Islamic Azad University, Central-Tehran Branch
Faculty of Foreign Languages
A THESIS SUBMITED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN TEACHING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (TEFL)
The Impact of scaffolding on EFL intermediate learners’ reading comprehension
ADVISOR:
BEHDOKHT MAL AMIRI Ph.D.
READER:
MONA KHABIRI Ph.D.
BY:
MAHDIYEH FADAKAR
2013
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of scaffolding on Reading comprehension ability of intermediate EFL learners. To fulfill this purpose 95 language learners studied at Jihad Daneshgahi short-term education center considered as the participants. 47 students assigned as the control group and 48 students assigned as the experimental groups. First of all the piloted PET test was applied in order to homogenize the participants in regard to their General English and reading comprehension in particular. After assuring of this homogeny of students, scaffolding (modeling) applied for the experimental group and the scanning and skimming were used for control groups. After running these four classes, another sample of piloted PET test was administered for both control and experimental group. The results showed that the scaffolding had no any significant effect on reading comprehension of intermediate EFL learners.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
First and foremost, praises and thanks to the God, the Almighty, for His showers of blessings throughout my research work to complete the research successfully.
This thesis appears in its current form due to the assistance and guidance of several people. I would therefore like to offer my sincere thanks to all of them.
I would like to express my deep thanks to my esteemed supervisor Dr. MALAMIRI for the trust, the insightful discussion, offering valuable advice ,for her support during the whole period of the study, and especially for her patience and guidance during the writing process.
I would like to thank my esteemed reader Dr. Khabiri, for her excellent advises and detailed review during the preparation of this thesis.
I am extending my thanks to the external reader of the thesis, Dr. …… who took her/his valuable time for reading the thesis.
I do not really know how I can express my words of appreciation to my best Professor, Mr.Saaber Andargani, ILI’s Academic Supervisor and Teacher, for his kind co-operation, assistance, and encouragement through the course of
conducting this research and my life.
I am extremely grateful to my parents for their love, prayers, caring and sacrifices for educating and preparing me for my future. Also, I would like to thank my sisters, my brother- in- law, and my lovely niece ILMAH.
Table of Content
LIST OF TABLES viii
LIST OF FIGURES ix
Chapter I : Background and Purpose 1
1.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..2
1.2 Statement of the Problem……………………………………………………………………………………..7
1.3 Statement of the Research Question………………………………………………………………………..12
1.4 Statement of the Research Hypothesis…………………………………………………………………….12
1.5 Definition of Key Terms……………………………………………………………………………………….13
1.5.1 Reading ………………………………………………………………………………………………………13
1.5.2 Reading comprehension ………………………………………………………………………………..13
1.5.3 Scaffolding ………………………………………………………………………………………………….14
1.6 Significance of the Study ……………………………………………………………………………………..15
1.7 Limitations and Delimitations of the Study……………………………………………………………..17
1.7.1 Limitations of the study ………………………………………………………………………………..17
1.7.2. Delimitations of the study……………………………………………………………………………..17
CHAPTER II : Review of the Related Literature 20
2.1. Reading Comprehension………………………………………………………………………………………21
2.2. Reading………………………………………………………………………………………………………………23
2.2.1. Models of Reading……………………………………………………………………………………….24
2.2.1.1. Bottom-up Models……………………………………………………………………………….25
2.2.1.2. Top-down Models……………………………………………………………………………….25
2.2.1.3. Interactive Models………………………………………………………………………………..26
2.2.2. Types of Reading…………………………………………………………………………………………26
2.2.2.1. Extensive Reading………………………………………………………………………………26
2.2.2.2. Intensive Reading……………………………………………………………………………….27
2.2.2.3. Silent Reading……………………………………………………………………………………28
2.2.3. Reasons for Reading…………………………………………………………………………………….29
2.2.4. Importance of Reading…………………………………………………………………………………30
2.2.5. Importance of Teaching Reading…………………………………………………………………..31
2.2.6. Process vs. Product of Reading……………………………………………………………………..32
2.3. Good vs. Poor Readers………………………………………………………………………………………..32
2.4. Schema Theory…………………………………………………………………………………………………..35
2.5. Inferencing…………………………………………………………………………………………………………36
2.5.1. The Difference between Reasoning and Inferencing…………………………………………37
2.5.2. Types of Inferences………………………………………………………………………………………37
2.6. Scaffolding and Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): History of the Concept………..38
2.7. ZPD in the Classroom………………………………………………………………………………………….42
2.8. Learning from a Sociocultural Perspective……………………………………………………………..43
2.9. The Mind and Scaffolding……………………………………………………………………………………44
2.10. Educational Scaffolding: an Instructional Technique ……………………………………………45
2.11. Concepts Embedded in Scaffolding…………………………………………………………………….47
2.12. Self-scaffolding………………………………………………………………………………………………..48
2.13. Contexts of Scaffolding……………………………………………………………………………………..49
2.14. Successful vs. Inefficient of Scaffolding………………………………………………………………51
2.15. Macro and Micro Focuses on Tasks in Scaffolding……………………………………………….52
