The role of critical reading in small group discussions
Hernández Castro, Osiris
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This action-research project was carried out at ILUD Language Institute, Universidad Distrital, Bogotá. The project aims to understand the process of meaning construction among EFL adult students during small group literature-discussions in English. I used three instruments for data collection purposes. They were: field notes, students´ journals and audio recordings of student discussion sessions. The analysis showed that when students use a fair amount of critical reading aspects during their discussions, they undergo a process which progressively takes them to a well structured, worthwhile literature discussion. There was evidence of the positive influence exerted by the themes and topics selected for the discussions, which in turn boosted participation. The analysis seems to indicate that working in a small group when discussing a literature text helps the discussion become more productive, interactive and analytic, also leading to a positive progressive change within the students, as they feel motivated to comfortably express their ideas. This study provides some important facts on the implementation and development of literature discussions from a critical point of view, as a strategy worth considering to boost students confidence and willingness to participate in a critical, well supported, serious discussion.