The Errors in Writing made by the Students of Pangsha Post-Graduate College, Rajbari: A Case Study
There are some reasons or purposes to do this research work. They are-
– To find out the errors of writing
– To find out the causes of errors of writing
– To explore the condition of the fresher student of free hand writing
– To show the way to solve of their errors.
Learning a foreign language or second language, learners have to know or acquire four skills. Such as- listening, speaking, reading and writing. Among these four skills writing is the most important. By birth one acquires listening and speaking ability. Within three to four years a child can speak his or her mother tongue. Gradually, he learns to read and write by learning letters. If the learners learn the letters, then it’s easy to read. But it’s not easy to write by knowing the letters because there are so many rules and regulations of writings. Every language follows some rules and regulations to write. We can express ourselves through speaking, body language and symbols.
Learning a foreign language is a gradual process, during which mistakes are to be expected in all stages of learning. Mistakes will not disappear simply because they have been pointed out to the learner, contrary to what some language learners and teachers believe. Language acquisition does not happen unless the learner is relaxed and keen on learning. Fear of making mistakes prevents learners from being receptive and responsive. In order to overcome learners’ fear it is essential to create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in language classrooms, to encourage cooperation through peer work or small group work and apply techniques for language acquisition that suit and involve individual learners.
Among all the four skills writing is the most important. In every sphere of life, writing is needed. A student has to write in his exam script. We evaluate the student’s merit with his writing in exam script. Without writing, there is no evidence. David P. Harris has shown different objects of writings in his book Testing English as a Second Language. In English, to write something precisely, the writers have to know some components. Such as- subject-verb agreement, preposition and their extensive use, tense, subject, verb etc.
In English, or in any languages, have some rules and regulations for effective writing. So, the writers have to have a clear idea about the grammar. If someone writes ‘I rice eat’ then it will be wrong because it doesn’t follow the rules of English Grammar. So, correctness of the spelling, grammatical accuracy, as well as the clear concept about the grammar will help students especially the first year students remove their errors of their writings.
Data Presenting and Data Analysis
After collecting their writing, we have checked those. There we found a lot of errors in their writings. Some of them have done comparatively better than the others. There are some common mistakes in their writings. Such as- preposition, spelling, tense, sentence structure, determiners etc.
We have found spelling mistakes in the most of the students’ writings. Some students have confusion to use –sion and –tion. For example, they have written conclution in the place of conclusion. One of the students has written the word ‘sit’ as a noun but the noun will be ‘seat’. In pronunciation they are the same but in spelling they have difference. They have done some silly mistakes only for their carelessness in writing. Such as- they have written, ‘goall’ instead of ‘goal’, ‘ded not’ instead of ‘did not’, ‘lesten’ instead of ‘lesson’, in the place of ‘their’ they have written ‘there’, ‘complite’ instead of ‘complete’, ‘healthe’ instead of ‘healthy’, ‘stong’ instead of ‘strong’, ‘daly’ instead of ‘daily’, ‘surprice’ instead of ‘surprise’ etc. They make such type of mistakes because they don’t pay their attention or concentration at the time of reading and writing. There is another problem that after reading or memorizing something they don’t write it.
Subject-verb agreement is another kind of big problem of writings. The students make mistakes in subject-verb agreement commonly. I have also found this type of problem in the writings. One of the students has written ‘students loves her’ which is wrong. Here ‘the students’ is plural form. He has to write ‘students love her’. Someone has written that ‘all of our student is’ which is also wrong. The student has to write ‘all of our students are’. To know about it the students have to know countable and uncountable noun. From grammar books they can know about subject-verb agreement. The students face problems especially in using verb in the place of ‘little’ or ‘a little’, ‘few’ or ‘a few’, ‘each’, ‘every’, ‘both’, ‘any’, etc.
Generally all the students face problem in using tense. We have also found that the students of first year at intermediate level of this college had mad this type of errors. They frequently use present tense and past tense in the same sentence. Sometimes, they are unable to maintain tense order. We have found their errors in the place of present perfect tense and past indefinite tenses. One of the students has written that ‘I passed my school life from…’. The student has to know that in past indefinite tense he must mention time. Sometimes, the students write that ‘I have passed my college life in 1999…’ but it is also wrong. If he wants to mention time he has to use past indefinite tense. From one example, the students can remove their confusion and that is ‘I was born in 1984’ which is past indefinite tense. We have found that the students mix different tenses in their writings. One of the students has written that ‘When I am in class one; in the first day I sat at the first bench’. He is telling about his past experience but he is using present indefinite tense. The students can explain any past experience in present indefinite tense but mixing present indefinite tense and past indefinite tense together in a sentence is wrong. We have also found some errors in writing past perfect tense and present perfect continuous tense. In present perfect continuous tense, the student hasn’t mentioned time in the sentence. Someone has written that ‘She has been teaching here.’ He or she hasn’t mention time here. The student has to write ‘She has been teaching here for 5 years.’
We have found errors in capitalization in their writings. In the middle of the sentence the students have to start words with small letters. But sometimes there are some exceptions. If the word is someone’s name or name of any place then they have to use capital letters. There is another exception that if some one wants to write ‘I’, he has to use capital letter though it is in the middle of the sentence but here we have found one of the students has written ‘i’ instead of ‘I’ in the middle of the sentence. After completing a sentence, the students have to start with capital letter to write new sentence but here one of the students has written ‘her mutual behaviour…’ which one is wrong. The students are making such types of silly mistakes only for their carelessness of writings.
