Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 74

Search results for: fluency

74 The Effect of Visual Fluency and Cognitive Fluency on Access Rates of Web Pages

Authors: Xiaoying Guo, Xiangyun Wang

Abstract:

Access rates is a key indicator of reflecting the popularity of web pages. Having high access rates are very important for web pages, especially for news web pages, online shopping sites and searching engines. In this paper, we analyzed the influences of visual fluency and cognitive fluency on access rates of Chinese web pages. Firstly, we conducted an experiment of scoring the web pages. Twenty-five subjects were invited to view top 50 web pages of China, and they were asked to give a score in a 5-point Likert-scale from four aspects, including complexity, comfortability, familiarity and usability. Secondly, the obtained results was analyzed by correlation analysis and factor analysis in R. By factor analysis; we analyzed the contributions of visual fluency and cognitive fluency to the access rates. The results showed that both visual fluency and cognitive fluency affect the access rate of web pages. Compared to cognitive fluency, visual fluency play a more important role in user’s accessing of web pages.

Keywords: visual fluency, cognitive fluency, visual complexity, usability

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73 Developmental Trends on Initial Letter Fluency in Typically Developing Children

Authors: Sunila John, B. Rajashekhar

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Initial letter fluency tasks are one of the simple behavioral measures to evaluate the complex nature of word retrieval ability. This task requires the participant to retrieve as many words as possible beginning with a particular letter in a fixed time frame. Though the task of verbal fluency is popular among adult clinical conditions, its role in children has been less emphasized. There exists a lack of in-depth understanding of processes underlying verbal fluency performance in typically developing children. The present study, therefore, aims to delineate the developmental trend on initial letter fluency task observed in typically developing Malayalam speaking children. The participants were aged between 5 to 10 years and categorized into three groups: Group I (class I and II, mean (SD) age years: 6.44(.78)), Group II (class III and IV, mean (SD) age years: 8.59 (.83)) and group III (class V and VI, mean (SD) age years: 10.28 (.80). On two tasks of initial letter fluency, the verbal fluency outcome measures were analyzed. The study findings revealed a distinct pattern of initial letter fluency development which may enhance its usefulness in clinical and research settings.

Keywords: children, development, initial letter fluency, word retrieval

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72 The Relation between Cognitive Fluency and Utterance Fluency in Second Language Spoken Fluency: Studying Fluency through a Psycholinguistic Lens

Authors: Tannistha Dasgupta

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This study explores the aspects of second language (L2) spoken fluency that are related to L2 linguistic knowledge and processing skill. It draws on Levelt’s ‘blueprint’ of the L2 speaker which discusses the cognitive issues underlying the act of speaking. However, L2 speaking assessments have largely neglected the underlying mechanism involved in language production; emphasis is given on the relationship between subjective ratings of L2 speech sample and objectively measured aspects of fluency. Hence, in this study, the relation between L2 linguistic knowledge and processing skill i.e. Cognitive Fluency (CF), and objectively measurable aspects of L2 spoken fluency i.e. Utterance Fluency (UF) is examined. The participants of the study are L2 learners of English, studying at high school level in Hyderabad, India. 50 participants with intermediate level of proficiency in English performed several lexical retrieval tasks and attention-shifting tasks to measure CF, and 8 oral tasks to measure UF. Each aspect of UF (speed, pause, and repair) were measured against the scores of CF to find out those aspects of UF which are reliable indicators of CF. Quantitative analysis of the data shows that among the three aspects of UF; speed is the best predictor of CF, and pause is weakly related to CF. The study suggests that including the speed aspect of UF could make L2 fluency assessment more reliable, valid, and objective. Thus, incorporating the assessment of psycholinguistic mechanisms into L2 spoken fluency testing, could result in fairer evaluation.

Keywords: attention-shifting, cognitive fluency, lexical retrieval, utterance fluency

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71 Developing Kazakh Language Fluency Test in Nazarbayev University

Authors: Saule Mussabekova, Samal Abzhanova

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The Kazakh Language Fluency Test, based on the IELTS exam, was implemented in 2012 at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. We would like to share our experience in developing this exam and some exam results with other language instructors. In this paper, we will cover all these peculiarities and their related issues. The Kazakh Language Fluency Test is a young exam. During its development, we faced many difficulties. One of the goals of the university and the country is to encourage fluency in the Kazakh language for all citizens of the Republic. Nazarbayev University has introduced a Kazakh language program to assist in achieving this goal. This policy is one-step in ensuring that NU students have a thorough understanding of the Kazakh language through a fluency test based on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The Kazakh Language Fluency Test exam aims to determine student’s knowledge of Kazakh language. The fact is that there are three types of students at Nazarbayev University: Kazakh-speaking heritage learners, Russian-speaking and English-speaking students. Unfortunately, we have Kazakh students who do not speak Kazakh. All students who finished school with Russian language instruction are given Kazakh Language Fluency Test in order to determine their Kazakh level. After the test exam, all students can choose appropriate Kazakh course: Basic Kazakh, Intermediate Kazakh and Upper-Intermediate Kazakh. The Kazakh Language Fluency Test consists of four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. They are taken on the same day in the abovementioned order.

Keywords: diagnostic test, kazakh language, placement test, test result

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70 Oral Fluency: A Case Study of L2 Learners in Canada

Authors: Maaly Jarrah

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Oral fluency in the target language is what many second language learners hope to achieve by living abroad. Research in the past has demonstrated the role informal environments play in improving L2 learners' oral fluency. However, living in the target country and being part of its community does not ensure the development of oral fluency skills. L2 learners' desire to communicate and access to speaking opportunities in the host community are key in achieving oral fluency in the target language. This study attempts to identify differences in oral fluency, specifically speech rate, between learners who communicate in the L2 outside the classroom and those who do not. In addition, as the desire to communicate is a crucial factor in developing oral fluency, this study investigates whether or not learners' desire to speak the L2 outside the classroom plays a role in their frequency of L2 use outside the classroom. Finally, given the importance of the availability of speaking opportunities for L2 learners in order to practice their speaking skills, this study reports on the participants' perceptions of the speaking opportunities accessible to them in the target community while probing whether or not their perceptions differed based on their oral fluency level and their desire to communicate. The results suggest that exposure to the target language and daily communication with the native speakers is strongly related to the development of learners' oral fluency. Moreover, the findings suggest that learners' desire to communicate affects their frequency of communication in their L2 outside the classroom. At the same time, all participants, regardless of their oral fluency level and their desire to communicate, asserted that speaking opportunities beyond the classroom are very limited. Finally, the study finds there are marked differences in the perceptions learners have regarding opportunities for learning offered by the same language program. After reporting these results, the study concludes with recommendations for ESL programs that serve international students.

