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Word Clouds as a Strategy to Improve Reading Comprehension: A Case Study in a Selected Chinese-medium School in Malaysia

Mr. Sean Chen Tieu Wei

This study was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of using word clouds as a strategy to improve ESL learners’ reading comprehension. 134 Year 4 ESL students from a suburban Chinese-medium primary school in Johor, Malaysia were the participants of the study. This study applied mixed methods research. In this research, participants were divided into two control and treatment groups. In addition, pre-test and post-test, interviews, feedback, and observations were used to collect data. There was a significant improvement in both vocabulary and reading comprehension scores based on the data obtained for the treatment groups. The results of the study also consistent with the results of previous studies on graphical organizers. Besides, the findings also revealed that visuals and colours play an important role in helping students in remembering all the words. Likewise, students’ feedback showed that personalisation is important in learning as it enables learners to develop their own learning capacity. Since, word cloud is an emergent study, more studies need to be done to help to develop word cloud into an establish tool for language teaching in the future.

On Teaching Speaking: Students in Focus

Dr. Rowena Vasquez-Sosas

​This study investigated the approach of teaching speaking to students taking English as major subject in the University of Southern Mindanao, Kidapawan City Campus, Philippines. Specifically, it sought to answer how the approach was employed; how the approach helped students enhance their speaking competency; and what suggestions they could shed to improve the approach. Narratological approach was used through three (3) Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with seven (7) members each. Results revealed that teachers used Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) in teaching speaking and that they used task-based instructions and authentic tasks for students to practice speech fluency and accuracy. These activities are usually done in real life like short interview, casual talk, online conversation and reading passages and speeches. More so it was found that communicative language teaching would have favourable results if contextualization and first hand experiences of learners are considered.

Deployment of Formulaic Utterances with How about During Second Language Discussion Tasks

​Dr. Yuri Hosoda and Dr. David Aline

This conversation analytic study examines second language (L2) learners' use of formulaic utterances initiated with How about during discussion tasks in university English classes in Japan. It elucidates various ways learners use formulaic utterances and considers how students work to learn them in small group tasks.

How about commonly occurs in English as a formulaic utterance used for making suggestions and is one of the most frequent formulas Japanese learners of English use. Studies analyzing L2 interaction noted the use of How about for redirecting topics to other speakers (Hauser, 2009; Potter & Greer, 2008). We expand this research by examining L2 learners' use of How about during discussions for language learning.

Considered were over 210 hours of video-recorded second language interaction collected during classroom oral discussion tasks, which required consensus on various controversial topics.

Analysis found learners use How about for (a) explicitly selecting next speaker, (b) shifting topics, and (c) suggesting alternative procedures. All three occurred in the environment of the closing of a sequence of interrelated turns and were manifested through silence, broken speech, and downward gaze. This study demonstrates how L2 learners deploy formulaic utterances in discussion activities and considers how they acquire those formulas.

Students' oral practice on Second Life Virtual World

Mrs. Hoang Linh Chi

This action research study examined students’ oral participation in speaking activities conducted on Second Life Virtual World. Participants include 19 first-year students whose level of English proficiency ranging from Upper intermediate to Advanced. Over the period of five weeks, the participants were scheduled to practice their speaking skills on Second Life in different group sizes, undertaking various activities such as discussion, individual sharing or going on field trips, etc. Three instruments namely students’ journal, group interview, and individual interview were adopted as data collection methods. The research findings indicated a moderate to high level of engagement with a majority of participants reporting increased willingness to orally express their opinions thanks to the friendly, stress-free atmosphere of Second Life. Shy students were revealed to have benefited most from oral practice in the 3D environment thanks to the absence of non-verbal reactions. However, technical issues encountered by participants during the implementation of this innovation were revealed to be overwhelming and adversely affected participants’ engagement. For future implementation of this innovation, small class size, better technical guidance and use of small group discussion/ sharing, pronunciation practice and virtual field trips as main activities were suggested.

