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  • 1. The 34th Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 21st Century English Language Education: Towards Global Citizenship January 17 – 18, 2014 The Empress Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • 2. Welcoming Message The 34th Thailand TESOL International Conference in Chiang Mai early this year was successful in creating an intellectually stimulating atmosphere, providing our participants with opportunities to present and discuss innovations, trends and concerns in TESOL. We are privileged to inform our readership and contributors that the Proceedings of the 34th Thailand TESOL International Conference 2014 are now available online. Under the conference theme of 21st Century English Language Education: Towards Global Citizenship, the proceedings feature an interesting assortment of seven articles in which contributors share their insights from their teaching and research experiences from a variety of socio-cultural contexts. This collection of articles offers our local and international communities of TESOL practitioners and researchers both pedagogical and theoretical insights on current trends in TESOL in order to keep them abreast of developments in the field. We therefore hope that our readership will find the articles both intellectually inspiring and pedagogically useful in their research and teaching milieu. We would like to take this opportunity once again to thank all of our conference participants, esteemed international partners, and devoted conference organizing committee members for their support of the conference. We appreciate having received a warm welcome and excellent coordination from site committee members in Chiang Mai. Our profound gratitude and appreciation also go to all authors, reviewers, and IT specialists for all their expertise, tireless work and dedication to bring the proceedings to fruition. It has been our pleasure working with true professionals. On a final note, we trust that Thailand TESOL will enjoy the continued support of its wide and varied audience and that we will join hands in making the mastery of the English language a more readily achievable goal for English language learners. We thus look forward to welcoming you again in our next year’s conference under the theme of English Language Education in Asia: Reflections and Directions to be held on January 29-31, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. Unchalee Sermsongswad, Thailand TESOL President Pragasit Sitthitikul , Proceedings Chair Pramarn Subphadoongchone, Proceedings Editor
  • 3. Proceedings Chair Pragasit Sitthitikul Thammasat University Proceedings Editor Pramarn Subphadoongchone Chulalongkorn University Reviewers Acharawan Buripakdi Walailak University Chaleosri Pibulchol Srinakharinwirot University Dumrong Adunyarittigun Thammasat University Ira Rasikawati Universitas Kristen Krida Wacana Janpanit Surasin Burapha University Jirada Wudthayagorn Chulalongkorn University Kittitouch Soontornwipast Thammasat University Miranda Lin Illinois State University Nopporn Sarobol Thammasat University Pattamawan Jimarkon King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi Phaisit Boriboon Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University Richmond Stroupe Soka University Sita Yiemkuntitavorn Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University Stephen M. Ryan Stamford International University Supakorn Phoocharoensil Thammasat University Watana Padgate Naresuan University
  • 4. Table of Contents page Teaching discussion skills at a Thai university through the annotation of videos Christopher Willis Alexander Nanni 1 Thai-Serbian A2 university EFL learners’ perspectives on learning and teaching oral English communication skills David Allen Bruner Kemtong Sinwongsuwat Yaruingam Phungshok Shimray 13 Effects of classroom praise on student engagement in online discussions Matthew A. Carey 35 The perspectives of EFL Thai teachers on self-assessment Jittima Choopun Jirayu Tuppoom 50 The engineering phrases list: Towards teachable ESP phrases Dougal Graham 70 Abstracts writing: A case study of ScienceDirect top 25 hottest articles Adul K.laorr Wisut Jarunthawatchai 91 16, 18, 20, 24? Correlation between student contact hours and student achievement for English as a second or foreign language Learners Tom Alibrandi 111
  • 5. Teaching Discussion Skills at a Thai University Through the Annotation of Videos Christopher Willis Alexander Nanni Mahidol University International College Abstract One goal of the language program at the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics at Mahidol University International College is for students to be able to discuss an academic topic in a small group. To interact successfully in this context, a student must be able to offer points of view, agree or disagree with other points of view, ask for clarification, switch topics, etc. In this pilot study, which involved a total of 40 students enrolled in language courses in the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics at Mahidol University International College, the researchers used a video editing program to illustrate these elements of discussion using videos of students’ own group discussions. The students were then instructed to use the editor to annotate subsequent discussion videos with the same elements. In this way, the researchers were able to encourage students to engage more deeply in self-assessment and peer assessment. Keywords: group discussion, video annotation, self-assessment, peer assessment Introduction Meaningful interaction is critical to liberal arts education. Blaich, Bost, Chan, and Lynch (2004) posit that one of the three factors supporting liberal arts education is “an institutional ethos and tradition that place a strong value of student-student and student- faculty interactions both in and out of the classroom” (p. 12). With the stated goal of “providing quality liberal arts education” (“A liberal arts education in an Asian setting,”
  • 6. 2 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 2012, para. 1), Mahidol University International College (MUIC) subscribes to this theory. Accordingly, preparing students to interact with each other and with their teachers is important to the success of MUIC. Many students entering MUIC first study for one or more terms in the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics (PC), a program that readies students for the rigors of academic life at MUIC. Effective communication and meaningful interaction are the foci of the PC program. This paper will focus on one type of interaction, small group discussions. More specifically, it will describe a pilot study undertaken by two teachers at PC with the intention of improving student interaction in small group discussions. This paper will begin by briefly explaining the context in which the study was conducted. It will then ground the study in relevant research and describe the problem of practice that the study addressed. Next, it will report the procedure and results of the pilot study, which involved the use of video editing software to comment on recordings of students’ small group discussions. Finally, it will discuss the effectiveness of the methods used and suggest avenues for future research. Context Background information at the regional, national, and institutional levels is necessary to understanding this study. At the regional level, communication in English is of growing importance. The working language of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is English (ASEAN Secretariat, 2009). In 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community will become integrated, lowering barriers to trade and allowing greater labor mobility (ASEAN Secretariat, 2012), which will lead in turn to greater competition and interaction among the citizens of Southeast Asian countries. This will also stimulate regional educational exchanges. In Roadmap for an ASEAN Community, the ASEAN Secretariat (2009) states that in an effort to advance and prioritize education, ASEAN will “promote education networking in various levels of educational institutions and continue university networking and enhance and support student and staff exchanges and professional interactions including creating research clusters among ASEAN institutions of higher learning” (p. 68). For these reasons, development of effective means of teaching communication skills in English is becoming more important at the regional level. The focus on meaningful interaction is also relevant at the national level. Over the past two decades, the Thai government has made several attempts to reform the educational system. As early as 1996, the government announced the goal of modernizing the teaching methods used in the kingdom’s classrooms (Fry, 2002). The Asian financial crisis of 1997
  • 7. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 3 precipitated further reforms, as the shortcomings of the educational system were offered as an explanation for the crash (Jungck & Kajornsin, 2003; Sangnapaboworn, 2003). The new constitution introduced after the crash explicitly mentioned education in several clauses (Terwiel, 2011), and the government announced sweeping changes to the educational system. These changes are evident in the National Education act, in which the government called for, among other things, a shift from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning (Sangnapaboworn, 2003). For various reasons, this government directive failed to impact the classrooms of the kingdom. The change that did occur was “fragmented . . . [and] lacking in deep integration” (Hallinger & Lee, 2011, p. 154). While the ideas behind the reform efforts were educationally sound, the reforms may have been too ambitious to succeed within the given timeframe. In the small group discussions and video editing projects that constitute this study, the teacher plays the role of facilitator. These student-centered activities are conducted in the spirit of the educational reforms that have been ongoing in Thailand in the past two decades. Meaningful interaction is also essential at the institutional level. MUIC is an English- medium college within Mahidol University. As it has a “strong liberal arts focus” (“About MUIC,” 2013, para. 2), meaningful communication within the academic community is valued. Many international students attend MUIC either on student exchanges or as full-time students, so English communication is essential both in class and in the community at large. The Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics (PC) serves students who are seeking to improve their language skills before beginning courses at MUIC. The lower level courses at PC focus on the discrete skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. These courses serve students at the beginner and intermediate levels of English proficiency. The upper-level courses, which are designed for upper-intermediate students, take a more integrated approach. These courses are theme based, and students are expected to apply their knowledge of various themes across all of the relevant classes. At the end of each upper-level course in the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics, students complete an integrated test, which has two components. The first component is an argumentative essay based on two inputs, a written text and a recorded lecture. Students cite the two sources using the APA style, but they are not required to produce a reference list. The second component is a 20-minute discussion in a group of five or six students. Immediately after finishing their argumentative essays, students receive the discussion question. This question is related to the prompt given for the argumentative essay. The discussion takes place the day after the essay component, so students have time to
  • 8. 4 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 perform independent research; however, the members of each discussion group are not announced beforehand. Two teachers observe each discussion and mark students based on their original contributions, interaction with others, and language skills. This study will address one method of preparing students for the small group discussion component of the integrated test. Literature Review As video devices have become cheaper and more prevalent and as video has become easier to store and edit, it is logical that video is increasingly used in the teaching of speaking; both for EFL and non-EFL students. Researchers have worked to measure and evaluate the benefit of video in speaking courses. Areas of possible benefit to students include motivation, use of discussion strategies, and ability to analyze their performance. Studies have shown that playing back videos of students’ presentations has motivational benefits, and there is some evidence that it also improves speaking performance. Rian, Hinkelman, and McGarty (2011) found that videotaping student presentations and making them available through the Moodle learning management system provided more motivation for students and allowed instructors to better assess them. They found that students had favorable attitudes towards peer assessment of videotaped presentations. Similarly, Yamkate and Intratat (2012) found that Thai University students taking an English course “had positive attitudes towards video recording their presentations, especially since this helped them to notice and identify their weaknesses in non-verbal language use” (p. 146). These researchers had students examine videotapes of their own presentations to assess their language, content, and body language. They report that the students “became aware of their verbal and non-verbal proficiency and mistakes after watching the videos” (p. 154). There is also evidence that video is helpful in a situation where students do not give individual presentations but rather perform group discussions. Group discussions, unlike presentations, involve interaction and discussion strategy. Nguyet and Mai (2012) found that showing students conversational strategies, such as asking for clarification, through the use of demonstration video resulted in greater use of those strategies. Christianson, Hoskins, and Watanabe (2006), videotaped group discussions and had students do self-assessment and peer-assessment by watching the videos. Students also made a transcript of their discussion. The authors found that “The self-assessment process engages students in the analysis and evaluation of their performance; this strongly suggests it may be something that should be
  • 9. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 5 further incorporated in the [English Language Program]” ( p. 10). From these studies, video appears to be a useful tool in group discussion settings. Annotating video, as opposed to simply reviewing and analyzing video orally or on paper, is less common in the literature. However, there is research in specific non-EFL contexts. Bonaiuti, Calvani, and Andreocci, (2011) examined the benefit of video annotation as a reflection technique for novice teachers. They conclude that “we could argue that video annotation is a tool capable of guiding reflection, offering direct opportunities to increase both the number of comments and their analytic content and to improve self-analysis skills overall” (p. 9). In another study, Fu, Schaefer, Marchionini, Mu (2006) examined the use of video annotations for the training of foreign teaching assistants. Student presentations were videotaped and the other students as well as the instructor gave feedback by annotating the video. They found that “both the annotators and the recipients of annotations benefit from the annotation process” (p. 21). They found that the annotations “reinforce the presenters’ strong points and build their confidence and make them aware of their weaknesses” (p. 21). This research supports the idea that the annotation of student videos, whether by the instructor or students themselves, could provide benefits in the students’ ability to analyze their performance. Problem of Practice The purpose of this pilot study is to investigate the use video editing software to encourage students to engage more deeply with the discussion feedback process. This use of technology would have two additional benefits: allowing teachers to assess the students’ understanding of the different aspects of the group discussions and allowing students to self- assess their performance in specific areas. Success in small group discussions requires several distinct skills. In addition to language skills such as pronunciation and grammatical accuracy, students must be able to present new information to the group, agree or disagree with other group members, paraphrase other students’ points, etc. Teachers use a variety of techniques throughout the term in order to help students to develop these skills. Teachers generally record the discussions, and several methods involve the use of the video recording. For example, teachers show the recordings in class and provide comments or ask the students to watch the discussion videos for homework and write a reflection about their performance. Of course, these techniques are only effective to the extent that students actually engage in self-assessment and review. The teachers involved in this pilot study found that at
  • 10. 6 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 times their students seemed to be reflecting on their discussions at a superficial level. The students did not seem to see the value in such an activity. Often, their students would not even watch the discussion videos shared with them. When the students did watch the videos, they did so in a passive manner. As a result, they failed to reap the benefits of the activity. This leads to the principal question that this pilot study seeks to address: how can students be encouraged to engage more deeply in self-assessment and peer assessment? Methodology In order to foster deeper reflection on small group discussions, the researchers designed a post-discussion activity that made use of Camtasia video editing software to comment on aspects of the discussions. This software was selected because it allows users to add annotation in two main ways: as subtitles and as callouts, which are graphics such as text boxes that appear in the video itself. The use of such an activity seems to offer several advantages: it ensures that students watch the discussion videos carefully, it is active rather than passive (i.e., students must do more than passively watch the videos), and it is engaging. Overall, this solution seems to be well suited to the problem of low student engagement with their discussion videos. The post-discussion activity comprised three components: an initial in-class component, a take-home assignment, and a second in-class segment in which the students shared their work with the rest of the class. During the initial in-class session, each discussion group is further divided into subgroups of two to three students. Each subgroup collaborates on a single computer. In the case of this particular pilot study, two classes of 20 students participated. Each discussion group contained six to seven students. The experimental activity had several stages. First, the teacher showed a segment of the discussion video that had already been annotated to illustrate targeted aspects of group discussions. The students were then given a video recording of a practice discussion in which they themselves had participated. Each discussion video was split into several shorter segments, and a subgroup was assigned to edit each of the segments. The length of each segment depended on the length of the video of the complete discussion and on the number of students in each discussion group. Additionally, they were given a digital handout (see appendix) that included the objective of the exercise, a detailed description of the task itself, and step-by step instructions explaining the video editing process. Students were instructed to create subtitles for their respective video segments. The subtitles were to include the name of the speaker, the purpose of his or her utterance (e.g., agreeing, disagreeing, contributing new
  • 11. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 7 information), a summary of the utterance, and comments about the speaker’s contribution. Positive comments were to be placed in square brackets, whereas constructive criticism was to be placed in parentheses. Finally, students were to provide feedback about the speakers’ body language and nonverbal communication (e.g., eye contact or the lack thereof) using callouts. During this class, the role of the teacher was to explain the assignment and model the use of the video editing software then circulate around the classroom answering questions as students worked on the activity in groups. After the class dedicated to explaining and modeling the video editing activity, students were expected to complete the editing of their video for homework. In the case of this pilot project, students were assigned the task on a Friday and were expected to upload the edited video to Google Drive and to share it with the teacher before class on Monday. The student-edited videos were screened in class. Afterwards, the teacher provided comments on both the students’ editing and on their performance in the discussions. Preliminary Results In this particular instance, the activity was successful in encouraging students to engage more deeply in self-assessment and peer assessment. All of the videos were submitted on time, and the quality of the editing was generally quite good. When the videos were screened in class, students seemed to take pride in their handiwork. Importantly, they were also quite astute in assessing their own performance as well as their peers’. The students had spent a significant amount of time editing the videos, as evidenced by the quality of the editing. The results are sufficiently promising to merit the continued development of the activity. A few caveats are worth considering. The students involved in this pilot study were quite experienced with the use of technology. Their generally high skill level allowed the teacher to spend relatively little time explaining the actual use of Camtasia, as the students found its interface intuitive. Students with a lower level of technological competence might require a longer period of instruction. Furthermore, those students might find the activity less intrinsically motivating. Also, as the overall purpose of the activity is not to teach technology skills but rather to facilitate language learning, spending as little time as possible on the technical aspects of the activity is preferable. Additionally, this activity would have benefitted from additional structure in the form of a rubric. While the results were encouraging overall, a few videos were lacking in certain areas. For example, some groups employed many callouts, whereas others used relatively
  • 12. 8 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 few. Similarly, some groups provided mostly positive feedback, whereas others focused almost exclusively on points that could be improved. Ideally, student’s editing would be relatively balanced in these areas, including callouts, positive feedback, and constructive criticism in fairly equal proportions. A rubric could be instrumental in achieving this balance. Discussion The preliminary results seem to indicate that video editing software can be used to increase student engagement in the analysis of their speaking performances. This is consistent with other studies that report positive motivation when student presentations (Rian et al, 2011) and group discussions (Christianson et al, 2006) are videotaped and made available to students for peer assessment and self-assessment. This study did not attempt to determine whether the quality of the assessment was also improved. Other works cited in the literature review do mention that videotaping results in “greater awareness of verbal and non-verbal proficiency” (Yamkate and Intratat, 2012), and that annotating video affects “self-analysis skills” (Bonaiuti et al, 2011) and makes students “aware of their weaknesses” (Fu et al, 2006). This suggests that the next phase of this project should be to see if we can confirm that such benefits can be obtained from the video annotation exercise presented here. Conclusion This pilot study sought to address the problem of how best to encourage students to engage productively in self-assessment and peer assessment of discussion videos. The solution investigated in this paper, the use of video editing software to promote deeper engagement, seems promising. Both teachers involved in the pilot study were satisfied with the results, and both plan to continue developing the activity in future courses. Just as our students must engage in deep reflection on their performances in order to improve their language skills, so too must we teachers reflect deeply on our methods to better facilitate our students’ learning. The Authors Christopher Willis is an instructor at the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics at Mahidol University International College. He has taught at the Preparation Center since 2007 and prior to that at Suan Dusit Rajabhat and Pibulsongkram Rajabhat Universities, also in Thailand.
  • 13. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 9 Alexander Nanni is the Director of the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics at Mahidol University International College. He completed an M.Ed. in TESL at Rhode Island College in 2009 and is currently enrolled in the Ed.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership program at Northeastern University. References A liberal arts education in an Asian setting. (2012). Retrieved May 5, 2013, from About MUIC. (2013). Retrieved May 5, 2013, from ASEAN Secretariat. (2009). Roadmap for an ASEAN community, 2009-2015. Jakarta: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat. ASEAN Secretariat. (2012). ASEAN Economic Community. Retrieved from Blaich, C., Bost, A., Chan, E., & Lynch, R. (2004). Defining liberal arts education. Wabash College Center of Inquiry. Bonaiuti, G., Calvani, A., & Andreocci, B. (2011). Improving self-reflection with video annotation. Evaluation of a new practice in teacher training. In World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (2011), 3265–3274. Christianson, M., Hoskins, C., & Watanabe, A. (2009). Evaluating the effectiveness of a videorecording based self-assessment system for academic speaking. Language Research Bulletin, 24, 1–15. Fry, G. W. (2002). Synthesis Report: From crisis to opportunity, the challenges of educational reform in Thailand. Fu, X., Schaefer, J. C., Marchionini, G., & Mu, X. (2006). Video annotation in a learning environment. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 43(1), 1–22. Hallinger, P., & Lee, M. (2011). A decade of education reform in Thailand: Broken promise or impossible dream? Cambridge Journal of Education, 41(2), 139–158. Jungck, S., & Kajornsin, B. (2003). “Thai wisdom” and glocalization. In K. Anderson-Levitt (Ed.), Local Meanings, Global Schooling: Anthropology and World Culture Theory. Palgrave Macmillan. Nguyet, N. T. M. (2012). Teaching Conversational Strategies Through Video Clips1. Language Education in Asia, 3(1), 32-49.
  • 14. 10 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Rian, J. P., Hinkelman, D., & McGarty, G. (2011). JALT2011 Conference Proceedings, 416- 425. Sangnapaboworn, W. (2003). Higher education reform in Thailand: Towards quality improvement and university autonomy. In A paper presented at the Shizuoka forum on approaches to higher education, intellectual creativity, cultivation of human resources seen in Asian countries (pp. 12–14). Terwiel, B. J. (2011). Thailand’s Political History: From the 13th Century to Recent Times. River Books. Yamkate, K., & Intratat, C. (2012). Using Video Recordings to Facilitate Student Development of Oral Presentation Skills. Language Education in Asia, 3(2) 146-158.
  • 15. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 11 Appendix This handout was provided to the students who participated in the video editing activity. It begins with brief instructions about how to create a new project in Camtasia and then provides guidelines about the types of annotation that students should provide. Discussion Video Editing Exercise Objective of the Exercise The purpose of this exercise is to get you to think about how people communicate in group discussions, and what is effective in these discussions. Task You are going to work in groups to annotate a short video clip of your fellow students.  You are going to use captions for the content that is spoken: the points that the group makes and the responses to those points.  You are going to use callouts to make comments on non-verbal communication. Note: Comments don’t have to be all positive. Your classmates can learn if you point out for example where they might be off-topic, their point is not clear, or they are speaking too quietly. Step 1: Create a new project and add the video clip your group is working on. 1. Start Camtasia 2. Select File menu -> New project option 3. Drag your video clip into the Clip Bin (the upper left portion of the screen) 4. Now right click on the video clip icon and select “Add to Timeline at Playhead”. 5. The video is “track 1” Step 2: Edit the video  For input add a one line summary of the speaker’s point. Also give the speaker’s name.  Also add any comments about the input. o Use square brackets, to highlight things you feel they did well:  [reference to text/video]  [supported with example]
  • 16. 12 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014  [Good use of transition phrase…]  [very clearly explained] o Use round brackets to highlight aspects that need improvement:  (speaks too soft)  (off topic)  (not sure what the argument is)  (should refer to text to support)  (throwaway line: “something like that”)  For responses to another speaker’s point try to show what kind of response it is. For example: expands on ... adds support to ... clarifies ... disagrees with ...  Use callouts for body language and eye contact comments. Step 3: Publish the video. Step 4: Upload the video to Google Drive and share it with your teacher.
