Mohammad Khatib; Seyran Jannati
The present study was conducted to examine empirically and systematically the effect of explicit instruction of comprehension strategies on EFL learners’ reading anxiety and reading comprehension in Iranian high schools. To this end, two intact classes (65 students) participated in this study as ...
The present study was conducted to examine empirically and systematically the effect of explicit instruction of comprehension strategies on EFL learners’ reading anxiety and reading comprehension in Iranian high schools. To this end, two intact classes (65 students) participated in this study as members of control and experimental groups. The experimental group underwent 10 sessions of reading strategies training based on McNamara, Ozuro, Best, and O’Reilly's (2007) 4-pronged Comprehension Strategy Framework. Data were collected through the employment of Saito, Garza, and Horwitz's (1999) Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale (FLRAS) and Preliminary English Test (PET) multiple-choice reading comprehension tests. All the students filled the FLRAS questionnaire and took the reading comprehension test two times, once as a pre-test one week before the beginning of instruction and the other as a post-test one week after the instructional treatment. After the post-test, a group of 7 students who received instruction participated in the focus group interview. T-tests were used to analyze the obtained statistical data. It was revealed that explicit reading strategy instruction was quite beneficial in improving EFL high school students' comprehension and reducing their anxiety level, while reading anxiety and reading comprehension were negatively correlated. The results of the interview with the focus group revealed the positive effect of strategy training on learners' reading comprehension and alleviating reading anxiety. This study rendered some educational implications for materials developers and instructors to invest on reading as a fundamental skill in education.
Zohre Gooniband Shooshtari; Alireza Jalilfar; Zahra Ahmadpour Kasgari
The present investigation sought to explore the relationship between learning styles and writing behaviors of EFL learners in a blended environment. It also aimed to identify the learning style types best predicting writing behaviors. Initially, the participants' preferred learning styles were identified ...
The present investigation sought to explore the relationship between learning styles and writing behaviors of EFL learners in a blended environment. It also aimed to identify the learning style types best predicting writing behaviors. Initially, the participants' preferred learning styles were identified through the Kolb’s learning style inventory (Kolb, 1984). Secondly, data were obtained through analyzing the Stat counter and Input log data to reveal the pausing, revising and switching behaviors of the participants who attended a writing course in which they developed their writing texts using an online module. The results indicated a negative and significant correlation between the accommodator learning style and the revision behavior. A statistically significant and positive relationship was also found between the converger learning style and the pausing behavior, and between the converger learning style and the revision behavior Furthermore, a positive and significant relationship between the accommodator learning style and the switching behavior was revealed. The accommodator learning style was found as the best predictor for the switching behavior and the converger learning style turned to predict the revision and pausing behavior at an optimal level. The findings suggest that internal factors, cognitive and learning styles, play a significant role in the learning behaviors of English writing learners. The results encourage writing educators to take into account students’ learning style and provide more flexible and rigorous learning environment in which all learners can take benefit.
Nasser Rashidi; Nurullah Mansourzadeh
The profession of second language teaching has experienced fundamental fluctuations in both theory and practice. With its own proponents and opponents, the postmethod was considered as the practical and reasonable solution to the limitations of the confining concept of the method. The purpose of this ...
The profession of second language teaching has experienced fundamental fluctuations in both theory and practice. With its own proponents and opponents, the postmethod was considered as the practical and reasonable solution to the limitations of the confining concept of the method. The purpose of this qualitative study was to elicit nonnative EFL teachers’ viewpoints and perceptions regarding postmethod pedagogy. In fact, the researchers were interested to know about nonnative EFL teachers’ perceptions of postmethod condition regarding their own context and needs. Selected based on purposive sampling procedure, the participants of this study were 10 nonnative EFL teachers categorized into three groups based on their teaching experience. The participants took part in semi-structured interviews and they were asked a series of questions to elicit their perceptions and interpretations of postmethod. The results of the study revealed some rays of hope in some cases, though not promising in a full manner. In other words, although nonnative EFL teachers could not mention the postmethod principles explicitly, they showed a logical understanding of postmethod pedagogy tenets and its applications in their teaching practices and procedures. The results of this study can help teacher educators design more effective teacher education courses and in-service programs to enhance nonnative EFL teachers’ viewpoints and perceptions regarding postmethod pedagogy and its implications in language teaching and learning processes.
Minoo Alemi; Atefeh Rezanejad
Volume 3, Issue 1 , June 2014, , Pages 88-65
Pragmatic assessment and consistency in rating are among the subject matters which are still in need of more profound investigations. The importance of the issue is highlighted when remembering that inconsistency in ratings would surely damage the test fairness issue in assessment and lead to much diversity ...
Pragmatic assessment and consistency in rating are among the subject matters which are still in need of more profound investigations. The importance of the issue is highlighted when remembering that inconsistency in ratings would surely damage the test fairness issue in assessment and lead to much diversity in ratings. Our principal concern in this study was observing the criteria that American and Iranian EFL/ESL teachers consider when rating Iranian EFL learners’ pragmatic productions regarding the speech act of compliment. The instrument utilized in this study was WDCTs and a speech act rating questionnaire administered to sixty American and sixty Iranian EFL/ESL teachers. In order to come up with the criteria, the reasoning and justifications of the raters when rating learners’ pragmatic productions were analyzed carefully through content analysis. The results showed that overall the raters considered nine general criteria when rating. They included: “Strategy use”, “Affective factors”, “Politeness”, “Interlocutors’ relationships”, “Linguistic accuracy”, “Sincerity”, “Authenticity”, “Fluency”, and “Cultural issues”. Also, the most frequent criterion among the native and non-native raters was “Strategy use” and “Politeness” respectively. Finally, it was concluded that due to some inconsistencies and variations in the ratings and criteria of both native and non-native raters, it seems that both groups are in need of pragmatic workshops and training sessions. The results of this study can have important implications for EFL/ESL teacher educators who are considerate of the importance of pragmatic training and instruction.
Hamid Marashi; Elham Yavarzadeh
Volume 3, Issue 2 , December 2014, , Pages 209-236
The field of ELT is constantly witnessing the introduction of new instructional approaches: one such perhaps recent initiative is critical discourse analysis (CDA). Accordingly, the present study was an attempt to investigate the impact of CDA instruction on Iranian EFL learners’ descriptive and ...
The field of ELT is constantly witnessing the introduction of new instructional approaches: one such perhaps recent initiative is critical discourse analysis (CDA). Accordingly, the present study was an attempt to investigate the impact of CDA instruction on Iranian EFL learners’ descriptive and argumentative writing ability. To fulfill the aforementioned purpose, a sample TOEFL was primarily piloted among a group of 30 upper intermediate EFL learners by the researchers; with the acceptable reliability and item analysis indices achieved, then the researchers administered the test among another group of 90 upper intermediate learners. Ultimately, those 60 learners whose scores fell one standard deviation above and below the mean were chosen as the participants of the study and were randomly assigned to a control and an experimental group with 30 participants in each. Both of these groups underwent the same amount of teaching time during 20 sessions which included a treatment of CDA instruction based on Jank’s (2005) set of 14 features for the experimental group. A posttest was administered at the end of the instruction to both groups and their mean scores on the test were compared through a multivariate analysis of variance. The result (F = 14.41 and p = 0.000 < 0.05) led to the rejection of the two null hypotheses raised in this study, thereby demonstrating that the learners in the experimental group benefited significantly more than those in the control group in terms of improving their descriptive and argumentative writing ability. Hence, the major pedagogical implication of this study is that CDA instruction can be effectively used to assist EFL learners improve their argumentative and descriptive writing ability.
