The road to possibilities: a conceptual model for a program to develop the creative imagination in reading and responding to literary fiction (short stories) in Libyan English as a Foreign Language (EFL) university classrooms

Abubaker, Fatma Mohamed Hassen (2017) The road to possibilities: a conceptual model for a program to develop the creative imagination in reading and responding to literary fiction (short stories) in Libyan English as a Foreign Language (EFL) university classrooms. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Reading and understanding texts in English is problematic for university EFL students in Libya, and processing English literature is even more so. Some of these difficulties are related to teacher-centered approaches that focus on form, accuracy, and translation rather than on students’ abilities to make meaning. The aim of this study is to determine an instructional approach to help Libyan EFL university students learn to read and respond to fiction (short stories) by drawing on their imagination. Therefore, this study set out to explore the role of the imagination in meaning making in education (Vygotsky, 1930; Dewey, 1938; Egan, 1992; Craft, 2005), the role that literature plays in Libyan culture (in both its oral and written forms), the role of education in Libya and the place of English therein, and the challenges of reading in a second language (English).

By analyzing the literature on the imagination and its role in learning, on reading processes in L1 and L2, on Reader-Response Theory, and on the process of meaning making in literature, I was able to answer the first research question, namely how the imagination could be stimulated and developed to extend Libyan EFL students’ abilities to read and respond to short stories. Then I synthesized that analysis into a conceptual model. Features of the imagination that have been conceptualized in the model for imaginative reading and meaning making include: schema (background knowledge and experience); the interactive theory of reading; the role of the imagination in learning (meaning making), which includes an intellectual faculty or ‘analytical thinking’ and an emotional faculty or what is called ‘intersubjectivity’; the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD); and possibility thinking.
The next stage was to demonstrate that this model could be applied to the design of a reading program which makes a transition from a teacher-centered and translation-centered approach to reading literature (short stories) to a student-centered and interactive approach. The study relates the model to the literature on syllabus design to set up a framework for selecting and grading texts into five levels. I drew on the literature for interactive task design and standard EFL approaches of teaching reading to design lesson plans for the five stages of the program.

The study concludes by suggesting that for the successful implementation of the model, there is a need for a shift in attitudes to more interactive approaches that facilitate meaning making. It also suggests conducting a series of workshops to introduce interactive teaching approaches and provide teachers with techniques for dealing with the challenges of shifting from teacher-centered to student-centered teaching. Finally, the thesis provides ideas on how to further the current research by evaluating the effectiveness of the program through empirical enquiry.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Conceptual research, literature in ELT, short stories, reader-response, imagination, creativity, syllabus design, socio-constructive theory, Libya, reading, conceptual model, reading programme.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Daborn, Dr. Esther and Dickson, Dr. Beth
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Mrs Fatma/M Abubaker
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8566
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2017 15:03
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2017 12:55

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