The Effect of Genre Approach on Malaysian Orang Asli EFL Students’ Descriptive Writing
The indigenous Orang Asli in Malaysia who do not use English on a daily basis consequently have low English proficiency and poor writing skills. Their existing EFL situation coupled with the ongoing problems in gaining access to proper education further stifles their language development. This study aims to examine the effectiveness of the genre approach in improving secondary Orang Asli EFL students’ descriptive writing, and their perceptions of using the genre approach as a framework to overcome challenges in learning descriptive writing. This quasi-experimental study was conducted in a secondary school in Pahang, Malaysia. Quantitative data is sourced from students’ pre-test and post-test scores, and also a self-report questionnaire on their perceptions towards the genre approach. The approach shows evidence of improvement in students’ descriptive writing and could have a larger effect than the process approach currently taught in schools. Their perception towards the approach was positive – they were able to improve their writing in the post-test as they believe that the approach has helped them improve their writing skills. Thus, the genre approach for teaching Orang Asli students can be further improved by incorporating more localised content so that it meets the learning needs of Orang Asli students lacking in English writing skills. The approach has the potential to be implemented in both indigenous schools and rural schools with low proficiency students, which provides support to EFL teachers in improving their teaching practices catered to the Orang Asli.
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