The Importance of Writing Skills
Writing is one of the most important skills for educational success, but also one of the most complex skills to be mastered (Tillema, 2012). It is one of the four-macro skills of English language that requires a great cognitive demand and much practice in order to produce a well-structured way of the presentation of thoughts in an organized and planned manner. Significantly, it embodies the rule of syntax, semantics, orthography, mechanics and most of all appropriate choice of lexis that will fit in the writing content and in the target audience of the piece hence, it turns out to be complex in the part of the students especially the L2 learners.
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The Contrastive Analysis of Cummins (1983) states that there is an existence of language interference in the part of the L1 learner as he/she is in the process of acquiring the L2 language which make it difficult to learn. In addition, Cummins believes that a linguistic difference between the two languages, which include the pattern of syntax, morphology, orthography, and even phonology, affects how an L2 writer organizes the written discourse in the second language.
This may produce errors and distinct rhetorical patterns due to L1 cultural mode of thinking. Nevertheless, even the native speakers feel difficulty in showing good command of writing (Johnstone, Ashbaugh,& Warfield, 2002) and even experience complication in a tricky situation (Javed et al., 2013). This only proves that writing is indeed a difficult task. However, language teachers can lessen these difficulties among learners by encouraging them to engage in writing activities as part of their teaching-learning process, because (Kellogg, 2008) states that writing helps to i) reinforce the grammatical structure, ii) and assist other language skills such as reading, listening and speaking, and most of all iii) enhance the students’ vocabulary.
In today’s global world, the demand of the 21st century has been dominating all the government sectors especially the field of education. There is now a need for both students and teachers to embody one of the 21st-century skills known as communication skills—refers as the ability of individuals to communicate clearly, not only in oral languages but also in written, and non-verbal languages(www.ksbe.edu/spi), in order to become globally competitive individuals. Coady and Huckin (1997) posited that part of communicative competence is lexical competence, which defines as the ability to express thoughts and ideas inappropriate words and meaningful sentences. To make it happen, the leaners need a wide range of vocabulary in expressing their thoughts especially in the aspect of writing.
On the study of (Shah, Gill, Mahmood, & Bilal, 2013) they found out that lexical richness has a direct link at the vocabulary size. Learners can only attain lexical richness if their written composition contains three features such as how diverse the words are; how difficult the words are; and how many content words are produced in writing. These can simultaneously classify in the designated word levels and may also determine if what levels are the learners’ belong.
Therefore, the present study aims to measure the lexical richness of the written compositions made by BSED- English III students of Sorsogon State College—Bulan, Campus; school year 2017-2018 along with its three aspects including lexical diversity, lexical sophistication, and lexical density. Significantly, the researchers aim to find out if what level of language proficiency is shown or reflected in the written compositions of the participants whom expected to show advanced language proficiency because they are English majors that will become future language teachers of English.
As what Leyaley (2016) point out that those Education students must learn how to equip themselves with all the skills, which there course, being imparted because they will become teachers whom may serve as pedestal of learning to their future students. If they will remain incompetent, there is a high rate of possibility that they will become a contributor to the poor performance of their pupils and students, and worst will hamper the endeavours of parents and children in achieving their dreams because of malpractice in the use of the English language.
Moreover, written communication skills is the primary basis upon which one’s work, one’s learning, and one’s intellect will be judged—in college, in the workplace, and in the community (www.marquette.ed as cited in Leyaley, 2016). Much writing is required of teacher education students, among pre-service and in-service teachers. They prepare their lesson plans and learning plans; prepare written requirements they need to comply with; and most of all leading writing activities as part of teaching- learning process, which definitely requires the use of different kinds of words, refer as lexical richness, as reflection of good writing.
