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Những khó khăn mà sinh viên năm thứ nhất chuyên Anh, Học viện Tài chính, gặp phải khi học kỹ năng đọc trong giáo trình Intelligent Business, Pre-intermediate.PDF

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CANDIDATE’S STATEMENT ………… ………………………………………………….i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS …………………………………………… …………………ii
ABSTRACT ………………………………………………………………………… ……iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS…… ……………………… ………………………………… iv
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS… ……………… ………………………………………… v
LIST OF FIGURE AND TABLES…………………………… ………………………… vi
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Rationales ……………………………… ……………………………………… 1
1.2 Significance and aims of the study ……………………………………………… 2
1.3 Research Questions …… ……………………………………………………… 2
1.4 Methods of the study …………………………………… …………………… 3
1.5 Scope of the study ……………………………………… ……………………… 3
1.6 Design of the study ……………………………………………………………… 4
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 An overview of reading and reading comprehension ……………………………5
2.1.1 Definition of reading and reading comprehension …………………………… 5
2.1.1.1 Definition of reading ……………………………………………………… 5
2.1.1.2 Definition of reading comprehension ……………………………………… 6
2.1.2 ESP and Reading comprehension in ESP ………………………………………. 7

2.1.2.1 Definition of ESP and reading comprehension in ESP ……………………. .7
2.1.2.2 Types of reading exercises in ESP …………………………………………. 9
2.1.3 Reading difficulties for language learners ……………………………………….9
2.1.3.1 Reading skill problems … ……………………………….…………………. 10
2.1.3.2 Language problems ………………………………………………………… 11
2.1.3.3 Background knowledge problems ………………………………………. 12
2.2 An introduction of course book “Intelligent Business” (pre-intermediate) and the
current context of learning reading skill in this book ………………………………… …14
2.2.1 General description of course book “Intelligent Business” (pre-intermediate) 14
2.2.1.1 Aims and approaches …………………………………………………………14
2.2.1.2 Design and organization ……………………………………………………15
2.2.2.3 Language content …………………………………………………………… 15
2.2.1.4 Skills ……………………………………………………………………… 16
2.2.1.5 Topics ………………………………………………………………….……17
2.2.2 Characteristics of reading texts and reading exercises ………………… …….17
2.2.2.1 Characteristics of reading texts ……………………………………………….17
2.2.2.2 Characteristics of reading exercises ……………………………………… 18
2.2.3 Current situation of teaching course book …………………………………… 19
2.2.3.1 Length of the course and time allocation for reading skill …………………19
2.2.3.2 Teaching facilities …………………………………………………………….19
2.2.3.3 Students and their background …………………………………………… 20
2.2.4 Summary ……………………………………………………………………… 20
Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY
3.1 Context of the study ………………………………………………………………21
3.2 The subject and participants ……………………………………………………22
3.3 Data collection instruments …………………………………………………….22
3.4 Data collection procedure ………………………………………………………23
3.5 Data analysis procedure ……………… ……………………………… …… 24
3.6 Summary ……………………………………………………………………….…25
Chapter 4: RESULT AND DISCUSSION
4.1 Difficulties encountered by the students when learning reading skill ……………26
4.1.1 Data analysis of the classroom observation …………………………………….26
4.1.2 Students’ reading difficulties in terms of reading skills …………………… …28
4.1.3 Students’ reading difficulties in terms of background knowledge ……… …30
4.1.4 Students’ reading difficulties in terms of vocabulary ………………………… 32
4.1.5 Students’ reading difficulties in terms of other areas ……………………… 33
4.2 Pedagogical implication and suggestions ………………………………………34
4.2.1 Training students to become efficient readers ……………………………… 35
4.2.1.1 Training students with different reading strategies ……………….……… 35
4.2.1.2 Assigning and checking students’ fulfillment of homework …………………37
4.2.1.3 Encouraging students’ extensive reading habits ………………………… ….37
4.2.2 Improving economic background knowledge for the first year students at FFL 38
4.2.3 The teachers’ being aware of their students’ needs ……….……………………39
4.2.4 The Academy of Finance’s being aware of the needs of the students at FFL 39
4.3 Summary ………………………………………………………………………….40
Chapter 5: CONCLUSION
5.1 Summary of the study …………………………………………………………… 41
5.1 Limitations and Suggestions for further study ………………………………….42
REFERENCES… …………………………………………………………………………….i
APPENDICES…………………………………………………………………………………ii
LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
Figures
Figure 1: The vicious circle of the weak readers
Figure 2: The Virtuous Circle of a Good Reader
Tables
Table 1: Students’ reading difficulties in terms of reading skills
Table 2: Students’ reading difficulties in terms of background knowledge
Table 3: Students’ reading difficulties in terms of vocabulary
Table 4: Students’ reading difficulties in terms of other areas