Learning to read in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course with metacognitive reading strategies: Does this work?
Ms. Napapat Thongwichit

This quasi-experimental research was aimed at exploring students’ reading comprehension progress after receiving metacognitive reading strategies instruction through modeling. The study evaluated if there was a difference between their pretest and posttest scores among 47 student participants who registered for English for Tourism course. The data were collected from January to February, 2018 by using a pretest-posttest design which the scores were measured before and after the treatment was implemented. The research results found that the students’ posttest scores were proven to have a statistically significant difference compared to their pretest scores before participating in metacognitive reading strategies lessons (p < .05). Therefore, this study supported that metacognitive reading strategies should be integrated into classrooms: not only for English reading courses, but also any English courses that have reading activities within their lessons particularly English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses. Metacognitive reading strategies based lessons unquestionably were verified to make students develop into more strategic and better readers with reading comprehension achievement.

Teachers’ beliefs and principles behind listening instruction in Iranian private English schools

Mr. Morteza Bagheri Sangachin

Although there has been growth in recent years in the number of studies related to teacher cognition in teaching other skills such as writing, reading, and sub skills such as grammar, relatively little research and scholarly interest have been directed to the skill of listening. This study therefore aims to investigate teachers’ cognition underpinning listening classroom practices in private English institutes in Iran.

In order to gain a more comprehensive image of the complex nature of teacher cognition, this study adopted a mixed method research design at stages of data collection and data analysis. Phase one, based on questionnaire data from 72 experienced teachers, explored teachers’ beliefs and principles. In phase two, drawing largely on data from observations and stimulated-recall interviews, eight teachers were observed 64 times and 32 interviews were conducted.

Observations and stimulated-recall interviews were transcribed and coded. Results revealed that teachers stated 11 justifications underpinning their classroom practices. The most frequently cited cognitions were relevant to the procedures followed to ensure comprehension and make students more engaged. Using listening to improve other skills, helping students to complete the task, and activating background knowledge were other justifications.

Evaluating Google Classroom in Teaching and Learning Writing at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology

Ms. Tran Thi Mai

The Internet has evidently played a key role in this 4.0 Technology era. Recent years have witnessed the adoption of the Internet-based technology in language teaching and learning, bringing both unprecedented benefits and challenges to teachers and learners. Released in August 2014, Google Classroom is relatively new to many English teachers. This research aimed to introduce this technology to fellow teachers and evaluate its effects on teaching writing. Various studies into the same area were reviewed carefully before the research commenced. The research was designed using Post-test Only Experimental method. The writer taught TOEIC Writing to seniors at HCMC University of Technology, Vietnam in eight weeks. 63 seniors were randomly assigned into two classes. Without pre-test, the control group studied writing in a traditional way. The experimental group, additionally to physical classes, participated in a virtual class on Google Classroom. After eight weeks, both groups did a mock test of TOEIC Writing. The scores were analyzed using T-test, and a questionnaire was spread out. Also, some students participated in interviews about the effects of Google Classroom. Regarding the findings, the experimental group had higher average points in their writing test compared to the control group although the difference was not remarkably big. However, questionnaires and interviews showed that students’ eagerness in Writing improved noticeably with the support of Google Classroom. Therefore, these findings are hoped to contribute to modern teaching and learning.

SM - 3T Program and EFL Teacher's Quality: Opportunities and Challenges

Santri E. P. Djahimo

This is a qualitative study aims at finding out whether or not Indonesian Government Program named SM-3T (Sarjana Mendidik di Daerah Terdepan, Terluar dan Tertinggal) is effective to improve Indonesian EFL teachers’ quality. This SM-3T Program is a program designed by Indonesian Government for fresh graduates to teach English for a year in the Frontier, Outermost, and Disadvantaged Areas throughout Indonesia. Additionally, it also seeks to reveal and identify their difficulties they have encountered when they were teaching in those areas and how those challenges could be turned out to be good opportunities for their future teaching career. The selected informants are 10 SM-3T teachers who have been back from their teaching areas. Questionnaire and interview have been used as the instruments for data collection. The results reveal that these teachers faced many various physical, mental and cultural challenges during their teaching period. They had to struggle to be able to adapt with the local culture to survive. However, they admit that those challenges have changed their perceptions about the importance of education in general and the need to urgently improve themselves in EFL teaching in particular.

