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43r43rd43r43rddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention ProceedingsProceedingsProceedingsProceedings

Dynamic Teaching:

New Trends in ELT

Monterrey,Monterrey,Monterrey,Monterrey, NuevoNuevoNuevoNuevo León,León,León,León, MMéxicoMMéxicoéxicoéxico OctoberOctoberOctoberOctober 27272727 –––– 30,30,30,30, 2016201620162016

MMéxicoMMéxicoéxicoéxico OctoberOctoberOctoberOctober 27272727 –––– 30,30,30,30, 2016201620162016


MEXTESOL, the Mexican Association of Teachers of English, A.C. is pleased to make available summaries of selected academic presentations given at this year’s Convention. MEXTESOL offers this non-profit compilation as an alternative for accessing information given at the sessions for those convention-goers who were unable to attend. It is also our interest that those colleagues who were unable to attend this year’s convention have an opportunity to see a sampling of what ELT professionals are pursuing.

As always, articles included in this year’s proceedings cover a variety of topics: classroom activities, teacher leadership, working with technology and inclusion. There is also research into topics that affect the English language teaching community.

Authors come from across the country of Mexico, from Quintana Roo to Baja California, as well as from different countries around the world. The different viewpoints provide us with the clear idea that we have more in common with each other than we have differences.

I’d like to thank Uli Schrader in the MEXTESOL offices for keeping the Proceedings on track and Daniel Sanchez, in San Luis Potosí, for taking charge of graphics and production. The Proceedings, as the Convention itself, only happen with the collaborative effort of everyone who takes part and with that in mind, thank you to everyone who sent in articles.

We hope that many English language professionals benefit from the ideas presented in this document and that in years to come, other Convention speakers participate as authors in the Proceedings. Thank you for your interest and participation in our organization, MEXTESOL.

Guadalupe Pineda Editor

Note: The speakers / authors submitted their articles according to the guidelines that were provided. These were subsequently formatted in order to provide uniformity in the presentation of the articles. MEXTESOL is not responsible for the contents of the summaries, nor for inaccuracies or omissions in the information, presentation or bibliographical references contained therein. In the table of contents, summaries are listed in alphabetical order of the speaker / author’s last name, as listed in the submitted files. The names in the articles appear as written.

MEXTESOL A.C. holds all rights to the Convention Proceedings.


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43rd International MEXTESOL Convention Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México The creat-teacher : The importance of innovation

The creat-teacher: The importance of innovation in teaching as a factor of influence in the L2/FL learning process

Dr. Dora Ivonne Álvarez Tamayo doraivonne.alvarez@upaep.mx Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla/ Benemérita Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Puebla

Abstract Changing is an inherent feature of human beings; people have to adapt their brains and their lives to dynamic systems including education. Speaking of learning a second or foreign language, teachers face the challenge of finding the way to generate conditions that motivate and help their students to develop communicative skills. A creat-teacher is required but it is necessary a formation process in order to get tools to create environments of learning.


“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” (Einstein, 2016).

Human evolution is in progress, as always, because changing is an inherent feature of human beings. However, nowadays the changes are speeder than other ages thanks to the technology advances. People have to adapt their brains and their lives to dynamic systems in all areas, including education. In this context, being a teacher has been a privilege and a responsibility, but now, speaking about learning a second or foreign language -English in particular- teachers face a challenge: to find the way to generate conditions that motivate and help their students to develop communicative skills that allow them to interact in a global world.

English Language Teaching is an area that has to be in continuous movement because implies a problem-solving mission. “Throughout the past century, many people have sought to identify an ideal approach to language learning. Along the way, the range of possible techniques and ways of conceptualizing language learning has expanded” (Piekarowicz, and Guerrero, 2014, p.10). Then, different proposals have come on the scene; some of them proceed from linguistic, psychology, pedagogy, among others. The diversity of cases,


necessities and goals of students are important motivations to keep in seeking of new methods and strategies for teaching and learning.

The concept of create-teacher “Education is the essential act of sharing skills and knowledge with our fellow human beings; particularly those who stand to inherit and define the future” (Piekarowicz, and Guerrero, 2014, p.8). Meanwhile, creativity and innovation are closely related concepts that should have a place in education. According to Ferrari, Cachia and Punie (2009), creativity refers to an ability to detect possibilities and a skill to produce novel and appropriate ideas. On the other hand, innovation is the application and implementation of creativity. If the premise that the teacher is a factor of major influence on the learning process is accepted and, as Smoot (2010) says, teachers care about their students as people as an active verb, then a creat-teacher is needed.

From this perspective, the term of creat-teacher represents a person with disposition to creativity and innovation, conscious about their influence in others’ life. The creat-teacher is curious, able to make questions, reflexive, critic, he/she assumes the risks of innovate in order to help others. These kinds of teachers understand their capacity to impact deeply in each person with whom they share the classroom. Their creations consist on environments for learning and strategies to improve their students’ performance. They generate meaningful connections between English and life that motivates students to have a favorable attitude to the learning process.

Considering an educational leadership point of view (Barth, 2007), the teacher as a part of

a community could be a leader of a group in order to share and grows up together.

“Language teachers make a vital contribution because they lay the groundwork for global citizenship and equip students to contribute within their local communities” (Piekarowicz, and Guerrero, 2014, p.8). Then, there exist a necessity and a motivation for innovation in classroom for adequate the strategies, generate new ones and implement improvements. Smoot (2010) explains that great teachers have a sense of their students as individual with

a unique style to learn. The creat-teacher is willing to innovate and evolve with the society

they serve in terms of learning a second language considering the students’ features.

Conditions that allow becoming a creat-teacher

To illustrate the potential of education, it is possible to introduce a metaphor: the classroom

is similar to a blank sheet during the writing process. A blank sheet could be considered as

a great opportunity or a terrifying event for writers no matter the age. The piece of paper is resting on the desk, and suddenly, the writer’s eyes focus on it. The sheet looks empty, motionless and seemingly harmless even expectant. But in a moment, somebody requested to start the action and the “writers” has the opportunity to take their thoughts out of their minds and the sheet of paper will become the space for generate a new and different story. A creat-teacher considers the classroom as a perfect opportunity to create


an atmosphere to learning. But, beyond the classroom, the teacher could extend their participation and could create different scenarios for learning experiences.

For being a creat-teacher, it is necessary a conscious process to develop competences that encourages the lateral thinking, the evaluation of the risk, the searching for new ways to teach and to involve students in a learning process. According to Ariton and Raileanu (2009, p.187), “a competence is the ability of a person or group to carry out major tasks of learning at a performance level corresponding to a criterion or standard in a specific context”. This concept includes knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that make a person able to perform successful in a job or task. Notwithstanding, some authors (Teodoroscu, 2006; Delamare and Winterton, 2005) explain that it is necessary understand the difference between competence and competency; this last, exceeds the concept of competence because quality performance sets high standards. Then, there are some aspects that a creat-teacher is invited to consider for starting to create learning experiences in a creative way.

Students perform a series of actions to satisfy their needs and curiosity such as identify, evaluate, search, dispose, and judge, and therefore to carry out a successful class, the create-teacher has to understand not only the students’ actions, but the reasons why they behave certain ways. This information is fundamental for developing the most effective strategies to achieve the goals of the class.

The conditions under which the professionals work demand an interdisciplinary training, in his/ her field of knowledge (discipline) plus an inclusive manner to set connections between the concepts, methods, data and terms that allows to integrate teams oriented to problem solving, teaching, research, and dissemination of knowledge imply curiosity, wellness and the capacity to dialogue with different disciplines. Interdisciplinary work helps teacher to expend their point of view and to find other ways to think and act.

When teaching is focused on human communication in ELT/L2, it is necessary to be conscious of this activity involves cognitive processes to access the student's inner world. Therefore it is good idea for creative-teachers to know the categories from which students organize their thinking. It means, the lexical structure, the categorical structure, the codes and the context are combined to produce a comprehensible message. A deeper understanding of this configuration could be the clue to generate alternatives for meaningful learning.

On the other hand, the understanding of the environment and the context around the classroom could be a starting point to modify or improve the conditions in a creative way. Little changes in the environment, the dynamics and the way to use the space could produce a surprising effect for the students. In this sense, it is very important to know the students’ previous paradigms around the class and consider them for produce an


intentional disruption. Any modification of paradigm has to be based on knowledge and clarity about the learning goals.

Even though creativity is a natural feature of the human being, it would be convenient to incorporate some systematic abilities associated with research because the primary objective of the research is related to discovering, interpreting and work on the base of methods and systems that impact in human knowledge in a different scientific matters including ETL (Ariton and -Raileanu, 2009). The research competences to develop includes observation, ability for identify and state a problem and a question, hypothesis production, design of data collection instruments, analysis, synthesis, skills for communicate and explain results orally and written, planning, critical, creative and ethical thinking.

Conclusions Teaching is an activity that demands creativity; when teacher is working in ETL/L2, the situations in classroom could be varied and diverse. Since each group and each student are unique cases, formation processes oriented to develop research competences in language teachers could be useful because its work demands solving problems. Then, teachers will be able to implement strategies with systematically, taking account a prior knowledge and making decisions with conscious about their implications. It is important to highlight that teachers care about their students, as people curiosity and innovation are main competences in order to be able to make questions and assumes the risks to help others.

Any English teacher is invited to continue learning and try new ways of teaching but creativity is not enough, teaching requires having the courage to apply their ideas, it means to innovate. Therefore, it is necessary a formation process that allow teachers to understand the evolution of language acquisition/learning, in order to get tools to understand the students’ features, and create environments of learning according to the necessities of them. Teaching demands being reflexive, to be disposed to actualization, research, humility, to share and maybe the most important: to understand that teacher and students could be a great team!



Ariton, D. and Raileanu, A. (2009). Education-training-skills system for research competency development. The 4 th International Conference on Interdisciplinarity in Education, ICIE 2009. May 21-22. Retrieved from:



Barth, R. S. (2007). Teacher leader. In Ackerman, R.H. and Mackenzie S.V. (Eds.), Uncovering Teacher Leadership: Essays and Voices from the Field. (pp. 51-64). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Delamare, F. and Winternton, J. (2005). What is competence? Human Resource Development International, 8(1). 27-46.

Einstein, A. (2016). The Critical Thinking Co. Retrieved from:


Ferrari, A., Cachia, R. and Punie, Y. (2009). Innovation and Creativity in Education and Training in the EU Member States: Fostering Creative Learning and Supporting Innovative Teaching Literature review on Innovation and Creativity in E&T in the EU Member States (ICEAC). Luxembourg: European Communities. Retrieved from:


Piekarowicz, J. and Guerrero, S. (2014). Primary Methodology Handbook: Practical Ideas for ELT. Oxford: Richmond.

Smoot, B. (2010). Conversations with great teachers. Bloomington and Indianapolis:

Indiana University Press.

Teodescu, T. (2006). Competence versus competency. What is the difference?. Performance Improvement. 45(10). 27-30. DOI:10.1002/pfi.027


44443r3r3r3rdddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention

Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Learners acknowledge teacher leadership. Why don't we?

Learners acknowledge teacher leadership. Why don't we?

Norma Guadalupe Arévalo Torres norma.arevalo@gmail.com Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México and Universidad de Ixtlahuaca CUI

Introduction Leadership is oone of the Core Skills for the 21 st Century to be developed by education systems worldwide. The role of teachers –including language teachers- in such process must be carefully analysed to be later bolstered, as ‘ what 21 st century learners need, is 21 st teachers ’ (Jones, L. 2010).

In 1996 Murphy, E. C. shaped the concept of Leadership I.Q. and described it as a series of behaviors performed as different roles: Negotiator, Healer, Reflector, Protector, Synergizer, Selector, Communicator, Connector, Problem solver and Evaluator. Christison, M.A. & Stoler, F.L. (2009), added new insights to the topic.

It has been proved that when novice and experienced teachers acknowledge their teaching as influenced by leadership principles, they may be better able to manage the challenges of language teaching, enhance and enrich their skillsets, and achieve greater professional success, as empowering teachers’ leadership is what classrooms need for more effectiveness (Tyson, 2010).

On this idea, Greenier and Whitehead’s work (2016) Model of Teacher Leadership in ELT:

Authentic Leadership in Classroom Practice, added insights on the topic, as they found in 56 native-speaking English teachers that teachers not consciously think of themselves as classroom leaders, even though their teaching practices and features are somehow rooted on the concept of classroom leadership.

On the other side of the learning duo, to what extent are teacher leadership skills important for English learners? How aware are these learners of the way their teacher gives direction to the class and the relevance this has on their learning process? These questions were addressed to more deeply know about the factors underlying teaching success beyond academic qualifications. Throughout this article answers coming from surveys are provided


for teachers, trainers and administrators interested in using the information on their own premises.

Procedure The study was carried out at the University Language Center. 80 students took part of the survey; from them 55% were women while 45% were men. Participants ranged from 15 to 31+ years of age; school years extended from first high-school year to higher studies. Their English language skills were CEFR A1-B2.

Participants contributed with information in two different sets. First, they weighed the importance that different leadership skills have in the classroom, and to what extent they pursue them in their teachers. Second, they evaluated 20 teachers’ performance in four roles intimately related to leadership: as a communicator, as a connector, as a problem solver and as a healer. A series of four aspects per role were appraised as behaviours executed by the teacher and therefore instrumented on the students or witnessed by them.

Results As for the first set of information collected, all participants agreed that every leadership skill has a certain degree of significance, therefore no aspect was measured as irrelevant for the learning process. The abilities to communicate and connect were ranked at the top positions, followed by problem-solving skills, and the talent to keep a healthy working and learning environment moderately behind.

Regarding the second set of data, 100% teachers were estimated as leaders with varying rates of performance. Concerning leadership roles that of a communicator is the most strongly performed by teachers, as eye contact, openness postures, focused attention, distraction control and verbal clarification were the most frequently identified by students. Second were placed behaviors related to the role of connector, such as getting to know the learners, their skills, needs and interests; in addition to monitoring, promoting participation and integration on inter and intra-group basis, in addition to making relations with their profession peers. On third place were positioned behaviors on the kind of managing conflict effectively, teaching mediation strategies and setting example on mutual respect to life and privacy, all of them part of the role as problem solver. Consequently, healer was the role with a wider range of estimations and less consistency as, while a teacher is regarded as somebody who easily adapts to her students personalities and is aware of the dynamics taking place in her class, at the same time devotes very little time to listening to students carefully and may hurry through her lesson plan.

In an analysis of the results for each role by gender, female teachers obtained higher rates than their male counterparts in all cases. However, no differences between the way female and male students valuated leadership skills and teachers were found. Besides, there is no difference in students’ perception according to age, education and English skills.


Discussion Not only do students grant as highly valuable that their teachers function as leaders, but they also acknowledge such skills in the professionals they are learning with.

Students of English know what they like and want in an English teacher regardless of their age, command of the language and learning experience. Schools, managers and teachers must commit too.

Together with methodological knowledge and technical skills, the development and improvement of leadership competences is a crucial area for every English teacher to work on and for every school manager to impulse.

Women were better assessed as leaders than men, as the behaviors were more often observed. There may be a need for programs to develop leadership with a specific gender vision where such aspects can be counted upon.

Teachers of English should get more aware of their own behaviors, value and foster the ones they already have, use them to benefit their classes as models of leadership, as well as work to develop the ones they lack.

Teachers and teachers’ practice will greatly benefit from developing leadership skills. Therefore, opportunities to develop such areas should be offered to teachers, so they can in consequence model to others.

Even though students’ answers reflect they identify, receive and appreciate leadership behaviors from their teachers, they deserve to be more widely informed about the importance of such aspect, the ways it works and the effect it may have on their learning process, the classroom atmosphere and their own personal and professional goals.

The learning process is strongly enhanced when teachers are empowered to lead their classes, and their leadership is grounded on connections, not only on qualifications.

Leadership is a quality not usually considered when evaluating a teacher for hiring purposes. However, people in charge could start considering such feature in their prospects, as their communities will largely benefit from it.

Program administrators may get more aware of the importance they are right now giving to leadership skills in their teachers and whether it would be appropriate to adjust their approaches. In addition, teacher trainers and supervisors area called to realize that actions must be taken to help teachers develop their leadership skills in a time when stronger presences in the classroom are required to generate more successful speakers.



Christison, M.A. & Stoler, F.L. (2009) Leadership in English Language Education:

Theoretical Foundations and Practical Applications. New York: Routledge/ Taylor & Francis.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.

Greenier, V. T. & Whitehead, G. E. (2016) Towards a Model of Teacher Leadership in ELT:

Authentic Leadership in Classroom Practice. University of Auckland, New Zealand and University of Suwon, South Korea-

Jones, L. (2010). In The Career Key. (chap. Foundation Skills). Retrieved Aug. 15, 2016, from http://www.careerkey.org/pdf/The%20Foundation%20Job%20Skills.pdf

Murphy, E.C: (1996). Leadership IQ. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Tyson, T. (2010). Who really is surprised by this?


Retrieved Aug. 15, 2016, from


44443r3r3r3rdddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention

Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Activating your English Academy: Best practices and

Activating your English Academy: Best practices and better practices

Chaz William Brown maestrochaz@gmail.com Universidad Tecnológica de la Costa Grande de Guerrero Fabiola Pérez Palma Universidad Tecnológica de Cancún

One of the best ways in which an academic body (or any variety of entity) can improve its effectiveness and agility is by gathering and analyzing the different practices of similar groups of people that have the same goals or types of goals. Taking this into consideration, university academies should constantly be looking to their peers and counterparts in order to see what types of initiatives and projects have worked for them and how they can modify or change projects to better match their specific needs and academic environments. This workshop aims to do just that: share our best practices as academic bodies in order to then explore the possibilities of implementation in other educational institutions and consider the needs and available resources that pertain to each particular situation. Participants will be asked to work together in teams to develop a tangible research plan for their English Academy and challenged to maintain contact with research groups in other institutions through constant feedback and evaluation of programs and investigative initiatives.

Through multiple brainstorm sessions, informative worksheets, peer feedback and by tapping our creative synergies, researchers can gain an untapped understanding of the broad range of research topics and possibilities associated with the linguistic field of study, as well as an outline for a work plan that they can propose and/or implement in their institutions. Through collaborative efforts on an inter-institutional level, professors and administrators alike can promote an unmatched mentality of what it means to be academically productive and how to implement a wider variety of creative research projects.

According to Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus, working in an Academy means working in “an organization intended to protect and develop an art, science, language, etc.” That is why, since 2006, The Languages Coordination from the Universidad Tecnológica de Cancún has been working through the English Academy making fundamental contributions related to the English programs from several academic departments like Tourism, Gastronomy, Administration, Marketing, Financial Engineering,


Maintenance and Spa among others. It has not been an easy job but the enthusiasm and the professors’ professionalism have allowed us to improve our teaching practice, but above all, to look for the better teaching strategies in benefit of our main stakeholders: the students.

At this point maybe you are wondering but how we can handle with it if I am a part time professor or a full time professor. The answer is simple: Your motivation and ability to incorporate creativity into your daily agenda. Your Passion is what inspires you to make changes in your life and your teaching practice. Your creativity allows you to act upon that passion. Together, they allow us to explore unthought-of academic territory and create projects, programs and initiatives that would have otherwise gone unnoticed or undeveloped.

This interactive workshop will begin by demystifying the commonly held notions of research and what it means to be “academically productive” and theories regarding group formation and development. By exploring the different strategies and means of collaborative research projects, the presenters will share the ways in which their institutions have benefitted from a variety of diverse investigative projects and initiatives. Participants will hear testimony of best practices that universities have implemented here in Mexico and share their own experiences in the linguistic field of research.

This information is geared towards all makes and models of leaders who aim to develop an active body of linguistic scholars within their institution, and aims to untangle the commonly held notions regarding how professors and administrator alike can work together on a productive and, oftentimes, fun research agenda. The key to the success of this agenda lies in the creativity and passion applied to the different scholarly interests of the teachers, students, directors and administrators of your institution.

From the beginning, we will focus on what an “investigative” professor looks like and expose the misconceptions that are often associated with what an academically productive teacher does. This dilemma leads to many complications and setbacks when it comes to academic production and fomenting a culture of scholarly output within a university or any educational organization that requires constant professional development. One way to solve this quandary is to make the research process one of adventure, intrigue and, most of all, fun! Because let’s face it: nobody wants to spend hours on the computer reading, writing and researching about things that are of little or no interest to them. We are naturally inclined to invest more time and energy into things that we are passionate about, and academics and scholars are no exception.

The two main research models that we will discuss and that have been successfully applied at the Universidad Tecnológica de la Costa Grande de Guerrero and Universidad Tecnológica de Cancún (UTC) are: Tuckman’s group formation theory (1965) and Action Research (AR) (1947).


Among the great benefits that these research models offer are: a) improved teaching and learning practice, b) increased continuous professional development and c) teacher’s engagement in research has the potential to be transformative (Borg 2010).

In accordance with Lewin (1947), Action Research is also called teacher research and teacher as a researcher. Its main essence is to help the professor solve school problems and to improve both student learning and teacher effectiveness. In addition, it is a structured process in which the professors identify, examine and improve aspects of the teaching practice.

