Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 10396

Search results for: proficiency level

10396 Relationships between Motivation Factors and English Language Proficiency of the Faculty of Management Sciences Students

Authors: Kawinphat Lertpongmanee

Abstract:

The purposes of this study were (1) investigate the English language learning motivation and the attainment of their English proficiency, (2) to find out how motivation and motivational variables of the high and low proficiency subjects are related to their English proficiency. The respondents were 80 fourth-year from Faculty of Management Sciences students in Rajabhat Suansunadha University. The instruments used for data collection were questionnaires. The statistically analyzed by using the SPSS program for frequency, percentage, arithmetic mean, standard deviation (SD), t-test, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Pearson correlation coefficient. The findings of this study are summarized as there was a significant difference in overall motivation between high and low proficiency groups of subjects at .05 (p < .05), but not in overall motivational variables. Additionally, the high proficiency group had a significantly higher level of intrinsic motivation than did the low proficiency group at .05 (p < .05).

Keywords: English language proficiency, faculty of management sciences, motivation factors, proficiency subjects

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10395 The Effect of Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety and Tolerance of Ambiguity on EFL Learners’ Listening Proficiency

Authors: Mohammad Hadi Mahmoodi, Azam Ghonchepoor, Sheilan Sohrabi

Abstract:

The present study was conducted to investigate the effect of foreign language classroom anxiety and ambiguity tolerance on EFL Learners’ listening proficiency. In so doing, 442 EFL learners were randomly selected form Azad University and some accredited language institutions in Hamaden, and were given the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) (1983), and Second Language Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale (SLTAS) (1995). Participants’ listening proficiency level was determined through listening scores gained in standardized exams given by university professors or institutes in which they studied English. The results of two-way ANOVA revealed that listening proficiency was significantly affected by the interaction of anxiety and AT level of the participants. Each of the two variables were categorized in three levels of High, Mid, and Low. The highest mean score of listening belonged to the group with low degree of anxiety and high degree of ambiguity tolerance, and the lowest listening mean score was gained by the group with high level of anxiety and low level of tolerance of ambiguity. Also, the findings of multiple regressions confirmed that anxiety was the stronger predictor of listening comprehension in contrast with tolerance of ambiguity. Furthermore, the result of Pearson correlation coefficient showed that there was a significant negative relationship between the participants’ foreign language classroom anxiety and their ambiguity tolerance level.

Keywords: Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety, Second language tolerance of ambiguity, Listening proficiency

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10394 Negotiation of Meaning among Iranian EFL Learners and the Relationship between the Proficiency Levels and the Transfer of Knowledge

Authors: Z. Komeili, Sh. Abadikhah, H. Talebi

Abstract:

Interaction and negotiation of meaning in the foreign language (FL) contexts are crucial to L2 development. Although research studies on children in EFL contexts have increased in recent years, the study of Iranian children negotiating meaning during their communicative task performance still needs further study. The purpose of this study was to investigate young EFL learners' interaction and negotiation of meaning (NoM) during task completion and examine the difference in meaning negotiation between the different proficiency levels and the association between the learners’ proficiency levels and their transfer of knowledge. The participants were twenty-eight young Iranian EFL learners forming 14 proficiency-matched dyads and were assigned into two different groups according to their proficiency levels. The dyads were asked to complete the collaborative task; their interaction was transcribed and analyzed in terms of their NoM. To test the transfer of knowledge to the subsequent performance, tailor-made tests were designed based on the NoM of each individual dyad. The results indicated a significant positive relationship between the learners’ level of proficiency and their transfer of knowledge to the subsequent performance. Our findings suggest that the elementary group had engaged in more negotiation of meaning compared to the intermediate group, and the higher the proficiency level, the better they performed in the post-test and benefited from the NoM. The study has some implications for researchers, teachers, and young learners.

Keywords: collaborative tasks, negotiation of meaning, proficiency levels, sociocultural theory, tailor-made test

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10393 Anxiety and Self-Perceived L2 Proficiency: A Comparison of Which Can Better Predict L2 Pronunciation Performance

Authors: Jiexuan Lin, Huiyi Chen

Abstract:

