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In this issue: Feature Articles Writing to Learn

Peter M. Waters Teaching Comprehension: What Teachers Should Know

Omar Al Noursi

Lesson Ideas

Leaving Teaching: Factors Influencing Omani Teachers

Reviews

Masooma Talib Al Lawati

Networking SIG Reports Chapter Reports

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Guidelines for

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 TESOL Arabia Perspectives invites previously unpublished manuscripts that address the diverse topics that make up our profession, including, but not limited to, methodology, pedagogy, curriculum and materials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

Submission Categories & Guidelines Feature Articles Features should generally be between 2000-4000 words in length, and address educational issues (theory leading to practice) relevant to the membership. The articles can document a critical survey of a particular aspect of the field, detail and analyze pedagogical issues, describe and discuss research findings, or highlight contextual factors and their implications for educational practice. All submissions should be thought through, organized, and clearly written. APA style format will be strictly adhered to regarding referencing. Submissions must be in Times New Roman, font size 12, double spaced. Submissions not meeting APA standards will not be reviewed. Every feature article will go through a review process where the reviewers consider how well it: discusses issues that seek to inform practice; contributes to the knowledge base for teaching and teacher education in general, and in the region in particular; addresses educational issues and needs of ELT in the region; identifies an educational research agenda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upload your submissions to: perspectives.tesolarabia.org

TESOL Arabia Perspectives is published three times a year: November, January and June

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Pers p e c t ives Volume 22 No. 1 January 2014

From the Editors

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Message from the President

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Message from the Conference Co-Chairs

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Feature Articles Writing to Learn

Peter M. Waters

Teaching Comprehension: What Teachers Should Know Leaving Teaching: Factors Influencing Omani Teachers

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Omar Al Noursi 11 Masooma Talib Al Lawati

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Ameerchund Maharaj

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Sarah Al-Shammari, Shireen Baghestani

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Lesson Ideas A Fresh Look at Textbook Conversations Literature and Film: Make Reading Fun

Reviews Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing Social Justice Language Teacher Education

Melanie Gobert Mohammed Goma Tanko

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David Litz Matthew A. Carey

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Networking 11th Asia TEFL International Conference 34th Annual Thailand TESOL International Conference

TESOL Arabia News Special Interest Group Reports Chapter Reports SIGs Chapter Representatives Executive Council

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Editors

Dear Readers Hello once again and for the last time, as Melanie will be taking up her new position of President of TESOL Arabia in March, and Tandy will be relocating back home with her family at the end of the academic year. In this issue our first feature, by Peter M. Waters, is “Writing to Learn.” The author proposes that the skill of writing is not simply a language skill but enables access to the whole curriculum. Omar Al Noursi draws our attention to the fact that this is true also of reading in our second feature article “Teaching Comprehension: What Teachers Should Know,” when he stipulates that teaching comprehension skills and teaching comprehension strategies are not the same thing. Our third feature “Leaving Teaching: Factors Influencing Omani Teachers,” a case study by Masooma Talib Al Lawati, takes a critical look at the problems associated with teacher retention in Oman, which is affecting other GCC countries as well. We have two lesson ideas in this issue. The first lesson idea, by Ameerchund Maharaj, “A Fresh Look at Textbook Conversations” reminds us that memorization is not always a bad thing when it comes to memorizing chunks of language that will help our learners sound more fluent when speaking. The second lesson idea is a proposal for a sample course “Books and Film: Literature Made Fun” by Sarah Al-Shammari and Shireen Baghestani. Through this course, teachers will be able to incorporate some critical pedagogy into their teaching dealing with race and racism and misunderstandings and prejudices. We have sincerely enjoyed bringing you Perspectives, TESOL Arabia’s peer-reviewed journal, for the last five years and look forward to the new initiatives that the incoming editors Julie Riddlebarger and Suhair Al Alami will be leading. We wish them all the very best. Melanie Gobert and Tandy Bailey Editors, Perspectives

Melanie Gobert Abu Dhabi Men’s College Tandy Bailey Abu Dhabi Women’s College

Reviews Editor Paul Dessoir United Arab Emirates University

TA News/Copy Editor Julie Riddlebarger Khalifa University of Science,Technology and Research

Advisory Panel Daniel Mangrum Janet Olearski Kourosh Lachini Nagwa Soliman Dennis Balint Rania Jabr Paul James Dessoir Peter McLaren Sally Ali Hala Nur Neil McBeath Rachel Lange Lobat Asadi Julie Riddlebarger Laura Lau Richard Lau Indrani Ibrahim Suhair Al Alami

CREDITS Layout / Artwork

Melanie Gobert

Sudeep Kumar

Tandy Bailey

Printing

Editors, Perspectives

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

International Printing Press Dubai, UAE

January Cover Photo Madinat Zayed, UAE Stephanie Gobert

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

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Message Feature Article from the President

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Dear Colleagues, I hope your academic year is going well. When I started thinking about what I would like to share with you in my last letter as President, I began to make a list of all the new projects, ideas, and the latest TESOL Arabia news. The list became quite long after a few minutes, and I realized that, again, I would have to highlight the most important news only and hope that you follow us on social media to get information about all the great work our volunteers do throughout the year. One of the main achievements we had this year is forming affiliations with ELT teacher associations and organizations from different parts of the world. As of now, TESOL Arabia has signed affiliate agreements with four organizations: MAWACA, MENA ERC, Qatar TESOL, and UzTEA. We are truly proud of this accomplishment and look forward to fruitful relationships with these organizations. For information about TESOL Arabia affiliates, please visit http://www.tesolarabia.net/ta/tesol-arabia-affiliates/. Another achievement that we are proud of is TESOL Arabia’s forthcoming two-year strategic plan. Dr Naziha Ali, Member-atLarge, and Dr. Christine Coombe, Management and Leadership SIG Chair, made significant contributions to this plan.Work on the plan started at the retreat in September 2013 and focused on improving the organization in three areas: membership, professional development, and finances. Following approval by TESOL Arabia Executive Council, committees will be formed to fulfill the plan. Every year TESOL Arabia invites volunteers to take on leadership roles within the organization through an election process. This year we have 6 new volunteers, and two of our existing team have been re-elected to continue in their roles in addition to the Vice President/President Elect role. Results of the elections will be announced at the Annual General Meeting on Friday, March 14, 2014 during TESOL Arabia International Conference. It will be great to see you there to support the new leaders and celebrate their willingness to invest their valuable time to serve the organization. TESOL Arabia Service Award aims at acknowledging the outstanding and extended service by members at the international, regional and/or local level. This year’s Service Award recipient is Abdelbasset Jeddi who served as the Eastern Region Representative for nine years, from 2001 to 2009. As a volunteer-based organization, TESOL Arabia thrives on the hundreds of hours invested by its volunteers, and the Service Award is our simple gesture of appreciation. Currently we are working on another initiative to provide ongoing rewards to volunteers through open digital badges. TESOL Arabia offers a number of grants every year. This year we awarded 9 International Travel Grants to members who presented at ELT conferences around the world. We also offered two Professional Development grants as well as 20 Dr Lisa Barlow Memorial Travel Grants to TESOL Arabia Conference presenters. To learn more about our grants, please visit http:// www.tesolarabia.net/ta/about-us/grants/. The upcoming 20th TESOL Arabia International Conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dubai, March 13-15, 2014. The conference theme this year is one that interests all ELT teachers regardless of their career stage: Methods and Means in ELT. The conference Co-Chairs Les Kirkham and Sandra Oddy have invited a team of speakers with a wide range of expertise in the field of ELT to share their ideas, research and passions. Although pre-registration is now closed, on-site registration will be available. Finally, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to TESOL Arabia Chapters and Special Interest Groups for conducting more than 40 professional development events so far this year. I would also like to invite you to join our events planned for April and May. Keep checking the website at www.tesolarabia.org as well as TESOL Arabia’s Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter (@TESOLArabia) to receive all the updates and event news. I look forward to meeting you at TESOL Arabia Conference or during our local events after March and wish you all the best for the rest of the year.

Sincerely,

Rehab Rajab President

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Message from the Conference Co-Chairs Feature Article

Many of you will have heard by now about the annual International TESOL Arabia Conference & Exhibition 2014 to be at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dubai from Thursday to Saturday, March 13-15, with Pre-conference Courses on Wednesday, March 12. We are especially grateful to our sponsors as their sponsorship enables us to put on such a major event and also funds our activities throughout the year. At the time of writing we would like to acknowledge these sponsors for 2014: • Sponsor Partner for 2014 – IDP IELTS • Platinum Sponsors – the British Council and Tatweer • Gold Sponsors – the American Center for Press and Cultural Affairs and the American University of the Middle East • Silver Sponsors – Arab Gulf Education the Cambridge University Press and International House, Dubai We have a great range of Plenary Speakers: Tom Farrell, Herbert Puchta, Alan Maley, Carol Read, Scott Thornbury, and Donald Freeman. It is an enviable line-up for any conference anywhere in the world. Our Featured Speakers will also set you thinking and reflecting on your work: Martin Hewings, Philip Kerr, Stella Cottrell, Tim Collins, Richard Kiely and Mark Hancock. All our guest speakers have published extensively and have presented at conferences throughout the world. We would like especially to draw your attention to the Professional Development Courses (PDCs) associated with the conference. The four Preconference PDCs address a range of current topics that are sure to interest anyone in the profession: • “Pronunciation in Practice,” facilitated by Mark Hancock (Freelance author in the UK) and Martin Hewings (Freelance consultant and Honorary Research fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK); • “IELTS and the Language Teacher,” with Sarah White of the British Council IELTS office and Marilyn Cleland from IDP Education; Volume 22

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• “Mobile Devices as Language Learning Tools” with Troy Priest and Nick Yates of Zayed University, UAE, and • “Personal and Professional Strategic Planning for ELT Educators,” led by Dr Christine Coombe and Dr Dean Sheetz of Dubai Men’s College, HCT, UAE The In-conference PDC, “Student Achievement: Making the Difference,” will be facilitated by a selection of our Plenary and Featured Speakers and, like our pre-conference courses, is an opportunity for a limited number of conference-goers to interact closely with our guest speakers. Besides the guest speakers, a record number of TESOL Arabia members will be presenting talks and workshops, having been selected from the huge number of proposals that were sent in.We also, of course, have a number of Special Sessions, including the “20x20 Pecha Kucha” and the “Dubai Discussions.” We have extended the exhibition area for 2014 and expect to have around 40 exhibitors.You will have a comprehensive overview of materials and services available in the ELT field in this part of the world, and globally, too. There is also the Showcase Strand within the conference program in which organizations are able to showcase their new products and services in presentations. The Job Fair continues to attract a large number of employers and an increasing number of candidates, and is a service intended for our conference-goers, so if you wish to “job seek,” please remember you need to register for the conference as well. The Annual International Conference & Exhibition regularly attracts over 1,600 participants from more than 30 countries, and for the past two years we have had record numbers of proposals for break-out sessions. The 2014 event will be the place to be! Keep up with the latest information on the Conference pages of our website: http://tesolarabia.org/conference. We look forward to seeing you there. Les Kirkham & Sandra Oddy Co-chairs, TACon 2014 TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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I feel the breadth of the modules, the enthusiasm of the tutors in their subject areas and the discussion between participants makes this programme top-notch. EdD TESOL student, Dubai

TESOL Programmes

The Graduate School of Education is recognised as a leading School of Education with a diverse and highly successful track record, including: • Ranked 5th in the UK for world leading and internationally excellent research (RAE 2008) and influencer of national Education policy • PhD studentships available through the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Centre – a hub of world-class social sciences research • International community with postgraduates from over 70 countries studying in the School over the last five years

Doctor of Education (EdD) – available in Dubai

Programme Coordinator: Dr Salah Troudi, email: s.troudi@exeter.ac.uk This is a professionally-oriented taught doctorate degree suitable for EFL/ESL professionals, including primary and secondary teachers, college lecturers, and programme coordinators. The degree is taught part-time over four years and local tutors are available for your support. The programme consists of two compulsory research methodology modules, plus the following three content modules: • Critical Issues in Teaching English • TESOL Classrooms and Pedagogy: Theory and Practice • The Meaning and Practice of Professionalism You will then complete a research-based thesis of up to 50,000 words.

MPhil and PhD – available via Dubai

The School has an outstanding reputation for research training and offers MPhil and PhD degrees involving independent study under two supervisors, culminating in the presentation of a written thesis. Full- and part-time study is available. This programme can also be studied via distance learning.

Masters programme (MEd) – intensive summer study option

The Masters in TESOL is aimed at professionals working at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. The programme is flexible, allowing you to choose from the wide range of modules available. Prior to starting, a member of our academic staff will help you plan out the best programme to meet your needs. The MEd is available full-time (1 year) and through an intensive summer programme that takes place in July over two consecutive summers. This programme is available in Exeter.

Graduate School of Education For more information please visit www.exeter.ac.uk/education telephone +44 (0) 1392 724490 or email ssis-researchadmissions@exeter.ac.uk Volume 22

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Writing to Learn Writing to Learn is a methodology that is extremely influential in strengthening the learning potential of second language students in any discipline and at all levels from primary through to tertiary. This article outlines the theory on which it is based, namely that writing utilizes a complex process involving planning, drafting, reviewing, and editing. These lead to the development of critical thinking and the extension of reading comprehension. The article then describes a variety of strategies that enable more active learning by promoting reflection on and questioning of information and ideas. Writing to Learn activities are informal and brief; the emphasis is on the exploration of ideas rather than the conventions of more formal writing. The methodology is based on the pedagogical principle that learning takes place through writing as much as through viewing and listening. It involves discovery, development, then clarification of ideas as well as making connections between new and previous knowledge. It is a means of learning rather than merely a record that demonstrates what has already been learned.

