TESL Undergraduates’ Ability to Handle Academic Text-types at University Malaysia Sarawak


  • Su-Hie Ting, University Malaysia Sarawak
  • Pei Feng Tee, KDU College Penang, Malaysia


This case study examined the ability of TESL undergraduates to handle five text-types commonly required by their assignments, with a specific focus on the structure and language features significant to the text-type. Stratified random sampling was used to obtain 60 coursework assignments across five text-types from undergraduates in the Teaching of English as a Second Language (TESL) degree programme at University Malaysia Sarawak: argument, explanation, discussion, instruction and information report. Genre analysis of the assignments using the frameworks of Feez and Derewianka showed that the information report and explanation text-types were the most difficult in terms of the generic structure.The results showed that the undergraduates were familiar with the staging of argument and discussion but the ideas were sometimes not effectively developed within the stages. The analysis of linguistic choices indicated good use of relevant language features to fulfil the purpose of the text-type in 27 assignments but the rest of the assignments contained unsatisfactory use of modal verbs and conditional clauses to present arguments and connectors to show sequence of steps in assignments requiring explanations.


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Author Biographies

Su-Hie Ting, University Malaysia Sarawak

Dr. Su-Hie Ting is a lecturer at University Malaysia Sarawak. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Queensland, Australia and has published on language choice in multilingual speech communities. Her research interests also include strategic competence and academic writing

Pei Feng Tee, KDU College Penang, Malaysia

Pei-Feng Tee holds a Bachelor’s degree in TESL from University Malaysia Sarawak, and is pursuing her Master’s degree in English Language Studies at University Sains Malaysia.




How to Cite

Ting, University Malaysia Sarawak, S.-H., & Tee, KDU College Penang, Malaysia, P. F. (2008). TESL Undergraduates’ Ability to Handle Academic Text-types at University Malaysia Sarawak. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 2(2), 85–100. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/50