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Investigating different approaches to reading in a multi-level class


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A class presenting with diverse educational, literacy and ethnic backgrounds will also present with diverse levels, aspirations and learning needs. This case study of a government funded Foundation Focused Training Opportunities (FFTO) programme in 2013 reveals how those varied needs were met in a reading programme over 37 weeks. Meeting the competencies for a Level One NZQA Certificate and gaining employment outcomes were the key contractual requirements of the programme. The tutors’ task then was to meet learners’ language learning needs, assess them on the qualifications framework, and to prepare them for further training or employment.
To narrow the focus of pedagogic enquiry the researcher decided to establish which approaches in a varied reading programme were best assisting students. Interview and surveys were conducted to explore learners’ perspectives on the approaches that had helped them. A balanced reading programme (Nation 2009) was applied with equal measures of meaning focused input and output, language focused learning and attention to fluency.
The survey yielded results in line with current pedagogical understandings, but the guided interviews offered more varied perspectives about what had helped the students. Some students appreciated daily silent reading while others preferred reading aloud, some enjoyed easy books while others preferred more difficult texts. Others found watching subtitled movies helped their reading while others valued the picture dictionary. However, all students were able to identify reading gains acquired during the course. This led the researcher to surmise that the learners’ diverse backgrounds were reflected in how they approached their learning; idiosyncratic (Allwright, 2006) and autonomous (Holec,1988). Rather than seeking particular approaches that may match learning needs it seems that tutors’ responsibilities lie in providing an interesting, balanced, relevant programme which is full of productive learning opportunities.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: reading,extensive reading approaches,balanced programme, scatter-gun
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Languages
Depositing User: Jenny Field
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2014 04:55
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:24

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