Then and Now: A Review of Teaching Listening by Mary Underwood

by Chris Bedwell
Centre for English Language Communication
National University of Singapore

Underwood, M. (1989). Teaching listening. Harlow, England: Longman.
ISBN 978-0582746190, 128 Pages.

Mary Underwood’s book, Teaching Listening (Longman, 1989), has been recommended reading for many trainee and in-service teachers on ESOL certificate and diploma courses. It provides a wide range of practical techniques (also conveniently summarised in an appendix) covering the pre-, while- and post-text stages of a listening lesson. Also included throughout the book are commonsense suggestions and observations on learner behaviour which can inform the teacher of the likely success, or otherwise, of a lesson. Since listening is considered by many ESOL practitioners to be the preferential mode of first exposure to English in the classroom (the rationale being that it is unfair to expect students to produce language verbally without ever having heard it beforehand), the text constitutes a useful initial point of reference.

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Incorporating Collocation Teaching in a Reading-Writing Program

by Yang Ying, National University of Singapore
and Jiang Jingyi, South China University of Technology

This paper discusses vocabulary teaching in tertiary institutions in China and points out the importance of learning collocation in an English as a foreign language context. The authors propose that the teaching of collocation should be incorporated into any standard reading-writing program by addressing three important aspects in the process, namely: use of resources, training of students’ note-taking strategies and incorporation of classroom tasks that require noticing, recording and using collocations. This is further elaborated through an example of how a reading text can be exploited to promote students’ awareness and use of collocation, and their learning of collocation in and outside the classroom.

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Interview with Alan Maley: Exploring Creativity in the Language Classroom

by Flora Debora Floris
Petra Christian University, Indonesia

Alan Maley
Professor Alan Maley has been involved in English Language Teaching (ELT) for over 50 years. He worked for the British Council in Yugoslavia, Ghana, Italy, France, China and India. For 5 years he was Director of the Bell Educational Trust in Cambridge. He worked in universities in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia as well as in his native country, UK. For 25 years Alan was Series Editor for the OUP Resource Books for Teachers series. He has published over 40 books and numerous articles.

Alan has been privileged to work with some of the ‘greats’, well-known people such as Michael Swan, Robert O’Neill, Ron Carter, Earl Stevick, and N.S. Prabhu. He has also derived great pleasure and happiness from working with all manner of teachers worldwide, ranging from primary teachers in Ghana, secondary school teachers in France, MA students in Thailand, and teachers in private language schools in a whole variety of contexts.

But apart from the people, Alan says, “I have also received great satisfaction from the way ideas and new approaches have evolved over the years, and the passion which drives that process. As part of this I have felt encouraged by the growth in self-esteem among us deriving from the way we have to a large extent established ourselves as a profession.”

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Theory to Practice: An Easy-to-follow Book on Teaching Vocabulary

by Feng Teng
Nanning University, China

Lessard-Clouston, M. (2013). Teaching Vocabulary. Alexandria, VA: TESOL International Association.
ISBN 978-1-93118-597-4, 46 Pages.

The psycholinguistic and corpus-based research concerning the core issue of vocabulary has received significant attention over the past two decades. Although the research on vocabulary cannot be equated with the breadth of research on syntax, the central role of vocabulary in language learning, both theoretically and practically, has received much attention. In addition, the pedagogical application of vocabulary research and activities has undergone much discussion (e.g., Hiebert & Kamil, 2005; Nation, 2008; Nation & Gu, 2007; Nation & Webb, 2011; Zimmerman, 2009; Ur, 2012). Recently, there has been a surge in publications on researching vocabulary in terms of both pedagogy and practice. Teaching Vocabulary, Lessard-Clouston’s new book, written in accessible language, is a note-worthy and thought-provoking work. It can inform experienced teachers who want to probe more deeply into the area of vocabulary as well as novice teachers who want to apply theories derived from vocabulary research within classroom practices.

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Teacher Voices: A Virtual Forum for ELT Professionals

by Fenty Lidya Siregar
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Teacher professional development (TPD) is fundamental since effective teaching comes from a teacher who actively constructs his or her knowledge and skills through different means and is reflectively engaged in exploring his or her own teaching development  (Richards, 2002). In the past, we might have thought that institutions or government agencies were responsible for providing training for TPD. However, Richards and Farell (2005, p. 15) argue that “[t]eachers can plan many aspects of their own professional development.” In other words, TPD can be carried out by individual teachers who take the initiative.

