Page 1

Feature Article

1

In this issue: Feature Articles Emirati Students’ Cultural Norms and University Teachers’ Awareness: A Socio-Cultural Gap?

Theodore Burkett Sociocultural Use of L1 in L2 Vocabulary Learning

Iman Shawki Teachers’ Understanding of Professional Development in Doha

Peter Frey Improving Learning Outcomes: Creating and Implementing a Specialized Corpus

Jody Shimoda, Marie-Claude Toriida, D. William Kay

Reader Response Lesson Ideas Educational Technology Reviews Networking TESOL Arabia News

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

Perspectives The

2

official publication of

TESOL Arabia General Editorial Policies

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 We invite previously unpublished manuscripts that address the diversified topics that make up our profession, including, but not limited to, methodology, pedagogy, curriculum and materials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

Submission Categories & Guidelines Feature Articles

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

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

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

Lesson Ideas

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

Reader Response

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

Reviews

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

Networking

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

Notes to Contributors

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

Photographs

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

Editorial Viewpoint

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

Submissions Address

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

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

C o n t e n t s

3

Pers p e c t i ves Volume 24 No. 1 February 2016

From the Editors

2

Message from the President

3

Message from the Conference Co-Chairs

4

Feature Articles Emirati Students’ Cultural Norms and University Teachers’ Awareness: A Socio-Cultural Gap?

Theodore Burkett

Sociocultural Use of L1 in L2 Vocabulary Learning

Iman Shawki

5 12

Teachers’ Understanding of Professional Development in Doha Peter Frey 16 Improving Learning Outcomes: Creating and Implementing a Specialized Corpus 22 Jody Shimoda, Marie-Claude Toriida, D. William Kay

Reader Response Nuance, Change, Challenge and Networks in the Translation Elizabeth Rainey 29 of Religious Poetry: Cultural Bridging through Ethnographical Networking in the UAE

Lesson Ideas Infographics: Students Presenting Information in Bytes!

Rania Jabr 33

A Task-Based Approach for a Clearer Understanding of Plagiarism

Geraldine Chell 36

Education Technology Implementing Flipped Mobile Learning Material in an EFL Course

Pinar Ozdemir Ayber, Zeina Hojeij

YouGlish: YouTube-based Pronunciation Dictionary of English

39

Ferit Kılıçkaya

42

Tony Schiera Neil McBeath Paul Dessoir

44 46 48

The NAWE Conference 2015 Georgios Kormpas TESOL International Holds First Regional Conference in Singapore Melanie Gobert 31st SPELT International Conference 2015 Julie Riddlebarger, Naziha Ali, Mick King, & Joyce Raglow

50 52 53

Reviews Demotivation in Second Language Acquisition: Insights from Japan Start Writing & Framework Academic Writing Step by Step: A Research-based Approach

Networking / TESOL Arabia News

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


From Feature the Article Editors

2

Dear Readers,

Editors

Welcome to the first issue of 2016! We are off to a great start with an excellent line-up of articles. We have upped the number of Feature Articles from three to four, and we have our first Reader Response article in some time.

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

The Feature Articles cover a variety of topics and approaches. First is Theodore Burkett’s paper on expatriate teachers’ awareness of cultural norms in the UAE. His study sheds some empirical light on a subject that is often discussed, but usually anecdotally. Next Iman Shawki presents data on the use of students’ L1 in the L2 classroom, looking at the use of L1 primarily for mediation and scaffolding. Qatar is well-represented with two articles in this issue. One, by Peter Frey, takes a look at teacher professional development in Doha. Also from Qatar, Jody Shimoda, MarieClaude Toriida, and D. William Kay explain their use of a specialized corpus approach to teaching vocabulary in an ESP environment.

Reviews Editor Paul Dessoir United Arab Emirates University

Advisory Panel

In her Reader Response article, Elizabeth Rainey delves into the fascinating intricacies of a religious poetry translation project. This is a must-read for any literature or translation mavens. As usual, we also have useful Lesson Ideas. Rania Jabr explains an excellent use of infographics, and Geraldine Chell provides a task-based approach aiming to minimize plagiarism. In Educational Technology, Pinar Ozdemir Ayber and Zeina Hojeij discuss the implementation of flipped mobile learning material, while Ferit Kilickaya explains a very promising YouTube-based pronunciation dictionary. Everyone is sure to find something that can be of use in their own practice in these sections. Finally, of course we have our usual complement of book reviews and reports. We hope that you find this issue informative and helpful. As always, we encourage readers to submit their own work. The guidelines are inside the front cover and on the website. In addition, we are actively seeking peer reviewers. If you are looking for a way to be more involved in the profession, this is one option. We wish you all the best for a happy and successful 2016!

Julie Riddlebarger

Suhair Al Alami

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 Christopher Morrow 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

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

February Cover Photo Liwa Desert Abu Dhabi, UAE Rob Wilson, Khalifa University

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Message from the President

3

Dear TESOL Arabia Colleagues and Friends, As my term draws to a close, I’d like to welcome you to the first issue of Perspectives in 2016, and my final letter as TESOL Arabia President. I trust this year has been as productive for each one of you as it has been for TESOL Arabia. The year has flown rather quickly as it always does in good times. More importantly, this has been an incredibly productive year with commendable achievements and progress to the credit of the organization and its family. Our volunteer representatives have been extremely busy all year supporting the professional development of their colleagues in the UAE and abroad, through face-to-face workshops, mini-conferences and online initiatives. We’ve even been adventurous enough to venture out as far as the Musandam waters, launching the first Seminar at Sea through the joint efforts of the Leadership & Management SIG and the TESOL Arabia Toastmasters Club. This year has also seen our digital badges take off, thanks to the efforts of the EdTech SIG. These badges are now being awarded in recognition of various aspects of professional development such as participating in, presenting at or organizing events. A very exciting development is the launch of our new READ SIG that is focused on supporting teacher development in the area of reading skills. The introduction of this SIG is in tandem with the Dubai government’s declaration of 2016 as The Year of Reading. All these initiatives (and more) are evidence of the fact that despite very busy schedules, there’s no dearth of creativity among TESOL Arabia volunteers, and we are very proud to acknowledge that this is where the strength of the organization lies. Our annual elections 2016 concluded on 31st January which means that you will be greeted by several new faces at the TESOL Arabia Annual Conference in March, where you can also find out more about our activities, opportunities, your role and how you can contribute no matter where you are. Finally, in our movement beyond the Middle Eastern boundaries, there has been plenty of interest in building professional partnerships with TESOL Arabia. To this effect, we have established our very first Affiliates Committee chaired by an elected Affiliate Representative. There will be more news to share about this development at the Conference and in the coming year. This year has also seen the following grants awarded to support our membership around the world: International Travel Grants, Dr Lisa BarlowTravel In Grants, and MENA Scholarships. Thank you all for a wonderful and supportive year and I look forward to seeing all my colleagues and friends at the conference 2016. Best wishes, Naziha

Dr Naziha Ali (EdD TESOL, University of Exeter, UK) President TESOL Arabia 2 015-2016 Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


4

Message from the Conference Co-Chairs Feature Article

Dear TESOL Arabia Colleagues & Friends, At this writing, the 22nd TESOL Arabia Annual International Conference and Exhibition is imminent and the preparation frenzy is in full swing. Here’s some information about this year’s event. The incredible line up of 10 plenaries include Simon Borg, Averil Coxhead, Andy Curtis, Constantine Ioannou, Claire Kramsch, Ernesto Macarto, Phil Quirke, Norbert Schmitt, Salah Troudi and Adrian Underhill. Joining them are also 9 key speakers: Gary Barkhuizen, Christel Broady, Tammy Gregerson, Neil McBeath, Joe McVeigh, Gary Pathare, Randi Rappen, Diane Schmitt and Peter Stanfield. In addition to more than 300 concurrent sessions, the choice is immense as participants can also avail of one of the 3 pre-conference courses (English Language Teaching; New Developments and Techniques in ELT Research; and Teaching & Learning Vocabulary), or one of the 2 in-conference courses (Teacher Training Certificate and Teaching School Age Learners). Following on from the past few years, this year too TESOL Arabia has endeavored to support presenters from different regions to attend the conference. The association has awarded 20 Dr Lisa Barlow Travel in Grants and 5 MENA Scholarship grants. Our members who applied and were unsuccessful this year are encouraged to apply next year. Finally, we take the opportunity to thank our generous platinum sponsor AMIDEAST, gold sponsors Arab Gulf, IDP and the US Embassy, and our silver sponsors Learning a-z and the University of Wollongong in Dubai. Thank you too to McMillan, CUP, OUP, the US Department of State, the EL Gazette and Arab Gulf who at the time of writing this note have graciously sponsored several speakers. We look forward to seeing our presenters, delegates, sponsors and exhibitors who have together made this wonderful conference possible. Thank you & we hope to see you at the conference! Dr Naziha Ali Dr Christina Gitsaki Konrad Cedro Conference 2016 Co-Chairs On behalf of the TACON Committee 2016

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

Emirati Students’ Cultural Norms and University Teachers’ Awareness: A SocioCultural Gap?

Theodore Burkett Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi

With the critical agenda of questioning whether Western expatriate university foundation teachers have sufficient knowledge of Emirati culture, this study examined the gap between Emirati tertiary foundation students’ expectations for the respective cultural awareness of their teachers and the actual awareness demonstrated by them. The research was conducted in two stages with focus groups with roughly 120 Emirati students at the three federal universities and interviews with experienced tertiary foundation teachers. The findings revealed that while there was a general awareness of UAE culture, this ranged broadly from areas with a high level of awareness to areas where there was little or no knowledge. The study questions, implications, conclusions and recommendations are discussed.

Background

The teaching context at federal tertiary institutions in the UAE differs substantially from that of most countries. Despite Arabic’s official status in the UAE, the primary instructional language at the UAE’s federal universities is English (Findlow, 2006), and these institutions employ a large number of expatriate teachers to teach in English both in content areas and in foundation or bridging programs (Chapman et al., 2014). Foundation teachers are tasked with helping students achieve enough English proficiency to study in an English medium environment. In these foundation programs, the teaching staff is primarily composed of highly qualified expatriate “native speaker” teachers from the UK, the USA, Volume 24

5

No. 1

February 2016

Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. These teachers typically come to the UAE with years of experience living and working in foreign countries and usually with knowledge of one or more cultures or languages. Again unlike many countries, the official language in the UAE is not necessarily the one spoken by the majority of residents. Because of the large percentage of foreign nationals living in the UAE, which was as high as 80% even in 2006 (Ministry of the Economy, 2006), English is widely used in many areas of the country such as banks, businesses, hospitals, airports and malls. In fact, while no official statistics are available, an estimate in 2009 put the number of languages spoken in the UAE at 100, by 200 different nationalities (Habboush, 2009). There is a dependence on expatriate workers (Karmani, 2005) who are mostly employed in the private sector, and the predominant language in public venues like malls is English. Randall and Samimi (2010) note that there can be few societies in the world where a second language is necessary to carry out basic aspects of daily life like shopping at a supermarket or buying clothes in a mall, meaning almost all aspects of daily life can be accomplished without ever using Arabic. Additionally, because Emiratis represent about 11% of the population of 8.26 million (Emirates 24/7, 2011), and because there is relatively little interaction between locals and expatriates in daily life, many expats have almost no interaction with Emiratis. While teachers at federal universities TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

6

typically interact with far more Emiratis than most professions, it is usually limited to the confines of the institution.

Literature review

At least partially because of the two dynamics mentioned above, there is seemingly more of a cultural gap between expatriate teachers and their Emirati students than in other contexts – and in some cases, this gap can be quite large. As Karmani (2005) notes, upper ranks of regional ELT professionals consist primarily of “an exclusive corps of Anglo-Western TESOL practitioners, most of whom … lack the most rudimentary knowledge about “Islam” or … the most basic structures of the Arabic language” (p. 95). This is certainly not limited to the upper ranks. Cultural knowledge in language teaching manifests itself in many ways in the classroom, which is not an isolated environment, but one that is embedded in very specific and complex social, educational and political contexts. In addition to the six kinds of knowledge that are generally agreed to be of importance to language teachers including content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, general pedagogic knowledge, curricular knowledge, contextual knowledge and process knowledge (Roberts, 1998), the concept of cultural knowledge (Troudi, 2005) is one that presents major challenges for English language teachers (ELTs). Many ELTs work in foreign contexts, and because it is impossible to prepare them for the variety of possible contexts in any teacher education program, they end up needing to develop critical cultural knowledge in order to understand the educational and linguistic needs of their students. This can be done in different ways, but it requires “patience, motivation, tolerance of differences, curiosity and a passion for knowledge” (Troudi, 2005, p. 123). For teaching in the Middle East, this requires a familiarity with the linguistic and social culture of the students, including an understanding of the major principles and practices of Islam (Ahmed, 2011). As research on how cultural gaps affect the interplay in TESOL classrooms is limited, this seems like a ripe area for exploration, guided by the tenets of critical applied linguistics, in which we aim to continue

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

to question our assumptions, engage in political critiques of social relations, engage with questions of power and inequality, and of course, work as a critical form of social inquiry (Pennycook, 2010). Given the previously-mentioned points, this study is guided by the overarching question: Does the lack of awareness of Emirati culture create a substantial disconnect between experienced ex-pat teachers and Emirati students?

Method

In order to address this question, an exploratory design within the critical approach was selected. This design was chosen because there appears to be scant literature on this specific aspect of the subject; the critical approach was selected because the goal is to look in depth at the underlying areas that may affect this issue, and if this disconnect exists, to think about possible actions that can be taken to help reduce it. To attempt to answer the above question, two distinct stages were employed. The first aimed at identifying what Emirati students believe is important for university teachers to know about their culture. This stage involved focus group sessions with roughly 120 male and female Emirati federal university students in nine different classes. Six faculty members in foundation programs in three emirates organized these discussions. The following list of areas was generated from the student focus groups to use in the semi-structured interviews. These areas were chosen to help focus on understanding the depth of teachers’ cultural awareness. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

History of the UAE Understanding of Eids and Ramadan Clothing The concept of “haram” Prayer time in the school environment

The second stage involved semi-structured interviews with five teachers with at least 10 years of experience teaching in tertiary institutions in the UAE. They were selected by convenience sampling; all interviews were all recorded and transcribed. They are identified hereafter with gender-neutral pseudonyms: Alex, Bailey, Casey, Dylan and Ellis. Table 1 provides information about their teaching experience.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

7

Table 1 Teaching Experience Teacher Total years teaching experience Years teaching in UAE

Alex Bailey Casey Dylan Ellis 20 34-35 22-23 25 25

14

11

10

15

10

Findings

The findings are presented in separate sections for the two stages. First, the numerous responses from the focus groups were analyzed and common responses and themes were grouped together and categorized into two categories based on frequency of response; student examples (in italics) and a brief analysis, due to space limitations, are included. The first category includes areas mentioned by a majority of the classes. This category has also been divided into two sections, although crossovers exist: issues primarily related to Islamic traditions, and those related to Emirati culture. The second category consists of responses made by a minority of the classes. Stage 1 Findings: Areas Mentioned by a Majority of Classes Religious-Related Areas or Gaps Show respect for Islam: respect religion; read about Islam. A main aspect of the collective identity of the students and many of the UAE traditions are religious in nature; this figures strongly in cultural knowledge. Male-female interactions: avoid physical contact with women (if you’re male); unrelated Emirati men and women not being allowed to be together except for work; families not letting their daughters go out alone. Mentioned by nearly every group, this highlights students’ awareness that the teacher is from a culture that may have very different beliefs and traditions on the topic. This also emphasizes that the teacher is a guest and at the same time, an outsider in this cultural sphere. Clothing: official uniform is abaya for women and kandoura for men As a visible part of their traditions, culture and national identity, which can be at odds with the

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

individual attire of their teachers, there is a need to make sure teachers are aware of the importance of their national dress. The concept of haram: what is appropriate and inappropriate; some students view music as haram and it makes them uncomfortable; physical contact between unrelated men and women; we should not eat pig meat; we should not drink alcohol. Clearly helping define the rules of behavior and their religious origins, the concept of haram is one that again helps indicate what the students perceive as key cultural gaps and covers a gamut of potential classroom issues. Ramadan and Eids: what Ramadan is and the difficulties students have with fasting; the meaning of Eids and their importance; what people do during Ramadan and the Eids; “illegal” to eat and drink during “fasting hours.” The most important Islamic holidays, and with fasting during Ramadan as one of the five pillars of Islam, it is important that the teacher understands their importance. There may also be a concern that the teacher is respectful and considerate during this period and does not eat or drink in front of the students. Prayer and prayer time: praying/reading the Quran; people have several times to pray and they have to pray 5 times a day; teachers must give a break in pray time (sic); when the call of prayer is on, the teacher should stop talking As another of the five pillars of Islam, the teacher should understand that students may need some allowances to fit prayer time into their schedules. The actual prayer should also demand consideration and respect. Theodore (Ted) Burkett is a lecturer and assessment coordinator in the Academic Bridge Program at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi after working for more than 15 years at universities in Istanbul and Abu Dhabi. He is working on his EdD in TESOL at the University of Exeter. Ted’s research interests include assessment, vocabulary acquisition, and educational technology in English foundation programs.

