Academic reading expectations in English for first-year students at Hacettepe University
Eroğlu, Nihan Aylin
Johnston, Susan S.
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This study explored the Academic reading needs of first-year students from the perspective of content course teachers in English-medium departments at Hacettepe University. The study was conducted with 35 content course teachers and 99 first-year students in English-medium departments at Hacettepe University in the spring semester of 2005. Three sets of data were used for this study. First, a questionnaire was distributed to 35 first-year content course teachers and interviews completed with 18 of the teachers who returned the questionnaire. In addition, samples of required textbooks were collected from the same first-year content course teachers as well as reading samples from the textbook and the final exam in the Prep school. A vocabulary test was given to 99 first-year students in English-medium departments to determine a baseline measure of their ability. The purpose of the questionnaire administered to first-year content-course teachers was to determine teachers’ academic reading expectations for first-year students. The questionnaire consisted of Likert scale items. The follow-up interviews provided insight into teachers’ perceptions, experiences and practices related to their academic reading expectations of first-year students. Reading samples from the firstyear content courses were collected to specify the precise reading expectations of the content teachers. Reading samples from the final exam and the textbook of the Prep School were collected to determine the exit expectations from the Prep School. The vocabulary test was done to explore the vocabulary levels of the first-year students. To analyze the data, mean scores, percentages and frequencies were used in the questionnaire; a coding system was used in the interviews; Flesch-Kincaid readability test and Vocabulary Profiler were used for analyzing the reading samples and the prep exit exam. To determine the students’ levels of vocabulary knowledge, Nation’s (1990) guideline was used. The interviews were conducted with 18 content course teachers who completed the questionnaire. The results reveal that all content course teachers agree on the necessity of being a proficient reader in order to be successful in content courses. Content course teachers also agree that the academic reading curriculum should be revised to include using texts which are taught in content course departments. Based on these results, adjusting the current curriculum in accordance with the expectations of content course teachers is recommended, particularly in the area of more academic vocabulary training. Another recommendation is to adopt an adjunct model approach to link content courses and language courses thereby providing students with both content and language study simultaneously.
English for Academic Purposes
Discipline specific English teaching