Enhancing reading comprehension through metacognitive instruction for English Second Language (ESL) learners in the FET Band

Cockcroft, Rosanne (2014-04)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study was designed to investigate whether metacognitive instruction could be used to improve the reading comprehension of isiXhosa-speaking English Second Language (ESL) learners in the FET phase. The metacognitive instruction encompassed increasing the learners’ metacognitive awareness, equipping them with metacognitive reading strategies and facilitating the transfer of these strategies to content subjects such as Life Sciences and Geography. The Vygotskian sociocultural theory that accounts for the roles of social, cultural, and historical contexts in comprehending text during academic reading tasks provided an appropriate theoretical framework for conducting the research. The study was comprised of one cycle of action research, framed within a paradigm of praxis. It took place in a high school in a disadvantaged community in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. A qualitative methodology allowed for in-depth insight into the metacognitive habits of ESL learners through various forms of data collection. Eight participants in Grade 10, ranging between 16 and 19 years of age, took part in the study. Their reading comprehension abilities varied, as did their English proficiency. The data were presented as collected in the phases of the action research cycle and summed up in three data processes. Each data set was embedded in the chronological timeline of the study’s progress and discussed in light thereof. Three broad themes were derived from the data, using qualitative content analysis. The data revealed that metacognitive instruction can improve the English reading comprehension of isiXhosa-speaking learners. This was reflected in both the quantitative and qualitative data sets. The quantitative data were used descriptively and interpreted qualitatively, in line with the qualitative methodology. The results of the study indicated that before metacognitive instruction can be successful, language proficiency, basic linguistic skills, and mental representations are crucial. The findings showed that mind mapping and constructing mental representations of the text are two effective metacognitive reading strategies that are easily transferable across the curriculum. They also revealed the strong link between culture and reading practices amongst different population groups. Cultural understandings of concepts such as respect and authority had a profound influence on the learners’ considerations of what it means to learn, read and understand.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie het ten doel gehad om te bepaal of metakognitiewe onderrig aangewend kan word ter verbetering van leesbegrip by Xhosasprekende leerders wat Engels Tweede Taal (ETT) in die fase verdere onderwys en opleiding (VOO) neem. Metakognitiewe onderrig het behels om die leerders se metakognitiewe bewustheid te verhoog, hulle dan met metakognitiewe leesstrategieë toe te rus, en hulle laastens daardie strategieë na inhoudsvakke soos Lewenswetenskappe en Geografie te laat oordra. Vygotsky se sosiokulturele teorie het ’n toepaslike teoretiese raamwerk gebied vir die navorsing, wat die rol van sosiale, kulturele en historiese kontekste in teksbegrip gedurende akademiese leestake in ag geneem het. Die studie het uit een siklus aksienavorsing binne ’n praktiese paradigma bestaan. Dit is in ’n hoërskool in ’n benadeelde gemeenskap in die provinsie Wes-Kaap, Suid-Afrika, onderneem. ’n Kwalitatiewe metodologie het deur middel van verskeie vorme van data-insameling diepe insig in die metakognitiewe gewoontes van ETT-leerders gebied. Altesaam agt graad 10-leerders van tussen 16 en 19 jaar, met wisselende leesbegripvermoëns én vaardigheid in Engels, het deelgeneem. Die data is aangebied soos dit in die fases van die aksienavorsingsiklus ingesamel is, en is in drie dataprosesse saamgevat. Elke datastel is op die chronologiese vorderingstydlyn van die studie geplaas en teen daardie agtergrond bespreek. Drie algemene temas is met behulp van kwalitatiewe inhoudsontleding uit die data afgelei. Die data het getoon dat metakognitiewe onderrig wél Xhosasprekende leerders se leesbegrip in Engels kan verbeter. Dít het uit sowel die kwantitatiewe as kwalitatiewe datastelle geblyk. In pas met die kwalitatiewe metodologie, is die kwantitatiewe data beskrywend aangewend en kwalitatief vertolk. Die studie het beklemtoon dat taalbedrewenheid, basiese taalvaardighede en geestesvoorstellings noodsaaklik is vir suksesvolle metakognitiewe onderrig. Die bevindinge toon dat konsepkaarte (“mind mapping”) en die konstruksie van geestesvoorstellings van die teks twee doeltreffende metakognitiewe leesstrategieë is wat maklik op die hele kurrikulum toegepas kan word. Die studie het ook ’n sterk verband tussen kultuur en leespraktyke onder verskillende groeperinge uitgewys. Die kulturele begrip van konsepte soos respek en gesag het ’n diepgaande invloed gehad op wat die leerders onder ‘leer’, ‘lees’ en ‘begryp’ verstaan het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86593
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