Anda di halaman 1dari 41

About the Author:

Sanjan anak Daik is currently a lecturer at Batu Lintang Teachers’ Training Institute, Kuching, Sarawak. He teaches the students in the ‘Program Ijazah Sarjana Muda Pendidikan’ (PISMP) foundation and degree programmes for the Teacher Education Division, Ministry of Education in collaboration with Malaysia Open University. In addition to lecturing, he is also an examiner of the PISMP foundation and degree programme examinations. His previous experience includes being a primary school teacher for fifteen years, a secondary school teacher for five years and as a part- time lecturer and tutor in private colleges and local universities. The experience gained in these fields has served to help develop professionally and personally in his current position as a teacher educator. His research “Reading Habits of Teachers in Four Government-aided Secondary Schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching District” focuses on the types of reading materials, frequency of reading and factors that influence reading habits. This research would be of interest to educators who seek to find the reading habits of teachers in other schools or institutions.

READING HABITS OF TEACHERS IN FOUR GOVERNMENT-AIDED SECONDARY SCHOOLS (MISSION SCHOOLS) IN KUCHING DISTRICT

SANJAN ANAK DAIK

UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA

PSZ 19:16 (Pind. 1/97)

UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA

√

CATATAN:

* Potong yang tidak berkenaan. ** Jika TESIS ini SULIT atau TERHAD, sila lampirkan surat daripada pihak berkuasa/organisasi berkenaan dengan menyatakan sekali sebab dan tempoh tesis ini perlu dikelaskan sebagai SULIT tau TERHAD.

υ Tesis dimaksudkan sebagai tesis bagi Ijazah Doktor Falsafah dan Sarjana secara penyelidikan, atau disertasi bagi pengajian secara kerja kursus dan penyelidikan, atau Laporan Projek Sarjana Muda (PSM).

“I hereby declare that I have read this project report and in my opinion that this project report is sufficient in terms of scope and quality for the award of the degree of Master of Education (Teaching of English as a Second Language)”

of scope and quality for the award of the degree of Master of Education (Teaching of

i

READING HABITS OF TEACHERS IN FOUR GOVERNMENT-AIDED SECONDARY SCHOOLS (MISSION SCHOOLS) IN KUCHING DISTRICT

SANJAN ANAK DAIK

A project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Education

Faculty of Education Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

SEPTEMBER 2006

ii

I declare that this project report entitled “Reading Habits of Teachers in Four Government-Aided Secondary Schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching District” is the result of my own research except as cited in the references. The project report has been accepted for any degree and is not concurrently submitted in candidature of any other degree.

concurren tly submitted in candidature of any other degree. Signature: …………………………………………

Signature: …………………………………………

Name

:

SANJAN ANAK DAIK

Date

:

30 SEPTEMBER 2006

iv

ABSTRACT

Specifically, this study attempts to investigate the different types of reading materials, frequency of reading, teaching load and factors that influence reading habits among teachers in the four (4) government-aided secondary schools (Mission Secondary Schools) in Kuching District. The respondents in this study were 118 teachers from the four schools. The main methodology employed in this study was a survey questionnaire. Interviews were also conducted on twenty (20) of the teachers who had responded to the questionnaires. The data were analysed and concluded that most of the teachers have poor reading habits. The findings showed that most of the teachers read both academic and non-academic reading materials, having reading frequency of only a few hours a week and prefer to read at home while some teachers have heavy teaching load that inhibit their reading habits. Based on this study, it will raise awareness on the importance of readings among teachers. The result of this study has an implication on the importance of inculcating the reading habit among school children at an early age.