Keywords: ESL programs, L2 Learners, oral fluency, second language

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69 Semantic Processing in Chinese: Category Effects, Task Effects and Age Effects

Authors: Yi-Hsiu Lai

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The present study aimed to elucidate the nature of semantic processing in Chinese. Language and cognition related to the issue of aging are examined from the perspective of picture naming and category fluency tasks. Twenty Chinese-speaking adults (ranging from 25 to 45 years old) and twenty Chinese-speaking seniors (ranging from 65 to 75 years old) in Taiwan participated in this study. Each of them individually completed two tasks: a picture naming task and a category fluency task. Instruments for the naming task were sixty black-and-white pictures: thirty-five object and twenty-five action pictures. Category fluency task also consisted of two semantic categories – objects (or nouns) and actions (or verbs). Participants were asked to report as many items within a category as possible in one minute. Scores of action fluency and of object fluency were a summation of correct responses in these two categories. Category effects (actions vs. objects) and age effects were examined in these tasks. Objects were further divided into two major types: living objects and non-living objects. Actions were also categorized into two major types: action verbs and process verbs. Reaction time to each picture/question was additionally calculated and analyzed. Results of the category fluency task indicated that the content of information in Chinese seniors was comparatively deteriorated, thus producing smaller number of semantic-lexical items. Significant group difference was also found in the results of reaction time. Category Effect was significant for both Chinese adults and seniors in the semantic fluency task. Findings in the present study helped characterize the nature of semantic processing in Chinese-speaking adults and seniors and contributed to the issue of language and aging.

Keywords: semantic processing, aging, Chinese, category effects

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68 The Impact of Two Factors on EFL Learners' Fluency

Authors: Alireza Behfar, Mohammad Mahdavi

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Nowadays, in the light of progress in the world of science, technology and communications, mastery of learning international languages is a sure and needful matter. In learning any language as a second language, progress and achieving a desirable level in speaking is indeed important for approximately all learners. In this research, we find out how preparation can influence L2 learners' oral fluency with respect to individual differences in working memory capacity. The participants consisted of sixty-one advanced L2 learners including MA students of TEFL at Isfahan University as well as instructors teaching English at Sadr Institute in Isfahan. The data collection consisted of two phases: A working memory test (reading span test) and a picture description task, with a one-month interval between the two tasks. Speaking was elicited through speech generation task in which the individuals were asked to discuss four topics emerging in two pairs. The two pairs included one simple and one complex topic and was accompanied by planning time and without any planning time respectively. Each topic was accompanied by several relevant pictures. L2 fluency was assessed based on preparation. The data were then analyzed in terms of the number of syllables, the number of silent pauses, and the mean length of pauses produced per minute. The study offers implications for strategies to improve learners’ both fluency and working memory.

Keywords: two factors, fluency, working memory capacity, preparation, L2 speech production reading span test picture description

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67 Examining the Development of Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency in L2 Learners' Writing after L2 Instruction

Authors: Khaled Barkaoui

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Research on second-language (L2) learning tends to focus on comparing students with different levels of proficiency at one point in time. However, to understand L2 development, we need more longitudinal research. In this study, we adopt a longitudinal approach to examine changes in three indicators of L2 ability, complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF), as reflected in the writing of L2 learners when writing on different tasks before and after a period L2 instruction. Each of 85 Chinese learners of English at three levels of English language proficiency responded to two writing tasks (independent and integrated) before and after nine months of English-language study in China. Each essay (N= 276) was analyzed in terms of numerous CAF indices using both computer coding and human rating: number of words written, number of errors per 100 words, ratings of error severity, global syntactic complexity (MLS), complexity by coordination (T/S), complexity by subordination (C/T), clausal complexity (MLC), phrasal complexity (NP density), syntactic variety, lexical density, lexical variation, lexical sophistication, and lexical bundles. Results were then compared statistically across tasks, L2 proficiency levels, and time. Overall, task type had significant effects on fluency and some syntactic complexity indices (complexity by coordination, structural variety, clausal complexity, phrase complexity) and lexical density, sophistication, and bundles, but not accuracy. L2 proficiency had significant effects on fluency, accuracy, and lexical variation, but not syntactic complexity. Finally, fluency, frequency of errors, but not accuracy ratings, syntactic complexity indices (clausal complexity, global complexity, complexity by subordination, phrase complexity, structural variety) and lexical complexity (lexical density, variation, and sophistication) exhibited significant changes after instruction, particularly for the independent task. We discuss the findings and their implications for assessment, instruction, and research on CAF in the context of L2 writing.

Keywords: second language writing, Fluency, accuracy, complexity, longitudinal

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66 The Effect of Explicit Focus on Form on Second Language Learning Writing Performance

Authors: Keivan Seyyedi, Leila Esmaeilpour, Seyed Jamal Sadeghi

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Investigating the effectiveness of explicit focus on form on the written performance of the EFL learners was the aim of this study. To provide empirical support for this study, sixty male English learners were selected and randomly assigned into two groups of explicit focus on form and meaning focused. Narrative writing was employed for data collection. To measure writing performance, participants were required to narrate a story. They were given 20 minutes to finish the task and were asked to write at least 150 words. The participants’ output was coded then analyzed utilizing Independent t-test for grammatical accuracy and fluency of learners’ performance. Results indicated that learners in explicit focus on form group appear to benefit from error correction and rule explanation as two pedagogical techniques of explicit focus on form with respect to accuracy, but regarding fluency they did not yield any significant differences compared to the participants of meaning-focused group.

