Learning Style Preferences in the Comprehension of Literary Texts
Abu, Abdul Ghani (2006) Learning Style Preferences in the Comprehension of Literary Texts. PhD thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The objective of the study was to identify learning styles preferred by learners in a higher learning institution in comprehending literary texts - short stories - in English. It also examined the relationship between several learner factors such as learners’ attitude and motivation in reading short stories and learners’ learning styles preferences. In addition, this study also examined the effects of specially designed reading lessons (based on Kolb’s learning model) on the learners’ ability to comprehend literary texts. The focus of this study was on the improved reading performance demonstrated by a higher score in short stories reading comprehension quizzes. For the purpose of this study, a selection of short stories for upper secondary level selected by a special committee set up by the Ministry of Education, which were suitable for young adults, had been chosen. The decision to use short stories used by the upper secondary students was deemed appropriate and acceptable since the subjects in the study were in the 16 to 24 years old age group, who share certain similarities as young adults. The short stories used in the study were “Looking for a Rain God” by Bessie Head and “The Drover’s Wife” by Henry Lawson. “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant was used as the pre- and post-test reading instruments. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative approaches to research. This study had two phases of investigations. The first phase involved a survey with questionnaires. The second phase involved conducting a quasi-experiment and interview. After the quasi-experiment had been carried out, there were interviews with selected subjects chosen at random to provide additional information of their experience. The subjects for the survey questionnaires were chosen from students, who were majoring in English literature offered by the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. The subjects were not selected randomly as all of them were already in their predetermined classes. These students were categorised as convenience and purposive sampling. The results of the experiment indicated that the performance of the students who were inclined towards divergent/convergent learning styles in the experimental group was much better in the comprehension quizzes than the students who preferred assimilative/accommodative learning styles. However, the findings of the study can be applied only to a similar population and setting. The study has to be replicated with a bigger sample population and the experiment has to be carried out with other genres of literature before the findings can be truly generalised to the general population.
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