Summary of findings
The peer reflective journal as a data collection tool proves effective in providing a qualitative evaluative approach towards the development of knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon (Cho & Schunn, 2005). As mentioned earlier, other than providing an in-depth discussion on the interpretation of the quantitative results yielded from the outcomes of the pre and post-test results given to the students, the journal also offers an objective view of the experimental results and developments. For instance, attributes that relate to the external factors or factors that are not associated with the research variables but that have ramifications for the results realized in the final study results are discussed. Moreover, the peer reflection journal also offers an objective look at the progress of the research through the evaluation of the effectiveness of the research process in general. It is imperative to understand that contributions made through the peer reflection journal brings together ideas from various parties including the researcher’s own that gives independent opinions regarding the successes and failures of the research process. To that extent, an objective analysis of the research results is evident since the reflective journal offers critical views as pertains to the failures and achievements of the research process, interventions, and results as discussed.
Based on the findings of the research, the overriding research questions that sought to answer the query on whether or not the use of reading cues had the implication of enhancing student’s learning and comprehension skills is affirmative. In other words, the study finds that when reading cues are applied to reading comprehension; the students were 50% more likely to understand the text and memorize it as well which then made such students perform better in their post-test after exposure to reading cues intervention. Another core finding of the study is such that the more the students are exposed to the intervention, the higher the chances that their learning and comprehension skills would improve. In that regard, the research finds that if applied to the curriculum as part of the learning process, the application of the reading cues will go a long way in improving student’s English Language skills, in which case, the students will ultimately generate more knowledge and better skills at reading, writing, and speaking English Language. Moreover, the intervention proves effective in engaging the minds of the students in thinking about the learning process which ensured that the reading of the text was done to facilitate excelling in the post-activity test. Consequently, the introduction of scaffolding in reading comprehension proved an effective intervention to help students who are struggling with knowledge development and understanding of readings. With the use of reading cues, students with reading difficulties found it easier to understand concepts and learn faster as opposed to reading texts without reading cues in them. In that sense, the research concludes that reading cues as scaffolding is an effective means of teaching students to better their skills in reading and comprehension.
I found the experience impactful in the sense that it allowed me to take a perspective that is not always obvious when evaluating learning. As such, the perspective of the student and the learning environment prove key in the evaluation of the success factors that are associated with learning outcomes. For instance, the mother tongue can have a significant impact on the individual’s ability to learn a second language. As such, Malay as the first language of the students seemed to have negatively impacted the progress of the students in learning the English language. I also found it quite cumbersome to have to explain concepts about the study and its purposes in the Malay language to some of the students for them to understand. The Malaysian context presents a challenge in the sense that Malay as the first language of use makes it that harder for students to learn English given that they join kindergarten having been taught or having learned Malay. Moreover, the use of English in Malaysia is of less importance than Malay. As a matter of fact, the teaching of most subjects except a few, as I mentioned earlier, is done in Malay. Therefore, little motivation exists to encourage students to learn English given the fact that the most widely spoken language is Malay. Efforts towards improving English language knowledge in the country should focus on introducing the language in the curriculum. As students get to learn the language in school, interest can be built in its development.
However, the government and other stakeholders should work together to inform policy on the same where the English language can be introduced to students at an early age and ensure that the learners are capable of improving their knowledge and skills in the language. During the research process, I noted various challenges that the students had especially in reading. It was apparent that students had difficulty in pronunciation despite the fact that the stories were based on Malaysian folklore. Although the stories were interesting to read, the Malaysian students sampled for the study were more likely to read with difficulty since English is a foreign language.
I noted that difficulty of reading emanated from the fact that some of the students could not understand the meanings of certain English words. However, when I explained the words using Malay equivalents the students nodded in agreement signifying their comprehension. English as a secondary language proves tasking to teach given that the foundational knowledge that the students can mostly relate with is drawn from Malay language concepts. I later spoke to a colleague of mine who was monitoring the developments of the stages of data collection where the students took up the four activities discussed earlier as I engaged her for her opinion. Consistent with my own assumptions, my colleague also observed that the central challenge that Malaysian students face as pertains to the comprehension of the English language, and particularly, the reading and comprehension of English text lies in the fact that their mother tongue supersedes English in every aspect of socioeconomic attributes. At the core, the student’s difficulty in reading comprehension was as a result of the influence of their mother tongue on written and spoken comprehension making it difficult to reconcile with concepts in the English language.