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Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Rationales
It is the fact that nowadays English has been widely used in every field, especially in
business, in which it plays an important role in communication in general, and in business
transaction in particular. Thus, there is a growing demand for English language teaching to
meet the needs of a new generation of learners who want to learn English to “gain access to
the required knowledge that is available, either exclusively or most readily, in English”
(Munby, 1978: 3) or to serve other different specific purposes. That leads to the coming into
being of English for Specific Purposes (ESP).
Being thoroughly alert to the importance of ESP, Academy of Finance decided to
officially set up the Faculty of Foreign Languages which specializes in training the students
with economics knowledge in English. In the faculty, English is considered as a major subject
and it is taught with the purpose that the students will take it professionally in their future
work. Thus to make English study fully suitable for the learners’ practical needs, great
attention is paid to teaching and learning English of economics.
In teaching and learning Business English, reading has always received a great deal of
attention. Generally, this is understandable since teaching English in Vietnam provide students
with the abilities to understand the written materials and to communicate in English.
Moreover, English is learnt and taught in a non- native environment. That is the reason why
reading is not only an important means to gain knowledge but also a means by which further
study takes place. Carrel (1981: 1) asserts that “for many students, reading is by far the most
important of the four macro-skills, particularly in English as a second foreign language”. This
is extremely true to the first year students of the FFL at Academy of Finance because reading
helps them to make extensive use of academic materials written in English and this is a good
way to enable them to improve their professional knowledge in their specific or specialized
fields. However, there is plenty of evidence that the students at FFL often face difficulties as
follows:

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- There has been almost no research work touching upon reading difficulties of the
students at FFL.
- Most first year students at FFL have not had experience in learning ESP before.
- The students are not of equal level of English.
- The course book Intelligent Business is totally new to them
The aforesaid situation of ESP learning at FFL, Academy of Finance has aroused the
researcher’s interest and forced her to dedicate her efforts to the writing of “The difficulties
encountered by first-year English-major students at Academy of Finance when learning the
reading skill in course book Intelligent Business (pre-intermediate).”
1.2 Significance and aims of the study
This study may provide information about the reading difficulties that the first year
students at FFL face. Pedagogical implication and suggestions given in this study are believed
to be relevant to improving the learning of reading at FFL. Hopefully, the study will make
some contributions to the improvement of teaching and learning reading economics at FFL,
Academy of Finance.
The study is aimed at:
1) Better understanding the concepts of reading, reading comprehension and reading
comprehension in ESP.
2) Finding out some difficulties in dealing with reading skills in the course book
Intelligent Business.
3) Giving some pedagogical implication and suggestions to improve the learning of
reading skill at FFL, Academy of Finance.
1.3 Research Questions
The above aims of the study can be realized by the following research questions:
(i) What is the present context of learning reading in course book Intelligent Business,
pre-intermediate?

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(ii) What are reading difficulties encountered by the first year students when dealing
with the Intelligent Business, pre-intermediate?
(iii) What are possible solutions to help them overcome those difficulties?
In order to find out the answers to the research questions, some sub-questions shall be
dealt with:
(i) What are students’ reading difficulties in terms of reading skills?
(ii) What are students’ reading difficulties in terms of vocabulary?
(iii) What are students’ reading difficulties in terms of back ground knowledge?
Once difficulties are found, feasible solutions to overcome those difficulties will be
suggested.
1.4 Methods of the study
The study is carried out in terms of both theory and practice. First, the theoretical
background of the study mainly relies on many published books written by different authors
famous for ESP teaching and learning. Second, the study is carried out with data collected
from two different sources: (1) a survey done on 112 FFL first-year students to collect
information about their views of reading difficulties and causes of them. (2) class observations
on three classes of first year students at FFL to observe students’ reaction, involvements, etc,
in reading classes which are needed to help design questions in survey questionnaire.
1.5 Scope of the study
It is impossible to cover every aspect of language theory and practice in this study.
Therefore, the study focuses on difficulties in learning reading encountered by students at
FFL, Academy of Finance. It is not proposed to deal with other skills: speaking, writing or
listening skills. And other subjects of the study are the first year students and limited to course
book Intelligent Business, pre-intermediate.



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1.6 Design of the study
The study is divided into five chapters:
- Chapter one introduces rationales, significance and aims of the study, research
questions, methods as well as scope of the study.
- Chapter two deals with an overview of the theoretical background of the research. It
is concerned with the issues relevant to the topic of the research: reading and reading
comprehension, ESP and reading comprehension in ESP, the reading difficulties
experienced by language learners and an introduction of course book Intelligent
Business and the current context of learning reading skill in the book.
- Chapter three presents the research methodology in details covering context of the
study, the subject and participants, data collection instruments, data collection
procedure and data analysis procedure.
- Chapter four mentions the result of the study including the exploration of difficulties
encountered by the students when learning reading skill and it also gives some
pedagogical implication and suggestions.
- Chapter five is the conclusions summarizing the main issues in the study and
mentioning limitation and suggestions for further study.












