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In this issue: Feature Articles Ideals and Realities in Literacy Development: Writing Center/ELT Collaborations To Support Learning Transfer

Dana Lynn Driscoll Types and Hypotheses of Language Attrition

Rabia Zouaghi When the Teacher’s Culture Meets the Students’

Rasha Mohamed

Lesson Ideas Educational Technology Reviews Networking TESOL Arabia News

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Perspectives The

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official publication of

TESOL Arabia General Editorial Policies

Perspectives is an official refereed publication of TESOL Arabia, designed to meet the organization’s professional objectives by publishing articles that discuss the teaching and learning of English as an additional language at all levels and with a particular focus on the region (the Gulf, MENA, and South Asia). We invite previously unpublished manuscripts that address the diversified topics that make up our profession, including, but not limited to, methodology, pedagogy, curriculum and materials development, assessment, classroom inquiry and research, teacher education, literature, and language and culture.

Submission Categories & Guidelines Feature Articles Generally 2000-4000 words in length, feature articles should address educational issues (theory and practice) relevant to the membership. The articles can document a critical survey of a particular aspect of the field, detail and analyze pedagogical issues, describe and discuss research findings, or highlight contextual factors and their implication on educational practice. All submissions should be thought through, well organized, and clearly written; please follow APA (6th ed.) style. Feature articles go through a double-blind review process where the reviewers consider how well each article: n

discusses issues that seek to inform practice; contributes to the knowledge base for teaching and teacher education in general and in the region in particular; n addresses educational issues and needs of ELT in the region; and, n identifies an educational research agenda. n

Educational Technology This section includes short articles (500-2000 words) that provide overviews of educational technologies, their utilities, and incorporation into practice. These could be apps, software, hardware, web-based resources, etc.

Lesson Ideas Do you have a great lesson idea or an activity that others should know about? Lesson Ideas (500-2000 words) offer teachers an opportunity to share their activities. Submissions should detail the activity as well as provide a context for usage. Sample materials are encouraged.

Reader Response Reader’s Response (500-2000 words) gives readers a forum to respond to articles published in previous issues or critical issues in the region and/or field.

Reviews Reviews (500-1000 words) evaluate any recent textbook, resource book, CD/DVD, audio, or video title. Reviews should evaluate materials for their approach, content, appropriateness, adaptability, and relevancy. For more information or to submit a review, please contact Reviews Editor Paul Dessoir, pdessoir@uaeu.ac.ae.

Networking This section features conference and country reports. Conference reports should provide the readers with an overview of the conference as well as some personal insights. Country reports provide a glimpse of professional activities, concerns, and projects in the region. Reports range between 250-1000 words; photos with captions are welcome.

Notes to Contributors All materials submitted become the property of TESOL Arabia. If you wish to re-print an article that first appeared in Perspectives, please contact the editors to request permission. The editors reserve the right to make editorial changes to better suit the format and readership. If substantial changes are required, the editors will consult the author(s). Please remember to include a brief biographical statement (50-75 words) and headshot (.jpg or .png) with your submission.

Photographs In order to avoid poor quality images, please submit the largest size and best resolution images you have. They should be at least 300 dpi and saved as a tiff, eps, or jpeg.

Editorial Viewpoint By submitting, authors attest that they are submitting their own work, that it has not been submitted or published elsewhere, and that it meets generally agreedupon ethical standards for human subject research. The views expressed in Perspectives are those of the individual authors of each article. Views expressed are not necessarily shared by the editors, other authors, TESOL Arabia members, of the TESOL Arabia organization. Responsibility for the contents of articles and advertisements rests entirely with the authors.

Submissions Address Send your submissions to Julie Riddlebarger and Suhair Al Alami, Perspectives Co-Editors Email: perspectives@tesolarabia.org Deadlines: August 15, December 15, April 15 Volume 24

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Pers p e c t ive s Volume 24 No. 3 November 2016

From the Editors

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Message from the President

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Feature Articles Dana Lynn Driscoll

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Rabia Zouaghi Rasha Mohamed

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Edmodo: Using Social Media to Improve Students’ Vocabulary Recall

Allison Dansie

Enhancing Learning with Grade Six Students in Lebanon through Project Based Learning

Dima Hassan

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Banani Chowdhury

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Sameera Baloch

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Robert S. Gordon, Johanna L. Haas, Errol Pitts

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Rory O’Kane Christine Coombe

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Neil McBeath

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Melanie Gobert

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Ideals and Realities in Literacy Development: Writing Center/ ELT Collaborations To Support Learning Transfer Types and Hypotheses of Language Attrition When the Teacher’s Culture Meets the Students’

Lesson Ideas

SOLE (Self Organized Learning Environment) in the UAE

Education Technology Experimenting with QR Codes in the EFL Classroom Padlet: A Simple, Flexible and Engaging Tool for Teaching and Learning

Reviews Exploring Psychology in Language Learning and Teaching When Teaching Gets Tough: Smart Ways to Reclaim Your Game

Networking Connecting the Dots in a Glocalized World: The Third International Conference on Language, Linguistics, Literature and Translation READ to Lead Conference

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Chapter/SIG Reports

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Dear Readers,

Editors

Welcome to the first issue of the academic year 2016-2017, which is also the last issue of the year 2016! In these times of unrest for many, we hope this issue offers inspiration, or at least, some respite.

Julie Riddlebarger Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi

This issue of Perspectives seeks to meet your expectations as well as satisfy your needs. The Feature Articles present a variety of topics, highlighting issues of interest to English language teaching practitioners. From the USA, Dana Driscoll examines ideals and realities in students’ long-term learning, presenting theories, strategies, and case studies whilst exploring partnerships between English language teachers and writing centers within Middle Eastern and North African contexts. From Saudi Arabia, Rabia Zouaghai pinpoints types and hypotheses of language attrition, investigating main language attrition types and presenting three hypotheses on language attrition. Finally, Rasha Mohamed reflects on her teaching experiences in Egypt, Morocco, and the USA, discussing a number of culture teaching issues in the second/foreign language classroom. In this issue’s Lesson Ideas, Allison Dansie describes a project she conducted in Japan to help her students recall TOEIC vocabulary whilst utilizing Edmodo. Next, Dima Hassan shares her experience of employing a project-based learning approach at Hajj Bahaa School in Lebanon. Based on her teaching experiences in the United Arab Emirates and India, Banani Roy sheds light on how a Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) can facilitate enquiry based learning where students are expected to work as a community, self-regulating their behaviors, interactions, and attitudes. As usual, we have Educational Technology articles which are intended to offer some novel suggestions for you to implement in your classrooms whenever possible. In their paper, Errol Pitts, Johanna Hass, and Robert Gordon explain how Padlet can be used as a flexible and engaging online tool for both teaching and learning purposes, while Sumeera Baloch offers suggestions for using QR codes to enliven EFL classrooms. In addition, there are book reviews and networking reports to provide you with the latest trends and news within the field of teaching English as a second/foreign language. To end with, we would like to convey our profound thanks to Perspectives’ contributors and reviewers. We would also like to encourage you to consider Perspectives a venue for your publications. Last but not least, we wish you all the best for a pleasant and glorious 2017, and look forward to hearing from you in the new year! Read, enjoy, and get reinvigorated.

Suhair Al Alami Al Ghurair University, Dubai

Reviews Editor Paul Dessoir United Arab Emirates University

Advisory Panel Bridie Farah Christopher Morrow Daniel Mangrum Dennis Balint Hala Nur Indrani Ibrahim James Buckingham Jane Hoelker Janet Olearski Kay Gallagher Kourosh Lachini Melanie Gobert Mick King Neil McBeath Paul James Dessoir Peter McLaren Rachel Lange Rania Jabr Sahbi Hidri Sally Ali Susan Toth Suzanne Littlewood Taoufik Ferjani Yasser Salem

CREDITS Layout / Artwork Sudeep Kumar

Printing

Julie Riddlebarger

International Printing Press Dubai, UAE

Suhair Al Alami

Editors, Perspectives

November Cover Photo

The editors would like to remind the readers that the views expressed in this periodical are those of the individual authors. These views are not necessarily shared by the other authors in this issue or by TESOL Arabia. Responsibility for the content and opinion of articles and advertisements rests with the authors. TESOL Arabia is a non-profit organization based in the United Arab Emirates with membership from the Arabian Gulf and beyond. TESOL Arabia does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, gender, national origin, disability, religion, age, or native language. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.tesolarabia.org

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TESOL Arabia Perspectives

Camel Train Abu Dhabi, UAE Rob Wilson, Khalifa University

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Dear TESOL Arabia colleagues, As 2016 draws to a close, we are proud to look back on a year full of achievements, the last of which was the decision of the TESOL Arabia Executive Council to enrich our publications with a new peer reviewed journal. The journal, which will be called the TESOL Arabia Quarterly, will be officially launched next March during the conference. Our new publication will be directed to an academic audience and will provide a forum for the dissemination of quality research and views which enables both TESOL practitioners and researchers to keep current with developments in the field as well as contribute to its continued updating. We are also proud to announce that TESOL Arabia SIGs and Chapters have organized several successful events this year which attracted good attendance, the biggest of which was the “Read to Lead” Mini-Conference.The event was organized by The TESOL Arabia READ/WRITE SIG, Sharjah Chapter and Independent Learning SIG in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education and was attended by over 200 teachers.The Mini-Conference was in line with the declaration of 2016 as “The Year of Reading” in UAE by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE. Being the biggest professional development organization for teachers using English as a medium of instruction,TESOL Arabia has responded positively to this initiative and organized several events promoting reading and literacy. Looking forward to our biggest event, TACON 2017, here are some interesting initiatives recently suggested by our conference co-chairs, associate co-chairs and committee members. The first initiative is the TACON 2017 Publication Forum which aims at providing support and training by renowned experts from the field to teachers and researchers interested in publishing in TESOL Arabia publications as well as other international publications. The second initiative is the TACON Reading & Research Symposium which is a joint event between the TESOL Arabia READ SIG, the Research SIG and the Extensive Reading Foundation. The symposium will provide a forum for disseminating and sharing recent research findings related to literacy. The other initiative is the Lunch & Learn Discussions which will be facilitated by some of the TACON 2017 featured and invited speakers. It is essentially a networking event where conference delegates can team up with well-known TESOLers who will share their views and insights on specific topics that are of interest in the field of TESOL. The last initiative, Conference Ambassadors, was suggested by one of our conference cochairs. Conference Ambassadors are volunteering teachers whose role is to support our conference organizers, document the highlights of the conference, respond to delegates’ questions and collect their feedback about the conference. Talking about the conference, I’d like to remind all our TESOL Arabia members interested in attending this big event to register in plenty of time. I urge all of you to renew your membership and register for the conference as early as possible. I would also like to remind our conference delegates that TESOL Arabia International Conference provides limited financial support to help our members attend the conference. The three conference-related grants are (a) Dr Lisa Barlow Memorial Travel-In Grant, (b) MENA Scholarship Grant and (c) Professional Development Course Grant. For more information about these grants, please visit our website: http://www.tesolarabia.co/grants/. Finally, I wish everybody a very Happy New Year. I also wish you a productive and exciting 2017 academic year and look forward to seeing you soon. Mohamed Azaza TESOL Arabia President

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Ideals and Realities in Literacy Development: Writing Center/ELT Collaborations To Support Learning Transfer A longer version of this article was delivered as a Plenary Address at the joint conference between the Middle East North African Writing Center Alliance and the Oman 16th Annual English Language Teaching Conference (April 20-21, 2016).

Introduction

How many English language teachers have asked, “What happens to what I’ve taught my students after my course ends?” This article explores this question by examining ideals and realities in students’ longterm learning, presenting theories, case studies, and strategies. Partnerships between English language teachers and writing centers in Middle-Eastern and North African contexts are also explored.

The Ideal Literacy Learning Experience

Often, teachers envision students’ learning trajectories like a set of stairs. In this ideal, skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing continue to build effectively as a student moves through a language foundation program, into degree coursework, and eventually, into professional contexts. Global educational systems are maintained under the assumption that students can later draw upon prior learning and that learning builds predictably over time. As an “ideal” learner, Sabir (see end note) came to college with excellent English language preparation in high school courses. After finishing his initial language foundation courses, Sabir was able to repurpose, adapt, and use what he had learned in his

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Dana Lynn Driscoll Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA

foundation courses elsewhere. As he moved through his college career, he was exposed to a series of increasingly complex and challenging literacy tasks. At the conclusion of his degree, he felt confident and prepared as a writer, reader, listener, and speaker. He now works at a company where he uses literacy skills through workplace communications, sales reports, and presentations. To return to our stair metaphor, each learning experience in college allowed Sabir an opportunity to create a deeper foundation and a greater awareness of his language learning. What Sabir demonstrates is what researchers call transfer, or the ability to use or adapt prior learning experiences in new situations (Haskell, 2000). Areas that students can transfer are: • Literacy knowledge, including reading and writing processes (organizational strategies, audience awareness, structure of texts, decoding, etc). • Linguistic competency, including aspects related to language learning (sentence construction, vocabulary, grammar, syntax, pronunciation, spelling, etc). • Tools and strategies, including approaches that students use to complete literacy tasks (time management, study habits, research skills, etc). • Learning-related dispositions which can be seen as internal qualities, which include perseverance, learner beliefs, metacognitive strategies, confidence, emotional maturity, willingness to seek help, and value (CWPA, NCTE, & NWP, 2011; Wingfield & Eccles, 2000; Driscoll & Wells, 2012). TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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These four aspects contribute to our learners’ growth toward mastering written and spoken English. These aspects can transfer and expand through each literacy situation, which learners can encounter in English language courses and beyond. Part of what Sabir is able to do can be described as mindful abstraction and as the ability detect, elect, and connect (Salomon & Perkins, 1989; Perkins & Salomon, 2012). These theories articulate how students build and transfer knowledge. Mindful abstraction occurs when the learner realizes that what he is learning is not just about a specific course; rather, it can be more broadly applied to other courses and circumstances. The learner also needs to recognize when abstracted knowledge may apply to a new circumstance—detecting, electing, and connecting (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Transfer of Learning Mechanisms When students take courses, they are embedded in a set of nested activity systems (Tuomi-Grohn & Engestrom, 2003). Students most likely see their learning as applicable to the activity systems closest to their original learning: the specific assignment, the specific class, or, perhaps, the domain of all English courses. The domains that allow for more effortless transfer are represented in Figure 2 below by dashed lines; in fact, the conceptual similarity helps facilitate transfer. The further away from the original learning domain a student gets, the more challenging it is for transfer to occur (James, 2009). What mindful abstraction does is helping to make barriers between domains more permeable by offering students a different way to think about and access their learning—to go from a solid line to a dashed line, in the case of our model. Then, when opportunities arise, students can detect, elect, and connect their learning in productive ways. Note the role of the writing center in this regard; tutorials can help students mindfully abstract between all domains. Volume 24

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Figure 2: Mindful Abstraction In Sabir’s high school English courses, he was taught how to carefully edit essays. Sabir’s teacher encouraged mindful abstraction by demonstrating editing as a strategy that could be used on multiple texts; Sabir practiced editing throughout the school year. When Sabir entered college, he was able to detect that editing strategies would be useful in his English foundation course, elect to make the connection, and then connect that learning. A writing center tutor’s specific questioning strategies further helped him activate his prior knowledge. This example shows that successful learning transfer is not just about the knowledge a student has, but how that student understands his knowledge and is able to draw upon it. It should be noted that negative transfer, which intereferes with new learning, may also occur (Schunk, 2008). In sum, our ideal student climbs the stairs of ideal literacy development. But how many of our students fit this ideal? As much as we hope our students develop knowledge and transfer effectively, the reality of learning is far messier.

