Tag Archives: ADG

Introducing the second English Australia Journal Article Discussion

MP900387490

Voting has now finished: the most favoured article with 43% of the votes in this issue is:

Using wikis and forums for writing practice in ELICOS courses, by Jade Sleeman from La Trobe Melbourne International College. You can download the article here or access the whole issue from the English Australia website.

Jade has kindly offered to be available to join in the discussion. In the meantime, I suggest you use the next few days to read the article, and I’ll post some guiding questions in a couple of days’ time.

It was encouraging to see a good number of votes for the other two articles, and congratulations to all four authors on their excellent contributions.

Phil Chappell

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 4.54.21 pm

Welcome to the voting page of the second 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. For the time being, the discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page (although this may change in future) and this discussion is scheduled for 15-21 June (Reading time) and 22-28 June (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 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.


Using wikis and forums for writing practice in ELICOS courses

Jade A. Sleeman, La Trobe Melbourne International College

Utilising the collaborative affordances of Web 2.0 tools, this study examined how writing practice can be facilitated in English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) with a view to improving learning outcomes. In this study, wikis were used to practise writing with a class studying Advanced Academic English, with discussion forums used as a follow-up online activity. Though student contributions were initially tentative, their participation exhibited elements of an emerging community of practice, where there was the opportunity for more competent students to provide models of participation and practice to those students that were less confident. Though the writing skills of stronger students were not seen to improve, results from the study suggested that many of the weaker students that engaged actively in the online activities may have improved their writing abilities.


Evaluating material designed to support trainee English language teachers

Peter Watkins & Mark Wyatt, University of Portsmouth

Material used by pre-service English language teachers, such as those preparing for, or already on, courses such as the Cambridge English Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA), needs evaluating to accommodate our continually evolving understandings of learning teaching in a rapidly changing world. Materials evaluation exercises may rely too heavily, though, on the ‘armchair evaluation’ of experts who may never use the material themselves and indeed might have imperfect understandings of the needs of novice teachers. This article reports on an attempt to access CELTA-type trainees’ cognitions and practices through interviews, questionnaires, reading and reaction protocols, and the analysis of a lesson plan, with a view to this informing the materials evaluation and revision process. In our study, this combination of methods, with the research design evolving out of efforts to reduce the threat of researcher bias, generated useful insights, which then fed into the revision process. There are implications for how material used in other teacher education contexts is evaluated.


Individual feedback consultations in Japanese tertiary EFL: A systemic semiotic exploration

Thomas Amundrud, Nara University of Education, Macquarie University

Teachers often advise students on their classwork, but the discourse features of this activity have not been widely studied. Moreover, while corrective feedback (e.g., Bitchener, 2008) has been subject to extensive study in SLA, the classroom discourse in which it occurs has received little attention. This paper examines one phenomenon, called the individual student feedback consultation, that was found in data collected from two Japanese tertiary EFL courses and appears to fit the characteristics of a genre, or ‘a staged, goal-oriented, purposeful activity’ where speakers interact (Martin, 2010, p. 19). This study is situated within systemic functional linguistics and multimodal discourse analysis, and specifically the study of curriculum genres. Five samples from a larger audio-video corpus were analysed for lexicogrammatical, discourse semantic, and multimodal features. Following this analysis, four obligatory stages – Opening, Conferring, Advice, and Closing – were found in all consultations. After presenting the analyses of each stage, this paper closes by discussing possible implications of researching individual student feedback consultations for EFL/ESL teaching and teacher training, as well as for corrective feedback research.


So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Monday June 15, 2015 at 5 pm DST

Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ, Executive Editor of the English Australia Journal)

Getting ready for the #AusELT Article Discussion Group: Teaching pragmatics

MP900390078

Many thanks to everyone who voted on which article to talk about in the first #AusELT Article Discussion Group, which is scheduled to take place from 13-19 October on the #AusELT Facebook page. The results were very close but the most popular topic turned out be pragmatics, via the article Teaching pragmatics: An action research journey, written by a group of colleagues from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. If you haven’t done so already, you can read the complete article here – but first read this post, which will give you some orientation.

Background

The authors, all teachers and researchers at Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, have collaborated on a four-year project aimed at developing materials and methodology for teaching pragmatics to second language learners. Pragmatics focuses on language used in context, and the “norms”, or socially and culturally appropriate ways to use language. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences of when this has broken down, either as speakers of an L2, when speaking with an L2 user, or observing at a distance. I have my own anecdotes that I can share over a coffee or beer one day that made me terribly embarrassed and humbled, all over a socially and culturally inappropriate comment. So, that’s what the article’s about.

As with many articles in TESOL and Applied Linguistics journals, it has more than one audience. As well as practicing teachers, it is also written for academic researchers, postgraduate and doctoral research students, teacher educators and teacher trainers. Let’s unpack the article a little so we can tease out some of the interesting activities and findings of these teacher researchers.