Some studies in the ELT context have explored the immediate impact of AR on teachers, and have reported profound impacts on teacher’s development, such as deeper knowledge and personal theories about teaching, increased awareness and reflectivity, empowerment, and beneficial collaboration with their colleagues (Atay 2008;Wyatt 2011).

Moreover, some of the teachers found AR led to more open communication with their students, since many of their researches included interviews and focus groups conducted collaboratively.

On the other hand, students from the UT Cancun who have taken part in our researches, events and programs have had a great improvement in speaking, writing, listening and reading skills. They have felt more confident while speaking in public and their motivation for learning languages (English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Maya) has increased.

It is paramount to mention that most of the students who have won a scholarship for learning a language or related to their field of study have been involved in some or many of the activities and programs that we as Language Academy have carried out.

Related to Tuckman’s group formation theory, the English Academy from the UTC has put into practice the “NORM” stage due to the institutionalization of many different cultural and academic events like: Literary Gathering, Spelling Bee Contest, Interview with the Stars, The English Festival, Mobility Group (MEXPROTEC), SAC program, ESP Manual Design, Academic Journals, Regional, National and International Lectures and Presentations, Tutoring Program, TOEFL program, Languages Assistant Program, Duolingo Program, UT Cancun Bilingual Program 2018-2020 (June 2016), Book Design Program: Básicos de la Administración (published in 2014) and Basic of English (in process). Most of these events/programs have been carried out since 2006 till the present.

Tuckman mentions that the Norm stage of group formation is demonstrated through commitment and unity of the Academy and indicates that the strength and longevity of the group are stable and sustainable. In addition, this step is associated with a general respect for the leader and the fact that some of leadership is shared by the team in general, making


the administration and responsibility of the group a more holistic aspect that does not rely on one sole member of the group.

This can be seen through the formation of different committees and sub-committees within an Academy, such is the case at the Universidad Tecnológica de la Costa Grande and its initiative to co-author an English grammar workbook of additional exercises for students to be able to put their recently gained knowledge into practice gain valuable experience with different grammar tenses in a variety of contexts and formats (fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, matching, complete the sentence, dynamic and group exercise, etc). Due to the nature of the workbook initiative, the Academy decided to divide the project into 3 different sub-committees, each of which with a specific responsibility and objective; taking into account that the Academy as a whole continues pursuing the same overall goal of publishing the workbook.

Another investigative program being spearheaded by members of the English Academy at the Universidad Tecnológica de la Costa Grande de Guerrero is the research project entitled Linguistic Spaces. The idea for Linguistic Spaces was initiated by an English professor who noticed the growing need for physical spaces to practice foreign languages within the university. Because of this observation the professor began to inquire at other institutions of higher education to see what kinds of spaces and resources they had available to their students and how they acquired such spaces. This teacher’s observation of the lack of linguistic infrastructure and inquiry into the problem has grown to become a collaborative, inter-institutional effort involving multiple professors and an array of institutions. Initiatives such as this one are indicative of the importance of paying attention to our daily activities and how adding a dash of creativity to the situation can make the difference between a simple “observation” and a blossoming investigative project worth of publication.

Teachers who are in the classroom on a daily basis can easily fall victim to the overwhelming and demanding agenda; between hundreds of students and their individual needs, grading, teacher workshops, parent-teacher conferences, writing exams, and the countless personal struggles it’s no wonder many teachers are terrified of the word “research.” However, we cannot let the daunting connotation of the term impede us from becoming involved in investigative projects; we simply need to find the most compatible way to do so. Teachers can use their daily activities as part of a broader or long-term research agenda – it is simply a question of being creative enough to identify the multitude of research-compatible activities that we already do on a daily basis.

As teachers we have taken (or even given) countless workshops, courses, classes, forums, conferences and symposiums about the importance of considering our students’ individual needs and interests, but how often do we consider our own needs and interests when planning a research agenda? We cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of participating in things that genuinely interests us because it is that pleasure that makes the process of


learning and, ultimately, researching one of high performance and productivity. By taking ourselves into consideration when planning a research project, we will turn the scary process of investigation into a fun, interesting, collaborative, valuable and beneficial program.


"Developing an Action Plan." (n.d.): n. pag. University of Cincinnati. McNair/STARS Scholar Program, 2008. Web. 19 July 2016.

Glickman C.D (1992) The essence of school renewal: the prose has begun. Educational Leadership. 24-27.

Kristen. "Kristen's Action Research.": Finally 2010. Web. 19 July 2016.


Research Plan. Blogspot, 1 Aug.

Lewin, K (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics. II. Channels of groups lige: social planning and action research. Human Relations1, 143-153.

Tuckman (2016) "Tuckman Forming Storming Norming Performing Model." Businessballs. Businessballs, 2016. Web. 19 July 2016.


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Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Drinking from a fire hose: Choosing and

Drinking from a fire hose: Choosing and adapting didactic materials

Virginia Calhoun emilyjanelang@yahoo.com.mx Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas Escuela de Lenguas C III

Most teachers would concur with the recommendation that coursebooks need supplementing with additional materials (Ur, 1996). Educators debate the merits of authentic and non-authentic materials in the classroom (Scrivener, 2011), with authentic materials (original literary texts, song lyrics, etc.) preferred for older and more advanced learners for their cultural content, while young beginners may need non-authentic material (images, stories, songs and games created specifically for didactic purposes). Teachers spend much time outside of class in the search for both authentic and non-authentic materials such as texts, verb charts, vocabulary posters, etc. In the case of younger learners, additional materials such as songs, stories and games are invaluable to the teacher seeking to engage learners (Harmer, 200), to include students of different learning modalities: visual, auditory and kinesthetic (Barbe, Swassing and Milone, 1979), to increase learners’ motivation and joy in learning, to give new language an emotional context, and to serve as basic language structures that can be varied for the speaker’s purposes.

While teachers understand that we need to include these extra materials, sometimes it is difficult to find or prepare exactly what we need, especially for those teachers (most of us!) who are juggling class hours, family, and other obligations some 25 hours per day. Although few teachers now prepare vast quantities of homemade posters, flashcards, board games and puppets, still, even with the aid of the internet and websites full of ideas, finding adequate materials online is like trying to drink water from a fire hose (Rader, 2009). There is so much material, both authentic and didactic, and the quality is so variable, that the problem becomes selecting which of all the available images, songs, games or stories will best enrich lessons. Teachers can become overwhelmed by so much choice. As Harmer (2001) comments, internet’s “sheer size and range make it potentially awkward.”

How do we evaluate the materials we find? Teachers need tools to assess resources’ utility and attractiveness for their particular situation. The authenticity of materials, while giving an extra cultural context to the lesson, is less important for young learners than the quality of


these materials. I suggest two essential factors that should be taken into consideration:

“How useful is this material?” and “How attractive is it?”

Materials are primarily used as an adjunct to the lesson and must help make the targeted language clear. Images (drawings, photos, graphs or tables need to be large enough for all students to see them, and clear enough so everyone can understand what they represent. Song that are basically drills set to music (for example: “Can You Swim?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maiVHjK8UqM) will be eminently useful for repetition and practice, especially if combined with mime, pictures, dramatization, video clips, or any combination of those elements, in order to help students understand the meaning of the lyrics. Games like Charades, 20 Questions, Jeopardy and Seven-Up are also repetition drills that reinforce vocabulary or structures (Calhoun 2014). Certain stories naturally focus on language that is useful for language learners: adjectives with “too” in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” or food vocabulary in “Stone Soup.” Images, songs, stories and games especially designed for English language teachers abound on internet.

However, if materials are too insipid, too infantile, too unfamiliar or too boring for students, motivation to use and learn from them will be lacking. Learners may become distracted or unruly when the lesson bores them. For this reason, materials must be attractive for the group, as well as useful.

What makes didactic material attractive? There are many factors for each learning styles:

Large, bold, brightly-colored images, simple cartoons or humorous pictures, photos relevant to the learners’ context and surroundings or familiar memes and images from popular culture will appeal to visual learners. Auditory learners will enjoy songs with funny lyrics or a lively melody, or English versions of songs and rhymes familiar from popular culture or from their own traditions. Active, competitive games, especially if they involve mime or exaggeration, are a hit with kinesthetic young learners. Each teacher, observing the learners in each group, will learn by trial and error which activities are most successful for motivating their particular students.

We can rank materials, then, on each of these two scales: usefulness and attractiveness. For example, the circle game “Did You Ever See a Laddie” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=726gvpy4szw is active and fun for young learners, but the vocabulary presented there is limited, archaic, and not be particularly useful in normal conversation. We could grade it 3 for usefulness and 10 for attractiveness: a combined score of 13. On the other hand, a didactic song such as “Question Song for Delia”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rATFYJ0KPhQ is eminently useful, with images and rhymes

to help learners remember the information that each question word seeks. We could give it

a 10 for usefulness, but the simple melody and rhythm give it very little appeal. We would

have to give it a 4 or less for attractiveness: a combined score of 14 or less. Activities with

a combined score of 16 or more could be good options for classroom use.


Nevertheless, some potential materials, both useful and attractive, may still be unacceptable or inappropriate for learners. Archaic language (“How are you today, Sir?” “Very well, I thank you,” in the song “Where is Thumbkin?”), contextual disjunction (posters of the four seasons showing English weather and seasonal foods which bewilder Mexican learners) or discriminatory attitudes (images in which only white males appear in all the professional categories as doctors, lawyers, firemen or policemen, etc.) can make teachers feel obligated to eliminate an activity in spite of their students’ enthusiasm for it. In this case, teachers may decide to adapt the activity: altering the archaic or offensive language, for example, or coloring and retouching images to make them represent more women and people of color, or the learners’ climate and seasonal changes. Simple adaptations can be made easily and rapidly. For example, the song “Ten Little Indians,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_UhnxIBf28 in which Native Americans are counted like objects, may seem racist to indigenous learners in Mexico. We can change the words “Indians” and “Indian boys” to “chocolates” and “chocolate bars” (objects that children would enjoy and count naturally) without losing the rhythm or the usefulness of the song.

Materials that rank high in utility and attractiveness, without any problems of archaic language, strange context or offensive language, may still be inefficient, taking too long or involving too much extraneous language (a 10 minute activity that only presents five targeted words in an ocean of unfamiliar language and confusing details, for example). Teachers can adapt these materials to focus more on specific targeted language, repeating key words or phrases and simplifying or eliminating distracting elements.

Some materials are easier to adapt than others. Adapted simple English versions of traditional stories, songs or games may be available online. Otherwise, the simpler or the more familiar the material is, the easier it is to adapt. Large coloring-book pictures, repetitious songs with short phrases, traditional nursery tales, and beloved games will be easier to alter than complex photographs, contemporary pop songs, elaborate stories full of many nuanced characters, or complicated games that require intricate instructions.

As an example, let us look at visual materials for teaching family vocabulary. The Simpsons are a TV family familiar to many students, and simple images on internet will make this vocabulary clear. Another familiar family is the holy family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that Mexican families put into their nativity scenes at Christmastime. We can adapt those nativity scene figures by wrapping the Baby Jesus in a scrap of blue cloth and inserting an additional Baby Jesusita, wrapped in pink cloth, to teach the words “sister” or “daughter”. Most students find the adaptation funny and quite easy to understand.

A popular auditory way for teachers to present or practice animal vocabulary is the familiar

song: Old McDonald Had a Farm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIWbUjHZFTw

The original words go as follows:


Old McDonald had a farm, Ee-i-ee-i-oh, And on the farm he had a cow, Ee-i-ee-i-oh, With a moo, moo here, And a moo, moo there, Here a moo, There a moo, Everywhere a moo, moo, Old McDonald had a farm, Ee-i-ee-i-oh!

The repetition of animal sounds makes the song fun to sing, but in fact, the word for each animal is pronounced only one time: thus, the song is not very useful. With adaptation, however, this song can become much more useful, while still being enjoyable.

Old McDonald had a farm, Ee-i-ee-i-oh, And on the farm he had a cow, Ee-i-ee-i-oh, And the cow says “Moo”, And the cow says “Moo”, Moo, cow, Moo, cow, Moo, moo, moo, cow, Old McDonald had a farm, Ee-i-ee-i-oh,

Six repetitions of the key word (cow), while still preserving the lively pace and the familiar melody, as well as the fun animal sounds (moo) will make this song much more effective, while still enjoyable. In addition, combining this song with gestures, mime or images will increase both the appeal and the learners’ understanding of the text.

Another form of adaptation is simple translation, preserving the rhythm of the original text. Many grade school students in Mexico enjoy the clapping game “Calicaturas Presenta,” in which the participants must give different example of words in the stipulated category:

animals, foods, countries, etc. The person who repeats a word, can’t think of an appropriate word, or destroys the clapping rhythm by thinking too long, loses, and must start again with a different category. This game is a marvelous tool for increasing vocabulary, as well as being an activity that children often choose to play without any adult interference.

In order to use this game as a kinesthetic activity in an English class, the translation must preserve the original clapping rhythm, keeping the phrases short. The original Spanish text appears below, alongside my English translation. Claps are represented by asterisks.

Calicaturas** presenta:** nombres de** animales** Por ejemplo:** Gato,** Perro,**

Looney Tunes** pre-sents:** names of** animals** For example:** Ca-at**, Do-og**

(Calhoun, 2014)


Stories from a picture book and mime or dramatization by the learners are a wonderful combination of visual, auditory and kinesthetic appeal. The traditional story of “The Golden Goose” includes many family words: a kingly father with his sad daughter, a poor woman with her three sons, and a parade of greedy people trying to steal the golden goose. By simplifying the details of the story that are not related to family vocabulary and making all the parade of greedy people be family members of the wicked innkeeper, we can introduce sisters, daughters, aunts, uncles and grandparents to this funny story. Asking students to dramatize the story with masks or costumes will make this story and the vocabulary used even more memorable for children.

Non-native speakers uncertain about the accuracy of their translation or adaptation may want to check their text with an online translation site or with a colleague. Compare the text in various online translation sites, and enter the entire sentence, not just isolated words. It is a good idea to keep the language simple and repetitive anyway, for didactic reasons, and to maintain the focus on the targeted vocabulary or structures.

Teachers may feel uncomfortable altering original images or authentic texts, but if our teaching situation requires it, we need to take courage and do what is necessary to make English accessible to our students. Many of the materials we use, such as traditional songs, stories and games, are already in the public domain and can be used, altered or radically changed by anyone, without regard to copyright laws. Artists, filmmakers and composers have always recycled older materials. Walt Disney, for example, used traditional stories for many of his movies, while the ancient Greek playwrights created their tragedies from well-known myths and tales. Classical composers wrote variations on traditional songs and dances; Russian icon painters faithfully copied ancient models.

When using new material, we would naturally acknowledge our sources when appropriate. However, we will not get into trouble using our own adaptations of new material, popular music or contemporary film plots in our own classrooms. Copyright laws exist to keep people from claiming authorship, selling or making a profit from artists’ original materials, not to keep teachers from teaching simple versions to their learners.

To sum up, having clear parameters for assessing the usefulness and attractiveness of the many options of didactic materials now available, being able to identify any problems with these materials, and knowing how adapt them in order to increase their utility, fun and appropriateness for their own students in their particular context, will help teachers create more motivating and didactic classes.



Barbe, Swassing and Milone (1979), “The Effect of Authentic Versus Non-Authentic Aural Materials on EFL Learners’ Listening Comprehension,” English Language and Literature Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, online journal, published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education.

Calhoun, Virginia (2012): Kiddie English, revised edition, Escuela de Lenguas UNACH, Mexico

Harmer, Jeremy (2001): The Practice of English Language Teaching, 3 rd edition (Longman Handbooks for English Teachers)

Rader, Walter (1996 to the present) Online Slang Dictionary, http://onlineslangdictionary.com/ “Drink from a fire hose” http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/drink-from-the-fire-hose added 2009, consulted August, 2016

Scrivener, Jim (2011): Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching, 3 rd Edition, MacMillan Books for Teachers

Ur, Penny (1996): A Course in English Language Teaching, Cambridge University Press

YouTube for all songs mentioned (URLs appear in text)


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Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Assessing online: Engaging e-activities, building up

Assessing online: Engaging e-activities, building up meaningful results

Livio III Ceballos-García livioceballos@hotmail.com ITESCHAM and Centro Lenguas Extranjeras UAC Campeche Gisell Álvarez-Figueroa


Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Champotón

Students are more likely to pay attention and be excited about a course when they view the class as relevant to themselves and connected to their interests. Professors often find this goal to be elusive when they use a top-down approach to teaching that primarily starts (and ends) with their knowledge of the field and their own beliefs about what students need to know. Instructors can instead maximize student interest and excitement by using a bottom- up approach that involves assessing students’ needs, tailoring the course experience, and using teaching techniques that purposefully heighten students’ engagement, so when we use this valuable information and we intertwine it with assessment, we can have amazing results as for our students as for ourselves.

Often the process for assessment, tends to be only collecting information from the textbook, and using the pre-made quizzes from the editorial houses, which it´s not such a bad thing, but when frequently used it turns into a monotonous rut for students, and even when it works and shows great indicators of what is being taught in the classroom, us as teachers should take into account, many more things than a mere grade of the exam, we should take in consideration if the student has grown in the language mastery (even if it is a tiny growth), if he feels more confident, if he participates more, and if he is interested with the language, then if we find a bad grade, we should bother to see and research where the problem lies, and find a proper solution for our students, after all, we teachers help others to overcome many barriers not just the language itself.

In education, the term assessment refers to the wide variety of methods or tools that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skill acquisition, or educational needs of students, Walvoord (2004) defines assessment as “the systematic collection of information about student learning, using the time, knowledge, expertise, and resources available, in order to inform decision about how to improve learning.” Regarding assessment, there are many techniques for this purpose, but some of useful ones are: oral interview, cloze exam, fill in the blank, portfolio, online


quiz, multiple choice exam, the true/false quiz, writing samples, role play and class presentation. The use of a grading rubric by instructors is a must-have; students need to know how instructors assign grades on essay exams, term papers, or lab write-ups for the assessment exercises to be useful learning experiences. In order for instructors to be able to explain how they graded and how they assigned a grade to a piece of written work in order to avoid concerns about capricious grading.

We, in this presentation and article, part from the idea that PBL (Project Based Learning) is a wonderful teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time, and by doing this, sometimes they don’t even realize about the time and the effort that they are doing, investigating and responding to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. According to Wolpert-Gawron (2015) PBL is the ongoing act of learning about different subjects simultaneously. This is achieved by guiding students to identify, through research, a real-world problem (local to global) developing its solution using evidence to support the claim, and presenting the solution through a multimedia approach based in a set of 21st-century tools.

Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In Gold Standard PBL, Essential Project Design Elements include:

Key knowledge, understanding, and success skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration and self-management. Challenging problem or question - The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge. Sustained inquiry - Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information. Authenticity - The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives. Student voice & choice - Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create. Reflection - Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them. Critique & revision - Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products. Public product - Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.


Technology is so important in English teaching today, that if the teacher doesn´t possess an adequate use of it at an elementary level, they could be considered illiterate teachers by some. The way we teach and the information we can get and give to our students will be absolutely more attractive and meaningful if we use ICT (Information and communications technology) to our favor. Technology may seem to be an enormous monster that grows bigger and bigger but it really is an important tool that can help us to achieve our goals much more easily than before. According to Lujano (2011) Technology has enabled a number of changes in everyday life, because it transforms its natural and artificial state, according to their own needs and their ability to transform their environment. The fundamental role of technology lies in the impact it generates in society to this process is called technological revolution. Wainwright (2013) says technology is everywhere, entwined in almost every part of our lives. It affects how we shop, socialize, connect, play, and most importantly learn. With their great and increasing presence in our lives it only makes sense to have mobile technology in the classroom. Yet there are some schools that are delaying this imminent future of using technology in the classroom as the valuable learning tool it is. Here is a list of reasons your school should implement technology in the classroom.

If used correctly, it will help prepare students for their future careers, which will inevitably include the use of wireless technology, according to Álvarez (2012) Specifically in the university context, they have been recognizing the potential of new technologies and ways in which they can be exploited, so have increased the uses of digital technology to support teaching and learning

Integrating technology into the classroom is definitely a great way to reach diversity in learning styles, Romanelli (2009) states a benchmark definition of “learning styles” is “characteristic cognitive, effective, and psychosocial behaviors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment, learning styles are considered by many to be one factor of success in higher education.

It gives students the chance to interact with their classmates more by encouraging collaboration, Kothari (2015) says we as human being, are gaining tons of information every second as we are perceiving loads of information from our various senses. So, whenever someone is interacting with someone, a part of their mind is being allocated to collect and analyse whatever they are perceiving, adding onto their knowledge bank.

Technology helps the teachers prepare students for the real world environment. As our nation becomes increasingly more technology-dependent, it becomes even more necessary that to be successful citizens, students must learn to be tech-savvy.

Integrating technology in education everyday helps students stay engaged. Today’s students love technology so they are sure to be interested in learning if they can use


the tools they love, Pittman states (2012) “Technology has irreversibly altered the world around us, and as such, education should follow suit" Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate technology tools that will improve your education classes so that you receive.

With technology, the classroom is a happier place. Students are excited about being able to use technology and therefore are more apt to learn.

