A Study of Text Signals on Improving the Reading Proficiency of the Senior High School Students with Different Cognitive Styles
|School||Shandong Normal University|
|Keywords||text signals reading proficiency analysis of variance cognitive styles field dependent/field independent(FDI)|
Reading is people’s particular activity and by reading people can learn and pass the experience created by predecessors. More information is obtained by reading because reading has become a necessary instrument for people to adapt the modern society. At the same time, reading is a main way for us to get knowledge and obtain information, whereas the reading process is not a reluctant process but a complicated, characteristic and communicative process. The reading ability of the students is mainly fostered in the junior high school and senior high school. During this period, English is considered as a very important subject and passes through the whole period of middle school. Fostering the reading ability of students is not only very important because reading plays an important part in the National Matriculation English Test (NMET) but also difficult because many factors influence the reading proficiency of the students. So how to improve the reading proficiency of the students is a very important practical problem in the elementary education stage. In this dissertation, the author would like to discuss how to improve the students’reading proficiency from the aspect of cognitive styles and text signals. Text signals are stylistic writing devices that highlight aspects of semantic content or structural organization in text without communicating additional semantic content. Such devices may include headings, preview statements, summary statements, pointer words and typographical words. There are many varied classification of text signals home and abroad, or we can say there are many kinds of definitions of text signals. When writers conceive their articles, they often use some skills, such as characters or signs to help readers understand the articles’important content better, grasp the basic structure of the article and construct a coherent signification of the article. This kind of skill is called text signals. But nowadays the definition of text signals given by researchers is not unanimous. Britton (1982) thinks that signals is a kind of writing skill which is used to improve the wholeness of the text or to emphasize that some content is more important than other content. Loman.N. L,Mayer.R.E(1983) thinks that text signal is some words or phrases which are put in the text to emphasize the conceptual structure or organization of the text. Lorch(1996)、Richards(1997)、(et al) put forward that text signals refer to those words, phrases or sentences which appear in articles and give clues of the important content or structure of the text without special emphasis. At present, Mayer’s definition of text signals is unanimously agreed by people. He thinks that text signals refer to the words or phrases which can emphasize semantic content or semantic content structure without adding any new content to the text. In China, He Xianyou classified text signals as macro-signal and micro-signal. Apart from the effect of text signals, cognitive styles play an important role in the subjects’reading proficiency. Field dependence and field independence are the two cognitive styles which were first put forward by Whitkin, H.A.(Skehan,1998) adopted in this dissertation. Although many studies have been conducted to investigate the relationships of either cognitive styles or text signals to the language learning outcome, studies in which the three are related are comparatively fewer. Specific studies between the cognitive styles, text signals and reading proficiency are even fewer. In the present study, 84 middle school students of Grade Two in Senior High Middle School of Jiaonan are chosen as subjects and they take the Group Embedded Figures test and the test of reading comprehension. The data are analyzed by the SPSS10.0 to find out the possible relationship of text signals with cognitive styles and reading proficiency. The experiment results indicate strong relationship between text signals , reading proficiency and cognitive styles (FI/D) .According to the results of the experiments, we get the following conclusions :(1) the main signal effect is significant, the scores of the subjects who read texts with signals are higher than those of the subjects who read texts without signals. (2) there is difference between the scores of the FI subjects and the FD subjects and the scores of the FD subjects are higher than those of the FI subjects.Based on these findings, the pedagogical implications of teachers’focusing on enhancing the learners’awareness of cognitive styles and their awareness of making use of text signals as a supplementary means to help Chinese EFL learners improve their reading proficiency are given, and further researches on the relationship between Chinese learners’text signals, cognitive styles and reading proficiency are recommended at the end of this dissertation.