This investigation set out to look into the issue of teachers’ exercise of agency in the Iranian EFL context. More specifically, as part of a larger study, it reports on the ways two Iranian Ministry of Education teachers make sense of and operate in the country’s educational setting under the demands of a centralist system of education. Priestley, Biesta, & Robinson’s (2013) framework of teacher agency formed the conceptual backbone of the present study as well as guiding the data collection/analysis of the study. Qualitative data, from semi-structured interviews as well as follow-up data collection procedures, were gleaned from the participants over the course of an academic year and were subjected to analytical interpretation in the light of the said framework. The researchers came up with findings which, in the main, gave more weight to the well-roundedness of Priestly, Biesta, & Robinson’s model of teacher agency. The results also pointed to the highly situated nature of teacher responsiveness and action, thereby undermining the still prevalent views of the essentialist and idealized character of (teacher) agency. The results of the study are liable to be of use, among others, to case-based teacher education programs.
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English as a Foreign Language
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.
Following a case study research design, the present paper reports on a cross-cultural project (called Ibunka2019), in which the author monitored his English as a Foreign Language (EFL) writing classes. The project is an email-based exchange among learners of English from six countries (Algeria, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and the Netherlands). For data collection, the Algerian participants’ emic perspective was accessed via their self-reports, gained by a post-project online survey; besides, their messages produced as well as the discussions with them during and after the project made valuable retrospective data for the present study. Particularly, the study discusses the merits of the project relative to the writing module, manifestations of learner autonomy, and the challenges encountered. Moreover, it tackled other relevant issues, namely the integration of interculturality, EFL learner mindset, and lingua franca perspective. This study adds to the scarce literature within the Algerian context on telecollaborative EFL teaching and learning