Difficulties in teaching and developing reading abilities of second year non-English major students of Thai Nguyen University of Sciences

Đọc là nhu cầu tất yếu để có tri thức. Tuy nhiên, việc giảng dạy và phát triển khả năng đọc hiểu cho sinh viên còn gặp nhiều khó khăn. Do đó, nghiên cứu này tập trung vào việc phân tích một số khó khăn và tìm ra mối quan hệ giữa các nhân tố thuộc về người dạy và người học với khả năng đọc tài liệu tiếng Anh của sinh viên và từ đó đề xuất các giải pháp để dạy và học kỹ năng đọc đạt hiệu quả cao. Đối tượng của nghiên cứu là 100 sinh viên trường Đại học Khoa học, Đại học Thái Nguyên của học kỳ II năm học 2012-2013. Kết quả nghiên cứu cho thấy khả năng đọc của sinh viên có mối quan hệ chặt chẽ với năng lực của giáo viên trong việc đặt ra cũng như giải thích mục tiêu của khóa học, làm rõ nghĩa của từ trong những ngữ cảnh khác nhau cũng như khả năng điều chỉnh phương pháp giảng dạy của giáo viên sao cho phù hợp với trình độ của sinh viên.

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Phan Thị Hòa và Đtg Tạp chí KHOA HỌC & CÔNG NGHỆ 121(07): 55 - 60 55 DIFFICULTIES IN TEACHING AND DEVELOPING READING ABILITIES OF SECOND YEAR NON-ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS OF THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCES Phan Thi Hoa*, Hoang Thi Nhung College of Sciences – TNU SUMMARY Reading is a great way leading people to the world of knowledge. Teaching and developing reading abilities, however, are facing many abtacles. This descriptive correlational study attempts to analyse some difficulties and establish relationship between teachers’ factors and the profile of students to their reading abilities. The study sought to answer the question of whether there are significant relationship between the teachers’ professional qualities, English background knowledge and students’ reading abilities in terms of comprehension, extensive, intensive reading. The respondents of the study were 100 non-English major students of the College of Sciences, Thai Nguyen University in the second semester of the academic year 2012-2013. The findings revealed significant correlation exists between reading competence and the ability of the teacher to set and explain course objectives and expectations, focus on meaning of words in the different contexts as well as the capacity of the teacher to adjust teaching strategies according to students’ level of understanding. Key words: difficulties, reading abilities, significantly related, non-English major students, Thai Nguyen University of Sciences. INTRODUCTION* English is a dominant international language in communication, science, business, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy. It is the language of the global marketplace, global village [2]. In Vietnam, following a rather unstable past, Vietnam has stablilized and seen an influx of foreign diplomacy policy over the past several years. Due to this boost in international involvement, the demand for English has taken off. And the study of English has always partaken of a plurality consciousness since the time it began in the first decades of the century. English is now included in the curricula program of every school, especially at universities and colleges, with the focus on the development of the four skills reading, writing, listening and speaking. Reading is necessary when students further the study, especially at the university level. They need good reading skills for acquiring knowledge and learning new information [4] . Of the four language skills that learners need * Tel: 0986 249 269, Email: phanhoa83@gmail.com to acquire, reading is the most necessary skill for non-English majors at the universities and colleges [8] . The final goal of learning foreign languages for many non-English majors is to use English as a means to read the materials to help them with the professions they have chosen in the future. However, it can be seen from a small survey that most students’ reading abilities at Thai Nguyen College of Sciences arenot good enough. Even some students have rather low reading comprehension skills. Many students after leaving universities and colleges are not able to read texts in English for their career fields or for study purposes . At Thai Nguyen College of Sciences, undergraduate students are required to take an English course in three terms in the first two years. In this time students are provided with the general English program consisting of four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In the second term of the first year, the students learned English in 45 periods of the New English file (elementary). After fifteen weeks, the students had a final test Phan Thị Hòa và Đtg Tạp chí KHOA HỌC & CÔNG NGHỆ 121(07): 55 - 60 56 which consisted of four parts: Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading comprehension and speaking. The result of the test in the reading comprehension section of the English test wasnot satisfactory although they had good marks in the other parts of the test. One of the main reasons lies in the fact that the teachers often simply give students a text and require them to answer a series of comprehension questions when they have finished reading the test. The teachers do almost nothing to provide them with the skills or strategies needed to become efficient and independent readers. This does not lead to effectiveness of reading comprehension lessons. Being an English teacher, the researcher has always been aware of the importance of developing reading abilities for students. Within the scope of this study, the researcher aims to conduct a study on typical problems that are encountered by teachers and the second year students of Thai Nguyen University of Sciences in the process of teaching and developing English reading abilities of the students. SUBJECT AND METHODOLOGY: The research uses the descriptive corelational method to establish relationship between the competence of the students in terms of reading comprehension, extensive reading, intensive reading to their profile and teachers’ factors in terms of professional qualities, English background knowledge. The respondents of this study were 100 freshmen English major students at the College of Sciences during the second semester of the academic year 2012-2013. The data gathered were described statistically using percentage, frequency, mean, standard deviation, Pearson r, Chi-square test of correlation at a threshold P-value of 0.05. FINDINGS The following are the findings of the study: 1. The profile of the respondents showed that 76.2 percent of non-English student - respondents are female and 23.8 percent are male; 40 out of 100 respondents who chose newspaper as their reading interest; for novel, science fiction, news story are 26,3%, 17.5%, 15%, 11.3%, 8.8% respectively, in which 32.5 percent like reading books and 33.8 percent love reading love story; the number of students having difficulty in vocabulary with the highest frequency of 58; there are 29 have problem in determining message of the selection; or 23 for words and sentence relationship; 20 have other reading diffictulties like pronunciation and literal translation. The lowest number of students 15 face the problem of clarifying the purposes of reading. 2. The teachers' profile in terms of professional qualities as to knowledge of the subject matter, teaching methods and techniques and English background knowledge is "much" with a mean of 3.69, 3.47 and 3.51. 3. The level of the students' reading abilities as to comprehension, extensive and intensive are all "poor" with a mean of 6.0, 5.5 and 5.7.3. 4. Relationships Table 1 indicates that significant correlation exists between reading comprehension and the ability of the teacher to set and explain course objectives and expectations, focus on meaning of words in the different contexts with the obtained P-value of 0.040 and 0.016, being less than the threshold level of significance of 0.05. Thus, the foregoing null hypothesis was rejected. The study failed to show any significant correlation between comprehensive reading and the ability of the teacher to present the subject matter accurately and systematically, relate subject matter with other areas of knowledge and community affairs, exhibit thorough and broad knowledge of the subject matter, read and understands the texts fluently and explain the meaning of a text or a sentence in the lessons understandably. Phan Thị Hòa và Đtg Tạp chí KHOA HỌC & CÔNG NGHỆ 121(07): 55 - 60 57 Table 2 shows that there is significant correlation between reading comprehension and the ability of the teacher to adjust teaching strategies according to students’ level of understanding; the obtained P-value of 0.030, being less than the threshold P-value of 0.05. Thus, the foregoing null hypothesis was rejected. The study failed to show any significant correlation between comprehensive reading and others. Table 3 implies that significant correlation exists between extensive reading and the ability of the teacher to adjust teaching strategies according to students’ level of understanding; the obtained P-value of 0.002, being less than the threshold P-value of 0.05. Thus, the foregoing null hypothesis was rejected. The study failed to show any significant correlation between extensive reading and the ability of the teacher to organize subject matter according to the given learning competencies and follow it systematically, use appropriate strategies and approaches depending on the lessons