  • 17. Thai-Serbian A2 University EFL Learners’ Perspectives on Learning and Teaching Oral English Communication Skills David Allen Bruner Kemtong Sinwongsuwat Yaruingam Phungshok Shimray Prince of Songkla University Abstract This research investigated perspectives on learning and teaching oral English communication skills of A2 students, the majority of EFL undergraduate students, at two partner universities in countries in Kachru’s “Expanding Circle”, namely Prince of Songkla University, Thailand and University of Novi Sad, Serbia. A questionnaire survey explored the students’ perspectives on their teachers’ teaching methods and styles, and their own learning styles, motivation and difficulties. Overall, Thai and Serbian A2 students had different perspectives on their teachers, learning styles and learning difficulties, but similar perspectives on teaching methods and learning motivation. The differences pointed to Thais’ lower oral English proficiency, limited exposure to English outside the classroom, diversity of varieties of English spoken by teachers, commonality between English and the students' L1, cultural disparities between teachers and students, Thai cooperative learning, different economic and social needs, and different class facilities. Keywords: university learners' perspectives, learning and teaching oral English communication skills, Expanding Circle, Southeast Asia, the Balkans, Thailand, Serbia
  • 18. 14 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Background of the Study Amidst globalization in the information era, the unprecedented rapid spread and the pivotal role of English as the language of global and even local or personal business cannot be overstated. Today, in many countries, especially those in Kachru’s (1985) Expanding Circle, where English has long been embraced as an important language for international communication, the language has transcended from being just an important foreign language to an international or a global language that everyone receiving formal education has to learn at an early age. In fact, as many of the countries in these traditional EFL contexts both in the East and in the West are striving to compete in the fast-growing world economy and to enter into some sort of economic union, English has undeniably become an essential part of human capital to invest in to produce human resources capable for successful competition and transition into desirable economies. Given the considerably fast expansion of economies in Asia, CEOs of many companies have come forth stressing how important it is for people to possess strong English language skills if they want to progress in their career and capitalize on the increasing foreign investment pouring into these countries in this era (see e.g., Byrne, 2010). Speaking English has in fact become an even more essential goal as free trade and economic cooperation are promoted among both Asian and European countries. In the integration of the ASEAN economic community which takes effect on December 31, 2015, English becomes the only official language, marking its importance for international communication in the region where in the vast majority of countries, English is not the native language. A large number of companies have already put forth hiring policies which require employees to have a good command of English. For university students and academics in the ASEAN region, English becomes essential not only for communication but for publication purposes. Likewise, with the European Union Council’s endorsement of accession negotiations with Serbia by January, 2014, a workforce with high English language ability is becoming even more critical in the Balkan region. Given the urgent need for human resources with strong English communication skills in all parts of the world, it has become especially crucial for language educators to reexamine the current English language teaching approaches adopted to see whether they really produce desirable students. In her study which examined the general English proficiency of ASEAN
  • 19. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 15 students measured by TOEFL- equated CU-TEP1 scores, Prapphal (2001) found that the average English proficiency of Thai and Laotian students was lower than that of students from other ASEAN countries. Almost a decade later, Thai students' English proficiency remained the lowest among Southeast Asian countries (Khamkhien, 2010). In a more recent study conducted by an international language training company using data from online English tests, Thailand was even ranked one of the Asian countries on the lowest end of English Proficiency Index (Education First, 2012;, 2012). In response to this, it has been suggested that certain changes be made in the components of the course syllabus adopted in Thailand such as goals and objectives, materials, methods of teaching, as well as testing and evaluation. While Thailand is infamous for low English proficiency, Serbia, by contrast, has a much higher English proficiency ranking according to the Business English Proficiency index (Global English Press Releases, 2012). It seems obvious that their advantage over the South East Asian nation of Thailand is that Serbia is in the middle of Europe where English is the most spoken language and that Serbian is also in the Indo-European language family like English. Serbs also have apparently much easier access to a variety of English media and are mobile in traveling, going to school, and working in other European countries and global businesses. However, given that Serbia is a country in the Expanding Circle planning to integrate into an economic union and teaching English as a foreign language like Thailand, their classroom practices related to the majority of learners merit comparative investigation. With emphasis on developing oral communication skills of university students, this paper was written based on a study taking a step back to examine the course syllabi currently adopted by universities in Thailand and Serbia in order to determine what they are attempting to achieve, what is really going on in the classroom where they are implemented and whether these syllabi are well-received by parties involved, particularly teachers and students. Instead of trying to lay claim on changes to be made to the syllabus adopted in Thailand, it tries to explore the perspectives of the majority of learners at partner universities in both regions regarding the syllabi adopted, especially the learners' own views on learning and improving their oral English communication skills. Using international perspectives, the paper hopes to shed light on classroom practices and learners-related factors that possibly contribute to success or failure of oral English communication education in the respective countries. This, 1 Chulalongkorn University Test of English Proficiency
  • 20. 16 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 we believe, is necessary before any appropriate change can be made, especially to the Thai syllabi. Research Questions This paper, in particular, examines the perspectives of the majority of university EFL learners at the partner universities in their respective regions regarding learning and improving their oral English communication skills, and if they differ, how do they differ and what factors may account for these differences. The following research questions have accordingly been addressed: 1. What is the overall picture of learning and improving oral English communication skills based on the perspectives of the majority of EFL university learners at the chosen universities in the respective regions? 2. Do the learners in the two universities differ in their perspectives and, if so, how are they different and what factors can apparently account for such differences? Methodology Research settings, population, and samples The research sites were the Faculty of Liberal Arts (FLA), Prince of Songkla University (PSU)-Hat Yai, Thailand and the Faculty of Philosophy (FP), University of Novi Sad (UNS)-Serbia. The population included the majority of PSU and UNS undergraduate students enrolled in English courses aimed primarily at developing oral English communication skills in the Academic Year 2011 and 2012 respectively. Selected through the purposive sampling method, PSU student samples consisted of 439 2nd - 4th year students with the majority level of English proficiency, Elementary (A2), who took the courses in the summer semester of the same academic year. Determined by the Cambridge Quick Placement Test, out of 557 2nd - 4th year PSU students taking the elective courses oriented towards developing oral English communication skills in the summer semester of the Academic Year 2011, March-May 2012, the majority (n=439) were of the Elementary (A2) level of English proficiency according to the Council of Europe Levels (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, 2001). The rest of the students (n=92 and n=26) were of the Beginner (A1) and the Lower Intermediate (B1) levels of English proficiency respectively. This proportion remained intact based on our rerun
  • 21. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 17 placement-test with the new group of students in the summer semester of the following academic year. The students with the majority level of English proficiency, A2, were therefore the suitable focus group for the questionnaire analysis. Serbian participants, on the other hand, included the undergraduate students taking English language courses in the academic year 2012. These students took the same placement test at the beginning of the academic year in order to be placed in appropriate groups and the majority of them, who were A2 students, were examined in this paper. Instruments Questionnaires were given to the majority of the EFL undergraduate students at both universities in order to capture the holistic picture of oral English language teaching and learning from the students’ perspectives. Developed around the issues that typically are of central concern to language teachers, the whole questionnaire is divided into five relatively equal sections; however, this paper only discusses the findings obtained from two main sections of the questionnaire. The first one is concerned with the participants’ demographic data, and the second section with the learners' perspectives on oral English language teaching and learning. The students provided written responses to the questionnaires in their native language while the researchers were present for explanation and clarification. To analyze the first part of the questionnaire concerned with the demographic data of research participants, descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation were employed. The aim was to arrive at the profile of the research participants concerning their background and learning experience, which were believed to affect their perspectives on language learning and teaching. As for the other parts of the questionnaire that comprise statements with the Likert scale, statistical correlations and interval-scale analysis were performed comparing the answers of Serbian and Thai students to find statistically significant sets of data. Findings and Discussion The perspectives of the majority of students from both universities on learning and improving oral English communication skills were elicited via an itemized Likert scale. The results obtained from Thai and Serbian A2 students were interpreted based on the following interval scale: 4.51 – 5.00 (strongly agreed), 3.51 – 4.50 (agreed), 2.51 – 3.50 (moderately agreed), 1.51 – 2.50 (disagreed), and 1.00 – 1.50 (strongly disagreed). Additionally, they
  • 22. 18 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 were compared to determine item differences. Those items whose differences between the two groups not only were statistically significant but also fell between different intervals are described as very different, whereas those with only statistically significant differences are considered moderately different. The rest of the items whose differences were not statistically significant were considered similar or the same between the two groups. Overview of A2 students’ perspectives on oral-English communication teaching and learning It was found that overall, Thai and Serbian A2 students had rather similar perspectives on teaching methods and learning motivation, but very or moderately different perspectives on their teachers, learning styles and learning difficulties.As shown in Table 1 below, A2 students, the majority of students at both universities, were satisfied with the oral English communication courses offered; they found the content provided in the course books used interesting. The courses allowed them to engage in communicative tasks related to real-world uses of English, balancing accuracy- with fluency-focused activities and making them aware of varieties of English spoken in the world. They had opportunities to work with their classmates and felt comfortable doing so. Their course teachers also made them feel free to volunteer their answers in class and helped them learn to take control of their own learning. They adopted adaptive teaching styles and were receptive to the students’ view of learning. Furthermore, the teachers were attentive to their learning progress. Table 1: Thai and Serbian students’ similar perspectives on teaching methods and styles Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) Providing interesting course content Serbian 107 4.08 0.92 1.45 0.15 Thai 439 3.95 0.74 Engaging in real-world communicative tasks Serbian 107 3.64 1.14 -0.51 0.61 Thai 436 3.69 0.8 Balancing accuracy and fluency-focused activities Serbian 105 4.1 0.88 1.69 0.09 Thai 438 3.96 0.77
  • 23. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 19 Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) Raising awareness of world Englishes Serbian 106 3.96 1.32 -0.01 0.99 Thai 438 3.96 0.83 Learning cooperatively Serbian 107 3.83 1.33 -1.41 0.16 Thai 439 4.02 0.79 Fostering peer support Serbian 106 3.79 1.61 -1.21 0.23 Thai 439 3.99 0.76 Participating voluntarily Serbian 107 3.66 1.82 0.81 0.42 Thai 438 3.52 0.95 Nurturing autonomous learning Serbian 107 4.24 1.64 0.74 0.46 Thai 438 4.12 0.74 Teacher's adaptive teaching styles Serbian 106 4.56 2.02 1.92 0.06 Thai 439 4.18 0.70 Teachers' being receptive to students' view Serbian 105 4.46 2.18 1.67 0.10 Thai 439 4.10 0.68 Teachers' being attentive to students' progress Serbian 104 4.38 2.33 1.03 0.31 Thai 439 4.15 0.72 Additionally, it was revealed that both groups of students were in fact highly motivated to learn English. They claimed that they attended class regularly and participated actively in the classroom. They similarly wanted to be able to speak with native speakers and learn about speakers of other cultures through the English language. They also found the target language beautiful and essential for consuming pop culture.
  • 24. 20 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Sharing similar views overall on teaching methods and learning motivation, the Thai and Serbian A2 students were however very different on their views towards their teachers' teaching styles, as well as their own learning styles and difficulties. Table 2 displays the statistical results related to the students' different perspectives on their teachers and teaching styles. Table 2: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives on teachers and teaching styles Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) authentic examples of spoken English* Providing sufficient Serbian 107 4.45 0.84 4.68 0.00 Thai 439 4.03 0.75 Frequency of teachers' speaking English Serbian 107 4.94 0.33 16.25 0.00 Thai 438 4.12 0.81 Frequency of teachers' speaking students' L1 Serbian 105 4.66 0.95 15.71 0.00 Thai 438 2.96 1.16 Giving opportunities for speaking English in class Serbian 106 4.98 0.57 11.52 0.00 Thai 439 4.22 0.75 Providing essential learning opportunities Serbian 107 4.39 1.16 3.71 0.00 Thai 439 3.95 0.76 Assessing students' performance Serbian 106 4.70 1.25 8.24 0.00 Thai 438 3.92 0.75 Being communication facilitators Serbian 106 4.56 1.50 2.50 0.00 Thai 438 4.18 0.76 Giving feedback* Serbian 107 4.84 1.55 3.34 0.00 Thai 438 4.51 0.67
  • 25. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 21 Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) Teachers' accents Serbian 107 4.89 1.60 2.90 0.00 Thai 439 4.43 0.74 Teachers' understanding of what they are teaching Serbian 107 5.07 1.62 5.29 0.00 Thai 439 4.22 0.77 Teachers' awareness of learners' ethnic diversities Serbian 107 4.80 1.83 6.93 0.00 Thai 438 4.04 0.70 Teachers' provision of input* Serbian 105 4.48 2.18 2.35 0.02 Thai 437 3.97 0.76 *moderately different As shown in Table 2, the Serbian students were more content with the frequency of their class teachers' English use, while the Thais preferred more Thai spoken by their teachers. The latter were apparently more used to studying English with Thai teachers often speaking Thai in the classroom; their first experience with oral English teaching at the university level in fact reinforced their previous experience. Most Thai university students had Thai English teachers in their first year of fundamental English courses, often using Thai to a high extent as the medium of instruction. When they reached the second year or higher at the university, they were abruptly exposed to native or near native English speakers in oral communication class with little Thai spoken. Such an abrupt change may have made their learning experience more difficult and challenging. In fact, some of the students surveyed reported having problems following their course teachers' fast English speech. By contrast, throughout their high school and university, the Serbs have Serbian teachers with primarily American accents who apparently can strike a balance of L1/L2 use in the classroom for the benefit of their low-proficiency learners. While wanting their teacher to speak their native language more, the Thai students nevertheless expected more English-speaking opportunities for themselves and more exposure to authentic examples of spoken English for real-life communication in class more than the Serbian students did. Apparently, for the Thais, examples of spoken English in real-
  • 26. 22 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 life communication and opportunities to speak English in class mattered more than having English-speaking teachers teach the course given the fact that few English-speaking opportunities exist outside the classroom. The Thais were actually yearning for more opportunities to practice speaking English in class; they came to class expecting their teachers to help them learn to communicate effectively in the target language. In fact, they reportedly also tried more to find the opportunity to speak English with native speakers and speakers of other languages after class. Despite the increasing number of international students on campus, the students of other languages were spread out mainly among graduate programs, allowing little contact with the undergraduate student majority. The Thai students thus needed to put more effort to find the opportunity to use English. The Serbians by contrast have more opportunities to speak English not only outside the classroom, but also in the university oral communication classroom than they did at the primary and secondary school level. In addition, while both groups of students liked their class teachers in several aspects such as accent, styles of teaching, teaching abilities, and awareness of learner diversities, the Serbian students preferred their teacher’s English pronunciation more than the Thais. The Serbians apparently were more satisfied with the fact they were continuously exposed to English teachers whose accents were closer to those of the speakers in the Inner Circle. In Serbia, teachers mostly have homogenous American English accents. The Thais, on the other hand, were familiar primarily with British or American English accents mainly via commercial oral communication textbooks, but at university they learned English with foreign teachers from all the different circles speaking in a greater variety of English accents. At the time of the survey, the Thai A2 students were taught by American, British, Canadian, German, Indian, Sri Lankan, and Thai teachers, while the Serbian students were taught exclusively by Serbian teachers influenced by American English accents. Such a drastic change may have been unsettling for a number of the Thai A2 students who had had only limited exposure to so many varieties of spoken English. This corresponds in particular with the fact that the Thais rated lower on their satisfaction with their teachers’ speaking English and with the comments they gave on their teachers’ giving feedback and their understanding of the teachers’ talk and the input provided. Furthermore, the Serbians, whose native language is in the Eastern branch of the Indo-European group, appeared to be more accustomed to English, which is in the Western branch of the Indo-European language family, by contrast with Thai belonging to a different
  • 27. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 23 language group (i.e.,Tai-Kadai). In fact, for most Thais today, English is the only Indo- European language that they are exposed to. Additionally, the Serbians also reported more teachers’ awareness of learner diversity than the Thais. This was apparently related to the fact that Serbian class was more ethnically diverse than the Thai class, and the Thais may have perceived that teachers not sharing their native tongue may not completely understand them. The Thai cultural value with respect to the power distance between them and their teacher seemed to also influence their perception of their teachers' understanding them (Thomgprasert, 2008). Concerning the students' views on themselves, Tables 3, 4, and 5below show the statistical results related to the students' different perspectives on their learning styles, motivation and difficulties respectively. Regarding learning styles outside the classroom, both groups of students reportedly spent time on self-study activities required by the course rather than on any other English activities not part of the course. However, unlike the Serbians, the Thais reportedly spent time with their English classmates not only working on class assignments but also socializing with them. They also preferred more to do other extracurricular English activities not part of the course requirements with their peers. Apparently, the Thais’ learning styles were influenced by their group-oriented native culture; they seemed to prefer cooperative to individual learning, and group to individual work. In fact such a learning style was also reinforced in their English classroom, which mostly involved them in group work. Because of such a collectivism cultural value, the Thais are more likely to excel through group work rather than individual assignments. In fact, unlike the Serbs, most Thai students confirmed that they were able to fulfill in-class group activities more easily than self-study or individual exams. They thought that they could accomplish class activities more easily with their classmates, and preferred to be assessed by means of group rather than individual work. From their perspectives, group activities were more manageable and useful as they can assist and learn from each other.
  • 28. 24 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Table 3: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives on learning styles Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) Socializing with peers out of the classroom Serbian 105 2.41 1.29 -8.23 0.00 Thai 439 3.50 0.85 Working on assignments with peers out of the classroom Serbian 106 2.13 1.25 -10.82 0.00 Thai 436 3.52 0.84 Doing required self-study English activities out of the class* Serbian 106 3.86 1.19 2.72 0.01 Thai 437 3.53 0.83 Doing extra English activities out of the class* Serbian 106 2.86 1.41 -3.70 0.00 Thai 436 3.39 0.85 Trying to find opportunities to speak English with native speakers outside the classroom Serbian 105 2.38 1.33 -8.06 0.00 Thai 437 3.47 0.85 Taking the opportunity to speak English even with speakers of other languages* Serbian 105 3.11 1.45 -2.06 0.04 Thai 435 3.42 0.87 *moderately different With respect to English learning motivation, as indicated in Table 4, the Thai students reportedly were much more driven than the Serbians by their desire to get a better job, work for a foreign company at home and abroad, and satisfy their parents. They were driven less by their desires to consume English media.
  • 29. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 25 Table 4: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives on learning motivation Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2-tailed) To get a better job Serbian 106 4.28 1.07 -2.38 0.02 Thai 438 4.54 0.75 Not to disappoint other people Serbian 106 2.42 1.49 -8.19 0.00 Thai 438 3.67 0.97 To travel abroad Serbian 106 4.75 0.65 5.16 0.00 Thai 438 4.38 0.78 To work for a foreign company Serbian 106 3.08 1.47 -7.87 0.00 Thai 438 4.25 0.80 To be able to enjoy English media* Serbian 106 3.75 1.41 -3.73 0.00 Thai 438 4.28 0.84 *moderately different Unlike the Thais, parents apparently did not influence the Serbians’ learning English as much. The latter group’s English learning was more driven by their desire to travel. They were more influenced by individualistic culture than the Thais, where groups and communities are paramount in society. English media are also more readily accessible in the society, thereby influencing the learners’ motivation to learn the target language more. As for learning obstacles, shown in Table 5, while overall the A2 students from both universities similarly denied that they were experiencing difficulties learning English, there were certain differences in discrete items reported.
  • 30. 26 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Table 5: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives on learning obstacles Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2-tailed) Class size too big Serbian 106 2.14 1.28 -6.07 0.00 Thai 439 2.95 0.97 Problems with teaching equipment Serbian 106 1.25 0.69 -12.63 0.00 Thai 438 2.29 1.03 Lack of ones' own study desks Serbian 106 1.25 0.81 -10.96 0.00 Thai 434 2.27 1.03 Lack of ones' own room to study* Serbian 106 1.50 1.22 -5.49 0.00 Thai 435 2.14 1.05 Having disturbing roommates and/or neighbors* Serbian 106 1.60 1.10 -5.64 0.00 Thai 435 2.26 1.07 Other subjects taking away too much time* Serbian 106 3.41 1.37 5.13 0.00 Thai 436 2.68 1.04 Getting no support from family members* Serbian 106 1.47 1.06 -6.11 0.00 Thai 436 2.18 1.20 Getting no support from peers* Serbian 106 1.55 0.96 -5.85 0.00 Thai 438 2.17 1.08 No easy access to English media Serbian 106 1.26 0.68 -13.33 0.00 Thai 437 2.35 1.01 Other learning difficulties Serbian 106 0.06 0.23 -35.31 0.00 Thai 292 2.53 1.13 *moderately different
  • 31. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 27 Unlike the Thai students, who did not completely deny the problem with class size, Serbian students rejected the statement that their English class size was too big. Compared with typical classrooms at PSU, those at UNS were generally smaller, and this inevitably constrained the number of students in each class. Some classrooms at LA in contrast can hold as many as 150 students, possibly contributing to the class size problem. Additionally, the number of students enrolled in oral English communication classes at the faculty is increasing every year. The Serbian students also reportedly had fewer problems with classroom teaching equipment than the Thai students. Unlike classroom facilities at PSU, approximately 40-50% of the classrooms in Serbia were equipped with a blackboard, chalk, and an overhead projector; this apparently did not pose as many challenges to users as more advanced equipment such as computers and LCD projectors provided in every classroom at PSU. The Serbians also more readily rejected the problems with private facilities to study, disturbing roommates and/or neighbors, support from family and peers when studying. This did not seem to be a surprise given the fact that unlike the Thais most of whom lived in dormitories, the Serbian students mostly were local, living at their own homes. However, unlike the Thais, the Serbians did not quite deny the problem of other subjects taking too much of their times. Most Serbian students at the Faculty of Philosophy, UNS, are required to take EFL or foreign language courses, which unlike other compulsory courses, offer only practice classes with no hours of lectures and allow the students to gain at most 3 credits. This may apparently have led the students to give higher priorities to those courses with hours of lectures and more credits. Additionally, the Thai A2 students reportedly had more problems with access to English media, thus lowering their motivation to learn English to consume the media as previously discussed. Outside the classroom, a typical Thai student would be exposed more to Thai than English media; the majority of popular TV and radio channels are still in Thai. English TV programs are often dubbed into Thai. The Serbians are on the other hand exposed to a greater variety of English media such as news, movies, and music because the country is literally in the middle of Europe. While English TV and films are subtitled, the students reportedly enjoyed them without subtitles and preferred English music. Finally, while Serbian students reportedly had no other learning difficulties, two per cent of Thai A2 students (sum=439) announced that they had problems learning other languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Apparently, Thai students were more concerned with learning languages other than English more than the Serbian students.
