External factors that affect the child’s reading comprehension: Teacher
External Factors that Affect the Child’s Learning to Read ENVIRONMENT: TEACHER
Many articles and reports focusing on educational reformmention the teacher on top of the list when they enumerate“what’s wrong with our schools.” Some examples of these are the following: Chapter 5 of the EDCOM Report of 1991, which is entitled Teachers at the Heart of the Problem. Chapter 14 of the US National Commission on Excellence in Education’s report titled A Nation at Risk: The Imperatives for Educational Reform.
If teachers are at the heart of instruction, then they shouldbe at the core of any educational reform. According to Hessonand Weeks (1991), reform should originate from teachers andschool administrators. They must emphasize reform thatrecognizes not only cognitive development but also theimportance of affect in teaching and learning.
Teaching Reading Theoretical contributions Methods orfrom linguistics, techniques of Aids andreading process, teaching equipmentspsychology, and social theories
Teacher’s attitudes play a crucial role in influencing readingachievement. According to Dwyer & Dwyer (1993), teachers must havethese affective considerations: High expectations of students and of themselves as teachers; Warm and caring attitudes demonstrated to students; Teaching focused on needs of students rather than on specific content; Highly flexible, enthusiastic, and imaginative instruction; and High levels of personal comfort during interactions with students.
A good reading teacher is flexible. Most successful teachers are honest in their approach to learners. They are generally patient and kind. They also show a personal interest in each learner.
Carr (1969) said during the 1970 World Confederation ofOrganizations of the Teaching Profession: Teachers need the accumulated knowledge of an encyclopedia, the financial skills of a banker, the adaptability of a chameleon, the courage of a persecuted saint, the subtlety of a serpent, the eyes of a hawk, the gentleness of a dove, the patience of Job, the strength of a lion, the hide of rhinoceros, and the perseverance of the devil.
Teachers’ expectations (self-fulfilling prophecy) about thelearning ability of students become critical factors in fosteringlearning. In 1968, Rosenthal and Jacobson published a book entitledPygmalion in the Classroom: Teacher Expectations andPupil’s Intellectual Achievement. In here, they concluded thata teacher’s positive attitudes toward the learning capabilitiesof students designated as likely to “bloom.”
According to Shrank (1968), students who were expected byteachers to achieve at higher levels appeared to learnsubstantially more than students viewed as having lowerlevels of learning potential. Palardy (in Stipek, 1988) found that when first-gradeteachers believed boys are far less successful in learning toread than girls, then the boys in these classes achievedsignificantly less than boys in classes where teachers believedthat boys are just as successful as girls.
Bettelheim and Zeland (in Cramer and Castle, 1993) foundlearning to read the most important experience of elementaryschool children – so important as to largely determine theirsuccess or failure throughout the school years. They proposedthat teachers must present reading as a valuable, meaningful,and entertaining activity. They said that teachers’competencies, coupled with affective considerations, are themost important factors relative to learning to read regardlessof what the child brings from the home.
With all of these being said, When teachers have favorable expectations of students, the students perform in accord with those expectations. Conversely, teachers who have unfavorable expectations of students get unfavorable performance from the students.
Our main task is to develop students who can and do read We should often ask ourselves: Do we have the competencies to empower our students? As scholars, we cannot and must not teach what we do not know. By being naturally curious, we are becoming students once again. Such curiosity allows us to modify our philosophies continually and to apply our minds to discovering how we, and our students, learn to learn. Teachers have an obligation to continue to be learners: to study, to seek out the latest research, to ponder their developing knowledge of the reading process.
According to Manning, a reading teacher must have continuing education in the following: 1. The professional literature 2. Subject matter 3. The reading curriculum 4. Reading methodology
The other important role for the reading teacher echoes the different intangibles and different factors. A teacher must be a romanticist, possessing the wisdom that ensures his/her students’ use of reading as a means of personal and societal fulfillment. According to Manning, these wisdoms include: Immersion in the world of books, stories, poetry, and drama
Being literate exemplars, demonstrating by their knowledge and by their language familiarity with literature that has guaranteed personal liberty and intellectual freedom for all who have known it. Understanding and acceptance of why students communicate as they do. Enlightening students to recognize and appreciate the inherent dignity of all human labor through words of good moral sense and common decency, and to seek through language and reading a universe of peace.
