Nhận thức và thực tiễn của giáo viên về chiến lược dạy đọc hiểu theo nhận thức

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Nội dung text: Nhận thức và thực tiễn của giáo viên về chiến lược dạy đọc hiểu theo nhận thức

Nhận thức và thực tiễn của giáo viên về chiến
lược dạy đọc hiểu theo nhận thức
Bùi Thị Vân Anh
Trường Đại học Ngoại ngữ
Luận văn ThS ngành: Lý luận và PP giảng dạy tiếng Anh; Mã số: 60 14 10
Người hướng dẫn: M.A. Nguyễn Bàng
Năm bảo vệ: 2012
Abstract: The study was conducted to investigate high school teacher‟s attitudes towards
and practices in instructing cognitive reading strategies for mainstream students. It
specifically explored teachers‟ beliefs about the importance of cognitive reading
strategies and the correspondence between such beliefs and their self-reported instruction.
Furthermore, the self-reported instruction was compared with actual classroom practice
based on which causative factors were aimed to draw out. All the ten teachers of English
faculty were called for participation in answering questionnaires, being observed in three
lessons for each and three of whom clarifying their instructions in semi-structured
interviews. The results revealed that all teachers in the target school found themselves
familiar with cognitive reading strategies although the benefit in students‟ autonomy
development was not fully recognized. Certain cognitive strategies were evaluated to be
more important to teach than others including activating prior knowledge in pre-reading,
skimming and scanning in while-reading and summarizing in post-reading. Strategies in
pre-reading phase, as a whole, were considered more important than those in the other
phases. There was a positive correlation between teachers' beliefs and their self-reported
classroom instructions of cognitive reading strategies. The self-reported instruction was
also consistent with actual one in the way that those reported to be more frequently
instructed still called more teacher‟s attention than the others at classrooms. However, a
slight discrepancy arose when the actual frequencies of instructing individual cognitive
reading strategies were not as high as their self-reported. With regard to factors
influencing instruction, teachers‟ age, qualification and years of experience did not exert
significant effects. Some other factors were teacher‟s insufficient beliefs, the constraints
of reading texts, and students‟ motivation. The preparation for exams, the time limit and
the different requirements from classes of different proficiency levels also acted as other
barriers to teachers‟ instruction. Implications were made and some teaching ideas were
proposed to enhance the instruction of absent cognitive reading strategies.
Keywords: Đọc hiểu; Chiến lược dạy đọc; Tiếng Anh; Phương pháp giảng dạy
1. Rationale
The innovative change in language approaches inclusively affects the teaching and learning of
reading comprehension. In reading lessons, rather than traditionally focus on the decoding of
words and sentences, teachers are strongly recommended to foster both students‟ interpretive and
productive skills, as well as to provide them with instruction on reading strategies. It is proved
by over 500 studies in the last twenty five years that reading strategy instruction greatly
improves students‟ reading comprehension (Wellingham, 2007, p. 39). In a lesson of reading
strategy instruction, teachers guide the use of reading strategies, showing students how to utilize
them in order to cope with texts in an unfamiliar language (Eskey, 1988). Helping students
develop good reading strategies in particular and language learning strategies in general is
considered to be the appreciated characteristics of a good language teacher (Lessard, 1997, p. 3).
Research in second language reading instruction in the last decades of the 1990‟s tended to focus
on general explanations and descriptions of reading strategies employed by competent and
incompetent readers. Less attention was given to the actual implementation of reading strategies
instruction from a teaching perspective as well as teachers‟ beliefs of the importance of these
strategies (Hua & Kim, 2008). Furthermore, Borg (2003, 2006) explores that significant
contributions to understanding the relationship between teachers‟ beliefs and their classroom
practices of reading instruction have been primarily made in first language education contexts
whereas there has been a little amount of research in the area of second and foreign language
(cited in Kuzborska, 2011, p. 103). Chou (2008) also contends this gap results into an unclear
picture of teachers‟ beliefs construct in teaching reading in EFL contexts (p. 192). Therefore,
undeniably, it is essential to conduct more research on exploring teachers‟ beliefs and their actual
instructional practices regarding reading strategies. With the aim to contribute some “meaningful
pieces” to the unclear picture, this survey research was carried out on the topic given, namely
teacher‟s attitudes towards and practices in cognitive reading strategies instruction.
