Organisational and grammatical features of explanations written by Biology undergraduates

Ting, Su Hie and Tee, Florence Pei Feng (2009) Organisational and grammatical features of explanations written by Biology undergraduates. In: 4th International Conference on English Language Learning Conference (ELT-CON 2009), "Language Matters: New ways of looking at English Language Teaching & Leaming", organised by Penang English Language Leaming and Teaching Association (PELLT A), 22-24 April 2009, Bayview Hotel, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang. (Unpublished)


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The study examines the organisational and grammatical features of explanations written by Biology undergraduates at a tertiary institution. The explanation of a molecular biology technique was analysed in terms ofthe organisational structure of the text and two linguistic features relevant to explanations, namely, use ofpresent tense and sequence connectors. The 40 explanation texts selected for analysis were produced by two cohorts ofYear 3 undergraduates in a Biotechnology degree programme at a Malaysian tertiary institution: the cohort who learnt Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Melayu in Form 6; and the cohort who learnt these subjects in English. The results showed that about two-thirds of the verbs in the explanation texts were written in the present tense but there was inappropriate and perhaps inadvertent use of other tenses. It was also found that sequence connectors were not fully utilised to show the steps in the application of the molecular biology technique. Although all the texts analysed provided information about the technique, some did not show the organisational structure considered effective for explanations. The findings suggest that the explicit teaching of selected grammatical features significant to types of texts (e.g. explanation, argument) using whole texts as context would help students in producing better texts.

Item Type: Proceeding (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, UNIMAS, university, universiti, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, ipta, education, writing skills
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Centre for Language Studies (rebranded to FLSCS in 2015)
Depositing User: Karen Kornalius
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2014 07:13
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 02:25

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