When mobile technology is readily available in the classroom, students are able to access the most up-to-date information quicker and easier than ever before.

The traditional passive learning mold is broken. With technology in the classroom the teacher becomes the encourager, adviser, and coach, according to Dixon (2016) You have to find that sweet spot and help students by breaking down information, going the correct speed and using techniques to help students understand concepts that without you, they would not understand.

Students become more responsible. Technology helps students take more control over their own learning. They learn how to make their own decisions and actually think for themselves.

Students can have access to digital textbooks that are constantly updated and often more vivid, helpful, creative, and a lot cheaper than those old heavy books, according to Díaz (2013) It is correct to say that access to technology today is as access to writing in the XIX century, because year after year the companies have generated the need for citizens are increasingly interconnected.

The other two tools we emphasize in this presentation regarding to e-assessment is the use of Prezi (in the PBL context) and the use of Kahoot for topic knowledge, Thomas (2000) states “Learning involves completing complex tasks that typically result in a realistic product, event, or presentation to an audience”, therefore, when use these e-tools, we grade all four skills in a context, building up meaningful learning for our students and giving the teachers another point of view in grading. When assign PBL tasks, use the prezi platform which is amazing for students who love and naturally good at ICT usage, so for example, a fellow teacher has a beginner group and is reviewing the family topic, he could easily assign the PBL for introducing the student´s family using Prezi with pictures, coloured and lively movements of the platform, and at the same time the student is preparing his grammar, the teacher can grade beside pronunciation, grammar coherence and target communication, creativity, effort and language growth in the students, they in the other hand will feel more comfortable in the classes generating a nice rapport, and without noticing, they will have better results rather than if we just ask them for a family picture to present this, which we repeat is not a bad thing to do, it is just common and predictable.


Kahoot on the other hand, is a great instrument for grading students in a more paper- content based test using technology, this tool will allow the teacher to grade instantaneously without the need to grade by hand, because the hard work is done previously by setting up the questions with two or three distractors, working with Kahoot adding related topic images and/or videos can be interesting for students and we can see first-hand if the classwork is having progress or not, nevertheless we don´t advice this activity as a major graded activity, but a minor one or pre-testing formative activity (of if graded to have a small percentage of the grade) in the short term, because students still should be familiar to normal paper exams which are the international standards around the world such a Toefl exam or a Cambridge KET examination to name a few major tests. The main idea of this is to show other teachers, how we use technology activities to assess in an electronic-fun way, giving the students another point of view, and assessing real life skills, having another choice rather than the usual exam.

Weems (2013) states good objectives in teaching will enable us to “hit our target.” If we do not make definite plans about what we intend to accomplish, we will accomplish little or nothing for all our efforts and time, such as marks of good objectives, brief enough to be remembered, clear enough to be written down, specific enough to be achieved and flexible enough to allow for changes in the teaching situation.

With all of this in mind, we can conclude that nowadays, it is impossible to teach English without the use of technology in our classroom, this it is very helpful, and when we mix it with teaching techniques, we have amazing results in our students especially if we use technology for assessing, which aid the student´s learning styles as well as our teaching methods, by doing this we will achieve our daily academic long-term teaching goals.



Álvarez, G.; (2012) New technologies in the university context, Mexico, in http://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=78023425002 Consulted September 10, 2016.

Díaz, J. (2013) Access to technology is now a basic need, Mexico, in https://www.emprendices.co/el-acceso-a-la-tecnologia-ahora-es-una-necesidad-basica/ Consulted September 12, 2016.

Dixon, S. (2016) Making Meaning Clear, Arizona, in https://www.coursera.org/learn/english- principles/lecture/m9ce5/video-3-making-meaning-clear Consulted September 12, 2016.

Kothari, A.; (2015) How do you think your classmates can benefit from interacting with you and

learning from your experience? USA, in https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-think-your-classmates- can-benefit-from-interacting-with-you-and-learning-from-your-experience Consulted September 11,


Lujano, L.; (2011) The importance of technology in today's society, Mexico, in


Consulted September 10, 2016.

Pittman, C.; (2012) Technological tools to improve your classes, Spain, in


mejorar-clases.html Consulted September 11, 2016.

Romanelli, F.; (2009) Learning Styles: A Review of Theory, Application, and Best Practices, USA, in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2690881/ Consulted September 10, 2016.

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44443r3r3r3rdddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention

Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Differences in discourse based on hierarchy: Discourse

Differences in discourse based on hierarchy: Discourse Analysis Research

Francisco Ricardo Chávez Nolasco fchavez@beceneslp.edu.mx Yanneli Marleny Rangel Benémerita y Centenario Normal del Estado de San Luis Potosí

Abstract The BECENE as an established organization has itself a clear structure hierarchized by levels of authority and responsibilities. As the institution fulfills all the requirements to be studied from an Organizational point of view in the discourse produced, it was analyzed what the people in charge of it conveyed in their speech. The intention with this study was to find if there was a difference in language used determined by hierarchy and related with gender. All the work was framed using today’s trendy national evaluation as theme. Evidence showed that hierarchy in the institution is related with the way members speak. It was also found a relation where gender is related too.

Differences in discourse based on hierarchy at the BECENE: Introduction

in discourse based on hierarchy at the BECENE: Introduction The study of language as a discipline

The study of language as a discipline is considered as a modern science. It’s historical separation from the fields of psychology and philosophy dates back from the early XX century. It was possible due to Ferdinand de Saussure’s works in the study of language done from 1897 to 1911 in his classes. Although he did not write and publish his book, which was a collection of his students taken from his lectures, the publishing of the book “Course in General Linguistics” gave the basis of a new field of study: Linguistics.

From 1916, when Saussure’s thoughts were published, up to current days Linguistics has taken its own path. Along its first century many branches have been opened derived from it. According to the International Linguistics Community (ILC) in its online version (http://www.linguistlist.org/) there are at present 29 different areas of study. Among all of them, back in the 1960’s, some views of the language related to usage, patterns and


intention were taken into consideration. These were the departing point of what is presently known as Discourse Analysis currently referred as DA.

To have a quick grasp of what DA is about, it is possible to picture it in the following way. People normally use language as a normal issue and part of human condition but little few times, users of the language analyze their speech. Therefore, how language is used, the reasons of, the conditions surrounding its usage and the intentions of it are the main areas of study of the Discourse Analysis (DA) field. Brown & Yule (1983) stated that the application of the DA theory and analysis techniques gives us the opportunity to see the language from different perspectives and help us to understand the person, institutions, politics etc.

It is not clear where the first DA references began. For instance, Stubbs (1983) states that the first linguist to refer to discourse analysis was Zellig Harris. In 1952, he investigated the connectedness of sentences, naming his study ‘discourse analysis.’ Harris claimed explicitly that discourse is the next level in a hierarchy of morphemes, clauses and sentences.

Nonetheless, for most scholars the first backgrounds of the DA theory are found in some French works in the 1960´s. By studding the language from a structural point of view overlapped with some sociological and anthropological insights this trend was created. Initially coined as structural analysis of narrative, other discourse forms or cultural practices of the language, this new perspective of the language emerged (Van Dijk, T. 1989).

Even though, the first ideas came out from French studies almost at the same time linguists in America started talking about the same topics. As Van Dijk (1989) states for some reason different people with different notions began talking about language with similar perspectives. As a consequence of all this work in the 1970’s the first studies and collections of DA appeared. Since then Discourse Analysis has been inserted in the linguistics spectrum and it has normally been associated with politics.

Since its origins, DA studies have taken several paths and focuses. The Discourse Analysis has been taking major concerns and applications increasingly as time goes by. It gives us today the opportunity to reflect about the way we use the language and how we use it. One of the studied topics in the DA is the relation between power and hierarchy with the command of the language. This is closely linked to a sub-field in DA: which is best known as Organizational Discourse (OD). Findings have shown that there is a great difference in how language is used according the hierarchy inside an institution (Fairclough, N. 1995; Scholes, R. (195).



Objectives The main objective of this work is to analyze the discourse produced by people positioned

The main objective of this work is to analyze the discourse produced by people positioned at different hierarchical levels at the BECENE. At the same time, it is the intention of this paper to determine if gender allows differences in the way language is used bypeople positioned at different hierarchical levels at the BECENE.

Based on the previous objectives the following interrogatives are answered: What is the difference in language used by people ranked at different hierarchical levels at the BECENE based on their position? Is hierarchy a factor that determines the way the community at the BECENE speak?

Literature Review

The analysis of discourse has followed varied paths from the 1970’s up to current days. Much investigation has been devoted to written discourse, its concepts and methodology being later extended to the study of spoken interactive discourse. On the other hand, conversation analysis, an offshoot from sociology, has applied its own distinctive methods to what it considered the basic type of discourse, conversation taking place in a face-to-face interaction as well as interviews. Standpoints and methodology strayed apart, even conflicted with each other (Sacks, H. 1992).

apart, even conflicted with each other (Sacks, H. 1992). When we ask how it is that

When we ask how it is that people, as language-users, make sense of what they read in texts, understand what speakers mean despite what they say, recognize connected as opposed to jumbled or incoherent discourse, and successfully take part in that complex activity called conversation, then one is undertaking what is known as discourse analysis (Stubbs, M. 1983).

Stubbs (1983) also states, “Any study which is not dealing with (a) single sentences, (b) contrived by the linguist, (c) out of context, may be called discourse analysis”. In other words, there is a shift of focus from sentences in isolation to utterances in context: “to study language in use is to study it as discourse”, he quoted. It is a fact that ‘knowledge of a language is more than knowledge of individual sentences. The true meaning of a sentence cannot be assigned by its only linguistic construction but it largely depends on reference (meaning in relation to exterior world), sense (meaning in relation to linguistic system) and force (meaning in relation to situational context).


Organizational Discourse Analysis (ODA) Organizational discourse analysis has become more developed as a method; the topic has become increasingly common in the top journals in the field. The study of organizational discourse encompasses a range of approaches that share an interest in the role of discourse in the constitution of organizational life. Organizational discourse analysis “highlights the ways in which language constructs organizational reality, rather than simply reflects it” (Hardy, Lawrence, & Grant, 2005).

A discourse, in turn, is a structured collection of texts or speech as Parker (1992) indicates

along with associated practices of textual production, transmission, and reception. Through the production and dissemination of texts that accrete to form a discourse, organizational elements are brought into being, are modified, or disappear. The nature of organizational discourse, how the texts or speech, which make them up, are produced, and why some are more influential than others, are the sorts of general questions that are of interest to researchers who study any area inserted in organizational discourse.

Organizational discourse analysis concern lies with unveiling patterned mechanisms of the reproduction of power asymmetries where hierarchy is a clear example of it. Anthropology, linguistics, philosophy and communication studies, among others, may share this inclination. From its inception, it was a discipline designed to question the status quo, by detecting, analyzing, and also resisting and counteracting enactments of power abuse as transmitted in private and public discourses. For some, to be critical might imply to be judgmental. However, this is not the case here, because, as Jäger and Maier (2009) state, in some cases instead of having an absolute truth you may measure real difference in language dictated by the organization parameters or relations in its structure.

It is this focus beyond simple language-use that differentiates organizational discourse

analysis from other forms of language-based inquiry, such as the “study of vocabularies”. At its most basic, the study of organizational discourse is about understanding the

processes of social construction that underlie the organizational reality studied by

researchers using more conventional methodologies (Cunliffe, 2008; Loewenstein, Ocasio,

& Jones, 2012).

Organizational discourse studies are not therefore replacements for more traditional approaches, but are, rather, complementary to them especially if they are focused on specific areas. Although increasingly popular, organizational discourse has nevertheless been criticized for overshadowing other perspectives on organizations and organizing (Phillips & Hardy, 2002).

Statement of the Problem The growth in interest in organizational discourse has seen researchers apply a range of discourse analytic approaches to language and other symbolic media that are discernible

in organizations. In so doing, they have been able to analyze, engage with and interpret a


variety of organization-related issues in ways that would not have been otherwise achievable. At the same time, this growth has caused some to criticize what appears to be the widespread use of broad, nonspecific definitions and a bewildering array of methods, approaches and perspectives (Grant et al., 1998).

The BECENE as an established organization has itself a clear structure hierarchized by levels of authority and responsibilities. It has two functions: on one side, it provides the educative system well trained future teachers ready to service. On the other hand, it represents the system as part of the national educative system. Then the hierarchy in its structure responds to two sides: one as a representative of the establishment and the other as a teacher trainer institution.

Along with the two sides of the personnel in charge, there is a national concern that affects all levels in the educative field in our country. Today México is immersed in what is called “The educative reform” which leads everybody to the concept of “Teaching Evaluation”. It has created a series of expectations among all education agents involved. These thoughts and beliefs about the topic may vary from a total support to a total rejection. This is manifested through the use of the language either written or spoken from all society. Then, what the use of the language in expressing their views from the ones that lead and manage the BECENE is the central part of this paper.

Methodology As the BECENE fulfills all the requirements to be studied from an Organizational and critical point of view in the discourse produced, it was analyzed what the people in charge of it convey in their speech. It is strongly believed that the more a person is conscious about the way language is used in the organizations the more this person will be more reflective and cautious while producing language.

To do this work, three sets of interviews were conducted to 12 people at different ranking at the BECENE. The identified levels were from bottom to top: Students, Teachers, Coordinators, Area Directors and Dean. Equal numbers of female and male subjects were targeted to have a relation in gender except by the highest hierarchy because there is only one. A set of three questions were asked to all of them and recorded.

All data was formatted in a text processor. Once data was digitally formatted it was analyzed by specialized software for Discourse Analysis to check references or language use. The results were set in a SPSS program to process information.

Discussion of the Findings The first aspect to be measured was the number of references about evaluation people mentioned in their speech based on their hierarchy level and their gender. The following graphic shows their results where students made more references about the term


“evaluation than any other level place in the BECENE hierarchy. It also shows how the references of the words portrays a reduction along the hierarchy goes up.

the words portrays a reduction along the hierarchy goes up. Figure 1 indicates the percentages of

Figure 1 indicates the percentages of references stated of the word “evaluation” by each level of hierarchy

from the BECENE.

Source: own elaboration

These results give the idea that the topic “Teaching Evaluation” is relevant more for the students than for the rest of the participants. Apart from personal beliefs, having in mind this topic seems recurrent along the collective knowledge in this level.

In the same references trend, but this time based on gender it is visible that men made more usage of the word than women which indicates that they have more actively present this idea in their speech. This is shown here:

present this idea in their speech. This is shown here: Figure 2 shows the percentages of

Figure 2 shows the percentages of references said of the word “evaluation” by participants according their


Source: own elaboration

Making a relation between the genders, the level and the number of references done in their discourse, participants reflect these results. Except for the Dean the rest of the levels present difference amongst them in this way: male students and area directors used more the word in their speech while female teachers and coordinators do the same versus their opposite gender.


Figure 3 portrays the percentages of references stated of the word “evaluation” by each level

Figure 3 portrays the percentages of references stated of the word “evaluation” by each level of hierarchy

from the BECENE and their gender.

Source: own elaboration

The second issue to be studied was subjects’ position about the theme: Teaching Evaluation. According to the results, the highest hierarchical positions present more insights in favor the subject. It is followed by students. The levels in the middle of the hierarchy at the BECENE present the same percentage in pro the concept.

the BECENE present the same percentage in pro the concept. Figure 4 presents the percentages of

Figure 4 presents the percentages of references mentioned in favor of “evaluation” by each level of hierarchy

from the BECENE.

Source: own elaboration

Viewing the difference in gender and their position towards the idea of teaching evaluation men showed more in favor than women in general. Except for the student’s level, the rest maintains a male tendency in favor. Results in relation to their level and genders are possible to see here:


Figure 5 shows the percentages of references mentioned in favor of “evaluation” by each level

Figure 5 shows the percentages of references mentioned in favor of “evaluation” by each level of hierarchy

from the BECENE and the relation with gender.

Source: own elaboration

Conclusion Based on the results obtained in this study it is possible to manifest these ideas. First of all, there is a difference between the level that participants have in the institution hierarchy and their usage of the language. In this case, there is a trend that indicates that: the lowest the level is the most reference about the topic participants have. Speaking about the topic it seems that students at the BECENE are the ones who make more references about it.

Hierarchy presents also a difference in the way they addressed and referred to the topic. In this case the highest position leads in pro the concept of “Teaching Evaluation”. Despite the fact, that it was students who seemed to be more concerned about the concept in their discourse they are also in favor of the concept of being evaluated.

Regarding to gender and the language they use, there is also a difference seen in this work. It was men who made more references in their discourse about the theme. And at the same time, men leaded in having a favorable opinion in having an evaluation in the educational field.

Taking into account the outcomes presented it is possible to say that hierarchy is indeed a factor of difference in the discourse used at the BECENE. And at the same time, the gender of the members of the school is a factor that influences the speech usage and it is correlated with their hierarchy.



Brown, G., & Yule, G. (1983). Discourse analysis. Cambridge University Press.

Cunliffe, A.L. (2008). Discourse analysis. In R. Thorpe & R. Holt (Eds.), The Sage dictionary of qualitative management research (pp. 81–82). London: Sage.

Fairclough, N. (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis. (London, Longman).

Grant, D. 1998. Discourse and organization. London: Sage.

Hardy, C. & Grant, D. (2005). Discourse and collaboration: The role of conversations and collective identity. Academy of Management Review, 30(1),58–77.

Jäger, Siegfried and Florentine Maier. (2009). “Theoretical and Methodological Aspects of Foucaldian Critical Discourse Analysis and Dispositive Analysis.” Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer, eds. Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage. 34-61.

Loewenstein, J., Ocasio, W., & Jones, C. (2012). Vocabularies and vocabulary structure: A new approach linking categories, practices, and institutions. The Academy of Management Annals, 6(1).

Phillips, N., & Hardy, C. (2002). Discourse analysis: Investigating processes of social construction. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Sacks, H. (1992). "Notes on methodology." Structures of Social Action. Studies in Conversation Analysis. Eds. I. Max Atkinson and John Heritage. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 21-27.

Scholes, R. (1985) Textual Power. (New Haven, Yale University Press).

Stubbs, M. (1983). Discourse analysis: The sociolinguistic analysis of natural language. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Van Dijk, T. (1989). New developments in discourse analysis, Journal of Interdisciplinary literary studies, 119-145.


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Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Creative professional development: How better to stimulate

Creative professional development: How better to stimulate teacher creativity?

Bernadine Clark Bernadine.Clark@mail.sit.edu Kenneth Clark Kenneth.Clark@mail.sit.edu

Every decision we make as language teachers is a reflection of who we are as individual human beings and as participants in a learning community.

Nearly 20 years ago in his book, The Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer observed, “We teach who we are.” His words have been bandied about, invoked, and analyzed in teacher education and training programs and professional-development courses for teachers ever since. The truth of the words are indisputable; at the same time, they implore us to go further, to bring Palmer’s thought to its full coherence, to finish the sentence with the phrase, “in community with others.”

In order to teach who we are in community with others, we must be in touch with who we are as people and where we are in our chosen profession. We must raise our awareness of ourselves as human beings and as teachers; frequently reflect on our attitudes toward teaching and learning; increase our knowledge of the theories and practices of our profession; and hone our pedagogic and communicative skills in service to learners’ needs. Professional development (PD), in the broadest sense of that term, is the vehicle we turn to, to become better teachers and, by extension, more authentic human beings.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, professional development? In her overview of guidelines for PD, Wilde acknowledges that when teachers hear the question, “What does PD mean to you?”, it’s not uncommon for them to respond, “a few days each year.” She and other researchers, Richards and Farrell among them, note that many PD experiences are dictated by bureaucratic requirements set by administrators far removed from everyday classroom realities, that they are often brief and scattered, that they fall short of meeting the professional needs of participating teachers, and that they allow little opportunity for relevant practice and feedback.


On the other hand, the literature identifies elements that contribute to and define meaningful professional-development experiences. Farrell reminds us that PD relates to ongoing growth – it is a process rather than an event. Webster-Wright proposes that professional development move toward recognizing and supporting “authentic professional learning” by focusing less on how best to provide PD activities and more on understanding how professionals learn. Richards and Farrell address the value of collaborative learning as a key component in PD. Diaz Maggioli puts forth the view that “learning-as-participation” and attention to sociocultural learning theory can move the teaching profession forward in its efforts to create learning opportunities for teachers.

When we were asked to design and present a weeklong PD course (20 hours of in-class engagement; 20 hours of engagement outside of class) for university English teachers, we began our planning with the words creativity and dialogue. These words, at their heart, address the individual and the community respectively. Further, they invite explorations of the art and the culture of teaching-learning environments. We asked two questions and used them to guide our planning: “How can professional development happen without creativity whose Latin root means to grow?” and “How can dialogue, from the Greek meaning through words, be used as a tool for exploring teaching-learning ideas and nurturing a learning community?” We titled the course, The Art and Culture of the EL Classroom: Dialogues on Teaching and Learning. We set out to design a PD experience (for attendees and for ourselves) that modeled and reflected the dynamics of a language classroom and put participants in touch with the multimodal arsenal of characteristics we EL teachers bring to every teaching-learning moment.

