The Use Of Reflective Thinking In Teaching English Language To Children In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for English Education

The Use Of Reflective Thinking In Teaching English Language To Children In Nigeria


Abstract


The study explore the use of Reflective Thinking Strategies on teaching English Language of Senior secondary school year two students in Minna Metropolis (Nigeria).The Purpose of the study was to investigate; Effects of Reflective Thinking Strategies on teaching English Language among senior secondary school students. The variables investigated were based on genders (male & female) and among students in the experimental groups. Four research questions were set and answered and four hypotheses were postulated and tested in the study. The experimental research design of equivalent and randomized pre-test, post-test of experimental and control groups was used. The study area has a population of 11,124 Senior Secondary year two students for 2014-2015 academic year. A sample size of 120 year two students was sampled according to sample size table published by Curry in Yount (2006). Thirty (30) students from four (4) schools out of the population were sampled through simple random and purposive sampling techniques. Two researcher-designed instruments were used; the Reflective thinking Instructional Guide (CTIG) and English Language and reading comprehension Test (RCT).The treatment procedures include six English Language and reading comprehension passages and the reflective thinking strategies lessons conducted for six weeks. The statistical tool used for data interpretation was the independent t- test, tested at 0.05% level. The findings indicated that, there was significant difference between the performance of male and female students exposed to Reflective thinking instructional strategies and those not exposed to treatment. Furthermore, the findings revealed no significant difference between the teaching English Language of male and female students in the experimental groups exposed to reflective thinking strategies and those not exposed. However, the use of reflective thinking strategy training did not vary among different genders in the experimental groups. In addition, the findings provide empirical support for the facilitative use of think pair share method and reciprocal teaching method on teaching English Language. The study concludes that the teaching of English Language and reading comprehension can produce positive outcome if relevant and appropriate reflective thinking strategies are used in the teaching/learning process. It was recommended that English Language teachers should employ the Reciprocal Teaching Method and Think-Pair-Share Method in instructing learners in order to enhance their reading performance. Also teacher trainers, textbook writers, curriculum developers should teach, write textbooks and develop English Language teaching materials adopting and adapting the findings in this study.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Reflective thinking is the ability to analyze, evaluate and judge information. Reflective thinkers raise vital questions and problems, formulate them clearly, gather and assess relevant information, use abstract ideas, think open-mindedly, and communicate effectively with others. Passive thinkers suffer a limited and ego-centric view of the world. They answer questions with yes or no and view their perspective as the only sensible one and their facts as the only ones relevant. One of the most influential tools anyone can always have is the ability to think. Reflective thinking skills are strategies people use to consider and evaluate new ideas. Reading is one of the ways people receive and consider new ideas. Richard Paul (2004) stresses the connection between reflective thinking and English Language and reading comprehension. As he states, “The reflective mind improves its thinking by reflectively thinking about it. Likewise, it improves its reading by reflectively thinking about how it is reading.

Reflective Thinking is a complex concept that involves cognitive skills and affective dispositions, and this has affected the way some teachers impart the concept to the students. Reflective thinking requires one‘s effort to collect, interpret, analyze and evaluate information for the purpose of arriving at a reliable and valid conclusion. In applying reflective thinking in school settings, it is necessary to develop thinking skills. People who think reflectively should be able to understand the logical connections between ideas, construct, evaluate arguments, detect common mistakes in reasoning and solve problems systematically.

Teaching reading in the secondary school has become a source of great concern among educators around the world as success in reading determines success in school. Research findings have revealed that this important language skill is highly neglected in many secondary schools. This has resulted in students‘ poor performance in English Language and reading comprehension of simple English passages. Thus the main inspiration for this research is to motivate both teachers and students towards reflective thinking strategies in the teaching and learning English Language and reading comprehension among senior secondary school students in Minna Metropolis.

