THE USE OF RECIPROCAL TEACHING
TO IMPROVE READING COMPREHENSION OF COLLEGE STUDENTS
Dina Novita Wijayanti
Semarang State University
The paper proposes the implementation of the use of reciprocal teaching to improve reading comprehension of college students. Reading is one of the language skills that gives contribution on language ability. It is an important language skill that must be mastered by the students. It determines whether they understand and comprehend the text or not. In fact, many college students find difficulties in understanding the text because of low comprehension. One of the factors is the lecturer still uses conventional technique to teach reading. As the impact, the students feel boring and they are difficult to understand the text. Based on the explanation above, the aims of the paper are to define the key terms, explain teaching reading, reciprocal teaching as technique of reading comprehension, the implementation of reciprocal teaching in teaching reading comprehension, and teaching reading comprehension for college students.
Key words: Reciprocal Teaching, Reading Comprehension, College Students
Reading is the language skill that gives contribution on the language ability. It is not only seen as the source of information and pleasurable activity but also as a means to enlarge one’s knowledge of the language. Good reading is reading which keeps the people regular in reading which provides them both pleasure and profit (Patel & Jain, 2008:113). That is the reason, why reading is important skill for people to master it. According to Patel& Jain (2008:113) reading is an active process which consists of recognition and comprehension skills. It means that the language determines whether the students comprehend and understand the text or not. It is the reason, why it is called reading comprehension.
In college, professor assumes the students to know the word they are reading. What he wants them to do is to extract the meaning from the text in order to learn about and comprehend the important ideas, theories, principles, models and other aspect of the content area he is teaching (Vanderstoop & Pintrich, 2003:170). In fact, many college students find difficulties in understanding the text because of low comprehension. If their reading skill is poor, it means that they will find difficulty in making progress. One of factors is the lecturer still uses the conventional technique to teach reading for example by using Grammar Translation Method. As the impact, the students feel boring and they find difficulties to understand the material given. Because of the reason above, I would like to offer new technique to improve reading comprehension of college students by applying reciprocal teaching technique.
Reciprocal teaching derives from the theory that reading for getting meaning. It is characterized as dialogue that takes place between the teacher and the students (or student’s leader and members of the group). The technique incorporates four strategies. They are predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing (Carter, 1997:65).
Based on the explanation above, this article examines the use of reciprocal teaching technique as one of the strategies to improve reading comprehension of college students. This article begins with one concept of teaching reading and continuous with reciprocal teaching as technique to improve reading comprehension of college students.
Reading is one of the important skills that must be mastered by the students both in school and in life. By doing it, the teacher can know whether the students comprehend and understand the text or not. Therefore, the ability to read an comprehend text efficiently is crucial for students especially for English foreign learners. In addition, because of the demanding expectation for academic success in all areas of learning, high school students as English foreign learners need to develop their English reading comprehension (Ahmadi, 2012:2053). That is the reason, why teaching reading is important part of teacher’s job.
Definition of Reading
Reading is the language ability that gives contribution in teaching learning process. It is important activity in life that one can update knowledge. Besides, it is useful for academic success since it determines whether the students more or less understand what they read (Harmer, 2007:99).
According to Patel & Jain (2008:113) reading is the skill to understand the meaning of printed words i.e written symbols. It is an active process which consists of recognition and comprehension skills. Good reading is reading which keeps the students regular in reading. It is famous as reading habit. It is useful to help them to get knowledge and pass their leisure time (reading for pleasure).
Purposes of Reading
There are many reasons why getting the students to read is important part of teacher’s job. In academic setting, almost every major purpose for reading comes into play. It means that the teacher asks the students to read for a variety purposes. According to Celce-Murcia (2001:187) there are four common purposes of reading. They are to search for information (by doing skimming and scanning), for general comprehension (by reading to understand main ideas and relevant supporting information), to learn new information (when reading the text to get new information) and to synthesis and evaluate information (when reading to evaluate from the multiple texts from the longer chapter) to take a critical position. Every purpose of reading above, has its own way to conduct it. It depends on the need that wants to achieve.
