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Journal of Teaching Language Skills
   Journal TOC RSS feeds Export to Zotero [5 followers]  Follow    
  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
     ISSN (Online) 1020-8576
     Published by Shiraz University Homepage  [10 journals]
  • Cognitive Task Complexity and Iranian EFL Learners’ Written
           Linguistic Performance across ...

    • Abstract: Recently tasks, as the basic units of syllabi, and the cognitive complexity, as the criterion for sequencing them, have caught many second language researchers’ attention. This study sought to explore the effect of utilizing the cognitively simple and complex tasks on high- and low-proficient EFL Iranian writers’ linguistic performance, i.e., fluency, accuracy, lexical complexity, and structural complexity. At first, based on their scores on the writing test of TOFEL (2003), participants were assigned to high- and low-proficient writers. Participants in both groups first accomplished the simple task which was the narration of a story based on a set of pictures. One week later, they were asked to perform the complex task which was writing about a topic requiring reasons. Then the written productions were encoded on the measures of fluency, accuracy, lexical complexity, and structural complexity. Four two-way mixed-design ANOVAs were conducted. The results revealed that the learners significantly generated less accurate, more structurally complex, and more fluent language in the complex task. No significant effect was found for the lexical complexity measure. The high-proficient group performed significantly better in the four measures. The interaction between task complexity and writing proficiency did not yield any significant results. On the whole, based on the findings, the ‘limited attentional model’ was shown to be more accurate in comparison with ‘cognition hypothesis’ and the ‘threshold level hypothesis’ was not confirmed.
      PubDate: Mon, 08 Sep 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • The Effect of Variations in Integrated Writing Tasks and Proficiency Level
           on Features of ...

    • Abstract: In recent years, a number of large-scale writing assessments (e.g., TOEFL iBT) have employed integrated writing tests to measure test takers’ academic writing ability. Using a quantitative method, the current study examined how written textual features and use of source material(s) varied across two types of text-based integrated writing tasks (i.e., listening-to-write vs. reading-to-write) and two levels of language proficiency (i.e., high vs. low). Sixty Iranian English major students were selected through purposive sampling and divided into low and high proficiency groups based on an IELTS practice test. Then, they were required to write on a listening-to-write and a reading-to-write task. Results of two-way and one-way ANOVAs revealed that firstly, variations in integrated writing tasks together with level of proficiency had a significant effect on all the generated discourse features, secondly, the two types of integrated tasks produced features that shared to a large extent, and thirdly, some features could distinguish a certain level of proficiency. In addition, the results indicated that plagiarism is higher in response to the reading-to-write task than the listening-to-write task especially among the low proficiency writers. Implications of the study are presented.
      PubDate: Sat, 21 Jun 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • The effects of concept mapping strategy and aural vs. ...

    • Abstract: This study examined the effects of aural and written prompts under two planning conditions (i.e. pre-task planning and no planning) on complexity, accuracy, and fluency of test takers' writing production. Forty learners in an English institute, who had already been classified as intermediate according to the Oxford Placement Test, were assigned to two planning conditions (i.e. no planning and pre-task planning). Then the planning groups were further divided into another two groups: with aural prompt and with written prompt. Also, concept mapping strategy was applied during pre-task planning time by the test takers. The results obtained from t-test and two-way ANOVA revealed that the candidates who had received the written prompt utilized their planning time better and produced more fluent written texts than those who received the aural prompt. Furthermore, neither concept mapping strategy with aural prompt nor concept mapping strategy with written prompt led to more complex or more accurate writings. Finally, the interaction of no planning condition and written prompt had a significant effect on complexity in comparison with the pre-task planning condition with written prompt. Also, written prompt under no planning condition had a significant effect on complexity in comparison with the same planning condition with aural prompt. It was concluded that the planned conditions, concept mapping strategy and the received prompts had little effect on the test takers' writing performance.
      PubDate: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • The Relationship between English and Persian Phonological Awareness, Rapid
           Autamatized Naming ...

