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In this issue: Feature Articles The Influence of Culturally Unfamiliar IELTS Writing Prompts on Student Band Scores: A Case Study

Hilda Freimuth A Critical Review of Language Aptitude

Ibtisam Ali Hassan Al Badi Functions of Teacher›s Code-switching in a Saudi EFL Classroom: A Case Study

Eman Alkatheery

Volume 22

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November 2014

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Guidelines for

Contributors General Editorial Policies TESOL Arabia Perspectives is the official 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, Middle East, North Africa and South Asia). TESOL Arabia Perspectives invites previously unpublished manuscripts that address the diverse topics that make up our profession, including, but not limited to, methodology, pedagogy, curriculum and materials development, assessment, classroom inquiry and research, teacher education and language and culture.

Submission Categories & Guidelines Feature Articles Features should generally be between 2000-4000 words in length, and address educational issues (theory leading to 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 implications for educational practice. All submissions should be thought through, organized, and clearly written. APA style format will be strictly adhered to regarding referencing. Submissions must be in Times New Roman, font size 12, double spaced. Submissions not meeting APA standards will not be reviewed. Every feature article will go through a review process where the reviewers consider how well it: 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; addresses educational issues and needs of ELT in the region; identifies an educational research agenda.

Reviews Reviews should evaluate any recent textbook, resource book, CD/DVD audio or video title, or website. Reviews should be 500–1000 words in length and evaluate materials for their approach, content, appropriateness, adaptability, and relevancy. A list of

materials received for review will be made available periodically in Perspectives. Please contact Paul Dessoir the Reviews Editor, at pdessoir@uaeu.ac.ae.

Educational Technology This section will document short articles of about 5002000 words that provide overviews of educational technologies, their utilities and incorporation into practice. This could include software, hardware, and web-based resources.

Networking This section will feature conference and country reports. Reports will be about 500 words. Conference reports should provide the readers with a good overview of the conference in question as well as some personal insights of how it impacted the author. Photos with captions must accompany the submission.

Reader’s Response Reader’s Response gives the readers a forum to respond to articles published in previous issues or respond to a critical issue in the region. Responses should focus on the content of an article and provide reasoned feedback. Responses should be between 500-2000 words.

Lesson Ideas Do you have a great lesson idea or an activity that others should know about? Lesson Ideas offers teachers the opportunity to share their activities in context. Submissions should be between 500-2000 words and detail the activity as well as provide a context for usage. Lesson ideas can be a one-off lesson or a series of lessons.

Photographs and other images In order to avoid poor quality images, please submit the largest size and best resolution images you have. This should be at least 300 dpi and saved as a tiff, eps, or jpeg (in order of preference). Headshots and brief bios including the author's current professional affiliation must accompany all submissions.

Send your submissions to: Julie Riddlebarger and Suhair Al Alami, perspectives@tesolarabia.org

TESOL Arabia Perspectives is published three times a year: November, January and June Deadline for submissions: September 15, November 15, and April 15 Volume 22

No. 3

November 2014

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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C o n t e n t s

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Pers p e c t ives Volume 22 No. 3 November 2014

From the Editors

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Message from the President

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Message from the Conference Co-Chairs

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Feature Articles The Influence of Culturally Unfamiliar IELTS Writing Prompts on Student Band Scores: A Case Study A Critical Review of Language Aptitude

Hilda Freimuth

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Ibtisam Ali Hassan Al Badi 11

Functions of Teacher Code-Switching in a Saudi EFL Classroom: A Case Study

Eman Alkatheery 18

Lesson Ideas Real-Time Collaborative Writing in iPad-Enabled Classrooms Essay Writing “Re-Defined”: A Fun & Interactive Lesson A Literature-Based Lesson

Tendai Charles

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Dima Yousef & Rama Makad Khalid Al-Seghayer

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James Buckingham

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Educational Technology Open Digital Badges in TESOL Arabia

Reviews Unlock - Listening & Speaking Skills 1 and Reading & Writing Skills 1 The Company Words Keep Longman Academic Reading Series 1 Progressive Skills: Listening and Speaking, Levels 2 and 3

Colin Toms 36 Rachel Solomon 38 Rory O’Kane 39 Elizabeth Tjepkema 41

Networking TESOL International Conference 2014: Dreams of Things To Come!

Cutting Edges Research Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University AILA World Congress

43 Neil McBeath 44

Sufian Abu-Rmaileh

Helene Demirci 46

TESOL Arabia News TESOL Arabia Executive Council Members at UAEU TESOL Arabia TAE SIG Professional Development Certificate Series TESOL Arabia Supports Women in Nepal SIG Reports Chapter Reports SIGs Chapter Representatives Executive Council Volume 22

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47 48 49 51 53 58 59 60 www.tesolarabia.org


From Feature the Article Editors

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Dear Readers,

Editors

Welcome back! We hope you had a productive and fun summer break – although perhaps it seems like it was long ago. The new academic year is no longer so new; it’s already time to start thinking about winter breaks and the upcoming TESOL Arabia International Conference in March.

Julie Riddlebarger Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi

This issue of Perspectives should give you plenty to read and think about before then. We have feature articles from around the region: the UAE, KSA, and Oman. First up is Hilda Freimuth with “The Influence of Culturally Unfamiliar IELTS Writing Prompts on Student Band Scores: A Case Study.” Hilda discusses her research into the possibility that culturally unfamiliar prompts affect IELTS writing scores, a topic that many of us have probably wondered about. Next is Ibtisam Ali Hassan Al Badi’s “A Critical Review of Language Aptitude,” a good reminder of what aptitude is and how it may be measured. Finally, Eman Alkatheery writes about the “Functions of a Teacher’s Code-switching in a Saudi EFL Classroom: A Case Study,” always an interesting and often controversial subject.

Suhair Al Alami Al Ghurair University, Dubai

We have gone from one Lesson Idea in the last issue to three in this one, so get ready to try out something new in your classrooms. Tendai Charles brings together collaborative learning and the latest technology in “Real-time Collaborative Writing in iPad-enabled Classrooms.” Dima Yousef and Rama Makad find a way to make writing fun with “Essay Writing ‘Re-defined’: A Fun and Interactive Lesson.” Finally, Khalid Al-Seghayer explains how to effectively use authentic texts in “A Literature-based Lesson.” We are pleased to have an Educational Technology article from James Buckingham, Chair of TESOL Arabia’s EdTech SIG. James writes all about a new initiative, open digital badges, meant to recognize and reward those who volunteer their time and effort to help make TESOL Arabia the dynamic and productive organization it is. Find out how badges work and how to get them. Another new program being undertaken by the TAE SIG is an online professional development certificate, as explained by Christine Coombe, TAE SIG Co-Chair, in the TESOL Arabia News section. One of the most exciting articles in the TA News section, and the reason that our cover photo this issue is from Nepal, is Vicky Allen’s article, “TESOL Arabia Supports Needy Women in Nepal.” We can not stress the importance of her project enough, and we hope you agree. As always, we also have a selection of book reviews, and SIG, Chapter, and Networking reports from around the region and beyond. There is surely something for everyone in this issue! We welcome and encourage feedback from readers, and we also encourage you to become a contributor – the guidelines are inside the front cover as well as on the website. We look forward to hearing from you as well as seeing you at TESOL Arabia events around the UAE.

Reviews Editor Paul Dessoir United Arab Emirates University

Advisory Panel Daniel Mangrum Dennis Balint Hala Nur Indrani Ibrahim James Buckingham Jane Hoelker Janet Olearski Karl Kripps Kay Gallagher Kourosh Lachini Mick King Neil McBeath Paul James Dessoir Peter McLaren Rania Jabr Sahbi Hidri Sally Ali Susan Toth Suzanne Littlewood Tamas Lorinz 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

Boy in window Bandipur, Nepal Rob Wilson, Khalifa University

native language. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.tesolarabia.org

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Message Feature Article from the President

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Dear Colleagues I have the pleasure of announcing several new initiatives that TESOL Arabia has recently undertaken to enhance our organization and lead to its growth and development in keeping with its 21st year. First of all, our membership policy has been revamped to make it easier for you to join. Whether you are a student, a K-12 teacher, or a tertiary teacher, your new membership fee is 150 AED. Furthermore, if you are from a GCC country or the greater MENA region, your membership fee is 150 AED. (The MENA region includes Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.) In fact, any international member can now join TESOL Arabia for 150 AED, excluding a print subscription to Perspectives, our TESOL Arabia peer-reviewed journal (or 250 AED including the subscription). Another major change regarding membership is the ability to renew your membership online in a one-step payment process. That leads me to our second major change: TESOL Arabia’s new website. Still at our address of www.tesolarabia.org, you will be taken to our new e-commerce platform to take advantage of the many opportunities TESOL Arabia has for you. In addition to a one-step joining or membership renewal process, you can register for the conference, purchase a TESOL Arabia publication, view past TESOL Arabia publications online, subscribe to our monthly online newsletter, and avail yourself of many other opportunities to interact with TESOL Arabia such as applying for grants. We have also introduced two new membership benefits: (1) You can apply for one of seven complimentary memberships to TESOL International when you renew your membership in TESOL Arabia (if you have never been a member of TESOL International), and (2) you can apply for a conference fee waiver to our TESOL Arabia affiliate conferences (CamTESOL, the Community Ed Project, Confluence/ EngQuest International, GESS Al Nadi & GEF, MENA-ERF, MENAWCA, Qatar TESOL, and UZTEA). Another area we hope to develop on the website in the future is a resource center for teachers. A special word of thanks and recognition goes out to Konrad Cedro and his son, Caspar Cedro, for developing the new TESOL Arabia and TESOL Arabia Conference websites and e-commerce platform. Any and all suggestions for improving the website are welcome, and be sure to renew your membership by December 15 to get the early bird member’s rate of 470 AED for the TESOL Arabia Conference. Another initiative is the awarding of TESOL Arabia digital badges to our volunteers and members who give of themselves by presenting, serving on committees, writing for our publications, or organizing or volunteering at events. We hope to introduce digital badges as formal recognition of learning and volunteering at all TESOL Arabia sponsored events. Welcome back to the 2014-2015 academic year. I sincerely hope you have a great year, both at your learning institute and with TESOL Arabia. Yours,

Melanie Gobert TESOL Arabia President

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Message from the Conference Co-Chairs Feature Article

Dear TESOL Arabia Members, We are bringing you what we hope will be the biggest and best conference ever in keeping with our 21-year tradition of the TESOL Arabia International Conference and Exhibition. We have the strongest conference presence in the Middle East for English Language Teaching and for all teachers who teach content through English as a Medium of Instruction. This year, in keeping with the times, our conference theme is “Theory. Practice. Innovation. Learning and Teaching in the Digital World.” Never before have we seen such unprecedented growth in learning technologies, especially mobile learning, and we hope to bring you the best of all three worlds:Theory, Practice, and Innovation. We have a fantastic array of plenary and featured speakers to suit all of our members’ needs in this respect. For plenaries, Lindsay Clandfield, freelance ELT consultant and award-winning author of the Global series of course books and creator and owner of the Six Things website, will be our opening speaker. Deena Boraie, the first Arab president of TESOL International from the American University of Cairo; Leigh Wolf, an expert on educational technology from Michigan State University; Ken Hyland, one of ELT’s most renowned authors on teaching and researching academic writing, from the University of Hong Kong; and Bernd Rüschoff, pastpresident of the International Association for Applied Linguistics who specializes in developing and organizing language learning program for in-company training and vocational language program at university level as well as developing technology enhanced learning systems, from the University of Münster, complete our list of plenary speakers, along with our very own Christine Coombe, past president of TESOL International and author, editor or co-editor of over 31 publications on assessment, leadership, and ELT, based at Dubai Men’s College, Higher Colleges of Technology, right here in the UAE. Our featured speakers include Tom Robb, creator of the M-Reader website; Donna Brinton, co-editor of The Content-Based Classroom: Perspectives on Integrating Language and Content; Carmel McNaught, Emeritus Professor of Learning Enhancement at the University of Hong Kong; Ramin Akbari, Chair of the ELT Department at Tarbiat Modares University; Diane Phillips, co-author of Projects with Young Learners, from The Open University; and Steve Thompson, an author who has written coursebooks for the Saudi Ministry of Education and the Abu Dhabi Educational Zone and has a new book coming out, Hide and Seek, a kindergarten EFL course. We have a new conference program currently being developed by our Program Committee Co-Chairs, Konrad Cedro, Christine Coombe, Tamas Lorincz, and Naziha Ali. For the first time in the history of Volume 22

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the conference, we will be accepting presentations for various time frames: 20 minutes each of teaching tips, research, or app share that will be combined into a panel of three presentations; our regular session presentation sessions will be 30 minutes each; and we will also offer a limited number of 90-minute hands-on workshops and special training sessions to regular conference attendees, as well as our usual 50-minute special sessions, plenary, and featured sessions. We have also expanded the number of poster sessions that we accept and created a new poster presentation category for students and teachers in training to show off their work and embark on their first step in presenting at an international conference. Again we offer high quality Pre- and In-conference professional development certificate courses that include two, 6-hour training courses on teaching and learning with iPads.The pre-conference course titles on offer are “Digital Learning,” “Motivational Techniques for Learners,” “IELTS & The Language Teacher,” and “Transforming Teaching & Learning with iPads (Advanced).”The in-conference course offerings are “Curriculum Design & Assessment” and “Exploring Teaching & Learning with iPads” (Beginners). Our conference will be held again at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Dubai Corniche.We have chosen this venue for the third year running because of the hospitality of the staff and the location.The hotel is easily served by all forms of public transportation, and this year, valet parking will be included in the price of the conference registration fee which will remain the same for all TESOL Arabia members: 470 AED early bird special (closing December 15), 580 AED regular registration (closing February 15), and 700 AED on site registration. The Hyatt has also expanded the number of rooms available for concurrent sessions and soundproofed rooms where necessary to enable all conference attendees to get the maximum benefit from their sessions.The Hyatt has also met our appeals for providing substantial portions of quality food in exchange for refreshment vouchers; visit the conference website and check out the photos of the food options that will be available. In addition, the job fair registration room will be conveniently located one floor above the interview rooms. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Conference registration is now open on our website: www.tesolarabia.org.We look forward to seeing you at the best and biggest TESOL Arabia International Conference and Exhibition. Regards, Melanie Gobert (melanie.gobert@tesolarabia.org) and Rehab Rajab (rehab.rajab@tesolarabia.org) TESOL Arabia Conference Co-Chairs, 2015 TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Feature Article

The Influence of Culturally Unfamiliar IELTS Writing Prompts on Student Band Scores: A Case Study

Hilda Freimuth Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi

Government universities in the United Arab Emirates use the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as a gatekeeper for academic study. Whereas different universities and different faculties require different band scores, the required scores tend to range between 5 and 6. Khalifa University of Science, Technology, and Research (KUSTAR), where this case study took place, requires an IELTS 6 band score for university entry. Students in this program have complained about the cultural bias of the exam as a whole, prompting an earlier detailed study of the reading component. This study revealed that cultural bias does exist, contrary to the claims of the IELTS Organization – at least on the reading component of the exam (Freimuth, 2014). With the speaking component addressed by an earlier study (Khan, 2006), the writing and listening components were left relatively uninvestigated in terms of cultural bias. This case study – consisting of an analysis of twenty-four exams, a focus group of nine instructors, a survey of eleven students, thirtyeight examples of nineteen students’ written work, and a survey of six instructors – was conducted to fill this gap in the literature.

Literature Review

This section begins with a closer look at the IELTS examination and then moves on to define the term “cultural bias” before reviewing existing literature on the cultural bias of the IELTS and other standardized tests. The IELTS examination, created over 20 years ago, is now gaining worldwide recognition (Merrifield, 2007). To understand how popular the IELTS examination has become, we need only to look at Volume 22

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the number of tests taken worldwide in 2012 alone: a staggering 2 million (IELTS Organisation, 2013). The IELTS is predominantly used as a gatekeeper to higher education in the UAE where this case study took place. This makes IELTS a high stakes examination for students in the country. There are two different versions of the IELTS exam: general and academic. Students wishing to study at government institutions in the UAE need to sit the academic version. The IELTS exam gives a band score indicating the level of competency; it is not a pass or fail exam. Students receive a band score from 0 (zero) to 9, with 0 representing no work done on the test and 9 representing the features of an expert user of the English language. In the UAE, the average university or college acceptance band is that of a modest user (band 5) which signals the candidate has restricted command of the English language but can handle basic communication. KUSTAR, where this study took place, insists on the higher band level of 6. This refers to a competent user of English, one who has an understanding of fairly complex language but can still make many mistakes. Currently the average band score for a candidate writing the IELTS writing exam in the UAE is 4.7 with an overall band score that incorporates listening, speaking, reading, and writing of 4.9; this latter score is relatively low in comparison to western countries such as Germany (7.2) or France (6.7) (IELTS Researchers, 2012). Part of this disparity may be attributed to the cultural content of the examination itself – a concept this paper further explores in relation to the writing component of the exam. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Before examining the potential of cultural bias, however, it is first necessary to define the term “culture.” For the purpose of this study, Geertz’ (1973) definition of culture as that which guides a society and embodies a people’s belief systems, rituals, and traditions is used. It is further defined by Lazar to include such things as cultural objects, social roles, political and historical events, proverbs, customs and traditions, and beliefs and superstitions (Lazar, 1993). It is important to clarify what is meant by “test bias.” Clauser and Mazor (1998) refer to test bias as the occurrence of a level of differentiation in test performance with regards to one or more factors. Zumbo (1999) maintains that even valid examinations are capable of showing bias. An example of this, according to Zumbo, would be a difference in test performance for one linguistic group over another due to said group’s linguistic background. The same can hold true for the sociocultural backgrounds of test-takers, especially on standardized language examinations (Street, 1993). This type of bias is what this paper refers to as cultural bias – test bias that exists due to a difference in the cultural background of the test-maker and the test-takers. This falls under the category of content-validity bias and its subcategory itemselection bias where “the use of individual test items… are more suited to one group’s language and cultural experiences” than another’s; it also refers to “questions that are unfamiliar to certain students because of linguistic or cultural differences” (Hidden Curriculum, 2014, paragraph 2). This unfamiliarity can apply either to the form a question takes or to its topic, making topic familiarity – the focus of this study – an area of potential bias. A person’s topic knowledge is shaped by socio-cultural influences (language, history, education, class, gender, etc.) and thus linked closely to one’s culture. This study, therefore, refers to topic familiarity as a cultural phenomenon. Teachers and students in this case study evaluate the topics of IELTS task 2 writing prompts from this perspective. Research into the cultural bias of standardized exams is limited, but a few studies do exist. Chen and Henning’s (1985) study of test items on the English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE), which is used to determine university readiness in California, revealed that the linguistic background of Spanish-speaking students gave them a slight advantage over Madarin- and CantoneseVolume 22

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speaking students in the vocabulary section of the exam. Schellenberg (2004) found gaps in test scores of different cultural groups as well, despite the fact that all participants in the study had the same level of access to US education. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) was found to harbor cultural bias as well (Traynor, 1985). Traynor’s study revealed that 30% of the 150 test items examined showed “strong, even intense” (p. 45) cultural bias. Another study conducted on culturally unfamiliar items in TOEFL reading passages found that changing the names of people and places, for example, resulted in a significant increase in test scores (Chihara, Sakurai, & Oller, 1989). In terms of the IELTS examination, however, very little research on cultural bias is available. Recent studies (see Freimuth, 2014; Khan, 2006) have focused on the cultural bias of both the reading and the speaking components of the IELTS exam; the writing and listening components of the exam, however, remain un- or under-investigated. One significant study by Mickan, Slater, and Gibson (2000) found that IELTS candidates’ comprehension of the writing prompts was influenced by their own sociocultural knowledge of the topic of the prompt, ultimately affecting the candidates’ ability to produce appropriate written responses. This idea of a student’s cultural-specific knowledge of topics leading to writing difficulties is not new (Myles, 2002). Shen (1989) wrote of his own experiences, maintaining that writing academic English is in and of itself a social and culture experience, one that challenges the writer’s very identity. Hamp-Lyons (1996) also highlighted the importance of not assuming shared cultural background knowledge in the creation or choice of writing prompts as students come to a writing situation as complex, cultural beings with a variety of different knowledge and skills.With regards to background knowledge, Mickan and Slater (2003) interviewed students after an IELTS writing exam and noted that the lack of knowledge of the prompt – in that particular case on international laws – concerned the candidates with regards to producing content for the essay.The students’ focus was consequently more on the generation of ideas than the organization of the essay (in contrast to native speakers of English who sat the same exam). Although the Mickan-Slater study looked at student perceptions, it did not compare how students performed on culturally familiar and unfamiliar topics and whether their lack of knowledge would make a TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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significant difference in their band scores.The present study addresses actual student performance when faced with culturally unfamiliar writing topics.

