Foreign Language Teaching and Research

Foreign Language Teaching and Research

international Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research, Volume 8, Issue 32, Autumn 2020



Deconstruction of Cultural, Racial and Gender Dominance in Iranian Senior High School EFL Textbooks

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Course books play a crucial role in educational process and are believed to be the pivotal ingredient of language teaching. Every new textbook needs to be analyzed in order to reach its best. Hence this study aims to analyze three Iranian English course books to reveal how various cultures are shown via the course books characters’ race, nationality, gender, and intercultural communications. The inspection of the course books revealed unequal cultural representations with the dominance of white and male characters. Furthermore, regarding the intercultural interactions, most examples included conversations among Iranians in a superficial level of cultural engagement. It was also found that males’ roles are more highlighted throughout the series. Hence, in some cases, the leading ideology floating in this series is prototyping the Iranian-Islamic culture and values by means of English. Overall, this series seemed to suffer from biased embedded ideologies in terms of presenting cultures, races and genders. The findings of this study are of great help for language teachers, language learners, textbook developers, and curriculum developers to adopt an international position toward education.

Junior High School EFL Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Collaborative Action Research

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This study aimed to analyze high school EFL teachers’ attitudes toward collaborative action research (CAR). This study was of both qualitative and quantitative types. The number of the selected samples of this research, based on the convenience sampling method, were 20 male and female EFL teachers teaching at the Education and Training Organization of Isfahan Province. As the instrument of this research, they were given the standard questionnaire of Savaskan (2013) and Byrnes (2009) to fill. Then, the data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and t-test through SPSS Software, version 25. According to the obtained results, based on descriptive statistics, both male and female teachers had a positive attitude toward collaborative action research. (56.25% of the answers were under average (3) which showd a more positive attitude). Also, in comparison with the female teachers, male ones had a more positive attitude toward collaborative action research (2.70˂2.95). Conducting such research in this realm paves the way to make sure about the right selection of the teaching techniques in general, and collaborative action research and its subcategories in particular.

Task Condition and L2 oral Performance: Investigating the Combined Effects of Online Planning and Immediacy

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Research evidence reported to date demonstrates the differential effects of manipulating second language (L2) task conditions on the resultant production as measured in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency. The present study was aimed at adding to the available body of findings by exploring the synergistic effects of two task condition variables, namely online planning and immediacy (± Here/Now) on L2 oral discourse. For this purpose, 60 Iranian intermediate learners of English as a foreign langue (EFL) were asked to perform the task of narrating a story based on a sequenced set of pictures under four conditions (i.e., Here/Now and pressed online planning, Here/Now and careful online planning, There/Then and pressed online planning, There/Then and careful online planning). The results of statistical analyses revealed that carefully planning speech while performing the task consistently assists complexity and accuracy, but negatively affects fluency of speech. Besides, it was observed that carrying out the same task using the past tense without contextual support (i.e., There/Then), if coupled with careful online planning, simultaneously enhances complexity and accuracy. Performing a task in Then/There also reduces fluency. Interestingly, it was also found out that the opportunity to carefully plan online while performing the task in There/Then exponentially increases complexity and accuracy with strong negative effects on fluency. Lastly, pedagogical implications of the findings are discussed regarding the contribution of task condition to directing learners’ attention and their L2 speech quality.

Planned Focus-on-form Instruction in Task-based Language Teaching: The case of EFL learners’ oral grammatical accuracy performance

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This study investigated the effects of planned focus-on-form instruction (pFFI) on developing oral grammatical accuracy in Iranian English EFL learners. To this end, 60 lower-intermediate EFL learners studying English in a private English language institute in Tehran, Iran, were randomly assigned to two classes. Both classes received a task-based instruction on grammatical points elicited in oral production of English sentences with the only difference that one class, the experimental group (N=30) had a pFFI instruction (i.e., the target grammatical structures selected in advance), and the other class, the control group (N = 30), had a task-based instruction without any focus on planned grammatical structures. Learners’ oral performance was observed in their answers to pictorial cues in the pretest and posttest. The results of the study revealed that although both groups significantly improved in their oral performance in terms of grammatical accuracy, pFFI instruction was more effective on the experimental group since they significantly outperformed the control group.

