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Action Research: The Use of Mind Mapping in Second- Language Chinese Composition Education
Chinese as a second language
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether using Chinese writing instruction with mind mapping can increase a learner’s interest in writing and writing ability. The primary method of this study was action research. Nine Chinese learners subjects were involved in a 15-week formal language course, during which mind mapping writing experiments, corresponding to the class, were conducted five times. The main research tool used in the experimental course was qualitative data; secondarily, the results of the study were objectively proved with quantitative tools. The quantitative tools used over the course of the study were a Writing Interest Questionnaire and Composition Assessment Form. Qualitative data included teaching journals, analysis of student work, and interview records. After the data were collected and compiled, the results were as follows: (a) After participating in Chinese writing instruction with mind mapping, students showed significant improvement on their Writing Interest Questionnaires. It proved that mind mapping before writing could reduce fear and anxiety, and increase a student’s interest in writing. (b) After participating in Chinese writing instruction with mind mapping, students showed significant improvement on their Composition Assessment Forms, in these four dimensions: punctuation and characters, vocabulary and grammar, content/concept, and organizational structure. (c) Through the cyclical process of action research, teachers and students were able to discuss and any problems or difficulties encountered in the Chinese Composition with Mind Mapping classes. After reflecting on these problems, the curriculum for the next class could be adjusted and improved. (d) The cyclical method of progressive correction used in Chinese writing instruction with mind mapping is a useful strategy (process) for understanding the writing process and needs of the study participants, in order to provide the most appropriate assistance to them. (e) The use of mind mapping in Chinese writing instruction brought upon positive learning results amongst students. But the quality of the mind mapping and writing skill are not absolutely related. Some highly-skilled students can compose fairly well without drawing mind maps. Finally, the findings of this study propose educational suggestions which may serve as a reference for future research.
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