Tài liệu Skkn tiếng anh thpt to what extent do the activities of unfinished story improve lai chau boarding high school students’ reading sub skill of predicting outcomes

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SỞ GIÁO DỤC VÀ ĐÀO TẠO LAI CHÂU TRƯỜNG PHỔ THÔNG DÂN TỘC NỘI TRÚ TỈNH SÁNG KIẾN KINH NGHIỆM To what extent do the activities of Unfinished Story improve Lai Chau Boarding high school students’ reading sub-skill of predicting outcomes? Tác giả: Nguyễn Thị Thu Hương Trình độ chuyên môn: Đại học Chức vụ: Tổ phó Nơi công tác: Trường Phổ thông Dân tộc Nội trú tỉnh Lai Châu Lai Châu, ngày 20 tháng 5 năm 2013 1 PROBLEM I. REASONS FOR SELECTING TOPICS I have been teaching English for more than ten years. I love teaching and I want to be a good teacher. In other words, I want to help the students achieve the goal they hold in their lives. I want to perform what is required of a teacher – controller, assessor, organizer, prompter, etc. I am in charge of teaching English for grade 11 students. I have to teach all 4 skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Is reading important actually? For many people, reading is the most important and essential skill to master. According to Carrell (1984), “for many students, reading is by far the most important of the four skills, particularly English as a second or a foreign language”. It is not only a ‘goal’ but also an ‘essential tool’ in the development of each person. As Villamin (1984: 3 ) puts it: " Reading is the key that unlocks the door to the world of enlightenment and enjoyment." Also, the European Commission of the European Union (2001) considered that reading skill plays a very important role in each person’s learning at school. So the teachers play a very important role in teaching students reading comprehension so that they can become effective language learners. During my teaching, I have recognized that though my students are very keen on reading lessons, they have difficulty in reading skills, especially predicting outcome sub-skill. As the points mentioned above and in order to increase the students’ interests in learning reading skills, I decided to choose reading sub-skill of predicting outcomes as my action research topic. II. THE SCOPE AND SUBJECTS OF RESEARCH The research questions that guide this action research are: 1. To what extent do the activities of Unfinished Story improve Lai Chau Boarding high school students’ reading sub-skill of predicting outcomes? 2 2. How do the students feel about the use of unfinished stories to predict outcomes of stories in teaching reading comprehension skills? III. THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY From the actual situation of teaching English in schools, I see the limitations of students while learning English. So I want to help students become more confident in their, favorite subjects English, learn better, and achieve greater results. I decided to choose reading sub-skill of predicting outcomes as my action research topic. IV. THE NEW RESEARCH RESULTS I want to test new methods of teaching reading to stimulate the curiosity of students, promote active, creative students. The application of new methods is to make teaching reading more interesting or to attract more students. Students acquire knowledge faster, more realistic, more natural, longer remembered all. PROBLEM SOLVING I. RATIONALE 1. DEFINITIONS 1. 1. What is reading? There are many definitions about reading. Usually, it is related to the involvement of the knowledge of the reader and the ideas given by the writer within a specific context. Or in another shorter definition it can be the “dealing with language message in written or printed form” (Urquhart and Weir 1998: 14) which means that reading sometimes is associated with symbols or figures such as maps, time-tables. However, they finally came up with the definition that “reading is the process of receiving and interpreting information encoded in language form via medium of print.” (Urquhart and Weir 1998: 22) Nuttall (1982) discussed some assumptions about reading which, in his opinion, were not appropriate. One emphasized that reading focuses on recognizing the printed words that he reasoned was only for early reading. Another assumption insisted that reading should deal with pronunciation and 3 speaking and he said that it suits also only for early readers. In general the common words which should appear in reading process are “understand”, “interpret”, “meaning” and “sense”. So, it can be drawn that reading definitions relates to meaning extracting. It is true that people reading for many different purposes. Many people read for work, study; many others read for transport needs, entertainment or whatever. Reading in a foreign language or English is, besides, to do “a linguistic exercise” also to get “meaning out of a text for some purposes” (Nuttall 1982: 4) “Reading is an attempt to make meaning from what an author has written”. (Sloan and Latham, 1979: 3) Other feels that “reading is thinking ….reading is the reconstruction of the ideas of others” (Karlin, 1980: 7 in Roger L.Rouch et al) Reading is a key skill which people use to build up their knowledge of the world. By reading we are able to fulfill our hunger for knowledge. In order to strengthen this vital reading skill the study of the reading process is important. May (1986) divided the reading process into three aspects: 1. The visual perception of the language units (Syntax and spelling pattern are the language units). 