v

ABSTRAK

Secara khusus, kajian ini bertujuan mengkaji pelbagai jenis bahan bacaan, kekerapan membaca, beban mengajar dan factor-faktor yang mempengaruhi amalan membaca para guru di empat buah sekolah menengah bantuan (Mubaligh Kristian) di daerah Kuching. Responden dalam kajian ini adalah terdiri daripada 118 orang guru yang mengajar di empat buah sekolah menengah tersebut. Kaedah kajian yang utama digunakan ialah soalselidik. Temuduga juga di jalankan ke atas 20 orang responden yang turut menjawab soalselidik. Maklumat yang diperolehi dirumus dan didapati kebanyakan para guru mempunyai amalan membaca yang kurang memuaskan. Hasil kajian juga menunjukkan kebanyakan para guru membaca pelbagai bahan bacaan akedemik dan juga bukan akedemik, mempunyai kekerapan membaca cuma beberapa jam seminggu dan memilih untuk membaca di rumah manakala segelintir para guru mempunyai beban mengajar yang berat sehingga menghalang mereka daripada membaca. Hasil kajian ini dapat memberi kesedaran kepada para guru betapa pentingnya amalan membaca. Hasil kajian ini juga mempunyai implikasi betapa pentingnya amalan membaca dipupuk dikalangan kanak-kanak sekolah sejak usia muda.

vi

TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER

1

TITLE

INTRODUCTION

PAGE

1.1 Introduction

1

1.2 Background of the Study

2

1.3 Statement of the Problem

4

1.4 Objectives of the Study

5

1.5 Research Questions

5

1.6 Significance of the Study

5

1.7 Scope of the Study

6

1.8 Limitation of the Study

6

1.9 Definition of Terms

7

1.9.1 Mission Schools

7

1.9.2 Chung Hua Middle School

7

1.9.3 Academic Materials

7

1.9.4 Non-academic Materials

7

1.9.5 Teaching Loads

7

1.9.6 Extra Class

7

vii

2 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

8

2.2 What is Reading?

8

2.3 The Reading Process

10

2.3.1 Bottom-up Theory of Reading

11

2.3.2 The Top-down Theory of Reading

13

2.3.3 The Interactive Theory of Reading

15

2.4 Attitude Towards Reading

17

2.5 Reading Motivation

18

2.6 Factors Affecting Reading

18

2.6.1 The Nature of Reading Materials

19

2.6.2 Purpose of Reading

20

2.6.3 The External Errors

21

2.7 Explanatory Model of Reading Behaviours

22

2.8 Why Don’t Adults Read?

24

2.9 Reading and Teaching

26

3 METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction

28

3.2 Sample of the Study

28

3.3 Data collection Instrument

29

3.3.1 The Questionnaires

29

3.3.2 The Interviews

30

3.4 Research Procedure

31

viii

 

3.4.2

Administration of the Interviews

32

 

3.5

Data Analysis

 

32

4

FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

4.1 Introduction

 

34

4.2 Findings of the Questionnaires

34

 

4.2.1 Demographic Information of the Respondents

35

 

4.2.1.1

Gender

35

4.2.1.2

Age

35

4.2.1.3 Ethnicity

36

4.2.1.4 Marital Status

37

4.2.1.5 Academic Qualification

37

4.2.1.6 Working Experience

38

 

4.2.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by the

 

Respondents

39

4.2.2.1 Types of Books Read by the Respondents

39

4.2.2.2 Types of Magazines Read by the Respondents

40

4.2.2.3 Types of Newspapers Read by the Respondents

40

4.2.2.4 Reading Other Kinds of Publications

41

 

4.2.3 Respondents’ Frequency of Reading

42

 

4.2.3.1 Respondents’ Reading Time

42

4.2.3.2 Time Spent on Reading per Week

43

4.2.3.3 Total Number of Hours Spent on Reading per Week

43

 

4.2.4 Respondents’ Teaching Load

44

 