Background The current widespread interest in the effect of writing on learning was generated by research carried out by Britton, Burgess, Martin, McLeod, and Rosen (1975) in the United Kingdom during the mid-1970s. The team analyzed more than 2000 samples of the writing of British secondary students in which they were able to identify the connections between the activity of writing and the development of students’ thinking and comprehension. They identified three functions of writing that were termed “transactional,” “expressive,” and “poetic.” The first category refers to writing that is intended to achieve a purpose, either to inform or to persuade. Volume 22

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Peter M. Waters German University of Technology in Oman Halban, Oman

The second provides a means of communicating imaginative and reflective ideas in an informal way, or in other words, thinking aloud on paper. Poetic writing encompasses writing that uses language as a form of art. The research further indicated that these functions are brought into clear focus and consolidation though their relationship to the reader to whom they are directed. Shortly after the work done by Britton, et al. (1975), Emig (1977) outlined the case for a reliable connection for writing as a form of learning. By doing so Emig (1977) extended the outcomes of the research to an implementable pedagogical principle. Emig’s (1977) contention was that writing is unique as a form of learning because it encompasses several attributes that are a powerful learning tool.These include integrating diverse strands of thought, connecting elements, and activating immediate visual review. It also is a unique form of feedback and reinforcement because the information generated from the process is immediately visibly available in what has already been written. The significance of this readily available and viewable product cannot be overstated. Since these initial studies, further research into the relationship between the intrinsic nature of writing and its pedagogical impact has been carried out. There are four main areas identified by the research that warrant attention which can be summarized as: • Writers spontaneously generate knowledge when they write; • Writers externalize their ideas in the production of their text and then reread it in order to make new inferences; • Writers utilize genre structures in gathering elements of knowledge and organizing them; TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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• Writers are able to solve content problems by setting rhetorical goals. In 2004, Bangert-Drowns, Hurley, and Wilkinson used the methodology of meta-analysis to investigate and evaluate certain Writing to Learn programs. They analyzed the findings from comparisons of school-based Writing to Learn approaches with conventional instruction on the same subject matter. One issue that was explored was whether teachers could generate improvement in their students’ academic performance by having them write about the subject matter of the class. The outcome revealed a consistency in the reports of positive effects indicating that it is reasonable to expect an enhancement of learning from writing. This was more emphatic when students reflected on their current understanding and learning processes. Contemporaneously with the meta-analysis of Bangert-Drowns, et al. (2004), Graham and Harris (2003) concluded that writing is a means of constructing knowledge as much as it is of recording knowledge. Graham and Harris (2003) relied on the proposition of Winch, Ross-Johnston, Halliday, March, and Ljungdahl (2001) that writing as a culturally reflective activity is invaluable as an agent of learning. Writing is “…the protracted synthesis or coming together of our human thinking and language competence, handling a range of problems that cannot be satisfactorily managed by mental reflection or talking” (Winch, et al., 2001, p. 158). Harmer (2006) places great emphasis on writing as a productive skill. In contrast to speaking, which tends to be spontaneous and at times even chaotic, writing is coherent because it forces the sequencing of ideas, as well as cohesive in that it requires more technical connections. Whereas reading and listening are receptive skills, writing, while depending on what is read, is essentially creative. Reading and writing utilize the same intellectual strategies of organizing, evaluating, and revising meaning. Writing may be viewed as thinking aloud on paper. Ryan (2011) called for a renewed focus on the teaching of writing in response to concerns expressed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership in 2011 and the Department of Education and Training in 2009 about the adequacy of teachers’ literacy pedagogies and the need to provide a conceptual basis for the teaching of writing. While the main concern was an increase in Volume 22

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poor academic writing skills among those entering higher education institutions and a lack of adequate preparation by schools for writing across contexts, there was an allied concern for appreciation by teachers of the pedagogic value of writing itself in all subject areas in the face of widespread reliance on digital and online text. This echoed a move in the USA by the National Commission on Writing (College Board, 2006) outlining four challenges that educators face in the teaching of writing: • Provision of sufficient time as a key requirement for writing • Assessment modes that recognize the protracted process of planning, producing, revising, and editing texts • Integration of new technologies into the processes of writing • Development of new methods in the teaching of writing It is abundantly clear that all research findings over recent years indicate the importance and the reliability of writing as an agent of learning and the fact that its positive effects are cumulative over a period of time. Accordingly, it is appropriate that Writing to Learn strategies be adopted as they are vital for developing understanding, generating immediate reflection on a text, drawing conclusions, and developing critical evaluation. The following section shares some strategies for Writing to Learn that teachers can implement in the classroom.

Strategies for Writing to Learn Entrance and Exit Slips One of the best ways of adopting Writing to Learn is the use of entrance and exit “slips.” Entrance slips take only a few minutes at the beginning of a class or session. Students may be asked to make a list of questions about the topic to be treated, or to write a few sentences about what they already know about the topic, or the teacher may provide the slips with a brief questionnaire to be completed. The teacher collects the slips and scans them briefly as a way of beginning the class. This enables the teacher to focus on the aspects that need attention and to steer away from material already known. It also shines a spotlight on special needs and certain difficulties of individuals. In this way, right from the start, the lesson or lecture will be oriented towards student needs and weaknesses. Figure 1 shows an entrance slip from a TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Sultan Qaboos University ELT Conference workshop that indicates the participant had some idea of the goal of the session and had a desire to understand how to use writing as a means of learning.

Figure 3. An example of a student’s exit slip

Figure 1. An entrance writing slip from a “teaching” workshop The next example, Figure 2, is from a university foundation program student who obviously had read the course requirements on the university’s portal and had very clear expectations as well as readiness to identify specific needs and weaknesses.

Figure 4. An example of strategies learned shown in an exit slip

Collecting Thoughts Short written conversations are another way of implementing Writing to Learn strategies through giving students time to explore a topic before it becomes the subject of discussion. By being asked to write what they think about a topic for a few minutes, students are able to formulate their ideas more precisely before engaging in wider conversation. Students may be invited to share their ideas with a partner and then to write a collaborative response. Despite taking what might be considered too Dr Peter Waters is an alumnus of the University of Melbourne. He has extensive international experience in tertiary education, teacher education and professional development and currently lectures at the German University of Technology in Oman. He is the author of a number of works on pedagogical science and has been lecturing in Qatar and Oman for over ten years.

Figure 2. A university student’s entrance slip from a new writing course By contrast, exit slips have a double purpose. For the student or participant, they are a catalyst for synthesizing what has been done in the session and provide an opportunity for immediate reflection and recapitulation on new material that is documented. For the educator, there is immediate feedback on the receptivity of the participants and the effectiveness of what has been taught or presented. Figures 3 and 4 show some examples of exit slips.

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much precious class time, the results have been found to be far more productive than proceeding from initial discussions about a subject to a written exercise.

Transcription and Dictation The value of the time-honored practices of transcription and dictation, especially in the junior years, cannot be underestimated. Transcription is a form of scaffolding that reinforces language structure as well as vocabulary and spelling through modeling text. Dictation enables students to find meaning through writing texts from what they have heard and interpreted. It actually forces reconstruction of ideas in text rather than recognition from multiple choice answers, which is the more common though less TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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exacting method of assessing listening skills at the present time.These can be short, in-class writing activities that do not need to be extended nor laborious.

Self and Peer Assessment Written self assessment and peer assessment are both ideal ways of ensuring that the key goals of a teaching session are reviewed by individual learners. Feedback from educators at the ELT conference workshop indicates that while there is recognition of the value of peer and self assessment and exit slips, there is an underlying reluctance to incorporate them into teaching-learning activities because of time constraints. It is fair to say that initially they may take a little more time than anticipated, but once they are established as an expected pattern for students at the conclusion of a lesson, they need only take a few minutes. Framing self-assessment questions will determine how much time is needed. For example, you might simply ask, “What did you learn today that was new, or that you didn’t understand before?” A more extended questionnaire can be more evaluative: “What did you like most about the assignment?” “What was the most difficult part of the assignment?” or “How do you think you could improve on what you have done?” Peer assessments in writing are even more valuable, not least for class presentations. Students can be disarmingly honest when suggesting how a presentation given by a peer could be improved. The same is true when a question such as “What did you learn from the presentation?” is posed. The collective responses given by the members of a class, together with the self-assessment of the presenter, are a very equitable way of involving all students in the overall assessment. These written responses ensure that all students are included and thereby immediately engaged in reflective and analytical activity provoked by what has been presented, as shown in Figure 5.

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9 Learning Logs and Journals More on-going projects such as learning logs and journals allow students to summarize newly acquired information for further reflection and to determine matters for further clarity, deeper explanation, or development. Such strategies are particularly useful in the disciplines of mathematics and the sciences where students are invited to explain processes in writing. A variety of discipline specific studies have shown the effectiveness of science journals, observation versus inference charts, student authored books, and written observations, all providing students with different ways of viewing and consolidating data and integrating new ideas.

Know, Want, and Learn Charts Perhaps the most effective way of incorporating writing as a means of learning is what is known as a K-W-L chart (Gammill, 2006). This represents what students Know already, what they Want to know, and what they Learn. This has been found to be particularly helpful in science and social studies classes. It is also a good tool at the beginning of a session where students are asked to write down what they know about the subject. They then identify what questions they have about the subject or what sections of a text they think need most attention. The final column of the chart records what they have learnt from the exercise, or in other words, what they have taken away from the lesson. Such charts help students to organize their enquiries and then to confirm whether what they thought they knew was accurate. It also provides the opportunity to review whether all their original questions have been answered satisfactorily. Furthermore, more time is spent thinking about the subject or discipline through their writing. In conclusion, Writing to Learn is a pedagogical approach that enables understanding to develop and be clarified through the complex processes involved in writing. It has been adopted by numerous educators as the most effective way of enhancing learning and developing critical thinking in contemporary education. A variety of strategies have been trialed and adapted to suit the needs of the teaching-learning context. Its importance is now recognized by educational authorities that strive to revive national curricula in a bid to renew teaching as a vocation through exploring and updating an understanding of how best to teach and what to teach. This article serves to answer the question of TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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how writing contributes to students’ learning, how critical thinking is developed through the process of writing, and how contemporary educational research advocates the implementation of this pedagogical approach in the learning process.

References

Bangert-Drowns, R., Hurley, M., & Wilkinson, B. (2004). The effects of school-based writing-tolearn interventions on academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 29-58. Britton, J. N., Burgess, T., Martin, N., McLeod, A., & Rosen, H. (1975). The development of writing abilities (pp.11-18). London: MacMillan Educational for the Schools Council. College Board, National Commission on Writing. (2006). Writing and School Reform. Retrieved from http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/ writingcom/writing-school-reform-natl-commwriting.pdf

Emig, J, (1977). Writing as a mode of learning. College Composition and Communication, 28, 122128. Gammill, D. (2006). Learning the “write” way. Reading Teacher, 59(8), 754-762. Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (2003). Students with learning disabilities and the process of writing: A meta-analysis of SRSD studies. In L. Swanson, K. Harris, & S. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of learning disabilities (pp. 323–344). New York: Guilford Press Harmer, J. (2006). The practice of English language teaching. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd. Ryan, M. (2011). Improving reflective writing in higher education: A social semiotic perspective. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(1), 99-111. Winch, G., Ross-Johnston, R., Halliday, M., March, P., & Ljungdahl, L. (2001). Literacy: Reading, writing, and children’s literature. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. i

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Omar Al Noursi Institute of Applied Technology United Arab Emirates

Teaching Comprehension: What Teachers Should Know

The ability to read confidently, efficiently, and fluently in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is a key academic and professional enabler for learners and graduates. However, concern over poor standards in English in most Arabic speaking countries, as elsewhere, is constantly growing, especially when it comes to reading. There are many English language learners (ELLs) who find it hard to completely comprehend what they are reading. This can be hard especially on college students who need to read and study on their own for class tests. Evidence from research and reports (Marsden, 2002; Marsden & Wallace, 2001) indicates that students’ performance in reading is not satisfactory. It has been noted that students’ attainment in reading comprehension on international examinations such as IELTS, PET, and other nation-wide tests in the UAE, namely CEPA, has been identified as low and worrying.

Why Focus on Reading Comprehension

One may ask why we place much emphasis on the ability to read. As many schools struggle with the reading deficiencies of their students, teaching reading skills in both first and second language has been emphasized, and today’s teachers are becoming more conscientious of reading strategies and their value in the classroom. Learning to read for a variety of purposes is essential for success in schools and colleges and for learning in general. Effective reading is a foundation skill for 21st century learners. A big part of a student’s success in school, especially because more and more schools use English as a medium of instruction, is based on the reading comprehension skills that a student possesses. Since reading comprehension skills are a critical foundation for academic success not only in English but other subjects as well, the significance of teaching reading comprehension should not be underestimated, and teaching comprehension should be systematic and structured. According to Fountas and Pinnell (2006), Volume 22

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“Comprehension is the vital central core of the broader and more complex ability to reason” (p. 3). Being able to comprehend the text is the first step in developing the skills that are necessary for further analysis of text. Failure to teach students solid literacy proficiencies can have severe consequences. The most obvious effect involves student learning across the curriculum. Dagget and Hasselbring (2007) refer to reading as “the key enabler for academic proficiency” (p. 1). This assertion signifies that without appropriate reading skills, students will unquestionably struggle in all subject areas. In addition, students with low reading abilities have difficulty being engaged in learning; they simply cannot find the motivation to read and as a result tolerate indifference. Additionally, Dagget and Hasselbring (2007) show that a gap exists between the reading abilities of high school and college graduates and the reading requirements of the workplace. In other words, students are not learning the specific skills they need to be effective in the work place. Schmoker (2007) indicates that most graduates cannot read well enough and are not aware of the world around them. Schmoker analyzed a study performed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and found that poor literacy skills influenced a significant amount of college students to drop out. The consequences of denying students access to critical thinking skills that are developed through reading will impact not only the individual’s academic success and motivation, but also the country’s entire workforce. Since good reading comprehension skills are extremely important, the expectations from reading teachers are increasing rapidly, especially with the implementation of the cognitive approach and constructivism in teaching. Teachers have two goals: to improve students’ content knowledge and their reading comprehension so that they are TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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12 able to read at or above grade level, and to acquire adequate knowledge for success in any educational setting. Meeting these challenges requires significant instructional adjustments in classrooms, and for this to happen, teachers are required to know vital information about reading processes and master teachable skills and strategies that will enable the learners to understand complicated information from literary and academic passages, including topics they study in school and/or read out of school (Rampey, Dion & Donahue, 2009). In the following section, based on research findings by educational administrators and policymakers, the author outlines what knowledge, skills, and techniques teachers should posses to improve their students’ reading comprehension.

What Reading Teachers Should Know

In order to be prepared for the 21st century, students should be able to draw conclusions about what they read, filter what they read, differentiate between a fact and an opinion, and differentiate between a cause and a result. In other words, comprehension involves combining reading with thinking and reasoning. Therefore, comprehension is the understanding and interpretation of what is read. To be able to accurately understand written material and make sense of what is being read, learners need to be able to decode what they read, make connections between what they read and what they already know, and think deeply about what they have read. According to Wren (2002), comprehension is not developmental or acquired through osmosis or with the passage of the time. It should be taught through all grade levels if we want to develop good reading comprehension skills in students.This may be achieved through strategic teacher instruction that leads to equipping students with effective reading strategies. It is, therefore, critical for teachers to be knowledgeable about and skillful in reading comprehension methodologies.Teachers should understand the theoretical basis for, and learn how to implement, effective overall comprehension teaching strategies.

Basic Cognitive Knowledge

Reading teachers need to know about basic cognitive issues associated with the “top-down” and “bottom-up” models of reading. The former has been popular since the 1970s and replaced the bottom-up approach, which had been in use. In the bottom-up approach, students can read only when they are able to sound out words in a text, and then the reader must decode the meaning of the text. Unlike the top-down approach, it ignores Volume 22

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readers’ background schema and emphasizes the ability to decode or put into sound what is seen on the printed page. Teachers using this approach focus on decoding skills and spend almost no time helping readers to recognize what they bring to the information in the text. On the other hand, the topdown approach focuses on what the reader brings to the reading process. The emphasis is on readers as they interact with the text. They are seen as active readers, making predictions, processing information, and reconstructing the author’s message. They sample the text for information and contrast it with their knowledge in order to make sense of the written text. Many commentators recognize the value of and need for both decoding the text and the reader in the reading process, so a new model was proposed which stressed what is in the text and what a reader brings to it by using both top-down and bottom-up skills; this is called the “interactive approach.” Good readers are both skillful decoders and good text interpreters. In order to read with fluency and accuracy, students need to master both bottom-up recognition and top-down interpretation (Al Noursi, 2014). Another significant idea is that reading teachers need to recognize the difference between reading comprehension skills and reading comprehension strategies. The former is an activity that students complete for the purpose of learning about features of text such as main idea or cause and effect. A comprehension strategy is a specific process or routine that students use while reading to help them better understand the meaning of text. Comprehension skill lessons may be disconnected from text and may involve the completion of worksheets or graphic organizers that require lower level thinking. Comprehension strategy instruction, on the other hand, involves the explicit explanation of what the strategy is, why students should use it with this specific passage, and how they can use the strategy in other situations when they do not understand what they read. It is important, however, to promote both skilled and strategic reading because students need to know how to read strategically (Peterson, 2008).

