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linguistic errors in writing a paragraph of 10th form students at nguyen trai high school in hai phong and some solutions = những lỗi về ngôn ngữ khi viết đoạn văn của học sinh lớp 10 trường thpt nguyễn trãi



















VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES







PHẠM THỊ BÍCH NGỌC

LINGUISTIC ERRORS IN WRITING A PARAGRAPH OF 10
TH
FORM
STUDENTS AT NGUYEN TRAI HIGH SCHOOL IN HAI PHONG AND
SOME SOLUTIONS





(NHỮNG LỖI VỀ NGÔN NGỮ KHI VIẾT ĐOẠN VĂN CỦA HỌC SINH LỚP
10 TRƯỜNG THPT NGUYỄN TRÃI – HẢI PHÒNG VÀ MỘT SỐ BIỆN PHÁP
KHẮC PHỤC)

M.A. MINOR THESIS






Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60.14.10









HANOI - 2012

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES






PHẠM THỊ BÍCH NGỌC

LINGUISTIC ERRORS IN WRITING A PARAGRAPH OF 10
TH
FORM
STUDENTS AT NGUYEN TRAI HIGH SCHOOL IN HAI PHONG AND
SOME SOLUTIONS

(NHỮNG LỖI VỀ NGÔN NGỮ KHI VIẾT ĐOẠN VĂN CỦA HỌC SINH LỚP
10 TRƯỜNG THPT NGUYỄN TRÃI – HẢI PHÒNG
VÀ MỘT SỐ BIỆN PHÁP KHẮC PHỤC)



M.A. MINOR THESIS






Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60.14.10













HANOI - 2012






























VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES






PHẠM THỊ BÍCH NGỌC

LINGUISTIC ERRORS IN WRITING A PARAGRAPH OF 10
TH
FORM
STUDENTS AT NGUYEN TRAI HIGH SCHOOL IN HAI PHONG
AND SOME SOLUTIONS

(NHỮNG LỖI VỀ NGÔN NGỮ KHI VIẾT ĐOẠN VĂN CỦA
HỌC SINH LỚP 10 TRƯỜNG THPT NGUYỄN TRÃI – HẢI PHÒNG
VÀ MỘT SỐ BIỆN PHÁP KHẮC PHỤC)


M.A. MINOR THESIS





Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60.14.10.
Supervisor: Cao Thúy Hồng, M.A.













HANOI - 2012

i

TABLE OF CONTENT
Page
PART I: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale 1
2. Objectives of the study 2
3. Research questions 2
4. Scope of the study 2
5. Method of the study 2
6. Organization of the study 2
PART II: DEVELOPMENT
Chapter I: Literature review
I.1. Teaching writing
I.1.1. Reasons for teaching writing 4
I.1.2 Principles of teaching writing 5
I.2. Teaching paragraph writing
I.2.1. Definition of Paragraph 5
I.2.2. Classifications of paragraph 6
I.3. Writing errors
I.3.1. Definitions of errors 7
I.3.2. The role of “errors” in English Language Teaching 8
I.3.3. Classifications of writing errors 9
I.3.4. Error correction 10
I.3.5. Teacher‟s role in error correction 10
I.4. Previous studies 11
Chapter II: Methodology
II.1. The situation of teaching and learning English at N.T.H.S 12
II.2. Subjects 13
II.3. Research method 13
II.3.1. Method of data collection 13
II.3.2. Method of data analysis 14
II.4. Research procedure 14
Chapter III: Data analysis and discussions
III.1. Students‟ perception of their linguistics errors in writing a paragraph. 15
ii

III. 2. Students‟ feeling when making errors in writing 15
III.3. The causes of students‟ linguistic errors in writing a paragraph 16
III.4. Teacher‟s errors correction in students‟ paragraphs 16
III.5. Students‟ revision on their errors 17
III.6. Kinds of linguistic difficulties 18
III. 7. Grammar difficulties 18
III.8. Vocabulary difficulties 21
III.9. Linking words difficulties 23
Conclusion 23
Chapter IV: Suggestions
IV.1. Fostering students‟ knowledge of grammar, vocabulary and linking words. 27
IV.1.1. Fostering students‟ grammar knowledge 27
IV.1.2. Fostering students‟ vocabulary knowledge 28
IV.1.2. Fostering students‟ knowledge of linking words 31
IV.2.1. Self - correction and peer – correction 33
IV.2.2. Teacher‟s correction 35

