Towards a more efficient EFL reading comprehension classroom environment: The role of content and critical reading

Nabi.A Ebrahimi, Ali Rahimi

cda; critical reading; efl reading comprehension classrooms; wihic; learning environment research; students’ perceptions


Traditional reading comprehension methods background the sometimes controversial content of texts in the interest of ‘ensuring comprehension’ via dealing with language points. According to Wallace (1992), EFL learners are often marginalized as readers; their goals in interacting with written texts are perceived to be primarily those of language learners. This study explores how a change in teaching approach via a CDA framework along with a change in reading content affects the EFL students’ perceptions of their reading comprehension classroom environment. Through a one-group pretest posttest design, the What Is Happening In This Class? (WIHIC) questionnaire was distributed twice among 41 (F=23 and M=18) Iranian EFL students, the first time after a five-session-long regular non-critical reading comprehension class and the other time after a five-session-long reading comprehension class featured by more involving passages and informed by a CDA framework proposed by Cots (2006). The data were analyzed using SPSS and the results showed that there was a significant difference (p<0.05) between the participants’ perceptions of each dimension (i.e, Student cohesiveness, Teacher support, Involvement, Task orientation, Cooperation, and Equity) of their reading comprehension classroom before and after introducing the CDA techniques and changing the content of the reading materials. The change in teaching approach via the CDA framework and the change into more involving content led to a reading comprehension classroom environment that was perceived by students as more efficient and facilitative of learning.

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