Improving Grammar, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension Skills through Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach

By Palasan, Dr Antonieta S. | Researchers World, January 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Improving Grammar, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension Skills through Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach


Palasan, Dr Antonieta S., Researchers World


INTRODUCTION:

Developing English language skills, particularly reading and its associated skills, is undeniably difficult at times especially to second language learners in the Philippines. One instance to prove this was the result of the National Achievement Test (NAT) in 2012, which showed that Grade 3 students got a Mean Percentage Score of 54.42% in English Reading Comprehension (George Lucas Educational Foundation, 2015). The data suggest that young Filipino learners find it difficult to understand English texts. Thus, in the Philippines, teaching English, particularly developing vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension among young learners, is a great challenge among elementary teachers.

The previous data implies that improving English instruction must be a priority. In that issue, various studies have addressed problems of low performance in grammar, limited vocabulary, and poor reading comprehension (Nejad & Mahmoodi-Shahrebabaki, 2015); (Taheri, 2014). However, research on the solutions to these problems seem to receive less attention as well. Without doubt, teachers have to carry the burden of looking for effective strategies to alleviate problems in students' performance in English. This issue actually calls for further research to identify effective teaching approach that would ameliorate learners' English skills.

Knowledge of strategies is important because the greater awareness you have of what you are doing, if you are conscious of the processes underlying the learning that you are involved in, then the more effective learning will be. (Nunan, 1991) showed that learners taught the strategies underlying their learning are more highly motivated than those who are not. He also found that not all learners automatically know which strategies work best for them. For this reason, explicit strategy training, coupled with thinking about how one goes about learning, and experimenting with different strategies, can lead to effective learning (Nunan, 1991).

(Oxford, 1990), one of the leading teachers and researchers in the language learning strategies field, argues that strategies are important for two reasons. In the first place, "strategies are tools for active, self-directed involvement, which is essential for developing communicative competence". Secondly, learners who have developed appropriate learning strategies have greater self-confidence and learn more effectively. According to Oxford, language learning strategies contribute to the main goal, communicative competence, allow learners to become more self-directed, expand the role of teachers, are problem-oriented, are specific actions taken by the learner, involve many actions taken by the learner, not just the cognitive, support learning both directly and indirectly, are not always observable, are often conscious, can be taught, are flexible, and are influenced by a variety of factors.

The researcher finds it imperative that teachers develop and enrich their instructional methods and teaching techniques to cater to the needs of the learners. In this attempt to improve the learning of pupils, this study was chosen and was conducted to find out the effectiveness of Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA) improving grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills of fifth grade pupils of Mindanao State University-Integrated Laboratory School.

LITERATURE REVIEW:

The (Colorado Department of Education, 2011) described CALLA as an approach aimed for English Language Learners (ELLs) in ESL or bilingual programs, which takes into one language development, content area instruction, and explicit instruction. It focuses on content, thus, allowing learners to develop academic language skills based on the content. Cognitive theory and scaffolding form the theoretical foundation of CALLA, which suggest that instructional supports are provided as students go through the learning process.

CALLA believes in the perplexity of language as a cognitive ability and that it has to be developed to the extent that learners are able to make use of it on his/her own. …

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