Culture–Related Areas: Knowledge of history of the UAE: knowledge of the federation of the UAE; some biographical knowledge of Sheik Zayed; importance of National Day. The country has a relatively short history; many aspects of society have quickly developed to help the UAE rise to its current position.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

8

The nature of teachers/student-teacher interactions: Emiratis don’t like serious teachers, teachers should be like friends; when students enter the class and say “Salam alaykum’ it should not be viewed as a disruption of the class, rather it is a religious greeting; the importance of male teachers knocking on the door before entering a class. Pragmatic cultural advice and a chance to help avoid misunderstandings in class and also to help describe the type of class and teacher they prefer. English and Arabic: level of English is generally low; knowing a little Arabic is helpful; he should study our language. Teachers should understand the situation of English in many schools and show respect for the culture by acquiring at least a little Arabic. Poetry/literature/film: learn about literature culture; have some knowledge about some UAE poets, film makers, singers (Arab idol/ UAE’s got talent); should know how important poetry is; Poets – Ahmed Al Kindi, Manag Saeed; it’s polite to say a poem to your guest; we tell a poem after we eat. There will often be clashes between students as more religious students may be opposed to watching singers and others may not be interested in topics like poetry. Stage 1: Areas Mentioned by Some Groups of Students Student motivation and work ethic: many Emiratis don’t like studying; Emiratis don’t like passive learning Possibly a cultural gap or simply a way to explain student behavior in class. Sports and related traditions: camel racing – it’s an important sport; some interest in various UAE football clubs More popular with classes of male students. Relationship to other religions and cultures: Much more acceptance of other cultures in the last 20 years; Emiratis like Westerners; we do respect other religions; agreements between England and the UAE and the rest of the world; Emiratis should not change their culture when they travel and in the future Represents a number of discrete categories including past alliances/bonds with other countries, the importance of maintaining culture, positive attitudes towards Westerners, and the relatively open-minded

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

acceptance and respect of other cultures while presumably keeping them separate from Emirati culture. The degree of change in the UAE: the recognition of how quickly it’s changed; the changes that have happened Teachers should recognize that Emirati lifestyles are different from those even 10 years ago, and that this has effects on culture and education. Differences between male and female students: female students work hard unlike males; women need higher qualifications to work, but men have different options (army, police, technical work) Female students represent more than 70% of university students, and getting an education opens up pathways otherwise unavailable to them. Male students have more freedom outside of school and have more options aside from those accessed through higher education. The UAE government and rulers: Students feel insulted if expats discuss the UAE government and/or rulers; the generosity of the government Students feel quite strongly about the importance of respecting the government. Stage 2 Findings For Stage 2, teacher interviews, the findings are organized into three categories based on the range of demonstrated awareness. First, there are areas where four or five of the teachers demonstrated a high degree of knowledge. Second, there are areas where either two or three teachers demonstrated some knowledge. Finally, the third includes areas where only one or no teachers demonstrated any awareness. When appropriate, brief samples will be provided. Areas of strong awareness General history of the UAE: All teachers demonstrated a generally strong awareness of the basics of the history of the UAE, with several showing in-depth knowledge about some areas. Male/female relations: All were aware of the fundamental facts about male/female relations in society and in the classroom. The concept of “haram”: All were aware of the basic meaning -something “unacceptable” and knew it applied to something forbidden, with common examples being inappropriate male/female relations,

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

inappropriate dress or behavior, and the consumption of alcohol and pork. Several also identified that it is often used as a broader concept, and that there may be very nuanced understandings of what is meant in regards to these highly sensitive issues in this context. Awareness of clothing and dress: All understood the importance of the national costume for both genders, although a range of terms were used (shayla, abaya, gutra, dishdasha). Strong awareness by some teachers Basic tenets of Islam: All had some basic awareness of Islam; however, when looking at finer nuances, several lacked much depth of understanding. In general, observable practices were well represented. Knowledge of the importance of Eids: All were also aware of the Eids and their general cultural importance, but 3 were unable to provide details or were confused about their religious significance. Prayer during the school day: All were aware of the importance of daily prayer in Islam, and that praying 5 times a day was required. All additionally knew that students were not required to pray at a specific time. Opinions differed about what to do if the call to prayer was heard during class. Little or no awareness Knowledge of Arabic: While all knew basic facts about the official language of the UAE, only one professed even minimal knowledge of it, and this was at least partially due to the fact that they were married to an Arab national. As Dylan noted “Well, I know that Emirati Arabic is different – there are various types of Arabic, and I know very little Arabic language.” Poetry: Most were aware that a strong tradition of poetry exists in the UAE, and some knew about competitions and television stations presenting poetry, but none knew the subject or purpose of it. “They have a specific kind of poetry that was specific, not maybe for the Gulf ” (Alex). Some questioned the importance of poetry for the new generation and doubted that it had an active role in the students’ lives. Sports: While a general awareness of modern and traditional sports popular in the UAE was present, only a few could name individual teams, and none could name even a single UAE player. None were Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

9

aware that the UAE had participated in the World Cup in 1990 and had won the Gulf Cup in 2007. Literature and Film: None could name a single Emirati film or author. Several were aware of short film festivals for local filmmakers, but none were aware of any specific work by any Emiratis. Casey also raised the point that he felt that students also wouldn’t know much about Emirati film and mentioned that “maybe one would have an interest, but you wouldn’t be able to have a class discussion or an activity where they all could participate equally.” When asked why they felt they were unaware of some aspects of Emirati culture, the answers came grouped around one general theme, which was a lack of exposure to Emiratis on a social basis and at the workplace. Dylan noted that they just had interactions with “the people who lived in our road – an Emirati who is married to a Spanish woman, so we kind of got to know them, one of (my spouse’s) students who invited us out to her house – and that’s about it. In all the years that’s the only amount of interaction we’ve had.” Among this small pool of teachers with a wealth of experience in the UAE, there seems to be a high level of awareness of some of the areas identified by the students. Understandably, areas that were accessible without knowledge of Arabic seemed to predominate, likely based on observation after years of experience and reading about the culture rather than deeper cultural knowledge gained by broad interaction with it. From the two data sets, the following emerged as some areas of interest: 1. Expectations about Arabic. There seems to be an indirect connection between students’ limited expectations for their teachers to learn Arabic, with most relevant responses indicating teachers should learn a little Arabic, and the fact that none of these veteran UAE teachers know much Arabic at all. The limited expectations of the majority of the students may indicate that they do not expect the teachers to know that much about their language and culture, or that knowledge of Arabic is not deemed to be that important in general UAE society (Randall & Samimi, 2010), but has more of a role in the domestic sphere. Critically, this has serious implications on the view of both students and teachers on the role of Arabic in general society TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

10

and especially in higher education (Findlow, 2006; Hatherly-Greene, 2012) and raises the question of what will happen in the long term to Arabic as a language of education and whether it will be relegated to the domestic and religious spheres (Ahmed, 2011). 2. The relatively high level of awareness of areas like history of the UAE and knowledge of appropriate behavior in society seems to reflect areas more accessible to non-Arabic speakers. However, this doesn’t necessarily represent knowledge gained from a deeper understanding of the culture and probably cannot be classified as critical cultural knowledge (Troudi, 2005). 3. The lack of specific awareness as to the religious significance of key holidays shows a lack of awareness of the specifics of Islam. For teachers with so much experience in the context, this shows a surprising disconnect with an important aspect of cultural knowledge. 4. For areas like sports, poetry, literature and film, there seems to be a low level of awareness, apparently representing one of the largest gaps in awareness. This gap may be primarily because the teachers lack the Arabic to access these or simply due to a lack of interest even in their own culture. 5. When examining the critical power relations between Emirati students and their predominantly Western teachers, we can see that it as not as simple as the typical situation where the teacher holds the majority of the power. If teachers lack or ignore cultural knowledge, behave inappropriately, or violate cultural norms, then students could easily report teachers and have them reprimanded or even fired; thus, this critical cultural knowledge is vital indeed.

Conclusion

While a gap between Emirati students’ expectations of teachers’ awareness of their culture and the actual demonstrated awareness of veteran UAE teachers certainly exists, it does not seem to be as large as some might expect given the cultural differences and limited opportunities for meaningful interaction outside the classroom. However, the

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

lack of awareness on some key aspects and the limited knowledge of Arabic by these veteran teachers certainly indicate that some awareness raising training would likely be of value as this could contribute to establishing a stronger rapport in class, using more culturally relevant examples, and reducing the number of culturally-inappropriate references or examples. This training could be as simple as sessions on “classroom Arabic” which expose teachers to language they might hear in the classroom – an invaluable subject to help understand classroom dynamics and offer a gateway into further study of Arabic. It could also range from providing short fact sheets about key information about sports, literature and film to having a book club or movie group to discuss what these can tell us about Emirati society and to give basic information about key figures in the fields. It could also progress to more in-depth sessions on Emirati poetry and its past and current roles in the culture. This would certainly help provide additional understanding of these areas’ importance to students. The fact that these teachers are unaware of a number of important issues about the culture highlights some of the unique challenges of teaching in the context and indicates that it is up to either teachers themselves or the institutions they work for to provide this training.

References

Ahmed, K. (2011). Casting Arabic culture as the other: Cultural issues in the English classroom. In C. Gitsaki (Ed.)., Teaching and learning in the Arab world (pp. 129-136). Bern: Peter Lang. Al-Issa, A., &. Dahan, L. (2011). Global English and endangered Arabic in the United Arab Emirates. In A. Al-Issa & L. Dahan (Eds.), Global English and Arabic (pp. 1-22). Germany: Peter Lang. Chapman, D., Austin, A., Farah, S., Wilson, E., & Ridge, N. (2014). Academic staff in the UAE: Unsettled journey. Higher Education Policy, 27, 131-151. Emirates 24/7. Staff. (2011, April 17). Expats make up over 88% of UAE population. Retrieved from http://www.emirates247. com/news/expats-make-up-over-88-of-uaepopulation-2011-04-17-1.381853

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

Findlow, S. (2006). Higher education and linguistic dualism in the Arab Gulf. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 27(1), 19-36. Habboush, M. (2009, March 22). Classical Arabic makes a comeback. The National. Hatherly-Greene, P. J. (2012). Cultural border crossings in the UAE. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research. Issa, W. (2013, March 6). Lessons in English in UAE schools ‘violation of constitution’ FNC told. The National.

11

Karmani, S. (2005). Petro-Linguistics: The emerging nexus between oil, English and Islam. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 4(2), 87-102. Pennycook, A. (2001). Critical applied linguistics: A critical introduction. Mahwah, NJ: Routledge. Randall, M., & Samimi, M. A. (2010). The status of English in Dubai. English Today,1, 43-50. Troudi, S. (2005). Critical content and cultural knowledge for TESOL teachers. Teacher Development, 9(1), 115-129. i

i

i

i

i

TESOL Arabia proudly announces the establishment of our first Board of Advisors. Ali Al Shehadeh Andy Curtis Christine Coombe Jane Hoelker Khaldah Al Mansooori Les Kirkham Mashael Al Hamly Salah Troudi Thomas N. Robb Zakia Sarwar

www.tesolarabia.org. Volume 24 No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

12

Sociocultural Use of L1 in L2 Vocabulary Learning Abstract

This paper examines the common belief that learners’ first language has no place in the second/ foreign language classroom. Using the sociocultural theoretical constructs of mediation and scaffolding, it is argued that principled use of L1 does in fact facilitate L2 learning. A brief analysis of classroom pair-work interaction is used to illustrate how learners naturally exhibit aspects of developmental cognition such as seeking and providing help. Raising both teachers’ and learners’ awareness of the scaffolding role L1 could play in L2 learning is recommended.

A Puzzle in Context

In my current context, I teach English as a foreign language (EFL) at a local college in the UAE, to a group of Emirati adult learners at the elementary level (A2 on the CEFR). Taking into consideration how little exposure my students are likely to get outside of their EFL classroom, my teaching approach has always aimed at maximizing target language (TL) use. However, sharing my students’ native language has allowed me to observe their language learning “live” from a broader (yet alarming) perspective: in practice, my students’ use of their first language (L1) in the English (L2) class has always made me feel uncomfortable and somewhat guilty as I remain skeptical regarding the accomplished amount of TL learning. Of particular interest is my students’ L2 vocabulary learning behaviour that is characterized by heavy use of L1 which seems to undermine the L2 learning process. To me, this has always been an intriguing language learning behaviour that is worth exploring. Turning to the psychology of language learning, this is an attempt to develop a new understanding of this puzzling behaviour. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Iman Shawki Higher Colleges of Technology, RAK

The following is a typical example of how my students use their L1 in their L2 vocabulary learning. This is an excerpt of pair work interaction taking place during a gap-fill exercise following introducing L2 new words with their English definitions: 1. S1: spread…yantasher…spread … yantasher… spread … yantasher (whispering L2 word followed by L1 equivalent to himself while scanning through the provided sentences) 2. S1:“Swine flu viruses -------- quickly” sho ya’ani swine flu … (what does it mean, swine flu?) (to his partner) 3. S2: flu… flu… enfluwanza elkhanazear… (pigs flu) 4. S1: Swine flu viruses yantasher spread quickly (still whispering to himself) Swine flu … spread … right? A breakdown of this excerpt reveals three distinct patterns: repeating the new L2 word with its L1 equivalent in a whispering voice (examples 1 & 4), the need to quickly get the L1 equivalent (example 2), and the automatic provision of the L1 equivalent instead of the L2 definition (example 3). Whether this is helping or deterring my students’ L2 development is the focus of this exploration. The following section discusses core sociocultural constructs that help develop a conceptual framework of my students’ puzzling use of L1 in L2 vocabulary learning.

Turning to the Psychology of Language Learning: the Sociocultural Theory

The notion of mediation is central in the Vygotskian perspective. According to Vygotsky, “the human mind is mediated” (Lantolf, 2000, p. 1), and thinking occurs as a result of appropriating socially/culturally TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

constructed semiotic tools such as numbers, music, art and language. In other words, higher mental capacities emerge through the process of integrating external mediational artifacts on the psychological, inner, plane, i.e., internalization. For the individual to fully control his/her physical or mental activities, initially he/she requires external guidance that will be no longer needed once regulation is internalized. This mediational support takes place within the person’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) where transmission of ability from expert to novice through social interaction is assumed to occur. Additionally, Lantolf (2000) proposes a broader scope of the ZPD that encompasses “the collaborative construction of opportunities for individuals to develop their mental abilities” (p. 17). In this way, peer support is emphasized where expertise could evolve as a feature of the group, emerging on the inter-individual plane among learners with little intervention from the teacher/expert. My students’ pair work interactions, in this regard, comprise opportunities for their individual minds to grow. Importantly, on the intra-individual plane, self-directed language or “private speech” used by children/novices to regulate their own actions and mental activities is a mechanism of internalization through which inner speech evolves on the inner plane. Private speech can also be viewed as externalized inner speech used in performing cognitively challenging tasks (Anton & DiCamilla, 1999, p. 235) as having recourse to earlier developmental stages is possible through re-externalizing what has been internalized and thereby securing needed mediation (not in some other person but within oneself). In this way, private speech constitutes a plausible explanation of my students’ repetition of the new L2 words with their L1 equivalents (evidenced in examples 1 & 4 in the above excerpt); it is their way of mediating their own learning while internalizing new L2 knowledge. The mechanism of scaffolding is another relevant concept which Donato (1994) outlines as follows: “In social interaction a knowledgeable participant can create, by means of speech, supportive conditions in which the novice can participate in, and extend current skills and knowledge to higher levels of Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

13

competence” (p. 40). In a similar vein, Nassaji and Swain (2000, p. 36) regard scaffolding as a collaborative process that is sensitive to the needs of the learner. Scaffolded help, in action, can fulfill six functions: 1) to recruit learners’ interest in the task, 2) to simplify the task, 3) to keep learners in pursuit of the goal, 4) to notice discrepancies between what has been created and the ideal situation, 5) to manage stress and frustration during problem solving, and 6) to demonstrate an idealized version of the act to be performed (Wood et al., 1976, as cited in Anton & DiCamilla, 1999). As a result, cognitive development occurs. Accordingly, knowledge, in sociocultural terms, is (co-)constructed through a process of collaborative interaction among learners within the ZPD. This view emphasizes the social nature of cognitive development (Vygotsky, 1978, 1986, as cited in Nassaji & Swain, 2000, p. 49). Revisiting the earlier example of my students’ L2 vocabulary learning behaviour, the scaffolding nature of their interaction is evident: requesting and providing assistance in L1 ensures simplifying the task and, as a result, task completion. It also reflects learners’ awareness of their needs which maintains participation and collaborative construction of knowledge. However, key to this cognitive development is the developmental nature of mediation (Lantolf, 2000) which is of great importance in understanding the ZPD dynamics. In theory, external mediational support should enable the individual to move from being object-regulated or other-regulated to reach self-regulation where external mediation is internalized. This developmental nature of mediation is clear in how Lantolf (2000) links language proficiency level with the degree of control/ regulation/mediation: “(A)n advanced speaker/user of a language…(is) able to control one’s psychological and social activity through the language” (p. 6). Considering the regulatory scale, designed by Aljaafreh and Lantolf (1994), allows a visualization of mediated help in terms of a 12-level continuum, which starts from the most implicit/strategic help where the learner is close to being self-regulated, then progresses to the most explicit level of help where the learner is other-regulated. Thus, this TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

14

Regulatory Scale sets parameters for productive mediation that would empower learners to gain control over their L2 linguistic activities. Convincingly, Aljaafreh and Lantolf (1994, p. 480) argue that a clear indicator of improved L2 performance is when “implicit forms of feedback become more relevant, and explicit forms become less relevant.” By implication, too much explicit guidance can inhibit learning and keep the learner dependent on other-regulation, unable to fully stretch his/her linguistic potential. Iman Shawki, MEd, is an English faculty member in CERT/Higher Colleges of Technology, RAK, UAE. Her research and teaching interests involve learner-centered approaches and effective use of educational technology to promote autonomous learners and reflective teachers. She can be reached at iman.shawki@hct.ac.ae.

New Understanding: The Role of L1 Use in L2 Learning

Within the sociocultural theoretical framework L1 use is assigned a facilitating/mediational role in the second and foreign language (L2) classroom (Donato, 1994; Anton & Dicamilla, 1999; Schweers, 1999; Gutierrez, 2008; Storch & Aldosari, 2010; Machaal, 2011). Socioculturally-oriented studies exploring learners’ use of L1 in L2 learning show that L1 can facilitate task completion and language learning by serving a number of critical functions: to reach a shared understanding of the task, to provide scaffolded help to peers, and to externalize one’s inner speech (Anton & DiCamilla, 1999). It is maintained that in social interactions, use of L1 enables experts (teacher and/or more capable peers) to provide novice(s) with finely-tuned assistance that is suitable to the novice’s needs; in this sense, what appears to be “translation” reflects “interindividual help” and triggers “developmental speech” (Donato, 1994, p. 49). Emphasizing the same scaffolding function of L1 use in collaborative language activities, Gutierrez (2008) considers “L1 reply” a form of requested assistance which comprises a micro-genesis affordance. Accordingly, she concludes that use of L1 can be “a very effective mediational mechanism,” “an economical resource,” and “a facilitator for the collaborative activity” (pp. 136-139). In this light, my students’ puzzling behaviour of using Arabic while learning new English words could have a socioculturally-induced value. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Of particular relevance to my students’ use of L1 in L2 vocabulary learning, Storch and Aldosari’s (2010) report that when used in vocabulary learning, L1 is used for “providing explanations to peers” and for “private speech.” Interestingly, in this study, the researchers observed that it was common for learners to “repeat the L1 words immediately before or after producing their equivalent in L2…in the form of speech directed to oneself.” This use, they argue, is to “firmly establish in their own minds the meaning of certain words” (p. 370). Significantly, they note that use of L1 enables low proficiency learners to “pool their limited vocabulary knowledge and offer assistance to each other.” Another important aspect of the issue is how learners perceive their use of L1 in L2 learning. Investigating the attitudes of EFL stakeholders (students, teachers and policy makers) regarding the use of Arabic in English classes, Machaal (2011, pp. 205 & 209) finds that the majority of participants (69%) are in favour of a principled use of Arabic in EFL classes. Remarkably, 86% of students attribute a mediational function to L1 use by asserting that the most prominent use of Arabic is for English vocabulary explanation. Similarly, students claim employing L1 to access meaning of words and to facilitate memorization (Rolin-Ianziti & Varshney, 2008, p. 258). Students’ awareness of the drawbacks of L1 use – such as limiting exposure to TL, and overuse of L1 (Rolin-Ianziti & Varshney, 2008) – and their support of a principled use of L1 (Machaal, 2011), reveal their deep understanding of the mediational role L1 plays in L2 learning on the microgenetic level. From a different yet complementary perspective, Prince’s (1996) investigation of the effect of using L1 translation in L2 vocabulary learning among university students, underscores the superiority of L1 translation technique over the highly recommended L2 context learning. Unequivocally, he concludes that presenting L2 words with their L1 translations ensures an easier learning process. He remains skeptical though regarding learners’ ability to transfer this learning into L2 contexts. Thus, the superiority of translation in L2 vocabulary learning is explained, yet its limited effectiveness is foreshadowed. Schmitt (2008, p. 337), on the other hand, considers this “translation learning” superiority to be advantageous and supports exploiting L1 in establishing a necessary initial form-meaning link. He argues that learners TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

15

are more likely to attend to other contextual word knowledge once this link is established.

decisions about whether or not to allow Arabic in the English vocabulary classroom.

In this light, a socioculturally-informed view of my students’ vocabulary learning behaviour, on the microgenesis level, can now indicate collaborativelyconstructed opportunities to develop mental abilities where private speech and peer scaffolding, carried in L1, are aspects of gaining control over L2 linguistic activities.

References

The Pedagogical Value of the New Understanding

Swain and Lapkin (2000, p. 268) believe that restricting or prohibiting L1 use in L2 classes is denying learners a very important cognitive tool. Therefore, acknowledging the mediational function of L1 in L2 learning, and how it positively affects the learning process, becomes a powerful orientation for both teachers and students. It is one that could instill in learners positive attitudes towards the process of learning English (Schweers, 1999, p. 13), and encourage teachers to revise current tendencies to completely avoid use of L1 in student interaction (Anton & DiCamilla, 1999, p. 245). As the sociocultural perspective does not offer insights into learners’ perceptions of their own behaviour, sensitizing learners and teachers regarding the acceptable/productive amount of L1 use is another inherent pedagogical value that would allow them to rationalize L1 use and exploit it judiciously. In practical terms, Prince (1996) suggests providing learners with a complementary awareness-raising approach that would develop their metacognitive strategies and attitudes so that they would be more willing/ready to adopt “the more effortful processes” of vocabulary learning, and, thereby, evade L1 overuse and apply “less explicit levels of mediation” (p. 289). For example, as suggested by Prince (1996), if classroom practice incorporates a stage that involves retrieval of newly learned words in production tasks, this technique can trigger more implicit/self-regulated “co-construction” of L2 new words that have been initially internalized through L1 mediation. It can be concluded that capitalizing on the sociocultural value of L1 use in learning and teaching L2 vocabulary does not have to be at the expense of L2 development. Being aware of the mediational role L1 plays can inform many teaching Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Aljaafreh, A., & Lantolf, J. P. (1994). Negative feedback as regulation and second language learning in the zone of proximal development. Modern Language Journal, 78(4), 465-483. Anton, M., & DiCamilla, F. (1999). Socio-cognitive functions of L1 collaborative interaction in the L2 classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 83(2), 233-247. Donato, R. (1994). Collective scaffolding in second language learning. In J. P. Lantolf & G. Appel (Eds.), Vygotskian approaches to second language research (pp. 33-56). Westport, CT: Ablex. Gutierrez, A. G. (2008). Microgenesis, method and object: A study of collaborative activity in a Spanish as a foreign language classroom. Applied Linguistics, 29(1), 120-148. Lantolf, J. P. (Ed.) (2000). Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Machaal, B. (2011). The use of Arabic in English classes: A teaching support or a learning hindrance? Arab World English Journal, 2(1), 194-232. Nassaji, H., & Swain, M. (2000). A Vygotskian perspective on corrective feedback in L2: The effect of random versus negotiated help on the learning of English articles. Language Awareness, 9(1), 34-52. Prince, P. (1996). Second language vocabulary learning: The role of context versus translation as a function of proficiency. The Modern Language Journal, 80(4), 478- 493. Rolin-Ianziti, J., & Varshney, R. (2008). Students’ views regarding the use of the first language: An exploratory study in a tertiary context maximizing target language use. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 65(2), 249-273. Schmitt, N. (2008). Review article: instructed second language vocabulary learning. Language Teaching Research, 12(3), 329-363. Schweers, C. W. (1999). Using L1 in the L2 classroom. English Teaching Forum, Apr-Jun, 6-13. Storch, N., & Aldosari, A. (2010). Learners’ use of first language (Arabic) in pair work in an EFL class. Language Teaching Research, 14(4), 355-375. Swain, M., & Lapkin, S. (2000). Task-based second language learning: The uses of the first language. Language Teaching Research, 4(3), 251-274. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

16

Teachers’ Understanding of Professional Development in Doha Abstract

This article reports the findings of a small-scale study into teachers’ understanding of professional development (PD) at an international language school in Doha, Qatar. Due to rapid growth in the region, teachers need support in order to meet client requests to develop new and challenging ESP courses, including safety, finance and marketing. Five British teachers with varying degrees of experience took part in interviews which included questions about PD regarding attitudes, direction and career. In this exploratory study, development occurs from the perspective of sociocultural theory within Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development. Results suggest that recognising differences between individual teachers within this zone could offer stakeholders more options for developing professionally than an approach which is standardised for all participants.

Introduction and Background

According to government figures in the Doha News on 2 October, 2014, Qatar’s population had reached 2,187,326 (Walker, 2014). This increase is sustained by an annual growth rate of 7.48%. As development continues at a rapid pace in preparation for the 2022 World Cup and implementation of the 2030 National Vision, Abdelrahman (2014, p. 65) cites the need for higher quality teachers and trainers through professional development (PD) in order to meet these challenges. Within this context, client requests at International House Doha (IHD) for English language education and training are becoming more diverse, including safety and technical English for the energy sector, English for finance, and professional writing for mid-level managers with a focus on marketing.

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Peter Frey International House Doha, Qatar

Preparing materials and teaching these types of courses demanded a high degree of flexibility from teachers, which caused tensions to emerge regarding PD. For example, some staff resisted observations from both peers and managers, whilst others refused to use reflective journals. At the same time, all teachers were interested in obtaining more qualifications from International House World Organisation (IHWO) and Cambridge ESOL in the UK. In support of the ongoing expansion of the teaching staff at IHD, this study is an effort to better understand teacher attitudes towards PD, as well as expectations for the direction of PD and its contribution to teacher careers. In order to move forward with an effective PD programme, the following research questions were formulated by the author, who was Academic Director at the time. 1. What are International House Doha teacher attitudes towards professional development? 2. What direction do teachers think professional development should take at International House Doha? 3. In what ways can professional development contribute to teachers’ own careers?

Theoretical Framework and Literature Review

The author understands development from the perspective of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, outlined in Bailey (2006). This perspective considers learning to be a “socially mediated process” (Kao, 2010, p. 118). According to Tharp and Gallimore (1998, as cited in Kao, 2010), this learning takes place within the zone of proximal development (ZPD), as participants move through four stages, which are: TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

1. Activities in which the learner is regulated by a more capable other; 2. Activities in which the learner begins to use selfregulation; 3. Activities that are wholly self-regulated; 4. This stage is used to “maintain or improve performance” (Tharp & Gallimore, 1998, as cited in Kao 2010, p. 126). Development occurs as the process of learning is internalised and the need for mediation is decreased. Although Kao (2010) discusses this theory in terms of language learning for students, within the framework of this investigation, “Teachers are adult learners,” as Bailey (2006, p. 42) explains. Understanding learning and development from this point of view (Kao, 2010) is consistent with social constructionism. Attitudes towards PD Bailey (2006, p. 40) proposes that teacher attitudes towards PD have received little attention in terms of research, a claim supported by Maskit (2011) and Howarth (2006). Maskit refers to “the implementation of reform in relation to teachers’ attitudes” in an investigation that aims to link attitudes with different stages in PD (2011, p. 851) and defines attitude as a “construction of three components - cognitive, affective and motivational” (p. 854). Howarth (2006, p. 14) reminds us that “attitude scaling” historically tends to focus on the individual as removed from the social context. Although Maskit (2011) includes two questionnaires on attitudes, the teachers as participants seem to be viewed as what Howarth (2006) calls “thinking machines,” who are removed from their own “historical and cultural context” (p. 14). Maskit further contends that the results of this investigation could be used by policy makers for the planning of pedagogical changes, in tandem with teacher stages in PD (2011, p. 858). Whilst the need for educational authorities to plan large-scale PD programmes is understandable, the author agrees with Allwright (2005, p. 358) that studies offering a solution of a “technical fix” run the risk of overlooking “quality of life issues” when understanding is not taken into account. Flowerdew (2001, p. 123) takes a different approach, using interviews to explore editor attitudes towards “nonnative” speakers of English from an epistemological stance of the “social construction of Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

17

knowledge.” However, the absence of a definition of attitude results in findings which appear to uncritically accept participant stances towards nonnative speakers. There is no mention of variations in respondent replies, although Flowerdew (2001, p. 126) uses contrast questions to “compare participants across interviews”. This differs from Potter and Wetherell’s (1987) remarks in Burr (1995, p. 130) that variations in interview responses are the “rule rather than the exception.” Furthermore, both Bailey (2006, p. 41) and Burr (1995, p. 129) observe that “attitude” is traditionally defined as “relatively enduring” and “something that lies within the person’s head,” respectively citing Rokeach (1971) and Potter and Wetherell (1988). At the same time, in consonance with sociocultural theory, Freeman (1989, p. 32) explains that attitude is “an interplay of externally oriented behaviour, actions and perceptions,” whilst Burr (1995, p. 131) in the same work focuses on Potter and Wetherell’s (1988) view of attitude as “intentional, socially directed behaviour.” It is these last two understandings of attitude that inform this paper. Directions in PD In this study, PD is viewed as bottom-up, contextualised and jointly constructed by participants. This perspective concurs with Rueda’s (1998) “five principles for professional development,” referred to in Bailey (2006, p. 45). With regards to directions in PD, the following articles examine options on both a large and a small scale. Borko, Elliott and Uchiyama (2002) offer examples in four model PD programmes in the state of Kentucky, USA that begin by tackling the problem of scheduling by mandating four PD days per year as part of the annual schedule. This is the only similarity between the schools, as each offers a range of PD activities that include team activities, portfolio-training as part of the assessment process, compilation of supplementary materials, demonstration lessons offered by one of the school principals and participation in external workshops. Although this approach was well received by stakeholders, overall emphasis is from the top-down, due to the scale of the programme. Diaz-Maggioli (2003, p. 1) also addresses the issue of scheduling PD on a large scale, but from what appears to be a more practical basis, calling for PD TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

18

that is built in to the daily routine of teaching staff. Implementation is accomplished through the use of reflective journals, action research, coaching and in-house workshops. This approach has the advantage of being sustained throughout the year, similar to Freeman’s (1989, p. 42) criteria for teacher development.

ranging from 25-40 years old. All hold either the CELTA or Trinity Certificate, plus a university degree. In terms of teaching experience, there is a wide range, starting with E, a recently-CELTAqualified teacher, followed by P, who has worked for three years as a teacher. M, S and D have been teaching for nine to ten years.

Contribution of PD to Teachers’ Careers Two differing perspectives are found in the literature concerning the contribution of PD to careers. Bailey, Curtis and Nunan (2001, p. 7) explain that teachers, especially in the USA, can “move up” in terms of “income and/or prestige” through PD. This is similar to Ur’s (1991, p. 325) suggestion of getting a degree as one way towards career advancement. Instead of focusing on career in terms of promotion, Huberman (1993b, as cited in Tsui, 2003) considers PD within the context of teaching and job satisfaction, explaining that teachers who work outside of their comfort zones tend to continue developing professionally and consequently enjoy their work.

Data Collection, Analyses and Limitations Data analyses consisted of first confirming and adjusting topics based on the interview transcripts. Categories were constructed within each topic and initially grouped according to similarities and differences. In a number of instances, respondents seemed to be at odds with themselves, especially with regards to changes in attitude towards PD and PD activities that interested teachers most. This is consistent with a constructionist understanding of “attitude.” Due to limits of time and the scope of this investigation, analysing data in preparation for a second set of interviews was not feasible.

From the above studies, it is clear that the literature does provide some answers to the research questions. At the same time, no investigation was found that examined all three research questions within one programme. Consequently, this paper is an attempt to address this gap, within the specific context of IHD.

Methodology

In line with the research questions and corresponding focus on individual teachers at IHD, this investigation is informed by an interpretive framework, which, according to Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2007, p. 21), “is characterized by a concern for the individual.” In this exploratory study, the emphasis is on “understanding,” as opposed to “problem-solving” (Allwright, 2005, p. 358).

A reflexive stance was maintained throughout the study, as this researcher/line manager strove to be aware of their own “ideology,” as indicated by Holliday (2001) in Troudi and Alwan (2010, p. 111). This was supported by re-reading transcripts and IHWO Guidelines, in addition to the writing of memos. Interviewees were also made aware of this reflexivity in an opening statement in which this researcher’s position as Academic Director was acknowledged, along with other typical statements for consent and ethics.

Results Attitude towards PD In this section, results for each research question are presented, followed by discussion. Accordingly, teachers’ attitudes towards PD will first be examined.

As in Flowerdew (2001), the method for this research is the interview (see Appendix). During interviews, the dual role of the author (researcher/ line manager) was monitored to ensure the absence of references at any time to aspects of quality control and disciplinary procedures that are included in PD at International House schools, particularly in the area of classroom observations.

M and S clearly state that they are “open” to “professional development” and to “more ideas.” At the same time, both teachers qualify their open attitudes, with S citing “time and professional commitments” and M the need to “see clearly that it’s (PD) benefitting me.” E and P indicate their openness towards PD by respectively emphasizing that it is “very important” to their “job” and their “profession.”

Participants were five teachers, all from the UK,

A different attitude is shown by D, who elaborates

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

that, “While I can understand the concept of professional development, I find most of it dressed up as something it isn’t...I’m somewhat skeptical about all notions of development.” There is also a range of responses from teachers when they are queried about changes in their attitudes towards PD since they began teaching. At one end, D asserts that their attitude towards PD has not changed “in any way,” and P claims that their attitude has not changed “that much.” However, in the same sections of the interviews, D and P appear to contradict themselves by actually giving examples of change in their attitudes. D seemingly includes the interviewer in the conversation, saying that, “I encountered somebody who knows what they’re talking about.” P again links PD to work, explaining that: “...if anything, I probably take it (PD) a little bit more seriously now, because my personal goals and aims for my career become clearer the longer I’ve been in the profession...” The other three teachers refer to varying degrees of shifts in their attitudes since they began teaching. Both E and M stress the change in attitude within the context of work, with E describing a move from a focus on “methodology” to one on “practical use,” and M stressing that the “need for professional development has grown” as the emphasis shifts from the next lesson to a “broader picture.” S looks back over the years in terms of a change in self-awareness: “...you get older and wiser in so much as you then realise that you’re not as wise as you perhaps thought you were.” As can be seen in this section, the attitudes of teachers towards PD do not appear to be stable or fixed. A range of different attitudes towards PD is evident in the responses, as well as varying degrees of change in attitude over time. Direction of and Teacher Contributions to PD The scheduling of activities is an issue that can impact on the direction of PD (Diaz-Maggioli, 2003). This point raised by interviewees, who propose solutions that range from regularly scheduled sessions to more impromptu activities that are embedded in the timetable. Both E and M are in favour of regular scheduling, with E calling for more “routine workshops” and M asking for “the courses we’ve already got planned,” Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

19

which is a list of IHWO teaching qualifications. This indicates that M is requesting teacher training, rather than PD, according to Freeman’s (1989) criteria for teacher training and for teacher development. D and S prefer for PD to be integrated into the teaching schedule, with D stating that teaching “with other teachers” would “definitely” be beneficial. P offers options for both scheduled and unscheduled PD, with a combination of “weekly sessions” of topics to be “emailed out a few days before,” along with an open approach to team teaching and peer observations when “there’s a class going on.” Within Tharp and Gallimore’s (1998) framework, outlined in Kao (2010, p. 125), S and D appear to see themselves contributing to PD as capable others in the ZPD, with both offering to give a workshop to other teachers. E offers to work individually with experienced teachers to remind them of CELTA criteria, whilst P and M offer to organise workshops, in which they could also “learn more myself.” These apparent contradictions between the direction of PD and individual contributions to PD suggest that teachers are at different stages within the ZPD regarding this research question. Peter Frey is an Education and Training Consultant with International House Doha and has worked around the world with International House schools, in addition to the University of North Carolina, USA and RMIT University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He holds an MA TESOL from Sheffield-Hallam University and an MEd from Exeter University. His research interests include professional development and curriculum.