to be presented or discussed and skills to be developed, give comprehensive explanation and teaches in an interesting way, accept students comment for further analysis even the point of views is different. Table 4 says that significant relationship exists between intensive reading and the ability of the teacher to adjust teaching strategies according to students’ level of understanding; the obtained P-value of 0.004, being less than the threshold P-value of 0.05. Thus, the foregoing null hypothesis was rejected. The study failed to show any significant correlation between intensive reading and the ability of the teacher to organize subject matter according to the given learning competencies and follow it systematically, use appropriate strategies and approaches depending on the lessons to be presented or discussed and skills to be developed, give comprehensive explanation and teaches in an interesting way, accept students comment for further analysis even the point of views is different. Table 1. Significance of Relationship between Reading Comprehension of the Students and Professional Qualities of the Teachers with Respect to Knowledge of the Subject Matter Variables tested for relationship r-value P-value Remarks Reading Comprehension and Knowledge of the Subject Matter 1. Presents the subject matter accurately and systematically. 0.448 0.449 NS 2. Relates subject matter with other areas of knowledge and community affairs. 0.799 0.105 NS 3. Exhibits thorough and broad knowledge of the subject matter (content, grammar, vocabulary). 0.832 0.081 NS 4. Sets and explains course objectives and expectations. 0.895 0.040 S 5. Reads and understands the texts fluently 0.672 0.214 NS 6. Explains the meaning of a text or a sentence in the lessons understandably 0.761 0.135 NS 7. Focuses on meaning of words in the different contexts. 0.944 0.016 S Legend: P-value > 0.05 - Not significant P-value < 0.05 - Significant Phan Thị Hòa và Đtg Tạp chí KHOA HỌC & CÔNG NGHỆ 121(07): 55 - 60 58 Table 2. Relationship between Reading Comprehension Abilities of the Students and Professional Qualities of the Teachers with Respect to Teaching Methods and Techniques Variables tested for relationship r-value P-value Remarks Reading Comprehension and Teaching Methods and Techniques 1. Organizes subject matter according to the given learning competencies and follow it systematically. -0.102 0.870 NS 2. Adjusts teaching strategies according to students’ level of understanding 0.913 0.030 S 3. Uses appropriate strategies and approaches depending on the lessons to be presented or discussed and skills to be developed 0.847 0.070 NS 4. Gives comprehensive explanation and teaches in an interesting way. 0.180 0.772 NS 5. Accepts students comment for further analysis even the point of views is different. -0.221 0.721 NS Legend: P-value > 0.05 - Not significant P-value < 0.05 - Significant Table 3. Relationship between Extensive Reading Abilities of the Students and Professional Qualities of Teacher with Respect to Teaching Methods and Techniques Variables tested for relationship r-value P-value Remarks Extensive Reading and Teaching Methods and Techniques 1. Organizes subject matter according to the given learning competencies and follow it systematically. -0.269 0.662 NS 2. Adjusts teaching strategies according to students’ level of understanding 0.984 0.002 S 3. Uses appropriate strategies and approaches depending on the lessons to be presented or discussed and skills to be developed 0.728 0.163 NS 4. Gives comprehensive explanation and teaches in an interesting way. -0.206 0.739 NS 5. Accepts students comment for further analysis even when the point of views is different. -0.274 0.656 NS Legend: P-value > 0.05 - Not significant P-value < 0.05 - Significant Table 4. Relationship between Intensive Reading Abilities of the Students and Professional Qualities of Teacher with Respect to Teaching Methods and Techniques Variables tested for relationship r-value P-value Remarks Intensive reading and Teaching Methods and Techniques 1. Organizes subject matter according to the given learning competencies and follow it systematically. -0.223 0.718 NS 2. Adjusts teaching strategies according to students’ level of understanding 0.979 0.004 S 3. Uses appropriate strategies and approaches depending on the lessons to be presented or discussed and skills to be developed 0.775 0.123 NS 4. Gives comprehensive explanation and teaches in an interesting way. -0.094 0.881 NS 5. Accepts students comment for further analysis even when the point of views is different. -0.263 0.670 NS Legend: P-value < 0.05 - Significant; P-value > 0.05 - Not significant Phan Thị Hòa và Đtg Tạp chí KHOA HỌC & CÔNG NGHỆ 121(07): 55 - 60 59 CONCLUSIONS Based on the foregoing