Burundi is the sole country in East African Community (EAC) using mainly French as an official language and having a national language – Kirundi – which is shared by nearly all Burundians. Therefore, English language is taught as a subject on the curriculum. Although English language is even taught to science university students in Burundi, it seems that the attitudes these students have towards learning English are not known. Thus, the present study was intended to investigate the attitudes that University of Burundi pure sciences students hold towards learning English. In doing so, it also examined whether there is a statistically significant difference in these students’ attitudes in terms of gender and field of study. This study adopted a quantitative approach, hence a survey research design. The data were collected by means of a five-point Likert scale questionnaire raging from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’ that was administered to a total number of 65 students enrolled in the faculty of sciences. The questionnaire was based on the tripartite model of attitude and consisted of 40 items. The collected data were analysed by means of descriptive and inferential statistics that were computed using the statistical package SPSS 22. The findings revealed that the afore-mentioned students have overall positive attitudes towards learning English. An analysis of the results also indicated that there is no statistically significant difference in students’ attitudes both by gender and by field of study.
On the Role of Dynamic Assessment on Promotion of Writing Linguistic Accuracy among EFL Learners: An Interventionist Model
This study is conducted under the domain of Vygotskian Socio-cultural Theory (SCT) of mind and the notion of dynamic assessment to elevate the linguistic accuracy of EFL learners’ writing skill. 40 homogenous intermediate EFL learners from four intact classes were divided into two dynamic assessment (DA) and non-dynamic assessment (NDA) groups. As a pre-test, the participants were given writing topics during a course to assess their writing linguistic abilities. After analyzing and scoring the compositions’ errors based on four consecutive stages to error analysis and a model of linguistic errors (grammatical, syntactic, substance, and lexical), the type and frequency of errors’ sub-categories related to each category (n=516) was detected. Afterwards, the DA group went through intervention/mediation (interventionist dynamic assessment) based on their pre-test errors in five sessions, while non-dynamic assessment group received no mediation and feedback. The pre-test-mediation-post-test design (sandwich model of dynamic assessment) was used in this study. After mediation, as a post-test, both groups entered the second course of language learning and like pre-test their compositions during the course were analyzed and scored to see the effect of dynamic assessment on learners’ writing ability. Analysis of data through descriptive statistics and statistical analysis showed that the experimental group who received mediations, unlike control group, solved their writing difficulties extensively and outperformed the control group with a significant difference. In other words, application of DA as an alternative procedure to standard testing has a positive effect on both test performance and writing linguistic accuracy of EFL learners.
Pedagogical Efficacy of Experience-Based Learning (EBL) Strategies for Improving the Speaking Fluency of Upper-intermediate Male and Female Iranian EFL Students
Learning from experience is a central physiological and theoretical idea in adult language learning which has become increasingly important in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) and is closely connected to task-based language teaching (TBLT). Accordingly, this study was designed to investigate the role of experience-based learning strategies in developing male and female intermediate EFL learners’ speaking fluency. To this end, from the target population of 300 language learners attending evening English classes at a language institute, a sample of 50 intermediate participants were randomly chosen by administering an Oxford placement Test (OPT). The average age of the selected students ranged between 17 and 25. An interview was utilized as a pretest to determine participants’ speaking fluency entry behavior. Subsequently, they were divided into two groups labeled as experimental and control groups. While the control group students received instruction through a traditional method without any focus on experience-based activities and strategies, those in the experimental group were exposed to interactive solutions verbally participating in class discussions during task-based classroom sessions in which they discussed their experiences in performing carefully prepared two-way tasks. The analysis of the data obtained from the posttest interview indicated that the participants in the experimental group outperformed those in the control group. Moreover, the results reflected that experience-based tasks considerably improved language the learners’ speaking fluency. Notably, the findings of the present study may have certain insightful pedagogical implications for language instructors and material developers.
