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A.       Research

Many students struggle with writing in English. The students cannot be good writers, unless they practice writing, choose to make their points, and learn to organize expressions. The students need to experiment with the language, such as manipulating phrases and sentences, so they will be
able to control it. The
teacher must let the students explore and experiment with the language. The students would
improve their writing. In
writing, the students produce language to express their ideas. To do this, students should have sufficient knowledge of what to
write and organization of language. Knowing what to write will enable to flow of ideas, whereas knowing how to organize
will help them to convey
the ideas in a clear way to the readers. It is
necessary for the students to know how to produce language by organizing Theme and Rheme in their writing. The organization of Theme and Rheme are usually discussed in Systemic Functional
Grammar. Systemic
Functional Grammar views
language as a resource for
making meaning. This grammar attempts to describe language in actual use and so
focuses on text and their context.

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Theme and thematic progression (T/TP) is “how
speakers construct their messages which makes them fit smoothly into the
unfolding language event” (Thompson, 2014, p. 117). The theme is the
starting point of a message, according to Halliday (1994:38), the theme is
“what the message is concerned with the departure point for what the
speaker is going to say in a clause. The first clause will be taken as the
theme as topic sentence, but at the level of a text, the first clause will be
regarded as the departure of what the author is going to say (Butt et al,
2000). On the other hand, Theme is followed by the Rheme, Rheme includes what
the author wants to tell about the Theme, which should be new and interesting
to the reader. While, when using Theme as a starting point and Rheme as
information in presenting new knowledge to readers. Thematic Progression is the
progression of new Themes (Butt et al, 2000), that has textual meanings and interpersonal
meanings are organized in a linear and coherent way.

Studies have illustrated the usefulness of T/TP as a tool
to characterize EFL/ESL writing as successful or less successful in terms of
coherence  (Bloor  & 
Bloor,  1992;  Wei, 2014). However, Hawe and Thomas (2012)
stated that while native speakers of English may have acquired how to use T/TP
to produce coherent discourse when they grow up learning the language, EFL/ESL
students are yet to learn  what kind  of 
information  to  place 
in  the  Theme 
position  and  how 
to  continually  pick 
up  the  information 
which  is already in the text and
repeat it in some way so that the reader is always aware of what the key
concepts are and how the key concepts are being developed (Hyland, 2004).

While studies have illustrated the usefulness of
observing T/TP to identify English learners’ writing difficulties  (Schleppegrell,  2004; Wei, 2013a) and suggested that T/TP
should be included in English writing lessons to  help 
students  write  more 
coherently  (Schleppegrell, 2009;
Wei, 2014),  there  has 
been  little  more 
than theoretical advice as to how teachers could apply the theory of
T/TP (Wang, 2007), and very few studies have developed and studied teaching
materials informed by T/TP (Bonhnacker, 2010).

However, there have been very few investigations regarding how teachers could draw on the
literature about Theme, very few studies that have developed  and studied teaching materials informed by
Theme (Bonhnacker, 2010, p. 133), and a very limited number of studies trying
to investigate with empirical evidence how instruction in TP could influence
the way that English learners use TP. Therefore, the research will use a
quasi-experimental research design which included the recruitment of an experimental
group, data collected before and after the instruction, and this study aims to
investigate the effects of instruction on senior high school students’ use of
TP patterns in their English writing.

B.       Identification
of Problems

Based on  the background of the study, the writer
identifies the following problem in students’ writing:

1.      The students have difficulties with their  English writing.

2.      The English teachers have little creativity in
using a teaching method in English writing.

C.       Delimitation of
the Problem

There have been very few investigations regarding how
teachers could draw on the literature about Theme, but a very limited number of
studies trying to investigate with empirical evidence how instruction in TP
could influence the way that English learners use TP. This study will focus on
the effect of using Theme and Thematic Progression on students’ writing.

Research Question

The areas of investigation on this study are formulated by the
research questions:

1.    How do Senior High School 4 Cirebon students use TP patterns before the instruction?

2.    How do Senior High School 4 Cirebon students use TP patterns after the instruction?

3.    How does the instruction in TP patterns affect students’writing?

E.       Aims of the

The aims of the
study are mentioned below:

1.    To investigate how
Senior High School 4
Cirebon students use TP patterns before the instruction.

2.    To investigate how
Senior High School 4
Cirebon students use TP patterns after the instruction.

3.    To investigate how the instruction in TP patterns affect students’ writing.

Significance of the Research

1.      This study expected to be useful, worthy and
beneficial for English teachers in using TP patterns.

2.      The result of this study expected to be useful
for the teachers to give the students instruction in TP pattern to help the
students in their writing. For the students to use the instruction in Thematic
Progression (TP) pattern that can help them on students’ writing, especially in
EFL students’ writing ability

