Tài liệu Challenges faced by information technology students in reading english for computer science

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING VINH UNIVERSITY ĐẶNG THỊ HẢI LÝ CHALLENGES FACED BY INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS IN READING ENGLISH FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE (NHỮNG THÁCH THỨC SINH VIÊN CÔNG NGHỆ THÔNG TIN GẶP PHẢI TRONG KỸ NĂNG ĐỌC MÔN TIẾNG ANH CHUYÊN NGÀNH KHOA HỌC MÁY TÍNH) Master Thesis in Education Field: Theory and Methodology of English Language Teaching Code: 60.14.10 Vinh, 2011 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION.................................................................................3 I.1. Rationale.................................................................................................................3 I.2. Aims and objectives:..............................................................................................4 I.3. Method of the study...............................................................................................4 I.4. Scope of the study:.................................................................................................5 I.5. Significance of the study........................................................................................5 I.6. Organization of the study:......................................................................................6 1.7. Summary................................................................................................................6 CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW.....................................................................7 II.1. The nature of reading............................................................................................7 II.1.1. Reading:.............................................................................................................7 II.1.2. Reading comprehension....................................................................................9 II.1.3. Reading process:..............................................................................................10 II.1.3.1. Bottom-up models of the reading process:...................................................11 II.1.3.2. The top-down models of the reading process:.............................................12 II.1.3.3. The interactive models of the reading process:...........................................14 II.1.3.4. Schema Theory.............................................................................................16 II.1.4. Classification of reading..................................................................................17 II.1.4.1. Classification of reading according to manner of reading..........................17 II.1.4.2. Classification of reading according to purpose of reading.........................18 II.2. Reading in General English (GE) and in ESP....................................................20 II.2.1. ESP reading.....................................................................................................21 II.2.1.1. Definition of ESP..........................................................................................21 II.2.1.2. Reading comprehension in ESP...................................................................22 II.2.1.3. Types of ESP................................................................................................23 II.2.1.4. Characteristics of ESP.................................................................................24 II.2.2. Challenges in ESP Reading.............................................................................25 II.2.2.1. Language challenges....................................................................................25 II.2.2.2. Reading skill challenges...............................................................................26 II.2.2.3. Methodology and Materials.........................................................................27 II.2.3. Differences between ESP and EGP................................................................29 II.2.4. The ESP learners.............................................................................................30 II.2.5. Learners’ learning strategies...........................................................................31 II.2.6. Learner-centeredness in ESP and Learning-Centeredness............................32 II.2.7. The requirements for ESP teachers.................................................................33 II.3. Summary.............................................................................................................34 CHAPTER III. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY...................................................35 III.1. The setting of the study.....................................................................................35 III.1.1. The purposes of teaching and learning reading English for Computer Science at Nghe An Junior Teacher Training College...............................................35 III.1.2. Teachers of English at Nghe An JTTC and their methods of teaching........36 III.1.3. IT Students at Nghe An JTTC and their background knowledge..................37 III.1.4. Materials.........................................................................................................38 2 III.2. The participants.................................................................................................39 III.3. Research method................................................................................................39 III.3.1. Research questions:........................................................................................39 III.3.2. Data collection instruments......................................................................40 III.3.3. Data collection procedure..............................................................................40 III.3.4. Data analysis procedure................................................................................41 III.4. Summary............................................................................................................41 CHAPTER IV.: FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION.....................................................42 IV.1. Sources of reading English for computer science challenges experienced by second-year IT students at Nghe An JTTC................................................................42 IV.1.1. The participants’ background.........................................................................42 IV.1.2. Students’ attitudes towards ESP reading........................................................44 IV.1.3. Students’ perception of ESP reading challenges............................................47 IV.1.3.1. In the area of vocabulary.............................................................................47 IV.1.3.2. In the area of grammar................................................................................49 IV.1.3.3. In the areas of reading skills........................................................................51 IV.1.3.4. In the areas of discourse..............................................................................52 IV.1.4. The causes of challenges.................................................................................54 IV.1.4.1. The reading materials..................................................................................55 IV.1.4.2. The teachers.................................................................................................56 IV.1.4.3. The learners.................................................................................................56 IV.1.5. Students’ techniques to deal with new vocabularies and terminologies.......57 IV.1.6. The learners’ expectation for ESP reading materials...................................58 IV.1.7.The learners’ expectations in term of methodology.........................................60 IV.2. Discussion.........................................................................................................63 IV.3. Summary............................................................................................................63 CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION..................................................................................64 V.1. Summary of the main findings...........................................................................64 V.2. Conclusions.........................................................................................................65 V.3. Implications for the study...................................................................................66 V.3.1. Increasing students’ reading interest and motivation......................................66 V.3.3.Training students to become efficient readers..................................................68 V.3.4. Training students with different reading strategies.........................................68 V.3.5. Encouraging students to develop extensive reading habits.............................72 V.3.6. Giving homework and checking the previous lessons frequently....................73 V.3.7. Improving teachers’ background knowledge about Computer Science and teaching methodology.................................................................................................74 V.3.7.1. Improving teachers’ background knowledge about Computer Science......74 V.3.7.2. Improving teachers’ teaching methodology..................................................74 V.3.8. Developing IT reading materials...................................................................75 V.3.8.1. Adapting and improving reading exercises...................................................75 V.3.8.2. Choosing appropriate supplementary reading materials.............................76 V.4. Limitations and Suggestions for further study...................................................77 REFERENCES...........................................................................................................78 3 CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION I.1. Rationale I have been teaching at Nghe An Junior Teacher Training College (JTTC) for ten years. English is taught with the purpose that the students will use it effectively to fulfill their daily work in the future, so it receives great deal of concern from both teachers and students here. Enormous attempts have been made to provide the students with general English as well as English for Specific Purposes (ESP). Now I find out that reading comprehension plays a very important role in learning English as a foreign language, especially English for computer science in Vietnam. The main goal of ESP course, especially English for Computer Science is aimed at providing the students with linguistic knowledge relevant to their field and skills up to their expectation of their future employment. However, students learning ESP in Vietnam rarely have opportunities to use English in communication outside the classroom. They mainly have access to popular documents written in English through reading. Hence, skills in reading English texts are naturally of special importance in teaching and learning ESP, which is not an exception for the ESP teaching at Nghe An JTTC. Nghe An JTTC is one of those where ESP involves within an English teaching situation in response to the demand for specific language skills for the specialists – the graduated doctors. Therefore, improving students’ reading skills is recognized as a principal objective of ESP course provided by teachers of English at Nghe An JTTC. Of the four skills, reading comprehension has always received a great deal of attention. It is completely right because English is taught and learnt in other countries, not the native countries. So reading comprehension is not only the importance to get a new language but also for further study. “ For many students, reading is by far the most important of the four skills in a second language, particularly in English as a second or foreign language” (Carrel, 1981:1). As we know, if students read well, they are able to 4 handle subjects related written materials in English and to work with modern technological equipment. In fact, many researchers find out that teachers are disappointed with students’ reading comprehension. There are many challenges that we have to pay attention