The Efficacy of Team Teaching in TEES (Teaching English at Elementary Schools) in Japan

Prof. Keiko Yamauchi

Team teaching refers to a teaching method performed by a group of instructors usually between 2 to 4 or 5 to teach the same group of students, but this particular research focuses on a TT being gradually implemented in Japanese elementary schools, where TEES will officially start in 2020 as a part of an ongoing education reform. At elementary schools, all subjects with only occasional exceptions are taught by classroom or ‘homeroom’ teachers as most commonly referred to in Japan. The teachers are trained and qualified for teaching subjects, managing a classroom, and looking after children’s welfare while at school, but teaching English has never been their requirement. Usually a foreign language teacher is assigned to a specific language subject, but it has been limited to middle school and upward. However, the reform urges the classroom teachers to teach English. So, to overcome challenges inflicted to unskilled, under trained elementary school classroom teachers, a TT with native speakers of English or trained Japanese teachers of English is suggested and introduced. This presentation will report the efficacy of TT viewed from the classroom teachers’ side, based on the findings from questionnaires and interviews.

Assessment of textbooks in enhancing language learners’ pragmatic competence: The case of requests

Ms. Yuehong Gao

Pragmatics has been gaining in popularity in many English language learning programs worldwide. Studies evaluating the representation of speech acts in textbooks, however, constantly report insufficient input and unrealistic conventions (e.g., Barron, 2016; Meihami & Khanlarzadeh, 2015). Meanwhile, little research has been conducted to examine the application of using a combination of different ELT textbooks and its impact on the teaching and learning of pragmatics. To this end, this study aims to analyze and evaluate how the speech act of request is presented in eight published ELT textbooks of four different language proficiency levels in a private language institution based in central London. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are employed in this paper. Detailed analysis focuses on the adequacy and quality of pragmatic content provided to develop learners’ pragmatic competence. This paper also offers some pedagogical implications for language instructors and course developers on the integrative and creative use of multiple ELT textbook series in a course with consecutive levels for learners to acquire their pragmatic competence progressively. Findings show that such flexible combination of textbooks opens up the possibility to optimize pragmatics teaching by carefully integrating materials on the basis of what the textbooks can offer currently.

Claims of Lack of Knowledge Among Japanese Learners of English During Task-Based Discussions for Language Learning

Dr. David Aline and Dr. Yuri Hosoda

This presentation examines the formulaic phrases deployed by Japanese learners of English in peer discussions, demonstrating how they express their lack of content and linguistic knowledge. Specifically, we explicate students' use of I don't know and its equivalent in Japanesee, wakannai. We show, through conversation analysis, L2 speakers' use of I don't know and wakannai in classroom interaction. Over 210 hours of L2 interaction were video-recorded during small-group discussions in English language classes at a Japanese university. The groups discussed various topics for the most part in English, but contingently moving into Japanese, their common L1. It was found that participants use first-positioned I don't know and wakannai to achieve differential actions. I don't know is deployed for downgrading argument positions following peer displays of disaffiliation as revealed through silences and minimal responses. The alternative, wakannai, is regularly employed to signify insufficient knowledge regarding linguistic or content matter, while in mundane conversation in Japanese it can, similar to I don't know in English, perform a wider range of actions. The findings show how students with multiple languages at hand may enact some pragmatic actions concerning their positions through a certain language while employing another language for accomplishing alternate actions.

English Language Teaching in Qawmi Girls’ Madrasas in Bangladesh : Problems, Challenges and Prospects​

Ms. Tasnia Mizan Chowdhury

The research aims at identifying the problems, challenges, and prospects of English language teaching practice in girls’ Madrasas. For the purpose of the investigation 5 Qawmi Madrasas for girls had been selected in Sylhet, Bangladesh. The Qawmi Madrasas have larger student base and more conservative curriculum than Alia Madrasa. Interviews of both teachers and students have been conducted with separate questionnaires to collect the necessary data that was analyzed using an inductive method. Based on the collected data, this paper presents a guideline for improving teaching practice in the girls’ Madrasas that can benefit the teachers, students as well as the policy makers.


