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  Journal of Teaching Language Skills
  [4 followers]  Follow
  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Online) 1020-8576
   Published by Shiraz University Homepage  [12 journals]
  • Comparing confidence-based and conventional scoring methods: The case of
           an English grammar class

    • Abstract: This study aimed at investigating the reliability, predictive validity, and self-esteem and gender bias of confidence-based scoring. This is a method of scoring in which the test takers receive a positive or negative point based on their rating of their confidence in an answer. The participants, who were 49 English-major students taking their grammar course, were given 8 multiple-choice tests during the semester. These tests were scored both conventionally and in a confidence-based manner, and the reliabilities of these two score sets were compared. Each score set was correlated with the final exam scores to compare their predictive validity. Gender and self-esteem bias of the confidence-based scores of the eight tests were also calculated. The results showed that there was no difference between the reliabilities of the two sets of scores. Confidence-based scores had better predictive validity than conventional scores, but this difference was not significant. Confidence-based scores were not biased against a specific gender and specific levels of self-esteem. The conclusion is that confidence-based scoring is as good as conventional scoring and the choice between these two scoring methods depends on the teacher’s discretion and the teaching context.
      PubDate: Tue, 14 Jul 2015 19:30:00 +010
  • The Construct of Interlanguage Pragmatic Learning Strategies:
           Investigating Preferences of High ...

    • Abstract: Interlanguage pragmatics (ILP) has witnessed a growing body of research in the past two decades. One of the under-explored domains of L2 pragmatics is the role of learning strategies specifically tailored for the development of ILP knowledge. Therefore, this investigation aimed to determine the significant interlanguage pragmatic learning strategies (IPLS) used by high vs. low L2 pragmatic achievers. It was conducted in two phases. First, a multiple-choice discourse completion test including five common English speech acts was administered to 500 EFL learners. Next, 80 highest and 80 lowest ILP performers were orally interviewed and their answers were audio-taped. The most important interlanguage pragmatic learning strategies were extracted from L2 learners' interviews. The elicited IPLS were arranged based on Cohen's (2005, 2010) classification, the findings of the study itself, and an analogy with general language learning strategies (LLS) classification suggested by Oxford (1990). The extracted IPLS were divided into six categories of memory-related, cognitive, social, affective, metacognitive and compensatory IPLS. The high ILP performers used more strategies in all the six categories. The main conclusion of this study is that the use of more IPLS means a better ILP knowledge of speech acts. The most significant implication of the current study was that ILPS need to be taught to L2 learners to enhance their ILP knowledge in general and their speech-act-specific competence in particular.
      PubDate: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 19:30:00 +010
  • Multiple Intelligences, Dialogic-Based Portfolio Assessment, and the
           Enhancement of Higher ...

    • Abstract: Abstract Controversy has not been yet resolved among L2 researchers as how to enhance higher-order thinking skills (HOTSs) in EFL contexts. Responding to the growing need to foster thinking skills, many L2 educators have recently attempted to investigate the effect of diverse teaching strategies on HOTS. Yet, few studies have focused on the infusion of Gardner’s (1999) theory of multiple intelligences (MI), dialogic teaching, and portfolio assessment in improving HOTSs. Thus, the present study aimed to explore the impact of MI-oriented dialogic-based portfolio assessment on the higher-order thinking skills of 42 Iranian advanced EFL learners studying at Jehad Daneshgahi Institute, Karaj Branch. The participants in 2 intact classes were assigned to a control or dialogic-based portfolio assessment (DBPA) group and an experimental or MI-oriented dialogic-based portfolio assessment (MIDBPA) group. In the experimental group, the participants’ MI was initially measured through Christison’s (1998) MI checklist to group the participants with the same strong intelligence in 1 group. The MANOVA indicated the superiority of the MIDBPA group over the control group in the use of HOTSs. The findings highlight the virtue of taking participants’ dominant intelligences as a criterion for task selection, even in dialogic-based learning environments, as an instructional technique for the enhancement of HOTSs. Pedagogical implications are discussed, and recommendations for further research are suggested.
      PubDate: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 19:30:00 +010
  • Effects of Task-based Academic Listening on High School EFL Students'
           Listening Comprehension: ...

    • Abstract: Task-based language teaching (TBLT) has been considered as an effective language teaching methodology. However, its applicability for lower-proficiency learners in EFL contexts has not been adequately justified. Moreover, the possible mediating effect of the experiential learning styles on academic listening TBLT has not been targeted in the literature, a gap that this study attempts to fill. To this end, male pre-intermediate Iranian EFL learners (N=88) in four experiential learning styles (n=22), selected purposefully through the experiential learning style questionnaire, took part in the study. The study utilized a time series design and all participants received the TBLT. To get some insights regarding the learners' attitudes toward the TBLT, the researchers implemented a perception questionnaire at the end of the treatment. The results of a mixed-method ANOVA for within-group difference revealed that the task-based instruction significantly affected pre-intermediate EFL learners’ performance on academic listening tests. A between-group comparison of four experiential learning styles also confirmed that the learners with different learning styles performed similarly on the tests. It was also found that learners had positive attitudes toward such instruction. The results have clear implications for foreign language teaching, teacher training and curriculum design with regard to the selection of appropriate methodology for teaching academic listening.
      PubDate: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 19:30:00 +010
  • 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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