Many st udent s gave diverse reasons why t his st rat egy helped t hem underst and w hat t hey read bet t er. Two st udent s from group 2 explicit ly referred as follow s t o t heir previous know ledge as a cont ribut ing fact or forreading com prehension: " Many t im es, I knew t he t opic" ; " When w e answ er quest ions, we can use what we t hink before reading" . Bot h groups 1 and 2 st udent s report ed on t he first reading rat ing checklist t hat t his st rat egy enabled t hem t o t hink m ore about t he t opic, t o generat e m ore ideas, and t o prom ot e t heir curiosit y: " I t m akes us t hink and t o open up our im aginat ion t o do t he act ivit y" . I n t he first reading lesson, som e st udent s from group 2 report ed t hat t heir background know ledge helped t hem ident ify t he m ain idea of t he reading: " Because we have an idea what t he t ext is about " . I n addit ion, st udent s in group 1 also report ed t hat t his st rat egy was useful for focusing t heir at t ent ion and let t ing t hem share t heir ideas. This support s an im port ant feat ure of inst ruct ional act ivit ies " t o discuss ideas, draw ing out st udent s" t hought s and linking t hem t o t he t ext ( Echevarría et al., 2008, p. 56) . According t o t he U.K. Depart m ent for Educat ion and Skills St andards – Underst anding Reading Com prehension 2- ( 2005, p. 1) , " Act ivat ion of prior knowledge can develop children's underst anding by helping t hem t o see links bet w een what t hey already know and new inform at ion t hey are encount ering" .
According to Perkins (1998), understanding is seen as “the ability to think and act flexibly with what one knows… a flexible performance capability” (p. 40). This is observed in the mental constructs, such as schema, models, and structures. Based on this, researchers could identify that through critical questioning students started building knowledge and meaning from EFL texts by making inferences, analogies, interpretations, conjectures, and abstractions in their minds. This process of understanding was observed especially when students read the EFL texts and when they made relationships with their own previous experience and schemata. They were able to evaluate information and decide whether or not they would behave similarly as the main character of the texts (see Excerpt 6). They proposed different story conclusions and started thinking about the author ’ s purpose. In this sense, the students went into their knowledge and used the information more flexibly and in different contexts. Thus, critical questioning fostered security and motivation and kept the students developing higher order thinkingskills since it was directly related to what constitutes the cognitive domain proposed by Benjamin Bloom (1956). Excerpt 9
In Colombian public high schools, the development of the reading skill is a good starting point that will, without doubt, positively influence the other language skills. Readingcomprehension has been seen as a weakness students have accordingly to both external test results and academic performance during high school classes (Quiroga, 2010; Lopez & Giraldo, 2011; Cárdenas & Hernández, 2011). The results of “Pruebas Saber” in 2010 show a low/average reading proficiency of Colombian 11th grade-student population (Lopez & Giraldo, 2011) and the results of “Pruebas PISA” in 2009 show a score of 52 in readingcomprehension (Cárdenas & Hernández, 2011). Therefore, it is necessary to provide students with a range of strategies that help them overcome readingcomprehension problems so that they can acquire the needed abilities to analyze, infer, and make meaning as efficiently as possible.
A study carried out by Erkaya (2005) indicates how the introduction of literature and especially of short stories in the classroom can benefit the classroom in different ways. Oster (1989) suggested that the well selected short stories can improve significantly ELT courses for learners at intermediate levels proficiency. Oster also affirms how these short stories can foster creativity so students can develop their writing skills, as the teacher can ask students to write dialogues or more complex tasks based on the ideas found in the reading, the type of activities may vary depending on learners’ language proficiency. There is a wide scope of activities described in this study, which teachers can assign in order todevelop their language skills, and this study is clearly attached to the interest of the present research and presents insights of what we might find when applying ours.
