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In this issue: Feature Articles A Comparative Cultural Content Analysis of the TOEFL and IELTS: Which Reading Exam Is Better for Emirati Students?

Hilda Freimuth Effect of Pair work on Task Completion in an EFL Context

Mohammad Amin Mozaheb Teacher Conducted Research: Beliefs and Practices

Mouhamad Mouhanna

Lesson Ideas Educational Technology Reviews Networking TESOL Arabia News

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Pe r s p e c t ives Volume 23 No. 3 November 2015

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 A Comparative Cultural Content Analysis of the TOEFL and IELTS: Which Reading Exam Is Better for Emirati Students? Effect of Pair work on Task Completion in an EFL Context Teacher Conducted Research: Beliefs and Practices

Hilda Freimuth

5

Mohammad Amin Mozaheb 12 Mouhamad Mouhanna 18

Lesson Ideas Organizing and Carrying Out International Educational Fieldtrips Christine Coombe, Konrad Cedro 25

Educational Technology Voxopop: Affordances of Digital Speaking Improving Vocabulary Retention through the Gamification of e–Learning Enabled Extended Rehearsal Edmodians: A World Where Digital Relationships Speak Up

Iman Shawki Denise McQueen Ozdeniz Yomna Youssef

28 30 32

Reviews Going Mobile Active English Grammar 6

Colin Toms Fatma Abdullah Alsaidi

34 36

Georgios Kormpas

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Networking Advocacy & Policy Summit 2015

The Cutting Edges Research Conference 2015: Language, Standards & Politics

Neil McBeath

TESOL Arabia’s 5th Annual ESP Conference Julie Riddlebarger, Fathi Ben Mohamed & Saad Al Rabia

39 41

TESOL Arabia News Chapter/SIG Reports TESOL Arabia Leadership

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From Feature the Article Editors

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Dear Readers,

Editors

Welcome to the first issue of the 2015-2016 academic year, which is also the last issue of 2015! You may have noticed that this issue is a bit late. We apologize, invoking the maxim of “better late than never,” and we hope that you will enjoy the issue, despite our lamentable tardiness.

Julie Riddlebarger Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi Suhair Al Alami Al Ghurair University, Dubai

We have the usual bounty of articles for your reading pleasure, starting with Hilda Freimuth’s comparison of cultural content on the TOEFL and IELTS exams, a relevant topic to many as our students are expected to take one of these exams. This is followed by Mohammad Amin Mozaheb’s informative article on pair work in task-based learning, including a breakdown of the types of negotiation strategies that often result from such activities. Finally, Mouhamad Mouhanna presents important findings on teacher-conducted research, something that most of our readers are particularly interested in.

Reviews Editor Paul Dessoir United Arab Emirates University

In this issue’s Lesson Idea, frequent contributor Christine Coombe and co-author Konrad Cedro present their tried-and-true techniques for conducting international field trips. Then Iman Shawki, Denise McQueen Ozdeniz, and Yomna Youssef share their Education Technology ideas about Voxopop, vocabulary learning through gamification, and Edmodo, respectively. There are also two new reviews and several networking, chapter, and SIG reports to keep you informed about the latest books, international conferences, and local events. We encourage you all to submit your own work for consideration in future issues. Perspectives depends on readers’ submissions to keep our publication topical, relevant, and engaging for the wide variety of TESOL Arabia members. Submission guidelines can be found on the website, http://www.tesolarabia.co/publications/perspectives/ We wish you all the best for a happy and successful 2016 and look forward to hearing from you in the new year!

Julie Riddlebarger

Suhair Al Alami

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

CREDITS

Editors, Perspectives

Layout / Artwork Sudeep Kumar

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

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TESOL Arabia Perspectives

November Cover Photo Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi, UAE Rob Wilson, Khalifa University

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Feature Article Message from the President

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Dear TESOL Arabia Colleagues, This is the second time you are hearing from me this year. Between my last communication with you in July and now, we have had significant developments in the TESOL Arabia network across the globe. As we grow in strength and with increased representation of our professional learning network, our volunteer leaders are actively visiting the affiliate and SIG satellite branches to support them in their initiatives. This is an exciting time with an array of events lined up. At the time you will be reading this issue, we will already have concluded the Second Annual all SIGs Conference in Dubai, UAE (3 October), the Testing, Assessment & Evaluation SIG and the Leadership & Management SIG joint conference in Pakistan (16-17 October), as well as in Turkey (20-21 November). TESOL Arabia also had a strong presence at the Society for Pakistan English Language Teachers (SPELT) Annual Conference 2015 in November with invited plenaries from amongst our leadership including the TESOL Arabia President (Naziha Ali), Perspectives Co-editor (Julie Riddlebarger), and the SIGs Coordinator (Mick King). The year concluded with several Executive Council members representing TESOL Arabia at the TESOL International Regional Conference in Singapore (3-5 December). In this issue I am delighted to share with you a few significant milestones that TESOL Arabia has covered this year. As we are definitely growing in strength and representation around the world, the organization has perceived the need for streamlining the management of external relationships. To this effect, we have recently established an Affiliate Representative position on the Executive Council along with an Affiliates Committee that will henceforth look after the interests of our international relationships. A second very significant milestone for TESOL Arabia is the establishment of our Board of Advisors that includes nine prominent veteran experts: Dr Khuloud Al Mansoori, Dr Mashael Al Hamly, Dr Christine Coombe, Dr Salah Troudi, Dr Ali Shehadeh, Prof Zakia Sarwar, Prof Tom Robb, Prof Jane Hoelker, and Les Kirkham. Thirdly, our Educational Technology SIG, with the support of the newly formed SIGs committee, is actively realizing the popular Digital Badges for participants at every TESOL Arabia event. An exciting project in progress by our EdTech SIG is that of TESOL Arabia’s very own webinars. Do keep a lookout for updates! As we move closer to the elections this year, we have also established a formal Elections Committee that will ensure fair and transparent elections on the same lines as international associations that TESOL Arabia is affiliated with. Finally, as we near the TESOL Arabia Annual Conference 2016, I would like to remind you to avail of the various grants offered by TESOL Arabia by applying on the website at http://www.tesolarabia.co/grants/. With so many developments taking place, we value the feedback and suggestions of our wonderful members who make up the organization.You can get in touch with us at info@tesolarabia.org. Best wishes,

Dr Naziha Ali (EDD TESOL) TESOL Arabia President, 2015-2016

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Message from the Conference Co-Chairs Feature Article

Dear TESOL Arabia colleagues & friends, Welcome back to the TESOL Arabia Annual International Conference and Exhibition – this time featuring the 22nd year of the biggest conference and exhibition of its type in the region. With every passing year, the conference has grown in size and significance for professionals in the field of education and ELT as well as for our esteemed patrons, sponsors and exhibitors alike. The theme this year, “Language, Culture, Communication: Transformations in Intercultural Contexts,” seeks to explore research, innovation and challenges in teaching and learning in intercultural contexts; the pedagogies and teaching approaches applied; and the role of identity in ELT classrooms as educators and learners engage with a multiplicity of cultures within a distinct cultural realm. In exploring the theme of cultures, the conference will focus on transitions experienced by TESOL professionals. To this end, we are bringing you an array of renowned international speakers such as Averil Coxhead, Andy Curtis, Tom Farrell, Constantin Ioannou, Claire Kramsch, Salah Troudi, Phil Quirke, Ernesto Macaro and Norbert Schmitt. There are many more excellent speakers lined up for approximately 300 concurrent sessions. This year again, we are pleased to announce five certificate courses offering smaller, focused sessions facilitated by invited plenary and featured speakers as well as local experts in the field. Our three pre-conference development courses focus on the importance of culture in ELT, contemporary trends and data collection techniques in conducting research, and developments in the teaching of vocabulary. The highlight of our in-conference development courses this year is firstly, the introduction of TESOL Arabia’s Teacher Trainer Certificate, and secondly, an exclusive course focusing on the development of school-age learners. In addition, we will showcase our regular Job Fair, an exhibition of the latest ELT resources, PechaKucha 20x20 sessions, Dubai Discussions, chat show slots with plenary speakers, a TeachMeet session, a TESOL quiz show, Digital Badges, a book launch of our latest publications and a joint Research Forum initiative by the Research SIG & AILA (Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée). As we near the conference, please keep an eye on the website for updates and details. This being our fourth consecutive year at the Hyatt Regency located in the heritage rich district of Deira, Dubai, we have worked strategically with the hotel management to ensure delegate feedback is taken into account from previous years. Some initiatives to ensure an enhanced conference experience include an increased number of break-out rooms, improved facilities at the ever-in-demand job fair, eased on-site registration, increased volunteers for assistance, and free wi-fi access. On behalf of TESOL Arabia, we would like to extend a warm thank you to our valued sponsors, exhibitors, recruiters, advertisers, speakers, presenters, and most of all our delegates who have together made TESOL Arabia and its annual conference the incredibly popular brand that it is today. It is also the right time to acknowledge our ever striving and tireless conference committee members who have volunteered endless hours to make this feat possible. To conclude, do remember to apply for the TESOL Arabia travel-in grants or the MENA scholarship grants to support your participation as a presenter. As we near the conference, it is advisable to get your hotel bookings in place as early as possible as to ensure that you are not faced with inconvenience closer to time. And, please keep an eye on the website for updated information about the conference. Thank you & see you at the conference! Dr Naziha Ali, Dr Christina Gitsaki, Konrad Cedro Conference 2016 Co-Chairs On behalf of the TACON Committee 2016

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Feature Article

Hilda Freimuth Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE

A Comparative Cultural Content Analysis of the TOEFL and IELTS: Which Reading Exam Is Better for Emirati Students?

This study investigated the amount of cultural capital found on the reading component of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and then compared the findings to those from a similar study conducted on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) by Freimuth (2013). The reason for this comparative study was to determine which of the two examinations, the TOEFL or IELTS, would be more favourable for Emirati preparatory students in terms of background knowledge required for reading. A previous study (Freimuth, 2014) conducted to address student concerns about cultural bias and investigate the IELTS Organization’s (2013) claim of fairness for all test-takers regardless of cultural background, employed a number of methodologies. The present study, however, involved an identical methodological cultural content analysis of the TOEFL reading examination only (for comparative purposes) and did not duplicate the entire original IELTS study. The present study is based on previous research that shows the significant impact of background knowledge on student reading performance.

Cultural Capital and the Importance of Background Knowledge in Reading The term cultural capital was first coined by Bourdieu and refers to assets which act as “a social relation within a system of exchange that includes accumulated cultural knowledge that confers powers and status (cited in Barker, 2004, p. 37). In terms of this study, however, cultural capital refers specifically to the aspects of culture as defined by Lazar (1993) and defines assets as cultural objects, social structures, customs, expressions, political or historical settings, and belief systems. This cultural capital is often unwittingly embedded into language assessment Volume 23

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materials by the producers of the assessment since the act of writing is influenced by one’s culture. Likewise, the act of reading is culturally influenced. Nutall (1996) offers up an interesting reading analogy. She equates the process of reading to the process of assembling a table. Initially, the reader has many nuts and bolts and parts to piece together in order to assemble the table (the message) as intended. An important part of this assembly is the knowledge of what a table is and how it is used (cultural capital). This is referred to as background knowledge and includes topic, text, linguistic, and cultural knowledge in relation to the text being read. Reading theories that place a high importance on background knowledge fall under the umbrella of schema theory. Schema theory pertains to the theory that when a reader reads, he or she activates the brain’s various networks of stored information, including the reader’s existing cultural capital. The incoming information from the text is then linked to the stored network and integrated accordingly (Alderson, 2000). Numerous studies show empirical evidence for the importance of prior knowledge with regards to successful reading practices (see for example Carrell, 1987; Chen & Donin, 1997; Hudson, 1982) for both content and formal schemata. Content schemata refers to the knowledge the reader has in relation to the content or topic of the text. Formal schemata refers to the reader’s stored network related to the linguistic features and formatting of the text. This paper focuses solely on the role of content schemata in reading. With background knowledge profoundly influenced by culture (Steffenson & Joag-Dev, 1984), texts which draw on schemata including cultural capital accessible to only some sets of readers have TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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the potential to harbour cultural bias. In fact, numerous studies have shown that readers who read culturally familiar passages perform better on a number of reading tasks; they read more quickly, recall information better, and perform better on other aspects of reading (Chandler, Polling, Ono, & Mustapha, 1989; Dolan, 1994; Freebody, 1983; Hirsch, 2003; Steffenson & Joag-Dev, 1984; Tierney, 1983; Winograd & Newell, 1985). Assessment of reading in one-size-fits-all examinations such as the IELTS and TOEFL is particularly susceptible to cultural bias due to the many different cultural groups sitting the exams. The question being addressed in this paper is not if students around the world experience cultural bias on the reading components of the exam, but rather how much cultural content the reading components of the two standardized texts hold. In order to determine which of the two reading examinations is better suited for Emirati students, a cultural content analysis of reading passages is needed. With a cultural content analysis already completed on the IELTS reading component (Freimuth, 2013), the TOEFL examination is the focus of this study.

Methodology

This study examined eight official TOEFL reading exams, totalling 24 reading passages, via the process of a content analysis. This is a systematic technique of inquiry applied to printed information which identifies, codes, categorizes, and counts ‘instances’ either for existence or frequency (Silverman, 2011). Initially used only in large investigative qualitative studies, content analysis has grown in its scope of use (Bryman, 2012). It was used in the previous study (Freimuth, 2014) to determine the amount of cultural capital on the reading component of the IELTS examination. For the sake of consistency, the same content analysis was employed in this study. The systematic nature of designing and applying a coding system for a content analysis gives this method its objectivity, reliability, and validity (Bryman, 2012). The purpose of the cultural analysis of the TOEFL exam was to investigate the existence of culturally unfamiliar items in the readings. The exam readings were taken from official TOEFL examinations available for purchase from Educational Testing Service (ETS) in bookstores worldwide (Educational Volume 23

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Testing Service, 2012, 2013). More examinations would have been used in this study, but no additional authentic tests were available for purchase. Tables 1 and 2 below list the passages used in this analysis. Table 1 Reading tests with titles from The Official Guide to the TOEFL (4th ed.), ETS, 2012 Test Number

Reading Titles

Test 1

19th Century Politics in the United States The Expression of Emotions Geology and Landscape

Test 2

Feeding Habits of East African Herbivores Loie Fuller Green Icebergs

Test 3

Architecture The Long-Term Stability of Ecosystems Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer

Table 2: Reading tests with titles from Official TOEFL iBT Tests, Volume 1, ETS, 2013 Test Number

Reading Titles

Test 1

Deer Populations of the Puget Sound Cave Art in Europe Petroleum Resources

Test 2

Minerals and Plants The Origin of the Pacific Island People The Cambrian Explosion

Test 3

Powering the Industrial Revolution William Smith Infantile Amnesia

Test 4

Population and Climate Europe in the 12th Century What is a Community?