The Messy Reality of Learning

In fact, research suggests that learning transfer is one of the fundamental challenges in education. Haskell (2000) writes, “transfer is like an antibiotic resistant bacterium, whatever we attack it with, it won’t go away” (p. xiv). Researchers in writing studies have a variety of lamentations on transfer from McCarthy’s (1987) exploration of her student moving into new writing situations as a “stranger in a strange land” to Wardle’s (2007) discussion of how students, after learning various literacy skills, felt no need to carry writing behaviors with them to other courses (p. 233). From an ELT perspective, James (2009) writes, “…transfer can occur from an L2 writing course… but this transfer is ‘constrained’… although learning transfer may be assumed with basic reading and TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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writing skills, for example, letter recognition, or the ability to write letters, this assumption cannot extend beyond basic skills” (p. 78). What our ideal student was able to do so effortlessly is not often a reality. Amal is a Generation 1.5 learner from an immigrant family; she came to the US at the age of five and grew up speaking Arabic at home and English at school. I met Amal six years ago at an institution in the Detroit metropolitan area in the US. Detroit has a large population of immigrants from all over the world, including the highest ArabAmerican population in the US. As someone who had a disrupted education due to the challenges experienced by many immigrant families, Amal came to college ill-equipped to face the demanding literacy tasks of her general education courses and her pre-pharmacy major. Amal was placed in Composition I her fall semester, and in the spring semester, she took Composition II, which were two required first-year writing (FYW) courses. Despite Amal’s struggles, she passed her courses. However, a passing grade did not mean that Amal was able to transfer learning successfully. Amal had exposure to many potentially transferable skills in FYW: lexical and grammatical fluency, source use and integration, rhetorical situation/ audience, critical reading skills, public speaking skills, writing process, and self-editing strategies, among others. However, Amal’s FYW courses did not help her to mindfully abstract learning, but instead, her FYW courses helped her to rely primarily on traditional writing process-based pedagogy, where learning transfer is implicit, rather than explicit (Driscoll, 2013). Amal’s instructor taught content without showing its applicability beyond the course. The transfer problems for Amal began during FYW; Amal perceived a tension between her career and FYW, and whether or not she would need to write and read beyond college. Amal gravitated more toward the genres of the lab reporting in her other courses and was able to transfer minor amounts of grammar and APA formatting from FYW to lab reports fairly successfully. However, she dismissed nearly everything else in her FYW class, including the support of the writing center, as part of “writing English essays”, which she insisted she would not have to do again. In the words of James (2009), her transfer was constrained. This led Amal to three transfer related challenges: 1. Inconsistent opportunities to practice advanced literacy skills. In large courses of 70-100+ students, Amal had limited opportunities to practice literacy skills beyond Volume 24

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FYW.When she was given an opportunity, it was usually “prove to me what you know in writing” and often did not require complete sentences (such as in writing lab reports). In the next class, she was given the challenging literacy task of writing a ten-page research paper.The stair metaphor introduced at the beginning of this article, the idea of scaffolded instruction and opportunities, was not part of Amal’s experiences. 2. No faculty support for listening, reading, writing, or speaking. When Amal’s coursework required language and literacy skills, faculty provided no support and assumed Amal already knew everything she would need. The reason that Amal was able to pass FYW was that she had strong support networks, and without those networks, she struggled. Although the writing center was available to her, she did not return to it after FYW (compartmentalizing it, like much of her knowledge with the domain of “English writing”). 3. Cognitive block. Finally, as represented in Figure 3, Amal had a cognitive block and believed that literacy skills in English courses were useless in other disciplinary settings. This means Amal was unwilling or unable to mindfully abstract, and, therefore, she was unwilling to detect, elect, and connect prior learning to new situations (as represented by the impermeable black lines in Figure 3).

Figure 3: Amal’s Conception of English Classes Amal experienced major setbacks due to her challenges with literacy, which limited her overall development. First, her relationship with literacy notably declined over the five years. In fact, as the study progressed, Amal increasingly expressed negative emotions toward writing and reading. In several key skills, her literacy performance declined from the start of the study. Finally, literacy struggles severely hampered her graduation plans. Amal was unprepared for the many college literacy tasks she faced; reading, in particular, was extremely challenging for her in pre-pharmacy courses. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Amal repeated the same courses for three years before finally changing her major to nursing. Currently, Amal is entering her seventh year as an undergraduate and plans to graduate in eight years.

A Team Effort: Facilitating Transfer of Learning in English Language Classes and Writing Centers In exploring Sabir and Amal’s experiences, we are left with this question: How can we, as teachers and those who are supporting English language learners in writing centers, help students successfully transfer knowledge? This final section explores specific strategies for both English language teachers and those working in writing centers. In order for students to transfer knowledge successfully, they need to be taught how to do so, and they also need to be explicitly supported in that work. Students need rich, initial learning contexts that encourage literacy development—an environment where they can learn to engage in mindful abstraction. English language teachers can help to prime students for transfer and can help create rich learning experiences that encourage students to mindfully abstract. Students also need support structures for long-term learning beyond English language courses. Writing centers can help support students’ initial learning, and can also provide long-term aid to students, helping them to identify and engage in key moments of detecting, electing, and connecting to a variety of new contexts. These two supports, working together, can most effectively aid students in long-term literacy development and successful transfer.

Teaching for Transfer

Setting up students for transfer begins in classrooms where the course goal is to place an explicit emphasis on transfer. A study I conducted (Driscoll, 2013) explored the issue of how instructors enact pedagogy that facilitates transfer of learning. During interviews, instructors stated the importance of the specific skills they were teaching students and their belief in the importance of transfer. Often, however, their teaching strategies were not explicit enough for students. Interviews with students and observations of classroom teaching indicated that teachers assumed that: transfer automatically happened, students made connections to their own, and students understood the broader picture of their learning. In fact, students understood none of these things, and transfer failed to happen in the majority of the cases, despite potentially useful content (similar to Amal’s experiences). Given this, some Volume 24

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strategies for explicit teaching of transfer include: The Literacy Toolkit. The literacy toolkit is a classroom metaphor that directly teaches for transfer: students have a literacy toolkit, full of different kinds of tools, which they can carry between contexts. At points, they may need to upgrade their tools, add new tools, or do some sharpening; at other points, existing tools may be used for new situations in creative ways. At the beginning of the term, I introduce the literacy toolkit and then encourage students to consider these questions: What is already in your toolkit? Do you need to upgrade some of your tools? Do you need some new tools? As a class, we take an inventory of the tools we already have; then, individually, I encourage students to map out how the tools can be used. This activates students’ prior knowledge, encouraging transfer from previous learning experiences. Halfway through the semester, I ask students to engage in a reflective activity (speaking or writing) surrounding their toolkit: What new tools are you adding to your toolkit? What tools are you learning to use in new ways? At the end of the term, I support mindful abstraction: What tools will you take with you and use? In what situations can you see yourself using the tools? How have you already started to use them? Understanding How Learning and Transfer Works. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing take many years to develop, and struggle in learning these skills should be viewed as an opportunity to grow, rather than something to avoid. Given this, students need to be taught about the process of learning and its realities. I like to use a discussion with my writing students about how learning writing is like playing an instrument—it takes daily practice and many failed attempts before reaching competency. The Box under the Bed. Another way to directly teach students about transfer is to avoid the “box under the bed” metaphor (first described in Bergmann & Zepernik, 2007, p. 148). At the end of the term, students often metaphorically take what they learned out of their heads and put it in a box under the bed to be forgotten about. In class, we talk about how to avoid the box under the bed. At the end of the semester, I conclude by asking students to map out their learning in groups, and then, as a class, I ask students to show one another the many places where their learning can go next. Concurrent Transfer. Concurrent transfer is when transfer occurs between courses and experiences at the same time. To encourage this, I ask students to share writing assignments, reading experiences, and TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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listening and speaking experiences from daily life and/or other courses. Then, we talk directly about how what they are learning in our class can apply. Reflective Activity. Giving students time and space to reflect and connect learning can substantially encourage transfer (Taczak, 2016). Reflection can be used to encourage students to draw upon prior knowledge, to mindfully abstract, and to detect, elect, and connect knowledge to new settings. During, or after, various literacy activities, ask students to reflect on what they have learned and where else knowledge may apply. Further, asking students the simple question of “What did you learn from this assignment?” can elicit powerful responses. This activity can be used individually, in groups, or as a class discussion. Dr. Dana Lynn Driscoll is an Associate Professor and faculty member in the Composition and TESOL PhD program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA. Dr. Driscoll has published in numerous journals including Writing Center Journal, Across the Disciplines, Writing Program Administration, Assessing Writing, Teaching and Learning Inquiry, Computers and Composition and Composition Forum.

A Meta-Education. McCarthy (1987) found that her participants were “strangers in strange lands” each time they entered a new writing situation, even in very similar disciplinary courses (p. 233). Giving students a meta education about how disciplines work, how instructors apply grading standards, and so on, is extremely helpful for students in order for them to have a broader view of learning (Driscoll, 2014). This helps students to understand that writing and reading are not monolithic experiences, but, in fact, both change based on context. To teach this, I assign a written project or presentation where students learn about how literacy works in their chosen discipline. They learn about the “rules” of that discipline and how reading, writing, speaking, and listening are used. The second part of that assignment encourages students to adapt their experiences in our course to their disciplinary contexts.

Tutoring for Transfer

Because transfer is so challenging, students need long-term support for their English language skills beyond courses, and writing centers fill that role. Writing centers provide one-on-one tutoring for language learners, both in their English course sequences, and during the rest of their time at the university. Writing centers are critical in fostering transfer, especially in the absence of any disciplinary literacy support (as Amal’s case demonstrated). Further, because writing centers provide individualized support, they are particularly adept at Volume 24

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intervening in specific writing or reading processes. Tutors can facilitate transfer by having students talk through their prior knowledge and by encouraging the use and adaptation of learning. A number of strategies can help writing center tutors best support students’ learning transfer. These are: Metacognitive Scaffolding and Questioning Strategies. Mackiewicz and Thompson (2014) explain that tutors engage in three major tutoring strategies. One of these is metacognitive scaffolding: that is, helping students have the meta-awareness to adapt, understand, and work through challenging literacy experiences. In a transfer-oriented view of metacognitive scaffolding, we can encourage tutors to help students navigate not only immediate writing tasks, but also adapt and extend their knowledge. This allows students to take a step back from their immediate circumstances, evaluate their progress, discuss where they are heading, and talk through the knowledge that they bring to their circumstances. Metacognitive scaffolding can be encouraged by using questioning strategies, such as: What writing/ reading/speaking opportunities did you have before this? How do these opportunities connect to the current situation? How does situation X relate to situation Y? Helping students talk through these questions and engage in productive conversations are key in tutoring for transfer. Understanding Contexts of Learning. Tutors can help provide contextualization for students as they are navigating their learning experiences. For example, in a situation a few years ago, one student in an earlier study (Driscoll, 2011) found that what was required by her English faculty member was not the same as what was required by her nursing professor; she grew angry with her English faculty member for not teaching her what she needed to know. A writing center tutor was able to intervene and explain how different disciplines worked, and the tutor taught her the importance of adaptation. Tutors can also help students better understand and articulate themselves as learners through questions: Who are you as a learner? Where do you typically struggle? Have you ever written anything like this before? What have you written before? What is your writing process? Modeling transfer.Tutors can encourage students to draw upon prior knowledge by modeling transfer from their own lives. Further, tutors can encourage students to mindfully abstract throughout the tutoring session. Tutors can reinforce knowledge as being applicable, not just to a specific paper, but also more broadly. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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End-of-session transfer. Tutors can reinforce transfer at the end of the session by asking tutees the following: What will you do next? Where else can you use what you have learned today? Writing centers can also ask students to fill out an end-of-session report, where students are asked these questions to support transfer.

Conclusion

While the reality of literacy learning may be far from the ideals we wish for, English language teachers and writing center tutors can share the goal of facilitating learning transfer. English teachers can help provide students with strong foundations in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Additionally, teachers can encourage mindful abstraction while students are enrolled in their courses. Writing centers offer support during English language courses and encourage transfer beyond those courses. Because writing centers are so critical for long-term language learning and transfer, English language teachers can be writing center advocates, and/or can consider starting their own writing centers. It is only with collaboration between those working in the writing center and English Language teachers that we can help our students transfer their knowledge of the English language successfully into a wide and diverse set of new contexts. Note: Six years ago, I began a study on long-term literacy development and learning transfer, in which I followed 13 participants. In 2010, I recruited participants from a first-year writing program in three courses: basic writing, which included language learners; and Composition I or Composition II, which were required courses. I interviewed students at least once each year and collected their writing samples. Sabir’s “ideal” experiences are drawn from several students in the study. Amal (a pseudonym) was an actual participant in the study.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks are due to Ryan McDonald, Jodi Lefort, Gwen Gorzelsky, Ben Rafoth, Roger Powell, Marissa McKinley, and reviewers & editors for feedback.

