Extensive Reading Through Specially Designed Tasks Education Essay

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Reading has been considered as an effective way to make progress in leaning languages. Students are always required to read both inside and outside classes. My students at College of Technology and Engineering are not English-major ones, they are trained to become IT engineers. As IT engineers, they will spend most of working time reading in English. Students are brought a lot of benefits from reading, especially from extensive reading. According to Richards and Schmidt (2002: 193-194), extensive reading "is intended to develop good reading habits, to build up knowledge of vocabulary and structure, and to encourage a liking for reading". It is not only a good habit when students access document of their major in the next semesters but a demanding requirement of their future jobs. The importance of reading in learning language is the very first reason for me to choose to do innovation in teaching reading.

The second reason for my innovation is that one of the biggest challenges for language teachers is getting their students to participate in class. It may due to anxiety in the language classroom,

The last but not least reason is the fact that students gradually lose their participation in extensive reading which leads to their lack of assigned tasks completion. In my previous research "Using authentic materials with 2nd year students at College of Technology and Engineering to sustain participation in extensive reading", I found that students learn English to support their IT career, not to become a presenter. Asking them questions after their classmate's presentation to check their understandings of what they already read before the presentation is waste of time. Tasks are also listed as a reason for their low participation. Most of students do not to read the text carefully before classes unless they are presenters. Therefore, an issue emerges: how to sustain my students' participation in extensive reading? In my opinion, the answer may lie in reading tasks.

All above reasons has motivated me to choose the topic: "Sustain participation of 2nd - year students at College of Technology and Engineering in extensive reading through specially designed tasks" for my innovation. With the aim to find out whether the new designed tasks are relevant to make students participate in reading lessons, I try to answer the question: "Do the use of specially designed tasks sustain student's participation in extensive reading?" in this study.


2.1. Participation in the language class

2.3. Context

2.3.1. teaching context

As in the curriculum, students have three periods to learn reading, including both intensive and extensive. There are normally two periods for intensive reading and the rest is for free reading or extensive reading.

In two periods of intensive reading, students read texts and do tasks in the coursebook. In extensive reading, the class chooses the reading texts of their interest. Then a student is randomly chosen to present that topic in the next lesson. The others will be required to complete such tasks as doing summary, answering questions and finishing exercises after listening to the presentation. Students' mark for participation is based on the result of their understandings of the texts In that way, all the students involve in the activity. Their mark for participation in extensive reading accounts for 10% of the total.

However, their participation is not sustained. Some of the students explain that in fact, they are not interested in the topic which is chosen by most of their classmates or it is difficult to understand the presentation because the presenters usually pronounce incorrectly. They add that one topic is not informative enough. They already know about the topic before the presentation. Thus, irrelevant task is the most important reason for me to apply new tasks in extensive reading activities to sustain the students' participation.

There are 13 classes which are divided into two groups based on the result of the previous final test. The first six groups include the students who got six point five or more in the test. The six last groups contain those who got less than six point five. The teaching method used with those groups are different. The weak group focuses on learning grammar and vocabulary to meet the requirement of the final test.


3.1. The participants

The innovation was implemented at the class K53N4, College of Technology and Engineering with the participation of 25 second - year students who are training to become IT engineers. All the students are boys and of pre-intermediate level. English is a compulsory subject which is taught ten periods a week. New English File Pre-Intermediate by Clive Oxenden, Christina Latham-Koenig and Paul Seligson is required material.

This sample class is chosen because it is in the first group and English proficiency of the students is rather high. Students are taught communication skills, not only grammar or vocabulary. In reading lessons, lasses of weak group are explained new words and asked to answer the questions. In contrast, in this group, students usually get the new words by themselves. They are put in the communicative and learner-centered approach. It is also the class with which I carried out the previous research. There is a problem in extensive reading. In the previous semester, their score for participation was not high and certainly made the total mark down:

9-10: none

7-8: 8 students

5-6: 12 students

<5: 5 students

Hence, I plan to apply new tasks in the reading lesson with the hope to find out the most relevant tasks to sustain students' participation. In the sample class, teacher is also adapter, implementer and change agent. Thus, it is so convenient to conduct the innovation.

3.2. Evaluation instruments

The innovation is a problem-solving one which was carried out with two methods to collect the data of students' participation in extensive reading. They were observation and interview.

