Issues in Language Teaching

Issues in Language Teaching

Issues in Language Teaching (ILT), Vol. 3, No. 2, December 2014



Examining Iranian EFL Learners' Knowledge of Grammar through a Computerized Dynamic Test

کلید واژه ها: Sociocultural theory Vygotsky dynamic assessment computerized test Iranian learners

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Dynamic assessment (DA) which is rooted in Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory involves the integration of instruction and assessment in a dialectical way to achieve two main purposes: enhancing learners' development and understanding about their learning potential. However, the feasibility and appropriateness of mediation are two main concerns of DA. The former is concerned with the application of DA for a large number of students, while the latter is concerned with providing test takers with appropriate hints. The purpose of the current study was three-fold: to examine the difference between dynamic and nondynamic tests, to understand about test takers' potential for learning, and to find out how mediation works for high and low ability students. To achieve these aims, computer software was developed. The software is capable of both providing the test takers with graduated hints for each item automatically, and adapting the overall difficulty level of the test to the test takers' proficiency level. To test the efficiency of the software in employing dynamic assessment, 83 Iranian university students participated in the study. The results of the study indicated that the computerized dynamic test made significant contribution both to enhancing students' grammar ability and to obtaining information about their potential for learning. Based on the findings of the study, it can be concluded that the use of dynamic assessment can simultaneously lead to the development of the test takers' ability and provide a more comprehensive picture of learning potential. Accordingly, teachers are recommended to use dynamic assessment to make more informed decisions about their students.

A Comparative Study of Nominalization in an English Applied Linguistics Textbook and its Persian Translation

کلید واژه ها: Systemic functional linguistics Textbook Translation Nominalization grammatical metaphor

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Among the linguistic resources for creating grammatical metaphor, nominalization rewords processes and properties metaphorically as nouns within the experiential metafunction of language. Following Halliday's (1998a) classification of grammatical metaphor, the current study investigated nominalization exploited in an English applied linguistics textbook and its corresponding Persian translation. Selection of these textbooks was motivated by consulting 10 ELT professors. Analysis started by identifying nominalization instances and recurrent patterns of nominalization in the books through adopting a mixed approach. The frequency of nominal expressions was counted, and eventually chi-square was run to find out the probable significance of nominalization use in English and Persian academic text samples. The quantitative differences in using nominalization turned out to be significant, and results revealed variations in the ranking patterns of nominalization in both texts. Qualities as entities tended to recur more in English than in Persian. However, the noun to noun modifier was frequently exploited in the Persian translation. The similarities in the employment of nominalization patterns might reflect the awareness of both the author and the translator of the role of metadiscourse markers in scientific texts. The main reason for the differences lies in the matter that knowledge is realized in different languages. The findings of this study have implications for textbook writers, English for Academic Purposes students, and translators.

Using Critical Discourse Analysis Instruction in Argumentative and Descriptive Writing Classes

کلید واژه ها: Systemic functional linguistics Critical discourse analysis Argumentative writing critical language awareness writing genres descriptive writing

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The field of ELT is constantly witnessing the introduction of new instructional approaches: one such perhaps recent initiative is critical discourse analysis (CDA). Accordingly, the present study was an attempt to investigate the impact of CDA instruction on Iranian EFL learners’ descriptive and argumentative writing ability. To fulfill the aforementioned purpose, a sample TOEFL was primarily piloted among a group of 30 upper intermediate EFL learners by the researchers; with the acceptable reliability and item analysis indices achieved, then the researchers administered the test among another group of 90 upper intermediate learners. Ultimately, those 60 learners whose scores fell one standard deviation above and below the mean were chosen as the participants of the study and were randomly assigned to a control and an experimental group with 30 participants in each. Both of these groups underwent the same amount of teaching time during 20 sessions which included a treatment of CDA instruction based on Jank’s (2005) set of 14 features for the experimental group. A posttest was administered at the end of the instruction to both groups and their mean scores on the test were compared through a multivariate analysis of variance. The result (F = 14.41 and p = 0.000 < 0.05) led to the rejection of the two null hypotheses raised in this study, thereby demonstrating that the learners in the experimental group benefited significantly more than those in the control group in terms of improving their descriptive and argumentative writing ability. Hence, the major pedagogical implication of this study is that CDA instruction can be effectively used to assist EFL learners improve their argumentative and descriptive writing ability.

