The application of Multifaceted Rasch Measurement (MFRM) in rating test takers’ oral language proficiency has been investigated in some previous studies (e.g., Winke, Gass, & Myford, 2012). However, little research so far has ever documented the effect of test takers’ genders on their oral performances and few studies have investigated the relationship between the impact of raters’ gender on the awarded scores to male and female test takers. Thus, this study aimed to address the above-mentioned issue. Twenty English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers rated the oral performances of 300 test takers. The outcomes demonstrated that test takers’ gender differences did not have any significant role in their performance differences when they were rated by the raters of the same or opposite gender. The findings also reiterated that raters of different genders did not demonstrate bias in rating test takers of the opposite or same gender. Moreover, no significant difference was observed regarding male and female raters’ biases towards the rating scale categories. The outcomes of the study showed that both male and female raters assign fairly similar scores to test takers. This suggests no evidence based on which either male or female raters must be excluded from the rating process. The findings imply that there is no need to worry about the impact of gender for a more valid and reliable assessment.
While the advantages of cooperative learning activities have been extensively acknowledged in L2 literature, this type of pedagogy has not received due attention in the Iranian EFL context. Indeed, the traditional reading method still dominates in most Iranian EFL university classes even though it fails to meet its main objective which is training competent EFL readers. In an attempt to address this challenge, the current case study incorporated cooperative learning pedagogy into two EFL reading comprehension classes in a medium size university in Iran and sought learners’ behaviors and reflections toward the student-centered activities they engaged in during an academic semester. To serve that end, two volunteer cohorts of learners (less and more experienced) from two EFL reading comprehension classes were recruited. Class observation field notes along with focus group interviews comprised the data collection instruments of the study. While the learners’ behaviors and activities were recorded in observation field notes throughout the semester, the two focus groups were interviewed right after the course had finished. Data analyses indicated that the learners expressed favorable attitudes toward the new approach they were involved in, even though some issues were raised by the interviewees. Some pedagogical implications and recommendations are proposed for efficient incorporation of cooperative learning activities in EFL reading comprehension classes which have traditionally been dominated by teachers based on the findings of the current study.
The present study investigated the effect of different types of text simplification (i.e., reducing the lexical and syntactic complexity of texts) on reading comprehension of English as a Foreign Language learners (EFL). Sixty female intermediate EFL learners from three intact classes in Tabarestan Language Institute in Tehran participated in the study. The intact classes were assigned to three experimental groups. Moreover, to homogenize the groups, the researchers administered a general proficiency test (TOEFL, 2003) to the participants. The results revealed no significant difference among the groups in general proficiency and reading ability. Then four reading comprehension texts from TOEFL test (2005) were simplified through lexical simplification, syntactic simplification or lexical-syntactic simplification techniques. The simplified texts, along with their reading comprehension (RC) questions, formed the three versions of the post-test, each version contained either lexically, syntactically or lexical-syntactically simplified texts. Each group took one version of the post-test. The scores were analyzed through one-way ANOVA. The results revealed a significant difference among the groups. The post hoc test indicated that the lexical-syntactic simplification group significantly outperformed the lexical simplification group and performed considerably better than the syntactic simplification group. There was no significant difference between the lexical and syntactic simplification groups, although the latter showed better results.
The present qualitative research, for the first time, aimed at comparing and contrasting the extent cultural components and subcomponents are represented in the elementary levels of A Course in General Persianand Top Notch Seriesas foreign language teaching textbooks. The adapted checklist of Lee's Big ‘C' and little ‘c' cultural components (2009) was used for the current study. After content analysis, Big ‘C' cultural components with the highest, lowest, and no frequency in each textbook were identified, and the possible reasons behind the occurrence of each one were addressed. Based on the findings, it was revealed that although the two textbooks enjoyed approximately similar functions concerning non-/presenting Big ‘C' cultural components, the Persian textbook was richer in introducing cultural capsules. And while the cultural capsules in the Persian textbook were associated more with people's common life styles and their daily interactions, those in the English textbook were concerned more with entertaining life style. Concerning little ‘c,' no cultural component was observed in the two textbooks. It is implied that the embedded cultural components and subcomponents in FL/SL textbooks should be the ones which a) are in harmony with learners' language proficiency levels and b) are used (most) frequently in the daily lives of their native speakers.
The relationship between language and culture has become a rich source of inquiry in the context of English language teaching. Learning materials can depict cultural content in different cultural senses, namely aesthetic, sociological, semantic, and pragmatic. The present study aimed to investigate the way cultural aspects are represented in the reading and dialog sections of global ( American English File) and localized ( The ILI English Series) ELT textbooks which are widely used in Iran. The framework adopted to analyze the cultural contents of the materials was Adaskou, Britten, and Fahsi (1990) to explore how culture in aesthetic and sociological senses is realized in the series. The findings demonstrated that more emphasis was put on the sociological sense and that this aspect of the culture dominated the aesthetic sense in the cultural contents of the two series. The cultural and culture-free contents represented in the two global and localized series were found to be entirely different in frequency and sense realization. Most of the contents in the localized series were culture-free, while the culture-free contents in the global series were reasonably less than the sociological and aesthetic senses. Additionally, the findings revealed that compared with the worldwide series, the localized textbook was less representative of cultural features in sociological and aesthetic senses. The results imply that ELT materials should be inclusive enough regarding the sociological and aesthetic senses of culture to help learners get engaged in the development of their cultural understanding.
Research on teacher cognition concerning listening instruction has not been sufficiently touched upon. The present case study aimed to investigate Iranian EFL teachers' stated practices, their perceptions of how effective those practices are, and their actual classroom practices of two casual process-oriented listening instructional approaches namely, strategy-based instruction (SBI) and metacognitive instruction (MCI). To this end, a mixed methods design was utilized. Five experienced EFL teachers were required to be observed and to fill a self-report questionnaire. The findings from the questionnaire revealed teachers' relative but insufficient use of the two process-oriented approaches. Regarding the effectiveness of the process-oriented approaches, the majority of the techniques were perceived by the teachers as effective. Also, the result of the observation showed that process-oriented approaches were conspicuously absent in the teachers' actual classroom practices. Finally, pedagogical implications for EFL teachers, teacher educators, and material developers concerning how best to teach listening are discussed.