Issues in Language Teaching

Issues in Language Teaching

Issues in Language Teaching (ILT), Vol. 5, No. 2, December 2016



Evaluation of “Mosaic 1 Reading”: A Microstructural Approach to Textual Analysis of Pedagogical Materials

تعداد بازدید : ۱۳۰ تعداد دانلود : ۶۵
To analyze and evaluate textbooks, researchers have either proposed scales and checklists to be filled by teachers and learners or conducted qualitative investigations of the match between SLA theories and textbook activities. This study, however, employs the microstructural approach of schema theory to scrutinize the reading passages of “Mosaic 1 Reading”. To this end, 17 passages of the textbook were randomly chosen and their constituting words were explored as semantic, syntactic, and parasyntactic schemata. The passages were also analyzed in terms of their readability indices. The results showed that they consist of 3722 schema types, 2979 (80%) of which are semantic in nature. Although the textbook aims at “academic success” at English language “proficiency levels”, it provides no objective definition of what they stand for. In terms of readability, however, the passages vary in difficulty from grade three in primary school to college level. Further, the textbook is discussed in terms of its constituting schemata and suitability to the Iranian context and suggestions are made for future research. The findings of this study have important implications for language teaching, testing and materials development. They show that language proficiency must be defined in terms of schema types and the bulk of class time must be spent on teaching semantic schemata rather than syntactic and parasyntactic ones. Similarly, for testing the reading comprehension of these passages, the number and type of test items must be based on the percentage of semantic and syntactic schema types and subjective criteria such as teachers’ intuition or experience must be avoided both in teaching and testing the comprehension of passages.

Recast and Explicit Feedback to Young Language Learners: Impacts on Grammar Uptake and Willingness to Communicate

تعداد بازدید : ۱۰۸ تعداد دانلود : ۷۰
Despite the increasing popularity of error treatment as a research subject, the effect of age as a potential learner-internal factor affecting choice of feedback is largely undertreated. Characterized by being at early stages of self-empowerment, young language learners are considerably vulnerable and in need of particular language input to meet their age-appropriate psychological demands. This study is one of the early attempts to detect the appropriate corrective feedback for children’s linguistic (grammar uptake) and personality (willingness to communicate) development. Thirty-seven young language learners ( mean age = 10.32) at two pre-intermediate classes in a non-profit language institute took part in this study. Following intact group design, they were divided into two groups of recasts and explicit feedback. Whereas in the recast group, all or part of an erroneous utterance was reformulated by teacher, correct forms were directly and explicitly provided in the explicit group in the course of a semester ( 19 sessions ´ 50 min=950 mins). A structured willingness to communicate (WTC) scale and two parallel grammaticality judgment tests were administered at pre- and post-intervention conditions; this stage was accompanied by the teacher’s formative observations using an unstructured WTC checklist and a tally chart worksheet. The results of the quantitative phase revealed higher grammar uptake for the recast group. Besides, students in the implicit group showed more WTC in both quantitative and qualitative investigations. These findings indicate that for young learners the use of a less direct way might be more effective in both raising their unconscious L2 knowledge and willingness to participate in classroom activities.

Persian Speakers’ Recognition of English Relative Clauses: The Effects of Enhanced Input vs. Explicit Feedback Types

تعداد بازدید : ۱۰۲ تعداد دانلود : ۵۸
Despite consensus in focus on form (FOF) instruction over the facilitative role of noticing, controversy has not quelled over ways of directing EFL learners’ attention towards formal features via implicit techniques like input-enhancement or explicit metacognitive feedback and interactive peer-editing on the output they produce. This quasi-experimental study investigated the impact of input enhancement (IE), metalinguistic feedback (MF), and peer-editing (PE), on 73 intermediate female Iranian EFL learners’ recognition of relative clauses (RCs). The participants, in three intact classes ranged in age between 18 and 30, were randomly assigned as IE (N=23), MF (N=29), and PE (N=21) groups. The 18-session treatment in all groups was based on identical teaching materials and methodology following a reading to writing orientation focused on RCs. The only difference was related to the focus on form that was through enhanced reading texts in the IE group, metalinguistic feedback on discussion of content in the MF group, and peer-editing in pair-discussion of the content in the PE group. Two parallel sets of 40-item multiple choice researcher-made validated tests focused on RCs were employed to measure the participants’ recognition of RCs at the onset and the end of the study. The one-way between-groups analysis of covariance demonstrated significantly higher gains in the MF and PE groups compared to the IE group; the MF achieved higher levels of mastery. The findings highlight the effectiveness of MF and offer implications for more effective teaching of RCs to Iranian EFL learners.