Test 5

Habitats and Chipmunk Species Cetacean Intelligence A Model of Urban Expansion

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Instruments of Analysis. The foundation for this content analysis was built on a limited number of Lazar’s (1993) list of cultural elements: objects, products or things (e.g., canoe), social structures and roles (e.g., the government’s role to protect human rights), customs and traditions (e.g., a festival), proverbs and expressions (e.g., Duchenne smile), political or historical settings (e.g., early 20th century Chicago), superstitions or beliefs (e.g., animal intelligence = human intelligence), as well as geographical locations. Procedure. The following steps were taken to conduct the content analysis; these steps are identical to the IELTS study analysis (Freimuth, 2013, pp. 14-15. 1. Decide what kind of analysis will occur. This refers to single word or set of words and whether coding will be for existence or frequency. 2. Decide the number of concepts to code for. Concepts and categories must be created and defined to limit the analysis. 3. Come up with a coding system. Colours, numbers, and abbreviations are often used. 4. Do the analysis and code the texts. 5. Analyze the results. This study coded for existence only of Lazar’s list of cultural capital. The procedural instructions fit the analysis as follows. Analysis is for single or set of words (=1 concept) and coded only for existence (not frequency). 1. Six components of Lazar’s list of cultural concepts are used. If there are any references either with or without an explanation or detailed description to the following, they are recorded. An example is given for each category for a clearer understanding: a. cultural objects, products, or items (e.g., a talking stick) b. customs, traditions, and festivals (e.g., La Tomatina) c. political and historical terms or events (e.g., Germany 1945) d. proverbs and idiomatic expressions (e.g., head for the hills) e. social structures, relationships, and roles (e.g., father as homemaker) f. beliefs and superstitions (e.g., magic is evil)

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To assist with the identification of cultural concepts, the following question is employed in the analysis: Is _____________________ (concept/product/belief) more/less part of my shared cultural knowledge than another cultural group’s? If the answer is yes, it goes on the list. 2. The following coding and colour systems are used: CO = cultural objects, etc. (yellow) CT = customs and traditions (green) PH= political and historical references (pink) PE= proverbs and expressions (orange) SR= social structure, etc. (blue) BS= beliefs and superstitions (purple) 3. Texts are analyzed and colour-coded. If the same reference is made more than once in the same passage, it is highlighted and counted only once. 4. Colour-coded instances are added up analyzed quantitatively. Dr 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.

5. Triangulation is conducted with other instructors. Even with the rigorous steps outlined in the content analysis, the identification of cultural items and ideas remains subjective in nature due to human interpretation. To counteract this and make the analysis stronger, the list of items isolated by the original researcher and the content analysis instructions were given to two other instructors with similar backgrounds for confirmation. An example of a subjective item contested by the other instructors was the term palace. The question, “Is a palace more/ less part of my shared cultural knowledge than another cultural group’s?” was applied. The answer according to the researcher was yes; however, the other two instructors disagreed, so it was removed. For items where only one instructor disagreed with the researcher, the researcher had the final say. If all agreed the item was culturally specific, the item stayed on the list. For example, for the question, “Is a maple tree more/less part of my shared cultural knowledge than another cultural group’s,” everyone agreed, so the item remained on the list.

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A separate geographical analysis was conducted on the geographical locations mentioned on the exams. Locations but not nationalities were placed into the following categories: the West (including Europe, Canada, United States, New Zealand and surrounding islands, and Australia and surrounding islands), Asia, South America (including Mexico and Central America, grouped together due to English not being the primary language), Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Antarctica. For each reading passage, each location was recorded only one time. All references were then added up and evaluated for frequency to determine which regions of the world were most referenced in the readings.

weather, tap into, and crow’s feet wrinkles. The beliefs and superstition category fared the same with only one reference on average per exam. Some examples of this category on the TOEFL include belief in evolution and the idea that religion and politics should be separated. Table 3: TOEFL Cultural Content Analysis Results Book & Test

CO CT PH PE

SR

BS

Total

Vol 1 Test 1

31

1

7

1

0

1

41

Vol 1 Test 2

16

0

5

0

0

2

23

Vol 1 Test 3

13

0

6

0

0

0

19

The findings for the TOEFL examination analysis were then compared to the findings of the earlier IELTS study (Freimuth, 2013) to determine which of the two exams contained more cultural capital in terms of reading passages.

Vol 1 Test 4

17

0

2

3

0

0

22

Vol 1 Test 5

39

0

2

1

1

1

44

Ed 4 Test 1

10

0

6

3

2

2

23

Ed 4 Test 2

36

0

1

0

0

0

37

Findings

Ed 4 Test 3

20

0

1

1

0

0

22

The content analysis of the TOEFL readings (Table 3 & Figure 1 below) revealed that on average, one reading exam held 29 cultural references. This is considerably higher than the IELTS findings of 13.6 cultural references (Freimuth, 2013). Of the various categories, cultural objects were highest with 23 out of 29 references. The next category, political/ historical settings, came in at four, much lower. The IELTS exam had a similar result, but the difference between the top two tiers was minimal, with only six cultural object references and four political/ historical references on average per reading exam. Examples found on the TOEFL include such things as the Hudson’s Bay Company, a balsa log raft, and a cathedral. The political/historical settings category of the TOEFL analysis mainly involved places and dates, rather than political terms. The category included such items as Puget Sound in the early 1800s, the reign of King George III in Britain, and the historic event of the creation of the first modern geographical map. For all eight TOEFL reading exams, there were three mentions recorded under social structure, relationships, and roles, whereas the IELTS had an average of one per exam. The other two remaining categories showed the same average per exam, on both the TOEFL and IELTS. The category proverbs and idiomatic expressions was one of these and included expressions such as fairVolume 23

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Key: CO = cultural objects, CT = customs and traditions, PH= political and historical references, PE= proverbs and expressions, SR= social structure etc., BS= beliefs and superstitions

Figure 1. Cultural content analysis: Average number of occurrences per TOEFL exam. (Key: CO = cultural objects, PH = political and historical references, PE = proverbs and expressions, BS = beliefs and superstitions) The geographical analysis of the TOEFL readings (Figure 2) revealed a greater number of references to the West than the IELTS. In the TOEFL, 85% of all references were made to the West with 2% to the Middle East. The region of the Caribbean was not mentioned in any of the readings, but Antarctica was recorded at 4%. The IELTS, in comparison, had only TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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65% of all its references to the West with 4% to the Middle East. The IELTS analysis made no mention of Antarctica but did refer to the Caribbean. Comparing the data from the two studies, it would appear that the TOEFL has a higher number of Western references and fewer Middle Eastern ones than the IELTS.

Figure 2. TOEFL geographical analysis.

Discussion and Conclusion

The findings from the cultural content analysis of the reading component of the TOEFL examination highlight a clear Western bias, not only in locations mentioned in the passages, but also in other categories (see Appendix for raw data). The impact this cultural capital has on student reading performance depends on the educational and cultural background of the examinees. In the case of Emirati students, the cultural capital on the TOEFL readings is higher than that found on the IELTS readings which students felt impacted their performance negatively (Freimuth, 2014), highlighting the importance of knowing the topics and objects in the readings. An excerpt from the study (Freimuth, 2014, pp. cxcvii - cxcviii) follows to confirm this (M = moderator): Student 1: The reading is related to something religious and these kinds of things and… I don’t know things the religion in East Asia. Student 2: If the article was about Burj Khalifa, maybe I’ll understand most of it… Student 3: You can read, you must have a knowledge, a background about the topics. M: And when you have a new idea, how does this make you feel…?

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Student 4: You must read it more than one time. M: So you don’t know anything about [the topic of role theory]? Student 5: Why would we? Student 6: [The topic of] pollution is familiar to us… but its was ….its was a new thing… topic… we won’t feel this comfortable. M: And the topic [of women voting] itself is something you are familiar with? Students 7, 6: No. No. Student 7: But we heard about it. M: Do you vote personally, each of you? Student 6: No. M: Do you have a lot of background on this? Student 8: Not much… Student 9: The passage should be in our field… not outside. Clearly, students recognize the importance of having background knowledge on the topics in order to process the reading. One main student concern is the limited time factor. Students complained they did not have enough time to re-read passages; something they felt was necessary when the topic was unfamiliar (Freimuth, 2014). If the cultural content of the TOEFL readings is higher than that found on the IELTS, as this study has found, it may be safe to assume that Emirati students would find the TOEFL more difficult to process in terms of background knowledge, given they have 20 minutes per passage (a total of one hour) to complete the reading test – the identical time as the IELTS. To truly determine, however, which reading exam is easier overall for Emirati students, other factors not investigated in this study need to be taken into consideration such as linguistic difficulty, length of the texts, and question types. From a purely cultural content perspective, however, it is evident that the IELTS is a better match for Emirati students due to a lower amount of cultural capital. This finding should be of great interest to UAE universities and policy makers as well as Emirati students.

References

Alderson, C. (2000). Assessing reading. Cambridge, UK Cambridge University Press. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Barker, C. (2004). The Sage dictionary of cultural studies. London, UK: Sage Publications. Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Carrell, P. (1987). Content and formal schemata in ESL reading. TESOL Quarterly, 21(3), 461-481. Chandler, P., Poling, N., Ono, N., & Mustapha, Z. (1989, November). Exploring retellings as assessment: Insights and patterns. Paper presented at the National Reading Conference, Austin TX. Chen, Q., & Donin, J. (1997). Discourse processing of first and second language biology texts: Effects of language proficiency and domain specific knowledge. Modern Language Journal, 81(2), 209– 227. Dolan, T. (1994). The impact of illustrations and cultural schemata on Hong Kong pupils’ reading comprehension and recall of text. In B. Norman, P. Falvey, A. Tsui, D. Allison, & A. McNeill (Eds.), Language and learning. Hong Kong: Institute of Language in Education, Hong Kong Education Department. [ERIC Clearinghouse (ED386042)]. Educational Testing Service. (2012). The official guide to the TOEFL test (4th ed.). Singapore: McGraw-Hill. Educational Testing Service. (2013). Official TOEFL iBT tests,Volume 1. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Freebody, P. (1983). Effects of vocabulary difficulty, text cohesion, and schema availability on reading comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 18(3), 277-294. Freimuth, H. (2013). A persistent source of disquiet: An investigation of the cultural capital on the IELTS exam. International Journal of Education, 1(1), 9-26. Freimuth, H. (2014). Cultural bias on the IELTS examination: A critical realist investigation (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. Hirsch Jr., E. (2003). Reading comprehension requires knowledge – of words and the world. American Educator, 27(1), 10-29. Retrieved from https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/ periodicals/AE_SPRNG.pdf Hudson, T. (1982). The effects of induced schemata on the “short circuit” in L2 reading: Nondecoding factors in L2 reading performance. Language Learning, 23(1), 1–31. IELTS Organisation (2013). IELTS institutions:The test that sets the standard. Retrieved from http:// www.ielts.org/institutions/trust_ielts/setting_ the_standard.aspx Volume 23

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Lazar, G. (1993). Literature and language teaching. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Nuttall, C. (1996). Teaching reading skills in a foreign language (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Macmillan Education. Silverman, D. (2011). Interpreting qualitative data (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Steffensen, J., & Joag-Dev, C. (1984). Cultural knowledge and reading. In J. C. Alderson & A. H. Urquhart (Eds.), Reading in a foreign language (pp. 48-61). London, UK: Longman. Tierney, R. (1983). Author’s intentions and readers’ interpretations (Technical Report 276). Retrieved from https://test.ideals.illinois. edu/bitstream/handle/123456789/7721/ ctrstreadtechrepv01983i00276_opt.pdf?sequence=1 Winograd, P., & Newell, G. (1985). The effects of topic familiarity on good and poor readers’ sensitivity to what is important in text. Champaign: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Appendix TOEFL Cultural Content Analysis Raw Data Official TOEFL iBT Tests,Volume 1, Test 1 CO: Deer, prairie, marshy island, flood plains, huckleberry, salal, dogwood, snow, cedar, hemlock, red alder, Lewis and Clark, Hudson’s Bay Co., meadow, wolves, cougar, lynx, vine maple tree, rock shelters, cliff faces, caves, wild cattle, mammoths, spears, oil refinery, Alaska pipeline, fault, landslide, oil spill, cargo ship PH: Puget Sound early 1800s, Columbia River 1805, Fort Vancouver 19th century, discovery in Upper Palaeolithic Period, southern Africa 25,000 years ago, Australia 30,000 years ago, Long Beach past 50 years PE: fair-weather BS: belief drawing of human causes death CT: tradition of throwing spears at drawings Official TOEFL iBT Tests,Volume 1, Test 2 CO: abandoned mine, irrigation pond, alpine pennycress, Indian mustard, balsa log raft, Egyptian reed boat, taro, yams, sugarcane, breadfruit, sago, outrigger canoe, sweet potato, Canadian Rocky Mountains, mud slides, fossil bed PH: 1947 historic crossing of the Pacific, 1969 historic crossing of the Atlantic, Southeast Asia 5000 BCE, Cambrian Period animals originated BS: belief of origin of life, belief of evolution

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Official TOEFL iBT Tests,Volume 1, Test 3

The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test (4th ed.), Test 1

CO: Industrial Revolution, windmill, grain mill, textile mill, coal mine, canal boats, turnpikes, flanged wheels, village blacksmith, canal, mail coaches, doll

CO: the Himalayas, Caledonian Mountains, mountains of Greenland, the Appalachians, the Scottish Highlands, the Norwegian coastal plateau, the Cascade Mountains, streams, ice and frost, glaciers

PH: Britain during reign of George III, 1760s James Watt invention, 1790s Murdoch invention, 1769 England, 1815 invention of first modern geological map, 1831 Smith named ‘Father of English Geology’

PH: Andrew Jackson President 1829 US, the Democratic Party, the Senate,Whig Party, Charles Darwin 19th century, creation of Earth 4.5 billion years ago PE: paper money aristocracy, Duchenne smile, crows’ feet wrinkles

Official TOEFL iBT Tests,Volume 1, Test 4

BS: religion and politics to be separate, theory of evolution

CO: cattle, ice age, drought, heat wave, cathedral, Black Hills forest, prairie riparian forest, ash tree, cottonwood tree, ponderosa pine, white spruce tree, kingbirds, juncos, mountain slopes, flood plains, oak trees, field mice

SR: government responsibility to promote competition, government responsibility to protect human rights

PH: 11th century Europe, Palermo 12th century

The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test (4th ed.), Test 2

PE: flock to, tap into, akin to Official TOEFL iBT Tests,Volume 1, Test 5 CO: chipmunk, Sierra Nevada mountain range, picnic, arid desert, grassland, sagebrush, yellow pine tree, pinion tree, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine forests, lodgepole tree, fir tree, alpine chipmunk, talus slopes, alpine meadows, junipers, alpine zones, conifer forests, dolphins, porpoises, killer whales, pilot whales, seals, turtles, water-skiers, blowhole, American sign language, sea sponge, stingray, parks and recreation areas, slum, tramways, steel construction, occupational suburbs, residential enclaves, commuting, palaces, cathedrals, satellite cities PH: early 20th century US/Canada, early 20th century Chicago PE: pretty much

CO: buffalo, zebras, wildebeests, topi, Thomson’s gazelles, Loie Fuller, ballet, Folies Bergere, lily, Art Nouveau, Seurat, Richard Wagner, Henri de ToulouseLautrec, Gluck, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Stravinsky, Faure, Debussy, Mussorgsky, Marie and Pierre Curie, Rene Clair, pantomime, Sada Yocco, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St Denis, Paris Expo 1900, icebergs, glaciers, the snows of Greenland, Antarctica, and Alaska, Weddell Sea, the Amery Ice Shelf, slush PH: Paris Expo 1900 The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test (4th ed.), Test 3 CO: igloos, adobes, Andes Mountains, Macchu Picchu, pond, temperate forest, redwood forest, 15 speed racing bike, tricycle, Mount St Helens, grasslands, cattle ranching, wheat farming, Ogallala aquifer, Ogallala Sioux Indians, Lake Huron, cotton, sorghum, canal, Mississippi River, Missouri River, Arkansas River

BS: belief animals as intelligent as humans

PH: US 1880s

SR: social structure of American city

PE: pales in comparison to

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Effect of Pair work on Task Completion in an EFL Context Introduction

Group work/pair work can play critical roles in ESL/EFL settings. Group work “is a generic term covering a multiplicity of techniques in which two or more students are assigned a task that involves collaboration and self-initiated language� (Brown 2001, p.177). Group work is one of the most important principles of effective teaching in an ESL/ EFL setting. Having reviewed the related literature on group work and pair work, a number of scholars have pinpointed the advantages and disadvantages of pair work and group work in ESL/EFL settings (e.g., Davies, 2015; Mayo & Ibarrola, 2015; Shin, Lidster, Sabraw, & Yeager, 2015; Rost, 2014). Brown (2001) lists the advantages of group work as follows. Group work: 1) generates interactive language; 2) offers an embracing affective climate; 3) encourages learner responsibility and autonomy; 4) is a step towards individualising instruction (p. 178). Both group work and pair work are situations in which ESL/EFL teachers can shape independent students, as students are working together without the control of the teacher and so can make their own decisions for completing a task without any pressure from the students who are listening to them. Additionally, teachers can focus on students who are in need of their help (Harmer, 2007). Notwithstanding the above advantages, a few disadvantages of pair work or group work have also been discussed (e.g., Kramsch & Sullivan 1996; Harmer, 2007). Harmer (2007) pointed out that students may have personality conflicts with group members. Additionally, some students cannot tolerate student-centred classrooms and need supervision by teachers. In some cases, a student may dominate the group or pair which consequently brings about Volume 23

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Mohammad Amin Mozaheb Imam Sadiq (A) University Tehran, Iran

reticence on the part of other members. Another problem is that students may revert to the mother tongue and not use the target language. In response to the question of what to do if students use their mother tongue while working in pairs, Harmer (2007) states that teachers can use different strategies to cope with this problem, such as talking to students about the issue, encouraging them to use English appropriately, creating an English environment and reminding them when it is necessary (p. 178). Brown (2001) adds two other important disadvantages of group work. He believes that teachers are not able to monitor all the students and the entire group simultaneously, and that some of the errors made by the learners will be reinforced in small groups. Considering the importance of cooperative learning and group work, Ning (2011) revisited language learning in China and adapted cooperative learning methods for ELT with tertiary learners.This adaptation was on the basis of group formation, technique, and course evaluation. He concluded that cooperative learning is a key factor for ELT with tertiary learners and that it should be added to the curriculum.