The greatest gift the teacher can give: the unbridled romantic love affair with language and books – a gift that shall remain long after the sweet gentle memories of school have dimmed and faded forever.
Differences among pupils Age Gender Culture Language Intelligence Learning styles Physical condition Attitude/Motive/Self-concept Social and emotional factors
Phonology Teachers can develop students’ phonological skills through a wide variety of activities. Rhymes, alliteration (words which start with the same sounds) and poetry can be used to draw children’s attention to individual sounds in the language. Teachers can focus on individual syllables and sounds in language in the context of book reading. It does not have to be taught in total separation from other reading activities.
Fluency Teaching word recognition skills is an important first step. The second step is to ensure that students can develop speed and ease in recognizing words and reading connected text. To assess fluency, teachers need to listen to their students reading aloud. They should provide feedback to the students about their reading. They also need to determine how much is understood. The reading of texts with high frequency words will encourage fluency if the texts are interesting and meaningful to the reader. For non-native speakers of a language, word recognition ability must match their oral language development. Repeated reading and paired reading (also called buddy reading) are examples of activities that promote fluency through practice.
Vocabulary Vocabulary should be taught directly and indirectly. Direct instruction includes giving word definitions and pre-teaching of vocabulary before reading a text. Indirect methods refer to incidental vocabulary learning, e.g. mentioning, extensive reading and exposure to language-rich contexts. Repetition and multiple exposures to vocabulary items (e.g. through speaking, listening and writing) are important. This should ideally be done in connection with authentic learning tasks. Vocabulary learning should involve active engagement in tasks, e.g. learning new vocabulary by doing a class project. Word definitions in texts aid vocabulary development. Multiple methods, not dependence on a single method, will result in better vocabulary learning
Comprehension Instruction can improve comprehension by focusing on concepts and the vocabulary used to express them. Comprehension can also be enhanced by building on students’ background knowledge, e.g. by having a group discussion before reading. Teachers can guide students by modeling the actions they can take to improve comprehension. These actions include: asking questions about a text while reading; identifying main ideas; using prior knowledge to make predictions. Teaching a combination of different strategies is better than focusing on one.
Comprehension Different methods have been found to be effective in teaching text comprehension. Teachers can use combinations of the following: Cooperative or group learning; Graphic organizers (e.g. flow charts, word webs); Asking and answering questions; Story structure; Summarizing; Focusing on vocabulary.
The posing of provocative questions by the teacher about reading content is one of the most effective ways of stimulating children to think as they read about what they read. At the early levels, it is important that teachers frame these questions in concrete rather than abstract terms. Teachers should ensure a repertoire of questions which over a period of time will cover all aspects of the reading program.
Leading questions which give an incidental guide or clue to the to the desired answer often form the bridge from the recall to the inference type question. However, in order to probe more deeply into reader reaction, teachers must pose questions requiring judgment or demanding that the answer be justified either from personal experience or general knowledge. Two (2) major cautions about questioning: When a question is asked, care must be taken to prevent a focus which determines the reader’s level of comprehension. Both teachers and student usually assume that there is a single right answer.
The response patterns of the teacher are also important in promoting reading growth. • Response that has the effect of cutting off the 1st pupil’s thinking (closure response) • Verbal response 2nd • Responses which sustain and reinforce the pupil’s 3rd thinking • Responses which ensure that understanding of the 4th printed material has developed and has matured.
The purpose for reading is closely connected to a person’s motivation for reading. A powerful way to motivate a child to read is to make a task interesting. Teachers who want to spark interest in reading may structure a stimulating environment. Considering the interest level, prior knowledge and background of the child will help in motivating the child to read. The book that you will be using for the child must have relevance to him/her. Make connections between reading and student’s lives.
By talking to students about the different purposes for reading, they will become more aware of what to focus on as they read. The use of different types of texts (stories, news articles, information text, literature) promotes different purposes and forms of reading. The use of authentic texts and tasks will promote purposeful reading. Develop a love for reading, because it extends beyond academic success.
According to Hermosa, a positive teacher is one who: Creates within his/her classroom a positive atmosphere, a way of life conducive to promoting reading through positive effect. Is realistic but always looking for the best in his/her students. Is competent, constantly striving to better his/her skills. Realizes that positive expectations coupled with high level of teaching ability promotes maximum achievement from students.
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