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Syntax and Semantics / How Words Relate: lexical relationships
« on: August 05, 2021, 03:47:30 PM »
How Words Relate: lexical relationships

There are a few ways to characterize the meaning of a word; we can do it through morphology, phonology, or even through its categorization: whether it is animate, human, female, or adult. However, there is another way to characterize the meaning of a word: namely, to characterize the word through its lexical relations.

Lexical relationships are the connections established between one word and another; for example, we all know that the opposite of “closed” is “open” and that “literature” is similar to “book”. These words have a significant relationship to one another, whereas words like “chair” and “coffee” might have no meaningful relationship; thus, certain lexical relationships can inform us about the meaning of a word.

There are a few common types of lexical relationships: synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, and polysemy. This is not all the known types of lexical relationships, but as an introduction to lexical relations, these will suffice.

This is perhaps the most commonly understood of all the lexical relations. Synonymy is the idea that some words have the same meaning as others, though this is not always the case; that is, there are some synonyms which cannot replace one another in a sentence, we will give some examples of this further down.

When words have the same meaning, they can replace one another without altering the meaning of a sentence; for example:

Jane is quick

Jane is fast

Jane is speedy

All three sentences have the same meaning even though they are each unique instances of that sentence; only because the meanings of all three words at the end of the sentences are the same. This, by extension, then allows each sentence to maintain the same meaning as before.

Now, this lexical relationship, as said earlier, does not necessarily hold for all synonyms. Consider some of these pairs: quick/high-speed, quick/brisk. When we do the same sentence exercise as above, we will get radically different meanings:

Jane is quick

Jane is high-speed

Jane is brisk

So, synonyms sometimes lack the same meanings when applied to a specific context or sentence; indeed, there are cases where the result will give us something incoherent or incredibly odd. Therefore, the key to remember with synonyms is that, although they have a relationship in meaning, they do not always have the same meaning in sentences.

Antonymy is precisely the opposite of synonymy. With antonymy, we are concerned with constructions which are opposite to one another with respect to lexical relationships. For example, ice/hot, beautiful/ugly, and big/small. These words have meanings which are opposite to one another, and these opposite meanings come in two forms: categorical and continuous.

The categorical distinction is one that has two categories that contrast one another; for example, fire/water. These are categorical because there is no continuum between them; that is, less fire never means more water and less water never means more fire. Comparatively, antonyms that are on a continuum are constructions like big/small.  This is due to the relative nature of these words; meaning, when we call a horse small, it may be relative to something else like another horse. And when that same horse is compared yet again, it might be the case that the horse is now big. So, the meanings between big and small are on a continuum relative to the object of discussion.

Some example phrases of antonymy are as follows:

Jane is small

Jane is big

Jane is slow

Jane is fast

These phrases all have opposite meanings to one another, and we can see this more readily through their applications to sentences.

It is also important to note that antonymy can have issues as well, though only when we shift the nature of our communication: I.e., “The economy is going nuts,” can also be said, though sarcastically, in the following manner: “the economy is perfectly healthy”. Traditionally, “going nuts” and “mentally healthy” are viewed as opposite meanings, but when we shift the manner in which we speak, like with sarcasm, this relationship fails to hold up. Thus, antonyms work differently when we hold as an assumption a literal or straightforward view of discourse.

Hyponymy is similar to the notion of embeddedness; meaning, the semantics of one object is implied by another. That is to say, because words represent objects, the semantic properties of a particular object, like whether it is a female or animate, can be embedded in a word that implies those same objects; and so, the meaning of word “x” can be embedded in word “z”. For example, “Donald Trump” implies “human,” or “animate”. This is due to the fact that Donald Trump, despite the beliefs of others, is both a human and animate. With each word, there is implied the notion of another semantic feature.