Setting the Scene

Think-pair-share technique and collaborative learning Think-pair-share was first introduced by Lyman (1981). This technique is ideal for those instructors and students who are new to collaborative learning (Lyman, 1987). In think-pair-share, the teacher introduces a challenging or open-ended question give about two minutes for thinking. This process is important because it gives students a chance to retrieve information from their long-term memory. The next step is to discuss the issue with another group member or another student. This technique gives all students the chance to discuss their ideas, which is a manifestation of collaborative learning. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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There are a number of studies in which this technique was used (e.g., Baleghizadeh 2010; Cole 2012; Slone & Mitchell, 2014). In his study, Baleghizadeh (2010) reported a significant achievement for the experimental group who worked in pairs while completing a word building task following the think-pair-share technique. Cole (2012) utilized collaborative techniques for completing writing tasks and reported the same result. The researchers of the present study used the collaborative technique of think-write-pair-share. In this technique, the teacher raised a question for the class and gave learners sufficient time to think and write their notes individually; then the teacher permitted them to share their ideas with a partner for a few minutes. Lastly, the teacher asked the pairs to propose the main points for the whole class which shaped classroom discussion in the experimental group; the control group did not use the mentioned collaborative technique but did the same writing task individually. The findings indicate that collaborative learning can be considered as an important asset for learning in EFL/ESL contexts, considering the fact that collaboration fosters performance and achievement of EFL/ESL learners. In cooperative learning, students learn from each other by working in groups (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2011). Brown (2001) believes that cooperative learning leads to better understanding of a second or foreign language. In cooperative learning, teachers guide students in using social skills to learn a foreign language. Similar to cooperative learning, collaborative learning has become the focal point of a number of studies. Storch (2007) meticulously investigated the advantages of pair work on a text-editing task in an EFL context. In the conclusion, Storch proposed that pair work was useful for the experimental group and caused them to use a number of interactional strategies such as implicit and explicit negative feedback and receiving confirmation. Moreover, Storch (2005) used collaborative strategies in an EFL writing class and reported similar results with regard to collaboration. The participants of the study were 23 adult students who were given an option to write individually or in pairs. Most of them decided to Volume 23

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work in pairs. The author concluded that in terms of grammatical accuracy, complexity and task fulfillment, pairs did a better job although their texts were shorter compared with the individual writers. It was also mentioned that collaboration could make a situation in which ESL learners shared their ideas and provided other learners with fruitful feedback. Ultimately, Storch (2005) interviewed the learners who participated in the study and found that all of them had positive attitudes towards using collaboration in writing classes. Pair work and task-based language teaching (TBLT) “Task-based language teaching, in which tasks provide the basis for an entire language curriculum, constitutes a strong version of Communicative Language Teaching” (Ellis, 2003, p. 45). A number of studies have investigated the effect of group/ pair work on form-focused tasks; Storch’s (2007) study of pair work in a text editing task showed that “although pair work on a grammar-focused task may not lead to greater accuracy in completing the task, it provides learners with opportunities to use the second language for a range of functions, and in turn for language learning” (Storch, 2007, p. 412). Baleghizadeh (2010) investigated the effect of pair work on a word building task, concluding that pair work leads to a better understanding of the vocabulary. Swain (2000), focusing on different types of tasks in her study, suggests that problem solving tasks for pair work provide the best condition for collaborative language learning. Because of the limited number of studies contrasting individual completion of a task with pair work (Ellis, 2003; Baleghizadeh, 2010), there is a need for further investigation on the efficacy of pair work on TBLT. Hence, the present study aims to investigate the effect of pair work on listening tasks using the thinkpair-share collaborative technique, in which the teacher asks a question and gives the students time to discuss and share their ideas to answer the questions (Barkley, Cross, & Major, 2005). Having reviewed the related literature, the researcher realized that the number of studies focusing on listening and pair work in the Iranian context or studies investigating profiles of typical Iranian students is limited, proving that further research is needed on TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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the issue. Thus the present study sets out to answer the following research questions: Do EFL learners who use the think-pair-share technique in pair work complete listening tasks more accurately than learners who perform the same tasks individually? And what type of negotiation strategies do students use in pair work using think-pair-share technique? Mohammad Amin Mozaheb holds a PhD in applied linguistics. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at Imam Sadiq (A) University, Tehran, Iran. He has published a number of books and research papers and has presented his work in Iran, the UAE, Turkey, Belgium, Romania, and Greece. His research interests include ELT, discourse, corpus studies, and writing.

Methodology

Participants Forty-two Iranian adult students (22 males and 20 females) participated in the present study. They were undergraduate students studying either English literature or translation at a higher education institute in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their mean age was 19.5, and their level of English proficiency was IELTS band score 6. The researchers homogenised the students in two groups using their IELTS scores. These students were in two different classes; one of the researchers was the teacher of both classes. The control group consisted of 14 students, and the experimental group consisted of 28 students. Students in both groups agreed to participate in this research study; moreover, they agreed to be video recorded as part of the study. Tasks The tasks in the study were listening tasks consisting of three conversations between a couple in a restaurant. The text was extracted from Scrivener (1994, p. 146). In one of the tasks, the couple briefly discuss the menu, then order two meals and some drinks. The waitress explains that one dish is “off,� so the man re-orders. Finally, the couple see a beetle in the food, and after finding the manager of the restaurant, they complain about the bad quality of the food (see Appendix 1). Each pair in the experimental group had only one version of the tasks to be submitted as the final copy to the teacher, and each student in the control group had one copy of the tasks to be submitted to the teacher after completing the tasks. In other words, 14 copies were completed by the pairs, and 14 copies were completed by the students in the control group who worked individually. Design The design of this study was quasi experimental, with two groups of experimental and control. Volume 23

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According to Slone and Mitchell (2014), adopting a quasi experimental approach is appropriate for research on collaborative learning. Ellis (2003) also emphasized the use of quasi pre-test, post-test experimental design in TBLT studies, advocating that the design can lead to a comprehensive data analysis. In this study, think-pair-share collaborative technique in pair work was the independent variable, and the scores of students in accurate completion of listening tasks was the dependent variable. T-test statistical analysis was used to determine the differences between the experimental and control groups in accurate completion of listening tasks. Procedure The students in the control group completed the tasks individually. However, the students in the experimental group were asked to complete the tasks in pairs and to use the think-pair-share collaborative technique. The experimental group was briefed (by modelling pair work with a teacher-student pair) about the different stages in TBLT, and they were taught about the think-pair-share collaborative technique (by being given explicit instructions). The students were free to choose their partner. The teacher monitored the pair work so students would not use their first language (L1) while working on the tasks. The teacher did not provide any help, so the students completed the tasks independently. There was a time limit for task completion. Finally, the teacher provided positive verbal feedback to encourage students and upon task completion. There were different stages in completing the listening task. For example, after listening to the conversation between the couple and the waitress, the students in pairs completed the tasks in the following stages. 1. Students used a copy of the menu to calculate the bill. 2. As the waitress was new, she made a lot of mistakes. Students had to correct her mistakes on a copy of her notepad (e.g., beef lasagne). This notepad was prepared by the teacher in advance. 3. Students had a copy of the dialogue but with sentences in the wrong order; they had to listen and arrange them in the correct order. 4. Students answered some short comprehension questions about the dialogue (e.g., What was in the pie? Why does the man choose lasagne?). 5. Students were asked to find the synonym for the following words from the dialogue and write them in their answer sheet (e.g., pardon me, fruitarian, herbivorous, awful, tolerate, accompany, adhere, and fried potatoes). TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Results

In order to see whether there was a statistically significant difference between the mean scores of the control and experimental groups, an independent t-test was run using SPSS. The authors carried out an independent-samples t-test to compare mean scores for experimental and control groups. There was a significant difference in scores for the experimental group (M = 12.96, SD = 1.28) and the control group (M = 7.38, SD = 1.54), t (26) = 7.98, p =.001) (Table 1). Students who utilised the think-pair-share technique gained a better understanding of the issue and gave more accurate responses. The null hypothesis of this study (i.e., EFL learners who use think-pair-share technique in pair work do not complete the listening tasks more accurately than EFL learners who perform the same tasks individually) was thus rejected. Table 1 Descriptive statistics for experimental and control groups Groups Experimental Control

N 14* 14

mean 12.96 7.36

SD 1.28 1.54

*The experimental group consisted of 28 students who worked in pairs; each pair submitted one answer sheet, so the collected answer sheets numbered 14. Moreover, to answer the second research question, Table 2 shows the frequency of different negotiation strategies used by the experimental group, identified by reviewing video of the groups as they worked on the task. Table 2. Frequency of different types of negotiation strategies used by think-pair-share group Negotiation Strategies/ Collaborative Skills Asking for help Making suggestions Giving reasons Disagreeing politely Asking for clarification Listening actively Encouraging the partner to participate Volume 23

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Discussion and conclusion

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of pair work on listening tasks in an Iranian EFL setting by making a comparison between the performance of two groups of students (control and experimental) in doing listening tasks both individually and in pairs. Additionally, frequency of negotiation strategies (collaborative skills) used by the think-pair-share group was calculated after watching the recorded video.The results showed that when students collaborate with each other, they can provide a more accurate response in contrast to students who do the same tasks individually. Moreover, as shown in Table 2, encouraging others to participate and giving reasons are the most common negotiation strategies used by the think-pair-share group (12 and 10, respectively).The results showed that when students collaborate with each other, they can provide a more accurate response in contrast to students who do the same tasks individually.The result of the present study, in terms of amount of negotiation strategy use, is in line with a number of studies (e.g., Baleghizadeh, 2010; Storch, 2007). Baleghizadeh (2010) concludes that “students’ joint efforts while collaborating with each other are likely to result in coconstruction of morphological knowledge in a word building task” (p. 405). Storch (2007) also reiterates that the use of pair work for completing writing tasks can be a good strategy for EFL/ESL learners. In this study, the quality of collaboration was very high among the students because it was a “collaborative dialogue” (Swain, 2000). By utilising collaborative pair work, students in the experimental group were able to co-construct accurate responses through various negotiation strategies (Appendix 2). The video showed that the students in the experimental group used a variety of strategies for pair work and collaborative learning such as sharing ideas, reasoning, thinking loudly, and making suggestions. In conclusion, the results of the present study show that the use of pair work can significantly increase the accuracy of EFL learners while completing listening tasks. There are a number of critical issues that should be considered while using pair work in TBLT. There should be some conditions for collaboration and pair work to be effective. There should also be modelling of effective pair work together with explicit detailed instruction on the techniques and strategies used. Furthermore, pair work should be monitored so that students do not use L1 but instead use negotiation strategies for discussing and solving problems. Care should TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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be taken in dividing the pairs; grouping should be based on students’ interests or on heterogeneity/ homogeneity of students’ language proficiency depending on the purpose of the tasks. Finally, providing positive feedback will increase students’ motivation to complete the tasks accurately. Another key point is that the type of the task is very important to increase collaboration in pair work. As the results of this study indicated, the think-pairshare collaborative technique can be used effectively for accurate completion of tasks and consequently for collaborative learning. Due to the limited number of participants in the present study, further research is needed to examine whether the same improvement can be found with larger samples. Additionally, other types of tasks can be used for the same purpose to compare the results with the results of this research. Another interesting line of research would be the effect of pair work and collaborative learning on the amount of negotiation strategies that students use. In this study, the students were free to choose their partner; specific grouping based on factors such as homogeneity or heterogeneity in terms of language proficiency can be used in further studies to see whether the these are affective factors.

