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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
Novice Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in the Czech Republic and their Drop-Out Intentions

Abstract

Problems with staffing play a crucial role among factors influencing the quality of English language teaching at Czech primary and lower secondary schools. Since 1990 the shortage of teachers of English as a foreign language has been repeatedly reported by the Czech School Inspectorate. The shortage is largely caused by the reluctance of English language teacher education study programme graduates to accept teaching positions at primary and lower secondary schools. A drop-out syndrome in the early stages of the teachers’ career is another factor that may contribute to the lack of teachers of English. Unfortunately, it has not been researched in the Czech Republic and it has not been systematically monitored by the state. In the research study focusing on novice teacher drop-out, conducted in 2015–2017, we deal with the process of socialisation of novice teachers in schools and with external factors that influence the socialisation and that can be seen as predictors of novice teachers’ decision to stay in their current school or leave either the school or the teaching profession. The current paper presents partial findings related to drop-out intentions of novice teachers of English as a foreign language in comparison with teachers of other subjects. Our findings indicate that drop-out intentions are more frequent in teachers of English as a foreign language than for other teachers and that teachers of English evaluate their cooperation with colleagues and leadership at their schools more critically than other teachers.

Open access
Teaching Medical English through Professional Captioning Videos

Abstract

Since the Barcelona objective released on 16 March 2002, European Union met an ambitious goal: to promote learning of “at least two foreign languages from an early age” (European Commission 2019). Thus, bilingualism, multilingualism, and linguistic diversity became a part of European policy (Pokrivčáková 2013a; Pokrivčáková 2013b; Schunz 2012). Nevertheless, English language is still considered to be the global language, used as lingua franca. English is the language of international dialogue facilitating further educational and professional development, it is the language of international communication, science, academia, and the Internet (Dearden 2014). English is the first foreign language taught in Slovakia, and therefore majority of Slovak medical students chose the course of Medical English during their study. To develop communicative competence and performance in students, it is necessary to offer a very wide range of stimulating activities in English classes. Videos published on the Internet offer enormous potential for foreign or second language (L2) acquisition at every level according to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in almost all learning phases, covering a significant variety of authentic topics (Barnau, Džuganová, Malinovská 2018). Our study is particularly aimed at watching of YouTube professional medical videos with/without captions and their effect on English language skills, especially listening comprehension in medical students at Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia (JFM UC).

Open access
Teaching Reading and Writing Skills to Young Learners in English as a Foreign Language Using Blogs: A Case Study

Abstract

This study focused on the development of reading and writing skills to a group of B1 level learners of English in a private language institute in Athens, Greece with the aid of blogs (a web tool), since Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) enhances foreign language learning. To this end, two groups of young learners were formed; the control group which was taught through the traditional coursebook and the experimental group which was taught through a differentiated approach to language teaching. The differentiated approach which was applied involved eight teaching sessions in a private language institute. Pre-tests and post-tests were administered to both groups in order to evaluate the use of CALL in the improvement of literacy skills. Pre- and post- semi-structured interviews were also conducted with the students of the experimental group to evaluate their attitudes and feelings before and after the instruction. The aim of using blogs, as a web tool, was to enhance collaborative learning and social interaction. This research attempted to prove that blogs create a social interaction between students, and between the students and the teacher. For the purposes of this research, students were involved in process writing by making drafts and writing their posts and in active reading when they read other posts and texts from other web sites.

Open access
Teaching Slovak Language and Literature in the 1st Grade of Grammar Schools: the Verification of the Development of Critical Thinking of Pupils

Abstract

Slovak language and literature belongs to the leading subjects in the system of secondary education in the Slovak Republic. The persistent traditional teaching techniques (encyclopedic-memorization) and the absence of systematic development of critical thinking in the process of education has caused an identified below average state of critical thinking of students at secondary grammar schools. The aim of our half-year experiment was to verify the effectiveness of The Programme of Development of Critical Thinking of Pupils in the Subject of Slovak Language and Literature. To meet the set target we implemented an experiment (a single-factor technique of parallel groups). Out of 16 first-grade secondary grammar schools classes (N = 365) two equivalent groups were selected for the experiment – an experimental group (n = 32) and a control group (n = 30). The main measurement means was the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Test. The conclusions of the experiment pointed out the effectiveness of the intervention programme.