Keywords: explicit focus on form, rule explanation, accuracy, fluency

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65 A Study on Bilingual Semantic Processing: Category Effects and Age Effects

Authors: Lai Yi-Hsiu

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The present study addressed the nature of bilingual semantic processing in Mandarin Chinese and Southern Min and examined category effects and age effects. Nineteen bilingual adults of Mandarin Chinese and Southern Min, nine monolingual seniors of Mandarin Chinese, and ten monolingual seniors of Southern Min in Taiwan individually completed two semantic tasks: Picture naming and category fluency tasks. The instruments for the naming task were sixty black-and-white pictures, including thirty-five object pictures and twenty-five action pictures. The category fluency task also consisted of two semantic categories – objects (or nouns) and actions (or verbs). The reaction time for each picture/question was additionally calculated and analyzed. Oral productions in Mandarin Chinese and in Southern Min were compared and discussed to examine the category effects and age effects. The results of the category fluency task indicated that the content of information of these seniors was comparatively deteriorated, and thus they produced a smaller number of semantic-lexical items. Significant group differences were also found in the reaction time results. Category effects were significant for both adults and seniors in the semantic fluency task. The findings of the present study will help characterize the nature of the bilingual semantic processing of adults and seniors, and contribute to the fields of contrastive and corpus linguistics.

Keywords: bilingual semantic processing, aging, Mandarin Chinese, Southern Min

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64 The Latent Model of Linguistic Features in Korean College Students’ L2 Argumentative Writings: Syntactic Complexity, Lexical Complexity, and Fluency

Authors: Jiyoung Bae, Gyoomi Kim

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This study explores a range of linguistic features used in Korean college students’ argumentative writings for the purpose of developing a model that identifies variables which predict writing proficiencies. This study investigated the latent variable structure of L2 linguistic features, including syntactic complexity, the lexical complexity, and fluency. One hundred forty-six university students in Korea participated in this study. The results of the study’s confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) showed that indicators of linguistic features from this study-provided a foundation for re-categorizing indicators found in extant research on L2 Korean writers depending on each latent variable of linguistic features. The CFA models indicated one measurement model of L2 syntactic complexity and L2 learners’ writing proficiency; these two latent factors were correlated with each other. Based on the overall findings of the study, integrated linguistic features of L2 writings suggested some pedagogical implications in L2 writing instructions.

Keywords: linguistic features, syntactic complexity, lexical complexity, fluency

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63 Age and Second Language Acquisition: A Case Study from Maldives

Authors: Aaidha Hammad

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The age a child to be exposed to a second language is a controversial issue in communities such as the Maldives where English is taught as a second language. It has been observed that different stakeholders have different viewpoints towards the issue. Some believe that the earlier children are exposed to a second language, the better they learn, while others disagree with the notion. Hence, this case study investigates whether children learn a second language better when they are exposed at an earlier age or not. The spoken and written data collected confirm that earlier exposure helps in mastering the sound pattern and speaking fluency with more native-like accent, while a later age is better for learning more abstract and concrete aspects such as grammar and syntactic rules.

Keywords: age, fluency, second language acquisition, development of language skills

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62 The Importance of Outside Classroom Activities in Developing Oral Fluency in an EFL Context

Authors: Maaly Jarrah

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In a study abroad context, students have the advantage of immersing themselves in the environment of the target language and being exposed to it. However, in and a stay home context, where English is not the mother tongue, students’ exposure to the second language is often times restricted to the classroom. Although language teachers are keen to develop inside class room activities and practices that increase the suitability of students to acquire a second language (Cook & Singleton, 2014), many would agree that class time is too limited to enhance students’ oral fluency skills. Consequently, creating opportunities outside the classroom for students to speak English is an effective strategy in compensating for students’ limited use of the L2. In an argument by Ortega (2012) external classroom activities have equal significance in enabling students learn English as a second language. The author further asserts that the activities provide a non-educational environment from which a student may feel free and comfortable to acquire new language skills. This study investigates the significance of outside classroom activities in promoting students’ oral proficiency. In addition, it reports on students’ perceptions of such activities. 15 participants from the American University of Kuwait took part in this study. Open-ended interviews were done to find out what the participants thought of these activities, and what they gained from them. Interview results show that students found outside classroom activities very effective in improving not only their oral fluency skills, but their confidence and critical thinking skills as well. The implications of this research study are for language practitioners and language programs in the EFL context to be aware of the benefits of incorporating outside classroom activities in language teaching.

Keywords: language teaching, oral fluency, outside classroom activities

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61 Contribution of Word Decoding and Reading Fluency on Reading Comprehension in Young Typical Readers of Kannada Language

Authors: Vangmayee V. Subban, Suzan Deelan. Pinto, Somashekara Haralakatta Shivananjappa, Shwetha Prabhu, Jayashree S. Bhat

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Introduction and Need: During early years of schooling, the instruction in the schools mainly focus on children’s word decoding abilities. However, the skilled readers should master all the components of reading such as word decoding, reading fluency and comprehension. Nevertheless, the relationship between each component during the process of learning to read is less clear. The studies conducted in alphabetical languages have mixed opinion on relative contribution of word decoding and reading fluency on reading comprehension. However, the scenarios in alphasyllabary languages are unexplored. Aim and Objectives: The aim of the study was to explore the role of word decoding, reading fluency on reading comprehension abilities in children learning to read Kannada between the age ranges of 5.6 to 8.6 years. Method: In this cross sectional study, a total of 60 typically developing children, 20 each from Grade I, Grade II, Grade III maintaining equal gender ratio between the age range of 5.6 to 6.6 years, 6.7 to 7.6 years and 7.7 to 8.6 years respectively were selected from Kannada medium schools. The reading fluency and reading comprehension abilities of the children were assessed using Grade level passages selected from the Kannada text book of children core curriculum. All the passages consist of five questions to assess reading comprehension. The pseudoword decoding skills were assessed using 40 pseudowords with varying syllable length and their Akshara composition. Pseudowords are formed by interchanging the syllables within the meaningful word while maintaining the phonotactic constraints of Kannada language. The assessment material was subjected to content validation and reliability measures before collecting the data on the study samples. The data were collected individually, and reading fluency was assessed for words correctly read per minute. Pseudoword decoding was scored for the accuracy of reading. Results: The descriptive statistics indicated that the mean pseudoword reading, reading comprehension, words accurately read per minute increased with the Grades. The performance of Grade III children found to be higher, Grade I lower and Grade II remained intermediate of Grade III and Grade I. The trend indicated that reading skills gradually improve with the Grades. Pearson’s correlation co-efficient showed moderate and highly significant (p=0.00) positive co-relation between the variables, indicating the interdependency of all the three components required for reading. The hierarchical regression analysis revealed 37% variance in reading comprehension was explained by pseudoword decoding and was highly significant. Subsequent entry of reading fluency measure, there was no significant change in R-square and was only change 3%. Therefore, pseudoword-decoding evolved as a single most significant predictor of reading comprehension during early Grades of reading acquisition. Conclusion: The present study concludes that the pseudoword decoding skills contribute significantly to reading comprehension than reading fluency during initial years of schooling in children learning to read Kannada language.

