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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  [16 journals]
  • Built-In Learner Participation Potential of Locally- and Globally-Designed
           ELT Materials

    • Abstract: This study aims at empirically measuring a universal criterion for materials evaluation, i.e., learning opportunities, in a locally- and a globally-designed materials. Adopting the conceptual framework of sociocultural theory and its conceptualization of learning as participation (Donato, 2000), we utilized the methodological power of conversation analysis to examine how opportunities for learner participation and, by extension, learning are created whilst the materials are being used. Thirty teachers’ naturally-occurring classroom interaction, evolving from the two types of materials, was videotaped and transcribed line-by-line to identify the interactional contexts in which learner participation opportunities are embedded. Four interactional contexts affording different levels of learner interactional space were prompted by both types of materials. Examining the distribution of contexts revealed that management-oriented and form-oriented contexts were sustained significantly longer in classes with the locally-designed material. The globally-designed material, however, tended to unfold significantly longer skill-oriented and meaning-oriented contexts suggesting higher levels of built-in learner participation potential. The findings of this study raise materials developers’ awareness, especially in periphery communities, about how materials can either marginalize or empower learners in classroom interaction.
      PubDate: Tue, 27 Dec 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • A Social Semiotic Analysis of Social Actors in English-Learning Software

    • Abstract: Using a multimodal critical discourse analysis approach, this study drew upon Kress and Van Leeuwen’s (2006 [1996]) visual grammar and Van Leeuwen’s (2008) social semiotic model to interrogate ways through which social actors of different races are visually and textually represented in four award-winning English-learning software packages. The analysis was based on narrative actional/reactional processes at the ideational level; mood, perspective, social distance, and modality at the interpersonal level; and salience, framing, and vector at the compositional level. The findings revealed that although contemporary multimodal texts have tried to be unbiased and neutral in the verbal mode, there are still traces of discrimination, bias, and stereotyping in the visual mode. The results of this research can be of potential help and use for researchers, pedagogues, material developers, software designers, teachers , and students to become visually literate and get aware of the hidden messages that can be communicated by images in textbooks and multimedia.
      PubDate: Tue, 27 Dec 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • Motivational beliefs, self-regulation and EFL listening achievement: A
           path analysis

    • Abstract: Success in language learning in general and listening comprehension in particular not only depends on the strategies used and the type of instruction but also on different motivational beliefs. Within the expectancy-value theory of motivation and social cognitive view of self-regulation, the present study proposed a path model to simultaneously investigate the relationships between motivational beliefs as defined by listening self-efficacy, three types of goal orientation, task value, and self-regulation of Iranian EFL learners and the unique contribution of each to their listening comprehension score. The proposed path model demonstrated the causal relations among predictors of EFL learners in their listening comprehension score. Based on the results of path analysis, it was revealed that listening self-efficacy, task value and self-regulation had a significant positive effect on students' listening comprehension score. Of the three goal orientations, mastery and performance avoidance goals indicated a positive impact on self-regulation of the participants. But no direct impact of these two kinds of goals on listening achievement was detected. Performance approach goal did not show any impact either direct or indirect on any variable of the study. Correlational analysis demonstrated a significant positive relationship between self-efficacy and mastery goals. It was also found that self-efficacy, performance approach, and mastery goal orientations were significantly but negatively correlated with performance avoidance goals.
      PubDate: Tue, 27 Dec 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • Critical Thinking in Personal Narrative and Reflective Journal Writings by
           Inservice EFL ...

    • Abstract: Recently, there is a need for fostering the critical reflective side of L2 teacher education. This study investigated the implications of personal narrative (PN) and reflective journal (RJ) writing for Iranian EFL teachers’ reflective writing. Sixty (36 women and 24 men) inservice secondary school EFL teachers were selected based on the convenience sampling from Iran. L2 teachers equally divided into PN and RJ writing groups were provided with particular short stories. L2 teachers in the PN writing group engendered PN writings in response to themes of stories; however, L2 teachers in the RJ writing group had to write their reflections on stories in RJ writings. Hatton and Smith’s framework was used for the content analysis of data. The quantitative analysis indicated that PN writings were lengthier than RJ writings. Also, there was a statistically significant difference between mean ranks of descriptive writing and critical reflection writing types signified in PN and RJ writings. However, no statistically significant difference was observed between mean ranks of descriptive reflection and dialogic reflection writing types. Moreover, PN and RJ writings were more descriptive, less descriptive reflective, less and less dialogic reflective, and still less critical reflective. The qualitative analysis revealed that EFL teachers’ PN and RJ writings enjoyed dialogicity. Despite their unwillingness to express voice, findings indicated that Iranian English teachers adopted a more critical perspective through generating PN writings than via engendering RJ writings. In general, the English language teacher education domain in Iran needs a thinking renewal to foster critical L2 teaching.
      PubDate: Mon, 19 Dec 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • Do We Need Discipline-Specific Academic Word Lists? Linguistics
           Academic Word List (LAWL)