Principles of Reading
Reading as an activity is not only seen as the source to get information but also as a means to enlarge and update one’s knowledge to get pleasure. To achieve the purpose, someone must follow some principles of reading. According to Harmer (2007:101-102) there are six principles of reading. The first principle is encourage students to read as often as much as possible. It intends that the students to do reading as habit action. The second is students need to engage with what they are reading It means that the students should be involved in joyful reading. The third is encourage students to respond to the content of a text. It shows that the students should be given a chance to respond to the message of the text and show their feelings. The fourth is prediction is a major factor in reading. It shows that before the students are given the full text to read, they should predict what the text talks about by showing a clue from the text. The fifth is matc the task to the topic when using intensive reading texts. It means that the teacher should make good reading task for students. The task is completed with imaginative and challenging activities that can reduce students’ boring. The sixth is good teachers exploit reading texts to the full. It shows that the good educator should guide the students in order the text they read can make sense to them by integrating the reading into interesting lesson sequences.
Types of Reading
Recognition and comprehension skills are the skills should be carried out in conducting reading. Reading as the active process can be differentiated based on its purpose that wants to achieve.
According to Patel & Jain (2007:115) there are two types of reading. They are intensive and extensive reading. Intensive reading is a kind of reading to get specific knowledge or information from the text. The type of reading is called text reading or passage reading. It usually takes place in the classroom especially when the teacher asks the students to extract the message from the genre text. While extensive reading is a kind of reading to get pleasure when conducting it. It does not care about the specific information after reading. So, it is called reading for pleasure or joyful reading. It usually takes place outside from the classroom especially when the students have pleasure time. They may read novel, magazines etc.
Reading with the objective that the students not only read a variety of texts independently but also read with the understanding in order to extract and process the information efficiently is called reading comprehension (Choo, Eng, & Ahmad, 2011:141). When we discuss about the word ”comprehension”, it means that we talk about competence. Brown (2007:33) states that comprehension involves listening and reading abilities can be equated with competence. In other words, if we discuss about reading comprehension, we also talk about reading competence.
The students’ reading comprehension is influenced by the extent of overlap between the students’ prior knowledge as the reader and the content of the text (Palinscar & Brown, 1984:118). By mastering reading comprehension, they can engage and gain the better understanding the text and facilitate the creation of meaning during the reading process (Dootlittle et al, 2006:107). In this case, reading comprehension includes in intensive reading since the purpose is to get knowledge or the passage of the text rather than reading for pleasure.
Characters of Good Reader
Good readers are people who become the active readers, they not only read the text passively, word for word, but they can think about what they are reading and try to make sense out of it (Vanderstoop & Pintrich, 2003:172). In other words, they relate what they already know with their prior knowledge.
A good reader must use one of the two types of knowledge in reading comprehension. They are systematic and schematic knowledge (Freihat, 2012:280). Systematic knowledge is the knowledge that desires the reader to master the language acquisition. It is important that the reader can read to make sense out of it not word for word. Schematic knowledge is the knowledge that desires the reader to master the content of the text and formal schemata. For example the content area of a text and the routines of language interaction as expressed in the rhetorical structure of language.
According to Celce-Murcia (2000:188) there are some characters that fluent readers typically do in reading. They are read rapidly for comprehension, recognize words rapidly and automatically, draw on a very large vocabulary, integrate text information with their own knowledge, recognize the purpose for reading, comprehend the text as necessary, shift purpose to read strategically, use strategies to monitor comprehension, recognize and repair miscomprehension, read critically and evaluate information.
Strategies in Reading
The good readers should understand the strategy to reach reading goal. They should create reading as the interactive activity. It means that reading can be seen as a kind of dialogue between the reader and the author (Hedge, 2000:188). According to Celce-Murcia (2001:195) the major goal for academic reading instruction is the development of strategic readers. There are nine strategies that are commonly done by the strategic readers in doing reading activities efficiently. They are previewing a text, predicting what will come later in a text, summarizing, using context to maintain comprehension, recognizing text organization, generating appropriate questions about the text, clarifying text meaning, and repairing miscomprehension.