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Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
With the aim of providing a theoretical background to this study, this chapter will
deal with a review of issues most relevant to the thesis’s topic: Definition of reading and
reading comprehension, ESP and Reading comprehension in ESP, and an introduction of the
course book “Intelligent Business” (pre-intermediate) and the current context of learning
reading skill in this book.
2.1 An overview of reading and reading comprehension
2.1.1 Definition of reading and reading comprehension
2.1.1.1 Definition of reading
Reading is one of the most complicated forms of information processing. Different
scholars have looked at reading from different angles and have reached somewhat different
conclusions about the nature of reading. Discrepancy of views has partly been the result of the
different purposes with which researchers have approached reading. While some have studied
reading to uncover the underlying processes, others have tried to identify its sub-skills for
teaching and testing purposes. Each view on reading reflects what reading is to the scholar
who presents that view. Williams, E (1990: 2) stated that reading “is a process whereby one
looks at and understands what has been written”.
According to Goodman (1971: 135), reading “is a psycholinguistic process by which
the reader, a language user, reconstructs, as best as he can, a message which has been encoded
by a writer as a graphic display”. From Goodman’s point of view, this act of reconstruction is
viewed as “a cyclical process of sampling, predicting, testing, and confirming”.
Taking the same view on reading, especially on the “act of reconstruction” as
Goodman, Nuttall (1982: 4) asserts that “reading is getting a message from a text”. According
to Harmer (1989: 153), reading “is an exercise dominated by the eyes and the brain. The eyes
receive messages and the brain then has to work out the significance of these messages”.
Harmer also focuses on the speed of this mechanical process “a reading text moves at a speed
of the reader” which means that the reader is the one who decides how fast he wants to read
the text.

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In addition, reading is defined as “a developmental process”. We learn reading not only
to learn how to read the text, to master grammatical structures, the sound, etc. but also to
understand the content expressed in the text or to develop the ability of re-expressing the
author’s ideas in our own words
To sum up, attempts to define reading have been numerous, and various among
different scholars. However, no definition can reveal all the features and ideas of what reading
is. It is clear that all the definitions are concerned with the nature of reading that is the
interaction between readers and authors- the reader read the author’s thought not only the
author’s words.
Now it is important to understand thoroughly the definition of reading comprehension.
2.1.1.2 Definition of reading comprehension
Reading comprehension is a very complex process and in order to grasp how readers
make sense of written symbols, it is essential that the process of reading comprehension and
the role of factors leading to the product of this process be understood properly. Richards
(1992) described reading comprehension as an understanding between the author and the
reader. This view point focuses on the reader’s understanding of the message based on his/her
background knowledge.
Grellet (1981: 3) stated that “reading comprehension or understanding a written text
means extracting the required information from it as effectively as possible”. Reading
comprehension is the process in which the readers, as they read, can recognize the graphic
form and can understand the relation between it and the meaning. After reading, learners can
master the grammatical structures, word pronunciation, understand the content of the text and
use it in real life as effective as possible. This means that the learners can demonstrate their
understanding on the text by re-expressing its content in many different ways such as note-
taking, summarizing the text, answering the questions, etc.
Concerning ways to exploit reading texts, Nuttall (1996: 48-120) pointed out several
reading skills of which some basic ones consist of:
 Guessing the meaning of words based on structural and contextual clues

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 Understanding syntax
 Recognizing and interpreting cohesive devices
 Interpreting discourse markers
 Recognizing text organization
 Recognizing implications and making inferences
 Making prediction
 Skimming
 Scanning
In conclusion, in reading, readers do not only apply their knowledge of the language
but also knowledge of the world or more specially background knowledge of the text, which is
considered to be extremely important. Therefore, reading means comprehending written
language, so when understanding breaks down, reading actually does not occur. Furthermore,
readers also build up expectations, they make prediction about what is to come, and the extent
to which their predictions are accurate is one of the factors that influence their reading. This
process, therefore, has three elements involved, that is, the text that is read, the background
knowledge of the reader and the contextual aspect relevant to interpret the text.
2.1.2 ESP and Reading comprehension in ESP
2.1.2.1 Definition of ESP and reading comprehension in ESP
The letters “E-S-P” stand for “English for Specific Purposes”. Definition of ESP can be
varied among different authors. Some view it as an entirely different development from
English Language Teaching (ELT), while others view it as “essentially a pragmatic response
to a developing situation” in global ELT. Hutchinson and Waters (1987: 19) assert that E.S.P
should be seen as an approach and not a product. It is an approach which is directed by
specific and apparent reasons for learning. E.S.P. student’s purpose of learning a second
language might acquire not only general linguistics competencies but also academic and job-
related skills. Widdowson placed the specification of objectives in ESP course design in a
close relation with training “ESP is essentially a training operation which seeks to provide