PART III: CONCLUSION 37
References 39









iii


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

N.T.H.S: Nguyen Trai high school


































iv


LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Students‟ perception of making linguistic errors
Table 2: Students‟ feeling when making errors in writing a paragraph
Table 3: Teacher‟s errors correction in students‟ paragraph
Table 4: Students‟ revision on their errors
Table 5: Kinds of linguistic errors
Table 6: Grammar difficulties in writing a paragraph
Table 7: Vocabulary difficulties in writing a paragraph
Table 8: Linking words difficulties in writing a paragraph



























v

LIST OF CHARTS

Pie chart 1: Causes of students‟ linguistic errors in writing a paragraph
Chart 1 : Students‟ frequency of using linking words in a paragraph


























1

PART I: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
Teaching and learning a foreign language aims at providing the learners with
means of communication. To acquire the communicative competence, four
language skills (reading, speaking, listening and writing) are taught regularly at
schools and universities, among which writing skill is very important because it
helps learners to learn other skills better.
“First, writing reinforces the grammatical structures, idioms, and vocabulary
that we have been teaching our students. Second, when they write, they have a
chance to be adventurous with the language, to go beyond what they have just
learned to say, to take risks. Third, when students write, they necessarily become
very involved with the new language; the effort to express ideas and constant use of
eye, hand and brain is the unique way of expressing their idea. They discover a real
need for finding the right word and the right sentence. The close relationship
between writing and thinking makes writing a valuable part of any language
courses” (Raimes, 1938: 3).
Due to the importance of writing skill, it is part of the English syllabus at high
school. However, from the writer‟s teaching-experience at Nguyen Trai high school,
not enough attention has been paid to the teaching and learning of writing skill at
high school. Writing is both dismal and neglected: many students never get a
writing assignment, and many writing exercises in the textbook are abandoned.
Besides that, teachers are also afraid of teaching writing skill. They think that
teaching writing is really a challenge.
The ignorance of writing skill at high school has resulted in students‟ poor
writing skill: they have a lot of mistakes and many of them are unable to write an
understandable paragraph. One of the most serious problems that the writer has
identified from her experience teaching paragraph writing to students is linguistic
difficulties. For example students often use wrong verb tenses in a paragraph, they
confuse the meaning of the words or they can‟t create the coherence in the
paragraph by linking words. Therefore, the researcher would like to do this research
2

to find out common linguistic difficulties in writing a paragraph of 10th form
students and suggest some solutions to help students to avoid the linguistic errors
and improve their paragraph writing.
2. Objectives of the study
As just mentioned, students at Nguyen Trai high school face many linguistic
difficulties in writing a paragraph. Therefore, the ultimate goal of the research is to
find out the real situation of students‟ linguistic difficulties in writing.
3. Research questions
Specifically, the research aims at finding out the answers to the following
questions :
- What are students’ perceptions of their linguistic errors in writing
paragraph?
- What are common linguistic errors (in terms of grammar, vocabulary and
linking words) made by students in writing a paragraph?
4. Scope of the study
The study is about paragraph writing of 10th form students at Nguyen Trai
high school. However, due to the limited scope and time, it is confined to finding
out the students‟ linguistic errors in paragraph writing. Specifically, only mistakes
in grammar, vocabulary and linking words will be taken into consideration.
5. Method of the study
In this study, the writer adopted the quantitative research approach.
Specifically, survey questionnaires and model analysis were two methods employed
to collect data for the research study.
Questionnaires were conducted among 60 students to find out students‟
perceptions of their linguistic difficulties in writing a paragraph.
Sixty paragraphs on three different topics from 60 students were collected.
Mistakes were identified and classified into different categories. Statistical counting
was carried out to bring about the real picture of students‟ linguistic difficulties.
6. Organization of the study
3