2. Aims and Objectives of the study
The main aim of this study was to explore teacher‟s attitudes towards and practices in instructing
cognitive reading strategies for mainstream students at Luong Van Tuy Gifted High School.
To be more specific, the primary objectives of the study were set as follows:
 To find out beliefs teachers hold about cognitive reading strategies
 To investigate to what extent teachers‟ beliefs correspond to their self-reported
instructional practices
 To examine which cognitive reading strategies teachers actually instruct at classrooms
 To reveal factors affecting the teachers‟ instruction of cognitive reading strategies
3. Research questions
Based on the theoretical framework proposed, the researcher put forward the following research
1. What beliefs do teachers hold about cognitive reading strategies?
2. To what extent do teachers' beliefs correspond to their self-reported instructional
3. Which cognitive reading strategies do teachers actually instruct at classrooms?
4. What factors affect teachers‟ instructional practice of cognitive reading strategies?
4. Method of the study
Because the purpose of the study was to reveal teachers‟ beliefs and the correspondence with
their classroom practice, the survey research was adopted in the study with data collection
instruments of questionnaires, observations, and interviews. All ten English teachers of the
targeted school were asked to express their opinions on the importance and practice of teaching
cognitive reading strategies through questionnaires. Later, in order to obtain direct information
on actual teaching practices, each teacher was observed in three 45-minute lessons followed by
semi-structured interviews.
5. Scope of the study
The study was conducted to explore teacher‟s attitudes towards and practices in instructing
cognitive reading strategies for mainstream students at a high school named Luong Van Tuy
Gifted High School in Ninh Binh Province. Therefore, no intention was made to generalize the
6. Significance of the study
The study is strongly hoped to provide teachers in the targeted school with useful insights into
the situation of teaching cognitive reading strategies based on which some implications are made
for more efficient reading comprehension lessons. Although no generalization is intended, the
findings of the study could inform other teachers of the effectiveness of reading strategies
instruction on students‟ reading comprehension.
7. Organization of the thesis
The thesis is organized in three parts.
Part I is The Introduction which presents the rationale for the research topic, its aims, scope,
significance, as well as research methods.
Part II is The Development which consists of three chapters. Chapter one provides a theoretical
framework for the study, including definitions and types of reading, issues in teaching reading
skills and reading strategies, teachers‟ beliefs and their classroom practices. Chapter 2 reports the
methodology used in the research including research questions, participants, instruments and the
procedures for data collection and analysis. Chapter 3 presents detailed discussion of the data
given by questionnaires, classroom observations and interviews.
Part III is The Conclusion which discusses major findings and limitations of the research, draws
pedagogical implications and provides some suggestions for further study.
1.1. Reading and reading models
1.2. Reading strategies
1.2.1. Definition of reading strategy
1.2.2. Reading strategies and reading comprehension
1.2.3. Cognitive strategies and metacognitive strategies
1.3. Teacher’s beliefs and classroom practice
1.4. Reading strategy instruction
1.5. Review of related studies on teacher’s reading strategy instruction
1.6. Summary
2.1.Context of the study
The study was conducted at Luong Van Tuy high school, which is situated at the center of Ninh
Binh city, Ninh Binh province. As the only specialized high school in the province, it attracts
almost all advanced students from the city as well as different districts of Ninh Binh.
For the 2010-2011 academic year, the school had over one thousand and two hundred students
being grouped in 30 gifted classes, with an average of 30 students per class. There were 10
teachers of English and 100 others in teaching staff. The school has a quite big library with
plentiful sources of reference books, magazines and newspapers convenient for all students to
make references. Moreover, it has five well-equipped classrooms with projectors, screens,
computers, etc. available. In fact, it is considered to be the best school in Ninh Binh in terms of
teaching and learning facilities.