RECIPROCAL TEACHING AS TECHNIQUE OF READING COMPREHENSION
The term ”reciprocal” describes the nature of interactions since one person acts in response to another (Palinscar & Brown, 1984:5). It is a kind of cooperative learning technique which creates the dialogue between the teacher and the student (or student’s leader and members of the group). It is only through dialogue that critical thinking can be generated and that without communication there is no true education (Meyer, 2010:42). According to Pedro (2007:78) the cooperative structure was guided through reciprocal teaching in order to promote autonomy in learning. Therefore to create the effective application of reciprocal teaching, the teacher should pay attention with the foundations itself. It consists of scaffolding, think aloud, metacognition, and cooperative learning (Ozkuz, 2010:97).
The Origin of Reciprocal Teaching
According to Omari & Weshah (2010:29) historically, reciprocal teaching was described by Palinscar & Brown (1984) and since then it has been developed and used widely in order to help students who face obstacles in reading comprehension. It means that the origin of the technique is derived from the expectation to help students who find difficulties in understanding the text by applying group discussion. Theoretically, it has its origin in constructivist theory which emphasizes the role of learner and his or her internal drives in getting knowledge, learning for understanding and recognizing meaning.
The Principles of Reciprocal Teaching
There are four principles of learning and instruction underpin the technique of reciprocal teaching (Brown & Campiane in Seymour & Osana, 2003:328). They are cognitive apprenticeship, theories of scaffolding, the zone proximal development, and propleptic teaching. Cognitive apprenticeship emphasizes the role of leader is as the expert who shows the correct strategy to his or her group members. Theories of scaffolding provides support through modeling, offering guided practices, giving feedback, and encouraging independent work (Ozkuz, 2005:15). Zone of proximal development shows that the teacher’s role as the expert to teach and evaluate the children’s performance. Propleptic teaching shows that the teacher should believe that the students have the ability to accomplish their works as expert learners.
The Components of Reciprocal Teaching
Reciprocal teaching as a technique encourages the students to make connections between subjects and to apply their learning to their lives (Abraham & Abraham, 2010:2).
The way to connect students’ learning to their lives is by applying the four components of reciprocal teaching. They are predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing. Predicting shows how the students predict the content of the text before reading by showing the main titles of the text. To guide the students to predict it, the teacher or the student’s leader may ask ”What do you expect the first paragraph to be about?”. Questioning shows how the students find the important information in the text. The way to help them is the teacher or the student’s leader gives question to them. For example: what is the main idea in first paragraph?.In this case, question strategy is a catalyst for deeper understanding and reinforces summarization (Abraham & Abraham, 2010:6). Clarifying is used to check and monitor the students’ understanding of the text in order to reduce miscomprehension. The utterance that is usually used is “what is the meaning of the sentence?” (Ozkuz, 2010:17). Summarizing has relationship with questioning. Questioning reinforces summarization in order to find out the main ideas of the text, organize them, and understand the relationship between them. For example: ”Can I use my own language to retell the story from the text?”.
The Stages for Applying Reciprocal Teaching
Reciprocal teaching as technique to teach reading comprehension has its own way when the teacher or the researcher would like to apply it in teaching and learning process. It consists of some stages to apply it.
Kahree & Crowford in Omari & Weshah (2010:28) state that reciprocal teaching includes the following stages. Firstly, the teacher leads the dialogue, then practices one of the paragraphs in front of the students as the model. The next, the teacher distributes the cards contain the job for every student. After that, the students read a paragraph silently. Then, the whole class takes part in dialogue according to the tasks included in their cards. Finally, the teacher divides the students in group. Each group contains of four members to apply each component in reciprocal teaching technique collaboratively.
The Procedure for Applying Reciprocal Teaching
After applying the stages of reciprocal teaching, a researcher or the teacher should apply the procedure for applying it (Omari & Weshah, 2010:28-29). The procedures are as the followings.
