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Silene Cardoso

Abstract

This article presents and briefly discusses the results from a survey conducted with English teachers of the third cycle and secondary education in Portugal as part of a study on multiple literacies and Web 2.0 in English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom (Cardoso). Based on the answers provided, it can be assumed that among this group of teachers, new technologies tend to be part of their professional practice. However, it is unclear if digital tools have been used to actually promote more innovative ways of teaching or just as a different way to approach more traditional methods. Moreover, it seems that suitable guidance, training and further development of appropriate materials are required to facilitate and better integrate new technologies in the EFL classroom.

Open access

Ana Ponce de Leão

Abstract

UNESCO and many other organisations worldwide have been working on approaches in education to develop tolerance, respect for cultural diversity, and intercultural dialogue. Particularly, the Council of Europe has laid out guiding principles in several documents to promote intercultural competence, following Byram’s and Zarate’s efforts in integrating this important component in language education. The commitment to developing the notion of intercultural competence has been so influential that many countries, e.g., Portugal, have established the intercultural domain as a goal in the foreign language curricula. However, this commitment has been questioned by researchers worldwide who consider that action is needed to effectively promote intercultural competence. The research coordinated by Sercu, for example, suggests that, although foreign language teachers are willing to comply with an intercultural dimension, their profile is more compatible with that of a traditional foreign language teacher, rather than with a foreign language teacher, who promotes intercultural communicative competence. In this study, I propose to examine teachers’ perceptions and beliefs about intercultural communicative competence in a cluster of schools in Portugal and compare these findings with Sercu’s study. Despite a twelve-year gap, the present study draws similar conclusions.

Open access

Maria Ellison and Álvaro Almeida Santos

Abstract

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), an educational approach in which an additional language is used to teach school subjects, has become increasingly widespread within state schools across Europe since the acronym was coined in the mid-nineties. This now includes Portugal where CLIL activity across educational levels has been growing in recent years. Like other national contexts in Europe, this has also been through the grassroots initiatives of individual schools keen to influence positive change in educational practices and reap the benefits which CLIL is purported to bring about. One such case is the GoCLIL project at Escola Secundária Dr. Joaquim Gomes Ferreira Alves in Valadares, Vila Nova de Gaia, which has been operating a CLIL programme through English since the academic year 2013-2014. This article outlines fundamentals of implementing CLIL in schools and provides an overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the case. It uses data collected from questionnaires administered to teachers, pupils and parents, lesson observations, pupil focus groups, and teacher reflections obtained during the ongoing monitoring process led by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto. The data contribute to the rich description of the project from which it has been possible to identify and compare findings across years, as well as factors which have contributed to its sustainability. Insights gained from this case study will be interesting and potentially useful for schools which are considering setting up a project of this kind.

Open access

Carlos Ceia and Nicolas Hurst

Abstract

Over the last 15 to 20 years, changes in foreign language teaching policies in Portuguese higher education institutions (HEIs) have been subject to little discussion and less inter-institutional dialogue. Each institution has absorbed different European directives, and more specifically adapted its context in response to the Bologna Process, according to its own interpretation leading to widespread ‘distortion’ across foreign language teaching curricula. While demand for foreign language courses remains high in Portuguese HEIs there has been little formal research and scarce funding available for projects related to introducing innovative practices and materials. This paper provides a critical reading of the current state of play in this crucial sphere of higher education in Portugal.

Open access

António Lopes

Abstract

The Corpus of Contemporary American English (Davies) on the Brigham Young University website has been used in the English as Foreign Language (EFL) classroom to help learners better understand how language works at different levels of analysis and also to develop their writing skills. However, it also allows learners to explore culture-related content, by giving them access to invaluable information about social, ideological, political and historical contexts. Moreover, it provides the means to examine the ways in which such aspects intersect with language and condition its use. The understanding of this cultural and discursive dimension of language is pivotal in the training of undergraduate students in the areas of humanities and social sciences. To determine how far the COCA can contribute to increase this awareness, a series of task-based activities involving writing was drawn up and carried out in an EFL class of undergraduate students. They were first introduced to this corpus analysis tool and encouraged to explore it further. Later on, in order to complete a writing task, they were prompted to resort to a series of strategies to collect information about relevant events, personalities and social or cultural phenomena, to analyse and interpret data, and to draw conclusions about the modes in which culture and language can interact. This paper provides (a) the rationale and a brief literature review on this topic, (b) a description of the task-based activities, the implementation process, the students’ strategies and the evaluation procedures, and (c) a critical reflection on this study that may open the path for further developments in this area.