The second attribute that is over achingly notable regards the performance of the individual students in the English comprehension pre-test and post-test results. Although it is generally obvious that the scaffolding intervention presents a formidable approach towards teaching and learning English comprehension, various factors abound as subtle differences that also present points of interest. For instance, I found that students who were generally self-driven and self-motivated towards achieving an excellent performance on the test tended to answer more questions correctly. On the other hand, students who showed little to no interest in the reading activity performed poorly in the same tests. Nonetheless, the use of the intervention served as a short cut approach to understanding read texts. As such, I noted that, to some students, the reading cues were a means to making it easier for them to remember parts and content of the text that they read.
Ultimately, the reading cues resulted in the overall improvement of the skills and knowledge of the pupils as pertains to the comprehension of the text. Further, the student’s familiarity with the usefulness of the reading cues made them appreciate them the more. As such, the first intervention was a form of introduction of reading cues to the students. Once they were acquainted with the whole idea of the reading cues, the second intervention was easier to undertake. In that respect, students performed better during the second intervention than they did in the first. I reckon that this improvement in performance must have followed the positive experience associated with the first activity where the reading cues proved effective in making knowledge development easily comprehensible. For that reason, it is the conclusion of this research that the more the intervention is used to teach students, the more the students become familiar with it; hence, the better the outcome of the reading and learning experience.
8.0 Suggestions for Future Research
First, the findings of the study prove crucial to the development of knowledge on the importance of scaffolding in teaching and learning. In that regard, scaffolding using reading cues has provided evidence that students can improve their reading and comprehension abilities by up to 50% up from their current state of inadequacies. As such, the intervention proves useful in teaching students who are second language learners. In that respect, it is the recommendation of this research that future studies should focus on the application of scaffolding in teaching other subjects such as mathematics and sciences to students who are second language learners. The successful evaluation of the implications of applying scaffolding in teaching other subjects will have significant ramifications for the education sector not just in Malaysia but the world over as a whole. Consequently, the focus of future research on the viability of the use of scaffolding as a means for teaching and learning will go a long way in gathering knowledge on various means trough which educators can implement teaching interventions to enhance knowledge gain and learning in the classroom.
Secondly, the study shows that various factors other than the student’s knowledge of English as a second language contribute to the success or failure of their ability to learn and comprehend concepts. In that esteem, students who were self-driven and self-determined towards the achievement of success were highly likely to succeed as compared to disinterested and withdrawn students. For that reason, the recommendation of this report is that future research should focus on the relationship between using scaffolding as an intervention putting in mind the level of motivation and determination that students have for learning. As such, the results of such research would shed light on the implications of motivating students before applying a teaching and learning intervention in line with the ramifications that will present. The evaluation of the results of the current study supports a positive relationship between student motivation and success of the intervention. However, it is not clear whether motivation in the absence of intervention would amount to the same performance or a different one by the same child. In that esteem, it would be imperative to examine the relationship between student’s attitudes towards learning and the success factors that amount from the application of scaffolding as a learning and teaching intervention.
Finally, the recommendation of this report is that the results yielded should be adopted by policy makers, educators, and curriculum developers among other concerned parties in the education fraternity as a whole. In that esteem, the results of the paper show that using scaffolding as an intervention where reading cues are introduced in a reading comprehension exercise; students are more likely to succeed by improving their reading and comprehension skills. In that regard, the findings of this research can prove priceless for consideration as pertains to the development of policies that can serve to improve the skills and knowledge of students in the classroom environment when learning. In that esteem, the research recommends the findings of the paper for adoption into legislation, curriculum, and teaching practice since the benefits of scaffolding through the use of reading cues has significant potential in improving learner’s knowledge and understanding of concepts. The ramifications for the education sector at large are such that scaffolding can serve to enhance teaching approaches that prove more effective for teaching students with difficulties in grasping concepts. Hence, its application will lead to the improvement of learning capabilities among students as presented.
Cho, K., & Schunn, C. D. (2005). Scaffolded writing and rewriting in the discipline: A web-based reciprocal peer review system. Computers & Education, xxx(xxx), 1-18. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2005.02.004
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Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. Revised and Expanded from "Case Study Research in Education.". San Fransico, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Nicholas, K. A., & Gordon, W. (2011). A Quick Guide to Writing a Solid Peer Review. EOS: Transactions American Geophysical Union, 92(28), 1-3. Retrieved 8 26, 2016, from http://sites.agu.org/publications/files/2013/01/PeerReview_Guide.pdf
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