Statement of the Problem
This study will look into how lexically rich are the written compositions made by BSED- English III students of Sorsogon State College- Bulan, Campus using the Lexical Frequency Profile supported by three software namely: RANGE, Vocabprofiler, and TextAlyser proposed by Laufer and Nation (1995). The result will become the platform of the present study to figure out what level of language proficiency is shown or reflected in the written compositions of the participants as a third year English major students whom expected to have an advanced English proficiency level and rich vocabulary size. Thus, the researchers came up with two significant questions that will guide them in their study. These are the following:
1. How lexically rich are the written compositions of the third year English major students under the program BSED of Sorsogon State College Bulan, Campus along:
- a. Lexical diversity
- b. Lexical sophistication
- c. Lexical density
2. What level of proficiency is shown/reflected in the written composition of the students?
On the other hand, the researchers likewise create research assumptions on each of the following research questions.
- The lexical richness of the written compositions of BSED- English III students along with its three aspects, which are lexical diversity, lexical density, and lexical sophistication, vary from the four vocabulary frequency lists of Laufer and Nation (1995).
- The written compositions of the BSED- English III students had shown vary of result of English language proficiency level based from the proposed analysis of Laufer and Nation (1995) about the levels of vocabulary frequency in writing.
Scope and Delimitation
This study focused mainly on the lexical richness of the compositions made by BSED- English III students’ of Sorsogon State College- Bulan, Campus of the current year 2017-2018. It involves thirty- third-year English majors whom made two different compositions as requirements in one of their subjects, which will be used by the present study as the first significant input to attain its objectives. The study will not go beyond the paradigm of lexical richness such as grammar, content and mechanics, but it may discuss some factors like vocabulary size and vocabulary acquisition that may influence the lexical richness due to the need of determining the level of language proficiency, which their written compositions have shown.
Significance of the Study
Laufer (2003) stresses that using different words in the text, which commonly refers, as lexical richness is a part of lexical competence. It may depict that a learner has a rich vocabulary that enables him/her to express his/her thoughts in an organize pattern without overusing the words. However, Laufer and Nation (1995) classify English words into three band namely: high frequency words, low-frequency words, and academic words, which may affect the attainment of the lexical richness of any written compositions despite the present of different words. They explained that the most frequent words are essential for any real language use but it was under the level of less proficient learners.
On the other hand, use of low frequency words and academic words is an indicator of richness in a learner’s vocabulary, which is essential for academic success. Likewise, it was under the level of advanced learners. Therefore, the target respondents must achieve lexical richness because they are future language teachers whom will develop writing proficiency among their future students. Moreover, Laufer and Nation added that richer vocabulary is characteristic of better language, which typically anchored in the concept of language proficiency.
The findings of this study on the respondents’ lexical richness will create a reservoir of information that can be used as a tangible reference for more meaningful educational services. Much of the research data may be useful in the solution of problems related to English language learning as well as teaching.
The researchers hope that the results of this study will of significance to the following:
- a. Students- For them to be able to assess themselves in their writing competence; to be able to enrich their vocabulary; and to be able to improve their performance.
- b. BSED- English students- For them to realize how valuable to be proficient in English language not only for the sake of professional competence but also as a pedestal of knowledge in the English language.
- c. Teachers- This study will help the teachers/ instructors to make use of teaching methods or instructions, which can empower the vocabulary of the learners and they can be able to apply it on written or spoken discourse. Moreover, it can also contribute in teaching the students on how they can develop their writing skills and writing proficiency which indeed a premises for an L2 learner and for a man whom wanting to be part of emerging globalization.
- d. State Campus Administrators and Supervisors- They can use the results of the study as a reference in formulating school policies and programs for the students’ learning progress. They can also initiate in-service trainings/seminars based on the learners’ needs in terms of English language learning.
- e. Curriculum Planners- This may provide them certain basis on what are the appropriate written curricula to be used by the teachers, which can develop the lexical competence, writing proficiency, and language proficiency of the learners.
- f. Computer programmers- The study will use a computer software that will measure the lexical richness of the written compositions of the respondents. Thus, this might be a springboard of idea for those computer programmers whom would like to create the same or more advance lexical richness software that can help the researchers, students, teachers, and other group of persons who are in need with this kind of software.
- g. Future Researchers- This study may serve as a guide for those who wants to do the same kind of research. Significantly, this may be an emblem for those researchers of the same school whom planning to continue and broaden the study that can contribute in the quality of education which the Alma Mater being offer.