In order to achieve the above mentioned aims, this paper is divided into three
parts:
The first part is the Introduction, which points out the rationale, aims, and
scope of the study. Research questions are also specifically defined to serve as
guidelines for the whole paper.
The second part is the Development. In this part, three chapters are
presented. In chapter one, literature related to teaching writing, paragraph writing
and writing errors is reviewed. In chapter two, the method of the study is presented.
It includes careful descriptions of the subjects, sampling method, instrument and
method of data collection and analysis. The last chapter presents data analysis and
discussion. In this part, questionnaires and writing samples collected from 10
th
form
students at Nguyen Trai high school are analyzed to find out students‟ typical errors
in order to recommend effective strategies for teaching paragraph writing.
The last part of the study is the Conclusion, which points out what has been
addressed as well as what has not been completed and offers recommendations for
further study.














4

PART II: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW
I.1.Teaching Writing
I.1.1. Reasons for teaching writing
In Byrne‟s (1988) point of view, teaching writing is beneficial because it
brings many pedagogical benefits. First, writing enables different learning styles
and needs of learners. Some learners, especially those who do not learn easily
through oral practice alone, feel more secure if they are allowed to read and write in
the language. Besides that, written work provides learners with some tangible
evidence that they are making progress in language. Moreover, learning writing
means that the learners are exposed to the foreign language through more than one
medium and it is more effective than relying on a single medium alone. In addition,
writing provides variety in classroom activities, serving as a break from oral work.
At the same time, it increases the amount of language contact through work that can
be set out of class. Last but not least, writing is often needed for formal and
informal testing.
Harmer (1998) also highlighted some reasons for teaching writing:
Firstly, it is reinforcement. Most students gain great benefits from seeing the
written language especially the visual demonstration of language construction is
valuable for both their understanding and committing the new language to their
memory. It is, therefore, very useful for them to write sentences using new language
after they have just studied it.
Language development is also a reason for teaching writing. It seems that the
actual process of writing helps students to learn language better. The highest level
of writing skill involves critical thinking. To deal with their mental activities,
students have to construct proper written texts using all their learning experience.
The third and also the most important reason for teaching writing is that it is a basic
productive language skill. Obviously, students need to know how to write a letter,
how to write a report, etc. Therefore, they need to know some writing conventions
such as punctuation, paragraph construction, forms of paragraph.
5

I.1.2. Principles of teaching writing
There are several principles of writing. But according to Huong, T.T, Minh
N.T.T.etal (2007: 58), teachers should consider some following principles when
teaching writing.
First of all, teachers should provide many opportunities for students to write.
Students‟ writing skills just improve when they practice writing a lot. Therefore,
just asking students to practice in writing lesson is not enough. Teacher can create
writing tasks from listening, reading and speaking lessons with different styles of
writing such as letter writing, e-mail writing, etc.
Then, teachers should make their feedback to students helpful and
meaningful by giving detailed comments at the end of students‟ writings. Teachers‟
comments should help students to be independent writers. It means that teachers‟
comments should help students to correct the errors themselves instead of teacher
correcting students‟ errors.
Moreover, to evaluate students‟ writings clearly and exactly, teachers should
have specific criteria for marking such as spelling, accuracy of vocabulary, use of
cohesive devices, etc.
Besides, as often as possible teachers should create the right conditions for
students‟ generation of ideas, Moreover, teachers should always consider
themselves a resource for information and language when necessary.
Lastly, teachers should provide students with communicative writing
activities. With this kind of activities, students must identify the genre, the audience
and the purpose of the writing. This is useful for students because these writing
activities in the class tend to resemble communicative writing tasks in the real life.
I.2. Teaching paragraph writing
I.2.1. Definitions of Paragraph
There are various definitions of a paragraph.
In the Oxford advanced learner‟s dictionary, a paragraph is defined as “a
section of a piece of writing, usually consisting of several sentences dealing with a
single subject. The first sentence of a paragraph starts on a new line.” In this
6

