Thai EFL Students’ Perceptions toward Learning English Descriptive Paragraph Writing through Problem-Based Learning

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Abadee Cheadae
Somruedee Khongput

Abstract

                The current study aims to investigate Matthayomsuksa 6 students’ perceptions toward learning English descriptive paragraph writing through problem-based learning (PBL) approach. The participants of this study were 40 participants at a school in Yala. They were assigned to solve a problem in groups. The problem to be solved was about writing a descriptive paragraph. The research instruments included questionnaire and semi-structured interview. The quantitative data from the questionnaire were analyzed for arithmetic mean and interpreted using descriptive analysis. The qualitative data from the semi-structured interview were analyzed using content analysis. The results revealed that the participants had good perceptions toward learning descriptive paragraph writing through PBL approach (x̅=3.45). When considering each domain, the results revealed that the most highly rated domain was knowledge gained and writing improvement (x̅=3.54). The least rated domain were identical, self-study and working in group (x̅=3.40). The open-ended questions and semi-structured interview results revealed that the students had mixed perceptions toward PBL. The students perceived that PBL was not only helpful for developing their writing ability but also communicative and cooperative learning skills since PBL offered them an opportunity to exchange their different knowledge with their peers through group discussion and focused tasks with facilitation of the teacher. However, some negative perceptions were discovered. Some students found that time allocation provided by the teacher was not adequate to complete their task, and the problem and the handouts were too difficult for them as PBL was likely a new writing concept for the students. In addition, differences English proficiency of members in a group affected their learning outcomes. The findings suggest that PBL can be implemented to develop Thai EFL students’ English descriptive writing ability with careful considerations of involving factors.

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Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts