The present study aimed at examining the combined effects of pre-task and online planning time on complexity, accuracy, and fluency in narrative-based texts produced by Iranian intermediate EFL learners. Overall, the implemented studies in this regard point to the facilitative impacts for both pre-task and careful online planning on complexity, accuracy, and fluency with some recorded trade-off effects. Using a between-groups design, sixty homogeneous participants were randomly assigned to four performance conditions: no planning (NP), careful online planning (OLP), pre-task planning (PTP), and both pre-task and careful online planning (POLP). The findings revealed that pre-task and careful online planning don’t have any significant effects on the level of complexity. The results also suggested that whereas the provision of abundant online planning time increases the accuracy level, the opportunity to plan prior to performance leads them to generate more fluent written discourse. In addition, compared with the NP condition, pre-task in tandem with careful online planning time enable the participants to produce more accurate, and fluent written discourse that lend support to the Dual-Mode system and Limited Attentional Capacity Model. The findings are of pedagogical significance in that they speak of the efficacy of planning as an important metacognitive learning strategy capable of helping teachers achieve the desirable pedagogical objective of enhanced complexity, accuracy, and fluency of learners’ task-based production. Theoretically, the results underscore the effectiveness of planning time in helping language learners overcome the limitation of their attentional capacity and direct them towards aspects of form and meaning.
The present study was intended to investigate possible relationships of the development of EFL teachers’ possible selves with teacher efficacy and students’ achievement. Eighty seven teachers were selected through convenience sampling from different Language Institutes participated in this study and filled in EFL teachers’ Possible Selves Development Questionnaire as well as Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale (TSES). The participants were also requested to specify the mean scores of the achievement tests they administered to their students in the previous terms. The results of data analyses indicated significant relationships of teachers’ possible selves development with their self-efficacy and students’ achievement. To investigate which components of possible selves might have more predictive power in predicting teacher’s self-efficacy and students’ achievement, the researchers employed regression analysis. The four subscales of possible selves – ideal, ought-to, actual, and feared selves- were found to be good predictors of teacher self-efficacy and only three subscales of possible selves including ideal, ought-to, and actual selves were strongly correlated with students’ achievement. The researchers concluded by suggesting that a sense of self-efficacy as well as a concern for students’ achievement as two main senses of selves should be incorporated into the possible selves of EFL teachers through implementing specific pre-service as well as in-service teacher education programs.
By the advent of communicative language teaching, the view of language researchers has altered from focusing on grammatical form towards meaning–based approaches to second language acquisition. But, less inclination is found in researchers to investigate into teachers’ attitudes regarding the implementation of such an approach to classroom instruction. The purpose of this study is to investigate Iranian high school and private institute teachers’ knowledge and attitude toward task and task-based language Teaching. Furthermore, the reasons for choosing or avoiding implementing TBLT in the classrooms are investigated. So, a questionnaire consisting of four main parts was administered to 117 high school and institute teachers in Shiraz. Descriptive analysis indicated that the high school and institute teachers had good knowledge of TBLT principles. Moreover, they had positive attitudes toward TBLT, indicating a welcoming atmosphere toward the implementation of TBLT. Generally, no significant difference was found between the two groups of teacher. The findings revealed that the basic reason for implementing TBLT was the fact that it integrates the four language skills. Large classroom size and unfamiliarity of learners with TBLT were the basic reasons for avoiding the implementation of TBLT. The results suggested that EFL teachers can be hopeful to successfully apply TBLT in their classes, in both contexts.