to: Teaching methods, classroom techniques, unsuitable materials, teachers and students’ attitude about the subjects. For all these reasons, it is necessary to discover the areas of students’ reading challenges at Nghe An JTTC and the causes of their unsuccessful reading comprehension. Problems have been found out. The researcher should do something as suggestions to improve the learning for students about reading comprehension of English for Computer Science at Nghe An JTTC. I.2. Aims and objectives: This study aims to examine the areas of challenges in reading comprehension of English for Computer Science for second-year students in the department of information technology at Nghe An JTTC. To be more specific, the objectives of this study are: - To investigate the situation of teaching and learning English for Computer Science in order to find out the students’ challenges in reading the materials and causes of them. - To suggest the ways to overcome the challenges and help students to improve their reading comprehension. - It is hoped that the findings from this study will be of some benefits to the second-year students of information technology (IT) at Nghe An JTTC. I.3. Method of the study In order to achieve the aims mentioned above, the methodologies adopted for this study are a survey questionnaire with 65 students which is used as the main method to collect the needed data from the learners . 5 When carrying out this thesis, the author prepares a questionnaire to investigate the second-year IT students’ challenges in learning reading English for Computer Science and find out some possible causes of these challenges. The questionnaire consists of 11 questions, based on the information in the literature review part and the aims of the study. This questionnaire is prepared in Vietnamese for the learners to read, think and answer suitably and adequately. After that it is delivered to second-year IT students, and the answers are collected and analyzed. The real challenges in learning reading English for Computer Science and some possible causes to these difficulties will be found out. I.4. Scope of the study: It is too broad to deal with reading challenges of all types. Therefore, the focus of this study is to investigate some problems in linguistics and reading skills which are faced by second-year students of IT at Nghe An JTTC. Then, the researcher will recommend some techniques to overcome reading challenges. I.5. Significance of the study. Reading is one of the four language skills which is very important in learning a foreign language. Reading will help students get adequate knowledge of vocabularies, structures or ideas to speak and to write. Teaching the language itself is the most typical use of reading in a foreign language class. Despite the awareness of the importance of reading in ESP learning, some students had a negative attitude towards ESP reading, which made their reading more difficult. What is more, when poor reading results are reported, one tends to blame the students for having poor ability or for making insufficient effort. Nevertheless, the students are not always at fault. There are other important factors in the process of teaching and learning reading such as unsuitable teaching materials, teachers’ inappropriate teaching methods and classroom techniques. How to help them reach the goal of reading comprehension is a great challenge. Hopefully, this study will 6 much help teachers of English at my college to better their teaching, motivate my IT students to better their learning especially to improve their reading comprehension. I.6. Organization of the study: This major thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter 1 concludes the rationale for the study, the aims, the methods, and the scope of the study as well as the organization of the thesis. Chapter 2 deals with the literature review. It discusses the theoretical background to the nature of reading and reading comprehension and reading in ESP teaching and learning. Chapter 3, the methodology chapter, will make it clear how the present study was implemented, including information about context, participants , and procedures, instrumentation and data collection. Methods of analysis will be addressed in Chapter 4. It investigates the current situation of teaching and learning English for Computer Science at Nghe An JTTC. Analysis of a range of data collected from various sources for the study will be clarified in this chapter. It includes some discussion of findings and recommendations. Chapter 5 Conclusion - summarizes the main findings of the study, points out the limitations and makes some suggestions for further research. 1.7. Summary This chapter introduces the study. This introduction includes the rationale, research methods, and the scope of of the study. Next chapter reviews the literature for the study. 7 CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter aims at providing a theoretical background to the study. The review of the issues most relevant to be the focus of the study will be included: definition of reading and reading comprehension, classification of reading according to the purposes of reading; reading in ESP teaching and learning such as definitions such as definition of ESP, types of ESP and challenges in teaching and learning English for Computer Science; finally the typical features of IT texts will also be discussed. II.1. The nature of reading II.1.1. Reading Up to now, there are so many definitions of reading by perspectives-linguists, psychologists, educators and second language researchers. When reading, we understand the texts. We analyze and find its meaning give out meaningful conclusion. But no one can define exactly what reading is. The question “What is reading?” attracts much attention and reasearchers have defined reading in various ideas. Each author has each different way to define. Goodman(1971; 135) considers reading as “ a psycholinguistic process by which the reader, a language user, reconstructs, as best as he can, a message which has been encoded by a writer as a graphic display”. William (1984) had the same view on reading, especially on the act of reconstructions as Goodman. He argues that “ written texts, then often contain more than we need