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learners with a restricted competence to enable them to cope with certain clearly defined tasks.
These tasks constitute the specific purposes which the ESP course is designed to meet”
(Widdowson, 1983: 6)
From the viewpoints mentioned above, it is clear that two central areas in ESP are
content and methodology.
* Content is about how narrow or broad the scope of a particular course is, when
compared with the totality of the language. For some people, for example, a course named
“English for Business Purposes” will be too broad, and the course will be appropriate if it is
tailored for their specialization within the field of business, namely a course in accounting, in
advertising, in marketing, etc.
* Methodology also plays an extremely important role in ESP. Because ESP course
aims at developing linguistic skills relating to particular spheres of activity, not only the nature
of the linguistic items are introduced, but the ways in which they are introduced and how they
are practiced, are highly significant.
According to Hutchinson and Waters (1987: 8) “the growth of ESP was brought about
by a combination of three important factors: the expansion of demand for English to suit
particular needs and developments in the field of linguistics and educational psychology”
It is undeniable that reading comprehension is of crucial importance in ESP. To this
kind of reading course, English is taught with the purpose of not only improving the students’
reading skills, but also familiarizing them with specialized English language used in many
fields in terms of vocabulary, terminology and registers. In other words, after an ESP course,
students are supposed to be able to interpret texts of their specialized subjects with the aim of
getting information for their further studies and for their job in the most appropriate way.
When reading goals are realistic and ESP students are competent in reading English for
Specific Purpose, they can expand certain specific concepts as a basis for them to move ahead
in their future job.
It can be concluded that, reading comprehension plays the first and foremost important
role in ESP. Now we are going to have a close look at types of reading exercises in ESP.

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2.1.2.2 Types of reading exercises in ESP
According to Grellet (1995: 45), there are a number of exercise-types focusing on the
formal organization and the content of the text to develop reading skills. They are classified
into four main types: reading techniques, analysing the form of the text, understanding the
meaning in the text, and assessing the text. Among the exercises, some are believed to be used
more often in ESP reading such as:
- In reading techniques, predicting, skimming, scanning, and inferring are of common
use.
- In analyzing the form of the text, there exists such exercises as chronological
sequence, classification
- In understanding the meaning of the text, chronological sequence, matching,
completing a document (table, chart), question types (multiple-choice, True/False, completing
a summary, completing sentences, error finding) are the typical exercises.
- In assessment of the text, deciding fact or opinion, finding the writer’s intention are
the popular exercise types.
However, exercise types may vary basing on characteristics of each type of ESP
course.
2.1.3 Reading difficulties for language learners
According to many scholars (Goodman 1971, Nuttall 1982, Harmer 1989) in many
countries in the world a reading knowledge of a foreign language is regarded to be important
to academic studies, professional success, and personal development. However, reading in a
language which is not the learner’s mother tongue language is a source of considerable
difficulty. Problems with foreign language reading are stated to be either reading problems or
language problems, depending on the readers’ abilities and skills. However, in this part the
researcher would like to focus on three main problems that foreign language learners often
face with, that is, background knowledge problems, language problems, and reading skill
problems.

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2.1.3.1 Reading skill problems
Student’s limited reading skills create many problems such as reading slowly, failing to
understand and summarize main ideas of the reading text, unabling to guess or predict the
meaning of new words or phrases used in that context, etc. According to Jolly (1978), the first
language reading ability of one person plays a more important part in reading success than his
level of the target language does, since foreign language reading requires the transference of
old skills, not the learning of new ones. Consequently, students who do not read adequately in
their first language will fail to read in the foreign language because they either do not possess
the “old skill”, or because they have failed to transfer them.
Sharing the same opinion, Coady (1979) assumes that foreign language reading is a
reading problem and not a language problem These two writers assert that if the reader has a
poor reading ability in his first language, then, he can not read well in a foreign language.
According to the scholars, the problems of reading in English would be vastly reduced if they
learned to read properly in their mother tongue language.
Bernhardt and Kamil (1995: 17) view that “reading performance in a second language
is largely shared with reading ability in a first language”. Sarig (1987: 118) also assumes that
“the same reading strategy types accounted for success and failure in both languages to almost
the same extent. It can be concluded, then, that reading processes from the first language do
appear to transfer to the foreign language”.
It can be seen clearly that the students with poor reading skills encounter many
problems. Very frequently, students seem to read in a foreign language considerably more
slowly than they reportedly read in their first language. Some students who read too slowly
will easily get discouraged. They do not know how to use the appropriate ways to move their
eyes from one word group to another word group. They just look at every single word, and as
a consequence, they fail to catch the general meaning of the passage. Sometimes, they may
encounter a long text with a lot of vocabularies or an unfamiliar topic, which discourages them
from concentrating well on the text and when they get to the last paragraph they may not recall
what they have read in the first ones.