The secondary school English language classroom is a logical environment to explicitly teach, and practice, reflective thinking through English Language and reading comprehension with the goal of developing lifelong habits of reading. As Mendelmen (2007) pointed out, If reading the word can be paralleled to reading text, then English Language and reading comprehension passage offers an ideal vehicle for teaching the reflective skills necessary in analysis and problem solving. Yuhui et al. (2010) stated clearly that reading is a thinking process to construct meaning. Comprehension (itself) has been seen as a reflective thinking process. Dewey (2003) stated that the central purpose of education is learning to think. The ability to think reflectively and reason well has been regarded as an important and necessary outcome of education. Similarly, as part of that education, learners need to develop and learn to apply reflective thinking skills to their reading effectively.

Moreover, reading involves skills; it involves thinking and it affects the entire personality of an individual. A person‘s attitude towards school, parents and life in general may be affected by his/her reading ability. Thus, the reading process is a challenge to many students, as success in reading to a large extent determines success in school and academic achviement (Lawal,1989) English Language and reading comprehension instruction in making judgments about the credibility of source/writer information, distinguishing fact from opinion, detecting emotionally laden words, establishing evaluation before making judgments, in a passage are some of the reading strategies used in this study. These skills listed can assist in the accomplishment of the purpose for English Language and reading comprehension.

Reflective thinking strategies are not extensively developed or practiced by many primary and secondary schools in Nigeria Abe, (1999) is of the view that; reflective thinking strategies are not extensively developed or practiced by many primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. Although the National Policy on Education (2004) has specifically stated that;

The Primary schools should lay the foundations for reflective thinking by instilling reflective thinking and ability to adapt to changing environment. At the secondary school level, students are expected to demonstrate reflective thinking by imbibing independent thinking and cope with modernity. (NPE,2004 )

It is expected that proper implementation of these objectives will put all educated Nigerians at par with their counterparts all over the world. Thus reflective thinking skills are suppose to be developed and made functional in all school subjects in the Nigeria national curriculum. Comprehension is the ultimate reason for any reading effort. If learners can read the words of a text but do not understand what they are reading, they are not really reading.

Lawal (1990) has identified four main hierarchical levels of English Language and reading comprehension, they are: literal, inferential, evaluative and creative levels. The literal level is the level of understanding the actual or factual meaning of a text. This level has been described as the lowest level of English Language and reading comprehension where the reader recognizes, identifies and recalls the main gist and the relevant ideas in a text. The inferential level is the level where learners read to understand the meaning that is not expressed in a text; the reader interprets and tries to infer the meaning from the passage. The reflective or evaluative level of comprehension is a higher level of comprehension where learners read beyond the lines to get meaning from printed texts. Here, the reader makes a critique of the meanings and approaches employed by the author using various skills.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Reflective thinking and reflective reading strategies are the very heart of English Language and reading comprehension. When students read materials reflectively, they are more motivated and more likely to use other active processes that lead to effective comprehension. Unfortunately, reflective thinking strategies are not consistently taught in secondary schools in Minna Metropolis. This problem translates to a populace that is ill-equipped to challenges of reflective thinking. The more children grow up engaged with primarily passive reading activities, teaching reflective reading is one of the most important and most difficult burdens of the classroom teachers. If students are not exposed to reflective reading skills, they will be unable to read with comprehension.
The problem appears to be with our educational system, as well as teachers. The Nigerian education system has failed to develop an efficient literacy programme especially for secondary schools. Studies conducted reveal that most secondary school leavers are either illiterates or semi- literates (Oyetunde,2011). This is evident that students cannot cope with the reading demands of the national curriculum. In the same vein, most secondary school teachers are persistent on the use of traditional methods of teaching which stress ―what to think, rather than how to think. Consequently, many students perceive reading and education in general to consist of cramming the night before a test, instead of inquisitively examining a concept and attempting to synthesize it into their own lives. Cramming and reflective thinking are vastly different skills, in a class that consists mainly of lectures with periodic quizzes and examinations, students can often get a passing grade by cramming ‗the night before quizzes and tests.‖

The issue of gender difference in reflective thinking skills and English Language and reading comprehension has remain controversial among researchers the world over. It is common to assume that men are superior at analytical thinking, so are better reflective thinkers. Scientifically speaking, however, the issue of gender differences in reflective thinking (CT) has remained an area of controversy among researchers. Some studies reject gender differences on CT measures and some are in favour of the influential role of gender differences in CT skill. Many, students tend to be unaware of the components of the thinking skills in which they need to be more proficient. Yet, it is the knowledge of these skill components and proficiency in applying them that lead to skillful thinking.


