Case study about IEC reading classes


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Vocabulary-oriented teaching in IEC (Intensive English courses) reading classes in UTM University

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Case study about IEC reading classes

  1. 1. CASE STUDY Group ProjectTeaching English Methodology Ehsan Ataei MP101459 Saeid Farid MP 101394 Semester II, 2011 Dr. Hanita Hassan, Language Academy,UTM
  2. 2. Note:learners are new post graduate students with 5-5.5 Score in IELTS exam.Students have problem in learning vocabularyIt is very important because vocabulary knowledge will affect EAP (English foracademic purposes) activities very much activities such as paraphrasing readingcomprehension and summarizingTitle:Vocabulary-oriented teaching in IEC (Intensive English courses) reading classesin UTM UniversityStatement of problem:Students do not learn enough and basic vocabulary to meet their needs foracademic purposes e.g. paraphrasing, summarizing, reading comprehension.Hypothesis:It is assumed that problems in reading comprehension, Summarizing andparaphrasing and general progress in IEC reading classes are due to the lack ofvocabulary-oriented teaching and extensive reading I. IntroductionVocabulary learning is fundamental in language acquisition regardless of thetype of language which is taught (first, second or foreign language).For manyyears vocabulary learning was underestimated due to the power of structuralapproaches in which the emphasis was on grammatical and phonologicalstructures. An important reason for the low status of vocabulary teaching andlearning throughout 1940s, 1950s and 1960s was because of language teachingapproaches based on American linguistic theories. Most influential was theCharles fries‟s Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language (1945),he believed that grammar should be the fundamental pillar of language learningand also adopts a view of behaviorist psychology in which habit formation wasintroduced as an essential part in learning process. Because the emphasis was onteaching grammatical and phonological structures, the vocabulary needed to berelatively simple, with new words introduced only as they were needed to makethe drills possible (Larsen Freeman 2000b; Zimmerman 1997).Assumption wasthat once students learned the structural frames, lexical items to fill thegrammatical slots in the frames could be learned later, as needed.
  3. 3. This approach of learning vocabulary is then rejected by Chomsky whobelieved that there is a rationalist framework in which the central assumption isbeing that language is represented as a speakers‟ mental grammar, a set ofabstract rules for generating grammatical sentences. Language learningapproaches based on this theory viewed learning as rule acquisition, not habitformation, and emphasized grammatical rules. Vocabulary was offeredsomewhat more importance, but the focus on rules of grammar still served toreinforce the idea that lexis was somewhat secondary.Then, Hymes (1972), while not rejecting Chomsky‟s model, extended it andgave greater emphasis to the sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors governingeffective use of language. The teaching approach that evolve from thesenotions, referred to as communicative language teaching, promoted fluencyover accuracy and consequently shifted the focus from sentence-level forms todiscourse-level functions.This picture has changed dramatically within the last three decades. Thechallenge to the status began in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and by the late1980s and early 1990s, vocabulary studies were developing exponentially andvocabulary teaching was coming into its own. II. Literature ReviewThe Importance of Vocabulary to Reading ComprehensionOf the many compelling reasons for providing students with instruction to buildvocabulary, none is more important than the contribution of vocabularyknowledge to reading comprehension. Indeed, one of the most enduringfindings in reading research is the extent to which students‟ vocabularyknowledge relates to their reading comprehension (e.g., Anderson &Freebody,1981; Baumann, Kame„enui, & Ash, 2003; Becker, 1977; Davis, 1942;Whipple, 1925).One of the most persistent findings in reading research is that the extent ofstudents‟ vocabulary knowledge relates strongly to their reading comprehensionand overall academic success (see Baumann, Kame„enui, & Ash, 2003; Becker,1977; Davis, 1942; Whipple, 1925). This relationship seems logical; to getmeaning from what they read, students need both a great many words in theirvocabularies and the ability to use various strategies to establish the meanings