Open access
Test Banking in English for Medical Purposes (Dentistry)

Abstract

Activities and questions to assess knowledge in English for medical purposes were designed to incorporate terminology, academic vocabulary and grammar items in computer-based tests for bachelor students in Dentistry at Medical University - Varna. During the two-semester study course identification of key words, core lexical patterns, specific collocations and emphasis on their recurrent use were the selected strategies for student retention of specialized language and improved learning outcomes. Medical terms as single-word lexical units with straightforward definitions are easy to learn compared to collocations and multi-word terms including polysemous adjectives. In the present paper we concentrate on the process of formation of structures containing attributive adjectives which can be quite a problematic and error-generating area for second language learners. The aim of the on-going research study is to extract current lists of the sub-technical vocabulary and the terminological units in specialized medical domains as linguistic resources. The collection of assessment materials into a test bank for specific educational purposes is a customizable electronic resource, imported into the University platform to facilitate the process of compilation and creation of new tests.

By implementing corpus linguistic tools into test design, the instructor aims at providing an authentic e-assessment environment based on the idea of key words in context, concordances, and lexical patterns as per the contents of the selected textbooks and teaching materials during the course. The paper highlights some strategic issues about creating test resources in EMP such as the adherence to a set of selected linguistic items and grammatical structures based on their frequency in the domain.

Open access
EFL Teachers’ Moral Dilemma and Epistemic Beliefs

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between English teachers’ epistemological beliefs and moral dilemma. In doing so, 70 English teachers were selected from different language institutes and were included in the research sample. The instruments used to collect the data included the Schommer Epistemological Questionnaire (SEQ) and the Defining Issues Test (DIT). The collected data were analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation method and descriptive statistics in SPSS software. The findings revealed that the participants believed that knowledge improves with experience over time, and that there was also an innate ability to acquire knowledge. They also displayed conflicting views about the simplicity/complexity of knowledge. The analysis of different stages of moral development in the views of the English teachers showed an ascending trend in the moral development from stage 2 (the focus on personal interests) through stage 6 (appeal to intuitive moral principles/ideals). Besides, significant differences were found among different stages of moral development as assessed by the EFL teachers and also in terms of the impact of different moral reasoning schemas on the participants when making judgments about different moral dilemmas.

Open access
Fundamentals of Mathematical Knowledge in the Traditional Culture of Evenks

Abstract

This article is devoted to an analysis of the main mathematical concepts of one of the indigenous peoples of the North: Evenks. This is the first attempt at the systematisation and understanding of Evenks’ accumulated stock of mathematical knowledge. The study has shown that the total mathematical knowledge of this group underlies the sociocultural environment and traditional way of life. The main function of mathematical concepts is to give information about the number of animals in the camp, and to specify the direction of movement during hunting. In addition, it is noted that mathematical representation is closely interrelated with the general knowledge about the world The selection of separate groups of numerals allows the author to specify the area in which they are used. Common geometric representation is reflected in the applied art.

Open access
Gendered Performance, Fluid Identities and Protest in Tess Onwueme’s Then She Said It

Abstract

This study examines the social constructions of gender as the encapsulation of reiterated human conducts within varying sites of performance. Contrary to the notion that gender roles are fixed by socio-cultural forces, this paper focuses on the fluidity of human dispositions in differing circumstances. Adopting Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, the researcher analyses Tess Onwueme’s Then She Said It. This protest play attests to the variability of gender performance. The characters in the drama, especially the protagonists and antagonists, exhibit considerable alterations in gender performance in different situations. Thus, the study argues that the rigid classification of gender roles along sex lines (on both biological and gendered sexuality) in protest drama in Nigeria is incongruous with the characters’ dispositions in the plays. Indeed, characters adopt cross-gendered performances as a strategy of protesting against overbearing conditions.

Open access