definition, a paragraph is defined as a part of the writing work, having a single
subject and including several sentences.
Besides, Feist (1996: 6) reckons that a paragraph consists of a group of
sentences with a single idea and the purpose of writing these groups of sentences in
a paragraph is to make the organization of the ideas clear to the readers.
Oshima and Hogue (1999: 3), however, think that a paragraph is an
organization of related sentences. These sentences must have the same topic. The
length of the paragraph depends on the writer‟s purpose.
In this study, the author would like to refer to a paragraph as the definition of
Oshima and Hogue (1999). This definition points out clearly that the sentences in
the paragraph must be related and tell the readers about the same topic.
Qualities of a good paragraph
A good paragraph has three main structural parts: a topic sentence, supporting
sentences, and a concluding sentence. The topic sentence states the main idea of the
paragraph, in the other words, a topic sentence must state the controlling idea of the
paragraph (Feist, 1996: 17). Supporting sentences include the ideas related to the
topic (Feist, 1996: 23). They develop various aspects of the topic such as causes,
effects, reasons, example, etc. The supporting sentences are connected together by
cohesive devices. The concluding sentence signals the end of the paragraph, and it
summarizes or restates the main point the writer made.
In addition to three structural parts of a paragraph, a good paragraph also needs to
have unity and coherence. Unity means that the writer discusses only one main idea
in a paragraph. Coherence means that the paragraph is easy to read and understand.
A coherent paragraph contains sentences that are logical and flow smoothly.
Therefore, in order to have coherence in writing, the movement from one sentence
to the next must be logical and smooth; and there must be no sudden jumps.
I.2.2. Classifications of paragraph
According to Feist (1996), there are four main kinds of paragraph:
informative, descriptive, narrative and persuasive.
An informative paragraph is a paragraph that informs information.
7

A narrative paragraph is a paragraph that tells about something that
happened.
“Persuasive writing convinces the reader to take action or to support an
idea” (Feist, 1996: 54). In this kind of paragraph, the main idea is your opinion on
the topic. It is usually stated in a topic sentence. The others support the opinion with
reasons and evidence. The tone of persuasive paragraph should be strong, but polite
in order to encourage the reader to act.
A descriptive paragraph tells what something or someone is like. It helps
readers see, feel, taste, smell and hear the things being described. The topic sentence
gives the overall impression. Supporting sentences include specific details about the
person or thing being described.
In English 10 textbook, most of the writing tasks require students to write a
descriptive paragraph, so the author also chose the topics about descriptive
paragraph for students to write to collect the data.
I.3. Writing errors
I.3.1. Definition of errors
We all know that writing is not easy. It is complex in that it tests a person‟s
ability to use a language and the ability to express ideas. This difficulty of writing
leads students to be more susceptible to producing errors.
There have been a number of definitions of errors proposed by experts.
Some scholars are in favor of defining errors basing on their degree of
frequency. Cunning Worth (1987: 29) sees errors as "systematic deviation from the
norms of the language being learned". This can be interpreted as the repeated
violation against the rules and the standards of the language being learned, excluded
from the language that has not been learned. Nevertheless, the definition itself is
problematic, for the concept “learned" is just relative. Students may not learn the
language in class but they may have learned it somewhere outside the class. It is
also probable that students learned the language but they may have forgotten
it. Thus, it would be difficult for language teachers to decide whether students have
or have not learned the language.
8

On the other hand, other scholars identify the term "errors" with regard to
students' inability to correct these errors by themselves.
Edge (1997:18) defines "errors" in a simple way as followed “ If a student
cannot self-correct a mistake in his or her own English, but the teacher thinks that
the class is familiar with the correct form, we shall call that sort of mistake an
error." Edge's definition has one trait in common with that of Cunning (1987); that
is, certain parts of the language being learned are problematic to students. Thus,
they make errors unconsciously, which accounts for their incapacity to self-correct.
In the meantime, some experts combine both of the two dimensions above
when mentioning the notion of "errors".
Corder (1967: 22) regards” errors" as the "systematic and regular deviant
form of language produced by second language learners at competence level due to
linguistic reason.” Accordingly, second language learners repeatedly produce
deviant forms of language because of their deficient competence of selective items
of the target language but not because of their carelessness or lack of attention, etc.
In the light of the aforementioned definitions, the researcher would like to
employ the third view by Corder (1967) as it proves to be the most
comprehensive. According to Corder (1967), an error is characterized with two
features namely systematic deviancy and learner's deficiency to self-correct. These
two features can be considered criteria to determine whether students have made an
error or not.
I.3.2. The role of "errors" in English Language Teaching
Corder (1967) argues that errors are the most important source of
information revealing that learners are organizing knowledge available to them to
produce the language at a particular point of time.
Edge (1997) is also in line with this school of thought. He regards errors as
necessary learning steps which are evident for the fact that students are learning
the language successfully.
By the same token, Bartram & Walton (2001:11) see errors as "an
inescapable natural part of language learning" and that they are "part of the learning
9