From Importer of Knowledge to Researcher of the Self: Exploring the Utility of Collaborative Action Research in Distance Second Language Professional Development

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Teacher professional development, as a burgeoning term, has attracted a surge of interest in English language teaching. In second language (L2) professional development, the common orthodoxy has been one which considers teachers as that of knowledge consumers. It is commonly argued that top-down approaches to teachers’ professional development has done little to maximize teachers’ professionalism. To unravel the above-mentioned dilemma, this study was an attempt to implement collaborative action research, as a viable means, to boost teachers’ professional development in a networked community of shared knowledge. To this end, thirteen male and female Iranian English teachers, within the age range of 22-35, were selected through convenience sampling. The selected participants were added to a group in WhatsApp. The online classes began with plenary debate, mostly in the form of workshops through problematizing a particular topic, which were directly linked to teachers’ actual teaching experience. Insights into the EFL teachers’ professional development were acquired through the triangulation of data from four main sources (i.e., teachers’ professional journals, reflective journals, action research projects, and semi-structured interviews). The findings revealed that engaging EFL teachers in a collaborative dialogue in a networked community of shared knowledge ultimately culminated in development of action research projects which resulted in sustained L2 professional development, whereby participating teachers developed a broader understanding of research and adopted reflective inquiry in their L2 teaching practices. The findings have important implications for language teachers in general, and EFL teachers, syllabus designers, and material developers, in particular.

Effect of Interventionist Computerized Dynamic Assessment on Learners’ Grammatical English Tenses: Analysis of Cake and Sandwich Formats

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The present mixed-method study sought to investigate the efficacy of using an interventionist dynamic assessment and specifically its formats namely the cake and the sandwich ones on learners’ grammatical English Tenses. In doing so, 45 advanced learners of English language at Iran Language Institute (ILI) in Shiraz, Iran were selected. They were randomly assigned to 3 groups, each including 15 participants. Two experimental groups namely the cake and the sandwich ones received the interventionist dynamic assessment test while the third group received a non-dynamic grammar test which was functioning as a control group. As the study utilized a sequential exploratory design (QUAN → qual) of mixed method approach (MMR), the quantitative part was carried out via a well-established grammar test and in the qualitative component, six informants (3 from the cake group and 3 from the sandwich group) were selected to be interviewed and their quotations were descriptively analyzed through a sociocultural perspective. The quantitative component of the study revealed the outperformance of the two experimental group over the control group. However, the two modes of delivering mediation in experimental groups had no statistically significant difference on the degree of the acquisition of grammatical English tenses by learners. The interview analysis of the negotiations also demonstrated positive viewpoints of learners about the two experimental groups. Merging the quantitative and qualitative analyses, the study found that interventionist dynamic assessment, in both modes, could have positive effects on learners’ ability to improve their acquisition of English tenses.

Induction of Emotions from TOEFL iBT Reading Tests as a Construct-irrelevant Factor and its Interference with Emotional Intelligence

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Cognitive appraisal of individuals directs to the creation of an emotional response, which is related to emotional intelligence. The present study shows the presence of induced emotions as an unrelated factor on the construct of a TOEFL iBT reading test which can interplay with emotional intelligence for regulating the induced emotions towards reading passages. The present participants were 393 Iranian EFL TOEFL iBT candidates. The present researchers detected induced emotions based on PANAS before and after reading the three selected passages of a TOEFL iBT reading section. Also, emotional intelligence was detected by Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test after reading the selected passages. Our results confirmed this hypothesis statistically by reporting that induced emotion from the passages of the selected TOEFL iBT test has a significant effect on emotional intelligence. This study found that if test developers provide a condition for test-takers to activate their emotional intelligence, they might control the induced emotion as the construct-irrelevant variable during reading.

Evaluation of High School English Course Books in Iran: Task Types in Focus

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This study sought to examine the type and frequency of tasks in the Iranian high school English course books (Prospect 1, 2, 3 & English Book 1, 2, 3). The corpus was analyzed based on Nunan’s (1999) framework composed of five main task types, namely cognitive, interpersonal, linguistics, affective, and creative. To this end, the whole content of the aforementioned course books went through content analysis separately and accordingly descriptive and inferential results were reported regarding the frequency of each task type. The results showed that the linguistic tasks were the most recurrent type, whereas some task types (e.g., affective and creative) were totally absent. Furthermore, based on the results of Chi Square test, a significant difference was observed in the frequency of task types. While, according to communicative approach, communicative competence necessitates the inclusion of grammatical, discourse, sociolinguistic, and strategic competencies, the findings of the current study revealed that linguistic competence was overemphasized in these course books. This fact may lead to learners who are competent in producing linguistically appropriate utterances, which may at the same time be inappropriate with regard to context. The findings can have significant implications for EFL teachers and materials developers in making them conscious of the fact that the application of different types of tasks in textbooks is an important standard leading to more competent language users, especially in an EFL context like Iran.