Genre-based Approach: Write Without Fear

Ms. Oksana Kharlay

Nowadays some may consider the act of writing a tedious endeavour, especially teenage learners brought up in a digital age. This could be due to several reasons: perhaps they had limited writing practice in their first language; or maybe they think they do not have anything to say or cannot come up with new ideas; or possibly, because of limited writing practice activities in the classroom. Writing also takes up valuable classroom time and after-class teacher’s time.

The workshop will introduce a genre-based approach in teaching writing by turning it into an engaging and motivating activity. The aim is to help learners to identify and analyse global (context, purpose, participants, appearance, organisation) and local features of the genre in order to “equip them to better tackle authentic real world writing tasks” (Hyland 2003).

Workshop participants will also have the opportunity of discussing differences between two approaches to writing - genre-based and more ‘traditional’ product - and share positives and negatives of their use in classroom.

Utilizing the Google Classroom App as a Way to Begin Blended Learning

Ms. Amy Bohman

Many regions in Asia are working hard to keep up with technological advancements both in and outside of the classroom. In order to catch up with more progressive learning practices, students and teachers are trying to find quicker ways to adapt with limited resources. One way to do this is by creating equal opportunities to learn with technology based tools through the use of mobile phones. Computers are not regularly available for all students to use, but most student have or will have access to a mobile phone in the near future. Apps can provide a way to share information, collect feedback, or assessments from students. Since Google Classroom is a free application, it is easy for students to download and for instructors to make it part of their courses. It is also a great way to begin developing blending learning. Therefore, examining how to implement the Google Classroom app, will also demonstrate the benefits of utilizing blended learning in this workshop.

Developing English language teaching metaphorical associative cards (ELTMAC)

Mr. Richard J. Stockton

​This is a report on action research that develops story cards for ELT based on Jungian archetypes, and empirical research demonstrating improvement in narrative writing versus textbook and PowerPoint taught groups. Improvement may be due to how ELTMAC games can benefit English language learning: Jungian researchers finding improved language memory in tests with archetypal metaphorical associative cards is corroborated. The cards are scalable to learner level; the 59 cards can be named with the most common English words. Recent MRI studies support Jung’s claim that archetypes are universal neural structures; ELTMAC therefore transcends intercultural boundaries and accesses language parts of the brain. The cards are based on fairytale, i.e. European folklore; as both English and fairytales originating in the Bronze Age Indo-European dispersal, the game imparts cultural competence via Whorfian synergy. Story helps us understand ourselves; hence ELTMAC develops L2 identity. Fairytale confronts the realities of life, allowing meaningfulness to reemerge in ELT classrooms where commercial or social-political forces are censoring it. And, narrative card games are adaptable to broad uses.

Authentic Language Learning Outside the Classroom

Mr. Matthew Jellick

​With the essentials of language acquisition established within a traditional classroom setting, it is important to translate those fundamentals outside, through authentic learning practices. From English Corners to Book Clubs, and from Speaking Clubs to English Film Clubs, the possibilities are limitless as they pertain to low-affective filter platforms with which to encourage language development. Student-led through round-table discussions, in many instances, the teacher simply acts as a facilitator of discussion; a mentor who encourages student talk and shies away from a direct leadership role. Placing an emphasis on the social-cultural realities of the students, these genuine contexts reflect the world in which they live, giving credence to their identities not only as students, but as people.

This presentation will highlight differing examples, how to implement them, and the varied learning outcomes which take place, far from prescribed curriculum, focusing instead on authentic practices. The four skill sets of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking are all addressed, highlighting how to encourage English language development through non-traditional approaches. The presenter has developed and utilized this pedagogy on four different continents, incorporating differing cultural contexts and is excited to share with a diverse group of English language educators.

