Abstract in every research paper has always been functioning as an attention-grabber which can encourage readers to keep reading the research or to dissuade it. Although abstracts are believed to play an important role in distributing the research findings, few studies have been done to evaluate the rhetorical organization of thesis abstracts, especially in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Thus, the purpose of the present study was to analyze the rhetorical moves of the MA thesis abstracts written from 1988 to 2015 in the field of TEFL in Allameh Tabataba’i University (ATU), an Iranian university. To this end, 300 MA thesis abstracts were analyzed based on Hyland’s (2000) rhetorical move framework. To track the rhetorical move trends of the thesis abstracts and for the ease of analysis, they were analyzed in three time intervals. The results revealed that while in the first interval (1988-1997) the most frequent rhetorical moves were the “Purpose”, “Method”, and “Product”, in the other two intervals (1998-2007 and 2008-2015) the “Purpose” was the most used rhetorical move. In addition, the least frequent rhetorical moves were the “Introduction” and “Conclusion” for the three intervals. The findings, on top of these, indicated that the rhetorical move patterns of thesis abstracts moved from Purpose-Method-Product (P-M-Pr) to Introduction-Purpose-Method-Product-Conclusion (I-P-M-Pr-C). That said, it can be concluded that in the examined thesis abstracts, the highest average of information was provided on the “Purpose” of the study, while the other moves, especially the conclusion move, was not deemed important; moreover, an increasing rate of information provision was detected on the “Method” and “Product” moves. This research bears some implications for L2 learners to better know their community of practice and writing instructors to prepare genre-based writing materials.
Self-regulation of learning has been extensively investigated in second language (L2) learning. Many studies have focused on the strategies that language learners employ to regulate their own learning processes. However, motivational self-regulation is considerably less explored. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between motivational self-regulatory strategies (MSRSs) and academic achievement. A motivational self-regulation questionnaire was administered to 64 male and female adult Iranian EFL learners to measure their choice of various strategies. The quantitative data was analyzed by applying correlational and multivariate analyses. The results demonstrated that there was a strong relationship between motivational self-regulatory strategy use and academic achievement. However, no difference was found between male and female learners in their use of the strategies. Further examination revealed that higher-achieving students differed from lower-achieving participants in their preference for strategies. The article concludes that while all learners use extrinsic rewards to self-regulate their motivation, more successful learners tend to manipulate learning tasks to make the tasks intrinsically interesting and pleasant. Also, more successful learners set both long-term and short-term goals to motivate themselves. The results underscore the importance of students’ personal interests, needs and goals, and suggest that teachers foster learners’ command of the strategies through instruction and cooperative activities.
Learning Styles and the Writing Process in a Digitally Blended Environment: Revising, Switching, and Pausing Behaviors in Focus
The present investigation sought to explore the relationship between learning styles and writing behaviors of EFL learners in a blended environment. It also aimed to identify the learning style types best predicting writing behaviors. Initially, the participants' preferred learning styles were identified through the Kolb’s learning style inventory (Kolb, 1984). Secondly, data were obtained through analyzing the Stat counter and Input log data to reveal the pausing, revising and switching behaviors of the participants who attended a writing course in which they developed their writing texts using an online module. The results indicated a negative and significant correlation between the accommodator learning style and the revision behavior. A statistically significant and positive relationship was also found between the converger learning style and the pausing behavior, and between the converger learning style and the revision behavior Furthermore, a positive and significant relationship between the accommodator learning style and the switching behavior was revealed. The accommodator learning style was found as the best predictor for the switching behavior and the converger learning style turned to predict the revision and pausing behavior at an optimal level. The findings suggest that internal factors, cognitive and learning styles, play a significant role in the learning behaviors of English writing learners. The results encourage writing educators to take into account students’ learning style and provide more flexible and rigorous learning environment in which all learners can take benefit.
Tracing Metadiscursive Stance over Time and Across Disciplines: A Comparative Study of English Research Articles
Research in academic writing has revealed a strong tendency on the part of writers to interactively communicate their scientific findings with their readers. In doing so, the writers should take a position while arguing their propositions. This interaction as proposed by Hyland (2005b) takes places having two sides of stance and engagement. This study targeted the stance component of writer-reader interaction by integrating Hyland’s (2005b) and Hyland and Tse’s (2005a) frameworks to survey lexical and grammatical stance markers in the major subsections of English research articles in anthropology, education, horticulture, and zoology. The corpus included 240 English research articles published during two periods, namely, 1990 and 2010; 60 from each field, 30 articles from 1990 and 30 from 2010 yielding a total number of 1,270,021words. The findings suggested that stancetaking is a common feature of academic writing in the sampled disciplines regardless of the nature of the discipline. Also, hedges ranked first on the list of frequency count. Furthermore, there was a decreasing pattern in the use of stance markers highlighting a convergence among the scholars of the fields with respect to the totality of the facts established day by day. Then, some implications are drawn with plausible applicability in academic writing and EAP syllabus design.
Although decades of research have well elaborated on teacher professional development, we still do not have a thorough picture about what teacher professional development could entail and what components it consists of. The present study aims to develop and validate a teacher professional development scale in an Iranian English foreign language context. An initial tentative model with 130 items was piloted and tested through exploratory and confirmatory data analyses on a sample of 400 EFL teachers. This level resulted in the removal of 28 items in our sample loaded, resulting in a final 102 teacher professional development inventory. The developed inventory measures the extent to which EFL teachers are professionally developed and makes teachers aware of multiple characteristics of professionally developed teachers. These competencies are essential components of teacher professional development, enabling the teachers to utilize them in everyday teaching and learning practices in the classroom settings which, as a result, leads to student achievement. As teachers fulfill important professional roles, they need valid instruments to assess their day-to-day functioning in the class. With the instrument developed and validated in the current research, we, in fact, allow language teachers to assess their extent of professional development in different pedagogical contexts.