References

Bergmann, L., & Zepernick, J. (2007). Disciplinarity and transference: Students’ perceptions of learning to write. WPA Journal, 31(1/2), 124–149. CWPA, NCTE, and NWP. (2011). Framework for success in postsecondary writing. Retrieved from: http://wpacouncil.org/framework Driscoll, D. L. (2011). Connected, disconnected, or uncertain: Student attitudes about future writing contexts and perceptions of transfer from first-year writing to the disciplines. Across the Disciplines, 8(2). Volume 24

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Driscoll, D. L., & Wells, J. (2012). Beyond knowledge and skills: Writing transfer and the role of student dispositions. Composition Forum, 26. Driscoll, D. L. (2013). Connected pedagogy and transfer of learning: An examination of graduate instructor beliefs vs. practices in first-year writing. The Journal of Teaching Writing, 28(1), 51-81. Driscoll, D. L. (2014). Clashing values: A longitudinal, exploratory study of student beliefs about general education, vocationalism, and transfer of learning. Teaching and Learning Inquiry:The ISSOTL Journal 2(1), 21-37. doi:10.1353/iss.2014.0007 Haskell, R. E. (2000). Transfer of learning: Cognition and instruction. New York, NY: Academic Press. James, M. A. (2009). “Far” transfer of learning outcomes from an ESL writing course: Can the gap be bridged? Journal of Second Language Writing, 18(2), 69-84. doi:10.1016/j.jslw.2009.01.001 Mackiewicz, J., & Thompson, I. (2014). Talk about writing:The tutoring strategies of experienced writing center tutors. New York, NY: Routledge. McCarthy, L. P. (1987). A stranger in strange lands: A college student writing across the curriculum. Research in the Teaching of English, 21(3), 233-265. Perkins, D. N., & Salomon, G. (2012). Knowledge to go: A motivational and dispositional view of transfer. Educational Psychologist, 47(3), 248–258. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2012.693354 Salomon, G., & Perkins, D. N. (1989). Rocky roads to transfer: Rethinking the mechanisms of a neglected phenomenon. Educational Psychologist, 24(2), 113-142. Schunk, D. H. (2008). Metacognition, selfregulation, and self-regulated learning: Research recommendations. Educational Psychology Review, 20(4), 463-467. Taczak, K. (2016). Reflection is critical for writers’ development. Naming what we know:Threshold concepts for writing studies. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. Tuomi-Grohn, T., & Engestrom,Y. (2003). Between school and work: New perspectives on transfer and boundary-crossing (1st ed.). Boston, MA: Pergamon. Wardle, E. (2007). Understanding ‘transfer’ from FYC: Preliminary results of a longitudinal study. WPA Journal, 31(1/2), 124–149. Wingfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancyvalue theory of achievement Motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 68-81. doi:10.1006/eeps1999.1015 i

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Types and Hypotheses of Language Attrition The phenomenon of language attrition has been an issue of interest to researchers within the field of applied linguistics. This paper aims to examine what is meant by language attrition, whether it is language modification, shift, or simply loss. This paper also highlights four language attrition types: (1) loss of L1 in L1 environment; (2) loss of L1 in L2 environment; (3) loss of L2 in L1 environment; and (4) loss of L2 in L2 environment. Furthermore, the paper sheds light on the key hypotheses that attempt to explain how language is lost: the regression hypothesis, the activation threshold hypothesis, and the interlanguage or interference hypothesis.

Introduction

When people travel overseas and leave their countries whether to visit, work, study, or immigrate, they need to learn and use L2 for a quite long period of time. Such a process will decrease the use of L1 and increase the use of L2; this is known as language attrition. Taura (2008) states that the phenomenon of language attrition was first recognized at the Conference on the Attrition of Language Skills at the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, and since then, language attrition has been understood widely as “the decline of linguistic skills whether of individuals or speech communities” (as citied in Nakagawa, 2012). Language attrition may happen in L1 and L2 as well; L1 can inhibit the acquisition of L2 and thus create attrition in L2. Interestingly, it is pertinent to cite here that one of my Arab friends went to the United States to study and she shared her story with me after coming back. Foreign students in an American educational institution must use the English language on a daily basis in order to communicate with professors and colleagues for learning purposes. This helped my friend achieve a high language proficiency level. Outside the school context, she was speaking Arabic to her Arab friends and family members. After a while, she found herself in a situation where she had to learn how to link the two languages, Arabic and English. Within two years of speaking the two Volume 24

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Rabia Zouaghi Jazan University, Saudi Arabia

languages, she started to have difficulty remembering certain words in her L1 while she was engaged in conversations with her relatives. This friend`s experience could be an example of L2 interference while speaking L1 after a period of time. As mentioned above, the phenomenon of language attrition has been an issue of investigation; research tries to answer different aspects of the phenomenon that L2 may cause the loss of L1. This article attempts to provide definitions of language attrition highlighting its types and hypotheses, using various approaches including linguistic and sociolinguistic.

Definition, Types, and Hypotheses of Language Attrition

Definition of Language Attrition Language attrition is a kind of reduction or loss of language in an individual person or in a community. It has been referred to using other terms such as language change, language loss, or language shift (Weltens, De Bot & Van Els, 1986; Seliger & Vago, 1991; Hamers & Blanc, 2000). Schmid (2011) defines language attrition as a process of learning a second language by people who have lived a period of time in a foreign country, during which their first language was not used for whatever reasons. This situation results in forgetting words while engaging in a conversation using L1. Gradually, these people’s use of L2 affects their fluency and accuracy in L1. Using Schmid’s definition, “language attrition describes the loss of, or change to, grammatical and other features of languages as a result of declining use by speakers who have changed their linguistic environment and language habits” (pp. 11-12). Other authors explain language attrition differently. For instance, Hamers and Blanc (2000) believe that language attrition refers to all non-temporary regression in language processing, covering a continuum from mild access problems (i.e., word finding) to complete loss of language. Attrition may be caused by non-pathological loss in the L1. Attrition may also be due to lack of exposure to L1. This TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Feature Article process of disappearance or disruption in L1 happens to immigrants who live in a with a first language that is different from their L1 (Schmid, 2008). Types of Language Attrition Attrition-related research can be categorized in various forms based on factors that affect the attrition process. Weltens, De Bot, and Van Els (1986) categorize language attrition in terms of what is lost as well as in terms of the environment in which language is lost, presenting four types: (1) loss of L1 in an L1 environment; (2) loss of L1 in an L2 environment; (3) loss of L2 in an L1 environment; and (4) loss of L2 in an L2 environment. The first type, loss of L1 in an L1 environment, refers to the loss of what is known as minority languages. Hagen (1981, as cited Weltens, De Bot & Van Els, 1986) conducted a sociolinguistic research project to investigate the loss of several minority languages such as the loss of Welsh and Gaelic in Britain, German in Belgium, and others. Due to lack of exposure and use, such minority languages may be forgotten. A good example to illustrate the second category, loss of L1 in an L2-enivorment, would be the loss of L1 by migrant workers, where the migrants need to learn and use L2 in order to have a job and be able to communicate within work contexts. After some time, the migrants’ L1 proficiency is negatively affected. One study the looked at language loss in negative sentences; it was found that the participants did not suffer from any attrition. Thus, the researchers thought that those who had suffered from attrition in studies using negative sentences might not successfully form an organized structure (Hunt & Rawson, 2011; as citied in Yu, 2013). The third type, loss of L2 in an L1 environment, occurs when individuals no longer use second/ foreign languages because they rarely need them or simply stop using them completely for some reasons. For instance, an individual who studies a second language and then travels to work in a country where another language is used and required for communication may not be able to use the second language he/she has learned earlier, due to lack of exposure and use. The last type, loss of L2 in an L2 environment, occurs mainly when a person immigrates to a different country. While research in applied linguistics has addressed the first three types, this last type has not been largely investigated. Hypotheses of Language Attrition There are several hypotheses within the field of language attrition. This paper, however, explores the regression hypothesis, the threshold hypothesis, and the inter-language hypothesis. Volume 24

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11 The Regression Hypothesis: Among numerous language attrition hypotheses, the regression hypothesis has been widely recognized and studied because it is considered as “self-evident” and thus no experiments are needed for testing (Yu, 2013). To propose a hypothesis for L1 attrition, Schmid (2008) adopts a general hypothesis that has been termed as the regression hypothesis The hypothesis advocates the idea that what is learned earlier stays longer, and what is learned later is more disposed to rapid attrition (Bardovi-Harlig & Stringer, 2010). This thought goes back to the 1940s when Jakobson expressed it in his explanatory framework whilst trying to find indications for the existence of universals in the language of aphasics, mainly in the comparison with the first language acquisition (Seliger & Vago, 1991). The theory of language loss also appeared in the work of John Hughlings Jackson (1884), who used the term dissolution to refer to certain diseases affecting the nervous system (Seliger &Vago, 1991). Rabia Zouaghai works as an English language instructor at Jazan University in Saudi Arabia. Zouaghai holds a Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Nazareth College of Rochester, NY.

Weltens, De Bot and Van Els (1986) argue that language reversion is not a simple regression phenomenon that can happen to everyone. Instead, it depends on other factors like the level of proficiency acquired in L2. Cohen (1975), on the other hand, examined the attrition of L2 Spanish in three Anglophone children. He targeted the specific features of L2 after three months of nonuse of Spanish. The children did not differentiate between the first and third person singular present tense. Hence, Cohen clarifies that what is acquired early will be stored deeper in the memory (as cited in Weltens, De Bot & Van Els, 1986). Cohen (1989) also points out that children are more open to the attrition stage compared to older people, and that productive nouns are more easily forgotten than receptive ones (as cited in Yu, 2013). Seliger and Vago (1991) conducted a study at the University of Nijmegen comparing L1 acquisition with L1 loss, and L2 learning with L2 loss to test the regression hypothesis. Regression was expected to occur because factors like linguistic variables and cognitive load would play an important role in language loss. Based on this study, cognitive factors are more important for adults than children who are still developing these factors. Overall, few studies support the regression theory, even though it has been largely investigated and applied in the research field of attrition. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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The Activation Threshold Hypothesis: Paradis (2004) describes the activation threshold hypothesis as a pervasive component of the model that is associated with the physiological domain and operative in all higher cognitive representations.This hypothesis suggests that when a sufficient amount of positive neural impulses reaches its neural substrate, an item is activated. Moreover, attrition occurs when the individual lowers the use of a language in a bilingual environment.The activation threshold hypothesis emphasizes the use of linguistic items and their activation in the language user. In other words, the lower the activation thresholds, the easier access becomes. In his investigation of the negative English sentence, Hanson (1999) confirmed the threshold hypothesis to be more convincing (as cited in Yu, 2013). In a more recent study,Yu (2013) aimed to validate both the regression and activation threshold hypotheses by examining the reaction time and error percentage of three groups of participants who were middle school students, workers and English teachers. The study findings were in favor of the threshold hypothesis. The Inter-Language Hypothesis: The inter-language hypothesis suggests that in the situation of language contact and language change, the modification in the linguistic system partly or entirely takes over the L2. In his article, Frith (1977) describes the inter-language theory, which assumes that an active and independent learning mind makes its own generalizations upon grappling with a new language and argues that the errors a learner makes with the rules of the L2 are often in fact correct according to the rules of an inter-language invented by the learner as a provisional and sufficiently workable substitute. To insist on penalizing such “errors” has the effect of breaking down the learner’s capacity to organize his or her language progress. The inter-language hypothesis can also be referred to as the interference hypothesis or the crosslinguistic influence hypothesis (Bardovi-Harlig & Stringer, 2010). According to Seliger (1991), learners, following a period of time without receiving input in L1, begin to unconsciously process L2 input resulting in replacing “L1 complex rules with simpler L2 rules,” provided that that both sets of rules are similar in terms of semantics (as cited in Bardovi-Harlig & Stringer, 2010). In addition, Pavlenko (2004) and Isurin (2007) argue that if one is increasingly exposed to a second language, she/ he is influenced by her/his first language. Such an influence is an important factor since language Volume 24

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interference is able to “provide a comprehensive account of attrition” (as cited in Bardovi-Harlig & Stringer, 2010).

Conclusion

This paper aims to describe language attrition from different perspectives, while shedding light on different patterns of language loss including aphasia, age and bilingualism. Much is still unknown about language attrition; more investigation is called for. It is worthwhile mentioning that what has been discussed and what will still be explored need to serve language acquisition purposes.

References

Bardovi-Harlig, K., & Stringer, D. (2010).Variables in second language attrition: Advancing the state of art. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 32(1), 1-45. Frith, M. B. (1977). Interlanguage theory: Implications for the classroom. McGill Journal of Education/Revue des sciences de l’éducation de McGill, 13(2), 155-165. Hamers, J., & Blanc, M. (2000). Language attrition and bilinguality. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press Nakagawa, A. (2012). Two case studies of L2 attrition due to the change in school medium language from L2 to L1 in the L1 environment. Studies in Language Science, 2, 107-157. Retrieved from http://rcube.ritsumei.ac.jp/ bitstream/10367/4279/1/IEIS_2nakagawa.pdf Paradis, M. (2004). A neurolinguistic theory of bilingualism. Amsterdam, NL: Benjamins. Schmid, M. (2008). Defining language attrition. Babylonia, 2, 9-12. Retrieved from http:// babylonia.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/ documents/2008-2/schmid_01.pdf Schmid, M. (2011). Language attrition. New York: Cambridge University Press Seliger, H.W. and Vago, R. M. (1991). First language attrition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Weltens, B., De Bot, K., & Van Els, T. (1986). Language attrition in progress. Dordrecht, NL: Foris Publications. Yu, Z. (2013). Regression and threshold hypotheses in English language attrition through computer aided education: A computer technology assisted behavioral study. Journal of Applied Sciences, 13(24), 5691-5699. Retrieved from http://scialert.net/ qredirect.php?doi=jas.2013.5691.5699&linkid=pdf

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Feature Article

When the Teacher’s Culture Meets the Students’

Rasha Mohamed The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Culture has become an important component of language teaching. Culture is a complex term to define, as it encompasses different sides.Teaching culture can be part of daily language activities and does not necessarily require creating separate ones. The educational and personal benefits of teaching culture are elaborated in relation to the communicative language teaching approach. Based on various contexts of teaching culture, the main purpose of this paper is to encourage broadening the meaning of culture to cover diverse cultures.These cultures can be the teacher’s or the students’ since both are intriguing, and serve the purpose of encouraging students to be engaged in intercultural communication. Some skeptical viewpoints of teaching culture are examined to provide educators with an objective and realistic view of the situation. Finally, some teaching suggestions and activities are recommended.