The development of L2 pronunciation competence remains understudied in the literature and it is not clear what may influence learners’ development of L2 pronunciation. The present study was an attempt to find out which of the two common factors in L2 acquisition, i.e., foreign language anxiety or self-perceived L2 proficiency, can better predict Chinese EFL learners’ pronunciation performance. 78 first-year English majors, who had received a three-month pronunciation training course, were asked to 1) fill out a questionnaire on foreign language classroom anxiety, 2) self-report their L2 proficiency in general, in speaking and in pronunciation, and 3) complete an oral and a written test on their L2 pronunciation (the score of the oral part indicates participants’ pronunciation proficiency in oral production, and the score of the written part indexes participants’ ability in applying pronunciation knowledge in comprehension.) Results showed that the pronunciation scores were negatively correlated with the anxiety scores, and were positively correlated with the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency. But only the written scores in the L2 pronunciation test, not the oral scores, were positively correlated with the L2 self-perceived general proficiency. Neither the oral nor the written scores in the L2 pronunciation test had a significant correlation with the self-perceived speaking proficiency. Given the fairly strong correlations, the anxiety scores and the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency were put in regression models to predict L2 pronunciation performance. The anxiety factor alone accounted for 13.9% of the variance and the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency alone explained 12.1% of the variance. But when both anxiety scores and self-perceived pronunciation proficiency were put in a stepwise regression model, only the anxiety scores had a significant and unique contribution to the L2 pronunciation performance (4.8%). Taken together, the results suggested that the learners’ anxiety level could better predict their L2 pronunciation performance, compared with the self-perceived proficiency levels. The obtained data have the following pedagogical implications. 1) Given the fairly strong correlation between anxiety and L2 pronunciation performance, the instructors who are interested in predicting learners’ L2 pronunciation proficiency may measure their anxiety level, instead of their proficiency, as the predicting variable. 2) The correlation of oral scores (in the pronunciation test) with pronunciation proficiency, rather than with speaking proficiency, indicates that a) learners after receiving some amounts of training are to some extent able to evaluate their own pronunciation ability, implying the feasibility of incorporating self-evaluation and peer comments in course instruction; b) the ‘proficiency’ measure used to predict pronunciation performance should be used with caution. The proficiency of specific skills seemingly highly related to pronunciation (i.e., speaking in this case) may not be taken for granted as an effective predictor for pronunciation performance. 3) The correlation between the written scores with general L2 proficiency is interesting.

Keywords: anxiety, Chinese EFL learners, L2 pronunciation, self-perceived L2 proficiency

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10392 Poor Proficiency of English Language among Tertiary Level Students in Bangladesh and Its Effect on Employability: An Investigation to Find Fact and Solution

Authors: Tanvir Ahmed, Nahian Fyrose Fahim, Subrata Majumder, Tek Winesberry

Abstract:

English is unanimously recognized as the standard second language in the world, and no one can deny this fact. Many people believe that possessing English proficiency skills is the key to communicating effectively globally, especially for developing countries, which can bring further success to itself on many fronts, as well as to other countries, by ensuring its people worldwide access to education, business, and technology. A notable number of students in Bangladesh are currently pursuing higher education, especially at the tertiary or collegiate level in more than 150 public and private universities. English is the dominant linguistic medium through which college instruction and lectures are given to students in Bangladesh. However, many of our students who had only completed their primary and secondary levels of education in the Bangla medium or language are generally in an awkward position to suddenly take and complete many unfamiliar requirements by the time they enter the university as freshmen. As students, they struggle to complete at least 18 courses to acquire proficiency in English. After obtaining a tertiary education certificate, the students could then have the opportunity to acquire a sustainable position in the job market industry; however, many of them do fail unfortunately, because of poor English proficiency skills. After statistical analysis, the study suggested certain remedial measures that could be taken in order to increase students’ proficiency in English as well as to ensure their employability potential.

Keywords: English language proficiency, tertiary education, unemployment problems, employability

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10391 An Event-Related Potentials Study on the Processing of English Subjunctive Mood by Chinese ESL Learners

Authors: Yan Huang

Abstract:

Event-related potentials (ERPs) technique helps researchers to make continuous measures on the whole process of language comprehension, with an excellent temporal resolution at the level of milliseconds. The research on sentence processing has developed from the behavioral level to the neuropsychological level, which brings about a variety of sentence processing theories and models. However, the applicability of these models to L2 learners is still under debate. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying English subjunctive mood processing by Chinese ESL learners. To this end, English subject clauses with subjunctive moods are used as the stimuli, all of which follow the same syntactic structure, “It is + adjective + that … + (should) do + …” Besides, in order to examine the role that language proficiency plays on L2 processing, this research deals with two groups of Chinese ESL learners (18 males and 22 females, mean age=21.68), namely, high proficiency group (Group H) and low proficiency group (Group L). Finally, the behavioral and neurophysiological data analysis reveals the following findings: 1) Syntax and semantics interact with each other on the SECOND phase (300-500ms) of sentence processing, which is partially in line with the Three-phase Sentence Model; 2) Language proficiency does affect L2 processing. Specifically, for Group H, it is the syntactic processing that plays the dominant role in sentence processing while for Group L, semantic processing also affects the syntactic parsing during the THIRD phase of sentence processing (500-700ms). Besides, Group H, compared to Group L, demonstrates a richer native-like ERPs pattern, which further demonstrates the role of language proficiency in L2 processing. Based on the research findings, this paper also provides some enlightenment for the L2 pedagogy as well as the L2 proficiency assessment.

Keywords: Chinese ESL learners, English subjunctive mood, ERPs, L2 processing

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10390 Overuse Equals to Low Proficiency Level in English: A Corpus-Based Study on the Use of Linking Adverbials between Male and Female Speakers

Authors: Tsungming Wu

Abstract:

The present paper investigates the use of linking adverbials between native male speakers and female speakers in their presentation. From previous studies, overuse of linking adverbials may be an indicator of the low proficiency level in English. In this study, female speakers are found to use more linking adverbials in general. However, the overuse of linking adverbials found in female speakers’ speeches does not imply female speakers’ lower English proficiency, but imply different approaches that male and female speakers adopt in dealing with their presentation tasks. Female speakers are found to be more interactional, leading to their more uses of interactive devices in the presenting process. On the other hand, male speakers take different approaches in dealing with their tasks. Male speakers try to be authoritative and amicable at the same time, resulting in the uses of both interactive devices and distancing devices in their speeches. The paper specifically presents and compares the use of the linking adverbial items, actually and so, in male speakers’ and female speakers’ speeches.