Our challenges were clear: We had only three weeks to plan the course, the participants’ levels of English proficiency and teaching experience varied widely, and we had no opportunity prior to the course to consult with the teachers about their particular needs and goals for a course they were required to take.

To respond to these challenges, we would observe and build on the teachers’ strengths and interests (what they knew about English, about teaching and learning, and about themselves) and use them as essential resources to encourage active participation in the learning community we hoped to facilitate. We would aim to create a space in which participants could stretch themselves further through engagement and risk-taking. We would incorporate many speaking and listening activities during the sessions and assign reading and writing opportunities outside the sessions. We had a central objective for the course: to draw teachers’ attention to the knowledge, skills, awareness, and attitudes they bring to their classrooms and deepen their understanding of how these elements affect their teaching and students’ learning. Through dialogue and collegial sharing we hoped they would grow in their understanding of who they are as teachers and human beings and what kind of learning environments they want to create in their classrooms.


In the paper delivered at the MEXTESOL convention, we described and analyzed the weeklong PD course presented to nearly 20 university teachers at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo (UAEH) in Pachuca in May 2015. Throughout the MEXTESOL session, we stepped back from what happened in the course to invite convention attendees to reflect on and dialogue about various activities, ideas, and teachable moments and how they could be adapted or modified in their own teaching-learning contexts.

Course Preparation A few days prior to the first session of the course, we sent an email to all participants. The purpose of the letter was threefold: to welcome them to the course; to ask them to bring to the first session a tangible object (a metaphor) that represented their current relationship with English; and to invite them to approach this professional-development experience with an open mind and a willingness to engage in what would be a learning adventure. (The letters/emails became a unifying thread of the course. Following each in-class session, we sent a follow-up message with readings attached, links to resources, and comments and reminders about assignments for upcoming sessions. The “dialogue” aspect of the letters occurred naturally, as we received emails from participants during the course.)

The First Day Believing that creating an atmosphere for language learning is essential, we prepared the physical space of the classroom in several ways. We exhibited photos of classrooms from around the world alongside quotations about language and learning. We arranged the participants’ desks in a semi-circle. We put a diagram of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle on the back of the classroom door. We posted the first of five “daily quotations” at the front of the room. We used black tape to make a large equilateral triangle in the middle of the classroom floor, labeling the corners of the triangle I, Thou, It. (The sides of the triangle represent the relationships between teacher, student, and subject matter.) In the center of the triangle we placed a flowering plant and an open box with index cards and a pen beside it. (See Question Box in the following paragraph.) On subsequent days, we put additional language-teaching resources – books, a photo, a postcard, etc. – inside the triangle. This learning environment prevailed throughout the week. (N.B. We met with the building’s housekeeping staff beforehand and requested that they limit their cleaning to sweeping the floor and emptying the wastebasket. We asked them not to adjust anything or remove anything from the room!)

As participants arrived for the first session, we greeted them individually and gave them a plastic folder containing a “fluid” course outline and a blank notebook. We asked them to notice and think about the handwritten quotation on bright yellow paper at the front of the room and to talk about it with each other, if they wished. In the background, Fleetwood Mac’s energizing “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow” played quietly. When everyone was assembled, we introduced ourselves, checked to be sure we knew all their names, and began with an energizing Step-to-the-Line activity that allowed us to learn something about the participants. We agreed on a few norms for the course (turn off cell phones;


practice active listening). We explained the function of the Question Box in the middle of the I-Thou-It triangle. Teachers were encouraged to write questions (anonymously) on the index cards anytime during the sessions and put them in the box. The questions could relate to English, teaching, learning, or any other pertinent topic. The questions and the quotations on the whiteboard would be addressed every day.

We outlined our personal goal for the course (professional growth through dialogue about relevant issues in ELT); our expectations for their participation (the experience is only as rich as everyone’s attentive presence and contribution); and the course requirements beyond attendance (on Wednesday, each person would share a written synopsis of an ELT article he/she found useful or intriguing ; on Friday, groups of three would present their collaborative -- never before presented -- 15-minute ELT projects in response to the prompt, “Teach us something related to language learning and/or teaching!”).

Turning to the notebooks, we explained that these would serve as Dialogue and Reflective Journals. What the teachers wrote in the Dialogue journal – one or two paragraphs -- would be shared the following day with a partner who would then respond orally in a give-and- take about the journal entry; the task was to write a personal reaction, response, argument, or question about something that happened during the previous session. By turning the notebook over and beginning at the back, the participants would keep a Reflective journal whose contents would be private. On the first day, the reflection would include one personal and one professional goal for the course and a 150-word response to an ELT prompt or question we would provide at the end of the session.

After getting acquainted and tending to the housekeeping and procedural aspects of the PD course, we turned our attention to the “relationship with English” objects the teachers had brought. They described the objects and their significance to a partner. We then raised the question to the whole group: “Why did we ask you to bring these objects?” The group exchanged ideas about why the words art and culture were included in the name of the PD course. In the sharing of ideas, what emerged was that in teaching and learning, we are individuals in community.

Next, we addressed the word dialogue. “Why are we focusing on dialogue instead of discussion in this course?” we asked. The question led to analyzing David Bohm’s explanation that dialogue enlarges, refines, and explores issues and questions through the valuing of and building on multiple and diverse views. Discussion (as practiced in most western societies), on the other hand, often diminishes questions and concerns into a flurry of oppositional viewpoints that dichotomize and isolate rather than make connections that reveal meanings and truths underlying the bigger questions and issues.

We invited the teachers to take a “gallery walk” – i.e., to peruse the exhibit of classroom photos and learning-related quotations. We asked them to do the gallery walk with a partner and while viewing the visuals, to begin a dialogue about what they saw and how


they felt viewing the exhibit. Following the walk, we introduced a community-blackboard activity in which the teachers were invited to write on the board, words and phrases that described the gallery-walk experience and/or what they saw or read on the classroom wall.

Using a handful of the participants’ words and phrases, we introduced the I-Thou-It triangle, its significance and meaning (based on David Hawkins’s work) as representative of the relationships that are central to learning. (We asked them to think again about the tangible objects they’d brought to this session.) We segued into learning as experience and asked participants what they knew about Kolb’s experiential learning cycle. We used a “learning how to ride a bike” example to illustrate how Kolb’s cycle applies to learning: We have a concrete experience, we describe it and analyze and generalize from it, we reflect on it and learn from it, and this leads us to make adjustments or to plan accordingly for the next concrete experience. “How does this theory manifest in the practice of teaching and learning?” They shared in groups of three something they have learned to do and practiced applying the elements of the experiential learning cycle to understand the complexity of the learning process.

In each of the five sessions of the course, we took a 15-minute break during which classroom dialogue continued as we mingled in the hall, sipping coffee or tea and munching on cookies and fruit.

After the first day’s break, we expanded on theory-into-practice by showing a video of Diane Larsen Freeman analyzing complexity theory as it relates to language learning. We stopped the video frequently to check in with participants, to invite them to dialogue with a partner or us about concepts or comments they didn’t understand, to clarify new ideas or terminology Larsen-Freeman presented, and to ask them how or whether the video related to their teaching context or their professional concerns.

Before the session ended, we shared the first reflective-journal prompt: Explore how the I- Thou-It philosophy can inform real-life classroom experiences. Reflect on what you can do to become more aware of and responsive to the relationships you and your learners have with each other and with the English language.

Subsequent Days For the duration of the course, we encouraged a sense of community and connection by staying in email contact. We aimed for continuity in a number of ways: beginning each session with a warm-up activity, using dialogue to interpret and exchange views on the daily quotation, addressing the contents of the Question Box, referring regularly to the I- Thou-It triangle and the experiential learning cycle, and sharing in groups of three or four the contents of the dialogue journals. Looking ahead, we encouraged them to meet outside of class to prepare for Friday’s presentation.


On the second day, we focused on culture and story. We asked participants to describe their “personal histories” with the four skills of English and the cultural aspects of the language. We listened to the song “Borders,” sung by The New Agrarians, and shared ideas about how where we come from influences who we are. In preparation for this session, the teachers had read an essay by Nancy Willard in which she meanders through her childhood recalling memorable ancestors and her learning from them. In pairs, the participants shared “favorite sentences” from the essay and images that resonated for them. This dialogue led to the group’s recounting tales of their ancestors as well as personal and professional mentors, whose life messages they have embraced, cast off, and adapted in their lives.

To highlight that the journeys are individual and rich with formative connections, we gave

the teachers a template for an “I am from” poem

them our own poems. As backdrop reverie for the writing of their poems, we played soft,

wordless music. We invited them to read their poems aloud to a partner or the whole group. Many chose to share with the entire group.

Using the template, we read aloud to

Before the session ended, we returned to the Larsen-Freeman video for follow-up reactions and questions and asked participants to identify takeaway messages they found relevant. The reflective-journal prompt for Day 2 asked them to write about aspects of their personal histories that contribute to their teaching presence and practice.

On day three of the course, the focus was on dialogue and listening. The participants’ ELT article synopses were posted on the walls outside the classroom and read with enthusiasm (and, according to one teacher’s verbal comment, gratitude). We asked the teachers to write their name beneath three synopses that piqued their interest. Choosing the summary with the most names affixed to it, we introduced a fishbowl activity that engaged the five “interested readers” with the writer of the synopsis. The six participants sat in a circle in the middle of the room. We invited them to have a dialogue about the article. The other teachers sat on the periphery of the fishbowl; we asked them to observe and interpret the dynamics and content of the fishbowl exchange and to respond to these questions: What happened, what was said, how was it said, and what did they learn from listening and watching? What did the experience of listening and watching teach them? We then asked the fishbowl participants to do the same. What did they learn from the experience of being in the fishbowl? Later, as a group, we exchanged ideas about how the activity could be adapted for different teaching contexts and levels. (We later scanned and sent the teachers all the written synopses of the articles, including references.)

Before the break, we returned to the idea of relationships in the classroom because of words participants had written in the previous day’s community blackboard, words that touched on the classroom as a place of giving and sharing. We read aloud Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree, and had a dialogue about how the profound message


in the children’s story is both open to interpretation and applicable to a wide array of teaching-and-learning situations.

After the break, we turned our attention to an article the teachers had read for this session; the article told the story of a treasure hunt in the desert. A community blackboard capsulized their reactions to the reading. The teachers then worked in pairs (doing a comprehension game) to ensure that the details of the article were clear to everyone. We used this reading as a stepping stone to introduce the circle process known as Way of Council, practiced by ancient peoples to foster meaningful communication and reach consensus on important issues. The Council’s guiding principles are these: Be spontaneous. Be lean of expression. Speak from the heart. Listen from the heart. We created a “sacred space” in the center of the room using beautiful items – the flowering plant, a scarf, an image of nature, a pebble – and played flute music reminiscent of Native American melodies to create a calming atmosphere in the room. We moved the desks closer together and opened the circle with the prompt, “Tell about a time when you searched for something.” Participants spoke when the talking piece came to them. We sensed a palpable level of listening and understanding in the circle. After the sharing, we closed the circle by holding hands and jumping in place together. The reflective-journal prompt asked teachers to write about what struck them in the day’s session and how they could use the circle process in their teaching.

On the fourth day of the course, the aim was to focus on the classroom as learning community. We laughed and learned together during a lively “Expert Game” warm-up! Next, we asked teachers to name local and global realities that influence their teaching and the learning in their classrooms. We introduced a video presentation by David Graddol titled “Five Megatrends Shaping the Future of TESOL.” We stopped often during the video to elaborate on and bring “closer to home” the trends Graddol described. Because there were many questions from the Question Box on Day 4, and we had an extended “Dialogue Journal” sharing, we were not able to finish viewing Graddol’s entire talk; so, we gave the teachers the link for viewing the remaining portion on their own. Graddol’s observations prompted questions about what learning English in Mexico means and how or whether knowing the language is valued; in addition, we considered the place of English in global communications, and how diversity and world events influence language-learning communities. We returned again to the photos on the walls to notice and describe the multitude of learning “realities” and issues they depicted.

After the break, we moved to another room for a live Skype chat with Elka Todeva, a professor at the School for International Training in Vermont. Todeva is an expert in second language acquisition and a frequent keynote speaker at TESOL and IATEFL conferences around the world. The teachers came with prepared questions and for more than 75 minutes, Todeva became a member of our learning community. We touched on topics such as brain-based learning, the value of linguistic diversity, the politics of English, the difference between language development and language acquisition, the globalization


and localization of English, and students as co-explorers with teachers. After the Skype session, we returned to the classroom and reflected together on the Skype experience. The reflective-journal prompt for this day asked the teachers to describe an idea or theory from the session that introduced something new to their understanding of learning communities and how this knowing could influence how they approached their classrooms.

We intended to show the video, “Claire’s Classroom” to the group, but time constraints made this impossible. After consulting with the teachers, we scheduled the viewing for a few weeks later. Those who were able to attend witnessed the goings-on of a vibrant classroom guided by the wisdom and experience of an elementary school teacher in a small town in Vermont who believes that the contributions of every learner benefit the entire learning community. Because scheduling conflicts prevented some in the group from seeing the video, we left a DVD of the film (available for borrowing) in the English-language program office at the university.

On the final day of the course, when the focus was to be on relationships, we were thrust into a stark realization: A mandatory breakfast meeting had been called by the academic director of the program. This “given” would shorten our 4-hour session considerably. Knowing the limitations this posed, we began with a community-blackboard sharing. The teachers described moments from the week’s activities, experiences, and readings. The follow-up dialogue reflected a new level of understanding and solidarity in the group.

Six group projects were presented on the following topics: creativity in the classroom, the value of writing brief I-as-teacher memoirs and sharing them with colleagues, assessing writing in a meaningful way in a class of 40 students, drawing on Bloom’s taxonomy in journal writing, using a rubric to approach and develop strategies to deal with less-than- optimal classroom situations, and tried-and-true activities that encourage English speaking practice. Questions and collegial feedback suggested that the presentations were well received.

As our time together drew to a close, we invited participants to evaluate the course. As they wrote, we played John Lennon’s, “Imagine” and Julie Gold’s “From a Distance.” To end the course, we read aloud a piece by Pablo Neruda on the unexpected gifts that come from making connections. After a group photo and hugs, the learning community in Room 9 dispersed. We went our separate ways to resume other roles in the community outside the classroom door.

What remains from a professional development experience? We read and reflected on the participants’ feedback immediately after the PD course. Most comments were positive; suggestions for improvement included “a longer course” and “more articles to read and share.” We wondered what aspects of the learning adventure would stay with the teachers. A year later, we decided to find out. We sent the participants a short follow-up survey requesting them to tell us what they had used from the course,


reflected on, or adapted in their teaching contexts in the intervening year. In other words, we wanted to know what (if anything) “stuck” and/or nudged them to a new place in their teaching and learning.

We received responses from nearly half the participants. Their comments indicated that they had grown personally and professionally as a result of the experience. Specific responses included increased awareness of the culture of learning in their classrooms, greater commitment to knowing themselves as teachers and their students as human beings, adaptations of activities they had done in the course, new understanding of the place peripherals play in creating positive learning environments, increased appreciation for the value of listening as essential for authentic communication, and increased knowledge of how reflection influences teaching and learning.


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Hawkins, D. (1974). I, thou, and it. In The informed vision: Essays on learning and human nature. (pp. 48-62). New York: Agathon Press.

Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Richards, J.C. & Farrell, T.S.C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers: Strategies for teacher learning. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press.

Webster-Wright, A. (2009). Reframing professional development through understanding professional learning. Review of Educational Research, 9 (2), 702-739. DOI:


Wilde, J. (2010). Guidelines for professional development: An overview. In Casteel, C.J. & Ballantyne, K.G. (Eds.). Professional development in action: Improving teaching for English learners. (pp. 5-10). Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition.

Zimmerman, J. & Coyle, V. (2009). The way of council (2nd ed.). Viroqua, WI: Bramble Books.


44443r3r3r3rdddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention

Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

Images reading in a discourse analysis class

Claudia Patricia Contreras


Frank Malgesini Burke frankmalgesini@yahoo.com Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua

frankmalgesini@yahoo.com Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua The power of visual language in mass media is a reality

The power of visual language in mass media is a reality in communication today. Images are more than a visual perception, there is a discourse behind an image that can be interpreted in multiple ways. The receiver of this information should interpret it according to their education, beliefs and context.

It is considered necessary to include a chapter devoted to visual literacy in the discourse analysis class. Visual literacy was defined by Braden and Hortin in 1981 as “the ability to understand and use images, including the ability to think, learn and express oneself in terms of images (quoted by Moore, 1994). This is the ability to understand the messages intended by the authors of images and develop a critical posture due to their bombarding in magazines, media and internet to which students are exposed to. To achieve this, new schemes of visual thinking must be stimulated.

Students can understand images according to what it is familiar to them. But a closer observation is needed to identify the details of visual discourse and its elements.

This research explores visual reading through an experiment done with the students of discourse analysis who are in the second semester of the English major at Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua. This aims to address the reception of the visual message as objectively as possible, taking into account two areas of analysis: one syntactic and one pragmatic.

The idea is to use a method that proves useful to begin a process of developing visual literacy. However it is recognized that this is an attempt and does not guarantee a perfect, accurate interpretation.

First of all it is necessary to distinguish between visual and verbal language. Raymond Colle (1998) explains that in the visual language immediate decoding happens from a general impression of the shapes and colours we are seeing, differently from verbal


language which is understood in stages considering the study of the parts and the syntactic and semantic links between them. This author believes that the visual language is universal while the verbal is not because one has to know the code, for example, if people do not speak English, they will not understand the word "house", but if someone shows a picture of it, its representation will be understood by everyone.

Susan Sontag (2004) states that images have an incomparable power to determine what we will remember about events. The following questions arise: What is an icon? Is every picture an icon?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary on line (retrieved 18/08/2016) provides the following definitions: -Computers: a small picture on a computer screen that represents a program or function. -A widely known symbol. -A usually pictorial representation: image.-Emblem, symbol, i.e. the house became an icon of 1960´s.

Pierce (in Chandler, 2007) said that an iconic sign represents its object by its similarity. Every picture is an icon and they provoke similar sensations than the original in the mind. Icons can also be highly evocative.

It is basic to consider the approaches some theorists have suggested for images analysis. Roland Barthes (1993) proposed to analyze the photographic message supported by two different structures: one linguistic and the other iconic. They are analyzed separately but they complement each other.

He explains that the icon represents an object or an idea with which it has a relationship of identity and likeness but it turns into a special sign or symbol when is given a special meaning maybe political, social, religious, philosophical, scientific, etc.

The semantic view of images as a text or language by Umberto Eco (1998) understands the picture as a narrative, as an ideological opinion, as a relationship or chain of ideas, and as symbol, for example the image of a heart representing love (1988).

Likewise, images should be considered as visual texts. Their reading has some elements proper of the study of discourse and this text has linguistic and nonlinguistic elements (Lorenzo Vilches, 1995:30). According to this author one of the main characteristics of the text is its coherence because it summarizes all its elements which allows us to know what is being said, what is being perceived or read through. Referential semantics allows the study of the image and the relationship to reality through the study the form of its meaning.


Some iconic symbolism has almost a universal value, like the icons that represent the different Olympic Games.


Raymond Colle (1988) considers the shape, size and colour among the basic components of iconic syntax. An image can be also shown completely or in parts giving emphasis to a specific component, for example the picture of a finger. We know that all the parts are needed to see a hand but each of them has a name and gives meaning to a picture when they are put together with the rest of the elements, but we cannot picture and understand a hand if parts are removed. It alters the global meaning of the image.

The functional analysis by Umberto Eco, in his study of architectural codes (1986) is very important to our purpose. It shows how the semantic foundations of such codes is essentially functional: there are very typical designs of buildings like temples, offices, schools and rooms like the kitchen, bedroom and same thing happens with furniture and clothing. They are used for a certain purpose, to do specific things.

An image also has a pragmatic function of describing something, giving information and also has an aesthetic function as well as an impact in society. The elements of an image have an effect according to the spatial location (Vilches 1993:20-22).

The center of vision is on the left side because the observer places greater emphasis on identifying objects in this space. The vision of the right side tends to capture objects as having greater weight.

He takes aspects of the theory of image to ease its reading in what he calls "textual surface" of the image (Vilches, 1993: 28-40) such as contrast to discriminate chiaroscuros perceived at a distance of the object (1993:29) which mobilize the static.

The hypothesis of this work is that the repetition of elements (variables) found in the painting by the students were influenced when adding a stimulus and that could be proved through a syntactic and pragmatic analysis.

While not all the elements or variables proposed by the authors were used, we started from their approaches to determine the most suitable items in reading icons for this project.

Methodology There is iconic symbolism to be observed in the image used for this research and from this theoretical frame there have been chosen two areas for reading images that were used in this experiment: a syntactic one, with the following variables: people, objects, forms, shapes, colors and activities. A pragmatic one with the following variables: purpose (persuade, analyze, inform, express), value or impact of image to society (religious, aesthetic, political or historical). First an image was exposed and the students were guided to recognize semantic and pragmatic elements (variables) without any previous stimulus. The second focus consisted on adding a stimulus for its interpretation: the image was presented after reading the text of the Creation of Adam from the book of Genesis in the Bible.


