Welcome to the Warwick ELT!

Editorial… 

Welcome to the Sixth Issue of ‘The Warwick ELT’!

We are very happy to present the sixth issue of The Warwick ELT e-zine. In keeping with previous issues of ‘The Warwick ELT’, the May 2017 issue presents articles from contributors who come from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Each contributor presents their unique voice, providing an insight into their own individual and contextualised experience. Most of the articles are from MA students from the the Centre for Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick, whilst we are pleased to also present an article from a Warwick alumna, now studying for a PhD at the Open University.

In this issue, Chrysovalantou Karvouniari, in her article ‘The Role of Motivation in Teaching English as a Foreign Language: Create an effective learning environment, examines the crucial role of motivation in language learning and teaching, applying theory to her own language learning experiences within the Greek context. Georgia Dimitrakopoulou, in her article ‘Introducing Task-Based Pedagogy to Young Language Learners, explores Task-Based Language Pedagogy (TBLT), focusing on how to adapt tasks for young learners, and on the relevance of tasks in Greece. Sofia Mitri, in her article Differences between Novels and Films – Ways to use films and videos in literature teaching’, outlines the differences between the genres of film and novel, both in terms of their narrative qualities and the experiences of the reader or viewer. She goes on to suggest a number of ways that teachers may exploit these media within the  classroom. In her article ‘Are Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Educational Research Compatible?’, Saraswati Dawadi describes the quantitative and qualitative approaches to educational research, discussing the extent to which they are compatible.  Finally, Sagun Shresta, in his article ‘How Does the Text Act? An Investigation of a Call for Letters to Obama’, explains the central tenets of Discourse Analysis, before applying them to a newspaper article commenting on the last U.S. presidential election.

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

  1. The Role of Motivation in Teaching English as a Foreign Language: Create an Effective Learning Environment by Chrysovalantou Karvouniari
  2. Introducing Task-Based Pedagogy to Young Language Learners by Georgia Dimitrakopoulou
  3. Differences Between Novels and Films – Ways to use Films and Videos in Literature Teaching by Sofia Mitri
  4. Are Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Educational Research Compatible? by Saraswati Dawadi
  5. How Does the Text Act? An Investigation of a Call for Letters to Obama by Sagun Shresta

It is our sincere hope that this month’s contributions will be of benefit to those who read them, helping them to gain further insights into a number of important topics within English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. We sincerely welcome any comments which the content of the e-zine may inspire, in the hope that they might lead to open academic debate.

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

Issue editors,

Wong Hei Yu (Hayley) and Henry Pickup.

Advertisements

The Role of Motivation in Teaching English as a Foreign Language: Create an Effective Learning Environment

‘Tell me, I Forget
Teach me, I Remember
Involve me, I Learn’
Benjamin Franklin

Chrysovalantou Karvouniari

Abstract

Motivation is a fundamental and important element in promoting second/foreign language learning as well as ensuring students’ success. Educators are constantly searching for efficient teaching methods to use in their classes in order to motivate their students to actively participate in English lessons and take control of their own learning, developing learner autonomy. In this paper, I will draw on my experiences as a young English learner, connecting them with L2 motivation theories. Moreover, I will discuss about what makes a classroom environment motivating as well as autonomous, making particular references to the role of the educators, teaching materials and strategies (e.g. ICT technologies, drama, storytelling), peer interaction and acceptance.

Keywords: English, foreign language, learning, motivation, learner-centred classroom, autonomy, ICT, drama, storytelling

 

Introduction

It has been long considered that individual differences (IDs), that is the dissimilar and unique characteristics of language learners, play a significant role in language learning and can in a sense, predict success or failure in acquiring a second or foreign language. Dörnyei (2005) states that these personal characteristics differ by degree in learners and as a result some of them have difficulty in learning a language, while others can easily do it. The study of this variation among language learners undoubtedly constitutes an important research area in SLA and many researchers seek to discover how these variables are connected and how they interact with learners’ background knowledge and experiences, in order to better understand the mechanisms that humans use to learn. However, among these individual factors, aptitude and motivation are considered to be the stronger predictors of second/foreign language success (Dörnyei and Skehan, 2003). In my essay I will focus on motivation, which is a crucial affective variable for language learning and, as Dörnyei (2005) states, offers the stimulus to initiate L2 learning and at the same time the driving force to continue this often difficult process. Although many researchers have given a definition of motivation, it is impossible to come up with a single and comprehensive definition due to the complexity of this issue (Dörnyei and Ushioda, 2011). Moreover, Dörnyei (2000) supports that this complexity is the result of an attempt to explain the individual differences on human behavior by using one approach, but the real problem is the abundance of theories which endeavor to capture some of the facets of motivation (Dörnyei, 1996), as researchers have defined it from psychological, cognitive and constructivist perspectives.

