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IMPROVING PUPILS HANDWRITING (PENMANSHIP) IN A PRIMARY ESL CLASSROOM

Proponent : PISMP TESL 2 SEMESTER 7 JANUARY 2011 INTAKE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background The area of focus for our project is improving pupils handwriting (penmanship). Without the solid foundation of writing skill the researcher feels the children will be struggle hard throughout their schooling and adult life. By learning the best writing strategies and how to best teach these strategies to the pupils, we hope to provide the solid foundation needed to succeed. Even though some of the pupils could write well, still we have a thought of a way to improve it.

1.2 Reflection of Past Experience As the researcher of this research, we have found out that many of our pupils in Year 4 can write but not with a proper handwriting. We are hoping that by introducing some of the best strategies so that the pupils could write with a neat and proper handwriting. This is important in order for a child to be successful. We feel that incorporating the game-like strategies into teaching and learning will improve their writing competency. We are looking forward to working on this area of concern, and sharing our findings.

2.0 FOCUS OF INVESTIGATION

2.1 Research Issue The general focus of the present study is on Improving Students Handwriting Skill in Sekolah Kebangsaan Maktab. In the classroom, some of the pupils handwriting could not be read by the teachers even though they are quite good in presenting the ideas. Therefore, the teachers are having the difficulties to evaluate the pupils work because of their poor handwriting. Sometimes, handwriting did affect the marks given by the teachers especially in writing essay. Papers with poorer penmanship are rated lower by teachers for composition quality.

2.2 What Have I Learnt About My Research Issue Handwriting is one of the greatest problems among primary ESL classroom pupils. Successful handwriting instruction combines appropriate materials, direct instruction, distributed practice and self-monitoring. Students need a legible fluent style of handwriting to fully participate in writing. Numerous research studies, have found that handwriting difficulties harm a childs development as a writer for a number of reasons for example individual differences handwriting skills and preoccupied with the motor skills of handwriting.

3.0 Questions to be asked. 3.1 What is the importance of having good handwriting (penmanship)? 3.2 How will the usage of three lines book and dotted line helps in improving the pupils handwriting? 3.3 How will the pupils respond towards the interventions used?

4.0 RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS.

This study took place in a Year 4 Bestari of SK Maktab. This class consists of 40 pupils. The pupils share the same socioeconomic background. From our observation most of them are of the same level of writing ability except 5 of them. Those 5 pupils seem to have difficulties in having good handwriting. From our survey throughout their workbooks, we found that they also cannot even write (in a straight line consistently).

5.0 RECOMMENDED INTERVENTION In order to solve the problem of penmanship among Year 4 pupils, we would like to use two methods which are 3 lines book and dotted lines. We will use dotted thirds paper, which comes either in books or a loose paper. Dotted thirds have three lines, the base line is a full line, while the two above it are dotted. Children write in these dotted thirds using the full line as the bottom of most letters. The middle dotted line forms the top edge of non-capitals such as a, c and u, while the top dotted lines form the top of any letters with a stick, such as b, d and t. Letters with a tail, like j, p and y begin at the middle dotted line and pass through the base line and down to the top dotted third of the next line. Another method that we will use is three lines book. Pupils have to copy the example on the three lines provided. The three lines will guide the child to place letters correctly. The child

can follow the cue bump the lines, learning that the lowercase letters bump the top line and the bottom line. Letter placement will be uniform and neat. Pupils do not have to worry about their writing will be in a mess, because pupils only need to follow the lines provided. It also avoids confusion of starting and stopping points. Pupils need to use three lines until they master letter placement. 6.0 Methods of Collecting Data Observation To collect the data on the level of penmanship among pupils of Year 4 Bestari of SK Maktab, we began with an observation to see the level of their writing on paper. For this observation, we distributed a worksheet containing sentences for 5 of them to copy in order for us to see their writing on paper. Example: 1. Last weekend, my mother and I went to the supermarket.

2. We went there by taxi.

3. My mother wanted to buy some goods for the kitchen.

After the pupils finished with the worksheet, we collected all of their work and observe their handwriting. Intervention 1st intervention: We distributed dotted lines alphabets in a worksheet for each of them and ask them to finish the worksheet given. Example:

2nd intervention: We distributed 3 lines papers to each of 5 detected pupils and asked them to copy several sentences according to the lines paper. Example:

Final observation: After the intervention, we asked to rewrite the 1st worksheet that we gave them earlier and observed their improvement. Example: 4. Last weekend, my mother and I went to the supermarket.

