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Preparing teachers for the application of AI-powered technologies in foreign language education

Abstract

As any other area of human lives, current state of foreign language education has been greatly influenced by the latest developments in the modern information communication technologies. The paper focuses specifically on the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI), which includes a wide range of technologies and methods, such as machine learning, adaptive learning, natural language processing, data mining, crowdsourcing, neural networks or an algorithm, into foreign language learning and teaching.

First, the paper is concerned with changes brought to foreign language education specifically through the application of AI-powered tools and discusses ICALL (intelligent computer assisted language learning) as a subset of CALL. Second, it summarizes eight types of AI-powered tools for foreign language education and related results of the existing research, however scarce it is. Third, it discusses the frame for effective preparation of foreign language teachers in order to integrate AI-powered tools into their teaching to make it easier, less time-consuming and more effective. The author argues for reconsideration of the existing frames of requirements for CALL teachers.

Open access
Teacher-student interaction and management practices in Pakistani English language classrooms

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the amount and type of teacher-talk, frequently asked questions and feedback provided by the teacher on learners’ performance in a language classroom. For this purpose, a lecture was recorded from a secondary level English language classroom of a public sector school and interpreted in the light of teacher-student interaction and classroom management model by David Nunan. Results revealed that the maximum amount of time (i.e. 80.1%) was consumed by the teacher which was appropriate. However, certain deviations from classroom management principles were also observed regarding frequently asked questions (i.e. 50% of the total questions were elicitation questions) and the feedback (it was ‘romantic’ in nature). Moreover, wait-time was sufficient but it was of no use to the learners. The study concluded that classroom practices did not conform to the principles therefore, it proposed to ask questions and provide feedback appropriately.

Open access
The Transmission of Irish Law in the Fourteenth and Sixteenth Centuries: Exploring the Social and Historical Contexts

Abstract

This paper seeks to examine the contexts in which the Old Irish law tracts were transmitted in the period following the church reforms and Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century, focusing primarily on the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. Within these time frames two major themes will be appraised: 1) the English attitudes towards the practice of Irish law, and 2) the roles of the medieval lawyers and/or their patrons in political life. The central aim of this paper is twofold; firstly to shed light on the historical and social contexts in which the legal materials were later transmitted, and secondly, based on this, to posit some theories as to the possible incentives behind the transmission of the law tracts in these periods.

Open access
The typology of backstory inter-character conflicts as a core action in the plot

Abstract

Using material from classic fairy tales, the author defines three fundamental types of conflict between literary characters in the text model of the fairy-tale world: overt, covert and potential. Their attributes are evidenced and demonstrated via specific texts and their universal (transcultural) analogues are shown in the archnarratives, which go beyond the classic fairy tale genre. At the end of the interpretation, the author proposes a (hypo)thesis that the presented typology could be a starting point for creating a backstory of conflicts as an action-formative factor also in other art genres, and that it can be used as a source for a much broader and modern (and current in contemporary art) diapason of “dramatic” storylines.

Open access
The verbalization of grief in David Grossman’s Falling Out of Time

Abstract

David Grossman’s experimental text Falling Out of Time (2011) examines the theme of the death of a child and parents’ attempts to understand and cope with the loss. In order to represent and articulate the sense of unbearable pain and grief, Grossman employs several strategies and techniques related to both content and form which allow for a perspective that is both artistically engaging and sensitive. One of the obvious formal features of the text is his use of poetry, which seemingly represents the most natural means to express the raw emotions and pain of his characters. The paper seeks to examine Grossman’s techniques that help him verbalize the grieving experience of his characters while focusing on his use of poetic language. It seems that the capacity of poetry to rely on meaningful silences and a multilayered interpretive potential enables one to create a healing space which facilitates the process of reconciliation.

Open access
A voyage from Apollonian Munich to Dionysian Venice in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice

Abstract

This paper explores the intersection of cities and the protagonist’s Apollonian-Dionysian dichotomy in Thomas Mann’s preeminent semi-autobiographical novella Death in Venice (1912) within the cultural and contextual considerations of 20th-century Munich and Venice. The protagonist Gustav von Aschenbach’s oscillation between artistic appreciation and sensual desire is personified by the contrasts Munich draws as a city of enlightenment against Venice which is the city of sensuality and freedom. The article indicates that the narrator associates Nietzsche’s conceptions of the Apollonian and Dionysian parts of human nature with Venice, which acts as a character providing crucial elucidation in regards to the mental state of the protagonist throughout the novella. Thus, the study sheds light upon the symbolic voyage Aschenbach embarks upon - from Apollonian nature to Dionysian nature; from Munich to Venice, where his predominating Dionysian nature burst out through the city, luring him to his own demise.

