Foreign Language Teaching and Research

Foreign Language Teaching and Research

Iinternational Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research, Volume 8, Issue 30, (Special Issue) 2020



Alleviating Iranian EFL Students’ Speaking Anxiety: Mobile-assisted instruction vs. traditional instruction

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Language classrooms are occasionally anxiety-breeding situations. Foreign language classroom anxiety which negatively affects foreign language learning is typically associated with productive activities mainly speaking skill. To cope with the issue and overcome language learning difficulties, the present study was conducted to explore the impact of mobile-assisted language learning on enhancing EFL students’ oral proficiency and relieving their speaking anxiety. 60 sophomore female students whose ages ranged from 18 to 24 were selected from Zand University in Shiraz, Iran and randomly divided into two groups. Traditional instruction was adopted to teach both groups for two hours in a week for four months. Out of class, however, they did various speaking activities. The participants in the control group followed their course book speaking activities. But, the experimental group experienced mobile-assisted language learning to do their out-of-class speaking activities via a mobile application (Voice Thread). The Preliminary English Test and the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale questionnaire were used to collect the required data. Paired samples t-test results indicated that Voice Thread experience significantly enhanced the participants’ oral proficiency and lowered their foreign language speaking anxiety.these findings provide experimental evidence that Voice Thread can be used as an educational tool to help EFL students to improve their oral proficiency and create their own individual less-threatening language learning environment.

EFL Learners’ Language Aptitude, Foreign Language Anxiety, and Willingness to Communicate

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This study was an attempt to investigate the relationship among EFL learners’ language aptitude, anxiety, and willingness to communicate (WTC). Accordingly, two questionnaires and a battery were used: Language Aptitude Battery for Iranian Learners (LABI), Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), and WTC Scale. A total of 164 undergraduate students majoring in English literature and English translation of Islamic Azad University Central Tehran took part in this study, among whom 119 (52 males and 67 females) whose age ranged from 19 to 35 years responded to the three instruments completely and were thus considered as the actual participants. The researchers carried out a series of both descriptive and inferential statistical analyses and the results supported the notion that learners’ anxiety was negatively correlated with their WTC while learners’ language aptitude was positively correlated with their WTC. Hence, the major implication of this study is that by helping learners reduce their anxiety and enhance their aptitude, they can increase their WTC.

Motivational Practice in High-Schools in Vietnam: EFL Teachers’ Strategies from Student Perspective

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Despite abundant research on teachers’ motivational strategies worldwide, scant attention has been paid to this in Vietnam. Thus, the current study aimed to investigate the high school EFL teachers’ use of motivational strategies reported by students and their attitudes towards these motivational strategies. The participants consisted of 416 students taught by 30 EFL teachers from ten high schools of eight provinces in the Mekong Delta. A semi-opened questionnaire was employed to elicit students’ report on the motivational strategies employed by their English teachers, and their judgments about the value of these strategies. Findings of the study indicated that the teachers frequently used top motivational strategies as reported in previous research. Such strategies were also judged to be motivating by the students. However, noticeably, the students highly valued teacher recognition of their efforts and a harmonious behaviour and ascribed these practice to their increased motivation. Other strategies were also suggested by students that teachers should use. The implication is that cultural differences mediate students’ perceptions, and that the EFL teachers in the context should attend to fundamental strategies, and the ones preferred by students.

Using Foreign Language Learning Factors in Tourism Development in Iran

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It is necessary to establish mutual relationships between suppliers and demanders to ensure the quality of services. As English is the language of international communications, and the linguistic competence can greatly help develop the tourism industry, this study aimed to analyze the effects of learning English listening, speaking, reading, and writing on tourism development in Iran through the mediating roles of effective communications and teaching in English. The study is applied regarding purpose, and descriptive-survey study of correlation type regarding method. The population consisted of the professors and students of tourism management of Iran's universities, tourism faculties of Tehran, Mashhad, Semnan, Ahvaz, Babolsar, Yazd, and Kerman, as well as the experts in the tourism industry of Iran and foreign tourists. Data collection was field and library method done by distributing a questionnaire online and in person to 351 participants to complete them. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling techniques were used to analyze the collected data. The research findings indicated that listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills have a significant effect on effective communication and education in English. On the other hand, effective communication and teaching in English affect tourism development. The results indicate the essential role of linguistic competence in developing the tourism industry. For better understanding, recognition and learning the international environment and the development of the tourism industry, Iran needs to deal with this challenge, learning English, maintain its competitiveness in the globalization stage.

Effect of Storytelling Instruction on Developing Iranian EFL Learners’ Oral Proficiency within ZPD-activated Proximal Context

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The application of zone of proximal development (ZPD), as a major tenet of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory (SCT, 1978), has recently been invited in the L2 learning/teaching profession. This study mainly examined whether Iranian EFL learners’ interactions in diverse ZPD-activated proximal contexts through the use of storytelling instruction could improve their oral (speaking) proficiency and attitudes towards speaking in ZPD-based learning context. A pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design was used with 60 intermediate EFL participants selected from Asre-no English Language Institute in Iran, after administering the OQPT. Then, the participants were assigned into 2 experimental groups (ZPD-activated equal and unequal groups), and 1 control group, with 20 participants in each group. The students in both experimental groups were exposed to the storytelling-based instruction within different ZPD-activated proximal contexts (equal and unequal), but in the control group the traditional teacher-fronted instruction within a non-ZPD context was conducted. A semistructured interview and a questionnaire were used to assess the participants’ speaking proficiency and attitudes before and after the instruction. The findings from the analysis of covariance and t test suggested that using storytelling instruction within ZPD-activated contexts significantly improved both the participants’ speaking proficiency and their attitudes. Further data analysis of the ZPD participants’ performance indicated that no significant difference between the learners’ speaking proficiency development of equal and unequal peer groups was found. By implication, ZPD-based pair work and storytelling-based instruction, interwoven with each other in a balanced manner, would be highly fruitful in developing EFL learners’ speaking skill and their attitudes.

Flourished or Suppressed Teachersʼ Professional Identities: A Comparison between English Teachers of Institutes and Schools in Iran

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Teacher professional identity is widely acknowledged as a multi-dimensional dynamic evolving concept contributing to teachers’ self-perception about their professional roles. This qualitative study aimed to explore how different instructional settings of teaching English as a foreign language in Iran impacted on teachers’ professional identities in a comparative way. To this end, 25 English teachers from public schools and private institutes of Kerman were interviewed to collect data and to examine how teachers conceptualize themselves at schools and institutes. All 25 participants (13 school teachers and 12 institute teachers) had a BA degree in English. Data analysis revealed that teachers of public schools had comprehended, strong, and thick initial professional identity in comparison to those teaching in private institutes. However, such an ideal professional identity was more vulnerable to professional identity shock that resulted from the discrepancy between initial professional identity arisen from pre-service training programs and an emergent one derived from the identity-in-practice in class life. In terms of preparation to teach, the findings showed that the teachers of public schools had more extended viewpoints towards teaching and its significance. Moreover, they believed that their identity influenced the teaching profession while the institute teachers believed in teaching influence on their identity that provided evidence for the variable nature of teacher professional identity resulting from parallel interconnections of different macro and micro factors leading to its steady reinterpretation and reshaping. Keywords: dyna

Validation of a Preliminary Model of Cultural Identity for Iranian Advanced EFL Learners: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

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This study was an endeavor to develop a model of cultural identity among Iranian advanced EFL learners. To achieve this end, a multiphase design was implemented. Initially, it was attempted to investigate different factors of cultural identity to propose and validate a model. Thus, 20 EFL learners studying in Safir English language institute in Tehran were interviewed about their views of their cultural identity in the qualitative phase. After extracting four factors of cultural identity including: “religion, culture, nationality, and language”, a questionnaire was constructed which reflected these factors. Then, in the quantitative phase, the 30-item questionnaire went through an exploratory factor analysis for the sake of validity and after its validity and reliability were corroborated through a pilot study with 183 learners, it was distributed among 384 EFL learners. In addition, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis was run through LISREL 8.8. to confirm that the final proposed model enjoyed validity for future research. To do so, a confirmatory factor analysis was run and the model of cultural identity was developed. Eventually, the possible relationship between 384 EFL learners’ cultural identity and their English language achievement scores was examined and the results of this phase indicated that there was a significant and positive relationship between learners’ cultural identity and their English language achievement scores. The findings of this study can enhance awareness among English teachers, materials developers, and syllabus designers to equip themselves with the updated techniques to handle the possible challenges that may occur in EFL learning contexts.