Nastaran Nosratzadegan; Zohreh Seifoori; Parviz Maftoon
Despite consensus in focus on form (FOF) instruction over the facilitative role of noticing, controversy has not quelled over ways of directing EFL learners’ attention towards formal features via implicit techniques like input-enhancement or explicit metacognitive feedback and interactive peer-editing ...
Despite consensus in focus on form (FOF) instruction over the facilitative role of noticing, controversy has not quelled over ways of directing EFL learners’ attention towards formal features via implicit techniques like input-enhancement or explicit metacognitive feedback and interactive peer-editing on the output they produce. This quasi-experimental study investigated the impact of input enhancement (IE), metalinguistic feedback (MF), and peer-editing (PE), on 73 intermediate female Iranian EFL learners’ recognition of relative clauses (RCs). The participants, in three intact classes ranged in age between 18 and 30, were randomly assigned as IE (N=23), MF (N=29), and PE (N=21) groups. The 18-session treatment in all groups was based on identical teaching materials and methodology following a reading to writing orientation focused on RCs. The only difference was related to the focus on form that was through enhanced reading texts in the IE group, metalinguistic feedback on discussion of content in the MF group, and peer-editing in pair-discussion of the content in the PE group. Two parallel sets of 40-item multiple choice researcher-made validated tests focused on RCs were employed to measure the participants’ recognition of RCs at the onset and the end of the study. The one-way between-groups analysis of covariance demonstrated significantly higher gains in the MF and PE groups compared to the IE group; the MF achieved higher levels of mastery. The findings highlight the effectiveness of MF and offer implications for more effective teaching of RCs to Iranian EFL learners.
Hamid Marashi; Mojgan Bani-Ardalani
The present study was an attempt to explore the effect of clinical supervision on EFL teachers’ level of burnout. For this purpose, a total number of 80 male and female EFL teachers within the age range of 26 and 47 who were working at a language school in Tehran participated in this study. Forty ...
The present study was an attempt to explore the effect of clinical supervision on EFL teachers’ level of burnout. For this purpose, a total number of 80 male and female EFL teachers within the age range of 26 and 47 who were working at a language school in Tehran participated in this study. Forty teachers in the experimental group underwent a clinical supervision program which comprised the three steps of pre-observation conference, observation, and post-observation feedback conference while the other 40 teachers who were in the control group were subjected to the conventional supervision program of the language school. The program for both groups spanned a total period of 12 weeks. Prior to the program, the Maslach Burnout Inventory questionnaire (MBI) was used to measure the level of all of the teachers’ burnout as the pretest and again at the end of study, both groups took the MBI questionnaire as the posttest. The analysis of the test scores using a test of analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed that the clinical supervision program had lowered significantly the participants’ burnout. As a result of this study, the researchers suggest that ELT establishments take into consideration the practice of clinical supervision to enhance their teachers’ performance.
Maryam Meshkat; Fateme Saeb
Volume 1, Issue 2 , December 2012, , Pages 273-292
Gaining insights into the learners’ individual characteristics such as beliefs about language learning and their relationship with learning strategies is essential for planning effective language instruction. Thus, the present study investigated the relationship between beliefs about language learning ...
Gaining insights into the learners’ individual characteristics such as beliefs about language learning and their relationship with learning strategies is essential for planning effective language instruction. Thus, the present study investigated the relationship between beliefs about language learning and learning strategy use in Iranian high school students. This study also compared the correlation of the two variables between males and females and monolingual and bilingual students. The strategy inventory for language learning (SILL) and the beliefs about language learning inventory (BALLI) were used to collect data from four hundred and sixty-two high school students from different cities of the country. Descriptive analyses, Pearson r correlation, and the Fisher z-transformation test, were used to analyze the data. The results revealed that the students used metacognitive strategies most and compensation and affective strategies least. Also, they held strong motivational beliefs about English language learning. Significant positive correlations were found between beliefs and strategy categories. The strongest correlation was found between the students’ metacognitive strategies and their motivation and expectations. The findings revealed no significant difference between the correlation coefficients of monolinguals and bilinguals, and males and females in terms of their language learning beliefs and strategies. Regarding the pedagogical implications of the results, it is discussed that knowledge of students’ language learning beliefs and their preferred strategies can lead teachers and educational authorities toward more informed instructional choices.
Masoud Rahimi Domakani; Azizullah Mirzaei
Volume 2, Issue 1 , June 2013, , Pages 83-100
Critical pedagogy (CP), as a poststructuralist educational movement, challenges the asymmetrical, power-over nature of classroom discourse and seeks to accommodate multivocality in the classroom and in the society. This study probed the discourse architecture of EFL classrooms in Iran. Specifically, ...
Critical pedagogy (CP), as a poststructuralist educational movement, challenges the asymmetrical, power-over nature of classroom discourse and seeks to accommodate multivocality in the classroom and in the society. This study probed the discourse architecture of EFL classrooms in Iran. Specifically, it aimed to explore to what extent Iranian EFL classrooms have stepped away from the teacher-dominant initiation-response-follow-up (IRF) discourse structure and welcomed CP-oriented dialogism and multivocality. To this end, a number of EFL classrooms in Isfahan and Shahrekord (Iran) were observed, and the running classroom discourse was audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. The results showed that discourse-construction opportunities were distributed unevenly in favor of teachers regarded as the sole authority in the classroom. Student-regulated symmetrical talks were seldom evidenced in the classrooms. The findings further demonstrated that the power-over IRF discourse architecture, despite its communicative inadequacies, still seems to be dominant in EFL classrooms in Iran. Finally, it is suggested that L2 practitioners should move towards transforming the status quo, include more elements of CP into L2 classrooms, and invest in dialogism and multivocality as essential mechanisms to de-silence the students.
Maryam Taheri; Davood Mashhadi Heidar
Due to the scarcity of quantitative studies as to the impact of portfolio assessment on EFL students’ writing ability and the significant impact of the interaction between portfolio assessment and self-regulation strategy, the present study aimed to explore whether portfolio assessment has any ...
Due to the scarcity of quantitative studies as to the impact of portfolio assessment on EFL students’ writing ability and the significant impact of the interaction between portfolio assessment and self-regulation strategy, the present study aimed to explore whether portfolio assessment has any significant effect on improving Bachelor of Arts (BA) English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ paragraph writing ability, and whether this effect differs within high/low self-regulated learners or not. To do so, 60 intermediate female students were chosen out of 145 learners through the administration of a standard version of Oxford Placement Test (OPT). The participants were randomly assigned into one control (30 participants) and one experimental group (30 participants). The experimental group was assigned into two groups of high and low self-regulated learners, (15 participants for each group), based on Magno’s (2009) Academic Self-regulated Learning Scale (A-SRL-S) questionnaire. Participants of the control group were taught and assessed based on traditional teaching and assessment, whereas those in the experimental group were taught and assessed via portfolio-based instruction and assessment techniques. The analysis of the results of the study revealed that portfolio assessment has a significant effect on improving writing ability (p=0.001). The results also showed that high self-regulated learners have taken more advantage of portfolio assessment than the low self-regulated ones (p = 0.000). The results obtained from the present study can have beneficial contributions to teaching, curriculum development, and testing.
Mahnaz Mostafaei Alaei; Mohammad Reza Ghamari
Volume 2, Issue 2 , December 2013, , Pages 85-111
The present study was aimed at examining concerns about the social effects of EFL learning, a challenging area of research which has not been discussed sufficiently. It tried to investigate the relationship between EFL learning and national identity. In addition, attempt was made to find a relationship ...