G.      Previous

A number of studies have been done in this area. The relevant study
seems to be likely in this research. English learners have a number of decisions to make in
terms of text development when they write in English, such as the choice of and
ordering of themes, and repeating and developing key concepts to guide the
readers effectively through the texts (Paltridge, 2012). However, studies
reveal that English learners’ deviation from English native speakers in their
use of TP patterns leads to failure in signaling the maintenance or progression
of “what the text is about” (Thompson, 2014, p. 165). The choice of theme and thematic progression is constrained by the
audience of a particular culture; therefore,
the process of meaning making in academic writing (Wawan & Fatayatul, 2017).

There has been a consensus that instruction in T/TP should
be included in the teaching of English (Hawe & Thomas, 2012). Pedagogical efforts are needed to direct students’  attention to properly relating Theme or Rheme
to preceding and succeeding Themes and Rhemes to hold onto important
information when writing in English (Jing Wei,2017). English learners often wrote essays
that consisted of sentences which did not seem to connect into a cohesive text
and more attention should be paid to the progression of information in texts,
in addition, to focus on cohesive devices. Theory of T/TP was a valuable tool for
teachers to diagnose writing difficulties and students should be taught how to
arrange old and new information to help improve cohesion and coherence in their

In contrast, there have not been a lot of investigations
regarding how teachers could apply the theory of T/TP or studies that have
developed and studied teaching materials informed by/TP (Bonhnacker, 2010).Using
the whole text SFG-based approach, instruction consisted of joint
instructor-student analysis of the obligatory and optional sequence of stages
found in a review text, the types of clauses and their patterns of thematic
progression. The instruction is aimed at raising the student’s awareness of the
generic identity of the review text, its clause structure, and thematic
development. Mellos (2011) presented classroom activities that introduced
students to the grammar of T/TP in order to improve the coherence of their
writing, with a model of Theme-Rheme analytical framework in academic writing
curriculum. Comprised of five sessions, i.e., Introduction to Theme/Rheme,
Analysis of authentic and model texts, Introduction to thematic patterns,
Analysis of T/TP in student texts, and Application to the students’ writing,
the lessons were intended for an undergraduate ESL  academic reading and writing course and with
adaptation, could be used for other levels and contexts.


H.       Frame of

In writing, a variety of resources could be
used to organize the message and construct the angle of the intended meaning,
As a device for organizing meanings, the Theme indicating how the writer has
chosen to order information within the clause, but also helps to structure the
flow of information in that shape interpretation of the text (Martin, 1995) on the
global level. This flow of information between successive Themes and Rhemes in
a text is called thematic progression (Eggins, 2004, p. 45). Thematic progression
contributes to the cohesive development of a text, in a cohesive text the
distribution of given and new information needs to follow certain patterns.

a.    Theme Rheme

The Theme is defined by Halliday as “the point
of departure for the message, the element the speaker selects for ‘grounding'”
(Halliday, 2014, p. 83). It is “the peg on which the
message is hung” and can be recognized by the fact that it  “is put in the first position”
(Halliday, 1970, p. 161). The Theme orients the listener or reader to the
message that is about to be perceived and provides a framework for the
interpretation of the message.  The Theme
typically contains familiar, old or given information, which has already been
mentioned somewhere in the text.

The Theme is followed by theRheme, “the
remainder of the message, the part in which the Theme is developed”
(Halliday, 2004, p. 64). The Rheme is the remainder of the message in a clause
in which the Theme is developed, which means the Rheme typically contains
unfamiliar or new information. As a message structure, a clause consists of a
Theme accompanied by a Rheme and the structure is expressed by the order
–whatever is chosen as the Theme is put first (Halliday, 2004, p. 65). The
Theme extends from of a clause up to the first element that has a function in
transitivity. This means that the Theme of a clause ends with the first
constituent that is participant, circumstance, or process, which is referred to
as the topical Theme.  The topical Theme
may be preceded by elements which are textual and/or interpersonal in function,
and they are called textual Theme and interpersonal Theme respectively in SFG.

