Preadolescent EFL learners’ self-efficacy expectancies before and after completion of a grammar task: Multivariate analyses of grade level, gender, and performance effects (2020-10-19)
Learners’ task-specific self-efficacy expectancies have gained increased attention in the EFL context. Across various competence areas they have been demonstrated to substantially affect learners’ motivation, learning approach, and performance. However, certain research gaps still exist – particularly concerning younger learners’ grammar self-efficacy. Furthermore, though conceptually assumed to play an essential role in learners’ self-efficacy formation and calibration accuracy, little is empirically known about task completion effects. The same applies to the role of grade level and gender differences in lower secondary EFL classrooms. Against this background, the present study addressed the effects on preadolescent learners’ self-efficacy expectancies before and after completion of a grammar task. In a sample of 212 preadolescent learners at secondary grade 5 and 6 their self-efficacy expectancies were analyzed before and after task completion. ANOVA results and post hoc analyses indicated task completion effects to exist in a most differentiated manner – and to substantially depend on an interaction between learners’ grade level, gender, and task performance. Fifth-graders’ but not sixth-graders’ self-efficacy expectancies were more accurate after task completion. Most remarkably, it was the male fifth-graders in the high performing group who initially overestimated their grammar performance and perceived their capabilities more realistically after task completion. Thus, it is a matter of careful differentiation for teachers to support effective self-efficacy cognitions of EFL learners during secondary grades. In research, repeated measurement of individual self-efficacy estimates before and after task completion can help to reveal more about the ongoing process of self-concept development.
Normativity in English oral production in Finland and Japan (2020-10-19)
This research examines the effects of normativity on difficulties experienced with English oral production in Finland and Japan. Moyer’s classification of factors influencing second language acquisition (2004) as well as language ideology theory (Garrett, 2010; Milroy, 2007) are used as a framework for an analysis of 56 semi structured interviews with Finnish and Japanese adult learners of intermediate level English. Self-reported experiences related to speaking English were annotated with appropriate codes and analyzed using content analysis. The results show that normativity related to the English language explains many of the difficulties learners experience with speaking English, and that this normativity is essentially connected to social factors as well as instruction and input factors in language learning.
Meaning-making in fifth-graders’ multimodal texts (2020-10-19)
Despite a growing body of research on multimodal writing, scholars still express a need for formal frameworks for discussing multimodal literacy practices and call for research on multimodality in education that develops a vocabulary to approach multimodal texts in teaching. This study answers this call by presenting an analysis that adds to the field of multimodal writing research, and thus furthers the knowledge of different semiotic potentials of modes in student-produced texts. Drawing on a social semiotic approach to multimodality, a total of 299 texts, written by fifth-grade students from three schools in Sweden and Finland, are analyzed. The aim is to explore semiotic modes used in the student-produced written texts. The guiding research questions are: (1) What modes are used in the texts, and (2) what meanings are realized through the different modes in the texts. Results showed that six different modes were used to realize meanings in five categories: create representative meaning; visualize phenomena and assignments; foreground important areas; design the text; and decorate the paper. These categories offer a vocabulary that can describe semiotic potentials of the modes and how they realize different meanings in multimodal texts. Such a vocabulary can aid teachers in cultivating, supporting, and assessing students’ multimodal writings that contain multiple modes. From these results, we suggest that acknowledging the diversity of the modes and their meanings in student texts can help raise the awareness of how students also make meaning in modes beyond writing and image.
Measuring syntactic complexity in learner Finnish (2020-10-19)
In the study of complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF), syntactic complexity can be measured by a multitude of measures. Traditionally, the measures are quantitative and they use production units such as words, clauses, T-units, and sentences. Despite the vast number of measures available, many studies have used only one or two of them, or parallel ones tapping the same component of complexity. The present study explores syntactic complexity using seven frequently used quantitative complexity measures to gauge different facets of complexity in written learner Finnish. The data of the study consist of texts written by adult and adolescent language learners, and they cover proficiency levels from beginner (A1) to advanced learner (C2) in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). According to the results, changes in the measures are not linear from one proficiency level to the next. The results also show that while all the selected measures catch some statistically significant differences between proficiency levels in adult language learner texts, only four measures do so in adolescent language learner texts. The results also suggest that the measures are sensitive to task type.
The role of identity styles and social support from peers on emotional engagement in the English as a foreign language learning (2020-10-19)
This present study was designed to investigate influences of identity styles and social support from peers on emotional EFL classroom engagement in a large sample of Saudi early adolescents (N=406) ranged in age from 12 to 15. This emotional engagement construct is based on the identity styles literature and draws upon concepts of social support received from peers as one of the most important sources of validation from others during adolescence period, and as a mediating variable of the associations between students’ identity styles and emotional engagement. The study shows gender differences within the sample. In general, the findings of the study demonstrate the role of social support received from peers in enhancing identity styles and influencing emotional EFL classroom engagement.
Stå på, ikke gi opp – the use of Norwegian particle verbs in email messages by advanced L2 users whose L1 is Finnish (2020-10-19)
The aim of the present study is to examine similarities and differences in the use of particle verbs (PVs) between advanced bilingual L2 users of Norwegian (L1 Finnish) in their teens and Norwegian L1 speakers of the same age. The data consists of three writing tasks (email messages) written by 6 bilingual Finnish -Norwegian participants and 6 native speakers of Norwegian. Previous research has shown that second language (L2) users, who are highly advanced, face problems using multi-word expressions. For example, they tend to use less PVs than native speakers. The advanced bilingual L2 users of Norwegian (L1 Finnish) in the present study also show a slight tendency to use fewer PVs than the native speakers. However, the Finnish-Norwegian participants used some more idiomatic PVs than the native speakers of Norwegian. The results show that advanced bilingual users of Norwegian who live in an L2 environment and receive a great amount of natural input and output from an early age utilized PVs in a manner congruent to native speakers. Despite differences between the Finnish and Norwegian languages, there are also similarities with regard to PVs. The bilingual participants are familiar with PVs in their first language, Finnish, and they may
benefit from that, even though these verbs are not as frequent in Finnish as in Norwegian.
How Finnish teachers understand multilingual learners’ language learning (2020-10-19)
The number of students whose home language is different from the language of instruction is growing everywhere. Learning a new language while simultaneously learning different subjects in that language, is challenging and requires teacher support. However, research has shown that not all teachers have sufficient knowledge of language learning, how language learning influences the learning of content, or how to support multilingual learners in this context (Sullivan, 2016). In this study, Finnish teachers’ (N = 820) understandings of certain processes related to learning an additional language were examined, including whether there were differences in understandings between different teacher groups. Over 80% of the surveyed teachers were knowledgeable about the aspects related to classroom interaction and language use that can be considered as essential for being a linguistically responsive teacher: for example, they knew that social interaction supports learners’ language development. In this study, the less experience a teacher had in general, the more knowledgeable they were regarding language learning. Further, teachers of language related subjects had a better understanding of certain aspects of language learning compared to other subject teacher groups. Based on these results, professional development targeted at teachers who have been in the profession for several years is recommended.