Keywords: alphasyllabary, pseudo-word decoding, reading comprehension, reading fluency

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60 Transcription Skills and Written Composition in Chinese

Authors: Pui-sze Yeung, Connie Suk-han Ho, David Wai-ock Chan, Kevin Kien-hoa Chung

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Background: Recent findings have shown that transcription skills play a unique and significant role in Chinese word reading and spelling (i.e. word dictation), and written composition development. The interrelationships among component skills of transcription, word reading, word spelling, and written composition in Chinese have rarely been examined in the literature. Is the contribution of component skills of transcription to Chinese written composition mediated by word level skills (i.e., word reading and spelling)? Methods: The participants in the study were 249 Chinese children in Grade 1, Grade 3, and Grade 5 in Hong Kong. They were administered measures of general reasoning ability, orthographic knowledge, stroke sequence knowledge, word spelling, handwriting fluency, word reading, and Chinese narrative writing. Orthographic knowledge- orthographic knowledge was assessed by a task modeled after the lexical decision subtest of the Hong Kong Test of Specific Learning Difficulties in Reading and Writing (HKT-SpLD). Stroke sequence knowledge: The participants’ performance in producing legitimate stroke sequences was measured by a stroke sequence knowledge task. Handwriting fluency- Handwriting fluency was assessed by a task modeled after the Chinese Handwriting Speed Test. Word spelling: The stimuli of the word spelling task consist of fourteen two-character Chinese words. Word reading: The stimuli of the word reading task consist of 120 two-character Chinese words. Written composition: A narrative writing task was used to assess the participants’ text writing skills. Results: Analysis of covariance results showed that there were significant between-grade differences in the performance of word reading, word spelling, handwriting fluency, and written composition. Preliminary hierarchical multiple regression analysis results showed that orthographic knowledge, word spelling, and handwriting fluency were unique predictors of Chinese written composition even after controlling for age, IQ, and word reading. The interaction effects between grade and each of these three skills (orthographic knowledge, word spelling, and handwriting fluency) were not significant. Path analysis results showed that orthographic knowledge contributed to written composition both directly and indirectly through word spelling, while handwriting fluency contributed to written composition directly and indirectly through both word reading and spelling. Stroke sequence knowledge only contributed to written composition indirectly through word spelling. Conclusions: Preliminary hierarchical regression results were consistent with previous findings about the significant role of transcription skills in Chinese word reading, spelling and written composition development. The fact that orthographic knowledge contributed both directly and indirectly to written composition through word reading and spelling may reflect the impact of the script-sound-meaning convergence of Chinese characters on the composing process. The significant contribution of word spelling and handwriting fluency to Chinese written composition across elementary grades highlighted the difficulty in attaining automaticity of transcription skills in Chinese, which limits the working memory resources available for other composing processes.

Keywords: orthographic knowledge, transcription skills, word reading, writing

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59 The Role of Reading Self-Efficacy and Perception of Difficulty in English Reading among Chinese ESL Learners

Authors: Kevin Chan, Kevin K. H. Chung, Patcy P. S. Yeung, H. L. Ip, Bill T. C. Chung, Karen M. K. Chung

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Purpose: Recent evidence shows that reading self-efficacy and students perceived difficulty in reading are significantly associated with word reading and reading fluency. However, little is known about these relationships among students learning to read English as a second language, particularly in Chinese students. This study examined the contributions of reading self-efficacy, perception of difficulty in reading, and cognitive-linguistic skills to performance on English word reading and reading fluency in Chinese students. Method: A sample of 122 second-and third-grade students in Hong Kong, China, participated in this study. Students completed the measures of reading self-efficacy and perception of difficulty in reading. They were assessed on their English cognitive-linguistic and reading skills: rapid automatized naming, nonword reading, phonological awareness, word reading, and one-minute word reading. Results: Results of path analysis indicated that when students’ grades were controlled, reading self-efficacy was a significant correlate of word reading and reading fluency, whereas perception of difficulty in reading negatively predicted word reading. Conclusion: These findings underscore the importance of taking students’ reading self-efficacy and perception of difficulty in reading and their cognitive-linguistic skills into consideration when designing reading intervention and instructions for students learning English as a second language.

Keywords: self-efficacy, perception of difficulty in reading, english as a second language, word reading

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58 The Phonology and Phonetics of Second Language Intonation in Case of “Downstep”

Authors: Tayebeh Norouzi

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This study aims to investigate the acquisition process of intonation. It examines the intonation structure of Tokyo Japanese and its realization by Iranian learners of Japanese. Seven Iranian learners of Japanese, differing in fluency, and two Japanese speakers participated in the experiment. Two sentences were used to test the phonological and phonetic characteristics of lexical pitch-accent as well as the intonation patterns produced by the speakers. Both sentences consisted of similar words with the same number of syllables and lexical pitch-accents but different syntactic structure. Speakers were asked to read each sentence three times at normal speed, and the data were analyzed by Praat. The results show that lexical pitch-accent, Accentual Phrase (AP) and AP boundary tone realization vary depending on sentence type. For sentences of type XdeYwo, the lexical pitch-accent is realized properly. However, there is a rise in AP boundary tone regardless of speakers’ level of fluency. In contrast, in sentences of type XnoYwo, the lexical pitch-accent and AP boundary tone vary depending on the speakers’ fluency level. Advanced speakers are better at grouping words into phrases and produce more native-like intonation patterns, though they are not able to realize downstep properly. The non-native speakers tried to realize proper intonation patterns by making changes in lexical accent and boundary tone.