process: not the wrong turning on the road of mature language use but actually part
of the road itself." These two scholars consider the process of learning a second
language similar to that of a baby learning his mother tongue.
In particular, errors benefit both the learner and the teacher. As for the
former, errors could assume the role of stimuli to facilitate learning and assist
students in achieving writing fluency (Lyons & Heasley, 1992).With respect to the
later, errors serve as an invaluable implication of what strategies used by learners
and an indication of what they have learnt or have not (Crystal, 1987).
In short, there has been positive spectrum in the view concerning the
importance of errors in the field of English language teaching and learning. It can be
concluded that errors are by no means to be avoided at any expense.
I.3.3. Classification of written errors
Gavigan and Citarella (2005) point out 20 common errors in writing. They
are errors in subject-verb agreement, verb tense, pronoun- antecedent agreement,
agreement of nouns, pronoun case, idioms, parallel structure, adjective/ adverb,
comparisons, ambiguity/ indefinite referent, redundancy, wordiness, double
negative, misplaced modifier, dangling modifier, words commonly confused,
who/which / that, pronoun shift, sentence structure, active/passive voice.
Ferris (2005) divides writing errors into four types. The first is
morphological errors which includes the errors related to verbs (tense, form,
subject- verb agreement) and errors related to nouns (articles/ determiners, noun
endings). The second one is lexical errors which are the errors of word choice, word
form, informal usage, idiom error, and pronoun error. The third type is syntactic
errors consisting errors in sentence structure, run-ons, fragments. The last type is
mechanical errors which are the errors of punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.
Ferris „s (2005) classification is comprehensive and easy to follow. But due
to the scope of the study and the real situation of N.T.H.S, the researcher only
chooses to focus on some most commonly made mistakes among high school
students in Vietnam such as verb tense, subject-verb agreement, word choice, word
form, articles, spelling.
10

I.3.4. Error correction
Although errors committing is inevitable in the process of learning as it
proves learners are exploring the language, there remains a controversial issue
related to the question whether or not errors should be corrected and how to correct
errors as well. Basically, there are quite a few contrasting views. The first school of
thought holds that there is no need to correct learner's errors. Teacher's job is only to
point out to learners that an error has been committed. The other view suggests that
errors must be corrected every time they are detected; otherwise, a bad habit of the
wrong use of the target language will be formed. To some extent, these schools of
thought reach an extreme that would not benefit students to the best. Thus, the
researcher would like to employ the Communicative Language Teaching approach
to error correction. That is, error correction should be provided when needed
because the very goal of this approach is to develop students‟ communicative
competence and errors are seen as a sign of their real learning but not a sign of
incomplete learning
Lee (1990) mentions three kinds of errors that require more concern from
teacher namely errors that interfere with intelligibility or communication, errors
which stigmatized or irritate common errors and high frequency errors.
I.3.5. Teacher’s role in error correction
Traditionally, the role of teacher in error correcting has always been
dominant. Teacher is the only source to both point out the errors and show how to
correct them. Edge (1997) coins the term "over-correct teacher" to
imply this. Teachers always strive to be correct in terms of linguistic form when
they are in class and this poses profound effects on students. Thus, learners will see
that what their teachers prioritize is freedom from any kinds of mistakes or errors.
"Even if the teacher tells the students that they should try to express themselves
freely, it will be difficult for the students to behave in this way when they see that it
is not the teacher's way." (Edge,1997). Besides, teacher assumes the role as the only
linguistic model in their setting for students to look at. Learners always have a
strong desire to be themselves and to be able to express themselves in English.
Teacher, to some extent, has become the model of the same background culture to
11

