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Journal of Teaching Language Skills
  [8 followers]  Follow
  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Online) 1020-8576
   Published by Shiraz University Homepage  [13 journals]
  • Developing a Questionnaire for Assessing Iranian EFL Teachers’ Critical
           Cultural Awareness (CCA)

    • Abstract: Critical cultural awareness as a component of intercultural competence (Byram, 1997, 2012) has received the extensive attention of scholars in the fields of language teaching, cultural studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, communication studies, etc. in the recent decades. However, no instrument has ever been developed to assess this construct among Iranian EFL teachers. To fill this gap, in the first phase of the present study a theoretical framework for critical cultural awareness and its components was developed through reviewing the literature and conducting interviews with ELT experts. In the second phase, a questionnaire was developed and piloted with 370 participants who were available and willing to participate in the study. More specifically, the 37 items of the newly-developed ‘CCA' scale were subjected to principal component analysis which revealed the presence of three components. These phases led to the development of a questionnaire with three components and 37 items: (1) ‘CCA in ELT Programs' including 20 items, (2) ‘CCA in ELT Textbooks and Materials' including 13 items, and (3) ‘CCA in General Terms' including four items. The findings of this study may shed some light on this fuzzy subject and help researchers assess Iranian EFL teachers' critical cultural awareness.
      PubDate: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:30:00 +010
  • Impact of Direct Corrective Feedback (DCF) Through Electronic Portfolio
           (EP) Platform on the ...

    • Abstract: While some researchers have questioned the efficacy of corrective feedback (CF), other researchers believe that CF can be effective if implemented through new technology types, including e-portfolio (EP). However, whether EP can be used as a medium of providing CF for language learners at different levels of language proficiency is still unknown. The purpose of the present study, therefore, was twofold: (a) to examine the writing performance of EFL learners across three levels of language proficiency receiving direct corrective feedback (DCF) via EP, and (b) to investigate which language proficiency group benefits more from DCF provided via EP. For the purposes of the present study, sixty (60) Iranian EFL learners who were divided into three levels of language proficiency at Sharif language center in Tehran, Iran participated in this study. The results of data analysis showed statistically significant differences for two components of writing—content, and mechanics—between beginning and intermediate, and beginning and advanced language learners. The results also showed that the higher the language proficiency level of language learners, the more they benefit from the provision of DCF through EP. These findings suggest that EP may be a viable option to supply Iranian EFL learners across levels of language proficiency with DCF. The article concludes with a call for testing the threshold-level hypothesis that may exist for language learners to use EP.
      PubDate: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:30:00 +010
  • Interactional complexity development, interactional demonstrators and
           interaction density in ...

    • Abstract: This study aimed at investigating the potential of collaborative and e-collaborative writing modalities in developing interactional complexity, utilization of interactional demonstrators and density of interaction. To this end, 66 Iranian intermediate female English as foreign language learners (EFL) were selected to participate in this study according to their scores on Oxford Placement Test (OPT). Participant assignment into experimental group was done on the basis of computer literacy criterion. The conversation analysis of transcribed conversations in collaborative writing and log analysis of e-collaborative writing on e-writing forum indicated that collaborative writing led to more complex interaction than e-collaborative writing on the basis of interaction complexity measure. Significant differences were found in the frequency of interactional resources and demonstrators in two writing modalities using chi-square analysis. Informational demonstrators occurred more in e-collaborative writing, and interactional, attitude and empathic resources occurred more in collaborative writing. Interaction density measure was also in favor of collaborative writing. The results implied that implementation of collaborative tasks is potential technique for the development and assessment of interactional competence.
      PubDate: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:30:00 +010
  • Investigating the Impact of Response Format on the Performance of Grammar
           Tests: Selected and ...

    • Abstract: When constructing a test, an initial decision is choosing an appropriate item response format which can be classified as selected or constructed. In large-scale tests where time and finance are of concern, the use of response chosen known as multiple-choice items is quite widespread. This study aimed at investigating the impact of response format on the performance of structure tests. Concurrent common item equating design was used to compare multiple-choice items with their constructed response stem-equivalent in a test of grammar. The Rasch model was employed to compare item difficulties, fit statistics, ability estimates and reliabilities of the two tests. Two independent sample t-tests were also conducted to investigate whether the differences among the item difficulty estimates and ability estimates of the two tests were statistically significant.  A statistically significant difference was observed in item difficulties. However, no significant difference was detected between the ability estimates, fit statistics, and reliabilities of the two tests.
      PubDate: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:30:00 +010
  • The Development of Reading and Operation Span Tasks in Persian as Measures
           of Working Memory ...