4.2.4.1 Classes Taught

44

4.2.4.2 Number of Subjects Taught

45

ix

4.2.4.4 Extra Classes Directed by the School

46

4.2.4.5 Frequency of the Extra Classes

47

4.2.4.6 Total Time Spent for Extra Classes

47

4.2.5 Factors that Influence Respondents’ Reading Habits

48

4.2.5.1 Places Where Respondents Read

48

4.2.5.2 Reasons for Reading at the Different Places

49

4.2.5.3 Reasons for Reading at Home

49

4.2.5.4 Reasons for Reading in the School Staffroom

50

4.2.5.5 Reasons for Reading in the School Library

51

4.2.5.6 Reasons for Reading in the Public Library

51

4.2.5.7 Reasons for Reading in the University Library

52

4.2.5.8 Reasons for Reading in all of the above Places

53

4.2.5.9 Reasons for Reading in Other Places

53

4.2.6 Respondents’ Opinion on Reading

54

4.3 Findings of the Interview

56

4.3.1 Demographic Information of the Respondents

56

4.3.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by Respondents

59

4.3.3 Respondents’ Reading Frequency

61

4.3.4 Teachers’ Teaching Load

62

4.3.5 Factors that Influence Respondents’ Reading Habits

64

4.3.5.1 Places and Reasons for Reading

65

4.3.5.2 Reading Materials and Purpose of Reading

67

4.4 Discussion of the Findings

68

4.4.1 Demographic Background of the Respondents

69

4.4.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by the Respondents

69

x

 

4.4.3 Respondents’ frequency of reading

70

4.4.4 Respondents’ teaching load

71

4.4.5 Factors that influence respondents’ Reading Habits

72

5

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Introduction

74

5.2 Summary of the Research

74

5.3 Conclusion of the Study

75

5.3.1 Research Question 1

75

5.3.2 Research Question 2

76

5.3.3 Research Question 3

76

5.3.4 Research Question 4

77

5.4 Pedagogical Implication of the Study

77

5.5 Conclusion

79

 

80

REFERENCES QUESTIONNAIRE – Appendix A

85

INTERVIEW INSTRUMENT – Appendix B

91

LETTER OF PERMISSION – Appendix C

92

xi

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE NO.

TITLE

PAGE

2.1

Factors Influencing Reading Habits

22

4.1

Gender Distribution of the Respondents

35

4.2

Age Distribution of the Respondents

36

4.3

Ethnicity Distribution of the Respondents

36

4.4

Marital status of the respondents

37

4.5

Academic Qualifications of the Respondents

38

4.6

Working Experience of the Respondents

38

4.7

Types of Book Read by the Respondents

39

4.8

Types of Magazines Read by the Respondents

40

4.9

Types of Newspapers Read by the Respondents

41

4.10

Other Publications Read by the Respondents

41

4.11

Respondents’ Reading Time

42

xii

4.13 Classes Taught by the Respondents

44

4.14 Number of Subjects Taught by the Respondents

45

4.15 Teaching Periods of the Respondents per Week

46

4.16 Extra classes directed by the school

46

4.17 Frequency of the Extra Classes

47

4.18 Total Time Spent for Extra Classes

48

4.19 Places Were Respondents Read

49

4.20 Reason for Reading in the School Staffroom

51

4.21 Reason for Reading in the Public Library

52

4.22 Reason for Reading in the University Library

52

4.23 Reason for Reading at the Different Places

53

4.24 Reason for Reading in Other Places

54

4.25 Likert Scale on Respondents’ Opinion on Reading

55

4.26 Gender

57

4.27 Ethnicity

57

4.28 Academic Qualification

58

4.29 Teaching Experience

58

4.30 Types of Books Read by Respondents

59

4.31 Types of Newspaper Read by Respondents

60

4.32 Types of Magazine Read by Respondents

60

4.33 Other Publications Read by Respondents

61

4.34 Respondents’ Reading Time

61

xiii

4.36 Number of Subjects Taught by Respondents

63

4.37 Level of Classes Taught by Respondents

63

4.38 Number of Teaching Periods per Week

64

4.39 Extra Classes Conducted by Respondents

64

4.40 Reasons for Reading at Home

65

4.41 Reading in the Staffroom

66

4.42 Types of Reading Materials and Reasons for Reading

68

xiv

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE NO.

TITLE

PAGE

2.1

The Reading Process

10

2.2

Hierarchy of Data in Texts

12

2.3

The Top-down Model of Reading

14

2.4

The Interactive Model of Reading

16

2.5

The Explanatory Model of Behaviour

23

4.1

Reasons for Reading at Home

50

xv

LIST OF APPENDICES

APPENDIX

TITLE

PAGE

A

A Sample of a Survey Questionnaire

85

B

A Sample of an Interview Instrument

91

C

Letter of Permission to Carry out a Survey in Schools

92

iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Firstly, I thank God for the blessings given to me in the preparation of this project. I am particularly thankful to my supervisor Dr Noor Zainab Bt Abdul Razak for her continuous guidance, encouragement and constructive criticism without which I would not be able to complete the project.

