Malaysian University English Test: A Comic Approach to a Serious Subject Matter
Report writing is one of the two tasks in the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) writing paper. In order to write a good report for Task 1, several conventions must be adhered to, which can be arduous and challenging for students. As the application of many technical terms is crucial, it was deemed necessary to inject an innovative and novel way to teach this serious subject matter in a lighter way. The researchers prepared a comic book of 23 pages on the plot of report writing, with several characters in a classroom setting. Standard comic book conventions of spoken and conversational language were used in the presentation of the comic book. An action research on a class of 15 students was conducted; the students were given the comic book to reinforce what had been learnt in the previous 4 h of instruction on report writing. The use of comic book in the 5th and 6th hours of instruction showed that it was a welcome and refreshing change for the students, as it injected fresh interest in learning report writing and added variety to instruction. Pre- and post-comic reports written by students indicated improvement in several aspects, namely, organisation of paragraphs, verbs to show trends, report title, inclusion of key features and word count. As a whole, students agreed that the comic book is primarily effective as a follow-up material for classroom instruction or as reinforcement and revision, due to the many technical terms which need to be mastered through overt instruction.
KeywordsMalaysian University English Test (MUET) Report writing Comic
The researchers are grateful to Dr. Amizura Hanadi Mohd Radzi for lending her kind assistance in collecting data for this study.
- Abdullah, S. A. (2004). MUET and IELTS preparation: Can one size fit both? In M. E. Vethamani & S. A. Abdullah (Eds.), Preparing students for the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) (pp. 100–127). Petaling Jaya: Sasbadi Sdn. Bhd.Google Scholar
- Al-Gharabally, M. (2015). The writing difficulties faced by L2 learners and how to minimize them. International Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research, 3(5), 42–49 Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://www.eajournals.org/wp-content/uploads/The-writing-difficulties-faced-by-L2-learners-and-how-to-minimize-them.pdf.Google Scholar
- Baker, A. (2011). Using comics to improve literacy in English language learners. Unpublished master dissertation, University of Central Missouri, Missouri, United States. Retrieved December12, 2016, from http://centralspace.ucmo.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10768/20/ABaker_LibraryScience.pdf?sequence=1.
- Derrick, J. (2008). Using comics with ESL/EFL students. The Internet TESL Journal, 14(7). Retrieved February 10, 2017, from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Derrick-UsingComics.html.
- Hyland, K. (2016). Methods and methodologies in second language writing research. System, 59, 116–125 Retrieved April 1, 2017, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0346251X16300252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Idris, N. (2009). Writing anxiety among pre-tesl students in University Technology MARA, Shah Alam. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from http://eprints.uitm.edu.my/2310/1/LP_WRITING_ANXIETY_AMONG_ PERTESL_STUDENTS_IN_UNIVERSITY_TECHNOLOGY_MARA_SHAH_ALAM_09_24.pdf.
- Ismail, N., Elias, S., Mohd Ariff Albakri, I. S., Perumal, P. D., & Muthusamy, I. (2010). Exploring ESL students’ apprehension level and attitude towards academic writing. The International Journal of Learning, 17(6), 475–783.Google Scholar
- Kaur, N. (2012). Learner autonomy in second language lexical development amongst pre Malaysian University English Test learners at Universiti Teknologi MARA. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.Google Scholar
- Mah, B. Y., Ismail, R., Shun, C. L., Marimuthu, R., Mohamed, R., & Teck, H. M. (2017). UiTM students’ writing needs, writing problems, and language courses: A qualitative systematic review of literature prior to WeCWI’s course integration. International Academic Research Journal of Social Science, 3(1), 98–103.Google Scholar
- Mohd Noor, S. N. F., & Abdul Kadir, Z. (2016). Students’ learning preferences of English for academic purposes – A KUITTHO affair. Retrieved March 10, 2017, from http://repo.uum.edu.my/3270/1/Si1.pdf.
- Muthusamy, C., Mohamad, F., Ghazali, S. N., & Subrayan @ Michael, A. S. (2010). Enhancing ESL writing creativity via a literature based language instruction. Studies in Literature and Language, 1(2), 36–47.Google Scholar
- Pandian, A. (2007). English for all: Reflections and best practices. In A. Pandian, Y. L. Koo, & P. Kell (Eds.), Innovation and intervention in ELT: Pathways & practices (pp. 1–15). Serdang: Universiti Putra Malaysia Press.Google Scholar
- Sagor, R. (2000). Guiding school improvement with action research. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/100047/chapters/What-Is-Action-Research%C2%A2.aspx.