These semantic features, might I add, are organized in an ordinal fashion, which means there is a rank for embeddedness: from specific to general. The most general word would sit atop the hierarchy; so, with respect to our friend Donald Trump, the hierarchy might look something like the following:

1. Animate

2. Human

3. Male

4. Adult

There are also technical terms that are used to describe the relationships amongst these hierarchies: superordinates and co-hyponyms. In the previous example, animate would be considered superordinate to human and human would be considered superordinate to female. On the other hand, when a term is on the same level as another word, then it is named a co-hyponym; for instance, “dog” and “cat” are a co-hyponyms that have “pet” as their superordinate. So, hyponyms move from either specific to general or general to specific, where general is at the top of the hierarchy and specific is at the bottom.

So hyponymy is the idea of embedded semantic features in a hierarchical order. When we speak of Donald Trump, we necessarily bring up specific semantic features.

Polysemy deals with constructions that have multiple meanings; for example, “head,”, “over,” or, “letter,” can all adopt multiple meanings. These words could be considered polysemous since they each have many potential meanings.

The word “head” can be used to refer to the top of someone’s body: “Jane received a head injury”; it can be used to refer to the front of a line: “Jane is at the head of the line”. It can also be used to refer to how prepared someone is: “Jane is way ahead of the curve, she already read the chapter for next week”.  So, the word “head” is polysemous since it has many meanings.

Another word with many meanings is “over”. The word “over” can be used more ways than countable; for instance, “she lives over there,” is different from, “she lives over the hill”. Even furthermore, “the lid is over the pot,” and, “is it over yet,” are both different from one another and the two previously mentioned examples. The word “over,” as said already, has more meanings than countable.

Words are not alone when it comes to being polysemous, sentences are polysemous to; for instance, “Jane hit the man with the umbrella”. Here, it is unclear as to whether Jane had hit someone with an umbrella, as though the umbrella were a weapon, or if she had bumped into someone that was holding an umbrella. And not every meaning associated with a given polysemous sentence will be the same.

So, polysemy pertains to words and phrases that can have more than one meaning; sometimes the context of a specific phrase will allow us to negate other phrases, like if someone was holding an umbrella, but when removed from context, phrases remain ambiguous. And thus, polysemy highlights the importance of analyzing semantic features of words rather than analyzing syntax alone.

Lexical relations are important for understanding language and cognition; they teach us how words relate to one another and how human thought and perception get organized.

On the one hand, the lexical relations allow us to create reference points for words and therefore add meaning to our language. For example, if I say, “she is as cold as ice,” we know that cold is the opposite of warmth; that is, we experience cold and warmth as two opposite ends of a spectrum. In addition, warmth has as a superordinate “love” because we associate love with warmth: i.e., she warms my heart, his touch melts me,” and so love is a superordinate of warmth. So, the antonym of warmth is cold, which then aids in our understanding of “she is as cold as ice,”: namely, she is unloving or unempathetic. These types of lexical relations are important for semantics and the understanding of language.

On the other hand, the relationships between words also teach us how it is we think about the world. The very fact that we view “happy” as the opposite of “sad” tells us something about human cognition and experience.  In addition, the fact that fast and quick can mean the same thing tells us something about the organization of perception; that is, when we call something fast or quick we are paying little attention to placing it on a continuum and are instead merely observing its speed; this is evident by the fact that synonyms for speed do not necessarily entail differences within speed. So, words can reveal features about how we perceive the world.

And so, the importance of lexical relationships is that it can speak volumes about human cognition; lexical relations can allow us to infer the cognitive resources necessary to organize the world in a particular manner, or they can allow us to infer how it is that we relate phenomenon.

Syntax and Semantics / Semantic Roles
« on: August 05, 2021, 03:46:04 PM »
Semantic Roles

Semantic relations were introduced in generative grammar during the mid-1960s and early 1970s ([Fil68], [Jac72], [Gru67]) as a way of classifying the arguments of natural language predicates into a closed set of participant types which were thought to have a special status in grammar. A list of the most popular roles and the properties usually associated with them is given below.