1.3 The Objectives of the Study

Specifically, the following objectives are set to:

  1. Investigate the use of reflective thinking strategies on the teaching English Language among Senior Secondary School Students in making judgment about credibility of source of information/writer in Minna Metropolis.
  2. Examine the use of reflective thinking strategies on the teaching English Language of male senior secondary school students in distinguishing fact from opinion in Minna Metropolis.
  3. Find the use of reflective thinking strategies on teaching English Language of female senior secondary school students in Detecting emotionally Laden word in Minna Metropolis
  4. Examine the use of reflective thinking strategies on teaching English Language among genders (male & female) of senior secondary school students in establishing evaluation criteria before making judgments in Minna Metropolis

1.4 Research Question

This study sets out to find:

  1. What is the use of Reflective thinking strategies on teaching English Language among Senior Secondary School (S.S II) students taught making value judgments about credibility of source of information/writer and those taught through traditional method in Minna Metropolis?
  2. How does the use of Reflective thinking strategies on teaching English Language of Male S.S II student taught Distinguishing fact from opinion differ from those not taught?
  3. How does the use of reflective thinking strategies on English Language and reading comprehension performance of Female S.S II students taught detecting emotionally laden words differ from those not taught in Minna Metropolis?
  4. What is the use of Reflective Thinking Strategies on Teaching English Language between male and female S.S II students taught Establishing Evaluation criteria before making judgments in Minna Metropolis?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Ho1 There is no significant difference between the teaching English Languages among senior secondary school students taught reflective thinking Strategies in making judgments about the credibility of source or writer and those not taught.

Ho2 There is no significant differences between the teaching English Languages of male secondary students exposed to reflective thinking strategies Distinguishing fact from opinion and those not exposed.

Ho3. There is no significant difference between the teaching English Languages of female senior secondary students exposed to reflective thinking strategies in Detecting emotionally laden words and those not exposed

Ho4. There is no significant difference between the teaching English Languages among genders (male and female) of senior secondary school students exposed Reflective Thinking Strategies in establishing evaluation criteria and those not exposed


1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is particularly significant to the secondary school students and teachers of reading instruction in public and private schools, as well as teachers training institutions, teachers of reading instruction in both public and private schools. The study enhances will the efficacy of their teaching using reflective thinking strategies in reading. It is hoped that the findings of this research would help to improve the teaching and learning of English Language and reading comprehension using reflective thinking strategies in several ways.

The study could also engender a gradual attempt of naturalizing the learning process in English Language and reading comprehension. Students with this process will imbibe the habit of making inferences, decision making and proper evaluation not only during English Language and reading comprehension lessons but in all aspects of academic life endeavors. The more students are engaged in reflective thinking, the more the development of their reasoning, inference, decision and evaluation process develops. This is expected to reduce the dullness of classrooms during English Language and reading comprehension lessons, as learning would be geared towards learning how to think reflectively and creatively. Results from this study could help students to be able to effectively articulate and recall information; sharpen their listening faculty and speech skills. The low ability learners could also benefit from the findings of this study as they find how to interact with high performance learners through the cooperative methods of teaching used in the study. This could also enhance the problem solving skills of students.

Teachers too could benefit from the findings in that they will make their classroom activities more learner-centered as against teacher-dominated activities popularly used in English Language and reading comprehension lessons. This can be achieved if textbook writers incorporate these methods into reading texts. Similarly, teacher trainers like universities and colleges of education would see the need to re-orientate teachers in training on the skills for successful implementation of reflective thinking strategies.


1.7 The Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is the public Senior Secondary School year two (SS.II) students of Minna Metropolis. The variables considered are the role of gender in reflective thinking abilities and teaching English Language. Reflective thinking strategies are many and at different levels. This study relates the reflective thinking skills as it affects teaching English Language among genders of students. The sample for the study was 120 students from four (4) schools situated in within Minna Metropolis.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings of the study, Conclusion and it provides recommendations. The chapter also highlights on implications for the study and finally suggests areas for further studies.


