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- Volume 47, Issue 1, 2013
Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Volume 47, Issue 1, 2013
Volume 47, Issue 1, 2013
Author Susan Coetzee-Van RooySource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp V –VI (2013)More Less
Volume 1 of the Journal for Language Teaching is published in September 2013, with a new cover page. The Executive Committee (Exco) of the South African Association for Language Teaching (SAALT) decided to review the cover page and the proposal for a new cover page was approved at the Annual General Meeting in June 2013. The Exco wanted to express the multilingual context within which language teaching is conducted in South Africa and Africa more vigorously via the use of the image of Africa and with the translations of the name of the journal and the association that are published for the first time in this volume. We hope that members take pleasure in the new cover page.
Author Abigail HlatshwayoSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 11 –27 (2013)More Less
Most students from educationally impoverished backgrounds enrol at institutions of higher learning underprepared for academic challenges. Some of the reasons for lack of preparedness are that teachers tend to dominate classroom talk, leaving very little time for students to ask questions. As students always rely on the teacher's instructions, they cannot solve problems independently nor participate freely in group discussions. This article explored the need for tertiary level students, studying through a medium (English) that is not their primary language, to develop their ability to participate actively in tutorials so as to improve both understanding of their subject areas and spoken discourse competence in English. This problem was, however, dealt with indirectly, as the research concerns of the study were to investigate empirically 'participation effectiveness', the quantity of speaker discourse acts and turns, initiative at discourse act and turn-taking levels and the density of discontinuatives and causatives using an integrated analytical framework.
The hypothesis guiding the investigation predicted that third-years would outperform the first-years in all features of participation effectiveness. The overall findings indicated that third-year students participated more effectively than first-year students. It was then concluded that more exposure to the language of learning and teaching and acculturation through studying in English for over two years contributed to the third-years' participation effectiveness than first-years.
Subtitles in the classroom : balancing the benefits of dual coding with the cost of increased cognitive loadAuthor Jan-Louis KrugerSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 29 –53 (2013)More Less
Language teachers in the twenty-first century cannot ignore the possible benefits of using multimodal texts in the classroom. One such multimodal source that has been used extensively is subtitled videos. Against the background of conflicting theories in the fields of educational psychology and psycholinguistics as well as language acquisition where multimodal texts are concerned, this article presents an experiment aimed at determining the impact of competition between different sources of information on comprehension and attention allocation. The material that is investigated is a recorded and subtitled academic lecture in Economics with PowerPoint slides edited in, as an example of multisource communication. The article in particular engages with the issue of language as it pertains to the use of English as medium of instruction for English Second Language (ESL) students in South Africa. Essentially, the article seeks to shed light on the well documented positive effects of subtitles that are explained by the information delivery hypothesis and Dual Coding Theory, and the equally well documented negative impact explained by the redundancy effect in Cognitive Load Theory. Some evidence was found in the study that cognitive resources are assigned to more stable information sources like slides and non-verbal visual contextual information when the presentation speed of subtitles increases. This means that when the presentation speed of subtitles increases, learners focus on stable textual information (like slides) and on nonverbal information (like the face of the lecturer). Using the correct presentation speed of subtitles in multisource information in an educational setting is imperative for the activation of the potential benefits of multisource communication (that includes subtitles) for learning. The findings of the study stand to benefit all fields of multimedia educational design, but also have direct relevance to the use of technological support such as subtitles in the classroom.
The role of flexibility in the Context-adaptive Model for language programme evaluation : a case studyAuthor Annamarie MostertSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 55 –71 (2013)More Less
The demand for flexible, context-adaptive language programme evaluations has increased commensurately with the demand for context-specific language intervention programmes. In turn, an emphasis on the role of flexibility in language programme evaluation models to guide context-adaptive evaluations has grown. Lynch (1996; 2003) highlights the flexibility and adaptability of his Context-adaptive Model (CAM). This article explores the role of flexibility in the CAM in theory and in practice. The first section presents a description of the model that highlights its flexible evaluation approach. The second section sketches the specific education context of a language intervention programme namely, the English as language of learning and teaching (LoLT) Course.
The third section explores the role of flexibility in a context-adaptive impact assessment of the English as LoLT Course. The final section discusses the role of flexibility in the CAM in the broader, meta-evaluation context of language programme evaluation frameworks.
Source: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 73 –105 (2013)More Less
This article describes an empirical procedure for developing and validating a rating scale for assessing essays in English as a second language. The study was motivated by a concern for the validity of the scoring grid currently used to assess ESL essay writing at Grade 12 in the final end-of-year examination in South Africa. Following an argument-based validation framework based on the work of Kane, we describe the development, trialling and revision of a rating scale. An empirical procedure, based on an analysis of a sample of Grade 12 ESL essay writing, was followed to develop a new rating scale. The validation process is presented in four phases as part of a specification of an evaluation inference.
Source: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 107 –123 (2013)More Less
Constructs of academic literacy are used both for test and course design. While the discussion is relevant to both, the focus of this article will be on test design. Constructs of academic literacy necessarily depend on definitions that assume that academic discourse is typically different from other kinds of discourse. The more deliberate their dependence, the easier it is to examine such constructs critically, and to improve existing constructs. If we improve our understanding of what makes academic discourse unique, we can therefore potentially improve our test designs. Two perspectives on the typicality of academic discourse are surveyed: Weideman's (2009) notion of material lingual spheres, and Halliday's (1978) idea of fields of discourse. These perspectives help us to conceptualise the uniqueness of a discourse type by identifying both the conditions for creating texts and the way that social roles influence the content of what gets expressed in a certain sphere of discourse. Halliday's notion of nominalisation takes another step in this direction, but may, like other supposedly unique characteristics, fall short of identifying the unique analytical mode that qualifies academic endeavour.
