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  Journal of Teaching Language Skills
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Online) 1020-8576
   Published by Shiraz University Homepage  [11 journals]
  • Acoustic Analysis of Persian EFL Learners' Pronunciation of English Vowels

    • Abstract: This paper reports the results of an experimental study on non-native production of English vowels. Two groups of Persian EFL learners varying in language proficiency were tested on their ability to produce the nine plain vowels of American English. Vowel production accuracy was assessed by means of acoustic measurements. Ladefoged and Maddison’s (1996) F1 F2 measurements for American English vowel space were used as reference values to be compared with the measurements obtained from the production of Persian EFL learners. The acoustic measurements revealed that learners were not able to control acoustic parameters of vowel quality, even for the more similar vowels in the two languages, in a native-like manner due to interference from their native vowel system. Spectral accuracy measures also did not progress toward more native-like values in the productions of the more proficient learners. Interestingly, the positions achieved for the more dissimilar vowels were neither close to their closest L1 counterparts nor close to their native categories. Interpreting this latter result within the Perceptual Assimilation Model proposed by Best (1994), it could be stated that learners established new phonetic categories for the vowel contrasts that were not used in their native phonological system.
      PubDate: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:30:00 +010
       
  • The Relationship between EFL Teachers’ Emotional Intelligence and
           Students’ Motivational ...

    • Abstract: This study explored the relationship between EFL (English as a foreign language) teachers’ emotional intelligence (EI) and their students’ motivational attributes. Additionally, it investigated the contribution of EFL teachers’ EI to students’ motivational factors. To these ends, 30 EFL teachers were selected through convenience sampling from language institutes in Najaf-Abad, and were asked to complete Bar-On’s Emotional Quotient Inventory. Then, Gardner’s Attitude/Motivation Test Battery was administered to 221 randomly selected EFL students from the teachers’ English courses in the language institutes. The results of bivariate correlation and multiple regression analyses revealed that there was a statistically significant and positive relationship between the teachers’ EI and their students’ motivational attributes. Moreover, Adaptability, Interpersonal, and General Mood, three competencies of teachers’ EI, were found to have higher correlations with the students’ motivational attributes. But the unique contributions of the above three EI subdomains as well as Intrapersonal and Stress Management subdomains to the motivational factors were not statistically significant. In general, the teachers’ EI made a moderate contribution to the students' motivation.
      PubDate: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:30:00 +010
       
  • The Investigation of the Perspectives of Iranian EFL Domain Experts on
           Postmethod Pedagogy: A ...

    • Abstract: After the introduction of postmethod pedagogy by Kumaravadivelu with its three principles of particularity, possibility and practicality, a wave of attention was directed towards this so-called 'postmethod era' and its appropriacy and adequacy in satiating the demands of the language learners in this 'brand new world'. This situation has created a healthy debate among the Iranian EFL community as well. The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives of the Iranian EFL domain experts about postmethod pedagogy. In so doing, the Delphi technique was adopted to reach ‘expert’ consensus. The participants of this study were 21 domain experts in the field of applied linguistics in Iran. The Delphi technique was a remarkably quick means of achieving a consensus on postmethod pedagogy for participants. Three waves of data collection were employed in the three rounds of Delphi with the same sample. The findings of this study raised much doubt and uncertainty about both method and post method pedagogy. It was revealed that the Iranian language education has never experienced method in its actual meaning, what it is known as the method has been an eclectic approach any teacher has adhered to simply based on his/her personal taste. Moreover, the findings of the Delphi technique indicated that postmethod pedagogy with its three principles is not applicable in the Iranian context. Finally, the theoretical and practical implications of this study are discussed.
      PubDate: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:30:00 +010
       
  • Collaborative L2 Interactivity in Diverse ZPD-Based Proximal Contexts and
           Interactional ...

