The importance of incorporating graduate students' needs into academic writing courses has established a good reputation in EAP/ESP research. In addition, writing and publishing research articles (RA) is a universally established benchmark for students' academic flourish. The present study examines the status quo of academic writing courses in graduate programs to determine the extent academic writing needs of Applied Linguistics students, mainly RA writing needs, are addressed and practiced in the course. Drawing insights from the literature on academic writing, we developed two similar interview protocols for graduate students and course instructors to capture these key stakeholders' retrospective views on the course. We found that the course mainly focuses on proposal/thesis writing, not regarded as a critical need based on students' perspectives. Moreover, both students and instructors echoed the importance of RA writing as a significant area to be covered while emphasizing the need to integrate RA genre literacy into classroom practices. In this paper, we call for the reconsideration of students' primary needs in designing and running graduate writing programs and suggest that RA writing with a genre-based orientation become an instrumental component of academic writing courses in English as an Additional Language context (EAL).
Previous evidence suggests that teachers’ practices are invariably inconsistent with their beliefs. Different factors have been cited as responsible for such a lack of correspondence. To advance the accumulated scholarship, the current study examined the correspondence/non-correspondence between English as Foreign Language (EFL) teachers’ cognitive and behavioral manifestations of pedagogical beliefs and the extent that teacher grit, as a personal variable, impacts the connection between these two manifestations. An initial group of 70 EFL teachers responded to L2 Teacher Grit Scale and Pedagogical Beliefs Questionnaire. Based on their performance on the Grit Scale, two sub-groups of fifteen teachers (with high and low levels of teacher grit) were selected to examine the alignment/non-alignment of their pedagogical beliefs and practices. Two instructional sessions per teacher were observed by means of an observation checklist designed based on the Pedagogical Beliefs Questionnaire. Comparisons across the teachers showed that whereas the two groups valued pedagogical beliefs roughly equally, only the teachers with high grit levels showed strong evidence of correspondence between their beliefs and actual instructional practices. Based on the findings, it can be implied that teacher grit can serve a prominent role in the correlation between EFL teachers' self-reported pedagogical beliefs and their actual practices.
The literature on second/foreign language (L2/FL) discourse is replete with corpus-based studies into the use of various features representing lexical proficiency. Nonetheless, the lexical construct of English for academic purposes (EAP) texts developed by postgraduates majoring in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) still sounds like a relatively unexplored domain that merits further multi-dimensional investigation. To narrow the gap, the authors in the current study set out to evaluate the lexical richness of a corpus containing doctoral dissertations written by Iranian TEFL students in terms of lexical density, diversity, and sophistication. Taking advantage of the computational tool Coh-Metrix to analyze the lexical features, the corpus was analyzed in comparison with a first language (L1) baseline containing doctoral dissertations written by English native speakers. The comparative analysis of the L1 and L2 corpora revealed that the texts written by Iranian TEFL learners were lexically less diverse but more sophisticated. Additionally, the lexical density of the L2 corpus exceeded that of the L1 one in terms of nouns and adjectives. Based on the results drawn from a discriminant function analysis (DFA), the features representing lexical sophistication and density were found to be the best predictors of lexical richness since they could significantly discriminate between the two sub-corpora. The findings may provide new insights into the ways of evaluating and enhancing the lexical richness of FL/L2 written discourse.
A major part of any graduate program concerns academic writing, but most students do not have sufficient skills pertaining to it. For non-native Ph.D. students who need to write English language dissertations, this issue is particularly troublesome since it causes time-consuming extracurricular efforts, which can, at times, be frustrating. The present study was carried out in the form of an action research project to explore the impact of a process-based teaching of writing on the attitudes of 8 Iranian Ph.D. candidates of TEFL towards writing academically. The course procedure included phases requiring students to send their completed writing assignments by specified dates and receive and apply teacher guidance on the texts’ logic, content, consistency, tone, and grammar. In-person discussions about the progress were also programmed for each student. The findings indicate that the students felt that the teaching process had a constructive effect on developing their writing skills. Implications include providing space for dialogue between teachers and students to complement written feedback, keeping the sense of accountability active in student minds by assisting them to self-organize, and realizing that graduate students may need assistance in very basic writing skills and knowledge.
The use of task-based collaborative output activities in enhancing EFL students’ writing proficiency has been underrated in the Iranian context. To foster students’ writing ability, the present study, employing a mixed-methods design, aimed to evaluate the effect of innovative tools, dictogloss and debating, on the writing development of English-major university students in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF). The study involved two experimental extracurricular classes and consisted of 11 sessions during the regular academic term. Having analyzed the writing tasks produced by the students’ performance on pre-test and post-test, the researcher found that the students of both groups significantly enhanced their writing performance, representing an increase in a number of indices of CAF measures following the intervention. More specifically, the results of a paired-samples t-test confirmed that the students in the dictogloss group showed significant improvement in six indices of CAF measure, and the students in the debate group displayed significant improvement in seven indices of CAF measures. Moreover, the results of ANCOVA confirmed that the debate group improved more than the dictogloss group in terms of CAF measures. The results of the interviews with the students regarding the role of task-based collaborative output activities in their written performance yielded several commonalities, which were coded into 11 codes for dictogloss and 16 codes for debating, taking inter-coder reliability and agreement into account. In the end, the study offers some practical implications for L2 learners and teachers.
Theory and practice are two sides of one coin, and the way they are perceived adds to its practice. This holds true regarding teachers’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) literacy status and its implementation. To shed more light on these issues in the Iranian EFL setting, t his study was designed to pursue a three-fold purpose: the status quo of the Iranian EFL teachers' TPACK literacy, the contribution of TPACK literacy, and perception developments in the light of TPACK intervention. For the intervention purpose, TPACK workshops were implemented with 15 teachers through employing the TPACK framework and the learning by doing method. The results of chi-square data analysis showed statistically significant differences between the participants’ TPACK literacy before and after TPACK workshops and also positive contributions of the intervention. Moreover, it was observed that participants’ perceptions towards TPACK literacy developed in the light of TPACK workshops. Thereby, the study develops a new perspective and provides empirical evidence to investigate incorporating technology and knowledge into teaching English and Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in Iran. Also, the theoretical and pedagogical recommendations for future research and practice are provided.