Keywords: LAs, linking adverbial, low proficiency, overuse

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10389 The Impact of Language Anxiety on EFL Learners' Proficiency: Case Study of University of Jeddah

Authors: Saleh Mohammad Alqahtani

Abstract:

Foreign language Anxiety has been found to be a key issue in learning English as foreign language in the classroom. This study investigated the impact of foreign language anxiety on Saudi EFL learners' proficiency in the classroom. A total of 197 respondents had participated in the study, comprising of 96 male and 101 female, who enrolled in preparatory year, first year, second year, and fourth year of English language department at the University of Jeddah. Two instruments were used to answer the study questions. The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) was used to identify the levels of foreign language (FL) anxiety for Saudi learners. Moreover, an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test was used as an objective measure of the learners’ English language proficiency. The data were analyzed using descriptive analyses, t-test, one-way ANOVA, correlation, and regression analysis. The findings revealed that Saudi EFL learners' experience a level of anxiety in the classroom, and there is a significant differences between the course levels in their level of language anxiety. Moreover, it is also found that female students are less anxious in learning English as a foreign language than male students. The results show that foreign language anxiety and English proficiency are negatively related to each other. Furthermore, the study revealed that there were significant differences between Saudi learners in language use anxiety, while there were no significant differences in language class anxiety. The study suggested that teachers should employ a diversity of designed techniques to encourage the environment of the classroom in order to control learners’ FLA, which in turns will improve their EFL proficiency.

Keywords: foreign language anxiety, FLA, language use anxiety, language class anxiety, gender, L2 proficiency

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10388 Reliability of Self-Reported Language Proficiency Measures in l1 Attrition Research: A Closer Look at the Can-Do-Scales.

Authors: Anastasia Sorokina

Abstract:

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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10387 Developing Second Language Learners’ Reading Comprehension through Content and Language Integrated Learning

Authors: Kaine Gulozer

Abstract:

A strong methodological conception in the practice of teaching, content, and language integrated learning (CLIL) is adapted to boost efficiency in the second language (L2) instruction with a range of proficiency levels. This study aims to investigate whether the incorporation of two different mediums of meaningful CLIL reading activities (in-school and out-of-school settings) influence L2 students’ development of comprehension skills differently. CLIL based instructional methodology was adopted and total of 50 preparatory year students (N=50, 25 students for each proficiency level) from two distinct language proficiency learners (elementary and intermediate) majoring in engineering faculties were recruited for the study. Both qualitative and quantitative methods through a post-test design were adopted. Data were collected through a questionnaire, a reading comprehension test and a semi-structured interview addressed to the two proficiency groups. The results show that both settings in relation to the development of reading comprehension are beneficial, whereas the impact of the reading activities conducted in school settings was higher at the elementary language level of students than that of the one conducted out-of-class settings based on the reported interview results. This study suggests that the incorporation of meaningful CLIL reading activities in both settings for both proficiency levels could create students’ self-awareness of their language learning process and the sense of ownership in successful improvements of field-specific reading comprehension. Further potential suggestions and implications of the study were discussed.

Keywords: content and language integrated learning, in-school setting, language proficiency, out-of-school setting, reading comprehension

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10386 Communication Competence or Language Proficiency for Employability: An Investigation on Malaysian Polytechnics ESL Engineering Students

Authors: Chong Ling Ling

Abstract:

In the Malaysian polytechnic, there are concerns about language proficiency, communicative competence, and employability among Malaysian polytechnic ESL engineering students. This study examined the relationships between communicative competence, language proficiency, and employability using descriptive analysis and inferential statistics. Next, Pearson’s Correlation determines the correlation between communication competence, language proficiency, and employability skills of Malaysian Polytechnic ESL engineering students. The total number of participants was 81 final-year engineering students. The findings revealed high positive correlations between the communicative competence -'I can talk with a friend in English.' and employability skill (r = 0.854, p = .031), also, language proficiency -'I can understand the English songs I listen to' and employability skill (r = 0.887, p = .038). The result is consistent with the theories. The result revealed that for the 81 students, communication competence and language proficiency, and employability skills are firmly and significantly correlated. Thus, it concluded that both communicative competence and language proficiency equally essential to ensure a higher employability rate among Malaysian polytechnic ESL engineering students.

Keywords: communicative competence, employability, language proficiency, Malaysian polytechnic

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10385 English Learning Strategy and Proficiency Level of the First Year Students, International College, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University

Authors: Kanokrat Kunasaraphan

Abstract:

The purpose of the study was to identify whether English language learning strategies commonly used by the first year students at International College, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University include six direct and indirect strategies. The study served to explore whether there was a difference in these students’ use of six direct and indirect English learning strategies between the different levels of their English proficiency. The questionnaire used as a research instrument was comprised of two parts: General information of participants and the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). The researcher employed descriptive statistics and one-way ANOVA (F-test) to analyze the data. The results of the analysis revealed that English learning strategies commonly used by the first year students include six direct and indirect strategies, including differences in strategy use of the students with different levels of English proficiency. Recommendations for future research include the study of language learning strategy use with other research methods focusing on other languages, specific language skills, and/or the relationship of language learning strategy use and other factors in other programs and/or institutions.