to understand them. The efficient reader makes use of this to take what he needs, and no more to obtain meaning” (p.3). His opinion is shared by Nuttall and Grellet. However, Hafner and July (1982:4) did not think that understanding is known what the writer implied although they also mentioned the understanding between the author and the readers. According to their opinion, “ reading involves the identification and recognition of printed and written symbols which serve as 8 stimuli for the recall of meanings built up through past experiences and further construction of new meanings through the readers’ manipulation of relevant concepts already in his possession.” Frank Smith (1985; 102) defined “ reading is understanding the author’s thought”. It means that the readers “ read the author’s mind not the author’s words”. He also added “ understanding print or even receiving communication can hardly be said to explain reading ”. We know that the nature of reading is the interaction between readers and the authors. Harmer (1989: 153) considers reading as a mechanical process that “eyes receive the message and the brain then has to work out the significance of the message.” Harmer points out a view that reading activity consists of two actions dominated by the eyes and the brain. Rumelhart (1977) writes “ reading involves the reader, the text, and the interaction between the reader and the text”. He emphasizes the important role of both readers and reading texts. According to Carell Devine and Eskey (1988:13) “ reading is a process in that it starts with linguistic surface representation encoded by a writer and ends with meaning, which reader constructs. There is, thus, an essential interaction between language and thought in reading. The writer encodes thought in language and the reader decodes language to thought ”. They mean that we can see clearly the interrelationship between the writer, the reader and the text. One more definition of reading is offered by Allen and Vallete (1977). They thought that “ reading is developmental process” (p.249). We learn reading not only to know how to read, to master the symbols, the language, the grammar, etc…used in the text but also to understand the ideas, the information expressed in that text or to develop the ability reconstructing its contents in our own words. From all the opinions above, it is clear that no definition can possibly capture all the ideas and features of what reading is. Each scholar’s definition reflects what reading means as seen from his own point of view. However, they all try to find out 9 the nature of reading, that is “ understanding ” in which they emphasize on reading process, reading message and readers. Nowadays, with the explosion of information, reading has become more important. II.1.2. Reading comprehension In teaching and learning reading, reading comprehension plays a very important role. Reading comprehension can be understood as the ability to attract the required information from the text as efficiently as possible. There are three elements involving in the reading process: the text being read, the background knowledge of the reader, and the contextual aspects relevant for interpreting the text. Abbott (1981:82) gives out a research on the nature of reading comprehension. According to him “ there are two broad aspects or levels. Firstly, there is basically visual task that of deciphering the marks on the page, the brain receiving signals from the eyes. Secondly, there is cognitive task that of interpreting the visual information, so one is not simply barking at point.” According to Swan ( 1975: 1 ) “ a student is good at comprehension ” if “ he can read accurately and efficiently, so as to get the maximum information of a text with the minimum understanding”. , This means that the student can show his understanding by re-expressing the content of the text in many ways such as summarizing the text answering questions etc. Grellet (1981:3) considered “ reading comprehension or understand a written text means extracting the required information from it as effectively as possible”. Richard and Thomas (1987:9) describe reading comprehension as “an understanding between the author and the reader.” The nature of reading comprehension has been emphasized by these authors. It means that the readers look at the printed words and try to understand the implied meanings of the author basing on their background knowledge. This is a process whereby the printed words inspire the ideas, experiences that are relevant to each individual. 10 Expressing the nature of reading comprehension, Grilled (1981:3) said that “ reading comprehension or understanding written text means axtracting the required information from it as effectively as possible”. He means that the student can show his understanding by re-expressing the content of the text in many ways such as summarizing the text, answering questions etc. Though these ideas are not exactly the same, they all seem that “ reading without comprehension is meaningless”. ( Karlin and Kartin, 1982:2). It is known that reading is usually clearly, completely, and permanently on the page in front of us. Reading comprehension work should normally deal with direct comprehension in silent reading. In other words, it should aim to develop the skills competent readers use in their first language. In conclusion, reading for comprehension is the primary purpose for reading; raising students’awareness of main ideas in a text and exploring the organization of a text are essential for good comprehension. We know that reading is much more than just pronouncing words correctly or simply knowing what the authors intends. It is known as a process in which the readers can recognize the graphic form and understand the relation between the writing and the meaning. Thus, after reading, students can find the way to bettering their grammar, words, pronunciation and can understand the content of the text. Therefore, we comfirm that it is important for us to understand what reading comprehension is. In order to help teachers who teach reading find out the students’ difficulties of learning reading, they have to get a profound understanding about the nature of reading comprehension. II.1.3. Reading process In this section, three models are going to be mentioned. They are bottom-up models, top-down models and interactive models. Finally, schema theory models of the reading process is expressed. 