From Collective Activity to Autonomous Learning: Fostering Learner Autonomy in Light of Activity Theory
Autonomous learning and social activity have excessively been the focus of interest in second language acquisition over the past decades. The present study aimed to explore how activity theory-as a branch of sociocultural theory focusing on social context-can promote Iranian EFL learners’ autonomy. To this end, fifty-six EFL students studying English translation at the Islamic Azad University, Tehran Central Branch, participated in the study. The participants were assigned to two groups, one experimental group and one control group. At the beginning of the semester, both groups took a language proficiency test to ensure their homogeneity. They also completed an autonomy questionnaire as the pre-test and post-test. The instruction in both groups was based on a five-step process of developing the academic writing skill, including prewriting, organizing, writing the first draft, revising and editing, and writing a new draft. However, only the experimental group received the instruction through an e-learning platform designed based on the six elements of activity theory-subjects, objects, mediating artifacts, rules, community, and division of labor-suitable for EFL writing classrooms. The results revealed that integrating activity theory to e-learning had a decisive role in enhancing the students’ learner autonomy. It is hoped that the findings raise both teachers and students’ awareness of implementing activity theory as a social learning framework to foster autonomous learning in EFL contexts.
Scaffolding ESL Tertiary Students’ Challenges with Essay Genre: A Systemic Functional Linguistics Perspective
Essay genres are often employed to assess learning at higher education. Students are sometimes required to write essay in examinations and assignments. The expectations of assessors in writing essays are students’ ability to present analytical and reasoned arguments and to engage with alternative viewpoints. In fact, in evaluating essays, assessors consider the extent to which a student is able to meet these expectations. However, students may have challenges meeting these expectations and instructors, particularly instructors in the discipline, may not be prepared to provide students with an explicit linguistic description of how these expectations are met. Thus, this study draws from Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) to scaffold students’ challenges in meeting the expectations of essay genre. In fact, it uses Dreyfus et al’s (2010) 3 x 3 linguistic toolkit to analyze essays written by postgraduate students in the department of English at one university in India. The 3 x 3 linguistic toolkit is used to zoom in student’s challenges in controlling the resources of SFL’s three metafunctions (ideational, interpersonal, and textual) at the level of whole text, paragraph, and sentence. After the analysis, the findings revealed that students face challenges controlling the resources of the three modes of meaning at all levels. These challenges include difficulties in grammar, lexical choices, punctuation, following expected organization, answering the question, the use of signposts to create a coherent text, and the use of engagement resources to develop a consistent argument. This study has implications for teaching and assessing academic writing.
The primary aim of this study was to open up new ways with which teachers could help learners improve their knowledge of vocabulary via collocation activities. This study investigated the effect of collocation activities on Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ vocabulary knowledge in order to solve their vocabulary problems. To this end, 60 female students from Pardis Institute in Lahijan, Iran participated in this study. They were divided into two groups of 30, one as an experimental group that received collocation activities as the treatment and a control group which received traditional method of vocabulary instruction. The researchers used a quasi-experimental, pre-test/post-test control group design. The data were analyzed using an Independent Samples T-test and a series of paired Samples T-tests. The findings of this study showed that collocation activities improved significantly participant learners’ vocabulary knowledge. The findings from paired-sample t-test indicated that the learners in the experimental group outperformed the control group in vocabulary knowledge.
An Investigation into English Foreign Language Learning Anxiety and English Language Performance Test Result: Ethiopian University Students in Focus
The purpose of this study was to investigate the students’ English foreign language learning anxiety and English language performance test result. Thus, the objective of the study was to assess the relationship between students’ English foreign language learning anxiety and their English language performance. To attain this objective, a descriptive survey research design was employed. Students’ first semester English final examination result was used to explore the relationship between students’ English classroom anxiety and their English performance test result. In line with this, foreign language classroom anxiety scale and the students’ language performance scores were used to collect data. One hundred and seventy six (176) first year students were involved in the study. Multiple instruments that included questionnaire and document analysis were used to gather data. Both quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods were employed to analyze the data. The findings indicated that most of the students were found to be anxious. Furthermore, the findings showed that there was a significant negative relationship between students’ English foreign language learning anxiety and their English performance test result. Also, the findings of the study revealed that anxiety is much more prevalent in line with the subjects of the study and had negative correlations with their English language performance exam result. Finally, it was recommended that EFL instructors should acknowledge anxiety feelings as legitimate and attempt to lesson students’ feelings of inadequacy and failure by providing positive experiences and feedback to counter act anxiety.