Participants

This case study involved nine instructors for the focus group (six of whom also participated in the survey), and 19 students. The instructors are all from Western countries and have extensive teaching experience in English foundation programs in the UAE and/or the Gulf as well as a minimum of a Master’s degree in teaching English. All instructors are very familiar with the IELTS examination, with some holding IELTS examiner status. The students in this case study came from two levels of English language courses: 001 and 002. English 001 students have IELTS entry scores of 4 to 5. English 002 students entered the program with scores of 5 or 5.5. All students are of Emirati origin and between the ages of 17 to 19. Both male and female students participated in the study.

Methodology

This case study began with a content analysis of twenty-four IELTS task 2 writing prompts. The prompts were analyzed by the researcher for the potential of raising bias or for cultural sensitivities for Emirati students in terms of topics (either unfamiliar or culturally sensitive). Any prompts that could, in the opinion of the researcher, raise bias due to topic unfamiliarity or topic sensitivity were selected, and then given to a group of nine instructors for a focus group discussion on their opinions of whether or not the prompts were problematic for Emirati students in terms of cultural content or topic familiarity. These instructors were then invited to take a survey as a follow up (see Figure 1).

Question 1. In many countries children are engaged in some kind of paid work. Some people regard this as completely wrong while others consider it valuable work experience important for learning and taking responsibility. What are your opinions on this?

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A class of eleven students in a KUSTAR IELTS class were given the seven prompts previously identified as potentially problematic, plus three additional familiar ones. Students rated prompts as not familiar, a little familiar, somewhat familiar, or very familiar. Then students were asked to rate the same prompt in terms of difficulty of writing 250 words, rating them as not difficult, a little difficult, somewhat difficult, or very difficult. They were then asked to choose one of the ten prompts to write about for homework. In the next class, students were given the prompt rated as the most unfamiliar and the most difficult and told to write an in-class, 250-word essay on the prompt. Both writing passages were collected and the names removed for the purposes of a blind assessment. The researcher, a trained IELTS examiner, then graded each essay according to the IELTS public band descriptors. The essays were then matched with their writers in order to compare band scores for significant differences. The same ten choices of prompts were then given to a lower level class of eight students to see if there were any significant differences in their writing bands, and results were tallied. Hilda Freimuth holds PhD (Education), MA and MEd (Teaching English), and BEd degrees. She has many years of teaching experience in Canada and the UAE. Her research interests are primarily in assessment, reading, and cultural bias in education. She is currently Senior Lecturer and Student Learning Center Coordinator at Khalifa University of Science, Technology, and Research in Abu Dhabi.

Results

Prompt Identification Of the twenty-four prompts, seven were identified by the researcher as potentially problematic with regards to cultural familiarity or cultural sensitivity of the topic. These included the following prompts: 1. In many countries children are engaged in some kind of paid work. Some people regard this as completely wrong while others consider it valuable work experience important for learning and taking responsibility.What are your opinions on this? 2. It is generally accepted that families are not as close as they used to be. Give some reasons for why this change has happened and suggest how families could be brought closer together.

This item does not raise bias and/or sensitivity concerns that would interfere with the performance of Emirati students.

3. Happiness is considered very important in life.Why is it so difficult to define? What factors are important in achieving happiness?

1

2

3

4

Strongly Agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

4. Creative artists should always be given the freedom to express their ideas (in words, pictures, music, or film) in whichever way they wish.There should be no government restrictions on what they do.To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Figure 1: Sample survey item for instructors Volume 22

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8 5. Some people believe that there should be fixed punishments for each type of crime. Others, however, argue that the circumstances of an individual crime and the motivation for committing the crime should always be taken into account when deciding on the punishment. Discuss both these views and give your opinion. 6. Increasing the price of petrol is the best way to solve growing traffic and pollution problems.To what extent do you agree or disagree? What other measures do you think might be effective? 7. Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example, working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood, or teaching sports to younger children).To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Instructor Opinions of Prompts

The seven prompts identified as potentially problematic were presented to a group of nine instructors in the form of a focus group. The focus group allowed for the researcher to delve more deeply into the opinions instructors had on the various prompts. Overall, the instructors felt that culture did not play as big a role in the written performance on the IELTS writing exam as on the speaking or reading components. With the rubric tightly controlled to include grammar, vocabulary, and cohesion beyond task achievement (content), instructors felt that, even if there were cultural bias, the remaining three elements of grading remained stable. They also felt that the phrasing of the prompt could eliminate bias to a certain extent by giving clear examples and by giving an open type question rather than one instructing test takers to discuss both sides of an opinion. Six of the nine instructors were followed up with a survey in which they rated whether or not a prompt gave rise to bias or cultural sensitivity that could interfere with the performance of Emirati students. Prompts 1, 4, and 5 were identified by three (50%) of the surveyed instructors as potentially problematic for Emirati students.

Student Survey Results

The seven prompts identified by the researcher were supplemented with another three “familiar� prompts for the students. These were added to ensure students had ample choices of familiar topics for the writing component of the case study. The following three were added to the previous seven.

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8: When a country develops its technology, the traditional skills and ways of life die out. It is pointless to try and keep them alive.To what extent do you agree or disagree? 9: Improvements in health, education, and trade are essential for the development of poorer nations. However, the government of richer nations should take the responsibility of helping the poorer nations in such areas.To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion? 10: In some countries the average weight of people is increasing and their levels of health and fitness are decreasing. What do you think are the causes of these problems and what measures could be taken to solve them? Students were then given a survey in which they rated the prompts on familiarity and difficulty. For each prompt, students decided whether the topic was not familiar, a little familiar, somewhat familiar, or very familiar. They also rated the perceived difficulty of writing 250 words in response to the prompts. Students had to choose from not difficult, a little difficult, somewhat difficult, or very difficult (Figure 2).

INSTRUCTIONS

For each task 2 prompt below, indicate how you feel about the topic by circling the appropriate number. Prompt 1 In many countries children are engaged in some kind of paid work. Some people regard this as completely wrong while others consider it valuable work experience important for learning and taking responsibility. What are your opinions on this? How familiar are you with the topic knowledge? 1 2 3 4 Not familiar A little familiar Somewhat Familiar Very familiar

How difficult will it be for you to write 250 words on this topic? 1 2 3 4 Not difficult A little difficult Somewhat Difficult Very difficult

Figure 2: Sample survey item for students The students rated prompt 4, which was related to freedom of expression, as the least familiar and most difficult to write on. In general, however, students felt topics were a little familiar or somewhat familiar, with 71% of the responses labelled as such.Very few students (see Figure 3) rated topics as not familiar, but the students that did make such a rating narrowed it down to four: prompts 4, 5, 6, and 7. The figure indicates that 3 out of 11 students rated prompt 4 as unfamiliar, and 2 out of 11 students rated prompts 5, 6, and 7 as unfamiliar. The instructors only identified prompts 4 and 5 as problematic for students, indicating that teacher and student perceptions of potential bias do not fully match. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Figure 3: Prompts identified as not familiar by students The students that labelled prompts as not familiar, however, also identified the same prompts as very difficult or somewhat difficult to write 250 words on. No other pairing for not familiar occurred. The students that labelled prompts as very familiar also identified the same as not difficult or a little difficult (see Figure 4).

9 These results indicate a fluctuation of half a band (0.5) in either direction (up or down in score). This means for this particular group of students, who had entered KUSTAR with an IELTS band between 5 and 6, the familiarity of the topic had no impact on the band score. In some cases, students did better with the familiar topic by a 0.5 band score. Three out of 11 students (27%) scored higher on the unfamiliar topic with a 0.5 increase in the band score. Five out of 11 students (46%) scored higher in their response to the unfamiliar prompt. The remainder had the same band score on both prompts. When the same ten prompts were given to a lower level class (001, with IELTS bands between 4 and 5), the results were similar, with most fluctuations occurring at a 0.5 band score. However, more students (50%) at this level showed an increase in band scores on the familiar topic. One quarter of the students had higher scores on the unfamiliar topics while another quarter of the students stayed the same regardless of the prompt (see Table 2). Table 2 Band Scores for 001 Student Production on Familiar and Unfamiliar Prompts

Figure 4: Pairings of labels

Student Writing Results

Students from the higher level course (002) were asked to choose one familiar topic from the ten prompts and write a 250-word IELTS task 2 essay for homework. When given a choice of prompt, many chose prompt 3 or 10, indicating they felt familiar with the topics (happiness and health). In the next class, students were given prompt 4, which several students had identified as both not familiar and very difficult, on which to write a second task 2-type essay. Results are presented in Table 1. Table 1 Band Scores for 002 Student Production on Familiar and Unfamiliar Prompts Student # Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4 Student 5 Student 6 Student 7 Student 8 Student 9 Student 10 Student 11

Familiar Topic Band Score 5.5 5.5 5.5 5.5 6 5.5 5.5 5 6 5 6 Volume 22

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Student # Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4 Student 5 Student 6 Student 7 Student 8

Familiar Topic Band Score 4 4.5 5 5.5 4.5 4.5 5 4

Unfamiliar Topic Band Score 4.5 4 4 5 5 4.5 4.5 4

Conclusions and Pedagogical Implications

This case study revealed that 11 students with modest competency of the English language showed no significant difference in their written IELTS task 2 performance when given more familiar topics. In fact, 33% did slightly better on the unfamiliar prompt. Some lower level students (4 out of 8), however, showed a tendency to do slightly better on the familiar ones, with 25% doing worse and 25% staying the same regardless of level of familiarity. More research would be needed to see if this trend is statistically significant. The researcher originally highlighted seven out of 24 IELTS task 2 writing exam topics (29%) as potentially culturally sensitive or culturally unfamiliar for Emirati students. The participating instructors, however, felt that only four (17%) had the potential to raise bias. Participating level 002 (higher level) students agreed TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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10 with the instructors regarding topics that could be problematic, but only 50% of their choices matched the instructors’, indicating a difference in perceptions. Most students felt the IELTS task 2 prompts were a little or somewhat familiar.Very few from the higher level (002) group indicated that a prompt was completely unfamiliar, but when they did, they also labelled it as very difficult or somewhat difficult. The same applied to those students that labelled a prompt as very familiar. The only pairings that occurred with this label were not difficult and a little difficult, hinting that the students link familiarity of a topic to their ability to write about it at length. Although a case study of this nature cannot be used to generalize across a population, it can be used as a stepping stone for further research. Research on a larger number of students with band 4-5 scores could offer more valid and reliable data on the initial result that writing on familiar topics improves band scores. A larger comparative study of teacher and student perceptions of topics could identify differences of opinion on familiarity and explore reasons for these differences. Another study could be done to see if higher level students (band 6+) perform differently on familiar and unfamiliar task 2 writing prompts. In terms of pedagogical implications, instructors might consider building topic knowledge in class before asking students to tackle unfamiliar writing prompts, especially in classes with lower levels of English. This can be done through readings, lectures, and discussions related to writing topics that appear on the IELTS examination. In this way, topic knowledge is built, and the influence an unfamiliar topic may have on the students’ performance is mitigated.

References

Chen, Z., & Henning, G. (1985). Linguistic and cultural bias in language proficiency tests. Language Testing, 2(2), 155-163. Chihara, T., Sakurai, T., & Oller, J. (1989). Background and culture as factors in EFL reading comprehension. Language Testing, 6(2), 143-149. Clauser, E., & Mazor, M. (1998). Using statistical procedures to identify differentially functioning test items. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 17, 31-44. Freimuth, H. (2014). Cultural bias on the IELTS examination: A critical realist investigation. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books. Hamp-Lyons, L. (1990). Second language writing: Assessment issues. In B. Kroll (Ed.), Second language writing (pp 69-87). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Volume 22

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Hidden Curriculum (2014, August 26). In S. Abbott (Ed.), The Glossary of Education Reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum IELTS Organisation (2013). IELTS institutions:The test that sets the standard. Retrieved from http:// www.ielts.org/institutions/trust_ielts/setting_ the_standard.aspx IELTS Researchers (2012). Retrieved from http:// www.ielts.org/researchers/analysis-of-test-data/ test-taker-performance-2012.aspx Khan, R. (2006). The IELTS speaking test: Analyzing cultural bias. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, 2, 60-79. .Lazar, G. (1993). Literature and language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Merrifield, G. (2007). Impact study into the use of IELTS by professional associations and registration entities: Canada, the UK, and Ireland. IELTS Research Reports, Volume 11. Canberra: IELTS Australia. Mickan, P., & Slater, S. (2003). Text analysis and the assessment of academic writing. In R. Tuloh (Ed.), International English Language Testing System research reports (pp. 59-88). Canberra: IELTS Australia. Mickan, P., Slater, S., & Gibson, C. (2000). A study of the response validity of the IELTS writing subtest. In R. Tuloh (Ed.), IELTS International English Language Testing System research reports 2000,Volume Three (pp. 29-48). Canberra: IELTS Australia. Myles, J. (2002). Second language writing and research: The writing process and error analysis in student texts. TESL-EJ, (6)2. Schellenberg, S. (2004, April). Test bias or cultural bias: Have we really learned anything? In The Achievement Gap:Test Bias or School Structures? Symposium sponsored by the National Association of Test Directors conducted at the Annual Meeting of the National Council for Measurement in Education, San Diego, CA. Retrieved from http:// datacenter.spps.org/sites/2259653e-ffb3-45ba8fd6-04a024ecf7a4/uploads/Test_Bias_Paper.pdf Shen, F. (1998). The classroom and the wider culture: Identity as a key to learning composition in English. In V. Zamel & R. Spack (Eds.), Negotiating Academic Literacies:Teaching and Learning across Languages and Cultures (pp. 123-134). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Street, B. (1993). Cross-cultural approaches to literacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Traynor, R. (1985). The TOEFL: An appraisal. ELT Journal, 39(1), 43-47. doi: 10.1093/elt/39.1.43 Zumbo, B. (1999). A Handbook on the theory and methods of differential item functioning (DIF): Logistic regression modeling as a unitary framework for binary item scores. Ottawa: Directorate of Human Resources Research and Evaluation. TESOL Arabia Perspectivesi

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A Critical Review of Language Aptitude

Ibtisam Ali Hassan Al Badi Sohar College of Applied Sciences Sohar, Oman

Individual differences have been the center of attention of a considerable number of linguists and educators for decades (see, e.g., Krashen, 1980; Skehan, 1989, 2014; Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991; Dornyei, 2006; Robinson, 2012). This could be attributed to the hypothesis that individual differences are fundamental psychological factors which could predict success or failure of a language learner (Lightbown & Spada, 2006). Aptitude factor is one of these major and controversial individual characteristics (Brown, 2007). It is believed that language aptitude is one of the primary learner attributes noticeably involved in second language acquisition (Skehan, 1989). It is also assumed to be the most successful predictor of language learning attainment (Gardner & MacIntyre, 1992). This has been supported in a study conducted by DeKeyser, Alfi-Shabtay, and Ravid (2010) who concluded that language learning aptitude can play a fundamental role in adult second language acquisition. That could be attributed to the aptitude tests such as Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) which have been proved to have positive relation with language learning. For instance, Bain, McCallum, Bell, Cochran, and Sawyer (2010) indicated that MLAT could be “the strongest predictor of foreign language learning success� (p. 140). The purpose of this review is to discuss insights with respect to the correlation between language aptitude and language proficiency, and to spotlight the most common instruments utilized to measure language aptitude. It is also meant to enlighten educators about the essential role of aptitude in instructional contexts in terms of selecting the most effective materials and teaching methodologies that fit learners’ skills and capabilities based on their aptitude information. It begins by discussing the theoretical framework underlying aptitude factor including relevant theories, assumptions and research methods associated with this topic. Moreover, two sections Volume 22

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cover limitations and future research directions in this field. The final section presents the fundamental contributions of aptitude research to both the theoretical framework of language aptitude and the pedagogical implications in Second Language Acquisition (SLA).

Prominent Theories and Assumptions in Aptitude Research

Various issues concerning language aptitude have been widely discussed in SLA literature. This section presents the most striking aspects that have been the focus of a considerable number of aptitude researchers. It deals with five issues salient to this article.

Traditional aptitude constituents

Linguists have tried at different times to give a universal description of language aptitude considering different dimensions such as memory, linguistic patterns, and phonological systems (McNamara, 2004), yet without agreement. One definition, proposed by Carroll in 1981, defined language aptitude as the stable ability to learn quickly (Carroll, 1981, cited in Ranta, 2008). It can be argued that language aptitude does not determine whether or not an individual can learn a language, but rather how fast they can learn it (Carroll, 1973). This may lead to the conclusion that those learners with high language aptitude acquire new language items at a greater rate and with less effort than the others (Lightbown & Spada, 2006). Carroll (1981) suggested a four-factor theory of aptitude. He outlined these factors under four main categories: phonemic coding ability (recognizing new sounds and remembering them), grammatical sensitivity (comprehending the functions of the words in sentences), inductive language learning ability (inferring grammatical rules), and working memory capacity (associating sounds with meanings and remembering them). Based on these four TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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components, different aptitude tests have been created to measure learners’ abilities to acquire the different elements of language. In more recent research, other definitions have been crafted by several researchers. For example, Robinson (2005) describes aptitude as the “strengths individual learners have … (and) the cognitive abilities” they utilize to process, internalize, and recall information during the learning process in its different phases (p. 46). It has also been defined as “an innate and relatively fixed talent to acquire and process language” (Bylund, Abrahamsson, & Hyltenstam, 2009, p. 447).

