an investigation into students’ efl reading strategy use at nguyen van linh high school

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING HO CHI MINH CITY OPEN UNIVERSITY AN INVESTIGATION INTO STUDENTS’ EFL READING STRATEGY USE AT NGUYEN VAN LINH HIGH SCHOOL A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in TESOL Submitted by NGUYEN DU KIM PHUNG Supervisor: Dr TRAN THI MINH PHUONG HO CHI MINH City November 2015 STATEMENT OF THE AUTHORSHIP I certify that this thesis, entitled “An Investigation into Students’ EFL Reading Strategy Use at Nguyen Van Linh High School”, is my own work Except where reference is made in the text of the thesis, this thesis contains no material published elsewhere or extracted in whole or in part from a thesis by which I have qualified for or been awarded another degree or diploma No other person’s work has been used without due acknowledgement in the main text of the thesis This thesis has not been submitted for the award of any degree or diploma in any other tertiary institution Ho Chi Minh City, November, 2015 NGUYEN DU KIM PHUNG i   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS When doing this research, I am deeply indebted to many wonderful people for all their help Without their support, it would be very difficult for me to complete this study Accordingly, I would like to acknowledge with profound gratitude for the significant contribution they made Importantly, I am really grateful to my supervisor, Dr Tran Thi Minh Phuong, for putting a great deal of effort into instructing me how to produce a thorough research She has provided me with detailed comments, useful advice and precious research experience Her supervision kept me on the right track which allowed me to be able to complete my study successfully I would also like to express my gratitude to a teacher of English and students at Nguyen Van Linh High School for willingly cooperating with me during my data collection The teacher created favorable conditions for me to collect data from her students, and the students were very pleased to answer my questionnaires and interviews My thanks go to M S Vu Huu Thanh for helping me analyze the data of my study Without his valuable assistance, my research would have been far from being finished Last but not least, I wish to thank my family for the love and encouragement they gave me while I was doing my thesis   ii   ABSTRACT This study aims to investigate students’ EFL reading strategy use at Nguyen Van Linh High School 133 students in 12th grade reported their use of reading strategies through a 28-item questionnaire adapted from Mokhtari and Sheorey’s (2002) Survey of Reading Strategies (SORS) in three sub-categories: global strategies (GLOB), problem-solving strategies (PROB), and support strategies (SUP) A reading comprehension test was used to divide the participants into high, medium and low proficiency groups Eight of them in the high and low proficiency groups further took part in the semi-structured interviews Results showed that the students generally used reading strategies at a moderatefrequency level Among the three sub-categories of reading strategies, they employed PROB strategies the most often, followed by GLOB strategies and SUP strategies The five most used reading strategies were using typographical features to identify key information, guessing the content of the text, reviewing the text to know about its length, organization and main idea, getting back on track when losing concentration, and underlining or circling information in the text The five least used reading strategies were reading aloud, asking questions to have answered in the text, paraphrasing, analyzing and evaluating the information presented in the text, and thinking about the content of the text and reading purposes Moreover, the high proficiency students employed the three subcategories more frequently than the low proficiency ones However, these differences were only highly significant in the use of problem-solving strategies and support strategies Practical recommendations are given to teachers of English and authorities at Nguyen Van Linh High School iii   TABLE OF CONTENTS   STATEMENT OF THE AUTHORSHIP i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ii ABSTRACT iii TABLE OF CONTENTS iv LIST OF TABLES viii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ix CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1 Rationale of the study 1 Purposes of the study 3 Research questions Significance of the study Structure of the study CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW Learning strategies 1 Definitions of learning strategies 2 Classifications of learning strategies 2 Reading 12 Reading strategies 13 Definitions of reading strategies 13 Classifications of reading strategies 14 Skilled and unskilled readers 17 Learning