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Reading is an active skill, involving guessing, predicting, making inference, etc. it is
common that there are new words, new structures and ideas in a reading text for every
language learner. If a learner is not good at guessing and can not make full use of
grammatical, logical and cultural clues, he will read the text with less comprehension than he
expected. Obviously, poor reading comprehension may result in disinterest in reading. As a
result of this, the reader is trapped in a vicious circle:
Doesn’t understand Reads slowly


Doesn’t read much Doesn’t enjoy reading

Figure 1: the vicious circle of the weak readers
(Nuttall, 1982: 167)
Briefly, learner’s motivation toward reading is a crucial factor in the reading process.
Good speed, enjoyment, and comprehension are the things that can promote good reading. As
a matter of fact, lack of motivation will discourage the reader from reading.
2.1.3.2 Language problems
According to Yorio (1971), reading problems of foreign language learners are due
largely to imperfect knowledge of the target language, and to mother tongue interference in
the reading process. Also from his point of view, reading involves four factors: (1) knowledge
of the language, (2) ability to predict or guess in order to make the correct choices, (3) ability
to remember the previous cues, and (4) ability to make the necessary associations between the
different cues that have been selected. Yorio indicated that the reader’s knowledge of the
foreign language is not like that of the native speakers; the guessing or the predicting ability
necessary to pick up the correct cues is hindered by the imperfect knowledge of the language;
the wrong choice of cues or the uncertainty of choice makes association more difficult; the
memory span in a foreign language in the early stages of its acquisition is usually shorter than
in our native language; recollection of previous cues then is more difficult in a foreign

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language than in a mother tongue; and at all levels, and at all time, there is interference of the
native language. Yorio (1971: 108)
Sharing the same idea as Yorio, Clarke (1980) and Alderson (1984) both agreed that a
lack of appropriate linguistic knowledge constrains the transfer of reading skills and strategies
from L1 to L2. It is suggested that low competence in the target language restricts the
language learners’ ability to read in the target one. In other words, “a given amount of second
language grammatical/linguistic knowledge was necessary in order to get first language
reading knowledge to engage” (Bernhardt and Kamil, 1995: 17)
Another difficulty that readers encounter while reading is the “vocabulary problems”.
Readers encounter a lot of difficulties in dealing with proverbs and idioms, synonyms and
antonyms, polysemantic vocabulary, etc., which can be regarded to have an impact on the
readers’ motivation. “Knowing vocabulary and structures is necessary for getting meaning
from a text.” (Alderson, 1997: 138)
To put every thing in a nutshell, if the amount of vocabulary and grammatical
structures are limited, the readers will encounter difficulties. As a result, the readers will be
unwilling to explore the text.
2.1.3.3 Background knowledge problems
Background knowledge is extremely important to reading
comprehension. Inappropriate background knowledge leads to a completely inappropriate
model of text meaning. It has been shown that differences in background knowledge may
indeed account for a significant portion of variance in comprehension performances in normal
reading situations, and such differences affect the ease or difficulty with which one
understands a text.
Cultural knowledge gains importance when a reader reads a text with cultural elements
with which he/she is less familiar.
Many scholars (Johnson, 1981; Steffensen et al., 1979; Carrell, 1981) have asserted
that culture plays a central role for many text topics and that comprehension of culturally
unfamiliar text is more difficult than comprehension of a culturally familiar text because

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readers faced with unfamiliar cultural content may mistranslate or misinterpret the text
according to their own cultural experiences.
For example, a beginning Iranian EFL learner may become puzzled on reading that
Johnny goes to school on Fridays and that the school is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The
simple reason for this is that he/she uses his/her L1 cultural knowledge in understanding the
text but since there is a mismatch between L1 and L2 situations in this regard, the attempt for
comprehension fails. (In Iran, and many other Islamic countries, weekend days are Thursday
and Friday, rather than Saturday and Sunday). (Karim Sadeghi, 2007)
Also a Vietnamese EFL learner reading texts about traffic regulations may find it hard
to understand that drivers should keep left rather than right while driving, as it is the normal
practice in the UK and some other countries.
As a result, this leads to distortions and misapprehensions of the text. It can be seen
that the cultural origin of a text has greater influence on comprehension than syntactic or
semantic complexity of the text.
Fries (1945, 1963) claimed that meaning at the social level is the meaning that
transcends the language code and is related to the background knowledge of the native
speakers of that code. Comprehension of the total meaning of a sentence happens only when
the linguistic meaning of the sentence is fitted into “a social framework of organized
information”. To master a foreign language, Fies (1945: 100) stated that “one must find some
substitute for the kind of background knowledge he has in his own language”.
According to Strang (1972), different readers will have different levels of
comprehension of the same text because they start off from different positions. Sharing the
same idea with Strang, Osman (1985) indicated that readers from different cultural
background interpret texts differently because of the differences in the high-level cultural
schemata that were activated.
In conclusion, readers from a different linguistic environment and speaking a non-
standard dialect may face problems in reading not only because of sub-culture differences but
also because of differences in linguistic knowledge. Therefore, there is no doubt that