2.16. Scaffolding and Good Teaching………………………………………………………………………….52
2.17. Effective Scaffolded Instruction………………………………………………………………………….53
2.18. Guidelines for Effective Scaffolding……………………………………………………………………54
2.19. Types of Instructional Scaffolding to Use with English Learners…………………………….55
2.20. Challenges and Benefits of Scaffolding………………………………………………………………..57
Chapter III : Methodology 60
3.1. Participants…………………………………………………………………………………………………………61
3.2. Instrumentation …………………………………………………………………………………………………..61
3.2.1. Language proficiency test……………………………………………………………………………..61
3.2.2. The reading posttest……………………………………………………………………………………..64
3.2.3. Instructional Material……………………………………………………………………………………65
3.3. Procedure …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..65
3.3.1. Piloting the PET Test……………………………………………………………………………………65
3.3.2. Homogenizing the Participants………………………………………………………………………66
3.3.4. The Treatment……………………………………………………………………………………………..66
3.3.5. Administration of the Reading Post-Test…………………………………………………………68
3.4. Design……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….69
3.5. Data analysis………………………………………………………………………………………………………69
Chapter IV: Results and Discussions 70
4.1.Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………………………71
4.2.Results of Data Analyses……………………………………………………………………………………….71
4.3 Discussions………………………………………………………………………………………………………….81
Chapter V : Conclusion and Pedagogical Implications 86
5.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………………………87
5.2. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..87
5.3. Pedagogical Implications……………………………………………………………………………………..88
5.4. Suggestions for Further Research………………………………………………………………………….89
References 91
LIST OF TABLES
Table 4.1. Descriptive Statistics of scores obtained by both groups on PET 72
Table 4.2: Mean Ranks of both groups on PET test 74
Table 4. 3: Test Statisticsaof PET scores 74
Table 4.4:Descriptive Statistics of reading scores of both groups before treatment 75
Table 4.5: Mean Ranks of reading scores before treatment 75
Table 4.6: Test Statisticsa of reading scores before treatment 77
Table 4.7: Descriptive Statistics of the posttest scores 78
Table 4.8: Mean Ranks of reading posttest scores 80
Table 4.9:Test Statisticsa of reading posttest scores 80
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Expanded ZPD (by van Lier, 2004, cited in Walquil ,2006) 50
Figure 4.1: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the control group on the PET test 73
Figure 4.2: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the experimental group on the PET test 73
Figure 4.3: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the control group on the reading pretest 76
Figure 4.4: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the experimental group on the reading pretest 76
Figure 4.5: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the experimental group on the reading posttest 78
Figure 4.6: Histogram representing the scores obtained by the control group on the reading posttest 78
Figure 4.7: Bar graph representing the mean scores of the two groups on the reading posttest 81
Chapter I
Background and Purpose
1.1 Introduction
There is no doubt that developing the ability to read is a very important skill
because literacy has always been described in terms of being able to read. Reading is a necessity in modern societies because we are all surrounded by print. We read newspapers to keep abreast of recent world news during the day. We read novels and short stories for pleasure at night before going to sleep. We read brochures and catalogues to decide whether to buy a specific product or not. In addition to all these, thanks to modern technology, we need to read other materials such as e-mails and short text messages. Given the importance of reading in our daily lives, there is little wonder why assisting English language learners in understanding reading comprehension texts has always been a major preoccupation for reading researchers and teachers (Baleghizadeh, 2011 .1669).
Rivers (1981) said ”Justification for an emphasis on the development of the
reading skill is not hard to find. In many countries foreign languages are learned by numbers of students who will never have the opportunity of conversing with native speakers, but who will have access to literature and periodicals, or scientific and technical journals, written in the language they are learning. Many will need these publications to assist them with further studies or in their work; other will wish to enjoy reading in another language in their leisure time to keep them in touch with world” (p.260)
Rivers (1981) is of the belief that the reading skill, once developed, is the one which can be most easily maintained at a high level by the students themselves without further help from a teacher. Through it they can increase their knowledge and understanding of the culture of the speakers of the language, their ways of thinking, their contemporary activities, and their contributions to many fields of artistic and intellectual endeavor. To imagine that all students who have learned language at school will do this, however, is a blissful illusion. Unless students have been taught to read the target language fluently, without deciphering it laboriously word by word, and to approach a book or magazine article independently with confidence, it is unlikely that they will want to continue to read in that language after they have completed their studies.
