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Journal of Teaching Language Skills
  [10 followers]  Follow
  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Online) 1020-8576
   Published by Shiraz University Homepage  [14 journals]
  • A Comparative Study of Thematicity in the Argumentative Writing of
           University EFL Students and ...

    • Abstract: The present study aimed to find out thematic organization and progression in the argumentative writing of Iranian learners of English, representing two levels of language proficiency, and the introduction section of published RAs of Applied Linguistics. For this aim, 60 articles were downloaded from three journals and also 92 MA and BA students majoring English Language Teaching and English Literature were selected. Then, three topics were used for gathering data from students. Of the written argumentative compositions, only 67 were chosen for the next phase of the study. These compositions together with the RAs were analyzed based on Halliday’s (1985) model of thematic structure and the revised model of Danes’ (1974) thematic progression patterns. The results of Chi-square suggested that there was a significant difference in the thematic structure of the essays written by MA students and the introduction section of RAs. It was concluded that thematicity can be effectively applied in classrooms to help students in writing. Students will know where they are losing their effectiveness in their arguments due to problems with either thematic progression or thematic selection, or both. The findings of this study can be effectively applied in teaching writing skills.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • Oral Pushed Output: the Route to Long-term Grammatical Accuracy

    • Abstract: This study investigates the impact of oral pushed output on the learning and retention of English perfect tenses. During the study, a pre-test was administered to 22 freshmen majoring in English translation. The participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups. Then for 6 sessions both groups received explicit instructions on English perfect tenses. Every session, the experimental group recorded their oral performances on some picture description and translation tasks whose completion entailed the use of the instructed language form, while the control group merely did some conventional multiple choice tests covering the instructed structures. Following the treatment sessions, a post-test and 4 weeks later a delayed post- test was run. Analysis of the data through repeated measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) supported the facilitative effects of oral pushed output on the learning and retention of English perfect tenses. The finding of the study can have some implications for English Language Teaching (ELT) materials developers and practitioners.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • An Assessment Scheme for ELT Performance: An Iranian Case of Farhangian

    • Abstract: Accountability concerns in language education call for the development of more valid and authentic measures of assessment. In light of these concerns, performance assessment has received increasing interest in the context of teacher education programs and teacher licensing over the last decade. In Iran, a recent policy adopted by Farhangian University aims at assessing the professional competencies of its ELT graduates by requiring them to go through a performance assessment as part of the licensing requirements. Mounting concerns regarding the validity of traditional tests used for teacher certification (Mitchell, Robinson, Plake, & Knowles, 2001) have motivated Farhangian University to develop its own performance assessment. Therefore, the present study explored the components of the performance assessment through detailed analysis of the Curriculum Document of the English major, review of literature, and investigation of the stakeholders' perspectives. To this end, in this exploratory study, convenience, purposive, and cluster sampling procedures were used for the selection of the teacher educators, student-teachers, and mentor teachers. Then, in-depth interviews were conducted with the stakeholders. Finally, based on the content analysis of the above-mentioned sources which resulted in a strong agreement, a performance assessment scheme with seventeen items was developed. However, results of the factor analysis yielded a thirteen-factor performance assessment scheme to be used as the criterion for assessing the professional competencies of student-teachers.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • The Role of Private Speech in the Iranian EFL Learners’ Construction
           of Reasoning

