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Enhancing Communicative Achievement in SPM 1119/2

Communicative achievement is one of the assessment criteria for SPM 1119/2 Writing paper. What is communicative achievement? Basically, communicative achievement is a mixture of a few aspects such as the following:

i) Format; if the essay is an article, does the candidate write an article? If the question requires the candidate to write a report, is the report written according to the correct format?

ii) Holding reader’s attention; Does the essay have many errors that distract the reader’s attention to read the essay smoothly?

iii) Tone; Does the essay use an appropriate tone? If the candidate is supposed to convince others about something, do the ideas sound convincing? If the email should include sentences to show being supportive to a disappointed friend, is it achieved successfully?

iv) Clarity of ideas; Are straightforward ideas presented well? Are the ideas presented in the essay clearly explained?

How can ESL teachers enhance their candidates’ or learners’ communicative achievement? Personally, I would say, the easiest aspect to be improved would be the format of the essay. Learners can be given sample articles and reports and then teachers can explain about the format in detail to their learners. On the other hand, reducing the errors made in their essays can be challenging to address. As all of us are fully aware of, it takes time for most learners to understand grammar rules and most importantly reduce errors when they write. Therefore, teachers must make good, practical and effective plans how learners’ errors can be tackled and reduced so that reader’s attention can be held well.

Coaching learners for straightforward ideas and appropriate tone is something feasible I would say. How can ESL teachers guide their learners to write with the right tones? The answer is simple; they just need to examine the question thoroughly; understand the situation, requirements or context mentioned in the question. Moreover, it is crucial for those who need guidance to be exposed to different sentences with different purposes such as to persuade, console, convince, support and recommend. After getting some explanation and input from their teacher, learners can strengthen their understanding by constructing their own sentences which carry straightforward ideas. Let’s look at this essay question and sample answer which offers appropriate structures that enhance the tones in the email.

Sample answer:

Another aspect of communicative achievement which teachers can easily guide their learners is to present straightforward ideas as well as explain their ideas clearly. Perhaps, some learners may need more time to show progress but it is something not impossible to achieve. A simple sentence construction practice like the ones shown below can coach learners to write straightforward ideas easily.

In short, learners’ communicative achievement is important. We cannot deny the fact that most of our learners even the good ones still need guidance and clear explanation from their English Language teachers. Therefore, teachers must understand every aspect of communicative achievement well before they can explain it to and coach their learners with ease.


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