The role of teachers in the educational context could go beyond simply teaching the subject matter. It is not uncommon for some students to be greatly influenced by certain teachers and even consider them as their role models. An interesting and novel way of inferring the impact a teacher has on the students is through revealing the status of the teacher as perceived by the students. The present study pursued two goals: first, to construct and validate a teacher status scale (TSS); and second, to reveal the relative status of English language teachers as compared to other school teachers in students’ perceptions. Regarding the first goal, an 18-item teacher status scale was designed and, using the data collected from 200 students, its construct validity was substantiated through Rasch model. As for the second goal, 650 junior high school students rated their 300 teachers. The data was then analyzed using Chi-square test. In addition, 135 students participated in short interviews and a total of 530 minutes of recorded interviews constituted the qualitative data. Based on the results, English teachers were found to have the highest status of all school teachers as perceived by the students. Finally, statistical results were discussed, and implications were provided for English language teaching in the formal context of education.
The Effect of Teaching Vocabulary through Synonymous, Semantically Unrelated, and Hyponym Sets on EFL Learners’ Retention تأثیر تدریس واژه ها از طریق گروه واژه های مترادف، فاقد ارتباط معنایی، و دارای شمول معنایی بر بیادسپاری فراگیران
Many textbooks include semantically related words and sometimes teachers add synonyms, antonyms, etc. to the words in order to present new vocabulary items without questioning the possible effects. This study sought to investigate the effect of teaching vocabulary through synonym, semantically unrelated, and hyponym sets based on Higa’s (1963) proposed continuum. A total of 120 Iranian intermediate EFL adults were selected and classified into two high and low language proficient learners based on their PET (2003) scores. They learned the vocabulary items based on the three above-mentioned methods. Learners’ vocabulary achievement was measured using Paribakht and Wesche’s (1993) Vocabulary Knowledge Scale (VKS) in order to assess both the quantitative (number of learnt vocabulary [NLV]) and the qualitative knowledge of vocabulary (depth of learnt vocabulary [DLV]) by administering the same test twice with a two-week interval for obtaining ST and LT results. To address research questions, two independent two-way ANOVAs and two mixed design two-way ANOVAs were conducted. The results revealed that the learners from synonym sets group gained better ST vocabulary achievement quantitatively and language proficiency level proved not to play any significant role in the learners’ vocabulary accomplishment based on belonging to any given group. It was also revealed that quantitatively hyponym, semantically unrelated, and synonym set groups were respectively the most effective methods of clustering that lead to less forgetting in LT which supports Higa’s proposition.
Construction of Evaluative Meanings by Kurdish-Speaking Learners of English: A Comparison of High- and Low-Graded Argumentative Essays مقایسه ساختن معانی ارزشیابی در مقالات استدلالی قوی و ضعیف دانشجویان کرد زبان
Academic writing ability is an important goal that learners of English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) try to attain. While ESL students’ academic writings have been widely explored, owing to few studies investigating appraisal resources in EFL students’ argumentative writing, the gap still exists about EFL students’ academic writing. This study aimed to see how Kurdish-speaking learners of English employ appraisal resources in their writings. It further aimed to explore whether the appraisal framework can be utilized as an assessment scale for evaluating the students’ argumentative writing. To this end, the study investigated the argumentative essays written by 15 bilingual Kurdish-Iranian graduates of English within the framework of the appraisal theory. The instruments applied in this study consisted of a modified rating scale for assessing the essays in terms of the macrostructures exploited in them and the framework for the analysis of appraisal resources. Quantitative findings revealed high-graded essays employ more attitudinal items and fewer monoglossic resources than low-graded ones. Qualitatively, the high-graded essays articulated attitudinal values in nominal forms and sometimes in a backgrounded manner while these values were mostly presented by surge of feelings and in a foregrounded way in the low-graded essays. Regarding engagement, unlike the high-graded essays, the low-graded ones were poor in recognizing other voices and alternative positions. Inspired by the strength of the appraisal model evaluating writing, results suggest that high-graded essays are successful in positioning readers attitudinally and clarifying the ethical message to readers.