A participant which the meaning of the verb specifies as doing or causing something, possibly intentionally. Examples: subjects of kill, eat, hit, smash, kick, watch.
a participant which the verb characterizes as having something happen to it, and as being affected by what happens to it. Examples: objects of kill, eat, smash but not those of watch, hear, love.
A participant who is characterized as aware of something. Examples: subject of love, object of annoy.
A participant which is characterized as changing its position or condition, or as being in a state or position. Examples: objects of give, hand, subjects of walk, die.
The thematic role associated with the NP expressing the location in a sentence with a verb of location. Examples: subjects of keep, own, retain, know, locative PPs.
Object from which motion proceeds. Examples: subjects of buy, promise, objects of deprive, free, cure.
Object to which motion proceeds. Examples: subject of receive, buy, dative objects of tell, give.

Syntax and Semantics / The Principles of Coordination and Subordination
« on: August 05, 2021, 03:43:35 PM »
"The Principles of Coordination and Subordination"
by Johnie H. Scott, Assistant Professor

Coordination: linking together words, groups of words (clauses), or sentences of equal type and importance, to put energy into writing. Coordinating Conjunctions: and, or, nor, for, but, so, yet, either/or, and neither/nor.

Two principles to keep in mind:
By combining words and groups of words, you avoid repetition that steals energy from what you write; and By combining whole sentences, you reveal the relationships between the thoughts.
Example: Over the past decade many African American students have chosen to complete their formal education at Southern colleges and now in the city of Atlanta there is a major educational center built expressly to accomodate this upsurge of interest in the New South. (Two main clauses are given equal emphasis and connected by the coordinating conjunction and )

Subordination: clearly empashizes which words, groups of words (clauses), or sentences are the most important in the writing.

Subordinate Conjunctions: Takes into account five (5) factors --
 (1) Time: when, after, as soon as, whenever, while, before;
(2) Place: where, wherever;
(3) Cause: because, since, in order that, so that;
(4) Contrast/Concession: although, as if, though, while; and
 (5) Condition: if, unless, provided, since,as long as.

Example: Because CSUN is located in the San Fernando Valley, the university has become very attractive to students living in the inner city who want to stay close to home and yet not face the pressures of city life. (Dependent clause introduced by the subordinating conjunction because; independent or main clause begins with the university)

Caveat: One wants to avoid faulty or excessive coordination.

Faulty coordination:  gives equal emphasis to unequal or unrelated clauses.

Example: The African American playwright August Wilson has won two Pulitzer Prizes for drama, and he now lives in Seattle, Washington.

The clause he now lives in Seattle, Washington has little or no connection to The African American playwright August Wilson has won two Pulitzer Prizes for drama. Therefore, the clauses should not be coordinated. But you, writer, may want to include this information in the paragraph because it is interesting and perhaps even important, even though it does not pertain directly to the main idea of the paragraph. Placing he now lives in Seattle, Washington might detract from the paragraph's unity.

We can revise faulty coordination by putting part of the sentence in a dependent clause, modifying phrase, or appositive phrase (an appositive is a noun or pronoun -- often with modifiers -- placed near another noun or pronoun to explain, describe, or identify it).

CSUN's Square, a hangout for its African American student community, has been quiet of late. (A hangout for its African American student community describes CSUN's Square); or
My sister Tiyifa lives in Colorado Springs. (Tiyifa identifies sister )
Typically, an appositive follows the word it refers to, but it may also precede the word:

A very inspirational tale of courage and honor, Glory is based on actual accounts of the all-black 54th Regiment during the American Civil War. (A very inspirational tale of courage and honor describes Glory)
Resuming with means of correcting faulty or excessive coordination, we note the following examples:

The African American playwright August Wilson, who now lives in Seattle, Washington, has won two Pulitzer Prizes for drama. (Dependent Clause)
The African American playwright August Wilson, now Seattle-based, has won two Pultizer Prizes for drama (modifying phrase)
The African American August Wilson, a Seattle playwright, has won two Pulitzer Prizes for drama (An appositive phrase).
We can go further by noting that when a single sentence contains more than one clause, the clauses may be given equal or unequal emphasis. Clauses given equal emphasis in one sentence are coordinate and should be connected by a cooordinating word or punctuation. Clauses given less emphasis in a sentence are dependent, or subordinate, and should be introduced by a subordinating word (conjunction).