strategy use and proficiency 18 iv   Previous studies 19 Previous studies in different countries 19 Previous studies in Vietnam 26 Summary of chapter 28 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY 29 Context of the study 29 Participants of the study 30 3 Research design 31 Instruments to collect data 31 Reading comprehension test 31 Questionnaires 32 Rationale of questionnaire 32 2 Descriptions of questionnaire 33 Interviews 34 Rationale of interview 34 Descriptions of interview 34 Pilot of the study 35 Pilot of questionnaire 35 Pilot of interview 36 Data collection procedure 37 Data analysis procedure 38 Questionnaire Data 38 Interview Data 38 Summary of chapter 38 v   CHAPTER 4: DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS 39 Data analysis 39 1 The students’ EFL reading strategy use 39 1 Frequency of reading strategy group use 39 1 Frequency of individual reading strategy use 42 1 Global strategies 43 1 2 Problem-solving strategies 44 1 Support strategies 45 The differences in the use of reading strategies between the high and low proficiency students 47 Findings from the questionnaires 47 1 Differences between high and low proficiency students in using three reading strategy groups 48 2 Differences between high and low proficiency students in using the individual reading strategies 49 2 Findings from the interviews 54 Discussions of the study 57 The students’ EFL reading strategy use 57 2 The differences in the use of reading strategies between the high and low proficiency students 60 Summary of chapter 62 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 63 5.1 Research questions explicitly answered 63 Limitations of the study 65 Recommendations 66 vi   Suggestions for further research 68 Summary of chapter 69 REFERENCES 70 APPENDICES 79 APPENDIX 1: READING COMPREHENSION TEST 79 APPENDIX 2: QUESTIONNAIRE (ENGLISH VERSION) 84 APPENDIX 3: QUESTIONNAIRE (TRANSLATEDVERSION) 87 APPENDIX 4: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (ENGLISH VERSION) 90 APPENDIX 5: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (TRANSLATED VERSION) 91 APPENDIX 6: A SAMPLE INTERVIEW SCRIPT (ENGLISH VERSION) 92 APPENDIX 7: A SAMPLE INTERVIEW SCRIPT (TRANSLATED VERSION) 94 vii   LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Stern’s list of 10 strategies of a good language learner Table 2: Naiman’s list of L2 learning strategies Table 3: O’Malley and Chamot L2 learning strategy framework 10 Table 4: Oxford’s learning strategy framework 12 Table 5: Overall frequency of the students’ reading strategy use 45 Table 6: Reading strategies used by the students listed from least to most frequently 46 Table 7: The students’ perceived use of global strategies 48 Table 8: The students’ perceived use of problem-solving strategies 50 Table 9: The students’ perceived use of support strategies 51 Table 10: Independent-Samples T Test results on three reading strategy groups for high and low proficiency students 53 Table 11: Independent-Samples T Test results on individual global strategies for high and low proficiency students 54 Table 12: Independent-Samples T Test results on individual problem-solving strategies for high and low proficiency students 56 Table 13: Independent-Samples T Test results on individual support strategies for high and low proficiency students 58   viii   LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS EFL: English as a Foreign Language ESL: English as a Second Language FL: Foreign Language L1: The first language L2: The second language ESP: English for Specific Purposes ELT: English Language Teaching ESO: English for Speakers of Other Languages SEM: Structural Equation Modeling TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language TOEIC: Test Of English For International Communication CET-4: College English Test Band-4 GCSE: General Certificate of Secondary Education SORS: Survey of Reading Strategies MARSI: Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Inventory FLRAS: Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale SPSS: Statistical Package for Social Sciences GLOB: Global strategies PROB: Problem-solving strategies SUP: Support strategies S: Strategy ix   8: Matthew Brady was well-known for A inventing daguerreotypes C portraits and war photographs B taking pictures of French cities D the small handheld camera 9: As mentioned in the passage, photography can A convey ideas and feelings C replace drawings B print old pictures D show the underworld 10: Which of the following could best serve as the title of the passage? A Photography and Painting B Story of Famous Photographers C Different Steps in Film Processing D Story of Photography II Read the following passage and circle the letter A, B, C, or D to indicate the correct answer to each of the questions from 11 to 20 Most journeys in Britain and the US