  • 32. 28 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Factors responsible for different perspectives and implications for oral English teaching in Thailand There appear to be a number of factors contributing to the different perspectives between the Thai and Serbian A2 students, and these factors lead us to some implications for oral English communication teaching in Thailand. 1. Lower oral English proficiency of Thai students and reinforcement of previous teaching methods at the university level Although both groups of students investigated were A2 level based on the paper Cambridge Quick Placement Test, it is likely the Thai students had lower oral English proficiency than their Serbian counterparts based on the findings and the literature previously discussed. Therefore, they preferred to have their teachers’ speaking more Thai in the classroom in the belief that it would improve their understanding and learning efficiency. In fact, most Thai university students have Thai English teachers in their first year teaching fundamental English courses and speaking Thai in class. However, using an abundance of Thai in the classroom may be counterproductive and will not prepare them well for elective courses with non-Thai teachers in later years. Therefore, it is recommended that at the outset of students’ university career, teachers endeavor to make sure the majority of in-class communicative activities are conducted in English and the students are encouraged to use their English with speakers of other languages outside the classroom through interactive assignments. 2. Limited exposure to spoken English outside the classroom In the Thai context, students mostly share the same Thai language and culture with limited exposure to cultures of English-speaking teachers. Their exposure to native or near native English speakers may be limited to their teachers and few opportunities exist for them to communicate with speakers of English outside the classroom. Given Thai students’ having more limited exposure to English than the Serbians, Thai teachers, administrators, and policy makers should be responsible for creating more opportunities for the students to engage in English extracurricular activities outside the classroom, which they preferred according to the research findings. In fact, as previously reported, the Thais yearned for more English- speaking opportunities; therefore, in the classroom teachers should aim to adequately provide them with activities simulating real-life communicative situations in which they can really
  • 33. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 29 use English in meaningful ways. Additionally, as suggested by Bell (2011) EFL students with limited exposure to the target language in real-life situations may demand different teaching strategies to accommodate their communication needs. Especially, in the Thai context in which students also have limited exposure to English media, the learners may need to be taught not only where they can use their English outside the classroom and with incentives but by increasing their motivation to learn English by tying their personal interests with the language (through virtual classrooms, blogs, social media, etc.), rather than mainly letting them navigate without intervention in the entertainment-driven world of music, TV and movies. 3. Diversity of varieties of English spoken by teachers At the time of the study, non-Thai English teachers at Liberal Arts, PSU came from a variety of nationalities and language backgrounds and in the majority of cases, the teachers’ L1 was not English. Not surprisingly, the students were exposed to a variety of English accents in the oral communication classroom. Even among native English speakers, accents also vary, proving to be challenging for the Thais with limited previous exposure to world Englishes. However, with continuous incentive-driven exposure to English activities both in and outside the classroom with native and non-native speakers of English, it is likely they will become more familiar with greater varieties of English, having fewer problems with the English-speaking teachers from different circles. And, in fact, as noted by Kessler (2003) international or multilingual English teachers having learned English as L2 learners themselves may benefit students through greater empathy, language learning knowledge and sharing cultural experiences. Native English speakers are just as prone to speak too quickly or not to pronounce words clearly. Having teachers whose English is not their native tongue can therefore be advantageous to the students especially as English speakers in the Inner Circle are rapidly being outnumbered by those from the other circles. 4. Commonality between English and the native language Negative L1 interference may be felt more acutely among the Thai EFL students than Serbian students given the fact that Thai is from a different language family than English and Serbian. So, as teachers, we need to be cognizant of the essential linguistic differences between Thai and English. Specialized training may be required for non-Thai teachers. Students, on the other hand, should be made aware of the contrastive features between the two languages, especially in pronunciation, grammar and expression use as needed to
  • 34. 30 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 perform various actions in oral communication via various focused, awareness-raising activities. And the teaching aim should be to train students to start thinking in English rather than relying on translation aids without awareness of linguistic differences. When performing oral activities, they should be encouraged to speak spontaneously. The majority of communicative tasks used such as role-play, discussion, and public speaking should require non-scripted speech, bearing in mind the students’ language level so that the students will not be over-influenced by negative L1 transfer. 5. Cultural disparity between teacher and students Studies have suggested that L2 learning is greatly influenced by cultural values of the parties involved (Thongprasert, 2008). Very different cultural values of non-Thai teachers may hinder student learning in the classroom. Because of their high power distance cultural values, Thai students prefer the direction and control of their teachers because they see them as superior in both status and education. So, the students are inclined to be passive in the classroom. They are also often reluctant to ask questions, volunteer answers or come up with original ideas for fear of losing face. If their teachers are from very different cultures, cross- cultural misunderstandings between teacher and student seem unavoidable. Non-Thai teachers therefore need cultural-awareness through training or self-study. Given that Thai students are inclined to stay quiet in class and keep distance from their teachers owing to such high power distance and risk avoidance cultural backgrounds, teachers need strategies to get students to volunteer, ask and answer questions, and express opinions without the perception of being disrespectful or losing face. In the case of Thai teachers, they should understand their own culture and how it can affect the classroom dynamics. While raising the students’ awareness of the target language culture, the teachers may at the same time need to make effort to avoid reinforcing aspects of the L1 culture that could diminish the students’ ability to acquire oral proficiency. For example, Thai teachers should encourage students to proactively participate in all classroom activities. 6. Reinforcement of group culture via cooperative learning Thongprasert (2008) suggests that Thai students are more likely to learn by group work because of their collectivist cultural orientation. This coupled with the promotion of cooperative learning in an ESL/EFL classroom via the Communicative Language Teaching
  • 35. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 31 approach makes teachers at any education level more inclined to assign group work than individual tasks. At the university level, this reinforces cooperative learning that the students experienced prior to university. However, if there is no balance between group and individual communicative assignments, Thai students may fail miserably when confronted by the latter. For example, in oral English communication courses at PSU, more than 60% of the requirements are based on individual achievements. 7. Different economic and social needs The findings show that the Thai students are already instrumentally motivated to learn to communicate in English. They know that English as a global language will enhance their job prospect after graduation. With the AEC on the horizon, teachers should use motivation- teaching strategies to keep them focused on the fact there will be intense competition in the ACE job markets, particularly for positions in multinational companies. As suggested by Saraithong (2013), teachers should engage the students in activities that allow them to effectively improve skills essential in the workplace, in particular, listening and speaking. 8. Different classroom facilities and learning environment PSU and UNS are located in very different environments. Given that PSU is in the Asian tropical zone and UNS is in central Europe, this may account for differences in the universities’ different layouts and infrastructures. With respect to LA-PSU, the policy of the university is for all core English language training subjects to be centralized in one faculty. This results in challenges to the faculty given annually increasing enrollments, which may affect class size. As well, at present the Faculty of Liberal Arts can accommodate very large classes, which could affect their students’ perspectives on class size and facilities. It is recommended that the oral English communication classroom size has a rigorously- encouraged upper limit in accordance with the students’ learning needs. Consideration should also be given to hiring more English teachers given the increasing enrollment. Conclusion This research aims to highlight perspectives on learning and teaching oral English communication skills of A2 university students in Thailand and Serbia. It was found that Thai and Serbian students had similar perspectives on teaching methods and learning motivation, but different perspectives on their teachers, learning styles and learning difficulties. The differences reflect Thais’ lower oral English proficiency, limited exposure to English outside
  • 36. 32 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 the classroom, diversity of varieties of English spoken by teachers, commonality between English and the students' L1, cultural disparities between teachers and students, reinforcement of group culture via cooperative learning, different economic and social needs, and different class facilities and environments. To enhance oral English communication teaching in Thailand, it was recommended that real-life, in-class communicative activities are conducted in English and the students are encouraged to use their English with speakers of other languages outside the classroom through interactive assignments with incentives and tied to personal interests, in order to familiarize students with greater varieties of English. Effort should be made to acquaint both teachers and students with the contrastive aspects of Thai and English via various focused, awareness-raising activities for students and specialized training for teachers. Moreover, in order for teachers to encourage students to think in English, rather than translate from Thai, and to counter negative L1 interference, the majority of communicative tasks in the classroom should be non-scripted. Greater cultural awareness between teacher and student needs to be fostered so that ingrained Thai cultural values such as high power avoidance and risk avoidance will not act as barriers to the communicative process and oral proficiency. Team teaching between native and non-native teachers, if possible, probably will also help the students to overcome the cultural and linguistic barriers from having solely native teachers in class. This merits further research despite its logistical complexity. Finally, teachers should encourage oral skills essential to the workplace and class size and teacher- student ratios should be conducive for this purpose. Acknowledgements This paper emanates from research project no. L1A 560297S, “Comparative study of approaches to the development of oral English communication skills adopted by universities in EFL contexts,” as the result of a research grant by Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai Campus, Thailand. The authors acknowledge the input of other project members: Dr. Biljana Radic-Bojanic, Jagoda Topalov, Viktoriia Krombholc, Maja Bjelica and Ana Halas. Special thanks to Professor Dr. Ivana Zivancevic-Sekerus, Vice-Dean for International Relations and Science, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, Serbia.
  • 37. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 33 The Authors David Allen Bruner has been a lecturer at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Department of Languages and Linguistics since 2008 and teaches English to both graduate and undergraduate students. His interests include English programs in Thailand and legal English. Kemtong Sinwongsuwat (Ph.D.) is an assistant professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Prince of Songkla University-Hat Yai, Thailand. She has a special interest in Conversation Analysis (CA), interactional linguistics, corpus linguistics, and the development of Thai EFL learners’ oral communication skills. Yaruingam Phungshok Shimray joined Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai campus in 2009 as a lecturer at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Department of Languages and Linguistics. He regularly conducts leadership trainings, seminars, professional growth workshops to PSU students, staff, and teachers in and off the campus. References Bell, K. (2011, July). How ESL and EFL classrooms differ. Retrieved from…/how-esl-and-efl-classrooms Byrne, M. (2010). Strong English language skills essential to capitalize on increasing foreign investment in Thailand. Retrieved Jan 1, 2012, from english-language-skills-essential-to-capitalize-on-increasing-foreign-investment-in- thailand/ Education First (2012).The EF EPI 2012 Report. Retrieved Aug 23, 2013 from lr-2 Kachru, B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk & H. G. Widdowson (Eds.), English in the world: Teaching and learning the language and literature (pp. 11-30). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Kessler, M.(2003).Equal opportunity and diversity: The handbook for teachers of English. Retrieved from Khamkien A. (2010) Teaching English speaking skills and English speaking tests in the Thai context: A reflection from Thai perspective. English Language Teaching, 3, 184-190.
  • 38. 34 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Laksanavisit, J. (2009). Proclamation of 2009 the year of Thai higher education quality enhancement: Quality graduates for sustainable development. The National Conference. July 2-3, 2009. The Impact Convention Centre, Impact Areana, Muang Thong Thani. Retrieved Jan 10, 2012, from Prapphal, K. (2001). Globalization through distance education via Inter- and Intranet pedagogy. PASAA, 31, 75-81. Saraithong, W. (2013).The economic perspective of labor’s English language proficiency in the AEC era.WEI International Academic Conference Proceedings, January 14-16, 2013, Antalya, Turkey. Retrieved…/ANT-335- Wuthiya-SARAI Thongprasert, N. (2008). Classroom environments: A case study of Thai students in Thai and Australian universities. Proceedings of the EDU-COM 2008 International Conference Sustainability in Higher Education: Directions for change; Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, November 19-21, 2008. Retrieved from N Thongprasert JM University of Cambridge-Local Examinations Syndicate. (2001). Quick placement test: paper and pen test : user manual. UK: Oxford University Press. (2012, July 25). Where is Thailand in English Proficiency? Retrieved August 17, 2013, from
  • 39. Effects of Classroom Praise on Student Engagement in Online Discussions Matthew A. Carey Qatar University Abstract With the recent push towards blended learning and independent learning tasks, the need to increase student engagement in learning activities outside of the classroom has become more important. While assigning grades to homework can be extrinsically motivating, many educators envision the development of greater intrinsic motivation within their students. Indeed, it can be argued that this is one of the primary goals of education itself. Dörnyei (2001) suggests that to motivate students teachers should, 1) “Promote the learners’ language-related values by presenting peer role models,” 2) “Raise the learner’s intrinsic interest in the L2 learning process,” and 3) “Provide learners with regular experiences of success.” Following the strategies indicated by Dörnyei, this paper presents the results of an action research that explored the effects of giving praise in the classroom on student engagement in online discussion board tasks. Results of this action research suggest that in-class praise had little effect on students who were not already involved in completing the task. However, results also indicated that in-class praise may have served as feedback to help already motivated students become more engaged in the task thus helping them to increase content scores through repetition of the online task. Keywords: student engagement, motivation, praise, blended learning environments
  • 40. 36 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Introduction As the 21st century progresses, language teachers and learners are finding that learner independence is becoming increasingly important. In addition, with recent technological advances, the language classroom is becoming an increasingly blended environment incorporating both in-class and online tasks. The current shift in classroom culture to this more blended model necessitates that students become motivated, independent learners and that teachers seek the best ways to motivate their students to become independent learners equipped with the necessary tools to thrive in this new era of learning. To successfully motivate students to take control of their learning, teachers must have a clear understanding of current theories of motivation. From the behavioral perspective motivation could be defined as simply “the anticipation of reward” (Brown, 2007, p.168). However, upon more deeply examining the concept of motivation, it becomes clear that other perspectives must be taken into account. Ausubel (1968) introduced a more cognitive perspective on motivation positing that individuals have cognitive needs for exploration, manipulation, activity, stimulation, knowledge, and ego enhancement. Upon further examination of Ausubel’s cognitive perspective on motivation, it appears that individuals will have varying levels of need for the rewards of interacting within one’s environment. With the 1970s the constructivist perspective on motivation began to appear in educational psychology literature. The constructivist view of motivation posits that while individuals may have varying levels of need for intrinsic or extrinsic rewards, these needs are influenced and contextualized by external social factors. One of the most frequently cited examples of this constructivist perspective of motivation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow (1970) presented several levels of the hierarchy based on safety, belonging, and esteem. These three levels do focus on individual psychological needs. However, these needs are influenced and contextualized by one’s social environment. Another way of looking at motivation is to view it from simply intrinsic and extrinsic perspectives. Extrinsic motivation can be defined as motivation that is “fuelled by the anticipation of reward from outside and beyond the self” (Brown, 2007, p. 172). Sometimes in the classroom teachers may give chocolate to students who perform well on a class exercise. This would be an example of purely extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation can be defined as “behaviors that are aimed at bringing out certain internally rewarding consequences, namely feelings of competence and self-determination” (Deci, 1975, p.23). Intrinsically motivated learners often complete tasks because simply completing the task makes them feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • 41. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 37 Obviously few learners are completely extrinsically motivated or completely intrinsically motivated. However, most educators see that a significant part of their role in the classroom is to help students develop their intrinsic motivation for learning. A growing amount of research also suggests that intrinsic motivation is preferable for students’ long- term retention of knowledge (Wu, 2003; Noels et al. 2000; Noels, Clément, & Pelletier, 1999; Dörnyei 2001, 1998; Dörnyei & Csizér, 1998; Crookes & Schmidt, 1991; Brown, 1990). By encouraging students to become more intrinsically motivated learners, teachers help students to become more self-sufficient, independent learners. An intrinsically motivated learner is more likely to independently develop questions about the world around the learner, and thus, seek out answers to satisfy his or her curiosity. With regard to stimulating intrinsic motivation in students, researchers and teacher educators have constantly looked for ways to help teachers develop students’ intrinsic motivation. Piaget (1972) suggested that incongruity, uncertainty, and disequilibrium are universally motivating for students. More recently Dörnyei (2001) published a list of 35 strategies for increasing students’ levels of intrinsic motivation in the classroom. Dörnyei categorized his list of 35 strategies under the subheadings of: 1) Creating the Basic Motivational conditions, 2) Generating Initial Motivation, 3) Maintaining and Protecting Motivation, and 4) Encouraging Positive Self Evaluation. While it might seem impossible to incorporate 35 strategies into classroom teaching within one class period or even over the course of a few weeks, teachers should be aware of the strategies advocated by Dörnyei (2001) and seek to incorporate whatever strategies are possible depending on their individual classroom’s circumstances. For this action research three of the motivational strategies advocated by Dörnyei (2001) were utilized in the classroom. To generate initial motivation with regards to the independent learning task the researcher sought to: 1) Promote the learners’ language-related values by presenting peer role models, and 2) Raise the learner’s intrinsic interest in the L2 learning process. To maintain and protect motivation in the classroom the researcher sought to: 1) Provide learners with regular experiences of success. How each of these motivational strategies was implemented in the classroom will be discussed following an explanation of the online discussion task. The Online Discussion Task Over the course of a 14 week semester, 30 female students were given eight critical thinking questions based on course readings. Each question required that students read a
  • 42. 38 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 chapter from their textbook, analyze what they had read, and post a detailed answer to the question using the class’s online course management system. Students were given questions which required the use of higher order thinking skills to be able to successfully answer the question. An example of one of the eight questions that was given can be found below. Reading 6: Do Animals Have Rights? (pgs. 207-209) Discussion Question: As stated in the reading, in 1997 the European Union recognized the status of animals as “sentient beings.” What are sentient beings? Do you think that animals are sentient beings in the same way that humans are? Why or why not? Explain. (Bloom Level, Verb: Knowledge, Define: Evaluation, Appraise, Argue) Questions like the one above required students to define a concept as it was introduced in the reading and then create an argument, in this case, based on their own values. Other questions given to students required them to argue from a point of view that the student might not necessarily agree with. In this way students were encouraged to consider and critically analyze multiple points of view on somewhat controversial topics. All of the questions utilized in the online task, along with the level on Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) that they correspond to, can be found in Appendix 1. Students were not shown the notes on where the task fell in Bloom’s Taxonomy when the questions were given to them. Method With regard to extrinsic motivation students were given 5% towards their final grade for providing a response to each of the eight questions. As there was a total of eight questions, only 4% of each student’s total grade was determined by the completion of all eight online discussion tasks. In addition, if the student wrote anything in response to the question, the student was given 5%. With such a low point value for each online discussion question it could be argued that extrinsic motivation for completing each individual online task had been minimized. To generate intrinsic motivation the researcher implemented three of the strategies suggested by Dörnyei (2001). The first strategy advocated by Dörnyei (2001) is to promote the learner’s language related values by presenting peer role models. This strategy specifically related to giving praise in the classroom as peer role models demonstrated attainable models of success for all learners in the classroom context. These peer role models
  • 43. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 39 stand in contrast to potentially unattainable models of success that are often demonstrated by sources coming from outside of the classroom such as prewritten solutions found in textbooks. Every two weeks, after the completion of the task, the classroom instructor featured three students’ responses to each question. When the instructor praised each response, he made sure to demonstrate how each response was successful by showing how the content provided by the student corresponded with measures of success on the class’s summative essay writing rubric. Praise, in this case, specifically focused on how student produced content related to the descriptors of Content, Relevance, and Idea Development on the class’s summative essay writing rubric (See Appendix 2). The second strategy from Dörnyei (2001) that was implemented by the researcher was to raise the students’ intrinsic interest in the L2 learning process. Although this requirement was not necessarily fulfilled by giving praise to successful students in class, it was assumed that given existing theories of intrinsic motivation the reasonable challenge presented by each critical thinking question should in itself be somewhat engaging. In addition, as much as possible, questions were localized to have students reflect on how the readings for each question reflected their own experiences in Qatar. For example, question one asked students to consider the effects of Gehry’s museum on Bilbao, Spain and give their opinion on whether the Museum of Islamic Art had had similar effects on Doha, Qatar. By creating localized critical thinking questions, the researcher aimed to encourage deeper student engagement with the assigned reading material and discussion board questions. Furthermore, each question required student-centered input. Questions often asked for students’ individual opinions, or asked students to put themselves into the shoes of another person. A third strategy from Dörnyei (2001) suggests that teachers provide learners with regular experiences of success. Frequency of the giving of praise was controlled for in this action research by providing two critical reading questions in two week intervals throughout the course of the fourteen week semester. As a result, four times throughout the course six students’ work was highlighted and praised at the beginning of the class period. Also, if a student’s response had already been featured as a “student of the week’s response,” that student’s future responses would not receive public praise. There were eight tasks, and for each question, three responses were chosen. Therefore, a total of 24 different student responses were featured throughout the semester. Three dependent variables were measured throughout the course of this action research. They were the number of students responding to each question, the length of
  • 44. 40 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 student responses, and student engagement with the topic. The number of students responding was measured by counting the number of students that responded to the question. The length of student responses was measured in words. An average number of words was calculated for responses to each question. “Motivation to learn refers primarily to the quality of students’ cognitive engagement in a learning activity, not the intensity of the effort they devote to it or the time they spend on it” (Brophy, 2004, p.16). Brophy’s definition of motivation to learn was implemented in measuring student engagement with the topic. It was assumed that if students were more cognitively engaged with the prompt that they would provide more developed responses as based on the class’s summative essay scoring rubric. To quantify student engagement with the topic student responses were assigned a score for each response based on the Content, Relevance, and Idea Development section of the rubric in Appendix 2. These scores did not count towards students’ grades nor were they communicated to students during the course. Results Results for each of the dependent variables of the number of students responding to each question, the average length of student responses, and student engagement with the topic as measured by average content score were calculated and recorded throughout the course of the semester. The table below shows the weekly totals for the three measured dependent variables corresponding to each critical reading question (CR). Number of Completed Assignments Average Word Count Average Content Score CR1 19 88.79 3.01 CR2 17 56.24 3.28 CR3 17 80.82 3.38 CR4 16 63.00 3.22 CR5 20 104.60 3.44 CR6 18 69.61 3.48 CR7 21 84.76 3.60 CR8 22 94.09 3.61
  • 45. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 41 Each dependent variable was then plotted on a line graph in an effort to better examine change over time with repeated applications of praise in the classroom. Number of Completed Assignments Over the course of the semester the number of completed assignments did increase. However, this increase was rather small. At CR1 it can be seen that 19 students completed the assignment. By CR8 a total of 22 students completed the assignment. This is only a gain of four students total throughout the course of the semester. A total of 30 students were required to complete each assignment, yet only a maximum of 22 students successfully completed one assignment. One may conclude from this data that students who did not have a strong intrinsic motivation for completing the task to begin with may not have been persuaded to complete future assignments despite the application of in-class praise. These findings support Tileston’s (2010) claim that teachers cannot motivate students; motivation comes from within the student. In addition, Tileston (2010) suggested that teachers’ actions are still critical in creating the conditions in which a student becomes motivated, and teachers play an important role in educating students about learning strategies. With regard to Tileston’s (2010) assertions, it could be that for the eight students who did not complete the online discussion questions the task in itself was not particularly engaging. It can also be seen that from CR5 to CR8 there was an increase in the number of completed assignments. This increase could be attributed to factors of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. With regard to intrinsic motivation, it is possible that as students saw their peers praised publicly for completing their assignments that they too had a desire to receive praise and began to complete the bi-weekly assignments. Another explanation for this change in classroom behavior could be related to more extrinsic factors of motivation. As the semester
  • 46. 42 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 continued and midterm grades came in, it is possible that a point value of .5% became more important for students who wanted to improve their grades. Average Word Count As can be seen from the line graph average word count varied throughout the semester. Initially, it would seem that CR1 had a relatively high average word count, but there was a comparative drop in the average word count for CR2, CR3, and CR4. Possible reasons for this could be that students were initially interested in the task, but over time it became something that they “had to do.” However, from CR5 there is a sharp increase in the average number of words written by the students. The question for CR5 had to do with differences in communication styles between men and women, and it could be that the students in this all female class were particularly interested in this question. As a result they may have needed more words to explain their opinion on the topic at hand. In general it can also be seen that more students responded to CR5 through CR8. With the increasing number of student responses, the average word count for student responses may also have increased. This increase in average word count towards the latter half of the semester could also be explained by potential increases in students’ writing fluency and general language proficiency. It could be that as their proficiency improved, writing became easier for them. Thus, they wrote more. Another possible explanation for the increase in average word count from CR5 is that students could have become more interested in the online discussion exercise. This could have been the result of praise over time, but as there was no extrinsic reward for writing more, this increase in average word count is evidence of an increase in students’ intrinsic motivation to write.
