Title

Role of teacher’s constructive feedback in improving grade 5 students’ writing skills in a public school in Karachi

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

This study explored the role of teacher constructive feedback in supporting students’ writing skills. The study was conducted in Grade5 in a public school in Karachi. The study employed action research under qualitative research design over the three weeks comprising of three cycles. The data was collected in three main phases: reconnaissance phase, intervention phase and post-intervention phase. The data collection tools were; classroom observations, pre and post-test, focus group discussions, students’ notebook analysis, and my own reflections on classroom teaching. The research was conducted in the entire class however, students’ data i.e. written and oral responses, come from six students, who were selected randomly. The findings earlier indicated that students were not familiar with the different strategies of feedback processes. They were used to get feedback on their drafts from their teacher in a very traditional manner. They were also assuming that the purpose of highlighted errors by a teacher was, to correct and memorize text so that they could produce an error-free draft and could pass their exam with good grades. It was also found that writing skill was the least important skill for them. Based on the findings of the reconnaissance stage, I taught six lessons in three cycles. The overall findings revealed that constructive feedback is the scaffolder, which enables students to strengthen their learning of writing skills. The progress in their understanding of writing through various constructive feedback strategies appeared gradually. For example, the graphic organizer worked as an energizer for the students, verbal and written questioning techniques provided them with the opportunity to think and respond in detail. Similarly, provision with the opportunity to the students for self-assessment and self-reflection was another factor to promote students learning through sharing their views with the teacher. Likewise, teacher descriptive feedback and employment of rubric helped students’ to address their language writing difficulties. It further indicated that both the feedback processes and process writing approach are interlinked and both allowed students to reflect, revisit and reproduce an improved draft. It also pointed out that the teacher timely and ongoing feedback has the potential to develop students’ writing skills, which required a quality time and effort from the teacher. The findings also informed that feedback is not an isolated activity, rather it is an interactive and two-way process where the teacher and student are engaged in the process. However, the traditional and routine way of teaching and assessment practices in a language classroom, where English is treated as a subject with the aim of memorization and does not provide an opportunity for teachers’ constructive feedback. Therefore, the school needs to revisit the teaching approaches and feedback practices to improve students’ learning.

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