I am also very grateful to my fellow course mates and various individuals for their contributions in whatever forms during the preparation of the project.

Finally, I want to express my sincere gratitude to my family and friends for their invaluable sacrifices and continued support throughout my studies.

iv

ABSTRACT

Specifically, this study attempts to investigate the different types of reading materials, frequency of reading, teaching load and factors that influence reading habits among teachers in the four (4) government-aided secondary schools (Mission Secondary Schools) in Kuching District. The respondents in this study were 118 teachers from the four schools. The main methodology employed in this study was a survey questionnaire. Interviews were also conducted on twenty (20) of the teachers who had responded to the questionnaires. The data were analysed and concluded that most of the teachers have poor reading habits. The findings showed that most of the teachers read both academic and non-academic reading materials, having reading frequency of only a few hours a week and prefer to read at home while some teachers have heavy teaching load that inhibit their reading habits. Based on this study, it will raise awareness on the importance of readings among teachers. The result of this study has an implication on the importance of inculcating the reading habit among school children at an early age.

v

ABSTRAK

Secara khusus, kajian ini bertujuan mengkaji pelbagai jenis bahan bacaan, kekerapan membaca, beban mengajar dan factor-faktor yang mempengaruhi amalan membaca para guru di empat buah sekolah menengah bantuan (Mubaligh Kristian) di daerah Kuching. Responden dalam kajian ini adalah terdiri daripada 118 orang guru yang mengajar di empat buah sekolah menengah tersebut. Kaedah kajian yang utama digunakan ialah soalselidik. Temuduga juga di jalankan ke atas 20 orang responden yang turut menjawab soalselidik. Maklumat yang diperolehi dirumus dan didapati kebanyakan para guru mempunyai amalan membaca yang kurang memuaskan. Hasil kajian juga menunjukkan kebanyakan para guru membaca pelbagai bahan bacaan akedemik dan juga bukan akedemik, mempunyai kekerapan membaca cuma beberapa jam seminggu dan memilih untuk membaca di rumah manakala segelintir para guru mempunyai beban mengajar yang berat sehingga menghalang mereka daripada membaca. Hasil kajian ini dapat memberi kesedaran kepada para guru betapa pentingnya amalan membaca. Hasil kajian ini juga mempunyai implikasi betapa pentingnya amalan membaca dipupuk dikalangan kanak-kanak sekolah sejak usia muda.