Keywords: English learning strategies, direct strategies, indirect strategies, proficiency level

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10384 Number Sense Proficiency and Problem Solving Performance of Grade Seven Students

Authors: Laissa Mae Francisco, John Rolex Ingreso, Anna Krizel Menguito, Criselda Robrigado, Rej Maegan Tuazon

Abstract:

This study aims to determine and describe the existing relationship between number sense proficiency and problem-solving performance of grade seven students from Victorino Mapa High School, Manila. A paper pencil exam containing of 50-item number sense test and 5-item problem-solving test which measures their number sense proficiency and problem-solving performance adapted from McIntosh, Reys, and Bana were used as the research instruments. The data obtained from this study were interpreted and analyzed using the Pearson – Product Moment Coefficient of Correlation to determine the relationship between the two variables. It was found out that students who were low in number sense proficiency tend to be the students with poor problem-solving performance and students with medium number sense proficiency are most likely to have an average problem-solving performance. Likewise, students with high number sense proficiency are those who do excellently in problem-solving performance.

Keywords: number sense, performance, problem solving, proficiency

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10383 Institutional Effectiveness in Fostering Student Retention and Success in First Year

Authors: Naziema B. Jappie

Abstract:

The objective of this study is to examine the relationship between college readiness characteristics and learning outcome assessment scores. About this, it is important to examine the first-year retention and success rate. In order to undertake this study, it will be necessary to look at proficiency levels on general and domain-specific knowledge and skills reflected on national benchmark test scores (NBT), in-college interventions and course-taking patterns. Preliminary results based on data from more than 1000 students suggest that there is a positive association between NBT scores and students’ 1st-year college GPA and their retention status. For example, 63% of students with a proficient level of math skills in the NBT had the highest level of GPA at the end of 1st-year of college in comparison to 56% of those who started with a primary or intermediate level, respectively. The retention rates among those with proficiency levels were also higher than those with basic or intermediate levels (98% vs. 93% and 88%, respectively). By the end of 3rd year in college, students with intermediate or proficient entering NBT math skills had 7% and 8% of dropout rate, compared to 14% for those started at primary level; a greater percentage of students qualified by the end of 3rd-year qualified among proficient students than that among intermediate or basic level students (50% vs. 44% and 27% respectively). The findings of this study added knowledge to the field in South Africa and are expected to help stakeholders and policymakers to better understand college learning and challenges for students with disadvantaged backgrounds and provide empirical evidence in support of related practices and policies.

Keywords: assessment, data analysis, performance, proficiency, policy, student success

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10382 Lexical-Semantic Processing by Chinese as a Second Language Learners

Authors: Yi-Hsiu Lai

Abstract:

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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10381 Investigating Classroom Teachers' Perceptions of Assessing U.S. College Students' L2 Chinese Oral Performance

Authors: Guangyan Chen

Abstract:

This study examined Chinese teachers’ perceptions of assessing U.S. college students’ L2 (second language) Chinese oral performances at different levels. Ten oral performances were videotaped from which three were chosen as samples to represent three different proficiency levels based on professionals’ judgments according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. The three samples were shown to L2 Chinese teachers who completed questionnaires about their assessments for each speech sample. In total, 104 L2 Chinese teachers responded to each of the three samples. The Exploratory Factor Analyses (EFA) of the teachers’ responses revealed three similar rating criteria patterns for assessing the three levels of oral performances. The teachers’ responses to Samples 2 and 3 revealed five rating criteria: Global proficiency, Chinese conceptual framework, content richness, communication appropriateness, and communication clarity. The teachers’ responses to Sample 1 revealed four rating criteria: global proficiency, Chinese conceptual framework, communication appropriateness/content richness, and communication clarity. However, the analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed that the proficiency levels of the three oral performances differed significantly across all rating criteria. Therefore, the data suggests that L2 classroom teachers could use the similar rating criteria pattern to assess college-level L2 Chinese students’ oral performances at different proficiency levels.

Keywords: language assessment, L2 Chinese, oral performance, rating criteria

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10380 The Output Fallacy: An Investigation into Input, Noticing, and Learners’ Mechanisms

Authors: Samantha Rix

Abstract:

The purpose of this research paper is to investigate the cognitive processing of learners who receive input but produce very little or no output, and who, when they do produce output, exhibit a similar language proficiency as do those learners who produced output more regularly in the language classroom. Previous studies have investigated the benefits of output (with somewhat differing results); therefore, the presentation will begin with an investigation of what may underlie gains in proficiency without output. Consequently, a pilot study was designed and conducted to gain insight into the cognitive processing of low-output language learners looking, for example, at quantity and quality of noticing. This will be carried out within the paradigm of action classroom research, observing and interviewing low-output language learners in an intensive English program at a small Midwest university. The results of the pilot study indicated that autonomy in language learning, specifically utilizing strategies such self-monitoring, self-talk, and thinking 'out-loud', were crucial in the development of language proficiency for academic-level performance. The presentation concludes with an examination of pedagogical implication for classroom use in order to aide students in their language development.