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background knowledge plays a great role in reading comprehension, and so is linguistic
knowledge, without them no reading may exist at all.
2.2 An introduction of course book “Intelligent Business” (pre-intermediate) and the
current context of learning reading skill in this book.
2.2.1 General description of course book “Intelligent Business” (pre-intermediate)
Intelligent Business Pre-Intermediate Course Book, written by Johnson, Christine was
published in 2006 by Longman. It is a dynamic and flexible new course with an integrated
range of components to develop students' knowledge of the business world and the skills to
work within it. The topic-based course book provides an accessible introduction to the
concepts and language of today's business world. Using authentic texts from the well-
respected Economist magazine, the Intelligent Business course material is informative, up-to-
date and highly motivating. Intelligent Business is fully benchmarked alongside the BEC
business English exam suite and the Common European Framework.
2.2.1.1 Aims and approaches
Today the demand for Business English is greater than ever. As a result, the learning of
Business English is playing an increasingly important role in business studies. This book,
therefore, is designed to aim at helping students at a business school understand business
itself, not only the English language. Actually, the aim of the course book corresponds closely
with the aims of teaching programme and with the need of the students. That is to say, it is to
help students studying business English full time learn business through medium of the
English language.
At the English faculty at Academy of Finance, Business English is the students’ major.
This means that students need to study English to equip themselves with necessary English in
business which is always used in their future jobs. For this reason, Intelligent Business Pre-
Intermediate Course Book is suited to the learning as well as teaching situation at FFL. The
book covers comprehensively most of what is needed and it is really a good resource for both
teachers and students. For example, it covers so many aspects of the business field as
activities, data, etiquette, image, success, future, location, job-seeking, selling, price,

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insurance, service, productivity, creativity, motivation. In addition, the approaches to it are
flexible, that is, it allows different teaching and learning styles, for example pair work, team
work, group work, etc.
2.2.1.2 Design and organization
Students’ books, teachers’ books, workbooks, CDs and style guide are the components
that make up the total course package of Intelligent Business. The content is right for the
learners and it is organized according to the topics. Each topic is presented within one unit.
There are totally 15 units in the course book. Each unit consists of such parts as reading,
language, vocabulary, career skills and dilemma and decision. The content is sequenced on the
basic of complexity, from the simpler aspects of business field like activities, data, future to
more complex ones such as selling, price, insurance, productivity, etc. What’s more, there is
relatively adequate recycling and revision in the book. The reference sections for grammar and
other materials suitable for individual study also exist in Intelligent Business. The layout of
the book is clear with a good book map appearing on its first page. It can be concluded that
design and organization of Intelligent Business are of the appropriate and logical components,
content, and layout.
2.2.2.3 Language content
Intelligent Business Course Book covers the main grammar items appropriate to Pre-
Intermediate level, taking learners’ needs into account.
Grammatical structures in the course book( pre-intermediate) is built on a pre-
intermediate grammar syllabus and uses plenty of authentic texts to present grammar and
vocabulary that is then extracted and practised in isolation. The texts are benchmarked against
the word limits found at Cambridge BEC Preliminary.
The grammar structure covers words, sentences and tenses. Most of the words in the
book exist in the form of stem e.g. profit, premium, bankruptcy. Sometimes there occurs
prefixes and suffixes. A prefix is what comes before the stem and does not change the part of
speech such as inefficient, disrespectful, impractical, inappropriate, etc. A suffix is what is