Working memory

Another issue that has attracted a lot of attention in aptitude research is the relationship between working memory and language aptitude on the one hand and language proficiency on the other. Working memory (WM) can be defined as the storage where information is assumed to be initially processed and then stored in long-term memory to be retrieved when needed (Ellis, 2001). Miyake and Friedman (1998) proposed the “working memory as language aptitude” hypothesis. They argued that WM is the core constituent of language aptitude regarding the prediction of learning success. This claim was supported by a considerable number Ibtisam Ali Hassan Al Badi holds a Master’s degree in TESOL from Sydney University, Australia. She works for the Ministry of Higher Education in the Sultanate of Oman, and currently teaches English at Sohar College of Applied Science.

of research studies. For example, Sawyer and Ranta (2001) found a strong relationship between WM and second language (L2) proficiency. Furthermore, Erlam (2005) tried to identify the learning conditions in which WM played a significant role in learners’ attainment. The findings revealed that learners with good WM were likely to benefit more from input-instructed methods (presenting and explaining the target language without practicing it) in terms of producing the target items in longterm presentation. This finding could be substantially related to Skehan’s proposal (1998, 2002) of relating WM capacity to the output stage of SLA. Dornyei (2006, p. 48) related the strong relationship between WM and language proficiency to its components such as the “attention aspect” that has a crucial role in L2 acquisition. He indicated Volume 22

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that language comprehension and production are underpinned by WM. Furthermore, Safar and Kormos (2008) pointed out a highly significant role of WM in learners’ L2 attainment. This can also be considered as support for Miyake and Friedman’s (1998) hypothesis. That is, WM could be a better predictor than the traditional aptitude constituent conceptualized by Carroll (1981). Furthermore, it was found that some components of language aptitude are related to WM, but they do not overlap. This result suggests that the constituents of aptitude have separate influence not only on the achievement of different activities but also on the main skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This supports Robinson’s (2001) conceptualization of language aptitude complexes discussed below. Hummel (2009) narrowed her focus down to examine phonological memory (PM) which is a part of WM. The results of this study extend the previous assumption that PM is a successful predictor for the achievement of learners. She reported statistically significant correlation between PM and language proficiency. However, two relevant points should be noted. First, according to Hummel (2009), the correlation decreases with later stages of language acquisition process. Second, PM and reading subtests failed to significantly correlate. On the contrary, this relationship was found between PM and vocabulary and grammar subtests. Consequently, PM seems to be less relevant for a more complex skill such as reading. This suggests that learners’ attainment in L2 does not depend simultaneously on both PM and language aptitude. Andersson (2010) examined how the various resources of WM could predict children’s success in learning a foreign language. In addition to the association between WM and language proficiency, the findings suggest that children must have a “capacious working memory system that can adapt to the processing” of the foreign language (p. 467). In a more recent study, Biedron (2012) reported that gifted foreign language learners have higher WM abilities than do normal learners.

Aptitude-treatment interaction theory

This theory is the foundation on which Robinson (2001) has built his crucial research. He has attempted to identify the cognitive demands of some TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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key learning tasks and has concluded that various learning environments such as implicit and explicit learning conditions can be associated with specific aptitude variables that could support learning in those situations. This theory can be related to the “aptitude complexes” hypothesis which states that aptitude is “…the sum of lower level abilities, grouped into cognitive factors, which differentially support learning in various learning situations” (Dornyei, 2005, p. 59).

Aptitude constructs and SLA stages

This proposal was suggested by Skehan (1998, 2002). Similarly to Robinson (2001), he tried to relate the components of aptitude addressed by Carroll (1981) to the various stages of learning a second language, and to identify the role of aptitude in each of those stages. Skehan suggested that information processing comprises three basic stages: input, central processing, and output (2002). Each phase can be connected to a specific aptitude element. For instance, phonemic coding ability can be linked to the first step of information processing. That is, it enables learners to internalize the input they are exposed to. Next, inductive learning aptitude plays a major role in the central processing stage which entails making inferences and generalizations about structures and grammatical rules. Finally, the output stage requires WM aptitude in terms of manipulating, storing, and retaining information for the production of the target language. Another related issue is that individuals might have high capacity in one aptitude component but not in another. For instance, Lightbown and Spada pointed out that some learners appear to have high ability in memorizing items but not in analyzing them; consequently, learners’ strengths and weaknesses in these various areas can explain their acceptance of certain instructional techniques (Lightbown & Spada, 2006). For example, the recast method is a form of implicit corrective feedback for learners’ utterances, paying attention to meaning without any explicit focus on the form in order to keep the flow of communication (Miller & Pan, 2012). Such a method may not benefit students with low WM capability as they may not be able to actively and successfully rehearse the targeted recasts (Robinson, 2001). Rouhi and Hassanpour (2010) investigated the relationship between language aptitude in Volume 22

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general and the effectiveness of the recast method. They concluded that learners with a high degree of aptitude could easily and accurately notice corrective feedback through recast.

Aptitude: a stable trait or a changeable skill?

The hypothesis of aptitude stability has been a common aspect of the best research in this field (see e.g., Skehan, 1989; Harley & Hart, 1997, 2002). Skehan says that “the truth of this matter is that there is simply not enough evidence to argue for the stability of aptitude with any certainty” (2002, p. 79). Some scholars believe that aptitude is an entity fixed at birth that might not change with time (Dornyei, 2005). In contrast, others argue that if aptitude is considered a trait, it should be fixed; however, it is subject to change with age if it is seen as a developing skill (Dornyei, 2005). Safar and Kormos (2008) reported that language aptitude does not seem to be an ability that cannot be affected by learning experience. Generally, the literature seems not to have conclusive evidence that proves the stability of language aptitude. In sum, an increasing body of research has been conducted to prove or contradict assumptions and hypotheses about language aptitude. For this purpose, various methods have been developed to test learners’ aptitude in order to find out its correlation with L2 proficiency. In the following section, the most common aptitude measures are presented.

Methods Employed in Aptitude Research

Educators mostly carry out their research based on two widely used instruments: the MLAT (Carroll & Sapon, 1959, 2002), and the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery (PLAB) (Pimsleur, 1966; Pimsleur & Stanfield, 2004). MLAT and PLAB are similar in terms of measuring two of the main aptitude factors presented above regarding sounds and grammatical structures (Ranta, 2008). Although they are similar in some aspects, there are still salient differences worth mentioning. For example, unlike PLAB, MLAT does not measure inductive language learning ability; in addition, PLAB does not include a subtest to measure memory ability (Li, 2012). Another difference is that while MLAT was designed to TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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predict the language ability of adult native-English speakers, PLAB was designed for speakers aged 1319 (Li, 2012). With the emergence of the communicative approach, Grigorenko, Sternberg, and Ehrman (2000) developed the Cognitive Ability for Novelty in Acquisition of Language-Foreign (CANAL-F) test. It differs from both MLAT and PLAB in that it focuses on coping with ambiguity and novelty when being exposed to the second language, and it is supposed to engage learners in a range of communicative contexts possibly encountered in foreign language learning (Grigorenko, Sternberg, & Ehrman, 2000). Other less known methods are the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (Peterson & Al-Haik, 1976) which involves audio and visual materials to examine learners’ ability to learn a second language, and VORD (not an acronym) (Parry & Child, 1990), which does not include an auditory component. To conclude, MLAT and PLAB have played a substantial role in both SLA research and language learning and teaching. In addition, they have succeeded in predicting some of the difficulties that some learners encounter and the strengths they enjoy (Robinson, 2005). However, there are still unsolved questions in this field. Consequently, it is crucial to specify some limitations of aptitude research, followed by a consideration of issues that need further research.

Current Limitations of Aptitude Research

The critique associated with language aptitude research mainly concerns two key points: the controversy over the definition of aptitude and the components of instruments measuring learners’ aptitude. Limitations associated with aptitude definition One of the primary limitations in this field of research is the fact that aptitude definition is not supported by contemporary teaching and learning theories (Dornyei, 2005). Consequently, as mentioned earlier, there is still no agreement among educators and teaching experts regarding the components of this concept (Dornyei, 2006). That could be ascribed to the fact that aptitude cannot be directly observed or measured (Lightbown & Volume 22

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Spada, 2006). Furthermore, Gass, Beney, and Plonsky explain that its “construct is somewhat elusive and clearly multicomponencial, so that measuring it is not always clear cut” (2013, p. 444). Limitations associated with aptitude tests With respect to the instruments of measuring aptitude, Stansfield (1989) argues that aptitude tests do not take into account new insights from cognitive and social psychology. Thus, their applicability in classrooms, where learning a language is not merely about learning vocabulary and structures, is still questionable. In other words, those tests do not seem to predict learning development in contexts where oral and communicative tasks are dominant (Robinson, 2001) even though there are some studies that have shown the converse (see, e.g., Ehrman & Oxford, 1995; Harley & Hart, 1997). The widely-used MLAT and PLAB are mainly grounded on audiolingual and grammatical principles using isolated and de-contextualized items (Ozkose-Biyik, 2008).

Future Directions in Aptitude Tests, Teaching Techniques, and Individual Differences

For more comprehensive and valid definitions and measurements, in-depth research should be carried out regarding aptitude and language acquisition theories, as well as teaching methodology (OzkoseBiyik, 2008). Carroll (1990) indicates that aptitude tests could be developed by adding tasks that suit different learning contexts. In addition, Dornyei (2005) emphasizes the necessity for further studies to identify how aptitude and other variables correlate with each other on the one hand and with classroom contexts on the other. Moreover, communicative skills should be integrated and reflected on aptitude measurements. Ozkose-Biyik (2008) suggests that when designing these tests, it is necessary to look at language aptitude through a socio-cognitive lens and focus on interpersonal communication.

Pedagogical Implications and Insights

Pellegrino and Glaser say that the essence of examining learners’ aptitude is not mainly to predict language learning success, but to become aware of how “intellectual performance can be improved” (1979, p. 61). For example, Wesche (1981) suggests TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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teachers offer their students a variety of activities according to their aptitude profiles; he found that higher levels of attainment were achieved by students whose aptitude profiles matched the instructional tasks. Moreover, Cook (2001) reports that learners’ aptitude profiles could be useful for grouping them into different classes according to language aptitude. Subsequently, students would be exposed to the instruction that suits them best. For example, based on Erlam’s (2005) study, the deductive method could fit all students regardless of their aptitude, while the inductive method is likely to suit learners with high analytic ability, and finally an input-instructed method may benefit those with high working memory aptitude. That is, instructors can make use of aptitude information to select the most efficient teaching methodologies and predict difficulties learners might encounter (Skehan, 2012).

Conclusion

Teachers should be optimistic about their students and their capabilities to learn English. If they consider aptitude score, they should also look at other factors that may promote student learning such as recognizing their learning styles, preferred learning strategies, and importantly, considering their motivation.

References

Andersson, U. (2010).The contribution of working memory capacity to foreign language comprehension in children. Memory, 18(4), 458472. Bain, S., McCallum, R., Bell, S., Cochran, J., & Sawyer, S. (2010). Foreign language learning aptitudes, attitudes, attributions, and achievement of postsecondary students identified as gifted. Journal of Advanced Academics, 22(1), 130-156. Biedron, A. (2012). Memory abilities of gifted foreign language learners. In M. Pawlak (Ed.), New perspectives on individual differences in language learning and teaching (pp. 77-97). New York, NY: Springer. Brown, H. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education. Bylund, E., Abrahamson, N., & Hyltenstam, K. (2009). The role of language aptitude in first language attrition: The case of pre-pubescent attriters. Applied Linguistics, 31(3), 443-464.

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Carroll, J. (1973). Implications of aptitude test research and psycholinguistic theory for foreign language teaching. International Journal of Psycholinguistics, 2, 5-14. Carroll, J. (1981). Twenty-five years of research on foreign language aptitude. In K. Diller (Ed.), Individual differences and universals in language learning aptitude (pp. 119-154). Rowley, MA: Newbury House. Carroll, J. (1990). Cognitive abilities in foreign language aptitude: Then and now. In T. Parry & C. Stansfield (Eds.), Language aptitude reconsidered (pp. 11-29). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Carroll, J., & Sapon, S. (1959). Modern Language Aptitude Test. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation. Carroll, J., & Sapon, S. (2002). Modern Language Aptitude Test. North Bethesda, MD: Second Language Testing. Cook,V. (2001). Second language learning and teaching. London: Edward Arnold. DeKeyser, R., Alfi-Shabtay, I., & Ravid, D. (2010). Cross-linguistic evidence for the nature of age effects in second language acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 31(3), 413-438. Dornyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Dornyei, Z. (2006). Individual differences in second language acquisition. AILA Review, 19, 42-68. Ehrman, M., & Oxford, R. (1995). Cognition plus: Correlates of language learning success. Modern Language Journal, 79, 67-89. Ellis, N. (2001).Working memory. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp. 33-68). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Erlam, R. (2005). Language aptitude and its relationship to instructional effectiveness in second language acquisition. Language Teaching Research, 9(2), 147-171. Gardner, R., & MacIntyre, P. (1992). A student’s contribution to second language learning: Cognitive variables. Language Teaching, 25, 211220. Gass, S., Behney, J., Plonsky, L. (2013). Second language acquisition: An introductory course. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Grigorenko, E., Sternberg, R., & Ehrman, M. (2000). A theory-based approach to the measurement of foreign language learning ability: The Canal-F theory test. Modern Language Journal, 84(3), 390405. Harley, B., & Hart, D. (1997). Language aptitude and second language proficiency in classroom learners of different starting ages. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19(3), 379-400. Harley, B., & Hart, D. (2002). Age, aptitude and second language learning on a bilingual exchange. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Individual differences and instructed language learning (pp. 301330). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Hummel, K. (2009). Aptitude, phonological memory, and second language proficiency in non-novice adult learners. Applied Psycholinguistics, 30, 225249. Krashen, S. (1980). Second language acquisition and language learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Larsen-Freeman, D., & Long, M. (1991). An introduction to second language acquisition research. London: Longman. Li, Lanrong (2012). Foreign language aptitude components and different levels of foreign language proficiency among Chinese English majors. In Q. Zhang (Ed.), Proceedings of the conference on the Pacific Rim objective measurement symposium (PROMS) 2012 (pp. 179-196). New York, NY: Springer. Lightbown, P., & Spada, N. (2006). How languages are learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press. McNamara, T. (2004). Language testing. In A. Davies & C. Elder (Eds.), The handbook of applied linguistics (pp. 763-783). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Miller, P., & Pan, W. (2012). Recasts in the L2 classroom: A meta-analytic review. International Journal of Educational Research, 56, 48-59. Miyake, A., & Friedman, N. (1998). Individual differences in second language proficiency: Working memory as “language aptitude�. In A. Healy & L. Bourne (Eds.), Foreign language learning: Psycholinguistic studies on training and retention (pp. 338-364). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Ozkose-Biyik, C. (2008). A critique of language aptitude research from a socio-cognitive lens. Unpublished manuscript, University at Albany, State University of New York.

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Parry, T., & Child, J. (1990). Preliminary investigation of relationship between VORD, MLAT and language proficiency. In T. Parry & C. Stanfield (Eds.), Language aptitude reconsidered (pp. 30-66). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Pellegrino, J., & Glaser, R. (1979). Cognitive correlates and components in the analysis of individual differences. In R. Sternberg & D. Detterman (Eds.), Human intelligence: Perspectives on its theory and measurement (pp. 61-88). Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Peterson, C., & Al-Haik, A. (1976). The development of the Defense Language Aptitude Battery. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 36(2), 369-380. Pimsleur, P. (1966). The Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovic. Pimsleur, P., & Stanfield, C. (2004). Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery: Manual. Bethesda: Second Language Testing. Ranta, L. (2008). Aptitude and good language learners. In C. Griffiths (Ed.), Lessons from good language learners (pp. 142-157). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Robinson, P. (2001). Individual differences, cognitive abilities, aptitude complexes and learning conditions in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 17(4), 368-392. Robinson, P. (2005). Aptitude and second language acquisition. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 25, 46-73. Robinson, P. (2012). Individual differences, aptitude complexes, SLA Processes, and aptitude tests development. In M. Pawlak (Ed.), New perspectives on individual differences in language learning and teaching (pp. 57-67). New York, NY: Springer. Rouhi, A., & Hassanpour, A. (2010). On time and immediate recasts, aptitude, and L2 accuracy. World Applied Science Journal, 11(2), 136-141. Sawyer, P., & Ranta, L. (2001). Aptitude, individual differences, and instructional design. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp. 319-353). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Safar, A., & Kormos, J. (2008). Revisiting problems with foreign language aptitude. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 46(2), 113-136. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Skehan, P. (1989). Individual differences in second language learning. London: Edward Arnold. Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. London: Edward Arnold. Skehan, P. (2002). Theorizing and updating aptitude. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Individual differences and instructed language learning (pp. 69-93). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Skehan, P. (2012). Language aptitude. In S. Gass and A. Mackey (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition. New York, NY: Routledge. Skehan, P. (2014). Individual differences in second language learning. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Stansfield, C. (1989). Language aptitude reconsidered. Washington DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No ED318226). Wesche, M. (1981). Language aptitude measures in streaming, matching students with methods, and diagnosis of learning problems. In K. Diller (Ed.), Individual differences and universals in language learning aptitude (pp. 119-139). Rowley, MA: Newbury House. i

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Al Ghurair University in Dubai kindly hosted the May 31st meeting of TESOL Arabia’s Executive Council.

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Functions of Teacher Code-Switching in a Saudi EFL Classroom: A Case Study Code-switching (CS) is a linguistic phenomenon that is practiced by bilingual and multilingual speakers. It is defined as the alternation of languages in a discourse, and it may be implemented by one speaker or two speakers in the same flow of speech in different forms and for multiple purposes (Gumperz, 1982). CS is also implemented in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms by both teachers and learners for different functions (Seidlitz, 2003; Sert, 2005). This paper presents a definition of CS, its types and functions, and reviews some previous studies on CS in EFL classrooms in different linguistic contexts. The paper also presents a case study that analyzes the types and functions of teacher CS practiced in Saudi EFL classrooms through classroom observation and teacher interview with an aim of investigating the use of CS as a teaching tool in EFL classrooms.

Eman Alkatheery College of Languages and Translation, King Saud University Riyadh, KSA

chooses a particular “code” whenever he speaks. Furthermore, speakers may choose to switch from one code to another to convey certain messages (Wardhaugh, 1992). Poplack (1979) has identified three types of CS: tag, intersentential, and intrasentential. Tag switches include tags, idiomatic expressions, and interjections. They consist of small units that are added to but not integrated with the other language, including short expressions such as “right” or “understood.” This type can be described as automatic, mechanical, or unintended. Intersentential switches take place at utterance boundaries with the first utterance in one language and the second in the other.

Poplack (1979) states that CS is the alternation of two languages or two language varieties within a single discourse, sentence, or constituent. Gumperz (1982) defines CS as “the juxtaposition within the same speech exchange of passages of speech belonging to two different grammatical systems or subsystems (p. 59).” He also adds that CS is a discourse strategy that generates conversational inferences; i.e., language choice itself can carry meaning in addition to the content of the message.

In contrast, intrasentential switches take place within utterance boundaries. Romaine (1994) stated that intrasentential CS involves the greatest syntactic risk because of the difficulty of integrating two or more language systems in one utterance. The difficulty lies in organizing the structure of the utterance. Bowler (2001) assumed that intrasentential switches in particular and CS in general are signs of linguistic incompetence, signaling that the speaker momentarily cannot remember a linguistic element in one language but is able to recall it in another language. However, Tian and Macaro (2012) indicated that CS is not a linguistic deficit, but rather a sign of bilingual superiority compared to monolingualism.