Contribution of PD towards Career Just as teacher attitudes towards PD seem to change and different people need more or less other or selfregulation in the ZPD, each teacher seems to view the contribution of PD towards their career in a different light. In general, teachers divide into two groups – those who see PD as directly contributing to their career and those who do not. M refers to “personal career development” when commenting that “supervising some of the teachers” could be a “stepping stone” in a “career path.” As mentioned in the previous section, M appears to use the terminology for teacher training and PD interchangeably, according to Freeman (1989, p. 42). Similar to M, P specifically cites “any kind of professional development” as “beneficial for my career” and expresses future interest in “training” or “management.” E states that the combination TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

20

of PD with “more experience” makes him/her “more employable.” These stances are similar to the observation that PD can contribute to “moving up” (Bailey, Curtis, & Nunan, 2001, p. 7). In contrast, S “questions the word career” and its apparent link to “promotion,” claiming that “I’m more interested in being the best teacher I can…” D has career aspirations as a writer and explains that, “I decided to teach English because it improved my English.” Accordingly, these two teachers appear to view PD more from the perspective of Huberman (1993b, as cited in Tsui, 2003), considering job satisfaction to be more important than promotion.

Conclusion

As an exploratory, qualitative study, some questions have been answered and others have been raised. Investigating teacher attitudes from a constructionist perspective has contributed to an understanding of apparent contradictions and variability that occur in the interviews.Through the lens of sociocultural theory, these attitudes may be understood in terms of teacher development within Vygotsky’s ZPD (Bailey, 2006). In practical terms, this range of attitudes and perspectives suggests that a “one size fits all approach” to PD would be “inappropriate” (Freeman, 2002, p. 11). In terms of reflexivity, as Academic Director, the author believes that such an approach could also impact on overall quality at IHD. Consequently, taking into account the specific context of this investigation and the small number of teachers involved, there is a need for a programme of PD that could include the following: • Awareness by all stakeholders of teachers’ changing attitude/stance towards PD; • Regularly-scheduled workshops run by capable others, as well as those who are equally or less capable, clarifying which sessions are for PD and which sessions are for teacher training; • Team teaching, which could function as developmental observations; • Optional use of journals; • Handing out topics for PD workshops in advance; • Equal participation for all teachers, both full and part timers.

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

With regards to future research on PD at IHD, from a perspective of reflexivity, similar investigations might be more effective if conducted by teachers, rather than management. In addition, as the most recent Managing Director has agreed to hire teachers who speak English as a first or as a second language, studies including both native English and native Arabic speaking teachers of English could contribute to findings that are more contextualised to Qatar, providing much-needed “local data” (Abdelrahman, 2014, p. 66). Similar research could also be conducted by other private language and educational organisations. To conclude, further context-specific research within the region that examines teacher attitudes towards PD, as well as the direction of PD and its contribution to career, could provide academic managers and teacher trainers with data that recognises differences in teacher development within the ZPD and offers the option of PD with “choice over prescription,” with a “variety of opportunities” in line with Freeman (2002, p. 11).

References

Abdelrahman, R. (2014). Vocational education and training in Qatar. Saarbrucken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing. Allwright, D. (2005). Developing principles for practitioner research: The case of exploratory practice. The Modern Language Journal, 89, 353-366. Bailey, K., Curtis, A., & Nunan, D. (2001). Pursing professional development:The self as source. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle. Bailey, K.M. (2006). Language teacher supervision: A case-based approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Borko, H., Elliott, R., & Uchiyama, K., (2002). Professional development: A key to Kentucky’s educational reform effort. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 969-987. Burr,V. (1995). Social constructionism. Hove, England: Routledge. Cohen, L. Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. Abingdon, England: Routledge. Diaz-Maggioli, G. (2003). Fulfilling the promise of professional development. IATEFL, 175, 1-5. Flowerdew, J. (2001). Attitudes of Journal Editors to Nonnative Speaker Contributions. TESOL Quarterly, 35(1), 121-150.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

Freeman, D. (1989). Teacher training, development, and decision-making: A model of teaching and related strategies for language teacher education. TESOL Quarterly, 23(1), 27-45. Freeman, D. (2002). The hidden side of the work: Teacher knowledge and learning to teach. A perspective from North American educational research on teacher education in English language teaching. Language Teaching, 35, 1-13. Howarth, C. (2006). How social representations of attitudes have informed attitude theories: The consensual and the reified. Theory and Psychology, 16(5), 3-36. Kao, P.L. (2010). Examining second language learning: Taking a sociocultural stance. Annual Review of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, 7, 113-131. Maskit, D. (2011). Teachers’ attitudes toward pedagogical changes during various stages of professional development. Teaching a nd Teacher Education, 27, 851-860. Troudi, S., & Alwan, F. (2010). Teachers’ feelings during curriculum change in the United Arab Emirates: Opening Pandora’s box. Teacher Development, 14(1), 107-121. Tsui, A.B.M. (2003). Understanding expertise in teaching: Case studies of second language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ur, P. (1991). A course in language teaching: Practice and theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

21

Walker, L. (2014, December 2). Qatar’s population reaches all-time high, but rate of growth slowing. Doha News. Retrieved from http://dohanews.co

Appendix Interview Questions 1. Please describe your attitude or stance towards professional development. 2. Please think back to when you first began teaching and describe your attitude or stance towards PD at that time. How, if at all, has this changed since you started teaching? If so, why do you think this is the case? 3. Which of the following PD activities interest you the most? Why do you think you are more interested in _________? 4. In your opinion, what direction should PD at International House Doha take? (Please try to be as specific as possible.) 5. Considering your knowledge and expertise, in what ways do you think you can contribute to PD at International House Doha? (Please give 2 or 3 examples.) 6. In what ways do you feel that PD can contribute to the development of your own career? (specific i

i

i

i

i

TESOL Arabia announces the publication of The Proceedings of the 21st TESOL Arabia Conference. With 19 papers covering a variety of topics, The Proceedings are required reading for those who want to stay current with the state of the art of teaching and learning English in the Gulf and beyond. Order your copy today at

www.tesolarabia.org. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

22

Improving Learning Outcomes: Creating and Implementing a Specialized Corpus

Jody Shimoda University of Calgary in Qatar

Marie-Claude Toriida University of Calgary in Qatar

This paper describes the steps taken to develop a corpus-informed list of high frequency nursing vocabulary, to prepare students for entry into a Canadian-based nursing baccalaureate program at a transnational branch campus in the Middle East. Using a concordance program, a frequency wordlist was generated, and an annotation of the first 2500 words was produced. An autonomous web-based study method was employed to address individual knowledge gaps and assist students with acquiring and retaining vocabulary.The creation of this annotated list and its practical implementation is believed to be an essential starting point for developing a vocabulary program aimed at increasing second language learners’ academic success in a discipline-specific degree program.

Overview

Vocabulary knowledge plays a critical role in reading comprehension (Bin Baki & Kameli, 2013; Golkar & Yamini, 2007) and written communication (Lee, 2003;Yang, 2013). Second language (L2) learners who have deficits in vocabulary knowledge are likely to encounter problems with discipline-specific content due to a high proportion of unknown general words Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

D. William Kay University of Calgary in Qatar

and technical vocabulary. In the nursing education context, recent studies have indicated that the vocabulary used in discipline-specific textbooks may create barriers to understanding and prevent L2 learners from fully engaging with and responding to what is read (Yang, 2015). As a result, learners have a reduced ability to read, write, and function successfully in their field of study. In order to facilitate and maximize L2 learner success in the context of nursing education, the challenges posed by technical and procedural explanations contained in textbooks must be addressed. This project was developed by three teacherparticipants at the University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) within the framework of an action research methodology (Burns, 1999), through a contextual exploration of L2 learners’ vocabulary acquisition and proficiency. Established in 2006, UCQ is a transnational branch campus of the University of Calgary, whose main campus is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As a nursing intensive tertiary institution, UCQ offers nursing degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The undergraduate TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

program is offered in two streams: a two-year post diploma degree and a four-year degree. The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program at UCQ serves to improve academic writing and reading skills. Approximately 85% of students require one or more courses in the EAP program prior to enrollment in either nursing stream, as the majority of students are L2 learners. Prospective students are admitted into the EAP program with an IELTS score ranging from 4.5 to 6. EAP placement level is determined by an institutionally administered placement test. Based on collective experiences and informal discussions between EAP and nursing faculty at UCQ, the issue of how to bridge linguistic and vocabulary gaps was identified as the area most affecting the teaching and learning process in the nursing program. Subsequent classroom observations by EAP faculty strongly indicated that vocabulary knowledge played a crucial role in students’ receptive and productive skills, and that a more systematic approach to vocabulary instruction and acquisition was needed. A further observation was that students in both streams of the undergraduate nursing program have different and distinct ranges of vocabulary knowledge. The post diploma students, who are experienced nurses, matriculated from the previous education system where there was a minimal focus on English. Although this cohort possesses a sizeable range of nursing-specific vocabulary, their range of general as well as academic words tends to be more limited. Conversely, students in the four-year program are without nursing experience and graduated from the current education system where there is an emphasis on English. While this group has a broader range of general English and some academic words, they generally have minimal knowledge of disciplinespecific vocabulary.

Problem Identification and Significance

Problem Identification Using the General Service List (GSL) (West, 1953), the teacher-participants involved in this project had previously implemented an intensive and targeted vocabulary program in their courses. However, initial exploration revealed that time constraints coupled with the amount of material that required coverage made such an approach unfeasible. A viable process for effectively selecting and addressing high Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

23

impact words to maximize student text engagement and help overcome barriers toward written communication needed to be created. It was felt that this would aid and increase student vocabulary acquisition and understanding in a contextualized learning environment. As a result, preliminary work on developing a corpus-informed list of high frequency, nursing-specific vocabulary used in first year nursing textbooks was conducted. Jody Shimoda is an English for Academic Purposes faculty member and the Undergraduate Program Language Lead at the University of Calgary in Qatar. Her teaching and research interests include the use of plain language in materials creation and the development of innovative instructional models to support content and language integrated learning.

Significance As the challenge of effectively preparing students for meeting the needs and goals of the Nursing Program is a core issue at UCQ, a need to better integrate and develop language skills within the EAP Program was recognized. By identifying and consistently introducing nursing textbook vocabulary, it was the belief of this study`s teacher- participants that the learning transfer between the EAP and Nursing Programs could be strengthened which would result in the increase of linguistic competence. The development of a corpus-informed list of high-frequency vocabulary from nursing textbooks was agreed upon as a way to enable EAP faculty to incorporate appropriate words from the GSL (West, 1953) and AWL (Coxhead, 2000), in addition to nursing-specific vocabulary, into course content. This would provide students with intensive instruction and focused materials prior to nursing program entry. Similarly, this corpus approach should support both the EAP and nursing faculty in targeting and teaching essential vocabulary, thus reducing the cognitive load for students. Furthermore, it should serve to enhance students’ reading abilities by scaffolding their understanding of the central concepts and key ideas of core texts while reducing lexical ambiguity. Success achieved in this area may play an integral role in enhancing teaching and creating better learning conditions for students in the nursing program.

Corpus Creation

As a first step in planning, all required textbooks used in first-year nursing courses at UCQ were identified. A search was subsequently initiated to TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

24

elimination, a stop list is often utilized to exclude very high frequency words, such as articles, prepositions, and verbs. However, this was not pursued because it was important to identify high frequency collocations such as common two-part verbs that the students in this context had yet to master.

find those available in e-book format. The textbook, Fundamentals of Nursing:The Nature of Nursing Practice in Canada (Kozier et al., 2003), was selected because it was used across a range of first-year nursing courses at this institution. After obtaining the digital copy, the contents were copied into a Microsoft Word document. A first round of word elimination was then performed. The purpose of this step was to remove words that were not considered essential to understanding nursing content. This data was saved as text files for later analysis. Table 1 identifies sample vocabulary items that were excluded and provides examples of exceptions to the exclusion guidelines when vocabulary items were identified as medical terms. Table 1 Vocabulary Items Excluded from Text Analysis Type of words

Examples

Examples of medical terms kept

proper nouns of Canada, USA. place with possessive, adjective, and abbreviated forms proper nouns of people with possessive and adjective form

Freud’s, Freudian

Parkinson›s disease

agencies/ organizations and abbreviations

National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission

test names and abbreviations

National Council Licensure Examination

non medical abbreviations

TV, six Cs

textbook vocabulary

chapter, unit, figure, units of blood

repetitive textbook headings

Learning outcomes, Key terms

letters

a., i.e.

chapter sections

Suggested Readings, References,

holidays

Christmas

T cell, c difficile

No. 1

Marie-Claude Toriida is an English for Academic Purposes faculty member at the University of Calgary in Qatar. Her areas of professional interest include corpus development, corpus based vocabulary teaching, vocabulary learning strategies, and reading comprehension.

Corpus-Informed Annotated List Creation

Using Anthony’s AntConc (2012), a freeware concordance program, a frequency word list was generated. It was examined for any vocabulary items that the teacher-participants had failed to exclude the first time. A second round of word elimination was performed to address problem entries and a new frequency list was produced. When carrying out word Volume 24

Each word in the Fundamentals of Nursing (FON) corpus was further identified as occurring in: a) the GSL (West, 1953); b) the New General Service List (NGSL) (Browne, Culligan, & Phillips, 2013); or c) the AWL (Coxhead, 2000). The FON corpus was considered to have an AWL equivalent if one word type from one of the 570 word families represented in the AWL was found. The frequency equivalents of the FON corpus were generated for each of the above lists using Microsoft Access 2012. Any FON words not found in the above lists were also identified. This last step allowed the teacher-participants to isolate vocabulary items that had not been properly counted. For example, the word analyze in the FON corpus was found to have no equivalents; however, it was found in the AWL as analyse.

February 2016

After compiling the FON corpus, an annotation of the first 2500 words was made in a table format. Using a standardized process for listing, each word entry included: a) the word form, b) a definition, c) collocations, and d) a sample sentence. The first step of the process was completed using AntConc’s (2012) concordance function. The highest frequency word form for each entry, as used in the textbook, was identified by looking at all sentences in which a word and its corresponding lemma word forms occurred. An example of this would be the word entry “drain” and its corresponding lemma word forms “drains,” “draining,” and “drained.” When two word forms were used almost equally, for instance, as a noun and a verb, both were listed and a definition and sample sentence was provided for each. The next step included listing a definition for each word entry. Definitions were taken from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary Online (2014) or the web-based Medical Dictionary TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

(TheFreeDictionary, 2014). A definition was also given when a high frequency collocation of a word was found to have its own meaning. Following the definition, two- to four-word, high frequency collocations were identified and listed for each word entry using AntConc’s (2012) Cluster/Ngram function. Providing sample sentences from the text completed the final stage of the annotation process. Some sentences were shortened and simplified for clarity and easier understanding. Further to this, an attempt was made to verify that words used in sample sentences had appeared earlier in the corpus. In this way, unknown words were not used in sample sentences and a repetitive review of previous words was incorporated. In completion of the last stage, a final round of word elimination was done. When a word was considered very technical or difficult for EAP faculty to explain because it involved an understanding of theory or deeper medical knowledge, it was removed. In order to make this decision, it was determined that if native English speakers entering a nursing program would know the word, it was not removed. If the word would be unknown, it was concluded that it was better for students to encounter the word in nursing courses. For example, while nosocomial infection can be explained through a simplified definition, systolic blood pressure would need to be clarified through a technical explanation of blood pressure readings.

Corpus Characteristics

The data set that was used for analysis was the frequency list, arranged from highest to lowest, of word types generated after the second round of word elimination. While the FON corpus was composed of 152,642 word tokens (the total amount of words counted), it had 6,820 word types (the unique form of the words). For example, the sentence “Rehabilitation may be given in the hospital or in the home.” consists of 11 word tokens. However, since the words “in” and “the” are repeated, the sentence would have only 9 word types (rehabilitation, may, be, given, in, the, hospital, or, home). The FON corpus included 82% of the NGSL words, 71.9% of the GSL, and 88.9% of the AWL. The first 2500 high frequency words included 54% of the NGSL, 45% of the GSL, 58.4% of the AWL words, and covered 94.6% of the contents of the textbook. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

25

The composition of the corpus is of special interest in terms of pedagogy and curriculum planning. It indicates that the FON corpus represents a blend of high frequency general English words, the most important academic words in a nursing context, and high frequency nursing-specific vocabulary. Since the NGSL provides 90.34% coverage within the 273 million word Cambridge English Corpus (Browne, 2013), the 81.97% coverage result confirms that the FON corpus has a higher than average amount of technical terms. Technical vocabulary is known to comprise a large part of the running words in textbooks (Chung & Nation, 2003). Learning it is particularly challenging to second language learners (Nation, 2001), therefore indicating a need to give special consideration to the high volume of these words in the FON corpus. D. William Kay is a senior instructor and teaching and learning specialist in the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary in Qatar. His research interests are in the areas of educational leadership, communities and networks of practice, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Initial research on second language acquisition and reading comprehension found that successful comprehension took place when 95% of words were known (Hirsh & Nation, 1992; Laufer, 1989). Later research contested this finding and concluded that 98% lexical coverage was needed for adequate comprehension (Hu & Nation, 2000; Nation, 2001). More recently, Laufer and Ravenhorst-Kalovski (2010) contended that 95% lexical coverage is needed for reading with assistance, while 98% is necessary for unassisted, independent reading. Knowing the first 2500 highest frequency words in the FON corpus could increase students’ reading comprehension and support them in nursing courses since these words comprise close to 95% of the textbook. This further validated the need to implement intensive and targeted vocabulary study in all levels of the EAP program using the corpusinformed annotated list.