Keywords: cognitive processing, language learners, language proficiency, learning strategies

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10379 Working within the Zone of Proximal Development: Does It Help for Reading Strategy?

Authors: Mahmood Dehqan, Peyman Peyvasteh

Abstract:

In recent years there has been a growing interest in issues concerning the impact of sociocultural theory (SCT) of learning on different aspects of second/foreign language learning. This study aimed to find the possible effects of sociocultural teaching techniques on reading strategy of EFL learners. Indeed, the present research compared the impact of peer and teacher scaffolding on EFL learners’ reading strategy use across two proficiency levels. To this end, a pre-test post-test quasi-experimental research design was used and two instruments were utilized to collect the data: Nelson English language test and reading strategy questionnaire. Ninety five university students participated in this study were divided into two groups of teacher and peer scaffolding. Teacher scaffolding group received scaffolded help from the teacher based on three mechanisms of effective help within ZPD: graduated, contingent, dialogic. In contrast, learners of peer scaffolding group were unleashed from the teacher-fronted classroom as they were asked to carry out the reading comprehension tasks with the feedback they provided for each other. Results obtained from ANOVA revealed that teacher scaffolding group outperformed the peer scaffolding group in terms of reading strategy use. It means teacher’s scaffolded help provided within the learners’ ZPD led to better reading strategy improvement compared with the peer scaffolded help. However, the interaction effect between proficiency factor and teaching technique was non-significant, leading to the conclusion that strategy use of the learners was not affected by their proficiency level in either teacher or peer scaffolding groups.

Keywords: peer scaffolding, proficiency level, reading strategy, sociocultural theory, teacher scaffolding

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10378 Proficiency Testing of English for Specific Academic Purpose: Using a Pilot Test in a Taiwanese University as an Example

Authors: Wenli Tsou, Jessica Wu

Abstract:

Courses of English for specific academic purposes (ESAP) have become popular for higher education in Taiwan; however, no standardized tests have been developed for evaluating learners’ English proficiency in individual designated fields. Assuming a learner’s proficiency in a specific academic area is built up with one’s general proficiency in English with specific knowledge and vocabulary in the content areas, an adequate ESAP proficiency test may be constructed by some selected test items related to the designated academic areas. In this study, through collaboration between a language testing institution and a university in Taiwan, three sets of ESAP tests, covering three disciplinary areas of business and the workplace, science and engineering, and health and medicine majors, were developed and administered to sophomore students (N=1704) who were enrolled in ESAP courses at a university in southern Taiwan. For this study, the courses were grouped into the above-mentioned three disciplines, and students took the specialized proficiency test based on the ESAP course they were taking. Because students were free to select which ESAP course to take, each course had both major and non-major students. Toward the end of the one-semester course, ending in January, 2015, each student took two tests, one of general English (General English Proficiency Test, or GEPT) and the other ESAP. Following each test, students filled out a survey, reporting their test taking experiences. After comparing students’ two test scores, it was found that business majors and health and medical students performed better in ESAP than the non-majors in the class, whereas science and engineering majors did about the same as their non-major counterparts. In addition, test takers with CERF B2 (upper intermediate) level or above performed well in both tests, while students who are below B2 did slightly better in ESAP. The findings suggest that students’ test performance have been enhanced by their specialist content and vocabulary knowledge. Furthermore, results of the survey show that the difficulty levels reported by students are consistent with their test performances. Based on the item analysis, the findings can be used to develop proficiency tests for specific disciplines and to identify ability indicators for college students in their designated fields.

Keywords: english for specific academic purposes (ESAP), general english proficiency test (GEPT), higher education, proficiency test

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10377 Turkish University Level EFL Learners’ Collocational Knowledge at Receptive and Productive Levels

Authors: Nazife Duygu Bagci

Abstract:

Collocations are an important part of vocabulary knowledge, and it is a subject that has recently attracted attention, while still in need of more research. The aim of this study is to answer three research questions related to the collocational knowledge of Turkish university level EFL learners at different proficiency levels of English. The first research question aims to compare the pre-intermediate (PIN) and the advanced (ADV) level learners’ collocational knowledge at receptive and productive levels. The second one is to analyze the performance of the PIN and the ADV students in two main collocation categories; lexical and grammatical. Lastly, the performance of both groups are focused on to find the collocation type (among verb-noun, adjective- noun, adjective-preposition, noun-preposition collocation types) they show the best performance in. Two offline tests were used to answer these questions. The results show that there is a significant difference between the PIN and the ADV groups at both receptive and productive levels. It can be concluded that proficiency is an important criterion in collocational knowledge, and learners do not necessarily know the collocates of the vocabulary items that they know. Although there is no significant difference between the PIN group’s performance in lexical and grammatical collocations, the ADV group showed a better performance in lexical collocations. Lastly, the PIN group at receptive and the ADV group at both receptive and productive levels showed the best performance in verb-noun collocations, which is in line with the previous research focusing on different collocation types.