are made by road Some of these are made on public transport but most are by private car In Britain many people rely on their cars for daily local activities, e.g getting to work, doing the shopping, and visiting friends People living in urban areas may use buses, trains or, in London, the Underground, to get to city centres, mainly because traffic is often heavy and it is difficult to find anywhere to park a car Some places in the country may have a bus only two or three times a week so people living there have no choice but to rely on their cars In the US large cities have good public transportation systems The El railroad in Chicago and the underground systems of New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, DC are heavily used Elsewhere, most Americans prefer to use their cars Families often have two cars and, outside major cities, have to drive fairly long distances to schools, offices, shops, banks, etc Many college and even high-school students have their own cars Long-distance travel in Britain is also mainly by road, though railways link most towns and cities Most places are linked by motorways or other fast roads and many people prefer to drive at their own convenience rather than use a train, even though they may get stuck in a traffic jam Long- distance coach/bus services are usually a cheaper 81 alternative to trains, but they take longer and may be less comfortable Some longdistance travel, especially that undertaken for business reasons, may be by air There are regular flights between regional airports, as well as to and from London A lot of freight is also distributed by road, though heavier items and raw materials often go by rail In the US much long-distance travel is by air America has two main long-distance bus companies, Greyhound and Trailways Amtrak, the national network, provides rail services for passengers Private railway companies such as Union Pacific now carry only freight, though in fact over 70% of freight goes by road The main problems associated with road transport in both Britain and the US are traffic congestion and pollution It is predicted that the number of cars on British roads will increase by a third within a few years, making both these problems worse The British government would like more people to use public transport, but so far they have had little success in persuading people to give up their cars or to share rides with neighbors Most people say that public transport is simply not good enough Americans too have resisted government requests to share cars because it is less convenient and restricts their freedom Petrol/gasoline is relatively cheap in the US and outside the major cities public transport is bad, so they see no reason to use their cars less 11: In Britain and the US most people travel by A sea B rail C road D air 12: According to the passage, people in London may prefer the Underground to their own cars due to A cheap tickets B air pollution C long distances D heavy traffic 13: It is mentioned in paragraph that the public transportation systems in the US are good in A some states B all cities C large states D large cities 82 14: Which of the following is NOT true according to the passage? A Few college students in the US have their own cars B Families in the US often have more than one car C Most Americans prefer to drive their cars outside large cities D The underground systems are popular in some major US cities 15: The phrase “at their own convenience” in paragraph is closest in meaning to A at the latest time and nearest place C at an early time and nearby place place B at an appropriate time and place D at the fastest time and nearest 16: Which of the following is true about transport in Britain? A Long-distance travel in Britain is only by road B There are no regular flights between regional airports C Trains are usually cheaper than long-distance coach services D Heavier items and raw materials are often transported by train 17: According to the information in paragraph 5, long-distance travellers in the US can choose from mode(s) of transport A four B two C one D three 18: It is stated in the passage that the major problems of road transport in Britain and the US are A speeding and bad roads B accidents and pollution C traffic jams and pollution D drink-driving and traffic jams 19: According to the passage, people in Britain refuse public transport because A they like to share rides with neighbors B they think it is not good enough C they see no reason to use their cars less D petrol is relatively cheap in Britain 20: The word “they” in the last sentence of the passage can best be replaced by A the government B major cities C Americans D neighbors 83 APPENDIX 2: QUESTIONNAIRE (ENGLISH VERSION) Survey of EFL Reading Strategies Name Gender _ Age _ Class _ The purpose of this survey is to collect