    • Abstract: This paper presented two complex span tasks in Persian as measures of working memory capacity (WMC). Firstly, the construct of working memory (WM) and possible WM measures that could assess this construct efficiently were critically reviewed. Accordingly, as measures of domain-general components of WM, a reading span task and an operation span task which were documented to assess this construct efficiently were chosen and developed. Following this, the developed tasks were conducted on 151 teenage learners in a foreign language institute in West Azerbaijan Province. Then, the administration and scoring of the measures were described step by step. The tasks were validated against each other as well as against a digit span task which assessed the domain-specific aspect of WMC as well. The result showed a strong correlation between the reading span task and the operation span task, and a moderate correlation of either of the functions with the digit span task. Consequently, both of the developed span tasks can be valid indicators of WM capacity for Iranian individuals and can be used in a wide array of research domains in second language acquisition studies.  
      PubDate: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:30:00 +010
  • On Situating the Stance of Estrogen in the Acquisition and Recall of L2
           Lexical Items: A ...

    • Abstract: The present study examined whether the advantage of females on L2 vocabulary recall and acquisition is partly as a result of estrogen secretion or not. In this regard, through volunteer and convenience sampling 15 intermediate EFL female participants aged between 23-31 were selected from the subject pool of 55 participants. The participants were studying at Iranian Language Center located in Bandar-e Anzali, Iran. To ensure the homogeneity among the participants, Babel English Placement test was used. In the course of study, the participants were taught two series of 42 lexical items in each phase of menstrual cycles (i.e., follicular and luteal). The treatment period was held six sessions at each phase. Each session took 30 minutes. To compare the performance of the participants, immediately after the sixth session, a piloted teacher-made vocabulary recall test was administered at each phase. Finally, the mean scores of participants' performance in the two phases were contrasted through a paired samples t test. The results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between the participants' recall scores in the follicular and luteal phases. Moreover, to investigate the impact of estrogen secretion on participants' L2 vocabulary acquisition, two months after the treatment, the participants took a piloted teacher-made vocabulary acquisition test at each phase of menstrual cycle. The results of paired samples t test indicated a significant difference between the participants' vocabulary acquisition scores in the two phases.
      PubDate: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:30:00 +010
  • Iranian EFL Learners’ Perception of the Efficacy and Affordance of
           Activity Theory-based ...

    • Abstract: Second language writing instruction has been greatly influenced by the growing importance of technology and the recent shift of paradigm from a cognitive to a social orientation in second language acquisition (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). Therefore, the applications of computer assisted language learning and activity theory have been suggested as a promising framework for writing studies. The present study aimed to investigate the perception of Iranian EFL learners of the efficacy and affordance of activity theory integrated with computer assisted language learning in writing improvement. To this end, sixty-seven sophomores majoring in English translation were selected as the participants of this study. The writing instruction was geared to an e-learning platform based on the six elements of activity theory--subject, object, mediating artifacts, rules, community, and division of labor--appropriate for the writing course. The students were assigned to write nine expository paragraphs on six different developmental patterns and share various relevant materials on the platform during the treatment. Their assignments were carefully monitored and evaluated by the instructor. Upon the completion of the treatment, the students completed a closed-ended questionnaire and an open-ended questionnaire and took part in a semi-structured focus group interview to express their perception. The results showed that the students held favorable perception toward the use of computer assisted language learning within the activity theory framework. The findings of the study also revealed that there was a significant difference among the students’ perception concerning the four mediating elements of activity theory.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:30:00 +010
  • Cooperative learning pedagogy: A response to an urgent need in Iranian EFL
           reading ...

    • Abstract: While the advantages of cooperative learning activities have been extensively acknowledged in L2 literature, this type of pedagogy has not received due attention in Iranian EFL context. Indeed, the traditional reading method still dominates in most Iranian EFL university classes even though it fails to meet its main objective which is training competent EFL readers. In an attempt to address this challenge, the current case study incorporated cooperative learning pedagogy into two EFL reading comprehension classes in a medium size university in Iran and sought learners’ behaviors and reflections toward the student-centered activities they engaged in during an academic semester. To serve that end, two volunteer cohorts of learners (less and more experienced) from two EFL reading comprehension classes were recruited. Class observation field notes along with focus group interviews comprised the data collection instruments of the study. While the learners’ behaviors and activities were recorded in observation field notes throughout the semester, the two focus groups were interviewed right after the course had finished. Data analyses indicated that the learners expressed favorable attitudes toward the new approach they were involved in, even though some issues were raised by the interviewees. Based on the findings, some pedagogical implications and recommendations are proposed for efficient incorporation of cooperative learning activities in EFL reading comprehension classes where have traditionally been dominated by teachers.
      PubDate: Fri, 22 Dec 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • The Impact of Raters’ and Test Takers’ Gender on Oral Proficiency
           Assessment: A Case of ...

