Issues in Language Teaching

Issues in Language Teaching

Issues in Language Teaching (ILT), Vol. 4, No. 2, December 2015



The Effects of Computerized Dynamic Assessment on Promoting At-Risk Advanced Iranian EFL Students’ Reading Skills

کلید واژه ها: dynamic assessment computerized dynamic assessment at-risk learners reading skills Zone of Proximal Development

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Dynamic Assessment (DA) is theoretically framed within Vygotsky’s Socio-Cultural Theory (SCT) and relies on reunification of assessment and instruction. This process-oriented study of reading comprehension aims at investigating the impacts of applying computerized dynamic assessment (C-DA) which is an ongoing strand of DA on promoting at-risk advanced Iranian EFL students’ reading skills. The sample of this study comprised of 32 advanced BA students selected based on convenience sampling from Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) undergraduates from a university in Iran. In this study, the DIALANG software and the Computerized Dynamic Reading Test (CDRT) were utilized to identify the individuals’ proficiency level and to examine the effectiveness of the enrichment program (EP) in DA respectively. Upon completion of the CDRT, the learners were presented with two mediated and unmediated scores. The formula called Learning Potential Score (LPS) was also utilized in order to measure the students’ potential for learning. Analysis of the results showed that a pretest (unmediated) score was a sufficient indication neither for measuring individuals’ ability nor for preparing an effective lesson plan for them. The findings of this investigation may prove to be significantly useful for those who are concerned about individuals requiring a lot of attention, that is, at-risk or retarded learners within the realm of DA.

On the Iranian In-service and Pre-service Language Teachers’ Perceptions of Educational Supervision Concerning their Professional Development

کلید واژه ها: student teacher professional development educational supervision in-service teacher

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Teacher supervision plays a pivotal role in the improvement of education system and the way in which teachers and student teachers perceive it. Consequently language teacher supervisors can utilize appropriate supervisory models to keep teachers update and promote them professionally. The present study investigated the role of language teacher supervisors in student teachers and in-service teachers’ professional development in Iran. To have a representative sample, some 210 EFL teachers practicing in the secondary schools and a total of 215EFL student teachers studying English at some Iranian state and Azad universities participated in the study. A 43-item questionnaire regarding EFL teachers’ attitudes about the impact of supervisory practice on their professional development with a format of a 5-point Likert-type was distributed among them. Also, ten percent of the participants were interviewed. Then the frequencies related to each item were calculated and a Chi-Square was used. Subsequently, qualitative data were transcribed. The results indicated that in-service and pre-service teachers have the same perceptions towards the role of their supervisors in their professional development. However, according to the findings it was concluded that the models of language teacher supervision in language teacher education are different from the models practiced in in-service classes where mostly traditional models are common.

Comprehension Strategy Instruction and Iranian High School EFL Learners' Reading Anxiety and Reading Comprehension

کلید واژه ها: learning strategy reading comprehension strategy foreign language anxiety foreign language reading anxiety (FLRA)

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The present study was conducted to examine empirically and systematically the effect of explicit instruction of comprehension strategies on EFL learners’ reading anxiety and reading comprehension in Iranian high schools. To this end, two intact classes (65 students) participated in this study as members of control and experimental groups. The experimental group underwent 10 sessions of reading strategies training based on McNamara, Ozuro, Best, and O’Reilly's (2007) 4-pronged Comprehension Strategy Framework. Data were collected through the employment of Saito, Garza, and Horwitz's (1999) Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale (FLRAS) and Preliminary English Test (PET) multiple-choice reading comprehension tests. All the students filled the FLRAS questionnaire and took the reading comprehension test two times, once as a pre-test one week before the beginning of instruction and the other as a post-test one week after the instructional treatment. After the post-test, a group of 7 students who received instruction participated in the focus group interview. T-tests were used to analyze the obtained statistical data. It was revealed that explicit reading strategy instruction was quite beneficial in improving EFL high school students' comprehension and reducing their anxiety level, while reading anxiety and reading comprehension were negatively correlated. The results of the interview with the focus group revealed the positive effect of strategy training on learners' reading comprehension and alleviating reading anxiety. This study rendered some educational implications for materials developers and instructors to invest on reading as a fundamental skill in education.

The Effect of Item Modality and Note-taking on EFL Learners’ Performance on a Listening Test

کلید واژه ها: EFL item modality note-taking listening test

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The pivotal role of listening comprehension in second/foreign language learning requires that researchers conduct studies which investigate factors that affect test takers’ performances. The present study was set out to examine whether item modality (i.e., written vs. oral items) affects listening comprehension test performance. In addition, it investigated whether allowing test takers to take notes while listening would also affect their performances. To this end, two different tests, each containing 20 multiple choice items, were administered to 66 (35 female and 31 male) upper-intermediate EFL learners. The first test was administered to look into the role of item modality, and the second test was employed to investigate the effect of note-taking. The application of independent samples t-tests to analyze the data revealed that that test takers performed better when the items were provided in written rather than oral form, and that test takers’ performances did not differ significantly when they were allowed to take notes. More detailed findings and implications are discussed in the paper.

Negative Labeling as a Crucial Psychological Variable in Teaching EFL Learners

کلید واژه ها: Self-esteem negative labeling academic achievement/potential

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One of the psychological variables which may have a long-lasting effect on our life is labeling, and students’ accomplishments might be severely undermined through the teacher’s labeling. In spite of this issue, few studies have been carried out on the ramifications of labeling in the educational contexts, in general, and EFL classrooms, in particular. The current study is an attempt to investigate the occurrence possibility of negative labeling and how such labels eventually influence students’ psychological/academic potentials. Since it was not possible to expose the students to the experience of negative labels in their real situations, the 100 high-school female participants of the study were asked to make predictions on social/academic success of a fictitious student who was labeled as dyslexic (Hunt, 2006). Besides, they were given a modified 11-item questionnaire (Mwania & Muola, 2013) about their experiences of being labeled. The participants were also asked to fill in the Coopersmith Self-esteem Inventory (SEI) (1967) to determine if there is a relationship between their labeling experiences, their self-esteem and their reported academic achievements. The collected data was then processed using SPSS. The findings of the study indicate that teacher’s negative labeling was significantly related with students’ self-esteem, their academic potentials, and their future life/success/expectations.The study bears some significant implications for teachers’ education since the findings show that the negative ramifications of labeling in EFL contexts should be taken into more serious consideration in teaching.

A Corpus-driven Food Science and Technology Academic Word List

کلید واژه ها: academic words Food Science and Technology Food Science and Technology Academic Word list Range

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The overarching goal of this study was to create a list of the most frequently occurring academic words in Food Science and Technology (FST). To this end, a 4,652,444-word corpus called Food Science and Technology Research Articles (FSTRA), which included 1,421 research articles (RAs) randomly selected from 38 journals across five sub-disciplines in FST, was developed. Frequency and range-based criteria were used to develop Food Science and Technology Academic Word list (FSTAWL). Word families had to occur in more than 19 journals, and they had to recur at least 134 times in the whole corpus. The computer programme RANGE was used to analyse the data. The results of frequency and range-based analysis showed that 1,090 academic words met the criteria of the study and constituted FSTAWL. The results also revealed that these words accounted for 13% of the coverage in the FSTRA.  FSTAWL provides food science and technology non-native English learners who need to read a large number of RAs and to publish FST RAs in the English journals with a useful list of the most frequently used academic words, helping them to strengthen their academic reading and writing proficiency. The findings echo calls for creating more discipline-specific word lists to cater for the needs of specialized learner populations, providing implications for materials producers  as well as explicit teaching of academic words.