lts supported the findings of earlier research that instruction on the application of semantic mapping contributed to reading comprehension.
According to Griffin and Tulbert (1995), studies examining the effectiveness of graphic organizers vary in the complexity of the graphic organizers used. Furthermore, Griffin and Tulbert (1995) concluded that this variability in graphic organizer complexity is a contributing factor to the lack of clarity of graphic organizer researcher. However, no research has been conducted comparing the type and complexity of the organizers.
It is the purpose of the present study to evaluate the effects of a special type and on the achievement of typical students in reading comprehension.
Based on this review of the literature, semantic mapping appears to be an effective way to teach and learn about new information and overarching concepts. There appeared to be very little research on the use of semantic maps for improving reading comprehension, thought it was suggested by Novak (1984) over 20 years ago. These researches showed the effects of using the semantic mapping do not only improve the learner’s reading comprehension, but also their thinking, brainstorming and writing abilities.
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
This chapter dealt with some practical considerations related to investigation of three semantic mapping strategies (teacher-initiated semantic mapping, student-mediated semantic mapping and teacher- student interactive semantic mapping developing) effects on Iranian learners’ reading comprehension. The examined population or subjects of the research, needed tools or related instruments, data collection procedures, and finally the design of the study are discussed in detail.
The study examined the effect of three mentioned types of semantic mapping strategies on reading comprehension ability of two experimental and controlled groups of population. The groups were assigned by chance from a large population of EFL learners which were in intermediate level of learning English as foreign language.
The sample of the study consisted of two classes of female students in Iran, Kerman. Sixty grade four students (all girls) of Nabovat high school in two classes selected randomly to represent the experimental group and control group. Each class in this comparative study received a different instruction in winter of 2011. The students were on average 18 years old with the intermediate level of learning English.
Thirty students in experimental group firstly took the pre-test, then they had a treatment period in which they explicitly taught how to construct semantic maps in reading comprehension process, and finally they took the post-test. The other thirty students in control group took the pre-test and post-test as well, but they had not the instruction of semantic maps. Meanwhile, the students in experimental group were divided into three sub-groups (each with ten students) to learn three different kinds of semantic mapping strategies during the treatment (according to the constructor): group A for teacher-initiated semantic mapping, group B for student-mediated semantic mapping and group C for teacher- student interactive semantic mapping developing.
All of three sub-groups of experimental group received semantic mapping instructions, but in three different mentioned forms. Each sub-groups had an instructors for learning the relevant kind of mapping strategy. The length of treatment was four weeks. The experimental group was taught semantic mapping strategies and application of them in reading, two days in a week in a one hour session for one month. Totally, there were eight sessions of learning the mentioned strategies; in each session the subjects received one lesson.
The following instruments were used in this study:
۱. An achievement reading comprehension test was used as pre-test. The test was administered on 11 April 2011 to both the experimental and control group, before the treatment period. This test consisted of a reading passage followed by six multiple-choice items. The test was selected from Intermediate Reading Comprehension book (Appendix A).
۲. An achievement reading comprehension test which was used as post-test to both experimental and the control groups. This test was administered after the treatment or semantic mapping instruction for experimental group, on 13 March 2011. While the experimental group was taught semantic mapping strategy, the control group received no treatment. The post-test consisted of a reading passage and six multiple-choice items that followed the passage and asked the student to analyze the reading. The test was selected from Intermediate Reading Comprehension book (Appendix B).
۳. Proposed reading comprehension lessons which were suitable for the students’ prior ability; intermediate level. These lessons consisted of eight reading passage accompanied with proposed related semantic maps in order to teach to the experimental group during the treatment period. After teaching each lesson, the experimental group worked on the related semantic map and then answered to the followed questions. Wholly, the reading lessons were taught to participants during four weeks. They were taught two sessions in a week; each lesson in one session. The lessons were selected from the Live Reading book (Appendixes C to J).