Understanding Comprehension Strategies

Cognitive knowledge about reading is helpful, but teachers need to identify and understand comprehension strategies when teaching comprehension and developing readers. Cooper and Kiger (2011) point out that there are eight reading strategies that teachers need to understand and develop in their instruction and which should TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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be included in any literacy program. They should be taught from kindergarten through Grade 12. The first one is visualization, which enhances understanding of text and by which learners are expected to create mental images that improve reading comprehension. According to Marcell (2007), comprehension occurs when readers develop a “mind movie.” Developing that movie is necessary for students to begin seeing what is happening in the text.Visualizing text is a proven way to improve reading comprehension. It is a technique that can Dr Omar Al Noursi Omar is currently a lead teacher at the Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) and is a teacher development specialist. He has worked as a language instructor in different institutes in Jordan and the UAE where he was awarded the Sheikh Hamdan Award for Distinguished Academic performance in 2006. Prior to joining the IAT in 2006, he worked for Model Schools and Sheikh Khalifa Air College in the UAE, Al Ain. He earned his PhD degree in Curriculum and Instructions in 2010. He has presented and published papers in areas related to teacher development, learner autonomy, classroom research, curriculum development, teaching effectiveness, and global English. He is also interested in enhancing teaching and learning processes with technology. He is a member of reviewing teams for a number of national and international education journals.

be taught by modeling the technique, allowing students to practice visualization and share their images (Puett, 2004). Across many studies, graphic organizers have also proven to be useful in helping students visualize relationships among structural elements in a text. Graphic organizers are known by a number of names, including story maps, concept maps, or semantic organizers. Another key reading comprehension strategy is making connections. Students should be able to make connections to self, to text, and to the world. A strategic reader makes connections all the time, before, during, and after reading a text (Cooper & Kiger, 2011). Being able to make a connection to one’s own experience is an important piece of developing proficient readers and developing higher order thinking skills. Another important piece of the puzzle for improving comprehension is monitoring. Not only do students have to be able to clarify when the text is not making sense, but also have plans for overcoming the problem. Monitoring is an important part of students’ metacognitive development and is a developmental process that improves with age (Yang, 2006).Yang also suggests that teachers provide their EFL students with the knowledge and tactics of comprehension monitoring in critical reading. According to Collins and Smith (1980), these tactics include: (a) ignoring unimportant information and reading on, (b) suspending judgment until it is cleared up later, (c) forming a tentative hypothesis Volume 22

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13 to be tested as reading continues, (d) rereading the current sentences or looking for a tentative hypothesis, (e) rereading the previous context to resolve the contradiction, and (f) going to an expert source because it simply does not make sense. In addition to self-monitoring, the ability to infer is a central strategy of the process. Cooper and Kiger (2011) define inference thusly: “the process of judging, concluding, or reasoning from information, is the heart of meaning construction for learners of all ages” (p. 144). When learners read inferentially, they are involved with the text at a higher level, reflecting on information, making judgments, and drawing conclusions in response to what they read. When readers infer meaning, they become more personally engaged with and connected to the deeper meaning of the text, resulting in enhanced understanding and increased learning and retention (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000). This strategy requires readers to evaluate or draw conclusions from information in a text. Authors do not always provide complete descriptions of, or explicit information about a topic, setting, character, or event. However, they often provide clues that readers can use to “read between the lines” by making inferences that combine information in the text with their background knowledge. Indeed, research indicates that the ability to make inferences is crucial to successful reading. The ability to identify essential information from the text is another strategy that needs to be taught. Cooper and Kiger (2011) note that the ability to identify important information is a strategy that proficient readers use. It is a key for readers to determine what is significant and what is excess information. However, it takes considerable practice to be able to detect descriptive words and phrases that distract the reader from the central idea of an excerpt. Further strategies such as generating and answering questions, summarizing and synthesizing, and evaluation complete the reading strategy list for developing better readers. Making and answering questions allows students to directly interact with the text and improve their thinking while reading process. Summarizing and synthesizing can be taught together by having students pull together essential information from the text and then combine elements from multiple sources and integrate them into new knowledge. Lastly, according to Pressley (2000), evaluating is a process by which students decide whether the text they are reading is interesting or whether the arguments made in the text are credible.

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14 A growing body of research (e.g., Baker, 2002; Pressley, 2002; Stahl, 2004) has demonstrated that students can be taught the strategies that good readers use spontaneously and that when students are taught those strategies, both their recall and comprehension of a text improves. The National Reading Panel Report (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000) recommends the explicit teaching of comprehension strategies. It concludes, “…formal instruction on these strategies is believed to lead to improvement in text understanding and information use” (p. 40). However, there is not sufficient evidence about whether students actually learn to use reading strategies or whether it is a way to get them more actively engaged in reading a text. Although strategy instruction of various types has been found to improve comprehension, there has not been any indication to explain why this happens. Somewhat ironically, strategy instruction may not improve students’ use of strategies but may encourage them to look at text in a different manner, possibly increasing their cognitive engagement with text, and, through this increased engagement, become better at comprehending (Stahl, 2004). However, understanding a passage primarily depends on a series of reading techniques and strategies; of equal importance is the reader’s linguistic competence. A reader cannot solely rely upon a single strategy in order to achieve the text meaning. Reading is highly individual in nature; most readers use a unique combination of strategies to get the meaning and the message of the passage (Sarig, 1987).

Motivating Students to Read

In addition to cognitive knowledge about reading strategies, teachers need to have a solid knowledge about and practical techniques to motivate students to read extensively. Teachers can motivate students by providing them with interesting texts, allowing them choices in reading and writing, and helping them set authentic purposes for reading such as generating reports, writing letters, or demonstrating some new ability or skill (Pressley & Hilden, 2002). Some teachers motivate students and raise their interest in reading by engaging them in selecting texts, topics and themes, as well as providing and promoting authentic purposes for engaging in reading and writing. Another strategy that should be implemented when working with unmotivated students is to find ways for them to see how the skills will help them in the future. Reading does not always have to be about textbooks, anthologies, and essays. Students will be more motivated to learn these skills if they can see how it relates to their lives. Volume 22

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Obviously, no single tactic stimulates every student. However, if educators and other professionals make a commitment to constantly finding new and exciting ways to motivate even the most unmotivated student, then more students will be reached.

Quality Instruction

Comprehension instruction is very important in the reading process, and English teachers should pay close attention to it so that their students can develop operational reading habits. Worthy and Broaddus (2002) highlight how teachers’ passion about reading can have a positive effect on their students’ interest in reading. In order to engage your students in the reading process, they argue, you need quality instruction, and student engagement is critical for improving reading abilities. For instance, Many, Dewberry, Taylor, and Coady (2009) claim that teachers who have a good understanding of language and literacy development provide more approachable and meaningful reading instruction for their students. Teachers who demonstrate instructions that include establishing connections with student experiences and prior knowledge, make the most of teachable moments, and use multiple resources to support students’ reading usually see their students’ achievement improve. In some situations, reading comprehension is often tested, but is seldom taught (Ekwall & James, 1992). Years ago, reading instruction focused on teaching decoding skills, while comprehension consisted of simple questions and retelling. In reading classes most teachers, even the experienced ones, do not teach reading comprehension, as opposed to testing it. For instance, the teacher asks questions about the text and the students give some correct and some incorrect answers. Has learning taken place in this situation? Not very much if the teacher stops there and does not reinforce the reading passage with meaningful and interactive class work. What adds to these unfavorable situations is the way reading is assessed in schools, where the emphasis is on form and what the learners can do with the text. The example below unmistakably illustrates the situation: Read and answer the question. “Susan gronked the floobe.” Question 1: What did she gronk? Question 2: Who gronked the floobe? The majority, if not all students, may answer the questions correctly and yet not understand what the sentence means. This example shows the need for reconsidering the types of questions and activities when tackling reading comprehension in schools. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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In order to plan effectively and improve their students’ reading comprehension, teachers need to identify the stage of reading development that their students are in. Generally speaking there are four continuous stages (emergent, early, transitional, and fluent) that explain how students progress as readers. Knowing these stages is vey helpful when developing materials for specific types of readers. Most probably, some students do not make progress or make sense of what they read because the materials and the activities the teacher uses do not match their stage. Teachers may have students with different stages in a class, and they have to individualize the materials and level the activities up or down (Fountas & Pinnell, 2006). When using any teaching strategies, teachers should assist their students to understand and value the strategy for their learning. They must describe explicitly how the strategy in question should be used. Furthermore, teacher demonstration, modeling and follow-up independent practice are critical factors for success. Students’ input about the strategy is also helpful; teachers may engage students in a discussion following strategy instruction. Activation of prior knowledge makes up a great amount of the process of reading comprehension and promotes overall comprehension. Teachers should attempt to trigger as much prior knowledge as possible prior to reading the text, allowing students to apply their prior knowledge while reading (Pardo, 2004). To begin a reading assignment, EFL instructors should explain the term “main idea” to students. This is for the students to have a clear idea of what they will be reading for, so that they can learn how to perform a task. Students should also be coached on how to use global features in the passage to generate overall knowledge about the reading text and activate their background knowledge about the topic. This can be performed through discussion of titles, subtitles, headings, captions, and so on. These cues provide a good overview and are very useful in getting students to brainstorm what they know about the topic and help them speculate the likely text content. Instructors posing questions is another means of creating a motivating reading environment, expanding students’ ideas as well as arousing their interest in processing text.

Assessing Reading Comprehension

The most common reading comprehension assessment involves asking students to read a passage of text that is leveled appropriately for them, followed by some explicit, detailed questions about the content of the text. With language Volume 22

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15 comprehension assessment, however, students should not be expected to read any text. Everything from the instructions to the comprehension questions should be explained to the students if the target is comprehension assessment. For most students learning to read, their ability to read and understand text is limited by their decoding skills, not by their comprehension skills. It is always worthwhile to compare learners’ language comprehension with their reading comprehension to be sure that their ability to understand text is not being limited by their ability to understand the language. There are some elements that teachers need to consider when assessing comprehension that make one student comprehend better than another. First, students’ general knowledge about the world affects comprehension. A particular reader may not know much about a particular topic, and then struggle to understand the text. Students with background knowledge about a topic usually accomplish the task efficiently. Second, linguistic knowledge that consists of three basic cognitive elements (phonology, semantics, and syntax) play a significant role in understanding the text. Finally, the range of vocabulary, or lexical knowledge, that students have makes a difference to comprehension. Another important point that teachers need to consider when assessing reading comprehension is the purpose of assessing strategies and skills. According to Peter, David, and Paris (2008), the main reason for assessing strategies is to find clues about what the student is not doing or what is being done incorrectly so that teachers can re-teach better strategies. Strategy assessments are formative, and skill assessments are summative. Obviously, teachers play a significant role in student education. They not only communicate knowledge but also help shape attitudes towards education, school, and, more specifically, the subjects that they teach. Thus, they need to be properly trained and equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skills. They need to be taught how to read any text independently (not just those listed for the program) and to be able to arrive at their own interpretation by using critical thinking. They also need to address a text’s cultural elements, which, if neglected, might result in misunderstanding and limited student participation. Perhaps another skill that teachers need is the ability to produce their own supplementary materials. Instead of relying on the course book or reference books, they can learn how to get information through the Internet, for example, and adapt it to suit their students’ proficiency levels

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16 and interests. It is also important to ensure that teachers are equipped with enough pedagogical content knowledge, which influences classroom practice, and which, in turn, affects students’ learning outcomes and achievement. In conclusion, reading is fundamental for any person to function in today’s society, and the future success of children lies in the ability to read fluently and understand what is read. Poor reading skills increase the amount of time taken to absorb and react in the workplace. A person is limited in what he or she can accomplish without good reading and comprehension skills. Therefore, it is imperative to equip teachers with all necessary theories, skills, and strategies that enhance their students’ performance and engagement in reading classes. It is also vital for improving reading fluency to provide remedial reading programs to improve both reading fluency and reading comprehension, particularly to elementary school students because fluency and comprehension are particularly important at this stage of development and early intervention can impact the progression of reading difficulties.

References

Al Noursi, O. H. (2014). To read or not to read. In R. Al-Mahrooqi & A. Roscoe (Eds.), Focusing on EFL reading (pp. 241-269). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Baker, L. (2002). Metacognition in comprehension instruction. In C. C. Block & M. Pressley (Eds.), Comprehension instruction: Research-based best practices (pp. 77-95). New York: Guilford. Collins, A., & Smith, E. (1980). Teaching the process of reading comprehension (Tech. Report No.182). Urbana, IL: Illinois University, Center for the Study of Reading (ED 193 616). Cooper, D., & Kiger, N. (2011). Literacy: Helping children construct meaning (8th ed.). NewYork: Houghton Mifflin. Dagget, W., & Hasselbring, T. (2007). What we know about adolescent reading. International Center for Leadership in Education.Retrieved from http://www.leadered.com/pdf/Adolescent%20 Reading%20W hitepaper.pdf. Ekwall, E., & James, L. (1992). Locating and correcting reading difficulties. New York: Merrill. Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. S. (2006). Teaching for comprehending and fluency, K-8:Thinking, talking, and writing about reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Many, J., Dewberry, D., Taylor, D., & Coady, K. (2009). Profiles of three pre service ESOL teachers’ development of instructional scaffolding. Reading Psychology, 30(2), 148-174. Marcell, B. (2007). Traffic light reading: Fostering the independent usage of comprehension strategies with informational text. The Reading Teacher, 60, 778-781. Marsden, N. (2002). Reading Strategies that Work with Arab Students. TESOL Arabia 8th International Conference: Critical Reflection and Practice, Dubai, UAE. Marsden, N., & Wallace, C. (2001). How well do our students read in Arabic? Presentation at Higher College of Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel:Teaching children to read: An evidencebased assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. (NIH Publication No. 00-4769).Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Pardo, L. S. (2004). What every teacher needs to know about comprehension. The Reading Teacher, 58(3), 272-281. Peter, A., David, P., & Paris, S. (2008). Clarifying differences between reading skills and reading strategies. The Reading Teacher, 61(5), 364-373. Peterson, D. (2008). What is the difference between a comprehension skill and a comprehension strategy? Retrieved from http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ reading/documents/FAQ/Comprehension.pdf Pressley, M. (2000). What should comprehension instruction be the instruction of? In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (vol. 3), (pp. 545-561). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Pressley, M. (2002). Reading instruction that works: The case for balanced teaching, (2nd Ed.). New York: Guilford. Pressley, M., & Hilden, K. (2002). How can children be taught to comprehend text better? In M. L. Kamil, J. B. Manning, & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), Successful reading instruction: Research in educational productivity (pp. 33-51). Greenwich, CT: Information Age.

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Puett, C. (2004). Opening the door: Teaching students to use visualization to improve comprehension. Education World. Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/ profdev/profdev094.shtml. Rampey, B. D., Dion, G. S., & Donahue, P. L. (2009). NAEP 2008 trends in academic progress (NCES 2009-479). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Sciences, Institute of Education Sciences, U. S. Department of Education. Sarig, G. (1987). High-level reading in the first and in the foreign language: Some comparative process data. In J. Devine, P. L. Carrell, & D. E. Eskey (Eds.) Research in reading in English as a second language (pp. 105-120). Washington, DC: TESOL.

