Should students be taught how to read a text? Account of a reflexive practice approach to reading used by teachers of various subjects
Some studies lament that 19.4 percent of university graduates born in Quebec lack an adequate literacy level to function effectively in society. A person with inadequate literacy to function in society might be a good reader of novels but incapable of understanding an instruction manual; or might be able to read an article, but unable to make a critical judgment on its reliability. Yet when we want our students to learn through the texts we assign them to read, regardless of the discipline we expect them to have a sufficient level of literacy to achieve the expected transfer. Unfortunately, the hard reality seems quite different: many teachers comment on the difficulties faced by some students when accessing knowledge through reading, and not just in French-language courses. Aware of this problem, six teachers at Cégep Gérald-Godin, from various disciplines, agreed to take part in a project to promote the development of self-regulation in their students’ reading. While the project is still in its early stages, it is already clear that the approach is engaging participants in a process of reflecting on their own relationship with reading and its use with their students as a learning tool. The article presents a few highlights of the reflexive approach taken by these teachers, as well as the questions and issues it has raised. It also offers a few paths for action by teachers interested in improving the pedagogical potential of learning activities through reading assigned to their students.
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