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Reading comprehension is a critical skill that students need to excel in all aspects of learning. Specifically, it plays a crucial role in academic and professional success, making it an essential part of the education process. However, the question of how to effectively teach reading comprehension has been debated among educators for decades. Two approaches have emerged as significant in education: traditional and action research approaches. This article explores and compares these two approaches to reading comprehension instruction, highlighting their benefits and drawbacks.
Traditional Approach to Reading Comprehension Instruction:
The traditional approach to reading comprehension instruction is characterized by a teacher-centered system, where the teacher is seen as the primary source of knowledge and information. This approach is often based on pre-set curriculum and standardized tests, and the teacher’s role is to disseminate knowledge to students. In this approach, students are mainly passive learners who receive information and practice through lectures, worksheets, and reading assignments.
One of the significant limitations of the traditional approach is that it needs to account for the diversity of students’ learning styles and needs. Research has shown that students have different learning styles and preferences, and the traditional approach can only be practical for a limited number of students. Additionally, the traditional approach needs to provide students with opportunities to engage with the material meaningfully, leading to lower engagement and retention of information.
Action Research Approach to Reading Comprehension Instruction:
In contrast, the action research approach to reading comprehension instruction focuses on student-centered learning, where students actively participate in the learning process. This approach centers on the belief that students learn best by doing and that the teacher’s role is to facilitate and guide students through the learning process. In this approach, the teacher works collaboratively with students to identify and address their learning needs, encouraging self-reflection and self-evaluation.
One of the significant benefits of the action research approach is its flexibility and adaptability. Teachers can modify their instructional strategies according to student feedback, making the learning process more responsive to the individual needs of each student. Additionally, the action research approach provides students with opportunities to engage with the material in meaningful ways, leading to enhanced engagement and retention of information.
Comparing the Two Approaches:
When comparing the traditional and action research approaches, it is evident that there are significant differences in their underlying assumptions, instructional strategies, and outcomes. While the conventional system assumes that students learn best from teacher-centered instruction, the action research approach assumes that students learn best through student-centered learning. Furthermore, the traditional process is typically designed for homogeneous groups of students, while the action research approach is designed for diverse groups of students.
Another significant difference between the two approaches is students’ level of involvement in the learning process. In the traditional approach, students are passive learners who receive information and practice through lectures and worksheets. In contrast, the action research approach emphasizes active engagement in the learning process, with students involved in designing, implementing, and evaluating instructional strategies.
Implications for Educators and Education Professionals:
In light of the differences between the traditional and action research approaches, educators and education professionals need to consider the implications of these approaches for reading comprehension instruction. Both systems have strengths and limitations, and the choice of instructional course should align with the individual needs of students, the goals of the curriculum, and the context of the classroom and learning environment.
Educators can use the traditional approach to effectively teach foundational reading skills, such as decoding and fluency. However, more than this approach may be required to develop higher-level reading comprehension skills, such as critical thinking and analysis. The action research approach can promote engagement, autonomy, and critical thinking, but it requires more intensive planning and preparation by the teacher.
Reading comprehension is a critical skill that is essential for academic and professional success. Educators and education professionals have two main approaches to teaching reading comprehension: traditional and action research. This article explored and compared these two approaches, highlighting their benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the choice of instructional course should align with the individual needs of students and the context of the classroom and learning environment. Educators can effectively teach reading comprehension and promote lifelong learning by selecting the appropriate approach.