Using Action Research to implement an oral discourse approach for teaching composition writing


  • Christina Wong Saint Hilda's Primary School (Singapore)


English Composition Writing


English Composition writing requires thinking as one writes and it demands that a pupil uses written sentences to connect ideas to present a composition story in a coherent manner.  Yet, English composition writing remains a challenge for many pupils and they do not enjoy it.  This research responds to this challenge by doing three things. First, it gets to the core of what a composition writing lesson should be like, by adopting an “Oral Discourse Approach” as described by Golub (1970) and Wyans (2008), to help pupils generate ideas and supply reasons to ensure that each idea flows logically.  The compilation of written ideas would then enable pupils to construct their individual composition in a coherent manner.  Second, it expands the work of Golub (1970) and Wyans (2008) by incorporating the use of a “Plot Graph” to help pupils order and organize their ideas.  The application of “arrows and numbered boxes” in a Plot Graph helps pupils visualize how the flow of ideas forms a sequence of events leading to the climax and how it resolves, thereby showing how a composition story is developed in a step-by-step manner from start to end.  Third, it uses the Dialectic Soft Systems Methodology described by Dick (2002) and Tay and Lim (2007) to explain how the process of composition writing can be described as progressing through four dialectics.  The instructional approach used in this paper can also be applied to composition writing in other languages.

Author Biography

Christina Wong, Saint Hilda's Primary School (Singapore)

Christina Wong is a teacher at St Hilda's Primary School.  In 2006, her action research on journal writing for mathematics was presented at the WALs Conference in Hong Kong.  In July 2014, she presented her second action research on teaching English composition writing using an oral discourse approach at the ISSS Conference in Washington DC, USA.