Motivation is commonly thought as “an inner drive, impulse, emotion, or desire that moves one to a particular action” (Brown, 2000, p.152). However, Ryan and Deci (2000) believe that people can be motivated because they value an activity or they are moved to do something by external forces. What is more, it is possible that every individual perceives differently the concept of motivation. Williams and Burden (1997, p.120) define motivation in general as “a state of cognitive and emotional arousal which leads to conscious decision to act and which gives rise to a period of sustained intellectual and /or physical effort in order to attain a previously set goal (or goals)”.

In this paper I am going to analyze my experiences as a language learner of English, relating them to theories of L2 motivation research as well as learner autonomy and independence in language learning. Next, I will move to discuss some useful implications of motivation on classroom practices as well as propose some particular motivating teaching methods which could be implemented in class.

Continue reading

Introducing Task-Based Pedagogy to Young Language Learners

Georgia Dimitrakopoulou

Abstract

This paper aims at examining the notion of Task-Based Language Pedagogy (TBLT) in relation to young learners and more especially beginners aged between 5 and 10 years old, who constitute the basic target group in my own teaching context in Greece. In the first part, I will refer to the theoretical approaches that provided the basis for TBLT, such as the Input and Interaction Hypotheses and social constructivism, as well as the general structure of tasks within the ELT framework. The second part will focus on adapting tasks to cater for the needs of young learners and using alternative ways to assess their performance. Lastly, the final part will deal with the value and relevance of tasks in the Greek educational context.

Keywords: tasks, TBLT, young learners, Greece

 

Introduction

 In recent years, there has been a considerable shift in second or foreign language pedagogy from teacher-centered to learner-centered approaches, which prioritize learners’ dynamic goals and interests over the static objectives of the school curriculum (Shehadeh, 2012, p. 1). Long (2015, p. 13) defines learner-centeredness as a concept that “pays attention to language form, in harmony with the learners’ internal syllabus” and makes learners participate actively in the learning process by rendering them responsible for their own learning (Shehadeh, 2012, p. 1). According to Willis and Willis (2007, p. 1) one of the key ways to involve learners in the classroom is to ask them to use the language in real and meaningful contexts and carry out appropriate tasks for their age and level. In a similar fashion, Buriro and Hayat (2010, p. 123) maintain that Task-Based Learning is associated with “real life tasks” that promote negotiations between learners and teachers within a collaborative environment (Buriro & Hayat, 2010, p. 121).

A task consists of specific qualities and features that distinguish it from traditional types of exercises; namely it is “a workplan that requires learners to process language pragmatically in order to achieve an outcome…To this end, it requires them to give primary attention to meaning and to make use of their own linguistic resources” (Ellis, 2003, p. 16). By using pedagogical tasks, teachers aim at improving learners’ grammatical knowledge and fluency in the target language while students interact with each other, in order to express meaning (Nunan, 2004, p. 4). As such, tasks differ considerably from activities practiced within the presentation-practice-production (PPP) paradigm, considering that the latter relies on behaviourism and mechanical repetition through drills and form-focused activities (Willis, 1996, p. 135).
Continue reading

Differences Between Novels and Films – Ways to use Films and Videos in Literature Teaching

Sofia Mitri

Abstract

A lot of novels have been adapted into films. Nevertheless, each medium uses different ways in order to tell similar stories. The advancement of technology impacts on foreign language teaching and learning, as educators are provided with various ways to interact with literature. That is to say, printed texts are not deemed the only way to teach literature today. This paper lays emphasis on the differences between the ways ilms and novels can tell stories as well as the different experiences between seeing films and reading books. It mainly focuses on differences with regards to their nature, ways of narration and the effects they bring about. Despite the distinct characteristics of each medium, the process of reading and viewing seems to engage learners for multiple reasons. In the third section of the paper, some ideas for constructive uses for films and videos in literature teaching will be suggested.

Keywords: novels, films, tell stories, different experiences, English language teaching

 

Introduction

The ever-changing role of literature in the context of foreign language teaching throughout the 20th century is explicitly illustrated in Kramsch and Kramsch (2000). They state that after its appearance in various “avatars”, it has been eventually used for providing “an authentic experience of the target culture” (Kramsch & Kramsch, 2000, p. 553, 569). In addition to cultural and language enrichment, literature exposes students to unexpected language uses, motivating and involving them personally. The variety of situations and predicaments presented can stimulate strong “emotional responses”, offering at the same time the opportunity to learners to explore their own feelings (Moody, 1971, p. 11). According to Lazar (1993) the way learners assign meaning to what they read is closely related to a number of factors, varying from their psychology to the cultural, social and political environment they live in. The teacher, therefore, before introducing literature, should be aware of its “conceptual and linguistic ease or difficulty”, as well as its relevance to the types of students in the class (Carter & Long, as cited in Aebersold & Field, 1997, p. 164). More than ever before today’s teachers are taking advantage of the new technologies, which can provide learners with various ways of experiencing literature. Apart from the “prose form of the novel”, literature could also be taught through the “visual form” of films (Montgomery, 2007, p. 295). However, the two media – the novel and its screen adaptation – convey the same story in different ways. It would be interesting, therefore, to discuss in this paper the differences between these two modes of representation, as well as some constructive uses for films and videos in language teaching of literature.