T his study deals with the implementation of the Reciprocal Teaching Model (RT) and its relation to the development of writing skills in the tenth graders of a public school in Cartagena, Colombia. The participants were selected according to Cozby’s (2008) convenience sampling, which considers availability, schedule, members, and characteristics.The Action Research approach related to the quelitaive research allowed to identify the problem, gather data, interpret , to act on evidence and to evaluate results. Consequently, a diagnostic stage was carried out which indicated difficulties in generating thoughts, translating ideas into readable texts, using accurate grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation, and establishing cohesion and coherence. Therefore, it was clear the need for the implementation of strategiesto improve the writing skills in this school. This introspection led the researchers to consider the use of the RT Model because it encourages students to take into consideration their own thinking processes during reading and it helps them to be actively involved in their comprehension process, which is reflected in their written production. The outcomes of the study reported that through the implementation of the workshops under the RT Model, the students developed and improved their writing skills in English. The findings established the usefulness of this model since it raised the confidence of the students towards writing which contributed to the improvement of the skill. Additionally, the practicality of portfolios and the collaborative and cooperative strategies allowed students to learn from their peers and teacher by recognizing writing as a more meaningful and pleasant.
This paper offers a system of reading texts and communicative tasks dealing with health education, in order todevelopreadingcomprehensionskills in senior high students and a responsible attitude towards their health care, which has been conceived through a process that included needs analysis, partial application and evaluation of a preliminary proposal through specialist criteria. The proposal responds to the demands of the senior high school which aims at achieving the integrated formation of the students in terms of their feelings, thinking and acting within the context of their school, the family and the surrounding community. It intends to make a contribution to the improvement of the teaching learning process in this level, particularly in terms of helping students become interested in reading in English and being able to int erpret and summarize what they read, which proved deficient during the diagnosis stage of this research.
Similarly, different authors as: Rowe and Rayford (1987), Echeverri and McNulty (2010), Cummins (2009) propose two strategiesto activate background knowledge: visual aids in texts and asking questions. Visual aids such as charts and graphs and formulating questions related to the content of the reading can all be used to build and stimulate students’ background knowledge about aspects of what is depicted, and encourage students to predict what the text is likely to be about. Asking questions can also be a cue to guide the content of the text. Answering questions may provide helpful cues for activating background knowledge, facilitating a high level of knowledge construction and linking prior knowledge with the content of the text. It is difficult to think of presenting a text to beginners without offering them support or scaffolding of knowledge before the reading. They probably will not have a general idea about what the text is, nor will they be able to identify the basic concepts. In summary, learning to think about the text before reading greatly enhances comprehension.
In turn, Ramos (2013) researched how intercultural competence skills emerged in pre- service teachers after the implementation of an intercultural component in a research and pedagogy class at Colombian public University. She used field notes, students’ artifacts, and group discussions as data collection instruments. After data analysis, she found that pre-service teachers started todevelop intercultural competence by developing skillsto interpret and contextualize cultural practices and by raising awareness of contextual complexities. Besides, students started comparing their own culture with a foreign one to recognize cultural factors. They also raised their awareness and talked about cultural differences in an informed way. These findings are relevant to this study because students could also learn about cultural factors through reading since they have to analyze the reading and reflect on their personal experiences.
textbooks because they can be adapted to the population and bring benefits for all the community. Regarding the second category, it was observed that the students relied on Spanish to figure out how the L2 worked. This process allowed students todevelop the ability of looking for familiar words to draw their own conclusions about meanings, instead of trying to understand the meaning of each word separately. Students resorted to positive interference of the L1 to compare and understand rules and structures (Nunan, 2001). The use of Spanish was also essential for students when answering open questions in English since they tried to build expressions by using the same structures as in their L1. This strategy worked for the learners because they began to understand the use of high frequency words and expressions, as well as they became more conscious of the structures they needed to follow when writing their answers.
Readingcomprehension represents a huge challenge for students and the low proficiency level of students´ readingcomprehension is evident in both external test results and academic performance in class (Quiroga, 2010). Therefore, it is necessary to provide students with a range of strategies that help them overcome readingcomprehension problems so that they can acquire the abilities they need to analyze, infer, and predict information as efficiently as possible. The development of the reading skill is a good starting point that will, without doubt, positively influence the other language skills. One type of these learning strategies is metacognitive strategies such as prediction, visualization and text structure. The present study aimed at examining the effect of metacognitive strategy instruction on EFL learners‟ readingcomprehension performance and their metacognitive awareness as well as to reinforce students‟ readingcomprehension ability that improves and motivates them to successfully carry out readingcomprehension tasks. Consequently, this intervention might provide valuable information regarding how to improve readingcomprehension teaching practices in Colombian public schools.