References

Baleghizadeh, S. (2010). The effect of pair work on a word-building task. ELT Journal, 64(4), 405-413. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccp097 Barkley, E. F., Cross, K. P., & Major, C. H. (2005). Collaborative learning techniques. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: San Francisco State University. Cole, K. S. (2012). Promoting cooperative learning in an expository writing course. Journal of International Education Research. 8(2), 113-124. Davies, D. (2015). Developing collaborative learning when teaching TOEFL iBT classes. The Language Teacher, 39(1), 22-25. Ellis, R. (2003). Tasked-based language learning and teaching. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English language teaching (4th ed). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education. Kramsch, C., & Sullivan, P. (1996). Appropriate pedagogy. ELT Journal, 50(3), 199-212. Larsen-Freeman, D., & Anderson, M. (2011). Techniques and principles in language teaching. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Volume 23

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Lyman, F. (1981). The responsive classroom discussion: The inclusion of all students. In A. Anderson (Ed.), Mainstreaming Digest (pp. 109113). College Park: University of Maryland Press. Lyman, F. (1987). Think-pair-share: An expanding teaching technique. MAA-CIE Cooperative News, 1, 1-2. Mayo, M. G., & Ibarrola, A. L. (2015). Do children negotiate for meaning in task-based interaction? Evidence from CLIL and EFL settings. System, 54, 40-54. http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.kustar. ac.ae/10.1016/j.system.2014.12.001 Ning, H. (2011). Adapting cooperative learning in tertiary ELT. ELT Journal, 65(1), 60-70. http:// dx.doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccq021 Rost, M. (2014). Developing listening fluency in Asian EFL settings. In P. S. Brown, J. L. Adamson, T. J. Muller, & S. D. Herder (Eds.), Exploring EFL fluency in Asia (pp. 225-235). Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan. Scrivener, J. (1994). Learning teaching. Oxford, UK: McMillan Publishers. Shin, S.Y., Lidster, R., Sabraw, S., & Yeager, R. (2015). The effects of L2 proficiency differences in pairs on idea units in a collaborative text reconstruction task. Language Teaching Research. In Press. http://dx.doi. org/10.1177/1362168814567888. Slone, N., & Mitchell, N. (2014). Technology-based adaptation of think-pair-share utilizing Google drive. Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology, 3 (1), 102-104. doi: 10.14434.jotlt.v3n1.4901 Storch, N. (2005). Collaborative writing: Product, process, and students’ reflections. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14, 153-173. Storch, N. (2007). Investigating the merits of pair work on a text editing task in ESL classes. Language Teaching Research, 11(2), 143-159. Swain, M. (2000). The output hypothesis and beyond: Mediating acquisition through collaborative dialogue. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Appendices Appendix 1: Transcript of dialogue between couple and waitress Man: Don’t think I want meat today. Woman: There’s scampi… Man: Can’t stand it. Woman: Could you just move the …. Thanks. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Man: Fresh caught fish - sounds good. Woman: Should be 20 dollars. Beef and stout pie- (is it yucky)! Mm lasagne – do you think that’s meat? Man:You are not vegetarian, are you? Woman: No, not really. Sort of 50/50. Excuse me. Is the lasagne vegetarian? Waitress: We do a vegetable one. Woman: Can I have that, please? Man: And fish and chips, please? Waitress: Sorry, the fish is finished. We do have scampi left. Man: Oh- well- I’ll have the same as her. Waitress: Right-anything to drink with the meat? Man: I will stick to cola, I think. Woman: I’ll join you. Man: A bottle of Coca-Cola, please. Waitress: Thank you… Appendix 2: Partial transcripts illustrating negotiation strategies/collaborative skills Pair A: disagreeing politely, asking for clarification S1: I think fruitarian is a synonym for pie. S2: No, it is a noun like vegetarian. I think it would be better to write it as the synonym for vegetarian. [disagreeing politely]

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S1: What about tolerate? S2: I know a synonym for tolerate which is endure. S1: Let’s make a sentence with this word. [asking for clarification] I cannot tolerate it or I cannot endure it. S2: Let me see the sentences and find a similar sentence. S2:Yes, I cannot stand …. Pair B: asking for help, encouraging the partner to participate S1: What is the meaning of fried? [asking for help] S2: Fry means boil or cook, I think. S1:You mean cooked potatoes or boiled potatoes… [encouraging the partner to participate] S2: Perhaps, yes, yes it is chips. Pair C: making suggestions, giving reasons S1: What does yucky mean? S2: I do not know. What is the sentence? Beef and stout pie – it is yucky. S1: I have heard the word yummy which means delicious, but not yum. [making suggestions] S2:Yes, yes, yucky means awful. Dr Beigi said this in Interchange. [giving reasons] i

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Teacher Conducted Research: Beliefs and Practices This survey-based study explored teachers’ beliefs and practices in relation to conducting research at a university English as a Foreign Language (EFL) foundations program. More specifically, it explored motivations and obstacles for teachers’ research, the role of qualification and experience in determining teachers’ potential for conducting research, and institutional support that was provided to facilitate research. The main motivational factors for teachers conducting research were primarily intrinsic or based on a need to resolve pedagogical issues. The most commonly identified obstacle to teacher research was time constraints, followed by the fact that research was not a job requirement and that most colleagues were not undertaking research. The most salient finding in the study was the lack of dissemination of in-house research at the institution. The educational institution can create more opportunities for research dissemination and reward teachers for conducting research. This paper analyses the statistical data and discusses the benefits of educational institutions’ investing time and money to create more opportunities for research.

Current practice in the UAE

Institutions differ in the level of importance they place on their teachers conducting research, and their policies toward teacher research often reflect these perceptions. The site for the current research is an EFL foundation program at a tertiary institution in the UAE. In this program, teachers’ research is supported through a number of policies. These include funding attendance and presentations at regional and international conferences and providing teachers with opportunities to publish and disseminate findings in an in-house journal and during a professional development (PD) day. Teachers are also given the opportunity to submit an action research project as an alternative to being formally observed each semester. Volume 23

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Mouhamad Mouhanna, United Arab Emirates University Although these policies have been designed to encourage teachers to conduct research, for most members of staff, these measures do not seem to be as effective as expected. Furthermore, despite teachers’ beliefs that research plays an important role in their PD, this is not often translated into practice. The evidence for this was initially anecdotal and based on observations and informal discussions with staff. In response to this observation, the program’s PD coordinator noted that although teachers were encouraged to conduct research, time constraints and perceptions of the limited efficacy of research findings to affect change were some of the barriers for teachers to research practice. The PD coordinator also noted that although teacher research was viewed positively by administration, the program’s main priority was teaching. Attitudinal factors also played a role in determining which teachers were more likely to conduct research. According to the coordinator, in most cases there was no systematic record-keeping of teachers’ research activities. Thus it seems that the workplace did not have a strong research culture. This apparent lack of engagement in teacher research and a lack of active interest in teacher research from administration is a concern. From a PD standpoint, “self-observation and reflection on practice can help teachers move from philosophy of teaching and learning developed during their 16 or so years as a learner to a philosophy of teaching consistent with their emerging understandings of the language learning and teaching processes” (Crandall, 2000, p. 35). The steps of systematic reflection and observation are significant in the research process. A lack of engagement in research inevitably means little opportunity for educators to promote PD and change in their teaching and learning. This often results in teachers’ over-reliance on entrenched

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teacher beliefs and knowledge acquired from their initial teacher training or brief in-service PD.

Literature review

Various scholars have highlighted the role of research in informing practice. Radnor (2002), for instance, explored the crucial role of research in developing practitioners’ knowledge and practices and emphasized the important position of educational research in the teaching profession, stating that “It should inform practitioners’ activities as knowledge workers and help them to help others to learn in a highly structured and complex education system” (p. 4). Current educational policy trends worldwide also point to an increased focus on engaging teachers with research (Borg, 2009, p. 358), due to its capacity to inform teachers’ PD and pedagogical practices (Wyatt, 2011; Kirkwood & Christie, 2006). Despite these assertions, however, the role of educational research has often been undervalued by teachers, who may not often engage with research through reading published research and are even less likely to undertake research. For many teachers, particularly those who are relatively new to the profession, there is a perceived gap between educational research and educational practice. Freeman (1998) for instance, highlighted his “intuitive recognition of the gulf, which is variously described as ‘theory versus practice’ and ‘research versus application,’ [that] certainly exists in the experience of many teachers” (p. 117). Freeman (1998) asserts that research and knowledge of curriculum, “do not appear to translate into classrooms in the seamless, logical fashion in which we might hope or expect they would” (p. 117). This gap between theory and practice has been attributed to various factors that inhibit teachers’ abilities to read or undertake research. Anecdotal evidence based on the researcher’s informal discussions with teachers indicates that although the role of research in PD was appreciated, they were confronted with various obstacles, including little tangible incentive and few dissemination processes, which discouraged them from conducting research. Borg (2003) identified factors which hindered teachers’ abilities to incorporate research into their professional experiences. These included a lack of access to research, lack of local relevance, narrative, ownership, credibility, implied inadequacy, lack of Volume 23

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recognition, and lack of technical knowledge (Borg, 2003, p. 41-45). Cochran-Smith (2005) highlights two contradictory trends in practitioner research in the work of teacher educators: One involves the enormous growth of selfstudy and other forms of inquiry conducted by teacher educators on problems related to their own practice. The other is the sharp critique and even dismissal of this kind of work in many policy and research contexts. (p. 222) Notwithstanding this, teacher research has been recognized for its significance in the process of professional development and in the process of allowing teachers to move beyond entrenched beliefs about teaching to beliefs informed by research and theory. Given the important role of teacher research, this paper aims to explore teachers’ beliefs about the role of conducting research in their professional development. It will also highlight whether discrepancies exist between teachers’ beliefs and their actual research practices. The study also explores the extent to which the workplace conditions, policies, and attitudes are conducive to research oriented staff development.

Theoretical framework

The body of research examining teacher education and the place of teacher research in teacher development is quite extensive (see Wyatt, 2011; Borg, 2006, 2009; Evans, 2008; Kirkwood & Christie, 2006; Day, 1999). Crandall (2000) highlights the crucial place of teacher reflection, defined as “conscious recollection and evaluation of experience” (p. 39), through teacher narratives and case studies as fundamental in informing the body of educational research.Yates and Muchisky (2003) argue that although academic research has been invaluable to the field of TESOL, more research needs to be undertaken to explore teachers’ awareness of their teaching practices (p. 136). In most cases, the individuals most equipped to conduct systematic reflection of teaching practices are teachers themselves. Such studies highlight how such research activities can consequently narrow the gap between research and teacher development. The relatively recent shift in the view of the role of teachers as conceptualized in educational research has also emphasized the role of research for this profession. This shift has been TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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characterized by Crandall (2000) as a change in our understanding of teaching, from a traditional view characterized of teacher as transmitter of knowledge, to a constructivist perspective of teachers as “knowledgeable about teaching” (p. 35). This in effect has also challenged the assumption that teacher research and PD be limited to initial teacher training, but should become a consistent, ongoing component of teachers’ careers as with other professional fields, such as medicine or law (Crandall, 2000, pp. 35-36). This is in contrast to the lack of emphasis sometimes placed on professional development at the policy, institutional and administrative levels, and amongst teachers themselves. For instance, Hemsley-Brown and Sharp (2003) state the importance of developing an institutional culture that values research through teacher funding, PD opportunities, and release time for teacher research. Without this institutional support, teachers are likely to find it difficult if not impossible to conduct research. Limited opportunities to engage with and conduct research often leave teachers relying solely on their initial teacher training for making pedagogical decisions However, despite the prevalence of studies highlighting the importance of research in teachers’ careers, there is substantially less focus on teachers’ beliefs about the role of research in their careers, the prevalence of teacher research, and the factors which encourage and/or inhibit teacher research. Kennedy’s (1997) study demonstrates that teachers often perceived research to be lacking authority, irrelevant with little reference to teachers’ concerns, or too difficult to understand. The most relevant studies to the present study are those conducted by Borg (2003, 2006) which explore the conditions and inhibiting factors research conducted by English language teachers. Borg (2009, 2006, 2003) identified factors inhibiting teacher research as teachers’ lack of accessibility to research, perceived irrelevance of research to their immediate context, and lack of credibility of academic research that is seen as being out of touch with classroom reality. Others include a lack of recognition for conducting research, little technical knowledge, and work pressure. Teachers were also found to often associate the need for conducting or referring to research as an admission of inadequacy; and some Volume 23

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who possess a poor self-image do not believe their classroom to be research-worthy (Borg, 2003). There are various conditions which facilitate teacher research, including the need for teachers to develop an awareness of what constitutes research that goes beyond the traditional empirical notion. Teachers can be motivated to conduct research by believing in its benefits (Borg, 2006). Teachers should also have access to training and mentoring for conducting research, as well as the time and power to make choices about relevant topics to research. Finally, teachers should be given recognition for conducting research and tangible opportunities for disseminating findings (Borg, 2006). Cochran-Smith (2005) identified a positive trend with the recent growth in teacher education research dissemination in journals, books and conferences (p. 221). Though the aforementioned studies provide significant insights into factors affecting teacher research, there seems to be a gap between teacher beliefs about research and their actual research practices. Borg (2006) alludes to a gap between teacher beliefs and actual practice: “Most teachers I talk to about research agree it is a good thing to do. A much smaller proportion though implements practices that mirror this view” (p. 27). The present study explores possible contradictions between teachers’ beliefs and actual practices concerning conducting research within a specific institutional climate that appears to encourage, value, and reward teacher research. This paper more specifically explores the following research questions: 1. What are the reasons for teachers’ involvement or lack of involvement in research? 2. To what extent are teachers encouraged/ supported by management in their research endeavors?

Methodology

This study is primarily based on data collected through a survey that was administered to EFL teachers working in a UAE-based tertiary institution’s foundations program. The survey questions were categorized into four main sections: a) background information about the teacher; b) conducting research; c) general factors that affect teacher research participation; and d) institutional factors that affect teacher research participation. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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The first section gathered some background information about teachers’ educational qualifications and teaching experience. The second section, conducting research, asked teachers to reflect on the perceived importance of conducting research for their professional development, their own research practices, their ability to access research materials and resources, their research skills, and areas of research interest. The third section of the survey focused on factors which contributed to teachers’ decisions to conduct research, while the final section asked respondents to reflect on how their institutions encouraged or discouraged teacher research. Each section contained a series of questions that categorized teachers’ responses based on a 5-point Likert scale (with 1 being strongly agree and 5 strongly disagree) and through open-ended questions. Although the Likert scale limited the generalizability of the results due to the absence of an initial hypothesis, it was appropriate for the exploratory nature of the study. The essentially quantitative survey allowed the researcher to gather data from a large representative sample of teachers to more accurately reflect prevalent attitudes of teachers at this particular institution. The incorporation of open-ended questions invited honest personal comments from the respondents, and their use was aimed at capturing authenticity, richness, depth of response, and honesty (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2000, p. 255). The open-ended questions provided more depth and complexity to the responses in an essentially quantitative study.

Analysis and findings

Of the 112 surveys distributed, a total of 48 completed surveys were returned to the researcher. Findings showed that the mean number of years worked at the institution was 4.06. Of these 48 respondents, 46 had a master’s qualification and two a PhD. Of the respondents, 39% indicated that they were currently conducting further study or research.

Attitudes towards teacher research

Section two, which examined teachers’ attitudes towards conducting research, indicated that teachers did not perceive research to be a very significant component of their professional development. The first statement (question 5), “Conducting research is an important part of your professional development,” Volume 23

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required teachers to indicate their level of agreement based on the five-point Likert scale. For this, the mean response was 2.46, which ranged between agree and neutral. Despite this, in question 6, “Does research benefit your institution and colleagues?” teachers indicated that research benefited their institution and colleagues with a mean response at 1.94, or agree. These two groups of responses indicate that although teachers believe that research is beneficial, they have not been expected to conduct research for employment purposes or for PD. Respondents were then asked if they conducted research (question 7), to which 46% of teachers responded yes, even though an almost identical question was asked in part 1 with only 39% responding yes. This discrepancy may have resulted from teachers re-considering their own PD while completing the survey and re-assessing what could be counted as research. It may also be attributed to teachers possibly interpreting the initial question to be related to conducting research as part of formal graduate studies. Teachers were then asked to identify when they last conducted a research project. Again, this question asked teachers to rate their response on a 5-point Likert scale. The responses indicated that the mean was 2.68, which lay between the past year and two years. This indicated that many teachers were involved in research even after their post-graduate qualifications. This experience with research meant that teachers at this institution may not perceive a lack of knowledge and experience as barriers to conducting research. This was similarly demonstrated when 89% of respondents claimed that they possessed the skills necessary to conduct research, with teachers’ confidence in their research skills attributed to their post-graduate studies. Teachers identified themselves to have between expert and adequate levels of research knowledge (mean: 1.81) acquired through studies at the master’s level. Other ways teachers acquired research skills included PD workshops, independent research, reading journals, attending conferences, observing peers delivering workshops and presentations. Teachers were also asked to indicate how often they read published articles, to which the response mean was between regularly and sometimes (2.5). TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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When asked if they had access to research materials and resources, 92% of teachers responded yes, again indicating high levels of confidence in engaging with research.