Classroom Implementation

The current EAP vocabulary acquisition approach is based on an interval learning strategy, which employs a spaced repetition technique for memorization. After initial input, words are reviewed at increasingly lengthier intervals to facilitate long-term retention. This technique is based on Ebbinghaus’s theory of the learning and forgetting curve (Ebbinghaus, TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

26

1885/1964). Through the plotting of the rate at which he learned and forgot nonsensical words, Ebbinghaus noticed that reviewing selected words over an expanse of time more thoroughly aided retention than reviewing large groups of words only once. Pimsleur (1967) and Leitner (1972) are often cited as the first theorists who applied this technique to language learning. Consistent short periods of study using spaced repetition have repeatedly been found to produce more beneficial effects than mass presentation (Crowder, 1976; Greene, 1989). More recently, a meta-analysis comparing learners who used spaced repetition and those who learned by mass presentation showed that the former group outperformed the latter on various memory tests 67% of the time (Donovan & Radosevich, 1999). Variations within this result were found depending on the nature of the task, the interval time, the interaction of the variables, and the methodological rigor of the studies. While initial spaced repetition systems made use of hand held flashcards (Leitner, 1972; Mondria & Mondria-De Vries, 1994), more recent systems in the 21st century learning context such as Anki (https// ankiweb.net), Mnemosyne (http//mnemosyne-proj. org) and SuperMemo (https//supermemo.com) take the form of free computer and web-based applications. These have the benefit of keeping performance and study data for each user and can be motivational for those wishing to see evidence of progress or gain a deeper understanding of their study habits. In these programs, interval review times are calculated by an algorithm based on student responses to a prompt regarding the ease of recall. As well as being more precise than a manual method, this ensures that students are optimizing their time and are not over or under studying words. Anki was chosen as the system for study because of the easyto-read data it generates and the ease of setting up and syncing computer-based and Internet-based accounts. A further benefit is that settings can be changed to make the interval time more flexible than the automatic settings to ensure words are reviewed more often. As a preliminary step, student computer and internet-based accounts were set up and synced, enabling any data generated by Anki to be stored in a folder. Students then participated in an introductory Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

lesson to learn the process for making and studying word cards. This lesson also included an explanation of how to self-select words for study from the annotated list. Specifically, students were instructed to go through the list in order of highest to lowest frequency. When they encountered a word they did not recognize, they entered the full annotation in Anki. One side of the “word card� contained the word in English, and the other contained the part of speech, definition, collocation, sample sentence and the word in Arabic if they chose. Self-selecting words enabled students to address their individual vocabulary gaps. Based on the semester length and a consistent input rate, each student selected and entered twenty new words per week, or approximately 220 words per term. The corpus was used across all levels of the EAP program, allowing students to continue with their individualized list regardless of their level. Assessment was conducted using informal weekly word tests, useful for clarifying progress and assisting students with problem words or pronunciation issues. Tests were cumulative over the term and although students received no score, 10 percent of the total reading course grade was allocated for the process of inputting, studying and learning these words. Students who demonstrated effort and progress, as reflected both in the data generated by Anki and teacher observations, received full marks. Based on a departmental decision, the vocabulary component of the EAP Program learning outcomes has a dual focus. One component is comprised of word lists generated from content material and has no prescribed study method. The other is centered on the study of the FON corpus using Anki, and is graded separately.

Discussion and Future Directions

The goal of this project was to develop a corpusinformed list of high-frequency words found in nursing textbooks to assist L2 students in the situated context of the University of Calgary, Qatar. Implementing a vocabulary acquisition program based on this list could potentially increase second language learners’ academic success in a disciplinespecific program. Additionally, it should assist students in the comprehension of core texts and help them overcome obstacles in both written and oral communication. However, there is a paucity TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

of research with regard to the implementation of targeted vocabulary acquisition strategies and their effectiveness (Budgell et al., 2007; Millar & Budgell, 2008;Yang, 2015). One possible future direction could be undertaking a rigorous study at this institution to measure vocabulary size and depth of word knowledge, along with the perceived usefulness of the corpus-informed list and study approach. Building a stable and comprehensive corpus could become the basis of an intensive, targeted vocabulary program. A broader range of textbooks that have high utility, both in the number of courses and year of use within the nursing program, could be run through the concordance program and analyzed. This would increase the number of word tokens, build stability, and produce a frequency list containing more words with a higher number of appearances across texts. There is also a need to identify why certain words are appearing as high frequency. Building a larger corpus can locate words having high rates of dispersion. These words appear frequently across a range of text whereas words with low dispersion appear frequently in a particular text (Millar & Budgell, 2008). This analysis can be done using the AntConc (2012) Concordance Plot function after a frequency list is generated. A final stage in the development of a comprehensive vocabulary program is to use the information provided by the corpus to assist in curriculum and materials development. As health and nursing related themes are used throughout the EAP program, this corpus can assist in further identifying and streamlining vocabulary and collocates for materials inclusion. Increasing the number of word-encounters in materials will increase the chance of retention in long-term memory.

Conclusion

The creation of the FON corpus and the annotated list, along with the implementation of a spaced repetition study method, is strongly believed to be a starting point for developing a vocabulary program aimed at preparing students to become successful in the situated context of this transnational branch campus. An annotated corpus provides depth for each item and should maximize student learning for time spent. Time is further optimized through Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

27

using a study method proven to increase efficiency of learning and aid in long-term retention. High frequency words and expressions in the program will be revisited in textbooks thereby reducing the cognitive load of course-based reading tasks. In order to construct a more fluid learning experience for students, further classroom-based research in this teaching and learning context will be undertaken. This will assist with determining the validity of assumptions based on empirical observations as well as with the refinement of this targeted vocabulary acquisition approach.

References

Anki (2014). Anki (Version anki-2.0.31) [Software ]. Available from https://ankisrs.net/. Anthony, L. (2012). AntConc (Version 3.2.4) [Computer Software]. Tokyo, Japan: Waseda University. Available from http://www.antlab.sci. waseda.ac.jp/. Bin Baki, R., & Kameli, S. (2013). The impact of vocabulary knowledge level on EFL reading comprehension. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and Literature, 2(1), 85-89. Browne, C. (2013). The new general service list: Celebrating 60 years of vocabulary learning. The Language Teacher: JALT 2013 Special Issue: Plenary Articles, 37(4), 13-16. Browne, C., Culligan, B., & Phillips, J. (2013). The new general service list. Retrieved from http:// www.newgeneralservicelist.org/. Budgell, B., Miyazaki, M., O’Brien, M., Perkins, R., & Tanaka,Y. (2007). Developing a corpus of the nursing literature: A pilot study. Japan Journal of Nursing Science, 4(1), 21-25. Burns, A. (1999). Collaborative action research for English language teachers. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary Online. (2014). Retrieved from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/ dictionary/learner-english/. Chung, T.M., & Nation, I.S.P. (2003). Technical vocabulary in specialized text. Reading in a Foreign Language, 15(2), 103-116. Retrieved from http:// nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly, 34(2), 213-238. Crowder, R.G. (1976). Principles of learning and memory. Oxford, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

28

Donovan, J.J., & Radosevich, D.J. (1999). A metaanalytic review of the distribution of practice effect: Now you see it, now you don’t. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84(5), 795-805. Ebbinghauss, H. (1964). Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology. New York, NY: Dover. Golkar, M., & Yamini, M. (2007).Vocabulary, proficiency and reading comprehension. The Reading Matrix, 7(3), 88-112. Greene, R.L. (1989). Spacing effects in memory: Evidence for a two-process account. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 15(3), 371-377. Hirsh, D., & Nation, I.S.P. (1992). What vocabulary size is needed to read unsimplified texts for pleasure? Reading in a Foreign Language, 8(2), 689696. Hu, M., & Nation, I.S.P. (2000). Unknown vocabulary density and reading comprehension. Reading in a Foreign Language, 13(1), 403-430. Kozier, B., Erb, G., Berman, A., Burke, K., Bouchal, S.R., & Hirst, S. (2003). Fundamentals of Nursing: The Nature of Nursing Practice in Canada, First Canadian Edition. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada. Laufer, B. (1989). What percentage of text-lexis is essential for comprehension? In C. Lauren & M. Nordman (Eds.), Special language: From humans thinking to thinking machines (pp. 316-323). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Laufer, B., & Ravenhorst-Kalovski, G.C. (2010). Lexical threshold revisited: Lexical text coverage, learners’ vocabulary size and reading comprehension. Reading in a Foreign Language, 22(1), 15-30. Lee, S.H. (2003). ESL learners’ vocabulary use in writing and the effects of explicit vocabulary instruction. System, 31(4), 537-561. Leitner, S. (1972). So lernt man lernen: Der weg zum erfolg. Freiburg/Wien/Basel: Herder. Millar, N., & Budgell, B.N. (2008). The language of public health – A corpus based analysis. Journal of Public Health, 16(5), 369-374. Mondria, J. A., & Mondria-De Vries, S. (1994). Efficiently memorizing words with the help of word cards and “hand computer”: Theory and applications. System, 22(1), 47-57.

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Nation. I.S.P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pimsleur, P. (1967). A memory schedule. Modern Language Journal, 51(2), 73-75. SuperMemo (2015) [Software]. Available from http://supermemo.com/. TheFreeDictionary. (2014). Retrieved from http:// medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/. The Mnemosyne Project (2015). Mnemosyne [Software]. Available from http:// mnemosyne-proj.org. West, M. (1953). A general service list of English words. London, UK: Longman, Green and Co. Yang, L. (2013). Research on the role of vocabulary in the teaching of writing based on mathematical statistics law. Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Engineering and Applications (IEA): 2012 Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering, 219, 627-633. Yang, M. N. (2015). A nursing academic word list. English for Specific Purposes, 37, 27-38. i

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

i

i

i

i

www.tesolarabia.org


Reader FeatureResponse Article

29

Nuance, Change, Challenge and Networks in the Translation of Religious Poetry: Elizabeth Rainey HCT, Abu Dhabi

Cultural Bridging through Ethnographical Networking in the United Arab Emirates

The paper highlights the background of producing a context-sensitive co-translation of a key Emirati religious poem. Fully sensible of the many challenges involved, the venture has no guarantee of comprehensive success. The debt to intangible Emirati heritage is acknowledged through a joint translation strategy, which helps to help engage nonspecialists in the culture and as the UAE repositions itself within the literary community, such efforts are being increasingly recognized. In order to make sense of my linguistic environment, a personalized co-translated collection of poetry, negotiated through a network of key Emirati actors, was produced. This included a religious poem and, as translators historically have not tended to be degree specialists, it was vital to negotiate an appropriate form of words. As when writing of the Moors, Burckhardt (1975) stated, “In order to understand a culture, it is necessary to feel affinity for its values... at least in those which meet not only the physical but also the spiritual requirements of man, without which life is meaningless” (p. 7). To this end, the poetry of Ousha al Suwaidi, the “It Girl of the Arabs,” (Fatat al Arab), was accessed, ّ ‫( شهر‬Shahar al som wah specifically ‫الصوم والرّحمه‬ al rahma). The Month of Fasting and Mercy attracted me in a quest to understand the key Islamic pillar of Ramadan, and this journey led to the Women’s Museum in Dubai and the Diwan. As theological issues should not be misrepresented at any level, due diligence was used and linguistic, behavioural and aesthetic components intertwined in consideration of the target language. Contextual implications, the distinctive voice of a poet, Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

together with a faithful processing of the Emirati Arabic and Islamic ideals (al adab) all had to be combined. The use of impeccable form with content found in the calligraphy in the Ousha Diwan, a tactile and visual use of the medium, assisted the recording and publishing of her poetry to impact readers. Yet the framework of variables presented here is still a narrative without a final chapter. The need to revisit it over time is evidenced and remains the research intention. The sections below set out some of the historical concerns and modern day challenges involved.

The Spoken Word as Text

To begin with, transmission of religious texts originally may have been as an initiation into a small community with a secret language, and losing this separateness often led to a fear that the text might become corrupted when networks were extended. Later recording through writing was then seen as another initiation (Goody, 1986). The importance of records meant that purity of transmission was paramount, so texts were memorized, informing the consciousness of the faithful (Schiffman, 1996). Additionally, the seven or ten readers or transmitters (Qira’a) of the Qu’ran are a documented chain; this means any dissemination of Islamic concepts is heavily scrutinized. The need to avoid exploitation of the contributor, a consideration of copyright issues, avoidance of bias reflected in the choice of terminology, correct positioning towards sources, key actors and sponsorship, and an accepted translation process through scrupulous cross-checking of English and TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Reader Feature Response Article

30

Arabic were some issues that arose. Refreshment of the authentication process, avoidance of cultural misunderstanding, and misappropriation of intangible heritage were also major concerns.

Transmission: Nuance

To show both the continuing appeal of theological poetry and of the study of other literatures, benchmarking of the many translations of Dante’s Divine Comedy proved useful. Possible structural forms of prose, blank verse or rhyme is just one aspect of translation, and the Paradiso opens: La gloria di colui che tutto move Per l’universo penetra, e resplende In una parte piu e meno altrove. (Dante Alighieri, 1997) Cary translated this Canto as: His glory, by whose might all things are mov’d, Pierces the universe, and in one part Sheds more resplendence, elsewhere less. (Dante Alighieri, 2004) While the Hollanders used: The glory of Him who moves all things Pervades the universe and shines In one part more and in another less (Dante Alighieri, 2007) Dante’s penetra has become “pierces,” or “pervades,” and while there is a certain amount of license, the choices are faithful to the original text. The text continues to inspire scrutiny today. Elizabeth Rainey teaches at HCT, Abu Dhabi. She has a BA Hons in Medieval, Renaissance and Modern English Literature and Theology, MA TCD, and MA Linguistics and TESOL. In addition to exhibiting Cityscapes, she has recently published Reality and Illusion (2012), The Art of Emirati Storytelling (2015), and Ukaz Revisited: The al Nabati Vernacular Tradition in the Emirates in Bardic Chairs (in press). Interests include poetry, folklore, linguistics, comparative literature, musicology, translation studies and TESOL.

Nor was all translation treated as purely devotional within the ranks of the religious orders, as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a satire of the estates and “condiciouns,” shows. His use of Chaunticleer in The Nun’s P riest’s Tale as a ready target of social banter, parading erudition to court Pertelope, is hilarious. Similarly, attempts to translate Ousha’s work from a relatively closed circle of Arabic readers to a mainstream English audience may yet amuse many. Moreover, established networks originating in the Middle East, echoed in the recent co-translation of The West-East Divan.The Poems, with “Notes and Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Essays”: Goethe’s Intercultural Dialogues, have proven seminal (Bidney & von Arnim, 2000). Interest in co-translation, comparative literature and religious poetry is refocused, yet as the search for theoretical approaches remains a contentious one, such an exercise is not for the fainthearted (House, 2014). As Ousha’s Diwan in the Women’s Museum, Dubai, provides a welcome focus for host culture, this intimate yet at the same time soft mass-mediation of vernacular poetry, what Dueck might describe as a “poetical public,” celebrates inter-cultural communication (in press, p. 13). Residents, tourists, and Emiratis are involved in the experience of her poetry and its celebration. The collective response is both a private and a public action, and while aspects of Eastern culture such as Perso-Arabic and Indian art, narrative and television also influence Emirati performance, aesthetics and language, Emirati poetry is quite distinctive. The lexis used in translating the poem attempts to avoid potential negative effects caused by the asymmetrical relationship of English to Arabic, and an implicit social value was attached to the exercise, rather than mere cultural inquiry. Following Newmark (1984, p. 61) and “designed to satisfy both the author of the text and the reader of the translation in equal measure,” the project has included translations of oral al Nabati poems which also had some religious content. Paired with Emirati Muslims, checking both on lexis and axiology, and finally drawing on the language of the King James Bible and Christian devotional poetry, a final version was presented. As Dante was familiar with the works of Muslim writers like Ibn Arabi, according to Copleston (1950), classical precedent has been used to reference this translation process. Capitalization of nouns such as, “Succour,” “Bounty,” and “Sustain” was used for the properties ّ ‫( شهر‬Shahar of God in the poem in ‫الصوم والرّحمه‬ al som wah al rahma), suggesting the beauty of the original text and also the seniority of the poet through an older version of the English language. However, due to recent discussions, the translation is respectfully not submitted here; the many challenges encountered in the translation are instead relayed.

Emirati Axiology: Change

Such a need to revisit the work was not unexpected. Although the original translation was

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Reader FeatureResponse Article

reworked and authenticated by bilingual academics prior to presentation, redirection towards a much longer religious poem and others was advised. As with the Qur’an, held to have been revealed in pure Arabic, any translation of Islamic texts is problematic. The “associations that… words had for their original audience” are not possible to replicate, but co-translation with Emirati Muslims was part of the solution to this challenge (Irwin, 2002, ix). However, skewing translation into a particular cultural mindset is inevitable as the circle of the cognoscenti widens (Robinson, 2000). The community-based approach, both in terms of understanding the country’s regional dialects and mediating Islam, may arguably provide a continuity of transmission; however, more consultation with leading al Nabati poets has been urged and has already begun. Robinson (1997) provides the most helpful methodological description relating to translation. His field-dependent model relates to poetry and involves three main actions: an original creative abduction process; an inductive process that allows for editing and finely tuned correction; and a deduction process. This was in practice what occurred: some form of intuitive idea of the intended meaning was arrived at, followed by a revision stage, and a final polishing. Therefore, around three versions of the poem were produced, each time more and more refined. An initial forwards co-translation was validated both forwards and backwards by bilingual academics to resolve linguistic disagreements.

Deonics: Challenge

Inevitably, there were a number of difficulties in delivering the end product. Presented with the co-translation, the preference of Ousha’s poetry copyright holder (R. Ghobash, personal communication, 29 March 2015) suggested focusing more on one of her major religious poems, limned in the Diwan of the Women’s Museum in Dubai, My Lord of Full Pardon . .‫ربي يا واسع الغفران‬This choice was a personal favourite, one more typical of the poet’s output, and showing, too, a deeper understanding of Islam. This request has been acceded to. Therefore, this burgeoning collaboration may expand into a larger community project over time.

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

31

The project is not intended to claim a full understanding of either Islam or Emirati Arabic, but rather to try to provide a sound co-translation of Ousha’s moving words, respectfully mediating the original. Whether this finally materializes will depend on additional extensive networking, listening to the voices of experienced key actors, and strong ethical positioning.

Co-Translation: Networks

Hughes (cited in MacFarlane, 2009) states that “Ethical practice is an ongoing interaction of values in shifting contexts and relationships rather than something delivered by a signed consent form or adherence to a static set of principles” (p. 27). Undoubtedly, emergent co-translations do have a role in the mediation of religious faith within a “micro-cosmopolitan” and “non-exclusive reference” (Cronin, 2006). The researcher as a linguistic Gulliver, a cultural broker positioned somewhere between an experimental control and an extended tribal member, has implications for translation theory and practice. Accessing Ousha’s work in translation, the English-speaking community could better appreciate the culture and talent found in the Emirates. The intention is to further analyze Ousha’s poems, identify other features besides structure, theme, obsolete vocabulary, sonority and delivery, and extend the pilot further. Oral consent from Ousha has been obtained; final approval depends on the cotranslators’ end product based upon a new poetical selection. The final decision is an Emirati one, and whatever form is followed, it is the goodwill of key actors that is paramount. However, outside interests do retain a bearing in such a specialist domain.

