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Volume 2 Number 3, Autumn 2005, Pages 1-149   


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Helping Remedial Students Help Themselves: Causal Attribution and Language Proficiency

    Hawanum bt. Hussein / Arshad Abd. Samad


How does the average English teacher help students who lag far behind their peers in terms of English proficiency at tertiary level? This exploratory study attempts to answer this question by studying a class of Foundation level students who are repeating an English class for the second time. A four pronged approach was used to help these remedial students whose attitudes range from apathetic to hostile. The approach consisted of the use of computer software, directed grammar exercises, reading and vocabulary notebooks and test and exam reviews. The study examined whether the approach would affect their causal attributions for lack of success. Students attended computer laboratory sessions where they used language learning software. They were also provided with directed grammar activities that emphasized meaning and grammar points and meaning. In the approach, the students were also required to keep a Reading and Vocabulary Notebook to inculcate responsibility. Class lessons also placed an emphasis on recognizing past semester exam questions and format. A pre and post test was carried out to assess the effectiveness of the instruction and hence the ability of the students to self help. This paper will discuss the findings of the study and offer recommendations for helping students who have fallen far behind due to many reasons.