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Journal of Teaching Language Skills
  [10 followers]  Follow
  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Online) 1020-8576
   Published by Shiraz University Homepage  [14 journals]
  • 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 tasks 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, 13 Nov 2017 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). Experimental groups' assignment was done on the basis of computer literacy criteria. 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 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 also was in the favor of collaborative writing. The results implied the possibility of implementing interactional measures for assessing interactional competence, implementation of collaborative productive tasks rather than elicitation techniques for assessment purposes and teaching potential of interaction strategies for its development.
      PubDate: Sat, 28 Oct 2017 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: Tue, 05 Sep 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • 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 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 3 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 4 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, 04 Sep 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • Investigating the Impact of Response Format on the Performance of Grammar
           Tests: Selected and ...

    • Abstract: When constructing a test, a primary decision is choosing an appropriate item response format which can generally be classified as selected or constructed. In large-scale tests where time and finance are of concern, the use of selected response generally known as multiple-choice items is quite widespread. This study aims 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 statically 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, 17 Jul 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • Collaborative output tasks and their effects on learning English
           comparative adjectives

    • Abstract: This study examined the effectiveness of two types of collaborative output tasks on Iranian EFL learners’ comparative adjectives with two or more syllables. Thirty participants of this study were divided into two experimental and one control groups; one experimental group received dictogloss task in 4-pairs and the other experimental group was given text reconstruction editing task in 6-pairs. Using pretest, four-day delayed and two-week delayed posttests, the data were collected through a grammaticality judgment test and audio-recording of the learners’ interaction. Comparing the mean scores of three groups in GJT generally indicated that experimental groups gained more than the control group and text reconstruction editing group outperformed dictogloss group in noticing and learning the English comparative adjectives with two or more syllables. The transcripts of the students' verbal interactions indicated that text reconstruction editing group generated larger number of turns and language related episodes (LREs) in comparison to dictogloss group. Findings from this study also indicated that a majority of problems encountered in all the dyads were correctly solved in both dictogloss and text reconstruction editing groups, while the dictogloss group correctly solved more LREs in comparison to the text reconstruction editing group which shows that the dictogloss group was better regarding the quality of LREs. It can be concluded that the current study found evidence in support of Swain and her colleagues' claims (e.g. Kowal & Swain, 1994) that task implementation required the learners to produce output collaboratively which in turn leads to the internalization of grammatical features.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 May 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • Directed Motivational Currents: The Implementation of the Dynamic
           Web-Based Persian Scale among ...

    • Abstract: Directed motivational current (DMC) ̶ as a novel strand in L2 motivational field ̶ is a robust motivational drive fueled by a highly valued goal and capable of stimulating and sustaining long-term behavior. The present study explored English as a foreign language students’ Directed Motivational Currents by validating the dynamic web-based Persian version of the scale, finding the most crucial motivational currents, and exploring its association with students’ proficiency and educational levels. This is accomplished by translating the DMC Disposition Scale (Muir, 2016) which measures two facets of easy flow and challenge through twelve items as the first step and utilizing the validated questionnaire to explore the most significant motivational currents of students by analyzing students’ responses on open-ended items of the questionnaire (qualitative phase) and finding the association between DMC and proficiency level as well as DMC and educational level (the quantitative phase) as the second step. The results of reliability estimates and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) demonstrated acceptable reliability and validity indices of the Persian version of DMC Disposition Scale. The results also indicated that most of the DMCs experienced by students were competitively self-referenced experiences rather than competitively other-referenced objectives. Moreover, a significant difference was observed between elementary and upper-intermediate proficiency levels of students regarding DMC with upper-intermediate learners experiencing more levels of motivational currents than the elementary counterparts. BA and MA students of English were found to experience more levels of DMCs than diploma learners. The most significant cases in the qualitative phase as well as the discussion on both parts are presented.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 May 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • Oral Pushed Output: the Route to Long-term Grammatical Accuracy

    • Abstract: This study investigated the impact of oral pushed output on the learning and retention of English perfect tenses. During the study, a pre-test was administered to 22 freshmen majoring in English translation. The participants were randomly assigned to two groups. Then, for six sessions both groups received explicit instructions on English perfect tenses. Every session, the experimental group recorded their oral performances on some picture description and translation tasks whose completion entailed the use of the instructed language form, while the control group merely did some conventional multiple choice tests covering the instructed structures. Following the treatment sessions, a post-test was run. Four weeks later, a delayed post-test was also administrated. Analysis of the data through repeated measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) supported the facilitative effects of oral pushed output on the learning and retention of English perfect tenses. The finding of the study can have some implications for English Language Teaching (ELT) materials developers and practitioners.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 May 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • A Comparative Study of Thematicity in the Argumentative Writing of
           University EFL Students and ...