First, starting with the reading skill only, we propose that EFL educators should incor- porate into their teaching practice a larger number of open-ended readingcomprehension tasks that stimulate critical, interpretative, extensive, more process-oriented and less data-/ detail-driven reading. In addition, they should stimulate extensive reading and reading longer texts (e.g., unabridged/authentic literary texts and semi-academic texts) involving a longer period of time, which would enable students todevelop tasks that focus on a particular reading strategy (e.g., finding a connection between different parts of the text, note taking, using reference material and relying on visual support for better comprehension). All of these tasks require the reader to understand the text beyond the sentence/paragraph level, and make intra- and inter-textual connections (e.g., identifying relevant information, form- ing an overall view of the text). Coincidently, such tasks are also considered taxonomically and cognitively more complex (Khalifa and Weir, 2009). Second, the application of different readingstrategies can be developed by introducing open-ended integrated tasks involving at least two different skills, for example, reading-writing and reading-speaking combina- tions, which reportedly have a positive overall effect on the general readingcomprehension skill. Examples of such tasks include written or spoken text summaries, oral or written text simplifications/reductions, L2-L1 translations, and in-depth post-reading discussions/debates. Apart from developing reading ability, all of these involve the application of other skills, including the use of reference material and secondary literature (dictionaries, thesauri, on-line sources), register awareness (spoken/written vs. formal/informal language), critical evaluation of different authors/sources, language production skills (paraphrasing, reformulating, expres- sion of opinion), presentation skills, etc. All of these are present in our everyday real-life reading situations, so highlighting their importance in the EFL context will help students to understand the imperative behind developing the reading skill.
scaffolding with different readingstrategies (making inferences, predicting, activating previous knowledge, making connections, highlight and visualizing) to assist participants in readingcomprehension using readings from Key English Test. The study was conducted with A1 English level ninth graders according to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) at two public schools in Bogotá, Colombia. Participants revealed difficulties with readingcomprehension in English due to lack of vocabulary and readingskills. Data was collected through KET, surveys, students’ and teachers’ journals and was analyzed through the grounded theory method (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). The KET besides being an instrument in the investigation, served to provide material which guided the proposed lesson plans for this study supporting the application of the readingstrategies taught because they provided an opportunity to use the scaffolding approach.
It is widely assumed that each reader can develop individual readingstrategies or the ones they find useful. Nevertheless, a good reader is one who is able to achieve a balance between comprehension (end) and the reading process (means) by using the adopted strategies. Consequently, a poor reader will need to change his/her readingcomprehensionstrategiesto overcome deficiencies. For that reason, the role of the teacher is to come up with the necessary set of strategiesto increase students’ awareness and love forreading, as well as the improvement of their readingskillsto overcome reading difficulties. The English teachers should be familiar and capable of selecting those most appropriate strategiesto meet their students´ needs, due to the fact that EFL learners need to identify and simultaneously understand the importance of the language (Lee L. , 2002).
This interactive approach to learning asks higher-order questions and requires students to move beyond basic memorization toward a construction of their own understanding. By engaging students in hands-on activities, instructors allow students to become active members in their own education. Students must be allowed to become critical thinkers who ask questions, take risks, and learn through the process. In many cases, when students are encouraged to verbalize their thoughts, those thoughts become more organized. The process of becoming an effective communicator can allow the individual todevelop larger vocabulary and gain the abilities to organize thoughts, recognize evidence, and establish the basis for analytical and critical skills (Dance, 2002). To facilitate this interactive process, instructors may need to become better listeners in order to fully understand and respond to student questions and comments (Mazer, Hunt and Kuznekoff, 2007: 90). Teaching students to think critically is high on any teacher’s to-do list. Thinking critically should be taught in the context of subject matter. Critical thinking is not just for advanced students. Student experiences offer entrée to complex concepts. To teach critical thinkingstrategies, make them explicit and practice them.