Keywords: intonation, Iranian learners, Japanese prosody, lexical accent, second language acquisition.

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57 Reliability of Self-Reported Language Proficiency Measures in l1 Attrition Research: A Closer Look at the Can-Do-Scales.

Authors: Anastasia Sorokina

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Self-reported language proficiency measures have been widely used by researchers and have been proven to be an accurate tool to assess actual language proficiency. L1 attrition researchers also rely on self-reported measures. More specifically, can-do-scales has gained popularity in the discipline of L1 attrition research. The can-do-scales usually contain statements about language (e.g., “I can write e-mails”); participants are asked to rate each statement on a scale from 1 (I cannot do it at all) to 5 (I can do it without any difficulties). Despite its popularity, no studies have examined can-do-scales’ reliability at measuring the actual level of L1 attrition. Do can-do-scales positively correlate with lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and fluency? The present study analyzed speech samples of 35 Russian-English attriters to examine whether their self-reported proficiency correlates with their actual L1 proficiency. The results of Pearson correlation demonstrated that can-do-scales correlated with lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and fluency. These findings provide a valuable contribution to the L1 attrition research by demonstrating that can-do-scales can be used as a reliable tool to measure L1 attrition.

Keywords: L1 attrition, can-do-scales, lexical diversity, syntactic complexity

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56 Evaluating Impact of Teacher Professional Development Program on Students’ Learning

Authors: S. C. Lin, W. W. Cheng, M. S. Wu

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This study attempted to investigate the connection between teacher professional development program and students’ Learning. This study took Readers’ Theater Teaching Program (RTTP) for professional development as an example to inquiry how participants apply their new knowledge and skills learned from RTTP to their teaching practice and how the impact influence students learning. The goals of the RTTP included: 1) to enhance teachers RT content knowledge; 2) to implement RT instruction in teachers’ classrooms in response to their professional development. 2) to improve students’ ability of reading fluency in professional development teachers’ classrooms. This study was a two-year project. The researchers applied mixed methods to conduct this study including qualitative inquiry and one-group pretest-posttest experimental design. In the first year, this study focused on designing and implementing RTTP and evaluating participants’ satisfaction of RTTP, what they learned and how they applied it to design their English reading curriculum. In the second year, the study adopted quasi-experimental design approach and evaluated how participants RT instruction influenced their students’ learning, including English knowledge, skill, and attitudes. The participants in this study composed two junior high school English teachers and their students. Data were collected from a number of different sources including teaching observation, semi-structured interviews, teaching diary, teachers’ professional development portfolio, Pre/post RT content knowledge tests, teacher survey, and students’ reading fluency tests. To analyze the data, both qualitative and quantitative data analysis were used. Qualitative data analysis included three stages: organizing data, coding data, and analyzing and interpreting data. Quantitative data analysis included descriptive analysis. The results indicated that average percentage of correct on pre-tests in RT content knowledge assessment was 40.75% with two teachers ranging in prior knowledge from 35% to 46% in specific RT content. Post-test RT content scores ranged from 70% to 82% correct with an average score of 76.50%. That gives teachers an average gain of 35.75% in overall content knowledge as measured by these pre/post exams. Teachers’ pre-test scores were lowest in script writing and highest in performing. Script writing was also the content area that showed the highest gains in content knowledge. Moreover, participants hold a positive attitude toward RTTP. They recommended that the approach of professional learning community, which was applied in RTTP was benefit to their professional development. Participants also applied the new skills and knowledge which they learned from RTTP to their practices. The evidences from this study indicated that RT English instruction significantly influenced students’ reading fluency and classroom climate. The result indicated that all of the experimental group students had a big progress in reading fluency after RT instruction. The study also found out several obstacles. Suggestions were also made.

Keywords: teacher’s professional development, program evaluation, readers’ theater, english reading instruction, english reading fluency

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55 Differences in Cognitive Functioning over the Course of Chemotherapy in Patients Suffering from Multiple Myeloma and the Possibility to Predict Their Cognitive State on the Basis of Biological Factors

Authors: Magdalena Bury-Kaminska, Aneta Szudy-Szczyrek, Aleksandra Nowaczynska, Olga Jankowska-Lecka, Marek Hus, Klaudia Kot

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Introduction: The aim of the research was to determine the changes in cognitive functioning in patients with plasma cell myeloma by comparing patients’ state before the treatment and during chemotherapy as well as to determine the biological factors that can be used to predict patients’ cognitive state. Methods: The patients underwent the research procedure twice: before chemotherapy and after 4-6 treatment cycles. A psychological test and measurement of the following biological variables were carried out: TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor), IL-6 (interleukin 6), IL-10 (interleukin 10), BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). The following research methods were implemented: the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Battery of Tests for Assessing Cognitive Functions PU1, experimental and clinical trials based on the Choynowski’s Memory Scale, Stroop Color-Word Interference Test (SCWT), depression measurement questionnaire. Results: The analysis of the research showed better cognitive functions of patients during chemotherapy in comparison to the phase before it. Moreover, neurotrophin BDNF allows to predict the level of selected cognitive functions (semantic fluency and execution control) already at the diagnosis stage. After 4-6 cycles, it is also possible to draw conclusions concerning the extent of working memory based on the level of BDNF. Cytokine TNF-α allows us to predict the level of letter fluency during anti-cancer treatment. Conclusions: It is possible to presume that BDNF has a protective influence on patients’ cognitive functions and working memory and that cytokine TNF-α co-occurs with a diminished execution control and better material grouping in terms of phonological fluency. Acknowledgment: This work was funded by the National Science Center in Poland [grant no. 2017/27/N/HS6/02057.

