Student and teacher perceptions of the teaching-learning process in a college remedial reading class

Barbara Quinn Smukler, Fordham University


This was a hypothesis-generating study of a college remedial reading class. Research questions centered on the perceptions of the teaching-learning process and model of reading which informed participants' verbal and non-verbal behaviors. A variety of data-gathering methods included field notes, semi-structured interviews, and extensive use of audiotape and videotape. Students and teacher became co-investigators by viewing and commenting upon selected videotapes with the researcher.^ One lesson, identified by participants as a typical lesson (which was confirmed by a time-sample analysis of classroom events), was audiotaped and a complete transcript made. Analysis of the transcript centered on functions of language in the classroom. Findings were confirmed by triangulation using the other sources of data extensively.^ Major findings were: (a) while teacher and students had basically congruent mental models of teaching and learning, those models were in conflict with most contemporary, interactive, models of reading; and (b) language in the class was used mainly to match answer keys and for students, at least, was restricted to a narrow range of discourse, mostly formulaic responses and text-based answers to short-burst reading exercises.^ Other findings included: the model of learning in the class was one of a one-way transmission of facts from instructor to students; students used questions to satisfy mainly procedural issues; and the focus on a standardized reading test as an exit examination acted as a constraint on the development of mature readers.^ Three major hypotheses were generated by the study: (1) The language and behaviors of the classroom reveal the models of the teaching-learning process and of the reading process which are held by the participants. (2) By focusing on the cognitive task of passing a standardized reading test and the cultural task of adopting the outward behaviors of college students, the participants in the class were subverting the goals of a college education. (3) An evaluation process which is consistent with a current model of reading would lead to an improvement in instruction.^ Recommendations were made for further research, for curricular development, and for teaching. ^

Subject Area

Reading instruction|Curriculum development|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Smukler, Barbara Quinn, "Student and teacher perceptions of the teaching-learning process in a college remedial reading class" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109243.