Rivers (1981), maintain that “the ability to read another language with direct
comprehension and with fluency should be cultivated in progressive stages, and
practiced at first with carefully selected material which students can read with ease
and enjoyment. ” (p.260). Rivers continues that rushing students very quickly into reading material beyond their present capacity for fluent comprehension with occasional contextual guessing,- the ultimate goal, destroys confidence and forces students back to deciphering with a dictionary or word list. This deciphering allows students to piece together the denotational meaning of discrete elements, but they frequently remain to the overall meaning which evolves from the way these elements interact within the discourse. They miss the mood, tone, or special intent of the passage while extracting detailed information from particular segments. After that, when they have gained confidence, they will be ready for a wide range of materials selected primarily for content and pertinence to their interests, without specific attention to level of reading difficulty.(Rivers, 1981).
Aksan and Kisac, (2009) believe that ”the fundamental of learning is apprehension and the fundamental of apprehension is reading ” (p.834). ”Reading is an important language skill and a highly complicated act that everyone must learn. Reading is not solely a single skill but a combination of many skills and processes in which the readers interact with printed words and texts for content and pleasure”. (Al-mansour and Al-shorman, 2011 p.69).They believes that one can teach writing, speaking, vocabulary items, grammar, spelling and other language aspects through reading. The main goals of reading are enabling students to gain an understanding of the world and themselves, to develop appreciation and interests, and to find solutions to their personal and group problems.
Norris and Philips (1989) point out that reading is more than just saying what is on the page; it is thinking. Moreover, Beck (1989) asserts ”there is no reading without reasoning” (p.677). Also, among those researchers and theoreticians who recognize that reading involves thinking is Ruggireo (1984). He indicates that reading is reasoning. Yu-hui (2010) stated clearly that reading is a
thinking process to construct meaning (cf.Aloqaili, 2012 p.38).
Lorch and Broek (1997) maintain that being able to read and comprehend text is vital for success in our society [the United States] and its development has been a main component of instructional practice. In the past two decades, psychologists have dedicated a good deal of attention to the question of how competent, adult readers comprehend text. Influenced by work in linguistics and artificial intelligence, the efforts of these cognitive scientists have dramatically increased our understanding of the psychological mechanisms underlying reading comprehension.
Dreyer and Nel (2003) concern the strategies for reading comprehension, they argue that ”in order to meet the reading needs of students in the 21st century,
educators are pressed to develop effective instructional means for teaching reading comprehension and reading strategy use”.(p.27)
Lewis (1991, p.421) stated that the goal of reading extended text is to arrive at a coherent representation of the text. This goal is achieved by readers’ weighing and comparing data from their schemata, the text, and the context in which the act occurs(cf Aloqaili, 2012 p.39).
Broek and Kremer (2000, pp. 11-12) state that to be successful, readers must
have the inferential and reasoning skills to establish meaningful connections
between information in the text and relevant background knowledge. Central to
these skills is knowing what constitutes an inferential or casual/logical relation and being able to recognize or construct one when needed in order to form a coherent mental representation of the text (cf Aloqaili, 2012 p.39).
However, many students enter higher education underprepared for the reading demands that are placed upon them. When pressed to read, they often select ineffective and inefficient strategies with little strategic intent (Saumell ,1999; Wad e et al., 1990; Wood et al., 1998). Often this is due to their low level of reading strategy knowledge and lack of metacognitive control (Dreyer,1998; Strydom, 1997;Van Wyk, 2001). Another reason might be their inexperience coming from the limited task demands of high school and the fact that at the first-year level at the Potchefstroom University 50% of the focus is still on knowledge reproduction ( cf Dreyer and Nel 2003).
The importance of reading is obvious for most people, “few people today
question the values of reading. In fact, most extol its virtues. Reading is a key
success in school, to the development of out-of-school interests, to the enjoyment of leisure time, and to personal and social adjustment. It helps children to adjust their peers, to become independent of parents and teachers, to select and prepare for an occupation, and to achieve social responsibilities. As our culture becomes more complex, reading plays an increasing role in satisfying personal needs and in promoting social awareness and growth. Through reading, we may broaden our tastes and our understanding of others; we make our life full, significant and interesting “(Dechant, 1991 p.vii).