16
attached to the end of the stem and changes the meaning of the stem by changing the word
from one part of speech to another e.g. competitive, accidental, reasonable, profitable, etc.
Sentences in the book are of various types, but simple and complex sentences are used
regularly. For example: Prices have fallen in the food because of advances in food production
and distribution technology. Consumers have benefited greatly from those advances. People
who predicted that the world would run out of food were wrong (unit 10- Price, page 87)
The sentences are presented in both active and passive voice. E.g. The process begins
when a policyholder reports a claim to the company’s automated telephone system. The
system informs policyholders that their call may be monitored for fraud-prevention and
detection purposes. (Unit 11- Insurance, page 96)
Verb tenses used in this book are limited to present simple, present continuous, past
simple, present perfect, future simple. Comparatives and superlatives, conditional 1 and 2 are
also presented in the book. The Course book is generally designed on a pre-intermediate
grammar syllabus, therefore, grammar structures, to some extent, are some what simple.
The language style and appropriacy are related to each other, language style is matched
to social situation. Vocabulary teaching in the book is relatively adequate in terms of quantity
and range of vocabulary, with the emphasis placed on vocabulary development, strategies for
individual learning. However, the course book does not include any material for pronunciation
work, such as individual sound, word stress, or intonation.
2.2.1.4 Skills
All four skills are adequately covered in Intelligent Business, Pre-intermediate.
Actually, it is the material for integrated skills work. The listening material is extremely well-
recorded, authentic and it is accompanied by background information, questions and activities
which help comprehension. The material for spoken English such as dialogues, role plays, etc.
are quite well-designed to equip the students for real- life interaction. Writing activities are
suitable with respects to amount of guidance, degree of accuracy, organization of longer
pieces of writing and use of appropriate styles. Especially, the reading passages and associated
activities are suitable for students at pre-intermediate level. Topics in the reading passages are

17
extremely various, authentic and related to different aspects of the business world. That is the
reason why the reading passages in the book interest the students at FFL.
2.2.1.5 Topics
The course book covers 15 various topics (divided into15 units) related to business
activities. (see Appendix 1), which satisfy the needs of variety and range of topics. This
enables the students to discuss the social and cultural contexts presented in the course book.
These topics will help expand the students’ awareness and enrich their experience. Such topics
as activities, image, success, future, location, job-seeking, etc. are sophisticated enough in
content, but within the learners’ language level.
2.2.2 Characteristics of reading texts and reading exercises
2.2.2.1 Characteristics of reading texts
English for Business is usually taught to students in economics colleges or those who
study and work in the field. Actually, the language for Business is very distinctive. Unlike
English for other purposes, English for Business has some typical features. Texts on Business
English generally associate with negotiations, contracts, marketing, selling, buying and the
like.
It is the fact that any Business English materials today need to draw on authentic
sources and achieve a high degree of validity in the eyes of the learners and teachers who use
them. It is true to Intelligent Business, which is developed in collaboration with The
Economist magazine. Therefore, reading texts in Intelligent Business draws on this source of
authoritative and topical articles on the business world.
The organization of information in the reading texts of this course book, on one hand,
shares the common characteristics of other reading texts, on the other hand, has its own
characteristics. That is, the information is grouped into topics. Topics are extremely various,
authentic and related to different aspects of the business world. It is easily recognized that
reality and authenticity of the topics as well as language in use are one of the most striking
features of the reading texts.

18
In addition to it, cohesion is the main characteristic of text structures in the course book
reading texts. According to Halliday (1976:4), “cohesion refers to relations of the meaning
that exist within the text and that define it as a text”. Cohesion is part of the language system
and it is expressed partly through grammar and vocabulary. There is no text without these
characteristics. It is true for English for Business. That is to say, the lowest frequency belongs
to “substitutions” and “conjunctions” such as “and, or for example, also, in addition,
moreover, etc”. This may due to the features of ESP texts that are required to be exact and
clearly stated. In contrast, “references” and “repetitions” are major grammatical cohesive
devices. References include demonstrative pronouns such as this, that, these, those and
personal pronouns like it, they. They refer to a word or words mentioned earlier in the
sentence or paragraph. Their function is to take the readers’ thought back to something that
has already been mentioned. In addition to the grammatical cohesion, lexical cohesion is
expressed through “synonyms”. The appearance of this category is about as twice as that for
“substitutions”. Therefore, it is important to provide students with knowledge of cohesion in
order to help them comprehend a certain paragraph or an entire reading text in the course book
2.2.2.2 Characteristics of reading exercises
Like typical exercises in ESP reading, reading exercises in the course book comprise
such types as comprehension questions, true or false, multiple choice, matching, gap filling,
sentence completion, summarizing and vocabulary exercises. Among these, comprehension
questions and true or false are the most popular types of exercises. Let us take an example.
The reading text titled “The kids are all right in unit 15, Motivation”, (see appendix 2)
includes the following types of exercises:
1. Read the article on the opposite page and find four reasons why some companies are
trying to attract young workers.
2. Read the article again and answer the following questions.
1. What does Capital One offer its employees?
2. What five things are the most important to young people in their work?
3. Which of the following things were generally true in the past (P) and which are true
today (T), according to the article?

