UPDATE: VOTING NOW CLOSED
The article chosen for discussion is “‘My perspective changed dramatically’: A case for preparing L2 instructors to teach pronunciation”, authored by Michael Burri.
The remainder of this week (3/11/15 to 8/11/15) is for reading the article. Discussion questions will be posted next Monday (9/11/15) and the discussion will begin.
Welcome to the voting page of the third Article Discussion Group. The idea is for us all to vote for our preferred article from the latest English Australia Journal, read it, and then join in a moderated discussion of the article. Authors will either join in on the discussion, or respond offline to points raised and questions asked, facilitated by the moderator. The discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page and is scheduled for 2-8 November (Reading time) and 9-15 November (Discussion time).
The articles are all relevant to many of the contexts in which AusELT folk practice. They are primary research articles, that is, the authors have devised and conducted their own research study and reported their findings. In addition, each article has been peer-reviewed, meaning that the editor has invited leading TESOL scholars to review and offer suggestions for improving earlier drafts. We have some excellent reviewers who, together with the authors, have ensured you receive the best quality research reports upon which you can make some decisions about your own teaching.
In order to assist those who are new to reading research articles, the moderator will orient you by providing a summary of the research design and the overall purpose of the research. The discussion will not only focus on how the article can inform your own teaching, but also on opportunities for further research in any form. It will hopefully spark ideas for improving the quality of life in many classrooms! Each article has an abstract for you to read; after all, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a research article by its title. The complete articles are all open access, freely available online here (article 31.1) and can also be downloaded in pdf here. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.
Code switching in ESL classrooms: A study of adult Arabic learners
Manar Larbah and Rhonda Oliver, Curtin University
Code switching (CS) between the first language (L1) and the target language (TL) in the second language classroom has been the focus of recent second language acquisition research. This paper reports on a study that investigated adult Arabic students’ use of CS in four university classrooms in Western Australia.
An analysis of the data found that the use of CS was present in second language classrooms. Further, regardless of Arabic students’ proficiency level, CS fulfils important functions. Overall, access to the L1 through CS assisted the learners to develop linguistic competence in the TL and worked to benefit their language learning. Therefore, it is important that teachers understand that switching between L1 and the TL can enhance language acquisition.
‘My perspective changed dramatically’: A case for preparing L2 instructors to teach pronunciation
Michael Burri, University of Wollongong
Over the past two decades, pronunciation has slowly regained some of its former prominence in the second language (L2) classroom. Yet, despite this renewed interest, L2 instructors often perceive it to be one of the most challenging areas to teach. Specialists, therefore, suggest that preparing pronunciation teachers is a much needed area in the field of language teaching, but little is known about the education of pronunciation instructors and its potential impact on prospective teachers. This article reports on a qualitative case study in which questionnaires, focus groups, classroom observations and semi- structured interviews were employed to obtain insights on the impact of a postgraduate pronunciation subject on 15 student teachers’ cognition (beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and knowledge) about pronunciation pedagogy. Findings revealed that the subject had a notable effect on the development of participants’ cognition about pronunciation instruction and its goal. Group work/discussions and comparisons of accents increased student teachers’ awareness about the value of non-native English varieties and accents, which in turn facilitated a change in participants’ beliefs that the objective of pronunciation instruction should not be accent elimination. The article concludes with a discussion about implications for L2 teacher educators and language instructors teaching English pronunciation in their classrooms.
Uncovering and Understanding International Students’ Prior Learning
Tracey Gibbs and David Feith, Monash College
Prior learning experiences impact on how international students adjust to the educational environment in Australia. International students in pre-university Foundation Year programs are in a transition period, moving from the educational environments in their home countries to universities in Australia. In this transition they have to successfully adapt to the demands of university systems in Australia. This action research project explored students’ perspectives of their prior learning through focus groups, in order to assist teaching staff to better understand the background and needs of the students. It found there is a wide variety of challenging factors that students need to adjust to. The main factors are: academic writing with referencing; time management, including having multiple assignments at the same time; independent research; and class discussions.
So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Sunday November 1, 2015 at 5 pm DST [VOTING IS NOW CLOSED] Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ, Executive Editor of the English Australia Journal)