    • Abstract: This corpus-based study aimedd at exploring the most frequently-used academic words in linguistics and compare the wordlist with the distribution of high frequency words in Coxhead`s Academic Word List (AWL) and West`s General Service List (GSL) to examine their coverage within the linguistics corpus. To this end, a corpus of 700 linguistics research articles (LRAC), including approximately 4 million words from four main linguistics sub-disciplines (phonology, morphology, semantic and syntax) was established and analyzed on the basis of two criteria; frequency and range. Based on the analysis, a list consisting of 1263 academic word families was produced to provide a useful linguistics academic word list for native and non- native English speakers. Results showed that AWL words account for 10.18 % of the entire LRAC, and GSL words account for 72.48% of the entire LRAC. The findings suggested that of 570 word families in Coxhead`s AWL, 381 (66.84%) word families correspond with the word selections criteria which provide 29.88% of the word families in Linguistics Academic Word List (LAWL). Furthermore, 224 word families that were used frequently in LRAC but had not listed in GSL and AWL were found which accounts for 18.51% of the word families in LAWL with coverage of 5.07% over LRAC, and by comparing with the 2000 GSL, 658 word families encounter with the set word selections criteria. The results have pedagogical implications for EAP practitioners, researchers, and material designers.
      PubDate: Mon, 19 Dec 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • The emergence of various contradictions in Iranian high school English
           education under the new ...

    • Abstract: According to some researchers (Carless, 2003; Hu, 2002; Sakui, 2004), the adoption of CLT in EFL contexts will create certain challenges. Using Engeström’s (1999) human activity system model, the present study investigated the implementation of CLT-based curriculum which was initiated in 2013 in Iranian public schools. Four groups of participants including 23 language teachers, 17 teacher directors, 23 students, and 20 parents took part in the study. Using four semi-structured interviews, the researchers interviewed all participants. Besides, observation of participating teachers’ classes and analysis of relevant documents were used as data collection tools. Grounded theory analysis of the data revealed three main categories explaining the difficulty of CLT implementation in an EFL context like Iran. From an activity theory perspective, these categories indicated that the four layers of contradictions emerged in Iranian English Education as the activity system. The results suggest that not only language teachers as the subjects of the current activity system, but also other components of the activity system, and even other activity systems like teachers’ colleges and in-service programs need to work in tandem in order to overcome the challenges of implementation.
      PubDate: Sat, 29 Oct 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • The Impact of Training EFL Learners in Self-Regulation of Reading on their
           EFL Literal and ...

    • Abstract: Self-regulation is the ability to regulate one’s thoughts and actions to attain goals. Accordingly, self-regulated learning (SRL) involves plans and behaviors to achieve learning goals. With this in mind, in this study we investigated whether training English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners on the basis of a Self-regulated Learning (SRL) model improved their literal and critical reading comprehension. The study also sought to find out whether the learners’ proficiency level could moderate the impact of self-regulation training. Two intact experimental groups were taught self-regulatory reading processes, while two control groups received the traditional, routine reading instruction. The data of the study were collected by College-Level Academic Skills Test (CLAST) reading sub-tests including both critical and literal reading comprehension parts. Statistical analyses showed that self-regulation instruction could significantly improve participants’ EFL literal and critical reading comprehension, but their proficiency level did not moderate the effectof self-regulation training. These findings can encourage EFL teachers to apply SRL strategies to reading tasks and activities.
      PubDate: Tue, 20 Sep 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • Lexis-Based Instruction and IELTS Candidates’ Development of L2
           Speaking Ability: Use of ...

    • Abstract: Although lexis research (e.g., Lewis, 1997; Taguchi, 2008) has already evidenced the possibility of teaching formulaic sequences (FS), further research is still needed to examine the procedures or frameworks through which the approach can be applied and probe the second or foreign language (L2) areas where it demonstrates more relevance. This pretest-posttest quasi-experimental study aimed, firstly, to compare the effects of intensive and extensive lexis-based L2 instructions on the development of IELTS candidates’ speaking performance and, secondly, to explore whether different types of speaking tasks (i.e., monologic vs. dialogic) have any differential effects on the frequency of using FS by L2 learners. To this end, three intact classes including 40 L2 learners preparing themselves for IELTS in a language center in Iran were randomly assigned to one control and two experimental groups. The groups received the same amount of instruction, however differently, two receiving intensive and extensive instructions in FS (or unanalyzed chunks) and the other receiving conventional non-lexis instruction. The results revealed that both lexis groups outperformed the control group pointing to the effectiveness of both intensive and extensive lexis-based instructions to the learners’ development of speaking proficiency. Moreover, the results showed no significant difference between the effects of intensive and extensive types of lexis instructions upon IELTS candidates’ development of speaking performance. Further, it was revealed that dialogic tasks were more conducive to the FS use than monologic tasks. Finally, the implications for L2 theory and pedagogy are discussed.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 19:30:00 +010
  • Enhancing Iranian EFL Learners’ Descriptive Writing Skill through
           Genre-based Instruction and ...