5.2 Summary of the Study

The purpose of the study was to explore the effects of reflective thinking strategies on the teaching English Language of SS II students in Minna Metropolis, Nigeria. Reading is a process of constructing meaning through the dynamic interaction of the reader, text, and the context of reading situation that results in the acquisition of knowledge, experience or information. Thus, English Language and reading comprehension was directly linked with a variety of reflective thinking strategies for teaching and learning English Language and reading comprehension in the study.

Most secondary school students in the study area were able to identify individual words and facts but were unable to combine the information in the text with the previously acquired information .This inability to integrate ideas was accompanied by an inability to draw logical inferences and the inability to check ideas while reading to see if the ideas contradicted on another, these problems generates the research questions for this study. Among the specific objectives of the research was the investigation of effects of reflective thinking strategies on performance in English Language and reading comprehension among senior secondary school year two in Minna Metropolis.

Other variables considered were differences gender (male and female). Four research questions were asked and four hypotheses were generated from the research questions. The experimental research design on experimental and control groups was carried out to find answer to research questions raised.

The study area had a population of 11,124 SS II students for 2014/ 2015 academic year. 120 students were sampled for data collection. Microsoft excel random numbers were employed to sample both the schools and the subjects of the study. Thirty (30) students from four (4) schools were sampled through simple random and purposive sampling techniques was used for the study. The sampled students were grouped into experimental and control groups respectively. This is in line with the view of Curry (2006) that sample size can be randomly and purposively sample from the target population. Four 4 research personnel and 4 instructors each of the two groups of schools(experimental and control).Research a assistances supervised the activities of the instructors and oversaw the conduct of both pre-and post – test assessment, The following are summaries of findings based on the four research questions asked :

5.2.1 Finding Based on Research question one
  1. Students learn reflective reading strategies and how to apply them in reading through explicit instructions. Thus There was significant difference in teaching English Language among the experimental group students exposed to Reflective thinking instructional strategies and those in the control group that were taught through traditional teaching methods.
  2. Teachers read the passage aloud as well as the students during general class lessons and group activities. It was discovered that students with low-proficiency level in reading have benefitted from an explicit strategy instruction that shows them how and guides them to use appropriate strategies in making judgments about credibility of source of information in a reading text in different contexts. Generally the teaching English Languages of students in the experimental groups generally improve after treatment which was notice from the post test score of the group.
5.2.2 Finding Based Research Question Two
  1. The result of the findings indicated improvement in the reading performance of male students in the experimental than male students in the control groups after the post test.
  2. The Think-Pair-Share Method, the Reciprocal Teaching Method used in the treatment lessons had encouraged active participation of students in class and group activities. The improved performance of male experimental group noticed after the treatment could be attributed to the methods used.
  3. Reflective thinking strategies employed motivated the dedicated participation during the study.
5.2.3. Findings Based on Research question Three
  1. It was discovered that the impact of reflective thinking on English Language and reading comprehension had significant impact on student‘s literal, inferential and reflective levels of English Language and reading comprehension. The activities have increased the ability of students in detecting emotionally laden words.
  2. There was significant difference between the teaching English Languages of female S.S II students in the experimental group that are exposed to reflective thinking strategies in Detecting emotionally laden words and the female control group.
  3. The reflective thinking strategies encouraged students to monitor their comprehension significantly well in literal, inferential and reflective levels of English Language and reading comprehension.
  4. Students were empowered to read extensively and make efforts to dialogue with what they have read their peer groups both during and after school period.
5.2.4 Finding Based Research Question Four.
  1. The outcome of the English Language and reading comprehension test conducted at the post test stages has implied that gender has no much impact on the performance of secondary school students. Two reasons could be responsible for this better performance. One is the use of the four techniques which students in the groups learnt and used during the reading process.
  2. There was no significant difference between the teaching English Languages of male and female experimental groups exposed to Reflective Thinking Strategies in establishing evaluation before making judgments. It was discovered from the result that there was significant use of the CTS using the Reciprocal teaching method and Thinkpair- share method (RTM&TPSM) on reading performance of students when compared with other Conventional teaching methods.
  3. The experimental group students learn to communicate effectively, listen to, share, build up and exchange ideas, thoughts, opinions and feelings with one another through the discussion activities embedded in the treatment lessons this makes the lessons
    interesting.
  4. Similarly, the experimental group students were able to first identify the kind of information that is significant enough to provide the substance for answer to a particular question on a reading text.
  5. It was observed the clarifying technique enables the teachers and students during the lesson understand the reason for text difficulty, the use of such impediments to comprehension and the necessary measures to restore meaningful learning