Open access
Chinese TESOL Students’ Perception of Their Speaking Anxiety in Workshops

Abstract

Foreign language anxiety (FLA) is perceived as a negative factor influencing learners’ language achievement. Targeting Chinese overseas students, this paper investigates whether communicative confidence, fear of negative evaluation, attitude towards using English in workshops and trait anxiety are related to Chinese students’ speaking anxiety. The present study also aims to examine how students perceive their speaking anxiety and coping strategies both from teachers and students. The questionnaire and the semi-structured interview were adopted for data collection. 80 TESOL students at the University of Edinburgh were invited to complete the questionnaires, with 6 students participating in the interviews to get deeper insights into Chinese students’ perception of their speaking anxiety. Research findings revealed that communicative confidence, fear of negative evaluation, attitude towards using English in workshops and traits anxiety were strongly related to Chinese students’ speaking anxiety. In the interviews, 6 respondents commented that instructors’ characteristics, such as patience and humor, and their preparation before class can alleviate their speaking anxiety in workshops. It is hoped that the current study can contribute to a deeper understanding of Chinese students’ speaking anxiety in UK universities.

Open access
Current Issues in Pronunciation Teaching to Non-Native Learners of English

Abstract

Pronunciation plays an indisputable role in communication; even more so in communication between native and non-native speakers of English. The goals for pronunciation teaching have shifted from accent-free or native-like pronunciation to comprehensibility and teaching practices aimed at non-native English learners vary and are often based on teachers’ opinions rather than research findings. The paper aims to present the current topics in twenty selected research papers dealing with pronunciation teaching (teaching practices in the English language classrooms, selected segmental and suprasegmental features). The analysed papers indicate that a teacher’s good theoretical background can raise students’ awareness and the overall performance of pronunciation phenomena, whether at the segmental or the suprasegmental level. Students may benefit from different strategies applied to pronunciation learning, but traditional teaching methods are still prevalent in the contemporary English language classroom.

The contribution presents partial results of the research project KEGA 001TTU-4/2019.

Open access
Faithful Prodigals, Precarious Polity and Re-Jigging National Discourse: Readings from Two African Novels

Abstract

This study is informed by the observation of some dangerous threats to faith’s missionary and human developmental goals as well as Salvationist stance. The alarm has been sounded that fanaticism of any colour at all is not only inimical to the raison detre of faith’s cardinal objectives but more tellingly, constitutes a serious endangerment of humanity, particularly the Nigerian enterprise. Deploying exemplifications from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus (2006) in an eclectic combination of a body of qualitative instances drawn from the Islamic and the Christian faiths the paper underscores the danger inherent in bigoted faith both to faith itself and to the society. The paper urges the painstaking reification/inculcation of the principles of tolerance and patriotism in children in their formative years through literary creativity, the precepts of inter and intra religious tolerance respecting the West African sub-regional stance for secular imperatives and egalitarian. This is to enthrone lasting peace in the African sub continent and the world a piece.

Open access
Impact of Teachers’ Beliefs on Teaching Phonetic Aspects: the Case of Czech as L1

Abstract

Cultivated speech with correct pronunciation and adequate prosody is important from a social, communicative and also didactic point of view. It can be regarded a “universal quality” of one’s self-presentation. Even though the Czech curriculum sets the development of phonetic aspects as one of the important elements of L1 teaching, various sources show that the educational reality in school differs. Based on a sample of 148 teachers of all educational levels from across the Czech Republic, the study analyses the teachers’ stated beliefs and pedagogical content knowledge of teaching phonetic aspects of Czech, and attempts to give at least an assumption of the actual classroom practices of teaching phonetic aspects in Czech classes and through that the extent of the mismatch between the intended and implemented curriculum. The results show that phonetic aspects are not treated with as much attention as they ought to and that teachers’ beliefs about the actual process of teaching and learning phonetic aspects seem to influence the implemented curriculum more than the intended curriculum and other formal requirements given by the government do.

Open access