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The Role Of Teacher Constructed Vs. Cooperative Concept Map Learning Strategies In Efl Learners’ Reading Comprehension And Autonomy

3364 words - 14 pages

The ability to read in a second language is considered to be an essential skill for academic learners, and it paves the way for independent language learning (Dolehanty, 2008). Reader`s responsibility is not just having oral proficiency, looking at graphic symbols from left to right and decoding the printed symbols on a page, but they are also expected to derive meaning from the written text (Novak & Gowin, 1984). The ability to comprehend the text is to create meaning (Pressley, 2000) which in turn requires readers to make connections between new and known information (Pearson, Roehler, Dole, & Duffy, 1992; Pressley, 2000). This perspective runs counter to rote learning where no effort is ...view middle of the document...

23). Ellis (2004) points out that graphic organizers empower learners to become strategic and independent which is the ultimate goal of teaching. Owing to the increased cooperation required the use of CM has made advocates of cooperative learning (Preszler, 2004; Vygotsky, 1978) accept that CM enhances understanding by interaction among peers and brings success to their learning. The fact is that learners become more independent by learning from their peers (Jacob & Farrell, 2001) and according to Lowes and Target (1999), learners become more successful if they take responsibility for their own learning. When learners become autonomous, they learn how to learn which means becoming familiar with using appropriate strategies for their learning purposes (kumaravadivelu, 2006).
Notwithstanding some illuminating and informative studies dealing with CM learning strategy and its effect on different language skills, such studies in our domestic situation are few and far between. Moreover, to the best of the researchers’ knowledge, the possible role of CM learning strategy in promoting L2 learners’ autonomy has not been yet tapped on in Iranian EFL educational settings. Therefore, there seems to be a great deal yet to be done as to the application of CM in EFL environment especially for young learners at elementary or pre-intermediate level. EFL learners at the early stages of learning another language appear to be in need of developing their conceptualizing skills of the world around them, much of which is achieved through the language learning, be it the first or second language. Thus learning how to deal with the concept maps and apply them in the language learning activities is very likely to increase the learners' learning a second language. The present study as an attempt to account for this exigency addresses the differential impacts that teacher-constructed and cooperative CM learning strategies might have on L2 reading comprehension and also on the perceptions of learner autonomy of Iranian High school students Learning English as L2. The reason for examining the L2 learners’ autonomy is that development of concept map skills is very closely associated with the degree of independence learners can acquire in handling their own learning situations (Hwang et al., 2011). Also, the study involves two conditions of student centered versus teacher controlled which seem to be corresponding to a proper context where learners can foster their own autonomous learning capacity (self-centeredness) compared with the context in which they have no chance of doing so (teacher-centeredness). In other words, young learners are expected to gradually relinquish their overreliance on the pre-determined conditions and agents and grow into egocentric problem solvers. Consequently, the language learners in this study are provided with the opportunity for working under teachers' direction as well as their own collaborative concept making efforts, which are assumed to...

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