    • Abstract: Central to Vygotsky-inspired sociocultural theory (SCT) is the notion of ZPD seen by SLA researchers as a useful framework within which L2 teaching and learning can take place. Van Lier (2004) argues that the ZPD could be activated in diverse proximal contexts (PCs) and is not limited to the expert-novice scenario. . This study probed whether Iranian EFL learners' collaborative task performance within different ZPD-based PCs results in their development of interactional competence (IC). Young's (2011) IC model was used for developing an IC test (ICT) employed at the pretest and posttest times. Three intact EFL listening-speaking classes at a university at southwest of Iran were randomly assigned to the expert-novice, equal-peers, and control (non-ZPD) conditions. The co-constructed interactions of the groups in (a)symmetrical ZPD-based conditions were audio-recorded for further analysis of participants' L2 IC development. A triangulation (quantitative and microgenetic) data-analysis approach was adopted. The results showed that whereas both ZPD groups (equal-peers and expert-novice) outperformed the non-ZPD group on IC posttests, no statistically significant difference was found between participants' IC development in symmetrical and asymmetrical PCs. Further, microgenetic analysis of the ZPD groups' interactions demonstrated how participation and activity in different PCs can effectively trigger awareness of mechanisms and norms of L2 spoken interaction and, in turn, result in IC development. The findings point to the applicability of diverse ZPD-adjusted PCs, composed of equal or unequal participants, in EFL classrooms and also the efficacy of ZPD-based interactive scenarios for students' development of L2 IC.
      PubDate: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:30:00 +010
       
  • Key Lexical Chunks in Applied Linguistics Article Abstracts

    • Abstract: In any discourse domain, certain chunks are particularly frequent and deserve attention by the novice to be initiated and by the expert to maintain a sense of community. To make a relevant contribution to the awareness about applied linguistics texts and discourse, this study attempted to develop lists of lexical chunks frequently used in the abstracts of applied linguistics journals. The abstracts from all the issues of 30 applied linguistics journals which were published before August 1, 2013 were collected. These abstracts which generated a corpus of 2,750,000 words were submitted to the program AntConc for chunk extraction. The long list of chunks in the output was shortlisted based on frequency and inclusiveness of shorter chunks. These were classified into textual and content n-grams. The article also presents the frequent chunks which serve as starting points in bringing up different aspects of research reports. The practical value of the results is briefly discussed at the end of the article.
      PubDate: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:30:00 +010
       
  • Iranian Non-native English Speaking Teachers’ Rating Criteria
           Regarding the Speech Act of ...

    • Abstract: Among topics in the field of pragmatics, some seem to be in a more rigorous need of investigation. Pragmatic assessment and specifically the issue of pragmatic rating are among issues which deserve more thorough consideration. The purpose of this study was to examine rater criteria and its consistency and variability in the assessment of Iranian EFL learners’ production of compliments based on the teachers’ gender and teaching experience of the Iranian non-native English speaking raters (INNESRs). The data for this study were collected through WDCTs rating questionnaire from sixty Iranian EFL teachers and were later analyzed through descriptive statistics, t-tests and Chi-squares. The results of the study showed that Iranian EFL teachers consider seven macro criteria when rating EFL learners’ pragmatic productions regarding the speech act of compliment. The criteria include “politeness”(26.37%), “interlocutors’ characteristics and relationships” (22.83%), “variety and range” (19.68%), “sociopragmatic appropriateness” (14.17%), “sincerity” (10.23%), “complexity” (9.84%), and “linguistic appropriacy” (8.66%). The results of the t-test and chi-squares further showed that whereas there was no significant difference in the teachers’ ratings based on their gender and teaching experience, the difference was significant in the frequency of rating criteria provided by the raters. To conclude, the results of the study reinforces the need for rater training regarding the assessment of pragmatic productions based on pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic norms.
      PubDate: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:30:00 +010
       
  • Task Type and Prompt Effect on Test Performance: A Focus on IELTS Academic
           Writing Tasks

    • Abstract: Recent versions of international high-stakes tests like TOEFL and IELTS have made use of integrated tasks in addition to the traditional independent tasks in a claim to provide a more realistic estimation of the test takers’ language abilities. The present study aimed to investigate how test takers’ performance may differ on such tasks. As such, the test takers’ performance was compared on IELTS Academic Writing Tasks 1 and 2. Whereas Task 1 is an integrated task which calls for graphic interpretation and description, Task 2 is an independent task of writing an argumentative essay. Furthermore, the study also aimed to investigate the effect of writing prompts on the test takers’ performance on such tasks. The study adopted a quasi-experimental design in the form of posttest-only group. Fifty six Iranian EFL learners at Shiraz University were selected based on their availability. After receiving instruction in a semester on how to do the two tasks, they received 4 writing tasks (2 versions of each task with different prompts). The data collected were analyzed through two-way repeated-measures ANOVA. The results indicated that task type did not have a significant effect on the test takers’ writing performance; that is, there were no significant differences between the participants’ performance on the independent and integrated writing tasks. Furthermore, the effect of prompts was only found to be significant on the participants’ performance on task 2 (independent task). The findings provide evidence for higher consistency of scores obtained from different versions of the integrated task.
      PubDate: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:30:00 +010
       
 
 
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