    • Abstract: The cognitive approaches to second language acquisition and the learners’ effort in the process of learning a second language have attracted a lot of attention. Therefore, the present study investigated the impact of higher order thinking enhancing techniques on teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) students’ reasoning as determined by their private speech productions. In so doing, those EFL learners who had to participate in reading comprehension course, were considered. Since the study utilized a quasi-experimental design, 30 participants were assigned to control and 30 to experimental group based on convenience sampling. The results of pretest administration designated that the participants were homogeneous regarding their language proficiency as indicated by Babel Test (2013), as well as their reasoning power, as indicated by Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (W-GCTA) (2010). The participants in the experimental group were taught in order to improve their reasoning power based on six reading comprehension texts. W-GCTA’s two subsections of deduction and inference making which included reasoning-gap tasks were employed as a posttest. The participants’ private speech productions were recorded, while they were engaged in carrying out such tasks. The learners’ private speech productions were recorded, transcribed, categorized, and analyzed by SPSS software using t-test and one-way repeated measures ANOVA. Data analysis indicated that private speech fell into four categories had a positive and significant effect on learners’ reasoning. Higher order thinking enhancing techniques were also found to have significant influences on the experimental group in increasing their private speech productions and enhancing their reasoning.
      PubDate: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • Development of Fluency, Accuracy, and Complexity in Productive Skills of
           EFL learners across ...

    • Abstract: This study was an attempt to investigate the developmental rate of fluency, accuracy and complexity among 12 EFL learners within the framework of chaos complexity theory. To carry out this study, 6 female and 6 male participants in two levels of proficiency (pre-and upper-intermediate) were put in two classes taught by the same teacher and following the same course. Every two months (for a period of four months) they were asked to write a narrative using the pictorial sequence of a story, and they were also asked to tell the same story orally after three days. Their productions were analyzed for fluency, accuracy and complexity (lexical and grammatical). The results, compared inter and inrta-individually, revealed that there was no common pattern of development among different learners with different proficiency or gender. A closer examination of the oral and written productions of these learners showed that the emergence of complexity, fluency, and accuracy could be seen as a system adapting to a changing context, in which the language resources of each individual were uniquely transformed through use and in which chaos, dynamicity, unpredictability, and self-organization were clearly observed in the participants’ productions.  
      PubDate: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • An Empirical Examination of the Association between Individual Differences
           Variables and ...

    • Abstract: The present study was designed to initially test a model of the role of a set of cognitive (namely, aptitude and working memory) and motivational (namely, language learning goals, self-efficacy beliefs and self-regulation strategy use) individual differences variables in writing performance of a group of Iranian undergraduate EFL learners and, subsequently, to identify the possible differences in the writing quality and composing behavior of learners with different individual characteristics. A convenient sample of 125 BA level students of English Language Teaching and Literature from three state universities in Iran took part in the study. As for the data collection procedure, these participants, in various time intervals, wrote an argumentative essay, responded to the composing process scale, completed the aptitude and working memory measures and filled in the questionnaires exploring their motivational propensities, self-efficacy beliefs and self-regulatory strategy use in writing. The collected data were analyzed by using Path Analysis and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA). Due to some problems like small sample size and idiosyncratic nature of the data, the model did not give satisfactory fit indexes. However, it was found that cognitive variables were more strongly correlated with the writing competence of the learners than the motivational ones. More specifically, the construct of foreign language aptitude had the highest potential to account for the writing competence of the learners and the learners having different levels of this construct were different from each other in terms of writing quality and composing processes employed while writing.
      PubDate: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • Task Condition and EFL Learners’ Individual Differences: The
           Mediation of Tolerance of ...

    • Abstract: Drawing on Robinson’s cognition hypothesis, the study attempted to examine how task conditions influence EFL learners’ oral performance and whether learners’ individual differences in terms of tolerance of ambiguity and self-efficacy mediate the effects of such conditions. To this end, 62 Iranian intermediate EFL learners from private language institutes in Tehran performed four dyadic decision-making tasks manipulated along task conditions of information distribution and goal orientation. Their performance was measured through complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF) indices. Their tolerance of ambiguity and self-efficacy were assessed using separate questionnaires. The results indicated that information distribution and goal orientation could significantly impact the participants’ performance on the tasks. As to the CAF indices, it seemed that Skehan’s (2016) trade-off hypothesis was a better fit than Robinson’s (2015) cognition hypothesis since trade-offs were found between complexity and accuracy/fluency. The results of the correlations revealed that there were a number of significant positive relationships between tolerance of ambiguity and the CAF indices on the one hand and self-efficacy and the CAF indices on the other. While the former relationships did not confirm the specific prediction of the cognition hypothesis, the latter relationships did. Overall, the findings contribute to Robinson’s hypothesis concerned with the effects of task conditions on oral performance and the mediating role of individual differences, and have implications for task sequencing and task-based teaching.
      PubDate: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • Task Complexity Manipulation and Accuracy in Writing Performance