  4. 4. of new words when they encounter them. Young students who don‟t have largevocabularies or effective word-learning strategies often struggle to achievecomprehension. Their bad experiences with reading set in motion a cycle offrustration and failure that continues throughout their schooling (Hart &Risley,2003; Snow, Barnes, Chandler, Goodman, & Hemphill, 2000; White, Graves, &Slater, 1990). Because these students don‟t have sufficient word knowledge tounderstand what they read, they typically avoid reading. Because they don‟tread very much, they don‟t have the opportunity to see and learn very manynew words. This sets in motion the well known “Matthew Effects,” Stanovich‟s(1986) application of Matthew, 25:29–“the rich get richer and the poor getpoorer.” In terms of vocabulary development, good readers read more, becomebetter readers, and learn more words; poor readers read less, become poorerreaders, and learn fewer words.Finally, knowing a word means being able to appreciate its connotations andsubtleties. When we know a word at this level, we can use and recognize it inidioms, jokes, slang, and puns (Johnson, Johnson, &Schlicting, 2004).The Kinds of Reading Necessary to Produce Vocabulary Growth Some researchers suggest that almost any reading will produce vocabularygrowth (Krashen, 1993). Others contend that, if students consistently selecttexts below their current reading levels, even wide reading won‟t result inmeasurable vocabulary growth (Carver, 1994). Nor is reading text that is full ofunfamiliar words likely to produce large gains in word knowledge (Shefelbine,1990). For students to get the most out of wide reading, the conclusion of mostresearchers is that they should read for various purposes and read texts atvarious levels of difficulty. Students should read some text simply forenjoyment and some text that challenges them (see National Reading Panel,2000).Researchers who have observed students reading independently in classroomsalso suggest that teacher guidance to students in selecting books can makeindependent reading periods productive. Teachers can direct students to booksat appropriate reading levels and point out books that might be of interest toindividual students (Anderson, 1996). In addition, setting aside time for students
  5. 5. to talk with each other about what they read can contribute to the effectivenessof independent reading time (Anderson, 1996).As is true for any method of promoting vocabulary growth, wide reading hassome limitations. One limitation is that, although wide reading may be effectivein producing general vocabulary growth, it may not be an effective method forteaching the specific words that students need to comprehend a particularliterature selection or a particular content area textbook. Another limitation isthat wide reading alone cannot ensure that students develop the kind of word-learning strategies they need to become independent word learners. For thesekinds of word learning, many students require intentional, explicit instruction.Instruction for Vocabulary DevelopmentOver the past three decades, research has revealed a great deal about the kind ofvocabulary instruction that is most effective for helping students comprehendwhat they read (e.g., Baumann, Kame„enui et al., 2003; Beck &McKeown,1991; Blachowicz& Fisher, 2000; Nagy & Scott, 2000). Based on its analysis ofthis research, the National Reading Panel (2000) concluded that no one singleinstructional method is sufficient for optimal vocabulary learning; therefore,effective instruction must use a variety of methods to help students acquire newwords and increase the depth of their word knowledge over time. Effectiveinstruction includes opportunities for both incidental word learning andintentional word teaching.What the National Reading Panel Says About the Role of Vocabulary inReading Instruction(Reprinted from National Reading Panel, 2000, p. 4-4) 1. There is a need for direct instruction of vocabulary items required for a specific text. 2. Repetition and multiple exposures to vocabulary items are important. Students should be given items that will be likely to appear in many contexts. 3. Learning in rich contexts is valuable for vocabulary learning. Vocabulary words should be those that the learner will find useful in many contexts. When vocabulary items are derived from content learning materials, the
  6. 6. learner will be better equipped to deal with specific reading matter in content areas.4. Vocabulary tasks should be restructured as necessary. It is important to be certain that students fully understand what is asked of them in the context of reading, rather than focusing only on the words to be learned. Restructuring seems to be most effective for low achieving or at-risk students5. Vocabulary learning is effective when it entails active engagement in learning tasks.6. Computer technology can be used effectively to help teach vocabulary.7. Vocabulary can be acquired through incidental learning. Much of a student‟s vocabulary will have to be learned in the course of doing things other than explicit vocabulary learning. Repetition, richness of context, and motivation may also add to the efficacy of incidental learning of vocabulary.8. Dependence on a single vocabulary instruction method will not result in optimal learning. A variety of methods was used effectively with emphasis on multimedia aspects of learning, richness of context in which words are to be learned, and the number of exposures to words that learners receive.