The first, the teacher chooses a leader who plays the role as a teacher in front of his or her members, the leader exchanges his role with the other members of the group based on his or her own job. Then, the teacher distributes the text to the group and gives them time to do silent reading. The leader of the group coordinates the task selection in his own group. For example if the leader task is predicting. It means he leads the other friends in his or her group. In other words, he guides them to predict what the text talks about. After the task of the summarizing leader is finished, the teacher distributes questions related to the content of the text to check whether the students comprehend the text or not after applying reciprocal teaching technique.
The Goals of Reciprocal Teaching
Reciprocal teaching is a cooperative reading strategy engages team of students in predicting, questioning, clarifying and then summarizing passages (Palinscar & Brown in Tsong, 2007:217). Because of the reason, it is an expectation that it can achieve some goals after applying the technique in teaching learning process. There are some goals of reciprocal teaching. They are to improve students’ reading comprehension using four comprehension strategies: predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarizing, to scaffold the four strategies by modeling, guiding and applying the strategies while reading, to guide students to think about their own thinking (become meta-cognitive) and reflective in their strategy use, to help students monitor their comprehension using the four strategies, to use the social nature of learning to improve and scaffold reading.
The Advantages of Reciprocal Teaching
Reciprocal teaching is a research based technique that utilizes the comprehension strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing (Stricklin, 2011:620). So, it is an expectation that after applies it, the researcher, the teacher, and the students can get the advantages.
There are three common major advantages of the technique when it applies in teaching and learning process (Tsong, 2007:217). Reciprocal teaching is effective in helping students to improve their ability .It means that it is an effective technique to improve the students’ reading comprehension. The technique is easily understood and mastered by both teachers and students. It means that although the technique consists of four strategies or components, but it can easily be understood both by the teachers and the students.It describes the process of reading as interactive activity .It means that the technique creates a situation whereby the students as the readers interact with the text and produces a dialogue where leader of the group communicates with his or her own members.
TEACHING READING COMPREHENSION FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS
In college, professor assumes the students to know the words they are reading (Vanderstoop & Pintrich, 2003: 170). It means that the professor desires them to extract the main point derived from the text. College students must be taught the skills to locate and analyze complicated information, to solve the problems they encounter while reading and to connect ideas and concepts.
Definition of College Students
There are types of learners that are divided into young and adult learners. College students is part of adult learners. Students enrolled in college or university are called college students (Nist & Simpson, 2002:1099). For them who become the college students have different way of thinking if we compare with young learners. College students must think more critically and have the ability to connect the ideas in their own thinking (Gruenbaum, 2012: 1080).
Characteristics of College Students
There are different ways to teach reading either young or adult learners. College students is part of adult learners. So to teach them, the lecturer must pay attention to the characteristics of college students. There are four characteristics of college students when they are commonly conducting reading activities (Nist & Simpson, 2002: 1111). They are students’ prior knowledge that emphasizes in the role of knowledge to relate the content of the text with social and cultural contexts. Students’ metacognitive abilities shows how students relate their self-regulated learning rather than isolation. Students’ motivational level is the important part of learning. If the students have skill, will, and social support, they will get the maximum result for their study. Students’ interest in what they are reading or studying. Interest is key in determining the students’ success in learning. So, if the students have interest in learning, the result will be better than the opposite.
Reciprocal teaching is a cooperative learning instructional technique which creates natural dialogue models and reveals learners’ thinking processes about a shared learning. It is presented in dialogue between the teacher and the students or student’s leader and members of the group. The technique consists of four components. They are predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing in the form of group discussion. Reciprocal teaching is recommended as the technique to improve reading comprehension since the discoverer Palinscar and Brown created it to improve reading comprehension of their students. As the result, they found that students’ ability to read and understand text developed significantly when they applied it. The target to apply this technique is college students because. They still find difficulties in understanding the text and I curious with their characteristics. They like correlating their prior knowledge with new information. From the explanation above, I would like to suggest to the lecturer of reading comprehension to use reciprocal teaching to improve students’ reading comprehension and to reduce the students be bored in class discussion.
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