Cassim Silumba, Tichaona Mapolisa


This qualitative study sought to investigate the reasons for continued paragraph writing mistakes by o’ level pupils in English Language free composition writing in selected six secondary schools from three clusters in Mutoko District. The study was constrained by lack of literature. In this study, accidental sampled 12 teachers and 24 school pupils were used as research subjects. Interview, observation and document analysis methods were used to generate data. Document analysis/ review method was also used to provide information on guidance for the teachers of English Language on the teaching and learning procedures, teaching methods and strategies in paragraph writing as well as the objectives of the teaching of English Language as a foreign language to Zimbabwean students. The study found out that teachers who lack effective syllabus interpretation, expertise, skills and competencies are a detriment to paragraph writing and ultimately to free composition writing by O’ Level pupils. Group work is central to language development of pupils searching for effective composition writing skills. Model paragraphs show learners the way and help them to know the techniques of writing logical compositions. Sentences are the firm foundation upon which effective composition writing based on paragraphs is built. The study concluded that that the possible reasons for continued paragraph writing mistakes by O’ Level English Language pupils are diverse and vary from one student to another. Therefore, the factors and reasons for continued paragraph writing mistakes discovered in this research are inadequate and inconclusive; and they have a direct impact on the students’ ability to construct logical paragraphs. At the same time, collaborative and co-operative learning can help improve paragraph writing and the use of English Language paper one as the yardstick to measure competency in pupils writing skills has a detrimental effect on paragraph writing skills. The study recommends that pupils should develop a broad reading background, taught the structures of paragraphs using the hamburger method, step model, the five part model among others write coherent and logical paragraphs, build a good vocabulary and sentence construction skills and use of continuous assessment to determine the overall mark at O’ Level. The study also recommends the use of continuous assessment by Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) in which pupils work is marked and the assessment marks contribute a certain percentage of the final mark should be introduced. Furthermore, in connection with paragraph writing and free composition writing skills, it is recommended that mother tongue interference and sentence construction are looked at. This might need further exploration which would also help to weigh the effects of different factors of paragraph writing mistakes.


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paragraph writing mistake, free composition, paragraphs, English language


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