  7. 7. III. MethodologyAttitude is an important concept that is often used to understand and predictpeoples reaction to an object or change and how behavior can be influenced(Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975) in order to evaluate this reaction this survey try toopen a horizon toward further case studies on teaching 4 skills in IEC classes tothe public dissatisfaction.In this case study we survey on the existence of a problem in teaching readingregarding to shortage in teaching vocabulary.In order to test this matter a questionnaire was designed in 20 questions basedon the role of vocabulary in reading (reading comprehension, summarizing,paraphrasing) which are the common activities in EAP English for academicpurposes also it was planned As Triandis (1971) mentioned based oncomponent of likert type questionnaire learners feelings learner`s beliefs orknowledge and learners preferences about teaching vocabulary in readingclasses.Face book inquiry (poll):Then, for being surer about this problem we add 104 students of IEC in onegroup in face book and gave them this question: “Are you satisfied with the wayof teaching vocabulary in your reading classes?”To answer this question, students just need to tick appropriate box:1-stongly agree 2- agree 3-not sure 4-disagree 5-strongly disagreeThe points are 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 respectively; the result of the question is as follow:Strongly agree=4 personAgree= 19 personNot sure= 18 personDisagree= 30 personStrongly disagree=33 person
  8. 8. Base on the poll (appendix I ) we had 104 participants more than 60% of themwere dis satisfy with their classes So 5 likert type questionnaire was designedon line and also in paper form and was distributed between IEC readingstudents the result from 50 questionnaire on line (Appendix III and in paperform Appendix II ) was as following.Main Themes based on questionnaireThe results of this study can be divided into seven themes:1-Extensive reading2-Academic vocabulary3-Vocabulary-oriented teaching4-Using Authentic materials in teaching vocabulary5-Learners` s general idea about teaching6-Explicit vocabulary teaching7-Teaching skills for Reading fluentlySetting Intermediate English students with score band 5-5.5 in IELTS (internationalEnglish language testing system)Participants: IEC English Reading postgraduate Students on line and in paperfromValidityAll questions were designed base on major role of teaching vocabulary inReading classes so although we could had some observations and interviews (we had some interviews but because of the time we could not organize them )for the validity of the questionnaire but questionnaire was enough to answer ourresearch questionsMore research and case studies in this field also in relation between reading andwriting will be needed.
  9. 9. IV. Findings, analysis and discussion and conclusionGathering and analyzing of data when evaluating the attitude scales, positiveattitudes have been graded from 5 to 1, and negative attitudes have been gradedfrom 1 to 5.With the help Excel software calculations have been used and findings havebeen analyzed.Attitude plays a role in the process of learning a second language. LearnersattitudeTowards vocabulary-orientation teaching is assured to influence howSuccessful they will be in summarizing paraphrasing and readingcomprehension as three major aspects of EAP (English for academic purposes39 IEC learners fill up the questionnaire form and the analysis is as follows:(Learners` s general idea about teaching) learners` attitude toward their readingclass About 44% of students conveyed that they did not have any progress and13% of them were not sure about their progress.(Appendix IV)(Vocabulary-oriented teaching) more than 60% of students in the poll weredissatisfied about shortage in vocabulary-oriented teaching in IEC classes.(appendix I) and in the questionnaire also about 70% of learners enouncedwhich confirm our hypothesis about teaching vocabulary-orientation that is notin the process of Reading teachers and classes in IEC. (AppendixV)About 62% of learners insist on this fact that there is no relationship betweentheir reading activities and writing, Using vocabulary in writing and therelationship between skills is very important.(Appendix VI) (Teaching skills for Reading fluently)74% of learners have low speed in theirreading which affect fluent reading and the main cause is related to lack ofvocabulary teaching in reading classes. (Appendix VII)(Academic vocabulary) about teaching academic vocabulary more than 50% ofstudents agree that they did not learn it very much. (AppendixVIII)About extensive reading more than 65% of students likes to have extensivereadings,(in our informal interviews students talk about one project as anextensive reading which was their favorite. (Appendix IX)