vi

TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER

1

TITLE

INTRODUCTION

PAGE

1.1 Introduction

1

1.2 Background of the Study

2

1.3 Statement of the Problem

4

1.4 Objectives of the Study

5

1.5 Research Questions

5

1.6 Significance of the Study

5

1.7 Scope of the Study

6

1.8 Limitation of the Study

6

1.9 Definition of Terms

7

1.9.1 Mission Schools

7

1.9.2 Chung Hua Middle School

7

1.9.3 Academic Materials

7

1.9.4 Non-academic Materials

7

1.9.5 Teaching Loads

7

1.9.6 Extra Class

7

vii

2 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

8

2.2 What is Reading?

8

2.3 The Reading Process

10

2.3.1 Bottom-up Theory of Reading

11

2.3.2 The Top-down Theory of Reading

13

2.3.3 The Interactive Theory of Reading

15

2.4 Attitude Towards Reading

17

2.5 Reading Motivation

18

2.6 Factors Affecting Reading

18

2.6.1 The Nature of Reading Materials

19

2.6.2 Purpose of Reading

20

2.6.3 The External Errors

21

2.7 Explanatory Model of Reading Behaviours

22

2.8 Why Don’t Adults Read?

24

2.9 Reading and Teaching

26

3 METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction

28

3.2 Sample of the Study

28

3.3 Data collection Instrument

29

3.3.1 The Questionnaires

29

3.3.2 The Interviews

30

3.4 Research Procedure

31

3.4.1 Administration of the Questionnaires

31

3.4.2 Administration of the Interviews

32

3.5 Data Analysis

32

viii

4 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

4.1 Introduction

34

4.2 Findings of the Questionnaires

34

4.2.1 Demographic Information of the Respondents

35

4.2.1.1 Gender

35

4.2.1.2 Age

35

4.2.1.3 Ethnicity

36

4.2.1.4 Marital Status

37

4.2.1.5 Academic Qualification

37

4.2.1.6 Working Experience

38

4.2.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by the Respondents

39

4.2.2.1 Types of Books Read by the Respondents

39

4.2.2.2 Types of Magazines Read by the Respondents

40

4.2.2.3 Types of Newspapers Read by the Respondents

40

4.2.2.4 Reading Other Kinds of Publications

41

4.2.3 Respondents’ Frequency of Reading

42

4.2.3.1 Respondents’ Reading Time

42

4.2.3.2 Time Spent on Reading per Week

43

4.2.3.3 Total Number of Hours Spent on Reading per Week

43

4.2.4 Respondents’ Teaching Load

44

4.2.4.1 Classes Taught

44

4.2.4.2 Number of Subjects Taught

45

4.2.4.3 Teaching Periods per Week

45

4.2.4.4 Extra Classes Directed by the School

46

4.2.4.5 Frequency of the Extra Classes

47

ix

4.2.5 Factors that Influence Respondents’ Reading Habits

48

4.2.5.1 Places Where Respondents Read

48

4.2.5.2 Reasons for Reading at the Different Places

49

4.2.5.3 Reasons for Reading at Home

49

4.2.5.4 Reasons for Reading in the School Staffroom

50

4.2.5.5 Reasons for Reading in the School Library

51

4.2.5.6 Reasons for Reading in the Public Library

51

4.2.5.7 Reasons for Reading in the University Library

52

4.2.5.8 Reasons for Reading in all of the above Places

53

4.2.5.9 Reasons for Reading in Other Places

53

4.2.6 Respondents’ Opinion on Reading

54

4.3 Findings of the Interview

56

4.3.1 Demographic Information of the Respondents

56

4.3.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by Respondents

59

4.3.3 Respondents’ Reading Frequency

61

4.3.4 Teachers’ Teaching Load

62

4.3.5 Factors that Influence Respondents’ Reading Habits

64

4.3.5.1 Places and Reasons for Reading

65

4.3.5.2 Reading Materials and Purpose of Reading

67

4.4 Discussion of the Findings

68

4.4.1 Demographic Background of the Respondents

69

4.4.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by the Respondents

69

4.4.3 Respondents’ frequency of reading

70

4.4.4 Respondents’ teaching load

71

x

5 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Introduction

74

5.2 Summary of the Research

74

5.3 Conclusion of the Study

75

5.3.1 Research Question 1

75

5.3.2 Research Question 2

76

5.3.3 Research Question 3

76

5.3.4 Research Question 4

77

5.4 Pedagogical Implication of the Study

77

5.5 Conclusion

79

80

REFERENCES QUESTIONNAIRE – Appendix A

85

INTERVIEW INSTRUMENT – Appendix B

91

LETTER OF PERMISSION – Appendix C

92

xi

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE NO.

