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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  [16 journals]
  • 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: Sun, 12 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • Investigating the Role of Individual Differences Variables in Iranian
           Undergraduate EFL ...

    • 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 B.A 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 the 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: Tue, 31 Jan 2017 20:30:00 +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 also were asked to tell the same story orally after three days. Their productions were analyzed for the 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 production 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: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • A multimodal approach toward teaching for transfer

    • 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: Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • Task Complexity Manipulation and Accuracy in Writing Performance

    • Abstract: This study aims 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 Islamic Azad University, Shahr-e-Qods Branch, selected from a larger group of learners based on their performance on the Preliminary English Test (PET). The participants were distributed in 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 typical writing activities. 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, 14 Jan 2017 20:30:00 +010
  • A Social Semiotic Analysis of Social Actors in English-Learning Software

    • Abstract: 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: Sun, 20 Nov 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • The Emergence of Various Contradictions in Iranian High School English
           Education under the New ...

    • Abstract: Recent research has indicated that the adoption of CLT in an 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. Semi-structured interviews, 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: Sun, 20 Nov 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • Do We Need Discipline-Specific Academic Word Lists? Linguistics
           Academic Word List (LAWL)

    • Abstract: This corpus-based study aimed 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), consisting of approximately 4 million words from four main linguistics sub-disciplines (phonology, morphology, semantics and syntax) was compiled and analyzed based on 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 frequently used in linguistic research article corpus (LRAC) were not listed in GSL and AWL. They accounted for 18.51% of the word families in LAWL with coverage of 5.07% over LRAC, and compared with the 2000 GSL, 658 word families were identified. The results have pedagogical implications for linguistics practitioners and EAP practitioners, researchers, and material designers.
      PubDate: Sun, 20 Nov 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • Motivational Beliefs, Self-Regulation and EFL Listening Achievement: A
           Path Analysis

    • Abstract: Informed by the expectancy-value and social cognitive theories of learning, the present study proposed a path model to investigate the impact of motivational beliefs as defined by listening self-efficacy, three types of goal orientations, and task value on self-regulation of Iranian EFL learners, in addition to the unique contribution of each to the variability in the listening comprehension score. Results of path analysis revealed significant positive effect of listening self-efficacy and self-regulation on students’ listening comprehension and task value on self-regulation. Unlike performance approach goals, mastery and performance avoidance goals demonstrated a significant impact on participants’ self-regulation but no significant direct effect of any goals on listening achievement was detected.
      PubDate: Sun, 20 Nov 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • 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), the researchers 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 interactions, 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: Sun, 20 Nov 2016 20:30:00 +010
  • Critical Thinking in Personal Narrative and Reflective Journal Writings by
           In-service 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) in-service 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 (1995) 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 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: Sun, 20 Nov 2016 20:30:00 +010
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