    • Abstract: The cognitive predictors (i.e.,Phonological Awareness, and Rapid Automatized Naming) underlying reading achievement have not been researched in Iranian partial English immersion and non-immersion programs. The present study sought to investigate the relationship between English and Persian Phonological Awareness (PA), Rapid Autamatized Naming (RAN) and reading achievementof Iranian students in partial immersion and non-immersion programs. To this end, one hundred forty five students from three different grade levels in a partial English immersion program and 95 students from three different grade levels in a non-immersion program were chosen. Six different English and Persian tests were utilized (namely, the Cambridge English for Young Learners (YLE) test for Reading,the Persian reading achievement test, the English and Persian Phonological AwarenessSound Detection tests, and the English and Persian Rapid Automatized Naming Tests). Given the design of the study, a number of statistical tests were run. The main findingswere as follows: learners’ reading achievement could significantly be predicted through both English and Persian PA and RAN.Furthermore, learning English in a partial English immersion system improves learners’ reading achievement and cognitive predictors compared with non-immersion program. The findings suggest that by teaching learners PA and RAN skills, their reading achievement improves in both English and Persian.
      PubDate: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • A Pragmatic Study of Requestive Speech Act by Iranian EFL Learners and
           Canadian Native Speakers ...

    • Abstract: This study was an attempt to shed light on the use of requestive speech act by Iranian nonnative speakers (NNSs) of English and Canadian native speakers (NSs) of English to find out the (possible) similarities and/or differences between the request realizations, and to investigate the influence of the situational variables of power, distance, context familiarity, and L1’s (possible) influence. Participants were 4 different groups: Canadian NSs of English, Persian NNSs, Iranian hotel staff, and Iranian English learners. Data were obtained by a discourse completion test (DCT) including 12 situations and was translated into Persian to elicit the data from the Persian NNSs. Then, data were analyzed and codified based on the cross-cultural speech act realization pattern (CCSARP; Blum-Kulka & Olshtain, 1984). Findings indicated that the Persian culture is more direct and positive-politeness oriented, whereas the Canadian culture tends to be indirect and negative-politeness oriented. The Iranians revealed more variations in their request performance and were more sensitive to power differences. The Canadians were fixed and used conventionally indirect strategies in most situations.
      PubDate: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • A Probe into Adaptive Transfer across Writing Contexts: A Case of an EGAP

    • Abstract: In an effort to expand the disciplinary discussions on transfer in L2 writing and because most studies have focused on transfer as reuse and not as an adequate adaptation of writing knowledge in new contexts, the present study as the first of its kind aimed to explore the issue of adaptive transfer in an English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) writing course. The study thus focused on types of adaptive transfer across disciplines and the processes involved in achieving them. The data were collected through interviews conducted on writing samples both from the participants' EGAP class and their other courses in the university (non EGAP). The results showed five categories of adaptive transfer including 'organizing, grammar refining, rephrasing, metaphorizing, and resource using'. Also, the analysis of the data demonstrated a variety of processes involved in the accomplishment of adaptive transfer, which all pointed to the multidimensionality of evaluation and re-evaluation that the writers conducted to achieve their composing potential. Additionally, the results revealed slight disciplinary inconsistency for the categories of adaptive transfer detected, with the English Language enjoying the highest and Electrical Engineering the lowest frequency of such transfer. The results imply that EGAP classes can create a directive condition for the enhancement of learning transfer.
      PubDate: Wed, 21 May 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • Voice in Short Argumentative Texts Written by Undergraduate Learners of

    • Abstract: The present study explored the intensity level of authorial voice in relation to the quality of argumentative writing. 42 undergraduate learners of English as a foreign language (36 girls and 6 boys) spent 45 minutes to individually complete in-class position-taking writing tasks for three weeks. Their overall academic writing quality scores assigned based on portfolio assessment were studied in relation to their voice expression quantified using a voice intensity rating scale (VIRS). Findings indicated that, among the components of authorial voice, only “assertiveness” showed a positive moderate relationship with academic writing quality (r=0.45, p≤ 0.05). In the follow-up qualitative analyses of voice-expression strategies, interviews with participants whose voice intensity had been rated either as the strongest or as the weakest showed nine strategies for voice expression. At the sentence-level, high-voice participants most frequently used intensifiers to express assertiveness, while low-voice writers tried to use other lexico-grammatical tools. At the text-level, both high-voice and low-voice participants were concerned about the effect of the topic on their voice expression. The findings imply that undergraduate English as a foreign language writers do try to express voice and that the required strategies can be one of the targets of EFL writing research and instruction.
      PubDate: Wed, 21 May 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • The Impact of Deductive, Inductive, and L1-Based Consciousness-Raising
           Tasks on EFL Learners' ...

