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A study on theme types in Taiwanese senior high school students' narratives
Tsai, Tsi Chuen
Yu, Hsueh Ying
Tsai, Tsi Chuen
|Issue Date:||2012-10-30 10:33:10 (UTC+8)|
Theme plays a significant role in guiding the information flow in text. Nonetheless, there is evidence indicating that many EFL learners often fail to make good choices of theme to secure sentential relationship or writing coherence.
Through the observation on the occurrences and distribution of theme types in three levels of student compositions: the high, the middle and the low-rated narratives, the present study aims to investigate the establishment of theme in Taiwanese senior high school students’ narratives in order to gain understanding of theme’s effect on writing coherence and writing quality.
The entire study consists of a pilot study and a formal one. The pilot study helps establish the criteria for the main study. In the main study, 111 student compositions were gathered and two raters were recruited and trained for the rating. Based on the rating system, the student compositions are divided into 3 levels. 10 samples from each level were randomly selected for thematic analysis.
The result shows that the occurrences and distribution of theme types in the three levels of writing are alike. In general, unmarked NP theme is the most favored by all the students and marked theme Non-fi C + NP is the least desirable. Nonetheless, in terms of the establishment of theme, there are major differences between groups. In particular, the high-rated essays tend to establish a theme that is connected to the theme or the rheme in the preceding discourse or provides background information for the development of the event. In contrast, the mid-or low-rated essays are more likely to establish a theme that is unrelated or disruptive to the progression of the current discourse. Based on the findings of the present study, it is suggested that the notion of theme including its features and functions be incorporated into the teaching of English compositions to help Taiwanese senior high school students identify the characteristics of coherent writing and facilitate coherence in their English narratives.
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