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Open access

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

Muhammet Ruhat Yasar and Zeynel Amac

Summary

The Syrian civil war affected Turkey so much that approximately three and a half million Syrians live in Turkey. Ministry of Education implemented an inclusive approach to schooling of Syrian asylum-seekers’ children by educating them in public schools with their Turkish peers in the same classrooms in 2016 in order to address their educational needs, integration into the Turkish culture, and to prevent generation gap. Education, as a basic human right and as a way of integration into the Turkish society, is provided for free at all levels of education in Turkey. The inclusion of Syrian students in the Turkish school environment is quite a new experience for Turkish teachers and if the inclusion process is not managed properly, it may have negative effects on both students and their teachers. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the experiences of teachers teaching Syrian students in the city of Kilis, where the number of asylum-seekers outnumbered the local population and almost one-fifth of the students in public schools are Syrians. The guiding question of this research was “What are the lived experiences of primary and middle school teachers educating Syrian children in culturally inclusive classrooms?” Five teachers from four different primary and middle schools were interviewed. The six open-ended interview questions allowed the participants to reflect on their experiences. The data were collected during the spring semester of 2017. The interviews were analyzed according to thematic methods. Three themes emerged: language barrier, lack of family support, and teachers’ lack of pedagogical skills to teach asylum-seeker students.

Open access

Inga Savickienė, Laura Raščiauskaitė, Aušra Jankauskaitė and Loreta Alešiūnaitė

Summary

Integration into the European Union, increasing communication and cooperation between countries have brought an extensive interest in foreign languages and the need for foreign language teaching and learning has been recognized by the developers of Lithuanian education policy as an inseparable component of personal development. Teaching and learning of Romanic languages in Lithuania have been popular, exceptional, though varied. French language teaching has old traditions in both formal and non-formal education; while teaching of other Romanic languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, etc.) has not been legally regulated yet – teaching traditions have not been formed, there are no specific teaching syllabi and programs, a lack of methodology and experts in didactics. However, Spanish language learning in Lithuanian secondary education schools and gymnasiums is becoming more and more popular in the recent years. In Lithuanian secondary education Spanish is taught as the second and third foreign language or as an extra-curriculum activity in non-formal education. The analysis of scientific literature revealed a lack of scientific studies and publications not only about the teaching of Spanish but also comparative studies between Lithuanian and Spanish languages. Research into Spanish language teaching and learning indicates not only the increasing number of learners, but also the increasing awareness with regard to the importance and usefulness of Spanish language competence acquisition for international encounters. However, Spanish language teachers face challenges such as insufficient number of teaching hours in general education institutions, lack of qualified Spanish language teachers, insufficient provision with teaching and learning aids and other support material, no state examinations are organized which could help to determine the learners’ Spanish language competences as well as motivate learners to learn this Romanic language.

Open access

Rūta Eidukevičienė

Summary

The paper aims to analyze the attitudes to German language in the Lithuanian public discourse. Texts written on this topic and chosen for the analysis appeared in two news portals – the national news portal delfi.lt and the regional news portal kaunodiena.lt. The database covers the period from 1 January 2011 to 1 March 2017; it consists of 82 articles from both news portals. For studying the image of German, the present study applies the framework of Critical Discourse Analysis taking into account different argumentation strategies for learning or not learning German as a foreign language as well as main topical priorities. The general attitudes towards countries can serve as an important foundation for motivation to language learning, so the analysis starts with the discussion of the specifics attributed to Germany and German-speaking countries (effectiveness governing the world, sympathy, economic success, and reliability). The analysis of the selected texts confirms that the image of Germany in Lithuania is quite positive: Germany, especially on delfi.lt, is presented as a target country for qualified Lithuanian experts, as an economically stable country having a large degree of political and cultural influence in the world. Regarding the status of German, the analyzed texts reveal a more ambiguous picture: on the one hand, it is stated that German is not popular in Lithuania, on the other hand it is emphasized that the popularity of the German language is increasing. The argumentation scheme for learning German consists of several argumentation lines: German is represented as a commodity in such domains as a professional career in Germany, in dealing with bilateral business relations, and to some extent in building a professional career in one’s home country and upholding cultural relations.

Open access

Volkan Mutlu

Summary

Language learning is a comprehensive concept with its components and needs. Because of this reason, it is affected by various subjects, most significant two of which are learner personality and language learning strategy choices of the students. By taking into consideration the importance of these factors in language education, the main aim of this study is to find out the relationship of students’ personality types and their language learning strategy choices by also taking into account their language levels to provide information for syllabus designers and language teachers. In order to do this, a survey design method was supported with Myers and Briggs Personality Test and Oxford’s SILL (Strategy Inventory for Language Learning), and 68 randomly selected students participated in this study. After analyzing the data with SPSS 23.0, it was found out that there is no significant statistical relationship between strategy choices and personality types. On the other hand, participants of this study showed different characteristics (most of them have ESTJ (extravert, sensing, thinking, judging) and they also desired to use different learning strategies, most used of which are compensation, memory, and social strategies. The study is crucial as it revealed that students could have different characteristics and learning strategies and these differences should be taken into consideration while planning a language course.