    • Abstract: English language teaching (ELT) writing practitioners have long attempted to improve EFL/ESL learners’ competence in writing with recourse to either instruction or feedback. Likewise, researchers have, to date, mainly focused on either of these treatments to enhance language learners’ composing ability. Which treatment leads to more significant improvements is, however, unclear. Moreover, of the various written genres, the genre of description seems to have been neglected by researchers. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the impact of metalinguistic feedback and scaffolded genre-based instruction through consciousness-raising tasks on EFL learners’ ability to write descriptive essays. To this aim, two groups, feedback group (n = 32) and instruction group (n = 32), participated in the present study. After pretesting the participants’ ability to compose descriptive essays, the researchers provided them with either written metalinguistic explanations on their compositions or gave them genre-based instruction. The participants then took a posttest, the results of which revealed that the instruction group had made more significant improvements.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 19:30:00 +010
  • On Anthropomorphism in Technology-Enhanced Language Learning: Does
           Modality Matter in ...

    • Abstract: The present study aimed to satisfy a twofold purpose: On the one hand, it sought to verify the postulation that agent-based instruction could offer a compromise approach to teaching L2 idioms where form and meaning would be equally emphasized during instruction. Given that anthropomorphism has not been much under scrutiny, this research, on the other hand, sought to ascertain whether learning and retention of English idioms would be differentially impacted when two different modalities of virtual tutors —anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic— were present in the tutorial. To this aim, the participants of the study received instruction on 128 English idioms from human teachers, a multimedia application featuring a humanoid virtual teacher, or a piece of multimedia courseware with a non-anthropomorphic virtual tutor. Analysis of the post-intervention measures of L2 idiom knowledge revealed that agent-based instruction had proved more effective in improving both learning and retention of the target idioms among the participants. A further finding was that despite the greater motivational benefits of the humanoid virtual tutor, it had not privileged the participants, performance-wise.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 19:30:00 +010
  • Diagnosing L2 Receptive Vocabulary Development: A Microgenetic Study

    • Abstract: The present study is an attempt to shed light on the effect of Dynamic Assessment (DA) on diagnosing and developing the receptive vocabulary abilities of upper-intermediate learners learning English as a foreign language. Fifty L2 leaners participated in First Certificate in English test and completed Vocabulary Knowledge Scale. Out of 50 students, ten learners who were identified as being homogenous and were not familiar with the new vocabularies volunteered to participate in individualized tutoring sessions. Reading texts were used to make learners familiar with the target words and cloze passages were administered to assess learners’ receptive vocabulary. Mediation was provided using the interactionist approach to DA and learners’ responsiveness to mediation were studied in a microgenetic approach. The qualitative data were then coded in terms of task completion along with errors and struggles and transformed into quantitative data for analysis. The actual, mediated and transfer scores were reported to analyze learners’ Zone of Actual Development (ZAD), Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), and the degree of the internalization of mediation. Findings of the study revealed that to have a complete picture of learners’ abilities, actual scores are not self-sufficient. Mediated scores are vital to diagnose learners’ areas of difficulties and to promote learners’ receptive vocabulary knowledge. The information from transfer scores also uncovers evidence of learning and data form Learning Potential Score (LPS) predict how learners probably respond to future instruction. Findings of the study indicate that DA is promising in presenting a fine-grained diagnosis of learners’ receptive vocabulary development while also suggesting information related to future teaching and learning.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 19:30:00 +010
  • Reflective Teaching through Videotaping in an English Teaching Course in

    • Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate videotaping as a strategy for EFL teachers’ reflective teaching. To this end, eight participants were selected from a language institute in Iran and were under investigation for over a period of one month and a half. The data was triangulated from different sources: videotaping; self-reflection sheets; and semi-structured interviews. The analysis of in situdata suggested that there is a significant difference between teachers’ self-evaluations of their own teaching process at the beginning and end of the semester. Results also demonstrated that the contents of reflective teaching can be summarized into a framework including eight categories of communication patterns in the classroom, the affective climate of the classroom, classroom management, error correction, teacher’s physical appearance, teaching techniques and strategies, professional development, and teacher’s command of English. The current study may have some enticing implications for EFL teachers, materials developers, teacher trainers and syllabus designers.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 19:30:00 +010
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Heriot-Watt University
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