As for the students of the school, most of them live in the city or near the city so they have
favorable conditions for their learning both at school and at home. All the classes except 3
English gifted ones receive 3 English periods a week with the textbooks and workbooks
prescribed for mainstream level by MOEET.
The study involved English teachers who are teaching mainstream students at Luong Van Tuy
gifted high school in Ninh Binh province. Due to the small number of English teachers in the
targeted school, all the 10 teachers were called for participation in the study. The teachers ranged
in age from their twenties to forties. All of the participants are female whose years of experience
varied, ranging from less than 5 years (40%), 5 to 9 years (40%), 10 to 20 years (10%), and more
than 20 years (10%). Only one among 10 teachers holds MA degree on English teaching
2.3.Research design
Since the study disclosed the pedagogical beliefs among teachers in teaching reading strategies
and the correlation between pedagogical beliefs among teachers and their practice at classrooms,
the methodology adopted by the researcher is the survey research methodology. The teachers‟
beliefs in this study were measured by a designed questionnaire in which they expressed their
opinions about the importance of cognitive reading strategies instruction. Additionally, in
questionnaires, teachers also self-reported their practice of each reading strategy based on Likert
scales 1 to 5 ranging from hardly ever to almost always. Furthermore, classroom observations
and semi-structured interviews were also adopted to reveal teachers‟ actual practice of
instructing reading strategies and factors affecting their instructions.
2.4.Data collection instruments
The methods utilized in the study were:
 questionnaires
 lesson observations
 semi-structured interviews
The questionnaire consists of four sections. In the first section, the demographic information of
the participants was aimed to be collected so as to find some certain factors affecting teacher‟s
choice of instructing reading strategies. Similar to Section I in the way of being adopted from
Yurdaisik‟s questionnaire, Section II revealed teachers‟ attitudes towards cognitive reading
strategies in terms of their familiarity with cognitive reading strategies and reasons for teaching
these strategies in class. Section III explored teachers‟ beliefs of instructing reading strategies in
which they were asked to express their agreement on the importance of each strategy. Section IV
investigated the teacher‟s self-reported instruction of reading strategies at reading classes. These
two sections included 15 identical elements that were considered important cognitive strategies
in reading comprehension. Items 1-4 referred to pre-reading strategies, items 5-11 were related to
while-reading strategies and the others concerned post-reading ones. The Likert Scale 1 to 5 was
adopted in both Section III and IV. In the former, 1 indicates the least important or the least
agreement on a certain statement, while 5 refers to the most important or strongest agreement of
the item. Whereas, in the latter, the frequency of teaching increases in accordance with the higher
number from “hardly ever” (1) to almost “always” (5). In order to minimize the possibility of
omitting any other important cognitive reading strategies employed by teachers, two open-ended
questions were added in Section III and IV for respondents to freely express their ideas without
the constraints of fixed options. In this way, the questionnaire might be able to “provide a far
greater „richness‟ than fully quantitative data” (Dörnyei 2003, p.47).
Lesson Observation
Gebhard (1999) defines classroom observation as “non-judgmental description of classroom
events that can be analyzed and given interpretation” (p. 35). The purpose of observation in the
context of the present study was not to evaluate the teaching. Rather, observing the teachers in
action allowed a means of assessing the extent to which the teachers‟ self-reported practices
corresponded to what actually happened in the classroom. It was also a form of data
triangulation, particularly because key observations made were discussed with the teachers in
follow up discussions as a further attempt at validating the observations. Three 45-minute lessons
per teacher were observed. The lessons were audio and video recorded and later analyzed for
teacher‟s actual practice of reading strategies instruction. The items in the observation checklist
were similar to the items in the questionnaire, which was used to figure out the correspondence
between teacher‟s self-reported practice and actual one. A schedule recording the questions
generated by the observation data was also produced after each lesson and used for interviews
with the teachers.
