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A Study On Improving The Writing Essay

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A Study on Improving the Writing Ability of Middle
School Students Based on Error Analysis

English writing plays a significant role in learning. However, for most middle school students, English writing, among the four basic skills, is the most difficult skill for them to master. One of the reasons may be that writing places high demands on accuracy, fluency, coherence and organization compared with other language skills; another reason may be that the English teachers lack proper methodologies in English writing teaching. With the enlightenment of modern error analysis, this thesis probes into the common errors of middle school students which can be listed as misuse of antonym, subject-verb disagreement and lack of coherence from the perspective of lexicon, syntax and discourse. Besides, this thesis analyses the causes of those common errors. In order to make the teaching of English writing more effective, some suggestions concerning the teaching of English writing are put forward.

Key words: error analysis; English writing; middle school students Table of Contents
References 15

1. Introduction

Through a research on the writing and lexical memorization,Wang Chuming concludes that those English words which are employed in writing can be more easily memorized (2003). In addition, as a form of language output, writing can help learners effectively express themselves through combining some basic knowledge with certain linguistic techniques. In addition, with the increasingly frequent contacts between peoples of different cultures, communications in English has played a significant role in academic work and everyday life, especially in written English. Vivian Cook(2005) points out that writing plays such an important role in language teaching that we can not neglect it. However, there are many serious problems in the compositions of middle school students as far as the content, structure and language are concerned. In other words, writing seems to be an obstacle on the way to effective English expression for students. Apart from students’ lack of interest in English, sluggish development of English writing teaching is also an overt factor which contributes to the stagnation of the development of students’ writing ability. But what are the causes for the sluggish development of English writing teaching? First, the traditional teaching of writing generally attaches too much importance to vocabulary and grammar while neglecting the enrichment of content of writing. As a result, students’ writings equal to mechanical arrangement of words and sentences, flat and lifeless. Second, students are accustomed to the input of language, which is just a kind of passive acceptance. When it comes to writing which is a form of language output, it will be beyond their abilities. Obviously, they lack a kind of ability which helps them convert rich language input to effective language output. Third, the traditional product-oriented writing causes both students and teachers to pay little attention to the process of writing and teachers’ feedback. However, as we all know, a good composition can not be composed without rewriting. What’s more, teachers’ feedback is a significant reference during the process of rewriting. In a word, the reasons which result in middle school students’ poor writing ability are complex. Specialists at home and abroad have done a lot in order to improve the situation. Based on error analysis, this thesis aims at classifying middle school students’ common errors on lexical level, syntactic level and discourse with the help of previous statistics and analyzing factors contribute to those errors. Finally this thesis gives some suggestions to middle school English teaching.

This thesis consists of four chapters. Chapter one is an introduction of Error Analysis. Chapter two is a brief literature review of Error Analysis. Besides, the definition and classifications of error are included in this chapter. Finally, this chapter gives us the detailed classification of middle school students’ errors. Chapter three is about approaches to avoid errors of middle school students. Chapter four serves as the conclusion of this thesis.

2. Error Analysis of Middle School Students’ Writing

Writing, as an indispensable ability, has been paid more and more attention to. However, how to help students eliminate these obstacles so as to improve their writing to a higher level? Some linguists hold the opinion that they can predict errors which may appear during language learners’ second language learning process. While, as time went, some scholars put forward viewpoints which are totally different. Wei Zhengzhu, a famous scholar, once pointed out that not all the errors of language learners can be predicted through contrastive analysis. She consequently came to the conclusion that it is extremely necessary to classify errors in language learners’ second language learning process(Wei, 1998). It seems that this conclusion is convincing and scientific. Through analyzing students’ errors, teachers can easily find common errors of students. Thus they can purposefully adjust their teaching methods and focus on students’ weakness. In 1970s, some scholars began to regard Error Analysis as an important method of acquiring second language. 2.1 Brief Review of Error Analysis

Since language learning is viewed as a creative constructive process, scholars and researchers have proposed that error is an inevitable and positive part of that process. Attitudes have therefore moved on from those of the behaviorists in the 1950s and 1960s, who see errors as something that should be prevented as far as possible. Errors, therefore, are seen as reflections of a learner’s stages of interlanguage development. What I want to emphasize is that students’ attitudes towards errors are very decisive. If learners can carefully classify and analyze their errors and manage to correct errors, a further improvement on their writing abilities will be around the corner. In some situations, self-correction is beyond learners’ abilities. Thus teachers’ guidance is very necessary. In many foreign language situations, where there is little exposure to English for practice available in the community, error-correction is an expected role for the teacher. When error-correction is needed, a distinction between errors and mistakes should be made. The former are related to incomplete or faulty knowledge of English. The later are believed to be caused by ...

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