Open access

Tatyana Zenkova and Gulmira Khamitova

Abstract

This article presents the results of a survey conducted in the Innovative University of Eurasia (InEU) about the necessity of implementing English as a medium of instruction (EMI) at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels. It describes the findings obtained through semi open-ended questionnaires and interviews with two focus groups: InEU administration members and faculty representatives. The data collected suggest a rather positive general attitude of the respondents of both groups to English-medium instruction at the university, a special emphasis being made on the global status of English and internationalization of education. However, the majority of respondents raised concern about the impact of English-medium teaching on the quality of subject learning since it depends on an English proficiency level of both students and teachers and their motivation to study/teach in English. The survey data also indicate other important issues connected with teaching-in-English implementation at the university, such as finance, the pace of implementation, preparedness of students and teachers, support structures and incentives.

Open access

Parisa Saliminejad and Giti Karimkhanlooei

Abstract

Collocations are clusters of words that are acquired together and are subject to constraints in co-occurrence with their adjacent words. The inadequate acquaintance with collocations emerges into the formation of unacceptable collocations from the viewpoint of native speakers. The present study is a descriptive quantitative study of the translation of collocations in literary texts from English into Persin. The study sought to identify the most frequent types of unacceptable collocations in the Persian translated versions. For the purpose of the study, the four Persian translated versions of Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” were investigated precisely and all the unacceptable collocations were compiled and clustered into English patterns based on Benson’s theory, in an aim to decode the groups of patterns which are most frequently leading to bearing of unacceptable collocations in translation of English texts to Persian. A detailed SPSS analysis was conducted and the findings including frequency and percentage of each type of the unacceptable collocations were recorded. The most frequent types of unacceptable collocations spotted in the translated versions of the novel were as follows: 1. Adjective + Noun 23.3%, 2. Subject + Verb 11%, 3. Verb + Object 10.3% patterns.

Open access

Evelyn Nwachukwwu Urama and Ebuka Elias Igwebuike

Abstract

European nations colonized most of the African societies and as a result had political and economic power and control over these nations. With the western domination, the colonists ruled the African nations and every other person was to obey their command. The colonizers introduced hegemonic educational system to Africans in which they were taught the European ethos without their studying African culture. Due to this hegemony, the European colonial masters imposed their culture on Africans and it succeeded in reshaping the cultural and political lives of Africans. Many Africans abandoned African customs and beliefs when they gained western education. Therefore due to this hegemony Africans lost their authentic/real selves and became adulterated. Their main concern becomes to create and recreate themselves through going back to their culture and origin. Through poststructuralist analysis of ‘Heavensgate’ and ‘Path Thunder’ in Labyrinths (1971), this paper explores how Christopher Okigbo, an African poet, embarked on a spiritual journey in quest of his primordial self and became an asserted poet. The paper aims at imploring Africans all over the world to follow the footprints of Okigbo in identifying their true selves for them to have meaningful lives.

Open access

Jana Zerzová

Abstract

The empirical study deals with the topic of teaching intercultural communicative competence (ICC) in Czech lower-secondary German classes. The aim of the study is to investigate the quantity and quality of the opportunities to develop ICC, the proportion of activities aimed at developing the cognitive, affective, and behavioural component of ICC, the proportion of activities focused on Big-C Culture and small-c culture and culture-general and culture-specific topics. The introductory part and the following part of the study introduce its theoretical background, and terminology is then followed by the methodological part describing the sample (28 German lessons of 7 teachers videotaped in the 8th and 9th grades of Czech lower-secondary classes at seven schools in Jihomoravský region within the IRSE Video Study of German 1 project), the way of processing the data (recording, transcription, coding), the research questions and a system of categories (a system for assessing teaching ICC), that was used for analyses of the videotaped lessons. The findings show that emphasis is put on the cognitive component of ICC, while the other components (behavioural and affective) stay at the background. These results are consistent with the results of the IRSE Video Study of English project (Zerzová, 2012), which has the potential of initiating discussion for both English and German language teaching methodologies.

Open access

Martina Petríková

Abstract

Among the artistically valuable philosophical stories with illustration which have been translated into Slovak from Norwegian literature for children and youth since 2010 are the books of Jostein Gaarder (Knižka otázok / English –Questions Asked, 2013;Anton a Jonatán / English –Anton and Jonathan, 2014), Jon Fosse (Kant, 2015) and Elisabeth Helland Larsen (Ja som smrť / English – Life and I: A Story about Death, 2016). The mentioned authors have all published books in which a narrower philosophical function is linked with an implicit aesthetic function. These writers and/as philosophers reflect in their books subjects and issues which are represented in a smaller measure in Slovak intentional literature and take on questions about the meaning of existence in the face of death, whether through experiences with death, or death as an integral component of life or about the boundaries of knowledge. In this contribution we will devote ourselves to selected artistic texts with the philosophical issues of boundaries (between life and death, of knowing) in literary and creative interpretation in order to emphasize that their reflection in literature may lead to more integrated identification of the world of children.