The Effect of Eliciting Tasks on Listening Comprehension among Iranian Pre-Intermediate EFL Learners
This study investigated the effects of eliciting tasks on listening comprehension among Iranian pre-intermediate English as a foreign language (EFL) learners. To do the current study, 30 participants out of 40 were selected through administering an Oxford Quick Placement Test (OQPT). After that, the participants were divided into two equal groups; one experimental and one control group. Then, a listening comprehension pre-test was administered to assess the participants’ listening comprehension at the beginning of the course. The experimental group received the treatment through eliciting tasks. Then, the control group received common instruction and was engaged in the ordinary program of the classroom. After twelve sessions of instruction, a post-test of listening comprehension was administered to gather the sufficient data. Data were analyzed through independent and paired samples t-tests and the results indicated that both experimental and control groups had better performance on their post-test compared to their pre-test. More importantly, the results showed that there was a significant difference between the post-tests of both groups. In fact, the experimental group outperformed the control group on the post-test thanks to eliciting tasks activities. The study has implications for language teachers and learners; e.g., Eliciting tasks help to develop a learner-centered classroom and a simulating environment while making learning memorable by linking new and old information.
The Impact of Guided Writing Practice on Iranian Extroverted/Introverted EFL Learners’ Speaking Ability at Pre-Intermediate Level
Speaking and writing are the productive skills of language and share similar components. In other words, writing and speaking are clearly related activities, but the modes of production are different. In addition, among a number of personality variables in predicting English language proficiency, extraversion/introversion has been extensively studied. This quasi-experimental study aims at exploring the impact of using guided writing practice on speaking proficiency of English as a foreign language (EFL) learners with extroverted and introverted orientation. For the purpose of the study, 60 homogenous students aged 18 to 28 were selected based on Oxford Placement Test (OPT) scores and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) among pre-intermediate participants from Mehraeen English language institute in Rasht, Iran. They were divided into experimental and control groups. The experimental group received guided writing practice and the control group was instructed based on the typical method of the institute. A series of t-test was conducted to evaluate extroverts and introverts’ speaking ability with respect to their personality type. The results of posttest revealed that using guided tasks improved speaking proficiency of the learners. Also, the treatment had a significant impact on extroverted learners in comparison with introverted learners.
The Study of Relationship between Learning Autonomy, Language Anxiety, and Thinking Style: The Case of Iranian University Students
One of the important abilities of learners is to monitor their own learning process and take charge of their development. To this end and based on the correlational nature of the study design, total of 125 students (for the Winter semester of 2017) educating at Zanjan Universities (89 B.A. students of Islamic Azad University and 60 B.A. students of Payam-e-Noor University) were chosen as the statistical population. Using Cochran formula and stratified random sampling method (each university was considered as one separate strata), the sample size was determined as 108 (65 students educating at Islamic Azad University and 43 students educating at Payam-e-Noor University). To gather the information, Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope’s, Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale, Sternberg’s Thinking Styles Inventory, and Learner Autonomy Questionnaire (LAQ) developed by Zhang and Li were used. The results of K-S test showed that non-parametric test was liable to be used in order to study the research hypotheses. Using Spearman correlation coefficient, a relationship was found between autonomy and language anxiety among Iranian university students. The other research question was an attempt to determine if there was a relationship between learner autonomy and thinking style which was confirmed through the use of Spearman correlation coefficient. Ultimately, the association between language anxiety and thinking style was addressed through the use of Spearman test which confirmed this relationship. Findings of the current study suggest pedagogical implications for second or foreign language teaching and learning as well as textbook writers and curriculum designers.
This study aimed to investigate the impact of pre-speaking activities on Iranian intermediate English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners’ oral performance. The study followed a quasi-experimental design in which subjects of the study were non-randomly selected. Oxford Placement Test (OPT) was used to select 100 intermediate EFL learners as the main sample. Then they were divided randomly into two experimental and control groups. Prior to the treatment, participants of both groups were given a pre-test of speaking to ensure their speaking ability. After a treatment of pre-speaking activities to members of the experimental group, a post-test of speaking was administered to seek the effect of it. A t-test was run to examine the difference between the mean scores of each group in post-tests. It was found that there was a statistically significant difference between the experimental and the control group. That is, the experimental group outperformed the control group in oral performance.