11 II.1.3.1. Bottom-up models of the reading process We know that the reader begins with the written text (the bottom), and constructs meaning from letters, words, phrases and sentences found within and then processes the text in a linear fashion in bottom-up reading models. It seems to be that bottom-up models analyze reading as a process in which small chunks of texts are absorbed, analyzed and gradually added to the text chunk until they become meaningful. It can be seen the passive role of the reader in the process as these models are text driven ones of comprehension and the printed pages play an important role. Samuels and Kamil (188:301) say: “ an important shortcoming of these models is lack of feedback, in that no mechanism is provided to allow for processing stages which occurs later in the system to influence processing which occurs earlier in the system. Because of the lack of feedback loops in the early bottom-up models, it was difficult to account for sentence-context effects and the role of prior knowledge of text topic as facilitating variables in word recognition and comprehension ” LaBerge and Samuels (1974) consider that the reader’s understanding depends on what appears in the text and that the reader performs two tasks when reading, namely decoding and comprehending. For them, decoding is going from the printed word to some articulatory or phonological representation of the printed stimulus. Comprehending is deriving meaning from the decoded materials ( Samuels and Kamil, 1984:197). LaBerge and Samuels take the reader into account more than Gough does; still the reader’s primary function seems to be to process words from the printed pages. Gough (1972) is one of the theorists who supports these models. His primary focus is on the letter and word level of the text. According to him, the reader must go through letter recognition to decoding, to word recognition, then to syntactic and semantic rules. The reader is not a guesser in his model, and guessing strategies are not considered an approach to extract meaning from printed material, and are applied only when there is failure in decoding. However, Gough’s model is 12 criticised by Brewer (1972), as well as Gibson and Levin. The latter (1978: 449) argue that The model leaves largely unexplained the use of higher-order structures that is characteristic of the very economical behaviour of the skilled reader. A major problem with the model is that it can not handle the word superiority effect which has by now been thoroughly documented… It seems to us, too, that it ignores completely the flexibility of processing that characterises the skilled reader. Print → Every letter discriminated → Phonemes and graphemes matched → Blending → Pronunciation → Meaning In conclusion, the bottom-up models of the reading process is known as emphasizing the written or printed text, saying reading is driven by a process that results in meaning (or, in other words, reading is driven by text), and proceeding from part to whole. Teachers who believe that bottom-up theories fully explain how children become readers often teach subskills first: they begin instruction by introducing letter names and letter sounds, progress to pronouncing whole words, then show students ways of connecting word meanings to comprehend texts. Although bottom-up theories of the reading process explain the decoding part of the reading process rather well, there is certainly more to reading than decoding. To become readers, students must compare their knowledge and background experiences to the text in order to understand the author’s message. Thus, the exact purpose of reading is comprehension. II.1.3.2. The top-down models of the reading process The reading process moves from the top, the higher level mental stages down to the text itself in top-down models. This approach emphasizes the reconstruction of meaning rather than the recoding of form, the interaction between the reader and the text rather than the graphic forms of the printed pages. The reader proves his active role in the reading process by bringing to the interaction his/her available knowledge of the subject, and expectations about how language works, motivation, interest and attitudes towards the content of the text. 13 Cambourne (1979) provides the following schematisation of the approach. Past experience, language Selective aspects → intutions and expectations Meaning → of print Sound, pronunciation if → necessary Figure 1.1. : Schematisation of the top-down approach From the diagram, it can be seen that this approach emphasizes the reconstruction of meaning rather than the decoding of form. The interaction or the reader and the text is central to the process, and the reader brings to this interaction his knowledge of the subject at hand, knowledge of and expectations about how language works, motivation, interest and attitudes towards the content of the text. Rather than decoding each symbol, or even every word, the reader uses his general knowledge of the world or of particular text components to make intelligent guesses about what might come next in the text, or forms hypotheses about text elements and then the reader samples only enough of the text to cofirm or reject his/her guesses, to determine whether or not the hypotheses are correct. Truly, the reader plays an active role and supplies more information to construct meaning than the printed page does. Being different from bottom-up models of the reading process, which are based on sound-symbol theory, top-down models take their roots from meaningbased theory. Phonological knowledge is not considered a crucial aspect in the topdown process of reading. What is important in constructing meaning from the printed material is the reader’s prior knowledge, and cognitive and linguistic abilities. According to Dechant (1991: 25), “ the knowledge, experience, and concepts that readers bring to the text, in other words, their schemata, are part of the process…Reading in this cotext is more a matter of bringing meaning to than gaining meaning from the printed page.” Goodman is one of