A study of EFL reading instruction at the upper secondary level in Norway
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- Student papers (HF-IKS) 
This qualitative study has investigated the teaching and learning of reading in English in five Norwegian upper secondary schools. More precisely, the study has focused on teachers’ and pupils’ experiences of reading instruction from the mandatory Vg1 English course in the Programmes for General Studies, with Specialisation in General Studies and Specialisation in Sport and Physical Education. The aim was to find out how reading was taught in these EFL upper secondary classes, with a focus on what, how, and how much the pupils in these classes read English, whether they were helped to develop reading strategies in English, and to what extent the pupils’ motivation to read English was taken into consideration by their teachers. The study incorporated five teachers from five different upper secondary schools and a group of five or six of their pupils. The teachers were interviewed using individual, semi-structured interviews and the five groups of pupils, 27 altogether, were interviewed using focus group interviews. The validity of the study was increased by including both the teachers’ and the pupils’ perspectives. In terms of what the pupils read, four of the five participating teachers employed textbooks widely in their lessons. Many of the teachers reported using the textbook extensively despite not being content with its quality or noting that it was outdated. In addition to reading the textbook, four of the five teachers assigned one novel for their pupils to read during the Vg1 English course, and only one teacher assigned more than one novel for them to read. Moreover, the pupils reported not being able to choose reading materials themselves. Four of the five interviewed teachers were dissatisfied or unaware of the selection of English books at their respective school library and only a few pupils at one of the schools reported using their school library. In sum, relatively little reading was required by the pupils in all but one of the participating classes. In terms of how the pupils read, the research showed that three of the teachers allowed their pupils to spend much time reading individually in class. Pupils from all but one of the classes were also allowed to read or work with texts in pairs or in groups in class. Pupils reading aloud was not a common practice in the participating teachers’ classes. On the other hand, playing texts on audio files, mainly textbook texts, was an activity that was used to a great extent by all the interviewed teachers. One of the teachers also reported reading aloud to her pupils. The research further showed that none of the teachers reported teaching reading strategies explicitly. There was also varying and limited focus on reading strategies in the lessons. Surface-level strategies were generally focused on more than deep-processing strategies. Hence, the majority of the pupils in the study were only helped to develop reading strategies to a little extent. The interviews also revealed that the pupils’ motivation to read was not sufficiently taken into consideration by the teachers in most of the classes. The majority of the teachers only had a few ideas about how to accommodate for their pupils’ motivation to read. Additionally, they did not seem to take the pupils’ wishes about reading into consideration. Many of the pupils wished to be able to choose reading materials themselves and to read more interesting texts in order to increase their motivation to read, but were not given the opportunity to do so. This thesis has added to the research on reading in English at the upper secondary level in Norway by shedding light on what and how pupils are instructed to read in the Vg1 English course. The study has also incorporated the teachers’ consideration of their pupils’ motivation to read English. It has approached the topic from a much wider range of perspectives than related studies of EFL reading at this level. The thesis has also contributed to knowledge about whether and how the teaching of reading in English at the upper secondary level has evolved after LK06. The current study, although limited in scope, indicates that the teaching of EFL reading at the upper secondary level in Norway has not evolved as positively during the LK06 period as might have been expected.
Master's thesis in Literacy Studies