Welcome to the Eleventh Issue of ‘The Warwick ELT’

Welcome to the Warwick ELT!

The new editorial team is proud to present the eleventh issue of The Warwick ELT e-zine. In this issue, we gathered articles from different contexts, and linguistic backgrounds, which provide insights into interesting topics such as motivation, teacher development, peer feedback, task-based learning and developing oral skills. Three of the articles in this issue are from current MA students from the Centre for Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick, whilst we are pleased to also present an article from a lecturer from Bangladesh and a teacher from Brazil.

In this issue, Fariha-Tuz-Zahra Chowdhury, in her article “Graduate Students’ Perceptions- How Oral Presentation Skill Can Develop Confidence in Spoken English”, examines graduate students’perceptions about oral presentation activities and their confidence in spoken English through a qualitative study at the University of Dhaka, in Bangladesh. Gustavo Mota Carvalhaes, in his article “What are the Motivations for Learning English? Are they Good Fuel to Move On?”, explores motivation factors that encourage learners to decide to study English in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nilufar Begibaeva, in her article “Evaluating of Potentials of MOOCs for Professional Development Teachers in Uzbekistan”, explores the advantages of using MOOCs for professional development courses for higher education teachers in Uzbekistan. In her article “Less student-interaction and teachers’ script-checking load: Can peer-review resolve these large class challenges?”, Nusrat Gulzar describes the benefits of peer-reviews in promoting interaction in EFL writing classes in relation to her experience of using this technique with undergraduate students at University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Finally, Milena Altamirano, in her article “Task-Based Language Teaching: Challenges for its implementation in State Secondary Schools in Argentina”, reviews the underlying principles of TBLT and describes some of the challenges in its implementation in the context of state secondary schools in Argentina.

For ease of access, each of the articles can be found hyperlinked below:

  1. Graduate Students’ Perceptions- How Oral Presentation Skill Can Develop Confidence in Spoken English by Fariha-Tuz-Zahra Chowdhury
  2. What are the Motivations for Learning English? Are they Good Fuel to Move On? by Gustavo Mota Carvalhaes
  3. Evaluating of Potentials of MOOCs for Professional Development Teachers in Uzbekistan by Nilufar Begibaeva
  4. Less student-interaction and teachers’ script-checking load: Can peer-review resolve these large class challenges? by Nusrat Gulzar
  5. Task-Based Language Teaching: Challenges for its implementation in State Secondary Schools in Argentina by Milena Altamirano

 

We hope that this month’s contributions provide further insights into issues that are relevant to English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. We also hope that these articles inspire those interested in the field to submit their contributions to help The Warwick ELT grow. We kindly welcome any comments, that may help us improve this publication and we would also appreciate you share this content to the community in the hope that more and more student teachers, teachers, teacher trainers, and professionals become involved.

Finally, we would like to thank all of those whose effort has gone into the creation of this edition of the e-zine.

Editors,

Cecilia Nobre, Nusrat Gulzar and Milena Altamirano

(December-January Issue)

Advertisements

Graduate Students’ Perceptions- How Oral Presentation Skill Can Develop Confidence in Spoken English

*Fariha-Tuz-Zahra Chowdhury

Abstract

Presentations are the key activities through which one can directly express own idea and thoughts regarding any particular issue to a group of people both for academic and professional purposes. In this global village, every student needs to communicate properly and be expressive to serve the society most effectively. Students of the Department of English, University of Dhaka are known to be the ‘best of the bests’. When students graduate from this department and enter into either postgraduate studies or other job sectors, they are expected to excel beyond their own boundaries. Students need to be competent in overall ability including presentation skill in English as it is the core medium of business and research communication in this twenty-first-century arena. This study aims to gain insight into the graduate students’ perceptions about oral presentation activities and their confidence in spoken English through a qualitative study. The study gives an in-depth picture of the students’ experiences and also comes up with various suggestions to overcome the complexities faced by them regarding the central phenomenon of the paper.

Keywords: EAP, students’ perceptions, oral presentation, confidence 

  1. Introduction

Jahan (2008) suggests that oral presentation has been identified as one of the most effective classroom activities to promote spoken fluency and confidence (p. 162). Students can substantially develop their spoken skills through practicing oral presentations. Bangladesh is a globally emerging country both in terms of academic excellence and business efficiency. According to a study done by UNICEF (2008), Universities in Bangladesh represent about 75 academic bodies, among which the University of Dhaka is one of the highest academic echelons. Department of English, of the University of Dhaka gives its students multi-dimensional scopes to improve their spoken ability through engaging them in various formal presentation activities both at undergraduate and graduate level. The study aims to explore graduate students’ experiences in this department regarding the oral presentation activities. Continue reading

What Are the Motivations for Learning English? Are They Good Fuel to Move On? 

