Welcome to the Fifth Issue of ‘The Warwick ELT’!
We are very pleased to present to you our latest offering. Following the pattern of previous issues, the April 2017 edition of ‘The Warwick ELT’, presents articles from authors from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, bringing an insightful array of individual and contextualised experience to the fore; continuing healthy academic discussion in ELT.
This has been a very busy month in the Warwick ELT calendar, largely owing the 2017 IATEFL conference in Glasgow and our own intensive academic work here at Warwick. Nonetheless, we are extremely grateful to all those who were able to submit articles and we apologise for any delays incurred along the way. We continue to encourage and look forward to more contributions in more editions to come!
In this issue, Larissa Goulart da Silva, a recent University of Warwick graduate, in her article ‘Promoting Learner-Learner Interaction Through Tasks’, provides an overview of the benefits of using tasks to promote learner-learner interaction, with reference to the Brazilian context. Sarita Dewan, in her article ‘Plagiarism: Guns Do not Kill, It is People that Kill‘, discusses how school-age students may unwittingly copy the ideas of others, with reference to the Nepalese context.
For ease of access, each of the articles can be found hyperlinked below:
- ‘Promoting Learner-Learner Interaction Through Tasks’ by Larissa Goulart da Silva
- ‘Plagiarism: Guns Do not Kill, It is People that Kill’ by Sarita Dewan
We hope you have a wonderful spring holiday!
Promoting Learner-Learner Interaction Through Tasks
Larissa Goulart da Silva
This paper provides an overview on the benefits of using tasks to promote learner-learner interaction in the classroom based on a literature review and in the author’s own experience as teacher and learner of the English language. In order to do that, this paper is divided into four parts. In the introduction, I present my motivation to pursue this topic and the goals of this paper. The following section introduces the definitions of tasks presented in the literature of ELT and the distinction between tasks and activities. The next section of this article discusses what types of tasks promote learner-learner interaction. The last part presents a brief overview of how tasks can be implemented in the ELT classroom.
Keywords: learner-learner interaction, tasks, project based learning
This paper focuses on the advantages of using tasks to encourage learner’s interaction and what features of tasks help promote interaction. According to Ames (1992) learner-learner interaction develops collaborative and cooperative practices instead of encouraging competitiveness in the classroom. In addition, interaction with other students promotes effective learning, in other words, we learn with others (Vygotsky, 1984; Lantolf, 2000). Pinter (2007: 190) also argues that “tasks encourage learners to communicate with each other in real time.” Therefore, through the use of tasks, learners will use the target language in the classroom with other learners in order to develop their language skills.
In my experience as an English learner I have always been encouraged to work in pairs or groups in order to achieve the lesson’s goals and, even when individual work was required, students were always stimulated to share their work with classmates before delivering a final version to the teachers. For this reason, I perceive collaborative learning as a positive practice. Hence, the focus of this paper in tasks and student to student interaction.
In the next section of this paper I will present what researchers define as “tasks”, displaying also what a Brazilian researcher considers a task and drawing some references to my experiences in the classroom as a student and a teacher.
Plagiarism: Guns do not Kill, It is People that Kill
School-age students often use information from different sources without knowing how to use the information intellectually. Actually, they do not know that copying other’s ideas is a kind of intellectual crime called ‘plagiarism’. Despite the fact, this issue is not taken seriously enough in schools by teachers or students in Nepal. It is difficult to define and make it known to the students, that copying others’ intellectual work is a crime and an immoral act. This brief paper will examine how school-age students can be given input on citation at the basic level so that they can develop their habit of attributing intellectual work ever since their young age which can lead them to the culture of citation and referencing which is required for any academic work at the university level.
Keywords: Plagiarism, School-age Students, Technology, Online Materials
This article is based on my own experiences about my students and their knowledge about plagiarism. I had given my students an assignment on writing an essay. I found that one of them produced an outstanding essay. I was impressed and mesmerized by his work, but my excitement did not last long. I found that he had downloaded the essay from the internet. He had copied somebody’s work, he did that to impress me so that he could get good marks, but he did not know that copying somebody’s work is illegal.
Plagiarism is difficult to define among school students, especially because avoiding plagiarism encompasses a wide range of actions, which may be difficult for them to understand and implement in writing. At the same time, it seems a little challenging for the teachers to make students aware of it, as it is not included in the prescribed curriculum (which we often consider the benchmark of the instruction). Plagiarism has increased the act of academic dishonesty among students in college as well as high schools. Bowden states “Plagiarism is perhaps one of the foremost and richest of postmodern dilemmas.” (Bowden, 1996 in Navarrre, n.d.). Onta (2016) opines, ‘Plagiarism is a problem in Nepali academia. It is rampant at the university student level even for a research degree such as the PhD.’