Motivations and obstacles to teacher research Teachers were asked to identify motivating factors for conducting research by ticking relevant factors on a list and were also provided with space to include their own. The results (Figure 1) indicate that teachers were more often motivated by intrinsic factors. In particular, teachers identified their main motivations for conducting research to be selfmanaged PD; for presenting findings to others; for other teachers to benefit from findings; and to solve practical pedagogical problems. Financial reasons were not identified as main motivations for conducting research with conference funding, promotion opportunities, increased pay, and employer expectations chosen the least.

work,” and “release time, funding, promotions, speakers of merit.” Other comments reflected the prevalent attitude that while research was beneficial, academic research was often sufficient and relegated teacher research as unnecessary: “In English teaching, there is too much research in my opinion. What is needed is consolidation and application of existing knowledge.” Other comments further reinforced the impression that the program lacked a research culture, citing research as not part of their roles: “Job description is focused primarily on teaching.”

Figure 2. Obstacles to teacher research The motivating factors and obstacles to research were further consolidated in the final section of the survey where respondents were asked to identify important conditions for conducting research (Figure 3). Teachers identified the most important conditions as time, choice (choosing to conduct research and being allowed to choice areas of inquiry), and the potential for disseminating the findings. Mentoring and extra pay were the least important conditions. Figure 1. Reasons for conducting research as identified by teachers Teachers were also asked to identify factors that they identified to be obstacles for conducting research. The responses to this question (Figure 2) indicated that the major obstacles were time constraints and a workplace culture that did not encourage research. This was demonstrated by teachers indicating that research was not an employment expectation and most colleagues did not conduct research. Additional comments raised common concerns such as a need for more tangible management support to overcome time constraints, and more emphasis from management to conduct research. Teachers commented for instance that “[Management] should encourage research and give release time or no committee work for graduate Volume 23

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Factors important for teacher research

Mean

Time

1.3

Awareness

1.5

Extra Pay

2.4

Knowledge and skills

1.6

Choice

1.3

Mentoring

2.4

Recognition

2.1

Expectations

1.9

Motivation

2.1

Dissemination potential

1.2

Strongly agree 1

Agree 2

Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree 3 4 5

Figure 3. Factors important for teacher research TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Institutional factors affecting research

When teachers were asked if their institution valued and encouraged research, a mean of 1.8 was calculated, indicating that most teachers strongly agreed or agreed that they had institutional support. Teachers did not generally believe that there was a need for a mentor, which can be traced back to confidence in their research skills and knowledge. Finally, when asked to identify some means of support from management which would facilitate research, responses included provision of release time, facilities, PD sessions, access to in-house research, opportunities for promotion, and facilitating group research projects. One teacher suggested that management could “propose institutional research topics and award grants to successful applicants.” These responses indicated that although the institution did support staff who conducted research, efforts needed to reflect a less fragmented, more collaborative institutional approach to research. In particular, in-house research needed to be more readily disseminated and open to discussion amongst staff, and there needed to be more concerted efforts to identify the research needs of the program.

Discussion

The survey’s findings indicated that there was more research activity than had been initially hypothesized, with between 39-46% of staff conducting research. These relatively high figures were likely related to teachers’ post-graduate qualifications which equipped them with confidence in their research skills and knowledge. Teachers at this institution did not identify lack of research skills and knowledge as a barrier to conducting research since having post-graduate qualifications was a pre-requisite for employment as instructors. This confidence in reading and conducting research explains the higher prevalence of research activity at the tertiary level in comparison to teachers who do not have post-graduate qualifications at the secondary and primary levels. This finding did not correlate with our initial hypothesis that not enough research was being conducted. However, the survey’s findings highlighted the fact that although much research activity occurred in the institution, colleagues were not benefiting from this work because of the limited potential and incentives for teachers to disseminate their findings. Although there was some institutional Volume 23

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support, for most teachers the motivation for conducting research was intrinsic and for PD purposes such as identifying and sharing solutions for teaching challenges. Teachers indicated that although management provided support mechanisms for research such as conference funding and allowing submission of research papers instead of formal observation, there was still a need for more practical support. Teachers identified various ways they could be supported in carrying out research activities; one of the most fundamental was provision of release time. Mouhamad Mouhanna is a Lecturer at the UAE University. Mouhanna has just submitted his doctoral thesis on the challenges of using EMI in university faculty courses. His research interests include bilingualism, student development, teacher research and using the native language in ELT.

Time constraints were the one of the most widely acknowledged obstacles to conducting research with teachers noting that teaching and committees left little time for research. Teachers suggested that management provide release time or accept research activity as part of their committee work. This support is crucial if more teachers are to become more active in research. This reflects findings in other studies such as Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1993, cited in Freeman 1998) who also identified time constraints as the most pressing obstacle. One of the most salient findings in the study was teachers’ concern about the need for developing a more unified, institution-wide approach to research. Teacher responses indicated that in-house research was not being disseminated to the other staff members, despite the fact that such studies are invaluable as they are contextually appropriate and may more readily address challenges with which colleagues are grappling. Moreover, studies have demonstrated that teachers regard professional journals and college coursework as generally less reliable than research conducted by fellow colleagues or disseminated during PD workshops (Landrum, Cook, Tankersley, & Fitzgerald, 2002, p. 46). Consequently, the institution should maximise opportunities for dissemination of findings electronically and provide teachers with more incentives to present findings during PD workshops to aid in the dissemination process. Providing teachers with information about studies that have TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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been conducted at the institution will also save time and inform similar studies. This institution-wide approach would also provide teachers with guidance about relevant studies, and teachers could then be invited to conduct research based on program needs. Furthermore, a more systematic approach to research in the institution will help to foster a research culture in the workplace. For instance, although teachers indicated that they believed research to be important and beneficial, they did not really see it as necessary in being effective at their jobs, which was perceived as solely teaching EFL. This attitude to conducting research was reflected in the following comment made by one teacher: “Research is not part of our job description.” This attitude, however, was a reflection of a program-wide culture that may not be sufficiently recognizing and rewarding research activity.

References

Borg, S. (2003). “Research education” as an objective for teacher learning. In B. Beaven & S. Borg (Eds.), The role of research in teacher education (pp. 41-48). Whitstable, UK: IATEFL. Borg, S. (2006). Conditions for teacher research. English Teaching Forum, 44(4), 22-27. Borg, S. (2009). English language teachers’ conceptions of research. Applied Linguistics, 30(3), 358-388. Cochran-Smith, M. (2005). Teacher educators as researchers: Multiple perspectives. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(1), 219-225. Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S.I. (1999). The teacher research movement: A decade later. Educational Researcher, 28(7), 15-25. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2000). Research methods in education (5th ed.). London, UK: Routledge. Crandall, J. (2000). Language teacher education. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 20, 34-55. Day, C. (1999). Developing teachers: The challenges of lifelong learning. London: Falmer. Retrieved from ERIC Database (ED434878) Evans, L. (2008). Professionalism, professionality and development in education professionals. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56(10), 20-38. Freeman, D. (1998) Doing teacher research: From inquiry to understanding. Toronto: Heinle & Heinle. Hemsley-Brown, J., & Sharp, C. (2003). The use of research to improve professional practice: A systematic review of the literature. Oxford Review of Education, 29(4), 449-470. Volume 23

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Kennedy, M. M. (1997). The connection between research and practice. Educational Researcher, 26(7), 4-12. Kirkwood, M., & Christie, D. (2006). The role of teacher research in continuing professional development. British Journal of Educational Studies, 54(4), 429-448. Landrum, T. J., Cook, B. G., Tankersley, M., & Fitzgerald, S. (2002). Teacher perceptions of the trustworthiness, usability, and accessibility of information from different sources. Remedial and Special Education, 23(1), 42-48. Mills, G. E. (2003) Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher. Columbus, OH: Merrill/Prentice Hall. Radnor, H. (2002). Researching your professional practice. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press. Wyatt, M. (2011). Teachers researching their own practice. elt Journal, 65(4), 417-425. Yates, R., & Muchisky, D. (2003). On reconceptualising teacher education. TESOL Quarterly, 37(1), 135-147. i

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Lesson Feature Idea Article

Christine Coombe, Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai Men’s College

Konrad Cedro, Higher Colleges of Technology – CERT

Organizing and Carrying Out International Educational Fieldtrips

Fieldtrips are a type of experiential learning that gets students away from the traditional classroom setting and into a new mode of learning. In this article, the authors will detail the numerous benefits of fieldtrips for both the teachers who chaperone them and the students who participate in them. Advice for planning good international fieldtrips and educational activities will be presented. We will also share our experiences developing and mentoring a university club which focused on helping students learn more about the world and consequently themselves through participation in a series of international educational fieldtrips.

The Many Benefits of Fieldtrips

The teacher perspective. Research has shown that field trips are essential for many reasons (Coombe, Schmidt & Al-Hamly, 2012; Kisiel, 2006a; Kisiel, 2006b; Martin & Seevers, 2003; DeMarie, 2001; Knapp, 2002). In our view, fieldtrips are one of the most beneficial activities teachers can organize because we learn by doing and we remember what we have personally experienced. A huge benefit for teachers is that fieldtrips often bring us out of what can become routine, and they can serve to reenergize us. This is a major factor in helping teachers stave off burnout. The student perspective. Several advantages have been cited about the benefits of fieldtrips for our students. The first is that students get an educational experience that they never could have had in the classroom as they interact and engage with what they are learning. Fieldtrips have long been characterized as a way to enrich and expand the curriculum as a valuable extension of classroom study. Another big advantage is that students who have been on fieldtrips together often experience a sense of community and camaraderie which extends long after the event has taken place. Lastly, fieldtrips are Volume 23

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considered fun ways to learn, and they help students expand their horizons and increase their intercultural competence and intelligence.

An Organized Global Fieldtrip Initiative

In 2009 the authors developed and mentored a club for their students at Dubai Men’s College. This club, called the Global Local Club (GLC), successfully organized and carried out 16 international educational fieldtrips. In its five years of existence, 300+ students and 11 faculty members participated in trips to such places as the USA, China, Nepal, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Poland and several countries in the Gulf/Middle East. The motto for the club was “Discover the world; Discover yourself.” Our goal as club mentors was to focus on trips that were low cost but with a high educational value attached. A secondary goal of the GLC was to visit five continents in five years. We believe that our club was successful for a number of reasons. First, travel is a leisure time activity that most Emiratis are keen to engage in. Second, students were actively involved in selecting the locations we visited and organizing the itinerary and activities that we would take part in.Third, the trips were low cost so that all students could afford them.To do this, a rule of the GLC was that everyone paid – even chaperones. Finally, the destinations that we selected were not ones usually chosen by their families, so students could visit a new place in a safe, group environment.

Characteristics of Good Fieldtrips

For the GLC there were five major characteristics of a good fieldtrip. The first consideration is the destination. We believe that good fieldtrips take place in a location that both teachers and students want to visit. In fact, at the first meeting of the year, club TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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26 members and mentors engage in a strategic planning event to select and shortlist the locations that they want to visit. Another important consideration is the educational activity that is planned there. In previous GLC trips we have participated in a number of different activities such as Toastmasters Demonstration meetings, a leadership academy, an intercultural exchange, a media-based project and documentary shoot, and company visits. During our USA fieldtrip in 2012, club members gave an invited presentation at the Globetrotters Forum at the TESOL International Convention in Philadelphia and served at the HCT recruitment booth in the Employment Clearinghouse. A third consideration is price. We firmly believe that travelling modestly is a good way to include more participants, so we work hard to get a good price on airfare and hotel packages – no business class seats 5-star hotels. Once there we take public transportation to get around. Having a good mix of activities for students and teachers to engage in is another important consideration. Some past examples are biking in Greece; trekking, paragliding, and white water rafting in Nepal; hiking in Jordan and China; attending a Cirque de Soleil performance in New York City; and attending football matches in Spain and Rome. We try to organize a varied itinerary so that students can try new things and expand their horizons. A final consideration is that we plan our trips during vacations so that club members do not miss classes. One thing we don’t want is for students to fall behind in their studies through their participation in our trips. Dr Christine Coombe is a faculty member at Dubai Men’s College. She has served TESOL Arabia in many capacities including TAE and LM SIG Chairs and President. She has also served as TESOL International President (2010-2013).

10 Steps to Organizing an International Educational Fieldtrip

1. Familiarize yourself with the study trip guidelines of your institution and get the requisite permissions before you begin the process. 2. Select the place you want to visit and decide on the educational focus of the trip. 3. Make decisions about logistics of the trip (i.e., when to go, what to do there, etc.). 4. Develop a preliminary budget and itinerary. 5. Promote the trips to students and teachers through social media and through institutional channels. 6. Once students have signed up, collect information from them like passport copies, contact details, and parents’ contact information if students are under 18. 7. Set, stick to, and meet payment deadlines to vendors like airlines and hotels. Often good prices are lost when people don’t pay on time. Volume 23

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8. Keep in constant contact with students especially in the days leading up to the trip. Send out information and reminders about flight times, what students should bring with them, and advice on how much spending money to bring. You might want to set a meeting so students can ask questions and discuss issues. 9. Set a meeting time at the airport and off you go! 10. Have a good time!

Tips for Organizing Successful Fieldtrips

Over the course of planning and implementing 16 international educational fieldtrips with our students we have learned a lot, and much of it has been through trial and error. In this section we’d like to share what we consider are some tips for success. Collect the requisite documentation: Before you even begin to plan a trip make sure you have important documentation from your institution. Information like your institution’s policies on overseas travel with students is essential. Travel and visa information for the country you are planning to visit is also important. Probably the most important document you will need is your institution’s academic calendar. Do your research: Researching various aspects of the trip in advance is vital. Some of the things you need to look into in advance are whether students need visas for the country you are visiting. One of our trips had to be cancelled because there was no embassy for the country in the UAE and getting visas would have necessitated sending all the passports to Cairo. The visa process for our USA trip had to be started several months in advance to accommodate wait time for US visas. Research into which airlines to fly is also of critical importance. In the early days of the GLC, our initial plan was to find one airline that we could work with to get discounted tickets to all our club destinations. We spent a lot of time trying to find this airline. Once we worked out a very favorable fare with an airline for 82 tickets to Madrid we assumed that we would get an equally favorable discount on our next trip to Paris. Not so – in fact, airline’s quote was the most expensive. Make sure to do your research on airfares and don’t assume one airline will be loyal to you as a good customer. Play on your strengths: As teachers both of us have different strengths, and we feel we used these strengths to great advantage for GLC trip planning. One of us (Christine) was heavily involved with TESOL International and Toastmasters at the time and used her global contacts to organize academic events with universities. The other (Konrad) had experience in TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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negotiating prices on airfares, hotels, and internal transport, so he took charge of this aspect of the GLC. His expertise in intercultural competence and intelligence was the source of two of our exchange activities. He also was responsible for documenting our trips through video and photo shooting. Both of us are fairly well-travelled, and we used our knowledge of great places to visit to inform the selection and shortlisting of trips. One rule that we adhered to was that we only went to places that one of us had previously visited. We felt this familiarity was important in the planning of the trips. The sole exception to this rule was our trip to Philadelphia for the TESOL International Convention.