Conclusion

The many variables and parties involved in such a venture means there rarely will be universal agreement. This does not mean that the task ought not to be attempted, but rather that the journey ahead will take time, dedication and perseverance, and that the outcome is uncertain. For the supporters of Ousha’s Diwan and of Emirati co-translation, however, it is an important step and one undertaken with all due diligence. Indeed, the Diwan is much more than a tourist space; it a communal centre where different languages, faiths and outlooks are materialized (Jackson, 2005). In today’s world, surely such a venue is an attraction to many. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Reader Feature Response Article

32

Debates about the relationship of the researcher with the artist, the spin of the product by ethnographers, the range of audience response, and language codification are major parts of global reinforcement of aesthetics and are unlikely to go dark any time soon (Brenneis, 1987). Crucially, the degree of dissemination should be delineated by the composer before engaging with the primary audience of mediator and later being further exposed to the global arena. Such considerations are heightened by the transmission of religious content and so cannot be rushed. However, the past successes of networks of translators is a reminder of the need for such a continuity of effort today.

References

Bidney, M., & von Arnim, P.A. (2010). West-East divan.The Poems, with “notes and essays:” Goethe’s intercultural dialogues. New York: State University of N ew York. Burckhardt, T. ( 1975). Moorish culture in Spain. (A. Jaffa, Trans.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Brenneis, D. (1987). Performing passions: Aesthetics and politics in an occasionally egalitarian society. American Ethnologist, 14(2), 236-250. Cronin, M. (2006). Translation and identity. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Dante Alighieri. (1997). La Divina Commedia. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/ files/1011/1011-h/1011-h.htm Dante Alighieri. (2007). Paradiso. (R. Hollander, & J. Hollander, Trans.). New York: Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group.

Dante Alighieri. (2004). The Vision of Paradise. (H.R. Cary, Trans). Retrieved from http://www. gutenberg.org/files/8799/8799-h/8799-h.htm Dueck, B. (in press). Imagining identifications: How musicians align their practices with publics (draft). In D. Hargreaves, D. Miell & R. MacDonald (Eds.), Oxford handbook of musical identities. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Goody, J. (1986). The logic of writing and the organization of society. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. House, J. (2014). Translation: A multidisciplinary approach. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave. Irwin, R. (2002). Night and horses and the desert. New York: Random House. Jackson, R. (2005). Converging cultures; converging gazes; contextualizing perspectives. In D. Crouch, R. Jackson, & F. Thompson (Eds.), The media and the tourist imagination: Converging cultures (pp. 18397). London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis. MacFarlane, B. (2009). Researching with integrity:The ethics of academic inquiry. New York: Routledge. Newmark, P. (1984). Approaches to translation. Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press. Robinson, D. (1997). Becoming a translator. London: Routledge. Robinson, D. (2000). Sacred texts. In Peter France (Ed.), The Oxford guide to literature in English translation (pp. 103-107). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Schiffman, H.E. (1996). Linguistic culture and language policy. London: Routledge. i

i

i

i

i

Do you want to improve your communication, leadership and public speaking skills? Do you want to improve your presentation skills? If YES, come and join TESOL Arabia’s Toastmasters Club. We meet every other weekend for 2-3 hours. For more information, please email TM Sufian Abu-Rmaileh, TATM Club President at:

sufian12000@yahoo.com. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Lesson Feature Idea Article

33

Infographics: Students Presenting Information in Bytes!

Rania Jabr The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Introduction

Critical thinking skills are indirectly practiced as students attempt to process and understand academic texts, and apply selected data to complete the target task (the infographic). This is only achieved if they analyze and categorize information, evaluate the relevance of the material collected, and make difficult choices to create their own visual discourse (Ennis, 1987).

The current way of instruction uses infographics to teach since infographics are primarily teacherdriven; however, what is being suggested here is that students need to be creating infographics to learn. What is very powerful about using infographics is the fact that they combine both visual and oral skills. This is why they are an engaging way to share content or data in a capsule. Being tech based and student centered, they are used as a venue for student creativity while manipulating content through a step-by-step process of data selection.

In the information literacy age we live in, students need to practice such skills pivotal for their success early on (Scott & O’Sullivan, 2005). These include research skills, manipulating mass media resources, and conforming to the rules of academic integrity. By designing a carefully structured step-by-step task that covers both critical thinking and information literacy skills, instructors ensure that students are well grounded in the basic tools for conducting academic research. This would be easily done by the teacher starting the whole process by creating a list of learning outcomes tailored specifically to his/her own course. What follows is my own set of learning outcomes prepared for my advanced level first year university academic EFL course. These are:

The first question for some would be, “What are infographics?” So let us agree on our terms first. Infographics are e-documents which aim at the visualization of complex data in the form of a summary or a quick, clear take on huge amounts of data. So, it is a tool for communication with an audience.

Why Use Infographics?

When seeking to incorporate 21st-century skills in their teaching (Binkley et al., 2012), educators would find that the new tech tool, infographics, is optimal. Not only is it tech-based and encourages data collection, but it is also engaging and enables the students to target numerous skills simultaneously. It is student centered, relegating the teacher’s role to the background to become mainly a guide and an advisor. Data selection is student initiated, leading to the final stage of creatively constructing the actual infographic in which the students showcase their product in front of their peers. It is an optimal way to convey content in a visual capsule, thus ensuring understanding and even retention. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

• • • • •

Information literacy Critical reading Critical thinking Team work/collaboration Oral presentation skills

A Closer Look at Infographics

Despite the fact that infographics come in various types, I prefer and assign the mixed type. An infographic can simply cover statistical data, a chronological timeline of events, an overall snapshot of an event, situation or a phenomenon; or highlight TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Lesson Article Idea

34

the informational process to analyze a topic, subject, or theme. Choosing which type to assign to your students mainly depends on their level, the material they are covering, and obviously the learning outcomes. The data covered by the infographic can be as narrow or as broad as the instructor wishes (Krauss, 2012). For instance, students can create an infographic for one vocabulary item or grammar rule, or they can create one for a whole chapter or article in a book. However, having the visual component as the main criterion requires that infographics include such graphic organizers as flow charts, diagrams, timelines, maps, tables, graphs, or webs. These would be created by the students electronically after carefully ascertaining their value in representing visually the data they are summarizing and presenting. Not all data can be shared in a graph or a timeline, hence the need for students to be selective and creatively choose the best medium to convey their message clearly and succinctly. The next step is to provide students with guidelines to assist them in completing the process of creating an Infographic successfully. My suggested process would be divided into these four main stages: a) data collection, b) sorting the collected data, c) organizing and arranging data into clearly defined main components, and d) preparing for the finale, which is the presentation stage in front of their peers. Needless to say, the teacher’s feedback and guidance are needed at each of these stages. This would encourage student revision and pre-empt any mistakes or setbacks later on. To successfully navigate the students through these stages, I give them the following checklist which enables them to self-check and make any necessary adjustments to their work. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Plan & sketch before you start. Research & gather content/data. Classify: grouping & creating a hierarchy. Choose: template, color scheme, & font. Organize: Spacing, interrelations & integration of visuals & text. 6. Reorganize, edit, & proofread. 7. Cite. In addition to the above, I also share with my students a simple graphic organizer which summarizes what needs to be included within a

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

successful infographic (Figure 1). This guides them and ensures that they are fully aware of its varied components.

Figure 1. An example for students

A Word of Caution

Students learn best from each other; therefore, having them work in pairs or groups of three to four is expected to work best. From experience, I noticed that collaboration not only increases their engagement but also motivates them to excel. They compete with other groups and pool their strengths to come up with a better product. They also instinctively rely on what each member is good at, whether it is searching for information, designing the layout, or editing their work. Doing so enables them to weed out any wrong or irrelevant data. They can also double check that the infographic is visually appealing, and that the visuals actually enhance the message, not compete with it or mask it.

Evaluating Infographics

Simply put, no task should go ungraded! So to evaluate infographics, the instructor needs to cover the following components while grading: a) being legible, b) having a clear, precise purpose, c) using bullet points to summarize content, d) not including any data or language errors, d) enhancing the message with color and graphics, e) delivering a complete message, and f) using correct citations.

Conclusion

To answer the question of when to use infographics, they can be used whenever they fit with their own

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Lesson Feature Idea Article

syllabi. They can be created and used as discussion starters for new themes or chapters; they can be used in the middle of the term or semester to summarize, simplify, and cover bulky and complex content; or they can be used during review sessions in the middle or at the end of a course. When to use infographics is unimportant; however, it is essential to incorporate infographics in your own teaching context since it is a valuable tool to create a learning community in your class. This involves learner collaboration, critical thinking, and a stepRania Jabr is a Senior Instructor II at American University in Cairo, Egypt, and a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award for the year 2013. A conference presenter, teacher trainer, journal reviewer, and editor with particular interest in teaching reading and writing and materials development, she attends and presents at international conferences and has been published in numerous professional journals.

by-step evaluation of the strategies being used to create a product, the infographic. I tell my students to regard the process of creating an infographic as telling their own story visually and appealingly by making connections, showing their insights, and above all, learning how to learn. It is a process of active rather than passive learning in which students are expected to learn not facts, but how to vet and interpret content. This student-driven type of learning engages our students in a detailed, step-

35

by-step, teacher-guided process in which they are required to engage in a symbolic representation of complex content using a twenty-first century tech tool, the infographic. This is my idea of encouraging independent learning via giving students responsibility to make choices in order to become better learners in how to learn not what to study.

References

Binkley, M., Erstad, O., Herman, J., Raizen, S., Ripley, M., Miller-Ricci, M., & Rumble, M. (2012). Defining twenty-first century skills. In P. Griffin, B. McGaw, & E. Care (Eds.), Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills (pp. 17-66). London: Springer. Ennis, R. H. (1987). A taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. In J. B. Baron & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), Teaching thinking skills:Theory and practice (pp. 9-26). New York, NY, W H Freeman/ Times Books/Henry Holt Krauss, J. (2012). Infographics: More than words can say. Learning & leading with technology, 39(5), 1014. Scott, T. J., & O’Sullivan, M. K. (2005). Analyzing student search strategies: Making a case for integrating information literacy skills into the curriculum. Teacher Librarian, 33(1), 21-25. i

i

i

i

i

CALL FOR CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS The editors of the Proceedings of 2016 TESOL Arabia Conference cordially invite you to submit a paper based on your presentation for consideration in the next volume of the Proceedings. Only those who presented at the conference may submit articles for the Proceedings. Please send your articles to Publications Coordinator, Aymen Elsheikh, at elsheikhaymen@hotmail.com by Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Before submitting your article, please ensure that it follows our new editorial policy and submission guidelines outlined below. TESOL Arabia 2016 Conference Proceedings Editorial Policy Our policy is to accept academically well-written articles which reflect the diverse presentations given at the conference. However, priority of publishing will be given to articles that adhere to the following criteria: · Articles must address the main conference theme/sub-themes. · Articles must report original research or outline new ideas in a particular area. · Articles discussing pedagogical ideas must be based on clear theoretical and/or empirical research. · Articles must not be previously published and/or are currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. · The references and citations in the articles must be accurate and follow the ethical practices of research methods (i.e., the article is free of plagiarism). · If human subjects are involved, the author(s) must obtain the relevant IRB approval. · Articles must be well-written and free of language and formatting errors. · Articles that24do not No. meet criteria2016 as well as TESOL the submission guidelines below will not be accepted. Volume 1 theseFebruary Arabia Perspectives www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Lesson Article Idea

36

A Task-Based Approach for a Clearer Understanding of Plagiarism This article describes a lesson designed to enable non-Western students to understand the concept of plagiarism better by using a task based approach.

Background

In the modern academic world, plagiarism is an act that carries high penalties for the perpetrator. Plagiarism falls into the category of academic dishonesty and can be defined as “Passing off someone else’s work, whether intentionally or unintentionally as your own, for your own benefit” (Carroll, 2002, p. 9). Plagiarism is considered by many to be a Western concept, thought to have originated from the idea of text ownership (Pennycook, 1996, cited in Yusof, 2009).Yusof (2009) asserts the notion that culture shapes behaviour, and we should therefore be tolerant of nonWestern students who plagiarise. They may have a different belief about using other people’s work. For example, in Japan it is considered to be a great mark of respect for the writer to “copy” his or her work (McDonnell, 2003; Introna, Hayes, Blair, & Wood, 2003). Technological factors are also another consideration. Hosny and Fatima (2014) point out that nowadays students have unlimited access to sources for cheating and plagiarism. This is definitely true of the UAE’s federal tertiary; since the Mobile Learning initiative launched in 2012, foundations students at these institutions have had constant access to the Internet in their iPad-enabled classrooms. However, whilst technology may be to blame for many incidents of plagiarism, there are also those who believe technology has been key in transforming the traditional learning environment. Puentedura (2006) developed the SAMR model (Figure 1) to display the possibilities that technology can bring in transforming the traditional learning Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Geraldine Chell, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain

environment. The four levels in this model demonstrate how technology can enhance or transform learning. At the enhancement stage, technology is used as a substitution for traditional tools; however, at the transformation stage, technology alters an existing task, allowing educators to create activities that could never have been done before. For example, certain web based tools now allow students to collaborate in real time, even working on the a document simultaneously without being in the same location.

Figure 1: The SAMR Model (Puentedura, 2006) In this era of technology it is still our responsibility to ensure that our students both understand what plagiarism is, and are facilitated with the tools to paraphrase so that they can avoid plagiarism. Perhaps the web-based tools discussed in this article could be the very key in helping us combat the problem of plagiarism.

Teaching Context

According to the Common European Framework (CEFR) my students are A2 level learners. As an EAP instructor, I teach in an iPad-enabled classroom TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Lesson Feature Idea Article

which means that the iPad is both a teaching and learning tool. I am concerned with plagiarism amongst students, and whilst this subject can be somewhat dry, there are ways to present certain topics in a serious yet engaging way. I have tried numerous approaches, such as watching videos or using interactive tasks, and whilst my students are always adamant that they understand the concept, incidents of academic dishonesty and plagiarism persist on a regular basis. Inspired to find an alternative way to teach a class of fifteen female Emirati students about plagiarism for an upcoming project, I turned to the SAMR model in a bid to create a task that might modify and redefine and so result in SAMR’s transformation. I chose a task based learning approach using the app iMovie. Geraldine Chell is an EAP instructor at UAE University. She holds a BA Hons in Applied Languages and an MSc in Educational Leadership and Management. Geraldine has a learner centric approach to technology and promotes an information rich, co-operative and communicative environment in her classroom.

The lesson

I divided the class of fifteen into five groups of three (ensuring one student in each group was tech-savvy) and got them to either download or update the iMovie app. Step 1: Explaining the iMovie App The first step was to explain the iMovie app. I often get students to teach their peers about different apps, and so I had worked with a student to prepare a simple presentation about iMovie. The presentation was delivered in English, but there was some exchange in Arabic between the presenter and other students. Step 2: Brainstorming We briefly discussed the concept of group work, and I elicited ways in which each member could be useful to her group. I encouraged them to think about their personal strengths and skills and then asked them to assign roles within the group according to their skills. Some of their ideas about how they could assign roles included: · good at grammar: writing/checking · good at technology: producing the movie · creative: ideas for the movie, camera angles, etc. · vocabulary/spelling: writing/checking · speaking: voice over In their groups, students brainstormed ideas and vocabulary about plagiarism using the Poppet Lite Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

37

app. They then took a screen shot and sent it to me via email so that I could display their ideas on Padlet, an app that allows students to share ideas via a virtual pinboard. Once we had looked at some of the ideas we came up with this definitive list of what constituted plagiarism: · copying another student’s work · copying a piece from the Internet · copy and pasting parts of essays/articles/research from the Internet · no references of articles/books read to write your own piece · translating without acknowledging original · using images, photos, etc., without referencing · changing a few words in each sentence of a copied piece Students then chose one or more of the above examples of plagiarism to demonstrate. Step 3: Choosing one element of plagiarism to create a movie to demonstrate Students were assigned their task (Figure 2) and given time in class to research, prepare and plan; during this time I was able to guide and advise. The students then had to organise group meetings outside of class time to make the movie. The students had ten days to make their movie; during those days they could visit me in my office hours for assistance and feedback.

Figure 2: The assignment Stage 4: Showing their iMovie All the movies featured the students acting out an example or incidence of plagiarism. Four out of the five movies made showed correct examples, and during feedback the class gave advice to the students who had not managed to depict a correct example of plagiarism. As their culture does not permit them to show their faces on movies, they had come up with some really TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Lesson Article Idea

38

clever shots of just hands or silhouettes and side shots of the students taking part in the films. Stage 5: Comprehension Check To consolidate their own work, I devised a worksheet with different scenarios which contained incidences of plagiarism. The students had to read them, decide if plagiarism had occurred, and write a few sentences about why it was or was not plagiarism.

Observations and Conclusions

Most of the students were clearly very enthusiastic about the task of creating an iMovie. Throughout the time given in class they worked diligently and asked for guidance often; they were clearly excited about sharing their ideas. Some students were eager to miss out the planning stage and skip straight to creating the movie, so I channeled this enthusiasm into working out how they might portray the plagiarism. Some continued to experiment with iMovie, but others started writing scripts or searching for images. A few groups made appointments in my office hours so they could show me what they had come up with. This was a chance for me to get them to stop and think about detail and organisation. Most of the groups took on board my comments and suggestions and came back for another meeting. The end products demonstrated that the students had researched and talked about plagiarism together and managed to come up with correct examples. In all but one of the groups the students all appeared to do their fair share and clearly enjoyed working on making the movies. All in all this task based approach to a very important issue was more fun for the students and appeared to be more engaging than a regular information based class. By acting out the scenarios and filming, using technology, this approach works towards what the SAMR model (Puentedura, 2006) defines as redefinition. Previously in the classroom it would have been a difficult and time consuming task to make short videos/films, but now with mobile technology it is feasible. The worksheet was completed successfully by most students and appears to demonstrate that they have a good understanding of what constitutes plagiarism. A second lesson on paraphrasing will follow this lesson. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

These two lessons are input for a small project which involves the students reading, researching and then using the information gathered to write an article. This type of task is usually problematic and results in heavily plagiarised work; it is to be hoped that these lessons better equip them to avoid plagiarism. In a region where plagiarism may or may not to have the same value as in the West, the importance of EAP instructors’ finding a variety of ways to teach students about plagiarism is high. Further research needs to be undertaken as to the root of this important academic problem.