2. Giving specific meanings to the chain of related ideas. (The language units combine to form meanings to be expressed in written form). 3. The reader perception of the meaning of the written word. (Readers interpret the meaning of the writing according to their understanding). Williams (1986) defines reading as “a process whereby one looks at and understands what has been written”. The word “understand” here plays an important role, so according to him “reading” does not take place if the reader cannot understand what is read. 4 Various writers have attempted to define reading. “Reading is bringing meaning to and getting meaning from printed and written materials” (Finochiaro and Bonomo in Tarigan, 1987:8) To read an understanding of the text, the readers undergoes a process of reading. According to Goodman (1988), Reading is a psycholinguistic process in that it starts with a linguistic surface representation encoded by a writer and ends with meaning which the reader constructs. There is thus an essential interaction between language and thought in reading. The writer encodes thought as language and the reader decodes language to thought. Nunan adds “ Reading is an interactive process between what a reader already knows about a given topic/ subject and what the writer writes” (Nunan, 1989) Reading means to provide the learners with the ability to read written materials in English language, such as books, articles, brochures and other materials related to language and language instruction. The learners are expected to master the ability of anticipating, predicting outcomes, sequencing, skimming, scanning, understanding relationships within paragraphs, and organizing the text. 1. 2. Reading theories Through many discussions, debates and researches, it is now agreed among language specialists that there are three common reading models in term of reading process. They are bottom-up, top-down and interactive. All these three, however, need the support of schemata theory to make them accomplished. Bottom-up model looks at reading process from a natural way. It is said that the process starts with words, word phrases, sentences, paragraphs and finally with the whole text meaning. Actually, it is difficult for a reader to be able to guess the whole text meaning before he can decode all particle meanings at word, phrase, sentence and paragraph level. The reader, thus, has to be a scanner to scan through letters, a decoder to decode those letters, a librarian to recognize the words. (Urguhart and Weir 1998: 40) This process, 5 in my own opinion, is logical as you, normally, in a close look, see a single tree or single words, phrases, sentences of the text first and see the jungle or the whole text later when you stand far away to look back. In some ways, it is a disadvantage as the part is seen before the whole reading. However, this process describes a naturally way of human thinking and so it is still famous and applicable in today. Top-down model, differently, looks at reading process as a whole first. Reader encounters the text with previous knowledge, experience and assumptions (Richards 1997: 18). Urquhart and Weir (1998) argued that topdown is not the suitable word to describe this process and it is completely not the reverse of bottom-up process. Indeed, the whole idea of the process is that the reader’s expectation is very important in the procedure of understanding the text and that expectation will definitely need the help of schemata of the reader himself to comprehend the text. Schema theory, however, will be discussed later in this piece of writing. Interactive model, the model that is “currently accepted as the most comprehensive description of the reading process” (Anderson 1999: 3) is the combination of bottom-up and top-down mode. What Anderson noticed is that this is the model that his students used the most and he believed that is the most effective way to learn and teach reading in class. To recognize the words, students have to use bottom-up model, but to understand what is behind the lines they have to activate their world knowledge, which means they top-down approach has to be used in order to get the understanding. In general, whatever the model the reader uses in processing a reading, there is one thing