Semi-structured interviews
The in-depth interview was conducted to probe more deeply into the teacher' perceptions
regarding their attitudes and practice of instructing reading strategies. Specifically, it helped to
reveal detailed information about the teachers‟ concerns on reading strategies, how teachers
decided which strategies to teach as well as their explanation for their most frequent and least
frequent instruction of certain reading strategies. The interview questions (Appendix C) were
semi-structured so that the participants may not be restricted within the confines of the interview
questions and could openly discuss the reading strategies they utilize. The recorded voices were
transcribed and analyzed immediately after the sessions.
It is noteworthy that taking part in the interview was voluntary. The interviews were conducted
in Vietnamese, the teachers‟ mother tongue, in order to encourage the teachers to comment freely
and to reduce any anxiety, which might occur when communicating in a non-native language.
2.5.Data collection and analysis procedure
Before the final study was made, a pilot study was conducted to test the reliability of the
questionnaire. The pilot study was conducted in one high school found in the zone with 5
So as to dispatch the questionnaire and conducting classroom observation, consent was obtained
from principals, teachers and students through face to face discussion about the relevance of the
For the final study, after announcing the objectives and data collection procedures of the study to
the English faculty of Luong Van Tuy Gifted High School, the researcher distributed the
Questionnaire on Reading Strategies to all teachers‟ in one faculty meeting. After the
questionnaires were completed, teachers were called for participation in classroom observation.
After consent was received, unannounced observations were conducted in order to observe the
actual instruction of reading strategies by teachers at classrooms. All grade levels were
represented and classes were visited at random. Immediately following each classroom visit, the
data was recorded on the Observation Checklist of Reading Strategies. Each item on the
checklist that was observed was designated with a check. If the strategy was not observed, the
item was left unmarked.
Data from three major data sources were used in this research. The sources included teachers‟
questionnaires, classroom observations and teachers‟ interviews. The procedures for analyzing
the data included: (a) organizing the data; (b) generating categories, themes, and patterns; (c) and
examining the data to answer the research questions identified in the introduction of this study.
3.1. Teachers’ beliefs about cognitive reading strategies
3.2. Correspondence between teachers' beliefs and their self-reported instructional
3.3. Cognitive reading strategies teachers actually instruct at classrooms
3.4. Factors affecting teacher’s instructional practice of cognitive reading strategies
3.5. Summary
1. Summary of the main findings
Exploring teachers‟ attitudes towards and practice in cognitive reading strategies instruction, the
study specifically focused on teachers‟ beliefs about cognitive reading strategies and the extent
their beliefs correspond to their self-reported instructional practices. Furthermore, the cognitive
reading strategies teachers actually instruct at classrooms together with factors affecting such
instructional practice were also taken into consideration.
All teachers in the target school found themselves familiar to the reading strategies. They were,
to some extent, aware of what the reading strategies are and why they need to teach them. All of
them highly appreciate the strong help of the reading strategy instruction in enhancing students‟
understanding of the text, sub-skills developments, enjoyment of the texts and test preparation.
However, some teachers did not recognize its importance on students‟ autonomous learning.
Considering the importance of each cognitive reading strategy, most were evaluated to be
important to teach students except some strategies with considerable doubt (predicting in pre-
reading, making inferences and mapping the text in while-reading, evaluating and drawing
conclusions in post-reading). Among them, the most important strategies to be instructed were
activating already-known knowledge in pre-reading, skimming and scanning in while-reading
and summarizing in post-reading. The teachers attached the most importance to the pre-reading
strategies, less important were the while-reading strategies and the post-reading strategies as the
least important.
With regard to the second research question, there was a positive correlation between teacher's
belief about the importance of the reading strategies in teaching practices and their self-reported
classroom practices of reading strategy instruction. However, generally the frequencies of
strategies being instructed in the teaching practices were not as high as their evaluated
Concerning the third research question, the findings of the study showed that teacher‟s actual
classroom instruction of reading strategies was observed not to be as frequent as their self-
reported. In other words, there was a discrepancy between what teachers reported in the
questionnaire and real practice. One possibility can explain this mismatch is that teachers tended
to present themselves in a more favorable light in answering the questionnaire, as it is human
nature to portray ourselves in the most positive manner (Mohammed, 2006). However, those
reported to be more frequently instructed still called more teacher‟s attention than the others at
classrooms. Specifically, teachers tended to instruct certain strategies more than the others in
pre-, while-, and post- reading such as activating, previewing the text, identifying text structure
(pre-reading strategies), skimming, scanning, guessing the meaning of the word from the context,
questioning, note-taking (while-reading strategies), and summarizing (post-reading strategies).