    • Abstract: This study aimed to investigate the impact of task sequencing, along +/- reasoning demands dimension, on writing task performance in terms of accuracy.  The study was motivated by Robinson’s Cognition Hypothesis (CH) as well as previous studies investigating the relationships between task complexity and second language production. The participants of the study were 90 intermediate students at the Islamic Azad University, Shahr-e-Qods Branch, chosen from three classes based on their performance on the Preliminary English Test (PET). The participants in the three classes were assigned to three groups: Experimental 1, Experimental 2, and a Control group. At first, the students in all groups took part in the writing pre-test. Next, the treatment sessions including 8 sessions of picture description task performance began, during which the first experimental group received a series of picture description tasks based on a randomized order of cognitive complexity. The second experimental group received the same tasks, but ordered from simple to complex, based on their required reasoning demands.  The control group, however, received some writing activities from the course book. Finally, during the last session, the post- test was administered to all participants. The results of the data analysis showed a significant positive impact for sequencing tasks from simple to complex on accuracy in writing task performance.
      PubDate: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • Can Scaffolding Mechanisms of Structuring and Problematizing Facilitate
           the Transfer of ...

    • Abstract: A pivotal issue in research on writing concerns whether the knowledge of how genres are constructed and learned in one discipline/genre can be transferred to other contexts, genres, and disciplines. Yet, studies conducted so far have not presented a unified and complete view of how various writing instructional techniques can result in transferability. This study examined the effect of structuring and problematizing scaffolding mechanisms and the mediating effect of learners’ proficiency level on a cohort of Iranian English learners’ ability to transfer the acquired genre-based knowledge to a new discourse mode. Four groups of thirty pre-intermediate learners chosen from eight intact classes and four groups of advanced learners selected from eight intact classes participated in this study. The performance of the participants in structuring scaffolds, problematizing scaffolds, and combined structuring and problematizing scaffolds conditions were compared to that of the control groups. The results of a two-way ANCOVA revealed that scaffolding mechanisms could significantly result in genre-transferability. The results also suggested that scaffolding mechanisms brought about the best results when offered simultaneously. Besides, the result yielded no significantly moderating effect for learners’ proficiency level. Implications for classrooms are discussed.
      PubDate: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • A Multimodal Approach toward Teaching for Transfer: A Case of
           Team-Teaching in ESAP Writing Courses

    • Abstract: This paper presents a detailed examination of learning transfer from an English for Specific Academic Purposes course to authentic discipline-specific writing tasks. To enhance transfer practices, a new approach in planning writing tasks and materials selection was developed. Concerning the conventions of studies in learning transfer that acknowledge different learning preferences, the instructional resources were designed to be multimodal to engage all participants in construing the principles of academic writing. To promote the relevance of writing practices and their transferability to future professional settings and to ensure the success of the multimodal presentations, a practice of team-teaching between the English Language and content lecturers was rigorously embraced. A sample population of 28 postgraduate medical students from Jondi Shapur University of Medical Sciences in Ahvaz participated in this research. The data were collected through interviews and writing samples throughout a whole semester and were subsequently analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively based on James' (2009) checklist of writing outcomes. The results indicated that the instruction did stimulate transfer from the course to the authentic tasks notably in the skills associated with organization and language accuracy; however, the transfer of some outcomes appeared to be constrained particularly the use of punctuation marks. Implications of the findings for theory, practice, and future research in discipline-specific writing practices are discussed.
      PubDate: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +010
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Heriot-Watt University
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