Welcome to the Warwick ELT!

Editorial… 

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

Dear all,

We are very happy to present the seventh issue of The Warwick ELT e-zine. As it is a common practice of our e-zine, the articles presented cover a variety of topics and contexts related to the English Language Teaching.

In this issue, we have a very special contribution by Rafaela Mesquita, a teacher of English in Brazil, who shares with us her impressions on being a teacher in the Brazilian context, with her personal reflection entitled ‘Unmistakable Role’.

Alongside the first personal reflection in our publication, this issue presents 5 equally interesting and engaging scholarly research articles in different themes.

First, Yanxin Chang (Alison), article “Syllabus Materials and Task Design for Chinese Young Learners”. In this article, Chang analyses a Chinese textbook and explains how she would adapt it for classroom context.

Secondly, Ning Ding (Trista), in the article “Novel and Film in English Language Teaching” focuses on the novel and film “The Little Prince” to illustrate the use of literature in the classroom.

Thirdly, Jie Liang (Jessica), in her article “Investigating the Use of Academic Words in MA Students’ Trial Assignment” presents a small scale study exploring the use of academic vocabulary in student based writing.

Fourth, article by Komila Tangirova, “Using Authentic Video Materials in Teaching English”, emphasises the use of AVM as a tool for teaching language and organising communicative activities at a class if used with appropriate methodology.

And finally, Mirian Fuhr, in her article “Reflecting on the Transition from GE to ESAP Teaching”, explores the transition from teaching general English to teaching English for specific and academic purposes, based on the literature review and on her own experience.

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

  1. Unmistakable Role by Rafaela Mesquita
  2. Syllabus Materials and Task Design for Chinese Young Learners by Yanxin Chang (Alison)
  3. Novel and Film in English Language Teaching by Ning Ding (Trista)
  4. Investigating the Use of Academic Words in MA Students’ Trial Assignment by Jie Liang (Jessica)
  5. Using Authentic Video Materials in Teaching English by Komila Tangirova
  6. Reflecting on the Transition from GE to ESAP Teaching by Mirian Fuhr

We sincerely hope you enjoy reading the reflection and articles in this issue. Stay tuned for the next issue.

Thank you!

Julius Daniel, Mirian Fuhr and Wallace (Shizheng Liu)

June Issue Editors

Personal Reflection

Unmistakable Role

Rafaela Zang

Being a teacher is, beyond any doubt, one of the hardest jobs I know. It requires features somewhat forgotten, such as patience, flexibility, attention, tolerance, and a fair amount of love. It is going through such an experience every 50 minutes in a universe full of different minds. Teachers are required to be committed, dedicated, motivated, and also to have a lot of knowledge. Teaching in Brazil, a country in which education has not been the foremost issue, requires even more.

Once I was asked whether I had any pleasure to be a teacher. I did not take long for a positive answer, which I was very proud of (I still am). I have been teaching English for 18 years now. I started as a very young teacher and I am satisfied to say that year after year I have built my career with dedication and love. I have taught in different kinds of schools: municipal, state, private language institute ones. I have tried not to do the same every year, as I make an effort to refresh my practice every conference or congress I attend to, every conversation I have with other teachers and students, every chance of getting better that comes to me. Continue reading

Syllabus, Materials and Task Design for Chinese Young Learners

Yanxin Chang (Alison)

Abstract

In this paper, a language-learning coursebook, which is named as ‘Bright star’ has been chosen for evaluation and revise. The target students are language learners in China who are aged from 6 to 8 years old. Considering the language teaching context and language learners in China, this coursebook will be evaluated and adapted with teachers’ own beliefs and teaching goals. Overall, the evaluation designed by Cunningsworth (1995) was used as a reference for evaluating this whole coursebook. To be more specific, there are four criterions from different perspectives are listed to be discussed for details, such as teaching aims, recycling parts and teaching approach. Following that, a specific unit (unit 19) in this coursebook was taken as an example to be adapted and supplemented. Through using multiple adapting methods, such as deleting, adding, modifying and reordering, enhancing this coursebook to be more suitable and reliable for the target students.

Keywords: language learning, syllabus, materials, task design, young learners, coursebook. 

Introduction

To introduce my language teaching context, I will give some basic information of my target students. My target learners are primary school students in Shanghai, China, who are in grade 1 and aged from 6 to 8 years old. Therefore, their mother tongue is Mandarin, and most of them are in their first year to learn English, which means they are at the very beginning of learning English as a foreign language. The normal size of each classroom for a primary school in Shanghai, China, is approximately 35 to 40 students. English is set as a curriculum for students in primary school in China, especially in the cities which are economically developed (like Shanghai), students are required to learn English as early as possible. Thus, children in Shanghai start learning English in grade 1 in primary school, even though some may start earlier (in their kindergarten).