What is Culture?

Culture is inclusive of many aspects, such as food, clothing, customs, religion, beliefs, and art with its different forms, to name only a few. There is no consensus to what culture is (Moran & Lu, 2001) as it is multifaceted and does not lend itself to one simple definition (Lavrenteva & Orland-Barak, 2015). Moran and Lu (2001) define culture on the national level as follows: Culture is the evolving way of life of a group of persons, consisting of a shared set of practices associated with a shared set of products, based upon a shared set of perspectives on the world, and set within specific social contexts. (p. 24) On the other hand, Hall and Hall (1990) define culture on the personal level: “Culture determines

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what we perceive, how we react to situations, and how we relate to other people” (p. 136). Although culture is internal as it is related to the way of thinking, beliefs, and perceptions, it is also tangible and external as it can be witnessed in food, movies, and music. There is a strong relation between language and culture. As Moran and Lu (2001) put it, “culture and language are inseparable” (p. 1). They are considered “two sides of the same coin” (Nault, 2006, p. 314). Thus, the role of teachers has changed. Castro, Sercu, and Méndez García (2004) argue that teachers are not expected to teach linguistic codes only, but to contextualize these codes. This contextualization of language and understanding of culture could improve students’ linguistic abilities and assist them in avoiding any miscommunication that may occur due to unfamiliarity with the real use of language. It may also equip them with several useful skills and values that are required by employers in the 21st century, such as intercultural communication.

Benefits of Teaching Culture in the EFL/ESL Classroom

As both Luk (2012) and Nault (2006) indicate, an important goal of foreign language teaching is to enable learners to be aware and capable of dealing with several cultures. This intercultural communication is necessary for various purposes whether business, politics, tourism, or merely general knowledge. Even fluent speakers could misinterpret certain situations if they lack the adequate cultural background (Nault, 2006). The benefits of teaching culture that are discussed in this article can be divided into two categories: educational and personal. Table 1 offers a summary of these benefits. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Table 1 Benefits of Teaching Culture Educational Benefits

Personal Benefits

Meeting the needs of learners Avoiding miscommunication Correlating with communicative language teaching Engaging and motivating activities

Creating world citizens Increasing students’ general knowledge Learners becoming more tolerant towards differences Equipping learners with 21st century skills

The educational and language teaching benefits are explored first. A culture-inclusive syllabus is usually interactive, up-to-date, entertaining, and engaging. Authentic activities like discovering the habits of other nations or their costumes and then presenting about their discoveries increase students’ talk time, which correlates with the communicative language teaching approach (Chahak & Basirizadeh, 2012; Chamberlin-Quinlisk, 2012; Sun, 2013). It is also motivating for students to explore the real world and learn new vocabulary through taking virtual journeys in different world continents (Chavez, 2005; Özüorçun, 2014). In addition, teaching culture is an essential tool in building the characters of 21st century learners. On the personal level, it is immensely important to expose students to other cultures and encourage them to analyze the information they learn in order to be real world citizens in this era of globalization. When taught appropriately, cultural awareness fosters global understanding and helps bridge the gaps among people (Sun, 2013). This would also elevate students’ curiosity to travel abroad which thus might help boost their self-confidence, broadmindedness, flexibility, acceptance, tolerance, and creativity (Chavez, 2005; Özüorçun, 2014). Learners may also see difference as a sign of richness rather than a root for conflict. All these values are indispensable in any field of work and help learners be successful team players when they start their own careers. This is also part of educators’ responsibility, to enhance the skills of learners and prepare them for the real world experience. Ω

Which Culture Should be Discussed in the EFL/ESL Classroom? This section sheds light on the main focus of this Volume 24

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article: Which culture should curriculum designers and educators select to teach in their institutions? Is it one specific culture? Is it the culture of the language being taught? Should there be preference to one culture over the other? In an attempt to find some answers to these questions, reference is made to my teaching experience in the following countries: Egypt, the U.S., and Morocco. In my first years of teaching in Egypt, my home country, there was not a huge focus on culture while teaching the language. Later, awareness of the benefits of including culture in language classroom increased. However, in English language classrooms, this culture was the American or British only. In the US, I taught Arabic to American students as a Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin. There was a lot of interest in the culture of Arab countries in general and Egyptian in particular. This interest was reflected in the curriculum: extra materials were used for teaching, and outdoor activities were held for students, such as visiting an Arabic restaurant or holding a competition in singing in Arabic. The choice of the Arab/Egyptian culture was due to two factors: it was the culture of the language being taught, and it was the teacher’s own culture. One year later, I volunteered to teach English to Moroccan students in a public school in Casablanca, Morocco. The program hosted teachers from different parts of the world - China, Egypt, Moldova, Romania, Spain, and Tunisia, to name a few. An integral part of the program was to inform students about each teacher’s culture while teaching them English or French. Thus, the focus in this program was more on the teacher’s own culture and was not limited to the culture of the language students were learning. Based on this teaching experience in three different countries, it is noticeable that the choice of which culture to include in teaching depends mostly on the culture of the language being taught, or sometimes the teacher’s culture. However, while teaching English to Moroccan students, I included both my culture and the students’ culture. It is true that both Egypt and Morocco are Arab and Muslim countries, yet, there are a number of differences between the two cultures. Therefore, the suggested activities in the second section of this article are mainly based on the Egyptian and Moroccan cultures. The same TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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applies to various Gulf countries, where an Egyptian language teacher can include both the Egyptian and Gulf cultures in her/his classroom. However, most of the discourse about teaching culture focuses only on the culture of the language being taught; in the case of English it is mostly limited to the cultures of two countries, the US and UK. Including the teaching of several cultures like the teacher’s and the students’ should, however, be emphasized. It is of value to explain the reasons for teaching the students’ culture in an attempt to support this suggestion. Firstly, when the teacher talks with students about their culture, she or he is leading by example. Instead of lecturing students about the necessity of being broadminded, the teacher is doing it by learning about the students’ culture. This is not restricted to EFL situations, where a foreign teacher is in the classroom, because even if the teacher and students belong to the same culture, there is still room for discussing the distinction between cities, for example. Secondly, students feel appreciated and consider this interest in their own culture as appreciation and respect of their identity. They also feel a sense of importance as they are informing their instructor and helping her/him get acquainted to the culture, which my Moroccan students were extremely excited to do. Thirdly, activities that encourage students to present their culture are authentic, engaging learners in a variety of motivating tasks. As for teaching the teacher’s culture, it would be of interest to elaborate on the importance of teaching it in the classroom even if it is not the same as the language being taught. Having a foreign teacher presents a great opportunity for students to learn about the teacher’s culture; she/he can be considered as a guest speaker in some sessions. In addition, students are usually curious to better know their instructors. Since culture forms a huge part of one’s identity, students are eager to learn about this aspect of their teachers. This awareness can foster intercultural communication. There should never be one culture to always focus on in language classrooms. Instead, it is more useful to include different cultures to foster world understanding. No culture is better than the other; each has useful and intriguing aspects to offer to our learners. In the case of English, it has become a Volume 24

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lingua franca, and many learners are not studying it to travel to any English speaking country, but rather to deal with business partners from around the globe. As Harumi (2002) explains, the English language has become the property of different nations all over the world. Whose culture then should be taught in an EFL/ESL class? According to Nault (2006), “English teaching professionals should discard the notion that the US and Great Britain represent the sole ‘target cultures’ of the English language” (p. 314). It would be very limiting to focus on one culture among the vast cultures in this world. Furthermore, it would be a huge loss not to enrich classrooms with the multicultural students or teachers who are all gathered in the same place. Rasha Suleiman Mohamed obtained her BA in English Language and Literature from the School of Al-Alsun, Ain Shams University, and her MA TESOL from the Applied Linguistics Department at the American University in Cairo. Currently, she works at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Her research interests include teaching practices and sociolinguistics.

Opposing Views of Teaching Culture in the EFL/ESL Classroom

To ensure objectivity, this part of the paper investigates the views against teaching culture. To begin with, there are several reasons that may make us question the aim of spreading cultural awareness among students. In the Middle East, for example, some parents notice how their children are influenced by the American culture. This is especially clear in students of international schools who tend to imitate the surface facets of the American culture: celebrating American holidays, and mimicking the way of talking and dressing (Alrikabi, 2013). Their parents may fear that their children could become estranged in their own Arab societies and lose part of their identity, so they object to teaching culture. However, it is worth contemplating this question: If these students were exposed to multiple cultures, would they still be losing their Arab identity? In other situations, the rejection of teaching culture may be due to historical reasons. Parents might be reluctant to welcome the immersion of their children in the culture of a nation that had previously occupied their land or was their enemy in war. Politics may encourage some people to consider teaching culture as a kind of hegemony of certain countries or even a cultural invasion. Scollon (2004) mentions that in recent years, some American TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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military personnel have been encouraged to learn languages and cultures of other nations, which has changed the nature of war to be “interaction based on language” (p. 271). In addition, Stone (2014) examines the source of funding of several Arabic teaching programs in the US after 9/11. Stone’s article aims for transparency and openness in regard to sources of funding of Arabic teaching programs. He expresses his surprise that Arabic teaching programs are mostly funded by the Department of Defense and not the Department of Education. He also concurs with Scollon that culture is the new war, and language is the weapon used in this war. Hence, some teachers may not feel comfortable sharing their culture if they fear it could be used against their homeland. Lavrenteva and Orland-Barak (2015) believe that the representation of culture in curricula needs to be investigated. Some educators may argue that the curriculum does not and should not include culture because they need to cover many linguistic aspects and have no time for cultural education. If the instructor does not deem culture as an integral part of language teaching, it will be difficult for her/ him to create the time for cultural activities. Another possible reason for opposing teaching culture is fear of covert missionary work and proselytizing. Table 2 summarizes the main reasons for objections to culture teaching in language classrooms. Table 2 Opposing Views of the Teaching of Culture Reason

Example

Identity loss

Students of international schools seem Americanized and estranged to their communities Colonization Moroccan’s feelings towards French culture Politics Hegemony of some countries; language’s role in wars; source of funding of language programs Education Time constraints; prioritizing linguistic content Religion Culture may be subtly aiming at converting students These are some of the reasons for possible discouragement of culture teaching in language classrooms. Roughly speaking, these reasons are Volume 24

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related to national identity, historic conflicts, political reasons, educational, and religious concerns.

Cultural Activities in the EFL/ESL Classroom

Several activities can be performed in the classroom to include culture in language teaching. These activities cover the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Some of these activities are culture-specific, but others can be a part of regular classroom activities with some adaptation. Art and technology can be of great use in teaching culture. First artistic works such as literature, movies, and music can be good sources for teaching culture. Watching movies, listening to songs, and reading literary works expose learners to various aspects of culture. These different forms of art are very engaging and entertaining for students, rich in cultural information, and lend themselves to various teaching activities, such as discussions, essays, and role plays. Proverbs are also usually loaded with cultural beliefs and are interesting to discuss. Some idioms have exciting stories that can be related to culture as well. If students’ age allows, it can be useful to make use of technology and match students with peers from other countries. This online communication assists students in improving their linguistic skills in writing, speaking, sentence structure, and vocabulary. In addition, it is an authentic context for practicing the language and an exciting one since students gain new information about another country and its culture. Another proposed activity which can be helpful is dependent on the availability of foreign communities in the country where the class takes place. It can be beneficial to host a foreigner in the classroom and have students interview the guest about her/ his country and culture. For instance, many Indian citizens live in the UAE, which may allow for cultural exchange. Having a guest speaker is another authentic and communicative activity that can be accompanied by many teaching tasks, such as writing a brief report about the guest’s visit. Moreover, trips to visit a museum, gallery, or restaurant are useful. Such trips allow for direct interaction with the culture of this place. In Egypt, for example, many consulates have cultural centers or institutes that hold various events to introduce their culture to Egyptians. Consequently, students may attend some of these cultural events and report what they have learned there. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Unfortunately, issues of practicality issues do not always allow for conducting the above-mentioned activities as ways to include culture in teaching. Sometimes this is due to time constraints, among other reasons. There are, however, some simple ways to teach culture within the common practices of a language classroom. While teaching reading, for instance, the choice of texts that are rich with cultural information, such as news websites, can be of value. The same idea can be implemented while teaching listening. Furthermore, cultural connotations could be helpful when introducing new vocabulary items. Özüorçun (2014) gives an example of the word owl, which is related to wisdom in Western countries, but foolishness in Urdu. In Egypt, however, an owl indicates a bad omen.

Tips for Application

Teachers need to expand their knowledge of other parts of the world. It is also important to explain to policy makers, supervisors, parents, and students the aim and importance of cultural activities within the classroom. As Chavez (2005) points out, there may still be some contradiction or resistance from some students. This reluctance to accept new forms of activities could be due to the normal resistance to change that accompanies the application of any new idea. Alternatively, some students or educators are broadminded and accept change. It is, therefore, important to include students in the process of choosing topics to be discussed in the classroom. This engages learners, making them feel responsible for their own learning. Moreover, it is of great importance for the teacher to be culturally sensitive and avoid any stereotypes, generalizations, biases, or prejudices. This is crucial as the teacher is a role model for her/his students, and any comments that bear any sense of disrespect or mockery of other cultures actually contradict with one of the main goals of teaching culture, namely spreading the values of mutual respect, acceptance of the other, and open-mindedness.