The paper argues that when we acknowledge the primacy of the logical or analytical mode in academic discourse, we have a potentially productive perspective: first, on how the various genres and rhetorical modes in academic discourse serve that analytical end; second, on how to define the ability to handle that discourse competently; and third, to suggest how such definitions or constructs of academic literacy may be operationalised or modified.
Source: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 125 –151 (2013)More Less
In a previous study (Patterson & Weideman, 2013), we discussed the importance of acknowledging the typicality of academic discourse as a starting point for critically engaging with constructs of academic literacy. In this article, various attempts at identifying the typical features of academic discourse are surveyed and critiqued. The preliminary conclusion is that the uniqueness of academic discourse lies in the analytical or logical language that characterises it (see Patterson & Weideman, 2013 for an extended explanation). Using this characteristic feature as a criterion allows us to sift through the various opinions on what constitutes both academic discourse and academic literacy in a way that is potentially productive. It suggests on a number of points ways in which one might add components to the current definition of academic literacy that forms the test construct of academic literacy tests such as TALL, TAG, and TALPS. The article concludes by suggesting some modifications and additions to the design of current test task types in tests of academic literacy. These tentative suggestions may allow theoretically defensible modifications to be made to the construct of a number of tests of academic literacy. TALL, TAG, the relevant part of the NBTs, and TALPS are generally high stakes tests that are widely used in South Africa. Since no critical examination of their construct, which is now more than a decade old, has so far been undertaken, we hope that these proposals do not only come at an appropriate moment, but may also be useful to those responsible for developing further versions of these tests.
Author Tobie Van DykSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 153 –173 (2013)More Less
Taaltoetse is hedendaags die norm aan hoëronderwysinstellings, hetsy vóór of ná toelating. Die effek van sulke toetse, of die besluite wat op basis van die resultate daarvan geneem word, kan tot in- of uitsluiting bydra. In 'n post-1994 Suid-Afrika is dit vanselfsprekend van belang dat 'n konsep soos 'geldigheid' deeglik ondersoek word, omdat die impak van voorafgenoemde toetse verreikend kan wees. Hierdie artikel bespreek daarom vanuit 'n filosofiese perspektief op die grondslae van die toegepaste taalkunde die begrip 'geldigheid' en definieer dit vanuit drie paradigmas, te wete 'n tradisionele paradigma, die hedendaagse/konvensionele siening en 'n meer aanvaarbare, verruimde, standpunt daaroor. Die kern van die argument is dat geldigheid terselfdertyd 'n attribuut van 'n toets kan wees en as konstitutiewe begrip ontsluit kan word deur verdere (regulatiewe) idees met betrekking tot taaltoetsing. Dit word aan die hand van 'n teoretiese raamwerk gedoen wat op die konseptuele werk van Albert Weideman gebaseer is. Hierdie raamwerk toon aan dat 'n veelheid van perspektiewe nodig is om toegepaste linguistiese of tegniese ontwerpe (soos taaltoetse) op verantwoordbare wyse te gebruik.
Language tests are the norm at institutions of higher education nowadays, either before or after admission. Such tests, or the decisions taken on the basis of the results, can contribute to inclusion or exclusion. In post-1994 South Africa it is obviously important that a concept such as 'validity' be investigated thoroughly, as the impact of the aforementioned tests may be far-reaching. This article therefore discusses the concept 'validity' from a philosophical perspective on the foundations of applied linguistics and defines it according to three paradigms, i.e. a traditional paradigm, the contemporary/conventional view and a more acceptable, extended paradigm. The crux of the argument is that validity can be an attribute of a test and be explicated as constitutive concept by further (regulative) ideas about language testing. The conceptual work of Albert Weideman forms the theoretical framework for this article. This framework entails that multiple perspectives are necessary to ensure that applied linguistic or technical designs (such as language tests) are used in an accountable manner.
Author Avasha RambiritchSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 175 –193 (2013)More Less
The concepts of reliability and validity help to determine whether a test is a strong one or not, does what it is designed to do, tests what it is designed to test, and whether we can make inferences that are justified about the test takers, based on their score (Van der Walt & Steyn, 2007). Clearly, a lot depends on the reliability and validity of a test. This article will take the form of a validation argument of the Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS). It will do so by providing a priori evidence collected before the test event (Weir, 2005) to support eight claims made about the reliability and validity of the test.
A report on academic listening development of second language users of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch UniversitySource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 195 –213 (2013)More Less
In 2005, Stellenbosch University (SU) started presenting academic literacy courses, including language-support courses, to address the problem of poor levels of academic literacy. This article focuses on research conducted by the SU Language Centre's Unit for Afrikaans and English to report on an academic literacy intervention in the Faculty of Engineering for the period 2006 to 2009 for first-year students for whom Afrikaans was a second language. Particular attention is given to the students' ability to engage successfully in the academic discourse by employing effective listening skills in their second language. Listening tasks were developed within the theoretical and practical framework of active listening. The discussion will focus on the theoretical approach and methodology applied by the course designers with specific reference to strategic listening development and metacognitive awareness of listening development within an academic context. Furthermore, the impact of the intervention will be discussed by means of an analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data, gathered for this purpose. Deductions made from quantitative and qualitative findings were cross-validated in order to draw conclusions about the possible influence of a listening intervention on the students' academic listening abilities. It appeared that students' academic listening skills improved and students indicated that they found the intervention valuable because the course provided them with the strategies and self-confidence to survive within an Afrikaans academic environment. One could, thus, conclude that the intervention had a positive influence on the development of the students' academic listening skills.