Keywords: collocational knowledge, EFL, language proficiency, testing

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10376 Communicative Competence versus Language Proficiency

Authors: Pouya Vakili

Abstract:

The aim of present paper is to have a rough comparison between language proficiency and communicative competence, moreover, how different scholars in the field of second language acquisition/assessment have defined competence in different paradigms. Researchers differ, however, in how they view 'competence'. Those who are dealing with generative tradition associated with Chomsky have defined it as linguistic competence (knowledge of the grammar of L2). Other researchers have adopted a broader perspective that is examining how learners acquire communicative competence (knowledge of both the L2 grammar and of how this system is put to use in actual communication).

Keywords: communicative competence, competence, language proficiency, linguistic competence

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10375 Teaching Method for a Classroom of Students at Different Language Proficiency Levels: Content and Language Integrated Learning in a Japanese Culture Classroom

Authors: Yukiko Fujiwara

Abstract:

As a language learning methodology, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has become increasingly prevalent in Japan. Most CLIL classroom practice and its research are conducted in EFL fields. However, much less research has been done in the Japanese language learning setting. Therefore, there are still many issues to work out using CLIL in the Japanese language teaching (JLT) setting. it is expected that more research will be conducted on both authentically and academically. Under such circumstances, this is one of the few classroom-based CLIL researches experiments in JLT and aims to find an effective course design for a class with students at different proficiency levels. The class was called ‘Japanese culture A’. This class was offered as one of the elective classes for International exchange students at a Japanese university. The Japanese proficiency level of the class was above the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level N3. Since the CLIL approach places importance on ‘authenticity’, the class was designed with materials and activities; such as books, magazines, a film and TV show and a field trip to Kyoto. On the field trip, students experienced making traditional Japanese desserts, by receiving guidance directly from a Japanese artisan. Through the course, designated task sheets were used so the teacher could get feedback from each student to grasp what the class proficiency gap was. After reading an article on Japanese culture, students were asked to write down the words they did not understand and what they thought they needed to learn. It helped both students and teachers to set learning goals and work together for it. Using questionnaires and interviews with students, this research examined whether the attempt was effective or not. Essays they wrote in class were also analyzed. The results from the students were positive. They were motivated by learning authentic, natural Japanese, and they thrived setting their own personal goals. Some students were motivated to learn Japanese by studying the language and others were motivated by studying the cultural context. Most of them said they learned better this way; by setting their own Japanese language and culture goals. These results will provide teachers with new insight towards designing class materials and activities that support students in a multilevel CLIL class.

Keywords: authenticity, CLIL, Japanese language and culture, multilevel class

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10374 Translation Skills and Language Acquisition

Authors: Frieda Amitai

Abstract:

The field of Translation Studies includes both descriptive and applied aspects, one of which is developing curricula. Within this topic there are theories dealing with curricula aimed at translator training, and theories meant to explore teaching translation as means through which awareness to language is developed in order to enhance language knowledge. An example of the latter is a unique study program in Israeli high schools – Teaching Translation Skills Program (TTSP). This study program has been taught in Israel for more than two decades and is aimed at raising students' meta-linguistic awareness as well as their language proficiency in both source language and target language in order to enable them become better language learners. The objective of the current research was to examine whether the goals of this program are achieved – increase in students' metalinguistic awareness and language proficiency. A follow-up case study was aimed at examining the level of proficiency which would develop most by this way of teaching English. The study was conducted in two stages – before and after participating in the program. 400 subjects took part in the first stage, and 100 took part in the second. In both parts of the study, participants were given the same five tasks in both Hebrew and English in addition to a questionnaire, in which they were asked about their own knowledge of Hebrew and in comparison to that of their peers. Their teachers were asked about the success of the program and about the methodology they use in class. Findings show significant change in the level of meta-linguistic awareness of the students as well as their language proficiency. A comparison between their answers before and after the program shows that their meta-linguistic awareness increased, as did their ability to recognize linguistic mistakes. These findings serve as strong evidence for the positive effect such study program has on the development of meta-linguistic awareness and linguistic knowledge. The follow-up case study tests the change among weaker language learners.

Keywords: comparison, metalinguistic awareness, language learning, translation skills

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10373 Canadian French as an Additional Language Teacher Candidates' Proficiency and Confidence Pre- and Post-Francophone Home-Stay: Practicum Experience as Revealed through Questionnaire and Interviews

Authors: Callie Mady

Abstract:

This study investigated the Canadian French as an additional language teacher candidates’ confidence and language maintenance strategies by means of questionnaires and interviews pre- and post- a Francophone home-stay practicum experience. Teacher French language proficiency is one of the components of teacher knowledge that can influence students’ French as an additional language acquisition. Although advantageous, seeking opportunities to use French in a French milieu comes with challenges. Teachers, for example, have been found to be hesitant to speak French with native speakers for fear of judgment. Another identified challenge to spending time in a French milieu is finances; while teachers have recognized the value of such an experience, cost is prohibitive. In recognition of the potential barriers and the need to maintain/improve the French proficiency of 'French as an additional language' teachers, this study provided a two-week home stay in a Francophone environment for teacher candidates of French as an additional language with financial subsidies for their participation. Through the post-experience interviews, the French as an additional language teacher candidates revealed an improvement in French proficiency. Similarly, the teacher candidates cited an increase in confidence in the interviews and through the questionnaire. They linked this increase in proficiency and confidence to their experiences with their host families and other Francophone members of the community. This study highlights the provision of immersion experiences as means to support teachers’ language confidence and proficiency.