b.      Thematic

Halliday (1994) proposes that thematic
principle lies behind the organization of paragraphs in written discourse in
that the topic sentence of a paragraph is nothing other than its Theme. He also
elaborates how Themes and Rhemes could be chained into thematic progression to
produce coherent texts. Thus, thematic progression concerns the way that the
texts develop the ideas they present. More specifically, thematic progression concerns
where Themes come from how they relate to other Themes andRhemes of
the text. Patterns of thematic progression are formed by a systematic relation
between the Theme-Rheme selections and experiential selections in a text (Yang,

c.       Students’
writing and T/TP

The classroom activities introduce students to
T/TP in order to improve the coherence of their writing. The following lessons
draw on previously mentioned research and provide an example of how the theory
of T/TP can be incorporated into an academic writing curriculum. The lectures
on T/TP as well as activities to practice T/TP in writing. The following
lessons have a sequence of activities which first develop students’
meta-awareness of T/TP, and then allow them to apply it to their writing to
improve its coherence. These activities include identifying and noticing T/TP
patterns, explaining their reference, gap-filling tasks that require learners
to write down appropriate T/TP patterns, writing short paragraphs using T/TP
patterns and revising the writing in line with T/TP patterns. Furthermore,
Schleppegrell (2009) suggested that writing instructors help students analyze
their texts in terms of thematic structure and progression after students have
written their first drafts and before sentence-level editing. In this way,
students can improve the way how information flows and meaning is developed in
their texts before focusing on grammatical errors. The activities in this
lesson also offer students opportunities to analyze student texts and authentic
texts in addition to their own writing.

Research Method

a.    Research

This study will be conducted inSenior High School 4Cirebon. There are three reasons why the researcher chose Junior High Schools in Cirebon as the research setting: First, the
researcher is a student from The Department of English Education IAIN Syekh Nurjati
Cirebon (Dawson, 2009:
7) stated that
“if you are a student who will not receive travel expenses or any other out of
pocket expenses, you choose a location close to home, college or university.”Second,
the researcher thinks that this place is comfortable and safe enough. Dawson
(2009: 8) strengthened that the
researchers must never put themselves in a dangerous and uncomfortable
situation. Therefore,
this study will be conducted inSenior High School 4 Cirebon.

b.   Population and

This study will employ some respondents: Two classes of senior high school students
in Senior High School 4 Cirebon. One class of students were assigned as the
students use TP patterns before the instruction, the other class of students the students use TP patterns after the instruction.Therefore, the researcher selects a sample based on the experience
and knowledge and hopefully, the participants will provide the relevant and
deep information about the topic.

c.    Research Design

This study will employ the quantitative research as it is aimed to
investigate the effect of
using Theme and Thematic Progression on students’ writing in Systemic
Functional Linguistic Perspective.This study will use a “quasi-experimental
design”, as it was not possible to randomize all of the participants into new
groups because of the school’s policy and regular teaching program and thus the
students remained intact in their regular classes during the study. Therefore,
one class of students were assigned as the students use TP patterns before the instruction, the other class of students the students use TP patterns after the instruction.Only the participants who take part in all the
phases of the study (i.e. the instruction, pre- and post- training writing
tasks for participants use TP patterns before the instruction and the writing task for use TP patterns after the instruction that included in the final data pool.
Initially, a total of participants were recruited for this study. 

Research System

a.    Steps of the

The steps of this present study are adopted from Ary, (2010,
31-33).  Here are the steps:

Selecting a problem;

Reviewing the literature on the problem;

Designing the research;

Collecting the data;

Analyzing the data;

Interpreting the findings and stating conclusions; and

Reporting results.

b.   Techniques and
Instruments of Collecting Data

In collecting data the researcher takes the data from
pre-test and post-test. A pre-test is administered to the subject before
applying instruction in TP. While post-test is administered to the subject
after applying instruction in TP. These are taken by writing test.

i.      Test(s)

The researcher uses
an instrument in form of test,
the objective test which involves pre-test and post-test to measure EFL
students’ writing with use the
instruction in Thematic Progression in Senior High School 4 Cirebon.


An interview is
going to be delivered to EFL students
after using


study will employ a technique with
using video recorder for collecting the data when the students candidates are doing the testing process
in the class because the technique can
describe the setting, the behaviors, and the interactions in order to
understand the complex interactions in natural settings (Ary, et. al. 2010:

c.    Data Analysis

i.      Test(s)

The data result from
pre-test and post-test, the present
researcher, the present researcher uses the formula:

1.    Reading  the students’ writing

2.    Segmenting the students’ writing into clause

3.    Identifying the
Theme and  Rheme of
every clause of the students’ writing

4.    Describing the
thematic development of the students’ writing

5.    Drawing the
thematic progression pattern of the students’ writing.

ii.    Interview

An interview is aimed at assessing EFL student after using TP on
students’ writing and to explore
particular topics of the subject of the researchers.



iii.  Documentary

     The documents sources have compiled the products of students’
writing to ensure the data and using video recorder for collecting the data
when the students’ candidates are doing the testing process in the class to
strengthen the data.


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