This might not be so surprising when one considers that research conducted by Durkin (1979) revealed that teachers actually devoted only 2% of the classroom time designated for reading instruction to teaching students how to comprehend what they read. Twenty years later, not much seems to have changed ( Pressley et al., 1998). Carrell (1998), points that in high school, reading comprehension instruction is limited to the assignment of a reading passage, accompanied by a number of short or multiple-choice questions relating to the passage (personal experience and observation). Even at the university level, it is often assumed that students have the skills and strategies needed to successfully comprehend expository text. Yet, there is little evidence to suggest that students at any level will acquire these skills and strategies if they have not been explicitly taught (cf. Dreyer, Nel 2003).
According to Alexandar (1996, p.90) instruction can be effective in providing students with a repertoire of strategies that promote comprehension monitoring and foster comprehension. For students to become motivated strategic strategy users, they need ”systematically orchestrated instruction or training” (Alexander, 1996, p. 90) Kasper, (2000a, b); Singhal, (2001);Van Wyk, (2001) believe that in order to meet the reading needs of students within the 21st century, educators are pressed to develop effective instructional means for teaching reading comprehension and reading strategy use (cf. Dreyer,Nel 2003).
It was thought that if learning was mediated, or scaffolded, by adults, children could not only accomplish the task at a higher level but also would be able to internalize their thinking, strategies or mechanisms used to be able to approach other similar tasks (Rogof & Gardener, 1984). So, gradually the nature and extent of the scaffolding would be diminished and it would be finally removed.
The metaphor of the ZPD as a construction zone promulgated by Newman (1989) is an apt one, since scaffolding is used in the building profession during constructions, renovations and extensions, and removed once the building is complete. They also used Leone’s notion of “appropriation’ to describe learning in the ZPD whereby children are guided to reach solutions to problems via the acquisition of skill in using tools, strategies and concepts. In this context leanings aligned with ‘relocation’ to a different zone (Cf, Yelland and Masters, 2007).
The term “scaffolding” refers to the support that a teacher can give learners so that they can work at a much higher level than is possible on their own. Ninio
and Bruner (1978) first used the term to describe how learning takes place in families, following the social learning model of Vygotsky (1978). Scaffolding support enables learners to successfully practice complex skills and as they
become independently competent, scaffolding is gradually withdrawn. An example is the guidance that a skilled artisan provides to an apprentice as they learn to complete a specialized task. In this process, the teacher models and explains each activity in a task, the learner watches and listens, and then practices the activity as the teacher guides them to do it accurately. In each step the learner takes over more control of the task until they are independent. (cf, Rose, Chivizhe, McKnight& Smith, 2006).
According to (Rose et al., 2006) “learning to read and write are unique kinds of tasks, because they involve not simply physical activities, but recognizing and using meanings. So scaffolding strategies for reading and writing are planned to focus learners’ attention on patterns of language and to recognize the meanings they tend to express. However, by using scaffolding strategies teachers can support learners to read and write far more complex texts than they normally could on their own. This supported practice allows learners to develop reading and writing skills that they can then use independently.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As MacNamara (2007) points out “reading can be challenging, particularly when the material is unfamiliar, technical, or complex. Moreover, for some readers, comprehension is always challenging. They may understand each word separately, but linking them together into meaningful ideas often doesn’t happen as it should. These readers can decode the words, but have not developed sufficient skills to comprehend the underlying, deeper meaning of the sentences, the paragraphs, and the entire text Comprehension to the ability to go beyond the words, to understand the ideas and relationship between ideas conveyed in a text. In fact, effective reading comprehension strategies is perhaps the most important means to helping readers improve comprehension and learning from the text”(p. xi).
Snow, (2002 ) claims that, “learning to read well is a long-term developmental process. At the end point, the proficient adult reader can read a variety of materials with ease and interest, can read for varying purposes, and can read with comprehension even when the material is neither easy to understand nor intrinsically interesting” (p.xiii). In later pages she continues that” the need for research in reading comprehension is critical and the possibilities for research topics in this area nearly endless. The mission of improving reading comprehension outcomes is too important to leave to laissez-faire research managers. The research community needs to set an agenda that defines the most serious problems and prioritizes the needed research “(p.xvi).
Dechant (1991) is of the belief that “reading is so interrelated with the total
educational process that educational success requires successful reading. Experience has taught us those who fail in school usually have failed in reading. But why do we need another research or book on reading and on teaching of reading? The simplest answer to this question is that, despite the effort of thousands of dedicated teachers, there are unfortunately millions of children leaving our schools without adequate ability in reading” (p.vii).
Dechant,( 1991) continues that “the first obvious component of reading is
that the words be recognized. The second and most important component is comprehension. Reading is a synthesis and an integration of two processes:
identifying and recognizing words and comprehension” (p.viii).