It is unusual for a speaker to know only one language variety since most speakers are bilingual or multilingual as they at least command several varieties of any language they speak. A speaker

Sert (2005) claimed that CS is not deficiency in learning a language, but may be considered as a useful strategy in classroom interaction. However, he is against the excessive use of CS since it may create

Review of literature

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a barrier to EFL learners in real life interactions with native speakers of the target language. He stated that code-switches can be intended and have a specific function such as topic switch, affective functions, and repetitive functions. In topic switches, the teacher switches her or his language according to the topic that is under discussion. For instance, in grammar instruction, the teacher switches from the target language to the first language (L1) to explain a grammatical point, and the students’ attention is directed towards the new knowledge. Affective functions are used for expression of emotions. The teacher code-switches in order to build solidarity and intimate relations with the students by creating a supportive language environment in the classroom. With the repetitive function, the teacher uses CS to transfer knowledge necessary for clarity and to emphasize the importance of the foreign language content for efficient comprehension. However, Sert (2005) stated that the tendency to repeat the instruction in the L1 may lead to some undesired student behaviors such as total dependence on the teacher’s translation.

for different functions such as strengthening solidarity between speakers, adding aesthetic effects, requesting the meaning of vocabulary and expressions, asking for accommodation (repetition and speaking slower), and bridging a communication gap. Quotations, reported speech, and reiteration for clarification were also detected in the study data.

Polio and Duff (1994) presented nine functions of CS in the EFL classroom. The functions are administrative vocabulary, classroom management, grammar instruction, solidarity, L1 practice by the teacher, translation of unknown target language vocabulary, remedy of lack of student understanding, interactive effects, and comprehension checks. Administrative vocabulary includes isolated words such as quiz and midterm, while classroom management means the use of complete utterances about assignments and tasks. In grammar instruction, CS is used to explain and practice grammatical forms. The teacher codeswitches to express solidarity and empathy with her or his interlocutor. The last function in Polio and Duff ’s study is the interactive effect. It occurs when the teacher code-switches in response to and influenced by students’ language choice. For example, the teacher may code-switch from the target language to the L1 in response to a question raised by a student in the L1.

Eman Alkatheery is a lecturer in the English department, College of Languages and Translation and the head of the International Examinations Center at King Saud University. She holds an MA degree in applied linguistics. Her research interests are language testing, CALL, and teaching methodology.

In an Arabic-English context, Al Masaeed (2013) studied the functions of CS in one-to-one speaking sessions in a study-abroad program in Morocco in which English is the L1 and Arabic is the L2 of the students, and the opposite applies to their speaking partners. He concluded that speakers code-switched Volume 22

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CS may also be used to facilitate students’ comprehension and maximize the teacher’s efficiency. For instance, Nzwanga (2000) conducted a study on the functions of CS in a French as a foreign language environment. The functions observed in the French FL classroom were translation, explanation, practice discovery, rote learning, bridging communication gaps, and enhancing learner’s reflection. Translation was the most noticeable CS in the study, and was mainly used in vocabulary classes. Explanation of vocabulary items and grammatical points could be in the form of side comments or brief expansions. CS was also used to bridge communication gaps; i.e., when the speaker found it difficult to express the message in L2, she

resorted to L1. In a study conducted in a German as a foreign language environment at the University of Texas at Austin, Seidlitz (2003) analyzed the types and usage of CS. American teachers code-switched more frequently compared to native Germanspeaking teachers, especially for grammar practice, instructions, humor, and praise. Seidlitz included praise, humor, and encouragement under the function of solidarity; these subfunctions are used to create interpersonal relationships and to reduce the distance between teacher and learners. Finally, Lin (1987) investigated the functions of CS in an EFL classroom in Hong Kong. He assigned different roles to the teacher depending on the level of interaction. On the pedagogical level, the teacher’s role was as a transmitter of language in which he only used English. On the para-pedagogical level, the teacher’s role was that of a bilingual helper and sympathetic friend or advisor. In these two TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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para-pedagogical roles, the teacher switched to the students’ L1, i.e., Cantonese.

Methodology

The research method of this paper is a descriptive case study. Data collection was done through class observation and teacher interview. The researcher attended a one-hour lecture. She observed the class, audio-recorded the lesson, and took notes. Later, the researcher transcribed the whole lecture, extracting the teacher’s utterances that included CS for analysis. After analyzing the types and functions of CS, a brief interview was conducted with the teacher to confirm that the CS in the sample had been correctly identified according to function. CS is sometimes viewed as meaningless and as a sign of partial linguistic competence and is assumed to be random and mechanical (Bowler, 2001; Moore, 2002). It is often viewed negatively in the EFL classroom; nevertheless, a number of EFL teachers do engage in CS, viewing it as a supportive teaching strategy (Lin, 1987). In addition, several studies have examined the functionality and effectiveness of CS in different EFL contexts (e.g., Polio & Duff, 1994; Nzwanga, 2000; Seidlitz, 2003; Sert, 2005; Tian & Macaro, 2012). This paper investigates the functionality and typology of teacher CS in Saudi EFL classrooms and the types implemented by an EFL Saudi teacher through case study. It aims to investigate the types of teacher CS in light of Poplack’s (1979) classification. It also analyzes the functions of teacher CS in EFL Saudi classes with reference to the previously reviewed functions of CS in other linguistic contexts. The research questions were as follows: · Do Saudi EFL teachers code-switch? · If yes, what types of teacher code-switching occur in the Saudi EFL classroom? · If yes, what are the functions of teacher codeswitching in the Saudi EFL classroom? The researcher analyzed a one-hour lecture in a vocabulary course at the College of Languages and Translation, King Saud University. The participant was the course instructor, a native speaker of Arabic from Saudi Arabia. She holds an MA degree in the field of applied linguistics and has approximately four years of teaching experience.

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Data Analysis

The answer to the first question (Do Saudi EFL teachers code-switch?) is yes, they do. The teacher in this study code-switched a lot. After transcribing the whole lecture, the researcher extracted 65 utterances which included meaningful CS. Other code-switches seemed automatic, random, and meaningless. The researcher chose to exclude them from the analysis since they didn’t match any of the functions reviewed in previous research, nor did they seem to serve any other function in the classroom. In answer to the second and third questions (What are the types of teacher code-switching that occur in the Saudi EFL classroom, and what are their functions?), all three types of CS identified by Polpack (1980) were found in this classroom. Each type is discussed below with a detailed analysis of their functions. The table below shows the number of occurances and the percentage of each type of CS. Eight functions were identified with reference to previous studies (Polio & Duff, 1994; Nzwanga, 2000; Seidlitz, 2003; Sert, 2005; Al Masaeed, 2013). Table 1 Number and percentage of types of CS Types of CS

Number

Percentage

Tag switches

13

20 %

Intersentential switches

22

34 %

Intrasentential switches

30

46 %

Total:

65

100 %

Tag switches

The teacher used tag switches in 13 sentences. The tag switches she used were right (Saħ), girls (ya banaat), and OK (xalaaS). These switches were mainly automatic. However, based on the context, the function of the words (Saħ) and (xalaaS) was to check student understanding. The function of the word (ya banaat) could be a sign of solidarity. The teacher code-switched seven times using (ya banaat), and six times using (xalaaS and Saħ). Do you have any problems, ya banaat? Do you have any questions? “Look like” is a stative verb, Saħ? These words are related to the five senses, xalaaS.

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Intersentential switches

The teacher used intersentential switches with 22 sentences. All were for translation. According to Polio and Duff (1994), this function is used for the translation of unknown target language vocabulary. In this study’s classroom, the teacher gave a full sentence translation. She presented the sentence first in English, and then she translated it into Arabic. He sounds German.Yabduu ?nahuu ?lmaani It feels soft In Arabic, it means malmasuhuu naʕim.

Intrasentential switches

In 30 sentences, intrasentential switches were used with seven functions identified: translation, solidarity, comprehension check, classroom management, administrative vocabulary, qualification, grammar instruction, and vocabulary explanation. Translation The teacher code-switched four times for the purpose of translation. In the four utterances, she first presented the verb in English and then translated it into Arabic. The police have been watching that man for weeks. Here, watch mʕnaahaa yoraqiboon “Ran into” is a phrasal verb.What does it mean? It means ?iltaqaytu bihi şudfatan Explanation and instruction CS in this section was used in grammar instruction (explaining and practicing grammatical forms) and vocabulary explanation. The teacher code-switched six times for the purpose of grammar instruction and eight times to explain vocabulary items. Baynama see taxið (-ing) You have to use see. la tistaxdemeen watch hina. Lamma yşeer mʕnaahaa watch. Qualification The teacher code-switched in these five examples in order to give emphasis or quality to the following utterance. She attempted to attract the students’ attention to the upcoming message though the message itself was delivered in English. She codeswitched to Arabic in order to mark a change in her speech such as explaining an exceptional case after presenting a grammatical rule.

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They can be stative and action verbs laakin also they can work as nouns. MaӨalan, we can use these verbs as nouns. Comprehension check The teacher code-switched four times while raising questions during the lesson for the purpose of checking her students’ understanding. So, mata (see) tuşbiħ an action verb? See ?nsab wallaa look wallaa watch? Solidarity The teacher code-switched to express solidarity with her students and to reduce the distance between them by creating a supportive language environment in the classroom. Do you really like the taste of olive? Where is the noun related to the sense of taste? (taste of). ma gilt lukum ya banaat in the one we discussed before stative verbs are followed either by nouns or verbs? Classroom management In this function, utterances are used to discuss tasks, assignments; and to give directions and instructions. The teacher code-switched only once. She asked her students to write down a few notes. Now, compare these examples. ħuţu et-taʕreef. Administrative vocabulary This function is different from classroom management because it only includes isolated words. In this class, the teacher used the word (exam) once. Bil-?imtiħan! Listen! In the exam, I’ll give you sentences and you have to figure out which verb should be used.

Discussion

This case study attempted to analyze the types and functions of an EFL teacher’s CS in a Saudi context in light of previous studies. The analysis results showed that the three types of Poplack’s (1979) classification were present in the lecture as found in previous studies in other linguistic contexts. The data analysis shows that all the eight functions found in this study are similar to the ones reviewed previously (Polio & Duff, 1994; Nzwanga, 2000; Seidlitz, 2003; Sert, 2005; Al Masaeed, 2013). However, some other functions were not found in this case such as reported speech, teacher’s L1 practice, aesthetic functions, etc. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Comprehension check

Qualification

Translation

Explanation of vocabulary

Solidarity

Grammar instruction

Classroom management

Administrative vocabulary

Functions

Table 2 Functions of CS in Saudi EFL classroom

Tag

7

6

13

54 %

46 %

Intra

1

1

6

1

8

4

5

4

30

3.33%

3.33%

20%

3.33%

26.66%

13.33

16.66

13.33

Inter

22

22

100%

Total

1

1

6

8

8

26

5

10

65

1.5%

1.5%

9%

12%

12%

40%

7.7%

15.4%

The function of translation constitutes approximately half of the CS in the study corpus, which is similar to what Nzwanga (2000) found. During the interview, the teacher justified the use of this particular function by claiming that she was preparing students for translation courses at upper levels. Regarding the function of comprehension checks, the teacher believed that CS in comprehension checking helped her to reach the students who faced difficulty with the item being explained.

compared to the other functions. As seen in some functions, CS was used as a pedagogical tool to enhance language learning. Gauci & Grima (2012) found that teachers provide “learner-friendly explanations of grammatical and other language points to get students more involved” (p. 615), yet they concluded that CS is a double-edge sword that should be used wisely inside the classroom to avoid counterproductive results, as was also suggested by Sert (2005).

Vocabulary explanation and solidarity are used equally, reflecting Lin’s (1987) findings that an EFL teacher can play a para-pedagogical role as a learning facilitator or sympathetic friend by resorting to CS. Grammar instruction constitutes almost one tenth of the code-switches in this lecture. The teacher suggests that the low percentage of this function is justified by the fact that the course is fully devoted to vocabulary, while grammar instruction is secondary. As indicated in Sert’s topic switch function (2005), the teacher switched from target language to L1 while explaining a grammatical point to draw the learners’ attention towards the new information.

Suggestions for Further Research

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In light of the functions of teacher CS found in this case study, it is recommended that these functions be highlighted in lesson plans. Teachers should not hesitate to code-switch in language classes as long as it is done to serve a valid pedagogical or parapedagogical function (Tian & Macaro, 2012). Suggestions for further investigation include the influence of CS based on its function on students’ performance, Arab students’ attitude towards teacher CS, analysis of functions of CS in other language courses such as grammar, and examining larger corpora. Furthermore, a comparative study of CS among different EFL teachers, and the inclusion of CS in the lesson plan as a teaching tool, may shed more light on this linguistic phenomenon inside the EFL classroom. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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References

Al Masaeed, K. (2013). Functions of Arabic-English code-switching: Sociolinguistic insights from a study abroad program. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona, USA. Bowler, C. M. (2001). The influence of teacher response on African American students’ codeswitching. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Rhode Island, USA. Gauci, H., & Grima, A. (2013). Codeswitching as a tool in teaching Italian in Malta. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16 (5), 615-631. Gumperz, J. (1982). Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lin, A. M. (1987). Pedagogical and para-pedagogical levels of interaction in the classroom: A social interactional approach to the analysis of the codeswitching behavior of a bilingual teacher in an English language lesson. Unpublished Master’s thesis, University of Hong Kong. Moore, D. (2002). Case study: Codeswitching and learning in the classroom. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 5(5), 279-93. Nzwanga, M. A. (2000). A study of French-English codeswitching in a foreign language college teaching

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environment. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University, USA. Polio, G., & Duff, A. (1994). Teachers’ language use in university foreign language classrooms: A qualitative analysis of English and target language alternation. Modern Language Journal, 78, 313-26. Poplack, S. (1979). “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in Spanish y termino en espanol’”: Toward a typology of code-switching. CENTRO Working Papers, 4, 1-79. Romaine, S. (1994). Language in society: An introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Seidlitz, L. M. (2003). Functions of codeswitching in classes of German as a foreign language. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, USA. Sert, O. (2005). The Functions of Code Switching in ELT Classrooms. The Internet TESL Journal, 6(8). Tian, L., & Macaro, E. (2012). Comparing the effect of teacher codeswitching with English-only explanations on the vocabulary acquisition of Chinese university students: A lexical focus-on-form study. Language Teaching Research, 16(3), 367 – 391. Wardhaugh, R. (1992). An introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.

Looking for a great conference? Check out these TESOL Arabia affiliate events. Confluence VI, an initiative of EngQuest International. January 23-24, 2015. Tulsiramji Gaikwad-Patil College of Engineering and Technology, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. http://www.confluenceindia.co.in/

11th International Qatar TESOL Annual Conference, February 20-21, 2015. “Excellence in Teaching for the Workplace: Building the Bridge between the Academia and the Job Market,” Doha, Qatar. http:// qatartesol.org/conf2015

11th Annual CamTESOL, February 28 – March 1, 2015. “English: Building Skills for Regional Cooperation and Mobility.” Phnom Penh, Cambodia. http://www.camtesol.org/2015-conference TESOL Arabia members can apply for a conference fee waiver to affiliate conferences. Contact TESOL Arabia Vice-President Ali, Volume 22 No. 3 November Naziha 2014 TESOLnaziha.ali@tesolarabia.org. Arabia Perspectives www.tesolarabia.org


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Real-Time Collaborative Writing in iPad-enabled Classrooms This article describes and comments on a collaborative writing activity using iPads and Google Drive, tools that are widely used in the UAE and around the world.

Literature Review

Rimmershaw (1992, p. 16) defines collaborative writing as “any piece of writing, published or unpublished, ascribed or anonymous, to which more than one person has contributed, whether or not they grasped a pen, tapped a keyboard, or shuffled a mouse.” As a second language (L2) classroom task, collaborative writing is a process, which is supported by both sociocultural and psycholinguistic theories on L2 acquisition (Dobao, 2012). If L2 learners write collaboratively in pairs, their writing is more grammatically accurate than when they write individually (Storch, 2005; Storch and Wigglesworth, 2007). However, when L2 learners write in groups of four, both their lexical and grammatical accuracy improves (Dobao, 2012). Shehadeh (2011) investigated the effects of collaborative writing on L2 learners at a university in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He found that in this context, not only did learners’ writing improve from a lexical and grammatical standpoint, but it also improved significantly in both content and organisation. Furthermore, he posited that collaborative writing helps L2 learners “to generate ideas, exchange and pool ideas, discuss, plan, and generate their text, and put it in better shape” (p. 297). Ultimately, he argues that collaborative writing is an essential pedagogical tool which should be exploited in the L2 classroom.

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Tendai Charles United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE

Teaching Context

As an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) teacher at a university in the UAE, I was motivated by the findings of these second language acquisition (SLA) researchers to integrate collaborative writing into my teaching practice. I teach a class of 16 female Emirati students who, according to the Common European Framework (CEFR), would be classified as A2-level learners (i.e., beginners). We study in an iPad-enabled classroom, which means my students and I have iPads as a teaching and learning aid. After investigating various word processing apps on the iPad, I decided to try Google Drive because it allows multiple users to synchronously edit the same document. My students installed Google Drive on their iPads, and the following day we participated in a 50-minute, whole-class writing activity.

The Lesson

I divided the class into four groups, with each group composed of four students. I then created a shared document on Google Drive, projected it onto our Smartboard, and all the students logged in simultaneously. The title of this document was “Writing practice 1: Describe a place in the UAE.” Step 1: Brainstorm I elicited the names of famous places in the UAE and asked the class to choose a specific one to write about. They chose Burj Khalifa. I then elicited answers from the class pertaining to (a) its location, (b) what it looks like, and (c) what people do there. As I received these answers from students, I would type them directly into the Google document; this text instantaneously appeared both on the Smartboard and their individual iPads. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Figure 1. An iPad screenshot of Step 1.

Figure 2. An iPad screenshot of Step 2.

Step 2: Write an outline After eliciting a reasonable number of key words, I told the class that we were going to write the outline for an essay together, using our ideas from the brainstorm. Group 1 were solely responsible for outlining the introduction, which should clearly state the name and location of the place we had collectively selected (i.e., Burj Khalifa). Group 2 were responsible for outlining the first body paragraph, which would be a literal description of what Burj Khalifa looks like. (I advised them to search the web for help if necessary.) Group 3 were responsible for outlining the second body paragraph, which would explain what people actually do at Burj Khalifa. (I wanted them to practice present simple tense verbs.) Finally, Group 4 were responsible for outlining the summary, which would sum up the key points mentioned in the body paragraphs.

Step 3: Write a first draft Once the class had completed an outline, I informed them that we would now write a first draft essay together, using the outline we had just prepared. However, on this occasion, each group would be responsible for writing a different paragraph. Group 1, who were initially responsible for outlining the introduction (during step 2), were now responsible for writing the first body paragraph 1. Similarly, Group 2 were now responsible for the second body paragraph, Group 3 the conclusion, and Group 4 the introduction. Rotating the groups this way was interesting because the students were required to write a paragraph based upon another group’s outline. For some groups, this was a straightforward task, and they began writing full sentences immediately. However, other groups struggled to understand some of what the previous group had written, so they asked questions about meaning or reasoning for clarification.

Tendai Charles is an EAP teacher at UAE University and Managing Director of the Academic Development Company. He holds a BEng in Computing, an MA in Applied Linguistics & TESOL, and is currently working on a PhD in Education. He has taught at leading universities in the UK and Middle East, and presented research papers at SLA conferences throughout Europe.

As the students began to type, they immediately realised that we all had equal control of this document. Anything that I or any of them wrote would appear both on the Smartboard and on every other student’s iPad screen. I saw the students become quite excited by this, and as the Google Drive app is quite intuitive, an explanation about its functionality was not required.