To start the work, a group of 10 students which will be addressed as group 1 was asked to draw their version of The Creation of Adam according to the way they could remember the story. This was done with the purpose of allowing them to express their idea, their view of reality, in this case a story. When they finished drawing, each student commented it and the teacher recorded the basic descriptions they made paying attention to the elements (variables) they repeated. Next, Michelangelo´s famous painting The Creation of Adam was projected and they proceeded to make the syntactic and pragmatic analysis of the image according to the variables mentioned previously.

The second part of the experiment consisted of asking another group of 18 students (group 2) to hear the story of The Creation of Adam first, taken from the book of Genesis 2: 7-8 :

“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed

After they listened to the text, they were asked to draw their own version of the story. When they finished, each student commented their drawing and the teacher recorded the basic descriptions they made paying attention to the elements (variables) they repeated. Finally, Michelangelo´s painting The Creation of Adam, was shown to them and they made the syntactic-pragmatic analysis of the image based on the same variables mentioned for group 1. In both areas the variables were accounted for frequency.

1. In both areas the variables were accounted for frequency. Results obtained: classification by frequency. The

Results obtained: classification by frequency. The iconic representation we got through the drawings by the students, can be accounted for using the following variables with more frequency: Adam 6 times, trees 6, sun 5, mountains 4, God 4, while group two used: Adam 15 times, God 9, trees 7, sun 5, clouds 4. On the syntactic analysis group 1 used, for people: God 5 times, Adam 4, objects, for objects: brain 6 times, color green 6 times, activities: laying down 6 times, being lazy 4 times while group two used for people: Adam 6 times, God 4, objects: brain 9, heart 8, color: green 11 times. For activities this groups used the expressions: God reaching Adam 5 times, giving life 4, laying down 4, being indifferent 4 times.

For the pragmatic analysis, this is the impact an image has in society at a religious, aesthetic, political or philosophical level, group 1 considered the image had mainly a


religious value, 7 times, universal values such as life and simplicity, 2 times, as a tool to influence people, one time, while they considered the purpose was: to express, 9 times and to persuade, 1 time. Group two expressed the image had a religious value, 16 times, aesthetic value 1 time. Purpose: to express ideas 17, and inspire, 1 time. As it can be observed, the account of the syntactic variables such as people, shapes, objects, colors and activities varied after adding the text. The image analysis proofs that students interpreted the icon as having a high religious value and the purpose to express feelings and values as both groups indicated.

Image Analysis

Student´s drawing of The Creation of Adam without stimulus.

Group 1

Element that you included in your drawing (variables)


God´s ray of light


















Symbol of masculinity




Student´s drawing of The Creation of Adam. They listened to the text from the Book of Genesis as a stimulus. Group 2

Element that you included in your drawing (variables)


God´s ray of light




















God´s hand















The image of the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo was shown to them. The instructions were the following: Examine individual items of the image, pay attention to each section to see what new details you find. What do you see?

Syntactic Analysis

Group 1




Objects: form, shapes, colors








God giving life to Adam






Laying down




God bigger than Adam


Angels watching




Fingers touching


Being lazy





Being indifferent





God wants to create Eve and he has her in his brain or in his heart



God´s light


God reaching Adam


Syntactic Analysis

Group 2




Objects: form, shapes, colors








Giving life






Laying down




God bigger than Adam


Being indifferent



Fingers touching


God reaching Adam





God´s voice speaking to Adam






Pragmatic analysis.

Group 1

Purpose of the image:


Value or impact of image to society (religious, aesthetic political or historical level)




The perfect plan of God




God giving life




God creating, including knowledge




The relationship between God and men




Adam represents life



The simplicity and beauty of what life is or could be



The gap humans have always created that separates them from God



Everything God gives to us



Michelangelo used his art to influence people in the wrong way



The connection between the mortal and the divine and the arrival of divinity to earth



Pragmatic analysis Group 2

Purpose of the image:


Value or impact of image to society (religious, aesthetic political or historical level)




The creation of life is linked to love, like a mom to her baby




Free will




At first God created Adam only in his thoughts








It’s an important piece of art




We are God´s creation



God created a perfect human body



God wanted to share his heart with us



God is a creator of human minds



God is sending love to his creation


Conclusions The repetition of elements found in the painting by the students was influenced when adding a stimulus and that could be proved through a syntactic and pragmatic analysis.

It is considered important that teachers apply strategies to help students develop images

reading skills, given that the reading of images or icons allows students to assimilate the

information they receive more quickly through visual language.

The skill of reading images is as important as reading texts because a text accompanied by

a picture which is not understood, complicates the understanding of the whole message,

an image along that cannot be interpreted and it may stop people from understanding a message. Mass media is giving priority to visual language, therefore there is a need to develop visual literacy.



Barthes, Roland (1993). La Aventura Semiológica. Editorial Paidós. Barcelona, España.

Bible. Genesis 2: 7-8

Braden, R.A., and Hortin, J.A. (1982). Identifying the theoretical foundations of visual literacy. Journal of Visual/Verbal Languaging, 2, 37-42.

Colle, Raymond (1989/1998). El Contenido de los Mensajes Icónicos. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social. La Laguna (Tenerife) D.L.: TF - 135 - 98 / ISSN: 1138 - 5820 http://www.lazarillo.com/latina. Facultad de Comunicaciones, Pontificia Universidad Católica Santiago de Chile.

Chandler, Daniel (2007). Semiotics the basis. Routledge, NY, Usa. Creation of Adam image on line retrieved (18/08/2016)




Barcelona, España.


(2000 5ª.






Editorial Lumen,

Eco, Umberto (1986, tercera edición). La Estructura Ausente. Editorial Lumen, Barcelona España.









Michelangelo´s Creation of Adam image on line retrieved (18/08/2006)




Moore, David Mike (1994). Visual Literacy: A spectrum of Visual Learning. Educational Technology Publications, Inc. New Jersey, U.S.A.

Sontag, Susan (2004). Ante el dolor



de los demás. En: El País. Domingo 30 de Mayo,

Vilches, Lorenzo (1993). Teoría de la Imagen Periodística). Editorial Paidós Ibérica. Barcelona, España.


44443r3r3r3rdddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention

Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Implementing task-based language teaching to integrate

Implementing task-based language teaching to integrate language skills

Eulices Córdoba Zúñiga eucorzucho@gmail.com Universidad de la Amazonia

Introduction This presentation reports the findings of a qualitative research study conducted with six first semester students of an English as a Foreign Language program in a public university in Colombia. The aim of the study was to implement task-based language teaching as a way to integrate language skills, and help learners to improve their communicative competence in English. Task Based Language Teaching, TBLT, was implemented as a response to the way teachers at this university taught English in the first semester, that is, lessons were planned for the mastering of listening, reading, writing, or speaking without proper integration of these four abilities. Second, the students participated in almost all the class activities when they were based on one skill only. However, participation decreased when these exercises integrated reading, writing, listening, and speaking in the same lessons. In addition, some students showed lack of interest and were reluctant to participate in the classes when these were based on reading or writing. This situation led me to conduct this study in order to enrich the EFL language learning process in the program and help students improve their language learning. The results suggest that the implementation of task-based language teaching facilitated the integration of the four skills in English as a foreign language context. Furthermore, tasks were meaningful and integrated different reading, writing, listening, and speaking exercises that enhanced student’s communicative competences and interaction. It can be concluded that task-based language teaching is a good approach to be used in the promotion of skills integration and language competences.

Theoretical framework Many researchers and teachers have shown the benefits of integrating language skills in English education. They all state that learning English is more productive when students learn the four skills in a single lesson because it is the way in which learners will probably use the language in their daily lives. According to Baturay and Akar (2007) integrating language skills is fundamental for learners to be competent in the second language (L2) and promote English learning naturally. This integration enhances EFL learning through constant practice and allows students to express their ideas through writing messages,


understanding aural and written messages, and holding conversations. Freeman (1996) states that “tasks are always activities where the target language is taught for a communicative purpose (goal) in order to achieve an outcome” (p. 23). Under those considerations expressed above, this study tried to demonstrate that through the implementation of TBLT, language abilities were integrated to promote meaningful language learning.

Task-Based Language Teaching TBLT provides opportunities to experience spoken, reading, listening, and written language through meaningful class assignments that involve learners in practical and functional use of L2. Therefore, TBLT promotes and stimulates the integration of skills through completing daily-life activities that improve students’ communicative competence because it offers learners the possibility of practicing the target language constantly. Nunan (1999) supported this idea when stating that TBLT requires listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the same exercise to complete the problem posed by the task. The use of this method in class usually brings real-life work that allows the practice of all the language abilities. This helps students to explore different communicative opportunities inside and outside the classroom, which benefit the practice of language by conducting tasks that are closely or related to the day-to-day life. Additionally, Kurniasih (2011) highlighted that the objective of TBLT in English is to enhance the use of language as a means to focus on authentic learning. Furthermore, Richards and Rodgers (2001) highlighted that TBLT enhances the creation of learning tasks that suit the needs of the learners and help them master all skills successfully by providing different class exercises to complete their work. Ellis (2009) discussed some criteria that distinguish TBLT from regular teaching activities. Finally, Li (1998) argued that TBLT facilitates language learning because learners are the center of the language process and in that way, it promotes higher proficiency levels in all language skills. Nunan (2005) also stated that TBLT is an approach that enables skills integration. It lets students understand, produce, manipulate, or interact in the classroom. This approach usually requires real tasks, in which students have the main roles and use the four skills constantly. Willis (1996) and Carless (2007) acknowledged the importance of this approach because it emphasizes on authenticity and communicative activities. For them, when TBLT is applied in class, learners assume active roles, and learning and reflections are constant.

Tasks in language learning In English language education, tasks are viewed as important components to help develop proficiency and to facilitate the learning of a second or foreign language by increasing learners activity in the classroom. Nunan (2004) affirms that “tasks aim at providing occasions for learners to experiment and explore both spoken and written language through learning tasks that are designed to engage students in the authentic, practical, and functional use of language” (p. 41). In this vision, the role of a task is to stimulate a natural desire in learners to improve their language competence by challenging them to complete clear, purposeful, and real-world tasks, which enhance the learning of grammar and other features as well as skills. Additionally, Richards et al. (as cited in Nunan, 2004) consider


tasks as “an activity or action which is carried out as a result of a process to understand a language. For example, drawing a map, performing a command, buying tickets, paying the bills, and driving a car in a city” (p. 7). These types of tasks normally require the teacher to specify the requirements for successful completion, set the goals of the task, and provide different classroom practices that normally do not take place in an English class.

Furthermore, Long (1985) states that a task is a piece of work undertaken for oneself or for others, freely or for some reward. Examples of a task include painting a fence, dressing a child, filling out a form, buying a pair of shoes, making an airline reservation, borrowing a library book, taking a driving test, typing a letter, weighing a patient, sorting letters, and so on. In this sense, Richards and Rodgers (2001) argue that “tasks are believed to foster a process of negotiation, modification, rephrasing, and experimentation that are at the heart of second language learning” (p. 228). Nunan (1999) points out that tasks activate and promote L2 learning through discussions, cooperation, and adjustment. In general, tasks allow learners to be more exposed in the language learning process by increasing rehearsal opportunities, in which they prepare themselves to perform daily-life tasks that help them gain knowledge and experience in the target language.

Method I followed a case study research design due to the characteristic of the context and the specific population. The process involved planning, observing, acting, and reflecting about the data from a small number of participants. According to Baxter and Jack (2008) “a qualitative case study methodology provides the tools for researchers to study complex phenomena within their contexts” (p. 545). Based on Yin’s (1984) definition, a case study is a process that examines and describes a particular case thoroughly, with the objective of gathering an in-depth understanding of the problem under analysis. Following Baxter and Jack (2008) qualitative case studies give researchers the opportunity to examine a problem through the use of different data collection tools. In this order of ideas, a series of six interviews and the same number of observations were conducted to provide validity to the research study. In order to analyze the data, I followed a constant comparison strategy to examine the information of the problem under study. Based on Creswell (2007), constant comparison strategy is a series of procedures that help researchers to analyze and think about social realities. I followed a systematic plan of action in which I first transcribed the observations and the interviews. Secondly, I read the information several times to identify the recurring themes and labeled the data on the margins. Then, data were segmented with repetitive words and voices from the participants. Data are shown in the case study session that defines the participants in the research study.

Findings and discussion The general findings of this research demonstrated that all the participants see TBLT as a way to encourage the use and integration of the four language skills in their EFL classes. They considered that this methodology could be helpful to incorporate the abilities through


performing tasks that included a variety of exercises to help them to develop their capabilities in every single ability.

Nicol 1 expressed that “they preferred TBLT rather than other ways of language learning because this method offered the opportunity to increase their expertise in all the abilities and not only on one or two” (Interview 2). Andres said that the implementation of an everyday life task such as “describing family members” fostered the integration of the four language skills in an optimistic way (Interview 3). In the same interview, Yasney stated:

“Classes are better now because we all practice the four skills at the same time.” These participants had this perception about TBLT because this approach facilitated the development of different class exercises that covered specific assignments in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This familiarized the participants with integrated classroom tasks and provided more interaction, helping students to become better English learners.

The participants equally suggested that TBLT created more diverse and inclusive exposures in the target language practice. They had more opportunities to rehearse and interact with their classmates and the teacher-researcher by asking and answering questions from the articles and holding conversations with the classmates about the task. In Interview 5, Yasney expressed that she “liked to work with TBLT in class because [she] prepared well by practicing with [her] classmates.” In Observations 4 and 5, it was evident to see this and other learners (5) participating of all the exercises. In relation to this, Xiongyong and Samuel (2011) affirmed that TBLT is seen by students as a great methodology to enhance language practice opportunities. These results revealed that TBLT integrated and opened students’ possibilities to be part of the class through constant practice.

To sum up, TBLT may also be a good way to integrate skills by creating a framework that allowed the practice of suitable class activities, in which learners have to reach specific class aims for every skill. Carlos affirmed that “the assignments helped them to understand that skills integration provided them with realistic language learning” (Interview 5). Additionally, Andrea expressed that she improved her language competences in part because TBLT integrated the language skills and she practiced the language. For these participants the use of task played an important role to learn the target language easily and naturally, and they improved their skills in the language.

Participants’ view of integrated skills in EFL class With respect to the integration of language skills in EFL classes, there were two positions. First, at the beginning the students were not familiar with the methodology of integrating language skills in class. Then, their perception was that the integration might be a great way to learn a language, but they were not totally sure about the benefits of integrating the skills in classes because they said that it demanded more work and it would be better to master one skill and then the rest. However, this position changed during the development

1 The names used here are pseudonyms.


of the tasks, in which was observable that the students did a lot of exercises to finalize the work successfully. In Interview 5, Yasney stated that “the integration of language skills is a useful and a successful mechanism to enhance the students’ English Language.” This position was shared by Andres, who said that “the integration of language skills resulted in a very useful way to keep a balance in the four language skills.” Andres also expressed that “the integration is fundamental to learn the language as it is used in the real life.” In part, the participants had this perception because at the end of the study they got used to performance class work that had specific assignment for every skill.

Participants’ motivation during the development of the task Apart from integrating language skills, TBLT helped the participants to be motivated, raised their self-esteem, praised their own and others work. They were motivated by the structure of the tasks (stages), the goals of each phase and the clear purposes, the teacher- researcher willingness to correct meaningfully, and the kind of activities they developed. Nicol said that “the research-teacher and the organization of the task encouraged her to feel good in the class” (Interview 4). Similarly, Yasney expressed that “the steps of the assignments and the teacher made [her] be willing to take part in the class development easily” (Interview 5). Andres also manifested that working with TBLT motivated him to be a better English learner. The positive attitude of these participants about the implementation of tasks in class was in part due to their high performance, the meaningful feedback and positive attitude, and disposition from the teacher-researcher. It means that, in order to foster learners’ motivation, it is necessary to plan the class activities well and provide them with correct feedback.

Conclusion The findings of this study suggest that TBLT is a meaningful approach to integrate language skills in an EFL program. The participants performed class assignments that helped them to develop tasks which included continuing exercises in receptive and productive skills and had more time to practice doing tasks that required the integration of language skills in a lesson through the use of contextualized and meaningful activities that support natural language acquisition. Linked to this benefit, the implementation of these assignments had a positive impact to improve students’ communicative competences, as can be noted by the students’ responses. These tasks increased the students’ experience in the language by providing them with more opportunities to rehearse the language meaningfully. They negotiated among them, showed their point of views about the class development, and shared the results with their classmates orally and in writing. Also, they searched information, read articles to get main ideas, and supported their reports.


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Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Academic writing feedback through screen capture technology

Academic writing feedback through screen capture technology

Elizabeth Cruz Soto


The English language and technology have become two important topics in education in today´s world. The context of this article is in the center of the Mexican republic in a public university where English is being taught as a foreign language. It is important to highlight that extensively the majors use the English language in order to graduate from the university. As it is mentioned before, English is being taught as a foreign language and the overwhelming majority of people have to learn it in a way. When learning a language that is different from your mother tongue, there are certain aspects to focus on. In the case of learning English as a foreign language for academic purposes, the majority of students write a thesis project. At the same time, students are required to have a thesis supervisor in order to receive feedback.

As a result, feedback needs to be given in an appropriate way in order to be understood by students. For this reason, this article would talk the processes involved when feedback is provided through screen capture technology. There is an emerging body literature on screen capture technology (hereafter SCT) as a means for providing feedback (fb) to students. It is mainly focused on how or why to use it, as well as, teacher´s and students´ perceptions and attitudes about it (e.g., Edwards, Dujardin and Williams, 2012; Jackson- Vincelette and Bostic, 2013; Séror, 2012).

Currently, what is needed are empirical studies on how students manage and respond to screen capture technology feedback (hereafter referred to as SCTfb) and how student respond to and manage it when it is used as formative writing assessment. Thus, the present study sought to fill the gap in understanding SCTfb and the English language teaching graduate students who received it as feedback to their master´s theses chapters.

Furthermore, the process of receiving feedback involved students’ management of the course platform blackboard, downloading, filing, listening to, watching and finally responding to the feedback. Also, students´ responses and reactions to the SCTfb are included.


The present study was grounded in the following questions:

RQ1. How do the students manage the SCTfb they received for selected portions of their thesis document? RQ2. In what ways is their management of the SCTfb different from their management of their more customary forms of writing feedback?

In order to find solutions to this activity, two data analysis procedures were used. First, Atlas.ti as a way to categorize student´s moves when receiving feedback as revealed through the think aloud protocol interviews (Katalin, 2000), and the activity theory approach (Martin & White, 2005) in order to examine student’s emotions towards the use of this program.

Literature review As it was mentioned previously, the context of the writing process is in a formal context which is denominated academic writing. Writing academic papers demand many things such as academic vocabulary, transitional words, metadiscourse, referencing, just to name few skills. Indeed, it is a difficult task to carry out. For this reason, students demand teachers to revise their work and find mistakes in order to improve their writings. As a result, the important topics of the present research are grounded in academic writing in higher education, writing in a foreign language, research writing and supervision and feedback. Feedback and technologies are most closely allied with the topic, specifically SCT.

Academic writing in higher education It is important to highlight that English has been taught in all education levels but the level that demands more from students is in higher education. In this particular case, the university where the study was carried out is located in central Mexico where the mother tongue is Spanish and English is being taught as a foreign language.

Writing in a foreign language There are several studies that prove that when students are learning a second language (L2) it is easily for them to achieve appropriately academic writing because they already have developed the features of their mother tongue (L1) (June, 2008). In agreement with this view, it has been said that L2 writers tend to be more confident in their L2 writing ability, have a sense of purpose, are aware of the audience and are committed to the writing task (Hirose & Sasaki, 1994; Sasaki and Hirose, 1996; Victory, 1999). On the contrary, there are some authors that suggest that even studying English for years, it is difficult for non-native students (NNS) to develop academic writing. They said that students experience numerous problems such as ineffectiveness of academic writing task and disparity between the existing teaching as assessment practices in academic context (Baleghizadeh and Gordani, 2012). That is to say, that if the language is hard to understand, the discourse will be opaque and when it is assessed students will find themselves in a failure.


Research writing and supervision As discussed previously, once students have finished their writing task they typically send it to their supervisors in order to be assessed. The assessment is important because it provides students with an image about how good or bad their product was. Truscott (1996 in Hyland and Hyland, 2006) mentioned that when students correct themselves after feedback, they developed a sense of autonomy and seemed to be able to improve their language accuracy. In the same path, Hyland and Hyland (2006) stated “students invest more effort in processing the input they receive and are forced to notice discrepancies in their own work and the correct pattern they are trying to employ” (p. 86). That is to say, students learnt language rules that helped them to improve their writing. Davis and Bryer (2004) agreed that supervision enhances students’ competencies and gives them the opportunity to bring awareness of what they are writing.

Supervision and feedback According to Pearson and Brew (2002) Supervision can be seen as a way of teaching with the supervisor as guide of students. They believe that when students are well supervised their writing will reflect effectiveness. To support this view, Lee (2007, p. 1) said that “the range and depth of concepts that a supervisor holds will dictate how they supervise and the type of researcher who emerges at the end of the process”. In other words, behind every researcher there is an effective supervisor (effective researchers).

