The common problem language teachers faced in the classroom is the hesitation of learners to participate in discussions because they cannot express themselves in English. In this regard, this study aims to improve learner’s competence in English thru mastery of basic grammar skills. Likewise, it seeks to boost learners’ self-confidence in speaking toward better communication skills.
The study used the descriptive research and made use of pretest and post-test scores to determine the effectiveness of the project. From this, a significant increase or improvement in scores of learners has been noted.
Meanwhile, this research focused on Grade 9 –Bunsen learners who got the lowest mean and MPS in the diagnostic test. They were given intervention worksheets and coaching for a month which resulted to favorable results. Hence, this recommends the continuous implementation of the project and to start it at the lowest secondary level to ensure mastery of basic language skills.
With this study, it will help the department to find solutions to old-time problem in English, thus develop better communicators of the language.
Keywords: interactive coaching, peer-parent assistance, basic grammar skill
The researchers would like to extend their deepest and sincerest gratitude to the following persons whose valuable assistance and fruitful ideas made this research possible.
To the teachers of English Department, who have been supportive and who worked actively in helping the researchers to pursue their goals. Their personal and professional guidance, and credible ideas have been great contributions in the completion of the research;
To Ms. Menchie M. Cepillo for sharing her pearls of wisdom during the course of this research. Without her precious support it would not be possible to conduct this research;
To the families of the researchers for their unending and unconditional love, understanding, financial and moral support, and encouragement which enable the researchers to accomplish this goal;
And above all, to our Almighty God for giving the wisdom, strength and knowledge in exploring things; for the guidance and help to surpass all the trials that researchers have encountered and for giving determination to finish and make this research possible.
III. CONTEXT AND RATIONALE
The common problem language teachers faced in the classroom is the hesitation of learners to participate in discussions because they cannot express themselves in English. This is due to the fact that some learners perceive grammar matters only in school and not necessarily important in their daily life. However, this misconception of some students leads to poor performance in English because they cannot communicate well. Since grammar is the foundation of communication, correct grammar use is very important to easily understand the purpose and meaning of the message someone is trying to convey. Thus, in order to communicate, learners should know and have a good mastery of grammar skills. It is significant to be able to express themselves, and be able to be understood by others.
In the Philippines, learning the English language is of high significance in order for the citizens especially learners to be equipped and competent enough to meet the elevated expectations of this modern and demanding world. Since the Philippines is globally known as one of the largest English speaking nations with at least a degree of fluency in the language, this is one of its strengths that has helped drive the economy and even made it the top voice outsourcing destination in the world, surpassing India in 2012 as cited in Inquirer.net by Cabigon (2015). Clearly, English language as a global medium of communication is not only a key for personal development, but also for a country’s progress. A citizen’s feat is a nation’s victory, too.
Grammar plays a vital role to sustain the country’s current stature in the BPO industry, since language used in communication depends on it. According to a study in Jyvaskyla University in Finland, grammar guides how language should be written/spoken in a correct way. Hence, Saaristo (2015) highlighted that grammar is the heart of language and its role to effective communication is important.
Additionally, grammar has always been an important part of language learning. In the article, “Language Learning Difficulties among Malaysian Gifted Students” written by Yunus, et al., (2013), the results of interviews with the students on the subject of language learning difficulties are presented. Students are faced with difficulties when speaking in English. They explained it by insufficient knowledge of grammar. Thus, the lack of student’s ability in expressing initiative or his ideas verbally or in written, mainly due to lack of experience to understand the symbols and concepts, including mastery of grammar and mastery of sentence which good.
It is also evident in the findings in a study done by Barraquio (2015) among college students of Colegio de San Juan de Letran: Calamba where the students failed in the areas of structure, subject-verb agreement,and sentence construction. It was then recommended for the school to enroll all freshmen in remedial English as grammar was also found to be extremely important in writing and speaking.