    • Abstract: The application of Multifaceted Rasch Measurement (MFRM) in rating test takers’ oral language proficiency has been investigated in some previous studies (e.g., Winke, Gass, & Myford, 2012). However, little research so far has ever documented the effect of test takers’ genders on their oral performances and few studies have investigated the relationship between raters’ gender differences and the awarded scores to male and female test takers. Thus, this study aimed to address the above-mentioned issues. Twenty English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers rated the oral performances of 300 test takers. The outcomes demonstrated that test takers’ gender differences did not have any significant role in their performance differences when they were rated by the raters of the same or opposite gender. Besides, there was no significant relationship between raters’ gender differences and the scores they awarded to male and female test takers. The findings also reiterated that raters of different genders did not demonstrate bias in rating test takers of the opposite or same gender. Moreover, no significant difference was observed regarding male and female raters’ biases towards the rating scale categories. The outcomes of the study showed that both male and female raters assign fairly similar scores to test takers. This suggests no evidence based on which either male or female raters must be excluded from the rating process. The findings imply that there is no need to neutralize the impact of gender for a more valid and reliable assessment.
      PubDate: Fri, 22 Dec 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • Sociological and Aesthetic Senses of Culture Represented in Global and
           Localized ELT Textbooks

    • Abstract: The relationship between language and culture has become a rich source of inquiry in the context of English language teaching. Learning materials can depict cultural content in different cultural senses, namely aesthetic, sociological, semantic, and pragmatic. The present study aimed to investigate the way cultural aspects are represented in the reading and dialog sections of global (American English File) and localized (The ILI English Series) ELT textbooks which are widely used in Iran.The framework adopted to analyze the cultural contents of the materials was Adaskou, Britten, and Fahsi (1990) to explore how culture in aesthetic and sociological senses is realized in the series. Findings of the study demonstrated that more emphasis was put on the sociological sense and that this aspect of culture dominated the aesthetic sense in the cultural contents of the two series. The cultural and culture-free contents represented in the two global and localized series were found to be quite different in frequency and sense realization. Most of the contents in the localized series were culture-free, while the culture-free contents in the global series were reasonably less than the sociological and aesthetic senses. Additionally, the findings revealed that compared with the global series, the localized textbook was less representative of cultural features in sociological and aesthetic senses. The findings imply that ELT materials should be inclusive enough regarding the sociological and aesthetic senses of culture to help learners get engaged in the development of their cultural understanding.
      PubDate: Fri, 22 Dec 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • Process-oriented Listening Instruction: A study of Iranian EFL
           Teachers’ Stated and Actual ...

    • Abstract: Research on teacher cognition with respect to listening instruction has not been sufficiently touched upon. The present case study aimed to investigate Iranian EFL teachers’ stated practices, their perceptions of how effective those practices are, and their actual classroom practices of two common process-oriented listening instructional approaches namely, strategy-based instruction (SBI) and metacognitive instruction (MCI). To this end, a mixed methods design was utilized. Five experienced EFL teachers were required to be observed and to fill a self-report questionnaire. The findings from the questionnaire revealed teachers’ relative but insufficient use of the two process-oriented approaches. Regarding the effectiveness of the process-oriented approaches the majority of the techniques were perceived by the teachers as effective. In addition, the result of the observation showed that process-oriented approaches were conspicuously absent in the teachers’ actual classroom practices. Finally, pedagogical implications for EFL teachers, teacher educators and material developers in terms of how best to teach listening are discussed.
      PubDate: Fri, 08 Dec 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • The effect of reducing lexical and syntactic complexity of texts on
           reading comprehension

    • Abstract: The present study investigated the effect of different types of text simplification (i.e., reducing lexical and syntactic complexity of texts) on reading comprehension of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners. Sixty female intermediate EFL learners from three intact classes in Tabarestan Language Institute in Tehran participated in the study. The intact classes were assigned to three experimental groups and to homogenize the groups, the researchers administered a general proficiency test (TOEFL, 2003) to the participants. The results revealed no significant difference among the groups in general proficiency and reading ability. Then four reading comprehension texts from TOEFL test (2005) were simplified through lexical simplification, syntactic simplification or lexical-syntactic simplification techniques. The simplified texts, along with their reading comprehension (RC) questions, formed the three versions of the post-test, each version containing either lexically, syntactically or lexical-syntactically simplified texts. Each group took one version of the post-test. The scores were analyzed through one-way ANOVA and the results revealed a significant difference among the groups. The post hoc test indicated that lexical-syntactic simplification group significantly outperformed the lexical simplification group and performed considerably better than the syntactic simplification group. There was no significant difference between the lexical and syntactic simplification groups, although the latter performed better. The results can benefit language teachers, materials developers and researchers.
      PubDate: Mon, 04 Dec 2017 20:30:00 +010
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Heriot-Watt University
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