ISLAMIC AZAD UNIVERSITY
Central Tehran Branch
Faculty of Foreign Languages
Thesis Submitted In Partial Fulfilment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of Master Of Arts In Teaching English As A Foreign Language
The Comparative Impact of Analysis and Inference on Intermediate EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension
Dr. Sholeh Kolahi
Dr. Behdokht Mall Amiri
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This study was an attempt to investigate whether there is any significant difference between the effects of inference and analysis critical thinking skills on intermediate EFL learners’ reading comprehension. To reach this aim, the 2011 version of PET was utilized to select a homogeneous sample. Ninety four learners of intermediate level from Parsa Language School in Kashan were selected through the convenient non-random sampling. They were given the PET and subsequently, 60 subjects whose score fell between one standard deviation above and below the mean were selected. Then, they were randomly divided into two experimental groups and four classes of 15 with unequal number of males and females. They ranged from 12-16 years old. At the outset of the study and before giving any instruction, the participants sat for a pre-treatment test which was the reading comprehension section of the 2010 version of PET. After administering the pre-treatment test and calculating running a t-test, the researcher was assured that there was no significant difference regarding reading comprehension ability between the two groups prior to the treatment. During the treatment, the first experimental group (E1) was exposed to analysis, while the second experimental group (E2) practiced inference skills about 30 minutes during each session. In E1, the researcher employed the rhetorical précis by Woodworth (1988), whereas the observation/inference chart designed by Nokes (2008) was used in E2. The treatment occurred for 13 sessions. At the end of the semester, the experimental groups were post-tested through the reading comprehension section of the 2009 version of PET. Finally, an independent sample t-test was run to check if there was any significant difference between the effects of inference and analysis on reading comprehension of the learners. The results showed that the participants in the inference group outperformed those in the analysis group. Meanwhile, the participants in analysis group showed progress in post-test in comparison to their performance in pre- treatment test. Therefore, it can be concluded that the present study also emphasize and confirm the positive role of teaching critical thinking skills –in this study, inference and analysis- on reading comprehension.
Table of contents
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURES
Background and Purpose
Growth and advancement in educational systems are the most important characteristics of the present societies. This phenomenon, especially in recent decades, has become an important and sensitive issue in developing countries. The role of educational systems in the process of growth and persistent advancement of countries is accepted by everybody. Moreover, education is regarded as a main base of advancement and progress. The most observable and effective character in educational system is the thinking element (Hashemi, Naderi, Seif Naraghi, & Shariatmadari, 2010). Thinking and acquiring new information and the method of thinking and learning are the most important characteristics of human being and from other perspective, in new approaches; the great attention has been paid to teaching and learning by critical thinking which is one of the fundamental phenomena and dimensions in educational systems (Hashemi et al., 2010).
Critical thinking is a necessary skill in promoting the students’ thoughts. It is one of the new models in education system. This model pays special attention to the development of individual and social features of people so that mental power and social responsibilities will be fostered among the learners (Hashemi et al., 2010).
It is hard to formulate an encompassing definition for critical thinking; as it includes several levels of understanding. Paul and Elder (2001) believe that critical thinking is a mode of thinking about any subject, content, or problem. It is an ability with which students can improve their thinking quality by skillfully managing their thinking structures and intellectual criteria around them. Scriven and Paul (2003) define critical thinking as an intellectually disciplined process in which students actively and skillfully conceptualize, apply, synthesize, and evaluate information generated by observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, and communication. Facione (2000) believes that critical thinking is a cognitive process of developing reasonable, logical, and reflective judgment about what to believe or what to do. In the same line, Watson and Glaser (2002) define critical thinking as a composite of attitudes, knowledge and skills. Critical thinking does not expect students to answer the questions put in the class, but instead develops students’ sound judgment for problem-solving, decision-making, and higher-order thinking (Case, 2002; Taylor & Patterson, 2000 as cited in Alizade & Khatib, 2012).
Facione (2011) states that the experts are persuaded that critical thinking is a pervasive and purposeful human phenomenon. The ideal critical thinker can be characterized not merely by her or his cognitive skills but also by how she or he approaches life and living in general.
New trends in education nowadays are focusing on developing critical thinking skills. Fisher (2007, p. 1) asserts that, “in recent years critical thinking has become something of a buzz word in educational circles. For many reasons, educators have become very interested in teaching thinking skills of various kinds in contrast with teaching information and context” (as cited in Avendaño and Fonseca, 2009). Facione (1990) introduces critical thinking skills as interpretation, analysis evaluation, inference, explanation, and self–regulation. Research indicates that adult learners do not use critical thinking skills naturally, but these complex abilities develop in learners over time (Kurfiss, 1983; Paul, 1993). Scholars and educators believed that this kind of complex reasoning process can be improved with practice (Paul & Elder, 2004; Van Gelder, Bissett & Cumming, 2004) and advocated that developing critical thinking skills are crucial to help students “know how to learn and how to think clearly” (Halpern, 1998, p. 450).
تعداد صفحه : 250
قیمت :14700 تومان