enjoy the language, to express himself/ herself in the target language. Thus, from
students' perspectives, teachers earns their status "based on the fact that they are
successful examples of what their students aim to be; people from a shared
background who have achieved an ability to communicate in English"
(Edge, 1997). Therefore, teachers should provide correction that helps learner to
express themselves more accurately and "make correction a part of the teaching and
learning process, not something to fight against" or "a kind of criticism or
punishment" (Edge, 1997). This is the very status that teachers should assume in
error correction.
I.4. Previous studies
Tran and Bui (2010) conducted a study of different kinds of grammatical
errors made by the first-year students of Faculty of English Language Teacher
Education at Universities of Languages and International Studies. They found out
the top five common errors: comma usage, verb tenses, conjunctions, run-on
sentences and articles: a/ an/ the.
Another study is the one of Bui (2010) about common errors committed by
first year students at the faculty of English Language Teacher Education, Hanoi
University of Languages and International studies. This study pointed out that
typical mistakes in students‟ compositions included errors in idea organization,
lexical items, inappropriate language style, grammar, wrong format, mechanics
expressions and word choice.
Le (1999) investigated written errors and mistakes made by the 12
th
form
students and concluded that students often had common written errors and mistakes
in spelling, appropriateness, grammar ( tense uses, V-ing forms used like nouns,
conditional sentences, and relative clauses), expression and composition format.
It is visible that most of the previous studies focused on university students,
only the study of Le (1999) was carried out in high school but it was about general
written mistakes and errors considering both linguistic mistakes and mistakes in
format and organization. Therefore, the authors got the desire to investigate the real
situation in teaching paragraph writing for high school students and look at some
linguistics errors in particular.
12

CHAPTER II: METHODOLOGY
In this chapter, the author describes the situation of teaching and learning
English at N.T.H.S, the subjects of the study, data collection instruments,
research method and the research procedure.
II.1. The situation of teaching and learning English at N.T.H.C
N.T.H.S is located in An Duong district, which is in the rural areas of Haiphong.
It is a poor district because agriculture plays the main role in its economy. This
heavily affects people‟s thinking here. According to them, being able to speak their
mother tongue (that is Vietnamese) correctly is enough, so it is not necessary for
them and their children to learn to speak English. Although learning a foreign
language (for example, English) at lower secondary schools and high schools has
been considered an official subject among Maths, Literature, Chemistry, Physics,
and others, it is not appreciated at lower secondary schools. Therefore, teachers and
students‟ attitudes towards teaching and learning English are negative. They
consider English a minor subject at schools. As a result, students do not pay
attention to learning English. They learn it very badly.
When these students enter N.T.H.S, they have to take part in exams in three
subjects: Maths, Literature, and English at the beginning of the school year. They
often gain high scores in Maths and Literature but most of them get low scores in
English. All students at lower secondary schools have learned English for four years
but most of them have not paid any attention to learning it. Thus, it is very difficult
for teachers at N.T.H.S to teach them English because the new English textbooks at
high schools now are written based on the English textbooks at lower secondary
schools. Teachers have no time to re-teach all the English knowledge students have
learned at lower secondary schools. They have to follow the syllabus. Day by day,
both teachers and students feel tired and bored when having to teach and learn
English. During the teaching period at N.T.H.S, the researcher sees that, among four
language skills, writing is the most difficult for students. She often hears students
rumbling, teachers avoiding such meticulous task of teaching and learning writing.
Linguistic difficulties in writing a paragraph is one of the big problems in writing
skill.
13

