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Metadiscourse in persuasive essays by elementary students in South Korea and the US

Abstract

This study investigated metadiscourse in the persuasive essays of fourth graders from both urban and rural communities: 224 students in South Korea and 188 in the US. Each student was asked to write a persuasive essay in his or her native Korean or English in response to a story not previously read or discussed. Analysis with a taxonomy developed by Hyland (2004) indicated significant differences in the metadiscourse by country. In terms of interactive metadiscourse, South Korean students used more sentence-level transitions than U.S. students, who used more frame markers and endophoric markers. With regard to interactional metadiscourse, U.S. students used more hedges, boosters, engagement markers, and self-mentions in their essays. This study also compared the students′ essays by the type of community in which the writers lived. In the US the essays of students in rural communities contained more hedges, whereas those of students in urban areas included significantly more self-mentions. In South Korea, no significant difference was detected in the metadiscourse of students living in rural and urban areas.

Open access
National identity and language: students′ usage of English terminology within the Croatian language

Abstract

This article explores the issue of whether the strength of a country’s national identity can determine extensive use of English instead of Croatian equivalents among Croatian students of kinesiology, both in their professional (i.e. expressions related to sport) and everyday language usage. The study addresses the following issues: a) what does having stronger national identity mean; b) is there correlation between strength of national identity and gender differences in knowledge and preferences in using Croatian equivalents over English terms; c) in which context (everyday or sports) do students use more Croatian terms than English ones? A questionnaire was given to a sample of 100 students from the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Croatia. The Spearman Rank Order Correlations were used in establishing a correlation between national identity and the usage of Croatian equivalents, while the Mann-Whitney U Test was used in testing gender differences. To conclude, the results show a negative correlation between strength of national identity and knowledge of Croatian equivalents (in 51% of cases, in sports terminology, students do not know the Croatian word, and 78% prefer using English sport terms). Furthermore, gender differences were only found on the scale regarding English grades in high school (women had better grades than men).

Open access
Sociability and its impact on successful team work in an online environment

Abstract

The aim of this study is to explore the relationships between team members and their influence on a team achievement during project work in an online environment. Thirty English language students (from an upper secondary school in Prague) worked in twelve teams on a detailed guided tour through one historical Prague district by means of an online tool wiki. The main aim of the research was to answer the questions: Does student’s sociability have an impact on team work, and if it does, to which extent? The methods of a post-questionnaire, a sociometric-rating questionnaire SORAD (Hrabal and Hrabal, 2002) and the analysis of students′ wiki contributions were used. Firstly, the paper deals with the terms sociability and sociometry, then the research is introduced and finally, the results are presented. The results show that student’s position in a class plays more important role in team cooperation and collaboration than their personal preferences or motivation.

Open access
Teaching foreign language to adults from the aspects of psychodidactic conception of education

Abstract

Psychodidactic themes focused on the educational context have recently been resolved in both theoretical and research work. These themes are connected with general didactics, educational psychology, individual subject didactics, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology and neurosciences. Since the psychodidactic context of education is a widespectral and interdisciplinary topic, the present contribution deals with the issues of psychological aspects in the context of foreign language learning of adults. Good lecturers are looking for ways to help participants develop key competences. The support of lecturers has a chance to be successful especially when it is systematic and includes high-quality theoretical preparation. The aim of this paper is to attract attention, to a theoretical level, to using psychodidactic aspects during foreign language training of adults as well as to the building of competences necessary for the self- realisation of training course participants.

Open access
Technological preferences for teaching-learning a second language in Huichol communities and private high-schools in Mexico

Abstract

This research enquires about the Information and Communication Technologies preferences of students, teachers, and school principals in the teaching-learning process of a second language in 9th grade in two settings: Spanish for the Huichol people in a remote rural area and English for a private school in the city. The first case is situated in a rural Huichol community in the high mountain area of Jalisco, Mexico. The second one is located in a wealthy neighborhood in the Western Metropolitan area of Mexico City. A qualitative methodology with a heuristic and ethnographic design to investigate the reality of the daily use of technologies in both contexts for learning a second language. The instruments were the participant observation and in-depth interviews. Among the key findings are: (a) the participants tend to favor the use of technology for second language learning, (b) the bandwidth and the speed of the Internet is crucial to strengthen the immersion into the culture of a second language, (c) Educational communities support electronic enquiring, (d) there are similarities in the preferred search engines between the two populations, (e) the equity of education is hindered by school desertions, and (f) educational innovation requires that similar investigations take place to foster a full performance in the society of knowledge.