the most frequently mentioned advocates of top-down models of the reading process. Though revised through the years and restated in 14 Goodman (1975), his original model (1967), referring to reading as “ a psycholinguistic guessing game,” argues that readers use their knowledge of syntax and semantics to reduce their dependence on the print and phonics of the text. The original model specifies four processes in reading: predicting, sampling, confirming, and correcting. Smith (1975:60) says about the top-down reading models as one of the advocates that “ to be able to read, a child must be encouraged to predict, to use prior knowledge or even have non-visual information provided ”. Like Goodman, Smith (1971:2) emphasizes the role of meaning and the reader’s to predict when reading: “ Reading is less a matter of extracting sound from print than of bringing meaning to print”. He cites four distinctive and fundamental characteristics of reading: (1) Reading is purposeful; (2) Reading is selective; (3) Reading is based on comprehension; (4) Reading is anticipatory. Both Goodman and Smith give the reader a central role in understanding what he or she reads. One of the shortcomings of the top-down model is that it sometimes fails to distinguish adequately between beginning readers and fluent readers. Smith (1971), for example, advances the view that fluent readers operate by recognising words on sight. In other words, fluent reading in non-ideographic languages such as English proceeds in the same way as fluent reading in ideograph languages such as Chinese, where readers must learn to identify characters by their shape. Of course, it does not necessarily follow that, as fluent readers proceed through sight recognition, which is the way initial readers should be taught. Moreover, second language theorists have seen that a purely top-down concept of the reading process makes little sense for a reader who can be stymied by a text containing a large amount of unfamiliar vocabulary. II.1.3.3. The interactive models of the reading process The third type is interactive models of the reading process. This type derives from the perceived deficiencies of both bottom – up and top – down models. Hayes (1991: 7) proposes “in interactive models, different processes are thought to be 15 responsible for providing information that is shared with other processes. The information obtained from each type of processing is combined to determine the most appropriate interpretation of the printed pages”. The Hayes’ view is understood that if the reader wants to gain reading comprehension as much as possible, he/she has to apply different processes (bottom-up or top-down models) at the same time in order to catch information from the text. Therefore, in interactive models, both the reader and the text play an important role in reading. The interactive theorists argue that both top-down and bottom-up processes are occurring either alternatively or at the same time. It is a process that moves both top-down and bottom-up depending on the type of the text as well as on the reader’s background knowledge, language proficiency level, motivation, strategy use and culturally shaped beliefs about the reading. Interactive theorists appreciate the role of prior knowledge and prediction, and at the same time emphasize the importance of rapid and accurate processing of the actual words of the text. Most foreign language reading specialists view reading as interactive. The reader interacts with the text to create meaning as the reader's mental processes work together at different levels (Bernhardt, 1986; Carrell, Devine & Eskey, 1988; Rumelhart, 1977). One important part of interactive process theory emphasizes "schemata," the reader's preexisting concepts about the world and about the text to be read. Into this framework, the reader fits what he or she finds in any passage. If the new textual information does not fit into a reader's schemata, the reader misunderstands the new material, ignores the new material, or revises the schemata to match the facts within the passage. Content schemata are background knowledge about the cultural orientation or content of a passage. For example, readers might know that Mark Twain wrote stories about life on the Mississippi River during the nineteenth century. Such 16 content schemata help the readers to understand and recall more than do readers less familiar with text content (Carrell, Devine & Eskey, 1988). Formal schemata define reader expectations about how pieces of textual information will relate to each other and in what order details will appear (Carrell, 1987). For example, in a detective story, a reader could expect the following chain of events: a crime occurs, possible suspects are identified, evidence is uncovered, and the perpetrator is apprehended. In sum up, the popularity of interactive models shows that interactive models can maximize the strengths and minimizes the weaknesses of the separate use of either bottom- up or top- down models. However, when dealing with a text, which best models depend on the purpose of reading. II.1.3.4. Schema Theory It is believed that background plays an indispensable part in reading comprehension and an influential factor in facilitating reading comprehension. The role of background in comprehension of texts is explained and formulized in a theoretical model known as schema theory. Schema theory explains how people’s existing knowledge affects comprehension. It means that the theory emphasizes the importance of the reader’s knowledge in understanding the text. Schema is very abstract, Orasanu (1986: 33) claims that “A schema is an abstract structure or knowledge. It is structured in the sense that it indicates relations among constituent concepts. It is abstract in the sense that one schema has the potential to cover a number of texts that differ in particulars”. According to Silberstein (1994:8), he identifies two kinds of background knowledge: formal schemata and content schemata. Formal schemata often known as textual schemata, refers to knowledge of rhetorical structures and linguistic conventions of written texts. It consists of knowledge of how texts are organized and the understanding that different types of text use language