Keywords: chemobrain, cognitive impairment, non−central nervous system cancers, hematologic diseases

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54 The Use of Educational Language Games

Authors: April Love Palad, Charita B. Lasala

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Mastery on English language is one of the important goals of all English language teachers. This goal can be seen based from the students’ actual performance using the target language which is English. Learning the English language includes hard work where efforts need to be exerted and this can be attained gradually over a long period of time. It is extremely important for all English language teachers to know the effects of incorporating games in teaching. Whether this strategy can have positive or negative effects in students learning, teachers should always consider what is best for their learners. Games may help and provide confidents language learners. These games help teachers to create context in which the language is suitable and significant. Focusing in accuracy and fluency is the heart of this study and this will be obtain in either teaching English using the traditional method or teaching English using language games. It is very important for all English teachers to know which strategy is effective in teaching English to be able to cope with students’ underachievement in this subject. This study made use of the comparative-experimental method. It made use of the pre-post test design with the aim to explore the effectiveness of the language games as strategy used in language teaching for high school students. There were two groups of students being observed, the controlled and the experimental, employing the two strategies in teaching English –traditional and with the use of language games. The scores obtained by two samples were compared to know the effectiveness of the two strategies in teaching English. In this study, it found out that language games help improve students’ fluency and accuracy in the use of target language and this is very evident in the results obtained in the pre-test and post –test result as well the mean gain scores by the two groups of students. In addition, this study also gives us a clear view on the positive effects on the use of language games in teaching which also supported by the related studies based from this research. The findings of the study served as the bases for the creation of the proposed learning plan that integrated language games that teachers may use in their own teaching. This study further concluded that language games are effective in developing students’ fluency in using the English language. This justifies that games help encourage students to learn and be entertained at the same time. Aside from that, games also promote developing language competency. This study will be very useful to teachers who are in doubt in the use of this strategy in their teaching.

Keywords: language games, experimental, comparative, strategy, language teaching, methodology

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53 Stuttering Persistence in Children: Effectiveness of the Psicodizione Method in a Small Italian Cohort

Authors: Corinna Zeli, Silvia Calati, Marco Simeoni, Chiara Comastri

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Developmental stuttering affects about 10% of preschool children; although the high percentage of natural recovery, a quarter of them will become an adult who stutters. An effective early intervention should help those children with high persistence risk for the future. The Psicodizione method for early stuttering is an Italian behavior indirect treatment for preschool children who stutter in which method parents act as good guides for communication, modeling their own fluency. In this study, we give a preliminary measure to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of Psicodizione method on stuttering preschool children with a high persistence risk. Among all Italian children treated with the Psicodizione method between 2018 and 2019, we selected 8 kids with at least 3 high risk persistence factors from the Illinois Prediction Criteria proposed by Yairi and Seery. The factors chosen for the selection were: one parent who stutters (1pt mother; 1.5pt father), male gender, ≥ 4 years old at onset; ≥ 12 months from onset of symptoms before treatment. For this study, the families were contacted after an average period of time of 14,7 months (range 3 - 26 months). Parental reports were gathered with a standard online questionnaire in order to obtain data reflecting fluency from a wide range of the children’s life situations. The minimum worthwhile outcome was set at "mild evidence" in a 5 point Likert scale (1 mild evidence- 5 high severity evidence). A second group of 6 children, among those treated with the Piscodizione method, was selected as high potential for spontaneous remission (low persistence risk). The children in this group had to fulfill all the following criteria: female gender, symptoms for less than 12 months (before treatment), age of onset <4 years old, none of the parents with persistent stuttering. At the time of this follow-up, the children were aged 6–9 years, with a mean of 15 months post-treatment. Among the children in the high persistence risk group, 2 (25%) hadn’t had stutter anymore, and 3 (37,5%) had mild stutter based on parental reports. In the low persistency risk group, the children were aged 4–6 years, with a mean of 14 months post-treatment, and 5 (84%) hadn’t had stutter anymore (for the past 16 months on average).62,5% of children at high risk of persistence after Psicodizione treatment showed mild evidence of stutter at most. 75% of parents confirmed a better fluency than before the treatment. The low persistence risk group seemed to be representative of spontaneous recovery. This study’s design could help to better evaluate the success of the proposed interventions for stuttering preschool children and provides a preliminary measure of the effectiveness of the Psicodizione method on high persistence risk children.

Keywords: early treatment, fluency, preschool children, stuttering

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52 Lexical-Semantic Processing by Chinese as a Second Language Learners

Authors: Yi-Hsiu Lai

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The present study aimed to elucidate the lexical-semantic processing for Chinese as second language (CSL) learners. Twenty L1 speakers of Chinese and twenty CSL learners in Taiwan participated in a picture naming task and a category fluency task. Based on their Chinese proficiency levels, these CSL learners were further divided into two sub-groups: ten CSL learners of elementary Chinese proficiency level and ten CSL learners of intermediate Chinese proficiency level. Instruments for the naming task were sixty black-and-white pictures: thirty-five object pictures and twenty-five action pictures. Object pictures were divided into two categories: living objects and non-living objects. Action pictures were composed of two categories: action verbs and process verbs. As in the naming task, the category fluency task consisted of two semantic categories – objects (i.e., living and non-living objects) and actions (i.e., action and process verbs). Participants were asked to report as many items within a category as possible in one minute. Oral productions were tape-recorded and transcribed for further analysis. Both error types and error frequency were calculated. Statistical analysis was further conducted to examine these error types and frequency made by CSL learners. Additionally, category effects, pictorial effects and L2 proficiency were discussed. Findings in the present study helped characterize the lexical-semantic process of Chinese naming in CSL learners of different Chinese proficiency levels and made contributions to Chinese vocabulary teaching and learning in the future.