۴. Proposed semantic maps related to eight lessons. Actually, the final shapes of the maps in three sub-groups were the same. The difference for three sub-groups A, B and C was the way of developing the maps; the construction and the constructor; teacher, students, or both of them. These maps were based on the lessons instruction; eight lessons with eight proposed semantic maps. Although, according to the type of strategy, the students should created the maps themselves but it was necessary to provide a ready-made map for sub-groups. In initial stages the teacher offered somehow the ready-made maps to the students. After being acquaintance with the process, it was the students that made the maps and checked them with the teacher’s map (Appendixes C to J).
To evaluate the development of the students’ ability over the treatment, the instructors of the course developed a pre-test and a post-test. Each test was consisted of 6 multiple-choice items which asked the students’ comprehension over the reading passage. The administrator asked the respondents to provide, firstly, a visual representation or a semantic map based on the passage and then answer the followed questions. Both pre-test and post-test had the same administration and scoring processes:
Each item was coded 1 for the correct answer, and 0 for an incorrect answer. Then, each student’s score on each test (pre-test and post-test) was the sum of the correct answers on six items of the test.
In this study, the researcher tested the first and second hypotheses—that using semantic mapping strategy in reading improves comprehension—by comparing pre-test and post-test scores of all the students in experimental and control groups. The researcher tested the second hypothesis—that according to the constructor, the teacher-student interactive semantic mapping strategy is the most effective kind—by comparing post-test scores in three sub-groups: A, B and C.
Specifically, in this comparative study, the researcher compared (a) the pre-test and post-test scores of students who were explicitly taught semantic mapping with the students who were not taught this skill; (b) the pre-test scores of students who actually constructed semantic maps with their post-test scores; (c) the post-test scores of students who constructed semantic map
s in three version: teacher-initiated, student-mediated and teacher-student interactive semantic mapping (groups A, B and C).
Here are the relevant procedures and the ways of implementation semantic mapping strategies which used to teach these strategies during the treatment period:
۳.۴.۱. Procedures of developing a semantic map. First, the researcher told the students about the problem were noticed in the reading practices and explained that the followed activities might help them in reading comprehension problems. Thus the students knew the rationale for the implementation of the semantic mapping strategies. Using the board, the researcher drew a large oval and wrote inside it “Computer Games,” which was the topic of the next reading-focused assignment (Appendix C). Then the students were asked to tell what they knew about the topic. Their responses were recorded in red color at the side of the board; listing them in the order they were given.
When no further suggestion was forthcoming, the students were asked if they saw any ways to group their ideas. “Disadvantages” was suggested first. Using red chalk, the teacher drew a circle away from the oval and wrote inside it the word “Disadvantages” and another as “Advantages” and connected them with a straight line to the central oval; “Computer Games.” Here, the teacher demonstrated that the first oval is the central or root of the map and the other two ovals are the secondary ones. It was necessary that the students found out the hierarchical structure of the maps.”What is the use of computer games?” then the teacher asked. The responses were placed in square or rectangular shapes away from the central oval and connected to it by spoke-like lines.
The suggestion, “In Learning,” gave the opportunity to introduce the word “Language Learning” which in this context was new to most students. When the students seemed to understand the use of this word, the researcher added “Language” to “Learning,” and then connected it to “Advantages”. The process continued in the same way by the students’ or teacher’s suggested words.
After the student-suggested ideas had been categorized, the students copied the map (Appendix C). Then each student was given a page copy of a reading on “Computer Games” and they were told that as they read, they could add new ideas that they had learned about computer games from the reading passage, using appropriate subordinating circles or squares/rectangles. As they read, the teacher passed among them, noting the additions and other changes they made to their copies of the pre-reading semantic map.
After students had finished “personalizing” the pre-reading map, they were given the opportunity to offer the new information for supplementing the board version of the map. The researcher recorded the new information in colored chalk. Because of the differences among students’ experiences and interpretations of what was important in the reading, there were some disagreements about the final shape the map should take. This part of the activity was the most valuable because of the interaction which it produced among