Keywords: French as an additional language education, teacher language confidence, teacher language maintenance, teacher language proficiency

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10372 Rapid Method for Low Level 90Sr Determination in Seawater by Liquid Extraction Technique

Authors: S. Visetpotjanakit, N. Nakkaew

Abstract:

Determination of low level 90Sr in seawater has been widely developed for the purpose of environmental monitoring and radiological research because 90Sr is one of the most hazardous radionuclides released from atmospheric during the testing of nuclear weapons, waste discharge from the generation nuclear energy and nuclear accident occurring at power plants. A liquid extraction technique using bis-2-etylhexyl-phosphoric acid to separate and purify yttrium followed by Cherenkov counting using a liquid scintillation counter to determine 90Y in secular equilibrium to 90Sr was developed to monitor 90Sr in the Asia Pacific Ocean. The analytical performance was validated for the accuracy, precision, and trueness criteria. Sr-90 determination in seawater using various low concentrations in a range of 0.01 – 1 Bq/L of 30 liters spiked seawater samples and 0.5 liters of IAEA-RML-2015-01 proficiency test sample was performed for statistical evaluation. The results had a relative bias in the range from 3.41% to 12.28%, which is below accepted relative bias of ± 25% and passed the criteria confirming that our analytical approach for determination of low levels of 90Sr in seawater was acceptable. Moreover, the approach is economical, non-laborious and fast.

Keywords: proficiency test, radiation monitoring, seawater, strontium determination

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10371 Robot Technology Impact on Dyslexic Students’ English Learning

Authors: Khaled Hamdan, Abid Amorri, Fatima Hamdan

Abstract:

Involving students in English language learning process and achieving an adequate English language proficiency in the target language can be a great challenge for both teachers and students. This can prove even a far greater challenge to engage students with special needs (Dyslexia) if they have physical impairment and inadequate mastery of basic communicative language competence/proficiency in the target language. From this perspective, technology like robots can probably be used to enhance learning process for the special needs students who have extensive communication needs, who face continuous struggle to interact with their peers and teachers and meet academic requirements. Robots, precisely NAO, can probably provide them with the perfect opportunity to practice social and communication skills, and meet their English academic requirements. This research paper aims to identify to what extent robots can be used to improve students’ social interaction and communication skills and to understand the potential for robotics-based education in motivating and engaging UAEU dyslexic students to meet university requirements. To reach this end, the paper will explore several factors that come into play – Motion Level-involving cognitive activities, Interaction Level-involving language processing, Behavior Level -establishing a close relationship with the robot and Appraisal Level- focusing on dyslexia students’ achievement in the target language.

Keywords: dyslexia, robot technology, motion, interaction, behavior and appraisal levels, social and communication skills

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10370 Second Language Perception of Japanese /Cju/ and /Cjo/ Sequences by Mandarin-Speaking Learners of Japanese

Authors: Yili Liu, Honghao Ren, Mariko Kondo

Abstract:

In the field of second language (L2) speech learning, it is well-known that that learner’s first language (L1) phonetic and phonological characteristics will be transferred into their L2 production and perception, which lead to foreign accent. For L1 Mandarin learners of Japanese, the confusion of /u/ and /o/ in /CjV/ sequences has been observed in their utterance frequently. L1 transfer is considered to be the cause of this issue, however, other factors which influence the identification of /Cju/ and /Cjo/ sequences still under investigation. This study investigates the perception of Japanese /Cju/ and /Cjo/ units by L1 Mandarin learners of Japanese. It further examined whether learners’ proficiency, syllable position, phonetic features of preceding consonants and background noise affect learners’ performance in perception. Fifty-two Mandarin-speaking learners of Japanese and nine native Japanese speakers were recruited to participate in an identification task. Learners were divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced level according to their Japanese proficiency. The average correct rate was used to evaluate learners’ perceptual performance. Furthermore, the comparison of the correct rate between learners’ groups and the control group was conducted as well to examine learners’ nativelikeness. Results showed that background noise tends to pose an adverse effect on distinguishing /u/ and /o/ in /CjV/ sequences. Secondly, Japanese proficiency has no influence on learners’ perceptual performance in the quiet and in background noise. Then all learners did not reach a native-like level without the distraction of noise. Beginner level learners performed less native-like, although higher level learners appeared to have achieved nativelikeness in the multi-talker babble noise. Finally, syllable position tends to affect distinguishing /Cju/ and /Cjo/ only under the noisy condition. Phonetic features of preceding consonants did not impact learners’ perception in any listening conditions. Findings in this study can give an insight into a further understanding of Japanese vowel acquisition by L1 Mandarin learners of Japanese. In addition, this study indicates that L1 transfer is not the only explanation for the confusion of /u/ and /o/ in /CjV/ sequences, factors such as listening condition and syllable position are also needed to take into consideration in future research. It also suggests the importance of perceiving speech in a noisy environment, which is close to the actual conversation required more attention to pedagogy.