The present study was aimed at examining concerns about the social effects of EFL learning, a challenging area of research which has not been discussed sufficiently. It tried to investigate the relationship between EFL learning and national identity. In addition, attempt was made to find a relationship between language motivation types and national identity. Furthermore, the role of two demographic variables, gender and age was examined. To this end, a sample consisting of 350 undergraduates studying at Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran took part in the study. A questionnaire on national identity and another one on language motivation types followed by an interview were the instruments used. The questionnaires had already been developed. However, there were some major modifications for the former which consisted of 30 items measuring national identity for all participants. The latter contained 42 items measuring language motivation types for only EFL learners. The Regression analysis, independent samples t-tests and a one-way ANOVA were run. The results revealed that claims over the harmful social effects of EFL learning were not arguably significant and it was found that among the eight language motivation types, going abroad and social responsibility were correlated with national identity. Furthermore, gender and age indicated significant differences among the participants' tendencies. The findings indicated that the social concerns about EFL learning are too pessimistic. So, materials developers, syllabus designers and teachers might consider the potentiality of some social elementsand demographic variables for the development of EFL learning.
Masoud Azizi; Majid Nemati
It is often wrongly assumed that the provision of teacher corrective feedback naturally entails learners' attendance to and application of it, but learners have repeatedly been reported not to pay attention to teacher feedback due to lack of motivation and the distracting effect of the grades they receive. ...
It is often wrongly assumed that the provision of teacher corrective feedback naturally entails learners' attendance to and application of it, but learners have repeatedly been reported not to pay attention to teacher feedback due to lack of motivation and the distracting effect of the grades they receive. The present study was an attempt to tackle this problem. To do so, the technique named Draft-Specific Scoring (Nemati & Azizi, 2013) was implemented. In DSS, learners receive both teacher feedback and grades on their first drafts; however, they are given up to two opportunities to apply teacher feedback and revise their drafts accordingly. The scores they receive may improve as a result of the quality of revisions they make. Students’ final scores will be the mean score of the grades they receive on the final drafts of each assignment. 57 Iranian intermediate students attending the ‘Advanced Writing’ course at University of Teheran, with an age range of 21 to 27 took part in this study. The gain score analysis and the SPANOVA used showed the superiority of DSS over more traditional methods in improving learners’ overall writing proficiency as well as fluency and accuracy of their written texts. Moreover, no adverse effect was observed for the treatment group regarding the grammatical complexity of their texts. This indicates that in order to make teacher feedback work, there are a number of intervening variables one needs to consider, the most important of which being learners’ motivation to attend to teacher feedback.
Neda Sasani; Mansoor Ganji; Nahid Yarahmadzehi
Metacognitive reading strategies play a significant role in reading comprehension and educational success. Being noticeably absent from many Iranian classrooms and largely unaware of by many language learners and teachers, metacognitive reading strategies have fallen into oblivion in English language ...
Metacognitive reading strategies play a significant role in reading comprehension and educational success. Being noticeably absent from many Iranian classrooms and largely unaware of by many language learners and teachers, metacognitive reading strategies have fallen into oblivion in English language teaching, research, learning, and assessment. The present study was an attempt to measure the metacognitive reading strategy (MRS) awareness among Iranian university students majoring in English Translation Studies. It also aimed at determining whether gender and learners’ different academic levels would make any difference in using various types of MRS. Furthermore, it investigated the relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ awareness of MRS and their reading comprehension performance. A sample of 45 EFL university students majoring in English Translation at Chabahar Maritime University participated in this study. They were asked to complete the Survey of Reading Strategies (SORS) questionnaire adapted from Tavakoli (2014) and to take a TOEFL Junior Standard Reading Comprehension Test. The results revealed that although the overall strategy use among these students was low (M=2.42), support reading strategies were used the most and problem-solving strategies were the least frequently used ones. Additionally, no significant difference was found between males and females as well as different academic levels in the use of MRS. No significant relationship was found between students’ overall use of metacognitive reading strategies and their reading comprehension achievement. The study concludes with a number of pedagogical implications and lists several guidelines for future research.
zis tajeddin; minoo alemi
Volume 1, Issue 1 , June 2012, , Pages 93-122
This study aimed to investigate the use of interactional metadiscourse markers in 168 comments made by 28 university students of engineering via an educational forum held as part of a general English course. The students wrote their comments on six topics, with a total of 19,671 words. Their comments ...
This study aimed to investigate the use of interactional metadiscourse markers in 168 comments made by 28 university students of engineering via an educational forum held as part of a general English course. The students wrote their comments on six topics, with a total of 19,671 words. Their comments during educational discussions were analyzed to determine their use of five metadiscourse categories (hedges, boosters, attitude markers, engagement markers, and self-mentions), making up interactional metadiscourse in Hyland’s (2004) model. Following descriptive analysis of the use of metadiscourse categories, chi-square tests were used to investigate the possible differences in the whole sample as well as gender-based differences. The findings showed that although female EFL learners used more metadiscourse markers than males did, the differences were minor and hence gender did not significantly influence the use of interactional metadiscourse markers. However, while male and female participants used all types of interactional metadiscourse, how they used them varied. They used engagement markers and self-mentions more frequently than boosters, hedges, and attitude markers. Since metadiscourse markers play crucial roles in mediating the relationship between what writers intend to argue and their discourse communities, the results of the present study have obvious importance in increasing students’ awareness of the way they organize their writings.
Fereshteh Shirzad; Saman Ebadi
This study explored the autonomy of advanced English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners in reading comprehension through scaffolding and jigsaw in computer-assisted and conventional contexts. After being homogenized through the reading section of DIALANG proficiency test, a total of 80 female advanced ...
This study explored the autonomy of advanced English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners in reading comprehension through scaffolding and jigsaw in computer-assisted and conventional contexts. After being homogenized through the reading section of DIALANG proficiency test, a total of 80 female advanced EFL learners with the age range of 21 to 45 were selected as the participants of the study. They were randomly assigned to four groups: experimental group A (scaffolding in a conventional context), experimental group B (scaffolding in a computer-assisted context), experimental group C (jigsaw in a conventional context), and experimental group D (jigsaw in a computer-assisted context). Next, the autonomy in RC questionnaire, which was designed and piloted by Ebadi and Shirzad (in press), was administered as the pretest. Then, the learners in each group took part in three months (16 sessions) autonomy in reading comprehension training courses. After the treatment, the same autonomy in RC questionnaire was administered as the posttest. One-way ANCOVA was used to analyze the quantitative data. The results revealed that although both jigsaw and scaffolding approaches were successful in both conventional and computer assisted contexts from pre-test to post-test, the scaffolding method proved more effective. Moreover, both the scaffolding and jigsaw approaches were more effective in computer-assisted environment compared to conventional contexts, with the scaffolding CA approach outperforming the jigsaw CA technique. The findings’ implications for learners, teachers, and syllabus designers are discussed in both contexts.
ESP & EAP
Ogholgol Nazari; Mahmood Reza Atai; Parviz Birjandi
Teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses is highly demanding for EAP teachers as they are faced with diverse pedagogical and administrative challenges in such courses. This study addressed the level of burnout among EAP teachers and variations in relation to their demographic and organizational ...
Teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses is highly demanding for EAP teachers as they are faced with diverse pedagogical and administrative challenges in such courses. This study addressed the level of burnout among EAP teachers and variations in relation to their demographic and organizational characteristics. To this aim, a demographic questionnaire along with the Persian version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) was administered to 276 EAP teachers from state universities in Iran. The results revealed that a considerable number of EAP teachers reported mid-levels of personal accomplishment. Moreover, variations in degree of burnout were found among EAP teachers in relation to marital status, age, years of experience in teaching EAP and content/general English courses, educational background, and the field and number of EAP courses taught. Also, EAP teachers with different demographic and organizational characteristics who were more susceptible to burnout were identified. Finally, implications for enhancing the working conditions of EAP teachers are presented.
