Do Post-Reading-Questions in EFL / ESL Reading Textbooks Improve Cognitive Skills?

Chiharu Nakanishi, Kaori Ando, Hodaka Nakanishi, Rie Suzuki

Abstract


In the present study we investigate the characteristics of post-reading questions in EFL / ESL reading textbooks for lower English proficiency students. Two types of textbooks were compared using Bloom’s Revised taxonomy. One type aims at improving not only learners’ English skills but also enhancing their critical thinking skills whereas the other type intend to improve learners’ reading skills as well as their English skills. The focus of this investigation is on whether there are any differences in the cognitive skills that learners are expected to employ while using these textbooks and if so how they differ. The results illustrate that the two types of textbooks actually show different patterns of usage in the cognitive process. While the cognitive skills enhancing textbooks use a variety of cognitive processes (12 of 19 subcategories), the reading skills textbooks use only 7 of them. As reading skills textbooks are widely used at university in Japan, teachers who would like to develop a wider variety of cognitive skills have to prepare additional / other questions when the questions in textbooks seem insufficient for the purpose. One of the teaching implications from this study is the use of the first language and short answer questions.

Keywords


cognitive processes, Bloom’s revised taxonomy, lower- / higher-order thinking skills, post-reading questions

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