Open access
Vincent Šikula: a story and fairy-tale narrator

Abstract

Vincent Šikula entered (also) children’s literature in the 1960s, i.e. during the years when crucial works of Slovak children’s literature were published. His works are interesting for children even nowadays because they are built on story-telling, interesting language, and, very often, quick action. Šikula’s poetics is based on not underestimating children. He did not determine in advance for whom his books are intended, since, in his opinion, they were appropriated by those whom they suited most. The paper discusses Šikula’s stories and fairy-tales with regard to the authorial narrative strategies.

Open access
‘We don’t talk Gypsy here’: Minority language policies in Europe

Abstract

The Roma constitute an ideal case of educational injustice meeting linguistic difference, racism, social marginalization, and poverty. This paper asks whether human-rights or capabilities approaches are best suited to address issues related to the language education of Roma students in Europe. These children are disadvantaged by not growing up with the standard dialect of whatever language is preferred by the mainstream population, and by the low status of the Romani language, and non-standard dialect of the standard language they usually speak. We examine language education for Roma students in Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria, describing similarities and differences across contexts. We explain weak and strong version of language rights arguments, and the ways these principles are expressed, and not expressed in education policies. Sen’s capabilities approach can be employed to generate contextualized visions of education reform that speak directly to disadvantages suffered by Roma children.

Open access
A critical review of literature on English language teaching textbook evaluation: What systemic functional linguistics can offer

Abstract

This paper, from the perspective of language learning as a meaning-making process, presents a critical review of the existing research on how pre-use, in-use, and post-use evaluation has investigated the relationship between English language teaching textbooks’ content and learners’ academic literacy development. The paper shows that previous research on these three types of evaluation examined English language teaching textbooks’ effect on English learners’ academic literacy development in an unprincipled and macro way. The research gap identified in these previous studies calls for an improved textbook evaluation framework that integrates a principled learning theory while simultaneously emphasizing macro-constructs (e.g., context) and micro-linguistic features needed for academic literacy development. To this end, this paper proposes a framework informed by Systemic Functional Linguistics-related constructs (e.g., genre, register, meta-meanings, and lexico-grammar system) to optimize the evaluation of English language teaching textbook content.

Open access
English language pre-service and in-service teachers’ self-efficacy and attitudes towards integration of students with learning difficulties

Abstract

The study of foreign languages is obligatory for all pupils in Slovakia, where the first foreign language is English. Conforming to integration legislation, pupils with special educational needs (SEN) are taught in mainstream classes. Foreign language teachers, however, lack training and where not prepared how to apply teaching methods and techniques for pupils with SEN in the regular language learning class. In the study presented, 187 elementary school teachers filled out questionnaires dealing with integration of pupils with SEN and possible inclusion of learners with disabilities in Slovakia and a group of 56 university FLT students - teachers-to-be. Teachers are not forced and/or encouraged to take part in in-service courses or other education on how to teach these pupils. The pre-service teachers are offered courses on SEN teaching, however, these are not compulsory and mostly general education oriented. The majority of in-service and pre-service teachers felt that pupils with SEN should be taught in regular education class. The article also describes the current situation concerning integration of students with SEN using the official statistical data.

Open access
Foreign language education to seniors through intergenerational programmes

Abstract

The intergenerational learning within various types of social environment and in relation to different target groups has long covered a wide range of uses. The professional literature mostly describes its benefits for children and young people, however, the intergenerational education also contributes to the development of personality and the saturation of the educational and psycho-social needs of both adults and seniors. The paper represents the authors’ output of the VEGA research project No. 1/0176/15 and it is structured into three chapters. In the first chapter, the author deals with the opportunities of the foreign language education for (not only) disabled seniors. The second chapter focuses on the intergenerational programmes that can be used in the language education of (not only) disabled seniors who are clients of social residential facilities. In the third chapter, the author elaborates the psychological aspects of the foreign language education of seniors.

Open access