structures, vocabulary, grammar, level of formality/ register differently. Content schemata 17 involves knowledge of the world beyond texts, “including the subject-matter of the text” (Carrell, 1983a). Alderson (2000: 34) divides content schemata further into background knowledge, which is directly relevant to text content and topic. It can be said that schema plays an important role in text comprehension because text comprehension requires an interaction of two models of information processing which are known as bottom-up (or text-based) and top-down (knowledge-based) processing. In top-down processing, readers draw on their own intelligence - the predictions they can make, based on schemata they have acquired - to understand the text. It is apparent that schema theory reflects important roles of prior knowledge in reading comprehension. A reader comprehends a text when he/she is able to activate or construct a schema. When processing a reading text, he/she makes use of their prior knowledge or schemata to interpret what the message is conveyed in the text. Adam and Bruce (1982) give an emphasis on the role of schemata, they express “without prior knowledge, a complex object such as a text is not just difficult to interpret; strictly speaking, it is meaningless”. II.1.4. Classification of reading II.1.4.1. Classification of reading according to manner of reading Reading aloud “Reading aloud involves looking at the text, understanding it and also saying it.” (Doff, 1988: 70). Though reading aloud is considered a way to convey necessary information to the others, it is unpopular activity outside classroom. For the teachers, reading aloud is more of a speaking exercise of pronunciation. Nuttal (1996) sees reading aloud as an important aid for beginners to improve their pronunciation. However, Greenwood (1985) criticizes this idea. He fears that students may be unable to focus adequately on the text’s meaning when they concentrate too hard on pronouncing the words. As for Doff (1988: 58), reading aloud is not a very useful technique for some reasons: 18 - Only one student is active at a time, the others are either not listening at all or listening to a bad model. - Students’ attention is focused on pronunciation, not on understanding the text. - It is an unnatural activity, most people do not read aloud in real life. - Because students usually read slowly, it takes up a lot of time in class. By whispering the words while reading, reading aloud slows the reader down and forces him to read every word so it can distract him from understanding the text. Silent reading Unlike reading aloud, silent reading is more often used in both real life and classroom, and “it is the method we normally use with our native language, and on the whole the quickest and most efficient” (Lewis, 1985: 110). With silent reading we can best understand the reading materials in the shortest possible time because we do not need to read all the words in the text, we can read at our own speed and if we do not understand what we are reading, we can read again or slow down for intensive reading. For the teachers, silent reading is helpful for controlling the class. In silent reading, students are in fact concentrating on the text, obtaining the meaning and extracting what they need. In short, silent reading is the most useful and practical way to develop the students’ reading ability. However, it is more beneficial when the teacher sometimes combines it with reading aloud to improve students’ pronunciation and intonation because reading aloud also has its own advantages. II.1.4.2. Classification of reading according to purpose of reading According to purpose of reading, Wood (1985), Williams (1986) and Grellet (1990) categorize reading into intensive, extensive, skimming, and scanning. Intensive reading means the careful reading of shorter, more difficult foreign language texts with the goal of complete and detailed understanding. The objective 19 of intensive reading is to understand not only what the text means but also how the meaning is produced. Francoise Grellet (1981:41) defined: “Intensive reading means reading short texts to extract specific information. This is an accuracy activity involving reading for details”. And according to Nuttal (1982:36), “Intensive reading involves approaching the text under the guidance of a teacher or a task which forces the student to pay great attention to the text”. To this kind of reading, readers are required a profound and detailed understanding of the text. They have to know every idea, every piece of hidden information in the text. They also have to pay attention to the area of the words in the passage through which some hints may be conveyed. In short, intensive reading is reading in detail for a complete understanding of every part of the text. Extensive reading means to read widely and in quantity. According to Grellet (1981:2), extensive reading means “reading longer texts usually for one’s own pleasure. This is a fluency activity, mainly involving general understanding”. Harmer (1989:497) also has the same view. He states “extensive reading would normally start with reading for the main idea or for general comprehension and finally, after much practice, for detailed comprehension”. In fact, most of extensive reading is done silently and out of the classroom and it gives the students opportunities to use their target language knowledge for their own purposes. Skimming is a very useful reading skill for students to locate a specific item of information that they need. Because of its nature, the key to skimming is to know where to find the main idea of different paragraphs and to be able to synthesize them by way of generalization. When skimming, we go through the reading material quickly in order to get the gist of it, to know how it is organized, or to get an idea of the tone or the intension of the writer. Nuttal (1982: 36) says “by skimming, we mean glancing rapidly through the text to determine whether a research paper is relevant to our own work or in order to keep ourselves superficially informed about materials that are not of great importance to us.” As for Grellet (1981: 19) stated: “when skimming, we go through the reading material 20
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