Chapter One Introduction
1.1Need for the Study
English as an international language still plays a critical role in china. Currently,English teaching is changing from implanting English knowledge to enhancing thestudents’ application ability. Language learning depends on writing which canconsolidate the language knowledge and become a significant communicative means. Incollege, CET-4 is the authorized English proficiency test which aims at the studentsfrom non-English major. Since the CET-4 was carried out in the early 1980s, writingpart has been taking great score ratio. However, the average score for most of highervocational college students is between 6 and 7, which is lower than 9 points that is thestandard score of CET-4. In fact, most of students have started to learn English from theelementary school, but little can they convey their thoughts in English clearly, let alonewrite a complete article without grammatical or lexical mistakes. What the students lackis language input, including a right amount of vocabulary, grammatical fundamental,coherent organization etc. In the long run, the students feel unconfident and discouragedin English writing. Meanwhile, many higher vocational colleges do not arrange relevantcurricula to cultivate the students’ writing ability. Though there are writing parts in mostcollege textbooks, the teachers only ask students to practice after class or asassignments to hand in without any theoretical and scientific directions as well assufficient feedbacks. The students just practice writing different topics mechanicallywithout any improvement. As a result, students hold negative attitudes and littleinterests towards English writing. The urgent requirement is how to improve students’English writing and give them instructions systematically and scientifically.
1.2 Purpose for the Study
Just like the Chinese proverb says: after reading Tang poems many times, one canat least intone poems even one can’t write them. The main principle of languagelearning can be summarized as reading extensively, memorizing exactly and imitatingsignificantly (Xu, 2007). So does the English writing learning. In this study, through theempirical study of students from non-English majors, the author attempts to prove theimitation and recitation teaching method applies to the English writing teaching fromthe perspective of Memetics and it can improve the students’ English writing level. Atlast, through the questionnaire survey, the author tries to testify this method can makestudents overcome the anxiety and increase their interests in English writing. Therefore,it is hoped that the study on the imitation and recitation teaching method based onMemetics may yield productive results that would find a possible solution to Englishwriting teaching and learning.
Chapter Two Literature Review and Theoretical Framework
2.1 Related Studies Abroad and at Home
This part covers three relevant studies abroad and at home on memetics, imitationand recitation which contain origins, previous studies, current researches, classic worksand processes of development or evolution. The related studies involve in all aspects ofsociety and language, among which considerable scholars devote themselves to makingnumerous researches on the college English writing. Since the word “meme” was created, the theory of Memetics has attracted numerousscholars’ attention from all over the world. Currently, after a series of empirical studiesthe memetic theory has been applied to different fields. To have a clear image of thetheory, it is essential to review the related studies abroad and at home in detail. The term “meme” stems from the Greek word “mimeme” which means “theimitated thing” first appeared in the book named “The Selfish of Gene” written byRichard Dawkins and published in 1976. In the book, the author affirms that there is athing similar to the gene in the cultural field and it plays an important role in the processof cultural evolution. Dawkins (1976, 2006) states that meme is a unit of culturaltransmission or replicator, whose core is imitation. The forms of meme, in definitespeaking, are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, scientific theories, religious faiths etc.Therefore, everything is a meme if it is passed from person to person.
Memetics is a kind of theoretical and empirical science which studies replication,transmission and evolution of memes and its core is “imitation.” Although numerousscholars have made many researches since the theory of Memetics was introduced,fewer scholars have applied this method to English writing teaching. In order to provethe effectiveness of Memetics to college English writing teaching, one should first havea whole understanding about the definition, classification, features and life cycle ofMemetics. The word meme is evolved from the Greek word “mimeme” and deleted the prefix“mi” by Dawkins, so that the word can be easier to connect the word “memory” in themind. And Dawkins defines the term of meme first in his book the Selfish Gene, that is,“Meme is simply a unit of intellectual and cultural information which can pass frommind to mind and survive long enough to receive the people’s recognition” (Dawkins,1976:192). Now in the new version of Oxford Dictionary of English (2001) illustratesthe term of meme as “Meme, an element of culture or system of behavior that may beconsidered to be passed on from one individual to another by non-genetic means,especially imitation”. And according to American Webster’s New World Dictionary(1988) the term of meme is defined as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreadsfrom person to person within a culture.”
Chapter Three Reserch Methodology.......27
3.1 Research Questions and Hypothesis.....27
3.2 Research Design ......28
3.2.2 Instruments......... .....28
3.2.3 Teaching Materials ...........28
3.3 Experiment Procedure .......29
3.4 Data Collection .........34
Chapter 4 Result Analysis and Discussion .......36
4.1 Pretest Experiment between EG and CG.......36
4.2 Posttest Experiment between EG and CG .....39
4.3 Pretest and Posttes in the CG ......42
4.4 Pretest and Posttes in the EG.......43
4.5 Questionnaire Survey......... .........44
4.6 General Discussion....46
Chapter Five Conclusion ........50
5.1 Major Findings.........50
5.3 Limitations and Suggestions for Further Study ....52
Chapter Four Result Analysis and Discussion
In this part, the arguments about previous hypotheses are introduced. Throughcomparing the results of compositions in the pretest and posttest, the students’differences between EG and CG are shown up. The author lists two students’ articles inthe pretest and posttest respectively and analyzes the students’ mistakes from theaspects of vocabulary, sentence, grammar and passage, so that the students’performances can be seen directly and easily. In the meanwhile, the collected dada areanalyzed through SPSS 17.0 to get an accurate value. If the sig.(2-tailed) or P value ishigher than the critical point 0.05, it means there is no obvious difference between twogroups. On the contrary, if the sig.(2-tailed) or P value is lower than 0.05, it means thereexists the difference between the two groups, which is marked with “*” in the table.And if the sig.(2-tailed) or P value is lower than 0.01, it means the difference betweentwo groups is significant which is marked with “**” in the table.Then through SPSS 17.0, the author analyzes the students’ pretest and posttestresults in the CG and EG to get the paired samples t-test to testify whether the studentsfrom two groups improve their English writing competences under the guidance ofconventional English classroom teaching and the imitation and recitation teachingmethod based on Memetics respectively. In addition, the results of same questionnairesto the students from EG in the different time can display the students’ changes inattitudes and interests towards English learning and the imitation-recitation teachingmethods.
This is the last part of the thesis which includes three parts—major findings,implications, limitations and suggestions for further study. The current research is an empirical teaching study. During the experiment, thenon-English major students from EG are trained on vocabularies, sentences, idiomaticexpressions, passage structures and contents etc. with the imitation and recitationteaching method. The choice of materials to be recited and imitated is made carefully,which insists the principles of typicality, diversity, interestingness. The difficulty ofselected samples is a bit beyond students’ current ability but not too far. The teachershould adhere to the duty and give one’s effective feedbacks and collect the students’feedbacks in time. Thus the teacher can help students to master the teaching methodeffectively to write better compositions. After one term training, the students’ Englishwriting level and their attitudes has changed a lot with the application of imitation andrecitation teaching method based on Memetics. The following are the major findingswhich have emerged from the teaching experiment.