    • Abstract: The present study aimed to find out thematic organization and progression in the argumentative writing of Iranian learners of English, representing two levels of language proficiency, and the introduction section of published RAs of Applied Linguistics. For this aim, 60 articles were downloaded from three journals and also 92 MA and BA students majoring English Language Teaching and English Literature were selected. Then, three topics were used for gathering data from students. Of the written argumentative compositions, only 67 were chosen for the next phase of the study. These compositions together with the RAs were analyzed based on Halliday’s (1985) model of thematic structure and the revised model of Danes’ (1974) thematic progression patterns. The results of Chi-square suggested that there was a significant difference in the thematic structure of the essays written by MA students and the introduction section of RAs. It was concluded that thematicity can be effectively applied in classrooms to help students in writing. Students will know where they are losing their effectiveness in their arguments due to problems with either thematic progression or thematic selection, or both. The findings of this study can be effectively applied in teaching writing skills.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 May 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • A Putative Assessment Scheme for ELT Performance: An Iranian Case of
           Farhangian University

    • Abstract: Accountability concerns in language education call for the development of more valid and authentic measures of assessment. In light of these concerns, performance assessment has received increasing interest in the context of teacher education programs and teacher licensing over the last decade. In Iran, a recent policy adopted by Farhangian University aims at assessing the professional competencies of its ELT graduates by requiring them to go through a performance assessment as part of the licensing requirements. Mounting concerns regarding the validity of traditional tests used for teacher certification (Mitchell, Robinson, Plake, & Knowles, 2001) have motivated Farhangian University to develop its own performance assessment. Therefore, the present study explored the components of the performance assessment through detailed analysis of the Curriculum Document of the English major, review of literature, and investigation of the stakeholders' perspectives. To this end, in this exploratory study, convenience, purposive, and cluster sampling procedures were used for the selection of the teacher educators, student-teachers, and mentor teachers. Then, in-depth interviews were conducted with the stakeholders. Finally, based on the content analysis of the above-mentioned sources which resulted in a strong agreement, a performance assessment scheme with seventeen items was developed. However, results of the factor analysis yielded a thirteen-factor performance assessment scheme to be used as the criterion for assessing the professional competencies of student-teachers.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 May 2017 19:30:00 +010
  • Syntactic Structures and Rhetorical Functions of Electrical Engineering,
           Psychiatry, and ...

    • Abstract: A research article (RA) title is the first and foremost feature that attracts the reader's attention, the feature from which she/he may decide whether the whole article is worth reading. The present study attempted to investigate syntactic structures and rhetorical functions of RA titles written in English and Persian and published in journals in three disciplines of Electrical Engineering, Psychiatry, and Linguistics. To this end, 750 English and 750 Persian RAs were randomly selected from reputable English and Persian journals in these fields and syntactic structures of their titles were analyzed based on Dietz’s (1995) taxonomy. The results revealed that, despite some similarities, there were some cross-linguistic and cross-disciplinary differences in title structures. The differences were found in title components and title length and style. Generally, English titles were shorter in length than Persian ones. Psychiatry titles were the longest, whereas Linguistics ones were the shortest. Although the majority of titles were single-unit ones, English authors used multiple-unit titles more than Persian ones. Multiple-unit titles were also employed the most in Linguistics RAs. No significant difference was found regarding combinations of multiple-unit titles in two languages; however, topic-description combinations were the most frequent in Electrical Engineering and Linguistics titles, whereas topic-method ones were the most popular in Psychiatry titles. Moreover, the post-modified nominal group construction was the most frequent syntactic structure across single-unit titles. Such findings can contribute to the developments of English for Specific Purposes and provide some information about Persian and English RA titles structures in different disciplines.
      PubDate: Sun, 21 May 2017 19:30:00 +010
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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