TITLE

PAGE

2.1

Factors Influencing Reading Habits

22

4.1

Gender Distribution of the Respondents

35

4.2

Age Distribution of the Respondents

36

4.3

Ethnicity Distribution of the Respondents

36

4.4

Marital status of the respondents

37

4.5

Academic Qualifications of the Respondents

38

4.6

Working Experience of the Respondents

38

4.7

Types of Book Read by the Respondents

39

4.8

Types of Magazines Read by the Respondents

40

4.9

Types of Newspapers Read by the Respondents

41

4.10

Other Publications Read by the Respondents

41

4.11

Respondents’ Reading Time

42

4.12

Total Number of Hours Spent on Reading per Week

43

4.13

Classes Taught by the Respondents

44

4.14

Number of Subjects Taught by the Respondents

45

xii

4.16 Extra classes directed by the school

46

4.17 Frequency of the Extra Classes

47

4.18 Total Time Spent for Extra Classes

48

4.19 Places Were Respondents Read

49

4.20 Reason for Reading in the School Staffroom

51

4.21 Reason for Reading in the Public Library

52

4.22 Reason for Reading in the University Library

52

4.23 Reason for Reading at the Different Places

53

4.24 Reason for Reading in Other Places

54

4.25 Likert Scale on Respondents’ Opinion on Reading

55

4.26 Gender

57

4.27 Ethnicity

57

4.28 Academic Qualification

58

4.29 Teaching Experience

58

4.30 Types of Books Read by Respondents

59

4.31 Types of Newspaper Read by Respondents

60

4.32 Types of Magazine Read by Respondents

60

4.33 Other Publications Read by Respondents

61

4.34 Respondents’ Reading Time

61

4.35 Amount of Time Spent on Reading per Week

62

4.36 Number of Subjects Taught by Respondents

63

4.37 Level of Classes Taught by Respondents

63

xiii

4.39 Extra Classes Conducted by Respondents

64

4.40 Reasons for Reading at Home

65

4.41 Reading in the Staffroom

66

4.42 Types of Reading Materials and Reasons for Reading

68

xiv

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE NO.

TITLE

PAGE

2.1

The Reading Process

10

2.2

Hierarchy of Data in Texts

12

2.3

The Top-down Model of Reading

14

2.4

The Interactive Model of Reading

16

2.5

The Explanatory Model of Behaviour

23

4.1

Reasons for Reading at Home

50

xv

LIST OF APPENDICES

APPENDIX

TITLE

PAGE

A

A Sample of a Survey Questionnaire

85

B

A Sample of an Interview Instrument

91

C

Letter of Permission to Carry out a Survey in Schools

92

1.1

Introduction

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

Teaching is a challenging career as teachers carry the responsibility of moulding the character of their students and guiding them to be good citizens. According to The Borneo Post, May 27, 2006, teachers hold the key to the future of the nation as they have strong influence on their students who are our future generation. Thus, the recent announcement of the existence of 162,000 “illiterate” students in Malaysia had shocked teachers, students and parents.

In view of this, something has to be done to reduce and if possible, to totally eradicate illiteracy among students. Therefore, to start with, teachers must be seen as role models for the students to emulate. Teachers must read a lot in order to keep abreast with the fast-changing information age.

Teachers should involve themselves in reading because according to Eskey (1986. p.21, cited in Renandya & Jacobs, 2002): “Reading…must be developed, and can only be developed, by means of extensive and continued practice. People learn to read, and read better by reading.” This view on extensive reading as a reading habit is also shared by Krashen (1993, p. 23, cited in Renandya & Jacobs, 2002) that through

2

reading we “develop a good writing style, an adequate vocabulary, advanced grammar and … becomes good spellers”.

Finnochiaro (1989) also suggests that teachers need to read to help facilitate their teaching-learning activity in the classroom as information obtained through their reading will help them keep in touch with current issues and to apply them in their classroom discussion. An effective teacher is a teacher who always keeps abreast with changes be it in teaching or learning aspects. In view of the above mentioned problems, the researcher would like to investigate the reading habits of teachers in the four schools.

The poor reading habits among Malaysians can be seen in surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education on National Literacy in 1982 and 1996 (Kaur and Thiyagarajah, 1999). In the earlier survey, an average Malaysian citizen read a mere page or two a year whilst the later revealed an average of two books a year.

In view of this, the research looked into the reading habits of teachers in four government-aided secondary schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching district. The study focused on the types of reading materials that they read, whether their teaching loads inhibit their reading habits, factors that influence their reading habits, time spent on reading and reasons for reading.

1.2 Background of Study

Reading is an important part of learning. It helps a person acquire knowledge of the world and improve ones language skills. Reading is a unique process, as it requires certain skills in getting meaning from a written text. These reading skills will enable a reader not only to read the written form as meaningful language, but also to read it with independence, comprehension and fluency. William (1984) usefully classifies reading

3

into three purposes; getting general information from the text, getting specific

information from the text; and for pleasure or interest. Getting information from texts is

one of the ways to gain knowledge of the world and by having more knowledge will

make a person knowledgeable. However, lack of motivation in reading is one of the

most common problems among Malaysians. This problem has prevented them from acquiring knowledge of the world and from improving their language skills.