*Gustavo Mota Carvalhaes

 

Abstract

This academic article intends to elucidate what the main reasons that compel a learner to decide to study English are. A key factor to help a learner to acquire fluency is undeniably motivation, which can either be an integrative motivation or an instrumental one. At last, it is the driving force that will encourage the learner to continue in the process of acquiring the so desirable fluency that accompanied by either strategy or some devices, or maybe even both will, certainly, enable the learner to gain knowledge. Also, this analysis has been possible through a brief survey with students in order for me to be able to gauge my finding. So, this is an idea of what this article will encompass after interviewing these English students at one of the most well-known English courses in Rio de Janeiro, which I myself had the satisfaction to be a student years ago, and was able to acquire fluency both efficiently and naturally.

Keywords: Motivation, feedback, instrumental, integrative, perseverance

Introduction

In second language acquisition, more specifically, the English language in this academic article, many scholars argue that some students progress rapidly whereas others struggle along the way making very slow-paced progress to try to achieve a satisfactory fluency.

Any anticipated success to which a learner plans on attaining requires a combination of both perseverance and desire. However, there is a psychological factor that can foster a learner to envisage positive results, which is – motivation. Motivation is this driving force that incites, prompts or even stimulates someone to press onwards.

It cannot be neglected that a harmonious environment where not only the students but, possibly and most importantly, the teacher is motivated, contributes for the learners to progress in their pursuit to be proficient. Continue reading

Evaluating of Potentials of MOOCs for Professional Development of Teachers in Uzbekistan

*Nilufar Begibaeva

Abstract

In the countries where English is considered to be a foreign language and where the learning the language is restrained by the classroom environment only, technology can be a great facilitator of the learning process. This paper attempts to discuss advantages of new disruptive technology called MOOCs for learners in general and for teachers of English in Uzbekistan context in particular. Criteria such as accessibility, authenticity, flexibility, reliability and recognition will be used while assessing different types of MOOCs. Some platforms that can be used predominantly by English teachers will be explored; issues related to using and implementing of MOOCs will  be considered and possible implications for continuing professional development courses will be reviewed. The article will be concluded with some recommendations for effective use of the various MOOCs for teachers.

Keywords: CPD, MOOCs, technology, autonomy, blended learning, flexible

Introduction

The importance of online teaching and learning and Massive Open Online Courses (further referred to as MOOCs) as its latest representation is currently one of the most discussed and debated topics. MOOCs have been regarded as a powerful tool in enabling access to authentic resources and constructing a global learning community of teachers and learners worldwide. MOOCs are referred to as a new stage of self-directed learning, as a democratised form of education and described as a disruptive technology, which enhances communication and collaboration processes with reliable materials such as lectures and academic texts (Yuan, 2013; Bulfin, 2014; Frietas, 2015; Kay, 2013; Bali, 2014; Hoy, 2014). However, some commentators are sceptical about MOOCs, expecting that the interest and excitement will wind down soon (Meisenhelder, 2013 as cited in Sharrok, 2015; Samuels, 2014). Continue reading

Less Student-Interaction and Teachers’ Script-Checking Load: Can Peer-Review Resolve these Large Class Challenges?

 *Nusrat Gulzar

 Abstract

Teaching writing to large group of students can often be a challenge for practitioners of EFL contexts like Bangladesh. Due to reasons such as pressure of completing syllabus in strict exam-oriented situations, teachers’ find it difficult to check multiple drafts in detail and provide constructive and dialogic feedback to students on time. Despite being oriented to process-based approach to writing, situations like these rarely allow students to engage in interactive class discussions.  This paper is about using peer-review technique in teaching writing as part of teacher’s intervention to resolve perceived large class challenges such as less student-interaction and teachers’ script-checking load. The literature sheds light on effectiveness of peer-review technique in promoting interactivity among students while developing their writing skills. Also, based on the author’s previous experience of using peer-review technique with undergraduates who are studying English at University of Dhaka, some key suggestions have been forwarded to EFL practitioners who may wish to use peer-review technique to promote interactivity in large class settings and eventually find a way to reduce their load of draft-checking.

Keywords: Peer-review, EFL context, student-interaction, large class challenges

 Introduction

Fostering student interaction in large writing classes is both a demand and a challenge in EFL contexts at present. In other words, EFL teachers’ excessive workload such as managing large groups and burden of checking many drafts (Shamim et al, 2007; Renaud et. al, 2007) narrows down opportunities of student involvement in classes. As teaching writing requires good quality classroom assessment and collaboration with peers, it is crucial for EFL practitioners to reflect on the challenges of teaching large classes and explore ways of making them more interactive.

Recent studies have shown that in writing classes, peer-review (PR) can be used as an additional source to address issues of student-centeredness and marking burden on teachers (Yang et. al, 2006; Shamim et al, 2007; Lee, 2017). PR promises opportunities for learners to collaboratively exchange feedback and subsequently reflect on their written drafts (Yu & Lee, 2016). Studies support peer-review integration in large settings can be potentially beneficial for students particularly if they learn to benefit from each other through co-constructive discussions (Renaud et al 2007; Shamim et. al, 2007).