  • 47. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 43 Average Content Score The most dramatic change could be seen in the average content score. This change could be attributed to the in-class praise given by the instructor. It may be the case that as each students’ responses were read and explained in front of the class that this caused an in increase in some students’ desire to appear intelligent in front of their classmates. Another possible explanation is that as the instructor was explaining what each “student of the week” did well students became more familiar with the assessment criteria and the class’s summative essay writing rubric. As a result, students changed how they responded to subsequent online discussion questions in an effort to better conform with the requirements of the rubric. Furthermore, it would seem that the combination of informative praise based on the criteria presented in the summative essay writing rubric provided valuable feedback to students. Ultimately, it seems that the online discussion task became a rather informative formative assessment for the students. Students who continued to respond to the assigned online questions from CR 1 to CR8 seemed to become more engaged with the questions with practice over time. These findings seem consistent with Bialystok’s (1985) assertion that strategies-based instruction requires repetition for students to begin to adopt new learning or communication strategies. Summary of Findings It should be noted that all three dependent variables did increase with the regular application of praise. Results of this action research suggest that there is an important relationship between praise and intrinsic motivation. However, it should be noted that increases in the dependent variables were not immediate. The most significant gains in the
  • 48. 44 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 number of completed assignments, average word count, and average content scores were found in the later assignments in CR5, CR6, CR7, and CR8. In fact, it would seem that initial teacher feedback had little effect on student performance. However, over time with continued praise applied to student work students who were regularly completing the online task showed a deeper level of engagement with the task. While in-class praise may have served as feedback to help already motivated students become more engaged in the task thus helping them to increase content scores through repetition of the online task, in-class praise seemed to have little effect on students who were not already involved in completing the task. Furthermore, it can be seen that even after classroom praise had been given at four different intervals, eight students out of thirty still chose not to complete the online task. Implications for Teachers Although the results of this action research demonstrate that it may be difficult to get students who are not interested in online tasks to become interested, the results also demonstrate the important role that teachers play in increasing student engagement in online tasks and the important role of feedback in helping students to become more proficient at assigned tasks particularly with regard to students’ writing skills. In addition, the fact that greater increases in the number of completed assignments, average word count, and average content scores happened after repeated applications of teacher initiated praise and feedback demonstrates how important it is for teachers to always show their enthusiasm for the curriculum and the efforts of their students. In the 21st century, the teacher’s role in the classroom has not been diminished with the increased use of online curriculum. In contrast, the role of the teacher as a guide and coach both inside and outside of the classroom is becoming increasingly important. Limitations of the Study and Future Research There are several major limitations of this action research that should be taken into consideration in future research. The first is that the sample size of only one class of 30 students is rather small. To move from an in-class action research study to a research project of a larger scale a greater sample size is necessary. Also, the sample for this study was taken from an all-female classroom in the Arabian Gulf. While the findings from this action research may prove to be useful in the Arabian Gulf context, it might be difficult to extrapolate these findings to other mixed-gender classrooms in contexts outside of the Arabian Gulf. In addition, this action research focused only on quantitative data. Given the
  • 49. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 45 complex nature of the variables involved in examining student motivation more qualitative data would prove useful in future studies. Perhaps giving a survey to the students upon completion of the final critical reading assignment would give the researcher greater insight into the students’ perceptions of in-class praise and how it relates to online assignments. Finally, as this was an action research study on only one class, the study lacks a control group to compare against. Future research should be conducted on a larger scale and include a control group that does not receive praise to verify if the effects observed in this action research study can be extrapolated to much larger populations. The Author Matthew A. Carey has been involved in TESOL at both the secondary and tertiary levels for ten years. He holds an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. His career has given him the privilege of teaching in Japan, South Korea, Qatar, and the United States. Currently he is teaching English in Qatar University and is a Harvard University affiliated instructor. Contact him via e-mail: References Ausubel, D. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive view. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Bialystock, E. (1985). The compatibility of teaching and learning strategies. Applied Linguistics, 6, 255-262. Bloom, B. S. (Ed.). (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York, NY: David McKay. Brophy, J. (2004). Motivating students to learn. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Brown, H. D. (1990). M&Ms for language classrooms? Another look at motivation. Georgetown University round table on language and linguistics, 1990, 383-393. Brown, H. D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching. White Plains, NY: Pearson Longman. Crookes, G., & Schmidt, R. W. (1991). Motivation: Reopening the research agenda. Language learning, 41(4), 469-512. Deci, E. (1975). Intrinsic motivation. New York: Plenum Press. Dörnyei, Z. (1998). Motivation in second and foreign language learning. Language teaching, 31(3), 117-135.
  • 50. 46 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Do rnyei, Z. (2001). Motivational strategies in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dörnyei, Z., & Csizér, K. (1998). Ten commandments for motivating language learners: Results of an empirical study. Language Teaching Research, 2(3), 203-229. Maslow, A. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2nd ed.). New York: Harper & Row. Noels, K. A., Clément, R., & Pelletier, L. G. (1999). Perceptions of teachers’ communicative style and students’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The Modern Language Journal, 83(1), 23-34. Noels, K. A., Pelletier, L. G., Clément, R., & Vallerand, R. J. (2000). Why are you learning a second language? Motivational orientations and self‐determination theory. Language learning, 50(1), 57-85. Piaget, J. (1972). The principles of genetic epistemology. New York: Basic Books. Tileston, D. (2010). What every teacher should know about student motivation. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin. Wu, W. (2003). Intrinsic motivation and young language learners: The impact of the classroom environment. System, 31, 501-517.
  • 51. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 47 Appendix 1 Online Discussion Questions Effects: Reading 1: How a Building Changed a City (pgs. 14-16) Discussion Question: What were the effects of Frank Gehry’s museum on Bilbao? Do you believe that the construction of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha has produced similar effects? Why or why not? (Bloom Level, Verb: Evaluate, Evaluate: Analyze, Appraise) Reading 2: The Negative Sides of Fast Food (Model Essay) (pgs. 199-200) Discussion Question: The author suggests that fast food contains many added preservatives. What do you think could be some of the negative side effects associated with the preservatives used in fast food? (Bloom Level, Verb: Comprehension, Infer) Causes: Reading 3: What’s Really on Your Dinner Plate? (pgs. 176-179) Discussion Question: List some reasons why fast food chains like McDonald’s might put additives in the food they sell. What would be the benefits of adding chemicals to the food that is sold? What would be the risks of adding such chemicals? (Bloom Level, Verb: Evaluation, Predict) Reading 4: Crisis, Disaster, and Doctors Without Borders (pgs. 93-95) Discussion Question: Explain the causes for the growth and success of Doctors Without Borders since 1978. (Bloom Level, Verb: Synthesis, Explain) Argument: Reading 5: Males and Females: What’s the Difference? (pgs. 147-149) Discussion Question: The writer states that men use language in more aggressive and competitive ways, whereas women communicate in more cooperative and supportive ways. Do you agree or disagree with the author? State two to three reasons why you agree or disagree. (Bloom Level, Verb: Evaluation, Argue) Reading 6: Do Animals Have Rights? (pgs. 207-209) Discussion Question: As stated in the reading, in 1997 the European Union recognized the status of animals as “sentient beings.” What are sentient beings? Do you think that animals are sentient beings in the same way that humans are? Why or why not? Explain. (Bloom Level, Verb: Knowledge, Define: Evaluation, Appraise, Argue)
  • 52. 48 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Reading 7: The Clone Factory (pgs. 213-215) Discussion Question: Imagine that you are a representative of Origen Therapeutics or Embrex, and you had to give a speech on the benefits of cloning chickens. What arguments would you present to encourage people to buy your cloned chickens? (Bloom Level, Verb: Evaluation, Argue) Reading 8: Against Animal Rights (pgs. 225-226) Discussion Question: In this writing exercise you will speak from the point of view of someone who is for animal rights. You have just read Fernando’s essay titled, “Against Animal Rights.” Write a one paragraph refutation against one of the main ideas that was presented in one of Fernando’s topic sentences. (Bloom Level, Verb: Evaluation, Argue)
  • 53. Appendix 2: Summative Essay Writing Rubric 0 – 2.3 2.4 – 2.5 2.6 – 2.7 2.8 – 2.9 3 – 3.1 3.2 – 3.3 3.4 – 3.5 3.6 - 4 Content & Relevance; idea development No relevant content; examples not used; and ideas are not developed Points are minimally related and examples show little relevance to topic; ideas are under developed Some points are topic related and explored; examples are mostly relevant; some attempt at idea development. Most points are topic related and explored; examples are relevant; ideas are logically developed All points are topic related and are explored in-depth; examples are highly relevant; Complex ideas are logically developed Thesis, Structure & Organisation (signposting) No thesis, topic sentences or appropriate - paragraphing. Introduction and conclusion are incomplete and ineffective. Thesis attempted; inappropriate topic sentences may be present. Paragraphs show poor structure, and lacks cohesion; introduction and conclusion attempted. Thesis, topic sentences present but unclear or does not conform to academic conventions. Paragraphs show structure, but may lack cohesion; some ideas may be linked with transitions. Appropriate introduction and conclusion are attempted. Mainly clear, thesis which may include supporting points. Topic sentences stem from the thesis. Most paragraphs are well-structured and cohesive; most ideas are linked with appropriate transitions. Introduction and conclusion are mainly complete and effective. Clear, narrow thesis which may include supporting points. Topic sentences clearly stem from the thesis. Paragraphs are well-structured and cohesive; ideas linked with smooth and effective transitions. Introduction and conclusion are complete and effective. Grammar & Vocabulary Few accurate sentences. Intrusive and/or inaccurate punctuation impede communication. Minimal use of appropriate academic vocabulary. Proofreading not evident. Multiple and serious errors of sentence structure. Limited use of appropriate academic vocabulary. Frequent error types in spelling and capitalization; intrusive and/or inaccurate punctuation impede communication. Little, if any, proofreading evident. Sentences show errors of structure and little or no variety; some use of appropriate academic vocabulary; many errors of punctuation, spelling and/or capitalization. Errors interfere with meaning in places. Careful proofreading not evident. Effective and varied sentences; some errors in sentence construction; Use of appropriate academic vocabulary; only occasional punctuation, spelling and/or capitalization errors. Each sentence structured effectively, powerfully; well-chosen variety of sentence styles and length; Range of appropriate academic vocabulary, virtually free of punctuation, spelling, capitalization errors.
  • 54. The Perspectives of EFL Thai Teachers on Self-assessment Jittima Choopun Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya Jirayu Tuppoom Kasetsart University, Kampaengsaen Campus Abstract This paper aimed at studying EFL Thai teachers’ perspectives on self- assessment in many aspects. The findings were focused on purposes of employing self-assessment, instruments used in self-assessment, difficulties and benefits. It also investigated how teachers improve their teaching after self-assessment. As to the methodology, the researcher prepared a questionnaire responded to by 25 Thai EFL teachers. The findings showed that the majority of EFL teachers were aware of the necessity of self-assessment. They considered continuing professional development as an important purpose. The most preferable instrument utilized in self-assessment was a lesson report with the percentage of 67.86%. The interesting finding revealed that audio and video recordings were not selected by language teachers. Another survey result showed that heavy teaching loads caused a difficulty during carrying out self-assessment. Moreover, developing as a teaching professional was the maximum benefit. In addition, all participants used the self-assessed information to improve their teaching by trying and developing different instruction styles, contents, and instructional materials. They also became more careful when correcting homework and providing appropriate feedback. One of the significant methods to increase weak students’ learning was offering remedial courses. Keywords: self-assessment, professional development, EFL Thai teachers
  • 55. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 51 Introduction In general, we accept that the most powerful, durable, and effective agents of educational change are not the policy makers, the curriculum developers or even the education authorities themselves; they are the teachers (Sellars, 2012). It is considered that the teacher is regarded as the most important element in the educational process at any stages. According to Fatemipour (2013), every teacher has a professional responsibility to be reflective and evaluative about their practice. The teacher should consider what should be developed to achieve better teaching. More important, teacher professional development could not be managed by others. Rather, it is the teacher himself/herself who decides which activities and/or resources should be used and how long it should be done for his/her own development (Yurtsever, 2013). In addition, teachers can develop themselves through various professional development activities, including self-assessment. As it has been assumed, teacher self-assessment has become especially important in the recent trends towards making teachers not only responsible for student outcomes but also for their own professional growth. Furthermore, as recommended by Iemjinda (2007), the professional development program for Thai EFL teacher should include components of encouraging openness in appraisal and reflection activities. In this study, the researcher examined whether language teachers employed self- assessment. It also investigated purposes of employing self-assessment, instruments used in assessment, difficulties and benefits. Lastly, it studied how teachers improve their teaching after self-assessment. The researcher hoped that the results will provide information for teacher trainers. They could use obtained results to reconsider teacher self-assessment opportunities and how to encourage EFL Thai teachers to be more effective teachers. Theoretical Framework Self-assessment as an aid to teacher professional development Teacher professional development is seen as a way to maintain and enhance the quality of teachers. The acquired knowledge does not only bring about improvement in the teaching process, but also leads to career growth (Wichadee, 2011).With respect to the importance of professional development, Mushayikwa and Lubben (2009) and Murray (2010) believe that professional development becomes a vital process of teachers’ lives. It is the process of accumulating skills, professional knowledge, values, and personal qualities that enable them to assess and re-examine teaching beliefs and practices. For teachers of English as a foreign language, professional development should consist of at least four components;
  • 56. 52 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 namely, 1) recognizing and dealing with needs of individual teachers which may range from confidence-building to technical expertise, 2) creating new experiences, challenges, and opportunities for teachers to broaden their repertoire, 3) engaging in language development, particularly for those teachers for whom English is not a native language, and 4) training teachers in the use of self-assessment and cooperative techniques of professional growth. Additionally, to maintain ongoing professional development, Hismanoglu and Hismanoglu (2010) suggest that English language teachers could get involved in many professional development activities either individually or collaboratively, including peer- coaching, study groups, action research, mentoring, teaching portfolios, team teaching, or in- service training. According to Richards and Farrell (2005), self-assessment or self-appraisal supports teachers to develop themselves. Richards (1990,p.118) defines teacher self- assessment as a systematic approach to the observation, evaluation, and management of one’s own behavior for the purpose of achieving a better understanding and control over one’s own behavior. Teachers discover their weaknesses and thus think about possible solutions. In the same vein, Nunan (1988, p.116) proposes that self-assessment provides an effective means of developing critical self-awareness. Hence, teachers are better able to set realistic goals and direct their own teaching. According to Tuppoom’s opinion (1991), professional development effort which is driven by one’s own decision tends to have a stronger effect and be more sustainable. Moreover, language teachers are supervised by supervisors or other peers. Classroom observation and comments of a supervisor or an outside visitor are undeniably main sources of feedback on their teaching. Nevertheless, as Ali (2007) argues, classroom observation could also be threatening for teachers who have to present a lesson to their students in front of an observer. Cosh (1999) believes that peer-observation is frequently carried out for purposes of appraisal or judgment of the observed and this could be detrimental both to teacher confidence and to a supportive teaching environment. As described by Bowen (1994), some teachers become worried about the prospect of an observer sitting in during their lesson. He also claims that if the observer is perceived as an institutional assessor or an unwanted distraction, the feeling of anxiety, frustration, or resentment will increase. On the contrary, teacher self-assessment provides an opportunity to examine one’s own teaching and helps teachers review their image of themselves as foreign language teachers. Significantly, it develops teacher autonomy and encourages them to seek new challenges in the teaching profession. The researcher strongly believes that the teacher who assesses his/her own teaching and takes an active role in his/her learning leading to
  • 57. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 53 professional development. As a result, self-assessment is perceived as the ability to judge one’s own work and critically observe one’s actions. Furthermore, self-assessment strategies become the new trends towards making teachers autonomous and more responsible for their own professional development. Based on earlier mentioned, self-assessment provides many useful aspects for language teachers, but they should be aware of the fact that self-assessment has its limitations. Nirav (2014) emphasizes that when self-assessing themselves, teachers may overstate the quality of their own performance. According to Papa (2014), self-assessment was limited because it was very nature subjective. After completing the assessment, teachers may have limited motivation for change. A result from self-assessment will not be useful if teachers explore their weakness and leave their challenge to change it. Instruments for English language teacher self-assessment Language teachers monitor their own teaching performance by using self-assessment instruments. The researcher would like to suggest the selection of self-assessment instruments that can be employed. Some are more useful for exploring specific aspects of teaching than others. It depends on teachers to decide which instrument is fruitful and for what purpose. The details of each instrument are explained as follows: a) Audio or video recording An audio recording is a useful instrument for considering aspects of teachers' talk while video recording can be useful in showing aspects of the teacher's behavior. An audio recorder is one of the simplest instruments because it is easy to use. Teachers can carry it with them and set it down in different places. Moreover, a video can be a powerful tool in enhancing teaching professional development. As explained by Savas (2012), teachers can watch and reflect on their own performances in teaching. The teaching videos provide teachers with a permanent record of their own teaching that they can watch and assess anytime. Furthermore, by watching their own teaching videos, teachers have more objective perspective on their own teaching practices. b) Self-reporting A self-report describes teaching philosophy, strategies, methods, and objectives. It typically includes beliefs about optimal teaching and learning, examples of how teachers put these beliefs into practice, and their goals’ about teaching and goals for students’ learning. Self-reporting allows teachers to make a regular assessment of what they are doing in the
  • 58. 54 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 classroom. They can check to see whether their assumptions about their own teaching are reflected in their actual teaching practices. For example, a teacher could use self-reporting to find out the kinds of teaching activities being regularly used, whether all of the programs’ goals are being addressed, the degree to which personal goals for a class are being met ,and the kinds of activities which seem to work well or not to work well (Qing,2009). c) Diary or journal writing A journal or diary is widely used for assessing teaching. Lee (2008) defined journal writing as a kind of reflective writing that requires prospective teachers to construct knowledge through questioning their own assumptions about teaching and learning. While keeping the journal, teachers usually record regular learning or teaching experiences, a reflection on what they did as well as the descriptions of events. The record may be used as a basis for later reflection. Lee (2004) also summarized to major advantages of keeping a journal or diary. First, keeping a diary activates teachers’ thinking and enables them to make connections between issues. Teachers explore their ideas, generate new ideas, and discover meaning during the learning process. Second, journal writing places the focus on the teachers themselves, since it is based on the premise that individuals bring their own beliefs and experiences to bear on the learning process. According to Debreli’s study (2011), data obtained through the diaries were worthy. Firstly, they provide various short little stories which could then be turned into a narrative. Secondly, they are subjective; that is, all the entries recorded include teachers’ feelings and emotions. d) Checklist and questionnaire A checklist or questionnaire provides another way of documenting what happens during a lesson. Both instruments can be developed to cover the overall structure of a lesson or to focus on particular aspects of a lesson, depending on the teacher’s interests. For example, a checklist that covers the overall lesson might include the lesson opening and closing, the main activity of the lesson, the amount of time spent on teacher-led activities and group activities, and the amount of time spent on different skills. By contrast, a checklist that focuses on one aspect of the lesson such as pronunciation might include items related to the amount of time spent on pronunciation work, the kind of pronunciation activities in the lesson, and pronunciation difficulties that are identified. e) Classroom observation One of the most common ways of self-assessment on classroom teaching is to engage in classroom observations. Ma and Ren (2011) stated that observation is the most basic research technique that teachers can employ in classrooms. Teachers encounter many issues
  • 59. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 55 in classroom settings. Most of the rich data of classroom occurrences are gathered by the teacher himself/herself. Cogan (1973, p.134) defined classroom observation as an operation that individuals make careful and systematic scrutiny of the events occurring during classroom instruction. The records of classroom events can be carried out either alone, with the use of a recorder (audio/video), and/or having a peer or supervisor observe classes. Farrell (2008) suggested that classroom observation within a reflective practice framework can give language teachers a means of collecting information about their teaching and classroom processes so that they can begin to examine classroom events in more detail. f) Teaching portfolio Richards and Farrell (2005) defined a teaching portfolio as a collection of documents and other items that provides information about different aspects of a teacher’s work. It describes and documents the teacher’s performance. Teaching portfolio facilitates professional development and provides a basis for reflection and review. In addition, during the process of compiling the portfolio, teachers are engaged in a comprehensive self- assessment of different aspects of their works. By reviewing the portfolio, teachers can make decisions about goals and areas for future development or improvement. Lastly, a portfolio can promote collaboration with other teachers. It can become part of the process of peer coaching or peer reviews. Alternatives strategies to sustain professional development after self-assessment Being effective language teachers, they demand self-assessment in order to learn about their teaching and explore strengths and weaknesses which could be later continued and improved for better teaching. For successful results of self-assessment, it is necessary to provide some professional help and guidance concerning its implementation after self- assessment. Sometimes, they need more opportunities to interact with other teachers. Teacher collaboration thus creates learning environments and develops a closer professional and personal relationship. In this part, the researcher would like to propose alternative strategies that teachers could pursue after self-assessment as follows: a) Team teaching Team teaching is a process in which two or more teachers share the responsibility for planning the class or course, for teaching it and for any follow-up work associated with the class such as evaluation and assessment (Richards & Farrell, 2005). According to Brown (2001), EFL teachers can choose among the following models of team teaching: (1) two
  • 60. 56 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 teachers are overtly present throughout a class period, but divide responsibility between them; (2) two teachers take different halves of a class period, with one teacher stepping aside while the other performs; and (3) two or more teachers teach different consecutive periods of one group of learners, and must collaborate closely in carrying out and modifying curriculum plans. An important benefit of team teaching is promoting collegiality among teachers in an institution. When two teachers teach a class, they can learn from each other’s strengths when planning and teaching lessons. Each teacher will have different ideas on how to deal with any difficulties in the lesson, as well as a different body of experience to draw on. Their combined degrees of knowledge and expertise are bound to lead to a stronger lesson plan. This gives each team member a new perspective on teaching and learning. b) Teacher support group Professional development is not only the internal exploration process to individuals but it also includes interaction with others. Numerous researchers mentioned that teacher collaboration generates some decision making based on their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and awareness. As defined by Farrell (2008), teacher collaboration or a teacher development group is a group of teachers who work together to achieve outcomes that may not be possible for an individual working alone. Farrell cited three types of teacher development groups. They are peer groups within a school, teacher groups that operate outside the school within a school district, and virtual groups that can be informed anywhere on the Internet. During the collaboration, teachers share ideas, express beliefs, provide solutions to specific problems, and also reflect on the awareness of their practices. Finally, they find out new strategies to deal with their problems and initiate changes in relation to their teaching behaviors (Mede, 2010; Tugui, 2011). c) Action research Action research is a model of professional development that promotes collaborative inquiry, reflection, and dialogue. When taking an active part in action research, teachers systematically observe and constantly reflect on their own teaching. They raise questions on their own teaching and take actions to solve it. An action research is developed in a continuous spiral. It is reasonable to say action research promotes teaching and therefore is widely used as a way to promote teacher autonomy (Lin, 2012). Professional knowledge through action research was seen in the case study as insights and understandings that
  • 61. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 57 teachers develop themselves. These insights can be distinguished from the general knowledge (developed by others) that teachers also use in practicing their profession. Action research is conceived as a strategy that teachers can use to make their work more professional (Ponte et al, 2004). Within the action research process, teachers may choose to focus their study on one student, a small group of students, a class or several classes, or a whole school. The focus and level of participation among school and district colleagues depends on the level of support, needs, and interests of the teacher(s) and school. Calhoun (2002) described three approaches of action research: (1) individual teacher research, (2) collaborative action research, and (3) school-wide action research. Even though the environments are different, the process of action research remains the same. This process uses data to identify classroom/school problems, creates and implements a plan of action, collects, analyzes data, and uses the results to improve student learning continuously. The detail of action research approaches is described as follows: 1. Individual teacher research focuses on studying a problem or issue within a single classroom. The teacher who engages in individual teacher research may or may not have support from colleagues and administration to share, brainstorm, and discuss the topic of action research. Although just one teacher may become directly involved in action research, support from knowledgeable educators at the school or district site is still important for successful teacher research. Also, universities, educational agencies, and districts may encourage teacher action research by providing ongoing professional development related to the needs of the individual teacher researcher. 2. Collaborative action research focuses on studying a problem or issue within one or more classrooms. Teachers may collaborate and work together to study a particular problem in many different ways. This collaborative action research fosters a joint effort because more than one teacher is involved in a specific area of study. Opportunities for sharing and dialogues are more likely to occur. 3. School-wide action research is a school reform initiative. Every faculty member of the school is involved in studying a specific issue identified from school data. This approach requires a great deal of support from the administrators and lead teachers/personnel, but the results can lead to school-wide change. Successful school-wide action research is directly related to initiatives contained within the school improvement plan.