The Impact of Grammatical Shifts on the Quranic Rhetorical Questions Translated into English: A Comparative Study

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This comparative study aimed at finding out the types of grammatical shifts which have occurred in two English translations of the Quranic rhetorical questions, and the impact of such shifts on the said rhetorical questions. For these purposes, the study firstly analyzed the Arabic and English texts syntactically using the x-bar theory for Haegeman (2006) and then classified the grammatical shifts according to Catford’s (1965) kinds of shifts. The X theory has been applied as a tree diagram and liner structure. Where necessary “al-Gadwal fi i’arab al-Quran”/the Quran grammatical analysis” of Safi published in (1995) has been used. The two English translations used in the study were “the Koran Interpreted” by Arberry (1955) and “the Noble Quran: English translation of the meanings and commentary” (1996) by al-Hilali and Khan. According to the analysis, different types of grammatical shifts, e.g. class, unit, structural and level shifts have occurred in the two translations. Further, another kind of shift has appeared in the two translations. This refers to the syntactic shift where a question has been changed into a statement. With respect to the impact of such shifts on the meanings of the Quranic rhetorical questions, sometimes the entire meaning of the ST rhetorical questions is distorted like in al-Hilali and Khan’s translation. In addition, the intended reason of the function is changed like in Arberry’s translation. By and large, it can be argued that the shifts committed by Arberry affected the ST rhetorical questions more than those made by al-Hilali and Khan.

Recognizing Stalactites and Stalagmites of ELT Vodcasting in Teacher Education Based on Activity Theory and Visual Thinking Strategies

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Teachers need to know new applications for developing online materials and then they should become aware of different ways to present them to online audience. This study tries to help ELT teachers to overcome challenges and difficulties of vodcasting by recognizing their social and biological motives (Activity Theory), and using Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). It can alter teachers’ negative attitudes towards online materials development via providing useful tools and techniques to become better producers of their knowledge to survive professionally. This QUAL-quan inquiry initiated with 10 University professors of Islamic Azad University-South Tehran Branch. All these participants answered ‘Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)’ questionnaire, ‘Personality Test and Job Satisfaction’, ‘Three-D Test’, and ‘Spatial Recognition Test’. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with those whose data were grounded and initiated from open coding, down to axial coding, and finalized with selective coding. Participants produced vodcasts as pre-test. Then, they received the treatments on an exclusively launched ‘MArt’ Telegram group in the form of the researcher-designed audios and videos and YouTube samples. As a post-test, each of the participants made another vodcast. Then, two experts who are ELT university lecturers evaluated the two sets of recorded data. Finally, all the interpretations and analyses were presented in different graphs and charts along with researcher’s interpretation based on theoretical frameworks. The results show that whether ELT teachers are capable of producing vodcasts or not. Besides, VTS help teachers to become much more visually literate and produce more successful vodcasts. Both treatments of the present study and the derived codes can be used in teacher education, and they can turn into a task-based digital or paper-based coursebooks benefiting M.A. TEFL students.

The Effect of Scaffolded Written Corrective Feedback on Iranian EFL Learners’ Writing Quality: An Activity Theory Perspective

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With the latest paradigm shift in SLA from Cognitivism to Sociocultural Theory (SCT), more studies are carried out to investigate the efficacy of Written Corrective Feedback (WCF) through a social and cultural lens. A more recent offspring of SCT is Activity Theory which provides an explanatory framework for scrutinizing an activity in a social setting. The present study aimed at investigating the impact of Scaffolded WCF within the framework of Activity Theory on Iranian EFL learners’ writing performance in terms of reduction of the learners’ writing errors with respect to the content, vocabulary, mechanics, organization, and grammar. Finally, different types of Activity Theory-based strategic mediations (i.e. artifact, rule, community, and role mediations) Iranian EFL learners employed in their writing revisions were investigated. Accordingly, 25 Iranian university-level students, through convenient sampling, were chosen to participate in the study. The treatment they received on their writings was a graduated Scaffolding WCF in their Zone of Proximal Development in the form of both peer and teacher feedback. The findings indicated that Scaffolded WCF statistically significantly contributed to the participants’ writing performance in terms of content, vocabulary, mechanics, organization, and grammar. With respect to the mediation strategies used by the learners, it was discovered that the learners benefitted from all the available mediators although with various degrees. It is hoped that the findings of this study will promise implications for promoting a teacher/learner-friendly method of providing WCF based on SCT, which can be utilized in large classes typical of Iranian EFL university courses.