In this essay, therefore, I will explain the potential benefits of PR in EFL writing with a view to providing solutions to two major large class challenges i.e. less and infrequent student-interaction and teachers’ draft-checking overload. In the first part, my teaching context will be described with reference to a reflective summary of deploying peer-review technique in my writing classes. Then, with reference to reviewed literature, some common concerns as well as useful insights about using peer-review in large writing classes will be highlighted. Continue reading

Task-Based Language Teaching: Challenges for its Implementation in State Secondary Schools in Argentina

*Milena Altamirano

Abstract

Task-Based Language teaching has got considerable attention in the field of Second Language Acquisition in recent years. This approach, within the framework of Communicative Language Teaching, highlights meaningful communication and interaction, the use of authentic materials and learners’ experiences through the completion of pedagogical tasks. In the context of state secondary schools in Argentina, TBLT has been advocated since the introduction of the new law of education passed in 2007. However, teachers still encounter certain challenges for its implementation. This paper explores the main features and underlying principles of TBLT and describes three challenges related to its implementation in the state secondary education in the context of Argentina: the definition of tasks in policy guidelines, teacher and learner roles and practical issues. This article hopes to raise awareness of these issues with a view to tackling the problems and, ultimately, improve the implementation of this approach in the EFL classroom.

Keywords: Task-Based Language teaching, EFL, state secondary schools.

Introduction

For many years, the field of English language teaching has seen the emergence of different theories, techniques, approaches and methods that promise perfect solutions. In recent years, Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) has greatly impacted the field, proposing an emphasis on meaningful communication through the completion of tasks. Despite the support it has received from different authors and researchers (Prabhu, 1987; Skehan, 1998; Ellis, 2003; Nunan, 2004; Willis and Willis, 2007), as this approach represents a strong departure from traditional views on language instruction, it has also been criticised for its overemphasis on meaning at the expense of form and the challenges it poses for implementation in classrooms (Sheen, 1994; Swan, 2005). However, despite criticism, it continues to be widely supported and implemented. Its impact in the field of research can be seen in the number of current studies carried out in the context of undergraduate education in countries in Asia (mainly Hong Kong, China, Iran and Thailand), though some research has been done in the context of secondary and primary schools in different countries. In Argentina, TBLT has been officially proposed as the approach to teaching English to be used nationwide since the educational reform of 2006. However, actual classroom practice shows that its implementation is not as widespread.

In this paper, I will first present the underlying principles that support TBLT and, after briefly describing the context of English Language teaching in state secondary schools in Argentina, I will refer to some of the factors that may affect its implementation. The arguments presented will be supported by a review of some of the current studies on TBLT, as well as by my own views on the state of EFL in Argentina. Continue reading

Welcome to the Tenth Issue of The Warwick ELT

Editorial…

Dear readers

We are very much pleased to bring out our Tenth Issue of The Warwick ELT. This issue combines September, October and November issues as we are in the process of handing our responsibility over to the new team. We are equally hopeful that our new team will help this e-zine reach new heights.

This issue comprises six extremely interesting and engaging articles with a rich diversity of topics covered by the authors. In the first article “Attitude as a Learner Variable in Learning English in Sri Lanka”, Jayantha Ratnayake discusses how language learners’ differences in attitudes can change the ways and means of learning a language. She shares her experience of language teaching in Sri Lankan context to clarify how language learner’s attitude is directly related to their level of motivation. The second article is “English as an Additional Language in the UK”, about the UK’s approach to teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL) in state schools, written by James O’Flynn. The third article is “Languages in Korea: Status, Roles and Attitudes”, in which Katie Webb explores the status of English and other languages in South Korea, based on literature and on her experience as a teacher there. In our fourth article, “Why and How should Teachers be Encouraged to Take Control of their Own Professional Development?”, Betelhem Taye provides input related to teachers’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD), discussing about why and how should teachers take control of their own CPD.

In the fifth article “Developing Mentee’s Identity as a Teacher”, Komila Tangirova reflects the role of a teacher as a mentor. And the final article in this issue is a personal reflection by Betânia Mota Pereira, entitled “Being a Teacher: Challenges and Rewards”. She shares some challenges she experienced as an English language teacher, and how she managed to overcome them, reassuring that despite the difficulties, being a teacher is rewarding.

For your ease, we have hyperlinked each article below:

  1.     Attitude as a Learner Variable in Learning English in Sri Lanka by Jayantha Ratnayake
  2.     English as an Additional Language in the UK by James O’Flynn
  3.     Languages in Korea: status, roles and attitudes by Katie Webb
  4.     Why and how should teachers be encouraged to take control of their own professional development? by Betelhem Taye
  5.     Developing Mentee’s Identity as a Teacher by Komila Tangirova
  6.     Being a Teacher: Challenges and Rewards by Betânia Mota Pereira

We hope these articles will help you gain some new insights in the field of applied linguistics. As usual, we expect to get your valued remarks.

Enjoy reading!

 

Mirian Fuhr, Betelhem Taye, Mehdi Gholikhan, Komila Tangirova & Sagun Shrestha

September, October & November Issue Editors

The Warwick ELT E-Zine