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Schmoker, M. (2007). Reading, writing, and thinking for all. Educational Leadership, 64(7), 63-66. Stahl, S. (2004). What do we know about fluency? Findings of the National Reading Panel. In P. McCardle & V. Chhabra (Eds.), The voice of evidence in reading research (pp. 187-211). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes. Worthy, J., & Broaddus, K. (2002). Fluency beyond the primary grades: From group performance to silent, independent reading. The Reading Teacher, 55(4), 334-343. Wren, S. (2002). Ten myths of reading instruction. SEDL Letter, 14(3), 3–8. Yang,Y. (2006). Reading strategies or comprehension monitoring strategies? Reading Psychology, 27(4), 313-343. i

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Leaving Teaching: Factors Influencing Omani Teachers A teacher is not only a person who delivers a subject or knowledge in the boundary of four walls. The teacher is a messenger who transmits values, ethics, and attitudes towards society through students. Thus it is essential to think, as educationists and policy makers, about how to sustain qualified and expert teachers in our schools and how to reduce (as much as we can) factors that “force” some teachers to leave or quit their profession even though they like it. I intend through this research to draw the attention of decision makers at the Ministry of Education in Oman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are experiencing the same phenomenon in teacher retention, to the importance of understanding former teachers’ circumstances, to highlight the factors that force some teachers to leave or quit teaching, and to suggest potential solutions. For this study, semi-structured interviews were conducted individually with six former teachers (5 female and 1 male) who willingly participated. The findings have some implications for me as a senior supervisor, for principals at schools, and for decision makers at GCC Ministries of Education to tackle the issue of losing teachers.

Background

Gourneau (2005) asked a group of teachers why they wanted to be teachers. They responded that they wanted to make a positive difference in students’ lives and to be remembered by their students. This reveals the importance of teacher- student relations and proves that the teacher does not only deliver subjects or knowledge; s/he delivers values and attitudes. The teacher’s role is essential; some teachers’ fingerprints might affect students’ lifelong learning. Do we not sometimes hear many people saying, “I like/hate X subject because of Y teacher.” Losing teachers, especially experienced and competent ones, Volume 22

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Masooma Talib Al Lawati Ministry of Education Sultanate of Oman, Muscat

is a big loss. Consequently, it is crucial to study the factors that influence teachers to leave their jobs and move to other organizations or to quit teaching and stay at home. As an English language senior supervisor responsible for more than 100 public schools in Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, and responsible for teachers’ development, this issue concerns me a lot. Losing teachers affects both teachers and students. Here, I need to briefly clarify the education system in Oman. Before 1998, the educational system was called “general education.” It used to have three levels: elementary (1-6), preparatory (3 years) and secondary (3 years). Basic education was launched in 1998 with three cycles: cycle one (grades 1-4), cycle two (grades 5-10), and post basic (grades 11-12). Losing teachers affects students as the evaluation system in Oman is 100% continuous assessment in cycle one (1-4). On the other hand, in cycle two (510) and post basic (11-12), besides the tests, which are 30% of the total marks in grades 5-10 and 40% in grades 11-12, continuous assessment is used by the teachers. They use tools of continuous assessment such as day-to-day observation, short quizzes, and student presentations. Therefore, permanent, not temporary, teachers are required to follow up on students’ progress. What happens in many schools is that when the system loses the teacher, a parttime teacher replaces him/her. Additionally, some part-time teachers do not continue in schools due to different factors (low salary, family condition, distance, etc.). These part-time teachers are not aware of the evaluation system because they do not attend the in-service trainings sessions as regular teachers do. Furthermore, changing teachers quite often makes students feel insecure and forces them to deal with the different personalities of different teachers. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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This phenomenon also affects teachers. First of all, it causes shortages of teachers in schools. Secondly, teachers have a greater workload when they take their colleagues’ schedules. The third point is that the education system loses qualified, trained, and experienced teachers.Yearly, as a senior supervisor I get complaints from schools due to shortage of teachers that cause some classes to remain without teachers. All of the above reasons made me interested in studying the factors that influence teachers to leave their jobs.

Methodology

The focus of this qualitative case study which used interview protocol was the factors that influence teachers to leave their jobs and move to other organizations or to quit teaching and stay at home. The English Unit at the Department of Human Recourses receives complaints every year from schools due to shortages of teachers. Many teachers decide to quit or to move to other institutes when they encounter the real experience of teaching. According to the literature, there are different factors that force teachers to quit or leave teaching.

Review of Literature

Smithers and Robinson (2003) conducted a study to examine the factors influencing teachers’ decisions to leave their profession. They used both interviews and questionnaires as instruments to identify reasons why teachers left their jobs. According to Smithers and Robinson, five major factors were found that influence teachers’ decisions to leave: workload, new challenges, school conditions, salary, and personal circumstances. Among these factors, workload was the most important, and salary the least. Denton (2009) conducted a study to find out teachers› reasons for continuing to teach, their levels of job satisfaction, and their perceptions of their principals’ leadership styles. Twelve experienced teachers were interviewed from four schools. Participants’ responses indicated that principals play an essential role in increasing teachers’ job satisfaction and retention rates by enhancing respectful relationships among teachers and their students and among the staff and the administration. On the other hand, Buchanan (2010) interviewed 21 former teachers (14 female and 7 male) whose teaching experience ranged from a few months to 20 years. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. Buchanan ranked Volume 22

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the contributing factors as the following: workload, support, classroom management, working conditions, salary, and prestige of teaching. He did not indicate any significant differences between genders. Cha and Cohen-Vogel (2011) conducted a study to compare the responses of teachers who stayed and those who left their professions regarding the influences of salary, working conditions, and professional development experiences. They discovered that working conditions were the strongest predictor among the three factors. They also found out that salary was one of the effective factors for justifying teachers’ decisions to leave teaching for another job. In another study,Youngs (2012, cited in Tierney, 2012) investigated the factors that influence novice teachers’ decisions to leave their profession.Youngs (2012, cited in Teirney, 2012) surveyed 184 beginning teachers of grades one in eleven large school districts in Michigan and Indiana. The result showed that the most important factor influencing teachers’ giving up was the principal and teachers’ relationships. It is obvious that factors might differ according to culture and context. There are however, to some extent, some similarities in the above studies. Let us see how these factors are alike/different in my (Omani) context. The following is a report of the data collection through interviews and a discussion section which indicates the similarities and the differences between this current study and the literature.

The Interviews

The participants of this small scale study were former teachers whose experience ranged between nine and 21 years. Some participants had experienced both systems, that is, both general and basic education. A few of them had taught the Integrated Curriculum (IC) for a short time, before it was frozen by a ministerial decision. Semi-structured interviews were conducted individually with the participants, one male and five females, all former teachers from Muscat. All the interviews were conducted faceto-face except one done by telephone. The main questions for the interview were: How long did you teach? Which level did you teach? Why did you quit teaching? What factors, from your point of view, force teachers to leave their jobs? If you could go back in time and choose a job to train for would it be teaching? The sub questions were driven and TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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modified from the literature to compare the factors in my context with the above studies.

of the factors that makes teachers decide to quit or move to other organizations? Note taking was used to record participants’ answers.

The sub questions were: Why did you choose teaching as a career and what factors from your point of view, might make teachers stay longer? Do you think salary is one of the factors that makes teachers decide to quit or move to other organizations? Do you think the school principal/colleagues is/are one

Data Analysis

The following table compares the participants’ replies and figures for the most common factors that caused Omani teachers to change or quit their jobs.

Table 1 Summary of Teacher Interviews Participant

1 (retired)

2 (retired)

3 (moved to admin work)

4 (moved to admin work

5 (moved to admin work

6 (male and moved to admin work )

How long did you teach? (years)

12

21

9

13

21

17

Which level did you teach?

Prep, post basic & college

Prep and post basic

Basic cycle one 1-4

Elementary and basic 1-4 and Integrated curriculum

Preparatory, Basic1-4 and Integrated curriculum

Elementary and basic 5-10

Why did you quit teaching?

Family condition, principal was abusing, load,

Not enjoyed, doing something by force, not fair with students, not creative

sickness reason

Keep changing the curriculum, Students level, load on teacher, principal not cooperative, all rules come from up

For change. Same routine.

Sort of change, less stress, free mind, free hand

What factors, from your point of view, force teachers to leave their jobs?

No promotion, no professional development, no exposure

Workload on teacher, no appreciation, no flexibility for leave taking

No promotion, no training, no motivation, load

Principal relationship

So many visitors/ committees, marking, preparation, no change in the salary, no promotion, teacher stress, load on teacher, not interested in teaching

Salary, school stress, long distance, load on teachers

If you could go back in time and choose a job to train for would it be teaching?

No, never

No, it was a mistake

Yes, but with the load I see now, No

Yes, if Integrated curriculum is back, I love teaching.

No

No

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Analyzing the above table indicates that factors differ from one teacher to another; however, almost all agreed that teachers’ workload and no appreciation are the main factors. As it is obvious from the participants’ replies, almost all (except one former teacher) answered with “No” for the question “If you could go back in time and choose a job to train for would it be teaching?” When I asked the participants about the reasons behind becoming a teacher the reasons were: there was no other option at that time, I did not score high, parents forced me, and I liked my English teacher. Only one participant answered that she loved teaching. Surely that raises an important issue regarding teachers’ attitudes, and this will be discussed in detail in the discussion and recommendations section. Unlike Cha and Cohen-Vogel (2011), salary was not one of the most effective factors for the participants in this research. Indeed one of those who moved to administration work claimed, “I knew that teacher’s allowance will be deducted, but I do not care as long as I do not have stress; free hand, free mind.” Similar to Youngs (2012 cited in Tierney, 2012), some participants highlighted the importance of having a cooperative principal in schools. In fact two of the participants candidly pointed out that they quit teaching due to the principal’s mistreatment of them. Furthermore, one of the sub questions was, what factors from your point of view, might make teachers stay longer? The answers differed amongst participants; however, the majority commented on appreciation and promotion: “for how long I will teach…, what is after teaching…, then what…, they do not listen to us.” All these answers indicate that teachers are demotivated due to lack of appreciation and unfair promotions.

Discussion and Recommendations

As a senior supervisor, my influence could be both direct and indirect. Data analysis indicates the agreement of all participants of two main forces: the workload of teachers and lack of appreciation. This is supposed to guide me and my team to take action and to change our behaviour towards teachers. We do appreciate their work and effort orally; however, this should be expressed in writing. As supervisors we need to show them that our role is to support and guide teachers, not to track their mistakes, and this is what I focus on from time to time in meetings. Moreover, to show that we appreciate their Volume 22

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work and effort, we recently conducted a forum for teachers to exchange ideas, achievement and projects done in the schools; an appreciation certificate was awarded to all presenters. Indirect effects could be through providing recommendations to decision makers and higher authorities at the Ministry of Education to reduce the phenomena mentioned above. The following could be some recommendations: • The intent of my research is to draw the Ministry of Education’s attention to the need of establishing a team of researchers who are interested in conducting a larger scale study to investigate the factors influencing teachers to leave their profession. Such research will reduce teacher shortages and retain qualified experienced teachers. Cha and Cohen-Vogel (2011) reveal that schools that lose good teachers also lose those teachers’ experience, their rapport with the school, colleagues and parents. • Teachers’ attitude towards teaching is essential since they build students who build societies (Patchaivaziamman & Krishnamurthy, 2010; Belagali, 2011; Gourneau, 2005). Testing teachers’ knowledge about a subject is vital but not sufficient. The Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Higher Education need to construct a tool or standards to measure student-teachers’ and teachers’ attitudes towards teaching before they start teaching. Belagali (2011) states, “Teacher’s attitudes not only affect his/her behavior in the classroom but also influence the behavior of his/her students” (p.19). From my observations, teachers’ negative attitudes towards teaching also affect students’ performance. Teaching practice at Sultan Qaboos University and other educational colleges should be at least one year full-time to put the student-teacher in a real situation before she/he becomes a teacher. As a senior supervisor, I always get complaints from school principals that X or Y teachers are not interested in teaching and this causes unplanned and insufficient lessons which affect students’ performance. Unfortunately many teachers do not choose teaching as a career because they like it; this is what the participants’ utterances proved when TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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I asked them “Why did you choose teaching?” The answers were: there was no other options at that time, I did not score high in the secondary certificate, my parents forced me, and I liked my English teacher. • The Ministry of Education (MOE) should rethink the policy of a yearly increment which states that “The employee shall be entitled to a periodical bonus at the beginning of January of each year within the limits set for his grade according to the grade and salary table attached to this Law (Annexure 1) provided that he has spent at least six months in the job. The employee shall not be entitled to the periodical bonus if his latest performance report is ‘weak’” (article 35, chapter 7) (Ministry of Civil Services, n.d.). Is it fair to provide excellent and average teachers the same amount of bonus? Masooma Talib Al Lawati works for the Ministry of Education in Oman. She is a senior supervisor at the Human Resource Development Department, which is responsible for supervising public schools in Muscat. She worked as a teacher from 1990 to 1997, and has worked as a supervisor from 1998 to 2007. In 2008, she became a senior supervisor at the Ministry. She is currently working on a PhD.

This indeed affects hardworking teachers’ motivation. If the MOE sustains such policy, then a special reward/promotion should be given the hardworking teachers and standards must be established as mentioned in article 36: “Pursuant to a resolution from the unit head the employee may be given one or two periodical bonuses of the category set for his job for once a year and at a maximum four allowances in the same grade provided that his performance assessment report is al least ‘very good’ and that he has exerted special effort, achieved economy in expenditure or raised the performance level. Giving such allowance does not prevent him from receiving the periodical bonus at its specified time.” The question which might arise here is that if this is applied in our schools, why did some participants (with 20 years of experience) claim that there was no promotion and no appreciation? What is the role of schools principals in teachers’ promotion? What are the criteria for selecting promoted teachers? All these questions need a large-scale survey since we cannot generalize from the results of this research. The current research might lead to a survey studying factors influencing Volume 22

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teachers’ decision to leave or quit teaching from schools’ principals’ perceptions. • Other Civil Service Law articles that need to be revised are 79, 80 and 84. Article 79: “The female employee shall be entitled to a fifty-day special leave for pre and post-delivery period. This leave shall be salaried and shall not be taken for more than five times during the whole service period in the government.” Article 80: “The female employee shall be entitled to a non-salaried special leave for not more than one year for taking care of her child. She shall submit a request to get this leave within one year from the end of its delivery leave provided that she is not a contract employee.” Article 84: “As per reasons the unit head may deem appropriate, the employee may be given a nonsalaried special leave for not more than one year that can be renewed for not more than four years during the whole service period provided that he is not a contract employee unless work inertest requires giving him the said leave.” From my point of view and from my observations, these articles increase teachers’ workload as unfortunately some teachers overuse sick leave or take leave without pay at any time of the academic year. This forces their colleagues to have a great workload if a part-time teacher is not available, and this phenomenon (leave without pay) is very common in female schools due to maternity and baby-care leave. What would the situation be if three or four teachers have such leave in the same school? The MOE needs to set up a new strategy of having trained teacher assistants who can replace the main/original teacher in such circumstances. The concept of having an assistant teacher is to reduce teachers’ workload and make them focus more on “teaching” and preparing effective lessons (Vedder & et al., 2010). In addition, Buchanan (2010) suggests some solutions to reduce the workload on the new teachers by having team teaching, effective mentoring by experienced teachers, and observing experienced teachers. In fact these suggestions are applied in many Omani schools; however, such proposals are difficult to put into practice with novice as well as with experienced teachers when the workload of a teacher is 4-5 lessons per day; “it kills creativity” as one of the participants claimed. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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• The teacher-principal relationship was mentioned by some participants as a reason for leaving teaching. Two of the participants quit their jobs due to “uncooperative” (as they described) headmistresses. This factor is also mentioned in the literature (Youngs, 2012 cited in Tierney, 2012). It is essential that the school principal comprehend her/his teachers’ circumstances and assist teachers in being effective. School principals should understand that they are leaders, not managers. In Hering (n.d.), Friedes says: “The best leaders are also good managers…But the best managers may or may not become good leaders.” There is no doubt that the school principal requires managerial skills, but that alone might not build team spirit in her/his school. A cooperative principal encourages teachers to overcome their obstacles and to work in a stress-free environment that enables them to be creative and productive. The MOE in Oman provides school principals with some courses and workshops on being effective leaders, but the effect of that training should be followed and assessed. Moreover, teachers should have a part in assessing school principals as school principals assess teachers. In fact in Oman, 60% of teacher’s performance report is written by the school principal as mentioned in the civil service law article 22.