This action research study emerged from the need to take advantage of the time students spend in the Reading Corner sessions in order todevelopreadingcomprehension, critical thinkingskills and to improve students’ English proficiency level. The purpose of the intervention was for children in the Reading Corner to have contact with the language in a different environment outside their scheduled class and to learn by getting close to books and stories. Each week, a story was chosen that could be appropriate for all the children who attended the Reading Corner, which changed from week to week. The story was read along with pre-, while- and post-activities. The activities were designed based on students’ learning profiles and they are thought to engage learners even more in the foreign language.
Concerning CLIL, it is necessary to mention that the inclusion of content related to nursing and physical therapy had positive results because the students not only worked on the English grammar, general lexicon and pronunciation, but also acquired the knowledge and vocabulary they need for their careers and professional lives. Dalton-Puffer (2008) asserted that under CLIL conditions, certain aspects of language competence develop more than others and the receptive skills are within the favorably affected. This means than the content is the core of this approach and after this implementation it was demonstrated that having specific topics related to the learners’ interests and lives motivate them to do the activities and have an active role in their language acquisition process. The students became aware of the importance of acquiring the foreign language because they know that they will use this knowledge in real contexts
Discipline and good behavior is another important matter teachers need to be aware of in their classrooms. There are many reasons why discipline can be a problem in a classroom. One of the reasons could be the teaching style which is not the appropriate to use with students of these age so it is essential to identify what are the types of activities they most enjoy. Furthermore, teachers should implement instructions in ways to optimize students’ access learning and use appropriate interventions to assist students who have behavior problems. It is of great help to provide rules for students to follow. These regulations will help to maintain classroom management and discipline they do not need to be anything advanced; they can be as simple as making sure that all students adhere to them. It is of vital importance to establish a signal for reducing the noise; this should be done from the first day so students become accustomed to it right away.
The use of the pre-test or pilot test is of great interest for the assurance of the validity of the survey. It also serves to detect unexpected values of the variables, flows of mistaken assumptions, consider whether the duration of the questionnaire is adequate or to overcome other difficulties that may arise in the communication process. The pre- test was applied to validate the hypothesis at the beginning of the process. It was formed by three different parts; the first part is form by syllogisms; they consist of an argument composed of three propositions; of them, the last one is always deduced from the previous ones. This type of exercise is focused on the measurement of basic level deductive skills. The second part was form by inductive inferences exercises, it was presented a logical sequence of five figures and they needed to determine which of the possible answers best matches the next figure in the sequence. The third part of the test was formed by abductive inference exercises in which they had to infer the place where an action took place based on clues inside the text.
34 Based on these findings it is possible to answer our first research question: Does the training on ReadingStrategies affect readingcomprehensionskills? We can say that the training on readingstrategies caused a positive effect on the participant’s readingcomprehensionskills. However, this improvement reflected in the post-test results was not significant in its gains, since the results of the pretest were also high. The latter cannot be explained with the data that we collected with our instruments; nevertheless, (maybe it was caused because in spite of what we thought at the beginning regarding the level of readingskills of the participant that she had poor readingskills because of the results of her regular reading tests at school), the fact of she enrolling voluntarily in the reading workshop made her change her attitude and be more motivated. Because the intervention was a voluntary action, the participant felt motivated since it was an activity without pressures and she could select what she wanted to read (Krashen, 2004). Reader’s Motivation is important in the process of reading since it is through it that reading development may exist. How we adopt and developreading has to do with how motivated readers feel (McGeown, 2013).
As a teacher I believe the importance of letting my students know what we are going to be working on and what I expect from them. To start this unit I decided to contextualize my students first with activities that will get them started and give them a brief idea of what we were going to be working on so I decided to start with a thinking routine that had them think deeper on answer for different questions like, “What is reading and why is it important” I asked students to take their time to think and then started to ask. I noticed that students were on the right track and were able to defend their point of view when another students argued. After the students shared I asked more questions trying to get deeper into the topic, I asked them “do you think reading is reading even if you don’t understand the story? Students immediately started yelling answers but a debate started on yes and no answers, everyone defending their point of view and at the end realizing they both could be right. A closure from me was necessary in order to get them back in track and come up with a clear statement from them which was “ if you are not understanding what you are reading there is no point of reading”. After this I realized I had my students attention and on track to introduce the online platform.