Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 Research background
Since China entered WTO in 2001, the economical and the business relationshipbetween China and other countries has been closer and closer. Ding and Jiang (2004) havestudied 167 samples of job advertisements, which investigate the qualities that theemployers expect from their satisfying employees in China with the method of statisticalanalysis. And the result of their research indicates that as much as 60% companiesmention that their candidates should be equipped with high level of ICC (The InternationalChamber of Commerce). The study indicates that in order to face the fierce globalcompetition, more qualified people competent not only in English skills but also in the useof English skills in business environment are needed in China.Vocational college offers a large amount of talents who are in special fields, whichplays a very important role in the higher education in China. The aim of vocationaleducation is training the advanced practical talents both in technology and management.New Curriculum Syllabus for Chinese Vocational Colleges (2000) states Business Englishmajors in vocational schools should acquire a basic knowledge of English in listening,speaking, reading, writing, and translating. Among the five basic skills, reading is one ofthe most important and essential skills required in the acquisition of English as in foreignlanguage study. Some linguists put forward on English reading: “Our English teaching should be always based on reading and writing” (Dong, 2003); “Only through muchcontinuous reading can we improve our English.”(Li, 2003) The conclusion can be gotfrom above-mentioned viewpoints that reading is an important skill for people to knowobjective existence, to develop intelligence and emotion, and to get information andknowledge, meanwhile English reading ability is also the basic premise to develop otherEnglish skills, so English reading ability plays a key role in English learning.
1.2 Research objectives and significance
In recent years, there are a number of researches studying the knowledge of languagediscourse in various fields. And more and more English teachers and scholars start to payattention to cohesion theory which can be used in second language teaching. Some ofthem try to study cohesion devices in English writing ability improvement, and otherswant to probe into the relationship on the function of cohesion devices to college Englishdictation, college English-Chinese translation, or general college English reading teaching.However, few of them have done such researches on the cohesion devices combining withbusiness English reading. This thesis is different from the previous studies and intends toexplore how the cohesive devices are used in business English reading texts.For Business English major students in vocational college, BEC (CambridgeBusiness English Certificate) is a primary standard of evaluating their English level. InBEC, the reading passages are meaningful texts, and one of BE reading passages featuresis that there are many cohesive devices used in them so as to make them clearly logical,concise and efficient. However, the reading part is a main factor that makes the examineesfail in the examination. When the students are reading, most of them just read the eachword or sentence in isolation, and put the emphasis on the single words which they do notunderstand.
Chapter2 Literature Review
2.1 Studies on reading comprehension teaching
In view of the fact that “many foreign language students often have reading as one oftheir most important goals”, (Richards and Renandya, 2002:273) as well as the fact thatvarious pedagogical purposes served by written texts help reading to receive this specialfocus, reading is given much attention in ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching. Itis also defined as the most important academic language shill (Carrell, 1988). Readingcomprehension occurs within students’ mind, and it is to have students actually assess thethinking process that produced the results that we can test their reading skill.The process of understanding a written text requires the reader extracting theinformation from it as efficiently as possible. For a long time, many different EFL(English as a Foreign Language) reading theories and researches have been put forward inreading comprehension process. Psychologists, linguists and educators have probed intothe research of reading comprehension and the range of the research on reading is diversity.It contains a wide range of areas, like linguistic aspects and non-linguistic aspects.Among the researches, some of them have strong influence on the development ofreading theory and reading models. Goodman (1967) was the first one who had describedreading as a “psycholinguistic guessing game”. In his view, reading is a selective process.It relates to the available minimal language cues, which was selected from the reader’sexpectations on the basis of some perceptual input.
2.2 Studies on business English reading teaching
From the above diagram, we can see that BE is especially related to internationaltrade covering extensive fields related with business, such as training, negotiation,shopping, inquiring, etc. Compared with GE (General English), BE requires that readersshould master more capacities of business skills to communicate with the customers.Meanwhile, BE is characterized by its specific features as lexical, syntactic, and textualfeatures, of which this thesis will give a detailed description in the following chapter.BE reading is a special reading pattern which is not only the extension of GE readingbut also the main channel of accessing information of business knowledge. Generallyspeaking, the teaching of BE reading can be divided into two parts. First is the teaching ofreading in which students can gradually grasp various reading skills to improve theirreading capacities. Second is the teaching of business knowledge, which can be realizedby imparting students with all styles of business articles.
Chapter 3 Research Methodology..........31
3.1 Research questions.......31
3.5Application of cohesion theory in BE reading teaching.....41
3.5.1 The use of grammatical cohesion in reading teaching.....42
3.5.2 The use of lexical cohesion in reading teaching........45
Chapter 4 Results and Discussion..........49
4.1 Results and discussion of the questionnaires.........494
4.2 Results and discussion of the BEC（V） reading tests......56
Chapter 5 Conclusion.....64
5.1 Major findings of the study........64
5.2 Implication..... 65
5.3 Limitations of the research and suggestions for further study....66
Chapter 4 Results and Discussion
The experiment begins in February 2013 and ended in October 2013. It lasts 6months. Data for the study are collected before the end of November, 2013. Items in thequestionnaires and the reading competence tests are analyzed separately. The results of theBE reading tests are input into the computer and the statistical software SPSS 16.0(Statistical Packages for Social Science) is used to make an analysis. Mean, standarddeviation was calculated and T-test for independent samples was also conducted so as tofind out whether the difference between two means is significant. In this chapter, the datacollected from questionnaire surveys and BE reading competence tests will be analyzedand discussed to seek for answers to the research questions raised in this thesis. The designed questionnaires are to check the attitudes of students from EG and CGabout BE reading learning. Before doing this survey, students are informed that theiranswers would not be connected with their final grades of the English class, and theirgenuine answers would be appreciated. Consequently, the reliability of this questionnaireis enhanced.
The study has testified the feasibility and efficiency of the application of this teachingapproach with cohesion theory in vocational college. Teaching and learning reading withcohesion theory does assist student in relation to their BE reading ability, students of theexperimental group have promoted greatly, while those in the control group have made norapid progress compared with the former.According to the analysis of the answers to the questionnaires, it can be concludedthat students’ ability of BE reading has altered a lot in EG. Their motivation of readinglearning is also promoted to a great extent and become more confident than before. Moreimportantly, they begin to realize the importance of reading with cohesion theory and takean active part in classroom activities.After six-month reading teaching practice, the results of the comparison between pre-and post-questionnaires, pre-and post- BEC (Vantage) reading tests of the two groupsshows that both of the score and the performance of experimental group is more obviousincreased than they are in the pre-test and the control group.