EFL Learning, EFL Motivation Types, and National Identity: In Conflict or in Coalition فراگیری زبان انگلیسی، نوع انگیزه فراگیری زبان انگلیسی، و هویت ملی: در تعارض یا تعامل
The present study was aimed at examining concerns about the social effects of EFL learning, a challenging area of research which has not been discussed sufficiently. It tried to investigate the relationship between EFL learning and national identity. In addition, attempt was made to find a relationship between language motivation types and national identity. Furthermore, the role of two demographic variables, gender and age was examined. To this end, a sample consisting of 350 undergraduates studying at Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran took part in the study. A questionnaire on national identity and another one on language motivation types followed by an interview were the instruments used. The questionnaires had already been developed. However, there were some major modifications for the former which consisted of 30 items measuring national identity for all participants. The latter contained 42 items measuring language motivation types for only EFL learners. The Regression analysis, independent samples t-tests and a one-way ANOVA were run. The results revealed that claims over the harmful social effects of EFL learning were not arguably significant and it was found that among the eight language motivation types, going abroad and social responsibility were correlated with national identity. Furthermore, gender and age indicated significant differences among the participants' tendencies. The findings indicated that the social concerns about EFL learning are too pessimistic. So, materials developers, syllabus designers and teachers might consider the potentiality of some social elementsand demographic variables for the development of EFL learning.
An Investigation into Cultural Representation in Interchange Textbooks بررسی نمود فرهنگی در کتاب های زبان اینترچنج
Language and culture are now deemed to be co-constitutive; hence English language teaching (ELT) textbooks should incorporate cultural aspects and promote intercultural competence. However, careful decisions should be made as regards to the cultural content of materials and the ways in which culture is represented. This study was an attempt to deconstruct the patterns of cultural representation and intercultural interactions in Interchange textbooks, an ELT textbook series taught to English as a foreign language (EFL) learners in Iran. Using content analysis of texts and images and with the focus on nationality, gender and race, it examined how different cultures were reflected in Interchange 1, Interchange 2, Interchange 3, and whether cultural bias or inequality was present. The quantitative and qualitative data analysis revealed that the white male group was dominant in all three textbooks. And, to use Kachru’s (1985) terms, inner, outer and expanding circle nationalities were represented in the textbooks, with the expanding circle constituting the major nationality, but American culture of inner circle was predominant. Additionally, the interactions were mainly limited to superficial aspects of the target culture although these textbooks sought to show various intercultural interactions. Dominance of male and white characters and the US culture indicated inequality in race and gender, and the superficial treatment of culture in the textbooks. Less attention to the hybrid culture and deeper level of intercultural aspects, i.e. critical reflections, in the textbooks suggests that the materials be supplemented by EFL teachers’ constructive discussion of the cultures that interact.
The Effect of Task Repetition and Task Recycling on EFL Learners' Oral Performance تاثیر تکرار فعالیت و انجام فعالیت مشابه بر عملکرد شفاهی زبان آموزان ایرانی
One of the major criticisms leveled at task-based language teaching (TBLT), despite its countless merits, is developing fluency at the cost of accuracy. The post-task stage affords a number of options to counteract this downside through task repetition and task recycling. These two options are considered to positively affect learners' oral performance in terms of fluency, accuracy, and complexity (CAF). The purpose of the present study is to compare the relative effect of task repetition and task recycling on Iranian EFL (English as a foreign language) learners’ oral performance in terms of CAF. To this end, eight intermediate EFL learners, randomly selected from 30 students in two classes of 15, took part in this study. The participants in both task repetition and task recycling groups were assigned to perform a total of eight tasks. Four of these tasks were identical in both groups. Each session included one task plus its second performance, namely repetition for the first group and recycling for the second. Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test was used to statistically analyze the recorded data of learners' performances on all eight occasions in terms of CAF. The results revealed a significant effect of task repetition on all three measures of performance while task recycling did not prove to have a significant effect except for fluency. On the level of between-group differences, task repetition was found to be dominant outweighing task recycling in all three measures of oral performance. Task repetition is hence advised to be incorporated in teaching English, particularly in EFL contexts as a viable tool to hone learners’ oral performance on CAF.