Before pronoun the students should not use article but one of the students has written that ‘the he is…’. We asked the student why he has used ‘the’ before ‘he’. He answered me that if ‘the student’ is possible, why ‘the he’ is impossible? We have used he instead of the word ‘student’. So, we understand that the student does not know how to use an article properly.
We have also found errors in writing present participle. After preposition the student has used ‘-ing’ form of verb but in my findings I have found some of the students haven’t use ‘-ing’. The student has written that ‘After pass my H.S.C. …’ but here he has to write ‘after passing’ but after infinitive (to+verb) they have to use the base form of the verb.
We have found errors in sentence structure. One of the students hasn’t use verb in the sentence. He writes, ‘There many students…’. In this sentence there is no verb. He has to write ‘there are many students…’. Another student writes that ‘One of them my teacher…’ but he has to write here that ‘One of them is my teacher…’
Most of the students have a common problem in writing and that is, using of preposition. To remove the problem of preposition, the students have to practice regularly. Without practicing they can’t improve themselves. If they write regularly, gradually it will improve. In my data, We have also found some errors in using preposition. One of the students has written that ‘I am a student in Pangsha Postgraduate College’ but it is wrong. He has to write ‘I am a student of Pangsha Postgraduate College.’ The students have problems in using ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘of’, ‘to’, ‘for’, ‘with’ etc.
We have found another error in their writings. They can’t use determiners in their writings perfectly. Determiners are the pre-modifiers and post-modifiers of the noun. Someone has written that ‘This kinds’ which is wrong. The student has to write ‘this kind’ which works as singular. If he wants to make it plural, he has to write ‘these kinds’. Article is also one kind of determiner. I have found errors in using article.
We have prepared a diagram to show their errors in different sectors. We have worked with 20 students and the diagram will show their errors-
The above chart shows that among nine students all of them have mistaken in spelling, ten of them in using preposition and participle, sixteen of them in tense, four of them in determiners, eight of them in using verb, twelve of them in subject-verb agreement and fifteen of them in sentence structure which have been shown also in the following percentage table.
We have shown different types of errors in the writing of the first year students at Pangsha Postgraduate College, Rajbari. The students can remove those types of errors by themselves. The education system of our school and college can help the students to solve their problems. The teachers and students of school and colleges don’t take care of their students’ writings. They always emphasize on memorizing but they don’t encourage their students to write creative writings. To remove their errors the teachers of school and colleges have to be conscious.
They will have to be aware of the errors of their students. In university level the students have to be conscious about their own writings. To remove their errors of writings they have to write regularly. Thus, students can grow a habit of writing something creative on daily basis. Everyday a student should write something creatively. In this way the students can remove errors of spelling. The teachers can give them some topics to write.
After writing, the teachers will check them thoroughly and will find out their errors and give a solution how to correct those errors. In this way the teachers can help their students to remove their errors. The teachers can give them some guidelines to read grammar books.
There are some English grammar books such as Intermediate English Grammar by Raymond Murphy, Learning English the Easy Way by Prof. Dr. Sadruddin Ahmed which can help the students to remove their grammatical problems or errors.From these books, the students can learn tense, preposition, sentence structure, subject-verb agreement properly. My last suggestion to the students to remove their errors is that there is no alternative way of writing regularly. Whatever a student will memorize, he or she has to write it down. If one can do this, he or she will be able to remove different types of errors.
Besides, Learners must be given practice in self-correction of their own work either individually or in pairs but only if they prefer peer cooperation. However, in my opinion, students definitely need training in rectifying mistakes independently, i.e. without teacher’s interference. Left to their own devices, learners might be overwhelmed or frustrated by task intricacy. Learner’s ability to notice errors without teacher’s aid is a qualitative leap to conscious cognition.
Language acquisition does not happen unless the learner is relaxed and keen on learning. Fear of making mistakes prevents learners from being receptive and responsive. In order to overcome learners’ fear it is essential to create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in language classrooms, to encourage cooperation through peer work or small group work and apply techniques for language acquisition that suit and involve individual learners. Correction is an essential condition for successful acquisition of any language. Learners must be given practice in self-correction of their own work either individually or in pairs but only if they prefer peer cooperation. However, students definitely need training in rectifying mistakes independently, i.e. without teacher’s interference. Left to their own devices, learners might be overwhelmed or frustrated by task intricacy.
• Mistake is a natural process of learning and must be considered as a part of cognition; therefore, teachers should not humiliate or rebuke the students for committing any mistakes
• Teachers have to recognize a well known fact that learning ability varies from person to person and all language learning is based on continual exposure.
• Students should be given chance very frequently to correct each other work, which is very important because ‘self-correction or peer correction help to focus student attention on the errors and to reduce reliance on the teacher.
• We should never correct a mistake, rather correct always a person‘. So, the active involvement of students in the process of dealing with mistakes is important: it stimulates active learning; induces cooperative atmosphere; and develops independent learners.
• The best time to correct is ‘as late as possible’, because it creates friendly and cooperative atmosphere
• Learners must be given practice in self-correction of their own work either individually or in pairs but only if they prefer peer cooperation. However, students definitely need training in rectifying mistakes independently, i.e. without teacher’s interference
For good writing one has to practice regularly. If the students write regularly, it’s possible to remove their errors of writings. The students’ willingness and teachers’ help can help them write perfectly and without any errors. I believe that there is a great opportunity to work with my research paper and later on the researchers will bring out the success properly of my research.