Feedback and technology Hattie and Timperley (2007) believed that the central concept of effective communication is feedback and that it is known as one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement. According to them, feedback “is information provided by an agent (teacher, peer, book, parent, self, experience) regarding aspects of one’s performance or understanding” (p. 81). Winne and Butler (1994 in Hattie and Timperley 2007) also conceived feedback as “the information with which a learner can confirm, add to, overwrite, tune, or restructure information in memory, whether that information is domain knowledge, meta-cognitive knowledge, beliefs about self and tasks, or cognitive tactics and strategies” (p. 574).

Hattie and Timperley (2007) conceptualized effective feedback as “any form of usual effects of schooling on student achievement” (p. 82). The effects can vary according to the task or to the difficulty of the task; however, they found that the most effective forms of feedback are those that provide cues or reinforcement to learners and/or relate to goals which can be in the forms of video, audio or computer assisted instructional feedback.

SCT As time passes by, technology is taking on larger roles in education. Technology and people are not the same in today’s world. People today use technology for everything even for talking to the person that is next to us. The interrogative is that why we are still using paper or pen to communicate when we have gadgets that make our life easier. Probably


people can use the technology in education instead of using pencil and paper in order to enhance students learning. Recently, video-feedback via SCT has become possible through the research and education. It seems that video feedback engages students in their writing process and students respond positively to the technology and methodology (as shown in a number of recent studies, e.g., Edwards, Dujardin and Willams, 2012; Jackson-Vincelette and Bostic, 2013; Séror, 2012). SCT is seen as an innovative and creative way to correct our students’ papers.

Séror (2012) defined screencasting as “the broadcast through the World Wide Web of digital video-recordings of a computer´s on-screen activities” (p. 106). He stated that the use of it in L2 writing pedagogy was explored first by Stannard in 2006-2007 by producing feedback by creating video-recording of both his spoken comments and his on-screen actions as he responded to students’ texts. Rooted in this view, feedback has been seen at a multimodal focus which allows a wider range of individual learning styles and preferences (Mayer, 2003).

As well, Séror (2012) shared his experiences using screencapture technology because it seems to enrich feedback on his students written assignments. He argued that in second language feedback practices become effective using this digital resource. Also, he mentioned that screencasting technology embodies a low-cost, intuitive, and time-saving compared with the more traditional feedback approaches. Furthermore, Ferris, (2003, 2010; Hyland, 2010 in Séror, 2012) stated that in the field of L2 writing there is always a controversy about the best ways to provide students with comments, corrections and advise about their written assignments. As well, Séror (2012) showed beneficial effects of feedback on students’ achievement and mentioned that feedback is a unique opportunity for one-on-one interaction between instructors and students about their strengths or weaknesses as writers (p. 105).

In addition, he mentioned that within an email, he sent his students a link where they could access to their feedback any time on any device and at any location. He stated that students could review their feedback as often as they wish and that they also have the ability to rewind and stop their teacher’s feedback. By the time they listen to the screencast, students are like having a face to face conference and can access to live comments without the affective stress that is provoked by having their teacher present. As well, supervisors are not forced to write out everything; on the contrary, supervisors are able to communicate with greater flexibility with the addition of a visual dimension to explanations.

Similarly, Stannard (2007 in Brick and Holmes, 2008) found that multimodal feedback tended to be more extensive in terms of recording more words than in verbal communication; it is also denser because it contains both verbal and nonverbal information. Also, a combination of animation and verbal commentaries is the instructional format that students find most memorable. Last, Brick and Holmes (2008), added that


feedback is well received by students and there is some evidence to suggest that learners value this type of feedback because they find it clearer than the traditional forms.

How does SCT work in writing feedback? While the actual technical aspects of SCT are beyond the scope of this study, it is useful to briefly describe how it works in terms of providing writing feedback. The technology is delivered via software. There is a variety of SCT software available from free to paid versions. The software that was used in this study had a small cost. The SCT program can be bought online and downloaded directly to a personal computer (assuming it has an internet connection). Once installed there is a tutorial, or the user can choose to begin screen-capturing immediately. Most software sites have user groups and help services to solve problems. In the case of the software used in this study, there were no problems and the program was very easy to use.

To use the program, when the program is installed a tab is located in at the top of the computer screen. It is there at all times (unless closed). The user moves the curser over the tab and it opens. There is a red selectable tab in the middle of the tab which when selected produces a movable frame which the user situates over the part of the screen to be captured. Once that is done, the user can select to capture an image (as in a camera shot) or a video. If the video is selected, the software provides a three second countdown and then recording begins. The recording can be paused and restarted as many times as necessary through the recording session. This is very useful when opening other documents or websites to include in the recording. When recording is finished, a button is selected which takes the user to the save and edit page of the software. Here the video can be reviewed, cut (edited) and saved.

The overall operation of the software is basically intuitive and quite easy to use. However, through a short period of use, the user can learn to use the program to the best advantage. Overall the use of the SCT as a feedback tool to writing is well worth any effort involved because of the positive responses of students to its use as reviewed in the studies mentioned in this section. Attitudes towards feedback are important to learning as established in a number of learning theories.


Findings from the Atlas analysis SCTfb as face to face interaction with their thesis supervisors (1_F2FSUP)

This category describes students’ opinions of SCTfb as a face-to-face interaction with their thesis supervisors. One aspect that was mentioned is that when students listen to the teacher’s voice they feel like talking with their teacher instead of only listening to the computer. To illustrate this view, one student said “I prefer to listen to the teacher’s voice and recommendations” because it is like “giving me feedback in a personal way”.


SCTfb as a practical way to receive feedback (1_FBIMPRV)

Students reported that the SCTfb is a practical way to receive feedback considering their age, the nature of their task – writing their graduate thesis, and the quality of the feedback. Some student’s comments were along these lines: “SCT is an appropriate program for our ages considering that we are all now familiar with technology use”. Furthermore, students reported that SCT is a practical tool because they can “go through it again and again, pause it or listen to it twice”. Emotional responses to the SCTfb (1_FBEMOTION)

Writing is difficult and stressful for many students especially when they are writing in a second language. Many of the students expressed emotional responses to both types of feedback and much of that was positive emotions associated with the more personal SCTfb and negative emotions such as frustration and annoyance associated mainly with traditional forms of writing feedback. Traditional forms were too brief such as highlighting without further explanations and grades that did not match the teacher end comments in a paper. These characteristics do not tend to happen with SCTfb because of the nature of the technology.

SCTfb from a technical perspective (1_FBTECH)

Almost all of the students expressed being completely comfortable using the technology. As mentioned above, it was the first time students were exposed to the SCTfb. It can be say that students were comfortable within the use of the SCT program because they had reported that they felt as if they were talking live with the supervisor. They also mentioned that the quality of the SCT was great that allows them to correct their papers in a more accurate way, better than in written documents. On the other hand, students expressed that some of them had trouble managing editing features of their word processing software, but none expressed any trouble using the SCT software. Many worked out ways to use it and edit their writing which were specific to the qualities of the SCT approach.

Their SCTfb was delivered to them via the course management platform Blackboard. These students had been using Blackboard throughout the graduate program, but in the Fall 2014, thesis seminar course was the first time they had received the SCTfb. They all knew when they saw the file extension – mp4 – that the file was some kind of multimedia file, and as mentioned above, this did not cause any problems for them.

As it can be seen in the comments, many students mentioned that the volume was too low. To compensate for that, many started using headphones or made sure they were working in quiet locations. After seeing those comments, the instructor using the SCT software adjusted her microphone setting and this has hopefully corrected this problem.


SCTfb procedures and TFB procedures (1_SCTPROCEDURES / 2_TFBPROC / TFBCLEAR OR NOT).

This category is associated with RQ1 which intended to collect information about how the students actually handled the SCTfb. While the interview protocol was focused on eliciting procedures, much of what the students ended up talking about was related to what was categorized in codes other than the procedure codes. After multiple readings and analysis of the interview responses, it seems that what they do differently has to do first with the nature of the SCTfb and second with whether they are required to resubmit their writings or not. So there were no notable differences between what they do with the SCTfb and what they do with their TFB other than for reasons mentioned in the previous sentence. However, it is possible to identify a few things mentioned in the interviews.

Findings from the Appraisal Framework According to Martin and White (2005), the Appraisal framework serves to explore, describe and explain the way that language is used to evaluate, to adopt stances, to construct textual personas or identities and to manage interpersonal positioning and relationships. So the appraisal analysis looks at how relationships are negotiated in a text by the strategic use of language in order to communicate attitudes and evaluations. Appraisal “is concerned with the constructions by text of communities of shared feelings and values, and with the linguistic mechanisms for the sharing of emotion, tastes and normative assessment” (Martin & White, 2005, p. I).

Martin and White (2005) situate appraisal with systemic functional linguistics as an interpersonal system at the level of discourse semantics, the appraisal system is comprised of three different domains (sub-systems) which are engagement, attitude and graduation. Engagement deals with sourcing attitudes and the interplay of voices around opinions in discourse. Attitude is concerned with feelings including emotional reactions, judgments of behaviors and evaluation of things. And graduation attends to grading phenomena whereby feelings are amplified and categories blurred (Martin & White, 2005, p. 35).

For the purpose of the first question, that is identifying how the students manage SCTfb, this study focused only on the first level of appraisal: attitude which includes the following semantic regions affect, judgment and appreciation. This level to categorize the data from the protocol interviews was adopted because the main interest of this research is to look at students’ reactions, actions, emotions and opinion while using the SCTfb.

Moments of Affect The typology of affect is concerned with feelings or emotions, either positive (+) or negative (-). This framework allows us to show how these feelings and emotions were realized by EFL students when using SCTfb.


Evidence of positive moments of affect There were more positive moments of affect than negative registered by students. Those moments were related to the comments that the teacher made on her paper. The majority of the comments were positive comments and happy faces which made the participant feel positive about the feedback she was receiving. Also, some of them were related to the way the teacher used technology to give feedback (i.e., the SCTfb), as well as the use of the SCT as a way to communicate with the professor. Finally, participants mentioned that the audio file is a good tool because the teacher illustrates what to correct.

Evidence of negative moments of affect Students had reported that SCT makes them feel something positive towards its use but there are always some negative things about it. Those negative moments were related to the use of the printing machine, downloading took too long and computers were slow. In

the case of regular or written feedback, participants mention that sometimes teachers send

it late and that makes them feel frustrated, stressed, disappointed, and even anxious.

Some participants did not mention anything negative about SCTfb use which means that they were “content” about having it as a way to improve their writing. Also, it is believed that students who did not report any negative moment of affect could manage the computer well so that they did not present any negative comments on the use of it.

Moments of judgment As mentioned by Martin and White (2005, p. 52) judgments can be divided into two categories. First, judgments related to social esteem which have to do with normality (how unusual someone is), capacity (how capable they are) and tenancy (how resolute they are). Second, judgments related to social sanctions which have to do with veracity (how truthful someone is) and propriety (how ethical someone is). Therefore within the use of SCTfb it can be concluded that these kinds of processes exist. As well, it is important to mention that for this particular study only social esteem judgments are going to be taken into account due to the fact that they “tend to be policed In the oral culture through chat, gossip, jokes and stories with humor but often having a critical role to play” (Eggins & Slade, 1997 in Martin & White, 2005, p. 52). The majority of students showed positive and negative moments of judgment when using SCTfb, it means that the majority of students either positively or negatively evaluate the use of this kind of feedback; that is to say that participants either admire or criticize the use of this tool.

Evidence of positive moments of judgment Participants indicated strong positive moments of judgment related to the use of SCTfb as

a good tool for giving and receiving feedback. Also they mentioned that the use of SCTfb

(mp4 or audio) was a great tool due to the fact that you can listen to your teacher as if you were having class with him/her. Also, they agreed that the audio is easy to download and that it complements the written fb that is given in the document. Besides that, it is easy to

see the mistakes or where the feedback is written. Last, comments helped participants to improve their work. To conclude, it can be said that participants admired the potential use


of the SCTfb and that they were mature enough to reflect about their writing and the use of the SCTfb. At the same time, participants had recognized that without receiving fb in this way they would not understand fb in the same way and as a result they would not be able to improve their academic writing.

Evidence of negative moments of judgment As mentioned by Martin and White (2005) judgments can be also be negative. In this project, participants criticized the use of SCTfb and their reactions are described in the following lines. The majority of the problems dealt with personal management of technology and fb as well as technical problems with students´ computers. Students reported that something negative about technology is that they are not used to and that it causes problems when receiving fb. On the other hand, students conveyed that the volume of the audio is bad and that they cannot hear or concentrate. It is a problem of each computer so it does not really have to do with the use of the SCTfb because the rest of the participants did not have that problem on their computers subsequently these kinds of judgments might not be valid in terms of the use of the SCT to give feedback or to improve academic writing. Last, some negative moments of judgment are related to personal experiences that make participants experience problems e.g., they cannot concentrate while listening; they cannot listen and write at the same time; they do not like to wait for the mp4 to download, and so on. It is worth mentioning that those comments are not related to the use of the SCT but they cannot be left aside because they cause problems when participants are correcting their papers.

Moments of appreciation Martin and White (2005, p. 56) claim that appreciation is when we evaluate “things” in a positive or negative way. These things are specially “things we make and performances we give, but they also include natural phenomena” p. 56. In short, appreciation means the way we “react” to things (do they catch out attention, do they please us) and their composition (balance and complexity) and their value (how innovative, authentic, timely, etc.).

Evidence of positive moments of appreciation When asking participants about the use of SCTfb it was found that positive moments of appreciation are regarding the way the teacher gives feedback. Indeed, participants described the way in which SCTfb is good because students can listen to the teacher’s explanations and correct their paper right away. As well, they explained that the positive moments of appreciation were done when they reflected about the teacher. They admired the way the teacher has worked with this tool and they say teacher’s comments helped them realize that the things they wrote were correct and that those comments bring up their spirit too because they were positive comments. Last, the SCTfb is a good thing that has helped participants because it comes in two parts; the mp4 or audio and the document in which they can make the changes that the professor is suggesting.


Evidence of negative moments of appreciation There was only one participant who mentioned a negative moment of appreciation that was when she received a bad grade. Then, she compared the fb given by the teacher with the original document she sent and she stated “If the grade is bad I check it right now. I compare it where I was wrong”. The negative moment occurred when she noticed the bad grade however it was associated with TFB and not the SCTfb. It means that the negative moment of appreciation was related to the TFB and not with the use of the SCTfb audio. The other participants did not show any negative moment of appreciation.

Chapter conclusion The present study can be used as an example for teachers who supervise students when writing their theses or when writing projects that involve the use of English as a foreign language. It shows that using SCT can a practical and useful way to give fb to students. It also helps teachers to communicate with students without seeing them face-to-face. While using this tool, the teacher can revise students´ papers effectively that in turn helps students to correct academic papers with a minimum of misunderstandings or doubts. It can be useful to monitor students´ progress individually or in group.

On the other hand, regarding students as participants, the majority agreed that using this tool they develop academic writing more efficiently and that is a way to communicate with their supervisors without seeing them. In light of this, it is useful to supervisors to enhance their professional practice and also helping students understand their writing feedback through an accessible format.

Furthermore, when seeking answers about the ways the students’ management of the SCTfb differed from their management of their more customary forms of writing feedback they mentioned that this has to do with the nature of the feedback. This means that SCTfb is given orally and in writing. It differs from traditional feedback because first they look at the written form and then they watch/listen to the oral form. Also, students can play the mp4 (oral form) as many times as they wish in order to make changes on their written text. Lastly, many of the students store the SCTfb in different folders to facilitate their use of it – to make it easier to locate and listen to again.

What these findings mean is that students do not really do something different with SCTfb than when receiving traditional feedback. However, they stated that it is a completely different story when receiving the SCTfb. Students reported that when revising traditional feedback they felt frustrated and unhappy. As well, they agreed that traditional feedback many times is vague and confusing; it did not help them to correct the problem if it is marked without explanations. Also, students mentioned that in traditional feedback comments have an angry or unfriendly tone that makes them unhappy. Lastly, the students reported with the traditional feedback that they felt that the teacher did not understand what they were expressing and that resulted on a negative grade or negative feedback. There did not seem to be that same feature with the SCTfb.



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44443r3r3r3rdddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention

Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Shaping identity in the NNEST classroom: An

Shaping identity in the NNEST classroom: An ethnographic portrait

Rosa Dene David rosadene@gmail.com United States of America Department of State English Language Fellow Program


The differentiation between NESTS and NNESTs is a predominant issue within ELT. Identity is often shaped by others perceptions and can be reflected inside the classroom. This study is concerned with the way in which two NNESTs perceive their professional identity in relation to being multilingual speakers teaching English. By painting individual portraits of two NNESTS, this study explores the attitudes, beliefs and social structures that influence the way the participants view themselves as instructors.

Session Description:

One of most prevalent issues surrounding English education internationally is the differentiation between Native English-Speaking Teachers (NESTs) and Nonnative English-Speaking Teachers (NNESTs). What is sometimes termed the “Native speaker fallacy” is the notion that in order to be a proficient teacher of the English language one must either be a native speaker or possess native like fluency (Phillipson, 1992). This position is furthered by Holliday’s “Native Speakerism, ” (Holliday, 2006) which suggests that within the field of English Language Teaching (ELT) there is an assumption that NESTs are better equipped to teach English language learners due to language proficiency and Western teaching methodology Today, instructors who are native speakers of English are more sought after on the international market than their nonnative English-speaking counterparts. NNESTs have less access to employment, fair wages and job security due to the perceived differences in language ability (Barry, 2011). The distinction between the two classes of teachers has imposed the belief that NNESTs are often second-class citizens (Braine, 1999). Subsequently, noting the differences between English variety and dialect can jeopardize the NNESTs’ social and occupational identity in the classroom (Varghese et al., 2005).

Globalization is increasingly “omnipresent” and, as Tapias (2008) has illustrated, a “global tsunami” is washing flows of people and information into new spaces transnationally. The English language has acted as a global anchor to secure these changes internationally. Historically, we have looked towards what Kachru terms “Inner Circle” countries, i.e. those


where English has been the native language (U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand), to guide the training of teachers and delivery of English instruction (Kachru, 1985). Scholars within Applied Linguistics and English language teaching (ELT) argue that favoring the native speaker has created a division among not only what varieties of English are sought after on the international market, but by doing so ELT “has diverted attention away from the solution of urgent pedagogical questions and prevented the flourishing of local pedagogical initiative which could build on local strengths and linguistic realities” (Phillipson, 1992, p. 199). Still other academics within the field have argued that the privileging of the native speaker is beginning to diminish in these same settings (Paikeday, 1981; Braine, 1999). Other theoreticians have called for a move away from the negative terminology of native and nonnative speaker, contending that such jargon calls for a division in speaker comprehensible and international labor practices (Leung, Harris and Rampton, 1997; Butcher, 2005).

It is widely accepted in English education that the differentiation between native and nonnative English speaking teachers has created a division in class and in labor. Robert Phillipson coined the term “native speaker fallacy” to suggest that “the ideal teacher is a native speaker, somebody with native speaker proficiency in English who can serve as a model for the pupils” (Phillipson, 1992, p. 193). By relying on native speaker intuition and supposing that NESTs are the ideal models for English language learners drastically affects NNESTs role within ELT. Holliday explains that division between teachers “can be seen in many aspects of profession life, from employment policy to the presentation of language” (Holliday, 2006 p. 385). Other scholars understand that the subsequent divide between teachers has negative consequences on NNESTs including less access to employment opportunities, fair wages, job security due to perceived differences in intelligibility and proficiency (Berns, 2005; Barry, 2011).

The international education model further problematizes which speakers should be the model for the growing number of nonnative English speakers internationally. Western universities have placed themselves in a position of power by constructing themselves as being in the “center of the international student exchange network” that deciphers academic excellence (Chen and Barnett, 2002; as cited in Devos, 2003, p. 161). Moreover, English language education can be understood as a “site of struggle and identity revamping where knowledge about the cultural politics associated with colonialism, imperialism, modernity, development theories and globalization and about the powerful dichotomies of Self and Other is questioned” (Chowdhury and Phan Le Ha, 2014 p. 13). Thus, the essence of English education internationally should come under scrutiny in relation to its role in creating discriminatory practices.

In the United States, we have begun to direct legislation against those “aliens among us” who are perceived to be in the U. S. illegally or perceived to be taking jobs away from white, monolingual users of English (Ruiz, 1988; Castellanos, 1983; Canagarajah, 1999; Lui, 1999, Mckay and Bokhorst-Heng, 2008; Oboler, 2010). Some academics have argued


that a historic colonial relationship has been transferred to a neo-colonial relationship (Phillipson, 1992, Canagarajah, 1999; Lui, 1999; Holliday, 2006). One of the most recent examples of a discriminatory state led policy occurred in the state of Arizona, where teachers who were reported to speak an accented variety of English were required to be removed from classrooms where there were students still learning how to speak the English language (Obobler, 2010; Diniz de Figueiredo, 2011). In this context, the ideal teacher of English continues to be a monolingual U.S. citizen, born and raised on American soil. But as demographics change scholars have argued that a more diverse group of teachers should deliver instruction to diverse learners (McLaren and Farahmandpur, 2004).