Keywords: lexical-semantic processing, Mandarin Chinese, naming, category effects

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51 The Role of Executive Functions and Emotional Intelligence in Leadership: A Neuropsychological Perspective

Authors: Chrysovalanto Sofia Karatosidi, Dimitra Iordanoglou

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The overlap of leadership skills with personality traits, beliefs, values, and the integration of cognitive abilities, analytical and critical thinking skills into leadership competencies raises the need to segregate further and investigate them. Hence, the domains of cognitive functions that contribute to leadership effectiveness should also be identified. Organizational cognitive neuroscience and neuroleadership can shed light on the study of these critical leadership skills. As the first part of our research, this pilot study aims to explore the relationships between higher-order cognitive functions (executive functions), trait emotional intelligence (EI), personality, and general cognitive ability in leadership. Twenty-six graduate and postgraduate students were assessed on neuropsychological tests that measure important aspects of executive functions (EF) and completed self-reported questionnaires about trait EI, personality, leadership styles, and leadership effectiveness. Specifically, we examined four core EF—fluency (phonemic and semantic), information updating and monitoring, working memory, and inhibition of prepotent responses. Leadership effectiveness was positively associated with phonemic fluency (PF), which involves mental flexibility, in turn, an increasingly important ability for future leaders in this rapidly changing world. Transformational leadership was positively associated with trait EI, extraversion, and openness to experience, a result that is following previous findings. The relationship between specific EF constructs and leadership effectiveness emphasizes the role of higher-order cognitive functions in the field of leadership as an individual difference. EF brings a new perspective into leadership literature by providing a direct, non-invasive, scientifically-valid connection between brain function and leadership behavior.

Keywords: cognitive neuroscience, emotional intelligence, executive functions, leadership

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50 Linguistic Competence Analysis and the Development of Speaking Instructional Material

Authors: Felipa M. Rico

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Linguistic oral competence plays a vital role in attaining effective communication. Since the English language is considered as universally used language and has a high demand skill needed in the work-place, mastery is the expected output from learners. To achieve this, learners should be given integrated differentiated tasks which help them develop and strengthen the expected skills. This study aimed to develop speaking instructional supplementary material to enhance the English linguistic competence of Grade 9 students in areas of pronunciation, intonation and stress, voice projection, diction and fluency. A descriptive analysis was utilized to analyze the speaking level of performance of the students in order to employ appropriate strategies. There were two sets of respondents: 178 Grade 9 students selected through a stratified sampling and chosen at random. The other set comprised English teachers who evaluated the usefulness of the devised teaching materials. A teacher conducted a speaking test and activities were employed to analyze the speaking needs of students. Observation and recordings were also used to evaluate the students’ performance. The findings revealed that the English pronunciation of the students was slightly unclear at times, but generally fair. There were lapses but generally they rated moderate in intonation and stress, because of other language interference. In terms of voice projection, students have erratic high volume pitch. For diction, the students’ ability to produce comprehensible language is limited, and as to fluency, the choice of vocabulary and use of structure were severely limited. Based on the students’ speaking needs analyses, the supplementary material devised was based on Nunan’s IM model, incorporating context of daily life and global work settings, considering the principle that language is best learned in the actual meaningful situation. To widen the mastery of skill, a rich learning environment, filled with a variety instructional material tends to foster faster acquisition of the requisite skills for sustained learning and development. The role of IM is to encourage information to stick in the learners’ mind, as what is seen is understood more than what is heard. Teachers say they found the IM “very useful.” This implied that English teachers could adopt the materials to improve the speaking skills of students. Further, teachers should provide varied opportunities for students to get involved in real life situations where they could take turns in asking and answering questions and share information related to the activities. This would minimize anxiety among students in the use of the English language.

Keywords: diction, fluency, intonation, instructional materials, linguistic competence

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49 A Comparitive Study of the Effect of Stress on the Cognitive Parameters in Women with Increased Body Mass Index before and after Menopause

Authors: Ramesh Bhat, Ammu Somanath, A. K. Nayanatara

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Background: The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity is a critical public health problem for women. The negative effect of stress on memory and cognitive functions has been widely explored for decades in numerous research projects using a wide range of methodology. Deterioration of memory and other brain functions are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Estrogen fluctuations and withdrawal have myriad direct effects on the central nervous system that have the potential to influence cognitive functions. Aim: The present study aims to compare the effect of stress on the cognitive functions in overweight/obese women before and after menopause. Material and Methods: A total of 142 female subjects constituting women before menopause between the age group of 18–44 years and women after menopause between the age group of 45–60 years were included in the sample. Participants were categorized into overweight/obese groups based on the body mass index. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) the major tool was used for measuring the perception of stress. Based on the stress scale measurement each group was classified into with stress and without stress. Addenbrooke’s cognitive Examination-III was used for measuring the cognitive functions. Results: Premenopausal women with stress showed a significant (P<0.05) decrease in the cognitive parameters such as attention and orientation Fluency, language and visuospatial ability. Memory did not show any significant change in this group. Whereas, in the postmenopausal stressed women all the cognitive functions except fluency showed a significant (P<0.05) decrease after menopause stressed group. Conclusion: Stress is a significant factor on the cognitive functions of obese and overweight women before and after menopause. Practice of Yoga, Encouragement in activities like gardening, embroidery, games and relaxation techniques should be recommended to prevent stress. Insights into the neurobiology before and after menopause can be gained from future studies examining the effect on the HPA axis in relation to cognition and stress.

Keywords: cognition, stress, premenopausal, body mass index

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48 Provision of Different Layers of Activities for Different Iranian Intermediate English as a Foreign Language Learners for the Beneficial Use of Films within Speaking Classes

Authors: Zahra Ebrahimi, Abbas Moradan

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This study investigated the effect of applying different layers of activity for different Iranian intermediate EFL learner’s oral proficiency and two of its components (fluency and accura-cy) for the beneficial use of films within speaking classes. For this purpose, thirty Iranian EFL intermediate learners were selected based on availability sampling, they were divided into one experimental group and one control group, each consisting of 15 participants, who were proved to be homogeneous based on the results obtained from IELTS oral proficien-cy test prior to the treatment. Experimental Group received the treatment which was apply-ing different layers of speaking tasks according to learners’ level of fluency and accuracy. Control group received ordinal treatment of speaking classrooms. The materials for this study consisted of 11 English movies for each session, voice-recorder device, and IELTS oral proficiency tests as well as two interviews based on Ur’s oral scale for measuring fluen-cy and accuracy. The treatment was run for 12 sessions in six weeks. At the end of the treatment, all the students both in experimental and control group were given a post-test interview based on Ur’s scale. To compare and contrast the amount of progress of the learners in different groups the results of the pre-test and post-test of speaking were analysed by using T-tests. Moreover, Multivariate analysis of variance was also used to check the hypotheses. Results showed that application of different layers of activity with regard to students’ level, led to a significantly superior performance in experimental group. Thus, this study verified the positive effect of implementation of different layers of activity and tasks to achieve progress in speaking skill. It can also help to create a less stressful at-mosphere of learning in which all the students will be given specific time to speak and lead them to be autonomous learners.