References

Carroll, J. (2002). Deterring student plagiarism: Where best to start? In C. Rust (Ed.), Improving student learning symposium. Oxford, England: Oxford Centre for Staff Development, Oxford Brookes University. Hosny, M., & Fatima, S. (2014). Attitude of students towards cheating and plagiarism: University case study. Journal of Applied Sciences, 14(8), 748-757. Introna, D., Hayes, N., Blair, L., & Wood, E. (2003). Cultural attitudes towards plagiarism: Developing a better understanding of the needs of students from diverse cultural backgrounds relating to issues of plagiarism. Retrieved from http://www. academia.edu/1362321/Cultural_attitudes_ towards_plagiarism. McDonnell, K. (2003). Academic plagiarism rules and ESL learning – Mutually exclusive concepts? Retrieved from https://www.american.edu/ cas/tesol/pdf/upload/WP-2005-McDonnellAcademic-Plagiarism.pdf. Puentedura, R. (2006, August). Transformation, technology, and education. In Strengthening your district through technology workshops; Maine, US. Retrieved from http://hippasus.com/resources/ tte/part1.html. Wheeler, D. and Anderson, D. (2010). Dealing with plagiarism in a complex information society. Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, 3(3), 166-177. Yusof, D. (2009). A different perspective on plagiarism. The Internet TESL Journal, XV(2, February 2009). Retrieved from http://iteslj. org/://iteslj.org/Articles/Yusof-Plagiarism.html. i

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

i

i

i

i

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Educational Technology

Pinar Ozdemir Ayber Zeina Hojeij Zayed University, Dubai

Implementing Flipped Mobile Learning Material in an EFL Course

Introduction

A few years ago, Zayed University provided faculty with iPads aiming at creating a mobile learning environment within the university. The Academic Bridge Program was the first to integrate and implement iPads into its curriculum. The shift to mobile learning (ML) brought many research questions and opportunities for faculty. As the related literature was limited, a spontaneous need for research emerged; most faculty felt the need to undertake action research to cope with this change. This paper draws on findings that arose while researching the effects of low impact flipped grammar learning in comparison with teacherdriven instruction in an intermediate level academic English classroom setting. The authors conducted this research on flipped instruction first-hand in their own classes. As more instructors flip their classes, class time is changing to an opportunity for discussion, group work, and individualized responsiveness and support from teachers (Springen, 2013). The purpose of this project was to ascertain the argued benefits of flipped classrooms and to assess whether researchbased principles of effective teaching and learning are accomplished. The guiding questions that this project sought to answer were: 1. How do faculty/student interaction and engagement in flipped classrooms compare to the same in traditional instruction classes? 2. What recommendations should be made to teaching faculty concerning the effectiveness of flipped classrooms? Volume 24

No. 1

39

February 2016

Setting Up

During the first months of the transition towards ML, numerous apps, activities and methods were trialed to integrate technology into classrooms in the smoothest way. Simultaneously, continuous in-house peer training and special interest group meetings were held to gather faculty ideas on how best to integrate iPads into class instruction and curriculum, just as many educational institutions have done around the world (Burden et al., 2012). Faculty members were encouraged by the Center for Educational Innovation at Zayed University to conduct research on ML to support the institution and to provide relevant literature in the field.

Choosing Apps and Tasks

Throughout the first stages of the iPad trial, the authors tested and tried a plethora of apps. Some were found to be very user friendly, whereas others were not so helpful in developing and supporting language learning. The most used apps were focused on creating a safe online learning community, especially for the context of the study, where the student body is all female. These apps included Edmodo and Showbie for sharing material, Explain Everything for sharing information, Notability for annotating and marking written work, and Popplet for brainstorming using drawing and images. As a first step, the authors began investigating ways to use iPads for flipped learning. The goal was to change instruction and adopt a low impact blended learning model. After going through an array of apps, the researchers decided to create videos using PowToon, as they found it to be a very effective and attractive tool to create professional animated videos TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Educational Feature Lesson Technology Article Idea

40

and presentations. A second application selected for use was Book Widgets as it allows creating engaging worksheets, simulations, games, and tests in minutes for iPads. A final app employed in this research was the iBooks Author app, which makes it easy to create downloadable interactive textbooks. These three apps allowed the authors to create flipped grammar input and disseminate it to their students for use and evaluation in a contained, safe ML environment. Ms. Pinar is an instructor at Zayed University, Dubai, UAE. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature from Hacettepe University and a Masters in TESOL from Aston University. She is a certified NLP practitioner and an IELTS examiner. Her interest areas are NLP, flipped classrooms, EdTech and M-learning.

Research Project Description Participants The participants in this research project were intermediate level, Arabic-speaking, first-year university students in the foundations program at Zayed University in Dubai. Their study load was 20 hours of core English language per week. Their ages ranged from 18 to 21. The total sample consisted of 35 female students. The participants were part of two class sections at the same level: class A with 17 students, and class B with 18 students. Each of the researchers taught one of the sections throughout the whole study. All the students in this study were Emirati females whose length of exposure to English instruction ranged from 2 to 4 years. Methodology This research project aimed to compare student achievement in flipped grammar classes and teacher driven grammar classes. The first step was to begin by designing content videos using PowToon. Then widgets were created to support the content videos and to allow for practice of the content materials. As a last step, both the content videos and the widgets were combined and inserted in iBooks, giving the students one resource that included all the necessary input materials for each lesson. Once all the iBooks were ready, an online student survey was prepared and then ethical clearance was sought. After research preparations were made and ethical clearance was obtained, each of the researchers asked her students to download the iBooks during class time. Outside class, students were assigned to watch the videos, identify the main points of the lesson, and take notes. Since the materials were downloaded Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

on campus before they left class, students did not need an Internet connection to study. In the next class, students were asked to recall what they had learned at home and provide evidence to display what they understood by producing the language area. The main part of the class was spent on practice and production. The instructors monitored and supported where necessary. The classes were divided into equal number of lessons. In total, the students received a total of 12 weeks of instruction divided into 6 weeks (3 lessons) of traditional instruction and 6 weeks of flipped instruction. The lessons taught were part of the set curriculum and included present simple as future, present perfect tense, conditionals 0-1-2, relative clauses, gerunds/infinitives, and active/passive voice. Data Collection The last part of the project was data collection. The data collection process was founded on three different evidence collection tools to ensure validity and reliability. The triangulated data was collected through: ¡ online data sent to the researchers once students submitted their grammar practice activity widgets; ¡ test scores from both models of instruction for comparison; and, ¡ an online survey on student preferences and experience, which was conducted at the end of each course.

Discussion Results The results of the data collected from the online widget scores and the test marks showed a slight difference between the traditional and the flipped lessons. The scores based on the flipped material were somewhat higher than those in the traditional classes. However, while no significant increase in numerical assessment scores was found between the traditional and the flipped lessons, the surveys indicated a higher sense of engagement and motivation for learning in the flipped classes. Student responses were very positive and suggested a better understanding of the content in the flipped lessons. Reflection This project was a rewarding experience mainly because flipped learning is centered on the learner rather than the teacher. For this reason it pushes TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Educational Technology

the teacher to think of outside-the-box lessons and to design new materials that can engage learners in their own time. It challenges teachers to alter their safe teaching styles and trial new teaching tools. Although flipped learning itself is not a new concept, employing 21st century skills to engage students is a contemporary approach. Adopting such an approach forces the teachers to become learners themselves, improve their technological skills and invest what they have learnt into bringing technology-based materials to their classrooms through the use of videos, iBooks, widgets and many other applications and tools. Flipping a class is a unique experience because it allows teachers to make use of 21st century skills that students have acquired in order to convey lesson content while promoting learner autonomy. In the process of writing the flipped teaching materials, the authors had to carefully plan the content of the videos. The content had to be different from what would have been covered while teaching the content in class in a traditional method. The videos had to be vivid, compact and engaging. It took more time to design the scripts and the characters than initially expected. One challenge was to ensure that the content would engage the attention of the students and cover the lesson focus in 4-6 minutes. Another challenge was to attract learners’ interest and give them a reason to watch the videos. To address this, time was spent in class to deliver the rationale of flipped learning. This was very helpful and did hearten students to study before they came to class. However, with less intrinsically motivated students, more effort and incentive was needed to convince them to watch the videos. It was necessary to make sure that the task itself was not perceived as typical homework but as freedom and autonomy in learning. Three techniques were used to create further interest and need. Firstly, the instructors inserted a lead-in activity introducing video content during class time that usually took place at the end of the lesson as a final five-minute, think forward activity before they left class. The aim of this activity was to seize students’ interest through some questions or by asking them to complete a task that required knowledge of the video content. Once they

struggled with completing the given task, they felt interested in exploring the content area further and watching the videos. Secondly, a minimum of 2030 minutes of the following class time was spent on active learning, discussion and production. Students who came in not having watched the videos felt left out. To catch up, they had to watch the videos on their own during this stage. Thirdly, the authors asked students to prepare short presentations, in which they were not allowed to use the same examples as in the videos, to display what they had understood. This allowed students to reflect on and personalize what they had learnt. As instructors, it was a unique experience as with the flipped classes, there was more time to spend on using and producing the language area in class since the instruction took place before the class. Dr. Zeina Hojeij is an Assistant Professor at Zayed University, Dubai, UAE. She holds an Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Administration. Additionally, she is a Certified Online Instructor (COI), and CELTA & CELTYL certified. Her research interest areas are Mobile Learning, Teaching and Learning, Educational Leadership, and ESL/EFL.

Overall, it was challenging to design new activities that involved sharing learner experience, discussion, summarization, practice and production. The significance of this teaching model is that it provides the students a chance to explore the content area in a richer and deeper sense during the face-to-face driven classroom experience. The real challenge is in developing lesson cycles and activities that impose a two-way, deep level of engagement with the teacher. It is the opinion of the authors that this approach to teaching has a lot of potential and requires further research and teacher development because if the process is not planned carefully, neither the learners nor the teachers will benefit from it.

References

Burden, K., Hopkins, P., Male, T., Martin, S., & Trala, C. (2012). A case study of the adoption of mobile technology in 8 schools in Scotland. University of Hull iPad Scotland Final Evaluation Report. Retrieved 27 October 2015 from http://www. janhylen.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ Skottland.pdf Springen, K. (2013). Flipped. School Library Journal, 59(4). Retrieved from http://search.proquest. com/docview/1321486146?accountid=15192. i

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

41

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

i

i

i

i

www.tesolarabia.org


Educational Feature Lesson Technology Article Idea

42

YouGlish: YouTubeBased Pronunciation Dictionary of English Teachers and students alike are well aware that pronunciation is important in foreign language teaching and learning (Kelly, 2001; Hişmanoğlu, 2006). Pronunciation plays an important role in successful communication; therefore, no matter how perfect grammar a learner may have in a foreign language, without good pronunciation, it becomes difficult if not impossible to get the meaning across, often leading to communication breakdowns. Since listening and pronunciation are interdependent, weak pronunciation also affects listening negatively. Due to heavy teaching loads and limited classroom time, teachers may refrain from allocating sufficient time to encourage students improve their listening and pronunciation skills. Moreover, there may not be enough materials and engaging activities to do in the classroom. In such cases, when language learners are trained and informed on how to be responsible for their own learning and to find ways of improving their pronunciation independently using print/online dictionaries and computer assisted pronunciation teaching programs, this might compensate for the lack of in-class pronunciation practice.

Ferit Kılıçkaya Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, Turkey

provide audio recordings when a learner would like to determine how a word is pronounced. However, YouGlish provides videos of real people on YouTube, speaking in real situations. In these situations, it is possible not only to listen to the pronunciation of the word but also to learn how it is used in a context, along with subtitles. As an example, a proper name,Yorkshire, will be searched on the website to learn how to pronounce it. To do that, the word “Yorkshire” will be typed in the search box (Figure 1), and YouGlish will search for it on YouTube and show the results. In this search YouGlish has found 24 videos (Figure 2).

Figure 1. The YouGlish search bar

The indispensable resource for language learners is a good dictionary which provides definitions, pronunciations, and example sentences. Language learners benefit greatly from these dictionaries. However, it is not unusual for even good dictionaries to not include many words, especially rare and proper words. A website which can provide students with the opportunity to learn is YouGlish. YouGlish (available at http://YouGlish.com/) is a free,YouTube-based pronunciation dictionary that provides language learners the opportunity to learn how to pronounce specific words and names in English. However,YouGlish does this in a different way. It is common that electronic/online dictionaries Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Figure 2. A search result TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Educational Technology

Using the buttons under the video, it is possible to listen to the sentence in which the searched for word is pronounced many times. Alternatively, using the forward button, the next video can be played to listen to the pronunciation of the word spoken by other speakers in different contexts and situations. Moreover, captions can be turned on or off depending on learner needs.YouGlish also lists related words at the bottom of the page (Figure 3).

Figure 3.YouGlish lists related words Currently,YouGlish upports more than 300K words and names; however, it might not always be possible to find every word a learner may search for. The list of words is available on the website (http:// YouGlish.com/browse.jsp). A great feature supported by YouGlish is regarding British and American pronunciations. The results of search for a word might include British or American pronunciations or both. Learners interested in only British or American pronunciation may select their

preference; those whoe want to compare different pronunciations for the same word in American English or British English will also find this feature helpful. Ferit Kılıçkaya works at the Department of Foreign Language Education, Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, Turkey. He received his MA and PhD in ELT at Middle East Technical University in Turkey. His main area of interests includes CALL, teacher education and technology, language teaching methodology, and more. He has published several book chapters, articles and reviews and can be contacted at ferit. kilickaya@gmail.com.

Teachers and learners of English will find YouGlish very useful and promising. Providing correct and natural pronunciation, real videos, and a variety of contexts, it complements print and online dictionaries. It also makes searching for a word fun and easy, and thus engaging and even entertaining for learners.

References

Hişmanoğlu, M. (2006). Current perspectives on pronunciation learning and teaching. Language and Linguistic Studies, 2(1), 101-110. Kelly, G. (2001). How to teach pronunciation. Harlow, UK: Pearson. i

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

43

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

i

i

i

i

www.tesolarabia.org


FeatureReviews Article

44

Demotivation in Second Language Acquisition: Insights from Japan (Kindle edition) Keita Kikuchi Multilingual Matters, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-78309-394-6 176 pages As language teaching practitioners, our area of interests in the classroom often entail invisible elements that can impact how our students interact with one another as well as with their own learning. Keita Kikuchi’s book brings to light the relatively unstudied area of demotivation in second language acquisition (SLA), which has implications in classrooms in the Middle East. Starting with the author’s own experience as a learner of English in secondary school in Japan, this book explores three aspects of demotivation: demotivators, demotivating, and demotivated. Kikuchi sets out to address three goals in this book: to articulate the current state of the field in research surrounding motivation and demotivation in SLA; to discover and report possible causes of demotivation and how these causes might assist researchers and teachers; and to enlarge the focus of current theory and research surrounding demotivation and the discussion of how demotivation affects methodology. He largely succeeds through careful analysis of the literature, detailed explication and analysis of several quantitative and mixed method studies surrounding research into demotivation, and discussion of how teachers can become more aware of demotivators in their classrooms. Kikuchi’s book is divided into 10 chapters. Chapter 1 sets the working definitions of motivation and demotivation. Kikuchi first defines motivation as “the process that drives students toward a goal, Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

and demotivation is the negative process that pulls learners back” (Understanding Demotivation, para. 3). Demotivators for students, according to Kikuchi, exist both internally (self-confidence and negative attitude) and externally (teacher and class materials). Once the core understanding is laid, it serves as a launching pad into a discussion of TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Reviews

where demotivation fits within the larger field of research into motivation. In chapter 2, prior studies on motivation and demotivation are explored, identifying six demotivators: teachers, characteristics of classes, experiences with failure, class environment, class materials, and learner interests. These six areas become the focal points of studies in later chapters. Chapter 3 discusses the important of studying demotivation in the field of SLA. Here, Kikuchi focuses on motivation and language anxiety. Chapters 4-8 discuss the quantitative and mixed method studies that Kikuchi completed prior to and during the writing of his dissertation. It is in these chapters the reader can see the great lengths that Kikuchi has taken to narrow the gap in knowledge surrounding demotivation as seen from the students’ perspectives. Chapter 9 focuses on how language teaching professionals can detect and deal with demotivators and connect that identification to the findings of the studies Kikuchi presented in previous chapters. Chapter 10 discusses limitations within the field of studies about demotivation and provides well thought out research questions for future studies about demotivation. Overall, the book has numerous strengths. First, Kikuchi makes a compelling argument about the necessity of investigating demotivation, an area of research that has been neglected by those that study motivation. Second, for those interested in the research of demotivation in SLA, the data provide useful insight into the variables that impact student demotivation, and, in chapter 10, the author makes intriguing suggestions for further research in these areas. Finally, Kikuchi’s discussion of the impact of demotivation on the classroom provides those readers not well-versed in the quantitative realm with more possibilities for engagement within this under-studied area. The main weakness of Kikuchi’s book is that it is a result of his doctoral dissertation and thus in some ways reads like one. This is not to fault the dissertation process, the author, or the genre of dissertations as publishable texts. Rather, more nuanced direction from the publisher regarding the structure of the focus and the presentation of the data would have been helpful. Such an eye to detail would have served to provide a clearer analysis of the data for those not quite comfortable dealing Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

45

with statistical analysis or the discussion of such information. Readers not well-versed in statistical analysis might find some of the statistical discussions challenging. The data might have been articulated in more useful ways to reach a wider audience. Kikuchi accomplishes his three-pronged goal of discussing the current field of research in motivation, reporting possible causes of demotivation, and expanding the current theory and research agenda on the topic. Meeting these goals helps Kikuchi to broaden the appeal for investigating demotivation. The book may have an audience in researchers, language teachers, and language policy makers to assist in addressing the unseen factors of demotivation in language learning. Ultimately, while Demotivation in Second Language Acquisition: Insights from Japan provides insight within the Japanese context, Kikuchi’s focus and call for more research into demotivation should be considered in the Middle Eastern context following on Al-Khairy’s (2013) study of demotivational factors as perceived by Saudi undergraduates where it was found that external factors such as textbooks, peer pressure, teaching methods, and difficult vocabulary caused demotivation. Kikuchi’s book is beneficial for the Middle Eastern context as it foregrounds internal factors that also cause demotivation which have implications for student demotivation in the region’s foundation programs.