Conclusion

Based on my teaching experience in three different countries, integrating culture with language teaching will guarantee great outcomes. What is more, culture teaching in language classrooms should not be restricted to one culture. Obviously, the more cultures students are exposed to, the more they will benefit. Volume 24

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References

Alrikabi, A. (2013, January 12). How not to solve a problem by creating another. Arab News. Retrieved from http://www.arabnews.com/ how-not-solve-problem-creating-another Castro, P., Sercu, L., & Méndez García, M. D. C. (2004). Integrating language and culture teaching: An investigation of Spanish teachers’ perceptions of the objectives of foreign language education. Intercultural Education, 15(1), 91-104. Chahak, S. M., & Basirizadeh, F. S. (2012). The study of culture on foreign language teaching. International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, 2(6), 522-524. Chamberlin-Quinlisk, C. (2012). Teaching language and culture in a digital age. i-Manager’s Journal of Educational Technology, 9(1), 6-14. Chavez, M. (2005).Variation in the beliefs of college students of German about the teaching of culture. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, 38(1), 31-43. Hall, E. T., & Hall, M. R. (1990). Understanding cultural differences: Germans, French and Americans. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press. Harumi, I. (2002). A new framework of culture teaching for teaching English as a global language. RELC Journal, 33(2), 36-57. Lavrenteva, E., & Orland-Barak, L. (2015).The treatment of culture in the foreign language curriculum: An analysis of national curriculum documents. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 47(5), 653-684. Luk, J. (2012). Teachers’ ambivalence in integrating culture with EFL teaching in Hong Kong. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 25(3), 249–264. Moran, P. R., & Lu, Z. (2001). Teaching culture: Perspectives in practice. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle. Nault, D. (2006). Going global: Rethinking culture teaching in ELT contexts. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 19(3), 314–328. Özüorçun, F. (2014). Teaching culture as a fifth language skill. Journal of International Social Research, 7(29), 680-685. Scollon, R. (2004). Teaching language and culture as hegemonic practice. The Modern Language Journal, 88(2), 271-274. Stone, C. (2014, April 11). Teaching Arabic in the US after 9/11. Jadaliyya. Retrieved from http://www. jadaliyya.com/pages/index/17286/teachingarabic-in-the-us-after-9-11 Sun, L. (2013). Culture teaching in foreign language teaching. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 3(2), 371. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Edmodo: Using Social Media to Improve Students’ Vocabulary Recall

Allison Dansie Kansai Gaidai University, Japan

According to Oscar Wilde (1895), memory is the diary that we carry about with us.Yet, how does this mental diary get written? Why is it that some things seem to be so vividly recorded in our students’ memories while others seem to be almost instantaneously forgotten, and do we teachers have any influence or control over this process?

empowerment” (para. 12). To meet this aim, this article will provide readers with a basic overview of the brain’s memory systems and then give suggestions for capitalizing on this knowledge by using social media, specifically Edmodo, to improve students’ vocabulary recall.

This question applies to any aspect of L2 learning, but very poignantly to vocabulary acquisition, since without the building blocks of words, a new language has no foundation upon which to stand. Just how important is vocabulary? According to Nation (2008), one needs at least a 2,000 word vocabulary to communicate successfully in everyday situations and a 7,000-8,000 word vocabulary to understand even a children’s movie in English. It is no wonder that when surveyed, 63% of my firstyear university students in Japan ranked “lack of vocabulary” as their number one frustration when attempting to use English. The importance of improving students’ vocabulary became even more apparent when I administered Nation’s “Vocabulary Levels Test: 1,000 Word Level” (2001), and on average, students were able to correctly identify only 71% of the lexical items tested. These results definitely indicated a need for greater study at even this most fundamental level, especially since the test assesses only receptive vocabulary knowledge.

Neurologists who study memories generally categorize them as either implicit or explicit (Jensen, 2009). Examples of implicit memories might be procedural skills such as riding a bike, or sensory reactions such as remembering not to touch a hot stove. Explicit memories, in contrast, are the memories which we usually actively seek to remember such as an important event from our childhood, what a certain word means, or a historical fact. Tulving explains implicit memory as a type of “knowing” and explicit memory as activated by “remembering” (as cited in Bailey & Pransky, 2014).

Faced with students’ obvious struggle to recall English vocabulary, I found inspiration for solutions in neuroeducation research. Willis (2012), a former neurologist turned educator, states, “When educators learn about how the brain appears to process, remember and transfer information… and when they share that knowledge with students, they share Volume 24

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The Brain’s Memory Systems

Neuroscientists further break down the category of explicit memories into what are called semantic memories and episodic memories. Semantic memories are the ones that a traditional educational system builds on and accesses most often. These memories are often described as factual memories; examples might be remembering when World War II started, what a thesis statement is, or what the word “explicit” means. Episodic memories, on the other hand, are memories of places, emotions, and events from our own lives (Sousa, 2011). As one considers both semantic and episodic memories, episodic memories usually stand out more vividly and are recalled more quickly than semantic ones because episodic memories generally include locational, sensory, and emotional information all TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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neurologically linked together. This is why when someone asks us, “What did you have for lunch yesterday?” most of us will first think to ourselves, “Where was I for lunch yesterday? Who was with me?” Once we can visualize the location or who we were with, we can then access the memory of what we actually ate (Sprenger, 2008). This is episodic memory at work, and it is one of our most powerful tools for successful recall.

Activating Episodic Memory in the Classroom

Bailey and Pransky (2014) liken episodic memory to a movie we ourselves are starring in, which led me to think about the great lengths to which my students would go when documenting their daily lives on social media sites. To me, students’ Facebook walls appear to be visual storyboards of their own episodic mental movies. Thus, I started to consider trying to link the semantic memories I hoped my students were forming in class, specifically TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) vocabulary, to episodic memories that they were already creating themselves and documenting via social media. The following words from Willis (2006) cemented my goal: “Event memories… are tied to specific emotionally or physically charged events… Because the dramatic event powers its way through the neural pathways… and into memory storage, the associated hitch-hiking academic information gets pulled along with it” (p. 13). I started with a short in-class activity which would encourage students to link the vocabulary we were studying in our TOEIC preparation course to personal photos they already had on their smart phones. I gave each student a card with one of our target vocabulary words on it. The students took 3-5 minutes to search through their personal photos, choose one, and write a sentence about the photo using the target word. Next, they shared their photo and sentence with a partner, and the two worked together to correct any meaning or structural problems in the sentence. I then asked students to get up, move around the classroom, and show 3-5 different classmates their photo while using the sentence to describe it. I encouraged students to ask one follow-up question about the photo/sentence combination their partners had shared, and then in turn share their photo/sentence combination. Students enjoyed the activity enough that several of Volume 24

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them requested that we do it more often. Building on this activity, I set up class accounts on Edmodo (www.edmodo.com), a social network which functions very much like Facebook, but which was created for educational purposes so that teachers could control and monitor the posts. To start with, I asked students to simply post their photo/ sentence combinations from class on the site later, as homework. As is possible with Facebook, other students on Edmodo “like” the photos, or comment on them, and so a very natural exchange sprang into action as students completed this initial assignment. I was amazed at how many “likes” students gave and how many students were voluntarily using the target vocabulary to make comments on the initially posted photos and sentences. In the previous semester when we had completed traditional paper-based vocabulary assignments, only 9% of the students reported that they were motivated to study the vocabulary more. When asked the same question after a semester using Edmodo assignments, 39% reported that they were motivated to study more, which was, in part, due to the students linking their personal episodic memories with the more academic semantic memories I wanted them to form. Allison Dansie holds an M.A. in TESOL/Linguistics and currently teaches at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. She has also taught in the Czech Republic, Turkey, China, and the USA. Her research interests are neuroeducation, the use of technology to enable best practices, and content-based learning and teaching.

Next, I gave students an assignment which I called “Selfies with a Sentence” in which they could choose any of the TOEIC vocabulary from our current or past units, take a selfie that would provide an appropriate context in which to use the vocabulary word, and then post the selfie and a sentence using the target word on Edmodo. I made it clear that if they didn’t actually want to appear in the photo, the “selfie” could be an item or a drawing representing them. Most students took traditional selfies, but some students used character dolls and some drew anime sketches of themselves and used those; one student even used his university baseball cap to represent himself in each photo, which worked brilliantly since other students admired him and his place on the school team. In a class where the average homework completion rate had been roughly 50%, homework completion rates for the “Selfies with a Sentence” assignment soared to 76%. Surprisingly, students also began posting photos and TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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sentences using the target words about their lives, without the encouragement of an actual assignment. Finally, I wanted to help students create episodic memories linking the target vocabulary not only with their lives outside of school, but also with their classmates, as well as our classroom itself. My hope was that linking the semantic memories to episodes involving our class would allow easier recall during tests when students would be surrounded by the same sensory input, location, and people as when they had created these episodic memories. To meet this goal, at the end of each unit I had students work in groups of 3-4 to take their cameras and go out onto campus to “make a memory.” They documented their activities on Edmodo using at least 5 (and often more) of the target words from the unit. Some students created elaborate fictional stories with pictures and sentences to narrate them. Some wrote dialogs. Other groups simply took silly pictures and then wrote about the moment. I later used these Edmodo posts to create cloze activities and sentence completions for our test reviews. Student test scores only increased slightly (from a 79% to 83% average), but 93% of the students said that they believed that their abilities had improved and their knowledge had deepened after using the Edmodo posts to both practice and review the target vocabulary. Students also felt that our classroom had become a more productive learning environment, with an 18% increase in positive responses after making the transition to Edmodo.

Jensen, E. (2009). Super teaching (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Nation, I. S. P. (2008). Teaching vocabulary: Strategies and techniques. Boston, MA: Heinle, Cengage Learning. Nation, I. S. P. (2001). Vocabulary levels test: 1,000 words. Retrieved from http://www.lextutor.ca/tests/levels/ recognition/1k/test_1.html Sousa, D. (2011). How the ELL brain learns. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Sprenger, M. (2008). Differentiation through learning styles and memory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Wilde, O. (1895). The importance of being earnest. Retrieved from https:// en.wikiquote.org/wiki/ Oscar_Wilde Willis, J. (2012, July 27). A neurologist makes the case for teaching teachers about the brain. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia. org/blog/neuroscience-higher-ed-judywillis Willis, J. (2006). Research-based strategies to ignite student learning: Insights from a neurologist and classroom teacher. Alexandria, VA: ASCD Publications. i

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Conclusion

Linking semantic memory to episodic memory has great potential to strengthen students’ recall, according to neuro-researchers. What started as a project with the hope of helping students more easily remember TOEIC vocabulary resulted in a more positive classroom atmosphere and more motivated students. Setting up Edmodo did require extra work on my part, but in the end the outcomes were really worth it!

References

Bailey, F., & Pransky, K. (2014). Memory at work in the classroom: Strategies to help underachieving students. Alexandria,VA: ASCD.

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Lesson Feature Idea Article

Enhancing Learning with Grade Six Students in Lebanon through Project Based Learning

Dima Hassan Bahaa School and the Lebanese University, Lebanon

Today, our students live in a complex world that is changing rapidly. They need to be flexible and adaptable to succeed in the 21st century. They also need to be optimistic, influential, knowledgeable and articulate. These needs should shape educators’ teaching philosophy. It is necessary to shift the focus from what we as teachers teach to what we want our students to do with the material taught. It is also necessary for teachers to see learning as an event that flourishes in personally meaningful and supportive environments. Moreover, it is necessary for teachers to ensure learning experiences that offer choice and require action since students need work that gives them the opportunity to connect with others and express themselves, provides them with the chance to be original, develops their sense of competency, and gives them some degree of autonomy. These needs encouraged me to implement a Project Based Learning (PBL) approach into my grade 6 class. This article describes the implementation process and explains the various activities the students had. It also highlights the students’ reaction to the project and the progress they experienced.

Introduction

Research indicates that students learn best when experiencing and solving relevant real world problems. Projects are defined as complex tasks that involve students in solving problems, making decisions, and working autonomously for an extended period to produce realistic products or presentations (Jones, Rasmussen, & Moffitt, 1997). PBL takes subjects that influence students’ lives and

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makes them a core part of the curriculum, ensuring that students will be more deeply involved in what they are learning. As Carey (2014, p. 36) explains, “The brain holds on to only what’s relevant, useful, or interesting, or may be so in the future.” Barron and Darling-Hammond (2008) assert that PBL involves: 1. students’ knowledge to tackle realistic problems as they would be solved in the real world; 2. students’ control over their learning; 3. teachers serving as coaches and facilitators of inquiry and reflection; and 4. students working in pairs or groups. When implemented well, PBL not only enhances students’ collaboration skills, but also increases students’ long-term retention of content (Strobel & Van Barneveld, 2009). Further, Condliffe,Visher, Bangser, Drohojowska, & Saco (2015) indicate that the goals of PBL are to prepare students for deeper learning, higher-level thinking skills, and intra/ interpersonal skills which are important 21st century skills. Those are the primary benefits of PBL. They combine traditional classroom knowledge with realworld experience and skills to better prepare students for success in today’s world. Hernandez-Ramos and De La Paz (2009) also stress this fact, explaining that students who learn through PBL do not just report facts but also interpret the information. Another benefit of PBL is that it allows teachers to decide how and when to implement it. Teachers can also choose topics they deem important and relevant

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to their students. When surveyed about their use of PBL, teachers stated that the strongest reasons for PBL use were the teaching of skills beyond the content, and making learning more personalized and more varied, as well as teaching academic content more effectively (Ravitz, 2008). In brief, this paper seeks to examine PBL approach and explain the implementation process of a grade 6 project and the various activities done, highlighting the students’ reaction to the project and the progress they experienced.

Background

I believe that PBL is a teaching method that can facilitate and improve my students’ learning. I also believe that it can allow for differentiation between students and can also enrich their creativity. Therefore, I decided to implement PBL into my Grade 6 curriculum since I wanted to use an engaging and motivating student-centered approach that would allow students to work collaboratively. The school where I teach welcomes KG Syrian refugee students, so I chose the theme “My World and Yours” for a Grade 6 project. I wanted my students to both enjoy the benefits of PBL and to be able to reach out to the KG Syrian refugee students. Dima Hassan works as a teacher at Hajj Bahaa School in Lebanon. She also teaches at the Lebanese University, and is presently pursuing a Master’s Degree.