Effective reading strategies such as predicting, mapping, making inferences, evaluating and
drawing conclusions were less frequently used.
Among the pre-reading, the while-reading and the post-reading strategies, teachers made the
most instruction of pre-reading strategies, followed by while-reading strategies and the least of
post-reading ones. The possible explanation for this inequality might be that pre-reading
strategies were more emphasized in the course books. During the interviews, it was seen that
participants who perceived themselves „very‟ familiar with the concept of reading strategies
made more use of the while reading strategies than the teacher who perceived herself „slightly‟
familiar with the concept of reading strategies.
In addition, the least use of the post-reading strategies may be traced back to teachers‟ beliefs. As
it was revealed in the questionnaire, teachers placed less value on these strategies in comparison
with the other two categories. This may be further explained to be resulted from teacher‟s
unfamiliarity with these strategies or contextual constraints.
In terms of the fourth research question, teachers‟ age, qualifications and years of experience did
not exert significant influence on their instruction of the reading strategies. Some other factors
were the constraints of the reading texts in the course book that proposed teachers certain visuals,
questions or strategies to guide. Although the participants did not strongly agree that the reading
strategies presented in the course books were well-designed, almost all of the teachers reported
making use of titles, pictures and comprehension questions in the course books and relied on the
strategies suggested by the books. The preparation for exams also acted as another barrier that
prevented teachers from enacting their beliefs. Written tests of comprehension questions at high
school often necessitate teachers to instruct students “survival” strategies of skimming, scanning
and guessing new words. Regarding the contextual factors, the limit of time and the different
requirements from classes of different proficiency levels were mentioned. Students‟ motivation
and the boredom of reading materials were also emphasized. Teachers‟ beliefs, which formed the
basis of the way the teacher approached to reading instruction, was another important factor.
Alternative models of teaching reading may have not yet fully absorbed by teachers in the
constraints of existing traditional beliefs of language teaching.
2. Pedagogical Implications
My first recommendation pertains to a needed improvement in teachers‟ and students‟ awareness
of cognitive reading strategy instruction. Undoubtedly, the inadequate acknowledgement among
teachers on the importance of teaching cognitive reading strategies may affect their practice of
instruction at classroom to some extent. As for the teachers who are not very familiar with the
concept of reading strategies, more explanations, explicit instructions or why to use certain
strategies should be given in supplementary books or in teachers‟ books. If the teachers can pass
on to their students why they should learn some strategies, it may be easier to get the students
involved in the strategy training process. As the aim is to help students become autonomous
learners, the students should have clear awareness of using cognitive reading strategies. This, in
turns, promotes students‟ motivation to receive teacher‟s reading strategy instruction (Yigiter et
al, 2005).
Another implication concerns the contents of reading comprehension instruction for students of
different levels. It is supposed that students should get acquainted with a broad repertoire of
cognitive reading strategies. However, not every strategy appears to be equally useful or
appropriate for every individual student. Rather than instructing in the same way for all classes,
teachers are strongly recommended to analyze students‟ conditions to see what fits best into their
skills and knowledge. Instruction should begin and end with students, which means that the
teacher‟s understanding of students should form the basis of all instruction. Barnett (1988)
suggests that teachers pinpoint valuable strategies and explain which strategies individuals most
need to practice. The following implications for classroom action are put forward by Nunan
(1999) for teachers to instruct cognitive reading strategies for students of different levels (p.