Keywords: background noise, Chinese learners of Japanese, /Cju/ and /Cjo/ sequences, second language perception

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10369 Analysis of the Annual Proficiency Testing Procedure for Intermediate Reference Laboratories Conducted by the National Reference Laboratory from 2013 to 2017

Authors: Reena K., Mamatha H. G., Somshekarayya, P. Kumar

Abstract:

Objectives: The annual proficiency testing of intermediate reference laboratories is conducted by the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) to assess the efficiency of the laboratories to correctly identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis and to determine its drug susceptibility pattern. The proficiency testing results from 2013 to 2017 were analyzed to determine laboratories that were consistent in reporting quality results and those that had difficulty in doing so. Methods: A panel of twenty cultures were sent out to each of these laboratories. The laboratories were expected to grow the cultures in their own laboratories, set up drug susceptibly testing by all the methods they were certified for and report the results within the stipulated time period. The turnaround time for reporting results, specificity, sensitivity positive and negative predictive values and efficiency of the laboratory in identifying the cultures were analyzed. Results: Most of the laboratories had reported their results within the stipulated time period. However, there was enormous delay in reporting results from few of the laboratories. This was mainly due to improper functioning of the biosafety level III laboratory. Only 40% of the laboratories had 100% efficiency in solid culture using Lowenstein Jensen medium. This was expected as a solid culture, and drug susceptibility testing is not used for diagnosing drug resistance. Rapid molecular methods such as Line probe assay and Genexpert are used to determine drug resistance. Automated liquid culture system such as the Mycobacterial growth indicator tube is used to determine prognosis of the patient while on treatment. It was observed that 90% of the laboratories had achieved 100% in the liquid culture method. Almost all laboratories had achieved 100% efficiency in the line probe assay method which is the method of choice for determining drug-resistant tuberculosis. Conclusion: Since the liquid culture and line probe assay technologies are routinely used for the detection of drug-resistant tuberculosis the laboratories exhibited higher level of efficiency as compared to solid culture and drug susceptibility testing which are rarely used. The infrastructure of the laboratory should be maintained properly so that samples can be processed safely and results could be declared on time.

Keywords: annual proficiency testing, drug susceptibility testing, intermediate reference laboratory, national reference laboratory

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10368 Understanding the Interactive Nature in Auditory Recognition of Phonological/Grammatical/Semantic Errors at the Sentence Level: An Investigation Based upon Japanese EFL Learners’ Self-Evaluation and Actual Language Performance

Authors: Hirokatsu Kawashima

Abstract:

One important element of teaching/learning listening is intensive listening such as listening for precise sounds, words, grammatical, and semantic units. Several classroom-based investigations have been conducted to explore the usefulness of auditory recognition of phonological, grammatical and semantic errors in such a context. The current study reports the results of one such investigation, which targeted auditory recognition of phonological, grammatical, and semantic errors at the sentence level. 56 Japanese EFL learners participated in this investigation, in which their recognition performance of phonological, grammatical and semantic errors was measured on a 9-point scale by learners’ self-evaluation from the perspective of 1) two types of similar English sound (vowel and consonant minimal pair words), 2) two types of sentence word order (verb phrase-based and noun phrase-based word orders), and 3) two types of semantic consistency (verb-purpose and verb-place agreements), respectively, and their general listening proficiency was examined using standardized tests. A number of findings have been made about the interactive relationships between the three types of auditory error recognition and general listening proficiency. Analyses based on the OPLS (Orthogonal Projections to Latent Structure) regression model have disclosed, for example, that the three types of auditory error recognition are linked in a non-linear way: the highest explanatory power for general listening proficiency may be attained when quadratic interactions between auditory recognition of errors related to vowel minimal pair words and that of errors related to noun phrase-based word order are embraced (R2=.33, p=.01).

Keywords: auditory error recognition, intensive listening, interaction, investigation

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10367 Levels of Reflection in Engineers EFL Learners: The Path to Content and Language Integrated Learning Implementation in Chilean Higher Education

Authors: Sebastián Olivares Lizana, Marianna Oyanedel González

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This study takes part of a major project based on implementing a CLIL program (Content and Language Integrated Learning) at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, a leading Chilean tertiary Institution. It aims at examining the relationship between the development of Reflective Processes (RP) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) in weekly learning logs written by faculty members, participants of an initial professional development online course on English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Such course was designed with a genre-based approach, and consists of multiple tasks directed to academic writing proficiency. The results of this analysis will be described and classified in a scale of key indicators that represent both the Reflective Processes and the advances in CALP, and that also consider linguistic proficiency and task progression. Such indicators will evidence affordances and constrains of using a genre-based approach in an EFL Engineering CLIL program implementation at tertiary level in Chile, and will serve as the starting point to the design of a professional development course directed to teaching methodologies in a CLIL EFL environment in Engineering education at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María.

Keywords: EFL, EAL, genre, CLIL, engineering

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