While discussing the issue of plagiarism and its pros and cons in the class, my students were astonished, so I thought of doing a mini project as a classroom research on the topic, and further conduct an awareness class. The information that I have mentioned here is based on only qualitative data.
Welcome to the Fourth Issue of The Warwick ELT!
We are delighted to present the fourth issue of The Warwick ELT e-zine.
Following the same pattern of the previous issues, the March 2017 issue of ‘The Warwick ELT’, presents articles of MA students from the Applied Linguistics department who come from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. They bring their own context and individual experiences to the foreground through their articles.
In this issue, Hanna Almontasser in her article ‘How to get young learners talking in a Turkish middle school’ presents ways of motivating young learners to speak by drawing on her personal experience as a teacher in an EFL context of a Turkish middle school. Henry Pickup elaborates on the status of English and Welsh as perceived by the public in his native country, through his article ‘Languages in the United Kingdom: Status, roles and public perception’. Finally, Noel T. Franco Jr. in his article ‘ English and Other Philippine Languages: Battling for Linguistic Stature in the Filipino Society?’, introduces the multilingual setting in Philippines and sheds light on the status and roles of English and other languages within the context.
For ease of access, each of the articles can be found hyperlinked below:
- ‘How to get young learners talking in a Turkish middle school’ by Hanna Almontasser
- ‘Languages in the United Kingdom: Status, roles and public perception’ by Henry Pickup
- English and Other Philippine Languages: Battling for Linguistic Stature in the Filipino Society?’ by Noel T. Franco Jr.
We hope that the above contributions will be an insightful source of information and inspiration for those interested in the domain of ELT and in foreign language teaching and learning in general.
Above all, we are grateful to those who have contributed to the publication of this issue and we hope to encourage more authors to contribute to our Ezine in the editions to come.
Betelhem Taye Tsehayu and Georgia Dimitrakopoulou
How to get young learners talking in a
Turkish middle school
Getting young learners to speak in English can be a very difficult task for language teachers, as I had experienced in my two years at a private middle school in Istanbul, where English is taught as a foreign language. Despite increasing the number of classes per week, introducing a new syllabus and materials, the Cambridge Flyers series, and hiring native teachers to focus specifically on teaching speaking, students often have a low level of language proficiency and do not achieve good grades expected by the school, in the end of year Cambridge oral exams. They have difficulty expressing themselves in full sentences using the correct language forms and pronunciation, and they often lack the vocabulary needed to get their meaning across. This article explores some of the reasons why students may struggle: lack of exposure to the L2 and other ‘World Englishes’ (Kachru et al. 2009), lack of opportunity to practise, learner anxiety, lower ability, and lack of motivation. It also provides a critical analysis of the ways in which young learners’ English speaking skills can be improved to a great extent by means of the following three principals: 1) games and competitions, 2) technology and 3) pair work.
Keywords: speaking, listening, young learners, EFL, games, technology, pair work, Turkey
Young learners in Turkish private schools have a lack of language proficiency and opportunity to practice the language. They have difficulty expressing themselves in full sentences using the correct language forms and pronunciation, and they often lack the vocabulary needed to get their meaning across. I had encountered this issue throughout my two year teaching experience in Istanbul, where I taught two grade 5 classes (from 10 – 11 years), with an average of 15 students per class. There were many school reforms in my second year of teaching, one of which was to increase the number of grade 5 English classes from one to three lessons per week, with a native English teacher, (a total of two hours per week). These lessons were specifically devoted to teaching speaking and listening. Reading and writing classes were covered by the Turkish-English teachers. The expected outcome was that the students would be more fluent in English, with correct pronunciation and some understanding of grammar, also achieving pass grades in the Cambridge English: Young Learners Speaking tests at the end of the year. There was nevertheless a struggle in getting the students to speak fluently and independently. Many students were unsuccessful in achieving a pass at the end of year Cambridge exam. They also found it difficult to speak with unfamiliar people and to understand different accents. Feedback from students was that “the examiner spoke in a different way” to me (the teacher), and that they “couldn’t understand her English”. (They were referring here, to the examiner’s English dialect and pronunciation). Why is this and how can it be improved?
This article will explore these issues further and discuss in detail how the use of games and competitions, technology and pair work can function as possible solutions for improving the speaking skills of young learners in an EFL context. Continue reading