he has to rely on; that is his schemata or “organized knowledge of the world, provides much of the basic for comprehending, learning and remembering the ideas in stories and texts” (Ruddell R. B et al. 1994). If his schema about the topic of the text is so limited it will be not easy for him to understand the text or he will have to try hard to digest new concept or information from the text. In return, if his content schema about the topic is big enough, the reading process for the text will be fast and the likely to relate 6 previous knowledge and new one is also faster. Let look at a simple example in the sentence “She broke her ankle after jumping from the first floor window.” If you are coming form a culture with the conventional concept about the first floor as the ground floor, this sentence would seems odd to you. However, even if you are not familiar with that type of construction, you have prior knowledge about that concept, your schemata would allow you to acknowledge the first floor as the floor above the ground floor and that sentence would be just fine for you. So, schema theory is also another aspect that worth to look at in the reading process. With those mention models about reading, bottom-up, top-down, interactive models and schema theory, reading instructors can now prepare for themselves strategies and skills in teaching reading more effectively. 2. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 2. 1. Unfinished stories Unfinished stories are the stories which are made incompletely or naccomplishedly in order to create the curiorsity of readers. (Random House Dictionary, Random House, Inc 2011) 2. 2. Predicting outcomes Predicting outcomes is the conclusion reached through a process of logical thinking which makes a final product, where by the readers declare or foretell in advance the prophesy of the story’s content. (Collins English Dictionary 2009 © William Colins Son and Co.Ltd) Feuerstein, T. & Schcolnik, M (1997) stated that prediction is an important strategy both in the pre-reading and the while-reading stages. Before we begin to read a text, we usually have a good idea of what the text is about, and sometimes we even know what it will include. For instant, when we read the heading of a report, we already know a lot about it if we are familiar with the topic. We use headlines to build certain expectations about the contents or tone of the article. Our expectations may be wrong, but we use them to prepare ourselves for what is to come. If we continue to read for details, we have a general idea of what to expect. We continue to make 7 predictions as we go along. We predict the next word in the sentence; we predict the idea following. In other words, we predict on the basis of our prior knowledge. This knowledge is the basis on which we acquire new knowledge. When reading, we always predict. We become aware of our predictions only when we are wrong. When we recognize that we have made a mistake, we usually have to reread a word, a sentence, or a section. When our expectations are met, we are not aware of our predictions. We just go on. A valuable experience is to stop our reading from time to time, to assess the "predictive ability" we have. Rough & Birr (1984) stated that children are given the opportunity to think through a sequence of events and carry it through to a logical conclusion. This thinking process can be accomplished in many ways. The technique typically used is to have children read a part of a story, discuss what they read, and then either write or tell what they think will happen next (P.52). Predicting uses the internal organization of a text and is the strategy of guessing or predicting what is coming next in a text by means of specific cues contained within the text, ie - grapho-phonic (words, sounds, individual word structures) - syntactic ( grammatical structures) - semantic ( content words, the use of the reader’s existing understanding of the content) Ian, G. McPhail (1993: 74) Davies, F. (1995: 160) said that prediction is considered as a means of investigating the process of reading. It is an activity that has rich potential at all levels of reading development and in all contexts. The objective of prediction is to have children use their prior knowledge to predict what happens in the story depending on their schema of the story structure, the title of the story, the characters and the setting of the story. According to Sadler, C, R. (2001, p.41), prediction strategy acts as a motivator and gives purpose to the reading. It also allows students to be honest in their prediction and to do a self-evaluation. Students are able to 8 make predictions based on their prior knowledge. Comprehension is determined through a logical prediction. I hope that the finding of action will help Lai Chau boarding high school students overcome difficulties in reading and shed some light on my own