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Figure 3. An iPad screenshot of Step 3. Figure 3. An iPad screenshot of Step 3. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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When the class had completed a first draft, I congratulated them for working well together and completing this task. I then commented that the essay was almost perfect but there were a few minor mistakes here and there, which I wanted them to correct. However, they could not correct their own paragraph; rather, they had to rotate again and correct another group’s paragraph. So now Group 1 was working on the second body paragraph, Group 2 on the conclusion, Group 3 on the introduction, and Group 4 on the first body paragraph 1. They corrected each other’s errors, and eventually the lesson came to an end, with a completed second draft of a descriptive essay.

Figure 4. An iPad screenshot of Step 4.

Observations

Three things really stood out for me during that lesson. First, every student was engaged in the task. Recall that these are A2 level students, yet within a 50-minute lesson they completed two drafts of a short essay, and this was the first time they had ever used Google Drive for collaborative writing. Secondly, I did not tell them how their groups should work on the task, so it was interesting to see how the groups interacted with one another. I noticed that in Groups 1 and 2, every student typed on her own iPad. Conversely, in Group 3, one student was appointed as the typist whilst the others were engaged in discussion about the essay. However, in Group 4, they assigned roles, so that one person typed content, one corrected grammar errors, one corrected spelling mistakes, and the final member corrected punctuation. Volume 22

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Thirdly, the collective scaffolding (Donato, 1994), which took place between groups was fascinating. This particularly occurred when groups rotated to a new paragraph and were faced with another group’s writing. They communicated across groups in order to correct each other’s mistakes and explain grammar rules to one another.

Pedagogical Implications

Coming from public schools, my students were accustomed to writing as a purely individual activity. However, with the aid of iPads and Google Drive, they quickly learnt how to collaborate with their peers on a writing task. This was a valuable experience because (a) their written product as a group was significantly better than their usual individual writing, and (b) the collective scaffolding that took place during the writing process itself could have long-lasting effects on their future work when writing individually.

References Dobao, A. F. (2012). Collaborative writing tasks in the L2 classroom: Comparing group, pair, and individual work. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21(1), 40-58. Donato, R. (1994). Collective scaffolding in second language learning. In J. P. Lantolf & G. Appel (Eds.), Vygotskian approaches to second language research (pp. 33-56). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Rimmershaw, R. (1992). Collaborative writing practices and writing support technologies. Instructional Science, 21(1-3), 15-28. Shehadeh, A. (2011). Effects and student perceptions of collaborative writing in L2. Journal of Second Language Writing, 20(4), 286–305. Storch, N. (2005). Collaborative writing: Product, process, and students’ reflections. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14(3), 153–173. Storch, N., & Wigglesworth, G. (2007). Writing tasks: The effects of collaboration. In M. Mayo, (Ed.), Investigating tasks in formal language learning (pp. 157–177). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. i

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Essay Writing “Redefined”: A Fun & Interactive Lesson

Dima Yousef & Rama Makad Canadian University of Dubai, UAE

“It’s time to write an essay!” Most students dread these words. However, as teachers we can find ways to move away from the traditional framework of writing a lesson. Although students expect our support and guidance during the different steps of writing, we want them to participate more enthusiastically during each step. Our aim in this lesson is to engage our students from the very beginning of the writing process and ensure that they will participate actively in the tasks assigned in class and use critical thinking skills.

Session 2: Read definition essay(s) and answer questions on content and structure. Identify strategies used to clarify the definition. (Activity 4) Session 3: Plan and write a definition essay. (Activity 5)

Materials/Resources

· Computer/overhead projector · TED talk (Stacey Kramer) (download or view online) · Copies of video response handout · Copies of definition essays (examples: Jo Goodwin’s “What is Poverty?;” Tom Rogers’s “Celebrating Nerdiness;” Don R. Lipsitt’s “The Munchausen Mystery”) · Copies of essay rubric

Context /Prior Knowledge

The target audience is university-level students with a TOEFL score of 500 or above. Previous lessons covered were the five-paragraph essay; modes/ types of essays; writing strategies to develop ideas; and identifying the focus, audience and purpose of writing The following lesson focuses on writing an essay using one of the previously-covered strategies for developing ideas, development by definition.

Lesson Outcomes

1. Students will analytically read and discuss definition essays to: a. Determine the focus of an essay. b. Identify the author’s purpose and audience. c. Recognize the strategies used by the writer to define a term or concept. 2. Students will write a definition essay. Time required: Three, 50-minute sessions Session 1: Watch and reflect on Stacey Kramer’s TED talk. (Activities 1, 2 & 3)

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Lesson Structure

1. Activity 1 (Hook), build student interest & engagement (10 min) Discussion: Ask students to share their own definition of any of the following terms: success, happiness, friendship, white lie, stupidity, a gift. 2. Activity 2 (small-group/pair-share) Begin by explaining the task to students. Inform them that: a. They will watch a 5-minute TED talk twice. b. After the second viewing, they will discuss and answer questions about the talk in small groups or pairs (15 min) (video response handout, Figure 1).

After this activity, discuss the questions as a class to reinforce the elements of a text and previously taught concepts such as purpose, audience, and tone. Moreover, discussing the video will provide a smooth introduction to the definition essay.

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Watch Stacey Kramer’s talk and then answer the following questions: 1) What is the subject and purpose of this talk? 2) Who is the target audience? 3) How does her introduction attract the audience? 4) Describe the tone of the speaker. 5) Does the speaker define her subject objectively or subjectively? Explain. 6) How does the speaker feel about her ‘gift’? 7) The speaker uses a variety of techniques to define her subject. List two strategies used in the talk. 8) Are the speaker’s techniques effective? Why or why not? 9) What do you think the speaker’s message to her audience is? 10) Evaluate the effectiveness of the title. After listening to the talk, does the title seem appropriate? Opinion: What do you think about the way the speaker defines her condition? Figure 1.Video response handout Dima Yousef is currently teaching English in the School of Business Administration at the Canadian University of Dubai. She holds an MA in English literary research from University of Leicester, UK. She has more than ten years of teaching experience in the UAE. Her research interests include teacher development and training, curriculum design. and educational technology. She is a member of TESOL Arabia, ASCD, and IATEFL.

3. Activity 3 (independent activity) (10 min) Ask students to consider the following questions as they select a concept or term to define: a. What is the subject? Choose either a subjective or objective definition. b. Why are you interested in it? Give at least one reason. c. Is the topic of interest to others? Identify the audience. d. What will readers gain by your definition? Identify the purpose. e. What techniques can you use to help readers understand your topic? List two. This activity can be done in class (individually) and students submit their ideas towards the end of the lesson, or it can be assigned as homework for next class. 4. Activity 4 (critical reading): · Before you distribute the readings and the Volume 22

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questions, elicit from students the reasons for writing essays of extended definition and introduce the strategies that writers may use to define a certain term or concept (10 min). · Silent or group reading (15 min). · After-reading discussion in groups then as a whole class (25 min). Students need to discuss the purpose, focus and audience of the essay and the strategies used by the author(s) to define their concepts. 5. Activity 5 (essay writing) Students will use the information in activity 3 to write an extended definition. This can be an in-class activity or homework. There are many variations for this activity. Students can write several drafts and revise their essays in peer editing groups. Essays will be marked with a rubric (Figure 2). Rubric Introduction Hook/Attention grabber Well-focused thesis statement (term or concept to be defined is stated clearly)

/5

Support Clear and specific evidence supporting the definition

/5

Conclusion Strong and logical conclusion; wraps up the ideas in the essay

/5

Organization Unity Coherence Logical order

/5

Sentence Structure & Vocabulary Varied sentence structure Correct/appropriate word choice

/5

Mechanics Grammar Spelling

/5

Total

/30

Figure 2. Essay rubric 6. Extended activities · Students can provide a visual definition of a term or concept by. a. Designing a poster. b. Making a short video and posting it on YouTube. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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· Students select a painting or a photo that offers a visual definition of a concept and discuss the visual definition the artist intends to offer in his/her work of art. · Students give a presentation or create a slideshow to explain their definition of a term or a concept.

Reflection

This writing lesson was a success. Multiple media were used and integrated to reinforce concepts. This allowed students to collaborate when exchanging and developing ideas for their own essays. Support such as rubrics and model essays helped students to identify and write using the strategy of definition. Finally, students were able to demonstrate their understanding in several ways such as engaging in discussions, writing essays, and making videos. This lesson was fun to plan and implement in class, and after the positive feedback from students, we are

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introducing a range of media-based activities and encouraging students to demonstrate their learning in more interactive and creative ways. Rama Makad is a lecturer of English in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the Canadian University of Dubai. She holds an MEd in TESL from Concordia University, USA. Rama has more than eight years of experience in teaching English at a university level in different countries in the Middle East and the USA. She enjoys teaching diverse cultural ESL/EFL classes and different subjects including academic writing, and public speaking. Her areas of interest include teacher development, training, technology, and communication skills.

References

Kramer, S. (2010, February). Stacey Kramer: The best gift I ever survived [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/stacey_kramer_the_ best_gift_i_ever_survived Wyrick, J. (2014). Steps to writing well with additional readings (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. i

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A Literature-Based Lesson A literature-based approach in the second-language (L2) classroom offers a variety of benefits. It encourages sense-making or meaning-making of a whole text (story, poem, or other). Fountas and Hannigan (1989) contended that once students understand the general meaning of the whole text, they are better prepared to deal with the analysis of the parts. A literaturebased approach also promotes active engagement and collaborative work, so learners contribute to class activities through direct interaction with either the instructor or with peers.They also participate through sharing information, asking questions, and reflecting on their understanding, as well as working together to make sense of the text under study. Another advantage of this instructional approach is its incorporation of a human component so learners can identify with characters facing common human conflicts and problems, such as fear, hate, love, and more. Learners have the opportunity to reflect on the characters’ actions and choices and then discuss whether they agree or disagree with the characters’ decisions (AdairHauck, 1996). Furthermore, a literature-based approach supports integrated as opposed to segregated skills, and as a result, its associated activities usually target in one lesson all the skills involved in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The purpose of this lesson is to put into practice some of these benefits. It uses a short book entitled Your Dad Was Just Like You by Dolores Johnson (1993). This story is about a boy named Peter who has been battling with his father over school work and various aspects of his life. One day while Peter was playing, he broke a trophy showcase belonging to his father and which had been given to him by his own father when he was a little boy. Peter, out of fear of his father’s anger, went to his grandfather seeking protection from his dad. This story includes the five components of a story suggested by McWilliams (1993): time and place (setting); characters with personality; a major problem; attempts to solve the problem; has a quick resolution and ending. The lesson has three phases: pre-storytelling, storytelling, and post-storytelling. Volume 22

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Khalid Al-Seghayer, Saudi Electronic University Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Topic: Your Dad Was Just LikeYou (Dolores Johnson, 1993) Target Students/Level: Young Intermediate High ESL/EFL learners Time: 150 minutes (50 minutes/class)

Objectives

Functional Students will be able to predict what might happen in the story, identify vocabulary related to some social practices in American culture, and compare and contrast similarities and differences between American social relationships among family members and their own. They will also demonstrate comprehension by describing characters and events, recounting part of the story, and discussing Peter’s behavior. Performance Students will practice top-down strategies: listening for global understanding and guessing meaning from context. They will listen to and comprehend a short story in English and demonstrate understanding through signals and actions. They will orally describe the main events and characters of the story. Finally, each student will assume the role of one of the main characters and write what she or he would do if put in that character’s situation. Grammatical The grammatical feature suggested by the story is the past tense, especially simple past and past progressive. Instead of initially teaching these grammatical features, the lesson will emphasize practicing and reinforcing their use. The instructor will do this indirectly within the comprehension phase. The instructor will direct the students to apply these skills when making oral presentations and when writing their compositions. Cultural After listening to the story, the students will compare and contrast the similarities and differences between American social relationships among family members and their own. The lesson will highlight some social issues in American culture, such as giving the child the chance to express his or her feelings, the importance of communication as the best means to solve family crises, and more. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Lesson Feature Idea Article

Equipment and Materials The lesson will use the following equipment and materials: · over-sized depictions/drawings of important vocabulary words, · pictures of the story episodes, · transparencies, · a story map, · a discussion web, and · a character chart.

31 words they have predicted appear in the story using pictures (Figure 2).

Procedures

Day One (Pre-Storytelling) Anticipatory set (5 min). The teacher will start the class by talking briefly about the concept or the general elements of the story, more precisely, its presentation of aspects of family life. The instructor will ask the students to discuss the cultural values that can be derived from reading a story, as well as how, if at all, a story helps in improving one’s language learning skills. Warm-up activity (10 Min). The class will proceed with an activity in which the students will relate a story they know from their own experience; this will involve two warm-up activities. To generate a general discussion and engage students’ anticipation about the content of the story, the instructor will show them the title and the cover image (Figure 1). Then the instructor will ask the students to recall a story they have read or known regarding relationships among family members.

Figure 2. Key vocabulary This begins the second activity.The students will examine their predictions by means of Total Physical Response (TPR) activities.They will engage in signaling activities such as pointing, touching, drawing, and acting.The aim of so doing is to introduce key vocabulary words, namely grandfather, father, dresser, jump, break, smile, yell, run, walk, park, race, wind, rain, and trophy. Khalid Al Seghayer earned his PhD in applied linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. He has taught English in the KSA and USA and currently serves as Head of the English Department at the Saudi Electronic University, Riyadh. His research interests include CALL and second language reading. His work has been published widely; recent books include English Teaching in Saudi Arabia: Status, Issues, and Challenges and Various Thoughts Concerning Teaching and Learning English. He has held various volunteer positions in TESOL International and serves as an editorial board member for a number of journals.

Day Two (Storytelling) Anticipatory Set (5 min). The first five minutes of the class will be spent on asking students to recall the title of the book and informing students that the teacher will read the story.

Figure 1. Title and cover image Presentation (35 Min). At this stage, the class will undertake two activities. First, the instructor will tell the students the name of the story and its setting.The instructor will also show them the cover illustration again. Students will then create a “think bank” in which they will brainstorm about vocabulary or ideas which might be used to tell the story. After that, the instructor will encourage the students to see if the vocabulary Volume 22

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Warm-Up activity (10 min). After showing the students some pictures of the story used in the previous class, the instructor will ask them to name the vocabulary words associated with each of the displayed pictures.The instructor will ask students to write the vocabulary words next to the correct pictures. Presentation (35 min). To best convey the meaning of the story during the sense-making phase, the teacher will read the story using large illustrations, voices for TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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32 different characters, and facial expressions to convey meaning.To ensure the students are following the story and to hold their attention, the teacher will undertake the following activities. First, to engage the students in the storytelling process, the teacher will ask them to raise objects (distributed in advance) whenever they are mentioned in the story, as well as saying the word that matches the picture or naming the character. Second, to help the students focus on its critical components and to reflect on the story they have just heard, the class will use a cubing activity.The teacher will divide the students into groups of two or three and ask them to fill in who, where, when, and what happens in each box.The instructor will give them transparencies to fill out for the cubing activity (Figure 3).

Figure 4: Story mapping Then the class will move to discussion webbing, in which they will analyze the events of the story to reach a conclusion about why the events took place. The web discussion will revolve around the question of whether or not Peter should run away from home. After having the chance to express their positive or negative answers, students will reach a consensual agreement on whether or not Peter should stay home and fix what he broke (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Discussion webbing Assessment. During all activities, the instructor will circulate throughout the classroom and use a checklist to assess whether students are on task and actively participating.

Day Three (Post-Storytelling) Anticipatory Set (2 min). The instructor will start by announcing the agenda for the day and sharing the rationale for the activities.

Extension. This lesson can be extended further by providing an opportunity for independent practice. Students may choose to take the role of one of the main characters and write what they would do if they were put in their situations, or they may write a reflective essay presenting what they have learned about American family relationships. Other possible activities would be for students to individually create a different ending for the story or create their own stories.

Warm-Up activity (5 min). The instructor will ask the students to relate what they remember from the first telling of the story. Illustrations used in the previous classes will be available to the students if they wish to use them.

Adaptability. The activities described can be used with any age group and proficiency level. They are, however, highly recommended for younger, intermediate ESL learners who would likely enjoy being active during the storytelling phases.

Presentation (43 Min). In this final phase, to encourage collaboration in a meaningful context, help them organize their thoughts or ideas, and move from comprehension activities to those that stimulate their critical thinking skills; students will engage in several activities, including story mapping and discussion webbing. In pairs, students will reconstruct the meaning of the story on a story map and the whole class will engage in a story-mapping discussion in which groups of students agree or disagree with each other (Figure 4).

References

Your Dad Was Just Like You

Figure 3. Cubing activity

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Adair-Hauck, B. (1996). Practical whole language strategies for secondary and university level students. Foreign Language Annuals, 9(2), 253-270. Fountas, I. and Hannigan, I. (1989). Making sense of whole language: The pursuit of informed teaching. Childhood Education, 65(3), 133-137. McWilliams, Betsy. (1993). Storytelling techniques. Unpublished handout. World Language Conference, Harrisburg, PA. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Feature Article Educational Technology

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Open Digital Badges in TESOL Arabia

James Buckingham, Educational Technology SIG Chair

For your perusal, here is a small sampling of EFL professional development (PD) scenarios in the region before TESOL Arabia Open Digital Badges…

What can TESOL Arabia do to help professionals like Laura, Mahmoud, Mohamed (and you)? Read on to find out!

EFL instructor Laura

Just what are badges anyway?

Laura is a “western expatriate” coming to the region for the first time with the intermediate goal of gaining enough professional experience here that she can one day return to her home country to find employment. Yet she also has a nagging concern that few people will understand or recognize the work that she accomplishes here in the region. She anticipates that it will be a struggle to demonstrate the validity of this professional growth so that potential employers back “home” will accept and appreciate it.

EFL instructor Mahmoud An Arab expatriate, Mahmoud seeks career advancement but has discovered that professional opportunities appear to be limited to those provided by his employer. Even with these there are no clear pathways to evidence his professional development. As a result, Mahmoud questions the value of pursuing professional development opportunities beyond those offered by his employer – especially when they are not formally recognized. So while he may see the altruistic benefits of attending TESOL Arabiasponsored PD events, he finds himself not inclined to take the personal initiative to pursue them.

School principal Mohamed Mohamed is constantly looking for new EFL instructor candidates who have leadership skills, are innovative in their use of instructional design for the benefit of his students, and are IT literate enough to take advantage of the ever growing list of devices being provided to both students and instructors by his school.Yet he has a difficult time finding such candidates. Why? Many candidates can provide no credible evidence of these qualities, and their CVs are often not an accurate indicator of their IT and/ or instructional design competencies. Volume 22

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Badges have been around for a long time.You have likely seen them as a patch, button, or sticker displayed by someone who had them awarded by a community in recognition of their efforts. It could be to acknowledge their attainment of a certain skill or skill set, to recognize their contribution of time and commitment to a cause, to compliment them on an accomplishment, or to formally welcome their affiliation with a group. In almost all cases the awarding takes place thanks to a recognized group or community assessing someone as worthy of the award, and the award is then made available to the earner to proudly display.

What about today’s badges?

Today’s badges serve many of the same functions but they are also different, very different. Today’s badges have gone digital, via gaming, social networking, online learning, MOOCs, etc. Perhaps you have already earned a digital badge by participating in sites such as Foursquare or Khan Academy. Perhaps as an instructor you have awarded digital badges to your students using Edmodo. However, not all digital badges are alike. Badges earned through such sites are typically only on view via the site that they were earned on. In other words, they are not transferable. On first glance, this may not appear to be an issue, and for many it never is. However, if you do earn such a badge and then want to share this with others beyond the site, it cannot be done.