In view of this problem, the government has done its best to inculcate an interest

in reading among Malaysians. The Ministry of Education came up with the NILAM (Nadi Ilmu Amalan Membaca) programme in 1998 to nurture the reading habits among school children (Kaur and Thiyagarajah, 1999). Other extensive reading programmes have also been implemented over the years such as Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading (USSR), ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR) and the Book Flood Approach (Elley and Mangubahi, 1983 as cited in Renandya and Jacobs, 2002). The purpose of

the programme is that readers read large quantities of books and other materials in an environment that nurtures a life long reading habit. While much effort has been put into reading campaigns and programmes, indication is that more and more Malaysians are

not interested in picking up the habit. Malaysian students at the tertiary level have

indeed shown our students’ poor regards for reading (Mohd Sallehudin 1994, as cited in

Normah 2004).

In Asia, recent surveys have shown that books are being put aside for video and

CD games, television and other electronic forms of entertainment (NST Computimes

May 3, 2004, cited in Normah, 2004). However, in investigating the effects of pleasure

reading among adult learners in Hong Kong, (Yang, 2001 as cited in Normah, 2004) found that readers made substantial proficiency gains in the language. They were also motivated to read more.

A study by Kaur and Thiyagarajah (1999) found that most of their respondents

showed very positive attitude towards reading, whereby 85.7 percent of them read in

4

English because they felt that it could improve their English language proficiency. About 74.7 percent read to obtain good grades in their coursework and 71.4 percent read in English because they wanted to become good English language teachers upon graduation.

While for teachers reading is beneficial to them as information obtained through reading will help them to be in touch with current issues and they will be able to relate such issues in their classroom discussions. Finnochiaro (1989) pointed out that teachers need to read because reading helps facilitate teaching and learning. Chitravelu et al. (1997) stressed that appropriate teaching styles of a teacher in an English Language classroom can increase the students’ interest in learning English. They summed up by saying that English language teachers needed to read academic materials related to English Language teaching and learning as this will further enhance the students’ learning needs and preferences.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

Two surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education on National Literacy in 1982 and 1996 revealed that in the earlier survey, an average Malaysian citizen read a mere page or two a year whilst the later revealed an average of two books a year (Kaur and Thiyagarajah, 1999). The researcher’s own experience and observations as a teacher cum teacher trainer also suggest that teachers do not read much nowadays. Therefore, in view of the problems, the researcher would like to investigate the teachers’ reading habits namely; the type of reading materials, their frequency of reading, their workload and other factors that inhibit their reading habits.

5

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are to:

1. ascertain the types of reading materials read by teachers in the four government-aided secondary schools;

2. examine teachers' frequency of reading academic and non-academic materials;

3. investigate whether the teaching loads inhibit teachers’ reading habits; and

4. investigate factors that influence teachers’ reading habits;

1.5 Research Questions

This research aims to address the following questions;

1. What types of reading materials do teachers in the four government-aided secondary schools (Mission Schools) read?

2. How frequent do teachers read academic and non-academic materials?

3. Do teachers’ teaching loads inhibit their reading habits?

4. What are the factors that influence teachers’ reading habits?

1.6 Significance of Study

It is hoped that the result of this study could contribute to further understanding of the reading habits of secondary school teachers particularly in the four schools. The result of this study can also be used as a basis for further research in areas related to reading such as doing research on literacy or library facilities in schools. The result of

6

this research could also lead to further research on the various reading programmes currently implemented in schools throughout the country.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study was only confined to teachers in four government-aided secondary schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching district. The study looked into both academic and non-academic reading materials frequently read by the respondents, factors that influence their reading habits, time spent on reading and reasons for reading.

1.8 Limitation of the study

Firstly, the study was only limited to teachers from four government-aided secondary schools (Mission schools). The reason being there are the only four mission secondary schools in Kuching district that receive aids/funds from the government unlike the fully-government secondary schools. Thus, the findings of this research may not in any way reflect the real situation in all schools but rather confined to respondents in the four schools.

Secondly, the study meant only to describe the reading habits of the teachers in the four schools and no comparison of reading habits of teachers between the government-aided and the fully-government secondary schools.

As such, the findings of this research neither represent the general population of teachers in Kuching district nor the state of Sarawak.

