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Abstract

The article deals with the research on assessment preferences reflected in learning styles within English for Specific Purposes (ESP) instruction on the higher education level. The sample group consisted of 287 respondents of the Faculty of Informatics and Management, University of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. The main objective of the research was to discover expected correlations between respondents’ learning styles and relating preferences in selected assessment formats. Two questionnaires were applied to reach the objective; however, the expectations did not prove. The discovered findings were discussed within the world context.

Abstract

Learning styles have been a particular focus of a number of researchers over the past decades. Findings from various studies researching into how students learn highlight significant relationships between learners’ styles of learning and their language learning processes and achievement. This research focuses on a comparative analysis of the preferences of English learning styles and teaching techniques perceived by students from Thailand and Vietnam, and the teaching styles and techniques practiced by their instructors. The purposes were 1) to investigate the learning styles and teaching techniques students from both countries preferred, 2) to investigate the compatibility of the teaching styles and techniques practiced by instructors and those preferred by the students, 3) to specify the learning styles and teaching techniques students with high level of English proficiency preferred, and 4) to investigate the similarities of Thai and Vietnamese students’ preferences for learning styles and teaching techniques. The sample consisted of two main groups: 1) undergraduate students from King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), Thailand and Thai Nguyen University (TNU), Vietnam and 2) English instructors from both institutions. The instruments employed comprised the Students’ Preferred English Learning Style and Teaching Technique Questionnaire and the Teachers’ Practiced English Teaching Style and Technique Questionnaire. The collected data were analyzed using arithmetic means and standard deviation. The findings can contribute to the curriculum development and assist teachers to teach outside their comfort level to match the students’ preferred learning styles. In addition, the findings could better promote the courses provided for students. By understanding the learning style make-up of the students enrolled in the courses, faculty can adjust their modes of content delivery to match student preferences and maximize student learning. Finally, this research could establish better understanding between language learning natures of people from Thailand and Vietnam.

Abstract

Contextualized within immigrants’ acquisition of specialized knowledge about the host country at the institutional level, this article examines a 64295-word corpus of textbooks written for participants of the orientation course in German politics, history and culture. Corpus-based techniques (“keyness,” collocation and qualitative examination of concordance lines) are deployed to explore the corpus. The findings reveal that the collocational patterns of the identified keywords construct particular world views vis-à-vis Germany. For instance, the keyword DDR [German Democratic Republic (GDR), aka East Germany] frequently co-occurs with negatively connoted lexis while collocates of the keywords denoting present-day Germany (e.g., Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Federal Republic of Germany] and Staat [nation, country, state]) facilitate the portrayal of Germany as a nurturing welfare state that is popular among foreigners. It is argued that such discursively-construed opposition between the “bad” GDR and the “good” Federal Republic of Germany helps to legitimize the German reunification. Furthermore, it is found that certain keywords (e.g., Sie [you], Kurs [course, class] and z.B. [e.g.]) are “metadiscourse resources” (Hyland, 2005). Their pedagogic effects are discussed in relation to the ideological implications of the research findings.

Abstract

Trainees in teacher training programmes experience a variety of courses focusing on helping them to master the basic skills as future language teachers. The most important issue in the entire training is the appropriate balance between the input they receive from the trainer and the hands-on experience in which they learn through experience. One of the best hands-on activities during teacher training is indisputably teaching practice, i.e. real experience of trainees in the school context. Teaching practice offers to trainees first experience with teaching English lessons with holding responsibility for planning, carrying out the lessons as well as learning from this experience, maintaining a good rapport with students and many other aspects. Since trainees work in the external setting without the presence of their Methodology course trainers, it is often a custom to ask trainees to keep a portfolio with lesson plans or material they used during teaching as well as some reflections on the first teaching experience, so that the trainers could create a picture of how their trainees succeeded “out there”. Such a portfolio serves as a useful tool not only for the trainee since the portfolio offers a record of how they managed to carry out specific duty at a specific time; portfolio of this type can provide the trainer with a plastic picture of how trainee managed to apply what they had learned in their Methodology courses. There are many elements which can be included in the teaching practice portfolio such as lesson plans, reflections, various case studies, textbook evaluations, sample teaching aids prepared by the trainee, etc. However, the biggest benefit that portfolio provides the trainee with is the reflection itself – thinking about how successfully something has been mastered and thinking about how things could be done better. EPOSTL (European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages) where trainees focus on self-evaluation of their own teaching skills is one of the tools that can help to focus the trainee on specific skill the teacher needs to master. This article tries to answer the question whether trainees are aware of the beneficial effects of such reflection, whether they perceive a tool like the EPOSTL as something that can help them to develop or they consider it rather a duty to be carried out as a part of training. Based on the experience with a group of trainees who used EPOSTL during their teaching practice this case study analyses possible strengths and weaknesses of including such a complex material as EPOSTL in pre-service teacher training.