information about the various reading strategies you use when you read academic materials in English (e.g., reading textbooks for homework or examinations, reading journal articles, etc.) Each statement is followed by five numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and each number means the following: “1” means that “I never or almost never this.” “2” means that “I this only occasionally.” “3” means that “I sometimes this” (About 50% of the time) “4” means that “I usually this.” “5” means that “I always or almost this.” After reading each statement, circle the number (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) which applies to you Global strategies Never Always I have a purpose in mind when I read I think about whether the content of the text fits 5 5 my reading purpose I review the text to know about its length, organization and main idea When reading, I decide what to read closely and what to ignore I use my prior knowledge (e.g., knowledge about the theme of the text, or grammar knowledge) to help me understand what I read 84 I use tables, figures, and pictures in text to increase my understanding 5 5 5 5 5 5 I use context clues to help me better understand what I am reading I use typographical features like bold face and italics to identify key information I check my understanding when I come across new information 10 I try to guess what the content of the text is about when I read 11 I check to see if my guesses about the text are right or wrong 12 I critically analyze and evaluate the information presented in the text rather than passively accept everything Problem-solving strategies 13 I read slowly and carefully to make sure I understand what I read 14 I adjust my reading speed according to what I am reading 15 I stop from time to time and think about what I am reading 16 I try to picture or visualize information to help remember what I read 17 When text becomes difficult, I re-read it to increase my understanding 18 When I read, I guess the meaning of unknown words or phrases 85 19 I try to get back on track when I lose concentration 5 5 5 5 5 Support strategies 20 I take note of the key expressions and ideas while reading to help me understand what I read 21 I underline or circle information in the text to help me remember it 22 When text becomes difficult, I read aloud to help me understand what I read 23 I use reference materials (e.g., a dictionary) to help me understand what I read 24 I paraphrase (restate ideas in my own words) to better understand what I read 25 I go back and forth in the text to find relationships among ideas in it 26 I ask myself questions I like to have answered in the text 27 When reading, I translate from English into my native language 28 When reading, I think about information in both English and my mother tongue 86 APPENDIX 3: QUESTIONNAIRE (TRANSLATEDVERSION) Khảo sát việc sử dụng chiến lược đọc tiếng Anh Tên _ Giới tính _ Tuổi _ Lớp _ Mục đích bảng khảo sát thu thập thông tin việc sử dụng chiến lược đọc đọc tài liệu tiếng Anh như: sách giáo khoa, tập đọc hiểu tài liệu bổ sung cho khoá học Mỗi câu trả lời có số thể mức độ sử dụng chiến lược đọc hiểu bạn “ Số 1” nghĩa “Chưa gần chưa sử dụng chiến lược này.” “ Số 2” nghĩa “Không thường xuyên sử dụng chiến lược này.” “ Số 3” nghĩa “Thỉnh thoảng sử dụng chiến lược này.” (Khoảng 50% số lần đọc tài liệu) “ Số 4” nghĩa “Thường xuyên sử dụng chiến lược “ Số 5” nghĩa “Luôn gần luôn sử dụng chiến lược này.” Sau đọc câu trả lời, khoanh tròn số (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) với trường hợp bạn Chiến lược chung Never Có mục đích đầu đọc Always 5 5 Nghĩ xem nội dung đọc có phù hợp với mục đích đọc hay không Đọc lướt qua để biết độ dài, cấu trúc ý đọc Khi đọc, xác định phần cần đọc kỹ phần bỏ qua 87 Sử dụng kiến thức trước (kiến thức chủ đề đọc kiến thức ngữ pháp) để hiểu nội dung đọc 5 5 10 Cố gắng đoán nội dung đọc 11 Kiểm tra đoán hay sai 5 13 Đọc chậm cẩn thận để đảm bảo hiểu đọc 14 Thay đổi tốc độ đọc tuỳ theo đọc 5 5 5 Sử dụng bảng biểu, biểu đồ hình ảnh đọc để hiểu nội dung tốt Sử dụng manh mối đọc để hiểu nội dung tốt Dựa vào phần in đậm in nghiêng để nhận thông tin đọc Kiểm tra có hiểu hay không hiểu thông tin 12 Phân tích, đánh giá thông tin từ đọc không tiếp nhận cách thụ động Chiến lược giải vấn đề 15 Dừng lại lúc đọc để nghĩ đọc 16 Cố gắng hình dung tưởng tượng để nhớ nội dung đọc 17 Khi đọc sang đoạn khó, cố gắng đọc lại để hiểu rõ 18 Đoán nghĩa từ cụm từ nghĩa 19 Cố gắng quay trở lại tập trung 88 Chiến lược bổ trợ 20 Ghi cụm từ, ý đọc để hiểu nội dung đọc 5 5 5 đọc 27 Khi đọc, dịch từ tiếng Anh sang tiếng Việt 5 21 Gạch khoanh tròn thông tin đọc để dễ nhớ 22 Khi đọc sang đoạn khó, đọc to để hiểu rõ 23 Sử dụng tài liệu tham khảo (ví dụ từ điển) để hiểu nội dung đọc 24 Diễn giải lời văn để hiểu nội dung kỹ 25 Xem lại đoạn đọc để hiểu mối quan hệ ý 26 Tự hỏi câu hỏi muốn trả lời 28 Khi đọc, nghĩ thông tin tiếng Anh tiếng Việt 89 APPENDIX 4: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (ENGLISH VERSION) Do you like learning English? Why or Why not? Which problems you usually have when reading English texts? What would you to understand unknown words in English reading texts? What would you to understand difficult parts of English reading texts? What would you to memorize new words or expressions in English reading texts? Where are you aware of reading strategies from? What you expect from your teachers or school to help you use reading strategiesmore frequently and effectively? 