Learners Should Be Active Participants In Reading Education Essay

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The reading comprehension is usually occurred as a problem among many middle primary learners. This study aims to discuss how explicit teaching of metacognition skills is used to solve reading problem among Grade 4students who only can manage to answer literal questions and have inferential comprehension failure in reading activities.

Inferential comprehension is frequently explained as ability to read between the lines. In order for inferential comprehension to occur, learners should know how to combine the factual contents in the text with their prior knowledge, insights and mind's eye to create premises.

Many researchers provided evidences that there are preconditions that are needed in order for learners to make inference. First, learners should be active participants in reading. Being an active reader is considered to be a major precondition for learners in making inference. According to Cain and Oakhill (1998), they stated the reasons why poor readers are unable to make enough inference when they are reading. In the case of the poor readers, they do not perceive a reading process as dynamic and constructive. They only actively engage in their reading process when they have wrong responses. Therefore inadequate understanding is brought to their attention and they are required to search for some information, that these children make such links. Second, learners should be tolerant with their inconsistency. Active readers are constantly checking one's own understanding. If learners are active reader, they usually do not allow inconsistencies to pass unchecked and will fill gaps in understanding. According to Cain et al. (2001), the skilled comprehenders may generate more inference than do less skilled because they regularly monitor their comprehension and see the need to make inference to fill in the missing details. Lastly, according to Cain et al. (2001), he also underlined the indispensable role of general knowledge: indeed: relevant background knowledge for a passage is better predictors of fourth graders' ability to generate inferences from and elaborate on that text than is their comprehension skill.

Learners who are not active readers, are not consistent with inconsistency and do not activate prior knowledge are possible to have inferential comprehension failure.

In order for learners to acquire higher level of reading, learners should enlarge their background knowledge and vocabulary as they enhance the ability to promptly recognize words. Learners should start on reading to get new information from a diversity of reading materials and topics and consume time thinking about what they are read during their reading. Moreover, learners have to relate with information and utilize strategies that employ their own vocabulary and prior knowledge to examining and reading critically (Houston, D. & Torgesen, Joe ,2004).

According to Paris and Jocobs (1984), the skilled reader frequently connects in intentional activities that need planned thinking, flexible strategies and periodic self-monitoring. They consider the subject matter, look forwards and backwards in the reading text, and confirm their own understanding as they read. Children who have encountered difficulties with reading often do not employ these same skills and often seemed unconscious to them therefore difficult for them when it comes to all areas of their learning. Moreover, they are regularly not capable to answer questions about what they have read beyond the literal levels of comprehension.

Inferential comprehension also relies on knowing strategies and knowing when to apply comprehension strategies that is possessing metacognition about strategies. Usually good child readers are acquainted more on how to read than how poor child readers do. Poor child readers are less expected than good child reader to distinguish that they can reread, skim, selectively concentrate to the reading text as they read, or test themselves over reading, depending on their objective (Forrest-Pressley and Waller, 1984: Garner and Kraus, 1981/82; Paris and Myers,1981 cited in cited in Pressley, M. 2002 ).


Flavell (1976 cited in Cubukcu, F., 2008) defined metacognition as one's knowledge regarding one's own cognitive processes and products or anything related to them. It also involves the vigorous monitoring and resulting regulation and orchestration of information and processing activities. An ordinary understanding of metacognition is that it is involved of two main elements. These are knowledge about cognition and monitoring of cognition. One's knowledge about cognition is referred as metacognitive knowledge

Flavell (1979) defined metacognitive knowledge as one's knowledge or idea about the factors affecting cognitive activities. He described three categories of these knowledge factors as following: Person variables, task variables, and strategy variables. In the person category of knowledge, it embraces a person's knowledge and idea about himself as a learner, and what a person thinks about other people's thinking processes. A learner's idea may assist or hinder his learning performance situations. The task category of metacognitive knowledge includes all the information about a projected task that is presented to a person. This knowledge provides a direction to the individual in managing a task, and give information about the measure of accomplishment that he is possible to produce. The strategy category of metacognitive knowledge engages recognizing objectives and secondary objectives and choice of cognitive processes to apply in their success.