Based on (Dechant, 1991) “reading usually cannot occur unless the pupil can
identify and recognize the printed symbol. The acquisition of a sight or recognition vocabulary needs to be a goal of reading instruction. Efficient reading depends on having a vast store of words that are recognized spontaneously. Readers eventually must commit the word so well to memory that they can respond to it automatically without having to figure it out. Each word then becomes a sight word that is instantly recognized and with which the reader can associate meaning. This is precisely what poor readers cannot do” (p.viii).
Dechant( 1991), continues that “as important as word recognition is, it is only one aspect of reading process. Reading is about meaning and the comprehension of meaning. Comprehension is the goal and purpose of reading. Without it there is no reading (p.ix).
Rayner and Pollatsek, (1989) argue that “reading is a highly complex skill that is a perquisite to success in our society[the united states]. In a society such as ours, where so much information is communicated in written form, it is important to investigate this essential behavior. In the past 15 years, a great deal has been learned about the reading process from research by cognitive psychologists” (p.ix).
Al-Mansour & Al-Shorman (2011), believed that “through reading, one can
teach writing, speaking, vocabulary items, grammar, spelling and other language aspects. The basic goals of reading are to enable students to gain an understanding the world and themselves, to develop appreciation and interests, and to find solutions to their personal and group problems”. (p.35)
Burch (2007), states that “as teachers work in their classrooms to develop lessons, activities, and demonstrations to extend the literacy learning of their
students, they must constantly strive to meet the diverse needs of their students by selecting and implementing a variety of instructional models and materials. Many teachers have found that their knowledge of each student’s competencies allow sthem to adjust lessons and support each student as they extend that student’s literacy learning. Classroom teachers ask themselves how they can help students especially those low performing children in their own roomslearn and accelerate at faster rates” (p.67).Thus the researcher has used scaffolding within the students’ zone of proximal development to accomplish it.
Many researchers and reflective practitioners such as Vygotsky (1933, 1978)
feel that the strategies that will best accomplish enhanced learning are those that
support learning within the child’s zone of proximal development ( cf,Burch,
2007).
Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) used the term “scaffolding”, to describe this
support which has been defined as support system that helps children achieve
success on tasks that would be too difficult for them to achieve by themselves (cf, Burch, 2007).
Verenikian(2003), holds the view that” the popularity of the scaffolding metaphor indicates its conceptual significance and practical value for teaching and educational research”( p.1). Although it was originally used with young kids, research showed it is effective among a wide variety of different student population, from young kids (Beed et al., 1991; Coltman et al., 2002; Palinscar, 1998) to middle school students (Chang et al., 2001; McLoughlin & Oliver, 1998; Oliver, 1999), to undergraduate and graduate students (Bean & Stevens, 2002; Kao, 1996; Sharma, 2001); from regular students to students with learning disabilities (Beed et al., 1991; Gaskins et al., 1997; Lepper et al., 1997; Palincsar, 1998). The extensive success of scaffolding indicates its role as successful intervention of learning. (cf,Hu, 2006).
Scaffolding can also be used to reduce learners’ cognitive load (Oliver, 1999) and prevent them from feeling frustrated by difficult tasks (Rosenshine &
Meister, 1992). If the learners have to struggle with a task all by themselves and keep experiencing failure, they will quickly feel frustrated and may eventually give up. Support from other people or tools can ”shoulder some of the intellectual burden” (Jackson, Stratford, & Krajcik, 1996, p. 1) so that learners can focus on more critical components within a task. To leverage students’ cognitive load, a teacher can take over part of the cognitive load or provide scaffolding tools, such as cue card (Rosenshine & Meister, 1992). To regulate the difficulty of a task, the teacher by scaffolding can provide a simplified version of the task at the beginning and gradually increase the difficulty or divide a complex task into small manageable pieces that learners can handle (Rosenshine & Meister, 1992). However, leveraging cognitive load does not mean taking over all intellectual burden from students.
Good instruction should always balance between challenge and support (Roehler & Cantlon, 1997). As students become more competent, it is important to gradually take away support and hand over more responsibility to students. Otherwise, they might either become overly rely on the help or not be able to tackle with the full version of a task. (cf Hu, 2006).
Hammond and Gibbons (2001) believed that scaffolding is defined as a process or product that enables a learner to a goal, solve a problem, or finish a task that the individual would not be able to do without support from other human beings or tools). From its definition, we can see that the nature of scaffolding is instructional intervention, which is intentionally designed to enhance student’s learning. Furthermore, scaffolding



قیمت: تومان


پاسخ دهید