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Title: Reading comprehension skills amongst undergraduate EFL students in Libya : the development and evaluation of an innovative critical reading programme
Author: Albeckay, Emhemmad Masoud
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 6429
Awarding Body: University of Derby
Current Institution: University of Derby
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis investigates the lack of critical reading and thinking skills amongst undergraduate students of English in Libya, and produces a new programme which can be used to develop their skills. It develops students' critical reading comprehension skills through an innovative Critical Reading Programme (CR Programme). It further examines students' perceptions of the programme with the intention of adapting and amending the original programme accordingly. It is intended that the completed work would be disseminated on a wider scale, beyond the particular institution where the study was undertaken, to the rest of Libya and possibly to other Arabic-speaking countries. The need was identified for a programme to enhance critical reading and thinking skills amongst undergraduate students of English at Sebha University in Libya. Therefore, an initial design of a CR Programme that would enable the students to achieve these skills was developed. Using the literature review to inform its development, I piloted the programme, using it within the appropriate context, and gathered data from the participants to see if it had served its purpose. From the results of the pilot study, I contacted a random sample of 60 students from Sebha University. The student sample was divided equally into two groups (control and research). Students in the research group studied the CR Programme which I initially developed, while the control group participants were not taught critical reading, but were taught reading comprehension using a teacher-centred approach and a grammar translation method, which is the current pedagogy in Libya. Relevant literature was reviewed so as to be aware of empirical studies carried out by others. This was to enable me to situate my own contribution to the field. For example, Thistlethwaite (1990) emphasises the importance of critical reading; Davis (1992) highlights a variety of learning and teaching methods; Yopp (2001) suggests a model for the process involved in reading comprehension; and Alyousef (2006) discusses the role of cognition and reading, as well as the methods used for teaching and learning. To answer the research questions and meet the aims of my study, qualitative and quantitative methods were adopted to analyse the collected data. The former method was important for understanding and appreciating the subjective aspect of the participants' issues and problems relevant to their learning English as a foreign language (EFL) and for gaining their trust. The latter was used to quantify the data collected. The methods were further used to measure the progress of the students on the Ck Programme, thus, verifying the programme's importance. The thesis explores pedagogical tools in teaching reading comprehension to EFL undergraduate students in Libya. The data collection and subsequent research findings show that using innovative pedagogy can improve reading comprehension skills in the Libyan context. The study was conducted in four phases, namely: 1) a pre-intervention strategy (pre-measurement of skills, and a questionnaire relating to students' prior perceptions); 2) a during-intervention strategy (the eR Programme); 3) a post-intervention strategy (post-measurement of skills, and questionnaire on students' later perceptions); and, 4) a teacher questionnaire designed to investigate teachers' views and knowledge of critical reading and thinking skills. The findings of the study recognise that critical reading and thinking skills are of utmost importance for EFL students and their teachers. They reveal that critical reading and thinking skills have close links to EFL students' competence in reading comprehension. The findings further suggest that the intervention study (Ck Programme) can help EFL students develop their reading comprehension abilities. Recommendations for further research are also made. The findings will be useful to teachers and EFL curriculum designers, particularly in their development of suitable learning and teaching resources for reading comprehension at the higher education level. No less importantly, the findings are expected to provide Libyan education policy makers with insights into perceptions and practices of teaching reading comprehension skills, so as to inform the future design of EFL reading materials and the structure of new EFL courses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available