“I actually picked up a physics textbook:” Complexities of the freedom principle in extensive reading

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Abstract

Much attention has been devoted to Extensive Reading (ER) to better understand its pedagogical effects on language learners. In this study, we focus on the teaching principles of ER and call for a re-visitation of the Freedom principle (“Learners choose what they want to read”) that has been frequently used by practitioners and researchers of ER. Based on the focus group data collected from enthusiastic readers who participated in ER as a classroom activity and read beyond the designated class goal, we examined how these students chose what they wanted to read in an English-for-Academic-Purposes (EAP) context. The findings suggest that the Freedom principle, while allowing student autonomy, incurs complications in the implementation of ER. Students may experience frustration if given a limited choice of books, providing support for the Freedom principle. However, as students freely choose their books, the activities they engage in may become incompatible with other ER principles. Drawing on the focus group data, we will discuss the details of such complexities and conclude with pedagogical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-23
Number of pages21
JournalEnglish Teaching(South Korea)
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • EAP
  • Extensive reading
  • Freedom Principle
  • Teaching principles of extensive reading

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