The impact of independent learning on Omani post-basic students’ reading comprehension skills.
University of Nizwa Alumna
This study sought to identify the impact of independent learning on Omani grade eleven students’ reading comprehension skills. To conduct the study, sixty female students from Grade 11 were chosen through convenience sampling and the sample was randomly divided into control and experimental groups with 30 students in each group. Three instruments were used to collect the data, namely, (1) a reading comprehension pre-test, (2) a reading comprehension post-test, and (3) Eight extra self-reading tasks for the experimental group. The experimental group received eight self-reading assignments during the 8 weeks of the experiment while the control group continued with the regular classroom methodology. Paired and independent sample T-tests were used to analyze the data. The results showed a slightly significant difference between the control group's pre and post-test results and between the experimental group's pre-and post-test results. However, no significant difference was observed between the two groups' post-test results meaning that the self-study (extra reading) activities did not make a considerable difference between the groups' performance. The significant differences were observed more within groups rather than between groups.
Teacher-oriented and student-oriented approaches to language teaching and learning
To begin with, several societal changes have occurred in the fields of teaching methods and pedagogic goals to help students learn English as a foreign language (EFL) successfully. According to Al Mahrouqi (2020), One of the most essential aims in education, particularly in language instruction, has recently been thought to be learner autonomy. Numerous Asian nations, including Oman, have adopted various techniques for teaching and studying English, such as the Grammar Translation Method, Direct Method, Natural Approach, and Communicative Approach (Al Rawi, 2013; Kamai, 2011; Meng, 2009; Kusumoto, 2008). The use of a student-centered teaching strategy allows students to develop their analytical and problem-solving abilities as well as deep learning, lifelong learning, self-directed learning, reflective learning, and motivational skills. This seeks to generate learning results that meet all the goals of the educational process.
learner autonomy: challenges and rewards.
Educators have to support their charges in becoming independent learners. The difficulties faced by the teachers were related to encouraging student independence. As teachers can't always give students all the knowledge they need for life, people are supposed to be independent learners. According to Sinclair, who stressed this in 2000, learner autonomy is influenced by the ability and willingness of the learners to assume ownership of their learning. Yet, reluctance and passivity on the part of the students presented difficulties for the teachers. So, it is vital to pinpoint the issues and trace the causes to give EFL/ESL teachers a guide for enhancing their English classes and assisting students in becoming independent learners. The EFL teachers have used several techniques and strategies to address issues like time management, planning, and cooperative learning. It was anticipated that the learners would benefit from a better educational experience as a result of this classification.
Oman school education and learning orientation.
As Al-Nofli (2010) mentioned, Oman has made significant investments in the education of its teeming youth population in its schools, colleges, and universities. It also began reforms that heavily focused on the implementation of student-centred strategies, such as cooperative learning, investigation, and role-playing. Furthermore, Reading independently is one of the main learning outcomes for the English language in post-basic education in Oman (Ministry of Education, 2015). The Ministry of Education encourages the use of extensive reading (independent reading) from Grades 5 through Grade 12 to attain this reading outcome and to promote lifelong readers. Thus, to investigate teacher-centred and student-centred approaches in the Omani context and the impact of independent learning among high-school students. A similar supportive attitude toward learner autonomy was found in Borg and Al-study Busaidi's (2011) with 61 university instructors in Oman.
Summary of the findings.
Through the study conducted by the researcher, there were no evident benefit shown. As Sinclair (2000) claimed, “learner autonomy is influenced by the ability and willingness of the learners to assume ownership of their learning” and Littlewood (1999) provided evidence to support this claim by stating that “learners' motivation and self-assurance levels have an impact on their readiness to behave autonomously”. Many factors could have an impact on this study such as the difficulty of the tests, the background of the students and their interest in the topics, the classroom teachers’ motivation toward students and encouraging the students to do the assignments, and other extraneous factors out of the researcher’s control. They might have done the self-study assignments just as extra activities without focusing on their problem areas.
Contributions of the study to Oman's education
It is hoped that the present study will contribute to helping students to increase their awareness of the importance of self-study in reading comprehension skills. It is also hoped that the schools in Oman will promote independent learning to develop a culture of autonomous learning among students at different educational levels.
This study was intended to see the impact of independent learning on Omani post-basic students’ reading comprehension skills. Firstly, the researcher piloted both the pre-test and post-test with five students who were not the participants of this study to validate the tests. Secondly, the pre-test scores for both groups (control and experimental groups) were reordered on an Excel sheet. Thirdly, the self-study activities were carried out during the 8 weeks of the experiment and the post-scores tests were recorded for further analysis.