Application of the “Teaching Innovation Practice Platform” in English Reading Instruction: A Case Study of a Public Middle School in Shanghai

Application of the “Teaching Innovation Practice Platform” in English Reading Instruction: A Case Study of a Public Middle School in Shanghai

Yucen Kuang (Shanghai Aiguo School, China)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2924-8.ch014
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Since Shanghai started the second phase of the elementary and middle school curriculum reform in 1998, teachers have been encouraged and expected to incorporate new technology to support teaching and learning, both in and out of the classrooms, so that students can get skills such as problem-solving, team-working, and time-management more efficiently. Consequently, in order to improve students' English reading comprehension skills, a brand new online learning platform named “Teaching Innovation Practice Platform” (TIPP) was developed and implemented to enhance English reading instruction at a public middle school in Shanghai in 2010. After several years of implementation, the platform has not only strengthened the interaction and communication between teachers and students but also improved students' learning. In the following sections, the current status of English reading instruction, the online learning platform TIPP and its application, as well as the impact on teaching and learning are described in detail.
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English Reading Comprehension Instruction In China/ Shanghai

Current Status of English Reading Instruction

English reading instruction is an important part of English teaching. The main purposes of English reading instruction are to teach students effective reading strategies, improve their reading comprehension skills, and cultivate their reading interests. However, many English teachers in China see reading instruction as the instruction of grammar or vocabulary due to their students’ “low levels” in English. In addition, teachers seldom guide students to do extracurricular reading besides reading the textbook required in the official school curriculum because China’s society has a long tradition of highly valuing examinations. Moreover, the so-called extracurricular reading is from the reading comprehension exercises in their homework or reading comprehension in tests so as to improve students’ scores in examinations. In fact, the 2004 Shanghai elementary and middle school English curriculum standards require students “to read different types of materials such as letters, advertising, and so on with the help of a dictionary” and to ask for “extracurricular reading not less than 200 thousand words” (p. 14). As a result, English reading instruction should focus on students’ interests in reading, reading skills, and reading strategies. To ensure that students reach the standards, a diverse and targeted education quality evaluation system must be developed. Xu (2012) noted that assessment methods based on sorting students’ scores in sequence after taking traditional paper-based examinations cannot meet the diverse demands of talented people in modern society.

The Teaching Innovation Practice Platform (TIPP) Project at Aiguo School

In the traditional classroom, there is often limited interaction and communication among students and between the teacher and students. Students often passively receive information from the teacher without actively participating in the learning process. Li (2014) noted that “teachers dominate in classroom teaching and the teaching process is merely the passing of knowledge from the teacher to the students. The students are passive recipients who take in whatever is taught by the teacher” (p. 102). This instructional approach deprives students of the rich reading experiences that are essential for higher-level comprehension and the development of higher-level cognitive skills. The Teaching Innovation Practice Platform (TIPP) can provide another choice of instruction for teachers and students to explore reading topics in greater depth without time and space limitations. Further, the TIPP online learning environment makes student learning more flexible and personalized by allowing students to study at their own time and pace if their teachers choose those options.

The Purpose of the TIPP in English Reading Instruction

The implementation of the TIPP online learning platform is aimed to change the roles of the teacher and students as well as to arouse students’ English reading interests and to advance students’ English reading abilities. Teachers are no longer at the center of teaching. Instead, they are playing the roles of learning coaches and facilitators. With the rapid development of computer use and internet connectivity, Huang believed that teachers should be designers and developers of learning resources as well as guides and facilitators during the process of student learning (as cited in Liao, 2005). Meanwhile, students play a more active role in the reading process. “Students are no longer passive learners,” wrote Liu (2006). “They are active learners who can take part in reading according to their own ability, need, interest and style of learning” (p. 27). The new reading instruction approach is explained in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

New reading instruction approach supported by TIPP


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