1. A Mixed-Methods Study on International Students’Perceptions of EAP Writing Programs--- “To What Degree It Could Help Me”
Florida International University, USA
Wenzhou Business College, China
U.S. universities host the most international students worldwide, including those whose first language is not English. When these students do not meet their university entry requirement regarding their English proficiency, they are usually required to take English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses, including EAP writing courses. Despite the huge number of international students in the U.S., relatively few research studies have been conducted focusing on EAP writing courses for this student population. Having noticed this subgroup of underrepresented students, we used a mixed methods research design to explore the perceptions of international students in relation to their EAP writing courses and the effect they had on their subject fields. Thirty international students were recruited from a southern university in the U.S. and were asked to complete questionnaires and share their thoughts in interviews. Our findings, which drew upon students’ opinions about the holistic benefits of EAP writing courses, revealed that the courses led to a noticeable improvement to their English skills and coursework. Recommendations for future EAP writing courses could contribute to curriculum and research of EAP writing programs.
Keywords: mixed methods; learning transfer; exploratory; case study
2. Revisiting Thailand’s English language Education Landscape: A Closer Look at Thailand’s Foreign Teaching Personnel Demographics
Analiza Liezl Perez-Amurao
Mahidol University, Thailand
Some major issues crucial to a country’s education landscape involve what is taught, how lessons are taught, and who is teaching. Taking the third issue and using Thai government data, this study examines through documentary research method the demographic profile of foreign English-speaking teachers, aggregated by country of origin, sex, type of teaching license held, and rank per country of origin. Providing stakeholders with baseline information about who composes the foreign teaching force in Thailand, this paper discusses as well why English has been dubbed as the “language of the elite,” making it the leading foreign language studied in Thailand. Although this study initially sought to look into the demographics of foreign English-speaking teachers in Thailand, only one major finding reveals how demographic data can point to a hierarchical practice observed in the existing types of English programs offered to Thai parents and their children.
Keywords: demographic profile; foreign English-speaking teachers; Thai education
3.Birds of a Feather Flock Together?---A Case Study on Socialization Experiences of Chinese International Student in an American University
Taipei Medical University, Taiwan
Northeastern University, United States
This article reveals the socialization and interaction patterns of a Chinese international student in an American university. The findings show how an attempt to integrate into a community is complicated by levels of one’s language proficiency and familiarity with the target culture. Contrary to most language learners’ expectations, the availability of access to a wider community does not always guarantee successful integration. The sense of marginalization, attributed to one’s lack of cultural and sociolinguistic capital, can significantly decrease international student’s willingness to invest in the target language and socialization into the local community. We conclude that international students would benefit from linguistic, cultural, and social support facilitation of their socialization. Institutions need to identify means for them to gain access to institutional resources and opportunities.
Keywords: Chinese international students; language socialization; language investment; language community; identity
4. On the Differential Effects of the Teacher's L1 Use or L2-only Explanations on EFL Learners’ Learning and Retention of Concrete and Abstract Words
Department of English Language Teaching, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran
The current study aims to add to the debate on whether or not the use of L2 learners’ mother tongue should be allowed in the classroom by evaluating the efficacy of specific instruction types. The current project was administered in two Iranian EFL classrooms to determine the differential effects of teachers’ first language (L1) use and second language (L2)-only explanations on Persian-speaking adults’ acquisition and learning of concrete and abstract English words. A sample of 30 Low Intermediate and Intermediate level EFL learners was chosen for L1-use group; 30 participants were allocated to an L2-only use condition, and another 30 participants to a comparison group. Pretests, immediate posttests, and delayed posttests (four weeks later) in the form of the revised vocabulary knowledge scale (RVKS) were applied to all participants. The study found that teacher's code-switching can result in higher vocabulary improvements in immediate and delayed retention, notably for concrete words in the process of teaching and learning.
Keywords: vocabulary acquisition; Iranian learners of English; medium of instruction; first language use; second language explanations; concrete and abstract words
5. Writing Research, Writing Instruction and Educational Research Frontiers and Methodology: An Interview with Steve Graham
Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
In this interview, Steve Graham talks about his research interests, the importance of writing and his work in developing writing strategies. He responds to critical questions about the writing struggle currently faced by many students in the U.S. and elsewhere and offers possible solutions. He outlines a general picture of writing instruction at the elementary and secondary levels in the U.S. and comments on the impact of Common Core State Standards on writing instruction and research. He further shares his life-long experience in conducting high quality educational intervention research and meta-analyses.
Key Words: writing research; writing instruction at K-12; Common Core State Standards; educational intervention; meta-analysis