19
1. Office culture is formal.
2. People only become top managers after years of loyal service.
3. Companies can grow rapidly and also fail suddenly.
4. Workers have to show respect for their superiors.
5. Companies prefer workers who understand e-business.
6. People work for the same company all their lives.
7. Young people have many opportunities to show their creativity.
2.2.3 Current situation of teaching the course book
2.2.3.1 Length of the course and time allocation for reading skill
Intelligent Business (pre-intermediate) is used as a main source of material at faculty of
foreign language, Academy of Finance to 1
st
year students major in English. The total time for
the course book is 200 periods (= 12 credits), which is divided into two terms of the academic
year. Out of it, the time for reading skill is 60 periods (= 4 credits). Each week the students
have three 45minute periods for reading skill. In general, in the course book, Intelligent
Business (pre-intermediate), reading skill is taught integratedly with other skills in each unit.
Each unit lasts between 12 and 15 periods depending on the length and difficulty of its
content.
2.2.3.2 Teaching facilities
Teaching facilities are considered significant and may affect the teaching process
positively or negatively. Actually, the teaching facilities at Faculty of Foreign Languages are
poorly equipped. There are two laboratories for Foreign Languages, yet two of them have been
out of order for five years. There is one library but it largely provides books of Economics
written in Vietnamese, not in English. Even in the Academy’s library, there is not a series of
books Intelligent Business, so we had to order the book directly from the publisher abroad.
Both overhead projector and projector are equipped in classrooms. Unfortunately, no sound
devices are attached to them. Teachers, therefore, can not employ them efficiently during their
teaching hours. The classroom is also not specially designed for language learning. It is very

20
big, housing over 70 students. A board, chalk, cassette player and textbook are main teaching
equipment in every class.
2.2.3.3 Students and their background
The students learning Intelligent Business (pre-intermediate), at Faculty of Foreign
Languages are the full-time students at 1
st
year, aging from 17-20. Most of them are female
students. On average, 2 to 3 out of 32 students in a class are male students. English is one
subject that they have to take in their entrance exam. Therefore, they are supposed to have
acquired good General English. But it is the fact that their English competence is not equal.
Another fact is that the students come from different areas in Vietnam. Some of them are from
the countryside while others come from the cities. As a consequence, there have existed
problems related to individual difference in learning styles, background, attitudes, motivation,
etc.
What is more, although students have learnt English for at least three years, this is the
first time they have had opportunity to deal with English in economics. Therefore, most of
them have to face difficulties when having discussions about topics related to business such as
Price, Insurance, Productivity, etc. due to the lack of terminology in business.
Another problem on the part of students is that, many students do not have the habit of
learning independently and tend to depend largely on the given textbooks and the teachers for
knowledge. They become passive in English class. This dependent habit of learning is an
obstacle to their learning process.
2.2.4 Summary
This chapter has presented some theoretical background for the study to the extent of
reading and reading comprehension, ESP and Reading comprehension in ESP. In addition,
course book “ Intelligent Business” ( pre-intermediate) and the current context of learning
reading skill in the book have been introduced with a view to work out problems encountered
by the students at FFL, Academy of Finance. The next chapter will be a closer look into the
methodology used to carry out the study.


21
Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY
In the previous chapter, theoretical background has been mentioned in order to support
the study. This succeeding chapter will shed the light on the methodology applied in the study
by discussing in detail the context of the study, the participants, the instruments and the
procedures of data collection and analysis.
3.1 Context of the study
This study was conducted at the faculty of foreign languages, Academy of Finance,
which is one of the main universities that train accountants, auditors, bankers, financial
controllers, and people of professions who need English in their jobs. The faculty of foreign
languages (FFL) has been in operation for 2 years. Students at the FFL have to take a four-
year course in which English is their major subject. Since the last two years, the number of
students who study at the FFL has accounted for only a very small proportion of all the
students at Academy of Finance, which is about 240 students. FFL is a newly-established one.
Therefore, it has received a lot of attention from many people, that is, from the Director to
other colleagues in Academy of Finance.
Like many other subjects, English is taught in a formal setting, namely a classroom.
The teaching of English is divided into two stages. During the first stage (consisting of the
first two years) the students have to deal with two main text books, including Intelligent
Business (both course book and skill book) and North Star (for four language skills). Usually,
two or three teachers are in charge of a class, and each of them is responsible for teaching two
language skills using either Intelligent Business or North Star. In the second stage, students are
required to learn English in Accounting, Finance, Economics, Auditing, grammar, phonetics,
semantics and other subjects in English such as English and American literature, cross-cultural
communication, etc.
The students have English classes almost every working day. However, class time
allocation for the reading skill might not be sufficient. There are only three 45minute periods
of reading per week for the first and second year students, the third-year students have only
two periods and the fourth-year students do not have any. It is obvious that at the faculty

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