Continue reading

Are Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Educational Research Compatible?

Saraswati Dawadi

Abstract

There has been an ongoing debate with regard to the compatibility of quantitative and qualitative approaches to educational research as these approaches tend to have links to different methodological philosophies, which are based on different and sometimes contrasting positions with respect to ontology (which is concerned with the nature of the particular phenomena being investigated) and epistemology (which is concerned with the method of investigating the phenomena). This paper presents some arguments with regard to the compatibility of quantitative and qualitative approaches to educational research- with particular focus on English language teaching (ELT) related research. However, this paper highlights the point that research method of a study should be driven by research goals and contexts, rather than a personal inclination to a particular approach.

Keywords:  qualitative, quantitative, compatibility, positivism, interpretivism 

 

Introduction

This paper commences with a statement made by my friend very recently, who is associated with a well-known university in Nepal, in the capacity of a lecturer and a thesis supervisor, “This is the age of qualitative research; quantitative approach has no value these days and there is no possibility of combining these two approaches as they see the world differently”. I found his argument challenging and this paper is the result.

The history of the development of research methodologies is complicated as it varies somewhat across fields. At the beginning of the 20th century, there was little quantitative research in many fields. This developed from around the 1920s onwards, coming to dominate many fields in the 1950s. There was also an introduction of the qualitative approach, most probably around 1950s. In the 1970s to 90s, qualitative research grew in popularity in many fields and the debate about qualitative versus quantitative declined at that time because new qualitative approaches were developed. The quantitative-qualitative debate was revived somewhat in the first decade of this century as a result of the rise of the evidence-based policymaking and practice movement, and its advocacy of randomized controlled trials (Hammersley, 2014).

Continue reading

How does the Text Act? An Investigation of a Call for Letters to Obama

Sagun Shrestha

Abstract

Any discourse is the composite form of primarily four functional layers: lexical, ideational, interpersonal and textual. The lexical layer being a very basic component at the intra-sentential level, and the ideational, interpersonal and textual layers having a wider role in intra- and/or inter-sentential level in a text, have a specific message to convey. It is interesting to see how the author crafts a text to convey specific meaning. This paper will attempt to analyse these four functions in a written text in brief.  For a lexical analysis, only a word in a text has been chosen to show how a word in this text behaves as regards collocation and colligation, and further to display which specific meaning is prioritized in a text, whereas for ideational, interpersonal and textual analysis, it is attempted to analyse the prime portion of the text. This paper will also explicate the broader social function of the text.

 Keywords: Lexical Analysis, Metafunction, Appraisal System

 

 Introduction

 Any text is “language-in-action directed towards furthering the activity” (Halliday, 2002, p. 200). A text has certain functions to perform in any kind of discourse and they are achieved through the use of various linguistic devices. In general, an author uses some particular linguistic devices keeping specific readers in mind so that they will be able to establish communication with their readers.

In line with the views raised above, Hoey (2001) defines text as “the visible evidence of a reasonably self-contained purposeful interaction between one or more writers and one or more readers, in which the writer(s) control the interaction and produce most of (characteristically all) the language” (p. 13). Hoey has comprehensively defined the written text here through some concepts such as visible evidence, purposeful interaction between readers and writers, and controlled by writer(s). By the term visible evidence, he means the reader can easily get the nature of interaction of the text through the way it is presented. He gives the example of a till receipt and academic text. An academic text has citations which is a unique form of representation, and it interacts with the readers accordingly by informing them about some issues with some sources, whereas a till receipt comprises of figures, VAT details and so on. Next is the feature of purposeful interaction. As mentioned above, every text has a certain purpose or purposes. For instance, the academic text mentioned in the example above has a purpose to inform its prospective readers about some issues raised in the text. Most probably to fulfil this purpose, the author is likely to cite some sources and show his own evidences that he has collected. Finally, Hoey (2001) mentions that the interaction is controlled by the writer(s). This is with the help of various linguistic devices that authors deploy in a text such as those we will observe in the text which is going to be analysed below.

Continue reading