Reference

Al-Khairy, M. H. (2013). English as a foreign language learning demotivational factors as perceived by Saudi undergraduates. European Scientific Journal, 9(32), 365-382. i

i

i

i

i

Tony Schiera Indiana University of Pennsylvania Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


FeatureReviews Article

46

Start Writing & Framework Richard Harrison Canford Publishing, 2015 Start Writing: A Writing Course for Arab Students 77 pages / ISBN 9789996980602 Framework: Academic Writing and Critical Thinking – Student’s Book 112 pages / ISBN 978-99969-1-307-5 These are two new books from a new publishing house. The launch party was held at the British Council in Muscat on March 31st, 2015, but was unfortunately misreported by the local Oman press, which gave the impression that Framework was a new academic journal. Starting with the author, Richard Harrison is a familiar name to those who attend the annual International TESOL Arabia Conferences and the ELT Conferences at Sultan Qaboos University. He has worked at the University of Bahrain and at the German University of Technology in Muscat, and is probably most famous for the excellent English Please: English for the Arab World (Harrison, 1994). Start Writing covers much the same ground as English Please. The blurb is completely up-front about the book’s limited scope – “designed as a basic introduction to English for ‘non-alphabet’ beginners.” There is, however, still a place for books like this, and the advantage of Start Writing is that it succeeds in concentrating on basic skills without being patronizing. The illustrations show adults, in adult situations. There are none of the twee pussy cats and bunny rabbits that mark English for Young Learners’ literacy courses – and offer automatic disincentives to teenage and young adult learners. Framework operates at a completely different level. Aimed at students who are IELTS 4.5 to 6.0 level, or CEF B1-B2, it claims to develop “writing skills in English through encouraging students to think clearly and critically.” To this end, it offers eight units and three appendices, together with a final three blank pages for notes. The units are “Advantages and Disadvantages,” “Expressing Opinions,” “Comparing,” “Analyzing Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Data,” “Cause and Effect,” “Problems and Solutions,” “How Things Are Produced” and “Supporting Opinions.” They offer an interesting mix of what might best be described as the American and British approaches to writing. There is enough of the “essay types” to keep American teachers happy, but the book does not attempt to put students, and teachers, into the straight-jacket of the “five-paragraph essay.” Each unit, moreover, is divided into Writing Skills, Thinking Skills and Language Focus, and a “map” of the book (p. 3) is available for quick reference. Unit 4, Analyzing Data, is particularly impressive. Having once worked on a grammar-focused foundation level course, where student sentences like “Cyprus is bigger TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Reviews

47

(pp. 108-109). This gives examples of main and subordinate clauses, and then offers a classification of subordinate clauses – adverbial clauses of time, concession, reason, purpose, condition, place and contact; defining and non-defining relative clauses and noun clauses with “that,” wh/questions and if/ whether. This is thorough, but it carries with it the danger that grammar-obsessive teachers may devote too much time to the intricacies of language at the expense of its use. It is reminiscent of the Latin based clause analysis that passed for “mainstream” English teaching in Britain in the 1960s, an approach which was ultimately a dead end. The APA style guide, by contrast, is another example of material that is essential at tertiary level, and which has to be taught to both native and non-native speaking students.

than Sri Lanka” were praised despite being factually incorrect, this reviewer welcomes any courses that teaches students how to accurately interpret graphs showing fluctuations in the world price of oil (p. 41); world population growth (p. 43); annual temperature and rainfall variations in Muscat (p. 44); and increases in global rice production (p. 45). These examples, moreover, are just the start of the unit. Students are then given gap-fill exercises on temperature fluctuations in New Delhi (p. 48); global grain production (p. 49); and guided paragraph writing on temperatures and rainfall in Beijing (p. 50). In the section on critical thinking they are asked to interpret bar graph data concerning visitor numbers to New Zealand, China, the UK and the USA; interpret a piechart showing a college’s pass rate, subject by subject (p. 51); and interpret a graph showing the global sales patterns of tablets, desktop and laptop computers (p. 52). All these tasks are challenging, and none of them has been “dumbed down” for EAP learners. They would be entirely appropriate as academic tasks for native speaking students. The appendices offer a two page, unit-by-unit word list (pp. 105-106); References and Citations (APA style) (p. 107); and two pages on Types of Clauses Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Finally, the “look” of the book. Both Start Writing and Framework have covers that are so simple as to be minimalist. Start Writing is entirely monochrome, but Framework makes sparing use of colour. The beach (p. 17) with a sign saying “No Smoking Area / Area de No Fumar” is a subtle reminder of the global reach of English, and the dystopian examination hall (p. 25) should remind students that if they do not study, there are thousands of others who will. These are both books that deserve success. EFL is particularly at the mercy of huge multinational publishing houses that produce almost uniformly bland textbooks, and any new publisher who can produce original work is to be welcomed. Start Writing aims to occupy one niche in the market, and Framework makes a good bid to break into another.

Reference

Harrison, R. (1994). English please: English for the Arab world. Harlow, England: Longman. i

i

i

i

i

Neil McBeath Sultan Qaboos University Sultanate of Oman

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


FeatureReviews Article

48

Academic Writing Step by Step: A Research-based Approach Christopher N. Candlin, Peter Crompton and Basil Hatim Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2016 207 pages/ISBN 978-1-78179-058-8 Academic Writing Step by Step is part of a “Frameworks for Writing” series which focuses on teaching and learning of writing in educational settings. The premise of this textbook is that each unit stems from an article that is then used to develop the lesson. The authors utilize a clear step-by-step approach to focus on a certain component leading up to a completed academic essay or research article. This book consists of 10 units with such titles as “The Popularized Research Article,” “Summarizing and Reporting,” and “Documentation of Sources.” Each unit is then broken down into two main sections; texts and writing. The texts are drawn from “popular science topics of current interest,” and each unit usually has some pre- and post-reading activities to help students better understand the readings. Then, the writing section generally has a grammar focus and essay focus leading up to an extended writing task. When I received this book and began browsing through it, my first impression was it is a combination of a textbook and workbook with a serious academic vibe. The authors do not try to motivate students with flashy pictures and eye appeasing pages, but rather with a variety of authentic texts and easy to follow step-by-step process which should give students the feeling of progress and accomplishment. The readings have a wide range of topics from childhood obesity to daydreaming. The writing assignments are varied as

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

well, such as summarizing and critiquing articles. Despite the author’s claim, I did not have a sense that this was specifically written as an ESL/EFL textbook due to the vocabulary, topic of some of the articles and just the general feel. I used Academic Writing Step by Step in an ESP writing course at a university here in the GCC. The students were from various faculties and they all had

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Reviews

a score of at least 5 on IELTS. It quickly became apparent that we all appreciated the organization of each unit and the conformity throughout the book. This made it much easier for the teacher and also for the students because they already knew what was coming and what was expected of them. Also, the topics of the texts were informative, interesting and ideal to expand on, such as class discussions or further research. With this said, there were a few passages that I skipped over due to the content which I personally did not feel suited a class in the GCC. Also, some students found the texts rather difficult due to the vocabulary, topic and just the general nature of a “regular� text that was for native speakers. As for the activities and assignments, the step-by-step approach worked well, and the students could compete these no matter their English level. There are more than enough writing opportunities in this book, so I do not think any teacher will be hard-pressed for writing activities.

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

49

Overall, Academic Writing Step by Step is a welcome addition to a higher-level academic writing course. The layout, step-by-step process and writing activities/assignments all combine to create a comprehensive guide to help students with their academic writing. This book can stand as a full course book or also be useful for those wishing to further or brush up on their academic writing. In the end, if you have a high-level class, then I have no qualms about recommending Academic Writing Step by Step. i

i

i

i

i

Paul Dessoir United Arab Emirates University Al Ain, UAE

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Networking Article

50

The NAWE Conference 2015 Durham, England Janet Olearski

The 2015 Conference of the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) took place in the cathedral city of Durham in the UK from 13-15 November. This small but influential conference brings together writers, arts advisers, students, and literature workers, along with teachers and librarians from British primary and secondary schools, and lecturers from British and overseas universities. NAWE represents and supports all those involved in the development of creative writing both in formal education and in community contexts. The NAWE Conference is also the UK forum for meetings of the Writers in Schools Network. In addition to some sixty workshops and presentations spread over three days, the conference hosts guest writers and poets of the caliber of Alan Bennett, Ian McMillan, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage, and Kate Mosse. This year the conference welcomed as keynote speakers the journalist and novelist Sathnam Sangera (www.sathnam.com) and the poet Liz Lochhead (https://literature. britishcouncil.org/writer/liz-lochhead). Motivating students to read is a major focus for educators in Britain, as it is in the UAE. According to 2013 figures from the UK’s National Literacy Trust, the number of children reading for pleasure outside school has been on the decline (Clark, 2013). Scriptwriter Dan Anthony in his NAWE presentation “Bad Boys,” addressed the specific problem of how to engage teenage boys in reading and writing. Films like Attack the Block (2011), from which he showed a clip, had proved successful mainly because they contained a fantasy element set in the inner city – real world surroundings that were familiar to this age group. In her presentation, “What Happens Next?” Bea Davenport, aka former BBC journalist Barbara Henderson, described the writing of My Cousin Faustina (ReadZone, 2015). Working with schools and the publisher Fiction Express, Henderson followed a “writing to order” approach to encourage reluctant Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

readers to take part in the creative process by voting on what characters would do next. The young readers were able to interact with the author via the Fiction Express blog, telling her what they liked or did not like about the story and its characters. A highlight of the conference for me was “Let in the Stars: Supporting Poetry for Children,” a presentation and workshop by Mandy Coe and Kaye Tew from Manchester Metropolitan University. The compilation and publication in 2014 of a poetry anthology, Let in the Stars, served as a launch pad, enabling Coe and Tew to take workshops and performances into bookshops and libraries, as well as schools. They are currently working on a poetry writing initiative Poetry Together, which invites children and young people to pair up with a parent, grandparent, carer, older sibling or friend to create poems together and enter them in a competition. This is open to pupils worldwide writing in English, though poems in TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Networking

51

other languages, including Arabic, can be submitted if accompanied by an English translation. For further details and to enter the competition online, see www. mcbf.org.uk/get-involved/poetry-together. The closing date is 29 April 2016. With armed conflicts omnipresent in the news, the presentation by Debbie Beeks, Colin Hutchinson and Helen Limon, “The Illustrated Soldier,” was of particular relevance to how we approach and explain the portrayal of conflict to pupils in our classrooms. Three organizations (Seven Stories; The National Centre for Children’s Books; and Forward-Assist, a service veterans’ charity) have been collaborating in a research project that explores the portrayal of the military in a selection of picture books for children. Traditionally, a vast range of themes is explored in the NAWE presentations and workshops: the 2015 conference touched on identity, empowerment, originality and memory to name but a few. The teaching and writing of poetry in schools was very much in evidence alongside writing for the screen, for radio, and for theatre. Writing-related research, creative versus academic writing, coaching, digital storytelling, and the use of social media by writers were all subjects covered extensively. My own presentation dealt with issues faced by writers and publishers when trying to provide written materials for both the needs of the Gulf region and a global market. Above all, the NAWE conference showcases the huge effort that is being made in the UK to engage school children in visual literacy and cross-disciplinary creative writing projects, such as those celebrated by the Max Reinhardt Literacy Awards (http://www.engage.org/ mrla-announcement.aspx). These projects show how it is possible to motivate pupils intrinsically, and foster in them a spirit of innovation. NAWE is an inspiring conference to attend precisely for this reason. The next NAWE Conference will be held from 11-13 November, 2016, in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK. See www.nawe.co.uk for further details.

References

Anthony, D. (2010). The rugby zombies. Ceredigion, Wales: Gomer Press. Campbell, D. (2015). Meet Archie Nolan, the donorconceived detective. Retrieved from http://www. theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/15/archienolan-donor-conceived-detective-childrens-book Clark, C. (2013). Children and young people’s reading in 2012: Findings from the National Literacy Trust’s 2012 annual survey. London: National Literacy Trust. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Coe, M. (2014). Let in the stars - New poetry for children. Manchester, England: Manchester Metropolitan University. Davenport, B. (2015). My cousin Faustina. Ludlow, England: ReadZone Books. Ward, B. (2015). Archie Nolan: Family detective. London: Donor Conception Network.

Additional Resources

Attack the Block Film Trailer: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=cD0gm7dHKKc Fiction Express For Schools: http://schools. fictionexpress.co.uk/en Poetry Together: www.mcbf.org.uk/get-involved/ poetry-together ReadZone Books: http://www.ReadZoneBooks.com Seven Stories is the National Centre for Children’s Books: www.sevenstories.org.uk The National Literacy Trust: http://www.literacytrust. /org.uk

Visual Literacy Programmes

Pupils work with a photographer, artist or writer to develop their visual literacy skills. Sample resources :can be found on the following sites http://www.engineeredarts.co.uk http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/learn/resources http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/ seeingmorethings

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


TESOL Arabia News Feature Networking Article

52

TESOL International Regional Conference Singapore Melanie Gobert TESOL International Association held its first TESOL Regional Conference in Singapore from December 3-5, 2015. I was privileged to be able to attend the conference and present thanks to a TESOL Arabia International Travel Grant. The theme of the conference was “Excellence in Language Instruction: Supporting Classroom Teaching and Learning,” and it was indeed an opportunity to witness the excellent classroom research that is being done by scholars and teachers in training in Asia. In fact, it was more of an “international” than “regional” conference as delegates from over 50 countries were present, including a number from the Gulf and Middle East.

far from the city, but transport is very reasonable in Singapore. It was nice to be in the state-of-the-art classrooms with plasma screens situated around the room in addition to the interactive boards and white boards at the front of the room, so that you could see easily see the text and presentation materials from every seat. The conference organizers supplied an endless flow of tasty regional snacks and lunches throughout the conference. The organizers and attendees alike were very nice and keen on teachers’ professional development. I highly recommend attending a conference in this part of the world.

Ann Burns from the University of New South Wales in Sydney opened the conference with a plenary on action research informing practice for teachers. My own presentation, “Language Learner Literature and Identity” was about the lack of visibility of the learner in graded readers. It was well-received by the audience. The National Institute of Education in Singapore was a great place to hold the conference. It is a little

Opening plenary speaker Anne Burns started the conference with an inspiring talk about teacher professional development. Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Past President Melanie Gobert took time out for a photo op by the registration desk. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article Networking

53

31st SPELT International Conference 2015

Karachi, Lahore, & Islamabad, Pakistan Julie Riddlebarger, Naziha Ali, Mick King, & Joyce Raglow Several members of TESOL Arabia were privileged to take part in the 31st SPELT International Conference 2015. SPELT (the Society of Pakistan English Language Teachers) has an amazing and unique, “traveling” conference; in order to be accessible to as many English language teachers as possible, the conference moves from city to city over the course of three weeks (November 7-8 in Karachi; 14-15 in Islamabad and Lahore; 21-22 in Abbottabad). In this way, SPELT is able to reach close to 2,000 delegates, which is an amazing feat. The conference featured many eminent speakers from within and outside Pakistan, including TESOL International Teacher of the Year, Sherry Blok, who traveled to the conference from Canada, and IATEFL Associate Representative, Lou McLaughlin, from the UK. The event began in Karachi on 7-8 November. Mick King and Joyce Raglow were there to represent TESOL Arabia. Mick’s plenary, “PBL for English: Does It Work?” and workshop on “Putting PBL to Work,” as well as Joyce’s workshop, “Teaching English to Young Learners-‘Unplugged’” were all well-received. The next weekend, 14-15 November, found the SPELT conference in two cities at once: Lahore and Islamabad. Representing TESOL Arabia in Islamabad were Naziha Ali, Julie Riddlebarger, Joyce Raglow, and

Presenters and organizers including Naziha and Julie networked in the comfortable break room at Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi (the Islamabad venue). Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

Hafeez Rahman. Naziha and Julie both gave plenary talks on “Teacher Development in an Evolving Era” and “Self-Directed Professional Development: DIY PD,” respectively. Julie also conducted a workshop, “Becoming a Reflective Practitioner:Why and How,” while Joyce repeated her workshop and then traveled to Lahore to present there, as well, giving her bragging rights as the only TESOL Arabia member to present in three of the four cities! Overall, the range of topics and presentations was extensive, covering literature, to code-switching in service encounters, to using music in the classroom, and many things in between. The conference catered to all, from pre-service teachers to well-seasoned veterans. The SPELT team are to be commended for their excellent and tireless work in putting together such an ambitious conference. In addition, the hospitality shown to the TESOL Arabia members was extraordinary. We were housed in SPELT members’ homes and treated like family. SPELT’s generosity was much appreciated, as the TESOL Arabia members’ attendance was self-funded. All those who participated agreed that the 31st SPELT International Conference 2015 was a great success and look forward to attending in the future.

Mick and Joyce posed with other participants in Karachi.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


SpecialFeature InterestArticle Groups

54

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

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

edtecharabia.twitter.com #taedtech James Buckingham Chair

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Chapter Feature Representatives Article

55

Abu Dhabi Representative Amjad Taha

ADNOC Technical Ins titute 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

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Executive Council Feature Article

56

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 Ins titute 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 I nstitute 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

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Feature Article

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

59

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


60

Feature Article IPP WINS 8 AWARDS AT

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL

PRINT AWARD 2011 1 AWARD IN 2006

2 AWARDS IN 2007

4 AWARDS IN 2008

6 AWARDS IN 2009

8 AWARDS IN 2011 THE QUEST UEST FOR QUALITY CONT CONTINUES

5 GOLD 2 SILVER 1 BRONZE

Volume 24

No. 1

February 2016

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org

FEB 2016  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you