  • 62. 58 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 d) Teaching blogs Modern teachers need modeling of professional development using emerging technologies. Blogs allow teachers to reflect and communicate professionally and to respond to other teachers experiencing similar circumstances. Ma and Ren (2011) defined teaching blogs as written or recorded accounts of teaching experiences which will be about teachers’ routine and conscious actions in the classroom. These actions include conversations with students, critical incidents in a lesson, teachers’ beliefs about teaching, events outside the classroom that will influence teaching and teachers’ views about language teaching and learning. There are two purposes for teaching blogs. The first is for later reflection and triggering teachers’ insights about teaching by writing while the other can involve all their students, their colleagues ,and other educators in the blogs so as to offer more advice on teaching. Furthermore, most ELT blogs in particular present a variety of authentic resources, multimedia materials, computer-based activities, ideas, tips on teaching, and useful websites to enhance language instruction. Consequently, blogs can be used to equip teachers better with a theoretical framework and practical experience for integrating technology to both their present and future instructional experiences (Okan & Taraf, 2013). Methodology Participants The participants in this study were 25 EFL Thai teachers who were working in the secondary schools in the western part of Thailand in the academic year 2012. Their ages ranged from 23-59 years old with an average of 41. Fifteen of the teachers held a bachelor’s degree, nine of them had a master’s degree and one of them finished a Ph.D degree. The population of the study consisted of 23 females and 2 males. The years of teaching experience ranged from less than 1 year to more than 20 years. The majority of participants have worked more than 20 years (52%) while 1-5 years and 6-10 years shared the same rate which was 8%. A detailed demographic profile of the participants is shown in the figure 1- 4 as follows:
  • 63. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 59 Figure 1: Gender Figure 2: Age Figure 3: Years of teaching experience Figure 4: Educational background Research questions The study aims to find out answers to the following research questions: 1) Have teachers self-assessed their teaching? 2) What are teachers’ perceptions about self-assessment with respect to (1) purposes (2) instruments (3) difficulties, and (4) benefits? Instruments To answer both research questions, the researcher prepared a questionnaire as an instrument for this study. The questionnaire consisted of two parts. The questions were in the checklist form. The first part included personal information. The researcher learned more about the participants’ gender, ages, years of teaching experience and educational backgrounds. The second section asked teachers what purposes, types of self-assessment instrument were used, difficulties were faced, the derived benefits and how to improve their teaching after self-assessment. Also, at the end of the survey questionnaire, the researcher gave participants an opportunity to state their further information using an open-ended 8% 92% male female 16% 12% 36% 36% 23-30 31-40 41-50 over 50 4% 8% 8% 12% 16% 52% less than 1 yr 1-5 yrs 6-10 yrs 11-15 yrs 16-20 yrs 60% 36% 4% BA MA PhD
  • 64. 60 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 question. The questionnaire was written in Thai because teachers could answer quicker and more accurately. The researcher selected an accidental sampling for this research because it was readily available and convenient. The data for the study were gathered from English language teachers who were working in the western part of Thailand. They participated in a seminar on students’ preparation for entrance examination sponsored by Kasetsart University, Kampaengsaen Campus, Nakhon Pathom in the academic year 2012. The researcher distributed questionnaires during this seminar for these teachers to complete and hand in. A total of 25 questionnaires were returned. This was very low to draw on any statistical implications. As a result, the obtained data could not make generalizations about the total population from this sample because it would not be representative enough. While the results of this study could not be generalized to the larger language teacher population, the results of the survey could still be useful. For example, the results will actually provide information for teacher trainers. They can use the results to reconsider and design the appropriate framework to promote self-assessment for EFL Thai teachers. Data analysis Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. To find answers to each research question (see below), the frequency and percentage of responses were computed. To answer research question 1, the researcher found that 23 teachers (92%) have ever self-assessed their teaching and only 2 teachers (8%) have not. The latter group stated that they lacked the knowledge and skills to employ self-assessment. However, they were aware of the necessity of self-assessment. In the future, they would like to become more critical teachers and examine their teaching behaviors and experiences deeper through self- assessment. The instrument that they select would be a lesson report. Teachers who had experience of self-assessment needed to answer the next question. First of all, the researcher would like the participants to explain why they self-assessed themselves. The results have been illustrated in the following figure:
  • 65. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 61 Figure 5: Purposes of self-assessment This figure showed that the majority of participants (54.84 %) considered continuing professional development as mainly a purpose of self-assessment. 17 or 22.58 % of participants would like to improve the learning experience for students. Some of them would like to meet the requirements of school policy (16.13%). Only 2 teachers (6.45%) self- assessed their teaching in order to obtain a higher academic standing. Obviously, the findings showed that the majority of participants had positive attitudes towards self-assessment. They were aware of the necessity of self-assessment. Significantly, the majority of them assessed their teachings in order to continue professional development as the most important purpose. The results revealed that this may be due to the fact that teacher professional development has become increasingly important in many countries, including Thailand (Iemjinda, 2007). Teachers were affected by a rapidly changing world where knowledge, concepts, technology, philosophies, in fact, almost everything, were swiftly altering education which has also been exposed to some fundamental changes (Hismanoglu & Hismanoglu, 2010). In the same vein, Karabenick and Noda (2004) noted that teacher development was a critical factor in improving teaching practice, as well as in staying current with the latest knowledge in the field. Furthermore, Mizell (2010) pointed out that ongoing efforts at career development were needed for teachers to understand the best methods for reaching their students, while Richards and Farrell (2005) suggested that ongoing teacher development helped teachers to familiarize with the latest resources and methodologies and to avoid falling behind on the current standards for instruction. When it came to the instruments used for self-assessment, the following figure revealed the results: 54.84 22.58 16.13 6.45 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 To continue professional development To improve the learningexperience for students To meet the requirement of school policy To obtain a higher academic standing Other
  • 66. 62 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Figure 6: Self-assessment instruments As indicated in figure 6, the result revealed that EFL Thai teachers mainly used lesson reports as self-assessment instrument (67.86%). The most interesting findings showed that both audio and video recordings were employed at a very low rate (0%). Furthermore, diaries and other instruments shared the same rate, which was 7.14%. The participants stated that other instruments were checklists and students’ evaluation. As mentioned in the literature review section, Qing (2009) proposed that writing a lesson report has benefits for language teachers. A teacher could use self-reporting to find out the kinds of teaching activities being regularly used, whether all of the programs’ goals were being addressed, the degree to which personal goals for a class was being met, and the kinds of activities which seem to work well or not to work well. Moreover, the results also revealed that audio and video recordings were not selected by language teachers. The data obtained from this study was in accordance with Tice’s (2007). She believed that when recording the teaching session, teachers could become aware of the things happening in the class. The experience of using audio recording appeared to be intrusive and affected the behavior of both teachers and students. However, the results were different from Dymond and Benz (2006) and Clarke (2009) in that they believed that video recording could provide a permanent record of teachers’ own teaching that they could watch and reflect on anytime. Furthermore, by watching their own teaching videos, teachers had a more objective perspective on their own teaching practices. 67.86 17.86 7.14 7.14 0 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Lesson report Teaching portfolio Diary Other Audio recording Video recording
  • 67. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 63 Figure 7: Difficulties while doing self-assessment Another survey showed that among 4 difficulties while doing self-assessment, a heavy teaching load had the highest percentage (40.54%). Oppositely, lack of knowledge of self- assessment represented the lowest percentage of responses (10.81%). In addition, 35.14 % and 13.51% of participants revealed that they dealt with the problem of too many students in a class and a lack of training and support from experts respectively. To support this finding, Ho (2008-2009) mentioned that the exhausting workload of teachers would bring adverse impacts on the quality of education as teachers could not put their entire effort in teaching and building positive relationships with students. Atkins, Carter, and Nichol (2002) stated that for the teachers, workload was related to matters of planning, teaching, assessment, and managing learners. Surely, teachers’ workload affected their achievement. When it came to the result of benefits that teachers received from their self- assessment, figure 8 could describe clearly: 40.54 35.14 13.51 10.81 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Heavy teaching loads Too many students in a class Lack of trainingand support from experts Lack of knowledge of self-assessment Other
  • 68. 64 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Figure 8: Benefits that teachers gain from their self-assessment Figure 8 indicated that the maximum percentage of benefit that teachers gained from their self-assessment was developing as a teaching professional (33.33%).The remainder were knowing strengths and weaknesses (28.57%) and enhancing understanding of students (23.81%).There were only 6 teachers or 14.29 % who stated that they could generate better relationships between colleagues through self-assessment. In addition, all participants used the self-assessed information to develop their teaching. After gathering data of their teaching practices, they made changes to their teaching. Some participants improved and tried different instruction styles, content, and instructional materials. They also became more critical when correcting homework and providing appropriate feedback. One of the significant findings to increase students’ learning was offering remedial courses for weak students. Self evaluation is a process in which one makes judgments about the adequacy and effectiveness of performance for the purpose of self improvement. It is the most common form of evaluation used by teachers to improve practice (Airasian et al, 1995). The function of self evaluation is to help teachers identify and make decisions about the strengths and weaknesses of their practice, with the intent of improving it (Airasian et al, 1997). Conclusion This study was concerned with EFL Thai teachers’ perspectives on self-assessment. A questionnaire was used as a data collection device. The findings showed that the majority of EFL teachers had positive attitudes towards self-assessment. They were aware of the necessity of self-assessment. The researcher found that the majority of teachers assessed their teachings in order to continue professional development as the most important purpose. They 33.33 28.57 23.81 14.29 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Develop as a teaching professional Know strengths and weaknesses Enhance understandingof students Generate better relationshipsbetween colleagues Other
  • 69. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 65 also identified lesson reports as a self-assessment instrument with the percentage of 67.86%. The results also revealed that audio and video recordings were not selected by language teachers. Another survey outcome showed that heavy teaching loads caused a difficulty during carrying out self-assessment. The greatest benefit from self-assessment was developing as a teaching professional. In addition, all participants used the self-assessed information to improve their teaching by trying and developing different instruction styles, content, and instructional materials. They also became more careful when correcting homework and providing appropriate feedback. Offering remedial courses was considered to increase weak students’ learning. Limitation and Future Research The sample size was the significant limitation. The number of respondents was small, and the research focused on only English teachers in the western part of Thailand. Therefore, the results of this study cannot be generalized to all EFL Thai teachers. Based on the limitations of this study, future research should consider the following information. Firstly, future work should increase the number of respondents and should focus on more EFL Thai teachers which will help in generalizing the findings of the study. Secondly, as mentioned in the results section of this study, the researcher found that all participants never used audio and video recordings to self-assess their teaching. Therefore, further investigation should be done on the effects of integrating these specific instruments to self-assessment. Finally, this study was conducted in western parts of Thailand, so the results may not be the same in other areas. Therefore, further should be done in other geographical areas and also with more appropriate instruments and measurements. The Authors Jittima Choopun is a lecturer at the College of Industrial Technology and Management, Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. She completed her MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Silpakorn University in 2004. Her academic interests include teacher training and teacher professional development. She can be reached at Dr.Jirayu Tuppoom is a lecturer at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Science, Kasetsart University, Kampaengsaen Campus, Nakhonpathom, Thailand. He received a PhD in English Language Studies from Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhonratchasima in 2005. He
  • 70. 66 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 has a particular interest in language teacher training, teaching of writing to ESL students, and writing assessment. He can be reached at References Airasian, P. W., & Gullickson, A. R. (1997). Teacher self-evaluation tool kit. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Airasian, P. W., Gullickson, A. R., Hahn, L., & Farland, D. (1995). Teachers’ self assessment: The literature in perspective. Report submitted to the Office of Research, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC. Ali, S. (2007). Reflective teacher observation model for in-service teacher Trainees. English Teaching Forum, (1), 16-25. Atkins, J., Carter, D., & Nichol, M. (2002).The impact of class size on teacher workload. A Report by National Union of Teachers. Retrieved from Bowen, T. (1994). Inside teaching: options for English language teachers. Oxford: Heinemann. Brown, H.D. (2001). Teaching by Principles: an Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. Calhoun, E. (2002). Action Research for School Improvement. Educational Leadership, 59 (6), 18-24. Clarke, L. (2009). Video reflections in initial teacher education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(5), 959-961. Cogan , M. (1973). Clinical Supervision. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Cosh,J. (1999). Peer-observation: a reflective model. ELT Journal, 53/1 January, 22-27. Debreli, E. (2011) .Use of diaries to investigate and track pre-service teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning English as a foreign language throughout a pre-service training program. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, (15), 60-65. http://dx.doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.03.051 Dymond, S. K., & Bentz, J. L. (2006). Using digital videos to enhance teacher preparation. Teacher Education and Special Education, 29(2), 98-112. Farrell, T. (2008). Reflective practice in the professional development of teachers of adult English language learners. CAELA Network Brief, October, 54-62.
  • 71. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 67 Fatemipour, H.(2013). The efficiency of the tools used for reflective teaching in ESL contexts. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, (93), 1398-1403. http://dx.doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.051. Hismanoglu, M., & Hismanoglu,S.(2010).English language teachers’ perceptions of educational supervision in relation to their professional development: a case study of Northern Cyprus. Novitas-ROYAL Research on Youth and Language, 4 (1), 16-34. Ho, H.(2014). Issue 5: Reduction of Teachers’ Workload Improves Education Quality. Retrieved from Iemjinda, M. (2007). Curriculum innovation and English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher development. Educational Journal of Thailand, 1(1), 9-20. Karabenick, S., & Noda, P. (2004). Professional development implications of teachers’ beliefs and attitudes toward English language learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 28(1), 55-75. Lee, I. (2004). Using Dialogue Journals as a Multi-Purpose Tool for Pre-service Teacher Preparation: How Effective Is It? Teacher Education Quarterly, summer, 73-97. Lee, I. (2008).Fostering Pre-service Reflection through Response. Journals Teacher Education Quarterly, winter, 117-139. Lin, Z (2012).Collaborative action research: an effective way to promote EFL teacher development. Journal of Education and Practice, 3(14), 22-28. Ma, J., & Ren, S. (2011). Reflective teaching and professional development of young college English teachers-from the perspective of constructivism. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2 (2), 153-156. Mede, E. (2010). The effects of collaborative reflection on EFL teaching. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, (2), 3888-3891. http://dx.doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.610. Mizell, H. (2010). Why professional development matters. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward. Murray, A. (2010). Empowering teachers through professional development. English Teaching Forum, 48 (1), 2-11. Mushayikwa, E., & Lubben,F.(2009).Self-directed professional development-hope for teachers working in deprived environments? Teaching and Teacher Education, (25), 375-382.
  • 72. 68 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Nirav, S.(2014). What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Self- Evaluation? Retrieved from disadvantages-of-self-evaluation.html. Nunan, D. (1988). The learner-centered curriculum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Okan, Z., & Taraf, H. U. (2013).The use of blogs in second language teacher education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, (83), 282-289. http://dx.doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.06.055. Papa, N. (2014). Advantages & Disadvantages of Self Assessment. Retrieved from Ponte, P.,Ax, J., Beijaard, D., & Wubbels,T. (2004).Teachers’ development of professional knowledge through action research and facilitation of this by teacher educators. Teaching and Teacher Education, (20), 571-588. Qing, X. (2009). Reflective teaching --an effective path for ESL teacher’s professional development. Canadian Social Science, 5(2), 35-40. Richards, J. (1990). Beyond training: approaches to teacher education in language teaching. The Language Teacher, (14), 1-12. Richards, J, and Farrell, S. (2005). Professional Development for Language Teachers: Strategies for Teacher Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Savas, P. (2012). Micro-teaching videos in EFL teacher education methodology courses: tools to enhance English proficiency and teaching skills among trainees. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, (55), 730-738. http://dx.doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.558 Sellars, M.(2012). Teachers and change: The role of reflective practice. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, (55), 461-469. http://dx.doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.525 Tice, J. (2007). Reflective teaching: Exploring our own classroom practice. BBC/ British Council Teaching English. Retrieved from http:// think/ methodology/ reflection/ html. Tugui,C. (2011).Systematic reflective enquiry methods in teacher education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, (29), 533-538. http://dx.doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.272
  • 73. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 69 Tuppoom, A. (1991). Teacher Self-Development through Analysis of Objective Classroom Data. (Unpublished master’s thesis) King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Thonburi,Thailand. Wichadee, S. (2011).Professional development: A path to success for EFL teachers. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 4(5), 13-21. Yurtsever, G. (2013). English language instructors’ beliefs on professional development models and preferences to improve their teaching skills. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 70, 666-674. http://dx.doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.01.107.
  • 74. The Engineering Phrases List: Towards Teachable ESP Phrases Dougal Graham King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi Abstract This article presents the rationale and development of the Engineering Phrases List (EPL). The EPL is a 40-word list of teachable phrases for Engineering students based on a mixed-method empirical and intuitive corpus approach. First, frequent, engineering-specific, widely used phrases were identified in a corpus of engineering English. These phrases were then analyzed for markedness and ranked to determine which would be most useful from a teaching perspective and in terms of productive and receptive usefulness for learners. This research both creates a useful tool for teachers of engineering English as well as presents a methodology which should be useful for those developing similar lists in other ESP/EAP contexts. Furthermore, the implications of identifying and teaching phrases by focusing on markedness are discussed throughout the paper. Keywords: ESP, EAP, corpus linguistics, markedness, teachability, formulaic language Introduction The fields of English for Specific Purposes (ESP), English for Academic Purposes (EAP), and their related subfields (see, eg. Jordan, 1997) have clearly established the need for English to be taught for specific purposes based on learner context and need. For example, work by Evans and Green (2007), and Nurweni and Read (1999) among others has shown that students entering universities in English as a foreign language environments such as Singapore, or Thailand often have difficulty comprehending their textbook materials both for general purpose studies and for specific study areas. This is most likely because learners in
  • 75. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 71 academic contexts are lacking in academic literacy and lacking in knowledge of academic discourse appropriate to their field of study (Hyland & Hamp-Lyons, 2002). Similarly, those learning English for work purposes require a specialized set of linguistic knowledge to allow them to properly conduct their business. Because of differences in usage between general purpose English which is usually taught in elementary through secondary schools (English for General Purposes, EGP) and the more specific context that the learners at post-secondary levels are usually targeting (a specific ESP or EAP context) learners have difficulty applying the general purpose linguistic knowledge that they have studied so far to their new linguistic environment. Therefore, there is a great need to teach specialized linguistic knowledge to students coming from a general English background and a wide variety of resources and materials have been created. Bowker and Pearson (2002), list vocabulary, collocations, syntax, discursive function, and text and discourse structure as some of the traditional levels of language employed by these materials to teach learners English for specific or academic purposes. The first level at which language can be seen to be highly specialized in both academic and professional fields is in the use of specialized vocabulary. Many materials have been generated in ESP and EAP to attempt to address learners’ vocabulary needs, such as the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 1998), and other more specialized word lists (see eg. Mudraya, 2006; Ward, 2009). Similarly, there can be variation at the syntactic level, the most often cited example being that academic language contains a high degree of passivization and nominalization compared with general English usage (Bowker & Pearson, 2002). Other levels at which language has been analyzed for difference between EGP and a specific context are collocations (eg. Fuentes, 2001), discursive functions (eg. Conrad & Biber, 2004), and the structure of texts and discourse (eg. Swales, 1990). Recently, another level of language has emerged for study in corpus linguistics. Formulaic language, which takes a wide variety of forms such as multi-word units, phrasal expressions, lexical bundles, phrases, gapped phrases, or concgrams (among others) has provided insights into a new level of variation between genres and registers. These highly frequent formulaic expressions have been shown to be useful to both learners and native speakers in terms of fluency, comprehension, retention, and processing speed (Millar, 2011; Tremblay, Derwing, Libben, & Westbury, 2011), as well as production, and as a means of
  • 76. 72 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 showing in-group knowledge and membership (Nattinger & DeCarrico, 2009; Schmitt, 2010). Therefore, there has recently been much research into the development of language materials focused on formulaic language such as the Phrasal Expressions List (Martinez & Schmitt, 2012), academic lexical bundles (Conrad & Biber, 2004), and the Academic Formulas List (Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010). These phrase lists while useful to learners and teachers, contain many phrases such as “the university of Michigan” (Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010, p. 494), or “I don’t want to” (Biber & Barbieri, 2007, p. 271) which are most likely not of interest to the majority of teachers. In the case of these two examples, it is not a problem, as a teacher or learner can easily ignore items which they believe are either not useful in their context such as “the university of Michigan” or are already well understood by the learner such as “I don’t want to”. However, there may well be other issues. The sheer number of phrases in the lists may be overwhelming for some teachers or learners, or they may be unsure of whether a phrase is indeed useful or not. For that reason, one of the topics of interest in this article will be the question of how to determine not only which phrases represent difference between EGP and ESP, but which of those are interesting from a teacher’s perspective. While these lists of phrases are all statistically significant, and the formulaic language is presented, generally, alongside their discourse functions there has been little research done into which phrases will be most useful for teachers in ESP. This article will describe and explain the theory behind the development of the Engineering Phrases List (EPL), a short (40 phrase) list of teachable, interesting phrases that represent language specific to engineering English that is useful for both English teachers as well as those teaching engineering. While this article will focus on data from an engineering corpus, it is hoped that the concepts and approach taken will be useful and pertinent to those working in ESP and EAP fields in general. The article begins with a discussion of the corpus, statistical methods for determining important phrases, followed by a discussion of the methods used to select useful phrases for teaching. The article will finally propose that a more teaching-oriented approach to research into formulaic language for the purposes of ESP/EAP based on the concept of linguistic markedness, and that formulaic language by its nature carries with it elements of each of the traditional levels of language described above and can provide insight into those aspects of language used within the ESP context to both the teacher and learner.
