weeks involving few
stages such as problem study, planning, execution of activities, test and data analysis as
well as reflection on the research.

4.1 Problem Survey and Analysis

Before proceeding with the following steps, I ran two sessions of surveys among
the pupils. They had answered two separate forms; Survey Form 1 and Survey
Form 2 (See Attachment). These surveys enabled me to study and analyse the
problems which could affect the process of this research. Following is the data I
have gained through the surveys:


1 Not self-motivated and has no interest in the lesson. 6%

2 Unable to follow teacher’s instruction. 4%

3 Unable to pay full attention to the lesson. 10%

4 Less attention from parents at home. 11%

5 Unable to differentiate ‘singular’ & ‘plural’. 5%

6 Confused when to put ‘s’ after the ‘verb’. 41%

7 Poor vocabulary (verb). 18%

4.2 Problem Solving Action

From the analysis above, I would say that issues on personal background
and interest in learning are not the major problem. Problem No.1, 2, and 3 show
rather low percentage. What I did was to raise their level of interest and energy by
motivating them to involve and participate more actively in the class. During the
activities, I awarded them with lots of encouraging words such as ‘good’ and
‘excellent’ every time they answered my questions though incorrectly. This was

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

meant to boost the pupils’ interest and self-confidence especially the weaker or
passive pupils. I even rewarded them with sweets and ‘smiley’ stickers for every
correct answer. This action challenged and encouraged them to participate more
actively as they would want to have more and more sweets as well as stickers in
their collection.
The next step to overcome Problem No. 6 was providing the pupils exercises
as according to the four research activities which I have planned in the proposal
paper. Interesting activities and exercises would be carried out along the research to
develop the pupils’ understanding and able to tackle questions on SIMPLE
PRESENT TENSE easily in the future.

4.3 Action and Evaluation

4.3.1 Pre-Test Data Analysis
After running the two surveys, the pupils sat for the pre-test where they
answered 30 questions on this particular grammar item. (See Attachment for
pupils’ individual result). The following is the data analysis based on the
Pre-test :


26 – 30 2 5%
21 – 25 7 17%
16 – 20 20 49%
11 – 15 12 29%
6 – 10 0 0%
0-5 0 0%
Total 41 100%
Based on the data above, the average score is 16 – 20 marks. Only 2 pupils
i.e. 5% managed to score 26 – 30 marks which was rather small. This result

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

should be improving in the Post Test after all activities had been carried out
during the lesson.

4.3.2 Execution of Research Activities
I have planned four interesting activities in order to improve the pupils’
understanding on grammar item; SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE. I called these
activities the 2PIC (PPIC), which are The 6-piece Puzzle, Let’s Part and
Fix Them, I Say… You Say... and My Collection of Authentic Material. The
activities had been carried out during the English Language period. All
activities were designed to attract pupils’ interest and attention in
participating actively. They were pupil-oriented activities and used lots of
teaching materials such as coloured pencils, manila cards and some paper
cutting. More physical movement was involved along these activities;
arranging giant-sized cards and verbal game for instance. Each activity was
drilled daily for a few days and weeks.

Activity 1 : The 6-piece Puzzle

I had introduced to the pupils a simple table consisting of six squares. It
stated the subject and verb, both singular and plural as below:

Subject Verb

Singula Verb +
r ‘s’


The pupils had memorised the table, i.e. the arrangement of squares. They
were divided into 7 groups of 5 to 6 members (See Attachment). I have
prepared the table on manila cards and cut into 6 pieces of squares. There

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

were 7 sets of puzzles, meant for 7 groups. This activity was carried out
during the first 5 minutes of every English Language period for the day.
Each pupil in each group held one piece upside down. On my count to 3,

they turned the card up and simultaneously arranged the squares to solve the
6-piece puzzle in ten seconds. I made one round to check the arrangement
for each group. This activity was carried out for two weeks from Tuesday to
Friday. Every group had successfully solved the puzzle within the said time
frame by the second week.

Activity 2 : Let’s Part and Fix Them

This activity was executed among the pupils after the first activity is over. It
was carried out for three weeks during the English Language period. I
prepared 3 strips of simple sentences consisting of 3 to 5 words (leaving the
verb in the form of base word for the pupils to correct) and pasted on the
board. The pupils were required to identify the subject and the verb in the
sentences. They separated (part) them with dotted lines and label ‘S’ for
subject and ‘V’ for verb. Then, they corrected (fix) the verb, i.e. whether or
not to plus ‘s’ or ‘es’. After that, I demonstrated this on the board. This was
how the strip looked:

They walks to school every morning.

They walks to school every morning.


They walk to school every morning.

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

Every pupil would do this activity from Tuesday to Friday, which took 7
minutes before the lesson began. After three weeks of this activity, the
pupils had compiled 36 sentence strips.