Zeinab Azizi; Ehsan Namaziandost; Parisa Ashkani
Emerging as a novel instructional approach, Active Learning (AL) is predicated on paving the way for students to actively explore knowledge and reflect on the learning processes. Despite its robust theoretical foundations, AL has rarely been implemented by English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers ...
Emerging as a novel instructional approach, Active Learning (AL) is predicated on paving the way for students to actively explore knowledge and reflect on the learning processes. Despite its robust theoretical foundations, AL has rarely been implemented by English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers in the Iranian context. A lion’s share of this hesitation may be ascribed to the lack of strong empirical findings to underscore its advantages and disadvantages. To fill in this lacuna, this mixed-methods study inspected the effects of AL on fostering EFL learners’ speaking skills (SSs) and willingness to communicate (WTC) in the Iranian context. For this purpose, a total of 87 intermediate EFL learners, were selected using a convenience sampling method. They were homogenized through a Key English Test (KET) and randomly assigned to an experimental group (n = 26) and a control group (n = 25). Afterward, a pre-test, interventions (lasting 18 75-miniute sessions held twice a week), and a post-test were administered. Then, eight participants who actively participated in the interventions were invited to a focus group interview to express their perceptions of and experiences with AL. The results of the independent samples t-tests documented that AL substantially contributed to fostering the participants’ SSs and WTC on the post-test. Additionally, the qualitative findings of a thematic coding analysis yielded four overarching themes; facilitating knowledge construction, developing metacognitive awareness, promoting self-regulated learning, and fostering motivation. The findings provide a number of implications for pertinent stakeholders.
Shohreh Bahrami Qalenoee; Jamileh Rahemi
Over the past decades, writing assessment research has been concentrating on alternative methods with a social-oriented view of assessment, including dynamic assessment (DA). Given the lack of research juxtaposing the interventionist and interactionist DA frameworks in the area of narrative writing, ...
Over the past decades, writing assessment research has been concentrating on alternative methods with a social-oriented view of assessment, including dynamic assessment (DA). Given the lack of research juxtaposing the interventionist and interactionist DA frameworks in the area of narrative writing, this study sought to compare the effectiveness of Brown’s graduated prompts model vs. Poehner’s model in the development of one-paragraph narrative essays in terms of grammatical accuracy. The study followed a quasi-experimental design, with 15 Iranian EFL learners selected via convenient sampling from among the female students of a language institute in Tehran. The participants were then randomly divided into three groups: Interventionist group, in which mediation was based on Brown’s model in the sandwich format; interactionist group, where mediation was done using Poehner’s model in the cake format; and non-dynamic assessment (NDA) control group with no mediation involved. The research consisted of three pilot sessions and eleven sessions as the main phase. To analyze the data, both descriptive and non-parametric inferential statistics were run. The results conceded the superiority of both DA approaches to NDA, whereas no significant difference was observed between the two DA groups in their general performance on narrative tasks. However, the analysis of the number and types of required mediational moves over the DA sessions indicated the superiority of the interactionist model to interventionist framework in the development of grammatical accuracy in narrative paragraphs. The study offers some theoretical and pedagogical repercussions for educators, curriculum designers, and L2 teachers.
Learner autonomy (LA) has always been a controversial issue among applied linguists. Several studies have been carried out to investigate the teachers' and learners' perceptions of learner autonomy as well as the feasibility of learner autonomy. Despite the importance of learner autonomy and the existence ...
Learner autonomy (LA) has always been a controversial issue among applied linguists. Several studies have been carried out to investigate the teachers' and learners' perceptions of learner autonomy as well as the feasibility of learner autonomy. Despite the importance of learner autonomy and the existence of several related studies, the challenges in promoting LA in Iranian institutes to the researcher’s best of knowledge have not been explored appropriately, yet. The main objective of the present study was to investigate the challenges in promoting learner autonomy from Iranian EFL teachers' perspectives. To do so, a qualitative research design was used. In doing so, 23 Iranian EFL teachers employed as full time teachers in different universities in Tehran, Iran were selected through purposive sampling. The data were collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed through content analysis following Randor model. Based on the content analysis of the interviews, three different themes were extracted. The firs most frequent observed theme, institution related challenges, consisted of prescribed objectives, materials, and assessment methods. The second theme, learner related challenges, consisted of seven sub-themes. However, the third extracted theme was teacher related challenges which consisted of four sub-themes. The findings can be used by teacher trainers, teachers, as well as EFL learners. It can be concluded that EFL teachers should receive training in learner autonomy through both pre-service and in-service training courses
Karim Sadeghi; Maryam Zeinali
The pivotal role of listening comprehension in second/foreign language learning requires that researchers conduct studies which investigate factors that affect test takers’ performances. The present study was set out to examine whether item modality (i.e., written vs. oral items) affects listening ...
The pivotal role of listening comprehension in second/foreign language learning requires that researchers conduct studies which investigate factors that affect test takers’ performances. The present study was set out to examine whether item modality (i.e., written vs. oral items) affects listening comprehension test performance. In addition, it investigated whether allowing test takers to take notes while listening would also affect their performances. To this end, two different tests, each containing 20 multiple choice items, were administered to 66 (35 female and 31 male) upper-intermediate EFL learners. The first test was administered to look into the role of item modality, and the second test was employed to investigate the effect of note-taking. The application of independent samples t-tests to analyze the data revealed that that test takers performed better when the items were provided in written rather than oral form, and that test takers’ performances did not differ significantly when they were allowed to take notes. More detailed findings and implications are discussed in the paper.
Keywords: item modality, note-taking, listening test, EFL
Authors’ emails: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Testing is an integral part of any teaching and learning process and like other educational fields, English as a Foreign Language (EFL) education has long recognized testing as a major part of the teaching. New perspectives on the use of English as an international language (EIL) have presented significant challenges to the field of language testing, with calls for change in assessment practices arising over the past decade (Jenkins, 2006). One of the skills for which constructing test items is demanding is listening comprehension, as in real life contexts, listeners cannot usually move backwards and forwards over what is being said in the way that they can do in a written text. In a listening test, the key concern is to evaluate the students’ comprehension, that is, to determine whether the students have grasped the intended message. So, it is essential to decide on the conditions and operations that merit inclusion in a test of listening comprehension (Weir, 1990). In actual fact, the assessment of listening abilities is one of the least understood, least developed and yet one of the most important areas of language testing (Buck, 2007).
The issue is even more complex nowadays given the unprecedented diversity of testing methods and academic pathways available for international students (Taylor & Geranpayeh, 2011). In other words, among the many existing variables that are considered to affect test takers’ performance, one central issue is the effect of test methods and formats (Alderson, 2000; Bachman, 1990; Buck, 2007).
Besides the awkward nature of testing listening comprehension, there exist some factors that might affect test-takers’ performance. When test developers set out to design a listening comprehension test, they usually encounter, and have to account for, numerous factors that may influence test-takers’ performances, such as item format, speech rate, speaker accents, topic familiarity, etc. Considering this, the present study is, for one thing, concerned with the mode of presentation of multiple choice items in a listening comprehension test, that is, it makes a difference to present the items orally or in written form.