In the following part of this paper, firstly, the chosen coursebook ‘Bright star’ for my target students will be introduced and evaluated according to the reference checklist. Then, taking my own beliefs and the context of my students into consideration, a specific unit in this coursebook will be taken as an example to be adapted and supplemented. Continue reading

Novel and Film in English Language Teaching

Ning Ding (Trista)

Abstract

Using literature in English language teaching has aroused a lot of attention recently. In this paper, the ‘literature’ will only focus on the novel and film forms based on the novel ‘the little prince’ released in 2015 and the 2015 film version. The paper will be illustrated from three aspects, which are the main differences between novels and films, the different experiences of seeing films and reading novels and the constructive uses for using film clips(videos) in literature teaching. The main reason for this decision is because of the argument pointed out by Montgomery (1992) that the visual form of film and the prose form of the novel are two mainstreams for people to experience fiction in the twentieth century.

Key words: film, novel, English language teaching

Introduction

According to Collie and Slater (2011), there is a question attracting people’s attention recently, which is given that there is no compulsory examination requirement for students.  Is it really necessary for a language teacher to use literature in the foreign language classroom teaching? Although there is one argument that the language appeared in literature is far away from what students frequently use in daily life, abandoning literature off syllabus thoroughly still causes a certain amount of unease (ibid). It cannot be denied that literature can help students get a sense of achievement, motivate their learning attitudes, enrich teachers’ teaching materials and improve students’ language proficiency if language teacher can choose suitable literature materials (Lazar, 2012. According to Lazar (2012), literature means that using bountiful and multi-layered language to illustrate meanings, including the fictional ones such as novels, short stories, plays, poems and films. In this article, it will only focus on the novel and film forms based on the novel ‘the little prince’ released in 2015 and the 2015 film version. There are two reasons to make this choice. The first one is based on the argument pointed out by Montgomery (1992) that, the visual form of film and the prose form of the novel are the two mainstreams for people to experience fiction in the twentieth century. The second reason is that, using video in language classroom has gained a large amount of support from different experts such as Bao (2008), Stempleski and Tomalin (1997), Wilson (2000), etc, especially that film clip as a video material has been paid a lot of attention. In the following part of the article, it will include three main parts, including the main differences between films and novels, the different experiences of seeing films and reading novels and the constructive uses for using film clips(videos) in literature teaching. Continue reading

Investigating the Use of Academic Words in MA Students’ Trial Assignment

Jie Liang (Jessica)

Abstract

This small-scale research is a corpus-based study that aims to explore the use of academic vocabulary in students’ academic writings at a tertiary level. A number of studies cited insufficient knowledge of academic vocabulary is challenging for students who learn English for academic or specific purposes (EAP or ESP), especially when reading and writing academic texts (Chen and Ge, 2007; Mozaffari and Moini, 2014; Vongpumivitch et.al, 2009). In order to help students’ academic vocabulary learning, Coxhead (2000) proposed an Academic Word List (AWL) in 2000, which is a valuable resource to enrich EAP students’ knowledge of academic words. This study collected 15 trial assignments written by MA ELT students in total, evaluating what were the most frequently used AWL words and how these high-frequency AWL words were used in the assignments. The results show that participants have already known the majority of the academic words included in Coxhead’s (2000) AWL.

 Keywords: academic vocabulary, academic word list, EAP, corpus analysis

Introduction

Learners’ proficiency of English has a direct connection with their knowledge of vocabulary (Lewis, 2002). The limited knowledge of vocabulary has been widely acknowledged as one of the predominate constraints for learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) as they were exposing to academic discourse, especially academic reading and writing (Chen and Ge, 2007; Mozaffari and Moini, 2014; Vongpumivitch et.al, 2009). When reading academic texts, Chanasattru and Tangkiengsirisin (2016) found that Thai EFL learners’ familiarity with the academic words can positively lead to better reading comprehension. Similarly, Nicole and Cheryl (2015) also mentioned in their study that using accurate vocabulary can convey more precise meanings and learners who have the abilities to use an academic register or a specific register of words can generate more effective writing. However, Coxhead (2000) pointed out the most challenging aspects of vocabulary learning comes from the decision about which words are worth to teach in class. In order to solve this problem, Nation and Meara (2001) suggested that it is possible for both EFL teachers and learners to pay more attention to words which have high frequency in the context they encountered. They also recommended, considering the needs of students who learn English for academic purposes (EAP), the Academic Word List (AWL) designed by Coxhead (2000) can be regarded as a valuable resource for learning academic vocabulary because this list specifically targets at the academic context (Nation and Meara, 2001)