In line with this, teachers need to be creative with the resources they have in helping students master the grammar skills. Understanding its significance, the Department of Education implemented guidelines in utilization of the 2016 Language Arts and Multiliteracies Curriculum (LAMC), a K to 12 Curriculum Guide in English which is anchored on language acquisition, learning, teaching and assessing principles. The ultimate goal of the Language Arts and Multiliteracies Curriculum is to produce graduates who apply the language conventions, principles, strategies and skills in interacting with others, understanding and learning other content areas, and fending for themselves in whatever field of endeavor they may engage in. The skills, grammatical items, structures and various types of texts will be taught, and revisited at increasing levels of difficulty and sophistication. This design allows students to progress from the foundational level to higher levels of language use.
Moreover, Department of Education also implemented the Every Child a Reader Program Funds for the Early Language, Literacy, and Numeracy Program: Professional Development Component under DepEd Order No. 18, s. 2017 which aims to develop the literacy and numeracy skills, and attitudes in Filipino children, which will contribute to lifelong learning and strengthening its reading program through the implementation of the Early Language, Literacy, and Numeracy Program.
Consequently, Anselmo A. Sandoval Memorial National High School as a public secondary school envisions to develop not only technically competent individuals but also globally competitive citizens as in lined in the DepEd programs. Likewise, the English Department believes that communication skills play a significant part to make this vision a reality. It is a fact that most Filipino applicants are not able to get their job for they fail to sell themselves to their prospected employers for their inability to express themselves well. Hence, the challenge to produce proficient communicators is such a gargantuan task of a language teacher. As such, the department decided to start from the core of a language. i.e. grammar.
IV. INNOVATIONS, INTERVENTIONS, AND STRATEGIES
Below are the significant innovations, interventions, and strategies proposed by the researchers in order to address the need of the students in terms of their mastery of the basic grammar skills.
DEAR Grammar. A five-sentenced journal where the students can narrate their daily learning and progress about the basic grammar. They must apply the key ideas or the rules learned in the sentences. These journals are intensively checked by language teachers weekly.
E-games. Localized interactive games about grammar skills designed after the popular television games. Students’ attention and interest in learning is sustained in the activity.
LODI (Learners of Distinguished Intelligence). They are called Big Brother and Big Sisters. They are select students from star or cream section of Grade 10 who assist the challenged students toward their mastery of the basic grammar skills. During this peer tutoring, these students render time and patience to teach and monitor the progress of their respective clients; in return, these Lodi’s are given incentive in their English subject.
MaBaGSIC Squad. A social media group utilized to disseminate information among the grammatically challenged students. It is also a good spot to upload lectures about grammar, and worksheets and the students’ answers. To let them realize their wrong answer/s, only the number of correct answers will be sent as response of the language teachers. And to master the skill, they are given chances to answer the same worksheet aiming to have get perfect score.
My PETMALU (Perfect Exercises toward Mastery and Acquisition of Language Use) Worksheets. Localized worksheets prepared by the language teachers. These materials include brief and concise explanations of the basic grammar lessons and rules, examples, and activities. The grammatically challenged student must learn and answer the proposed topic of the day. Each of them is given three chances to get a perfect score for a particular topic. If still not, they will be given a special take home worksheet.
Parents’ Assistance. The parents’ participation in this project is a big deal. Students who still need follow up reviews at home are given worksheets to answer.At this point, it is now the duty of the parent to monitor if their children do their take home activities. Aside from that, students’ worksheets are brought home from time to time after the checking and recording of the scores for the parents to monitor the development of their children.
V. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study aims to improve learners’ competence of Grade 9 students in English in Anselmo A. Sandoval Memorial National High School thru mastery of basic grammar skills. Likewise, it seeks to boost learners’ self-confidence in speaking toward better communication skills.
Specifically, the study sought answers to the following questions:
1.What is the level of basic grammar skills of Grade 9 students in English?
2.What are the root causes of students’ low mastery of the basic grammar skills?
3.What are the strategic interventions that can enhance the students’ mastery of the basic grammar skills?
4.Is there a significant difference between the students’ performance in English before and after the strategic interventions were applied?
5. Based on the findings of the study, what program may be proposed to enhance the learners’ competence in English grammar skills of Grade 9 students of Anselmo A. Sandoval Memorial National High School?