90 APPENDIX 5: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (TRANSLATED VERSION) Bạn có thích học tiếng Anh không? Tại sao? Những khó khăn bạn thường gặp phải việc học đọc tiếng Anh? Bạn làm để hiểu từ cụm từ nghĩa xuất đọc? Khi đọc, bạn làm để hiểu đoạn khó đọc? Bạn làm để nhớ từ cụm từ đọc tiếng Anh? Bạn biết chiến lược đọc tiếng Anh từ đâu? Bạn mong đợi từ giáo viên nhà trường để giúp bạn sử dụng chiến lược đọc tiếng Anh thường xuyên hiệu hơn? 91 APPENDIX 6: A SAMPLE INTERVIEW SCRIPT (ENGLISH VERSION) Interviewer: The researcher (R) – Nguyen Du Kim Phung Interviewee: High proficiency student (H1) Date: June 25th, 2015 Time: 9:00am Place: Nguyen Van Linh High School, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam R: Good morning Take a seat please H1: Thank you R: Now, lets talk about your English learning Do you like learning English? H1: Yes, I R: Why you like it? H1: I like it because it is helpful for my future career and life R: I see Which problems you usually have when reading English texts? H1: My problem is vocabulary There are too many new words in English texts Therefore, I could not know all R: Do you find grammar difficult? H1: No I can easily understand most of grammatical structures in English because I was taught English grammar much at the school R: So, what you often to understand unfamiliar words in English reading texts? H1: I often try to guess meanings of unknown words based in the contexts of reading texts 92 R: Besides this way, you often look up new words in dictionary? H1: I just that at home, but not in class because of limited class time R: I see How about difficult parts of English reading texts? What you usually to understand them? H1: I often ask my teacher or partners to understand these parts better R: Ok The next question is what you often to memorize new words or expressions in English reading texts H1: I often write down the new words on sticky notes and sticking them at my desk at home R: Oh, it is a good way what you report doing so far is called reading strategies So can you tell me where you are aware of them from? H1: I know them form my teachers, friends and the Internet R: I see The last question is what you expect from your teachers or school to help you use reading strategies more frequently and effectively H1: I hope that my teacher will give me more instructions on how to use reading strategies effectively R: Thank you very much for your sharing Good bye H1: You’re welcome Good bye, teacher 93 APPENDIX 7: A SAMPLE INTERVIEW SCRIPT (TRANSLATED VERSION) Người vấn: Người thực nghiên cứu (R) – Nguyễn Dư Kim Phụng Người vấn: Học sinh thuộc nhóm có lực tiếng Anh tốt (H1) Ngày: 25/06/2015 Giờ: 09h Địa điểm: Trường THPT Nguyễn Văn Linh, TP Hồ Chí Minh R: Chào em Mời em ngồi H1: Dạ, cảm ơn cô R: Bây nói việc học tiếng Anh em Em có thích học tiếng Anh không? H1: Dạ có thích R: Tại em lại thích học tiếng Anh? H1: Em thích học tiếng Anh giúp ích cho sống nghề nghiệp sau em R: Vậy Thế khó khăn mà em thường gặp phải việc học đọc tiếng Anh gì? H1: Khó khăn em vấn đề từ vựng Có nhiều từ đọc tiếng Anh nên em biết hết R: Em có thấy ngữ pháp khó không? H1: Em không thấy ngữ pháp khó Em dễ dàng hiểu cấu trúc ngữ pháp em thầy cô dạy hiều ngữ pháp tiếng Anh trường 94 R: Thế em thường làm để hiểu từ mà em nghĩa đọc tiếng Anh? H1: Em thường dựa vào ngữ cảnh đọc để đoán nghĩa từ R: Ngoài cách ra, em có thường tra từ điển không? H1: Em tra từ điểm nhà lớp em nhiều thời gian để làm việc R: Vậy đoạn khó đọc tiếng Anh sao? Em thường làm để hiểu đoạn này? H1: Em thường hỏi cô bạn bè để hiểu đoạn tốt R: Vậy Câu hỏi em thường làm để nhớ từ cụm từ đọc tiếng Anh H1: Em thường ghi từ cụm từ vào giấy dán góc học tập R: Đó cách hay để nhớ từ Tất mà em vừa nói gọi chiến lược đọc tiếng Anh Em nói cho cô biết em biết chiến lược đọc từ đâu không? H1: Em biết chiến lược đọc từ thầy cô, bạn bè mạng Internet R: Vậy Câu hỏi cuối em mong đợi điều từ giáo viên nhà trường để giúp em sử dụng chiến lược đọc tiếng Anh thường xuyên hiệu hơn? H1: Em hy vọng thầy cô hướng dẫn em nhiều cách sử dụng chiến lược đọc cách hiệu R: Cảm ơn em chia sẻ Chào em H1: Dạ Em chào cô 95
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