The Perceptions of Language Learners across Various Proficiency Levels of Teachers’ Code-switching

تعداد بازدید : ۱۰۲ تعداد دانلود : ۱۰۵
Code-switching (CS), an alternation between two or more languages or language varieties, has long been researched in language education. A great number of studies by applied linguists have explored the reasons for, and the potential usages of code-switching in foreign language education over the past years. This study explores the perceptions of English language learners across various proficiency levels concerning teachers’ use of CS, in this case Farsi in English classrooms. It also examines the roles and functions of CS in the classroom. Fifty teachers and 105 language learners from University of Tehran Language Center (UTLC) in Tehran, Iran were involved in this study. The necessary data were obtained through questionnaires. The results suggested that the Elementary (EL) learners seem to benefit from the teachers' use of first language in class, whereas English-only classroom is preferred by Intermediate (IN) and Upper Intermediate (UI) ones. It was also revealed that maximum exposure of the learners to the target language seems necessary. The results suggest that, concerning the learners' levels (EL, IN and UI), teachers’ and learners’ Code Switching can work as a useful language teaching strategy. The findings of this study can have implications for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms and can be used by language teachers.

The Effect of Task Type and Task Orientation on L2 Vocabulary Learning

تعداد بازدید : ۸۶ تعداد دانلود : ۷۵
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of meaning-focused versus form-focused input-oriented and output-oriented task-based instruction on elementary level Iranian EFL Learners’ vocabulary comprehension and recall. For this purpose, a sample of 120 male students from a private school in Tehran was selected through convenience sampling and based on availability. The participants were divided into four groups, and each group was given a different treatment. The first group was taught through meaning-focused input-oriented vocabulary tasks; the second group was instructed through meaning-focused output-oriented tasks; the third group received form-focused input-oriented vocabulary tasks, and the fourth group received form-focused output-oriented vocabulary instruction. At the end of the treatment, the participants in all the four groups were given a vocabulary comprehension and a vocabulary recall posttest. The results indicated that meaning-focused tasks were more effective than form-focused tasks on both vocabulary comprehension and recall. At the same time, input-oriented tasks turned out to be more effective than output-oriented tasks on only vocabulary comprehension. In vocabulary recall, input-oriented tasks were more effective when they were form-focused, while output-oriented tasks were more effective when they were meaning-focused. The results of this study can have implications for teachers, learners, and curriculum designers.

ESP Program in Iran: A Stakeholder-based Evaluation of the Program’s Goal, Methodology, and Textbook

تعداد بازدید : ۸۳ تعداد دانلود : ۶۳
This study is an attempt to evaluate certain areas of the Iranian ESP program through the lens of its immediate stakeholders, i.e. policy implementers, authors, teachers and learners. Using questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations through a quantitative-qualitative mixed-method design, the collected data were analyzed. The results of the study indicate that the program is suffering from lack of systematic observation and evaluation policy, and its stakeholders especially in the users’ strand are not satisfied with the program’s current status, goal, methodology and textbooks. The origin of the problems and dissatisfaction in the program was found to have varying shares from different sources. Contextual factors, improper policies, unprincipled teaching methodology, and old fashioned spiritless textbooks were found and concluded to have their impeding roles in the Iranian ESP program achievement and satisfaction. The findings of the present research are hoped to provide the concerned communities in both strand of providers and users with clear insights around the common flaws and drawbacks in the program along with possible clues for the program improvement.