Conclusion

I intended to study the factors that influence teachers to leave or quit teaching in Oman. A semi- structured interview was conducted with six former teachers who claimed that workload and lack of appreciation were the major factors which forced them to move to other organizations or to stay at home. The purpose of this research is to draw attention to the factors that might influence teachers to leave their profession, and to draw the MOE’s and other policy makers’ attention to the importance of retaining teachers by reducing those factors as much as they can.

References

Belagali, H. (2011). A study of teachers attitude towards teaching profession of secondary schools in relation to gender and locality. International Refereed Research Journal, III(32), 18-19. Volume 22

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Buchanan, J. (2010). May I be excused? Why teachers leave the profession. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 30(2), 199–211. Retrieved from http:// www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/doi/ pdf/10.1080/02188791003721952h Cha, S.H., & Cohen-Vogel, L. (2011). Why they quit: A focused look at teachers who leave for other occupations. School Effectiveness and School Improvement: An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice, 22(4), 371-392. Denton, E. (2009). Teachers’ perceptions of how the leadership styles and practices of principals influence their job satisfaction and retention. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.liberty. edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1226&context =doctoral Gourneau, B. (2005). Five attitudes of effective teachers: Implications for teacher training. Essays in Education, 13(Spring). Retrieved from http:// www.usca.edu/essays/vol132005/gourneau.pdf. Hering, B. (n.d.). The difference between a manager and a leader. Retrieved from http:// msn.careerbuilder.com/Article/MSN-2586Leadership-Management-The-differencebetween-a-manager-and-a-leader/ Ministry of Civil Services. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mocs.gov.om/LinkClick.aspx?filetic ket=AFIafWcI1sQ%3d&tabid=302 Patchaivaziamman, J., & Krishnamurthy, S. (2010). Development and standardisation of a scale measuring attitude towards teaching. International Journal of Recent Scientific Research, 3, 84-87. Retrieved from http://www.recentscientific. com/sites/default/files/article%204_0.pdf Smithers, A., & Robinson, P. (2003). Factors affecting teachers’ decisions to leave the profession. Retrieved from http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/4759/1/ RR430.pdf Tierney, J. (2012). Why do so many teachers quit their jobs? Because they hate their bosses. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/ national/archive/2012/11/why-do-so-manyteachers-quit-their-jobs-because-they-hate-theirbosses/265310/ Vedder, R., Gillen, A., Bennet, D., Denhart, M., Robe, J., Holbrook, T.,…Malesick, M. (2010). Increase teaching loads. Retrieved from http://www.centerforcollegeaffordability.org/ uploads/25_Ways_Ch14.pdf i TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Lesson Feature Idea Article

Ameerchund Maharaj Jeddah Community College (King AbdulAziz University) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

A Fresh Look at Textbook Conversations

Spontaneity in speaking might not present so much of a challenge for learners in a native English language environment. However, this isn’t the case for second language learners. In fact, as Salari (2009, p. 37) points out: “Formal English language instruction in many parts of the world has shown limited success in developing efficient speaking skills even after years of studying.” The reasons for this limited success are many and varied since teaching and learning are complex activities. Saville-Troike (2006) perceives Second Language Acquisition (SLA) as not just the learning of a language other than that learnt in childhood, but also the study of the processes involved and of those who are learning it. This article is aimed at considering novel ways to approach conversations in ESL instruction. It is intended to generate practical alternatives for teachers in beginner to pre-intermediate classes. It can, of course, be adapted for higher levels. Listening and speaking is an integral component of skill building in ESL instruction. Most ESL textbooks include conversation segments in almost all units or chapters for reinforcing the theme or for listening/ speaking practice. It is a common procedure for most teachers to use the CD accompanying the textbook for these listening/speaking exercises.

Traditional Approach to Conversations

The title of the article is “A Fresh Look at Textbook Conversations.” This suggests an already existing conventional approach to conversations which some, if not most, teachers use. What is this regular approach normally adopted by ESL facilitators/ instructors? Since most ESL classrooms are equipped with whiteboards, computers, and data show projectors, the CD featuring the conversation is Volume 22

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played to the entire class a few times so that context and gist of the conversation are established.The teacher may ask a few leading questions to maximize student involvement in the lesson. Students may be asked to identify difficult or unfamiliar words/phrases.These words/phrases may be written on the whiteboard, the meaning explained, and a fairly intense pronunciation drill may follow. An often familiar or favorite practice is asking students to read the conversation “in character.” An extension of this activity could involve a short role play depending on the proficiency level of the class. There may be possible slight variations in the order of the steps, but the conversation lesson generally proceeds in this manner.

What Is Wrong with the Traditional Approach? While this approach integrates the reading skill (reading “in character”), the question remains: how much of the conversation is retained in the minds of learners when the class is over? How much of this conversation can really be used in real life situations? It has been the author’s experience that if difficult words/phrases are not dealt with adequately or repeated often enough, learners have difficulty recognizing them, recalling their meaning or even pronouncing them correctly. Even though pronunciation drills have been practiced a few times, reading “in character” is not without its problems where students either avoid, mispronounce, or falter when it comes to those unfamiliar words/ phrases. The reading is generally jerky and erratic, with students skipping words/phrases. The likely overall effect is that the meaning of the text becomes obscured. We need to explore and attempt measures whereby the conversation or parts of it will be retained in the minds of our students so that they

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may help in verbal interaction in other real life situations. The emphasis is on aiding memorization so that the potential for speaking and listening in real life situations can be enhanced. It must be stressed at this point that memorization here is not simple blind rote learning for retention and parrot fashion recall. The point is memorization for practical use. Students must be able to respond appropriately to other potential real life situations. This will be expounded on later in the article when practical applications are discussed.

Rote Learning Versus Memorization

It must be stressed at this point that memorization of linguistic materials is not intended to become a robotic, mechanistic, burdensome activity devoid of understanding of the content or its practical application. Quite the opposite. Through a judicious selection of strategies (most of them incorporating elements of fun, mystery, humor, drama, competition, and games), a teacher can encourage a class to commit verbal material to memory. It is for this reason that a distinction will be drawn in this paper between rote learning and memorization. Stedman’s Medical Dictionary (“rote learning,” n.d.) defines rote learning as: “Learning or memorization by repetition, often without an understanding of the reasoning or relationships involved in the material that is learned.” Rote learning by its nature implies that there is little or no comprehension of the content that is learned verbatim by the student. This is not the purpose of this paper. The goal is memorization with understanding and practical utility. It is for this reason that the author will use the term functional or purposeful memorization rather than rote learning in the discussion of textbook conversations. Memorization is generally regarded as the broader skill incorporating rote learning. While rote learning implies 100% accuracy in recall, functional memorization is more flexible, allowing a certain degree of latitude in recall. However, with key phrases/expressions, which the teacher deems as the target material to be learned, 100% accuracy in recall should be the aim. In defending the issue of memorization, Johnson (2010) maintains: “The true nature of memorization … is for the students. And it is the responsibility of teachers to teach students how to use it to help them in their educational career… The total emphasis on critical thinking has it all wrong: Before students can think critically, they need to have something to think about in their brains.” Volume 22

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Theoretical Perspectives

There are many theories of second language learning. Mitchell and Myles (2004) mention the following: the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis, Error Analysis and Inter-language, the Monitor Model Theory; Universal Grammar, and Sociolinguistic theories. Despite all these theories, there is no escaping the fact that all language learning starts with the mind. Second language acquisition as Long and Richards (2001, p. vii) point out, “is first and foremost a mental process – one that occurs in a behavioral and social context, to be sure, but fundamentally a matter of acquiring a new knowledge system. Cognition and cognitive factors, therefore, are central to any account of how and why SLA works.” Put another way: “words come out of the mouth and go into the ear. But they’re stored in the mind. And retrieved from the mind. And understood in the mind. They’re also learned in the mind” (Thornbury, 2012). The idea of words being stored in the mind and retrieved in the mind brings strongly into focus the role of memory in language learning, both short and long term memory. It also raises the question of the amount of linguistic material that is consciously (deliberately/intentionally) and unconsciously committed to memory. This article will attempt to address the former concern (i.e., the purposeful memorization of language and in particular, key expressions in conversations). Research into memory Dr Ameerchund Maharaj is from South Africa. He started teaching English (as a first language) in South Africa in 1983. He was promoted to lecturer in 1997. He has been teaching ESL in the Gulf since 2002. He has published articles in journals and chapters in books as well as presenting papers at international conferences in South Africa, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. He obtained his PhD in 2005. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2006. His academic interests include professional development, vocabulary acquisition, and innovative teaching. He can be contacted at ashrafmaharaj@yahoo.com.

has resulted in the differentiation of three kinds of memory: short term memory, long term memory, and working memory (Cowan, 2008). Long term memory is a large repository of knowledge and a record of past events. All theoretical models of memory affirm the existence of the long term memory. Short term memory refers to the faculty of the human mind to retain a limited amount of information in a very accessible way temporarily. Working memory is closely associated with short term memory, but it is directly linked to the task at hand. It is a term that was used by Miller, Galanter, TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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and Pribram (1960) to refer to memory as it is used to plan and execute action. Examples of working memory in practice would be: remembering partial results while trying to solve a mathematical problem without paper; a defense lawyer piecing bits of information while cross examining a key witness; or preparing a tasty dish without making the mistake of adding the same ingredient twice. Working memory is definitely focused on the here and now. Although the functional memorization of conversations may largely fill the domain of working or short term memory, it is possible that some of the material could be transferred to long term memory. In the early 80s, Carroll (1981) claimed that language aptitude consists of four abilities, one of which is “rote learning ability.” Of course, Carroll meant the “ability to learn associations between sounds and meaning rapidly and efficiently, and to retain these associations” (Carroll, 1981, p. 105). But surely the potential for memorization extends beyond just associations between sounds and meaning. In a recent work on the psychology of second language acquisition, Dornyei (2009) posits that instructed SLA should include an element of rote learning. Skehan (1998) in his own model of language ability reserves an important place for memory. He states that “memory, although traditionally associated with the acquisition of new information, is also concerned with retrieval, and with the way elements are stored…Fast-access memory systems…are what allow output to be orchestrated into fluent performance” (p. 204). In addition to having a fairly large vocabulary, one should be able to retrieve words quickly. The prominence of memory in second or foreign language learning is again underscored by Skehan (1998) in his review of some exceptional language learners. He asserts that “To be exceptionally good at second or foreign language learning seems to require possession of unusual memory abilities, particularly the retention of verbal material. Exceptional L2 ability does not seem to rest upon unusual talent with a rule-based aspect of the language, but rather on a capacity to absorb very large quantities of verbal material, in such a way that they become available for actual language use” (p. 221). The question then arises: if high quality learners can memorize so much verbal material, can their lower ability counterparts be coached into doing the

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same? This goes to the heart of this essay, that is, teaching the purposeful memorization of selected verbal material (conversations) for practical everyday use. Ding (2007) traced the role that rote learning played in the linguistic achievements of three high ability Chinese learners of English. Ding states that “The interviewees regarded text memorization and imitation as the most effective methods of learning English.” They were required to internalize entire course books and the screenplays of whole films. One of these students claimed that through reciting these lessons, he gained mastery of many collocations, phrases, sentence patterns and other language points.

Strategies to Aid Memorization

The conversation below acts as a reference point for the discussion on memorization techniques and application of aspects of the conversation to outside real life scenarios. The expressions singled out for their applicability to other real life contexts are in italics. The numbering of the speakers’ utterances is part of the strategy to help in memorization. [A conversation between Khalid and the receptionist] (Phone rings.) Khalid: Good morning, is this the bank? (1) Receptionist:Yes, it is. How may I help you? (2) Khalid: My name is Khalid Al-Marzouki. I’m new in this city. I’ve just started working here a week ago. Tell me, where are your offices located? (3) Receptionist: We are in the old part of the city, opposite the “Hoppers” shoe factory. (4) Khalid: Oh dear, I thought you would be closer to the city center. Anyway, what time do you open and close? (5) Receptionist: Sir, we open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. (6) Khalid: That’s strange, I thought banks usually open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 3:30 p.m. Well, do you deal in foreign exchange? (7) Receptionist: (laughs) No, we don’t, Sir. (8) Khalid: What’s so funny? Aren’t you a bank? (9) Receptionist:Yes, we are Sir. We are the Blood Bank. (10) Khalid: The Blood Bank! Oh, I feel so silly. Sorry TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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to have taken up your time, Miss. Please accept my apologies. (11) Receptionist: That’s all right, sir. No need to apologize. Have a nice day. Goodbye. (12) Khalid: Goodbye. (13) The following practical steps can be used to help students to memorize either the entire conversation or parts of it.

Who can find it first

This activity, by its very nature, becomes a game always enjoyed by students. General questions pertaining to the overall structure of the conversation are posed by the teacher and students have to respond with the correct answer. Examples of questions that could be asked are: • Which is the longest/shortest sentence or word? • How many questions, exclamations, interjections are there? • How many verbs, adjectives, nouns can you see? • Are there any plurals? Are there words that rhyme with other words? (etc.) The activity could be turned into a competition between rows or teams.

Wonder what I’ve chosen

Students choose words taken from the conversation on closed slips of paper. They must identify the word in the conversation that appears before/after the chosen word. A variation of the above exercise could be the correct recall of the sentence in which the chosen word appears. These two exercises could again be expanded into a competition.

Letter prompts

The teacher writes out the whole conversation on the whiteboard but only the first letter of each word. Students read out the entire conversation looking only at the first letters. This could be done by proceeding in consecutive line-by-line or random order. The opening lines of the conversation above are illustrated as follows: Khalid: G _ _ _ / m _ _ _ _ _ _. I _ / t _ _ _ / t _ _ / b _ _ _?

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Receptionist:Y _ _ / i _ / i _. H _ _ / m _ _ / I / h _ _ _ / y _ _? This exercise could be made a little more challenging by not putting the exact number of blank spaces corresponding to the number of letters in the word. One continuous line after the first letter (for example, G_____ for “Good”) could suffice if the class is one of enthusiastic high flyers.