5.3. Conclusions

This study have established the superiority of reflective thinking Instruction using Reciprocal Teaching and Think-Pair-Share Methods English Language and reading comprehension over the Conventional Instructional Method, irrespective of gender of secondary school students le Also, it was established that the three levels of English Language and reading comprehension can be better influenced when learners are exposed to reflective thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis application of concepts to background knowledge of students. Also, the findings revealed reflective thinking strategies had significant effect on students teaching English Language than the traditional methods of teaching English Language and reading comprehension in Minna Metropolis.

The pedagogical implications of these findings are that English teachers can put the findings to good effect by making use of all the techniques used in this study to bring meaning to reading activities in schools. Moreover, teachers should use pairing and grouping to teach and incorporate these techniques in teaching reading instructions in schools. In addition, findings have revealed that gender had no significant effect in the use of methods in teaching reading. This implies that more studies are needed to confirm or repute which sex performs better using any of the methods.


5.4 Recommendation.

The result of the study can inspire the teachers, students, syllabus and material designers to include reflective thinking strategies both in students’ text books and in teacher training courses. It is important to note that when reflective thinking strategies are used appropriately in English Language and reading comprehension they are without doubt indispensable to comprehension

Teacher-directed text comprehension can be improved by instructions that helps readers use specific comprehension strategies, and students should be taught how to use the comprehension strategies (Isuigo Abanihe,1991) It is recommended that English Language teachers could employ the Reciprocal Teachlng Methods and Think Pair Share Methods ( RTM&TPSM) to facilitate reflective thinking in reading instruction as well as students English Language and reading comprehension levels.

The three groups of readers in a typical English Language class low-readers, poor readers, good readers. English teachers are advised to employ the pairing or grouping techniques by employing the Reciprocal Teaching method or the Think-pair-share method to teach these categories of readers. This would greatly help the learners in acquiring the literal, inferential and reflective skills of reading. It is also recommended that teachers should utilize pictorial materials embedded in most language text books to enhance students‘ inferential skills.

It is recommended that English teachers should regularly attend workshops, seminars, refreshers courses where they could be intimated with current methods of teaching reading like the Reflective Thinking Strategies, Reciprocal Teaching .Think Pair Share Methods and other methods of teaching English Language and reading comprehension.

Teacher Trainers The universities and colleges of education might need to modify their teacher training programmers‘ to re-orientate teachers on reflective thinking strategies and toward learner centred methods like Reciprocal Teaching method and the Think-Pair-Share method as adopted and used in this study. This would take care of the individual differences and the different reading abilities of learners.

Textbook Writers Although textbook writers have really improved over the years, they could still make their English textbooks more explicit by creating some reading sections where reflective thinking skills are explicitly stated. Techniques that could facilitate students CTS skills in English Language and reading comprehension could be written practically by inserting pictorial materials in their texts.

Publishers It is recommended that publishers should encourage good textbook writing that would take care of the different reading abilities of learners and the use of the different techniques used in this study.In the same vein, existing recommended English textbook should be reviewed to include reading activities involving reflective thinking activities; especially the Reciprocal Teaching and Think-Pair-Share techniques.

Curriculum Planners It is recommended that curriculum planners may have to revisit the English curriculum with a view to paying attention to more reflective thinking strategies instructional that could help facilitate English Language and reading comprehension in English Language teaching and learning.

Government It is recommended that the government at all tiers should supply schools with qualified teachers to teach read instructions, and make available reading materials to federal and state ministries of education in order to enhance reading performance of learners in schools.


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