In academia, different disciplines tend to represent themselves, their writers, and their readers in unique ways. To be able to probe into such cross-disciplinary discursive variations, the present cross-disciplinary study used Martin and White’s appraisal framework incorporating lexico-grammar and language evaluation strategies to explore the linguistic construal of evaluative stance in the conclusion section of academic research articles. To this end, a corpus of 160 research articles randomly selected from English international journals of psychology as a representative of soft sciences and industrial engineering as a representative of hard scienceswere examined in the light of Martin and White’s scheme, with a focus on graduation. To code the data, UAM Corpus Tool was used for the ease of descriptive analyses. In general, the findings indicated that the number of graduation words and graduation types were significantly higher in the hard science corpus compared to the soft science one, suggesting that the authors of hard science articles mainly attempted to express their appreciation and judgment and report the fluctuation of a specific feature in their findings.
Intercultural Learning in Moroccan Higher Education: A Comparison between Teachers’ Perceptions and Students’ Expectations
In light of the new millennium, there has been a growing need for learners who can live and act as intercultural speakers/intermediaries in such a globalized world. This need, therefore, has brought a new learning pedagogy called “Intercultural Learning”, aims to provide an ever-lasting learning process to prepare intercultural speakers for cross-cultural encounters. However, the way intercultural learning is perceived by the teachers would differ from the way it is perceived by the students, which may affect the learning outcomes. In this respect, the present study aims to compare teachers’ perceptions with students’ expectations regarding intercultural learning in Moroccan higher education. To this end, with a total sample of 51 participants (teachers “N=25” & students “N=26”), two Likert scale questionnaires were used. Based on descriptive and inferential statistics, the findings indicated that most of the teachers held positive perceptions by showing a high degree of agreement with different aspects of intercultural learning namely, the cultural aspects of language teaching, the cultural topics covered, the techniques and the assessment methods used in intercultural learning. Regardless of students’ disagreement with some aspects of intercultural learning, the results revealed that they showed positive and high expectations about most of the aspects. Furthermore, on the basis of independent samples t-test, the results indicated that the means of the two groups are not significantly different, and so there is no significant difference between teachers’ perceptions and learners’ expectations regarding intercultural learning. The study provides insightful implications for teachers and learners regarding intercultural learning.
Exploring the Relationship between Listening Strategies Used by Iranian EFL Senior High School Students and Their Listening Comprehension Problems
The present study explored listening strategy use among a group of Iranian EFL senior high school students (N = 60). More specifically, it aimed to identify 1) the strategies used more often by participants, 2) the relationship between listening strategy use and listening comprehension problems. In this study, listening problems included input, context, listener, process, affect, and task problems while the listening strategies comprised of cognitive, meta-cognitive, and socio-affective strategies. To collect the needed data, a questionnaire was distributed among the participants. After collecting the data and analyzing them through SPSS software, the results revealed that ‘input’ and ‘affect’ were two main listening comprehension problems the learners suffered from. Results also indicated that the main listening strategy used by learners was meta-cognitive strategy. The relationship between listening problems and strategy used among the learners was statistically significant and negative. Outcomes propose that it is crucial for second language teachers to be aware of the different listening problems so as to enable listeners to utilize the appropriate strategies.
Speech acts have a decisive role in enabling EFL learners to communicate successfully. This study compared the efficacy of jigsaw and dictogloss tasks in learning speech act by 47 pre-intermediate adolescent EFL learners. The participants were selected based on convenience sampling and were homogenized based on the results of a PET. Discourse- completion task (DCT) was employed as the pre and post-tests. The result of the DCT pre-test showed that the participants were not familiar with the target speech acts. Twenty 3-minute vignettes taken from different films were employed as the medium of instruction. After the treatment, the participants sat for another DCT. The results revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between the groups regarding knowledge of speech acts. However, the results of the paired samples t-test conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment showed that there was a statistically significant difference between the groups’ DCT pre and post-tests. The study revealed that task type did not have a crucial role in learning speech acts; however, it encouraged the use of films for teaching speech acts.
This study aimed at investigating learners’ and teachers’ perception of language learning demotivation and their suggested strategies for preventing it. Participants of the study included 36 female and 24 male EFL learners in the 15-18 age range and 19 female and 11 male EFL teachers in the 25-50 age range. Their anti-demotivation strategies were sought by using a 40- item Likert type questionnaire in learners’ and teacher’ versions, with Cronbach’s alphas of .949 and .913, respectively. The results were analyzed and inferences were made. They indicated that both teachers and learners believed that “creating relaxing and stress free environment” and “setting goals” are the most effective ways to prevent demotivation. “Showing enthusiasm for teaching” was also regarded as effective as the above mentioned strategies. Although teachers and students had similar suggestions regarding the most effective strategies to fight demotivation, statistical analysis indicated that they were significantly different from each other when all their preferred strategies were juxtaposed and compared in one bulk. Taking the results of this study into account can help teachers be as closely aligned with learners as their practical wisdom guides them or favors their own preferences as their discretion and tact allow.
This study explored the effect of cognitive styles of field dependence (FD) and field-independence (FI) on Iranian EFL learners’ performance in the speech act of apology. Additionally, the investigation also focused on the effect of these cognitive styles on individual differences (IDs) like proficiency, age, and gender of the participants. To this end, 80 EFL learners, studying at two English language institutes in Maybod, were selected through convenient sampling. This study was conducted in three phases by using a variety of instruments, like Oxford Quick Placement Test (OPT), Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT), and Multiple Choice Discourse Completion Tasks (MCDCTs). With respect to the GEFT, students were divided into two groups, FD/FI. The MCDCTs were administered to measure students’ pragmatic comprehension and restructuring ability of the apology situations. The obtained data were analyzed using SPSS 21 statistical software. The results revealed that FI participants outperformed the FD ones in apology contexts. Individual differences like gender and age had a significant effect on the performance of the participants in both cognitive groups. Although the proficiency level demonstrated some variations, but it did not have any statistically significant impact on the performance of the participants in these two groups. The major pedagogical implication of the present study is that when assessing the interlanguage pragmatics (ILP) of EFL learners, teachers and other teaching administrations should take not only cognitive styles but also individual differences into consideration so that they could adopt and apply teaching methods in line with the learners’ various cognitive styles.
What do Iranian Undergraduate Students of Social vs. Natural Sciences Say about Their Language Needs?
Notwithstanding the obligation of courses such as English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in the Iranian university curriculum, exploring the language academic needs and abilities of students of social and natural sciences has been untouched. Focused on the students’ perspectives, this study aims to identify the present and target situation academic language needs of Iranian undergraduate students of social vs. natural sciences in a comparative manner. A total of 260 undergraduate students studying natural sciences (n=117) and social sciences (n=143) at Sharif University of Technology and Shahid Beheshti University participated in this study by responding to a validated questionnaire on language needs self-assessment. Regarding the present language abilities, the natural sciences students considered themselves as much more competent in the English language compared to the social sciences students. However, the target language needs of both groups were roughly similar. Besides, both groups believed that the EAP courses should be oriented more towards English for Specific Purposes (ESP). Finally, while the majority of the natural sciences students asserted that the number of credits offered for the EAP courses was not enough, the comments made by the social sciences students were contrary. The paper concludes with a suggestion to revise the present program in order to boost the effectiveness of the EAP course and a discussion of implications for instructors and material designers.