Article structure

  1. Orientation and background
  2. Methodology – three-stage process
    1. Stage one – teacher survey
    2. Stage two – developing materials
    3. Stage three – evaluating materials and methodology
  3. Report on Action Research projects that trialled the materials and methodologies
    1. 2010 – 14 undergrads in a Translation and Interpreting course, mostly Asian background, B2 level. Role plays with expert speakers in “face threatening” workplace situations.
    2. 2011 – 15 lower (A1 and A2) level students from refugee and migrant backgrounds (East Africa, SE Asia, Middle East, Pacific Islands). Semi-authentic role plays of invitations, using DCTs (simplified discourse tasks).
    3. 2012 – EAP students at pre-degree level (lower B2). Role playing “group project” meetings in university study settings
  4. Discussion of findings
  5. Implications for teaching and learning

This outline might help you read through the article more efficiently. I tend to look at sections of most interest first, and then read the whole article through. For example, you might want to read Section 4 first to see what they came up with, and then settle in for a more detailed reading.

Discussion focus

To focus on our discussion, before reading, have a think about this question:

How important is teaching pragmatics for your students? Think about the language backgrounds and the social and cultural backgrounds of your students. Use Figure 1 as a guide to pragmatic features.

We’ll start with this question in the Facebook group on Monday, and will feed in more questions throughout the week.

Thanks for reading!

This post by Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ)

Introducing the #AusELT Article Discussion Group

MP900387490We have a new, regular activity for AusELTers – an 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. For the time being, the discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page (although this may change in future) and the first discussion is slated for 13th-19th October. 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. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.

Teaching Pragmatics: An action research journey

Heather Denny, Graeme Couper, Jenny Healy, Flora MacDonald, Annette Sachtleben & Annette Watkins (Auckland University of Technology)

Teachers are often seeking ways to more objectively evaluate new approaches in teaching methodology. One way of doing this is to carry out classroom-based action research which involves teachers researching their own classroom practice, ideally with collaborative support from more experienced researchers. This summary article will trace a collaborative action research journey involving a series of such projects undertaken to test the efficacy of using elicited recordings of native-speaker roleplay to teach the discourse and pragmatic norms of interaction in communities of practice relevant to learners. It will outline the action research processes of planning and re-planning involved at each stage of the journey undertaken from 2009 to 2012 with learners at a variety of proficiency levels. It will draw out common findings which can be of use to practising teachers, and briefly examine the professional development outcomes for the teachers involved and their colleagues, and the benefits for learners.

Reading strategies in IELTS tests: Prevalence and impact on outcomes

James Chalmers & Ian Walkinshaw (Griffith University)

This pilot study explores whether and to what extent IELTS Academic Reading test-takers utilise expeditious reading strategies, and, where employed, their impact on test outcomes. In a partial replication of Weir, Hawkey, Green, and Devi’s (2009) exploration of the reading processes learners engage in when tackling IELTS Reading tasks, participants in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses underwent a mock IELTS Academic Reading test. They then completed a written retrospective protocol and a focus group discussion to probe their reading strategy use and tease out any underlying rationale. The analysis revealed that participants responded to time pressure, unfamiliar vocabulary and demands on working memory by employing a range of expeditious reading strategies which focused less on textual comprehension than on quickly locating correct answers. Their comprehension of texts often remained at the ‘local-literal’ level rather than the ‘global-interpretive’ level (Moore et al., 2012). Their test scores did not necessarily increase as a result. The findings, though preliminary, support further enquiry into test-taking strategies to understand the extent and the direction of impact on test scores.

Preparing learners for extensive reading through ‘reciprocal teaching strategies’

Karen Benson (Transfield Services – Welfare)

Studies on extensive reading report positive learner outcomes in reading, listening, speaking and writing, gains in motivation and expanded lexico-grammatical range (Day et al., 2011). With this in mind, two teachers at an English language college for adults in Sydney, Australia started to use graded readers in their classes. From the difficulties their students encountered they identified a significant gap in reading instruction in the General English (GE) syllabus at the college. A review of the syllabus highlighted that ‘reading’ was commonly taken from the coursebook and employed an intensive reading methodology. This was not preparing the students for successful extensive reading. To address this gap, a collaborative action research project was conducted to explore if and how the instructional technique ‘reciprocal teaching’ (Palincsar & Brown, 1984) designed to promote comprehension abilities in young L1 learners could be adapted and integrated in to the GE syllabus at the college.

So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! (NB: the poll options may appear in a jumbled order). Voting extended. Closes Monday October 6 at 5 pm DST

Your first moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ, Executive Editor of the English Australia Journal)

Poll results and Article for Download

The most favoured article is Teaching Pragmatics: An action research journey, written by a group of colleagues from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Download the article at the link above, ore read it directly from the Journal website.

Discussion questions will be posted soon. Screenshot 2014-10-06 at 6.13.31 pm