Original Research

Using flashcards for English second language creative writing in Grade 1

Shivona Mathura, Free-Queen B. Zulu
Reading & Writing | Vol 12, No 1 | a298 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v12i1.298 | © 2021 Shivona Mathura, Free-Queen B. Zulu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 September 2020 | Published: 31 August 2021

About the author(s)

Shivona Mathura, School of Education, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg,
Free-Queen B. Zulu, School of Education, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


Background: English Second Language (ESL) learners have difficulty constructing sentences due to internalising information in their home language and thereafter translating it into English. Learners who have difficulty speaking English generally encounter problems writing it, which hampers their creative writing ability.

Objectives: The purpose of the research was to identify a teaching strategy to facilitate ESL learners with creative writing. This study explored the influence of flashcards on the creative writing skills of Grade 1 ESL learners and improved the researchers’ teaching practice.

Method: This qualitative study depicted an action research design and utilised an inductive approach to data analysis. Convenience sampling was used when selecting the participants who were 31 Grade 1 learners in a school in Pietermaritzburg. The flashcards were used during the implementation stage of the action research process as an intervention to enhance learners’ creative writing skills.

Findings: The findings indicate that learners who participated in the study had improved in their written assessments. There were three themes identified, which included misspelt words, incorrect use of tenses and ungrammatical sentence construction. Flashcards revealed the correct sentence writing techniques by depicting sentences. Learners’ written pieces were more logical and they participated actively during lessons. This enhanced the researcher’s teaching practice, which catered to both visual and auditory learners.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that the use of flashcards had a positive effect on ESL learners’ creative writing skills. This encouraged participatory teaching and learning, which can be of benefit to many teachers seeking to engage learners using alternate learning styles.


visual aids; language development; sentence construction; language of learning and teaching; English Second Language


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Crossref Citations

1. The Roles of Non-Textual Elements in Sustaining ESL and EFL Learning: A Scoping Review
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doi: 10.3390/su141610292