A descriptive study of Thai EFL students' comprehension monitoring strategies when reading in English




Katib, Adisra

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This research describes and investigates comprehension monitoring strategies of 16 EFL Thai second and fourth year undergraduate students at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, reading an English expository text. All 16 subjects were selected from the Faculty of Communication Arts and all performed well academically. The subjects were placed into two English language proficiency levels — higher and lower — as assessed by their grades in English and TOEFL scores. The subjects were asked to verbalize their thoughts while reading, using the think-aloud technique. The subjects were also asked to summarize the text after the completion of the think-aloud task. In the first analysis, 28 strategies were identified and were arranged into six categories according to their functional purposes. In the second analysis, the study explored whether different English proficiency levels have an effect on the subjects’ strategy use. The results demonstrated that there were only three strategies which had statistically significant differences between the two groups of proficiency. The findings also showed the six most frequently used strategies for each proficiency group were the same in rank order. The findings suggest that differences in English proficiency may not have much impact on strategy use by Thai readers who are successful in their academic performance. They may use their acquired learning strategies and their high cognitive and academic abilities to compensate for their limited English language competence. The third analysis investigated whether a two-year time difference in academic setting between the second and fourth year students would have an effect on different strategy usage. The findings showed that there was not much difference in strategy use between these two groups. The findings suggest that a two-year time difference in the foreign language academic setting may not play an important role in different reading behaviours. In addition, since these subjects were all young adults studying at the university level in the same area of study, age might not be a key factor in the differences in the performance of these two groups. This research also compares the strategies identified in this study with the strategies in the literature, and identifies efficient and inefficient reading behaviours. Individual differences of reading behaviours among these 16 subjects are also noted. Furthermore, these subjects are also placed into five types of categories according to their reading behaviours. The research includes pedagogical and research implications, acknowledges its limitations and concludes with suggestions for future research.



English language, Study and teaching, Foreign speakers, Research