Lights, camera, action

The conversation is cut out with each speaker’s utterance being consecutively numbered (refer to numbering in the conversation box). Each student receives a numbered slip of paper with an utterance that has to be memorized in 2-3 minutes. Of course some students may have to memorize a little more than others, but the teacher can (re)distribute the numbered slips according to ability levels. The teacher calls out numbers at random and the student with the corresponding slip of paper has to speak from memory. A variation of the above activity could be choral verse in consecutive number sequence with students performing some action appropriate to the utterance on their slip of paper. All the strategies outlined above can be made more interesting and enjoyable with various kinds of competitive and gaming elements built in. Once the conversation has been reasonably memorized, that is, students do not have to continually refer to the text; the teacher can identify and extract salient features or expressions from the conversation for application to other outside real life scenarios. An explanation of typical everyday situations that warrant such expressions could and should be highlighted (see Table 1). The expressions extracted from the conversation above are: • “How may I help you?” • “Oh, dear…” • “That’s strange...” • “What’s so funny?” • “Oh, I feel so silly.” • “Please accept my sincere apologies.” • “That’s all right, sir. No need to apologize.”

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Table 1 Expressions from Everyday Situations Expression

When used

Typical everyday situations (other real life contexts)

“How (can) may I help you?”

This is an offer to be of assistance. Usually used in many shops, offices, and public facilities where some kind of service is offered.

Inquiry counter in a bank, telephone company, clothing/ retail store, hospital, airport, etc.

“ Oh dear…”

Usually preceeded when the person is going to have a negative experience.

Oh dear, I’m going to be sick.

Usually said when something out of the ordinary occurs.

That’s strange, I thought children weren’t allowed in hospitals.

“That’s strange…”

Oh dear, I’m going to be late. Oh dear, I forgot to bring…..

That’s strange, the bus usually comes at 7.15 am. “What’s so funny?”

“I feel so silly.”

“Please accept my sincere apologies.”

When you can’t see the humor in a situation but the other person can.

A:What’s so funny? B: There’s ice-cream on your face!

When you know you’ve made a mistake and others are aware of it too.

I wore my shirt inside out this morning. I feel so silly.

When you have offended or infringed upon another person’s rights.

Please accept my sincere apologies. I thought the person in the newspaper report was you.

A: What’s so funny? B: You just asked the boss to make you a cup of coffee!

I’ve been standing in the wrong queue for 1 hour. I feel so silly.

Please accept my sincere apologies. I said that in anger and I didn’t really mean it. “That’s all right, sir/madam. No need to apologise.”

To show understanding of the other person’s honest mistake.

That’s all right, it was an honest mistake. The café was noisy/ crowded and it was difficult to hear anyone speak. That’s all right, you didn’t know I was a new member of staff.

A further consolidation of the memorization process and application to other situations can be facilitated via a quick test (see Appendix).

Conclusion

Textbook conversations are not static entities. They Volume 22

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can become lively, dynamic, interactive, conduits for learning. Through a variety of creative strategies (games, competitions, drama, etc.), teachers can bring out the learning potential latent in conversations. Like any piece of English literature, textbook conversations can teach their own lessons. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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This article has looked at textbook conversations from the perspective of fun ways of memorizing short pieces of conversation with the express intention of using these conversations (or parts of them) in other real-life situations. The strategies of recall employed are applicable to short and slightly longer segments of conversation. The author does not advocate the memorization of all the conversation pieces in the textbook whether short or long. If a conversation piece has the potential of knowledge transference, that is, applicability to other real life contexts, then the suggested memorization treatment can be followed. The point is that memorization must not become a burdensome activity or a mental strain. It must be fun and conducted in a way that is reminiscent of playing word games. Although students are not expected to memorize longer pieces of conversation, they should at least commit to memory the salient aspects of them. And what are the salient aspects of them? Those expressions, words, responses, that are typical of everyday verbal exchanges, for example, the “Oh dear …,” “May I help you with …,” and “What’s so funny?” mentioned earlier in this article. While this article focuses on beginner to pre-intermediate levels, other conversations can be easily adapted for intermediate and more advanced levels. It is hoped that this way of handling textbook conversations may make significant inroads into students’ acquisition and practical use of English as a foreign or second language.

References

Carroll, J.B. (1981). Twenty-five years of research in foreign language aptitude. In K. C. Diller (Ed.), Individual differences and universals in language learning aptitude, 83-118. Rowley, MA: Newbury House. Cowan, N. (2008). What are the differences between long-term, short-term, and working memory? Progress in Brain Research, 169, 323-338. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC2657600/ Ding,Y. (2007). Text memorization and imitation: The practices of successful Chinese learners of English. System, 35, 271-80. Dornyei, Z. (2009). The psychology of second language acquisition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Johnson, B. (2010). When rote learning makes sense. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/rotelearning-benefits Volume 22

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Long, M., & Richards, J. (2001). Series editors’ preface. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Miller, G. A., Galanter, E., & Pribram, K. H. (1960). Plans and the structure of behavior. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. Mitchell, R., & Myles, F. (2004). Second language learning theories (2nd ed.). London: Edward Arnold. Rote learning. (n.d.). The American heritage Stedman’s medical dictionary. Retrieved from http:// dictionary.reference.com/browse/rote learning. Salari, M. (2009). Integrating oral communicative skills into the English curriculum in a private school in Dubai. In C. Gunn (Ed.), Exploring TESOL practices in the Arabian Gulf. Dubai: TESOL Arabia. Saville-Troike, M. (2006). Introducing second language acquisition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language teaching. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Thornbury, S. (2012, March 22). M is for mind [web log]. Retrieved from http://scottthornbury. wordpress.com/2012/04/22/m-is-for-mind/

Appendi Quick Test What will you say in the following situations: 1. You mention something 3 times to your colleague and she doesn’t respond.You are annoyed.You later discover she had a loss of hearing. 2. Your cousin has opened a new restaurant. 3. You are a hospital receptionist. A lady approaches your desk. 4. You leave the park and your sister giggles behind you. 5. Your father apologizes for scolding you. He didn’t know you were in the mosque and couldn’t answer his call. 6. After leaving the restaurant, you discover you spilled curry on your shirt. 7. You are sitting next to your friend at the bus stop. You start feeling sick. i

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Sarah Al-Shammari American University of Sharjah Sharjah, UAE

Shireen Baghestani American University of Sharjah Sharjah, UAE

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Literature and Film: Make Reading Fun

This course, “Literature and Film: A Sample Course That Makes Reading Fun,” is a high school English elective designed for non-native speakers of English. As the title suggests, students will both read literature and watch the film adaptations of the texts they read. The aims of this course are to promote a deep reading of literary texts, to teach students how to express their ideas clearly and effectively in both speech and writing, and to make the students better, more informed citizens of their country and the world by examining socially relevant issues. That is, through the analysis and interpretation of literary works, students will learn how to think more critically and also how to convey their thoughts more clearly to others. We believe that watching movie adaptations of the literary works they study is a way to improve students’ understanding of the texts as well as increase their enjoyment. Therefore, we have prepared a list of novels typical for a high school English class, with accompanying movies to watch. After explaining and discussing the plot of the story we will be studying, we will present the movie for the students to watch first. This will hopefully put them at ease and familiarize them with the story. We will then begin studying the book, which should be easier to read, no matter how difficult the text, because they know what will happen in the story. This method should also

encourage better reading habits and prove that books are no more intimidating than movies. The course we are proposing is intended to take place over one semester, and to focus on one theme. One semester should be ample time to focus on a theme and really delve into it. Armstrong and Newman (2011) define this use of multiple texts to explore one topic as “intertextuality,” where The purpose is to facilitate the building of a knowledge base on topics associated with a core text or content topic. Through this method, which is scaffolded over the course of an academic term, students come to recognize this process of linking texts as a comprehension strategy that results in their increased involvement and understanding of the conversations central to the core text (p. 11). The themes will determine the texts and corresponding movies studied in the class. Each unit is theme-based; we agree with Blachowicz and Ogle (2008), who state that “comparing how different authors handle the same topics or themes gives young readers a deeper understanding of and respect for point of view and perspective in human experience, as well as commonalities across cultures” (p. 8). Table 1 contains a list of possible themes with accompanying books that have been adapted to movies, all of which are typical of a high school reading list.

Table 1 Suggested Themes and Accompanying Books Theme Race and Racism Heroes: Why Do We Need Them? Misunderstandings and Prejudices Living with War Volume 22

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Accompanying Books with Movie Adaptations To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Life of Bees, Othello Beowulf, The Sword in the Stone, Harry Potter Pride and Prejudice, Of Mice and Men, Twelfth Night Anne Frank’s Diary, A Farewell to Arms, Julius Caesar January 2014

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For the purposes of this paper, we have chosen the theme of “race and racism” to further expand and demonstrate, using it to encourage the students’ reading habits and to strengthen their critical thinking skills. All of these themes have important implications in today’s world and, we believe, will serve to teach the students highly relevant life lessons and better prepare them for the world outside high school.

Rationalization for the Course

The primary language skill this course aims to develop is that of reading. Our goal is to improve students’ general reading skills both in terms of comprehension and thinking critically about what they are reading. We have developed this course with the belief that students’ reading comprehension is aided by their background knowledge of the subject. This is why we have chosen to first show film adaptations of the books the students are going to read. Having an idea of what the book is about before reading it will greatly enhance students’ reading comprehension, not only at the sentence and plot levels, but at the “literary” level as well. Furthermore, watching a story acted out in film, especially when the story takes place in a different cultural context from their own, allows students to pick up on certain pragmatic cues (facial expressions, gestures, and intonation) that may not be evident from reading the book. We believe that if students are already familiar with the plot and characters, they will think more critically about the book in terms of its symbolism, literary value, and wider social implications. In addition to using films, we believe that writing is another way to enhance students’ critical thinking abilities. Writing gives students an impetus to think critically, because in order to write, students must have something to say. Writing also requires that students make their ideas clear to themselves first so that they can then convey their ideas clearly to the reader. While students might have several ideas about a text after reading it, putting these ideas onto paper causes them to clarify their ideas even further. Another way to encourage students’ thinking is by having them express their ideas in speech. Because speaking, like writing, is a productive skill, it requires that students form their own ideas. Thus, our course will involve a great deal of class discussion. We feel that discussion can be just as effective in encouraging Volume 22

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thinking as writing. Therefore, we will require that each student present a relevant newspaper article to the class during the first unit, and we will be organizing a class debate on a controversial topic during the second unit. However, since this is a reading class and not a writing or public speaking class, we will not be assigning formal research papers, essays, or formal speeches. Instead, we will require a weekly Reading Response Journal in which the students will express their opinions in answer to questions about the readings or about the theme in general. Their writing and speaking will not be graded on grammatical accuracy, but rather on the clarity of their language and how effectively they express themselves. Furthermore, we believe that in literature there are no right and wrong answers when it comes to interpretation. Certainly, it is possible for students to make errors in comprehension (for example, confusing elements of the plot); however, when it comes to what a text means to a person, this can be very individualized. As Duke, Pearson, Strachan, and Billman (2011) describe, “readers must integrate information from the text base (i.e., words, sentences, paragraphs) with available and relevant prior knowledge retrieved from long-term memory and fold it all into an emerging situation model of the meaning of the text at that point in the process” (p. 54). Each student, or reader, brings a different life experience, level of literary exposure, and knowledge of literary conventions to their reading of a text. We therefore want to encourage students to explore their own understandings of literary texts, which means that, as teachers, we must validate our students’ different understandings by taking an interest in what they have to say. In other words, the atmosphere should be supportive in order to make the students feel comfortable taking risks – sharing their own ideas, even if they feel it may not be “right.” Just as reading a text can be a very personal act, there is also a place for group construction of meaning. Group members can serve as scaffolders for each other when some students are slower to understand than others. Also, discussing things as a group adds a diversity of viewpoints so that students widen their knowledge base by learning from the experiences of others. Group discussion can enhance reading in the same way writing does: forcing the students to organize and voice their thoughts. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Lastly, in this course we believe it is the teacher’s responsibility to facilitate students’ discoveries from the texts they read. Facilitation involves both control (providing structure and direction), as well as learner-centeredness and letting the students navigate their own way. However, facilitation of learning should not be completely hands-off, as the teacher should know when to step in and offer help to the students should they ever become “stuck,” uninspired, or confused. This will allow the students to continue moving forward. By following this structure, we will be complying with current thinking about the teacher’s role in facilitating reading comprehension. According to Duke et al. (2011), there are “10 essential elements of effective reading comprehension instruction that research suggests every teacher should engage in to foster and teach reading comprehension:

1. Build disciplinary and world knowledge. 2. Provide exposure to a volume and range of texts. 3. Provide motivating texts and contexts for reading. 4. Teach strategies for comprehending. 5. Teach text structures. 6. Engage students in discussion. 7. Build vocabulary and language knowledge. 8. Integrate reading and writing. 9. Observe and assess. 10. Differentiate instruction.” (p. 52)

Course Objectives

The course objectives fall under four themes: Knowledge, Awareness, Skills, and Attitude. Knowledge I. Students will learn about the nature and effects of racism. A. Students will develop a historical understanding of race issues in certain specific contexts, such as the social status of freed slaves in the Southern states of the USA under the Jim Crow laws, and the treatment of the Moors in Europe in Shakespearean times. B. Students will make connections between issues of racism in other contexts and their own local or personal context (in their country, at school, at home, etc.). C. Students will learn about the different types Volume 22

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and forms of racism and their consequences on society. Awareness II. Students will develop an appreciation of literature as an artful means of expression and transmission of knowledge. A. Students will realize that books are often richer than movies because they contain more information about the characters, situations, and events and provide more background information. B. Students will learn that writing style has an effect on the mood and impact of the text. C. Students will understand the role literature plays in bringing socially relevant issues to light. Skills III. Students will develop critical thinking skills through reading response, both in class discussions and in their Reading Response Journals. A. Students will learn how to engage with texts by relating an aspect of their personal lives to the text or by applying the ideas to their local context. Sarah Al-Shammari is a graduate of the American University of Sharjah, with a BA in English Literature and an MA in TESOL. She is currently teaching in the Achievement Academy at AUS. HalfAmerican and half-Kuwaiti, she is a native speaker of both English and Arabic. She recently published a paper in David Prescott’s edited book, Resolving Classroom Management and School Leadership Issues in ELT: Action Research Reports from the United Arab Emirates entitled “Getting Them to Talk: Participation in an Undergraduate Classroom.”

B. Students will learn how to engage with texts by identifying with a character and/or expressing a like or dislike for a character. C. Students will learn how to recognize the literary devices of flashback, foreshadowing, simile, metaphor, alliteration, and personification, and identify how they contribute to the text. D. Students will learn how to draw connections between themes, ideas, and literary devices across different texts. E. Students will learn how to identify similarities and differences between the texts and their movie adaptations. Attitude IV. Students will learn how to argue and discuss ideas effectively in speech and writing. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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A. Students will learn how to justify their opinions by using support from the texts or from other sources, such as local newspapers or their personal experiences. B. Students will learn how to clearly convey their ideas in class discussions, debates, presentations, and writing activities to other listeners or readers. C. Students will learn how to identify the focus, or main points, of what they are trying to say. D. Students will learn how to appropriately acknowledge and discuss opinions different from their own.

Assessing Learning

Assessing students’ learning, progress, and achievement helps the teacher determine whether the course meets the learning level of the students and if it is successfully teaching them what they need to learn. Students will be assessed through a variety of different assignments.

