Teaching Writing among Weak and Reluctant ESL Learners in Malaysian Classrooms: Part 3 (KONA: A Tech
KONA, developed by me in 2011, is a technique or strategy to address the second writing anxiety that is learners dislike writing simply because they claim they have ideas but do not know how to express those ideas in written English. Most of my weak ESL learners are Malays so definitely their ideas are thought in Malay. What is the concept of KONA? Please read the details in this PowerPoint presentation.
Why do I name it KONA? Well, KONA gives alternatives to weak learners to express their ideas in English. If they are trained properly, weak learners will always find ways to write their English sentences based on the ideas they have in mind. There are always choices for them to construct sentences. Sometimes, for a clear understanding, I have to explain to my weak learners in Malay - "Bila kamu ada idea tapi tak tau nak tulis dalam BI, kena KONA! Ubah idea tu sikit, cari idea lebih mudah yang kamu boleh tulis dalam BI. Tak boleh kot tu, kona kot ni. Tak boleh kot ni, kona kot tu. Yang penting, don't stop writing!"
Teachers must give ample practices on sentence construction using KONA technique. How much? How long? Well, the answer is, it depends. Of course, it depends on a few factors such as how weak your learners are, how much time you are willing to allocate for writing and your learners' commitment in constructing sentences. You know what is best for your learners! Whatever, it is, before you move on to the next phase that is paragraph writing using the GORENG technique, your weak learners' confidence to construct sentences using KONA technique must be improved and evident.
Please do not be like some English teachers who know their learners are weak and reluctant yet still tell them to write a complete essay without much attempt to coach, train and motivate to write sentences and paragraphs first. Teachers cannot simply ask learners to run when they cannot even toddle well. Personally, I believe KONA is a technique to teach weak learners to toddle - move with short unsteady steps before they can walk steadily (paragraph writing) and then run here and there (essay writing). My belief is based on an old but very precious book by Gurrey who gives a very practical (1964: 67) advice - “The guiding rule for all written work ….. the children should not be urged to run before they can walk.”
[I presented my 7th paper with the title "CO.P: An Intervention Strategy to Motivate Weak and Reluctant ESL Writers" using this KONA technique at The 5th International English Language Teaching Conference 2011 (iELT-Con 2011), Bayview Hotel, Georgetown, Penang]
Gurrey, P. 1964. Teaching English as a Foreign Language. London: The English Language