Focusing on different items format, some studies conclude that allowing candidates to preview question stems enables them to make good use of planning, a meta-cognitive strategy by directing their attention to relevant areas of the text (Wu, 1998; Yanagawa & Green, 2008). However, the listening items in which the stem of the question is not seen on the paper or the screen, have their own advocates who believe that auditory memory does not need to be supported by visual aids. When it comes to listening instruction, there are numerous studies that look at enhancing listening comprehension through various means of support, such as visual aids, advance organizers, captions, etc. with the overall conclusion that most of these forms of support have been found to facilitate listener comprehension and also to have some positive psychological effects on listeners’ learning (Chang, 2009). Elekaei, Faramarzi and Biria (2015), for instance, investigated test-takers’ attitudes towards items with audio-only, pictorial and visual modality and found that students favoured picture-based (rather than visual) items over audio items. I support of Elekaei et al.’s (2015) findings, Basal, Gulozer and Demir (2015) compared the performance of Turkish EFL learners on items with audio and visual modality and found the performance on audio modality to be significantly higher than that on visual modality.
In addition to the modality of the item, another factor that may affect listening performance of the EFL learners is whether they are allowed to take notes during the listening test, which is the second concern of this study. Note-taking variable was considered in conjunction with modality in this research on the assumption that both these variables involve similar cognitive processes in listening. In other words, while written item modality helps listeners to overcome the memory problem (which is evident in oral items), note-taking functions similarly by allowing the listener to have a partial written record of the lapsing message, helping to remember better and retrieve what may otherwise be unretrievable.
Some studies (e.g., Hale & Courtney, 1991) have found that note-taking almost always improves retention of aurally presented material when performance is measured with a recall test. In their studies, Hale and Courtney concluded that allowing students to take notes would lead them to a better performance in listening tests. However, research suggests that note-taking may work differently for listeners of different proficiency level. In his study with 257 participants who took English as a second language placement exam, Song (2011) found that those with higher levels of proficiency benefited more from note-taking compared to listeners with lower proficiency level, while some other studies have failed to find an effect (Carter & Van Matre, 1975; Dunkel, 1986); and still other researchers like Aiken, Thomas, and Shennum (as cited in Song, 2011) have observed an interfering effect.
Given the widespread use of language proficiency tests administered throughout the world and considering test-takers’ desire to gain satisfactory results in such tests as the score are sued to make life-changing decisions on them, there seems to be a need to better understand what affects candidates’ performances in such tests (as well as in less high-stakes assessments) in order to assist test-takers in obtaining desired results. Therefore, in designing such tests, besides the needs of the candidates, test-dependent factors including item modality and allowing test-takers the opportunity to take notes are areas which require further research attention with the aim to provide listeners the chance to reveal their true listening competence and guard them against memory problems, which can be doubled in exam setting.
L2 listening tests should demonstrate that the test-taker has the ability to process language automatically, in real time (Buck, 2007). Thus, there is a need for the listener to automatize the listening process, and consequently there is a need to assess if the listener can indeed comprehend spoken language automatically in real time. This presents a dilemma for testers, in determining the mode of presenting the item stems and allowing the test-takers to take notes or not, since the first of these resources does not seem to exist in real-life situations, and the second has few outside realizations (except for academic or formal encounters). Ideally, the item stems should be presented orally to the test-takers, because this is generally how spoken language is encountered in real life. Note-taking is considered as a good strategy for keeping the points in mind in real life and in listening to lectures. However, the burden on listeners in an exam context is quite different from that in a real-life context, and it needs to be investigated whether providing support to listeners in the form of written items (as opposed to oral items) and allowing them the chance to take notes helps them to better reveal their listening ability in a test context. Below we provide a brief account of some studies conducted in this area before we introduce our project.
It has been argued that EFL learners need abundant support when processing auditory input (Chang, 2009). Numerous studies (e.g., Markham, Peter, & McCarthy, 2001; Stewart & Pertusa, 2004; Vandergrift, 2007) have looked at enhancing listening comprehension through various means of support such as visual aids, captions, etc. Most of these supports have been recognized as facilitative and have been shown to have positive psychological effects on listeners’ comprehension. However, in the realm of assessing listening, providing cognitive processing support to listeners in the form of written item modality has not received due attention.
A few studies have looked at the issue of modality but diverse results have been reported. Yanagawa and Green (2008), for example, examined whether the choice of multiple choice item format led to differences in task difficulty and test performance. In their study, they studied three formats, two of which were Full Question Preview (used in tests such as TOEIC which displays both the question stem and answer options on the question paper/screen) and Answer Option Preview (used in TOEFL where answer options are displayed on the question paper/screen, but the questions are heard after the text). In their study, 279 test-takers participated and listening tests were administered using different formats. The results indicated that listening comprehension test performance did vary significantly according to whether test-takers had been able to preview the question stem. It was found that allowing test-takers to preview only the answer options produced fewer correct answers than allowing test-takers to preview both the question stem and answer options prior to listening. However, they suggested that although the cues provided in answer options did not facilitate comprehension, previewing them may encourage test takers to fall back on a lexical matching strategy.
Chang (2009) compared two modes of aural input: reading while listening versus listening only. The results of the study revealed that although students showed a strong preference for the reading/listening mode, they gained only 10% more with that mode. More than half of the students believed that reading while listening mode made listening tasks easier and more comprehensible.
In a study similar to ours, Wagner (2010) examined the effect of using visual components of spoken texts on listeners’ performance and their comprehension of aural information in a listening test. In his study, the two groups’ performance on an ESL listening test was compared. The control group took a listening test with audio-only texts. The experimental group took the same listening test, with the exception that test-takers received the input through the use of video texts. Analyses of the results indicated that the video (experimental) group performed better than the audio-only (control) group on the test, and the difference between their performances was statistically significant.
More recently, Rogowsky, Calhoun, and Tallal (2016) compared immediate and delayed comprehension (retention) of three groups of learners who either listened to an audio text (the preface and a chapter form a non-fiction book), or read the original text on screen or did both at the same time (dual modality). The findings revealed that in neither condition did readers/listeners outperform either at Time 1, or at Time 2, concluding that input modality does not matter in comprehension. The comprehension test was however in written mode and whether similar results could be obtained in listening comprehension has to be established by future research.
Note-taking is generally considered to promote the process of learning and retaining, especially in the context of reading comprehension (Rahmani & Sadeghi, 2011). Over the years, research on note-taking has generated debates, and researchers have tried to implement studies to verify whether taking notes is effective for students to improve their listening comprehension. A study conducted by Hale and Courtney (1991) who investigated note-taking effect on listening comprehension of test-takers in TOEFL mini-talks. In their study, Hale and Courtney had two groups of international test-takers (a total number of 563 students) who were getting ready to take part in TOEFL. In their study, one of the groups was free to take notes while the test-takers were listening to the text. However, the test-takers in the other group were not allowed to take notes at all. The results revealed that allowing test-takers to take notes had little effect on their performance, and more interestingly, allowing test-takers to take notes impaired their performance in the listening test.
In a similar vein, in a study conducted by Kobayashi (2005), the researcher was concerned with the question of whether the process of taking notes promotes the encoding of lecture or text information, and if so, how much and why. The results of his meta-analysis demonstrated that the overall effect of note-taking compared with no note-taking was positive but modest, which was somewhat inconsistent with the tenets of encoding hypothesis that note-taking enhances learning by stimulating note-takers to actively process the material and to relate it to their existing knowledge.
Carrell (2007) investigated the relationships between note-taking strategies and performance on the three language assessment tasks. Her study employed 216 international test-takers (88 males and 128 females) ranging in listening comprehension proficiency from low-intermediate to high. The participants were tested and were asked to take notes while listening to the talks. The researcher analyzed the content of the notes as well as the candidates’ performances. The overall results revealed that the relationship is complex, depending upon the note-taking strategy and the task. She found positive correlations between the number of total notations and task performance.