Reader Response Journal

Over the term, students will be required to write twelve reader response journals. Each journal entry should be about a page long and will have its own question written by the teacher. For example, the question for the first reader response journal is “Select a character that reminds you either of yourself or someone you know. Discuss the similarities between that person and the character you selected.” Each reader response journal should only take the students about 30 minutes to complete. Entries are not expected to be very long, but students should have put thought into the organization and structure of their response, as well as made sure it has been proofread and edited. Aside from assessing students’ level of participation and involvement in the class, the reader response journals are designed to assess students’ critical thinking skills, their capacity for original thought, and their ability to make arguments and convey ideas. Students’ reader response journals will not be graded on their grammatical accuracy, but on whether their thoughts are expressed clearly and coherently. Moreover, the reader response journals are designed to make the students relate to the literature they read, rather than view it as something detached from their lives or the real world. In other words, they encourage the students to form connections across the texts they read, and between Volume 22

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the texts and their own lives. Students will be required to write on topics such as: • How a part of the story relates to an aspect of their personal lives or experiences, • Why they like or dislike a certain character, • Literary devices they have found (such as flashback, foreshadowing, simile, metaphor, alliteration, and personification) and how they add to the meaning of the text, • Similarities and differences between the text and its movie adaptation’s common themes and ideas.

Newspaper Story Presentations

Students will select one newspaper article about racism, preferably from their region, to present Shireen Baghestani teaches academic writing at the American University of Sharjah. She has conducted research on students’ use of online corpora, teachers’ perceptions of online course management systems, and the effectiveness of different classroom management strategies. She is currently co-editing the DWS Reader, a biannual publication featuring exemplary work from students in the Department of Writing Studies at the American University of Sharjah.

to the class. These presentations are assessing the students’ abilities to tie the theme of the course, racism, to their daily lives and local contexts, which is an important critical thinking ability. These presentations are also designed to help students realize that issues in literature are not static or removed from their own lives, but that they are relevant reflections of real issues in society. Moreover, this assignment is meant to make students aware of current events while also assessing their ability to form coherent and clearly-expressed thoughts. Therefore, students’ performance on this activity will help the instructor measure the extent to which students have achieved, or need more work on, the various course objectives mentioned.

Class Debate

The class debate will also allow the instructor to assess students’ speaking skills, as well as their ability to reason and form cogent arguments. A possible debate question would be, “The Secret Life of Bees suggests that the issue of race and racism affects women more than it does men. In what ways would you agree/disagree?”

Race in Other Cultures Project

For this assessment, students will select a culture in ancient or modern history and explain how racism TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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was expressed or dealt with. Students will have the option to do formal presentations or share their projects through an informal means of show-and-tell.

Social and Cultural Considerations

The social and cultural context of the region where this course is taught may place limitations on which texts can and cannot be taught in the school. For instance, the novel The Color Purple, which is on some American high school reading lists, contains graphic scenes which may be inappropriate for students in some regions. Prior to implementing this course, teachers must assess whether the novels we have suggested will be appropriate for students at their schools. More generally, teachers must also investigate whether certain themes, such as the theme of “race and racism,� will be received positively by the administration, the students, and their parents.

Conclusion

The course presented here is designed to help ESL/ EFL students comprehend and synthesize highlevel English reading material. By watching a film adaptation of a book first, students will already have a good idea of what the book is about before they read it, which will allow them to comprehend the book more easily. Furthermore, by reading a book

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after watching its film version, students will have multiple exposures to the story, which will give them time to reflect and form opinions about its plot and characters, and therefore develop their critical thinking skills. Supplemental activities, such as reader response journals and newspaper story presentations, will also help students connect what they read to their own lives and the rest of the world. As long as the social and cultural considerations are met, this course should significantly further the development of ESL/EFL students’ reading comprehension and literary analysis skills.

References

Armstrong, S., & Newman, M. (2011). Teaching textual conversations: Intertextuality in the college reading classroom. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 41(2), 6-21. Blachowicz, C., & Ogle, D. (2008). Reading comprehension: Strategies for independent learners (2nd ed.). NY: The Guilford Press. Duke, N., Pearson, P., Strachan, S., & Billman, A. (2011). Essential elements of fostering and teaching reading comprehension. In S. Samuels, & A. Farstrup (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (4th ed.) (pp. 51-93). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. i

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Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing Joel Bloch Multilingual Matters, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-84769-651-9 188 pages The long title of this book says it all. This book is a must read for all instructors who are teaching academic writing to ESL students in pre-university foundation programs, bridge programs, or first and second year university writing classes. Bloch has taught L2 writing for over 20 years in the USA, China, and Ukraine and is currently on the faculty of Ohio State University. He knows his stuff. The first chapter is entitled “The Problem of Plagiarism.” Bloch defines plagiarism as the inappropriate use of “intellectual property,” which, in U.S. copyright law, “is defined as a creative act in a fixed medium” (p. 1). He recounts some of the high profile plagiarism scandals that have rocked the academic world such as the recent accusation that parts of a German minister’s PhD degree were plagiarized. He also cites research from an American university estimating that 18% of students have plagiarized at some time and 31% of students scoring low in pre-college aptitude tests have plagiarized, and a study from Cambridge University in the UK which found that 49% of students admitted to cheating, while only 5% admitted to having been caught. So, those of us who teach academic writing in the region need not feel alone. Bloch begins with the cliché that in many cultures copying is the highest form of flattery, but he adds many new dimensions to it. For example, in some cultures (he gives China as an example) it is understood that there is no need to refer to previous work by citations because both reader and writer Volume 22

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are equally versed in the original sources. I have witnessed the same phenomenon in my own culture between my father and uncle when they were discussing a religious text. Another example he gives is the Disney Corporation, long renowned for their lawsuits involving copyright infringement, whereas their whole cartoon catalogue has been stolen from the Grimms’ Brothers without any attribution or remuneration. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Then he comes to the crunch, where does the plagiarism terminology “piracy,” “stealing,” and “theft” come from? It comes from U.S. corporations’ interpretation of U.S. copyright law and their attempts to get the public to stop downloading and sharing free movies and music.Yes, it comes from “The Man” himself. There is a great irony for Bloch in this, as U.S. copyright law was in fact written at a time when the U.S. was infringing on Britain’s copyright laws (the early days of mass printing following the invention of the printing press, aka “colonial times”). At that time, Britain controlled the publishing industry and wrote their copyright laws to protect it. The Americans were “pirating” (reprinting without permission) books from Britain, and cheekily written into their copyright laws was the “fair use” clause. Four principles determine fair use. First of all is the purpose and character of the use ((i.e., Is it for commercial purposes or for nonprofit or educational purposes?). Second is the nature of the copyrighted work. Third is the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. And, fourth, is the effect of the use on the potential market or value of the copyrighted work. Copyrighted material used for educational purposes has long been considered exempt from copyright infringement under the fair use clause. Furthermore, which teacher has not infringed on copyright by photocopying a page or chapter from a book to use in class, or copied and pasted an article from a newspaper onto a Word document without making a citation to use as an inclass reading text? In the second half of the book, Bloch proposes a new metaphor for plagiarism to replace “piracy, theft, stealing.” He proposes “Game Theory.” We are all players in the game of academic writing, and it is up to us, as teachers, to induct students into the game. In game theory, there are rules, beginners, novices, experienced players, and game masters. Players interpret the rules of the game together, and all players participate in determining the outcome of the game. He describes an academic writing course at Ohio State in which students read articles about several plagiarism cases (students being accused of plagiarizing and the outcomes of the review panels); they used blogs to post their views and were required to support their statements by citing their classmates’ views such as “Marita said in her posting…” so that Volume 22

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students would get the idea of what citing a source actually is. This was used as a way of discouraging what he terms “patchwork” writing, which is often the ultimate output of traditionally taught academic writing courses. In patchwork writing, students take different paragraphs, from different websites or other sources, to construct a text. Students also debated several institutions’ responses to plagiarism cases on their blogs citing each other’s writing in the same way. According to Bloch, using this approach helps students to develop their “writer’s voice,” which is instrumental in teaching academic writing to both ESL students and L1 students. I liked the idea of using articles on plagiarism and the plagiarism debate to educate students about the “grey” areas of plagiarism (Can you turn in the same paper for two different courses? Can you self-plagiarize? What is “common knowledge”?), and how to cite references rather than giving them an arbitrary topic, which may have nothing to do with their future academic careers, to write an academic paper on. The book ends with a description of a digital storytelling project to educate students on plagiarism in a visual context. The author also provides references to several online tools developed at Ohio State, which are available for use by teachers and students of academic writing, such as the Reporting Verb Resource Site, www.eslcomposition.osu.edu. Unfortunately, some of the other sources referred to in the book are no longer available, but an email to Bloch referred the author to two new web resources for use in class: http://www.youtube.com/user/jbloch10 and http://www.scoop.it/t/plagiarism. This book has made me rethink my own approach to teaching academic writing, and I strongly recommend it as a purchase for every campus library. When it comes to academic writing, I like thinking of myself as “Game Master” rather than “Police Officer.” i

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Melanie Gobert Abu Dhabi Men’s College Abu Dhabi, UAE

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Social Justice Language Teacher Education Margaret R. Hawkins Short Run Press Ltd, 2011 ISBN: 978-1-84769-423-2 178 pages

The debate for and against teacher education for social justice rages on: with proponents arguing that the central part of teacher education for social justice is its provision for opportunities for intellectually complex learning, while critics argue that it is mired by too many progressive and political goals at the expense of traditional academic learning goals (Cochran-Smith, Gleeson, & Michell, 2010). Teaching for social justice in itself is contextua,; in other words, what is considered as social justice teaching in one context may not be considered as such in another. Undoubtedly, this presents some challenges to the teaching profession. Added to this challenge is the movement of people across national and international boarders, which results in many countries becoming home to multiple cultural groups. Literature on teaching for social justice strongly suggests the need for a robust teacher training course (e.g., Gutstein, 2006; Jacobsen & Mistele, 2010; Tanko, 2012). This is in line with the call by the editor of this book: “Teacher training institutions need to develop and promote curriculum and pedagogy that are responsive to local context and contingencies.� This raises important questions, which are, what is social justice language teacher education, and how best should/could teacher training programs around the globe prepare teachers to teach for social justice, in particular teachers of the English language? The contributors to this volume attempd to address these questions by providing a very good review of different schools of thought on teacher education and social justice teacher education, and providing examples, by educators, from diverse geographical locations, on how their teacher training institutions incorporated elements of social justice teaching, plus Volume 22

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discussions on some of the challenges faced by the trainee teachers. The intended audience for this book is teachers of English, teacher training institutions around the globe and, of course, individuals who are interested in teaching for social justice because the ideas shared in the book could be applied in any subject area. The editor successfully highlights the urgent need for the introduction of social justice language teacher education across all teacher training programs around the world. In doing so, she explains the difference between critical language teacher education and social justice language teacher education, and succinctly explaind why the latter offers much more than the former, by saying: TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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A social justice approach not only shifts understandings of language learning, teaching and usage, acknowledges inequalities in educational landscapes and envisions more just social futures, but redefines the roles of teachers in affecting change. (p. 2) Written by one of the leading critical educators in language teacher education, this book provides excellent knowledge on the key elements of social justice teacher education and some of the challenges standing in the way of teaching English language for social justice. It also addresses language teacher training across all educational spectrums, and provides examples from diverse geographical locations. All the chapters in the book are well written, easy to follow, and well sequenced. In addition, the chapters presented by authors discusd not only the successes they recorded in their social justice based teachers’ training program, but also the challenges they encountered.

39 because, as Tanko (2013) cautioned, “it is not necessarily opinions that are hard to change, but rather beliefs and misinformation.” This book could serve as an excellent spring board for the introduction of social justice, not only on language teacher training programs, but all teacher training programs across all subject areas. As educators, we have a moral duty not to put down our heads and teach to the test because it ensures our students look good and we will have jobs next year and beyond, but to ensure our students leave our classes with skills that enable them to understand their world better and also to seek their legitimate share of the benefits in their society while contributing to its positive development. A teacher training program which produces the kind of educator mentioned above is what Social Justice Language Teacher Education calls for. This book is a must read for teachers, educators, and policy makers who have the will to provide potentially transformative learning experiences for students.

Literature on teaching for social justice suggests there is always the danger of focusing more on social justice issues than on the curriculum (e.g., Jacobsen & Mistele, 2010; Tanko, 2012). Therefore, although some very good examples of teacher training programs were given, more practical examples on how to actually teach English for social justice would have been an added benefit to readers.

References

In the context of the Middle East, very little work, mostly unpublished, has ever been done on teaching for social justice, with some exceptions (Tanko, 2012). In terms of teacher training program courses in the region, to the best of my knowledge, none of the teacher training institutions in the region have elements of social justice teaching in their programs. However, it is pertinent to mention here that, with slight contextual modifications, most of the exemplar language teacher training programs, and the actual examples on teaching English for social justice presented in this book, can be applied in the Middle East. As Tanko (2012) pointed out, teaching for social justice in this region is possible and beneficial to students, but it is a challenging task.

Jacobsen, L. J., & Mistele, M. J. (2010). Please don’t do “connect the dots”: Mathematics lessons with social issues. Science Education and Civic Engagement, 2(2), 9-15. Tanko, M. G. (2012). Teaching practical numeracy through social justice pedagogy: Case study of Abu Dhabi Women’s College. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Curtin University, Australia. Tanko, M. G. (2013). Teaching for social justice. Perspectives, 20(3), 33-36.

Teaching for social justice could be perceived by some to be a challenge to certain normative cultural values or traditions in a Middle Eastern context. Accordingly, great thought must be given to the best way possible to introduce social justice teacher education in the Middle East. This is important Volume 22

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Cochran-Smith, M., Gleeson, A., & Mitchell, K. (2010). Teacher education for social justice: What’s pupil learning got to do with it? Berkeley Review of Education, 1(1), 35-61. Gutstein, E. (2006). Reading and writing the world with mathematics:Toward a pedagogy for social justice. NY: Routledge.

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Mohammed Goma Tanko Higher Colleges of Technology United Arab Emirates

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11th Asia TEFL International Conference Manila, Phillippines David Litz I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 11th Asia TEFL International Conference. The conference was held from October 26-28, 2013, at Ateneo de Manila University, a very attractive campus in the hills to the northeast of Manila in the Quezon-city district. The theme of this year’s conference was “English across Asian Contexts: Opportunities and Challenges.” To this end, many of the featured presentations, keynote speeches, and research paper presentations explored a number of topics that were related to the ways in which the English language (and English language teaching) has diffused and spread through various levels and domains of societies across the globe. In addition, the notion that the English language in both native and non-native contexts has continued and continues to evolve was also explored by many participants. In regards to the conference presentations, the quality of all of the keynote and featured talks that I attended was excellent. The more memorable included “Competence and Capability: Rethinking the Subject English,” in which Henry Widdowson discussed how the role of the English language has changed in recent years as both a cause and consequence of globalization and has ultimately become appropriated as an international lingua franca. However, Dr Widdowson went on to point out that there is little corresponding recognition that the ways in which we think about English and the teaching of English as a subject hardly seem to have changed at all, and that this would eventually have enormous repercussions. Another interesting presentation was titled “English as a Multicultural Language and Its Pedagogical Implications.” In this talk, Professor Nobuyuki Honna dealt with three themes that he felt needed to be addressed in the world’s ELT community: (a) How can we teach

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English as a multicultural language for international communication? (b) How can we train our students to be able to talk about themselves, their community, and their national culture in a foreign language? and (c) How can we encourage our students to become interested in cultures of speakers of different varieties of English the world over? In keeping with the conference theme, the research that I presented discussed UAE teachers’ perceptions of Western pedagogic approaches to the teaching of English as a foreign language (e.g., communicative language teaching). There was a very good turnout, and the presentation concluded with a lively discussion on the cross-cultural relevance and general applicability of imported/Western pedagogic practices in non-Western environments such as the UAE. Of the other research presentations I attended, one that specifically stood out discussed an EFL program for North Korean refugees attending university in South Korea. In this particular instance, it was shown how students are not only learning a foreign language (English), but they are also learning many of the contextual and cultural nuances that go along with the learning of this language. This has caused many of them to reevaluate many of their previously held beliefs and cultural understandings. Lastly, my overall impressions of this Asia TEFL conference were excellent, and I would recommend their future conferences to all. It was very well organized and interesting, and the opportunity to network and interact with colleagues from across Asia was unsurpassed. I would like also like to thank TESOL Arabia for awarding me with a travel grant that helped offset some of the travel costs incurred in travelling to Manila. This assistance was, most assuredly, greatly appreciated.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

www.tesolarabia.org


Networking Feature Article

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34th Annual Thailand TESOL International Conference Chiang Mai, Thailand Matthew A. Carey The 34th Annual Thailand TESOL International Conference was held on January 17-18, 2014. The theme was “21st Century English Education: Towards Global Citizenship.” The conference took place in Chiang Mai and included three plenaries as well as over 150 individual presentations. Plenary presenters were Paul Kei Matsuda, Icy Lee, and Russell Gordon Cross.

assessment skills. In assessment as learning it becomes more important for students to self-assess their own work through tools like vocabulary and error logs and setting and evaluating their own learning goals. Lee’s discussion of the evolution of assessment and assessment as learning is relevant in the Gulf context as teachers strive to make their learners more selfaware, independent learners.