Project Implementation

In addition to the goals of PBL, I wanted my students to read selections in different genres that would develop the theme of “My World and Yours,” apply a variety of interactive reading strategies, develop listening, speaking and writing skills, analyze literary elements, and discuss literary experiences. I began by introducing the theme. The selected resources for the project are intended to help students learn about the ways people and groups could work together to serve and protect our world. I firstly exposed the students to different reading selections that describe the theme, “My World and Yours.” These encouraged my students to think of the world as ever-changing rather than static. I asked the class to read the theme question: “How do we show that we care about our surroundings?” I then invited them to brainstorm

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ideas for a volunteer project that would help them reach out to someone else’s world. Grade 6 students at Hajj Bahaa School (HBS) decided to help the Syrian refugee students at their school. They came up with the idea of setting up a reading corner for these KG students, providing them with appropriate stories, and preparing reading activities for them to enrich their reading experience. They then brainstormed the steps they were going to take to prepare for their volunteering project. Their first step was to consider four important factors: target community, needs, interests and project importance. Their target community was the Syrian students’ community at HBS. The addressed needs were to enhance English language skills among students at HBS, as well as to prepare the library to establish a future corner for the Syrian students. They were interested in organizing a book drive and preparing reading activities. The project was very important to the students because it was a genuine service to their community. The students gathered information searching for appropriate reading activities and inquired about the KG students’ daily schedule. They also prepared a formal letter asking the school administration for permission to set up their reading corner, and identified the library needs: furniture, decorations, and stories. After that, they identified the major tasks and assigned each task to a group of students. One group was responsible for designing a flyer informing other students at school about the project and inviting them to donate appropriate reading stories. Another group was responsible for organizing a book drive. This group visited classes, delivering the project flyer and informing them about the importance of the book drive. The book drive was successful, and students collected more books and stories than they had hoped for. Their next step was to prepare for the implementation process. First, they prepared the library to receive the books.Then they practiced their reading of different stories and prepared reading activities based on these stories. As soon as they were ready to begin implementing their project, they set a schedule for the Syrian students to visit the reading corner and appointed

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four students consecutively to receive each group.The students documented their work; they videotaped as well as took pictures of their reading sessions.

Findings

The project was a success. It achieved its intended objectives. The students practiced prewriting skills and brainstormed topics to present to the teacher. They used graphic organizers to organize their ideas. In addition, students used English to communicate in social settings when they created the flyer to inform other students at school about the project and invite them to donate reading stories. They practiced problem solving and became more interested in the subject because they were actively involved in the project. Furthermore, they loved the fact that they had responsibilities like adults and were helping other students. Therefore, they decided to publicize and display their project work at an open house event.

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Hernandez-Ramos, P., & De La Paz, S. (2009). Learning history in middle school by designing multimedia in a PBL experience. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(2), 151173. Jones, B. F., Rasmussen, C. M., & Moffitt, M. C. (1997). Real-life problem solving: A collaborative approach to interdisciplinary learning. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Ravitz, J. (2008, March 27). Project based learning as a catalyst in reforming high schools. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York. Strobel, J., & Van Barneveld, A. (2009). When is PBL more effective? A meta-synthesis of meta-analyses comparing PBL to conventional classrooms. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 3(1), 44-58. i

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Following the implementation and presentation of the project, the students evaluated their project work. They reported that they were happy about their own learning experience. They collaborated and communicated together. They were creative in some ways while preparing for the project, which thus gave them a sense of ownership and independence.

Conclusion

Evaluating the project showed very positive results, indicating that the project fulfilled its objectives. In fact, every teacher should consider designing and setting aside time for a project because project based learning brings students closer to real-world challenges and prepares them for university education.

References

Barron, B., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2008). Powerful learning:What we know about teaching for understanding. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Carey, B. (2014). How we learn:The surprising truth about when, where, and why it happens. New York, NY: Random House. Condliffe, B.,Visher, M. G., Bangser, M. R., Drohojowska, S., & Saco, L. (2015). Projectbased learning: A literature review (working paper). Retrieved from https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws. com/ler/MDRC+PBL+Literature+Review.pdf

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SOLE (Self Organized Learning Environment) in the UAE Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) facilitates enquiry-based learning where students work as a community to answer questions using the Internet (Mitra, 2010). The term SOLE was popularized by TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra at the University of Newcastle, and the concept is widely used through School in the Cloud (virtual schools available via Skype). According to Cossom (2016), there are various countries across the world where SOLE is set up in their schools; they include India, UK, Spain, Colombia, Argentina and Cambodia, amongst others. Teachers in these schools are known as Grannies, who work to get the maximum benefit of SOLE in their classrooms.

Introduction

The success of Mitra’s 1999 “Hole in the Wall” experiment with kids in the Delhi slums led him to this research (School in the Cloud) with the objective being to prepare students for the future using SOLE. It is based on the concept of minimally invasive education, a pedagogic method that motivates learners with free access to the Internet to learn in an environment with little intervention from teachers (Mitra, Leat, Dolan, & Crawley, 2010). As an educator, I am curious to practice new approaches and services. I explored SOLE to learn more and make teaching more enjoyable for my students. At one point, I was reminded of Vygotsky’s concept of the zone of proximal development (ZPD), where he explains the potential for cognitive development. It is a level of development attained when learners engage in social behavior and learn by means of social interaction (Vygotsky, 1978). As an ESL teacher, I recognize social interaction as the basis of any language learning. Since the purpose of SOLE is to help students create a self-learning environment where they work on skills that people need in today’s world such as gathering information, evaluating sources and collaborating in teams (Cadwalladr, 2015), I volunteered to join School in the Cloud to conduct SOLE sessions with children Volume 24

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Banani Chowdhury Institute of Applied Technology, Dubai, UAE

across India. In due course, Mitra had my class conduct their own autonomous English lesson via a real-time Skype session while he was in the UK. It was a successful session which my students enjoyed; they learned more about student collaboration, using the Internet, research skills and critical thinking.

Method

Classroom set up: The classroom is set up in a typical SOLE arrangement where the students are grouped in fours with a single laptop or iPad to share between them. There should be paper and pencil available for them to take notes. Students can choose their own group but can change groups at any time. They can look to see what other groups are doing and take that information back to their own group. A student manager is nominated for the whole class who becomes the liaison officer between the supervisor (teacher) and the students. Time: 50 to 60 minutes (approximately) Skills: This is enquiry-based learning where all the basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are used. Further, academic study skills like researching and critical thinking are used in the sense that students search for content and filter information by saving what they need and discarding what they don’t need. Teacher’s role: Teacher introduces the lesson and encourages the students to work on their own. Structure of the approach: There are 3 basic stages: the big question (7-10 minutes), research (30-45 minutes), and review (15 minutes). Stage 1: The Big Question The teacher introduces the lesson with a warmup activity and then shows a video/poster/story in order to set up a context for the lesson. The second activity is asking the “big question” which has to be relevant in terms of age, language level and students’ background knowledge. The teacher explains the question in detail, making sure that the students have understood the concept and are aware of the expected outcome. The question is usually framed in TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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such a way that students need to think critically to get the answer and organize their findings to share with their classmates. Stage 2: Research/Investigation The second stage is the most critical stage; students do their research using computers with good Internet connection to perform the activity. Students try to find out the answer to the big question and record relevant information in the form of notes or points. They usually do this in groups, collaborating with their peers to decide whether their findings help them to get the answer(s) to the big question. Stage 3: Review This stage requires that students share their knowledge, and the teacher/supervisor in turn gives her/his opinion about the answer to the big question.

Implementation

In May 2015, my students from Grade 9 met TED Prize winner Dr Mitra, through a Skype session in the UAE. The students were familiar with English for academic purposes and the activities related to critical thinking. The lesson ran for 60 minutes. After the initial introduction, students were told about SOLE, its objectives and how it would work. They were further briefed about the protocols of the approach and were told to imagine that there was no teacher in the class. There was a student delegate appointed to facilitate the lesson and pose the big question for the day, which was, “Who was Pythagoras and what was he famous for?” While working on their research, students were free to go around and see what others were doing and collaborate with their team members as and when they wanted. Although they were familiar with using individual iPads, they were instructed to change this practice and work on a common iPad (one iPad for every four students). From time to time, I was tempted to intervene, but refrained from doing so as it is against the ethos of the method. In stage 3, students shared their research in an organized way, where the group representatives read the summarized version of their group’s findings. It took about 35 minutes to find out the answer to the big question and the details about Pythagoras. Finally students were asked to give their opinion about the positive and the negative sides of the approach, which they did instantly. Apart from students enjoying the learning process, I as a teacher-facilitator had a great time. It was interesting to see my students taking responsibility for their class and other activities. The question about Pythagoras reminded my students of their math lessons on greatest common factor. The students Volume 24

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25 took 35 minutes to come up with their critical reviews on the topic. All in all, it was great to see students organize themselves in a very professional way. They enjoyed this session, which was evident from their active participation and full engagement.

Implications for educational practice

Apart from providing variety and encouraging a positive relationship between students and teacher, learners get opportunities for intrapersonal and interpersonal skills development through this approach. According to Mitra et al. (2010), learner independence is the core of the approach, which leads to a stronger independent learning progression besides enhancement of critical thinking skills. Students are compelled to self-regulate their behaviors, their interactions, and their attitude. It creates a safe and interesting place for the students to work in, where they seem to prosper and engage in finding real world applications for what they are studying. Banani Roy holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from India. She works as an English language educator in the United Arab Emirates. She has worked as an administrator, teacher and trainer for over 25 years in both Indian and Middle-Eastern environments.

Conclusion

Finally, more SOLE based lessons should be conducted in different settings to find similarities and differences in relation to adopting this approach. This would eventually add up to the possible adoption of SOLE in the wider world of education.

References

Cadwalladr, C. (2015, August 2). The ‘granny cloud’: The network of volunteers helping poorer children learn. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/ aug/02/sugata-mitra-school-in-the-cloud Cossom, S. (2016). SOLE can change a child’s world. Retrieved from https://www. theschoolinthecloud.org/updates/sole-canchange-a-child-s-world Mitra, S. (2010, July). Sugatra Mitra: The child-driven Education [video file]. Retrieved from http:// www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_ driven_education Mitra, S. Leat, D. Dolan, P. Crawley, E. (2010). The Self-Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) school support pack. Association for Learning Technology, University of Southampton, UK. Retrieved from http://repository.alt.ac.uk/2208 Vygotsky, L. (1978). Social Development Theory. Retrieved from http://www.instructionaldesign. org/theories/social-development.html TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Experimenting with QR Codes in the EFL Classroom Teaching English as a foreign language to technology enthusiastic learners has become a gigantic task for EFL instructors. It is very challenging to attract learners’ attention when they are surrounded with a number of electronic devices and gadgets. They always seem busy with their smart devices, electronic intrinsic toys, even in the classroom. Thus, in this scenario an instructor has to be very vigilant and smart to motivate his/her students to be present both physically and mentally in the classroom. Integrating interactive technologies and applications in ELT and preparing interactive content can be a solution to this on-going challenge. Using QR codes in EFL classrooms can effectively develop and maintain the interest of students in various activities. QR stands for “quick response� codes. They are two-dimensional barcodes which are used to accumulate and store information to be accessed quickly. They could be linked to variety of things such as websites, online videos, audio files, images, documents, text messages, and contact details including email accounts, phone numbers, etc. The question arises how to merge them with ELT. Most learners like to use smart phone or device as a quick and comfortable source of information and entertainment. The growing passion for using smart phones for multiple purposes can be exploited for learning an EFL classroom, and for a variety of activities. Introducing the practice of QR codes in ELT could help in creating a dynamic and innovative learning atmosphere in the EFL classroom where learners can make use of their smart devices.

Figure 1: Using QR Codes in EFL Classroom Volume 24

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Sameera Baloch Imam Abdulrahman AlFaisal University, Damman, KSA

QR codes can be utilized in preparing a number of activities according to the nature and requirements of the subject. They could also be brought into play to integrate different language skills. QR codes can be used in preparing activities based on vocabulary skills, writing assignments, speaking tasks, grammar, listening tracks, reading comprehension, picture description, etc. It depends upon the creativity and skill of the instructor. Incorporating QR codes in ELT will also lead learners to develop their 21st century learning skills (LITE, n.d.). When they operate their smart devices for learning English, they automatically develop digital literacy skills. Also, if students face technical difficulties with their devices, they may request help from their peers or instructor, and, consequently, they will develop communication, problem solving, and collaboration skills. There is always a scope of innovation and creativity when technology is used in learning and teaching process. Incorporating QR codes in writing can also make learners think critically, enabling them to synthesize and make connections between information and arguments. Writing is an advanced stage of language learning. Sometimes, it seems to the pupils an impossible task, as the learner has to make use of vocabulary, grammar, coherence, and fluency simultaneously. In this scenario, designing writing tasks with the help of QR codes may prove to be a life saver for the ESL instructor to grab the attention of the learners, ultimately leading to development of their interest in the writing task. The QR code in Figure 2 connects to a URL where a sample writing assignment is attached.

Figure 2: A Sample QR Codes Writing Assignment TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Educational Feature Article Technology

Speaking is another challenging productive skill which involves vocabulary, accent, pronunciation, fluency, interaction, and confidence. Integrating writing and speaking skills through QR codes can be a rewarding activity. Learners get a chance to use new vocabulary while writing and speaking; this enables them to build up their vocabulary. Such activities will also boost their confidence.

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Nothing can replace the power of human brain; the ultimate goal is to integrate technology productively with traditional teaching in EFL classroom where technology enthusiastic learners could be benefited to the maximum. Merging QR codes in ELT is one of the numerous ways to evoke interest in learning a new language. They not only engage students positively but also enable students to learn 21st century learning skills while learning English. Sameera Sultan Baloch is a PhD scholar, a teacher trainer and a recipient of Excellence Award in Teaching and E-Learning. She holds an MA in English, an MSc in Women’s Studies, and a PG Dip in English Language. She has thirteen years of teaching experience and a number of publications. She is interested in e-learning and upcoming technologies.

Figure 3: QR Codes Speaking Activity Many websites and mobile applications generate variety of QR codes. These codes can be downloaded and shared with the students through any available channel or learning management system. Students need only to install a QR Reader to decode the linguistic task in the activity. The website linked in Figure 4 generates any number of QR codes. Moreover, it is free. There are many other free applications available on Android and iOS which can create QR codes.

References

LITE (Laboratory for Innovative Technology in Education). (n.d.). College of Education, University of Houston. http://newtech.coe. uh.edu/ i

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NEW@TACON Figure 4: QR Code Generator I-nigma (Figure 5) is a high speed and efficient QR code reader. Students can download it to their smart devices to decode the assignment question.