II.2. Subjects
The subjects of the study consist of 60 students of 10
th
form at N.T.H.S. Because
of time limitation, it is impossible to carry out the study with all students who are in
grade 10
th
at N.T.H.S individually. Therefore, the data collection in the study is
derived from a subset of the population by means of cluster sample.
60 students from classes 10C1, 10C4, 10C9, and 10C10 were randomly selected
from 450 the tenth form students at N.T.H.S. Obviously, it was difficult to select a
random sample of individuals because the tenth form students have already been
assigned to different classes from 10C1 to 10C10 and classified into two groups
according to their choice of favorite subjects (students from 10C5 to 10C10 are
interested in natural science subjects whereas 10C1 to 10C4 are basic classes).
Therefore, the researcher decided to randomly choose four classes from two groups
to study. The result, thus, could be more reliable.
The 10th form students at N.T.H.S are learning basic English with the new text
book TIENG ANH 10 by Hoàng Văn Vân – Hoàng Thị Xuân Hoa - Đỗ Tuấn Minh-
Nguyễn Thu Phương - Nguyễn Quốc Tuấn. This text book is theme- based, which
includes 16 units and 6 Test Yourself sections. Each unit has its own topics and is
divided into 5 sections: Reading, Speaking, Listening, Writing and Language Focus.
In the first term of the school-year, in comparison with other subjects, students‟
English results were not good: only 4% students got excellent mark (9-10), 12%
got good mark (7-8) , 57% got average mark (5-6) and 27% students got bad marks
(<5).
II.3. Research method
II.3.1. Method of data collection: In order to conduct the study, the researcher
employed quantitative method including questionnaires and students‟ writing
analysis.
a. Questionnaires:
The questionnaire is designed to find out students‟ perception of their
linguistic errors in writing a paragraph, the causes of the errors, the
correction of the errors, the students‟ revision on the errors.
The questionnaire helps the researcher gather information quickly and
objectively and gather information from a large portion of a group.
b. Students’ writing analysis:
14

The analysis of students‟ writing aims at finding the real situation of the
linguistic errors in students‟ writing. This analysis helps the researcher
classify the major linguistic errors in students‟ writing, compare them with
the result from the questionnaire to come to an agreement of the linguistic
errors students often make.
II.3.2. Method of data analysis
Data from questionnaires was calculated and summarized to identify the
general trends of students‟ linguistic errors when writing a paragraph
Students‟ writing samples were carefully studied. Errors were classified into
different categories to help researcher find out the most common linguistics errors
made by 10th form students.
Whenever relevant, data from two sources were compared and contrasted to
have the most comprehensive picture of the situation.
II.4. Research procedure
The procedure of data collection was as follow:
(1) Choosing 60 students who are in grade 10 of N.T.H.S randomly to conduct the
survey of the study.
(2) Giving topics to students to write English paragraphs. The subjects were
required to write about one of the following topics:
a. Write about your daily life
b. Write about your class’s excursion
c. Write about the film that you like best.
There are several reasons to choose the topics. Firstly, these topics are
familiar with students. They are taken from students‟ textbook. Moreover, there are
some guidance as well as some exercises in the textbook for students before writing.
Secondly, students have chance to choose the topic that they are interested in, so
they can write the paragraph with their own ideas basing on the topic they like
(3) Collecting students‟ writing. Students‟ errors in the writings are counted and
categorized.
(4) Synthesizing the analysis and drawing conclusions.
(5) Suggesting some implications for teaching and learning paragraph writing to
10
th
form students.

15

CHAPTER III: DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS

This section discusses students‟ perception of their linguistic errors, the
causes of the errors, the correction of the errors, the students‟ revision on the errors
and a classification of difficulties based on the students‟ writing and the
questionnaire.
III.1. Students’ perception of their linguistics errors in writing a paragraph.
It is the fact that students at N.T.H.S are very weak at paragraph writing and
making errors in writing is inevitable. The first question in the questionnaire is to
find out whether students are aware of the errors that they produce in writing.
Students‟ answers for the first question were:
Options
Results
Yes
100%
No
0%
Table 1: Students’ perception of making linguistic errors
It can be seen from Table 1 that students themselves recognized their
weaknesses in writing a paragraph and they were aware of the linguistic errors they
often make when writing.
III. 2. Students’ feeling when making errors in writing
As mentioned above, all students often make linguistic errors in the process of
writing. However, when asked “How do you feel when you make errors in writing”,
different students have different answers:
Options
Results
I am disappointed with my English
48%
I consider it the chance to know what I have lacked and to get
experience
46%
I have no feeling
6%
Table 2: Students’ feeling when making errors in writing a paragraph
As can be seen, after making errors when writing a paragraph, the proportion
of students who were disappointed with their English (48%) seemed to be equal to
16