  10. 10. more than 60% of students are agreed that teacher implementation invocabulary-oriented teaching was not found or weak ( in informal interviewsstudents say they want their teachers to focus vocabulary and after that teachthem some reading skills and also let them find their own text ( extensivereading ) and write some paragraphs based on the vocabulary that they havetaught ( in some classes the teacher ask students to write in their classes butbecause there was no certain words in reading classes writing became nonesense and not meaningful for the students. (AppendixX)In general among 39 IEC 3% strongly disagree 13% were not sure and 19%disagree and 11% strongly agree and learners 54% agree about the problem inteaching vocabulary-oriented .(Appendix XI) they emphasis that it is necessaryfor them to know some certain words ( in academic context based on Liu Naand Nation (1985) also Nation &Waring (1997: l l) remark we need avocabulary of about 3000 words which provides coverage of at least 95% of atext before we can efficiently learn from context with unsimplified text.)if IEC students learn this vocabulary ( for sure they have learnt so many of them) they can pass reading comprehension, summarizing,paraphrasing better moreover adding extensive reading helps them to get more familiar with the newword in their major as well as academic words. V. Suggestions for further studiesWe have several suggestions for further study. A longer qualitative case studyshould be conducted over the course of an entire semester in order to gain acomplete picture of what is happening in IEC classroom. it is recommended torun a case study about vocabulary-oriented teaching in among all readingstudents and have pretest ( it can be IELTS reading test or some standard test invocabulary proficiency ) and at the end of the semester have a kind of post testso with comparing this two test it will reveal that students have any progress intheir vocabulary or not. also another survey can be about the relationship ofreading and writing class in EAPit is clear that most of the students are not satisfied with most of IEC classesit can be a problem about syllabus or teaching implementation which need moretime observations interviews and case studies.
  11. 11. ImplicationsThe purpose of this case study was to examine how lack of teaching vocabularyaffects the comprehension of meaning summarizing and paraphrasing.Additionally, the implications of this research are for IEC reading teachers.Several important points emerge from this study and give suggestions for howvocabulary should be taught in IEC reading classes.The first implication is the vital requirement for teachers to find new andinnovative ways to teach vocabulary. Extensive reading is a good way for EAPstudents in IEC classes, because they have different majors so they can searchand find their favorite texts and enrich their vocabulary through extensivereading and teacher can give the students some projects aboutit.Appendix I
  12. 12. Appendix II Questionnaire Teaching vocabulary in IEC reading classesDear StudentsKindly answer following questions, your cooperation is highly appreciated.Statements: 1. I think I did not have any progress about vocabulary knowledge in my reading class. 2. After a semester I feel, I cannot summarize or paraphrase very well. 3. There is no relationship between vocabulary that i learn and my writing class so i think i will forget them. 4. I love to find vocabulary in other sources as well as my text book. 5. I cannot answer reading comprehension questions very well. 6. There is no plan for learning vocabulary in our class. 7. I am weak in reading comprehension. 8. I have a lot of unknown words in my reading book. 9. I feel I need more basic vocabulary to handle my reading. 10. My speed in reading is too low. 11. I have not learnt so many academic vocabularies in my reading class. 12. My teacher doesn‟t ask us to make sentence with new words. 13. I almost always use dictionary for paraphrasing. 14. My teacher doesn‟t use collocations in our reading class. 15. There aren‟t various kinds of texts for our reading in class (texts from magazines, articles, internet etc.) 16. We don‟t have Reading for fun in our class. 17. We don‟t have reading tests frequently in our reading class. 18. We don‟t practice on new words every session. 19. We don‟t learn new vocabulary of our readings before we read them. 20. We don‟t have so many class projects on learning new vocabulary.