5. We went there by taxi.

6. My mother wanted to buy some goods for the kitchen.

7.0 METHODS TO ANALYSE DATA The first suggested intervention is by distributing the dotted lines alphabets in a worksheet for each of them and asks them to finish the worksheet given. This method requires the teacher gives the worksheet continuously at the same interval time. For example, the first worksheet is given during the first week of the month followed by the second worksheet given during the second week in the same month. For every worksheet completed, the teacher will rate it by using stars. For example, if the pupils are doing well during the first worksheet, the teacher will give them 4 or 5 stars, depends on their work. By doing this, the pupils will be motivated to earn more stars, hence producing a better handwriting. For every worksheet completed, it is important for the teacher to record the data or result to make sure the pupils and teacher can see the progress of the intervention. This is also one of the ways for the teacher to motivate the pupils in producing a better handwriting. The teacher can put the result in a table. For example;

Name of Pupils Pupil 1 Pupil 2 Pupil 3 Pupil 4 Pupil 5

Worksheet 1

Worksheet 2

Worksheet 3

Worksheet 4

Rating: Excellent Good Moderate Poor Very Poor

The second intervention suggested is by distributing 3 lines papers to each of 5 detected pupils and asked them to copy several sentences according to the lines paper. This method help the teacher to analyse the pupil potential in producing a neat handwriting as there are no dotted line to help them in writing. This method is highly suggested to be carried out after the dotted alphabets method as it is considered as a higher level in penmanship. From this, the pupil improvement can be observed and the teacher can identify what is the level of each pupil. The teacher can motivate the pupils by showing the writing to the classmate and ask them to rank the work. Therefore, there will be different pupils on the first and the lowest rank.

8.0 What is My Plan for Action? For this research, I have chosen Model of Laidlaw (1992) as below:

Phase 5: Reflection

Phase 1: Identify the issue

Phase 4: Collecting and analysing data Phase 3: Intervention of action

Phase 2: Planning an action

Figure 1: Liadlaws Model (1992)

Schedule 1 : The schedule for planning and intervention of action Date Practicum Phase 3 Week 1: 26 Jan and 28 Jan 2014 Action Diagnostic Test (Oral and Writing) Category : Non-capitals such as a, c and u Activity 1: Recognize and pronounce the letter on the card (First Test) Activity 2: Pronounce the letter on the card repeatedly (Second test) Activity 3: Write the letter on the User Friendly Card (Third test) Activity 4 : Game of Alphabet (Fourth Test) Week 2: 2 February and 3 February 2014
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Category : Letters with a stick, such as b, d and t Activity 1: Recognizing the letter and pronounce the letter on the card (First Test) Activity 2: Pronounce the letter on the card repeatedly (Second test)

Activity 3: Write the letter on the User Friendly Card (Third test) Activity 4 : Game of Alphabet (Fourth Test) Week 3: 12 2014
th th

February and 13

February

Category : Letters with a tail, like j, p and y Activity 1: Recognizing the letter and pronounce the letter on the card (First Test) Activity 2: Pronounce the letter on the card repeatedly (Second test) Activity 3: Write the letter on the User Friendly Card (Third test) Activity 4 : Game of Alphabet (Fourth Test)

Week 4 : 19 February 2014 22 February 2014


nd

th

Post Test Interview session

Budget Planning This research will be carried out with minimum budget as the researchers are still teacher trainees with limited income. The figure below is the assumption budget for the action research. Items Indah Kiat A4 multifunction business paper Tesco 2B pencil 3 Lines Workbook Canon 3 in 1 ink Cartridge Total Unit 2 pieces (500 sheets per piece) 4boxes (12 pencil per box) 5 books 2 units of Cartridge (Black and Colour Cartridge Price per unit RM 7.50 Total Price RM 15.00

RM 2.50 RM 0.70 RM 30.00

RM 10.00 RM 3.50 RM 60.00

Total Cost :

RM 88.50

The assumption of the budget is based on the previous task that we had done along the first and second phase of practicum. We hope the low cost budget may decrease the burden of the research toward our lifestyle.