findings, the following conclusions were drawn: The findings show that significant correlation exists between reading comprehension abilities and the ability of the teacher to set and explain course objectives and expectations, focus on meaning of words in the different contexts; but none with the others. The findings gave the conclusion that there were significant correlations between reading comprehension abilities, extensive and intensive and the ability of the teacher to adjust teaching strategies according to students’ level of understanding; but none with the others. There is no significant relationship between reading comprehension, extensive and intensive reading abilities of the students and English background knowledge of the teacher. There is no significant relationship exists in extensive and intensive reading abilities of the students and professional qualities of teacher with respect to knowledge of the subject matter. RECOMMENDATION In the light of findings gathered in this study, the researcher hereby recommends the following: Various measures and strategies may be utilized to improve the reading abilities of the students. And varied drills and activities may be introduced to expose the students on the different situations that will enhance their reading abilities. Teachers may continuously pay attention to the layout, content, etc. in the book and the feedback from the students. Adaptations and adjustment may be considered and made to have more appealing teaching materials. Also, teachers may be very flexible in working with materials and try to add more “flavor” to the extra materials. That means the reference materials should not be confined to the international and authentic materials. Sometimes, teachers can choose materials on domestic but hot issue so that students can have a sense of achievement with reading. It is recommended that teachers may pay attention on the needs of the students having reading difficulties to find the exact ways helping them improve their reading abilities. And it is further recommended that teachers may have regular reading inventory to know if the students show some improvement or not. REFERENCES 1. Christine Nuttalli (2000) Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language. Oxford:Macmillan Heinemann ELT. 2. Cohen, A.D.(1998) Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language. London: Longman. 3. Grallet (1999) A practical guide to reading comprehension exercises. Cambridge University Press. 4. Karlin, A & Kartin, A.R. (1998) Teaching Elementary Reading: Principles and strategies. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers. 5. Mendoza, Rosa Cheng.(2002) Reading Skills on Series. Fourth Edition Mission Commercial Corporation, Quezon City. 6. Silberstein, S. (1998) Techniques and Resources in Teaching Reading. Oxford University Press. 7. Stanovich. (1999) “What principals need to know about reading”. December. 8. Strang,R. (1999) "Reading today and tomorrow". Open Milton Keynes. 9. Sheila B. Porto (2006). Determinants of Reading Difficulties among First year High School Students of Santa Maria, Languna. 10. Ziauddin Khan. “Teaching Reading Skills: Problems and Suggestions”. August 2007. Phan Thị Hòa và Đtg Tạp chí KHOA HỌC & CÔNG NGHỆ 121(07): 55 - 60 60 TÓM TẮT NHỮNG KHÓ KHĂN TRONG GIẢNG DẠY VÀ PHÁT TRIỂN KHẢ NĂNG ĐỌC CHO SINH VIÊN NĂM THỨ HAI TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC KHOA HỌC, ĐẠI HỌC THÁI NGUYÊN Phan Thị Hòa*, Hoàng Thị Nhung Trường Đại học Khoa học – ĐH Thái Nguyên Đọc là nhu cầu tất yếu để có tri thức. Tuy nhiên, việc giảng dạy và phát triển khả năng đọc hiểu cho sinh viên còn gặp nhiều khó khăn. Do đó, nghiên cứu này tập trung vào việc phân tích một số khó khăn và tìm ra mối quan hệ giữa các nhân tố thuộc về người dạy và người học với khả năng đọc tài liệu tiếng Anh của sinh viên và từ đó đề xuất các giải pháp để dạy và học kỹ năng đọc đạt hiệu quả cao. Đối tượng của nghiên cứu là 100 sinh viên trường Đại học Khoa học, Đại học Thái Nguyên của học kỳ II năm học 2012-2013. Kết quả nghiên cứu cho thấy khả năng đọc của sinh viên có mối quan hệ chặt chẽ với năng lực của giáo viên trong việc đặt ra cũng như giải thích mục tiêu của khóa học, làm rõ nghĩa của từ trong những ngữ cảnh khác nhau cũng như khả năng điều chỉnh phương pháp giảng dạy của giáo viên sao cho phù hợp với trình độ của sinh viên. Từ khóa: khó khăn, khả năng đọc, mối quan hệ chặt chẽ, sinh viên không chuyên ngành tiếng Anh, Trường Đại học Khoa học- Đại học Thái Nguyên Ngày nhận bài:17/3/2014; Ngày phản biện:31/3/2014; Ngày duyệt đăng:25/6/2014 Phản biện khoa học: ThS. Nguyễn Thị Hồng Minh – Trường Đại học Sư phạm - ĐHTN * Tel: 0986 249 269, Email: phanhoa83@gmail.com

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