 With lower proficiency students
 In pre-reading, teach the strategy of activation to help them apply what they already
know to the task of reading
 Teach learners strategies such as predicting, skimming, scanning, and give them
opportunities to match the strategies to a variety of reading purposes
 With higher proficiency students
 More attention may be paid to help them identify and track logical referential
relationships in texts
 Mapping the text is crucial to get them recognize the connections among ideas in the text
 Give students opportunities to go beyond the texts, evaluating and critiquing what they
More practical workshops might be organized for the teachers. Teachers are more likely to
change when they are shown that a discrepancy exists between what they would ideally like to
do and what they actually do. Hence, teachers should be trained to acknowledge how their
beliefs and context-specific factors contribute to their practices. In fact, perhaps by making
teachers aware of their skills and weaknesses, a step may be taken towards helping them to
address how to improve their practices and become more effective teachers. Through workshops,
teachers might be informed about the concept of reading strategies, different strategies and how
to train students on those strategies. Of course, it should be mentioned here that these workshops
might not result in developing more efficient teachers, but at least they may help reduce the
discrepancy. In such cases teachers will gain more familiarity with reading strategy instruction
and they will be able to share their views and experiences. Needless to say, if teachers are to
move beyond traditional models of teaching and to reconceptualize their theories of language
learning and teaching, they need not only to be made aware of alternative models and
approaches, but they also need to be provided with opportunities to evaluate new theories and
approaches in the light of their existing beliefs.
As the teachers base their strategy instruction on the strategies suggested by the books, the books
should be better-designed for strategy instruction. A variety of tasks involving the use of
infrequent cognitive strategies, such as making inferences, mapping, evaluating and drawing
conclusions could be added in the books. It is noteworthy that the addition of these suggested
strategies is not necessarily applicable for all classes. It depends on the teacher‟s evaluation of
students‟ levels and interests to decide which are the most suitable for each lesson. Additionally,
the reading materials should also be interesting or at least related to the background knowledge
of the students.
On the basis of strategy instruction literature and her experience, Garner (1987, p. 132) proposes
six guidelines for effective strategy instruction in classrooms:
1. Teachers must care about the processes involved in reading and studying, and must be willing
to devote instructional time to them.
2. Teachers must do task analyses of strategies to be taught.
3. Teachers must present strategies as applicable to texts and tasks in more than one content
4. Teachers must teach strategies over an entire year, not in just a single lesson or unit.
5. Teachers must provide students with opportunities to practice strategies they have been
6. Teachers must be prepared to let students teach each other about reading and studying
Last but not least, some ideas for teaching strategies of predicting, making inferences, mapping
the text, evaluating and drawing conclusions that were not fully exploited by teachers are aimed
to demonstrate. These were adopted and designed by the researcher, which were then
successfully experimented in her own classes. (see Appendix E)
3. Limitations of the Study
The research study investigated the teachers‟ perceptions towards cognitive reading strategy
instruction for mainstream students at Luong Van Tuy Gifted High school in the beginning of
2012-2013 academic year. Since the research was done with a limited number of participants, the
results of the study can only be generalized to the teachers who share similar characteristics with
these participants. Furthermore, the number of classroom observations and interviews also
emerged as another limitation of the study. As a consequence, the drawn conclusion in the thesis
might be tentative, rather than conclusive. It is, however, possible to draw lessons for teachers
working in other contexts.
4. Suggestions for Further Study
Although the findings of this study relate specifically to situation of instructing cognitive reading
strategies among teachers in one specific high school in Ninh Binh province, many of the
proposed recommendations may be relevant to other educational contexts and to professional
development in general. Thus, a study like this one can further advance the understanding of how
EFL teachers think and act as well as how the gap between practice and research can be better
Because of the time and distance constraints, involving all the teachers working at high schools
of different districts was not possible. The study could be replicated to include a greater number
of teachers teaching at different high schools. This would allow for a greater exploration of
teachers‟ views about and approaches to reading instruction in general and reading strategies in
Another possibility for future research would be to examine meta-cognitive reading strategies
rather than only cognitive ones. Additionally, students could be included in a future study. Their
perception of learning reading and reading strategies might also be investigated in order to allow
for a comparison of teachers‟ and students‟ ideas. Alternatively, an experimental study may be
conducted to see how students benefit from reading strategy training in their learning of reading