Title

Reading in English : Attitudes and strategies of B.Ed. (Hons) students in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

Reading in English is a staple requirement in all degree programmes of Pakistan but it becomes more intense in social science programmes including B. Ed. (Hons). The students are expected to be avid and proficient readers from the start of their enrolment in the degree programme. Considering the reading required of students in an undergraduate degree in Education as part of their courses, their feelings and beliefs would have an impact on their practices as a teacher. Moreover, they are expected to teach reading strategies and instil a love for reading in their students too. In contrast of these expectations, the new four-year B. Ed. (Hons) curriculum has very little time allocated to teaching these future teachers any particular reading strategies to be able to consciously apply in their teaching practice. Keeping in mind the attitudes that may shape practices with particular focus on reading in English, a cross-sectional survey of 245 B. Ed. (Hons) students was conducted in public and private higher education institutes of Karachi. The study aimed to critically describe students’ attitudes to reading and the strategies they employ while reading English along with finding a relationship between the two constructs. A Reading Attitude Survey and Reading Strategy Questionnaire was adopted from an Asian context where English is second language. Both tools were translated into Urdu. The results show that in the constructs measuring feelings (Discomfort, Anxiety and Comfort) students have very positive outlook. They feel little discomfort and anxiety and are generally comfortable reading English materials. Similarly, the constructs measuring value (Linguistic, Practical and Intellectual Value) showed that students attribute very high value to reading in English. The strategies for reading were divided into two categories: cognitive (Comprehending, Memory and Retrieval) and metacognitive (Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation). For both categories, the participants reported using all the strategies frequently. The pattern of scoring on strategies questionnaire revealed a wide variety of reading strategies that the participants have employed to be able to get maximum benefit from their reading. Finally, the results showed a significant positive correlation between all the constructs from Attitudes and all the Strategies, except Anxiety which showed no correlation with any strategy. On the other hand, Discomfort showed a negative correlation. Moreover, correlation between Comfort and Comprehending was the strongest, indicating the importance of creating comfort through greater exposure to English language for better comprehension skills. The study provides an understanding of students’ attitudes and their strategies to improve reading skills as future teachers and lay the foundation for further research on English reading.

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