  • 77. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 73 Corpora Used The specific language context to be discussed in this article is that of engineering English. In order to study the language that students at an engineering university in Thailand will be using, the Engineering English Corpus (EEC) was developed using the 29 English language engineering and math textbooks the students use in their first year of study. The corpus includes approximately 45,000 word samples from each textbook with an effort made to include all styles of language: explanation, practice exercises, and questions from several chapters in each book resulting in a corpus that is approximately 1.15 million words in size. These books were scanned and optical character recognition software was used to convert them into plain text documents and make up the target corpus for the purposes of this study. For full details of the corpus’ composition, please see appendices B and C. Given that the aim of this research is to determine difference between English used in a specific context with that used in general English, a comparison corpus is necessary for the purpose of comparing usage. The general English corpus used in this research is a representative sub-set of the British National Corpus (BNC). The BNC is a useful reference point as it contains a wide variety of language from many sources both spoken and written across a range of genres and registers. Slightly more than 38 million words from the BNC were used covering the range of registers, genres, found in the BNC and both written and spoken modes. It may be useful to note here that the textbooks used in the EEC are by and large written in American English, and therefore the phrase lists had to be normalized for some spelling differences (eg: color vs. colour) before comparing phrases between the corpora. Identifying Common Phrases In order to determine the interesting formulaic language in the target corpus, first a frequency list of all N-Grams of 3, 4, or 5 words long was created. An N-Gram in the context of formulaic language can be considered to be any immediately consecutive sequence of 2 or more words, however, in this article “phrase” and “N-Gram” will be used interchangeably. The common N-Grams used to create the EPL were first identified on the basis of four main criteria: frequency, occurrence in multiple texts, corpus-specificity, and by co-occurrence. By this it is meant that the N-Grams should occur frequently in multiple textbooks of the target corpus, be used overall more frequently in the target corpus than in general English as
  • 78. 74 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 represented by the BNC, and that the words that make up the phrases should more often occur together than with other words. The first criterion for identifying these N-Grams was to set a raw frequency cutoff, in line with previous work (eg. Biber & Barbieri, 2007; Conrad & Biber, 2004; Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010). In formulaic language research it is common to set a hard cutoff point for words with a given frequency of occurrence per million words where phrases that fall below the cutoff will be ignored for further analysis. Biber generally applies a cutoff of 40 occurrences per million words mark for 3 or 4-grams. The goal of this criterion is to ensure that items which only occur rarely will not be included in the final data. On the other hand, Ellis et al. while compiling the AWL employed a cutoff frequency of 10 occurrences per million words. When the initial frequency lists were analyzed, it was determined that setting a cutoff of 40 per million would be too restrictive in that only a small number of highly technical phrases would be produced. The technical phrases are generally uninteresting from an English teacher’s perspective as they contain straightforward grammar, collocations, and so forth. For example, in the phrase “the magnitude of the” the only novel content for the learner might be the use of the technical term “magnitude” which a learner from an EGP background would not be familiar with. However, these technical terms are taught as part of the standard material for the engineering courses, and are therefore less interesting from an English teacher’s perspective as the only problematic point for the learner, the technical term, will already be taught. For this reason lower cutoffs were selected for the purposes of the EPL. Because general frequency per million words declines as N-Grams increase in length, the frequency cutoff was scaled by length of phrase to 15, 10, and 5 occurrences per million words for N-Grams of 3, 4, and 5 words in length. The second criterion for inclusion in the EPL was that the phrases should occur in multiple disciplines. As there is variation between the language used in different engineering disciplines and the goal is to produce results that apply to the entire field rather than any specific sub-discipline, it is necessary to ensure that the phrases produced for this work are ones which will be useful to a variety of engineers, not only one particular subgroup of engineers who happen to use a phrase very frequently. The criterion was set such that a phrase must occur in at least 10% of all texts in the corpus as well as one of the key sub- corpora (calculus, chemistry, math, and physics). Each of these sub-corpora represent
  • 79. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 75 materials which students from all engineering disciplines must study, and were therefore considered to be “key”. After applying both of these criteria, an initial list of about 3,000 phrases was created. Identifying Significant Phrases A variety of statistical methods are available to determine which phrases represent the statistically significant phrases for a corpus of data. These statistics include Log Likelihood (LL), Mutual Information (MI) (Rayson & Garside, 2000; Schmitt, 2010), and a composite statistic known as the “beta score” (N. C. Ellis, Simpson-Vlach, & Maynard, 2008). Each statistic has a different function and appropriate applications, and each will be briefly discussed in the context of its use in developing the EPL. Log Likelihood The Log Likelihood statistic (Rayson & Garside, 2000) is used to measure how “surprising” an item from one corpus is. The statistic is a hypothesis test to check the difference between expected frequency and actual frequency. The phrases with the highest LL scores, then, are those which show the most significant difference in frequency between the two corpora, and therefore, should be most representative of language that is used in the engineering context. This statistic was used to select phrases occurring with a significance level of p < 0.0001 for three and four-word phrases, and p < 0.001 for phrases five words in length. Because long phrases occur less frequently in both the target and comparison corpora, the threshold of significance of the results is somewhat reduced. Mutual Information The final criterion for the creation of the initial list of N-Grams used to create the EPL was the calculation of mutual information (MI). The MI statistic is used to determine how much a combination of words predicts each other. That is to say that a pair of words with a high MI score occur together very frequently, but rarely occur with other words. In a sense, it can be viewed as how much one word will then predict the words that are to follow. While the LL score is used to determine difference between general English and engineering English, the MI score is used to determine which phrases consist of words that occur together more frequently than would be expected by chance. Using the Collocate tool, the MI scores for each N-Gram were calculated and a cut-off of 3.3 was selected. After applying this
  • 80. 76 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 statistic as well as LL, there remained 1,289 three-word phrases, 389 four-word phrases and 50 five-word phrases. These phrases were then used as the basis for the formation of the EPL. The Identification of Teachable Phrases While there has been much research into statistical significance of formulaic language (Dunning, 1993; N. C. Ellis et al., 2008; Schmitt, 2010), there has been has been less research into how best to locate the teachable language from a set of statistically significant phrases. One approach to the identification of teachable phrases is the beta score (N. C. Ellis et al., 2008). The beta score is calculated as a composite value determined by both the frequency of a phrase and the phrase’s MI score. The Beta Score is based on Ellis et al’s investigation of the correlation of both frequency and MI to teacher’s ratings of phrases for teachability. It was found that frequency had a greater effect on the ratings, but that MI was also significant and a composite score was developed to attempt to represent these judgments empirically. This beta score was used as the final ranking for the approximately 2,000 phrases that remained after the application of the criteria described above. However, while this score is an interesting and useful first step toward filling the void of metrics of teachability, I believe that it may be useful to look at non-statistical, more intuitive measures by which to identify useful phrases. Markedness as Criteria for Teachability While a phrase may be highly significant from a statistical perspective, it may not be interesting from a teaching perspective. For example, the phrase “what is the” (see Table 1) is the highest ranking three-word phrase by beta score from the initial 2,000 phrases. This is a phrase which is exceptionally frequent, it is more frequent in the engineering textbook language than in general English (high LL vs. the BNC), and the words in the phrase strongly predict each other’s presence (high MI score). However, this is an uninteresting phrase from a teacher’s perspective, as it is still frequent enough in general English that learners from an EGP background should be familiar with it, and there is nothing special about its usage in the engineering English context. Other similar phrases shown in the table below are “how long will it take”, or “can be used”.
  • 81. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 77 Table 1: Top ten phrases by beta score Rank 3-Gram 4-Gram 5-Gram 1 what is the can be used to at a rate of # 2 the number of as a function of you should be able to 3 as shown in the magnitude of the beyond the scope of this 4 # and # as shown in figure how long will it take 5 can be used with respect to the the first law of thermodynamics 6 shown in figure in this chapter we in such a way that 7 the value of the value of the the rate of change of 8 in terms of the sum of the the external forces acting on 9 be used to newton 's second law recall from chapter # that 10 # to # in terms of the in this section we will Other phrases shown in Table 1, that may initially appear interesting, are at a second glance, possibly less interesting to teach. For example, the phrase “the first law of thermodynamics” or “the magnitude of the”, are both phrases which could reasonably be expected to be new to first-year engineering students. However, both of these phrases focus on technical terms. In the first case, the entire phrase is a technical term, and in the second case the phrase revolves around the term “magnitude” with standard collocations and syntactic patterns. As stated earlier in this work, technical vocabulary is generally well taught by specialist teachers within the engineering discipline and are already known to be part of the necessary knowledge for students and therefore these phrases are not considered interesting from the perspective of an ESP/EAP English teacher. In order to determine which phrases are interesting from a teaching perspective, it is proposed to apply markedness criteria in order to differentiate between more teachable and less teachable phrases. Markedness refers to how “standard” a particular linguistic feature is to the grammar of the language. The more different from standard English or language- specific a linguistic feature is, the more highly marked it is said to be (see eg. R. Ellis, 1985). A form which is highly marked should be special in some way it may be a form which is which is less frequent, or more “structurally or conceptually complex” in some way (Saville- Troike, 2005). Saville-Troike explains that marked forms of language are generally acquired later than unmarked forms. As any type of English for a specific purpose can be considered to
  • 82. 78 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 be a specialized subset of English, it will by necessity contain certain marked forms which occur much more frequently than in general English and help to serve to distinguish it from general English. These marked forms should therefore be indicative of the difference between any specific English, and general English. Furthermore, as these marked forms are more difficult to learn, they are forms that learners are unlikely to be familiar with even though they may already be used in general English. Here I propose six categories of markedness for the determination of the phrases to include in EPL which will be listed briefly here and described in detail below. For each criteria that is satisfied a phrase can be considered to be more marked. These criteria were then applied to the 300 highest ranked three and four word phrases, and all five-word phrases to create the final 40-word EPL. The criteria are: (1) marked part of speech: any of the words in the phrase do not have their usual part of speech; (2) marked word form: any word in the phrase does not occur in the most common form of that word; (3) non-prototypical word meaning: any word in the phrase does not occur with its most prototypical meaning; (4) marked collocations: the phrase contains any collocations or co-occurrence patterns that differ from general English patterns; (5) non-literal phrase meaning; (6) specialized syntax: the phrase contains or is connected with complex or unclear syntax. Finally, an additional criterion un-related to markedness was put in place to remove phrases which were only marked due to their inclusion of a technical term. Such phrases were deemed less useful to teachers as technical terms are already taught by specialist teachers. However, it is possible that a phrase containing a technical term might be interesting due to its syntax, or some other aspect. Therefore, phrases containing a word with only a specialized technical use were not considered unless the phrase was marked in at least two of the categories mentioned above. A word such as “axis”, for example, is highly technical and unlikely to occur in general English. However, a word such as “function” has both a regular usage, and a special technical usage in mathematics and would be considered acceptable in a marked phrase. All data discussed in this section is from the EEC, unless otherwise specified,
  • 83. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 79 and the full list of phrases from the EPL annotated for markedness can be found in Appendix A organized by level of markedness. Marked part of speech The first criterion of markedness was if any word in the phrase occurred with a less common part of speech, that it should be considered as marked on that score. Many words may occur with different parts of speech in different contexts and meanings. Let us begin with an example phrase from the EPL: Ex 1. for a given It is clear that the part of speech of the word “given” in this sentence will be adjective because it follows the determiner “a”. In general English “given” can be used as a verb (past participle) (see Ex 2), an adjective (Ex 3), or a noun (Ex 4). Ex 2. The man was given a car. Ex 3. Using the given information, determine the speed of the arrow. Ex 4. It was a given. In general English, the use of “given” as a verb is by far the most common. In the BNC 91% of uses of the word “given” are coded as “verb”, 7% as adjective, and 2% as a noun. We can see that while there is substantial use of “given” as an adjective, it is overwhelmingly used as a verb in general English. However, in the EEC, the usage of “given” is significantly different. In this corpus the usage of given is split almost evenly (approximately 50%/50%) between verb and adjective, a significant difference from usage in general English. This difference in usage is clearly reflected in the top phrases in the EPL. The top ten most common three-word phrases containing the word “given” in the EEC are clearly split between passive and adjectival usage, whereas in the BNC an adjectival usage is not encountered until the 28th phrase, with the previous all being past participles as shown in Table 2.
  • 84. 80 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Table 2: Top six phrases by frequency per million words in the EPL and top 5 and 28th phrases from the BNC BNC EEC Rank Freq Phrase Rank Freq Phrase 1 14.07 given to the 1 85.22 is given by 2 11.51 to be given 2 63.70 for a given 3 9.85 be given to 3 37.01 given by the 4 7.55 should be given 4 22.38 in a given 5 7.27 given by the 5 20.66 is given in 28 2.51 in a given 6 18.94 at a given A second example is the phrase shown in Ex 5. In this phrase from the EPL, the part of speech of the word “note” is clearly different from the most common usage in general English. Normally, “note” will be used as a noun, rather than as a verb. This principle of markedness not only allows us to locate a phrase which contains usage that is different from that in general English, but also then gives us insight into a general usage pattern that is different within the context of engineering English. Ex 5. note that the Similarly to the case of “given”, above, “note” appears almost exclusively as a verb in the EEC, compared with almost equal noun and verb distributions in the BNC. Again, we see that phrases by their nature make clear not only which words are most frequently used, but in what way they are used. Marked Word Form Words can occur in a variety of forms. To continue with the example of “given”, this word is the past participle form of the canonical form “give”. Similarly, many words used in engineering English use the non-canonical form much more frequently than the canonical form of the word. This can often be seen to link to passive voice usage, which as in general academic English, is very common in engineering English as well. Ex 6. acting on the Ex 7. passes through the
  • 85. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 81 In Ex 6, “acting” is a less common form of the word “act”. While “acting” is not a particularly strange word in and of itself, in general English is much more common for it to appear in the bare form “act”. In fact, “act” is approximately ten times more common than “acting” in the BNC. The same is true of “pass” and “passes”, where “passes” is significantly less common in general English usage than the base form “pass”. Again, as was the case when discussing part of speech, the usage of the words in the phrases is representative of the differences between engineering English and general English. In both of these cases, the form used in the phrase is the less common form in general English, but the more common form in engineering English, once again, highlighting a difference in usage between the two types of language. Non-prototypical Word Meaning Many words in English have multiple possible meanings. This is most obvious in the case where a word has both a specialized technical meaning, and a non-specialized general meaning that is significantly different from the technical meaning. In Ex 8, the word “function” refers to a mathematical function, rather than “what or how something does what it does”. This is a highly specialized technical meaning which is rare to non-existent in general English, but in very common use when discussing math, and physics. Ex 8. (as) a function of However, there may also be words with several meanings that are equally valid in general English, but one is more common, but that in the context of a specialized field, a different meaning (which is still valid in general English) becomes more common, see Ex 9 and Ex 10. Ex 9. under the action of Ex 10. about an axis Both Ex’s 9 and 10, show a usage of prepositions different from the most common one in general English. In each case, the meaning is not the one typically associated with the word. “under” does not refer to location, but rather refers to an object which is subjected to some action or event (“Merriam-Webster Online,” n.d.). This is not a specialized technical meaning as it can be used in common phrases such as “be under pressure”, or “be under fire” (“Merriam-Webster Online,” n.d.), but this usage is quite rare, and therefore is here considered marked. Similarly, “about” does not have anything to do with something
  • 86. 82 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 concerning an axis, but rather denotes location rotating around the axis. While this use of “about” is not the most common usage in the EEC (the standard usage to convey information concerning something is most common), it is used with this uncommon meaning much more frequently than in general English usage. Finally, one difficult case that was selected for the EPL is the phrase in Ex 11, “due to the”. This phrase while unmarked, may be considered marked in English of most EFL students arriving at university as they may only be familiar with the use of “due” in the meaning of “time at which work is to be handed in” as this is most likely the most common usage in their learning environment. Ex 11. due to the Marked collocation/co-occurrence patterns The fourth markedness criterion included for the determination of what will occur in the EPL was whether the words occurred in collocational patterns which are different from those in general English, that is, do the words in the phrase normally appear together in general English? While this criterion is less frequently useful than those of word-meaning and word-form, it is still a useful criterion to take into account. If words are used together in different ways, it will certainly be of interest to learners. Ex 12. normal to the In Ex 12, the word “normal” is used with the preposition “to”. In general English, the word “normal” does not have any special prepositional collocates, and the preposition that collocates with it most highly is “under”. However, in this more specialized technical usage of the word, it collocates very highly with the preposition “to”, on the right-hand side. In general English use, when “normal” and “to” are used together, “to” will appear on the left- hand side, as in Ex 13 from the BNC: Ex 13. It's as close to normal as it can be. Again, this phrase shows some insight into the language used in the EEC that would not be readily apparent merely by examining a word list. It becomes clear that the usage of the word “normal” is abnormal relative to general English, and interesting for both its collocational pattern and meaning.
  • 87. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 83 Non-literal Phrase Meaning Occasionally, a phrase will be used that demonstrates a non-literal meaning. Such phrases are similar to cases in which a word is used with a marked meaning and the two often come together. These phrases are interesting for learners because the actual meaning may not be immediately clear. Often phrases in these categories are employing rhetorical devices for the sake of arguing about theoretical ideal cases. Ex 14. A function f is said to be continuous at x=c provided... Ex 15. We see that for leftist heaps, another strategy is needed. In Ex 14 and Ex 15, the phrase does not actually mean what it could be literally construed to mean. In Ex 14 no one is in fact saying that a function named ‘f’ is continuous, but the reader is being informed that this is the definition for what constitutes a continuous function. Similarly in Ex 15 there is nothing to be literally seen, but rather information that must be understood. Specialized syntax Certain phrases either contain specialized syntax, or exclusively appear in sentences containing specialized syntax. For the general purposes of language learners, the declarative indicative sentence is the standard basic syntax that can be expected to be used, and other more complex structures will be more highly marked. Often, phrases occur in a specific set of grammatical conditions. In Ex 16 and Ex 17 the usage of the subjunctive mood can be observed. The subjunctive mood is often realized when discussing hypothetical situations which students will need to consider for the purpose of understanding theory or solving problems posed in their text. However, it is an aspect of English which many students find difficult to master as it is rarely visible in general English. Ex 16 also contains the use of the imperative verb “let”, another form of marked syntax wherein the subject is dropped. Ex. 17 may further be confusing for learners of English as it may pose a garden path type problem. Learners may expect a phrase of the form of a noun followed by copula be followed by adjective or noun phrase, but instead be met with an infinitive verb. Ex 16. Let x be the length of a straightaway. Ex 17. A garden is to be laid out. Another less marked type of syntactic structure common to academic English is the extensive use of the passive voice. This can also be see frequently in the phrases in the EPL.
  • 88. 84 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 In Ex 18 and Ex 19 it is clear from the use of the past participle form of the verb followed and the following preposition that these phrases most likely occur in the passive voice. And if an investigation of concordance lines is performed, then that hypothesis is born out. Ex 18. based on the Ex 19. applied to the Finally, a syntactic structure could be marked in terms of its position within a clause or sentence. For example, a number of phrases such as “in this case” (Ex 20) are almost always sentence-initial and are used to introduce a new clause. Ex 20. In this case s increases as t increases. Results and Implications for teaching Using markedness criteria to identify teachable phrases is an approach with several benefits. First, because marked phrases are more difficult for learners, we can be sure that these phrases will be at least somewhat useful to teach. Secondly, markedness has potential implications for the teaching of phrases for the purposes of either comprehension or production by learners. Thirdly using the markedness approach allows both teachers and learners to induce patterns of usage that occur in the specific linguistic context being taught. Generally speaking, learners acquire receptive capabilities earlier than productive ones. That is to say that comprehension of language precedes the ability to reproduce that language effectively. The markedness of phrases has implications then for how a learner will best be able to put to use the phrases in the EPL. It is proposed that a more highly marked phrase can be viewed as something which a learner might have more difficulty learning to use, but that the learner can learn to understand for the purposes of comprehending their materials. However, it should be easier to acquire productive capabilities for a phrase which is less marked, and therefore these can be taught as phrases which a student can learn to use in their own language early on. Table 3, below shows a comparison of some highly marked and some less marked phrases. Each phrase is given a markedness score based on how many of the markedness criteria are met. A phrase such as “for a given” or “acting on the” may be more complex or difficult for a student to learn to write correctly as it is more highly marked and may be more suitable for learning for receptive purposes initially. Conversely, a phrase such as “we
  • 89. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 85 assume that the” or “we see that” should be fairly straightforward for a learner to learn use it for productive purposes early once their awareness has been raised. Table 3: Comparison of markedness in phrases (See full list in Appendix A) Highly Marked Phrases Slightly Marked Phrases Phrase Markedness Phrase Markedness can be viewed as 5 we assume that the 1 for a given 4 in this case 1 acting on the 4 we see that 1 is known as 4 relative to the 1 Markedness and phrases also have implications for the general teaching of language for a specific purpose. The phrases and markedness categories each focus of parts of language that are traditionally taught separately by teachers: vocabulary, parts of speech, collocations, syntax, and discourse function. The phrases bring parts of each of these traditional levels of language along with them, and provide insights into general patterns of use in the specific linguistic context. As described above, the phrases can be taught in terms of vocabulary (word meaning in context, parts of speech, word forms), collocations, or grammatical patterns such as use of passive voice constructions or subjunctive mood. As shown by Biber (2007), phrases can also be used to show functional discursive patterns that occur in a specific type of English and that could be used as a criterion for future work. This research shows the beginnings of a useful approach to determining useful phrases for teachers of English in a specific context, but it will need further refinement and development to be truly useful. Further research might also be useful to see if the same types of inferences can be made equally well or better using other types of formulaic language such as gapped phrases, or concgrams. Finally, markedness is not binary, but exists on a scale within types of markedness. For example, one type of abnormal syntax may be considered more marked than another. This would affect judgments of markedness overall and a more detailed metric may need to be developed. Nevertheless, the current research shows that applying markedness criteria can be a useful way to judge teachability of phrases and lends insight into why the phrase is important to teach.