VI. RESEARCH METHODS
The study used the descriptive research and made use of pretest and post test scores to determine the effectiveness of the project. Forty-nine Grade 9-students of Anselmo A. Sandoval Memorial National High School served as the respondents of the study. No sampling was applied in determining the respondents. Focused group discussions and interview were also conducted. Frequency, percentage, ranking, weighted mean and t-test were the statistical tools used in quantifying the data gathered.
VII. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
From the results of the study, the following were obtained.
1.Level of Grammar Skills of Grade 9 students of Anselmo A. Sandoval Memorial National High School
The level of grammar skills of Grade 9 students belong in 7 sections were determined in this study to identify and select the controlled group to be used in pilot testing of the project.
As reflected in the Table 1, the researchers find Grade 9 students has challenged grammar skills in English as reflected in its composite mean of 7.16 and MPS of 35.78 which is below mastery.
Summary of Pretest Results in English Grammar among G9 Sections in AASMNHS
Grade 9 Sections Mean MPS Rank
(49) 6.52 32.60 7
(48) 6.61 33.04 6
(45) 6.78 33.90 4
(48) 9.09 45.44 1
(48) 6.76 33.82 5
(45) 7.20 35.98 2
(49) 7.14 35.69 3
Composite Mean 7.16 35.78
As cited, Grade 9-Bunsen obtained the lowest scores in the summary of pretest results in English grammar among Grade 9 sections. It obtained a weighted mean of 6.52 and MPS of 32.60 which ranked seven among the sections. This meant that the controlled group to be selected is Grade 9-Bunsen.
However, Grade 9 Garnett got the highest scores which considered as ranked one with the weighted mean of 9.09 and MPS of 45.44 among them. This implied that most of the students belong to the group were moving toward mastery and have enough knowledge in terms of grammar.
2.Root Causes of Students’ Low Mastery in Basic Grammar Skills Grade 9 students
The root causes of students’ low mastery in basic grammar skills were revealed in this study.
Table 2 revealed that four root causes of low mastery in basic grammar skills were identified by 49 respondents belong to Grade 9-Bunsen.
Root Causes of Students’ Low Mastery in Basic Grammar Skills of Grade 9 Students
Root Causes No. of Responses Percentage Rank
1. Grammar rules are complex 17 33% 3.5
2. Social media applications are available for free in gadgets. 17 33% 3.5
3. There is insufficient time. 20 39% 2
4. Communication activities provide limited emphasis on grammar. 39 75% 1
Out of 49 respondents, 39 or 75% agreed that communication activities provide limited emphasis on grammar as shown as the primary root cause of students’ low mastery in grammar skills. As students engage in spoken and written communication, use of correct grammar is really important which allows our ideas or messages clearly understood. However, most topics in English 9 are about literature, and are limited emphasis on basics of grammar which leads to unpracticed skills which later results to incorrect grammar use; having unclear messages and meaningless sentences. According to Chin (2000), effective grammar instruction begins with what students already know about grammar, and it helps them use this knowledge as they write and speak. Therefore, as teachers, we must determine what the students already know about grammar and build upon that knowledge.
On the other hand, 17 respondents or 33% agreed that root causes of their low mastery in grammar were because of grammar rules are complex and social media applications are available for free in gadgets, respectively. Because of complex grammar rules, students were having a hard time to identify the specific rule to use whenever they were doing grammar drills. Likewise, on the study of Zuidema (2012), he emphasized that the challenge for language teachers was to create opportunities for grammar study especially focusing on grammar rules that were both rigorous and relevant, that prompts students to systematically explore the language in texts that are meaningful to them – both as readers and as writers. In addition, Ediger (2011) also stressed that teachers should make grammar instruction interesting and relevant to their students.
Furthermore, when students were given take-home enrichment activities and assignments, they did not answer it seriously because they tend to use their gadgets instead of doing their assignments. Their attention is diverted to playing games and chatting to their friend in social media sites. At the same time, with the students’ alleviating use of gadgets, as mentioned by Kemp (2014), grammar rules of conventional written language are often transgressed in textese that affects the literary skills of students. Also, from a survey conducted by Adams (2007), students also admitted that they do not put a lot of thought into their writing. They have a difficult time concentrating on the task at hand since they are so used to multitasking with what they do online. This is affecting their ability to complete full and thoughtful writing assignments.