Things that Could Go Wrong

Despite the fact that fieldtrips are universally loved by most, especially ones that go to places students want to visit, there are things that can go wrong. In this section, we’d like to share some challenges that we faced while leading these trips. Sickness: Whenever groups of people travel together to different places, particularly those that have different weather and food, there is the potential for sickness. Remember to bring some common medicines with you. Luckily pharmacies are often available, as well. Attendance: Attendance and punctuality issues seem to be a problem both inside and outside the classroom. Putting students in double-occupancy rooms helps resolve some of these issues, but students have missed important events/activities simply because they could not wake up on time. We handled these instances on a case by case basis. Food: Those who travel know that food is one of the most important aspects of an enjoyable trip. Although most students sampled different types of food on our trips, there were a few who were not willing to try anything new. For example, in Beijing we made the mistake of taking them to the market where they saw vendors barbecuing live scorpions, centipedes, and cockroaches. After this experience, students only wanted to eat at McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Subway. Another student lived on French fries and digestive biscuits throughout our 9-day trip to Nepal. Money: Despite explicit instructions about the amount of money students should bring per day, some students just aren’t good financial managers and spend all their money in the first few days of the trip. We always brought some extra cash in case students ran out of money early. Differing agendas: Sometimes students have a different agenda from the group and the organizers. A good example of this is shopping. In our first few trips we didn’t build in any shopping time in our itineraries. Volume 23

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27 We came to learn though that shopping was a very important activity for the students who were interested in buying things for themselves and their families. In later trips we planned a half day of shopping time. Global events: For the most part our trips were not affected by negative global events. We did, however, in Athens, experience a national shut down of all public transport and subsequent public strikes. This could have been a disaster if our hotel had been outside the city, but since it was very central, we were able to walk from place to place and experience Athens on foot. Konrad Cedro has studied modern languages in Italy, Germany and Canada. Since 1995 he has been involved in a number of educational projects in Europe, Asia and North America. He is a TESOL Arabia 2016 Conference Co-Chair. Konrad is an avid traveler and photographer. He believes in peripatetic education and is currently teaching at HCT-CERT in the UAE.

Conclusion

This article has detailed the ways in which international fieldtrips can be beneficial for both teachers and students. Learning and fun are a great combination! Fieldtrips are considered fun by both teachers and students, but students learn as well, whether they realize it or not. Despite the fun factor often associated with fieldtrips, a successful fieldtrip requires good planning and logistics. Many factors need to be taken into consideration in order to ensure a successful fieldtrip. We have provided readers with some advice and tips for success for the planning and implementation of fieldtrips that we have learned over the course of a five-year project where we took our students to 16 international destinations.

References

Coombe, C., Schmidt, J., & Al Hamly, M. (2012). Are We Having Fun Yet? Infusing Enjoyable Activities into EF/SL Instruction. In C. Coombe, L. England, & J. Schmidt (Eds.), Reigniting, Retooling and Retiring in English Language Teaching (pp. 6675). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. DeMarie, D. (2001). A trip to the zoo: Children’s words and photographs. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 3(1), 1-26. Kisiel, J. (2006a). Making field trips work. Science Teacher, 73(1), 46-48. Kisiel, J. (2006b). More than lions and tigers and bears: Creating meaningful field trip lessons. Science Activities, 43(2), 7-10. Knapp, D. (2002). Memorable experiences of a science field trip. School Science and Mathematics, 100(2), 65-72. Martin, S., & Seevers, R. (2003). A field trip planning guide from early childhood classes. Preventing School Failure, 47(4), 177-180. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Educational Feature Lesson Technology Article Idea

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Voxopop: Affordances of Digital Speaking It is argued that learners develop their metacognitive strategies to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning when they are urged to analyze their performance in terms of prioritized language features (accuracy or fluency) and encounter communication problems (Ellis, 2003). Hence, providing learners with appropriate technological tools could support them in this awareness raising endeavour and trigger “noticing” which is essential to adult learning (Schmidt, 1990). Amongst other appropriate technological tools, Voxopop, a webbased asynchronous voice tool, can be used to enable students to practice and improve their speaking and communication skills while interacting with their teacher, classmates and the wider audience of the virtual space.

Is Voxopop Smart?

Based on their view of “intelligent CALL,” Warschauer and Healey (1998) note that intelligent software should show learners how it is to be used effectively; they believe that “(g)uided freedom would be a feature of intelligent CALL, where the program would make suggestions, but the learner would make the choices” (p. 66). Looking at Voxopop through this lens illustrates the pedagogical effectiveness inherent in the technology. Following is a brief overview of Voxopop potentials based on how it is described by its website. Voxopop users can listen to asynchronous audio discussions, and as registered members they can contribute to any discussions or start their own “Talkgroups” and discussion threads, posting voice messages with relevant titles and tags under one of the various categorized channels. Messages in a discussion thread are ordered linearly and can carry a timestamp in the “time_ago_in_words” format which displays the distance between one time and Volume 23

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Iman Shawki CERT/HCT, RAK, UAE

now (e.g., “1 hr and 5 mins. ago”), providing an instant assessment of the degree of engagement and making it possible for both teachers and students to respond accordingly. For example, knowing that their voice contributions come with a timestamp may encourage students to commit to the timeline of the activity set by the teacher. Alternatively, the teacher may decide to change a previously set timeline to accommodate students’ online availability as reflected in their contributions. Furthermore, this linearity and the fact that a discussion thread can be played in full represent a potential that could be exploited through manipulating students’ conversational turns in the discussion so as to mimic face-to-face communication; in this way, what may be perceived as the unnaturalness of the asynchronous discussion could be played down and tinted with a bit of authenticity through task design. Along the same lines of authentic use, the EXPLORE function allows users to search discussions on Voxopop – hence the importance of relevant titles and tags. In a classroom context, this feature could be utilized to provide learners with sample responses to listen to before producing theirs. Users can build a watchlist of the discussions that interest them and can also choose to be notified by email when their watchlist discussions are updated with a voice post. Similarly, enabling the RSS function alerts users to updated entries, thus facilitating immediate feedback which is invaluable for classroom use. Interestingly, voice messages can also be added to iTunes and accessed off line which represents a great potential to address the challenge of limited connection time or online availability. Considering the modality of the medium, in addition to supporting audio messages,Voxopop provides users with the option to attach text and/ TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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or hyperlinks. This message option can be exploited by teachers to guide learners to other web pages to locate task-related information. It could also be used to summarize the content of the voice message in a written format, thus enhancing learning through enabling students to cross modalities when performing speaking tasks. Voxopop can address individual differences among learners (Pop, Tomuletiu, & David, 2011). While setting up Voxopop Talkgroups, users can specify the access level, controlling whether it is public, restricted, or private (Figure 1), which affords Talkgroups a degree of protection that can be of great significance to reluctant or coy users. This feature can compensate for unbalanced classroom dynamics that quite often allow proficient speakers to dominate face-to-face discussions, leaving emerging speaking abilities with no shelter or secure zone where learning from mistakes could occur.

Figure 1. Setting up a Talkgroup In accordance with the previous overview, Pop, Tomuletiu, and David (2011) conclude that being able to re-edit and eliminating the pressure of responding in face-to-face communication are considered by learners to be the top two strengths of asynchronous digital speaking. Learners in that study could also recognize that “having a public presence,” “meeting real people,” and using “authentic language” are valuable opportunities the digital medium affords (Pop, Tomuletiu, & David, 2011, p. 1202). On the negative side, “lack of digital affinity” and not having internet connection could represent challenges to effective exploitation. On the other hand, class speaking is perceived by learners to promote a “warmer atmosphere,” yet it becomes “stressful” with fear of losing face in front Volume 23

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of more proficient peers (Pop, Tomuletiu, & David, 2011, p. 1202). Based on this, it can be assumed that Voxopop’s benefits outweigh its identified weaknesses and threats, and at the same time reduce the disadvantages of class discussions. Iman Shawki, M.Ed, is an English faculty and program coordinator in CERT/ HCT, RAK, UAE. Her research and teaching interests involve effective use of educational technology to promote autonomous learners and reflective teachers. She can be reached at iman.shawki@hct.ac.ae.

In light of the above,Voxopop can be exploited to enhance and complement learners’ capabilities, a notion that draws on Kozma’s (1991) review of the role of media in learning, which highlights the importance of making explicit, medium-specific processing features so that learners could incorporate them into their “repertoire of cognitive processes” (Kozma, 1991, p. 181). This claim is justified by acknowledging that “the processing capabilities of a medium can complement those of the learner, they may facilitate operations the learner is capable of performing or perform those that the learner cannot” (Kozma, 1991, p. 181). Using an asynchronous voice tool such as Voxopop, with its ability to promote preparation prior to speaking, can complement learners’ speaking capabilities, and through practice and continuous interaction with the medium, what formerly needed preparation beforehand can become an effective cognitive process automatically activated by learners upon engaging in a speaking task. Accordingly,Voxopop technology with its many affordances is conducive to enhancing speaking skills.

References

Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based Language Learning and Teaching. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. Kozma, B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 179-211. Pop, A., Tomuletiu, E., & David, D. (2011). EFL speaking communication with asynchronous voice tools for adult students. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 1199-1203. Schmidt, R. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11(2), 129-158. Voxopop. (n.d.) Retrieved May 12, 2012, from: www.voxopop.com Warschauer, M., & Healey, D. (1998). Computers and language learning: An overview. Language Teaching, 31, 57-71. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Improving Vocabulary Retention through the Gamification of e–Learning Enabled Extended Rehearsal An underlying premise behind vocabulary learning is that expanded rehearsal, or the periodic recycling of words on the same day, the next day, seven days later, 28 days later, etc., increases acquisition as learners multiple exposures to lexis enables its use in real time communication. Baddeley (1990) suggests eleven encounters are necessary for the automatic accurate use of lexis, whilst Nation (2001) believes five to sixteen encounters may be required. Joe (2010) states that three factors affect long-term vocabulary acquisition: quality of input, quality of output and frequency. Of the three, her research indicates that frequency of encounter is the most powerful. However, encouraging students to actively engage with vocabulary lists repetitively is a pedagogical challenge. Combining e-learning tools with the gamification of practice encounters is one solution because it helps students process large information loads rapidly

Denise McQueen Ozdeniz Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE

starts, learners are presented with a question and given a limited time to predict possible answers. After that, possible answers emerge alongside a countdown clock accompanied by motivational music. Participants are awarded points according to the speed and accuracy of their responses, with the top five being listed on the leader board after each correct answer is revealed. As the game is teacher-paced, there is time for remedial input to highlight key points between questions. For example, a teachers can note down vocabulary that 75% of the class got wrong and recycle it in a new Kahoot several days later in the extended rehearsal process. Instructors can create their own quizzes or use those in the public domain by visiting https://create. kahoot.it/. Kahoots are easy to find, preview, and share. They are very visual and highly motivating. Kahoot is the most frequently requested activity in many classes.

E-Learning tools can stand on their own or be incorporated into traditional classroom games. This article discusses two very popular tools, Kahoot and Quizlet.

Kahoot

Kahoot (Figure 1) is a competitive, multiple choice quiz game recommended for whole class participation, either as individuals or in teams. There are no messy passwords to remember. Gamers access the quiz via their computers, smart phones, or other devices by visiting https://kahoot.it/. They then enter a PIN number that appears when the teacher launches the game. As students sign in their names appear on the dashboard. Once the competition Volume 23

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Figure 1: Kahoot screen-shot

Quizlet

Combining a web- based tool with chalkboard games, Quizlet (Figure 2) is a Web 2.0 Tool with an app version that provides students with exercises, quizzes and games which challenge them to make decisions about a word’s meaning, spelling, and grammar. Initially TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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this can be done by students working individually through a wordlist placed on flashcards. Flashcards flip between the target word and illustration on one side and its definition and/or sample sentence on the reverse. Students then work through the Learn and Spell functions, before getting to beat the clock and improve on their previous best scores.

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correct answers discussion stage. The privilege of speaking first is rotated for fairness, and teachers randomize which team member is to answer in order to keep players alert.

Figure 3. Noughts and Crosses

Figure 2: Quizlet screen shot In keeping with the principles of expanded rehearsal, Quizlet’s Scatter (or Pelmanism) and Space Race games can be played at varying intervals either individually or as a whole class. They work well in conjunction with an interactive whiteboard, allowing learners to supply answers backed up by the whole class or their team, affording a motivating element of collaborative competition. Denise McQueen Ozdeniz has taught students aged three to sixty-five in EFL, EAP and teacher development contexts over the last thirty years and presently works in the UAE. She is interested in empowering students to become lifelong learners. Her main interests include extensive reading, speed reading, vocabulary acquisition and e-learning.

In addition, Quizlet enables teachers to produce both separate wordlist and combined wordlist tests that incorporate true/false, multiple choice, matching, and written assessment tools. The beauty of Quizlet tests is that they can be reconfigured at the press of a button, providing educators with an endless supply of recycling materials. Whilst tests can be taken individually on mobile devices, they can also be gamified through the Numbered Heads approach, where groups of equal numbers are created. Each team member has a number (e.g., Team A consists of A1, A2, A3; Team B of B1, B2, B3, etc.). The test is only projected on the board one question at a time. Members of a team agree on the answer. The teacher calls all number two students to stand up. One student answers first; if s/he answers correctly, that team gains a point. If s/he answers incorrectly, a student from the opposing team answers. The process continues until the correct answer is provided. Points are deducted if team players speak to the standing student, forcing all students to be involved at the Volume 23

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Figure 4: Football Quizlet flashcards work well in conjunction with traditional chalkboard games like Noughts and Crosses (Figure 3) or Football (Figure 4) involving two opposing teams. A flipped coin determines which team commences and the direction they will move in. In Football, each team starts on the centre line. Questions alternate between teams and are displayed using flashcard definitions projected on the screen. The right answer merits a point. In Noughts and Crosses this entails claiming a box, and in Football moving the ball one pitch division closer to the opponents’ goal. Incorrect answers result in the question being offered to the rival team. In Football the ball is always moved one pitch division towards the opponents’ goal. A succession of correct answers by one team and incorrect answers by their challengers leads to a goal. The game ends when a line is created or all words guessed. Using these activities at regular intervals encourages the extended rehearsal of lexis in a fun, engaging way, fostering crucial encounters with the high frequency lexis targeted by many syllabi.

References

Baddeley, A. (1990). Human memory:Theory and Practice. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Joe, A. (2010). The quality and frequency of encounters with vocabulary in an English for Academic Purposes programme. Reading in a Foreign Language, 22(1), 117-122. Nation, I. S. P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. i TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Edmodians: A World Where Digital Relationships Speak Up Introduction

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the number of social networks which are invading our lives, our students’ lives and even our classes? Being surrounded by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Pinterest, and more, teachers need to play it smart and link to their students not only through the faceto-face learning process but also virtually. According to Educational Technology and Mobile Learning (2012), Edmodo was ranked second among eighteen shortlisted websites for Edublogs Award of the best Educational Social Networking Websites for 2012. In 2013, Edmodo continued to shine when included in the list of “The Top Apps for Teachers” by PC Magazine. (Griffith, 2013).

What is Edmodo?

Edmodo is a free and secure learning platform designed in 2008 for teachers, students, parents, schools, and districts, and is available at www. edmodo.com (Kongchan, 2013). Edmodo is a widely-used educational technology that connects people and resources. In other words, Edmodo is an online classroom for blended learning providing “a student-centered technology driven learning environment where students are actively engaged and practicing…responsible learning” (Balasubramanian, Jaykumar, & Fukey, 2014, p. 416).

Yomna Youssef Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt

Despite the fact that I was using Facebook to interact with other classes, Edmodo stood out for a number of reasons. I felt that Edmodo provides a learning platform where ideas can be shared, interaction can be endless and feedback can be gathered. The following points are among the reasons that make Edmodo a better educational tool than Facebook. · Edmodo allows you to create a whole world for your students where folders for different topics, skills, homework, or projects can be created. · Teachers can easily group, sub-group, or shuffle groups in their class. · Teachers can award badges to their students as encouragement. · Assignments and quizzes can be easily created or uploaded and are automatically corrected (Figure 1). · Teachers can start polls on which class issues or language points students would prefer to tackle, as well as collect opinions. · Edmodo is also a platform where students, teachers and, parents can enjoy clear collaboration.

What led me to Edmodo?