7

1.9 Definition of Terms

1.9.1 Mission Schools – schools set up by the Christian missionaries during the colonial days. It uses the name “Saint” before the name of the school. For example, Saint Thomas Secondary School.

1.9.2 Chung Hua Middle School – schools set up by the Chinese community during the colonial days, with Mandarin as a medium of instruction.

1.9.3 Academic Materials – any reading material aimed at academic purposes for example, school’s textbooks and reference books useful for teaching and learning activities.

1.9.4 Non-academic Materials – any reading material read for general knowledge and leisure for example newspapers, magazines or books for personal growth.

1.9.5 Teaching Loads – refers to teaching periods only. Teaching period of more than 24 periods (40 minutes per period) per week is considered heavy where as teaching period of less than 24 periods per week is considered light.

1.9.6 Extra Class – classes conducted as directed by the school authority or self- volunteered.

CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

This chapter is divided into four main parts. In the first part the discussion is centered on the definitions of reading habits and its key concepts. The second part describes the theories of reading. Thirdly, the discussion is on attitude, motivation and purpose of reading. In the final part of the chapter, the discussions on reading habits amongst school teachers will be considered in more detailed.

2.2 What is Reading?

There is a vast literature on the definition of reading. According to Spache and Spache (1969) there were a variety of definitions of reading due to the complexity and successive stages of reading development. Reading can also be described in a variety of headings such as reading for skill development, as a visual act, as a perceptual act as a reflection of cultural background and a thinking process.

9

Grellet (1981) suggested that understanding a written text means extracting the required information from it as efficiently as possible. Thus, readers apply different reading strategies when looking for an advertisement at a notice board and reading an article. In the former situation, a reader only needs the gist of the information whereas in the latter, a more detailed comprehension is necessary.

On the other hand, Williams (1984) defined reading as a process in which a reader looks at a text and understands what has been written. He further stated that reading does not mean a person needs to understand everything he reads because people read for different reasons and purposes.

Reading by itself seems easy and simple but many studies have been carried out to show with scientific evidence that the act of reading is actually a very complicated process. According to Ponnusamy (1997), the first important description of reading and its process can be traced back as early as 1917 by Thorndike, a psychologist who coined reading as reasoning. The process of reading can best be described in an analogy written by Thorndike (1917) as cited in Ponnusamy (1997: 21) in which he described the reading process as:

“…understanding a paragraph is like solving mathematics. It consists of selecting the right element of situation and putting them together in the right relations, and also within the right amount of weight or influence or force for each. The mind is assailed as it was bothered by every word in the paragraph. It must select, repress, soften, emphasize, correlate organize all under the influence of the right mental shape or purpose or demand. Thus, it appears that reading an explanatory or argumentative paragraph involves the same sort of organization and analytic action of ideas as those that occur in thinking supposedly higher sorts”.

10

2.3 The Reading Process

Various definitions had been given by researchers on reading process. These

researchers tried to describe what a reading process is and how it occurs. In Goodman’s

famous article written in 1967 (as in Wallace, 1992) Goodman describes reading as ‘a

psycholinguistic guessing game’. A reader uses three cue systems, represented by three

levels of language within the texts namely: graphophonic, syntactic and semantic.

According to Goodman, Yates and Burke’s (1980 as in Williams, 1993) model of

reading process, the process of reading involves an interaction between the reader’s and

the author’s knowledge or mind. The reader uses his background knowledge to assist

his understanding of the written texts (Figure 2.1).

Author’s thought and language
Author’s
thought
and
language

Reader’s

thought

and

language

PREDICTING Reader selects cues and predicts material

PREDICTING Reader selects cues and predicts material CONFIRMING Reader checks grapho-phonics semantic and

CONFIRMING Reader checks grapho-phonics semantic and syntactic acceptability

grapho-phonics semantic and syntactic acceptability INTERGRATING Reader integrates meaning gained with his or
grapho-phonics semantic and syntactic acceptability INTERGRATING Reader integrates meaning gained with his or
grapho-phonics semantic and syntactic acceptability INTERGRATING Reader integrates meaning gained with his or

INTERGRATING Reader integrates meaning gained with his or her world view

Figure 2.1: The Reading Process