Sunday, August 28, 2011

"What is the best way to teach reading?"

Dear readers,
I have been quiet haven't I?
For all I know, it is already the last day of Ramadhan.
Question: Have I done enough to please my Creator?...hem...(thinking hard)...

Sorry...I cant discuss well on this topic. Don't even know how to address this issue..and I haven't been writing for quite sometime. Obviously I'm NOT a writer..
Tonight however( just like any other weird nights that I had), I wish to write on this topic. Something that came at the spur of the moment. It came a few days ago while I was waiting for my pre-dawn meal (sahur). I felt like writing something on this topic that I wrote blindly on a piece of paper.
"What is the best way to teach reading?"

This question is interesting indeed. Does it sound honest to you?
May be..if the enquirer is sincerely looking for answers to this question.
But what if someone pound you with the next question,
"Come on, don't beat around the bush. What would you do if you have 20 hours a week to teach English and at the end of the semester, students are supposed to be able to answer the reading comprehension questions? Where do you start?"

To answer this question, let me share my experience as an ELT practitioner.
For the past 14 years of teaching English, I didn't seriously bother to look for answers to this question. I 'taught' reading according to the stipulated syllabus and I 'thought' that was enough. However, something didn't seem quite right - I felt something was missing.
This was when I started to ask these questions:

1) Do I know enough of what 'reading' is all about?
2) Am I aware of my students' abilities, preferences and levels of difficulties that they face during the reading process?

As a teacher (who was bogged down with so many other responsibilities) it was easier to subscribe to the quickest method - to cover whatever was needed to be taught for that particular semester. However, the next big question remained - Were my students 'learning' anything at all?