My interest in Edmodo began when I had a class of upper-intermediate students who were strongly into technology, were difficult to satisfy, and thought they knew it all. One of my personal aims in handling this class was to enhance their motivation for learning through engaging them in a learning environment where they were responsible for their learning process and where face-to face learning was complemented by online work. Volume 23

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Figure 1. Edmodo’s assignment center

Students’ Experience on Edmodo The first interaction between my students and TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Edmodo was a lab session in which I helped students to sign in, create accounts (Figure 2), and become acquainted with the system of the platform. In this session, students were asked to answer questions covering reflection on the previous term, suggestions for the new round materials, and their expectations from the Edmodo page. Among the suggestions which emerged were making presentations and focusing on pronunciation, grammar and literature. After collecting Mars opinions, I put together a whole plan for the term and started using Edmodo as an online platform where students could access the following features. · Summary, material, follow-up exercises and PowerPoint slides on the taught lessons. · Material for preparation introducing a flipped classroom. · Folders for grammar points, vocabulary, pronunciation activities, and practice. · Competitions (for example, where students uploaded their writing for voting). · Discussions on videos and readings between students and the teacher. · Presentation groups where each group was able to share ideas about the presentation. · Polls for teaching legal English and literature in class. · Grammar and vocabulary assignments. · News about the class and timetable.

Student Reflection

Before the end of the term, I asked students to reflect on the whole Edmodo experience. The feedback included many good points as well as points to take into consideration. Phrases like “a different taste of the class,” “a backup of the class,” and “a turning point in our education system, as we have gained the ability to communicate better as well as keep in touch and have better access to information that we got in class” were highlights of the feedback. The use of folders, reflections on taught material, the mobile app for the website, and the ease of communication between the students and teacher emerged as the students’ top positives of using Edmodo. Yomna Youssef Hussein Mohamed Mohamed holds an MA in applied linguistics. Currently, Yomna works as an academic manager and English instructor at Al-Azhar English Training Centre (AAETC), Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.

Drawbacks of the Edmodo Experience As is the case with any social networking, some students were not active all the time on the page either due to connection problems or lack of interest. I tried to encourage them through making class quizzes depending on the Edmodo material and by providing small prizes. Though these two methods worked well, I will have to look for other ways to encourage full participation in the future. While it can be true that keeping a page like this might be hectic, the improvement you see in your students’ level and motivation is worth every moment. My students were kind enough to go through the experience of learning and using Edmodo, and by the end of it, they themselves were making suggestions on the improvement of the page.

References

Balasubramanian, K., Jaykumar,V., & Fukey, L.N. (2014). A Study on “Student Preference towards the Use of Edmodo as a Learning Platform to Create Responsible Learning Environment.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 144, 416-422. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. (2012). http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/12/ social-networking-sites-teachers.html Griffith, E. (2013). Back to school: The top apps for teachers. PC Magazine, August 21. Kongchan, C. (2013). How Edmodo and Google Docs can change traditional classrooms. In Proceedings from the ECLL 2013: Inaugural European Conference on Language Learning, 629-637. Aichi, JP: The International Academic Forum.

Figure 2. Student account set-up Volume 23

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Going Mobile Nicky Hockly and Gavin Dudenay Delta Publishing, 2014 ISBN 978-1-909783-06-5 120 pages These days, it is all but axiomatic that we are moving towards a “paperless” society, a future in which the book as we know it will go the way of the LP record or the minidisc. We older folks, of course, secretly (perhaps, desperately) hope that it will never come to pass. Having grown up with the book, the prospect of its demise fills us with discomfort and dismay in roughly equal measure.Yet, as the century rolls on, it seems likely that the webpage will grow brighter as the printed page fades. What started with moveable type will end with the mobile device. This piece, then, puts me in the position of reviewing a book dedicated to technology which might, just might, contribute to the book’s very own obsolescence. I would normally start a review by considering the aesthetic appeal of the volume in question. With course books in particular, I attach great importance to layout, font, illustration, colour, and all those things that go into making up a visually inviting publication. Judged by any such criteria, Going Mobile barely scores at all. Consider the cover: it’s functional, but little more. Riffle through the pages: the photos are few, the illustrations fewer, the font small, and the contrast non-existent. Judged only by its appearance, Going Mobile is clearly going nowhere. However, such considerations are all but immaterial. For this is a less a book and more a tool, one might almost say a “device.” It is a device specifically aimed at teachers, specifically dedicated to helping them exploit the pedagogical potential of other devices: mobile phones, MP3 players, iPods, etc. The book, in the words of co-author Nicky Hockly, offers “a range of activities and ideas – as well as a thorough discussion of the challenges, choices and considerations – of going mobile” (p. 3). And it is that statement which effectively serves as a rationale for the book as a whole. Going Mobile comprises three sections which, pun not intended, are literally as easy as A, B, C. Part A covers the Volume 23

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aforementioned challenges and choices; Part B, by far the most extensive of the three, looks at a multiplicity of ways in which mobile devices can be used by language learners. Part C takes the whole concept one stage further, outlining more detailed learning activities before exploring the wider concept of “helping your institution to develop a carefully designed mobile learning ‘implementation plan’” (p. 110). Referencing the elderly in my opening paragraph was only partially intended to be facetious. Many of us older practitioners do find ourselves, much to our concern, falling by the technological wayside, our students’ obsession with text messaging all but incomprehensible. It’s comforting, then, that Part A of Going Mobile covers the basics of mobile learning: what it is, what you will need, what you will do. Each topic is tackled in a straightforward, factual, non-threatening fashion, and the “techie-talk” is kept to a minimum. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Part B, as you might expect, is the practical core of the book. It is sub-divided into five chapters, the first of which doesn’t actually require the learners to possess or use a mobile device at all. Illogical, you might think, until you learn that providing an initial overview “not only with learners, but also with colleagues and school managers, may help everyone get a bigger picture,” (p. 31, italics in the original). Notable, again, is that welcome sense of inclusion (which will find its corollary later in Part C). So, by way of examples, Chapter 1 features activities in which learners design and describe their ideal device, consider and discuss the dangers of mobile device addiction, and devise a code of conduct to govern in-class mobile use. The subsequent four chapters of Part B are titled “Text,” “Image,” “Audio,” and “Video,” with the mobile device as cornerstone of each. Part B features an identical format throughout: “Run up,” “Run,” and “Run on.” Contemporary terminology aside, this is, effectively, the traditional before-during-after format, common to so many (familiar) classroom activity manuals. Throughout the section, explanations are offered, alternative approaches suggested, and device and/or Internet requirements flagged. A broadly similar format characterizes the bulk of Part C, with the steps augmented and renamed: “Get the app,” “Get ready,” “Get going,” and “Go mobile.”

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These are the more comprehensive and demanding activities to which we alluded, above. Examples include scavenger hunts using QR codes, adding hotspots to photographs (buy the book if you want to know!), and creating a multi-media advertising campaign. Finally, Part C concludes with a 10-step agenda for taking the whole concept of mobile learning beyond the microcosm of the classroom and into the macrocosm of the institution. So here is a book which could have been written with the Middle East in mind.We all know how hard it is to get our students to put their mobiles away – well, now we don’t have to.We can use them as language-learning tools, instead. Back in 1919, the American journalist Lincoln Steffens wrote, “I have seen the future, and it works.” He was talking of a recent visit to the Soviet Union which was, at that time, only two years old. In closing, let me paraphrase that statement, “I have seen the future, and it’s mobile.” i

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Colin Toms, The Petroleum Institute Abu Dhabi, UAE

Recipes for the Wireless Classroom represents a concerted effort to share ideas and pedagogical strategies that work in classrooms equipped with mobile devices. Divided into two major sections – Activities for the ESL/EFL Classroom and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Activities – a total of 30 activities are outlined in detail by educators experienced in successfully engaging students in mobile learning. This collection of activities promotes successful integration of mobile devices in classrooms where English is both the medium of instruction and the object of study. The activities presented in this book are carefully scaffolded, with specific learning objectives and references to apps and online resources, as well as troubleshooting tips based on actual classroom experiences. Flexibility is built into each activity to allow easy adaption to suit a variety of teaching contexts. Recipes for the Wireless Classroom will be a valuable addition to educators’ repertoire of teaching strategies and resources. Order your copy at www.tesolarabia.org. Volume 23

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Active English Grammar 6 Garrett Byrne and David Charlton Compass Publishing, 2008 ISBN 978-1-59966-023-3 144 pages Active English Grammar is a six-level grammar series. The purpose of the series is to enlighten learners with easy-to-follow practice on the grammar points needed for learning English. The series provides thorough exposure to how each grammar point is used, enabling learners to develop their accuracy as well as fluency. Owing to space limitations, only one textbook of the series, Active English Grammar 6, will be reviewed. Highly developed aspects of English grammar are presented here with some focus on real-life situations. It has ten units, including: Sentence structures, Connectors, Wishes and conditional sentences, Noun clauses, Comparisons and more conditionals, Adverb clauses, Reduced clauses, Emphasis and inversion, Punctuation and capitalisation, and Idioms and expressions. The materials are designed for intermediate to high intermediate students. It would be valuable for teachers to introduce it before teaching essay writing since many teachers, even in higher education, encounter a number of language weaknesses when dealing with their students’ writing. The book’s focus on the mechanics of the English language would give the learners the blueprint to start their writing journey more confidently. Each unit begins with a context for the unit targets, and therefore, the grammar is inductively and deductively exposed. This combination is necessary if teachers want to apply either method in their teaching. To maintain a certain understanding of the grammar point usage, the grammar form and function are simplified and displayed in a chart underneath each context. Then further practice is provided in extended sections in which a variety of exercise types are designed to increase learner autonomy and stimulate engagement. For teachers

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who would like to adopt such a book, interactions and collaborations among their students will be enhanced as the activities are designed in a way that promotes learners’ interactions with classmates. Authentic texts are appropriately selected for each grammar target, and a page is devoted to practice grammar in use.To aid comprehension, various text types are selected to interest different learning styles. They are designed in a way that enables teachers to go beyond the given exercises in this section through initiating discussions and involvement, increasing student engagement and building their confidence and skills. Following the target presentation and practice exercises is a two-page review after each unit. With this review, the learner is given an opportunity to TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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consolidate and confirm their understanding. This section ends with an illustrated proverb. In total, there are ten proverbs throughout the book which are of great impact on the process of learning a foreign language. In the appendix, an eight-page list of idioms and expressions is provided with easy-toread definitions and examples of usage. Each book includes a free audio CD, transcripts, and an answer key. This would aid autonomous learning, and, accordingly, learners can use the book independently if they wish.

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Overall, Active English Grammar 6 is practical and useful. This book would provide students with the fundamentals of English language mechanics and help them develop a full understanding of the grammar targets. It is also suitable for self-study at an intermediate level. i

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Advocacy & Policy Summit 2015 Washington DC, USA Georgios Kormpas TESOL International held their Advocacy & Policy Summit on June 21-23, 2015. The event took place at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington,Virginia, very close to the TESOL International Headquarters in Alexandria, and also near the US capital city, Washington, DC. Dr Andy Curtis, TESOL International President; Dr Rosa Aronson, Executive Director of TESOL; and John Segota, TESOL’s Associate Director for Public Policy and Professional Relations, welcomed us to the event which had delegates from all over the US. As the summit grows there are more delegates from all over the world; this year TESOL Greece was represented, as well as colleagues from Saudi Arabia and France. This summit is very specific to the US context as professionals and experts come from all over the country to explain what the advocacy situation is in each state. As you may know, different states have different policies which are sometimes different still from federal policies. Jim Ferg-Cadima and Marcelo Quiñones from the Office of Civil Rights, US Department of Education (DoE), explained the civil rights of English Language Learners (ELLs) and immigrant students to us and gave examples of what those students go through in their learning process. At the afternoon session of day one, we concluded with some updates on the rights of ELLs in the US and how they are affected by budget cuts in the DoE, a very informative session by Ms Ellen Fern. On the second day, we started with a keynote session by Dr Libia Gil, Assistant Deputy Director from the DoE Office of English Language Acquisition, who gave us a lot of information about advocating for ELLs in the US. After that there were multiple concurrent sessions focusing on different aspects of ELL advocacy. The day continued with invited speaker Dr Diane Staehr-Fenner who talked about teacher advocacy for ELLs; we also received a copy of her inspiring book, Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators (2014, Corwin and TESOL Volume 23

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International Association). The day concluded with a workshop with John Segota and Ellen Fern about the delegates’ visits to the US Congress. That was quite an interesting session as delegates formed teams and started discussing the issues that they would discuss with their state representatives. They worked on creating speaking targets and making sure their representatives would get most of the key information. It was very interesting to see the team dynamics, and it gave everyone hints and tricks to make the visit to the Capitol most successful. On the last day of the summit, the delegates went to the Capitol, met with their representatives, and came back to Crystal City to share their results with the rest of the advocates over a very nice dinner. There were many stories and lots of interesting input that I am sure will make a difference in advocacy for ELLs in the future. Thank you TESOL International for another amazing event! For more information, watch TESOL International President Andy Curtis’s video about the summit: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=O5cmBMGvnHE

The author got a selfie with TESOL International President Andy Curtis. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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The Cutting Edges Research Conference 2015: Language, Standards & Politics Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK Neil McBeath In his photo-journal for the 49th IATEFL Conference in Manchester in 2015, Rachid Tagoulla refers to his “enjoyable coach journey” (Tagoulla, 2015, p. 17) to the venue. I wish I could say the same of my journey to Canterbury. Travelling on mis-named National Express coaches, it took me the same length of time to travel from Winchester as it had to fly from Muscat to Heathrow! This was not the best start, but as in previous years, the Cutting Edges Conference lived up to its billing. Despite being held in the middle of Ramadan, it offered two plenary sessions and 21 other papers, spread over six consecutive sessions.With so much on offer, it is invidious to select specific papers for comment, but three presentations were particularly enlightening. Hassan Syed, from the University of York, raised the interesting phenomenon of willingness to communicate (WTC). He pointed out that not all L2 learners become L2 speakers, and that even competent L2 learners may often avoid using their abilities. Factors affecting WTC may dynamically change according to context, psychological or physiological state, and linguistic capability. L2 learners may, for example, lack the subject-specific lexis that is required to communicate in a specific situation, or to a particular audience. Pedagogically, therefore, it is worth considering the extent to which situational variables can be controlled, so that WTC can be enhanced in the classroom. The second thought-provoking paper was Alexandra Polyzou’s plenary, “Discourse, Gender and Power: Looking at Lifestyle Magazines.” This was interesting because Polyzou accepted that lifestyle magazines are regarded as inconsequential, even by those who Volume 23

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enjoy reading them. Despite this, they sell well, and they are frequently read by more than one person, particularly when they are placed in semi-public areas like dentists’ waiting rooms. They also have considerable power. Most people may not be able to define what makes “old fashioned” appear old fashioned, but they recognize it when they see it. Polyzou explained how such magazines are able to project a friendly, yet expert, voice that adds authority to whatever endorsements that they care to make.They exploit gender and power imbalances to construct an ideal that is based on a consumerist imperative which is rooted in already shared beliefs, and the text frequently draws credibility from its use of widely accepted discourse.This exploits factors like reward, and the coercive power that is associated with group membership, while legitimizing such power. Hence, readers who have no intention of ever going to a spa for a hot stone massage (“Hot Stone Massage,” 2015) will cheerfully accept that there are others who do indulge themselves in that way, and that there is nothing at all culpable in such self-indulgence.The magazines, however, remain popular only so long as they resonate with their target audience. The final paper came as a shock. Robert Weekly, from the University of Southampton, reported on “The Ideology of Native Speakerism.” His research was based on the experiences of second and third generation “immigrant” teachers who were all bilingual. They all reported incidents where their claims to being native-speakers of English had been rejected, but the truly frightening aspect of Weekly’s research was the level of linguistic naivety that they themselves displayed. Put simply, so far as they were TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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concerned, English = white = proper teacher = native speaker = British or American English = Anglophone accent = RP (Received Pronunciation) = Standard English = good English = correct English = no slang. To me, this suggests that we have come very far in the last 40 years. In 1975, when I was teaching at Southampton Technical College, similar statements would have passed unchallenged. In the 21st century, however, I feel that we ought to expect a higher level of linguistic sophistication, at least to the extent of acknowledging the existence of varieties of English – “Englishes” – and accepting that the last true speaker of RP died with the late Queen Mother. This is particularly true when the informants are those who have experienced the negative side of “native speakerism.”