MSS TeenTalk 2018: an Alternative Assessment to Develop a Confident and Effective Communicator

Mdm Dian Khairyani Binte Mondzi 

This case study looks into how alternative assessment, being compatible with the constructivist theory (Estrin, 1993), can impact both teacher pedagogy and student learning through the groundbreaking implementation of MSS Teen Talk 2018. Quantitative and qualitative survey questions were conducted on all the Secondary 3 English Language teachers and also, students from the Secondary 3 cohort. The framework for analysis was based on an adapted version of Janisch, Liu and Akrof’s (2007) alternative assessment and also, Cey’s (2001) constructivist classrooms. As a result of carrying out this research design, it demonstrated how apparent active learning by the student really was. With the wealth of information, the teacher, as a facilitator, engaged the student in conversation so as to ensure that the meaning the latter creates was aligned with what the teacher had in mind (Vygotsky, 1978). Being innovative in the way that it provided students with a platform to share about an issue that means a lot to them, only further emphasised the authentic nature of the project. As students also developed 21st century competencies such as self-directedness and confidence through facilitation by the teacher, this paved the way for the project team to consider looking into assessing 21st CC.


Capstone Ninja- Final Year Project Writing Support App

Dr. Christelle Davis

The Capstone Ninja is a tool that facilitates communication, project management and language support for undergraduate students from various disciplines in Hong Kong. Every undergraduate student in Hong Kong is required to prepare a Capstone Project or Final Year Project in the form of a lengthy English text, a daunting and confusing task for many. The project team, comprised of staff from five Hong Kong universities, gathered data from student writing samples as well as interviewed faculty academics in regards to the issues that they perceived in their students’ work to create a mobile app that will serve both students and supervisors. Each version of the app provides language support in the form of tips, sample texts and quizzes tailor-made for a specific discipline. The app also features a project management tool that includes notifications for upcoming deadlines and a to-do list that both the supervisor and student can access. Furthermore, the app allows for the student and supervisor to ‘chat’ with each other online. This poster will describe the project’s objectives and progress to date as well as providing an overview of the major features of the app.


Face validity study using the C-test with free descriptions of test takers with use of text mining

Mr. Satoshi Kurokawa

Previous studies have found that the C-test lacks face validity (Spolsky, 1985). While some researchers have investigated the face validity of the C-test using quantitative data, few have investigated what appears to be measured in the C-test from the free descriptions of test takers. Text mining for free descriptions would likely contribute to unearthing a new perspective for the analysis of the face validity of the C-test. 106 Japanese university students participated in this study. After the participants completed the C-test, they were asked to describe what they thought it measured. The assessment of the face validity of the test was expected to vary depending on the learner’s proficiency. The participants were thus divided into high- and low-proficiency groups in relation to their C-test scores, and then the results for each group were analyzed using a co-occurrence network that was intended to determine notable key words from the participants’ free description. The findings indicated that low-scoring participants appeared to believe that verb tenses were being tested, and high-scoring participants appear to believe that spelling accuracy was being assessed. The tense of verbs and spelling accuracy should be considered in further study of the face validity of the C-test.


The Efficacy of Using Picture Strategy in Teaching Writing Skill of Procedure Text to Indonesian EFL Students

Shanty Halim

​This research was aimed at finding out the effectiveness of using picture in teaching procedure text for improving writing skill to Indonsian EFL students. This research was conducted at the second semester of Building Construction Engineering Study Program of Civil Engineering department of SPUP (State Polytechnic of Ujung Pandang). The total number of samples were 20 students in academic year 2018/2019. The research design used was classroom action research which comprised into 5 procedures they are reconaissance, planning, acting, reflecting and revising plan. These procedures then were implemented in 3 cycles. The first cycle is used as pre test showed that the result of writing skill was still low. Next, the action classroom research was then conducted by using picture strategy in teaching procedure text for improving the students writing skill in two planned cycles to gain the data of progress and post test. The findings showed that using picture strategy is effective for improving students writing skill of procedure text. It is supported by the result of the post test for each cycle apparently revealed that there was significant improvement of the subjects procedure text paragraph of writing skill. Therefore, it is recommended to use Using Picture Strategy in improving students writing procedure text to Indonesian EFL Students.