practices. II. STATUS OF THE PROBLEM My school was established in 2004 with only four classes and a few teachers at that time. Now it has 12 classes with 380 students and 32 teachers but there are only 4 English teachers. Generally, the level of students of my schools is weaker than that of other schools in the area. Most of them are from ethnic minorities; moreover they don’t learn English at primary school. For them, English is the most difficult subject, especially when it is compulsory. They have many difficulties in learning English in general and in learning reading comprehension in particular. Their abilities and their current reading levels don’t meet the demand of the reading skill. They almost lack reading subskills and they don’t recognize the importance of learning reading as well. My students are weak in the following reading sub-skills of identifying facts and details, recognizing cause and effect, sequence of events, inferring meaning from contextual clues as well as predicting outcomes but I think they are weakest in the reading sub-skill of predicting-outcomes. III. MEASURES WERE TAKEN TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM 1. Research Design The study will be conducted with the research design below. Research Questions Instruments Subjects 1. To what extent do the 1. Reading Grade 11 activities of Unfinished comprehension students at Lai Story improve Lai Chau tests. (1 pre- Chau high Boarding high school test and 2 post school. students’ reading sub- tests) (N= 40) Statistical tools . Frequency count. . Percentage. . 1-tail t-test. . 2-tail t-test. 9 skill of predicting 2. Lesson outcomes? plans. 3. Observation 2. How do the students 4. Student feel about the use of questionnaire. unfinished stories to predict outcomes of stories in teaching reading comprehension skills? 2. Independent variable and Dependent variable Below diagram will illustrate the two main variables of the study. 1. To what extent do the activities of Unfinished Story improve Lai Chau Boarding high school students’ reading sub-skill of predicting outcomes? Independent variable Dependent variable Students’ ability of predicting outcomes in reading comprehension skills. The use of unfinished stories Operational Definition Operational Definition Teacher divides the story into strips, Students’ ability to predict what gives one by one, asks them to read it would happen next based on the 10 and guess what will happen next. contextual clues of the previous paragraphs. This will be measured by pre and post reading tests. 3. Data collection procedures The data collection procedures are illustrated in the diagram below. Grade 11 students at Lai Chau high school (n = 40) Control group Selected students for the research are those who will have the cores of less than 7/10 in the reading pre-test. Experimental group Group A N: 20 Boys: 10 Girls: 10 Group B N: 20 Boys: 10 Girls: 10 Constant: - Age: 16 - N: 40 students - Boys: 20 - Girls: 20 Tr One month No use of unfinished stories Observation Use of unfinished stories Reading - test 1 one month No use of unfinished stories Observation Reading - test 2 11 Use of unfinished stories Constant: - Teacher - Reading topics - Duration - Materials - Checklist Compare the results of two groups Student questionnaire Results Class the reading pre- Test 1 Test 2 test 11B1 40 students 20 students Score 20 students 20 students 20 students Score Score 1-6 7-10 1-6 7-10 1-6 7-10 20= 20= 16= 40% 24= 60% 10= 25% 30= 75% 50% 50% 3.1. Selecting the subjects A reading pre-test will be given to the whole class. Only those who score less than 7 over 10 will be selected to do the experiment. The students selected will be assigned to two groups (A and B) which are equal in number and gender. Each group is 20 students (10 boys and 10 girls). The students in group A will be taught reading comprehension with comprehension questions only and students in group B will be taught with unfinished stories. 3.2. Collecting data After one month, (3 periods/ week) I will have students in the two groups do the same first post-test, at the same time and the same time duration (45-minute test) and score their tasks. To be more reliable, I will ask my colleague to mark the papers. The scores then will be used in this analys. After the first post-test, the two groups will continue to be taught using the same method for another month. A second post- test will be given at the end of this period. The marking procedure will be the same as the first test. I 12 also ask the former colleague to score the tasks and collect the marks for the data. In addition, during the teaching process, I will observe and use checklist to see the improvement of the students. 