Keywords: differentiated instruction, learners’ style, multiple intelligence, speaking skill, task-based activities

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47 Analysis of Speaking Skills in Turkish Language Acquisition as a Foreign Language

Authors: Lokman Gozcu, Sule Deniz Gozcu

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This study aims to analyze the skills of speaking in the acquisition of Turkish as a foreign language. One of the most important things for the individual who learns a foreign language is to be successful in the oral communication (speaking) skills and to interact in an understandable way. Speech skill requires much more time and effort than other language skills. In this direction, it is necessary to make an analysis of these oral communication skills, which is important in Turkish language acquisition as a foreign language and to draw out a road map according to the result. The aim of this study is to determine the competence and attitudes of speaking competence according to the individuals who learn Turkish as a foreign language and to be considered as speaking skill elements; Grammar, emphasis, intonation, body language, speed, ranking, accuracy, fluency, pronunciation, etc. and the results and suggestions based on these determinations. A mixed method has been chosen for data collection and analysis. A Likert scale (for competence and attitude) was applied to 190 individuals who were interviewed face-to-face (for speech skills) with a semi-structured interview form about 22 participants randomly selected. In addition, the observation form related to the 22 participants interviewed were completed by the researcher during the interview, and after the completion of the collection of all the voice recordings, analyses of voice recordings with the speech skills evaluation scale was made. The results of the research revealed that the speech skills of the individuals who learned Turkish as a foreign language have various perspectives. According to the results, the most inadequate aspects of the participants' ability to speak in Turkish include vocabulary, using humorous elements while speaking Turkish, being able to include items such as idioms and proverbs while speaking Turkish, Turkish fluency respectively. In addition, the participants were found not to feel comfortable while speaking Turkish, to feel ridiculous and to be nervous while speaking in formal settings. There are conclusions and suggestions for the situations that arise after the have been analyses made.

Keywords: learning Turkish as a foreign language, proficiency criteria, phonetic (modalities), speaking skills

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46 New Wine in an Old Bottle? Zhong-Yong Thinking and Creativity

Authors: Li-Fang CHou, Chun-Jung Tseng, Sung-Chun Tsai

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Zhong-Yong represents unique values and cognitive beliefs of Chinese culture. Zhong-Yong thinking emphasizes (a) holistic thinking and perspective taking, (b) tolerance of contradictions, and (c) pursuance of a person’s interpersonal and inner harmony. With a unique way of naïve dialectical thinking based on Chinese culture, previous studies have found that people with higher Zhong-Yong thinking have more cognitive resources and resilience to make decision for dilemmas and cope stresses. Creativity is defined as the behavior to create novel and value products and viewed as the most important capital for individuals and enterprises. However, the relationship between Zhong-Yong thinking and creativity is still remaining to be unexplored. Three studies were conducted to explore the effects of Zhong-Yong thinking on creativity. In Study1, with 87 undergraduate students from a university in southern Taiwan as participants, we used questionnaire to measure Zhong-Yong thinking and processed creative task (unusual uses task) to get indicators of fluency and flexibility. After controlling background and openness to experience of Big five, the results showed that Zhong-Yong thinking had significant positive effects on fluency and flexibility. In Study 2, 97 undergraduate students were recruited to do Zhong-Yong thinking task and creative task. The result showed that, compared with control group, the participants had higher creative performance after being primed with Zhong-Yong thinking. In Study 3, we adopted questionnaire survey and took 397 employees from private enterprises in Taiwan as sample. Besides the main effects of Zhong-Yong thinking, the moderating effects on the relationship between leadership behavior and employee’s creative performance were also investigated. We found that (a) Zhong-Yong thinking was positively associated to creative performance; (b) Zhong-Yong thinking strengthened the positive effects of transformational and authoritative leadership on creative performance. Finally, the implications of theory/practice and limitations/future directions were also discussed.

Keywords: Zhong-Yong thinking, creativity and creative performance, unusual uses task, transformational leadership, authoritative leadership

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45 A Genre-Based Approach to the Teaching of Pronunciation

Authors: Marden Silva, Danielle Guerra

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Some studies have indicated that pronunciation teaching hasn’t been paid enough attention by teachers regarding EFL contexts. In particular, segmental and suprasegmental features through genre-based approach may be an opportunity on how to integrate pronunciation into a more meaningful learning practice. Therefore, the aim of this project was to carry out a survey on some aspects related to English pronunciation that Brazilian students consider more difficult to learn, thus enabling the discussion of strategies that can facilitate the development of oral skills in English classes by integrating the teaching of phonetic-phonological aspects into the genre-based approach. Notions of intelligibility, fluency and accuracy were proposed by some authors as an ideal didactic sequence. According to their proposals, basic learners should be exposed to activities focused on the notion of intelligibility as well as intermediate students to the notion of fluency, and finally more advanced ones to accuracy practices. In order to test this hypothesis, data collection was conducted during three high school English classes at Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais (CEFET-MG), in Brazil, through questionnaires and didactic activities, which were recorded and transcribed for further analysis. The genre debate was chosen to facilitate the oral expression of the participants in a freer way, making them answering questions and giving their opinion about a previously selected topic. The findings indicated that basic students demonstrated more difficulty with aspects of English pronunciation than the others. Many of the intelligibility aspects analyzed had to be listened more than once for a better understanding. For intermediate students, the speeches recorded were considerably easier to understand, but nevertheless they found it more difficult to pronounce the words fluently, often interrupting their speech to think about what they were going to say and how they would talk. Lastly, more advanced learners seemed to express their ideas more fluently, but still subtle errors related to accuracy were perceptible in speech, thereby confirming the proposed hypothesis. It was also seen that using genre-based approach to promote oral communication in English classes might be a relevant method, considering the socio-communicative function inherent in the suggested approach.

Keywords: EFL, genre-based approach, oral skills, pronunciation

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