The other element of metacognition is monitoring of one's cognition. Several researchers have dispute that monitoring of one's cognition comprises activities of planning, monitoring or regulating, and evaluating (Cross & Paris, 1988; Paris & Winograd, 1990; Schraw & Moshman, 1995; Schraw et al., 2006; Whitebread et al., 2009 cited in cited in Lai, R., 2011). Planning entails recognition and choice of suitable strategies and distribution of resources, and can include setting of goals, stimulating background knowledge, and planning time. Monitoring or regulating involves being present to and being conscious of comprehension and task performance and can contain self-testing. Lastly, evaluation is defined as "assessing the results and regulatory processes of one's learning," and includes revisiting and modifying one's goals (Schraw et al., 2006, p. 114 cited in cited in Lai, R., 2011).

Flavell (1979) discusses cognitive monitoring in the context of cognitive experiences. Metacognitive experiences, according to Flavell (1979) contain the individual's personal inner reactions to own metacognitive knowledge, goals, or strategies. These can take place before, during, or after a cognitive venture. These experiences can offer inner comment about present development, future prospect of development or achievement, measure of comprehension, linking new information to old, and many other events. Metacognitive experience can also be a "stream of consciousness" process wherein other information, memories, or previous experiences may be evoked as resources in the practice of explaining a present- moment cognitive difficulty.

Haller et al. (1988 cited in cited in Lai, R., 2011) recognize three groups of mental activity natural in metacognition within the context of reading comprehension, including awareness, monitoring, and regulating. Awareness entails recognition of explicit and implicit information and openness to text discord or imprecision. Monitoring involves setting of goals, asking question to self, rephrasing, stimulating appropriate background knowledge, building links between novel and formerly learned content, and shortening to develop comprehension while reading. Lastly, regulating is defined as compensatory strategies to transmit and reinforce uncertain comprehension.

Inferential Reading and Metacognition

Much of the studies about metacognition have been related to education and success in reading. Self-regulated readers are strongly engaged in cognitive and metacognitive activities pre, while and post reading. (Paris, Wasik & Turner, 1991) They involve in "constructively responsive reading" which engages reading with a goal and vigorously constructing meanings from text (Pressely & Afflerbach, 1995 cited in Van Kraayenoord, C. E., 2010). The purpose of constructing meanings or comprehension is positioned at the heart of reading. Consistent with the live and planned beliefs of reading, reading comprehension is an intricate and multifaceted capability that comprises the reader's orchestration of numerous skills and strategies when considerately and critically interrelating with written text. The knowledge and experiences and objective of the reader, the content and features of the reading text, and the situation or context of reading shape reading comprehension. In particular reading comprehension is both the procedure and product of the thoughts symbolized in the reading text related to the reader's previous knowledge and experiences and the mental image in memory of the text (Kintsch, 1998).

Comparisons of good and poor readers furthermore disclosed dissimilarities in metacognitive knowledge about reading and understanding. According to Myers and Paris study (1978), they figured out that when 6th grade good and poor readers were compared, the poor readers had less knowledge about different monitoring and comprehension strategies. Paris and Jacobs (1984) also reported that knowledge about the objective of reading and knowledge about the information offered by diverse features of the reading text were connected to learners' comprehension capabilities. Particularly, in comparison to good readers, they figured out that poor readers were less able to recognize a meaning-related objective for reading and were less able to clarify the information implanted in text attributes.

Schneider & Korkel (1989) reported that metacognitive monitoring of comprehension comprises of the evaluation of the reading text. Meaning to say, it is to decide if the content is constant with one's previous knowledge of a subject matter and of one's envisions of the way language functions. With respect to findings of metacognitive control of reading comprehension, researchers have studied the strategies that readers applied pre, while and post reading. Relate to it, Baker and Brown (1984) researched about good and poor 4th and 6th grade readers' approaches employ. They figured out that the good readers were conscious of when they did or did not understand the reading text. On the other hand, the poor readers were less alert of the significance of meaning in understanding the reading text and converged on decoding to the drawback of understanding. These researchers also figured out that the good readers employed numerous metacognitive strategies while reading that aided them to understand. The good readers who were alerted when they did and did not comprehend the reading text utilized fix-up strategies when comprehension overwhelmed. In the study of Pressley and Afflerbach (1995 cited in Van Kraayenoord, C. E., 2010) also mentioned that good readers are able to apply multiple strategies pre, while and post reading, and frequently utilized them in a correlated way. These strategies involved guessing imminent text content before reading, utilizing questioning, generating mental images while reading, and summarizing following reading.