In the case of the NNESTs, English instruction can be shaped by the perception and identity inferred by creating a divide between teachers according to language variation. It has been noted that pre-service NNESTs feel anxiety and fear when they contemplate their overall language ability in comparison to NESTs (Greis, 1985). NNESTs are also prone to feeling inferior to NESTs and sometimes in the EIL context do not recognize that speaking the same native language as their students could be in their favor (Tang, 1997). Instead, NNESTs are often more concerned with their students’ perceptions and opinions of their ability to teach English coherently with precision. Thus, NNESTs struggle with constructing and negotiating a positive identity within the English classroom (Amin, 1997).

As previous research has indicated, identity is a dynamic process that is both assigned and claimed (Varghese et al., 2005). The negotiation of identity is an ongoing process between the social positions that individuals claim for themselves and the social positions that are assigned by those they come in contact with (Blackledge and Pavenko, 2001) In relation to English language education, teacher identities “develop in connection with the social contexts where they have learned, used and taught languages” (Menard-Warwick, 2014, p. 3). Thus, the construction of teacher identity has a direct correlation to the distinctions places upon NNESTs perceived language differences because it situates the nonnative speaker within a socially oppressive constructed identity (Pavlenko, 2003).

Almost completely absent from the debate has been the voices of nonnative English teachers whose lived experiences inside the English language classroom are directly affected by the pillars of inequality that have been put in place by discriminatory practices in TESOL. Menard-Warwick reminds us that there are metaphoric “discursive faultlines” within English education “where tensions, stresses and collisions occur between discourses” that can dramatically impact critical English language pedagogies (Mendard- Warwick, 2014, p. 2). Few studies have sought to use ethnographic methods to create narratives of NNESTs living across cultural and linguistic barriers (Arva and Medgyes, 1999; Llurda and Huguet, 2003; Dimova, 2011; Menard-Warwick, 2014).

This study explores the lives of two bilingual individuals whose first language is not English. They are both teachers of English to speakers of other languages. They are valued,


successful, and independent. They are the future. Their individual lived histories serve to illustrate the complexities that NNESTs endure as English language professionals.


Amin, N. (1997). Race and the identity of the nonnative ESL teacher. TESOL Quarterly, 31(3), 580-583. Arva, V., & Medgyes, P. (2000). Native and non-native teachers in the classroom. System, 28(3), 355-373. Barry, C. (2011). English language teaching in Brunei: A view through a critical lens. RELC Journal, 42(2), 203-220. Blackledge, A., & Pavlenko, A. (2001). Negotiation of identities in multilingual Contexts. The International Journal of Bilingualism, 5(3), 243-257. Braine, G. (Ed.) (1999). Non-native educators in English language teaching. Mahwah, NJ:

Laurence Erlbaum Associates. Berns, M. (2005). Expanding on the expanding circle: Where do we go from here? World Englishes, 24(1), 85-93. Butcher, C.A. (2005). The case against the ‘native speaker.’ English Today, 21(2),


Canagarajah, S.A. (1999). Resisting linguistic imperialism in English language teaching. New York: Oxford University Press.

Castellanos, D. (1983). The best of two worlds: Bilingual-bicultural education in the US. Trenton. NJ: New Jersey State Department of Education. Chen, T., & Barnett, G. (2000) Research on international student flows from a macro perspective: A network analysis of 1985, 1989 and 1995. Higher Education, 39(4), 435-


Chowdhury, R., & Phan, L. (2014). Desiring TESOL and international education:

Market abuse and exploitation. North York, ON: Multilingual Matters. Dimova, S. (2011). Non-native English teachers' perspectives on teaching accents and

varieties. TESL Reporter, 44(1&2), 65-82. Diniz de Figueredo, E., H. (2011). Nonnative English-speaking teachers in the United


States: Issues of identity. Language and Education, 25(5), 419-432. Greis, N. (1985). Towards a better preparation of the non-native ESOL teacher. On TESOL 84: Selected papers from the 18th annual convention of teachers of English to speakers of other languages. Washington, DC: TESOL. Holliday, A. (2006). Native-speakerism. ELT Journal, 60(4), 385-387. Kachru, B. B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: the English Language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk & H. G. Widdowson (Eds.). English in in the world: Teaching and learning the language and literatures. Cambridge, UK:

Cambridge University Press. Leung, C., Harris, R., & Rampton, B. (1997). The idealized native speaker, reified ethnicities, and classroom realities. TESOL Quarterly, 31(3), 543-560. Liu, J. (1999). Nonnative-English-speaking professionals in TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 33(1), 85-102. Llurda, E., & Huguet, A. (2003). Self-awareness in NNS EFL primary and secondary school teachers. Language Awareness, 12(3&4), 220-233. McKay, S., & Bokhorst-Heng, W. (2008). International English in its sociolinguistic contexts:

Towards a socially sensitive EIL pedagogy. New York, NY: Routledge. Menard-Warwick, J. (2014). English Language Teachers on the Discursive Faultlines:

Identities, Ideologies and Pedagogies. North York, ON: Multilingual Matters. McLaren, P., & Farahandpur, R. (2005). Teaching against global capitalism and the new imperialism: A critical pedagogy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Oboler, S. (2010). The dismantling of our future. Latino Studies, (8)3, 299-303. Paikeday, T. (1985). The native speaker is dead! Toronto, ON: Paikeday Publishing Inc. Pavlenko, A. (2003). “I never knew I was a bilingual”: Reimagining teacher identities in TESOL. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 2(4), 251-268. Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Ruiz, A. (1988). Orientation in language planning. In S. McKay & S. L. C. Wong (Eds.), Language diversity, problem or resource? A social and educational perspective on language minorities in the United States (Vol. 3). New York, NY: Newbury House Publishers. Tang, C. (1997). The identity of the nonnative ESL teacher: On the power of status of nonnative ESL teachers. TESOL Quarterly, 31(3), 577-583. Tapias, A. (2008, October). Global diversity and intercultural competence development. Plenary at the First Annual IDI Conference, Minneapolis, MN. Varghese, M., Morgan, B., Johnston, B., & Johnson, K. (2005). Theorizing language teacher identity: Three perspectives and beyond. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 4(1), 21-44.


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Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Breaking paradigms: Implementing a multidisciplinary

Breaking paradigms: Implementing a multidisciplinary approach to teacher-training

Rosa Dene David rosadene@gmail.com Kimberley Brown dbkb@pdx.edu United States of America Department of State English Language Fellow Program Portland State University


In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in the Mexican education system that calls for English language reform. Yet, the real challenge lies in developing teacher-training programs that train teachers not only to speak the language, but to acquire all of the tools needed to successfully teach a foreign language. This study explores the role of multidisciplinary training programs as a way to build confidence and knowledge about the English language.

Session Description:

This presentation addresses some of the challenges that Mexican non-native English- speaking teachers (NNESTs) face as they work to improve their overall English language proficiency and adopt current trends in English language pedagogy. In Mexico, there has been a paradigm shift in the K-12 education system aimed to strengthen bilingualism in the country (British Council, 2015). Though English as a foreign language (EFL) has been a part of the Ministry of Education curriculum at the secondary level since 1954 (Secretaria de Educación Pública, 2010), the desire to offer English to students at younger age and to continue instruction until the end of high school is a relatively new concept. In 2009 the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) sought to achieve this goal by initiating the Programa Nacional de Inglés en Educación Básica (PNIEB) to ensure that students finishing their secondary education would develop, “the pluri-lingual and pluri-cultural competence necessary to successfully handle the communicative challenges of the globalized world, (Hanna, 2012).” PNIEB was reformed again in 2015 to become Programa Nacional de Ingles (PRONI) as a way to better address the needs of young learners at the national level. Though SEP has outlined a noteworthy goal, the challenge lies in teacher-training programs.


Historical Background:

As the fifth largest public education system in the world with thirty-two million students and two million teachers, SEP faces numerous challenges as it tries to change its English language agenda to meet the needs of its young learners. Prior to 2009, English language education in public institutions was limited to middle school (secondaria) and high school (preparatoria/bachillerato) students. The initiation of PNIEB marked a major shift in Mexico’s English language education policy as it sought to start English language education in primary schools at the national level. The new program introduced English language education beginning in kindergarten and continuing through sixth grade (Sayer, 2012). Under PNIEB, the English language programs were controlled at the state level, which caused its own set of problems including the implementation of a national curriculum and lack of articulation between primary, secondary and high school programs (Ramíez- Romero, Sayer, 2016). The goal of PNIEB was to implement English language education in phases so that it could be expanded across all grades by 2012 and have continuity between academic levels.

However the PNIEB program was short lived and in 2013 PNIEB was replaced with Programa S246 Fortalecimiento de la Calidad en Educación Básica (PFCEB). According to Ramíez-Romero and Sayer (2008; p. 8), “The PFCEB was not a specific program for English teaching itself, but de facto eliminated PNIEB replacing it with one of the three initiatives or strategies of the new program meant to provide support to existing programs, entitled Apoyo para los procesos de estudio de una segunda lengua (inglés).” What has been observed to date by both policymakers and teachers is that the application of PDCEB was inconsistent, unclear and caused a significant amount of confusion about the future of English language education which in itself helped forged the next change in English language policy in the country.

In 2016, SEP embarked on yet another new English language initiative entitled, Programa Nacional de Inglés (PRONI) which, “Aims to support the states in order to strengthen and give continuity to the actions that have been implemented since the pilot began in the 2009-2010 school year in K-6 public schools, so that students get the skills to participate in more realistic English language social practices (DOF, 2015; p. 39).” Thus PRONI is set to build upon the work previously initiated by former English language initiatives namely PNIEB and PFCEB (Ramíez-Romero, Sayer, 2016). The goals of these prior initiatives were to expand access to English in public school sector starting in primary school and to create continuity between academic levels. By all indications the successes of these initiatives have included the implementation of English language programs in 33,093 primary elementary schools nationwide and higher numbers of students learning English for a longer period of time. However, at issue is the fact that there are issues with how teachers are recruited, and how teachers are trained both in terms of pedagogy and language. Within the public school sector there is lack of availability of textbooks, and articulation between academic levels.


In relation to English language reform in Mexico, one of the biggest challenges facing SEP is the way in which teachers are being selected to teach EFL. In many instances, teachers from various educational backgrounds are teaching EFL, yet many do not have the language skills or the language training to successfully meet PNIEB/PRONIs goals (Valladres and Castro, 2013). According to Sayer (2012, p. 14), “The main problem is with the profile of teachers, because in many schools teachers who need to be given a certain number of hours according to their contract are assigned to teach English as ‘filler hours’ regardless of knowledge of TESOL (teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) methods or English proficiency.” Teachers who lack foreign language pedagogy training or who have lower levels of English proficiency often choose to teach their English classes in Spanish. When English classes concentrate on discrete language skills and do not emphasize practice in the target language, students struggle to achieve the language skills needed to develop proficiency, (Valdés, 2001; Shin, 2008).

It is equally important to note that for Non-Native English Teachers (NNESTs) who have not had extensive contact with English and who haven’t develop their own written and oral proficiencies, the psychological burden of teaching EFL can be overwhelming (Machida, 2015). Often- times NNESTs without pedagogical training in English language teaching (ELT) feel ill-equipped to serve their students (Medgyes, 1999). This lack of pedagogical training, coupled with a level of English language proficiency that does not enable most to actually teach English in English are elements that are preventing successful implementation of the goals and objectives of SEP. Other scholars have pointed out the challenges SEP faces as it seeks to lead this English language reform. Among them: lack of articulation between levels from primary through secondary education; insufficient qualified English language professionals, and a belief by many that English language pedagogy is not a credible subject area.

Current Study:

This presentation specifically looks at one ongoing teacher-training program in the state of Guanajuato. The Department of State’s English Language Fellow Program in partnership with Sistema Avanzado de Bachillerato y Educación Superior (SABES) has created a three-year teacher-training program that seeks to provide teachers with ongoing English language instruction and English language pedagogy. The two-fold goal of this program, along with a demonstrable assessment dimension has been successful in helping participants acquire agency (Sayer, 2012) and the skills necessary to not only step successfully into the English language classroom, but to manage the class and delivery of materials in English. Among the “best practices” that feature in this program are the following: teaching English using the communicative approach, building a student centered classroom, writing lesson plans, integrating technology in low-tech classrooms, and building speaker identity.

All dimensions of this successful program can be imported into collaborations in other


The power dimension of native speaker English that has so dominated the


profession is lessened with the type of collaboration illustrated by this project. There is greater equal status collaboration: one US agency partner and one Mexican partner. Kachru (1985) suggests that English belongs to all who use it. Allowing teachers to develop their language fluency as well as their understanding of appropriate pedagogies in the communicative language classroom will ultimately serve the Mexican government well as we move into a globalized workplace.


British Council. (2015). English in Mexico: An examination of policy, perceptions and influencing factors. Mexico: British Council Mexico. Hanna, P.M., (2012-13). Mexican National and International Policy on Second Languages. Lengua y Voz, 3(1), 3-18. Kachru, B. B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: the English Language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk & H. G. Widdowson (eds.). English in in the world :Teaching and learning the language and literatures, Cambridge:Cambridge University Press. Machida, T. (2016). Japanese elementary school teachers and English language anxiety. TESOL Journal 7(1). Medgyes, P. 1999. The non-native teacher. Ismaning, Germany: Hueber. Ramírez-Romero, J. L., & Sayer, P. (2016). The teaching of English in public primary schools in Mexico: More heat than light? Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24(84). http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2502 Sayer, P. (2012). Ambiguities and tensions in English language teaching. New York:

Routledge. Secretaria de Educación Pública (SEP). (2010). Programa Nacional de Inglés en Educación Básica: Informe de resultados de la etapa piloto. México, DF: SEP. Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB). (2013). Acuerdo número 706 por el que se emiten las Reglas de Operación del Programa de Fortalecimiento de la Calidad en Educación Básica. Diario Oficial de la Federación (DOF). Shin, S.J. (2008). Preparing non-native English-speaking esl teachers. Teacher Development 12(1). Valdés, G. (2001). Learning and not learning English: Latino students in American schools. New York: Teacher’s College Press. Valladares J.L., Castro Y.P. (2013). The Challenge of Teaching English in Public Schools: Beyond Academic Factors. MEXTESOL Journal 37(3).


44443r3r3r3rdddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOLMEXTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention

Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Blended Learning: Perceptions and uses of ICTs

Blended Learning: Perceptions and uses of ICTs

Maria Georgina Fernández Sesma


Universidad Estatal de Sonora.

Abstract The educational field has been reformed by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and consequently, the teaching and learning of foreign languages. The purpose of this study is to know the EFL teachers and students’ actual use the ICTs to develop the four language skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing) and language sub-skills (grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation), and their perceptions of the factors that influence their intention to use those ICTs within the blended learning modality at a Mexican tertiary context.

The research framework that guides this investigation is the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), which combines the elements across eight major models of user acceptance of information technology. The study used a mixed methods approach for data collection and analysis, where instruments such as questionnaires and interviews for EFL teachers and students were administered to gather information.

This paper presents preliminary results of some of the research questions, derived from the pilot stage of the research instruments; therefore, responses are not conclusive. The pilot stage gave light to the research in aspects such as teachers and students’ perceptions of using ICTs to learn or teach English within the blended learning model, factors that might influence the participants’ intention to use new technologies, and factors that were found not to be significant.

Introduction Due to the technological advances in computers and communication technologies in the 21 st century, intercultural communication has been transformed. Internet tools such as chat rooms, emails, weblogs, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile text messaging among others; plus the increased mobility of people from different cultural backgrounds, have made that the difference between “native speaker” and “non-native speaker” concepts is almost irrelevant (Sharifian & Jamarani, 2013).The educational field has changed because of the use of ICTs, and consequently, the teaching and learning of foreign languages, which have adopted new learning modalities.


Within the educational field in Mexico proposals, policies, actions, and strategies have been oriented to include ICTs in educational programs (Lopez & Flores, 2010). Universities began to be equipped with the first computers in 1980, setting the path toward other learning modalities such as distance learning with the use of computers and the internet, online learning and blended learning. The National Development Plan 2013-2018 in goal

three about education, states that for Mexican people to achieve an integral development it

is necessary to improve the quality of education along with a higher investment in science

and technology, in order to increase the development of the national human capital (Gobernacion, 2013). In this regard, with the aim of providing a quality education, the University of Pitic (pseudonymous) encourages and supports the development and implementation of innovative learning projects based on new technologies.

Educational context

This study takes place at the University of Pitic, a public university located in the state of Sonora in northern Mexico where English is a mandatory subject matter for which it is used

a commercially-available program called Smrt English (hereafter Smrt or program). Smrt

consists of a form of blended learning that combines face to face interaction with the teacher in the classroom and online content; students work online during class time and they use the program like a textbook. So that, technology is integrated in tasks and embedded in the classroom. Digital tools support the mediation of language and culture such as a) Media: TED talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design), YouTube video clips, news clips, audio clips, and Google Apps; b) Unit structure: grammar exercises, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary, media; c) Tasks: Cloze exercises, sentence transformation, vocabulary extension, listening comprehension, note-taking, discussions, task-solving; d) Classroom practice: teacher-student interaction, student-student interaction, individual work, pair work, Small groups, and peer correction ("The Smrt curriculum: Theory and Practice," n. d.).

Purpose of the study The purpose of the present investigation is to examine how ICTs are actually used, to what extent, and how they are used in the teaching and learning of EFL within a blended learning modality, where teachers and students are the main protagonists and users of ICTs to develop the English language skills (reading, speaking, writing and listening) and sub-skills (grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation), in order to make a comprehensive analysis of the learning situation. As well, it investigates the EFL teachers and students’ perceptions of the barriers or obstacles that could be preventing them from taking advantage of the transformational potential of blended learning, in order to further understand how perceptions and uses of ICTs within the blended learning modality might impact on the students’ development of the language competences.

The objective of this study is to know the EFL teachers and students’ actual use the ICTs to develop the four language skills and sub-skills, and their perceptions of the factors that influence their behavioral intention to use those ICTs for the teaching and learning of


English language; in order to analyze both perspectives and have a better understanding of the learning situation within the blended learning model in a Mexican tertiary context.

To achieve this purpose, the study includes two objectives that complement one another described as following:

1. To investigate the EFL teachers and students’ perceptions of the factors that influence on their behavioral intention to use ICTs. 2. To explore the EFL teachers and students’ actual use of ICTs.

Since teachers and students are co-participants in the teaching and learning processes what they think and do within the blended learning modality should be studied together, in order to make a comprehensive analysis that allows understanding the perceptions and actions of the main participants in the teaching and learning processes.

Literature review

The use of ICTs in language learning In the early 1970s the federal government of the United States implemented a project with the purpose of determining whether computer-assisted instruction (CAI) could be made available for as many teachers and schools as possible. As a result, by early 1980 Computer-based learning activities were used as an adjunct in ESL classes, having great influence on the development of what was known as Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) (Chapelle, 2001). Additionally, the introduction of microcomputers in the same decade made it possible for ordinary people to see the potential of computers in helping them perform repetitive routines efficiently and accurately. Users made efforts to adapt and learn how to deal with the new technological world, where computers were much faster, more efficient, and much smaller in size and cost thanks to the integrated circuit (Sawyer, 2004). Bax (2011) asserts that modern technology have become a regular part of the language classroom in many parts of the world. He defines its use as “normalization”, due to people use technology without thinking that they are dealing with technological artifacts. Bax says that when a language teacher or a student deals with a digital tool for pedagogical purposes, the action does not happen in isolation because “normalization” is characterized for being “a) culturally based, b) a social process, c) developed through communication, d) understood through culturally formed settings, e) developed through assistance or instruction” (Bax, 2011, p. 7).

Blended learning Glazer defines blended learning as ‘those [courses] in which a significant amount of seat time, that is, time spent in the classroom, is replaced with online activities that students in meeting course objectives” (2012, p. 1). Also called hybrid or mixed-mode learning in some colleges or universities, blended learning has been the object of many investigations in a variety of its dimensions (Picciano & Dziuban, 2007). For instance, Ozkan and Koseler (2009) developed a Hexagonal e-Learning assessment model (HELAM) to evaluate the


students' perceptions on the effectiveness of e-learning instruction. The dimensions of the model are system quality, service quality, content quality, learner perspective, instructor attitudes, and supportive issues. The results showed that each of the six dimensions of the HEALM model had a significant effect on the learners’ perceived satisfaction, especially in the learner’s perceived enjoyment towards e-learning system, and in the relationship between instructor quality and the learner’s perceived satisfaction.

In another study, Lopez-Perez et al. (2011) investigated the relationship between the students’ perceptions of blended learning experience and its relation to outcomes. The first objective of the research consisted of analyzing the effects of a blended learning experience on the outcomes obtained in terms of dropout rate from classes and final exam grades awarded. The second objective consisted of measuring the student’s perception of the blended learning experience based on three aspects: utility, motivation, and satisfaction. Results showed that blended learning instruction is useful to reduce dropout rates and to improve the students’ final grades. On the other hand, it was found that the students’ perceived utility, motivation, and satisfaction of blended learning could influence positively on their attitude toward learning.

In another study, Aydin (2013) pointed out that the researches have focused mainly on the effectiveness of computer use and its contribution to student learning, while the perceptions of EFL teachers have received little or no attention. Aydin investigated the Turkish EFL teachers' self-confidence using computers for personal use and for teaching EFL. The subjects of study were 157 EFL teachers from Turkey. The instruments to gather information consisted of a questionnaire. The dimensions included (a) knowledge of computer software, (b) frequency of software usage for personal purposes, (c) computer attitudes, (d) perceived self-confidence in integrating computers, and (e) school climate and support. The results showed that the EFL teachers’ knowledge of computer software was limited to using the Internet, email, word processing, and presentation software. Additionally, they showed negative feelings toward integrating computers into the curriculum, technical and institutional support and toward the school facilities.

Current discussions in literature show a variety of investigations of blended learning that analyze different aspects of this emerging educational model; however, little has been said about the EFL teachers and students’ perceptions if the factors that influence their behavioral intention to use the ICTs and what technologies they actually use inside and outside the language classroom for the development of the language skills and sub-skills.

Research framework selected for this investigation: Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT)

The selected framework to guide this study was the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), developed by the researchers Venkatesh et al. (2003). The selection of the UTAUT model was based on several reasons, such as the researcher’s


experiences as an EFL teacher who has used the ICTs within the blended learning model since it was adopted by the university of Pitic; and Lastly, the UTAUT model was able to account for 70 percent of the variance in usage intention, representing an important improvement surpassing all the pre-existing models, where the maximum was about 40 percent and, because of the constructs of the model itself, which were considered that best suit this study.

Figure 1 The unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT)

unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) Venkatesh et al. (2003) reviewed the extant

Venkatesh et al. (2003) reviewed the extant user acceptance literature and identified eight mayor models that sought to explain the acceptance and use of information technology (IT) by individual users, all of them with origins in psychology, sociology, and communications with the aim of explaining the user acceptance. The models are the theory of reasoned action, the technology acceptance model, the motivational theory, the theory of planned behavior, the model of PC utilization, a model combining the technology acceptance model and the theory of planned behavior, the innovation diffusion theory, and the social cognitive theory.

Venkatesh et al. (2003) stated that there was a need for an integrated model that synthesized the existing ones to elaborate a unified view of user acceptance. Therefore, the ultimate goal of the study was to create an unified model of user acceptance of new information technology stronger than the pre-existing ones to understand the individual use of new technology (dependent variable), and the intention to use new technology as a predictor of behavior (e.g. usage).

Seven constructs seemed to be significant direct determinants of intention or usage (Venkatesh et al., 2003). In the UTAUT model four of these constructs of user acceptance and usage behavior of the UTAUT model are defined as following:

Performance expectancy (PE) is defined as the degree to which an individual believes


that using the system will help him or her to attain gains in job performance. Effort expectancy (EE) is defined as the degree of ease associated with the use of the system. Social influence (SI) is defined as the degree to which an individual perceives that important others believe that he or she should use the new system. Facilitating conditions (FC) are defined as the degree to which an individual believes that an organizational and technical infrastructure exists to support use of the system (Venkatesh et al., 2003, pp. 447-453).

The four moderator variables of the UTAUT model namely, age, gender, experience, and voluntariness have influence on the intention to use and usage of information technology; however, at this stage of the study their influence is not explored yet. (Venkatesh et al.,


Methodology The present study is a mixed methods quantitative dominant case study. Dörnyei (2007) defines a case study as a “ method for obtaining a thick description of a complex social issue embedded within a cultural context. It examines how an intricate set of circumstances come together and interact in shaping the social world around us (Pp. 151- 155). According to what the authors recommend for future research about adding more constructs to extend and adapt the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model to different contexts, it was added the self-efficacy construct defined as the Judgment of one’s ability to use a technology (e.g. computer) to accomplish a particular job or task. The addition of the self-efficacy construct can be observed in figure 2 included in the UTAUT model proposed for this study (Venkatesh et al., 2003).

Figure 2. The proposed research model (based in UTAUT)

UTAUT model proposed for this study (Venkatesh et al., 2003). Figure 2. The proposed research model


The present study followed a mixed method approach, where surveys and interviews will be used as instruments to collect information from the EFL teachers and students' perspectives.

The quantitative analysis, through surveys administered to participants, will allow knowing the EFL Teachers and students’ perceptions of the factors that influence their behavioral intention to use, and the ICTs that they use to develop the linguistic skills and sub-skills (grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation). On the other hand, interviews will allow knowing in depth how the EFL teachers and students actually use the ICTs within the blended learning model, as well as to know in more depth which are the barriers or obstacles that influence their behavioral intention to use those ICTs. At this stage the analysis of the interviews is not included in this paper.

The information gathered from administering the two instruments will be triangulated and analyzed in order to identify similarities and differences in the perceptions and uses of ICTs from teachers and students perspectives, that allow having a better understanding of the nature and influence of their perceptions and uses of ICTs within the blended learning model.

Subjects of study The participants in this study were EFL teachers and students from the Academy of English at the University of Pitic campus Hermosillo who voluntarily accept to participate in this research. Campus Hermosillo was selected to be the place to carry out the study because is the largest of the 5 campuses of the university, distributed in different cities in the state of Sonora. In addition, the most representative number of potential participant teachers and students can feasibly be reached by the researcher in this location. At this stage of the investigation the instruments were piloted with a sample of 102 EFL students from levels of English 2 and 4, and a sample of 16 EFL teachers 10 from campus Hermosillo and 6 from campus Magdalena.

Instruments for data collection To elaborate the questionnaire for the survey, the researcher examined existing surveys in the field of user acceptance of technology, as well as surveys that sought to explain how ICTs are used in private and educational settings. Additionally, different studies regarding different types of perceived barriers that impede the full use of ICTs were reviewed. The EFL Teachers’ Perceptions and Usage of ICTs questionnaire (ETPUI) was developed in teachers’ version (Appendix A), and the EFL Students’ Perceptions and Usage of ICTs questionnaire (ESPUI) in students’ version (Appendix B).

The two questionnaires contain questions that are based on the constructs of the UTAUT model, being basically the same questions, but addressed to teachers or students in order to know both points of view. Most items were adapted from the questionnaire used by Venkatesh et al. (2003) when formulated the Unified Theory of User Acceptance of


Technology (UTAUT), from other empirical studies (Davis et al., 1989; Khechine, Lakhal, Pascot, & Bytha, 2014; Kwon, Ryu, & Kim, 2015). From studies about the factors or barriers that affect teachers’ use of the internet and computers, were adapted the items for the sections Barriers in using ICTs regarding to institutional, personal, and technical barriers (W. Chen, Tan, & Lim, 2012; Y.-L. Chen, 2008; Ertmer, 1999; Yasemin & Ismail, 2008). Additionally, it was included the student factor. That is, the student itself as a barrier to obtaining the full potential of using ICTs in the language classroom.

To test the content validity of the survey instruments, the questionnaires were answered and revised by two PhD professors from the University of Pitic, the first professor is an engineer with a PhD in Multimedia Technology, and the other has a B. A. in ELT and a PhD in Educational Innovation. In addition, two PhD students enrolled in the distance program in Modern Languages with the University of Southampton with B. A. in ELT, and two EFL teachers were asked to answer the survey and provide suggestions to refine it.

Presentation and analysis of preliminary data This section presents preliminary results obtained from the piloting phase of the study consisting of the administration of survey instruments to EFL teachers and students, in order to obtain feedback and do the necessary amendments to ensure accuracy in the data to be collected when the main study takes place. In this phase of the study, the quantitative part of the research consisted of the administration of an online survey instrument that was administered to a sample of 29 teachers from which 16 (55%) answered the instrument completely. Similarly, the survey was administered to 131 students from which 102 (78%) fully answered the survey.

EFL Personal information of the Subjects of study Table 2 contains personal information and experience of EFL students using ICTs to learn English. As it can be observed, (67) male and (35) female students participated responding the survey during stage 1 of the research process, in which the survey instruments were piloted. All students’ ages range from 18-25 years old, which indicates that the age difference is minimal. Participant students were studying English 2 (50) and English 4 (52). The majority of students responded that the amount of hours they use ICTs in activities related with their English class are from 5 to 7 hours (86), and from 8 to 10 (16); none of them reported more time. They were also asked about the years they had using ICTs to study English, the majority responded from 1 to 2 years (61), less than one year (17), from 3 to 5 years (17), and from 8 to 10 (7). Therefore, it can be concluded that 76.47% of the EFL students have no more than two years using ICTs to study English within the blended learning model.

Table 2 shows the personal information and experience in using ICTs of the EFL teachers who participated responding the survey instrument in the piloting stage (10) female and (6) male. Their ages vary, from 24 to 35 years old (5) teachers, from 36 to 45 years old (5) teachers, (1) teacher is between 46 to 55 years old, and (5) teachers are over 55 years old.


These results indicate that the age difference between English teachers is high.

Regarding their educational background (11) teachers have a Bachelor’s degree, and 5 have a Master’s degree. The number of years they have been working as English teachers ranges from (less than 1 year to 2) 4 teachers, (3 to 6) 1 teacher, (10 to 15) 7 teachers, (18 to 25) 3 teachers, and 1 teacher has 35 years teaching English. It can be observed that experienced teachers outnumber the novice teachers.

The amount of time EFL teachers dedicate to use ICTs in activities related with their English classes was asked in hours per week. The teachers responded as following: 1 teacher dedicate from 5 to 10 hours, 2 teachers from 11 to 15 hours, 3 teachers from 16 to 20 hours, 7 teachers from 21 to 25 hours, and 3 teachers from 26 to 30 hours. The number of hours varies depending on how many hours they teach per week in the University of Pitic. As for the number of years they have been using ICTs to teach English, they responded that less than 1 year 0 teachers, from 1 to 5 years 10 teachers, from 6 to 11 years 4 teachers, and from 12 to 16 years 2 teachers. These results suggest that the majority of teachers have experience using ICTs to teach English.

The quantitative analysis The quantitative analysis consisted of the analysis of the responses given by participants through the survey instruments in aspects such as the position of the mean per item, and the standard deviation that shows the dispersion of the data in relation to the mean (R. Hernandez et al., 2010). This information allowed analyzing the behavior of the responses within a five point Likert scale namely, ‘strongly disagree’, ‘disagree’, ‘neutral’, ‘agree’, and ‘strongly agree’, in terms of where the responses clustered and their dispersion, in order to understand the teachers and students’ perceptions of the factors that influence their intention to use ICTs within the blended learning model.

The items in Section 4 of the ETPUI and ESPUI questionnaires contain the statements that serve to measure the constructs of the proposed UTAUT model within the points of the scale, that ranges from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. The constructs that in this study are the factors that influence the EFL teachers and students' behavioral intention to use ICTs are: performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, self-efficacy, and facilitating conditions, which are independent variables. Similarly, the items to collect information of the behavioral intention construct, which is a dependent variable, are included in this section. In order to offer a preliminary response to research question 1, the data are analyzed per construct and shown in tables 2 through 7.

Performance expectancy: EFL Students’ Performance Expectancy results suggest that most students perceive that their performance expectancy improves with the use of ICTs in EFL learning, in terms of enhancing their learning effectiveness, the language skills (reading, speaking, listening, writing), and sub-skills (grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation).


On the other hand, results of the EFL Teachers’ Performance Expectancy show that EFL teachers have a positive perception of the use of ICTs to enhance the reading and listening skills and grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation sub-skills with the use of ICTs. However, some teachers have different opinions about whether the use of ICTs improves the students’ writing skills. (Table 3)

Effort expectancy: the EFL Students’ perceived Effort Expectancy indicate that most EFL students consider that ICTs are easy to use, they can become skillful in all kinds of ICTs, and in general they think that using ICTs to learn English is easy. On the other hand, it could have been assumed that since all EFL students are young adults who use new technologies on a daily basis, they were all going to select the agreement options; however, some students’ responses did not fall in these options, suggesting for some students the use of ICTs to learn EFL is not easy. Most EFL students do not think that using ICTs to learn English is too complicated; nonetheless, though few, some responses showed that some students think that working with ICTs to learn English is too complicated.

Regarding the EFL Teachers’ perceived Effort Expectancy, they think that ICTs easy to use, can become skillful in all kinds of ICTs, and in general they think that using ICTs to teach English is easy. On the other hand, most EFL teachers do not think that using ICTs to teach English is too complicated. (Table 4)

Social influence: literature suggests that in environments where the use of information technology is mandatory, the Social Influence construct is significant (Venkatesh et al., 2003). However, results suggest that for most Mexican EFL students, social influence is not a determinant factor in their intention to use ICTs to learn English. On the other hand, the EFL teachers think that using ICTs makes them more valuable for their administrators, and they look as better teachers for their students. Therefore, these reasons might influence their intention to use ICTs to teach English. In contrast, most EFL teachers whether significant people for them think they should use ICTs do not influence their intention to using new technologies to teach English. (Table 5)

Self-efficacy: results of the EFL students’ Perceived Self-efficacy show that most students think they are competent enough in the use of ICTs, and capable to overcome problems that arise when working with new technologies. As well, the EFL teachers in all responses manifested to perceive themselves competent in the use of ICTs. (Table 6)

Facilitating conditions: results of the EFL teachers and students’ perceived facilitating conditions showed that the majority considers there is a good internet connection in the classroom, and classrooms are well-equipped to use ICTs. (Table 7)











reported to plan to continue working with ICTs in the future in order to teach and learn EFL within the blended learning modality.(Table8)

Table 1. Students' personal information and experience using ICTs

Students' personal information and experience using ICTs Table 2. Teachers' personal information and experience

Table 2. Teachers' personal information and experience using ICTs

personal information and experience using ICTs Table 2. Teachers' personal information and experience using ICTs 96


Table 3 Performance expectancy

Table 3 Performance expectancy Table 4 Effort expectancy 97

Table 4 Effort expectancy

Table 3 Performance expectancy Table 4 Effort expectancy 97


Table 5 Social influence

Table 5 Social influence Table 6 Self-efficacy 98

Table 6 Self-efficacy

Table 5 Social influence Table 6 Self-efficacy 98


Table 7 Facilitating conditions

Table 7 Facilitating conditions Table 8 Behavioural intention 99

Table 8 Behavioural intention

Table 7 Facilitating conditions Table 8 Behavioural intention 99


Summary of the results analysis Once the factors comprised in the proposed UTAUT model were analyzed, results show interesting findings. Beginning with performance expectancy results, it was seen that most students perceive that their performance expectancy improves with the use of ICTs in EFL learning. Conversely, EFL teachers have a positive perception of the use of ICTs to enhance the students’ language skills and sub-skills, except for speaking and writing where the percentage of agreement was smaller.

As for effort expectancy, the majority of students showed to have positive perceptions; however, some students responded the use of ICTs to learn EFL was not easy. On the other hand, teachers responses showed that EFL teachers feel confident enough to use ICTs in English teaching, and they find ICTs easy to use, can become skillful in all kinds of ICTs, and in general they think that using ICTs to teach English is easy. Social influence turned out not to be a determinant factor in the students’ intention to use ICTs to learn English, but a significant amount of teachers responded that using ICTs makes them more valuable for their administrators, and they look like better teachers for their students. Therefore, it is inferred that social influence is a factor that could determine their intention to use ICTs to teach English.

From self-efficacy results, it can be inferred that most students perceive themselves competent to use ICTs, and solve problems; nevertheless, a significant amount of EFL students responded that they needed to call someone for help when they have problems with ICTs to learn English. Hence, self-efficacy could be a factor that influences the intention to use technology for these students. On the other hand, EFL teachers in all responses manifested to perceive themselves as competent in the use of ICTs, showing high self-confidence in their responses.

Regarding facilitating conditions, it looks like the Internet connection fails very often, since teachers and student manifested discomfort in this item, which places, facilitating conditions as a factor that might influence the teacher and students intentions to use ICTs in the classroom. Finally, for the dependent variable behavioral intention, it was observed that the majority of teachers plan to continue to teach English using ICTs, but students’ responses obtained lower percentages in this construct.



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Students’ perceptions and their relation to outcomes. Computers & Education, 56, 818-826. doi:


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Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

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The Smrt curriculum: Theory and Practice. (n. d.).

http://www.smrtenglish.com/smrt/curriculum Venkatesh, V., Morris, M. G., Davis, G. B., & Davis, F. D. (2003). User Acceptance of Information Technology: Toward a Unified View. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), pp. 425-478. Local Designs (pp. 155-168). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Sharifian, F., & Jamarani, M. (2013). Language and intercultural communication in the new era: Taylor and Francis.

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http://www.smrtenglish.com/smrt/curriculum Venkatesh, V., Morris, M. G., Davis, G. B., & Davis, F. D. (2003). User Acceptance of Information Technology: Toward a Unified View. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), pp. 425-478.

Retrieved 24/07/2015, from

Retrieved 24/07/2015, from


44443r3r3r3rdddd InternationalInternationalInternationalInternational MEXMEXMEXMEXTESOLTESOLTESOLTESOL ConventionConventionConventionConvention

Dynamic Teaching: New Trends in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

in ELT October 27-30, 2016 Monterrey, Nuevo León, México Scholarships that bring sucessful stories; seven years

Scholarships that bring sucessful stories; seven years of work.

María de Lourdes Gutiérrez Aceves gualiz@yahoo.com.mx Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas Marisol Guzmán Cova marisolguzmancova@gmail.com Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla

Abstract This presentation has the objective to present results of the application and spread of the Rassias@ Method in two Universities that form language teachers in the center and south of Mexico. The students’ perceptions will be also included about the use of this Method where the teacher´s empathy is one of the main features that help to construct humanistic learning experiences. Since 2009, the researchers have seen the benefits of using this dynamic method. As teacher formers, there has been a positive impact in both educative contexts: in Puebla, the Project has let undergraduate students develop their thesis projects; there have been classes in the curricula, workshops in the University and other educative contexts, presentations in different conventions. In Chiapas, many English teachers from different contexts of the state have taken and practiced the Rassias techniques through workshops, some undergraduate students have developed thesis projects with the guide of teacher formers who were awarded the Rassias scholarships in New Hampshire, USA.


This is an attempt to present two teacher trainers’ experiences after being part of the professionalization course for English teachers at the Dartmouth University in Hannover, New Hampshire, U.S.A. Some other colleagues’ participation and benefits for their students after this course will be shared in the paper.

In 2009, the authors had the opportunity to participate in the Intensive Teaching Program that Inter American Program for Education (IAPE) supports for 40 Mexican English teachers. During 12 days the teachers received the basic training of the Rassias Method, combined with complementary cultural activities and have seen the benefits of using this dynamic method. As teacher formers and language teachers, there has been a positive impact in both educative contexts and in their own personal and professional development. The mentioned universities which have been fostered the Rassias Method are the


Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, and the Autonomous University of Chiapas, both in Mexico.

Objective To present outcomes of the application and spread of the Rassias method in two Universities that form language teachers in the center and south of Mexico, as well as some other colleagues’ experiences.

Methodology This is not formal qualitative research, these are only experiences of the 2009 generation of English teachers to share with other teachers about the benefits and impact of using the Rassias Method, taking these techniques to the practice in the classroom to foster a propitious environment and lowing the affective filter.

Connecting our experience with the fundaments of Rassias Method (RM) We have different theories about second language acquisition; all of them may have their basis on different disciplines including linguistics, sociolinguistics, psychologists, neuroscience, and education. One of these theories is Stephen Krashen’s Input Hypothesis; which in the author’s opinions could be considered as part of the fundaments of the Rassias Method, but more specially, two: the Acquisition –Learning hypothesis and the Affective Filter. These hypotheses will be presented in the next charts with the authors’ comments.

Stephen Krashen’s hypothesis (2009)

Rassias Method (2009)

“The first way is language acquisition, a process similar, if not identical, to the way children develop ability in their first language. Language acquisition is a subconscious process; language acquirers are not usually aware of the fact that they are acquiring language, but are only aware of the fact that they are using the language for communication. The result of language acquisition, acquired competence, is also subconscious”.

“The RM puts the participant at center stage and seeks to replicate the stresses relevant to life-like situations encountered in the target language. The emphasis throughout must be on spoken language and familiarity with the culture of the country or countries whose language is being studied” (Rassias, 2009).

“Acquisition of language is a natural, intuitive, and subconscious process of which individuals need not be aware. One is unaware of the process as it is happening and, when the new knowledge is acquired, the acquirer generally does not realize that he or she possesses any new knowledge. According to Krashen, both adults and children can subconsciously acquire language, and either written or oral language can be acquired”.


During the performance of different Rassias techniques, language is practiced using some materials or just the students and teacher’s voice and the information is acquired naturally, there are not translations or grammar explanations, language is used unconsciously. In our contexts, students learn the use of English through listening and imitation, and predict the meaning of the language.

Another relevant basis is on Krashen’s hypothesis of the Affective Filter.

Stephen Krashen’s hypothesis (2009)

Rassias Method (2009)

“This states that learners' ability to acquire language is constrained if they are experiencing negative emotions such as fear or embarrassment. At such times the affective filter is said to be "up".