Likewise, Ching Ko (2007) in his study with fifteen university EFL students tried to explore test-takers’ perceptions of note-taking and analyze the effect of note-taking on students’ foreign language listening comprehension. The findings indicated that taking notes did not distract students from their listening process; but rather, it helped them pay more attention to the text. He concluded that with the help of note-taking, students can improve their listening performance through both enhancing recall and paying more attention to the listening text.
The above brief literature on two variables of interest in this study (item modality and note-taking) reveals that although these two variables are among those important test method facets that have the potential to affect listening performance in exam contexts, little research exists to indicate the role item modality and note-taking plays in test-taking, and the small body of published research does not point to a uniform direction. In order to contribute to the existing literature in this important area of language testing, this study was planned to further our understanding of the links between item modality, note-taking, and performance in listening tests.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of the current research was to assess students’ ability to comprehend spoken language as it would typically occur in an academic setting. In other words, the study sought to find the effects of the modality of multiple choice items (oral versus written modality) and note-taking (whether it is allowed or not) on the performance of upper-intermediate EFL learners in taking listening tests.
More specifically the following research questions were posed for further scrutiny:
1. Does item modality (written vs. oral) have any significant effect on the listening performance of Iranian upper-intermediate EFL test-takers?
2. Does note-taking have any significant effect on the listening performance of Iranian upper-intermediate EFL test-takers?
A total number of 66 upper-intermediate EFL learners (31 males and 35 females) within the age range of 18 to 25 took an institutional version of PBT TOEFL, from among whom no one was excluded as an outlier (since they all enjoyed a similar proficiency level, and their scores ranged between 62 to 85 out of 100). They were all upper-intermediate language learners who were taking English language courses in Shukuh-e-Iran language school; and having attended English classes for the last three years, they had relatively high levels of English proficiency, including listening. They participants attended the same course (in different classes for males and females) and the institute placed them at the same level, confirming their homogeneity as revealed by TOEFL scores.
The following data elicitation tools were employed to measure participants' listening performance under four measurement conditions discussed above (oral versus written item modality and note-taking versus no-note-taking condition).
Listening Test 1
The first listening test was the listening section of an institutional PBT TOEFL. The test consisted of 20 mini-talks, each followed by a multiple choice question. The mini-talks were randomly selected from among 150 items provided in the Complete TOEFL Test section of Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL Test by Deborah Phillips (2003) published by Pearson ESL. The items in this pack are claimed to be similar to real TOEFL in terms of content and difficulty, hence evidence for its construct validity. In order to provide data for the first research question, two versions of this test were produced: the first version with written item modality (for both the stem and the options) and the second version with item stems in the oral mode (but with the options in the written mode). K-R 21 was utilized to estimate the reliability of the test, which was estimated to be 0.75.
Listening Test 2
A second test of listening (based on the same sample tests as above) was employed to provide data for the second research question. The test consisted of two long conversations and three talks. For each conversation or talk, there were four multiple choice items that the students had to answer after listening to each conversation or talk. The texts used in this test ranged in length from 100 to 150 words. These texts and questions were selected randomly from among 20 talks and 20 long conversations in Complete TOEFL Test section of Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL Test and were assumed to be valid in content and difficulty as they represented real TOEFL items. The test was administered to the same participants as above in a different session. In administering the test, one group was not allowed to take notes, while the other group was instructed to take notes (using the note-taking sheets provided) while listening to the talks/conversations. K-R 21 was also used to estimate the test’s reliability, and the results revealed a high index of reliability of 0.79.
Listening Proficiency Test
In order to have a controlled level of listening proficiency and work with homogeneous participants, the Listening Section of an institutional version of TOEFL was administered at the beginning of the study. The test had 20 multiple choice items, and enjoyed a reliability index of 0.86.
Data Collection Procedure
The following steps were taken to conduct this study:
First, a listening proficiency test was administered to all upper-intermediate EFL learners at a language school (as mentioned above) to select that all the candidates who enjoyed a homogeneous listening ability. These learners were all studying “Passages 1” book and were regarded as higher intermediate by institute standards. The results of the proficiency test revealed (see above) that students were indeed homogeneous and of similar language proficiency (in listening). Then, to provide data for the first research question, thirty three learners (16 males and 17 females) were selected randomly and took the first version of the test, that is, the test with oral item modality while the other 33 testees took the second version with items in written modality. Subsequent to this, and in another session of the treatment, the second listening test was administered to the same groups in a similar procedure where one group was allowed to take notes and the other was not.
To analyze the elicited data, the data were entered into SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) software, PASW Statistics 18 and two separate sets of independent samples t-tests were run.
Results of the Normality Test
To ensure the homogeneity of the participants, the Listening Section of an institutional version of TOEFL test was utilized as explained above. Table 1 shows the results of test of normality for the participants.
Table 1. Tests of normality for the proficiency test
As it can be seen in the table above, the non-significant result (i.e., .06 which is more than .05) indicates normality which means that participants were homogeneous. Furthermore, Figure 1 presents the related box plot which shows that there were no outliers among the participants.
Figure 1. Box plot for homogeneity of participants.
Item Modality and Listening Comprehension
After ensuring the homogeneity of the participants, an independent samples t-test was run to find the answer to the first research question by comparing the mean scores of the groups which had different item modalities in the tests. Table 2 provides the independent samples t-test statistics.
Table 2. Independent samples t-test for test 1 (item modality variable)
Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances
t-test for Equality of Means
95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Std. Error Difference
Equal Variances assumes
Equal Variances not assumes
As it is shown in Table 2, the significance level shown by Levene’s Test is .27 which is larger than the cut-off of .05, and this means that the assumption of equal variances has not been violated. And the significance level (i.e., Sig (2-tailed) is p = .00) which is less than .05 and this indicates that there is a significant difference between the two groups in terms of item modality. Comparing the mean scores of the test-takers, it is evident that test-takers exposed to the written item modality (M = 16.64) did much better than those who experienced the oral presentation of the items (M = 11.94).
In addition, using the Eta squared formula, the effect size of this independent samples test was calculated and the result (i.e., Eta squared = .51) reveals that the effect size for this test is medium. Expressed as percentages, it can be inferred that 51 percent of the variance in listening test performance is explained by item modality. All this can be interpreted to mean that the modality of test items does have a significant effect on the listening performance of Iranian upper-intermediate EFL learners.
Note-taking and Listening Comprehension
In order to provide an answer to research question 2, another independent-samples t-test was used to compare the mean scores of the two groups of test-takers (with and without note-taking condition).
Table 3 reports the results of homogeneity of variances as well as t-test results. Since the significance level for Levene's test is less than .05 (p = .04), the assumption of homogeneity of variances is violated, so the second row is consulted for analysis of the results.
Table 3. Independent samples t-test for test 2 (note-taking variable)
Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances
t-test for Equality of Means
95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Std. Error Difference
Equal Variances assumes
Equal Variances not assumes
As it can be seen in Table 3, the p value for the independent test is .73 which is greater than the cut-off of .05, and this reveals that there is not a significant difference between the mean scores of the two groups. The Eta squared was also calculated and showed a really small amount (i.e., Eta = .001). The mean scores of the test-takers who were allowed to take notes while listening (i.e., M = 13.94) did not prove to be statistically different from the mean score of the test-takers who did not have the chance to take notes (M = 14.24). In other words, the mean difference for the two groups was -.3 which is too small a difference for statistical significance. Surprisingly, note-taking seems to have negatively affected listening performance, to a non-significant level though.