Abstract

This article examines teacher professional change and compares two 10th standard English as a Foreign Language teachers employed in a Marathi-medium secondary school in Pune (India) at different stages in their careers. Wenger’s (1998) three interconnected Community of Practice dimensions (i.e. mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire) highlight pertinent facets of the teachers’ professional lives as viewed from the sociocultural perspective (Vygotsky, 1978). Case study methodology was utilized within a qualitative, ethnographic research paradigm. The aim is to uncover how the two EFL teachers engage in their professional community of practice and their career trajectories. Firstly, the data analysis indicates that periphery member status is established through active engagement in the professional community which creates trajectories along which novices may travel. Secondly, the accessing and sharing of information, ideas and experiences is beneficial for all members as it strengthens professional relationships and reconfirms already existing members’ central position. Lastly, active engagement in a professional community of practice offers a means of potential growth for novice teachers and central members. Access to communal resources such as new knowledge, stories and artifacts is acquired and aids in establishing novices’ competency.

Abstract

Along with mastery of the grammar and vocabulary of a given language, contemporary students are also expected to acquire intercultural communicative competence (ICC), i.e., the ability to use the language efficiently with regard to the sociocultural background of the communicative situation. This requirement should also be reflected in FL course-books, which are considered to be fundamental didactic tools in FL education, even in an era of information communication technologies. Therefore, the aim of the present paper is to report the results of the research focused on the investigation of intercultural component in the New Opportunities Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate course-book packages.

To validate the findings of the content analysis, as the main research method, the method of triangulation was used, i.e., the results of the course-book package analyses were compared with those of observation and interview analyses. The findings of the research revealed that in the investigated course-book packages only some aspects of the intercultural component could be considered relevant because they were suitably treated.

Abstract

Chris Bradford’s Young Samurai series, and his more recent Bodyguard Series draw on a strong sense of hegemonic masculinity to secure popularity for the protagonist. The success of these books is particularly interesting when one considers the gender agendas that are embraced by modern western society and the extent to which general opinion has altered in terms of the performance of masculinity.

According to John Stephens in Ways of Being Male: Representing Masculinities in Children’s Literature and Film (2002, p. x), a problem for boys, both in narrative fictions and in the world, is that hegemonic masculinity ‘appears simultaneously to propose a schema for behaviour and to insist on their subordination as children, to conflate agency with hegemonic masculinity, and to disclose that, for them, such agency is illusory. These paradoxes are currently being increasingly dealt with as a theme in children’s literature and film’. My paper will discuss these apparent paradoxes in Chris Bradford’s novels in the context of a 21st century child readership.

Abstract

There has been a growing interest in describing higher education academic literacy. In our study, literacy is conceived as multi-layered phenomena, multiple in its character, denominated “multiliteracies” (Cope & Kalantzis, 2013). Furthermore, within the multiliteracies frame, multilingual literacies (Martin-Jones & Jones, 2000) are distinguished and discussed in the present paper, in particular the development of biliteracy in local academic settings. This paper explores connections between the teachers’ perceptions on literacy, teachers’ own biliteracy development as publishing authors and researchers. The research draws on the data obtained through a questionnaire applied in the first phase of the project to 100 participants from three public universities from northern, central and southern part of Mexico, which was completed by analysis of narratives gathered through interviews from a reduced sample of participants (31). The results seem to indicate that language teachers-researchers perceive their L2 literacy in wider terms, beyond mere reading-writing skills development and decodification of the text, which seems to be apparent in academics with higher academic credentials.

Abstract

The article focuses on exploring the way in which Slovakia is viewed as a multicultural society by sampling university students with a survey. For that reason, the aim was to examine the extent that participation in the educational process at university affects opinions held by the university students on the existence of a multicultural society in Slovakia. The theoretical part of the article defines basic key terms associated with the given issue. The aim of the article’s empirical examination is to analyse the formation of opinions of the surveyed students connected with the topic of a multicultural society in the educational process at universities. 200 university students participated in our empirical research. Data were collected in the course of April 2016 through a questionnaire prepared in advance. Processing and subsequent univariant, bivariant and multivariant analyses of the collected data were carried out using the statistical software SPSS 2.

Abstract

Journey emerges in multiple faces in literature. But when this substantial subset of quests adopts the mystical aspect, it creates a mystery that triggers the discovery sense in human beings. The present article develops a comparative analysis on the complex nature of mystical metamorphosis as expressed in two of the most influential writings of the East and West: Rumi’s Masnavi and Dante’s Divine Comedy. The first part discusses the concept of mysticism and poetry, and reveals the nature of their connection. The second part of this work investigates the historical setting of Dante’s and Rumi’s lives in relation to the social environment of the time. The last part emphasizes the idea of mystical metamorphosis as expressed in the Divine Comedy and Masnavi through two fundamental vehicles: love and faith. This work demonstrates how, in a world rife with wars and misery, mysticism provides a vital key to building a strong bridge between Islam and Christianity, and on a larger scale, to metamorphosizing the “clash of civilizations” into a “confluence of civilizations”.

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