The last word on this goes to the young man who served me in a shop after the conference. Having managed to find exactly the correct sum required in loose change, I paid for my purchase and received a beaming smile of acknowledgement. “Cheers, mate!” he said. “Have a good one!” The accent was the estuary English now prevalent in Kent. The phraseology was entirely demotic. The intonation and body language suggested that the good wishes were entirely sincere, and the communication was successful. The speaker was not Caucasian. Regardless of his accent, slang, appearance, etc., the question seems to be: Is he a native speaker, or not?

References

Hot stone massage. (2015, August 16). Times of Oman. p. C11. Tagoulla, R. (2015). Manchester 2015: A photo-journal. IATEFL Voices, 245, 17-20. i

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Language Assessment in the Middle East and North Africa: Theory, Practice, and Future Trends Call for Book Chapters TESOL Arabia Publications would like to announce the call for contributions for a new book co-edited by the TESOL Arabia Testing and Research SIGs. The book is tentatively titled Language Assessment in the Middle East and North Africa: Theory, Practice and Future Trends. This volume will be edited by Christine Coombe, Peter Davidson, Atta Gebril, Deena Boraie and Sahbi Hidri. Articles should focus on theoretical, practical and empirical aspects of language assessment. If you are interesting in submitting an article, please email Christine Coombe at Christine.coombe@hct.ac.ae with your proposed topic and a 50 to 100 word abstract by January 15, 2016. The deadline for full paper submissions is March 1, 2016. The submission specifications are as follows:

· · · · · · · · · · ·

Chapters should be between 3000-5000 words inclusive of references and appendices. Chapters should be typed using Times New Roman, font size 12, with 1.5 line spacing If you include tables and/or figures, make sure they are no wider than 10 cms. Do not use color in tables or figures. Do not use footnotes. Do not indent new paragraphs. Use a space between paragraphs. Only use ‘portrait’ orientation – i.e., don’t insert any pages in ‘landscape’ orientation. Remove all hyperlinks. Include a complete list of references using APA style as outlined in the Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., (2010). Send chapters electronically as a Word document. Please include on the first page your name, address, contact numbers and email addresses, and a 100-word biographical statement.

Volume 3 contributions. November 2015 We look forward to 23 receivingNo. your

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Feature Article Networking

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TESOL Arabia’s 5th Annual ESP Conference Julie Riddlebarger, Fathi Ben Mohamed & Saad Al Rabia Khalifa University of Science, Technology & Research hosted TESOL Arabia’s 5th Annual ESP (English for Specific Purposes) Conference on Saturday, 25 April 2015, in Abu Dhabi. This year’s conference theme was “Expanding the ESP Boundaries: Change. Challenge. Opportunity.” Jointly organized by the ESP Special Interest Group (SIG) and the Abu Dhabi Chapter, the conference was a great success with close to 100 attendees including featured speakers, presenters, and exhibitors from around the UAE and beyond. This annual event provides an opportunity for practitioners in the field of English language teaching and those who are teaching other subjects with English as the medium of instruction (EMI) to share their insights into ESP-related matters and contribute to a stimulating and dynamic exchange of ideas in research, practice, training, and assessment. The recent increase in ESP publications, conference presentations, professional gatherings, websites and resources, and ESP research all testify to the fact that ESP is gaining interest in multiple educational settings. The conference was opened by Dr Tod Laursen, President of Khalifa University. Dr Laursen discussed the importance of professional development and networking events such as the ESP Conference, as well as explaining the specialized engineering and science degree programs at Khalifa University. The conference organizers, Saad Al Rabia, Fathi Ben Mohamed, and Julie Riddlebarger, presented Dr Laursen with an award and certificate in appreciation of Khalifa University’s generous support of the ESP Conference in particular and TESOL Arabia in general. Plenary speakers were Dr Ali Shehadeh, Professor and Chair of the Department of Linguistics and Department of Translation Studies, UAE University, Al Ain; and Dr Maher Bahloul, Associate Professor of English and Linguistics at the American University of Sharjah, and Director and General Manager of an Education Through Arts Institute - Maher Language Institute (MLI). In the opening plenary, Dr Shehadeh’s Volume 23

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entertaining and enlightening presentation, “Utilizing Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) in the ESP Classroom,” explained that ESP is an ideal setting for utilizing the principles of TBLT because both make the learner central to the learning/teaching process. Dr Bahloul’s presentation, “ESP students’ Group Presentations: Injecting Acting and Humor,” shared the structure and guidelines for this highly creative way of group presentations. Alongside these distinguished plenaries were more than 20 concurrent sessions on a variety of topics related to the field of ESP. In addition, exhibitors including top international textbook and materials publishers showcased their current offerings in the field. We encourage everyone to start planning now to attend the 6th Annual ESP Conference next year!

The co-organizers thanks Khalifa University President Tod Laursen for the university’s ongoing support of TESOL Arabia. i TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Chapter/SIG Reports Feature Article

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Dubai Chapter Report Hafeez Rahman

The TESOL Arabia Dubai Chapter committee organized an event just before the summer break on 6 June 2015, at the Pakistan Education Academy in Oud Metha. This event was part of the Dubai Chapter’s initiative to raise awareness about TESOL Arabia, its SIGs, membership benefits, and the annual conference. Our speakers included: · Christina Gitsaki from Zayed University, Dubai – TESOL Arabia Membership Secretary and 2016 Conference Co-chair · Mick King from Middlesex University, Dubai – TESOL Arabia SIGs Coordinator · Naziha Ali from Emirates Aviation College, Dubai – TESOL Arabia President · Mohamed Azaza from Adnoc Technical Institute, Abu Dhabi – TESOL Arabia Vice President Their talks included important themes in education such as classroom management strategies, the significance of groupwork in teaching, leading personal professional development, and emotional intelligence in education. The event was well-attended, and the school principal, Muhammad Zahid, expressed sincere

Mohamed Azaza traveled from Abu Dhabi for the event.

thanks to TESOL Arabia for bringing a high level of professional development experts to their institution. He also offered Pakistan Education Academy as a regular host institution for events in Dubai.

Naziha Ali took questions from the audience. Volume 23

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TESOL Arabia Leadership and Management SIG: The Year Ahead! Dr Christine Coombe, LM SIG Co-chair Goals and initiatives for the TESOL Arabia LM SIG were set at the annual TESOL Arabia Retreat in early September 2015. LM SIG projects for the year will focus on professional development events and opportunities for our members in the region, volunteer outreach and collaboration with other TESOL Arabia entities and associations worldwide. LM SIG Events Mark your calendars with the following face-to-face events that we are planning with other TESOL Arabia SIGs and Chapters. Date

Event

Location

October 3, 2015

2nd Annual SIG Conference

Middlesex University Dubai, Knowledge Village

December 12, 2015

Joint event on professionalism with the Al Ain Chapter

Multaqa, next to the UAE University Men’s Campus

February 12, 2016

8th Annual Teacher Leadership Academy

Dubai Men’s College

February 13, 2016

Research Academy, Dubai Men’s College in collaboration with the TAE and RES SIGs

March TESOL Arabia Hyatt Hotel, Dubai 10-12, 2016* Conference, LM SIG Featured Speech April 23, 2016

Joint event with the Eastern Region Chapter

TBA

May 7, 2016

Joint event with the RAK Chapter

TBA

LM Outreach Events Another important mandate for the LM SIG is to provide professional development outreach to teachers worldwide. As such we regularly engage in volunteer events to help teachers develop in the areas of leadership, management, teacher effectiveness, and life skills education.This year LM SIG members have gone to Pakistan (October 1617, 2015) to hold PD workshops in teacher development in Lahore and Wazirabad.This event was the fifth of its kind and was organized by TESOL Arabia President, Dr Naziha Ali, and Dubai Chapter Representative, Hafeez Rahman. Members will also travel to Ankara to attend and present at the T PLUS Conference at Bilkent University.This collaboration first began in May 2015 when T PLUS members joined us for the First Annual SIG Conference. It should be stressed that no TESOL Arabia funds are utilized to support these events. Those who participate either self-fund or find their own sponsorship to attend. Collaboration As you can see from our calendar, collaboration with other entities of TESOL Arabia and organizations worldwide is a primary focus for us this year. Half of our face-to-face events this year will be held outside of Dubai, in Al Ain, RAK and the Eastern Region. We still have some events planned for Dubai-based members: for example, the SIG Conference as well as the TLA and the TESOL Arabia Conference. Global outreach events are scheduled to take place in Pakistan and Turkey. Remember that the TESOL Arabia LM SIG is here to serve you. In order to do that better, we need your suggestions and feedback. If you have an idea for an event or a need for some training in a specific area related to the LM SIG, email us at ccoombe@hct.ac.ae. i

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What the TAE SIG Has in Store for 2015-16! Dr Christine Coombe, TAE SIG Co-chair The TESOL Arabia Testing, Assessment and Evaluation SIG (TAE SIG) finalized its plans for the academic year at the TESOL Arabia Retreat held in September 2015. Our goal as usual was threefold. First, we want to provide our members with a variety of different professional development options this year. Second, we want to support volunteer outreach to those teachers who are not as lucky as us in terms of professional development exposure and opportunities. As such, our mandate every year is to organize at least one charity event. Third, we want to add to the knowledge base in our field in the form of journal articles and professional volumes. Even though it is still early in the year I am pleased to report that we have made considerable progress on many of these goals. Here is a brief description of how we plan to meet and hopefully even exceed the goals we have set for ourselves. Date

Event

October 3, 2015

2nd Annual TESOL Arabia SIG Conference, Middlesex University Dubai at free to all Dubai Knowledge Village

February 13, 2016

1st Annual Research Academy, in collaboration with the LM and RES SIGs

Dubai Men’s College

March 10-12, 2016

TESOL Arabia International Conference, TAE SIG Featured Speech

Hyatt Hotel, Dubai

Goal 1: Professional development options for our members A number of different PD options are envisaged for the coming year. These options include face-to-face PD events, an online course and a webinar series. Our schedule is as follows so don’t forget to mark these dates in your calendars. An online course in assessment as well as a webinar series is in the works. More information on that in our next Perspectives update. Goal 2:Volunteer outreach A long-term mandate of the TAE SIG has been to provide professional development training to other Volume 23

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Location

regions in the world. As such we have organized and implemented “Fundamentals of Language Assessment” (FLA) conferences and workshops in 34 countries worldwide. Most recently in August 2015, we provided assessment training to teachers in Peru through the Binational Centers in Huancayo and Ayacucho and to teachers based at the Ministry of Education in Lima. It should be noted that no TESOL Arabia funds are allocated for these events, and TAE SIG members who participate in them either self-fund or find sponsorship for their travel expenses. This year we hope to do FLAs in Pakistan and Tunisia. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Special Chapter/SIG Chapter Reports Reports Group Reports FeatureInterest Article

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Huancayo, Peru teachers celebrated their successful FLA.

We will also be working with our new TAE SIG Satellite SIG chairs in Saudi Arabia to stage an event in Riyadh. This event is still in the planning stages. More information about the date will be communicated on the website. Let’s welcome George Kormpas and Dr Ali Mitchell, currently based in KSA, as our new Satellite TAE SIG Cochairs! Goal 3: Publications Adding to the knowledge base of our field and showcasing some of the excellent work that our members have been doing is another important TAE SIG goal. As such I am pleased to announce the publication of TESOL Arabia’s first e-book, Best Practice in ELT:Voices from the Classroom. This volume is a collaboration between the TESOL Arabia TAE SIG and the Bangladeshi English Language Teachers Association (BELTA) Testing SIG. The volume, coedited by Christine Coombe and Rubina Khan, featured 25 chapters on various aspects of best practice in the field including a series of chapters on assessment-related issues. The book is free and can be accessed either on the TESOL Arabia website or by emailing me at ccoombe@hct.ac.ae. TAE SIG co-chairs, Christine Coombe and Peter Davidson, along with three very well-known testers in the region (Sahbi Hidri, Deena Boraie, and Atta Gebril) have put in a proposal to the Publications committee about the possible publication of a Volume 23

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new research-based volume tentatively titled, Language Assessment in the Middle East and North Africa: Theory, Practice, and Future Trends. If we get the green light from the TESOL Arabia Publications Committee, we’ll be launching the Call for Papers later on this year. As always we look forward to your contributions to the TAE SIG as well as any suggestions you might have on how we can serve you better. Contact me at ccoombe@hct.ac.ae for more information or any questions you might have.

Ayacucho, Peru, FLA participants took time out for a group photo. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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SpecialFeature InterestArticle Groups

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English for Specific Purposes SIG

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

Namaat Saadi Hezber Secretary

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

Konrad Cedro Co-Chair

Teacher Training & Teacher Development SIG

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

Faiza Umar Marketing Communications Officer

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

Christine Coombe Co-Chair

Peter Davidson Co-Chair

Read SIG

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

Melanie Gobert Secretary

Helene Demirci Treasurer

Young Learners SIG

Independent Learning SIG

Email: zubaida.khan@tesolarabia.org

Email: oabuorouq@aus.edu Phone: 050 984 8066 Zubaida Khan Chair

Research SIG

Ola Marie Abu Orouq Chair

Educational Technology SIG Email: edtechsig@gmail.com Ning: http://taedtech.ning.com

sabhi.hidri@tesolarabia.org Sahbi Hidri Chair & Publications Coordinator

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edtecharabia.twitter.com #taedtech James Buckingham Chair

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Abu Dhabi Representative Amjad Taha

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

Al Ain Representative Paul Morely

UAE University P. O. Box 17172, Al Ain, UAE Mobile: (050) 137-2186 paul.morley@tesolarabia.org

Sharjah Representative Nicholas Karavatos

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

Dubai Representative Hafeez Rahman

hafeez.rahman@tesolarabia.org

RAK Representative Bachar Lakhal

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

Eastern Region Representative Mohamed El Zamil

Ajman University mohamed.elzamil@tesolarabia.org

Western Region Representative Lofti ben Ameur

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

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Executive Council Feature Article

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President/Conference Co-Chair

Past President

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

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

Vice-President

Executive Treasurer

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

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/Conference Co-Chair

Executive Secretary

Christina Gitsaki Zayed University Dubai, UAE christina.gitsaki@tesolarabia.org

Fathi Ben Mohamed ADNOC Technical Institute Abu Dhabi, UAE Mobile: (050) 441-2529 fathi.ben-mohamed@tesolarabia.org

SIG Coordinator

Member-at-Large

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

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

Conference Co-Chair

Conference Treasurer

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

Helene Demirci Conference Treasurer HCT - Abu Dhabi Men’s College helene.demirci@tesolarabia.org

Publications Coordinator

Perspectives Co-Editor

Aymen El Sheik New York Institute of Technology Abu Dhabi, UAE aymen.elsheikh@tesolarabia.org

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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Feature Article IPP WINS 8 AWARDS AT

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Feature Article

50

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Develop the language and skills required for academic study. Learning outcomes

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Online skills practice extends learning

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