Figure 5: QR Reader In this way they can make effective use of their smart phones while learning English. It would also be a novel experience for them to use QR codes while learning a new language. Volume 24

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TACON Reading & Research Symposium

Filler

Jointly organized by the TESOL Arabia Read & Write Special Interest Group (SIG), The Research SIG and the Extensive Reading Foundation, the symposium offers researchers the opportunity to share their findings and compete for a prize. Selected applicants will win a free conference registration. See the TESOL Arabia website for more details

www.tesolarabia.org

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Padlet: A Simple, Flexible and Engaging Tool for Teaching and Learning

Robert S. Gordon

Johanna L. Haas

The traditional cork-and-thumb-tack bulletin board, which hangs on the walls of classrooms everywhere, is used for a variety of pedagogical purposes, such as fostering learning communities, scaffolding learning, and promoting inclusivity. This ubiquitous apparatus has been digitized and enhanced into the e-corkboard—a collaborative wiki with the visual layout of a traditional bulletin board. While there are a variety of these multimodal tools which allow users to post images, documents, text of unlimited length, and audio and video files on an expansive electronic wall, this article reviews one of them called Padlet, although similar activities can be conducted on other e-corkboards. Researchers have found that Padlet contributed positively to learning in undergraduate business courses (Ellis, 2015) and information literacy classes (Fuchs, 2014). This brief examination will highlight some of Padlet’s technical features, provide some classroom applications and practical tips, and discuss its affordances, as well as its limitations, for English language teaching and learning.

Errol Pitts

sign or double-click (mouse) or double-tap (touchscreen) the wall area. Editing is highly intuitive; for instance, the delete function is indicated by a red garbage bin icon. The ease of interacting in the space and the self-explanatory toolbars not only facilitate instructor set-up, they reduce learner training time on the tool. It is easy to configure Padlet so that it is a secure and respectful e-learning environment. The viewing and editing privileges of any Padlet can be adjusted from completely public to completely private (see Figure 1). The Read, Write, Moderate, and Administer settings dictate how student contributors are able to participate. For example, parameters can be set so that instructor approval is required before a post is published, which can eliminate negative participation.

Technical Features

Padlet reflects the easy-to-use quality which is described by Boulos, Maramba, and Wheeler (2006) as characteristic of all wikis. It is accessible via a website (www.padlet.com) through most common browsers, and as an app on both iOS and Android devices. Although an account is needed for an instructor to set up a Padlet, learners do not need accounts to view, post, or edit, which eliminates the problem of forgotten usernames and passwords, which can waste time and cause frustration. To view a Padlet wall, learners simply access a link or QR code supplied by their instructor. Then, to post, they click on the plus Volume 24

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Figure 1: Privacy and sharing options TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Classroom Applications

Warm-ups: A simple activity is a classroom warmup, where the instructor writes a thought-provoking question or statement as the title. The addition of wallpaper (the background) helps to create mood. Learners can contemplate their response before posting. A large classroom discussion is an effective follow-up. Vocabulary study: Another useful exercise is vocabulary focus or study. Learners can choose or be assigned a vocabulary word, then choose any image they would like to represent it. Learners post the word as the title of the posting, then add the image (see Figure 2). Learners often attempt to guess who made which post, which can encourage classroom social dynamics.

Figure 4: Learner-created collection of resources listed by language skill Writing: Padlet is a useful tool for writing activities. For example, learners write an overview sentence describing a Cambridge IELTS Task One graph (see Figure 5). Similar academic writing tasks can include writing introductory paragraphs for essays, paragraphs on any topic or of any genre, thesis statements, or specific types of sentences. Pair editing can be used as a follow-up activity.

Figure 2: Vocabulary words with representative learner-chosen images Portfolios/Learner-created corpora: Learners can gather and then post useful resources for language learning in the forms of hyperlinks, documents, and videos. Resource lists can be organised portfolio-style (see Figure 3), or the whole class can contribute to making a corpus of resources organised by skill (see Figure 4). These can be referenced in later classes and developed throughout the course.

Figure 5: IELTS-focused writing activity

Tips for your Padlet

Cooper (1975) provides the following suggestions to create an effective bulletin board, which remain suitable for an e-cork board such as Padlet: • Use an appropriate title: a question, a pun, or a surprising or obvious statement. • Avoid the overuse of words and lengthy explanations. • Do not allow postings to become overcrowded. Errol Pitts has over twelve years of teaching experience. He holds an M.Ed. in Adult Education from the University of Manitoba, and is currently an EFL Instructor at the College of the North Atlantic - Qatar.

Value in English language teaching and learning Figure 3: Portfolio of learning resources and reflections Volume 24

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Padlet helps instructors to engage a wide variety of learners by offering multiple and flexible options for engagement with learning material, in TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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keeping with the principles of Universal Design for Learning (Rose & Meyer, 2002), reducing cognitive, motivational, and affective barriers. Its multimodal nature benefits different types of learners, which can help create a more inclusive, supportive, and flexible classroom environment. The learner-created content is highly relevant to learners’ background knowledge, and the collaborative feel of Padlet encourages learners to participate. Learners can access the Padlet and post their responses on the wall at their own pace, which allows time to consult with peers or the instructor, engage in collective scaffolding (Donato, 1994), or reflect on their contributions. If we assume that motivation to engage and learn is due to a dynamic system of factors (Dornyei, 2009), Padlet is a tool that allows multiple factors to come into play.

creator (usually the instructor), but it can lead to some confusion and clutter. This can be avoided by choosing the “grid” layout, though this option reduces the organic, user-designed feel of the final product. Another issue with the mobile app remains, in that users have had problems editing their posts once they have finished them and tapped elsewhere on the wall. An edit button appears, but it does not allow the user to make changes. If a mobile user accidentally taps outside a post-in-progress, it must be deleted and a new one started. This can be very frustrating and slow the pace of interaction. This issue does not seem to exist on the desktop, browserbased version, and it is hopefully something Padlet will address in future updates to the mobile app.

Robert S. Gordon has taught at universities and colleges internationally for the past twelve years. He received his M.A. in TESOL and Educational Technology from the University of Manchester. He is currently teaching English Literature at Champlain College, Lennoxville in Canada.

While Padlet has some shortcomings, it does present benefits. It is simple for instructors and learners to use, assists in the implementation of different kinds of language-focused activities and engages a variety of learners.

Limitations

Padlet would benefit from even more Web 2.0 functionality, to allow for use in different teaching contexts. To illustrate, if a pair of students are working collaboratively on a Padlet, the current setup essentially requires them to be in the same physical room, or else use an alternative method of communication (e.g., SMS or third-party chat app) simultaneously. As a result, students cannot easily engage in outside-the-classroom, cooperative activities. A tool such as a chat box could help collaborators to communicate more efficiently. Even within an inclass context, the ability to add comments would be useful, as it would allow students to leave comments to encourage their peers’ work, or leave feedback when opinions can be instructive. Other e-corkboards like Stoodle (http://stoodle.ck12.org) include this functionality, but have other drawbacks like less intuitive setup and the inability to embed one e-cork board page into another. Johanna L. Haas has taught in Canada, the U.S., China, South Korea, Spain, and Qatar. She holds an M.Ed. in Language and Literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is currently an EFL Instructor at the College of the North Atlantic - Qatar.

Furthermore, Padlet’s mobile app, while initially engaging and novel for learners, can become cumbersome as learners attempt to post content. Frequently, users on a mobile device will not be able to see the entire wall at once, having to drag their screen around to read, or even find, others’ posts. Additionally, users’ new posts will occasionally cover and hide those of others while in the “freeform” layout. These can be dragged to new places by the user making the post, or by the Padlet Volume 24

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Conclusion

References

Boulos, M. N. K., Maramba, I., & Wheeler, S. (2006). Wikis, blogs and podcasts: A new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education, BMC Medical Education, 6(1), 41. doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-6-41. Cooper, S. S. (1975). The bulletin board as a learning resource. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 6(3), 51-55. Donato, R. (1994). Collective scaffolding in second language learning. In J. P. Landtolf & G. Appel (Eds.), Vygotskian approaches to second language research (pp. 33-56). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Dornyei, Z. (2009). The psychology of second language acquisition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Ellis, D. (2015). Using Padlet to increase student engagement in lectures. In A. Jefferies & M. Cubric (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on e-Learning. Paper presented at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield (pp. 195198). Reading, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited. Fuchs, B. (2014). The writing is on the wall: Using Padlet for whole-class engagement. LOEX Quarterly, 40(4), 7-9. Retrieved from http:// commons.emich.edu/loexquarterly/vol40/ iss4/4/ Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria,VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Feature Article Reviews

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Exploring Psychology in Language Learning and Teaching Marion Williams, Sarah Mercer, Stephen Ryan Oxford University Press, 2015 ISBN 978 0 19 442399 1 171 pages There have been significant developments and advances in the field of educational psychology over the past twenty years. This short but eye-catching publication is an attempt to fill a niche in the market for an up-to-date book which provides an overview of some of the key areas of educational and social psychology and how they relate to language teaching/learning. The book, part of the Oxford Handbooks for Language Teachers series, is aimed at language teachers, master’s/doctoral students and teacher educators. Importantly, however, it assumes little or no previous knowledge or training in the discipline. The book is divided into eight chapters of more or less uniform length. It begins with an introductory analysis entitled “Psychology in Education,” which serves as a very useful framework for understanding the concepts addressed in the rest of the book. There follow chapters which move from reflecting on “Groups,” the “Self ” and “Beliefs,” to “Motivation,” “Agency” and “Self-Regulation.” In this sense, the book moves logically from the general to the more specific and then widens its analysis by considering how all of the myriad features of educational psychology may be brought together into a useful set of principles for practice relevant to language learning. It seems no coincidence that the longest chapter in the book is devoted to motivation and probably with good justification as this is an area which has attracted huge interest from researchers and teachers over the years due to its sheer scope and impact.

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The authors have clearly made good use of their expert knowledge in the discipline when addressing the layout and extra features of the book. Chapter length is short, there are clear sections/subsections, key terms are highlighted and font size is undaunting for a field which may seem daunting to many.The inclusion of refreshing and often witty illustrations adds an element of levity to the overall tone and text is regularly supplemented with diagrams, graphics and charts.These all help greatly in the book’s visual appeal. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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A key element of Exploring Psychology in Language Learning and Teaching is the incorporation of activities for each chapter. The number of these per chapter varies, but they are all very practical, focused and stimulating. The activities provide food for thought for learners and educators. They are remarkable in their simplicity and diversity and serve as a very useful platform or springboard for discussion and further consideration of topics addressed. In keeping with the title of the book, the activities have clear relevance to both learning and teaching. One noticeable aspect of this book is its very contemporary feel. All of the chapters include a “Suggestions for Further Reading” section, and these each contain references to three publications, the majority of which have appeared since 2000. There is certainly a sense, then, that the book is current and relevant to the strides that have been made in educational psychology since the advent of the new millennium. The authors provide a brief comment on the suggested reading material which includes works by influential figures in the field such as Zoltan Dörnyei, Carol Dweck and Peter MacIntyre. In addition to the above, this book contains a thorough glossary of terminology used in each chapter – most welcome when one is attempting to come to grips with what may at first sight appear as unwieldy jargon. The balanced, methodical and standard approach to each chapter also serves to add a measure of order to a discipline that could

otherwise seem overwhelming. As mentioned earlier, the final chapter attempts to pull together the various issues discussed in the book and does this very successfully with its “Principles for Practice” – clear, succinct guidelines for improving our practices in respect to language learning psychology. It is made clear throughout the book that language learning is dependent on an ever-changing, complex interaction of factors and that each individual is unique. This publication is not at all prescriptive but encourages teachers and practitioners to evaluate their own theories of teaching/learning and consider what is appropriate to their own settings. Verdict: a very worthwhile acquisition, accessible and thought-provoking. It is, however, only an overview but most certainly succeeds in its stated goal of enriching the teaching and learning experience of the reader. i

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Rory O’Kane The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE

NEW@TACON TACON Lunch & Learn Discussions Join one of the 20+ roundtable discussions led by one of our world-renowned invited speakers and engage in in-depth discussions on a topic of interest while having your lunch. See the TESOL Arabia website for more details

www.tesolarabia.org Make sure to LIKE us on Facebook!

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When Teaching Gets Tough: Smart Ways to Reclaim Your Game Allen N. Mendler ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), 2012 ISBN 978-1-4166-1390-9 189 pages Written by 35-year veteran teacher and school psychologist, When Teaching Gets Tough asks and attempts to answer some of the most important questions teachers ask themselves today. Are there days when you feel overwhelmed with unruly, disinterested or poorly motivated students? Do you feel frustrated with meetings that eat up a lot of time but accomplish nothing? Are you surrounded by toxic colleagues and/or administrators? Do you wonder if people notice or care that you put in a lot of time and effort in to your students and your classes? Mendler’s book targets teachers who ask themselves these questions, ones who feel fed up and might consider quitting and others that have “emotionally left” their jobs but hang on because they don’t know what else to do and have bills to pay. Chapter One starts out with what the author terms “The Big Picture,” which includes both attitudes towards teaching and strategies. According to Mendler, attitudes are as important as strategies when you are in a difficult situation. The author espouses two important attitudes which he feels are essential: 1) Live each day as if there is no tomorrow; and 2) understand that change is a roller-coaster ride. He exemplifies the importance of attitude in a brief description of the very effective FISH! Program that guides employees at the Pike Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. The work ethos at the Pike Fish Market is based on four primary attitudes when treating customers and coworkers and has been widely used in education.

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The rest of the book is based on the author’s many years of observing, counseling and advising teachers. Indeed he has classified four major issues that he feels stand out as factors that lead to teacher dissatisfaction. Each section of the book addresses one of these challenges, and all contain problemsolving and coping strategies to keep the teacher energized and engaged professionally. The four issues that Mendler puts forward are: TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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1. Difficult, disruptive, or unmotivated students with or without a sense of entitlement. 2. Little support and appreciation from colleagues, administrators and parents. 3. Lack of resources to do the job most effectively. 4. Inability or unwillingness to make yourself a priority. One of the major strengths of this book is that each of these chapters can stand on its own.You do not have to read one to benefit from another. In fact, the author encourages the reader to self-assess and go directly to the chapter that they feel is their biggest priority. Each chapter culminates with a “Questions for Reflection” section, a “Key Chapter Thoughts” section and a section that is specifically targeted to the administrator.The section on reflective questions would be perfect for a graduate level class discussion or an activity that could take place in a faculty or staff meeting. Even though I found all the chapters extremely useful, the one I got the most from was Chapter Two which focused on strategies for working with difficult students. According to the author, dealing with difficult students is the number one cause of burnout for most teachers. The author cites some of the present-day causes of difficult students. They include the lack of outside family and/or community support. This coupled with an expectation of entitlement without effort are powerful forces that can impair a teacher’s ability to influence student behavior in our classes. The content of this chapter is framed around what Mendler calls the “Six Pillars of Success:” relationship, relevance, responsibility, success, safety and fun. Discussion about the importance of these pillars and strategies that can be used to promote them round out the content of this chapter. The next part of the chapter concentrates on prevention and intervention strategies. Prevention strategies are those which can be used to prevent occurrences or reoccurrences of problem behavior. The author provides a wide variety of strategies and encourages teachers to use them as is or adapt them to fit their own institutional context. One strategy that I found interesting was “work twice as hard to connect with irritating students.” The ensuing explanation of why this was found to be a good strategy was very enlightening, and this is one strategy that I intend to use in my classes.