This study set out with the aim of assessing the effect of written versus oral item modality, and note-taking on listening performance under test-taking conditions. The results revealed a positive effect of written item modality of listening performance and no significant effect for note-taking. These findings are elaborated further below.
Listening Test Performance and Item Modality
To answer the first research question, two groups of test-takers took a listening test with a different item modality (written versus oral). The results following the application of an independent samples t-test (p = .00) revealed that there is a significant difference between the mean scores of the two groups. This means that listening test performance did vary significantly according to whether test-takers had the chance to view the item stem in writing or not with the result that the test-takers who had the chance to view item stems outperformed those who received the item stems in oral format. The findings of the current study corroborate the findings of Wu (1998) in which he concluded that viewing the item stems as well as the options appeared to benefit advanced EFL test-takers. Of course, he links this benefit to advanced level of language proficiency; and the present study also confirms that written item modality also benefits upper-intermediate test-takers (who enjoy more or less advanced level proficiency).
Moreover, an inspection of Yanagawa and Green's (2008) study indicates that there was an apparent difference regarding item preview format. In their study, the results indicated differences between the full question preview (written item stem) condition and answer option preview (oral item stem) condition. The research found that test-takers were able to benefit from previewing the full questions rather than just previewing the options. In other words, it seems that the cues provided in the answer options did not facilitate comprehension to the same extent as the item stems did, a finding which our study adds support for. However, the findings of the current study do not seem to support those of Sherman (1997) who found no significant effect of item stem preview on test-takers’ performance.
The reason why test-takers do better when the stem of the item is revealed rather than hidden from them can be easily justified by referring to psychological aspects of the listening test. When test-takers have access to the item stems as well as the options while listening, they are psychologically more relaxed and feel more secure compared to the situation in which they do not have a visual record of the item stem and when the item stem is gone as soon as it is produced (in oral modality). Although this psychological stand is not supported by some studies (e.g., Buck, 1991; Sherman, 1997), the context in which the present study was carried out highly supports this position, since most Iranian learners are stressed when they take a test and this stress would increase if test-takers do not see the item stems on their sheets. Furthermore, the cues which are present in the stem of an item help test-takers have better understanding of the item and when these cues are presented in written modality, they are processed and retrieved more easily.
Listening Test Performance and Note-taking
This study was also an attempt to examine the effect of taking notes on listening test performance while test-takers listen to short talks or long conversations. Contrary to most findings of previous studies, our analysis did not detect any evidence for the effect of note-taking on test-takers’ performance in a listening test. A quick glance at Table 3 reveals that the p value of .73 suggests that allowing students to take notes had little effect on their performance compared to test-takers who were not allowed to take notes. Test-takers who did not take notes even gained slightly higher scores than those who took notes, an observation which implies that while busy taking notes, some candidates may be interrupted by the flow of speech and lose important pieces of information needed to answer some items.
Kobayashi’s (2005) meta-analytic study revealed that the effect of note-taking compared was moderately positive. Although the findings of the current study ran counter to our expectations as far as note-taking is concerned (as well as Kobayashi's observation), they are consistent with those of Hale and Courtney (1991). In their study, Hale and Courtney (with 563 students participating in their study) came to the conclusion that allowing students to take notes not only did not have any positive effects on their performance in a listening test but also impaired their listening performances. The results of their study showed that examinees made little use of note-taking chance. Another study carried out by Chaudron, Cook, and Loschky (1988) investigated the relationship between note-taking (as opposed to no note-taking) and listening comprehension and found no significant relationship between the two. Dunkel’s (1986) study also corroborates the findings of the current study. In his study, he generally concluded that the opportunity to take notes does not necessarily produce beneficial effects. Similarly, Zheng (1996) came to the conclusion that taking notes during a listening test had the effect of distracting test-takers’ attention and did not help them to perform better in a listening test. Lin's (2004) research also revealed that being allowed to take notes did not help students perform better in tests, and through further analysis the reason for this was identified as the lack of test-takers’ vocabulary capacity.
Contrary to our findings and those mentioned in the preceding paragraph, research has also demonstrated the potential benefits of note-taking (e.g., Carrell, Dunkel, & Mollaun, 2004). Carrell et al.'s (2004) study showed a facilitating effect on L2 listening comprehension when a group of examinees (in that case with heterogeneous L1s) was allowed to take and refer to notes during mini-lecture listening. To provide theoretical support to such observations, Van Meter, Yokoi, and Pressley (1994) argue that the act of taking notes facilitates college students’ attending to the lecture, comprehension of the material to be learned, and the subsequent recall. Moreover, Ching Ko's (2007), Yeh's (2004), and Liu's (2001) studies offer additional evidence that taking notes while listening to a text (i.e., in a listening test) facilitates retention of the material and leads to better performance in a listening test.
One major justification for the lack of note-taking effect on listening perfromance in this study may have been that the strategies of taking notes were never taught to the participants before the study. Neither were the candidates monitored to know whether they actually took any notes. Here we can refer to Dunkel’s (1986) findings that good notes are the ones that contain the most information in the fewest number of words; so if a test-taker just takes notes without taking into account its quality, this note-taking would not lead to any positive effect. The effect of note-taking training is well documented in reading research (Rahmani & Sadeghi, 2011) but this line of inquiry needs to be followed in listening research to offer more insight on the nature of note-taking in listening.
It should also be highlighted that test-takers are selective in taking notes depending on their own note-taking styles. That is, it is probable that highly proficient listeners might not record much and as a result, produce less complete notes, while other less proficient listeners might write down as many idea units as they can. Another possible explanation for the results of the current study is that although the participants of the study were homogeneous in terms of language proficiency, they might not have been homogeneous in other factors possessed by a good note-taker, such as general intelligence, speed of writing, the ability to take notes at the same time as listening (i.e. writing, reading, and listening simultaneously), etc. It can be claimed that note-taking is not inherently effective; it becomes so when it is used properly in a particular context, when needed training is offered, and when the quantity and quality of notes to be taken are already decided. Indeed, some learners may not know what they should focus on while taking notes and may jot dowm every word they hear. It cannot be said how effective a hand-tool is unless one knows exactly what for and when it is used. Consequently, in the current research, the analysis of the data indicates that the overall encoding effect of note-taking is next to nothing.
CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS
Studies have found that people spend 80% of their waking hours communicating, and according to research, at least 45% of that time is spent listening (Lawson, 2007). Therefore, it is important for individuals to be efficient listeners. Consequently, improving listening ability of EFL learners is an essential task for language teachers, course administers, and test designers as well as students themselves. Taking these into consideration, the results of the present study have far-reaching theoretical and practical implications for EFL teachers, test developers, and curriculum designers. Regarding the item modality variable, teachers can help the students learn how to concentrate on the text they listen to, in contexts where no text is provided since in real life contexts there would be no visual or written support while listening. In other words, teachers should try to teach listening rather than just exposing learners to listening tests. Considering note-taking, EFL teachers can increase learners’ note-taking ability by focusing on and teaching the acquisition of certain skills necessary to take adequate notes, such as learning to identify main ideas, transcription speed, etc. Moreover, there is a key implication for test constructors/developers. As an example, the length of a listening text especially in the conditions in which test-takers are not permitted to take notes should be reasonable.
Like most other research studies, there were some limitations in this study as well. Factors such as the number of participants, their level of proficiency, and the time of the tests’ administration might impede generalizability of the results to other contextx. Moreover, this study was, of course, limited in the number of test items, test formats and features investigated as well. The results of the study were elicited through administering two separate tests (one test for each independent variable); each test comprised 20 items and lasted about 20 to 25 minutes. The quantity of test items in a single test could have been more but considering some factors such as time, students’ participation rate, etc. it was decided to include 20 items in each test.
Further studies can be conducted by adding a qualitative part to the study which may delve into test-takers’ opinions and attitudes about the effectiveness of different modalities, as well as exploring the links between different learning styles/strategies and test-taking strategies and various test method facets. Further studies are also needed to compare the performance of test-takers who receive note-taking strategy training with those who do not. Also, it would be worthwhile to examine the content of the actual notes taken by test-takers to identify what type and quantity of note-taking are desirable for optimum listening performance.
Esmat Babaii; Mahmood Reza Atai; Vali Mohammadi
Research in academic writing has revealed a strong tendency on the part of writers to interactively communicate their scientific findings with their readers. In doing so, the writers should take a position while arguing their propositions. This interaction as proposed by Hyland (2005b) takes places having ...
Research in academic writing has revealed a strong tendency on the part of writers to interactively communicate their scientific findings with their readers. In doing so, the writers should take a position while arguing their propositions. This interaction as proposed by Hyland (2005b) takes places having two sides of stance and engagement. This study targeted the stance component of writer-reader interaction by integrating Hyland’s (2005b) and Hyland and Tse’s (2005a) frameworks to survey lexical and grammatical stance markers in the major subsections of English research articles in anthropology, education, horticulture, and zoology. The corpus included 240 English research articles published during two periods, namely, 1990 and 2010; 60 from each field, 30 articles from 1990 and 30 from 2010 yielding a total number of 1,270,021words. The findings suggested that stancetaking is a common feature of academic writing in the sampled disciplines regardless of the nature of the discipline. Also, hedges ranked first on the list of frequency count. Furthermore, there was a decreasing pattern in the use of stance markers highlighting a convergence among the scholars of the fields with respect to the totality of the facts established day by day. Then, some implications are drawn with plausible applicability in academic writing and EAP syllabus design.
Mohammad Reza Anani Sarab; Amir Kardoust
Volume 3, Issue 1 , June 2014, , Pages 112-89
In spite of the highly beneficial applications of corpus linguistics in language pedagogy, it has not found its way into mainstream EFL. The major reasons seem to be the teachers’ lack of training and the unavailability of resources, especially computers in language classes. Phrasal verbs have ...
In spite of the highly beneficial applications of corpus linguistics in language pedagogy, it has not found its way into mainstream EFL. The major reasons seem to be the teachers’ lack of training and the unavailability of resources, especially computers in language classes. Phrasal verbs have been shown to be a problematic area of learning English as a foreign language due to their semantic opacity and structural differences between English and learners’ first languages. To examine the pedagogic potentiality of the use of corpus linguistics in the context of EFL, the present study aimed at comparing the effect of paper-based data-driven learning (DDL) activities, as a substitute for online DDL activities, with the activities designed based on dictionary entries in terms of their effect on learning phrasal verbs in both short and long run. To this end, the study adopted a quasi-experimental pretest posttest control group design. The analysis of the data collected through an immediate posttest as well as a delayed posttest showed that the DDL activities led to greater improvements by the participants. Based on the results of the study, it is argued that paper-based DDL activities can be used effectively in EFL classes to enhance learning and help learners to become more autonomous in their learning efforts.
Farnoosh Karimi; Zohreh Nafissi
This article sets out to examine the effect of utilizing different culturally-based materials on EFL university students' foreign language reading anxiety, reading comprehension self-efficacy, and reading proficiency within project-based classes. The research was carried out with two classes of intermediate ...
This article sets out to examine the effect of utilizing different culturally-based materials on EFL university students' foreign language reading anxiety, reading comprehension self-efficacy, and reading proficiency within project-based classes. The research was carried out with two classes of intermediate freshmen majoring in English Language Teaching. The comparison group had to present their projects based on the reading passages of the book "Active" (L2 culturally-oriented texts) and the experimental group had to deliver their projects based on their L1 and L2 culturally-based reading texts designed by the researcher. Reading comprehension self-efficacy scale, foreign language reading anxiety scale, and the reading section of the Michigan Test (1998) were administered to students as pre-tests and post-tests at the beginning and at the end of one academic year consisting of two project-based reading courses. ANCOVA was utilized for analyzing the data. The results indicated that although in both groups significant improvements were observed regarding the three aforementioned variables, it was the experimental group that showed significantly less degrees of anxiety, compared to the comparison group. However, no differences regarding reading self-efficacy and reading proficiency were observed between the two groups. The findings of this study suggest that EFL teachers, material developers and syllabus designers can take advantage of cultural familiar texts when generating their own learning materials.
Abbas Ali Rezaee; Sajjad Fathi
Code-switching (CS), an alternation between two or more languages or language varieties, has long been researched in language education. A great number of studies by applied linguists have explored the reasons for, and the potential usages of code-switching in foreign language education over the past ...
Code-switching (CS), an alternation between two or more languages or language varieties, has long been researched in language education. A great number of studies by applied linguists have explored the reasons for, and the potential usages of code-switching in foreign language education over the past years. This study explores the perceptions of English language learners across various proficiency levels concerning teachers’ use of CS, in this case Farsi in English classrooms. It also examines the roles and functions of CS in the classroom. Fifty teachers and 105 language learners from University of Tehran Language Center (UTLC) in Tehran, Iran were involved in this study. The necessary data were obtained through questionnaires. The results suggested that the Elementary (EL) learners seem to benefit from the teachers' use of first language in class, whereas English-only classroom is preferred by Intermediate (IN) and Upper Intermediate (UI) ones. It was also revealed that maximum exposure of the learners to the target language seems necessary. The results suggest that, concerning the learners' levels (EL, IN and UI), teachers’ and learners’ Code Switching can work as a useful language teaching strategy. The findings of this study can have implications for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms and can be used by language teachers.
Hassan Soodmand Afshar; Raouf Hamzavi
Volume 3, Issue 2 , December 2014, , Pages 261-237
As the main part of a large-scale project, the present study investigated the relationship among reflective thinking, listening anxiety, and listening comprehension of Iranian EFL learners with regard to their proficiency level. To this end, 223 (106 intermediate and 117 advanced) adult male and female ...
As the main part of a large-scale project, the present study investigated the relationship among reflective thinking, listening anxiety, and listening comprehension of Iranian EFL learners with regard to their proficiency level. To this end, 223 (106 intermediate and 117 advanced) adult male and female Iranian EFL learners from a private language institute took part in the study by completing the Reflective Thinking Questionnaire (RTQ) developed by Kember et al., (2000), the Foreign Language Listening Anxiety Scale (FLLAS) developed by Kim (2000) and a listening comprehension test selected from the listening part of IELTS. Using factor analysis and Chronbach’s Alpha, the questionnaires were revalidated and their reliability was re-estimated. The results of Pearson product moment correlations indicated there was a statistically significant: (a) positive association between reflective thinking and listening comprehension, (b) reverse correlation between listening anxiety and listening comprehension, and (c) reverse relationship between reflective thinking and listening anxiety of Iranian EFL learners. Furthermore, the results of multiple regression analysis indicated listening anxiety, compared to reflective thinking, was a significantly stronger predictor of listening comprehension. Additionally, the results of MANOVA revealed there was a significant difference between intermediate and advanced EFL learners with respect to their reflective thinking and listening anxiety. In the light of the findings of the study, foreign language education policy makers in general and EFL teachers in particular are thus recommended to introduce ways to enhance reflective thinking of the students and decrease their listening anxiety if they are to improve their listening comprehension. The results and implications of the study are discussed in more detail in the paper.