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    THẠC SĨ Developing critical reading skills for first year students in English department, college of foreign languages, Vietnam national university, Hanoi

    Ác Niệm Ác Niệm Đang Ngoại tuyến (3588 tài liệu)
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  6. Developing critical reading skills for first year students in English department, college of foreign languages, Vietnam national university, Hanoi

    introduction
    1. Background to the study and statement of the problem
    1.1. Critical thinking and critical reading skills in the Age of Information
    In the Age of Information, people are facing up with the information overload which can be both an advantage and a big threat. It is, therefore, necessary for people especially youngsters to have good ability of not being drowned in the ocean of information. Accordingly, reading, which is the most popular means of processing information, should be taken into account. Among the amount of information needed, the questions of what to read, how to read effectively and what to believe are worthy of readers’ consideration. In such a situation, critical reading is an essential skill which is described by Harris and Hodges (1981) as

    a process of making judgments in reading, evaluating relevance and adequacy of what is read, an act of reading in which a questioning attitude, logical analysis and inference are used to judge the worth of what is reading according to an establish standard

    Critical reading which is significant to EFL students for mastering critical reading skills will provide students with the ‘right tool’ (Milan, 1995), in short term, to enhance their process of studying at university and, in long term, to serve them well for the rest of their life.

    A remarkable number of students and teachers, however, does not have in-depth knowledge of critical reading, what its elements are and how to develop it. They are not even aware of the role of critical reading in the teaching and learning process. This leads to quite lots of problems concerning behaviorism, self discovery and other cognitive matters. The lack of a full awareness of critical reading may result in not only teachers’ clueing in and students’ knowledge acquiring but also curriculum design or teachers and students interaction in classroom, etc.

    In the history of pedagogy, methodology, psychology and humanism, a variety of research on critical thinking and its related problems and solutions have been conducted. In a very humble way, this research is aimed to follow the founding fathers of the field to bone up the most basic knowledge about critical thinking skill.

    Next, because of the limitation of time as well as of the restrains on reference sources, the researcher will not cover up every aspect of critical thinking but just critical thinking in relation to the effective reading of first year students in English Department, College of Foreign Languages (CFL), Vietnam National University (VNU). As applying critical thinking skills in reading, students will become more effective readers who are capable of applying the given skills to achieve academic success in their language learning.

    1.2. An overview of reading course in English Division 1, English Department, CFL, VNU
    1.2.1. Course objectives
    At the end of the course, first year students will be able to understand various average-level discourses such as magazine articles, letters, stories, etc. and apply basic reading strategies including locating specific information (scanning), extracting main ideas (skimming), dealing with unfamiliar words, understanding author’s attitude, understanding text organization, understanding referencing devices and understanding text inferences. Besides, the ability to deal with the following types of exercises such as true/ false, multiple choice, gap – fill, matching and open-ended questions and the ability to build up their background knowledge and vocabulary range through reading passages will also be attained.

    To develop critical reading skills, it is very important to set up a range of objectives which aims at developing thinking process in reading skills. In reality, out of seven objectives of Reading 2 mentioned above, only the last four ones relate to critical reading skills: understanding author’s attitude, understanding text organization, understanding referencing devices and understanding text inferences. However, the activities and tasks used in the course do not help students meet those objectives. (The analyses of the activities and tasks will be made in the analysis of the material from page 3-8.)

    1.2.2. The syllabus (A detailed syllabus is provided in Appendix 1)
    The major strength of the syllabus is that it gives clear instructions to teachers and students on pieces of work they are expected to do every week. This will help them be well prepared for class and that would increase the efficiency of teaching and learning.

    Also, the syllabus saves the first week as an orientation week which is carried out in various forms such as formal lectures, discussions, debates, story telling, text reading or simply informal talks. The benefits of orientation activities are: 1. creating opportunities for students and teachers and students themselves to get to know each other to exchange experiences, attitudes and opinions. 2. orienting students towards college study methods in general and effective ways to learn the four language skills in particular. Such preparation has been proved to respond to actual needs of students during their early days at college.

    In addition, the syllabus gives space for the teachers to design or collect further reading by themselves. Nevertheless, it is not an easy task due to time restraints and the lack of reference sources.

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