  • 90. 86 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 The Author Dougal Graham (, graduated with an MA in Linguistics from Memorial university and is now a lecturer at King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, Thailand in the Centre for Research and Services in the School of Language Arts. References Biber, D., & Barbieri, F. (2007). Lexical bundles in university spoken and written registers. English for Specific Purposes, 26(3), 263–286. doi:10.1016/j.esp.2006.08.003 Bowker, L., & Pearson, J. (2002). Working with specialized language: A practical guide to using corpora. London: Routledge. Conrad, S., & Biber, D. (2004). The Frequency and Use of Lexical Bundles in Conversation and Academic Prose. Lexicographica, 20, 56–71. Coxhead, A. (1998). An academic word list. School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, 18. Retrieved from WL%EE%80%81.pdf Dunning, T. (1993). Accurate methods for the statistics of surprise and coincidence. Computational Linguistics, 19(1), 61–74. Ellis, N. C., Simpson-Vlach, R., & Maynard, C. (2008). Formulaic Language in Native and Second-Language Speakers: Psycholinguistics, Corpus Linguistics and TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 42(3), 375–396. doi:10.1002/j.1545-7249.2008.tb00137.x Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding second language acquisition (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press Oxford. Retrieved from Evans, S., & Green, C. (2007). Why EAP is necessary: A survey of Hong Kong tertiary students. English for Academic Purposes, 6(1), 3–17. Fuentes, A. C. (2001). Lexical behaviour in academic and technical corpora: Implications for ESP development. Language Learning & Technology, 5(1), 106–121. Hyland, K., & Hamp-Lyons, L. (2002). EAP: issues and directions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 1(1), 1–12. Jordan, R. R. (1997). English for Academic Purposes: A Guide and Resource Book for Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 91. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 87 Martinez, R., & Schmitt, N. (2012). A Phrasal Expressions List. Applied Linguistics, 33(3), 299–320. Merriam-Webster Online. (n.d.). Dictionary. Retrieved January 12, 2014, from Millar, N. (2011). The Processing of Malformed Formulaic Language. Applied Linguistics, 32(2), 129–148. Mudraya, O. (2006). Engineering English: A lexical frequency instructional model. English for Specific Purposes, 25(2), 235–256. doi:10.1016/j.esp.2005.05.002 Nattinger, J., R., & DeCarrico, J., S. (2009). Lexical Phrases and Language Teaching. Oxford University Press. Nurweni, A., & Read, J. (1999). The English language knowledge of Indonesian university students. English for Specific Purposes, 18(2), 161–175. Rayson, P., & Garside, R. (2000). Comparing corpora using frequency profiling. In Proceedings of the workshop on Comparing Corpora (pp. 1–6). Association for Computational Linguistics. Retrieved from Saville-Troike, M. (2005). Introducing Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schmitt, N. (2010). Researching Vocabulary: A Vocabulary Research Manual. Palgrave MacMillan. Simpson-Vlach, R., & Ellis, N. C. (2010). An Academic Formulas List: New Methods in Phraseology Research. Applied Linguistics, 31(4), 487–512. doi:10.1093/applin/amp058 Swales, J. (1990). Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge University Press. Tremblay, A., Derwing, B., Libben, G., & Westbury, C. (2011). Processing Advantages of Lexical Bundles: Evidence from Self-paced Reading and Sentence Recall Tasks. Language Learning, 61(2), 569–613. Ward, J. (2009). A basic engineering English word list for less proficient foundation engineering undergraduates. English for Specific Purposes, 28(3), 170–182. doi:10.1016/j.esp.2009.04.001 West. (1953). A General Service List of English Words. London: Longman.
  • 92. 88 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Appendix A The Engineering Phrase List (EPL) with Markedness Categories (An empty space is “unmarked” and an “X” is “marked”) Phrase Marked POS Marked Word Form Non- Prototypical Meaning Marked collocations Non- Literal Meaning Specialized Syntax Markedness Score can be viewed as X X X X X 5 for a given X X X X X 4 acting on the X X X X 4 is known as X X X X 4 which/one/each of the following X X X X 4 under the action of X X X 3 let us consider (a) X X X 3 can be written X X X 3 about an axis X X 2 the degree of X X 2 note that the X X X 3 with respect to (the) X X 2 based on the X X 2 passes through the X X 2 the action of X X 2 let x be X X 2 we can write X X 2 for each of X X 2 in such a way (that) X X 2 suppose that you X X 2 such that the X X 2 normal to the X X 2 beyond the scope of this X X 2 (as) a function of X X 2 assume that the X X 2 applied to the X X 2 as shown in (figure) X X 2 is assumed to X X 2 is said to be (in) X X 2
  • 93. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 89 Phrase Marked POS Marked Word Form Non- Prototypical Meaning Marked collocations Non- Literal Meaning Specialized Syntax Markedness Score can be expressed as X X 2 it can be shown that X X 2 is to be X X 2 in terms of X X 2 relative to the X X 1 we say that X 1 due to the X 1 we see that X 1 we will assume that X 1 we assume that the X 1 in this case X 1 Appendix B Disciplines included in the CEEM Corpus Disciplines Included in EEC Civil Engineering Mechatronics Mechanical Engineering Computer Engineering Chemical Engineering Environmental Engineering Electrical Engineering Materials Engineering Production Engineering Tool Engineering Control Systems and Instrumentation Electronics and Telecommunication
  • 94. 90 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Appendix C Textbooks of the CEEM corpus by subject and number of words included Textbook Subject # of Words Textbook Subject # of Words 1. Biology 42,857 15. Hydraulic fluids 42,174 2. C++ 50,103 16. Java 28,049 3. Calculus 59,326 17. Manufacturing processes 61,837 4. Chemical engineering 46,509 18. Material and energy balance 21,950 5. Chemistry 45,350 19. Mechanical solids 26,501 6. Database 52,811 20. Physics 88,978 7. Data structure 35,789 21. Statics and dynamics 50,302 8. Discrete mathematics 50,991 22. Statics 36,888 9. Circuits and circuit analysis 34,585 23. Structural analysis 36,826 10. Engineering materials 53,426 24. Surveying 48,353 11. Engineering programming 29,165 25. Technical drawing 69,228 12. Environmental pollution 34,235 26. Thermodynamics 54,149 13. Environmental engineering 40,861 27. Wastewater management 24,144 14. Fluid mechanics 39,138 Total 1,204,525
  • 95. Abstracts Writing: A case Study of ScienceDirect Top 25 Hottest Articles Adul K.laorr Wisut Jarunthawatchai Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus Abstract An abstract is used as a survivor tool for international researchers and readers to screen relevant documents from massive knowledge production. Consequently, an effective written abstract will promote the original full text in its international discourse community. In this paper, we examine the generic structure of abstracts of the 25 most frequently downloaded articles on Arts and Humanities in the ScienceDirect database over a full year period of 2012, based on the theoretical framework of an abstract as a promotional genre promoting its full text to the international readers in its specific discourse community. The findings suggest that successful abstracts do not necessarily follow the traditional conventions of abstract writing suggested by previous studies or teaching materials. Moreover, an awareness of the persuasive functions and linguistic manipulations are visible in the successful abstracts. These findings offer pedagogic implications for writing courses at the graduate level and guidelines for both expert and novice writers. Keywords: abstract, research article, downloaded articles, rhetorical organization, move analysis, genre, persuasion
  • 96. 92 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Introduction The communication of the findings of researchers within or outside the global research communities is mainly disseminated in the form of research articles (Jubb, 2013). Moreover, every researcher has a purpose or purposes for him/herself and also for others, as Pinkowitz (2002: 487) stated that the goal of research is to have it read by others. Thus, research articles are accepted as a gateway to the opportunity of international recognition. Unfortunately, not all valuable research articles have been read because, in the electronic era, a huge number of research articles are published every day. Moreover, each research paper competes with one another in order to promote itself (Breeze, 2009). This means that, with a few mouse clicks, we can access a variety of academic writing in full texts such as research articles (RA), dissertations, theses, etc. Since this may lead to information overload, only some attractive winners would be read. Figure 1: Reading behavior in a digital context In a digital context, among a huge number of academic writing, abstracts of research articles play a primary role, even if their readers can access full papers (Nicholas et al, 2007). According to Nicholas et al. (2008), readers’ behaviors in digital libraries are shown in the diagram in figure 1. At the beginning, the readers use a search facility to scan for interesting information such as journals, titles or issues. On one hand, they can view any abstract and make their choices from a digital information flood. On the other hand, they can read full-text articles in some digital journal libraries without viewing an abstract. An abstract of an article is also provided when its full-text article is viewed. Finally, the users make a decision whether to read or ignore them. Practically, in a virtual environment, the full-text download is generally accepted, with controversy, as a proxy for “reading” (Nicholas et al., 2008; Pinkowitz, 2002). Likewise, reading is a way of measuring a level or degree of knowledge dissemination. Hence, a
  • 97. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 93 frequent download of full-text research articles is one of the indicators that can be seen as the success of knowledge dissemination. With this assumption, the term “successful abstract” in this paper is defined as an abstract that its full text is frequently downloaded. In selecting any relevant article, the use of abstracts may be the best way (Koltay, 2010). It is wildly recognized that, apart from a title, an abstract is one of the most important parts of a research article and is the most frequently read part of any paper, (Paltridge & Strafield, 2008; Pinto, 2006). Moreover, it is the only part of that paper that is read in case that the reader ignores the full paper (Pinto, 2006). Therefore, an abstract is used as a survivor tool for screening only relevant documents from massive knowledge production by researchers and readers. Consequently, an effective written abstract will surely promote its original full text in the international discourse community of its own field. In information searching, quality English abstracts could make contributions to researchers and readers. According to Huckin (2001), traditional abstracts have at least four functions as follows. First, they serve as stand-alone mini-texts, giving readers a quick summary of a study‘s topic, methodology, and findings. Second, they serve as screening devices, enabling the reader to decide whether to read the article as a whole. Third, for those readers who do opt to read the article as a whole, abstracts serve as previews, creating an interpretive frame that can guide reading. Finally, abstracts serve as aids to indexing by professional indexers for large database services (Huckin, 2001: 93). Together with the above traditional functions, abstracts are classified to serve the readers’ needs for making relevance judgment as indicative, informative and indicative- informative abstracts (Cross & Oppenheim, 2006). They stated as following: • Indicative abstracts indicate the content of articles in general terms but do not include statements about the outcome of any discussions or conclusions. • Informative abstracts present as much as possible of the information in the original document, including discussions and conclusions. They serve the dual functions of aiding the assessment of document relevance, and also serve as substitutes for the original when only a cursory knowledge of the subject is needed.
  • 98. 94 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 • Indicative-informative abstracts contain general information as found in indicative abstracts together with brief conclusion-like statements (Cross & Oppenheim, 2006: 432). According to Bhatia (2005), in recent years promotional elements have been incorporated in many genres, even in academic discourses, and they are increasing. He also said that a mix of promotional genres in professional and academic genres came from several reasons. The highly competitive situation in a massive information explosion is one of the results. As called by Bhatia (1997) as “genre-mixing and embedding”, this hybrid genre has the primary communicative purpose not only in providing information but also in marketing: that of selling a product. Within the context of the global Internet and information overload, we predict that there are a mix of genres and some differences from the tradition in the winner abstracts. Although there have been a considerable number of studies on abstract writing in general, little has been done on the roles of an abstract as a promotional genre that promotes its parent text to readers. Moreover, the authentic abstracts of research articles, which have been successfully disseminated, i.e. the top downloaded full text articles, have not been thoroughly studied. The aim of this paper is to investigate the rhetorical organization and the construction of the successful authentic abstracts. This empirical study of the abstracts will provide some deep knowledge and understanding for novice and expert writers in the area of Arts and Humanities, who are writing academic abstracts in English as their international, foreign or second language. A better understanding of the rhetorical units and the construction of the successful abstracts is useful not only for teaching abstract writing but also for facilitating the dissemination of research papers. Methods Data compilation and description This study analyzed the abstracts of the 25 most frequently downloaded articles in the fields of Arts and Humanities in the ScienceDirect Top 25 database ( over the full year period of 2012 (January to December). The database is restricted to only the recent one year period to ensure current situations. All research articles were empirical research articles; that is, no reviews or theory articles were selected to prevent them from being limited to only some types of abstracts by their very
  • 99. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 95 nature (Koltay, 2010). This corpus consisted of all the population or 25 abstracts and approximately 4,500 words. Analytical model In this investigation, the genre-based approach, proposed by Swales’ (1990) Move Analysis, was used to analyze the dataset. As Swales (1990, 2004) pointed out, each genre has a typical rhetorical structure, and the structure consists of a number of specific ‘moves’ with a communicative function. He also said that a ‘move’ is a discoursal segment (both in oral and written) that performs a particular communicative function and can be identified by linguistic clues. Since a research article abstract is considered a well-established genre in academic discourse (Gillaerts & Van de Velde, 2010), move analysis can provide a structure of information used in the abstracts. Santos’s (1996) five-move classification of abstracts: introduction, aim, method, result, and discussion was applied as a framework for the analysis of the move structure in the present study, rather than the four-move Traditional IMRD structure (i.e., IMRD or introduction, method, result, and discussion) used in some previous studies (Lorés, 2004; Samraj, 2005; Van Bonn and Swales, 2007) because of the following reasons. To start with, these five moves have been applied in many of previous research studies on abstracts, namely, Hyland (2000), Kanoksilapatham (2013), Santos (1996), Swales and Feak (2004) and Tseng (2011). As a result, a five-move model is also a suggested structure of an abstract although the moves are entitled differently in different books. Secondly, Santos (1996) suggested a model with five moves for a study of abstracts in applied linguistics. Similarly, Hyland (2000) also employed a five moves model in his study and pointed out that the finer identification between introduction and purpose (or aim) in five moves classification can portray a clearer picture of the rhetorical structure of the selected abstracts.
  • 100. 96 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Move Typical Title Purposes Move 1 Background/Introduction/Situation Establishes a context of the paper and motivates the research or discussion Move 2 Aim/ Purpose/ Present research Indicates a purpose, thesis or hypothesis, outlines an intention behind the paper Move 3 Methods/Procedures Provides information on design, procedures, assumptions, approach, data, etc. Move 4 Results/ Findings States main findings, results, arguments, or accomplishments Move 5 Discussion/Conclusion/Implications Interprets or extends results beyond the scope of paper, draws inferences, points to applications or wider implications. Table 1: A classification of rhetorical moves in research article abstracts Finally, the results of this study can be compared with the previous five-move model of abstract studies that focused on the field of Arts and Humanities or the similar ones as studied by Santos (1996) and Tseng (2011). The title and purposes of each move of the analytical model in this paper are shown in table 1. Inter-coder Reliability In the Move Analysis, which attempts to determine the purpose of a text, typically involves subjective judgment. The analysis is further complicated because one unit of text may serve more than one purpose. Following Kanoksilapatham (2005), inter-coder reliability was conducted in an effort to ensure that move boundaries were reliably identified. Therefore, in this study a Ph.D. candidate in English language teaching was asked to identify the rhetorical units. After the coding of all abstracts by two different individuals was completed, the findings were compared to identify any coding disagreement. High inter-coder reliability rates were obtained (over 80 %). Next, the other coder and the researcher reached an agreement in any discrepancies by discussion and negotiation.
  • 101. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 97 Results and Discussion Statistical analysis Distribution of publication years Figure 2: Publication years of the abstracts Figure 2 exhibits the frequency of appearance of the abstracts in each year, varying from 1985 to 2012. We can clearly see a trend in this corpus that shows more significance in the recent years than the remote past of publication time. In addition, 60 % or more than half of the top articles that have been read are published within 5 years recently and the most common year of publication, or mode, with a value of 6 articles is in 2011 or the preceding year. It seems to suggest that the researchers or scholars have time limitation in disseminating their new findings or new knowledge. The relationship between the length of abstracts and the number of moves Some scholars argue that one factor that determines the total number of moves in abstracts is the length of that same abstracts (Ren & Li, 2011). This is so because some abstracts are much longer than the others. As a result, it is possible that lengthy abstracts might include a higher number of moves and vice versa. In other words, there is a relationship between the number of moves and the length of abstracts. In this study, the length of abstracts was given in the number of words and the move appearance was given in the number of moves. To examine this relationship, the simple linear correlation analysis, y = -0.2203x + 3.5152 R² = 0.2785 No.ofAbstracts Year
  • 102. 98 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 which is used for measuring the degrees of the relationship between two variables, was applied. Figure 3: Scattered plots of moves Figure 3 shows the coordinate points of the length of the abstracts in terms of words and the occurrence of moves of that same abstracts. It seems to indicate that there is no apparent correlation since the coordinate points appear randomly. In addition, through the correlation analysis, the coefficient of determination (R2 ) between the number of moves and the number of words is 0.0229. We can clearly see that R2 is closer to zero (0.0229). That is, only 2.29 % of the variations in the number of moves is explained by the variations in the number of words. In other words, there is a very low relationship between the number of moves and the length of abstracts in the top 25 corpus. The advantages of structured abstracts Some scholars argued that the traditional form of abstracts, i.e. the unstructured format, does not facilitate efficient searching and reading as structured abstracts (Hartley, 1997). Hartley also pointed out that structured abstracts, which are arranged according to prescript headings (ANSI, 1997) (e.g. Background, Aims, Methods, Results and Discussions), are easier to read, search and recall, and often contain more information than the traditional ones. However, the acceptance and use of structured abstracts continues to be controversial (Koltay, 2010; Zhang & Liu, 2011). Regarding this issue, the question of the significance of structured abstract formats can be answered by counting the number of structured abstracts in the corpus. y = 0.0021x + 3.6545 R² = 0.0229 y = 0.0021x + 3.6545 R² = 0.0229 Numberofmoves Number of words
  • 103. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 99 Type Number of Abstracts Percentage Structured 1 4.0 Unstructured 24 96.0 Table 2: Number and percentage of structured abstracts in corpus According to the results in table 2, the number of structured abstract in this corpus is only one of the 25 abstracts, or less than 5.0 %. This very low frequency seems to show that the structured abstracts do not play an important role in terms of promotional full papers. Distribution of the Five Moves The findings of the move distribution in the abstracts of the 25 most frequently downloaded articles are shown in Table 3. This presentation Tseng (2011) Santos (1996) Period of publication Median is in 2007 1990-2007 before 1990 Move Number of Abstracts Percentage Percentage Percentage Background (B) 18 72.0 41.0 43.0 Aim (A) 23 92.0 96.0 99.0 Method (M) 17 68.0 97.0 98.0 Results (R) 18 72.0 91.0 80.0 Discussion (D) 25 100.0 74.0 53.0 Table 3: Presence of moves in the abstracts and comparison with previous research As seen in Table 3, all the moves are conventional because most of the abstracts had 5 moves. However, some moves were found to be more frequent than the others. The Discussion Move is found most frequently, in 25 out of 25 abstracts or with a frequency rate of 100.0 %, and the Aim Move is the next most frequent, with a frequency rate of 92.0 %. These two moves are quite frequent, as compared to the Background Move, with a frequency rate of 72.0 %, the Result Move, with a frequency rate of 72.0 %, and the Method Move, with the least frequency rate of 68.0 %. All of the five moves occurred greater than 60 %, based on
  • 104. 100 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 the cut-off occurrence rate in Kanoksilapatham (2005). It reveals that all moves seemed to be obligatory in these successful abstracts. Interestingly, this differs from the results of Santos (1996) and Tseng (2011) on the patterns of the Move Distribution. It suggests that the Background Move and the Discussion Move are not considered an obligatory move. In contrast to these previous studies, 72% of the Background Move in this study are compared to only 41.0 % and 43.0 % in Tseng’s study and Santos’ respectively. Like the Background Move, the Discussion Move was always present or 100.0 % in this study, compared to only 74.0 % and 53.0 % in Tseng’s study and Santos’ respectively. As a result, the Background Move and the Discussion Move are clearly recognized as the obligatory moves in these successful abstracts. The Discussion Move is the most frequent because it explicitly emphasizes the value of the original paper (Kanoksilapatham, 2013). She also said that this move is usually the last to end the abstracts and discusses the findings from several perspectives including implications, significance, interpretations, explanations, etc. Due to the multi-functions of this move, the linguistic features used to highlight the functions are quite diverse. Consequently, this move is ideal for abstract writers to use varieties of linguistic features in selling his or her full paper and feel freer to write when compared with the other moves. All of the top 25 abstracts containing the Discussion Move may indicate that their authors tend to deliberately promote their papers because this move has several points for sale. The Aim Move, which is the next most frequent, is considered as an essential component of the abstract, with a frequency rate of 92.0 %, indifference with 99.0 % and 96.0 % in Santos’ study and Tseng’s respectively. This is so because the author can give a signal of the existence of the original and help readers to decide if the original is likely to be of sufficient interest (Cross & Oppenheim, 2006). The empirical evidence for this is that 21 of the 23 Aim Moves or 91.3 % showed a strong preference for “this” (e.g. “This paper…”, “This study…”, “This article…”, “This research…”), suggesting that the author wanted to incorporate the abstract into the body of the paper (Santos, 1996). Based on these signals, the user makes a decision about the need of consulting the original. Evidently, with a surprisingly low appearance, the Method Move was the least frequent, with a frequency rate of 68.0 %, considerably decreasing from 98.0 % and 97.0 % in Santos’ study and Tseng’s respectively. Similarly, the Result Move was the next least frequent, with a frequency rate of 72.0 %, noticeably decreasing from 80.0 % and 91.0 % in
  • 105. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 101 Santos’ study and Tseng’s respectively. It seems to show that expert writers pay less attention in these two moves. This phenomenon can be explained by the “subjectivity and objectivity” in academic discourses. In general, abstracts claim documentational objectivity or present only information that is contained in the articles (Koltay, 2010). In case of the Method Move and the Result Move missing (32.0 % and 28.0 % respectively) in some abstracts, since both Moves are considered as the considerable portions of objectivity in abstracting, it may suggest that the authors of these abstracts provided a lower level of objectivity and provided a higher level of subjectivity to the readers. The reason for this is that they should not add any promotional texts in the objectivity parts (i.e. the Method Move and the Result Move). Unlike the Method Move and the Result Move, even if the Background Move occurred as frequently as the Result Move, the Background Move has been increasing dramatically from 43.0 % and 41.0 %, in Santos’ study and Tseng’s respectively to 72.0 % in this study. According to Martín Martín and Pérez (2009), the Background or Introduction section generally entails a great deal of complexity in terms of rhetorical options, which can be added some degrees of promotional value. This Move Analysis of these successful abstracts seems to reveal that the expert writers use persuasive language in their abstracts than in traditional ones. Content in Abstracts This figure shows the details of the components of the successful abstracts in average value.