Activity 3 : I Say… You Say…

This was a combination of both verbal and written activity which I had
carried out 5 minutes before the lesson began from Tuesday to Friday during
the English Language period for two weeks. The minute after greeting, I
chose five pupils to participate in this activity in standing position. I said
one subject and the pupil continued with a verb. Below is an example of
conversation between Pupil A and I :
Teacher : I say she, you say ……
Pupil A : Sleeps.
Pupils who answered correctly were allowed to sit down until the activity
was over. It was an impromptu activity. The next five pupils took turn in
the next round i.e. the next lesson. Those who failed to answer correctly
owed one more round and had to participate again after finishing the whole
rounds. Every pupil in the class wrote down the phrase; She sleeps. By the
end of this activity, they had compiled 41 phrases in the book.

Activity 4 : My Collection of Authentic Materials

This activity required the pupils to collect authentic materials such as
magazine or newspaper cutting. The text could be a news report, story,
poem or letter. Every Friday, each pupil brought and pasted the material in
their Writing Book. They then, identified 3 sentences or more with S-V
agreement (using SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE) from the text. They
underlined the sentences with three different coloured pencils and copied
below the pasted material. After that, they parted the sentence like what they
did in Activity 2. This activity was carried out for three consecutive Fridays
for 30 minutes i.e. during the single period lesson. Meaning, by the end of
this activity, the pupils had compiled 3 materials in the book.
Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010
English Language: Action Research Report

The Post-test was carried out after all the stated activities above had been executed.
The pupils had answered a set of 30 questions in 45 minutes time during an English
Language period. The questions were exactly the same questions as the Pre-test which
required them to fill in the blanks correctly. This test reflected how well they understand
the stated grammar item. The following is the result of both Pre-test and Post Test:


Number of Pupils Percentage Number of Pupils Percentage

26 – 30 2 5% 11 27%
21 – 25 7 17% 23 56%
16 – 20 20 49% 7 17%
11 – 15 12 29% 0 0%
6 – 10 0 0% 0 0%
0-5 0 0% 0 0%

Total 41 100% 41 100%

6.1 Evaluation on Pupils’ Achievement
The data above shows tremendous increase in the percentage of Post Test. The
average score has moved to one level higher; i.e. 21 – 25 marks at 56%. The Pre-
test average score was 16 – 20 marks. All four activities which I had designed ran
as planned. I believe that the drilling process during each lesson had successfully
helped the children to understand better. The weaker pupils now are able to tackle
the question well. They follow the formulae step by step as I have drilled during
each four activities throughout the research. It indicates that my treatment through
the activities worked out well on them. They made it through answering the same
set of 30 questions in the Post Test by applying these steps. All pupils had improved
their individual score (See Attachment) compared to the Pre-test result.

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report

6.2 Conclusion
From my observation, I could see that the Year 4 Alfa pupils now have an idea on
how to tackle questions on SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE. They are able to apply the
steps which I have taught them every time they answer such question during the
lesson. I have also observed that there is less confusion among the pupils on when
to put an ‘s’ or ‘es’. They manage to identify most of the keywords the way I drilled
them in each research activities. What makes it more than satisfactory is that the
pupils are able to write better usage of this particular grammar item in Section A
Paper 2 question during exercises in the classroom. The samples of sentences that
they write on the blackboard indicate their great improvement and the research had
benefited them a lot.


I am happy that the research activities were executed well during the lesson and
contributed towards the success of this action research. It helped the pupils a lot in tackling
questions on SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE and committed fewer mistakes in their exercises.
Therefore, I strongly suggest to continue this programme among pupils from other classes
where I would share my ideas with the rest of my colleagues in the school. In the future, I
would also like to suggest on improving the pupils’ understanding on the grammar item;

The pupils are our future. I sometimes sigh with their minimal achievement in the
test and examination result after all of my effort and hard work teaching them in the class.
Still, it is my responsibility that as a teacher, I cannot afford giving up in imparting
knowledge no matter how challenging and difficult it can be. Day in, day out, time
constraint and increasing workload are unavoidable factors. Thus, I believe with the spirit
and effort that I have, I should provide the pupils quality education for their better future.

Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010

English Language: Action Research Report


1. Modul Kajian Tindakan Teknologi Pendidikan: Bahagian Teknologi Pendidikan

Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia.

2. Lim Peck Choo, Gurnam Kaur Sidhu and Azman Azlina Azmar. English Year 4 Textbook.
Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, 2006.

3. Whitehead, Jack. Action Research fot Teachers: A Practical Guide with Jack Whitehead.
London: David Fulton Publisher, 2005.

4. Nor Bi Abd. Rahman. Easy English: A Different Approach To Learn English Thirteenth
Edition. Shah Alam: Alaf 21 Sendirian Berhad, 2007.

5. Mac Yin Mee. Total Revision Year 4.5.6 New UPSR Englsih. Petaling Jaya: Sasbadi Sdn.
Bhd., 2006.

6. Huraian Sukatan Pelajaran Bahasa Inggeris Tahun 4: Pusat Perkembangan Kurikulum

Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia.

7. Oxford Dictionary



Mona Mustapha | Oct 2010