A main objective of most intervention study is to make sure that the trained practices can be utilized to answer troubles different to those on which the skills were taught at first. That is to say, the purpose is the "generalization of skills". On the other hand, the generalization of the skills figured out to be a failure because of these causes. First, researchers frequently remained their topics blind to the objective of the interventions to which they are shown. They are not assisted to comprehend the importance of such exercises. Second, the discipline adjusts into task-specific skills. In this circumstance, transfer of skills did arise but only on assignments which were fundamentally the same, or very alike to those on which discipline had taken place. In the mid 1970's, the researchers identified the needs of not only notifying their clients of the intentions of discipline but also identified the significance of discipline task-general skills that is in discipline of metacognitive skills such as planning, checking and monitoring. As an outcome, intervention study based on metacognitive theories has been flourishing particularly in developing the intelligent completions of retarded children. On the other hand, researches that do not connect metacognitive discipline element are far less flourishing at granting powerful and generalizable development in performance.. In addition, teaching metacognitive skills to smooth the progress of either the acquisition or to cure meager skills in the reading text comprehension and reading domains has been especially thriving (Brown, A. L. & Reeve R. A., 1984). According to Firlding-Bansley, Hay & Ashman (2005 cited in Munro J. & Dalheim B., 2001), we are entailed to move away from utilizing just the customary phonological interventions and comprise more of a metacognitive focus to facilitate learners to understand reading text.

The teaching of metacognitive skills can be approached in various ways to support reading comprehension. By activating prior knowledge and scaffolding students to draw connections between their prior knowledge and new information, the students are able to monitor, plan, and self-regulate their cognitive process and make their own grounds of understanding in reading. Through instructors' scaffolding and modeling the strategies, students brainstorm and discuss the best strategy that they can use to draw connections between their prior knowledge to their new understanding. According to L.S Vygotsky (1962 cited in Gunning G. T. 1996) also viewed that the children reach the higher level of learning through interaction with the adult. Since cognitive development occurs through social interactions, children gain more confidence to try out the process or discuss the concept through teachers' scaffolding and support. When students begin to understand the process and control over it, the teacher gradually reduces the support and scaffolding. The students then eventually are able to plan, monitor, and self- regulate the process by themselves.

The metacognitive strategies are at the core of self-regulated learning. The primary goal of teaching the metacognitive strategy is to enable students both to monitor their comprehension and apply repair skills when comprehension does not take place (Harvey & Goudvis, 2003 cited in Munro J. & Dalheim B., 2001). Students who acquired metacognitive skills set the goals for their own learning, give self-instruction, guide themselves to the right track of reading comprehension, and review the process of learning by themselves. These students are active learner who are responsible for their process of comprehension rather than a passive learner.

Teaching students to be aware of the purpose of the strategies, how, why, when, and where they work encourages them to be more active and responsible for their learning process. The self-talk in which the teacher does modeling can become a powerful guide for students in understanding their responsibility to perform the task. In this stage, teacher thinks aloud as they perform the task. Teacher explicitly models how to activate the prior knowledge, manipulate the text and review reading at every stage of reading (before, while, and after reading). For instance, teacher initiates the self-talk before reading by asking "what do the title and pictures remind me of?" and provide self-responses to the questions by thinking aloud. Students observe how strategy is being used, monitored, and reviewed to perform the task and then begin to internalize its use. Eventually, the purpose of strategy is stored in students' long term memory and results in generalization of skills.

In this notion, the present intervention aims to teach metacognitive strategies to the underachieving middle primary students to assist their reading comprehension. Through teachers' explicit modeling, students will do self- regulation of every stage of reading (before, while, after reading) which involves goal-setting, self-instruction, self-monitoring, and self-repairing.

Research Questions