  • 106. 102 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Figure 4: Average word count and percentage of each move Due to the fact that the abstracts are limited in space, with an approximate average of 180 words for these present abstracts, each word might substantially contribute to the value of the abstracts. Therefore, the importance that the writers attach to each move is in relation to the length (number of words) of it. In other words, the number of words in each move can infer the importance of that move, i.e. more words indicate more importance. Content Analysis was applied and the results as shown in figure 4. Interestingly, among the five moves, the Background Move is the longest portion in the abstracts. The average number is 59 words or 33 %, doubling in quantity when compared with the other moves. It suggests that expert writers seem to pay much more attention to the Background Move. On the contrary, The Method Move and the Result Move is the shortest portion in the abstracts, with an average of 29 words or only 16%, suggesting that expert writers seem to pay less attention to. According to Martín Martín and Pérez (2009), the Background or Introduction section generally entails a great deal of complexity in terms of rhetorical options that are rhetorical promotion. Therefore, the largest portion is devoted to the Background Move. It may indicate that the writers try to construct the significance of their papers, thereby lending it credibility. Since, the Background Move not only provides background information but also highlights the importance of the topic. On the other hand, the very short length in the Method Move and the Result Move infers the lack of informative type of the abstracts because they should not Background, 58.96, 33% Aim, 30.60, 17% Method, 28.48, 16% Results,29.48, 16% Discussion, 32.24, 18% Background Aim Method Results Discussion
  • 107. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 103 add any promotional texts in the informative parts. This Content Analysis also suggests that the expert writers use persuasive language in their abstracts more than in traditional ones. Conclusion The results of the analysis of rhetorical structure from the abstracts of the 25 most frequently downloaded articles in the ScienceDirect Top 25 database have shown that these successful abstracts do not necessarily follow the traditional conventions of abstract writing suggested by previous studies or teaching materials. Due to the need in competition with other research papers, awareness of the persuasive functions and linguistic manipulations are visible in the successful abstracts. In doing so, these expert writers tend to utilize the advantages of both informative and indicative types of abstracts by mixing them into informative - indicative abstracts. To do this, the abstract writers pay more attention in all moves that are subjectivity, i.e. the Background Move, the Aim Move and the Discussion Move, and pay less attention in all moves that are objectivity, i.e. the Method Move and the Result Move. In other words, the expert writers pay more attention to the persuasive function than the informative function of the abstracts. Figure 5: Change in abstract genre As Swales (1990, 2004) pointed out, the genre, by itself, changes in both form and structure over time, depending on its context. Thus, we can see that this successful abstracts, in terms of the tool for disseminating knowledge in the context of information overflow, have some characteristics that differ from the traditional ones. They seem to move from a pure academic genre to a persuasive one. This research however had some limitations; that is, the abstracts in this study came from only one subject domain, in only one period, and in only one database.
  • 108. 104 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 In the modern digital context which makes full texts of research articles available on the Internet, we propose that the promotional function is necessary for successful abstract writing. These findings offer pedagogic implications for writing courses at the graduate level and guidelines for both expert and novice writers. The Authors Adul K.laorr is currently a Ph.D. student in English as an International Language Program at Kasetsart University. He received master’s degree in Translation for Education and Business from King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok. His research interests are genre analysis, corpus linguistic and translation. Wisut Jarunthawatchai, PhD, is a lecturer in English Department, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Science, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, Thailand. He obtained a PhD in Applied Linguistics from University of Southampton, UK. His main research interests are in the areas of second language writing, discourse analysis, and genre analysis. References ANSI. (1997). Guidelines for Abstracts ANSI/NISO 239.14-1997, Revision of ANSI 239.14- 1979 (R1987). Bethesda, MD: NISO Press. Breeze, R. (2009). Issues of Persuasion in Academic Law Abstracts. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses, 22. Cross, C., & Oppenheim, C. (2006). A genre analysis of scientific abstracts. Journal of Documentation, 62(4), pp. 428-446. Gillaerts, P., & Van de Velde, F. (2010). Interactional metadiscourse in research article abstracts. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 9(2), 128-139. Hartley, J. (1997). Is it appropriate to use structured abstracts in social science journals? . Learned Publishing, 10. Huckin, T. (2001). Abstracting from abstracts. In M. Hewings (Ed.), Academic writing in context: Implications and applications. Birmingham: University of Birmingham Press.
  • 109. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 105 Jubb, M. (2013). Introduction: Scholarly communications - disruptions in a complex ecology In D. Shorley & M. Jubb. (Eds.), The Future of Scholarly Communication. London, UK: Facet Publishing. Kanoksilapatham, B. (2005). Rhetorical structure of biochemistry research articles. English for Specific Purposes, 24(3), 269-292. Kanoksilapatham, B. (2013). Generic characterisation of civil engineering research article abstracts. 3L: Language, Linguistics, Literature, 19(3), 1-10. Koltay, T. (2010). Abstracts and Abstracting: A genre and set of skills for the twenty-first century. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing. Martín Martín, P., & Pérez, I. K. L. (2009). Promotional strategies in research article Introductions: an interlinguistic and cross-disciplinary genre analysis. Revista Canaria De Estudios Ingleses, 59. Nicholas, D., Huntington, P., & Jamali, H. R. (2007). The Use, Users, and Role of Abstracts in the Digital Scholarly Environment. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(4), 446-453. Nicholas, D., Huntington, P., Jamali, H. R., Rowlands, I., Dobrowolski, T., & Tenopir, C. (2008). Viewing and reading behaviour in a virtual environment. Aslib Proceedings, 60(3), 185-198. Paltridge, B., & Strafield, S. (2008). Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language. Oxon: Routledge. Pinkowitz, L. (2002). Research Dissemination and Impact: Evidence from Web Site Downloads. The Journal of Finance, 7(1). Pinto, M. (2006). A grounded theory on abstracts quality: Weighting variables and attributes. Scientometrics, 69(2), 213-226. Ren, H., & Li, Y. (2011). A Comparison Study on the Rhetorical Moves of Abstracts in Published Research Articles and Master's Foreign-language Theses. English Language Teaching, 4(1), 162-162-166. Santos, M. B. D. (1996). The textual organization of research paper abstracts in applied linguistics. Text, 16(4).
  • 110. 106 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre Analysis: English in academic and research setting. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Swales, J. M. (2004). Research genres: Exploration and applications. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Zhang, C., & Liu, X. (2011). Review of James Hartley’s research on structured abstracts. Journal of Information Science, 37(6), 570-576.
  • 111. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 107 Appendix Abstracts in the Corpus 1. Working memory and language: an overview Baddeley, A. Journal of Communication Disorders, Volume 36, Issue 3, May 2003, Pages 189-208. 2. Oral communication: the workplace needs and uses of business graduate employees Crosling, G.; Ward, I. English for Specific Purposes, Volume 21, Issue 1, January 2002, Pages 41-57 3. The learning styles and strategies of effective language learners Wong, L.;Nunan, D. System, Volume 39, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 144-163 4. The political ecology of war: natural resources and armed conflicts Le Billon, P. Political Geography, Volume 20, Issue 5, June 2001, Pages 561-584 5. Climate change, human security and violent conflict Barnett, J.; Adger, W.N. Political Geography, Volume 26, Issue 6, August 2007, Pages 639- 655 6. Analysis of users and non-users of smartphone applications Verkasalo, H.; Lopez-Nicolas, C.; Molina-Castillo, F.J.; Bouwman, H. Telematics and Informatics, Volume 27, Issue 3, August 2010, Pages 242-255 7. The effect of different types of corrective feedback on ESL student writing Bitchener, J.; Young, S.; Cameron, D. Journal of Second Language Writing, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2005, Pages 191-205
  • 112. 108 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 8. Paradox and Promise: MySpace, Facebook, and the Sociopolitics of Social Networking in the Writing Classroom Maranto, G.; Barton, M., Computers and Composition, Volume 27, Issue 1, March 2010, Pages 36-47 9. Genre-based tasks in foreign language writing: Developing writers'genre awareness, linguistic knowledge, and writing competence Yasuda, S., Journal of Second Language Writing, Volume 20, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 111- 133 10. Reading fair trade: political ecological imaginary and the moral economy of fair trade foods Goodman, M.K., Political Geography, Volume 23, Issue 7, September 2004, Pages 891-915 11. Does the autistic child have a ‘theory of mind'? Baron-Cohen, S.; Leslie, A.M.; Frith, U., Cognition, Volume 21, Issue 1, October 1985, Pages 37-46 12. Effects and student perceptions of collaborative writing in L2 Shehadeh, A., Journal of Second Language Writing, Volume 20, Issue 4, December 2011, Pages 286-305 13. Memory and the self Conway, M.A., Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 53, Issue 4, October 2005, Pages 594-628 14. English as a''global language''in China: An investigation into learners'and teachers'language beliefs Pan, L.; Block, D., System, Volume 39, Issue 3, September 2011, Pages 391-402 15. The efficacy of various kinds of error feedback for improvement in the accuracy and fluency of L2 student writing Chandler, J., Journal of Second Language Writing, Volume 12, Issue 3, August 2003, Pages 267-296
  • 113. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 109 16. Climate change-induced migration and violent conflict Reuveny, R., Political Geography, Volume 26, Issue 6, August 2007, Pages 656-673 17. Error feedback in L2 writing classes - How explicit does it need to be? Ferris, D.; Roberts, B., Journal of Second Language Writing, Volume 10, Issue 3, August 2001, Pages 161-184 18. Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items Baayen, R.H.; Davidson, D.J.; Bates, D.M., Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 59, Issue 4, November 2008, Pages 390-412 19. Collaborative writing tasks in the L2 classroom: Comparing group, pair, and individual work Fernandez Dobao, A., Journal of Second Language Writing, Volume 21, Issue 1, March 2012, Pages 40-58 20. The relationship between EFL learners'beliefs and learning strategy use Yang, N.-D., System, Volume 27, Issue 4, December 1999, Pages 515-535 21. Mobile application market: A developer's perspective Holzer, A.; Ondrus, J., Telematics and Informatics, Volume 28, Issue 1, February 2011, Pages 22-31 22. An exploration of speaking-in-class anxiety with Chinese ESL learners • Article Mak, B., System, Volume 39, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 202-214 23. What's magic about magic numbers? Chunking and data compression in short-term memory Mathy, F.; Feldman, J., Cognition, Volume 122, Issue 3, March 2012, Pages 346-362 24. Genre pedagogy: Language, literacy and L2 writing instruction Hyland, K., Journal of Second Language Writing, Volume 16, Issue 3, September 2007, Pages 148-164
  • 114. 110 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 25. Climate change and conflict • Article Nordas, R.; Gleditsch, N.P., Political Geography, Volume 26, Issue 6, August 2007, Pages 627-638
  • 115. 16, 18, 20, 24? Correlation Between Student Contact Hours and Student Achievement for English as a Second or Foreign Language Learners Tom Alibrandi American University of Sharjah Abstract This research faces the emerging controversy about what constitutes the most productive model of weekly instructional learning time for English as a Second or Foreign Language and Intensive English Programs (ESL/EFL/IEP). Due to a spike in enrollment in Fall 2007, necessitating fewer instructional hours per week per student in order cover all sections with Full Time Instructors, persistence and success rates were tracked through three consecutive Fall semesters (2006, 2007 & 2008) in which new students (n=720) in the American University of Sharjah (UAE) Intensive English Program were offered varying numbers of contact hours of identical skill-based courses. This research was deemed critical for program, praxis, and curriculum development, especially as informed by the culture and educational models in the catchment areas from which the American University of Sharjah draws its students. Based on student success and persistence rates, the data indicate that there is little or no significant learning difference between 20 and 16 hours of student contact. Keywords: persistence, success, ESL/EFL program, student learning hours Introduction The number of contact hours has long been considered a vital component in English Language Acquisition. Despite this, the correlation of student contact hours and student achievement in ESL/EFL/IEP is slimly researched. There is, however, a great deal of general education research in primary, secondary, and special education settings. Berliner (1990), in his work with primary and secondary level learners, hypothesizes that student learning increases as much with instructional quality and pedagogy as time in class. He theorizes that, for instance, more time reading does not necessarily increase comprehension; rather students
  • 116. 112 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 must be engaged in various reading activities in a setting he calls the Academic Learning Time (ALT) model to raise achievement levels. Goodman (1990) states that “No one has yet demonstrated an ability to produce the requisite changes in learning time and the accompanying increases in student achievement” (pp. 5-6). Wiley, on the other hand, analyzed the effects of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) on student achievement. Not surprisingly, he found that increased attendance produced increases in verbal ability, reading comprehension, and mathematics achievement (Goodman). Stoops, in the study entitled Better Instruction, Not More Time, cites the Pennsylvania State University research project of student achievement in various countries throughout the world. Stoops concludes “that there was no statistically significant correlation between instructional time in math, science, reading, and civics and test scores on international assessments of those subjects” (2007). Stoops concludes, citing the PSU study, “If there is a choice between using resources to increase time versus improving teaching and the curriculum, give priority to the latter”. Statement of the Problem The IEP Model is largely driven by the mandates of the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) and the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP). CEA states that “The intensive English program must offer at least 18 hours of instruction per week (1 hour= 50 minutes) for at least 8 months of the year…” AAIEP mandates 21-24 hours of English Instruction per week. Boswell and Shiina (2003), in their study to determine the success of American Intensive English Programs accredited by the AAIEP, surveyed eighty American Intensive English Programs that offer an average of 24.5 student contact hours per week. Boswell and Shiina were unable to retrieve any data correlating student contact hours with student success among those IEPs who responded to their survey questionnaire. They did receive anecdotal responses claiming IEP students had higher retention rates and grade point averages than native speakers in their undergraduate academic studies. Young (2007), employing the standardized oral proficiency assessment Best Plus to test pre- and post-test 6,599 ESL learners in Massachusetts and Illinois, studied the effects of instructional hours in accordance with The National Reporting Systems for Adult Education accounting model for measuring Listening and Speaking learning gains. Young found that “the percentage of level (learning) gain is not always consistent with increasing numbers of instructional hours” (p.4). Among High Beginning, High Intermediate, and Advanced ESL
  • 117. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 113 students, learning gains dropped among learners who received 140 or more instructional hours versus those who received 120-139 instructional hours. Low Intermediate ESL students evidenced a learning gain when receiving 140 or more instructional hours versus 120-139 instructional hours. The notion of quality of language teaching rather than quantity of time in the classroom was pioneered by the Bulgarian psychiatrist, Georgi Lozanov (1988). Utilizing his theory of Suggestopedia, combining knowledge of how the human brain learns with his belief that language acquisition should be a pleasurable, natural process (by introducing music, art, and role-playing into the lesson plan), Lozanov found that his students could tap unconscious learning capacities (Lozanov). They produced amounts of the target language up to five times faster than students learning under then-current language acquisition theories and methods in a relatively short period of time (Lozanov). Lozanov’s work paved the way for such psycholinguists and researchers such as Shuster & Gritton (Society for Accelerated Learning and Teaching), Cummins & Chomsky (Language Acquisition Device, Common Underlying Proficiency), Gardner (Multiple Intelligences), and Grinder and Bandler (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). Linguists and researchers Krashen, Terrell, Freire, and Cummins further debunked the notion that segregated skills, accelerated learning, highly structured classes, and more student contact hours produced increased student language learning by advocating for a natural approach to language acquisition—much the way a child acquires its first language— in which students are exposed to comprehensive, communicative input in a relaxed setting (Krashen & Terrell, 1983; Krashen, 1988; Cummins, 1994). These hypotheses rely heavily on the working of the student’s conscious and unconscious in the language acquisition process, and indicate that the quality, content, and context of instruction correlate more with student language acquisition and success than the amount or length of time of instruction. These student-centered, psycho-linguistic theories, methods, and strategies have over time replaced more plodding, teacher-centered theories, such as Grammar Translation, Audio-Lingual Method, Direct Method, etc. Despite the findings of Lozanov, Chomsky, Krashen, and other cognitive linguists, as well as the literature available on the correlation of student achievement and student instructional hours, it is widely accepted within the Intensive English Program community that fewer than 18 hours of academic instruction per week result in diminished skill-based language acquisition. Therefore, it is commonly accepted praxis for an IEP curriculum to offer 20-24 hours of class time per week (Institute of International Education, 2007). The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) definition of an Intensive
  • 118. 114 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 English Program (IEP) “as a minimum of 18 clock hours a week, with a clock hour equaling 50 minutes” (CEA, Policy and Procedures for International Accreditation, p.1, July 2008). It also should be mentioned that this minimum set by the CEA, as opposed to being based on research, replicates the previously established minimum of 18 student contact hours per week required by the US Department of State to grant student visas to study in the United States (US Department of State, 2009). Methodology In order to determine the precise number of weekly student contact hours that produce the maximum amount of learning at my institution, the American University of Sharjah, I conducted a research project in the Intensive English Program that tracked persistence and success rates of three cohorts of new students (n = 720). This study covers three consecutive Fall semesters (2006-2008) in which incoming students, due to constant numbers of full time faculty and varying enrollment, were offered differing numbers of weekly instructional hours of identical skill-based courses. These courses include a common final exam for each level. The results of this research project were deemed critical for program, praxis, and curriculum development. This analysis follows new students who entered the IEP in Fall 2006, Fall 2007, and Fall 2008 as they moved into subsequent semesters (Spring, 2007, Spring 2008, and Spring 2009) in order to identify the correlation between student contact hours and student achievement. The Fall 2007 cohort received 16 hours per week of instruction, while Fall 2006 and Fall 2008 cohorts each received 20 hours of instruction per week (Charts 1-3). Findings The data indicate that the difference in student persistence and success rates between semesters in which the students received 16 contact hours per week (Fall 2007) and 20 contact hours per week (Fall 2006 & Fall 2008) are insignificant. For example, Chart 1 indicates that 74.2% and 80.1% respectively of the Fall 2006 and Fall 2008 cohorts (20 contact hours of instruction) moved to higher level courses (IEP and Department of Writing Studies (DWS), compared to 80.8% of Fall 2007 students who studied 16 hours per week. Further, Chart 2 shows that a greater number of Fall 2006 and Fall 2008 students (20 hours of instruction) left the IEP and the university between the Fall and Spring Semesters than their Fall 2007 counterparts (18.65% & 16.37% vs. 13.80%). In terms of remaining the same IEP level, Chart 3 indicates that more students of the Fall 2006 cohort (20 hours contact time)
  • 119. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 115 remained in the same IEP level than the Fall 2007 cohort (16 hours contact time) [7.14% vs. 5.39%]. On the other hand, fewer Fall 2008 students (20 hours contact time) remained in the same IEP level the following semester (3.51% vs. 5.39%) than their Fall 2007 counterparts (16 instructional hours). Based on success and persistence rates, the data indicate that there are no significant learning and persistence differences between 20 and 16 hours of student instructional time per week. Chart 1: Movement to Higher Level by % (new students) Fall 2006 (n187) 20 hrs instruction Fall 2007 (n240) 16 hrs instruction Fall 2008 (n143) 20 hrs instruction 74.2% 80.8% 80.1% Chart 2: IEP Dropout Rate by % (new students) Fall 2006 (n47) 20 hrs instruction Fall 2007 (n41) 16 hrs instruction Fall 2008 (n28) 20 hrs instruction 18.65% 13.80% 16.37% Chart 3: Return to Same Level IEP by % (new students) Fall 2006 (n18) 20 hrs instruction Fall 2007 (n16) 16 hrs instruction Fall 2008 (n6) 20 hrs instruction 7.14% 5.39% 3.51% Conclusion This research, at least for these American University of Sharjah IEP students (drawn from 85 countries), appears to contradict the mandates of CEA and AAIEP, and of many English Language Acquisition professionals, that contact hours above 18 equates to increased student learning and persistence. In this study, student contact hours above 16 per week did not significantly improve student achievement -- rather, in some cases seemed to hinder success and persistence rates. It seems prudent to conduct more research and rely less on anecdotal evidence to set a standard for weekly student instructional hours for ESL/EFL/IEP programs, including the relationship of quality, content, and context of instruction to student achievement. Further, and more importantly, this study suggests that institutions of higher
  • 120. 116 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 learning would be better served conducting organic research within their own college or university to determine the correlation between English Language learner persistence and success and optimum contact hours The Author Tom Alibrandi, Ed.D, is Head of Department and Director of Achievement Academy, American University of Sharjah, UAE. References American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) (2012). Washington, DC Berliner, D. (1990) What’s All the Fuss About Instructional Time? in The Nature of Time in Schools Theoretical Concepts, PractitionerPerceptions. New York and London: Teachers College Press; Teachers College, Columbia University Boswell, P. & Shiina, K. (2003) Learning from Success: A Survey of American Intensive English Programs, in National Institute of Informatics. Japan: Chiba University ( CEA, Policies and Procedures for International Accreditation (2008). Washington, DC Cummins, J. (1994) The Acquisition of English as a Second Language, in Spangenberg- Urbschat, K. and Pritchard, R. (eds) Reading Instruction for ESL Students. Delaware: International Reading Association Freire, P. (1970) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury Goodman, L. (1990) Time and Learning in the Special Education Classroom. Albany: State University of New York Press Krashen, S. & Terrell, T.D. (1983) The Natural Approach. London: Pergamon Krashen, S. (1988) Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. New York: Prentice Hall Lozanev, G. & Gateva, E. (1988) The Foreign Language Teacher’s Suggestopedic Manual. Switzerland: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers. Stoops, T. (2007, August 1). Better Instruction, Not More Time. John Locke Foundation Spotlight, 328. Retrieved December 16, 2009, from United States Department of State. (2009). Retrieved December 16, 2009 from
  • 121. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 117 Young, S. (2007, September) Effects of Instructional Hours and Intensity of Instruction on NRS Level Gain in Listening and Speaking. CALdigest. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics