Matching Items (3)

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A comparative analysis of connectives in Chinese textbooks for foreign language learners

Description

Research in foreign language (FL) acquisition has shown that connectives, a key linguistic element contributing to cohesion and sentence complexity, pose a great challenge for FL learners at all proficiency

Research in foreign language (FL) acquisition has shown that connectives, a key linguistic element contributing to cohesion and sentence complexity, pose a great challenge for FL learners at all proficiency levels. In spite of the importance of connectives in foreign language acquisition, little research has been conducted to explore how connectives are taught and presented in foreign language classrooms and textbooks.

The primary purpose of this study is to examine the presentation and introduction of connectives as well as the pedagogical activities provided for learning connectives in Chinese textbooks for novice to intermediate FL learners. To achieve the purpose of the study, three different sets of widely-used Chinese textbooks were selected and compared. The results show that while the amount of coverage varies greatly among the three sets of textbook, the sequence of presenting connectives in each series of textbooks closely follows the ranks suggested in the HSK Grading Standards and Grammar Outline (HSK is the shortened form for Chinese Proficiency Test). As for the activities, although all three textbooks claim to adopt a communicative approach to FL teaching, they differ considerably in the type of activities provided. In addition, it is evident that more traditional form-focused exercises are included in those textbooks than meaning-focused communicative tasks.

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  • 2015

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Heritage vs. non-heritage language learner attitudes in a beginning-level mixed Spanish language class

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ABSTRACT

This qualitative study used a survey to investigate the attitudes and experiences of 44 Heritage learners (HLL) and non-Heritage learners (NHLL) in beginning-level Spanish courses with a mixed population (HLLs

ABSTRACT

This qualitative study used a survey to investigate the attitudes and experiences of 44 Heritage learners (HLL) and non-Heritage learners (NHLL) in beginning-level Spanish courses with a mixed population (HLLs and NHLLs) in the same classroom. Specifically, the survey elicited data on their attitudes and experiences towards their own language skills in Spanish and English, their mixed beginning-level Spanish course, their personal reactions to mixed classes, and their attitudes toward classmates that belong to the other group (e.g., HLLs view of NHLLs). The findings of this study indicated that HLLs perceived their listening and speaking skills to be better than their literacy (reading and writing) skills, while NHLLs self-assessed their receptive skills (reading and listening) to be higher than their productive skills (speaking and writing). In addition, both groups expressed a positive attitude toward mixed beginning-level Spanish classes and noted specific advantages to learning in such an environment (e.g., the opportunity to learn about each other’s cultures, the fact that each group felt appreciated and valued by the other group) with very few disadvantages (e.g., HLLs had mixed opinions on the effect that a mixed class might have on a teacher’s expectation for how much material is covered and how thoroughly, while NHLLs mostly agreed that a teacher’s expectations would affect the breadth and depth of material covered; NHLLs thought the presence of HLLs in their class might negatively affect their grades). However, both groups indicated they would prefer to be in Spanish classes with members of their own group instead of in mixed classes (NHLLs affirmed this more than HLLs). This study concludes with a discussion of pedagogical implications, limitations of the study, and ideas for future research on this topic.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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An activity theoretical analysis of microblogging and blogging by Spanish L2 learners in a bridging activities framework

Description

The use of blogging tools in the second language classroom has been investigated from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives (Alm, 2009; Armstrong & Retterer, 2008; Dippold, 2009; Ducate

The use of blogging tools in the second language classroom has been investigated from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives (Alm, 2009; Armstrong & Retterer, 2008; Dippold, 2009; Ducate & Lomicka, 2008; Elola & Oskoz, 2008; Jauregi & Banados, 2008; Lee, 2009; Petersen, Divitini, & Chabert, 2008; Pinkman, 2005; Raith, 2009; Soares, 2008; Sun, 2009, 2012; Vurdien, 2011; Yang, 2009) and a growing number of studies examine the use of microblogging tools for language learning (Antenos-Conforti, 2009; Borau, Ullrich, Feng, & Shen, 2009; Lomicka & Lord, 2011; Perifanou, 2009). Grounded in Cultural Historical Activity Theory (Engestrom, 1987), the present study explores the outcomes of a semester-long project based on the Bridging Activities framework (Thorne & Reinhardt, 2008) and implemented in an intermediate hybrid Spanish-language course at a large public university in Arizona, in which students used microblogging and blogging tools to collect digital texts, analyze perspectives of the target culture, and participate as part of an online community of language learners with a broader audience of native speakers. The research questions are: (1) What technology is used by the students, with what frequency and for what purposes in both English and Spanish prior to beginning the project?, (2) What are students' values and attitudes toward using Twitter and Blogger as tools for learning Spanish and how do they change over time through their use in the project during the semester course?, and (3) What tensions emerge in the activity systems of the intermediate Spanish-language students throughout the process of using Twitter and Blogger for the project? What are the underlying reasons for the tensions? How are they resolved? The data was collected using pre-, post-, and periodic surveys, which included Likert and open-ended questions, as well as the participants' microblog and blog posts. The quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and the qualitative data was analyzed to identify emerging themes following the Constant Comparative Method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Finally, three participant outliers were selected as case studies for activity theoretical analysis in order to identify tensions and, through their resolution, evidence of expansive learning.

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Date Created
  • 2015