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A Study Of Reading Strategy Training Effect On Learner Autonomy And Reading Comprehension Ability

Posted on:2010-07-24Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:X L ZhangFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360278473981Subject:English Language and Literature
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Ever since the 1970's when Holec (1971) first put forward the theory of learner autonomy, it has become a popular topic in the language learning field all around the world. The purpose of learner autonomy is to make the learner take more responsibility on the management of his learning, which is regarded as the ideal goal for education. Fostering learner autonomy is of great importance.Researchers have explored the theoretical background of learner autonomy from various aspects and identified many methods on cultivating learner autonomy. But studies at home are mainly introduction of the learner autonomy theory from abroad. There are few studies focused on the foreign language learning, and even fewer on the aspect of reading specifically.Reading, as one of the four essential skills for language learning, plays an important role in English learning. Therefore, it is important to help learners learn how to read in order to improve their reading ability. Fostering learners' autonomous reading is an effective way to achieve the goal.English newspapers, as the medium of traditional language learning, are authentic language materials that students are most likely to get access. In order to adapt to the different levels of students' learning needs, many colleges and universities in China have set up the elective newspapers reading course for non-English majors, as a platform to raise students' English reading ability. This study was designed to explore the effectiveness of learner autonomy training on newspapers reading course in order to lay a sound foundation for their life-long learning.In this study, training of learner autonomy in English reading was applied in classroom, lasting for 16 weeks, mainly on the training of students' metacognitive strategies use. Participants of the study were 30 first year students of non-English major in Dezhou University who attended the Newspaper Reading Course in the second semester of 2006-2007 academic year. All the students were required to have the pre- and post-test with questionnaire and English reading comprehension test.Based on the learner autonomy theory of Benson and Wenden (1987), the questionnaire of learner autonomy has a total of 45 items, focusing on testing learners' autonomous reading behaviors in three stages, the planning before reading, the monitoring during reading and the assessment after reading. The other instrument is the questionnaire of metacognitive reading strategy based on O'Malley and Chamot's (1990) classification system. SPSS V.10.0 statistical software was used to analyze the survey results. An interview was conducted in order to get a better understanding of the students' autonomous reading situation. The purpose of the English reading comprehension tests is to check the effectiveness of learner autonomy training to improve the reading proficiency.The autonomy training in the class was mainly through the presentations and discussions on specific strategy practice. After classes students were required to set the plan for reading, record their English reading process, and evaluate the use of reading strategies.It was found that the students could exert certain autonomy in English reading, while the degree of autonomy at the different stages varied. Generally they could conduct a relatively higher frequency of monitoring, but were less autonomous in planning before reading and they lacked the autonomy in evaluation after reading. The students indicated a significant increase on autonomy after the training. In addition, it was found that training English reading strategies, particularly the training of metacognitive strategies can improve the students' autonomous reading ability and their reading achievements.In order to enhance students learning in autonomous reading, teachers should start with the strategy training from the aspect of self-management, permitting students to take more responsibility in the process of learning so as to improve the autonomy of students' English reading ability.
Keywords/Search Tags:Metacognitive strategy training, learner autonomy, reading proficiency
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