Viewing Skills in the EL Classroom

An action research

Abstract

P. Ragulan, an EL teacher at CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh), decided to find out whether helping students to develop their metacognitive skills would improve their ability to respond to pictures in more depth. He approach Vimala Alexander, Master Teacher/ English Language from ELIS for guidance, and with her support, he embarked on an action research project, The results were encouraging as they indicated that students responses improved.

I had noticed in the past that when I taught my


students how to discuss a picture, very few

of them could do so at length. Most of their


responses tended to focus only on surface aspects


of the picture.Their responses also often lacked


structure and cohesion. After attending an oracy


course facilitated by Vimala Ale><.ander, I began to


look more critically at the challenges my students


faced in responding to a picture stimulus. From my


discussion with Vimala on how I could improve


their skills, I realised I could provide them with a


structure to scalfold their responses.


After Vimala and I reviewed the literature on this

subject, we decided on Barrett’s Taxonomy which


is given in Table l.This taxonomy was originally


devised for reading comprehension but we felt


it could be used for the teaching of viewing skills.


Using the taxonomy, students could be encouraged


to give and explain their responses to the picture


stimulus.


With Vimala’s advice, I decided to embark on an

Action Research (AR) project. The following was

my research question: ‘Does providing students

with a metacognitive structure improve their

ability to analyse and interpret a picture?’With this

question in mind, I carried out the AR project to

find out if the use of Barrett’sTa::<onomy would help


Secondary 4 Normal Academic students respond


to picture stimuli with greater depth, organisation


and structure.