Paul Kei Matsuda gave the opening plenary, “Teaching Writing as a Nonnative English Speaker.” In his talk Matsuda emphasized the importance of teaching writing to students in the 21st century. He claimed that, as the need for global citizenship intensifies, there will be an increasing demand for nonnative English speaking teachers to teach writing at advanced levels. Matsuda shared some of his personal experiences as both an English learner and a nonnative English speaking writing teacher; he also shared several useful strategies for writing teachers. From a Gulf context Matsuda’s talk was very useful in that writing and engagement with the global community are necessary for both teachers and learners as countries like the United Arab Emirates play increasingly important roles in international politics and the global economy.

Russell Gordon Cross gave the final plenary session, “Thinking Outside the Square? Finding a Place for Citizenship Within Content and Language Integrated Pedagogies.” Cross’s speech focused on a study of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) within Australian university classrooms. Cross argued that, by utilizing and exploring local content through foreign languages, learners are able to better explore their own global identities. For Gulf English learners this approach to language learning seemed particularly useful as learners can utilize the model as a way to see English as enhancing their local and global identity.

In Icy Lee’s plenary speech, “21st Century English Language Assessment: Towards Assessment as Learning in L2 Classrooms,” she identified three approaches to assessment and explained how, over time, each approach has changed the way teachers look at assessment. Lee began by discussing the more traditional approach to assessment as assessment of learning, which tended to be used for summative purposes. Later, assessment for learning emerged, which was more focused on formative assessment as a way for teachers to fine tune their approach to instruction based on learners’ needs. More recently the idea of assessment as learning has evolved, focusing on developing students’ metacognition and selfVolume 22

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With the support of a grant from TESOL Arabia, I was able to attend this event and present my own paper which focused on developing learner motivation in the CALL environment. In my presentation, “Effects of Classroom Praise on Student Engagement in Online Discussions,” I discussed the results of an action research project that explored the effects of giving praise in the classroom on student motivation and engagement in an online, discussion board-based task. Results of the study showed an increase in student engagement over time for students who participated in the task. The 34th Annual Thailand TESOL conference contributed greatly to my understanding of English as a global language and has significantly contributed to my development as a professional. I highly recommend anyone who is considering attending this conference to do so, as there are many parallels between teaching and learning in both the Gulf and Thai contexts. TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Special Interest Group Article Reports Feature

Educational Technology SIG James Buckingham, Chair Here’s another report which demonstrates the high level of involvement and commitment of a handful of volunteers, each of whom seeks to actively promote effective use of IT in English language instruction for the benefit of all TESOL Arabia members. On November 23, 2013, the EDTECH SIG staged a joint event with the Abu Dhabi Chapter to realize our first face to face event of the 2013-2104 academic year. The theme was “Fostering Learner Engagement with the Help of Technology.” Anthony Hill (Emirates College for Advanced Education, Abu Dhabi) presented a number of clever IT shortcuts for educators; Sawfa Abdul-Aziz (ADVETI, Abu Dhabi) explored how best to realize teacher/student product review via e-portfolios; Teresa Murphy (HCT, Abu Dhabi) shared her efforts to encourage vocabulary practice with the help of Edmodo; Jim Buckingham (ZU, Abu Dhabi) reviewed how to overcome typical problems with groupwork using tech tools. The slides used to support all four of these presentations can be found on the TAEDTECH Ning at this link: http://taedtech.ning.com/forum/categories/specialevents-related/listForCategory Hayet Amdouni (UAEU, Al Ain) and Abdelaziz Tamoghz (ECT, Abu Dhabi) also made presentations. Hayet discussed vocabulary development using mobile learning strategies, while Abdelaziz argued on the importance of the teacher – not technology – in realizing effective integration of educational technology in instruction. TESOL Arabia’s EDTECH SIG continues to support Learning2gether. This site is the work of one of our TAEDTECH members,Vance Stevens, who uses it to actively promote and facilitate online PD sessions on an almost weekly basis. The reach of these events is impressive. Participants come from all parts of the globe to either present or engage in discussion on various topics. A great introduction to how both PD and a “learning community” can be realized online at http://learning2gether.net.

PD resources and to realize an active online PD community so that members in all parts of the Gulf region (not just the UAE) can benefit. Projects include designing and delivering an online course in “mLearning” for K-12 instructors; realizing “proof of concept” of an open digital badges program to promote and recognize self-directed professional development by EFL instructors throughout the Gulf region; and exploring the development of a cMOOC in “mLearning and language instruction” that is aimed at supporting all interested instructors in the Gulf region. If any of these projects is of interest to you, please introduce yourself and how you might like to get involved by contacting us at edtechsig@gmail.com. We end with a call for your involvement. The success of any special interest group is largely measured by the level and breadth of its members’ involvement. The EDTECH SIG is no different. Why get involved, you may ask? There are a number of possible reasons. Those most frequently cited include the chance to demonstrate to others your commitment to professional practice; to find opportunities for your professional community that for whatever reason, you cannot realize within your current employment mandate; to practice and demonstrate leadership skills that you might not otherwise be able to. In short, you have a chance to make a difference and contribute to realizing change as an EFL professional. TAEDTECH SIG Ning – http://taedtech.ning.com Twitter – #taedtech Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ TAEdTech/ Flipboard – https://flipboard.com/section/taedtechbJkBTP

TAEDTECH SIG has also been pursuing a number of other less conventional projects, all of which focus on the need to increase the availability of relevant Volume 22

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Special FeatureInterest Article Group Reports

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A New Year for the TESOL Arabia Testing, Assessment, and Evaluation SIG Christine Coombe & Peter Davidson, Co-chairs The TESOL Arabia Testing SIG has changed its annual event from the CTELT Conference to a series of Fundamentals of Language Assessment workshops, which focus on providing basic level skills to practicing teachers. The first of this series of workshops took place on November 22nd and featured presenters who specialized in assessing the skill areas. Thanks to Peter Davidson, Maria Brown, Melanie Gobert, and Beth Wiens for providing invaluable content for this training.

Beth Wiens leads a workshop on assessing reading and listening at the Fundamentals of Assessment workshop at Dubai Men’s College.

Participants pose for a group shot at the Fundamentals of Assessment workshop at Dubai Men’s College. Volume 22

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Christine Coombe, of Dubai Men’s College, and Peter Davidson, of Zayed University, presented on “Fundamentals of Language Assessment” followed by “Assessing Writing,” which was presented by Maria Brown of Dubai Women’s College. Melanie Gobert, of Abu Dhabi Men’s College, presented a workshop on “Developing Rubrics.” Lunch was followed by Beth Wiens presenting on “Assessing Reading and Listening,” Part two of the series took place at Dubai Men’s College on January 25, 2014. The theme of this workshop was “Alternatives in Language Assessment.” Christine Coombe and Peter Davidson led the presenters with an opening talk on the theme of the event. Aysen Gilroy, of Zayed University presented on “Projects in ELT: An Alternative Teaching and Assessment Method.” Melanie Gobert followed with a talk on “Portfolio Assessment.” The concluding speaker for the event was Naziha Ali, of the Emirates Aviation College. Dr Ali presented on “Four Levels of Evaluation.” The third workshop in the series is tentatively scheduled to take place in May, 2014. Ideas for possible themes are most welcome!

Dr Christine Coombe makes a point about alternative assessment.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Chapter Article Reports Feature

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Al Ain Chapter’s Busy November Ian Taylor, Al Ain Chapter Representative Reading and writing – one cannot get more fundamental, or indeed educational, than that. Al Ain Chapter took on both these disciplines, providing a forum for teachers, instructors, and trainers to both impart and absorb fresh elements for the greater good of the Al Ain community. November 5 proved a sparkling event at the Higher College’s men’s campus in Al Ain, with four top presentations around the large and general theme of writing. Al Ain chapter stalwart Anthony Solloway regaled his audience with astute pointers on grading written work. “Making mistakes is natural,” said Anthony, but how to correct them without undermining the student’s confidence was his crucial question. Newcomer Trevor Ray spoke on teaching time management and how to be proactive in motivating students. Another pillar of Al Ain events, Dr Negmeldin Alsheikh, looked at guided writing techniques, in particular word maps. Amina Nihlawi, making her presentation bow, spoke on the issues and challenges of written feedback. The event played host to TESOL Arabia conference co-chair Sandra Oddy who collected fees for TESOL Arabia membership and for the forthcoming TESOL Arabia conference, “Methods and Means in ELT,” March 13-15 in Dubai. On November 11, reading was the skill explored at the United Arab Emirates University. In conjunction with the Middle East and North African Extensive Reading Foundation (MENA ERF) the Al Ain Chapter set up the event to explore the virtues of reading. The Foundation is dedicated to helping sustained reading in EFL and ESL. It has many aspects not least of which is supporting silent reading and promoting fast, fluent reading in a second language. TESOL Arabia Publications Coordinator Peter McLaren enjoys a read. Volume 22

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Chapter Feature Reports Article

Dr Negmeldin Alsheikh once again graced the chapter with his presence giving us pearls of wisdom on the importance of extensive reading, that is, reading everything and anything. “The aim of extensive reading,” said Dr Negmeldin, “is to seek pleasure, information, and general understanding (and it is a way) of developing a learners’ language knowledge.” Dr Peter McLaren took a critical look through a small scale research study and concluded that the jury was still out on the effectiveness of extensive reading and asked how best to inculcate the habit of reading, for pleasure or work and study, into the students.

Vicky Allen extolls the virtues of extensive reading.

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Shumaila Omar, using Jeremy Harmer as her guide, explored the habit of teaching a multitude of different reading strategies and balancing activities and instruction with step-by-step guidelines. Meanwhile Vicky Allen extolled the virtues of extensive reading. Enjoy reading and reading will come naturally, vocabulary and grammar will then follow was the basis of her message. “Practice is the key word, and fluency is the goal,” said Vicky. Reading a lot will add to the student’s retention of things learnt. i

i

i

i

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Dr Negmeldin Alsheikh says that learners’ language knowledge will improve if they read.

TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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SpecialFeature Interest Article Groups Special Interest Groups

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

Saad Rabia Chair

Namaat Saadi Hezber Co-Chair

Leadership & Management SIG Phone: 050 619 4796 Email: christine.coombe@hct.ac.ae Phone: 050 465 5234 Email: lauren.stephenson@zu.ac.ae Dr Christine Coombe Co-Chair

Lauren Stephenson Co-Chair

Teacher Training & Teacher Development SIG

Email: tatdsig@gmail.com Mick King Racquel Warner Faiza Umar Co-Chair/Treasurer Co-Chair/Secretary Marketing Communications Officer

Young Learners SIG

Independent Learning SIG

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

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

Kathy Gardner

Kathya Garder Al Haddad Secretary

Testing, Assessment & Evaluation SIG

Samah El Shal Treasurer

Ola Marie Abu Orouq Chair

Read SIG

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

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

Yasser Salem Chair

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

Vance Stevens

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

Mohammad Azaza Denise Mcqueen Sevhan Acar Hammudeh Helene Demirci Secretary/Networking Treasurer/Event Ozdeniz Chair Event Coordinator Coordinator Coordinator

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Chapter Feature Representatives Article

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Abu Dhabi Representative

Ian Taylor

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

Amr El Zarka

Madaras Al Ghad (MAG) 050 711 7980 (mobile) amr2000r@yahoo.com

Tamas Lorincz

Teacher Trainer 050 585 2347 (mobile) dubaichapter@gmail.com Blog: http://dubaichapter.edublogs.org

Position Vacant! If interested, contact Rehab Rajab at rehabrajab@tesolarabia.org or Naziha Ali at nazihaali2005@yahoo.co.uk

Position Vacant! If interested, contact Rehab Rajab at rehabrajab@tesolarabia.org or Naziha Ali at nazihaali2005@yahoo.co.uk

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Executive Council Feature Article Executive Council

48 64 President

Past President

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

James McDonald Academic Bridge Program Zayed University Dubai, UAE 04 402 1371 (office) james.mcdonald@zu.ac.ae

Vice-President/Perspectives Co-Editor

Executive Treasurer

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

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

Conference Co-Chair/Membership Secretary

Conference Co-Chair

Les Kirkham c/o Al Ain Women’s College Higher College of Technology P. O. Box 17258, Al Ain, UAE leskirkham@gmail.com

Sandra Oddy Al Ain Women's College Higher Colleges of Technology P. O. Box 17258 Al Ain, UAE 03 709 5319 (office) Sandra.Oddy@hct.ac.ae

Executive Secretary

Conference Treasurer

Cynthia Weston Academic Bridge Program Zayed University Dubai, UAE 050 382 4377 (mobile) cynthia.weston@zu.ac.ae

Beth Wiens Zayed University P. O. Box 19282, Dubai, UAE 04 402 1350 (office) 04 402 1003 (fax) 050 4620566 (mobile) beth.wiens@zu.ac.ae

Member-at-Large

Perspectives Co-Editor

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

Tandy Bailey Abu Dhabi Women's College Higher Colleges of Technology P.O. Box 41012 Abu Dhabi, UAE tbailey-seffar@hct.ac.ae

Acting SIG Coordinator

Conference Proceedings Editor / Publications Coordinator

Daniel Stebbins Ministry of Education Sharjah, UAE 050 464 5002 (mobile) justaskdan@gmail.com

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

Webmaster Konrad A Cedro Dubai Men's College Dubai, UAE 050 144 7680 (mobile) konard.cedro@hct.ac.ae

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TESOL Arabia Perspectives TESOL Arabia Perspectives

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Feature Article IPP WINS 8 AWARDS AT

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL

PRINT AWARD 2011 1 AWARD IN 2006

2 AWARDS IN 2007

4 AWARDS IN 2008

6 AWARDS IN 2009

8 AWARDS IN 2011 THE QUEST UEST FOR QUALITY CONT CONTINUES

5 GOLD 2 SILVER 1 BRONZE

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Feature Article

50

Sponsor Partner of

22

TESOL Arabia 2014

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Visit the IELTS booth at TESOL Arabia 2014 to find out more or visit

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