Using the possessive form effectively to enhance the reading and writing skill
Debby, Lin 2008
The possessive form is the basic grammar concept to the learners of the
English as Second Language (ESL) or the English as Foreign Language (EFL).
English is EFL in Taiwan, and for middle school students, especially the seventh
grade students, the possessive form, such as Dad’s car, Mary’s book and the boy’s
ball, is the first step for them to understand the meaning of the sentences structure.
However, since English is an international language, and the world is like a globe
village. In order to catch up with the step of developed countries, Taiwan needs
to promote English learning. Therefore, language development has become
important to the education for all age levels. The late 1980s and 1990s saw the
development of approaches that highlighted the fundamentally communicative
properties of language, and classrooms were increasingly characterized by
authenticity, real-world simulation and meaningful tasks. Communicative
Language Teaching (CLT) is an accepted paradigm with many interpretations and
manifestation. (Brown, 2007) Also, one of the characteristics of CLT is fluency
and accuracy. About the textbooks, which are designed by a large numbers of
textbook publishers, we can see the goal of the teaching method is based on the
CLT, which emphasizes on using language in the daily life. Take the dialog for
example; there are a large number of spoken English in textbooks, such as ”He’s
happy.” “The girl’s here.” and “Mom’s tired.” Although the objective is to teach
speaking like native speaking, students imitate the writing type to the formal
writing and most students are confused with the use between possessive form and
the spoken English, for example, “his pen”, “the girl’s hat” and “Mom’s hair”.
This kind of situation influences students’ writing and reading, especially in the
1.1 Research question
As an English teacher, this condition bothers me a lot. What instructional
approaches do I use in class to assist students in learning the possessive form? What
kind of teaching material should I apply to students? How can I take exactly and
easy examples to help students understand? What kind of test do I give to students?
Above of the research questions, I need to consider what instructional approaches I
use in class to assist students in learning the possessive form first.
2. Literature review
A recent study by Pigada and Schmitt (2006) revealed that words confused by
learners are not only the semantically related ones but also words that have similar
forms (Laufer, 1997). Further, the pronounce between the possessive form and the
spoken language is quite similar. The aim of the study is to distinguish the
difference in the reading context.
The study was carried out with three participants, all of whom are seven grades
students in the same middle high school of a small town in Taiwan. Before they
came to middle high school, they have learning English for one year in the cram
school, which focuses on children English, and promotes their English speaking.
During their past learning experience, they seldom have chance to read any story
books and write any sentence patterns. However, as entering to middle high school,
they face to learn the four skills, which are important to learning English.
In order to improve their understanding of sentence structures, the main
procession of this study is according the Grammar Approach. Otherwise, it also
applies Total Physical Response to enhance the learners’ interesting and
understanding of the possessive form.
Before the treatment, students are pre-tested in the Lesson 2 and Lesson 3 of the
Edition of Kan Shaun of the seven grade middle high school, which is one of the
textbook publishers. During the treatment, the practicing of the possessive form is
according the Classroom Easy Grammar for Junior High, which is to establish the
basic grammar concepts for the freshmen in middle high school.
In this kind of research, I will use qualitative because the participants are only
three seven grade middle high students. Second, the point of the possessive form is
the basic grammar and most students can deal with it without hesitation.
Determining ways to collect data, I need to take some steps to improve my students’
abilities on the possessive form. I will spend twenty minutes after class and twice a
week to collect data. This research will spend two weeks. First, I apply the
supplement material about the possessive form of the personal pronoun to students.
Also have them memorize the form. Further, not only have them memorize the form,
but also have some practicing to students after I explain the rule of the possessive
form of the personal pronoun. After applying the possessive form, I take some
forms of spoken English in textbooks for example. What’s more, have students
practice the possessive form and spoken English.
3.4 Data collection
Based on the review, I evaluate students’ comprehension through the oral or
writing practicing. After two weeks of data collection, I’ll tabulate the check marks
on my record-keeping sheet to determine the material and practicing I apply is useful.
The results are successful or not, it depends on how students understand and use the
possessive form and spoken English.
After the treatment, the three learners can tell the possessive form better than
before. Especially, one of them not only understand hoe to use the possessive form
well but also improve the reading comprehension.
Nowadays, CLT is a mainstream approach to teaching, but I think every
approach has the advantages and the disadvantages. As a teacher, we should
consider which approach is suitful for your students. In this study, the participants
are from a small town in Taiwan, and their English ability is very limited. Therefore,
the meaningful of learning is to have good grades. The effective approach, which
can help them get high scores is a good approach.