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Choosing the Right International Journal in TESOL and Applied Linguistics

by Willy A Renandya,
National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Choosing the right international journal for your research paper can be a daunting task and the process may seem complicated. This is particularly so if you have had little or no experience publishing in an international journal. This paper provides practical guidelines that could help novice writers find answers to questions such as these: What types of journals are available in the field of TESOL and Applied Linguistics? Which types of journals are the most suitable for their papers? What are some of the key criteria that institutions use to assess the quality of a journal? What is the review process like? How long is the wait time? What is the rejection rate of the journal? Are there journals that have lower rejection rates for novice writers? The paper also lists a number of journals that novice writers could aim for in order to increase the acceptance rates of their submissions.

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Get the Picture: Teaching with Multimodal Texts

by Philip McConnell
English Language Institute of Singapore

Our students encounter many texts in their daily lives which combine linguistic, auditory and visual modes of representation. Such rich, multimodal texts can serve in the classroom as authentic and engaging materials that allow learners at any level to explore how meaning is created. They can also be used as the basis for many kinds of learning activities, providing additional means of engagement for teachers to help students develop skills for critical thinking, speaking and listening. Furthermore, these texts might be used to give students the opportunity to interact more effectively in different contexts for a variety of audiences and purposes. This paper offers a research-based rationale for teaching with multimodal texts. It also gives examples of multimodal texts and a set of strategies for the English classroom which are intended to enrich the experience of learning.

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Second Language Teacher Contributions to Student Classroom Participation: A Narrative Study of Indonesian Learners

by Nugrahenny T. Zacharias
Satya Wacana Christian University, Indonesia

One major factor determining student classroom participation is the classroom teachers because they are the ones who control the turn-taking in the classroom. Despite the significant role of classroom teachers, to date there is a lack of studies focusing on the role of classroom teachers in specific EFL contexts such as those in Indonesia. The purpose of the present study is to explore how teacher talk contributes to student classroom participation patterns. Data was collected through 85 student narratives written as part of a Cross Cultural Understanding (CCU) course assessment in an English teacher preparation program in a private university in Indonesia. From the student narratives, the factors related to teacher talk cited as contributing to student classroom participation were teachers’ lecturing styles, teachers’ lack of modified input, unfavorable past teacher feedback and teachers’ pedagogical stories. The study points to the critical role of teacher talk in shaping student classroom participation patterns.

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Making Lit a Hit: Using the BRAIN when Teaching Literature in an ESL or EFL Context

by John Daryl B. Wyson
University of the Philippines Diliman

The Traditional Literary-Critical Method (TLCM) of literature teaching involves rote memorization of interpretations by literary critics and facts about the texts at hand (Afsar, 2011). Such a pedagogical approach can be disempowering since it does not help students develop their reading proficiency, develop critical thinking, relate to the socio-cultural context present in the text, or contextualize their interpretations. To help literature educators keep their lessons empowering and relevant, guidelines called the BRAIN (an acronym that stands for Balanced, Relevant, Appropriate, Integrated, and Nurturing) were developed by this writer for teaching literature. This innovation is a combination of the pedagogical principles identified by scholars as instrumental to effective literature teaching. Such principles are demonstrated through the lesson plan found at the end of the paper (see Appendix 1).

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When a Facebook Group Makes a Difference: Facebook for Language Learning

by Adnan Al-Hammody
University of Nineveh, Iraq

This paper investigates what Iraqi students gain from interacting in English in a Facebook group in an EFL context. An online questionnaire of eight multiple-choice and two open-ended questions was provided to the participants, who are university students studying English. Thirty-five participants responded to the questionnaire. In addition, four participants and one teacher were randomly selected for phone interviews. For data analysis, mixed methods analysis was conducted since the data were both qualitative and quantitative in nature. For the qualitative data analysis, the “grounded” approach was used to identify “patterns” or “themes”, and an “a priori” approach for the focused questions and responses previously determined by the researcher. As for the quantitative data analysis, percentages of responses of each Likert-scale question were calculated. The outcomes of this study are potentially important to both students and teachers who want to expand learning opportunities for students outside the classroom.

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