So what about open digital badges?

Open digital badges were conceived as a means to overcoming this obstacle. Like regular digital badges, open digital badges are offered via a website along with details on the criteria required to earn them, but they differ in three important ways. First, anyone TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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meeting the posted criteria to earn an open digital badge can do so. In other words, you may be asked to sign in for verification on the website that hosts the badges, but there is no attempt to make earning a badge exclusive to that site. In other words, you can address the criteria producing “evidence” outside the confines of the website. Second, once earned, you are not confined to storing your badges on the site where they were earned but rather have the freedom or “openness” to place your badges digitally almost anywhere you choose. That could be your blog, email signature, curriculum vitae, LinkedIn account, or Facebook account. Third, and most importantly, wherever posted, an open badge can carry a link that has been “baked” into it (secured) which connects the badge to the digital evidence that you used to earn it. Jim Buckingham (MA Adult Ed, MA(ODE), TEFL Dip) is an Educator/Education Technologist in the University College program of Zayed University (Abu Dhabi, UAE). He is currently spearheading the digital badges and online PD tutorial projects for TESOL Arabia.

Open digital badges for PD

Much of the current excitement about using open digital badges is focused on using them with students in K-12 settings. To simplify, the allure is to capitalize on student interest in gaming, using badges as a formative assessment tool that motivates students much the same way computer games do. However, badges are also being used in a broad range of educational settings with the goal of promoting and recognizing achievements in professional development for adults. In an effort to disassociate themselves from K-12 purposes, the term “micro credentialing” is increasingly being used. Here the focus is on acknowledging and rewarding efforts that meet certain professional standards through the awarding of digital badges. A typical scenario sees a professional completing either a face-to-face, blended, or online learning

https://credly.com/recipients/18556

program that culminates in their creation of a learning product. The learning product is designed to apply what has been learned to their context. That same learning product is evaluated according to a set of professional standards, and if the evidence meets those standards, a badge is awarded. What makes this especially powerful is how the evidence when the digital evidence can be securely linked or baked into the badge award thus permitting anyone interested to examine this evidence. In addition, by clicking on the digital badge one can obtain information on the criteria used for the award, the organization supporting the award, and sometimes even testimonials vouching for the earner of the award.

Open digital badges & TESOL Arabia

TESOL Arabia is an organization that serves EFL educators numbering in the thousands and has a clear mission to promote PD amongst these EFL educators in all corners of the region. With the exception of the annual conference, however, most of the organization’s efforts have been confined to the UAE. Digital badges are seen as an important strategy for TESOL Arabia to address this mission. Digital badges can help recognize the self-directed PD efforts of all EFL instructors throughout the region, with a grounding in national or even international standards, ultimately being professionally recognized wherever and whenever called upon. Efforts to realize such a TESOL Arabia “badge ecosystem” are already underway. TESOL Arabia’s Education Technology SIG has organized a badge committee to look at finalizing the first set of badges; the focus at this stage is to award badges to presenters, organizers, and volunteers as an acknowledgement of their efforts to share their precious time and energy. These three positions are in great need of acknowledgement because of how important they are in helping TESOL Arabia address its mission.

https://credly.com/recipients/18803

https://credly.com/recipients/19767

Figure 1. TESOL Arabia’s 3 current badges, with links to corresponding descriptions and criteria Volume 22

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Feature Article Educational Technology

For the future, efforts are already underway to realize a professional practitioner badge with which the organization can formally acknowledge those who model professional practices as an EFL educator. Another badge in development is a Perspectives badge to recognize the acceptance of a research-based article for publication in TESOL Arabia Perspectives.

are recognized by both his current employer and prospective employers; thus, the incentive to engage in PD work is much greater.

School principal Mohamed Mohamed has discovered that many of the CVs from new EFL instructor candidates now sport digital badges. He has seen how useful these are in examining how extensive a candidate’s expertise really is in using IT in the classroom. He also recognizes how digital badges are awarded based upon both TESOL Arabia’s criteria and ISTE standards. As a result, he has much greater confidence in choosing such candidates for interviews.

Selected Bibliography https://credly.com/recipients/19897 Figure 2. The proposed Perspectives badge Another equally important EDTECH SIG project is the arrival of online, self-directed PD tutorials. Participants who successfully complete any one of these online tutorials will be awarded a corresponding digital badge. Because the concept is still relatively new to most people, marketing is also important, so you should expect to learn more about digital badges and how to earn your first badge in either an upcoming TESOL Arabia Chapter event or our next Perspectives article. Now let’s go back to our opening PD scenarios, with possible outcomes for each as a result of TESOL Arabia’s open digital badges…

EFL instructor Laura Laura is pleasantly surprised to learn that she can earn and evidence her PD efforts through TESOL Arabia open digital badges, especially when she knows such badges are grounded on international standards. Thus, she sees her efforts standing a much greater chance of being professionally recognized both far and wide.

EFL instructor Mahmoud Mahmoud has learned that because of his participation in TESOL Arabia sponsored PD events and successful completion of corresponding follow up activities, he can now evidence his PD work. He has learned that the TESOL Arabia open digital badges awarded to him for such efforts Volume 22

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Badges for Educators & Professional Development. http://www.badgealliance.org/badges-educatorsprofessional-development/ Badge Initiative: Benefits of Badges for Professional Development. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =NWW6oajyv8k&feature=youtube_gdata_player BadgeMOOC: Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials. https://www.coursesites. com/s/_BadgeMOOC Bixler, B., & Layng, K. (n.d.). Digital Badges in Higher Education: An Overview. https:// docs.google.com/document/d/1UqNeLzIu 0i0EkiqdJEivIJrqVJ5Afikl7OSKKOzQgI8/ edit#heading=h.ds3no9oqcnze Buckingham, J. (2014). Open Digital Badges for the Uninitiated. TESL-EJ, 18(1). http://www.tesl-ej. org/wordpress/issues/volume18/ej69/ej69int/ Diaz,V. (2013, July 1). Digital Badges for Professional Development. http://www.educause.edu/ero/ article/digital-badges-professional-development Foursquare badges. http://www.4squarebadges.com/ foursquare-badge-list/ Edmodo. (2013, December 28). Support / Badges. https://support.edmodo.com/ home#forums/20805855-badges Khan Academy. https://www.khanacademy.org/badges MacArthur Foundation. Digital Badges. http://www. macfound.org/programs/digital-badges/ Mozilla Foundation, & Peer 2 Peer University. (2012, January 23). Open badges for lifelong Learning. https://wiki.mozilla.org/images/b/b1/ OpenBadges-Working-Paper_092011.pdf What Is A Badge? http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=_051cGs6n8w TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Unlock - Listening and Speaking Skills 1 N. M. White ISBN: 978-1-107-61399-7 206 pages

Unlock - Reading and Writing Skills 1 Sabina Ostrowska Cambridge/Discovery Education, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-107-67810-1 223 pages

In my first teaching job, at a London language school, I was assigned a beginner-level class (in the interests of damage limitation, so I understand). Now, in said class, there were two students called Bassam. One of them we nicknamed “Bassam the Crazy Man,” for reasons which hardly need elaboration. The other we named “Bassam the Doctor.” Ditto. One Friday, it being the Doctor’s last day, the whole class went out for lunch during which, using limited English, a pen, and a paper napkin, Bassam the Doctor outlined for us the heart operation he Volume 22

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was due to perform the following Monday. As I watched, it struck me that this man, whom I had been teaching third person singular and how to cope in the post office, was a far more intelligent and accomplished human being than I could ever be. The relevance of this will, I hope, become apparent. In the meantime, let us open Unlock 1, the first of a new, four-level series from Cambridge/Discovery. As with Heinle and National Geographic, the Unlock series represents a high profile tie-in between academic publisher and upscale media company. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Feature Article Reviews

Yet Unlock 1, its pages clad in rectilinear greys and browns, lacks the panache of the Heinle/National Geographic offerings and, consequently, appears something of a sparrow to a peacock. Let us not get ahead of ourselves, however. First things first: what is Unlock and why should we care? The answer is that Unlock is, in some ways at least, unlike other ELT courses. How? Consider the backpage blurb: “…prepare for academic success with this motivating, research-based course.” Unlock, a fourlevel course, running from CEFR level A1 (basic) to level B2 (IELTS 5.0 to 6.5), is manifestly academic in orientation and structure. And while there may be any number of Academic English courses out there, few advocate an explicit academic focus at so low a level. The two component volumes of Unlock 1 effectively fuse to form one complete, basic-level course. So why not encompass all four skills in a single volume? Once again, the unexpected: because each of the ten units is a staggering 18 pages long. Generally speaking, even the lengthiest course-book units run to no more than a dozen pages.Yet here, in both volumes of Unlock 1 (the units of which are uniform in number, topic, and length), each unit is half as long again. Each of Unlock 1’s units is framed by an overarching, stated objective. In Reading and Writing, this is “to produce a piece of academic writing,” while in Listening and Speaking, “to produce a presentational or interactional speaking task.” In every unit of the former, there are two reading tasks, each amply scaffolded; in the latter, two listening tasks, similarly scaffolded. Each unit builds, slowly and methodically, towards its aforementioned crowning objective, and then concludes with a review exercise, encouraging learners to reflect on how well they achieved it. Unlock’s atypical unit length, therefore, is entirely predicated upon a thorough, accretive, and disciplined approach to linguistic progress. Sticking with the notion of discipline for a moment, we recall that this is a “research-based course.”The Unlock series as a whole draws upon the Cambridge English Corpus, a multi-billion word collection of written and spoken English, which itself subsumes the Cambridge Learner Corpus, “a unique bank of exam papers…[which]…help students to avoid mistakes.” This is of direct relevance to us.This kind of systematic, grounded, nuts-and-bolts approach is particularly suited to the Middle East, where a disciplined learning style often proves the most effective. So far, so good; while no stunner in the looks department, Unlock scores big on rigour, research, and methodology. But let us return to that stated objective for Listening and Speaking, namely, to produce an “interactional speaking task” (by which, I presume, Volume 22

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37 is meant “talk with somebody else”). As part of the scaffolding, each unit features a Critical Thinking exercise, the rationale for which is as follows: The Critical Thinking sections in Unlock are based on Benjamin Bloom’s Classification of learning objectives. This ensures learners develop their lower- and higher-order thinking skills, ranging from demonstrating knowledge and understanding to in-depth evaluation. (p. 10, both books, bold in the original) In Unit 4 (Listening and Speaking, “Places”) the Critical Thinking exercise involves completing a gap-fill with the correct prepositions while referring to a simple map. This is flanked, in the sidebar, by the single word “Understand.” All of which brings us back to Bassam the Doctor. I would submit that learners capable of performing open heart surgery hardly need their critical thinking skills developed. Indeed, said skills must already be so advanced that a facile map-reading task will do little more than insult them. Anyone can read a map (look in just about any low-level ELT textbook). Likewise, anyone can perform an “interactive speaking task” – go to a shop and buy a newspaper, should you need proof of that one. And here is the point: linguistic deficit does not ipso facto imply intellectual deficit; there is no valid reason to assume that (basic) learners lack sophisticated critical thinking skills. A language course exists to teach language, academic or otherwise. It does not – and should not – exist to patronize its user, nor should it attempt to justify that patronage by appealing to pseudo-scientific credentials. Taken in sum, Unlock has any number of laudable attributes. It is thorough and evenly-paced. It is corpus-driven and academically-oriented. It is wellsuited to a learner aiming for success in IELTS. It is appropriate for a local audience. It is even passably attractive to the eye. What a shame, then, that not one of those Critical Thinking sections features an exercise on how to spot the Emperor’s New Clothes. i

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Colin Toms The Petroleum Institute Abu Dhabi, UAE

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The Company Words Keep Paul Davis and Hanna Kryszewska Delta Publishing, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-905085-20-0 120 pages The Company Words Keep is a detailed guide to the theory of lexical chunking and how it serves as an asset to learners. As part of the Delta Teacher Development Series, The Company Words Keep is just one of several award-winning books written by knowledgeable and experienced teachers, trainers, and authors. Paul Davis and Hanna Kryszewska, who have both taught English in various countries, target ESL teachers and claim that utilizing lexical chunking early on can help language acquisition and can have long-term benefits when learning a second language. The authors believe that teachers should incorporate a teaching strategy that promotes chunking and that students should be trained to express themselves and communicate in chunks. Davis and Kryszewska accomplish these goals mainly in the beginning sections of their book. After stating their claims in the authors’ notes, Davis and Kryszewska provide their readers with an excellent resource full of information on chunking, as well as applicable exercises that teachers can use in a number of settings. The book is divided into three main sections. Section A provides readers with logistical information and answers three important questions: what is a chunk, how fixed is a chunk, and how long is a chunk? This section also includes subsections outlining how chunks are used with specific languages, and how they can be used in language teaching. I found this chapter extremely useful for teachers who are not familiar with the lexical approach and need to learn the basics in a quick chapter. Even for someone familiar with the approach, this section serves as a good review covering the basics and not going into too much detail on the theory. Section A concludes with a glossary of key terms that are presented throughout the book. I found the placement of the glossary strange since it is usually found in the back of books. Section B provides readers with easily-used activities applicable to a variety of settings and cultures. I like how the authors take into consideration different topics such as coursework, authentic contexts, and data. It also supplies readers with resources to provide Volume 22

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to their students. Additionally, with over 100 sample activities in this section, the authors provide teachers with plenty of versatility when planning their lessons. Each activity includes information on the purpose of the activity and explains how it relates to lexical chunking, the preparation time, ways to extend the activity, and which activities relate to it in other parts of the book. I believe this book would benefit a teacher teaching English in any country because it covers activities that do not require specific cultural schema but also allow teachers to incorporate some American culture. For example, many of the exercises instruct teachers to use a novel, piece of literature, or a song to work on lexical chunking. Teachers can choose something that is relevant to the country they are teaching in or to American culture. The activities allow for a lot of personalization and creativity on the teachers’ part. It is also impressive how the authors included the level and duration for each activity so that teachers knew exactly how and when TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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they could use it. However, I found the key for level and duration slightly complex and confusing; if the authors had made it a little simpler, the reader would not have to refer back to the key for each exercise. Finally, Section C reflects the entirety of the book and proceeds with the knowledge acquired from the previous sections. While I found it slightly repetitive, it does challenge the reader to draw on what he or she has learned in addition to how to go about learning more by conducting research. The authors also provide many potentially useful websites. Many people will probably use section B the most in this book and go straight to the activities that can actually be used in the classroom rather than spending time reading through the other sections on

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theory. However, for a teacher who is not familiar with the practical application and theory of lexical chunking, sections A and C are more useful. Overall, I found this book provided many helpful resources for teachers who are looking to develop their teaching skills and enhance their students’ learning. i

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Rachel Solomon California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Longman Academic Reading Series 1 Elizabeth BĂśttcher Pearson Education Inc., 2014 ISBN 978-0-13-278664-5 149 pages Longman Academic Reading Series 1 is part of a fivelevel series which is geared towards preparing English-language learners for academic work and study. The main stated aim of the series is to make students more confident and effective readers through the use of high-interest texts on various academic subjects. The author tackles skills and strategies for effective reading, vocabulary building, note-taking, and critical thinking. Additional aims are to provide discussion and writing opportunities for themes dealt with in each of the units. The book consists of ten chapters on topics ranging from economics to the sciences, psychology, and art. Each chapter has two separate texts on the same theme, and the five areas of reading, vocabulary, note-taking, critical thinking, and speaking/ writing are covered in each chapter. There are clear objectives given at the beginning of units and a check-list at the end so that students are fully aware of what exactly they will study and what they should have learned when a unit has been completed. Volume 22

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40 This is a refreshing publication which does indeed strive to make academic reading more interesting and manageable. Particularly noteworthy at first glance is the lack of dense text and small print. This can often prove discouraging even for keener readers, but Elizabeth Böttcher incorporates plenty of white space and uses a layout which persuades the user that targets and improvement are definitely achievable. The texts used are all topical and of general interest. There is also a decent variety of genres, covering magazine articles, biographies, book reviews, television news stories, and on-line articles. Each unit employs a top-down approach, working from the general to the more specific so that schemata are activated and vocabulary has been contextualized by the time the discussion and writing sections come at the end of a unit. What, then, of the author’s claims to hone skills and strategies for reading, vocabulary building, note-taking, and critical thinking? All of these are dealt with methodically, and what is impressive is the overt nature of each unit in terms of stated objectives and the way in which raising language awareness is given such prominence. In addition to the basic reading skills of prediction, skimming, and scanning, students are also shown the value of using visuals, titles, and synopses as aids to text unravelling. Vocabulary building is given a solid framework with good practice on guessing meaning from context, collocations, connotation, dictionary skills, and, importantly for TOEFL/IELTS examinations, synonyms and antonyms. The vocabulary sections in particular equip students with tools for analyzing and organizing their study of lexis – crucial areas for the successful language learner. As for note-taking, this is introduced gently and in logical, achievable steps. The important area of critical thinking (often neglected in books purporting to teach reading skills) really does challenge students to think and evaluate what they have read by providing prompts for discussion, group work, and the development of themes/opinions. As can be gleaned from all of the above, this book also integrates skills with the inclusion of speaking and writing tasks in all units. There are also a few observations on the flip side for Longman Academic Reading Series 1. While dictionary work is definitely touched on, it perhaps could be included in more of the units and encompass a greater range of tasks. As a great believer in the value of teaching collocation, I feel this is also an area Volume 22

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which could have been included successfully in every chapter; collocations are everywhere in language, and there are few texts which cannot be milked for a goodly share of them. Aside from that, the addition of a few related video clips and tasks would serve to lend the book a more rounded look, skills-wise. It is, granted, a book for improving academic reading skills, but similarly targeted publications have added short video clips and tasks to units, and these can be motivating and encouraging for students. On the same thread of integration, the inclusion of writing tasks is a valuable component of the book, but not all of these tasks identify an audience or a clear text type. As a final comment on “roundedness,” although suitable for Middle Eastern students as regards cultural appropriateness, I feel that the book would benefit from having readings with less of a North American slant in terms of focus and provenance. All in all, though, Longman Academic Reading Series 1 is a very worthwhile acquisition, and my first impression of it from a brief cover-to-cover flick was very positive – and that was just from noting its layout. All books can and should be supplemented or adapted according to class and student needs, but I believe that the strengths of Longman Academic Reading Series 1 are that it makes academic reading much less daunting and that it lays excellent foundations for heightening language awareness. i

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Rory O’Kane The Petroleum Institute Abu Dhabi, UAE

Have you seen TESOL Arabia’s new and improved website? Now you can easily find out about events, renew your membership, register for the TESOL Arabia International Conference & Exhibition, and more. Take a look at

www.tesolarabia.org. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Progressive Skills: Listening and Speaking, Levels 2 and 3 Terry Phillips and Anna Phillips, with Nicolas Regan Garnet Education, 2012 ISBN: 978-90861-406-3 (Level 2) and 978-1-90861-412-4 (Level 3) 153 pages (Level 2), and 171 pages (Level 3)

A new kind of ESL textbook has been introduced. The Progressive Skills: Listening & Speaking series has significantly changed the way students learn English. This recently published text focuses on listening and speaking, but incorporates all of the four skills by having students read and write in the combined course book and workbook. There are four levels to this series; however, this review focuses only on Levels 2 and 3. This interactive ESL text engages students while they learn important skills. Not only does the text incorporate important grammatical concepts but also cultural traditions and recent events Volume 22

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from around the world. By having a combined course book and workbook, students are given the ability to practice the concepts they have just learned all in one place. Progressive Skills: Listening & Speaking is organized in a way that allows students clear and structured progress. These books benefit not only the students but the teacher in many ways. The lessons are well planned, and there are also supplementary materials for the students. The books are accompanied by CDs as well as DVDs that aid students in various listening

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comprehension and speaking activities. There are also transcripts so students are able to read along while they listen. With Progressive Skills: Listening & Speaking, students learn how to communicate in English in an authentic and meaningful way. The series is designed to aid university students or those who are about to enter university. The text is written using British English; however, American English is also presented in some of the listening activities. This benefits students in that they are exposed to varying types of English and are able to choose which English they want to focus on. However, this can also be a source of confusion since there is a mixture of dialects, and it may be difficult for students to make distinctions between the two. The texts are structured so that students and teachers are able to easily understand the goals for each chapter and what will be accomplished upon completion of the book. In the beginning of each text, a book map is provided to clearly outline the central ideas of each chapter and the skills covered in each lesson. This helps the teacher in planning out the syllabus as well as lessons. By concentrating on listening and speaking skills, students are given the tools they need to interact in an English-speaking community on a daily basis. The listening portion of this series is taught from lectures given by university professors and presentations by students on various subjects including chemistry, different learning styles, and study skills. The speaking portion is taught through tutorials, seminars, and activities. Progressive Skills: Listening & Speaking is divided into five themes, and each theme is divided into two skill sections. In these skill sections, there are five core lessons which include vocabulary for the skill, realtime practice, learning skills, grammar for the skill, and applying skills. Everyday English is also included as supplementary material. The straight-forward set-up of the text is easy and helpful for students and teachers to use. The variety and amount of exercises and activities provided give students the opportunity for necessary practice. Learning aids such as colorful and recent pictures, arrows to explain concepts, and bold and color-coded words are incorporated in this text. The series of books is interactive, engaging, and interesting for learners. Students are able to immediately put into practice what they are learning, and they are exposed to many cultures Volume 22

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as well as different varieties of English. The lessons incorporate vocabulary and traditions, such as marriage customs and various religious practices, from around the English-speaking world. These books are suitable for most cultures; however, there are a few examples or pictures, such as women in revealing dresses, that may be seen as inappropriate. For the most part, however, the authors do a good job including an assortment of traditions that expose students to the rest of the world. Students are able to work with materials that are well-balanced, incorporating more than just the English language. Progressive Skills: Listening & Speaking is a useful tool that has all the necessary materials for advancing in English language proficiency. By being exposed to visual aids as well as auditory samples, students are provided with the essential tools to improving their English. Not only does this text teach concepts about the English language, it also integrates pop culture, art, science, nutrition, and many other subjects to give students a versatile education. If you are looking for successful learning and a well-rounded education for your students, Progressive Skills: Listening & Speaking is an effective and fundamental tool to use in your ESL classroom.