  13. 13. Statements Strongly Agree Agree Not Sure Disagree Strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Hope to have better English classes Appendix III
  14. 14. Appendix IV 2% 13% 44% 28% srongly disagree disagree 13% not sure agree strongly agree
  15. 15. Appendix V 1% 11% 19% srongly disagree 10% disagree not sure agree 59% strongly agreeAppendix VIII 0% 10% 34% srongly disagree disagree 46% not sure 10% agree strongly agree
  16. 16. Appendix VII 0% 3% 13% 10% srongly disagree disagree not sure agree 74% strongly agreeAppendix IX 15% 4% 13% srongly disagree 17% disagree not sure 51% agree strongly agree
  17. 17. Appendix X 11% 3% 23% srongly disagree disagree not sure agree 12% strongly agree 51%Appendix XI 11% 3% 19% srongly disagree 13% disagree not sure 54% agree strongly agree
  18. 18. REFERENCEAnderson, R. C. (1996). Research foundations to support wide reading.In V. Greaney (Ed.), Promoting reading in developing countries (pp. 55-77). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Anderson, R. C., &Freebody, P. (1981).Vocabulary knowledge. In J. Guthrie (Ed.), Comprehension and teaching: Research reviews (pp. 77-117). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Baumann, J. F., Kame„enui, E. J., & Ash, G. E. (2003). Research on vocabulary instruction: Voltaire redux. In J. Flood, D. Lapp, J. R. Squire, & J. M. Jensen (Eds.), Handbook on research on teaching the English language arts (2nd ed., pp. 752-785). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Beck, I. L., &McKeown, M. G. (1991).Conditions of vocabulary acquisition. In R. Barr, M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, & P. D. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of reading research, (Vol. 2, pp. 789-814). New York: Longman.Beck, I. L., &McKeown, M. G. (2001). Text talk: Capturing the benefits of Read aloud experiences for young children. The Reading Teacher
  19. 19. Becker, W. C. (1977). Teaching reading and language to the disadvantaged – What we have learned from field research. Harvard Educational ReviewBlachowicz, C., & Fisher, P. (2000).Vocabulary instruction.In M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. 3, pp. 503-523). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Davis, F. B. (1942). Two new measures of reading ability. Journal of Educational Psychology, 33, 365-372. Eli Hinkel 2005 Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning; Lawrence Erlbaum Association Inc. PublishersFishbein, M., &Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. ReadingHart, B., &Risley, T. R. (2003). The early catastrophe: The 30 million word gap by age 3. American Educator, 22, 4-9.H. Douglas Brown 2001 Teaching by Principles, Second Edition Pearson ESL Jack C. Richards, Theodore Stephen Rodgers 2001, Approaches and methods in language teaching; Cambridge University pressKrashen, S. (1993).The case for free, voluntary reading. Canadian Modern Language Review, 50(1), 72-82.
  20. 20. Marianne Celce-Murcia 2001 Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, 3rd Edition Heinle ELT; 3 editionNagy, W. E., & Scott, J. A. (2000). Vocabulary processes. In M. L. Kamil, P. Nagy, W.E. and Anderson, R.C. (1984). How many words are there in printed English? Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 304-330.Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. 3, pp. 269-284). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Nation &Waring (1997: l l) Vocabulary Size, Text Coverage and Word Lists By Paul Nation and Robert Waring, 1997National Reading Panel. (2000). teaching children to read: An evidencebased assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.Norbert Schmitt, Michael McCarthy 1997 Vocabulary: description, acquisition and pedagogyNorbert Schmitt, Michael McCarthy Harry C. Triandis ,Attitude and attitude change1971. Vocabulary: description, acquisition and pedagogy 232 p.
  21. 21. Snow, C., Barnes, W. S., Chandler, J., Goodman, I. F., & Hemphill, L. (2000). Unfilled expectations: Home and school influences on literacy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Stanovich, K. E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21, 360-407.Theodore V. Higgs, Teaching for proficiency: the organizing principle American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages 1987Theodore V. Higgs, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages 1987 Teaching for proficiency: the organizing principleWhipple, G. (Ed.). (1925). The twenty-fourth yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education: Report of the National Committee on Reading. Bloomington, IL: Public School Publishing.WesleyLiu Na and Nation (1985)LIU Na. & Nation, P. 1985. Factors affecting guessing vocabulary incontext. RELC Journal, 16, 35-42.White, T. G., Graves, M. F., & Slater, W. H. (1990). Growth of reading Vocabulary in diverse elementary schools: Decoding and word meaning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 281-290.