    • Abstract: The necessity and importance of teaching pragmatics has come to light by many researchers (e.g. Rose & Kasper, 2001). Due to the consensus over the need to teach pragmatic competence, the main issue now centers on the question of how we should teach this competence in the most effective way. Consistent with this line of research, the present study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of deductive, inductive, and L1-based consciousness-raising instructional tasks on EFL learners' acquisition of the request speech act during a seven-week instruction period. The results obtained through a written DCT administered to 140 EFL learners indicated that instruction had a significantly positive effect on learners' acquisition of the request speech act. The comparison of the task types demonstrated that, all in all, the deductive task was the most effective one. Furthermore, the results showed that the learners were generally receptive to L1-based awareness-raising tasks and that these tasks were more effective than inductive tasks. This study suggests that consciousness-raising instructional tasks could be utilized in raising students’ sociopragmatic awareness and be applied in helping them develop their interlanguage pragmatics.
      PubDate: Wed, 21 May 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • Metadiscourse Strategies and Citation Patterns as Resources of Authorial
           Identity in Research ...

    • Abstract: The present study explored the rhetorical representation of authorial identity signaled by interactive/interactional metadiscourse strategies and integral/non-integral citation patterns in international and Iranian local research article discussion sections. The study also explored variation in metadiscourse and citation resources across three subdisciplines of Language Testing, English Language Teaching, and Discourse Analysis. To this end, a representative sample of 60 discussion sections of articles published in three prestigious international journals and three well-accredited Iranian local journals was collected. The comparisons revealed that Iranian local articles used a greater number of interactive metadiscourse strategies, whereas international articles tended to employ more interactional metadiscourse markers. In the interaction between authorial identity and citation perspectives, it was demonstrated that Iranian local articles employed more integral citation resources, while their international counterparts utilized more non-integral citation patterns. Furthermore, the findings showed subdisciplinary variation in the use of interactional metadiscourse strategies and non-integral citation patterns in international RAs. This can be attributed to their distinctive communicative purposes, target readership, scope of investigation, and final research products. The study concludes with some implications for post-graduate students to equip themselves with both macro-level generic and micro-level discoursal properties required for writing research article discussion sections, and, accordingly manifesting their authorial identity.
      PubDate: Wed, 21 May 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • Cross-Cultural Investigation into Generic Structure of Dissertation
           Acknowledgements in English ...

    • Abstract: This contrastive study, in the first place, examined the generic structure and, in the second place, explored the face theory proposed by Arundale (2006) in 140 doctoral dissertation acknowledgments written by native speakers of Persian (NSP) and native speakers of English (NSE) in 7 disciplines representing soft sciences to find out what discourse genre components writers employ to articulate the communicative purpose of these acknowledgments. The results of the first phase of the study revealed four moves and a number of constituting steps. Careful surveillance uncovered an obligatory acknowledging move framed by two optional resonating and declaration moves. The findings related to the second phase of the study discovered that, approximately, majority of moves and steps exploited by the two groups function as connection face except for the shouldering responsibility step voiced as separation face. Persian writers, guided by their different cultural and literacy practices, utilized this step more than English writers. The study provided valuable information about the academic values, socio-cultural practices, and personal identity of the writer encoded in the rhetorical and organizational components of this genre.
      PubDate: Wed, 21 May 2014 19:30:00 +010
  • Reading Performance of Iranian EFL Learners in Paper and Digital texts

    • Abstract: Dependence on computers and internet has given birth to digital literacy. However, research into its influences on the reading process is still in its infancy. To fill the gap, this study was designed to investigate the ways in which text presentation mode (paper vs. digital) affects reading comprehension, as well as reading attitudes. To this end, a sample of 30 male and female English major students doing their Master’s (MA) participated in this study. Their reading comprehension was investigated by reference to the mode of text presentation, and their attitude towards either text type was examined through a self-assessment checklist. Results of the statistical Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) revealed a stronger preference for the paper-based texts, and an undifferentiated application of the same traditional method to all reading tasks. In addition, higher reading comprehension scores were obtained for paper- based texts, with male participants outperforming their female counterparts. The findings, providing further support for the significance of the mediating tools in the activity theory, imply that the digitalization of texts influences not only the nature of external behavior, but also of the mental functioning of individuals.
      PubDate: Wed, 21 May 2014 19:30:00 +010
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