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Elizabeth Tjepkema California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Donate to the TESOL Arabia Book Drive at TACON 2015. Contact: ruth.glasgow@zu.ac.ae

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TESOL International Conference 2014: Dreams of Things To Come! Portland, Oregon, USA Sufian Abu-Rmaileh Powerful Instrument of Community Building in East Asia,” to David Graddol on “Five Megatrends shaping the future of TESOL,” to Deena Boraie on “Next Generation ELT: Voices of TESOLers,” and ending with Diane Larsen-Freeman on “Complexity Theory: Renewing Our Understanding of Language, Learning and Teaching.” Along with the plenaries, there were about 800 concurrent sessions to choose from.

Leadership skills and styles were the subject of Sufian’s presentation.

Thanks to a travel grant received from TESOL Arabia, I was able to participate in the TESOL 2014 International Convention and English Language Expo in Portland, Oregon, USA, March 26-29, 2014. The conference, which was my 16th conference attendance since I started my career in ESOL, still offered challenges, ideas, and many great issues to explore. The networking amongst professionals in the field proved to be valuable and rewarding for me and for the many other delegates to the convention. The educational exhibition also showcased many new materials for teachers to use, especially in the field of technology with new software, hardware, and apps from which educators can benefit. The conference was a great way to learn about new trends in teaching ESOL and in the way teachers, students, and leaders interact. The theme of the convention was “ELT for the Next Generation.” That theme said it all. New concepts on how to deal with all stakeholders in ESOL were discussed, starting from the first plenary by Surin Pitsuwan on “English As a Volume 22

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In addition to attending sessions and plenaries that many experts presented, I was highly privileged to present a paper entitled “Leadership Skills and Styles Affecting Leaders.” During the presentation, I discussed factors affecting the style of leadership leaders operate under, highlighting the six styles of leadership (directive, visionary, affiliative, democratic/ participative, pacesetting, and coaching). I also mentioned behaviors and attitudes associated with each style, and ended with some implications for being and becoming successful leaders. Despite some personal challenges that I experienced during the conference, the event was filled with many great educational experiences. As usual, TESOL International was able to showcase diversity in ESOL practices.

Sufian met with TESOL International luminaries at the Affiliates’ booth in Portland, including (left to right) Yilin Sun (current TESOL International President), Rosa Aronson (TESOL International Executive Director/CEO), and Past Presidents Deena Boraie (2014), Christine Coombe (2012), and Suzanne Panferov (2013). TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Cutting Edges Research Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University Canterbury, UK Neil McBeath The 2014 Cutting Edges Conference was held at the same venue as in previous years, but for the first time, it was held mid-week, on a Tuesday, July 21st. This made no difference to the quality of the Conference, however, and delegates enjoyed two plenaries and a choice of 21 other papers from six parallel sessions over the course of the day. In keeping with the conference theme, “Acknowledging the Autonomy, Creativity and Criticality That Our Students Bring with Them,” the first plenary, by Fred Devin (University of Helsinki), examined misconceptions regarding Chinese students studying abroad. Suggesting that a simplistic focus on culture often hides unequal power relationships, Devin questioned whether Chinese students’ supposed lack of critical skills might be better interpreted as a lack of subject knowledge and/or a lack of appropriate langue proficiency. He urged that teachers should work with students rather than on them – an approach that has important implications for any institution where different cultures meet. The second plenary, by Yvonne Stewart (Canterbury Christ Church University), was an exploration of the contradictions that can arise from the internationalization of higher education. In Britain, universities’ bias towards income generation has had the, probably unintended, effect of reducing “international students” to a homogeneous group, and has extended the somewhat colonialist vision of the world as a resource for the West. Students are brought to the UK with the belief that they will return to their home countries and establish satellites. The result of this is that those students’ experiences in the West are not conceptualized as international experience – “international” Volume 22

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is something that happens “out there.” Stewart suggested that a critical humanist approach would help academics to challenge the culture of neoliberalism, and adapt their practice to the diversity of international students. To some extent, Stewart’s plenary reflected many of the concerns of Haynes Collins’ paper, “Contesting Categories: University Staff and Students Interrogating the Discourse of ‘Intercultural.’” Collins was concerned with the institutionalization of the intercultural: the concept that “things have always been like this” and that academic education has become so commodified to the point where it is regarded as a visible, quantifiable and instrumentally driven process (Furedi, 2011). Collins argued that individual students may have a very complex relationship with their country of origin, and that not all of them would choose to be defined on the basis of their birthplaces. Adrian Holliday’s paper, “Capitalising on What Language Learners Bring to the Classroom: Revisiting Appropriate Methodology,” opposed the Anglocentric communicative method to the expectations of other cultures, suggesting that differences ought to be embraced rather that regarded as problems to be solved. Holliday suggested that if students claimed that there was a cultural conflict with an expression in English (for example, “boyfriends” for Egyptian students), then teachers ought to (a) not take this at face value; (b) explore the students’ existing intercultural experience; and (c) find potentials for creative negotiation. What students bring into the classroom can therefore be the basis of a truly communicative experience. My own paper, “Teaching ‘Bedu Kids’: The Persistence of ‘Othering’ in the Face of Evidence,” TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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used evidence based on Kershaw (1997) in support of Holliday, but also took issue with orientalist interpretations of teaching in Oman (Wynne-Jones 2010; McGrath 2014). It suggested that inadequate research often receives more attention than it deserves, simply because better informed sources are less easy to access. In “Creative Approach to Language Teaching: From Flexible Syllabus to Students’ Autonomy,” Libor Stepanek shared experiences of implementing Creative Approaches to Language Teaching (CALT). One example of this was encouraging students to find their own subject-specific readings. Doing this exposed students to the formal language patterns expected by discourse communities; it involved search strategies, peer review, genre discussions, text analysis, and an element of competition. The approach was 95% successful because it engaged student interest. Paradoxically, however, while students responded well to working independently, they still expected teacher evaluation and support. Kevin White and Yoshiko Otsuki’s “Japanese Mobile Phones and Their Application to EFL” raised the vexing question of Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) (Williams 2014). Nicky Hockly has written and presented extensively on this topic (Hockley 2013a; 2013b) and, put simply, much of the problem stems from the contradiction of institutional policies that prohibit the use of mobile phones, while simultaneously encouraging the use of ICT. Smart phones bridge the gap, and it might well be time for “zero tolerance” policies to be revised. Certainly in Japan, where 92% of high school students have a mobile phone that they use several times a day, it would appear foolish to reject a device that can augment the five or six hours of English that they receive per week. The final paper was by Hasmath Jamaludin. “What Can ‘Digital Natives’ Bring to English Language Lessons?” supported some of the points raised by White and Otsuki, but Price (2013) has questioned the extent to which ‘digital natives’ can really be regarded as expert users. Jamaludin pointed out that “cyberkids” or “netizens” used sites like Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube as part of everyday life, but this simply reinforces Price’s finding that familiarity with social media sites does not necessarily translate into the ability to use ICT for learning “in nontraditional ways.” Volume 22

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45 In conclusion, Cutting Edges 2014 was a thoughtprovoking conference and Christ Church University provides a significant service to ELT by hosting this annual event.

References

Furedi, F. (2011). Introduction to the marketisation of higher education and the student as consumer. In M. Molesworth, R. Scullion, and E. Nixon (Eds.), The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as Consumer (pp. 1-8). London: Routledge. Hockly, N. (2013a). Mobile learning. English Language Teaching Journal 67(1), 80-84 Hockly, N. (2013b). Going mobile. Modern English Teacher, 22(1), 42-44. Kershaw, G. (1997). Business visits in Papua New Guinea. In B. Kenny & W. Savage (Eds.), Language and development:Teachers in a changing world, (pp. 164-177). Harlow, UK: Addison Wesley Longman. McGrath, M. (2014, March). Understanding paralinguistic features of Bedouin students. Paper presented at the 20th TESOL Arabia International Conference, Dubai, UAE. Price, L. (2013, March). Learners in the 21st century: Are they any different? Paper presented at the 19th TESOL Arabia International Conference. Dubai, UAE. Williams, S. (2014). Mobile devices and learner interaction inside and outside the classroom. In T. Pattison (Ed.), IATEFL 2013 Liverpool Conference Selections, (pp. 172-173). Faversham,UK: IATEFL. Wynne-Jones, D. (2010). The frankincense trail. All Saints’ Croxley Green Parish Magazine, January 2010, 5-6.

Don’t forget to register for the TESOL Arabia International Conference & Exhibition, coming March 12-14, 2015 in Dubai, UAE. Register before December 15, 2014 to take advantage of the early bird rate. The pre-registration deadline is February 15, 2015. Register on our website,

www.tesolarabia.org. See you there!

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AILA World Congress Brisbane, Australia Helene Demirci Between August 10-15, 2014, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA) World Congress, 2014. The congress was held in the beautiful city of Brisbane, Australia, and the venue was the conveniently located Brisbane Convention Centre in the center of the city. We found it was easy and pleasurable to get around Brisbane whether using the extensive public transport facilities or meandering along the river from the hotel to the convention center. The facilities were second to none, and the organizing committee made sure all needs of the delegates were catered to. The theme of the conference was “One World, Many Languages” reflecting the diversity of language and emphasizing the role of applied linguistics in explaining the form, meaning, and context of language. Keynote speakers, featured symposia, and presenters came from far and wide talking on subjects ranging from language acquisition and processing to language and technology. Concurrent sessions went on throughout the day over the five-day conference so there was much variety to choose from. Popular sessions included a keynote speech on late bilingualism where Lourdes Ortega of Georgetown University reminded us that “language learning is never just about language.” Another interesting keynote address was given by Nicholas Evans from the Australian National University. In his talk he focused on indigenous languages of Australia by explaining how learning to “hear the inside” will aid us in understanding the “cultural heritage of indigenous languages.” Delegates from the UAE collaborated on featured symposia looking at current research trends in language education in the Gulf. The session was convened by Melanie Gobert (Higher Colleges of Technology and TESOL Arabia President) who talked about the status of research in the Gulf region. She was followed by Kay Gallagher (Zayed University), Helene Demirci (Higher Colleges of Technology), and Patrick Doherty (Akita International University, Japan), who each presented research projects they have been involved in with students in the UAE. There was also time allocated in the conference program for sightseeing. Trips were easily booked through experienced and helpful tour operators Volume 22

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Melanie Gobert, Helene Demirci, Kay Gallagher, and Patrick Dougherty (left to right) shared their research in Brisbane.

who had a desk located at the conference center itself. Delegates could book organized trips to watch whales or to travel to the bush. This was yet another example of how the organizers had created a program that focused on making the conference a worthwhile experience for all. All in all the conference was a great success from an academic, professional. and personal perspective.The attention to detail made every delegate feel welcomed and comfortable enabling them to focus on the reasons they were there in the first place: to share experiences, learn from others, and grow professionally. On behalf of the UAE delegates I would like to thank the organizing committee and in particular Christina Gitsaki for creating a congress program that was academically intriguing and professionally stimulating in a highly hospitable environment. I am looking forward to attending the next AILA conference in 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I would also like to express my appreciation to TESOL Arabia who supported me through the travel grant award.

Welcoming participants from around the world was AILA Congress Co-Chair Christina Gitsaki. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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TESOL Arabia Executive Council Members at UAEU In an effort to strengthen its relationships with local educational institutions, TESOL Arabia’s President, Dr Melanie Gobert; Executive Treasurer, Dr Sufian Abu-Rmaileh; and Publications Coordinator, Dr Peter McLaren met with HE Dr Mohammed Al Baili, Provost of United Arab Emirates University on Sunday, September 14th, 2014. The meeting took place in the Crescent Building, the flagship of UAEU administration. During the meeting, both parties discussed the mutual benefit to their organizations of cooperation. They talked about the importance of professional development and how that could raise the standards of teachers, and consequently affect the success of the teaching process.The importance of involving students early in their learning was mentioned, and how they could become teachers themselves.Technology and its impact on learning were also discussed, as well as how UAEU and TESOL Arabia can affect learning when almost everything is going digital.

The discussion covered how TESOL Arabia started in Al Ain and how bringing the conference back to Al Ain would recognize the contribution and impact that TESOL Arabia has made on professionals over the years. In order to achieve this goal, a miniconference was suggested so that TESOL Arabia leadership could assess its impact before committing to a major conference in Al Ain. HE Dr Al Baili also suggested meeting with other deans on UAEU campus to solicit their support and cooperation with TESOL Arabia. After the discussion was over, HE Dr Al Baili was presented with a certificate of appreciation for the efforts UAE University has made over the years to help TESOL Arabia. The TESOL Arabia officers also presented HE Dr Al Baili with a copy of Perspectives and other TESOL Arabia publications, including the latest conference proceedings.

Melanie Gobert, Sufian Abu-Rmaileh (not pictured) and Peter McLaren thanked HE Dr Mohmamed Al Baili for UAEU’s commitment to TESOL Arabia. Volume 22

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TESOL Arabia TAE SIG Professional Development Certificate Series Christine Coombe, TAE SIG Co-Chair Do you have trouble attending TESOL Arabia meetings? Do you prefer to work on your professional development in the comfort of your own home or office? Are you looking for ways to develop personally and professionally while on vacation? If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on… The TESOL Arabia Testing, Assessment & Evaluation (TAE) SIG is always looking for ways to cater to the professional development needs of its members, so as one of its major initiatives this year the TAE SIG is running a series of short, self-access, professional development certificates. The first one started on October 15, 2014 with a theme of “Alternative Assessment.” To complete the certificate, teachers will

have to read a manual on the topic of “Alternatives in Language Assessment” (Coombe, 2014), reflect on various aspects of the manual’s content, answer a series of questions on the topic, and submit a 750word review of a resource on some aspect of the content. Examples of the resources could be books, journal or magazine articles, software programs and/or apps. The top reviews will be posted on the TAE SIG page of the TESOL Arabia website www.tesolarabia.org to serve as the beginning of our professional development resource center. The deadline for the completion of this certificate is December 1, 2014. If you are interested in participating in this new initiative, please email me at ccoombe@hct.ac.ae.

Become a TESOL Arabia Affiliate

Find out how at www.tesolarabia.org

Benefits include: · one complimentary conference registration to the annual TESOL Arabia International Conference & Exhibition · two free subscriptions to Perspectives · free advertising of events via newsletters, websites, and member mailing lists

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TESOL Arabia Supports Women in Nepal Vicky Allen, HCT, Fujairah Women’s College

Chetana Women’s Empowerment manager Tara Timilshina and her husband proudly display the TESOL Arabia logo.

Nepal is a small, amazingly beautiful yet poor and struggling country. Males dominate most major roles in the society and the women’s main job has been to produce children and handle the household chores. As a general rule, women have very little freedom, and their educational level is very low. However, things are beginning to slowly change through the efforts of women’s empowerment groups in Kathmandu and Pokhara, reaching women even in the small outlying villages. The empowerment of women will be one huge step in the overall development of Nepal, and many non-profit groups have been forming to educate and train women in the skills necessary to earn money themselves. Volume 22

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Their earnings go toward educating and feeding their families. If they earn more than they need, the women often support other children of their village. In March of 2012, while visiting Nepal, I happened upon the Chetana Women’s Empowerment storefront in the Lakeside district of Pokhara. The manager, Tara Timilshina, greeted me and proceeded to show me their wide variety of quality handmade products. She also took me into the back of the store to meet the women who were weaving and sewing the products. They were working in very tight quarters, yet they seemed excited to be there! They were truly pleased as I complimented them on the quality of their work. Because all the products are TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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handmade by the women, they were very willing to do some custom work. I had them make a couple of items for me and was extremely satisfied. Chetana Women’s Empowerment Group offers a maximum two-year training/work program, helping women become self- sufficient providers for their families. So far, Chetana has trained over 80 women who are still employed in the field. After the training, the women take the skills that they have gained and work in local shops or return to their village homes and continue producing and selling their finished fabrics back to Chetana. The process begins with the initial dying of the cotton thread in a multitude of colors; it is then left to air dry for several days. The next step is the looming of the thread in order to make a variety of patterns in the finished fabric. These threads are then woven on low-to-the-ground handlooms where the women sit for hours on floor cushions as they create the wonderful designs that you see. After that, the newly created fabrics are cut for various designs, and then sewn together to make the final product. Tara is a dynamic, hardworking teacher and role model for these women. This past summer, when I approached Tara about TESOL Arabia’s desire to support a women’s group in Nepal, she immediately

accepted the challenge of not only creating a conference bag for TESOL Arabia 2015, but also figuring out a way to produce 2000 of them in only five months. She was particularly excited about the opportunity and told me me, “This is what we work for – to create new products that people will enjoy!” Not only did she and her husband take the 12hour, round-trip journey to Kathmandu to order the cotton, but she also found someone who could recreate the TESOL Arabia embroidered logo on each of the bags. While I was there, she started designing the fabrics that we would use for the bags and experimenting with different designs. As you can see from the photos, their work is unique in every way. During this 5-month process, 22 Nepali women will have been employed and received salaries to support their families and provide for their children. I want to thank Melanie Gobert and Rehab Rajab, TESOL Arabia Conference Co-Chairs, for being out-of-the-box thinkers. Because of their vision to offer a conference bag that would support women in a developing country, many children and families have been helped in Nepal by this sustained employment. In addition, TESOL Arabia Conference 2015 attendees will have a unique and useful keepsake that they can carry with pride!