The Relationship among Reflective Thinking, Listening Anxiety and Listening Comprehension of Iranian EFL Learners: Does Proficiency make a Difference

کلید واژه ها: reflective thinking listening anxiety listening comprehension Iranian EFL learners intermediate advanced

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As the main part of a large-scale project, the present study investigated the relationship among reflective thinking, listening anxiety, and listening comprehension of Iranian EFL learners with regard to their proficiency level. To this end, 223 (106 intermediate and 117 advanced) adult male and female Iranian EFL learners from a private language institute took part in the study by completing the Reflective Thinking Questionnaire (RTQ) developed by Kember et al., (2000), the Foreign Language Listening Anxiety Scale (FLLAS) developed by Kim (2000) and a listening comprehension test selected from the listening part of IELTS. Using factor analysis and Chronbach’s Alpha, the questionnaires were revalidated and their reliability was re-estimated. The results of Pearson product moment correlations indicated there was a statistically significant: (a) positive association between reflective thinking and listening comprehension, (b) reverse correlation between listening anxiety and listening comprehension, and (c) reverse relationship between reflective thinking and listening anxiety of Iranian EFL learners. Furthermore, the results of multiple regression analysis indicated listening anxiety, compared to reflective thinking, was a significantly stronger predictor of listening comprehension. Additionally, the results of MANOVA revealed there was a significant difference between intermediate and advanced EFL learners with respect to their reflective thinking and listening anxiety. In the light of the findings of the study, foreign language education policy makers in general and EFL teachers in particular are thus recommended to introduce ways to enhance reflective thinking of the students and decrease their listening anxiety if they are to improve their listening comprehension. The results and implications of the study are discussed in more detail in the paper.

The Effect of Self-Regulation on Improving EFL Readers’ Ability to Make Within-Text Inferences

کلید واژه ها: Self-regulated Learning EFL Reading comprehension self-regulation within-text inferences

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Self-regulation is the ability to regulate one’s cognition, behavior, actions, and motivation strategically and autonomously in order to achieve self-set goals including the learning of academic skills and knowledge. Accordingly, self-regulated learning involves self-generated and systematic thoughts and behaviors with the aim of attaining learning goals. With that in mind, this study aimed to examine the effect of self-regulation instruction to the intermediate EFL readers on their ability to make within-text inferences while reading. Zimmerman’s model of self-regulation with its three cyclic phases of forethought, performance and self-reflection constituted the theoretical basis of this study. Two intact intermediate classes in an English language institute were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. The experimental group was trained in self-regulatory processes which were directed at EFL reading comprehension for ten sessions, while the control group received the routine, traditional reading instruction involving pre-, while-, and post-reading tasks and activities. The results of parametric one-way between-group ANCOVA showed that the experimental group outperformed the control group on the post-test of EFL reading comprehension, particularly in term of within-text inferencing. This finding revealed that self-regulation instruction aimed at EFL reading comprehension significantly contributed to learners’ ability to make correct within-text inferences while reading in English as a foreign language.

L2 Learners’ Lexical Inferencing: Perceptual Learning Style Preferences, Strategy Use, Density of Text, and Parts of Speech as Possible Predictors

کلید واژه ها: Parts of speech L2 lexical inferencing preferences in perceptual learning styles strategy training text density

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This study was intended first to categorize the L2 learners in terms of their learning style preferences and second to investigate if their learning preferences are related to lexical inferencing. Moreover, strategies used for lexical inferencing and text related issues of text density and parts of speech were studied to determine their moderating effects and the best predictors of lexical inferencing. To this end, a posttest group design with 142 students studying engineering was adopted for the study. Perceptual style preferences questionnaire was administered to identify the students’ major learning styles, followed by strategy training for deriving the meaning of unknown words. Finally, lexical inferencing texts were given to the students to study and extract the meaning of unknown words and concurrently determine the type of strategy used for lexical inferencing. The results indicated that a great proportion of students belonged to the kinesthetic category of styles while the predominant treatments in the class were audio-visually structured. The analysis also revealed that tactile, kinesthetic, and group categories of style preferences are meaningfully related. Moreover, it was found that learning style preferences lead to statistically different lexical ineferncing. As for the strategies, the ‘syntactic knowledge analysis’ showed the highest correlation with ‘auditory learners’. Lexical density and parts of speech were also shown to moderate the effect of perceptual style preferences on lexical ability. On the whole, strategy and perceptual style preferences were found to be the two best predictors of successful lexical inferencing.