3.2.1. Lesson Plans Each lesson lasts 45 minutes. The lesson shows the whole procedure that occurs in the class. The procedure is carried out to investigate second language English reading comprehension under conditions of instruction. To Group B: I start the lesson by asking questions about Embarrassing Experience to lead students to the lesson. Then, let students read the first paragraph about embarrassing experience and check their answers. Before students read the second paragraph, I ask them to predict the outcome with question “What would happen next?” or “What would people do next?” - Teacher divides the story into strips, gives one by one, asks students to read and guess what would happen next. - Teacher asks students to look at the first paragraph of the text, answer the questions and predict what would happen. MY MOST EMBARRASSING EXPERIENCE Paragraph 1: My most embarrassing experience happened a few years ago, when I was a grade 9 student. In those days, my biggest dream was a red hat – a floppy cotton hat like the one my pop star idol wore in her video clip. I thought I would look great in it. - Teacher poses sign post questions for students to answer. 1. How old was she? 2. Who was the pop star? 3. What would happen next? Paragraph 2: My father knew this, so on my birthday he gave me some money so that I could buy the hat for myself. I was extremely excited and decided to go 13 to the shop at once. I got on the bus and sat down next to a schoolboy about my age. 1. Did she and the schoolboy talk to each other? 2. How could she get money to buy the red hat? 3. What would happen next? - Teacher continues the procedure for each paragraph until the lesson finishes. To Group A: I don’t apply unfinished stories to Group A. They will be taught reading comprehension in traditional way. (Please, see appendix 1, 2) 3.2.2. The reading tests Three reading tests will be used for the research, one pre-test and two post-tests to collect the necessary data and students’ test papers are raw materials for analysis. Each test will last 45 minutes. All of them will be designed in the same way to make sure that their results are valid and reliable. They will consist of one passage with the same length, the same text type, and ten questions including five multiple-choice questions and five open-ended ones. All the questions focusing on predicting outcomes are based on the passage. The two groups of students will do these three tests. The pre-reading test aims at helping the teacher to see at what levels the students are. Also, through their results of testing, the teacher can identify the problem areas, students’ strengths and weaknesses. There are two post- reading tests. The first one is carried out after one month of the research and the second is done after the next two months. The results of the pre-reading test and two post- reading tests are used as the tools for the researcher to analyze to see how much progress the students have made in reading sub-skill of predicting outcomes. ( Please, see Appendix 3) 3.2.3. The questionnaire Questionnaires will be given to the students of the two groups after the second written test to find out their attitudes towards reading sub-skills of 14 predicting outcomes. It will have eight closed ended questions. The questionnaire will be written in English and translated into Vietnamese to guarantee that the subjects can understand and give correct answers ( Please, see Appendix 4) 3.2.4. Observation and checklist In the process of teaching reading, I will observe the students’ answers. Class observation helps to know the students’ performance and their attitudes towards learning reading sub-skill of predicting outcomes. The checklist will be designed in detail to help the teacher to observe what the teacher does during the teaching of reading and how much the students infer correctly for the first time, and the second time, etc. ( Please, see Appendix 5) 4. Data analyses The data collected will be analyzed by both descriptive and inferential statistics respectively. 4.1. Descriptive statistics The cube chart or bar chart will be used to summarize the general data of the three tests’ results to see the relationship between the variables. 4.2. Inferential statistics Besides the descriptive statistics, I will use inferential statistics with percentage to compare the students’ improvements in each tail and then the two tails together to see whether the difference is large enough to be significant. 5. RESEARCH SCHEDULE Stage 1 Activity Date - Preparing the reading pre-test. 1st week (Nov 5th - Having students do the pre-test. 2011) to 12th , - Scoring the test and choosing the subjects in the two classes. 