Many Nepali women will work for five months to make the bags for TESOL Arabia’s 2015 Conference. Volume 22

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LM SIG’s Summer Volunteer Outreach Christine Coombe, LM SIG Co-chair As part of our SIG mandate, the Executive Committee of the Leadership and Management SIG regularly engage with affiliates around the world in professional development initiatives. Summer 2014 was especially busy with co-chairs and members travelling to Peru TESOL and MATE TESOL in Haiti to participate in their conferences. In late July, LM SIG Co-chair Christine Coombe, along with SIG members Maria Brown and Mouhammad Mouhanna, travelled to Lima, Peru to deliver a series of workshops on teacher development and leadership issues. In addition to the many workshops all three presented, Christine delivered the closing plenary on teacher professionalization. Peru TESOL was attended by more than 250 teachers from all around Peru and South America. Feedback on LM SIG sessions at the conference has been extremely positive.

TESOL Arabia and Peru TESOL members networked in Lima.

Christine also travelled with Beth Wiens to Port-auPrince, Haiti in August to engage in volunteer outreach at the 10th Annual Miragoane Association of Teachers of English (MATE) Conference, which drew over 100 attendees. Plenary speakers included Dr Yilin Sun, current President of TESOL International; Dr Christine Coombe, Past President of both TESOL Arabia and TESOL International; and Beth Wiens, Past President of TESOL Arabia. The sessions were very popular and well received. Although an integral part of the LM SIG, the above events and those like them are not sponsored by TESOL Arabia. In the course of a year, we receive many invitations for events like these. In fact we have already been invited back by both Peru TESOL and MATE. If you are interested in participating as a self-sponsored presenter, contact us at ccoombe@hct.ac.ae.

TESOL Arabia and TESOL International were wellrepresented at MATE TESOL.

TESOL Arabia and Toastmasters: LM SIG’s Charter Meeting Christine Coombe, LM SIG Co-Chair On September 26th, the inaugural meeting of TESOL Arabia Toastmasters was held at HCT, Dubai Men’s College.Thirty-four teachers and teacher trainees turned out to learn about Toastmasters and to participate in a “demonstration” meeting. For those who are unfamiliar with Toastmasters, it is an international organization which helps members improve their public speaking, communication, and leadership skills.TESOL Arabia Toastmaster meetings will be held twice a month. Upon completion of project speeches and participation in meeting roles, members can earn internationallyrecognized qualifications. Membership fees are 220 AED for the first six months and 150 AED for every six months thereafter. Volume 22

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The chartering of this Toastmasters chapter is a major project for the Leadership and Management SIG this year. If you are interested in joining contact Christine Coombe at ccoombe@hct.ac.ae.

Christine Coombe explained the benefits of joining Toastmasters.

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Special Interest Group Article Reports Feature

International Outreach Initiatives of the TESOL Arabia TAE SIG Christine Coombe, TAE SIG Co-Chair The TESOL Arabia Testing, Assessment and Evaluation (TAE) SIG continues to provide assessment training to local members but has also stepped up its international outreach initiatives.

These events are either sponsored by grants or selffunded. Two FLAs were planned for 2014: Islamabad, Pakistan in May 2014 and Port-au-Prince, Haiti in August 2014.

The TAE SIG is currently engaged in two major charitable initiatives. The first is our continued initiative of providing face-to-face basic-level assessment literacy training to teachers in countries around the world. This initiative, started in 2003, has seen “Fundamentals of Language Assessment” (FLA) conferences take place in all the Emirates of the UAE and in 33 countries worldwide from Armenia to Venezuela and many places in between.

Our second major initiative is an online course on the “Fundamentals of Language Assessment.” This course is offered in conjunction with the Global Local Center, an organization that provides professional development to teachers in the region and worldwide. Currently, 100 English language teaching professionals from countries around the globe are enrolled in the three-month course while 400 teachers are on the waitlist for future course administrations.

Delegates and presenters gathered in Lahore, Pakistan for a group photo. Volume 22

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November 2014

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Chapter Feature Reports Article

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Al Ain Chapter’s Busy Year Ian Taylor, Al Ain Chapter Representative At the beginning of 2014, the Al Ain Chapter held an event at the United Arab Emirates University’s Continuing Education Centre (CEC) in Al Ain. Garlfar Andrews, Eli Ghazel, and Becky Lahniche all performed with aplomb, making it a good start to 2014. Garlfar spoke on “Integrating English Language Teaching and Differentiated Instruction,” Eli talked about “Writing the 10-minute IELTS Essay,” and Becky asked “What Is the Problem with Reading in English?” Just before the summer break, the chapter held an event at the Higher Colleges of Technology’s men’s campus entitled “Teaching Listening and Speaking to Second Language Learners.” It was a stellar billing with Sandra Oddy, Martin J Endley, Anna Dillon, Ghadah Al Murshidi, and Chris Morrow. All had important messages to impart on the subject of teaching listening and speaking. Chris Morrow said, “Although listening is a crucial skill in language learning, many teachers suffer from one of two extremes: absence of or overdependence on professional materials. Professional materials typically test listening more than they teach it by encouraging students to quickly answer questions at the expense of overall language development.” He went on to

Jeremy Garner cooked up a storm with Vocab Kitchen.

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explore ways in which teachers can improvise their own listening material. Martin Endley said, “Listening is a fundamental language skill. Despite this, it remains a skill that is all too often accorded only a relatively minor role within the EFL classroom.” He then proceeded to examine the complexity and importance of listening, and looking at the pedagogical implications of the current understanding of the L2 listening process for language teachers. Anna Dillon spoke of developing a frame to encourage students to speak using various strategies and methods researched in Irish primary schools. Sandra Oddy explored the struggles students have with pronunciation using an interactive workshop. Ghadah Al Murshidi looked at the videotaped story workshop method in teaching listening and speaking skills. The Chapter then opened its 2014-2015 season with a quick-off-the-mark event entitled “Technology Teaching in TEFL” on September 24th, again at the HCT men’s campus, where only a few days before, the HCT Al Ain Director Hamsa Saleh Al Ammari received a certificate of appreciation from TESOL Arabia for HCT’s long and continued support of the Al Ain Chapter.

The videotaped story workshop method for teaching listening and speaking was explained by Ghadah Al Murshidi.

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Certificates were also awarded, as ever, to the attendees to mark their turning up for this professional development presentation. There was a good turn-out for the event, and it marked several departures from previous occasions. Tuesday evening was the preferred time rather than the usual Saturday morning; the number of presenters was cut from four to two to make things a little more manageable; there was an opportunity to register as a TESOL member; and non-members could attend for free. Presenting were two experienced educators, Jeremy Garner from HCT and Anna Dillon from Abu Dhabi Education Council. Jeremy explained how to use Vocab Kitchen, a free online tool that lets teachers and students check the vocabulary level of a text, share texts, gather data about vocabulary knowledge, and share contextualized definitions. Anna talked about

Anna Dillon stressed the importance of technology in the early years.

using technology to enhance teaching, learning, and parent communication in the early years of English as an Additional Language setting. Following this initial PD exercise the Chapter organized the second event on October 21st, again a Tuesday evening at the UAEU’s CEC located in the Islamic Institute. The topic of the event was “Aspects of IELTS,” always a popular subject. Mark Harrower from HCT spoke on “Task Achievement and Overviews: How to Improve Your Students’ Chances in IELTS Writing,” and UAEU’s Sufian Abu-Rmaileh talked about “Helping Hand: Techniques in Writing, Strategies in Grammar and Vocabulary.” Mark looked specifically at the “graph or diagram” writing question while Sufian took a broader sweep at writing. The event was another well-attended success!

Mark Harrower was a thorough invigilator.

Executive Council Ballot 2015 Executive Officers must reside in the United Arab Emirates during their time of service. Call for Nominations for the posts of:

• Vice President/President Elect • Member-at-Large • Executive Treasurer Publications Coordinator (Proceedings) • • Executive Secretary • Regional Representative: Al Ain Chapter Rep • Regional Representative: Dubai Chapter Rep • Regional Representative: Eastern Region Chapter Rep You must be a current member of TESOL Arabia (to the end of February 2015) to propose, second, or accept a nomination. Submit your nominations online at http://www.tesolarabia.org/elections/nominate.php Nomination Guidelines • Should you wish to nominate a member for more than one position, please fill out a separate form for each nomination. • Nominees should read the online job descriptions carefully. • An email will be sent to the person you have nominated, asking them to accept the nomination. Both the nomination and the acceptance MUST BE RECEIVED BEFORE MIDNIGHT 31 DECEMBER 2014. or inaccurate nomination forms, or2014 those received after the deadline, willwww.tesolarabia.org not be considered. 22 No. 3 November TESOL Arabia Perspectives • Incomplete Volume


Chapter Feature Reports Article

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Abu Dhabi Chapter Plans an Active Season, Launched with a Free-to-all, Open Theme Event Fathi Bin Mohamed, Abu Dhabi Chapter Representative The Abu Dhabi Chapter of TESOL Arabia would like to welcome everyone to an ever-growing community of professionals. Once again a new year is well underway for educators in the area, and we would like to wish you all the best of success as you strive to help your students develop and grow. Looking back, last year was a very successful one with many invaluable meetings, discussions, and interactions. We would certainly like this commitment to continue and tap into the vast energy resources that language educators can create together. We hope to reach out to new motivated colleagues and to continue to advance excellence in the ELT profession in Abu Dhabi.

To this end on Saturday, October 18, the Abu Dhabi Chapter organized our first event of the current academic year at Al Hosn University. It was a real pleasure to capture the pleasant mood and the strong energy of speakers and delegates after a long break of four months. The event, which was free of charge to members and non-members alike, opened with registration, refreshments, and networking. All delegates were invited to an opening session during which they were briefed about the Chapter’s activities and plans for the year ahead. Brief presentations were also given by two TESOL Arabia leaders. Mohammad Azaza, Research SIG Chair, talked about the opportunities that TA has

TESOL Arabia representatives presented Al Hosn University’s Prof Hassan Mustapha and Dr Radhia Benzehra with a certificate of appreciation for their continuing support. Volume 22

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Arabia and award them with a certificate of appreciation signed by TESOL Arabia President, Dr Melanie Gobert. Professor Hassan Mustapha, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Dr Radhia Benzehra, Chair of the English Language Department, were there to receive the award. The day’s events were brought to a very positive and good-humored close with a book raffle generously conducted by a local publisher, Smart Book, and certificates for presenters and delegates.

for its members; he also introduced the newly-created TA Toastmasters Club. After that, James Buckingham, Educational Technology SIG Chair, introduced attendees to the concept of “Open Badges,” a very important initiative that TA will be launching to award and formally acknowledge the effort of presenters and other professionals involved in TA work. (You can read about this initiative in the Educational Technology section of this issue of Perspectives.) Then it was time to move into breakout sessions. Mohamed Azaza spoke about ways to address the academic and cultural diversities in our classrooms and how differentiated instruction can provide answers to these differences. Mahmoud Sultan’s session offered thoughts and tips on fostering students’ academic writing skills, tackling a number of critical issues faced by writing teachers. On the EDTECH side of ELT, Hayet Amdouni’s workshop engaged participants in creating iPad materials using the Nearpod website. Amjad Taha’s interactive workshop, on the other hand, offered participants the opportunity to explore Edmodo and how it can be used in their teaching contexts.

The positive response we received from everyone is a source of pleasure and pride to Abu Dhabi Chapter team members, as well as a motivation for us to put on even better events in the future. We hope that more of you will be encouraged to attend and feel the buzz, cooperation, and passion for teaching that is so tangible at our local events. We are always open to suggestions and ideas that can help us offer better PD opportunities. If you would like to be involved in our activities, please consider writing a proposal. Below is the schedule of events for the current academic year. Details about event venues and themes will be communicated as they approach – check the TESOL Arabia website for the latest news!

The event was also an opportunity to recognize Al Hosn University’s continued support to TESOL Date

Event

November 22, 2014

A morning of workshops offered in collaboration with the Young Learners and Educational technology SIGs

January 15, 2015

The third annual event organized in collaboration with the Research and Teacher Training and Development SIGs

February 14, 2015

The 3rd Abu Dhabi Leadership Academy, jointly organized with the Leadership and Management SIG

April 25, 2015

The 4th Annual ESP Conference, jointly organized with the ESP SIG

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In the computer lab, Hayet Amdouni proudly displayed some of her “pets” as part of her iPad Nearpod workshop.

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Western Region Chapter Is Poised for Lift-Off Peter Stanfield, Western Region Chapter Representative The Western Region of Abu Dhabi is undergoing rapid infrastructural, industrial, and social development. Along with educators from the Western Region Education Zone, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and the rapidly expanding private education sector, TESOL Arabia Western Region Chapter seeks to support this growth at the educational level by offering professional development opportunities to all. To this end the Western Region Chapter has a renewed committee of five members. Dr Peter Stanfield, the Regional Representative, is ably supported by Mr Mahmoud Zaki as treasurer, Lotfi ben Ameur as Secretary, Mouna Rouz as Events Organizer and Networking Coordinator, and Abir Said Ramadan as voting member.Together the team planned the first regional mini-conference at Al Nukbah School in Al Mirfa City on November 1st with the support of the Western Region Education Zone. The event was designed to attract all educators in the region and focus on the nature and purpose of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the power of community service in education, and the importance of developing inter-cultural intelligence in teaching in the Western Region in particular and the UAE in general. Introduced by chapter representative Dr. Peter Stanfield, the event was attended by more than 35 enthusiastic educators from the region who enjoyed

Abir Ramadhan and Peter Stanfield enjoyed speaking to the attendees. Volume 22

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a wide range of presentations and workshops.These included a fascinating introduction to Inter-Cultural Intelligence by Armandee Drew from Knowledgeworkx Education as well as a highly illuminating talk by Abir Ramadhan on linguistic comparisons between English and Arabic and the difficulties these cause Arabic speaking learners of English. Presenters also gave helpful insight into the CELTA and DELTA qualifications in the UAE and some interesting global statistics relating to the IELTS examination history and practices. In addition, led by Wade Muncil and Julie Wallace, several former and current Emirati students brought delegates a deep insight into both community service learning and Emitatization. Although the number of delegates was modest, the chapter signed up five new TESOL Arabia members, and it is clear from the enthusiastic question sessions and conversations during breakouts and networking time that chapter membership will continue to grow over the coming months as word gets out about this successful event. To members living in the urban centres of the UAE, the Western Region may seem a long way off – the outer arm of the galaxy – but it is poised to become the centre of the economic and social universe of the UAE. The mini-conference at Al Nukbah School on November 1st can be considered the advance spacecraft!

Mohammed Yousif al Hammadi discussed the importance of community service in the Western Region. November 2014

Lofti ben Ameur and Peter Stanfield with Mohamed Said, Principal of Al Nukbah school, and Khalid Al Battati, an Al Nukbah teacher.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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SpecialFeature Interest Article Groups Special Interest Groups

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58

TESOL Arabia Special Interest Groups English for Specific Purposes SIG Phone: 02 644 0339 Email: esptesolarabia@gmail.com

Saad Rabia Co-Chair

Namaat Saadi Hezber Co-Chair

Christine Coombe Co-Chair

Lauren Stephenson Co-Chair

Leadership & Management SIG Phone: 050 619 4796 Email: christine.coombe@hct.ac.ae Phone: 050 465 5234 Email: lauren.stephenson@zu.ac.ae

Teacher Training & Teacher Development SIG

Email: tatdsig@gmail.com Racquel Warner Chair/Secretary

Young Learners SIG

Faiza Umar Marketing Communications Officer

Independent Learning SIG

Phone: 050 151 3613 Email: kathygardner007@gmail.com

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

Kathy Gardner Chair

Kathya Garder Al Haddad Secretary

Testing, Assessment & Evaluation SIG

Samah El Shal Treasurer

Ola Marie Abu Orouq Chair

Read SIG

Phone: 050 619 4796 Email: christine.coombe@hct.ac.ae Phone: 050 266 8937 Email: yassersalem@yahoo.com

Phone: 050 843 8782 Email: peter.davidson@zu.ac.ae Christine Coombe Co-Chair

Peter Davidson Co-Chair

Yasser Salem Chair

Educational Technology SIG Email: edtechsig@gmail.com Ning: http://taedtech.ning.com edtecharabia.twitter.com #taedtech James Buckingham

Research SIG Phone: 050 780 3988 Email: amelki22@yahoo.com researchsig22@gmail.com

Mohammad Azaza Chair

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Sahbi Hidri Secretary/Proposals & Publications Coordinator

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Abu Dhabi Representative

Ian Taylor

Higher Colleges of Technology/CERT PO Box 17155, Al Ain, UAE 050 277 3981 (mobile) itaylor1@hct.ac.ae

Sharjah Representative (acting) Nicholas Karavatos

American University of Sharjah PO Box 26666 Sharjah, UAE nicholas.karavatos@tesolarabia.org

Tamas Lorincz

German International School Sharjah, UAE 050 585 2347 (mobile) dubaichapter@gmail.com Blog: http://dubaichapter.edublogs.org

Safaa Abdulla Hassan Eissa

Ittihad University, RAK safa.eissa@tesolarabia.org

Mohamed El Zamil

Ajman University mohamed.elzamil@tesolarabia.org

Peter Stanfield

Higher Colleges of Technology/MZ/RUW Colleges peter.stanfield@tesolarabia.org

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Executive Council Feature Article Executive Council

60 64

President/Conference Co-Chair

Past President/Conference Co-Chair

Melanie Gobert Abu Dhabi Men's College Higher Colleges of Technology PO Box 25035 Abu Dhabi, UAE mgobert@hct.ac.ae

Rehab Rajab Dubai, UAE 050 637 5957 (mobile) rehab.rajab@tesolarabia.org Twitter: @tesolarabia || #tesolarabia

Vice-President

Executive Treasurer

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

Sufian Abu Rmaileh UAE University - UGRU PO Box 17172 Al Ain, UAE 03 706 4562 (home) 050 713 1803 (mobile) sabu-rmaileh@uaeu.ac.ae

Membership Secretary

Executive Secretary (acting)

Christina Gitsaki HCT - Dubai Men's College Dubai, UAE christina.gitsaki@tesolarabia.org

Sheri Henderson HCT - RAK Men's College PO Box 4793, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE sheri.henderson@tesolarabia.org

SIG Coordinator (acting)

Member-at-Large (acting)

Mick King Middlesex University Dubai, UAE micjak66@gmail.com

Linda Marshall Zayed University PO Box 19282, Dubai, UAE linda.marshall@tesolarabia.org

Conference Proceedings/Publications Coordinator

Perspectives Co-Editor

Peter McLaren United Arab Emirates University Al Ain, UAE 050 138 3406 (mobile) pmclaren@uaeu.ac.ae

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

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

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TESOL Arabia Perspectives TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org 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

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Feature Article

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