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This volume is a must for every language teacher’s professional library. It is well-written with just the right amount of theory and loads of practical recommendations and strategies that teachers can put into practice right away. Best of all, I received it as a member benefit of my membership to ASCD, a worldwide learning community of teachers, principals, curriculum developers and other instructional leaders. Although primarily written for the US market, the factors the author cited as essential and the strategies recommended to overcome them are very applicable and relevant to the Middle East context. Helping keep teachers at the top of their game means staying focused on what really matters—making a positive difference in the lives of students. When Teaching Gets Tough is one step in that direction. Most of the time, affirmation and appreciation for a job well done is all a good teacher really needs. Mendler understands this and has written a book that will make teachers feel noticed, appreciated and supported in the important work that they do. i

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Christine Coombe Dubai Men’s College, HCT, Dubai, UAE

Have you mis-placed a back issue of Perspectives? No worries - you can read it online! Check out our archived issues at http://www.tesolarabia.co/publications/ perspectives/. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Connecting the Dots in a Glocalized World: The Third International Conference on Language, Linguistics, Literature and Translation Muscat, Oman Neil McBeath Two things stand out about this conference. Firstly, it was a full, three-day event, unlike many of the one-day, pack-them-in, give-them-lunch, sendthem-home conferences which have been organized in Oman recent years. Delegates were offered four plenary sessions, four semi-plenaries, three featured speakers, 14 panel discussions and 77 other presentations. Secondly, this was not a conference which emphasized the “practical” aspects of teaching. “Practical” is often code for “tips for teachers,” where enthusiasts proselytize. Every one of them has a new and exciting technique that has transformed their classes, and this is how to do it. Sadly, many of these approaches are neither new nor exciting, and they seldom travel well. By contrast, Connecting the Dots, organized by the Department of English Language and Literature at the SQU College of Arts and Social Sciences, was able to connect its audiences with both stimulating theory and a number of initiatives which were genuinely innovative, with international applications. In a review of this length, it is impossible to do full justice to everyone, but Omnia Amin and Peter Hassell from Zayed University, UAE, deserve a

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special mention. Their paper, “From Local to Global: Facets of Emirati Women,” explained how a smallscale writing competition had become international. The concept is simple. Female students were encouraged to write 50-word paragraphs from a choice of themes, and their contributions were kept anonymous. These “mini-sagas” were then collected into book illustrated by the students themselves. When this work was shown in Japan, it was received with great enthusiasm, but the Japanese students added a twist. They first wrote in Japanese, then illustrated their work, and finally translated it into English. The most important thing is that this project motivated students to write, read and revise, and gave a voice to young women whose traditional culture may discourage the public expression of feeling. A second and equally adaptable initiative was outlined by Victoria Tuzlukova of Sultan Qaboos University in her paper, “Local Stories in the English Language Classroom.” This was an account of the development and use of a book, Glimpses of Oman: Ten Stories about a Beautiful Country and its People (Tuzlukova, Sacheti, Eltayeb, & Gilhooly, 2011) whose title rather belies the content. Rather than being a book of “stories,” in the sense of fictional narratives, Glimpses of Oman offers ten pieces on

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local themes, carefully chosen for their informational content about different aspects of Omani society. Its concept has universal application; any group of teachers, concerned with the preservation of a country’s cultural heritage, could produce a Glimpses-style book with its own insights. Finally, space must be given to the paper presented by Ian Almond of Georgetown University, Qatar. In “Circumventing the West” Towards a Post-Western World Literature,” he questioned, in particular, the role played by anthologies of so-called World Literature which devote as much space to Dante as to the entire Middle East, or give Goethe the same coverage as Africa. It is difficult to argue against Almond’s case. Search in the latest issue of the Norton Anthology of World Literature (2012) for modern Indian writers such as Vikram Chandra, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Amitav Ghosh or Arundhati Roy, and you will search in vain. From the Middle

East, Mahmoud Darwish and Naguib Mahfoudh make brief appearances, but Fadwa Tuqan is absent. Obviously, anthologists are limited by space as it simply is not possible to include everyone, but disparities of the type Almond listed are equally obviously inexcusable, and he has done a major service by both exposing and opposing them. Similarly, the Sultan Qaboos University Department of English Language and Literature has performed a signal service to Oman by hosting this conference. Let us hope it will not be the last.

References

The Norton anthology of world literature (3rd Ed.). (2012). New York, NY: W.W. Norton. Tuzlukova,V; Sacheti, P.; Eltayeb, C. and Gilhooly, A. (2011). Glimpses of Oman: Ten stories from a beautiful country and its people. Muscat, Oman: Sultan Qaboos University Press. i

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READ to Lead Conference Ajman, UAE Melanie Gobert The TESOL Arabia READ SIG, Sharjah Chapter and Independent Learning SIG held their first event at the Secondary Technical School in Ajman in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education (MoE) on September 24, 2016. The theme of the conference was “Read to Lead,” and over 247 teachers from ADEC and TESOL Arabia members attended the day of workshops and presentations on guided reading and extensive reading. Conference attendees were welcomed by Hayley Holuj, the Lead Curriculum Specialist at the MoE, who introduced the new reading program. The first plenary was Rachel Hamilton, children’s author, followed by Francesca McGeary of Harper

Collins, and Tom Kelley of CENGAGE National Geographic. TESOL Arabia President Mohammad Azaza opened the conference and explained the mission of TESOL Arabia followed by Mahmoud Sultan, the President of TESOL Arabia Toastmasters, who gave a short introduction to the club. Fifteen concurrent sessions were presented at the conference including several from TESOL Arabia and MoE representatives. Lunch was provided by the MoE, and participants had the opportunity to become members of TESOL Arabia and purchase TESOL Arabia publications. Please check the online calendar at www.tesolarabia. org for upcoming TESOL Arabia Chapter and SIG events. i

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A New Start for the Leadership and Management SIG Christine Coombe, LM SIG Chair AY 2016-17 is shaping up to be a big year for the TESOL Arabia Leadership and Management SIG. We started out the year with a half-day event on “Changing Practices, Changing Attitudes.” Christine Coombe and Sufian Abu-Rmaileh explored the themes of staying happy and positive in changing times and stress management, respectively. This event, held at Emirates Aviation College, drew 30+ attendees from the UAE, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Thanks to the Dubai Chapter for jointly coordinating this event.

Next, members of the LM SIG and Eastern Region Chapter got together at the Ajman University of Science and Technology in Fujairah for a similar event to discuss happiness and positivity and how it can relate to personal and professional growth. Our next event will be held on Feb 3-4, 2017 on the theme of “Teaching, Learning and Assessment.” Check the TESOL Arabia website for more details. i

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READ SIG becomes READ/WRITE SIG Melanie Gobert, Secretary, READ/WRITE SIG Because of the strong relationship between reading and writing, TESOL Arabia is pleased to announce the new name and scope of interest of the READ SIG to the READ/WRITE SIG. The new mission of the READ/WRITE SIG is to create a culture of reading and writing among all members of society, and to promote and foster the joy of reading and writing in students, parents and teachers. The SIG aims to identify areas where there is a lack of reading and writing or interest in reading and writing, investigate the reasons for it, and work on a course of action to help improve those reading and writing habits.

The READ/WRITE SIG hopes to share its team’s personal and professional experiences in encouraging children, young people, and adults to be avid readers and writers. This includes opportunities to be involved in community events that promote reading and writing in the region such as the Emirates Festival of Literature, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and the Sharjah International Book fair, as well as educational conferences on teaching reading and writing. Lastly, the SIG intends to support teachers who are motivated to improve the teaching of reading and writing in their classrooms. i

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Another Year for the TAE SIG Christine Coombe, TAE SIG Co-chair

The first event of the Testing, Assessment and Evaluation SIG took place at the University of Sharjah on November 12th. The theme was “Best Practice in ELT,” and it was organized by the Sharjah Chapter in collaboration with the ESP and TAE SIGs. TAE SIG Co-chair, Dr Christine Coombe spoke on the latest trends in student language assessment. Another big activity that we have been working on is an edited volume entitled Language Assessment in the Middle East and North Africa:Theory, Practice and Volume 24

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Future Trends, co-edited by Christine Coombe, Peter Davidson, Atta Gebril, Deena Boraie and Sahbi Hidri. This volume will feature research-based chapters from all over the MENA. Don’t forget to pick up your copy at the TESOL Arabia 2017 conference. Our next event, jointly coordinated with the LM SIG, will take place on Feb 2-3, 2017 and will feature presentations on Teaching, Learning and Assessment. More details will be available on the TESOL Arabia website and on our e-list. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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English for Specific Purposes SIG

Phone: 02 644 0339 Email: esptesolarabia@gmail.com Saad Rabia Chair

Namaat Saadi Hezber Secretary

Leadership & Management SIG Phone: 050 619 4796 Email: christine.coombe@hct.ac.ae Email: konrad.cedro@tesolarabia.org Christine Coombe Chair

Teacher Training & Teacher Development SIG

Email: tatdsig@gmail.com Racquel Warner Co-Chair/Treasurer

Faiza Umar Co-Chair/Secretary

Testing, Assessment & Evaluation SIG Phone: 050 619 4796 Email: christine.coombe@hct.ac.ae Phone: 050 843 8782 Email: peter.davidson@zu.ac.ae

Christine Coombe Co-Chair

Peter Davidson Co-Chair

READ/WRITE SIG

Phone: 050 266 8937 Email: yassersalem@yahoo.com Bridie Farah Chair

Melanie Gobert Secretary

Helene Demirci Treasurer

Young Learners SIG

Independent Learning SIG

Phone: (056) 333-4427 Email: shannie.rautu@tesolarabia.org

Email: oabuorouq@aus.edu Phone: 050 984 8066 Shannie Rautu

Ola Marie Abu Orouq Chair

Chair

Research SIG

Educational Technology SIG

sabhi.hidri@tesolarabia.org

Email: faith.nightingale@tesolarabia.org Sahbi Hidri Chair & Publications Coordinator

Volume 24

No. 3

November 2016

Faith Nightingale Chair

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Chapter Feature Representatives Article

39

Abu Dhabi Representative Amjad Taha

ADNOC Technical Institute Abu Dhabi, UAE Mobile: (050) 575-2519 amjad.taha@tesolarabia.org

Al Ain Representative Negmeldin Elsheikh

UAE University negmeldin.elsheikh@tesolarabia.org

Sharjah Representative Dima Yousef

Canadian University in Dubai dima.yousef@tesolarabia.org

Dubai Representative Hafeez Rahman

hafeez.rahman@tesolarabia.org

RAK Representative Bachar Lakhal

ADVETI/Ministry of Education Ras Al Khaimah, UAE bachar.lakhal@tesolarabia.org

Eastern Region Representative Mohamed El Zamil

Ajman University mohamed.elzamil@tesolarabia.org

Western Region Representative Lofti ben Ameur

Al Nukhba School, Mirfa Mobile: (056) 752 1728 lotfi.benameur@tesolarabia.org

Volume 24

No. 3

November 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Executive Council Feature Article

40

President

Past President

Mohamed Azaza ADNOC Technical Institute 055 379 0099 (mobile) mazazamelki22@gmail.com

Naziha Ali Emirates Aviation College - B Dubai, UAE 050 646 1788 (mobile) nazihaali2005@yahoo.co.uk

Vice President

Executive Treasurer/Conference Co-Chair

Konrad A Cedro HCT - CERT 050 144 7680 (mobile) konard.cedro@hct.ac.ae

Sufian Abu Rmaileh UAE University - UGRU PO Box 17172 Al Ain, UAE 050 713 1803 (mobile) sabu-rmaileh@uaeu.ac.ae

Membership Secretary

Executive Secretary

VACANT

Racquel Warner Mohamed Bin Rashid School of Government Dubai, UAE racquel.warner@tesolarabia.org

SIG Coordinator/Conference Co-Chair

Member-at-Large

Fathi Ben Mohamed jman University Ajman, UAE fathi.ben-mohamed@tesolarabia.org

Amr Elzarka Ministry of Education amr.elzarka@tesolarabia.org

Conference Treasurer

Affiliate Representative/Conference Co-Chair

Mohamed Elzamil New York Institute of Technology Abu Dhabi, UAE mohamed.elzamil@tesolarabia.org

Christine Coombe Higher Colleges of Technology Dubai, UAE christine.coombe@hct.ac.ae

Publications Coordinator

Perspectives Co-Editor

Wafa Zoghbor Zayed University Abu Dhabi, UAE wafa.zoghbor@tesolarabia.org

Suhair Al Alami Al Ghurair University PO Box 37374, Dubai, UAE suhair.alalami@tesolarabia.org

Perspectives Co-Editor Julie Riddlebarger Khalifa University PO Box 127788, Abu Dhabi, UAE julie.riddlebarger@tesolarabia.org

Volume 24

No. 3

November 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article IPP WINS 8 AWARDS AT

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL

PRINT AWARD 2011 1 AWARD IN 2006

2 AWARDS IN 2007

4 AWARDS IN 2008

6 AWARDS IN 2009

8 AWARDS IN 2011 THE QUEST UEST FOR QUALITY CONT CONTINUES

5 GOLD 2 SILVER 1 BRONZE

Volume 24

No. 3

November 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org

41


Feature Article

42

Volume 24

No. 3

November 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org

Perspective Nov 2016 (Tesol Arabia Publication)  
Perspective Nov 2016 (Tesol Arabia Publication)  
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