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THE EFFECTS OF RECIPROCAL TEACHING ON ENGLISH READING - page 113 / 233

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training and more practice (Billingsley & Wildman, 1988). In this study, they were

offered more opportunities to practice through the metacognitive processes and to use the

reading strategies. They constantly planned, monitored, and evaluated themselves through

the reciprocal teaching procedure. This may be the reason why the proficient students

performed better after reciprocal teaching.

Baker & Brown (1984) and Block (1992) state that proficient readers are aware of

and can control their cognitive activities while they are reading. They use various types of

strategies and use them in a more efficient way, and when their reading comprehension

breaks down, they know how to work through it.

With respect to the less proficient students, they benefited more from reciprocal

teaching than the proficient ones; indeed, the students in the low proficiency group

exhibited more improvement than the students who already had good reading ability

before the treatment. This result is supported by Palincsar and Brown (1984) who

examined the effect of reciprocal teaching on the reading comprehension of less

proficient students and found that after treatment, the students made significant gains in

reading ability. Three reasons could explain this. First, the less efficient readers might not

be aware of the value of the reading strategies, of what strategies to use, and of how and

when to use them. Though they may know them, they might not utilize those strategies

actively, whereas the proficient students might already know them and may be eager to

use them efficiently in their reading. Second, these strategies must be instructed in a step-

by-step fashion. After practicing, the participants of this study knew what the four

strategies were, and when, why, and how to use them. Then they had enough practice

before working in their own group. Third, they worked in cooperative groups of

participants with mixed abilities, so that the weaker students learned from their friends. In

turn, the proficient students learnt how to act as leaders and how to cope with

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