those who consider making errors the chance to know what they have lacked and to
get experience (46%). In other words, 10th form students at N.T.H.S had a positive
attitude towards learning English. There were only 4 out of 60 students,
approximately 6%, who had negative attitude toward learning English, they had no
feeling when making errors.
III.3. The causes of students’ linguistic errors in writing a paragraph
As mentioned above, students often make errors in writing a paragraph.
Therefore, the author would like to find out the causes of students‟ linguistic errors.
Some causes such as carelessness, teaching methods, lack of necessary knowledge,
difficult topics are given and the analysis of those causes may help teacher find out
a good way to help students overcome difficulties in writing.
Pie chart 1: Causes of students' linguistic errors in writing a paragraph
Carelessness
Teaching method
Lack of necessary knowledge
Difficult topics

It can be seen from Pie chart 1 the percentage of the carelessness cause was
the least (only 4%), then came to teaching methods cause accounting for 9%. The
percentage of students who thought that difficult topics cause the errors was slightly
higher but only makes up 28%. A large number of students thought that the lack of
necessary knowledge was the main cause of the linguistic errors in their writing.
III.4. Teacher’s errors correction in students’ paragraphs
4 %
59 %
28 %
9 %
17

After students write a paragraph, their errors need to be corrected. Teacher‟s
error correction is also an important element to help students improve their
paragraph writing. The teacher has to know how to correct students‟ writing to help
them avoid errors in their next writings. Table 3 illustrates the typical ways that
teachers usually correct students‟ errors in writing.
Options
Results
Correct some remarkable errors only
71%
Give a comment at the end of the paragraph only.
33%
Correct all errors
2%
Table 3: Teacher’s errors correction in students’ paragraphs
According to Table 3, most teachers (71%) chose the common errors to
correct. Besides, it was unexpected that there were many teachers (33%) who only
gave comment at the end of the paragraph. A small portion (2%) represented those
who corrected all errors.
III.5. Students’ revision on their errors
The author collected the information by asking students: “What do you often do
when having back your paper” and students‟ answers were:
Options
Results
I look carefully at my errors and self-correct them
2%
I compare my work with the others and correct the errors together
5%
I glance over indicated errors
23%
I have a look at the remarks given by the teacher
61%
Knowing the mark is enough
9%
Table 4: Students’ revision on their errors
As can be recognized from the table, the portion of students who looked
carefully the errors and self-corrected them (2%) and those who compared the work
with the others and corrected the errors together (5%) were too small, in comparison
with those students who had a look at the remarks given by the teacher - with
highest portion (61%). Furthermore, 23% of students said that they only glanced
18

over indicated errors, and smaller portion of them (9%) only paid attention to the
mark.
III.6. Kinds of linguistic difficulties
There are a lot of linguistic errors that are found and counted in 60 paragraph
writings. However, within the scope of this study, only errors in grammar,
vocabulary and linking words are studied. Table 5 shows the results of the error
categorization according to students‟ paragraph analysis as well as questionnaires:
Table 5: Kinds of linguistic errors
According to the data in Table 5, there is an agreement between linguistic
errors found in students‟ writing and their awareness of those errors.
As can be seen from the table, the most common errors belong to grammar,
which appeared on all the analyzed papers (50%). In the answers for the
questionnaire, the number of students who often had grammatical errors is also the
highest, accounting for 56%. The next common errors are vocabulary ones which
appeared in 41% of students‟ writing and in the result of questionnaire, 34% of all
students recognized that they often make vocabulary errors. Errors in the linking
words seem to be fewer than the others with only 9% in the writing; and 10% of all
students revealed in the questionnaire that errors in linking words was the most
common kind of linguistic errors they often made.
III. 7. Grammar difficulties
From the author‟s experience in teaching paragraph writing, of all the
grammatical errors in the writing, the most common errors that students made were
those related to the use of verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, article usage and
preposition usage. So, only these kinds of errors were studied and discussed
carefully. The results from questionnaire and students‟ papers are as follows:

Linguistic difficulties
Grammar
Vocabulary
Linking words
Students‟ paragraphs
50%
41%
9%
Questionnaire
56%
34%
10%

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