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.

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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.

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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).
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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.

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