As a result, in this assignment, I will do a frequency analysis about AWL words in MA students’ academic writings. I have collected 15 trial assignments which were English academic writings composed by MA English Language Teaching (ELT) students from the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in the University of Warwick. and then, I will establish a small corpus called MATA (MA Trial Assignment) by compiling all the collections. My corpus contains 26148 running words. These assignments were mainly written by Chinese students (13 students) plus to one student from Korea and one from Indonesia. The topic of the trial assignment refers to discussing the role of English in students’ home country and people’s attitudes towards English in their context. In fact, it is hard to define a specific register for all these trial assignments because students’ compositions might involve discussion about different topics such as education, culture, politics, media, etc., However, it is still valuable to analyze the trial assignment, since this assignment was the first opportunity for MA students to practice their skills of writing academic essays. Although MA students have already been admitted to an advanced level of English learners and they have consciousness of using formal words in written register under academic contexts, they perhaps not be sure enough about whether the words they employed made sense to the context and whether they were academic words or not. As a result, exploring what were the most frequently used academic vocabulary in the assignments and how these high-frequency words were represented would be an interesting and worthy topic to study. Continue reading

Using Authentic Video Materials in Teaching English

                                                Komila Tangirova

Abstract

Among all the rich variety of authentic materials, video medium has the advantage of being a highly motivating and engaging resource for teaching a foreign language and, therefore, have caught the attention of many language teachers and researchers so far. AVM is an effective tool in promoting authentic learning of English and exposing learners to real life dialogues with all its richness in culture and natural use of the language. In this paper, the educational potentials of authentic video materials (AVM) and English language feature films (ELFF), in particular, will be investigated. First, the description of  description of my teaching context will be provided, followed by a critical review of studies on the usage of AVM in the light of comparison with other EFL materials, motivational strength, cultural input, and usage methodology as well as skill development. Finally, some conclusions will be drawn in regard to the applicability of AVM to teaching English in Uzbekistan.

Key words: Authentic Video Materials, EFL, films, four skills, motivation

Introduction

The use of authentic materials has been highlighted in many studies (e.g. King 2002; Sherman, 2003; Herrington, 2006; Chen, 2012; Donaghy, 2014; Yaseen & Shakir, 2015) as a facilitator of effective demonstration of how language is used in real life. They have proved to be a useful source in EFL classroom. According to Sherman, “authenticity itself is an inducement – there is a special thrill in being able to understand and enjoy the real thing (2003:2). Among all the rich variety of authentic materials, video medium has the advantage of being a highly motivating and engaging resource for teaching a foreign language and, therefore, have caught the attention of many language teachers and researchers. In this paper, the educational potentials of authentic video materials (AVM) and English language feature films (ELFF), in particular, will be investigated. First, the description of  description of my teaching context will be provided, followed by a critical review of studies on the usage of AVM in the light of comparison with other EFL materials, motivational strength, cultural input, and usage methodology as well as skill development. Finally, some conclusions will be drawn in regard to the applicability of AVM to teaching English in Uzbekistan. Continue reading

Reflecting on the Transition from GE to ESAP Teaching

Mirian Fuhr

 

Abstract

This article presents a critical literature review on the teaching of General English (GE) in comparison to the teaching of English for Specific and Academic Purposes (ESAP). The study shows that ESAP teaching is an area that is developing, but is still under-researched. The text explores some of the differences and similarities between these two areas, emphasising that ESAP teaching focuses more on the learners’ specific requirements than the GE lessons. Some of the challenges that may affect the transition from GE teaching to ESAP teaching are also taken into consideration, focusing mostly on the lack of teacher training and support, before and after the transition, taking my own experience in the Brazilian context as a real example to illustrate this issue. The research shows that there is a gap to be fulfilled regarding the necessity of more effective teacher training programmes and professional development courses which could help this transition process to become more smoothly to the teachers who need it.

Key words: English for Specific and Academic Purposes (ESAP) Teachers. General English (GE) Teachers. Transition. 

Introduction

This article carries out a critical review of the literature relating to the transition of teachers of General English (GE) who, at a certain point of their careers, find themselves engaged in teaching English for Specific and Academic Purposes (ESAP). The text compares and assesses what different authors, such as Campion (2016), Loutayf (2016), Martin (2014), and Harwood and Petric (2011), say about the challenges faced by GE teachers who become ESAP teachers without having received any training, in the light of my own experience, also reflecting on what is the difference between teaching GE and ESAP, and what is to be an ESAP teacher. Besides being a new topic of research, I would like to find out more about, this has also been a particular pedagogic issue that has concerned me in my own teaching, as I struggled with lesson planning and preparation for English for Specific Purposes (ESP) lessons. Continue reading