3.2.1. Observation

As observation is a useful tool to collect data in the actual process of language teaching and learning (Hopkins, 1985 and Peacock, 1997). I planned to observe the class in extensive reading activity in three weeks. All the activities of the students could be recorded silently without affecting the process of teaching and learning. With the aim to find out how much my students paid attention in extensive reading, I tried to observe the students' attitude towards presentations. Attention was also observed in the way students did the exercises after they listened to presentations. Due to the limit of the study, I focused on observing three students. These students were selected because they had been observed and interviewed in my previous research. Their performance in extensive reading was not so high: A got 5.0, B got 5.5 and C got 7.0. The chosen students were anonymously called A, B and C.

3.2.2. Interview

The second method I used collect data from my students is online interview. I believe that an interview by chatting on the Internet will remove pressure that my students may feel. It is not easy for students to show their own opinion and attitude towards the lesson face to face. Moreover, I usually chat with students to share experiences and to help them with English learning. It is pleasant when we talk as friends than as teacher and students. The interview was recorded at the end of week 14.

3.3. Procedure

I planned to put my innovation with new designed tasks in extensive reading from week 10 to week 14. In each week, I delivered five authentic texts of five different topics to the class and asked them to choose to read and summarize at home. It was different from what I did in the previous research because I used to give my students only one topic. With these five topics, students who chose the same one formed a group. Thus, there should be five groups. However, there were not always five groups because one or even two topics were not chosen. It may be not of students' interests. There were usually one or two topics that no one chose. It might be not of their interest. It was also not a problem if the number of students among groups was not equal. Many of them may be interested in the same topic. Students had to do two things. The first thing is that all students needed to send me their summaries of the topic they chose via email. They were warned of plagiarism. Then I both checked these summaries to resend them to the students and designed different types of exercises based on the contents of the texts. The second thing students did in the following week was one student of a group was randomly chosen to make a presentation in the other group. Thus, there were three or four presenters in a period of extensive reading. Students who were not presenters needed to take note what they listened and then did exercises. This was also changed compared with the previous task with the hope that students would change their attitudes. In the past, I chose one student to make presentation in front of the class. In the first week, A (from group Topic 2) was the presenter in group Topic 1, B and C were the audience of group Topic 3 and Topic 4. In the second week, B (from group Topic 7) was the presenter in group Topic 6, A and C were the audience of group Topic 8 and Topic 10. In the last week, A (from group Topic 13) was the presenter of group Topic 12, C was the presenter of group Topic 13 and B was the audience of group Topic 14. All the performance of three students were carefully observed and noted.

The interviews with these students were conducted in fifteen minutes for each. They were interviewed at different time due to their available time online. Each interview lasted about fifteen minutes. In the interview, I asked them many different questions but with the same aim to find out the reason for their different performance in the lessons.


4.1. Data analysis from observation

In the first week, all the students send their summaries vie email on time. There was no one who had the same summaries. More than half of the class had a very creative way to summarize. The rest did it by putting the key words together. However, it was good because they seemed to do the task by themselves. As I observed in the class, when A was the presenter, his participation in the lesson was rather high. He had a careful preparation for the presentation. He tried to give other member in group Topic 1 a good summary with a lot of information in the text. He seemed to work very hard to be able to summarize the text in his own way, not by cutting key words in the text like other students. Before the members of group Topic 1 did the exercises, he asked them some more questions to review what he had talked. B and C were in the position of audience in other groups. C's participation was rather high. He listened and recorded carefully. Therefore, he completed all the questions. B's participation was not as high as C. Although he listened carefully to the presenter in his group, he could not finish the task of answering questions. He left some questions without answers.

In the second week, B was the presenter, A and C were the audience. In that week, all the summaries were sent although some were a little bit late. B's and C's summaries were better than A's. B had a good presentation with very clear explanation to the audience in his group. The designed exercises were multiple choices. A ignored some questions. He seemed to not hear the necessary information to do them. However, at the end of the presentation, he circled all the questions that had not been done before. C looked unsatisfied. He did not concentrate on the presentation much. Although he sometimes talked to the other, he still finished the task.

In the last week of observation, A was the presenter again and C was the presenter of the first time. However, A's participation was really low. A looked so surprised when being called to present. His summary that week was not very good. Thus, he did not have a successful presentation. He did not give enough information for the audience to do the exercises. As a result, no one in the group that A presented could finish the task. On the contrary, C had a very successful presentation. He presented fluently with a lot of useful information. He looked eager when he was chosen to be the presenter. .Meanwhile, B did not participate as highly as he did in the first week. He ignored two questions and did not finish them until the end of the presentation.