2 - Using unfinished story for class Next four weeks (Nov 13th , 15 B and comprehension questions for 2011 to 13th Dec, 2012) class A. 3 - Preparing the first reading post- 6th week (14th Dec to 21st , test. 2011) - Having students do the post-test. - Scoring the test and collect the data. 4 - Going on using unfinished story Next four weeks (Dec 22nd , for class B and comprehension 2011 to 22nd Jan, 2012) questions for class A. 5 - Preparing the second reading 11th week (23rd Jan to 30th Jan, post-test. 2012) - Having students do the post-test. - Scoring the test and collect the data. 6 - Data analyses 12th week (1st Feb to 8th, 2012) 7 - Discussion and findings 13th week (9th Feb to 16th, 2012) 8 14th week (17th Feb to 23rd, - Writing report 2012) IV. THE EFFECT OF EXPERIENCE INITIATIVES After applying the new method in teach reading in English, it is clearly seen that students were more fascinated in the lessons with unfinished stories. Students can complete the story by answering questions excitingly. I find that my students become more interesting and, the quality of lectures also become effective than the one with old teaching method. In addition the new method creates a good environment to help students communicate in English creatively. 16 In just a short time applying this new method, I noticed students are braver, more creative in thinking and communication. Their memory are enhanced as well. Teaching this new reading strategy "predicting - outcome" is likely to be widely used in schools and for students different subjects. CONCLUSION I. THE LESSONS LEARNED I have learned a lot trying and using this new teaching method. For my own conclusion, to be an effective instructor, each needs good preparation of the lesson before teaching. The goals or requirements of the lesson should be targeted right at the beginning. Also, students' need, ability should be masted thoroughly before hand. Only then, the teaching could be fun and worthy. II. SENSE OF INITIATIVE EXPERIENCES With the above topics, to make interesting lectures, students learn better in the process of learning English. I made myself a new approach in teaching reading skills. I realize that this job brings positive results. Students are excited to learn all, understand the content quickly and are also inculcated the readings content. III. THE ABILITY TO DEPLOY APPLICATIONS Can apply the method of teaching reading skills "predicting - outcome" to teach the subjects in English reading. This method is applied at the upper secondary level in general and schools in particular boarding. IV. THE RECOMMENDATIONS, SUGGESTIONS For teachers - Need regular professional training and self-teaching - Always create an environment for students to speak English - A combination of active listening, speaking, reading English form "and play - to learn" For students - Practice positively, give comments in class 17 - Carefully prepare lessons before class, after learning all the lessons ended. - Do homework - Regularly read books, newspapers and magazines in English For leaders - Should pay more attention to the English department. - Should provide sufucient reference books - Should have professional workshops with participants from not only the school to create chances for English staff to share experiences and to learn from one another. 18 References. Anderson, N. (1999). Exploring Second Language Reading. Newbury House Teacher Development (Collins English Dictionary 2009 © William Colins Son and Co.Ltd) Davies, F. (1995). Penguin English Applied Linguistics. Introducing Reading. London and USA: Penguin Books Ltd. Denive et al.1987. Research in Reading English as a Second Language. Washington, D.C, USA: TESOL Feuerstein, T. & Schcolnik, M (1997). Enhancing Reading Comprehension in the Language Learning Classroom. Alta Book Center, Publishers 14 Adrian Court BurlinKame, California 94010 USA. Gunderson, Lee. 1987. ESL literacy Instruction – a Guide Book to Theory and Practice. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Regents. Goodman, Kenneth S. (ed) 1968 The Psycholinguistic Nature of the Reading Process. Michigan: Wayne State University Press. Ian, G. McPhail. 1993. Teaching and Learning Stratergies for ESL Learners R-12 Education department of South Australia. Karlin, Robert. 1984. Teaching Reading in High School: Improving Reading in the Content Area; New York, Harper & Row Nuttall, C. (1982). Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language. Cambridge University Press. Ruddell, R. B. et al. (1994). Theoretical Models and Process of Reading (4th ed). International Reading Association, Inc (Random House Dictionary, Random House, Inc 2011) Rough, R, L. & Birr, S. (1984). Teaching Reading. New York and London: Teacher College Press. Sadler, C, R. (2001). Comprehension Strategies for Middle Grade Learners. Canada: International Reading Association, Inc. Urquhart, A. H. and Weir, C. J (1998). Reading in a Second Language: Process, Product and Practice. Longman. 19 Williams, Eddie. 1986. Reading in The Language Class- room. London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Appendix 1 MY MOST EMBARRASSING EXPERIENCE 1. My most embarrassing experience happened a few years ago, when I was a 20
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