Rules to Remember Concerning Faulty Subordination: There are three (3) rules to keep in mind with respect to faulty or excessive subordination in writing:
Faulty subordination occurs when the more important clause is placed in a subordinate position in the sentence or when the expected relation between clauses is reversed.
Example:  Japanese-made cars are popular with American consumers although their import poses at least a short-term threat to the livelihood of some American workers (In an essay or composition about he problems of the American worker this sentence would take attention away from the worker and incorrectly emphasize Japanese-made cars.)

Correct faulty subordination by changing the position of the subordinating word or phrase;
Example:  Although Japanese-made cars are popular with American consumers, their import poses at least a short-term threat to the livelihood of some American workers.

Keep in mind that excessive subordination occurs when a sentence contains a series of cluses, each subordinate to an earlier one. To correct excessive subordination, break the sentence into two or more sentences or change some of the dependent clauses to modifying phrases or appositives.
Example:  LaTosha Robinson, who was a San Francisco-native who lived in the University Park Apartments, enjoyed those special moments when a group of students who also came from Northern California visited her dorm, which was lonely for most of the school year.

This sentence is very confusing for the reader. The writer seems to have added information as it came to mind. To correct excessive subordination, note the following:

LaTosha Robinson, a San Francisco-native, lived in the University Park Apartments. Because her dorm was lonely most of the school year, she enjoyed those special moments when a group of students who also were from Northern California would visit.
One dependent clause, who was a San Francisco-native, has been changed to an appositive. A second dependent clause, who lived in the University Park Apartments, is now the predicate of the first sentence. These changes make the sentence more direct. The subordinator of the third dependent clause has been changed from which (identification) to because (cause) to show clearly the connection between the loneliness of the dormitory and LaTosha's enjoyment of those special visits.

Syntax and Semantics / Complex Noun Phrase
« on: August 05, 2021, 03:41:29 PM »
Please find the full article in the attachment.

Cognition and learning: How do students think and learn?

A great deal of research from cognitive and educational psychology has discovered how thinking and learning can be improved in the classroom. The first eight principles highlight some of the most important findings on teacher practices that impact student growth.

1. Growth mindset
Students’ beliefs or perceptions about intelligence and ability affect their cognitive functioning and learning.

Research shows that learners who hold the growth mindset that intelligence is malleable, and success is related to effort level are more likely to remain focused on goals and persist despite setbacks. A great way to start off the year in a psychology class is with a discussion of growth versus fixed mindsets because it helps students understand how their beliefs about intelligence can influence their own academic success. For more information about fixed and growth mindsets and how they impact student performance, see the TED talk by psychologist Carol Dweck. A TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth discusses how student learning can be examined in the context of motivation and illustrates how the personality trait of grit, which is correlated with success, can be developed through teaching of a growth mindset. In addition to the numerous specific ideas in the Top 20 document for how instructors can encourage students to develop a growth mindset, there is also an APA online module on praise that offers excellent examples of how instructors can best frame communication with students to foster a growth mindset.

2. Prior knowledge
What students already know affects their learning.

Research shows that prior knowledge influences both conceptual growth and conceptual change in students. With conceptual growth, students add to their existing knowledge, and with conceptual change, students correct misconceptions or errors in existing knowledge. Facilitating conceptual growth or change requires first obtaining a baseline level of student knowledge prior to the start of each unit through formative assessment. One way to assess prior knowledge involves starting the unit with a short list of five to ten true/false statements and having a class discussion about the results. The results of this discussion can guide the selection of assignments and activities that will be appropriate for facilitating either conceptual growth or conceptual change. Prior knowledge can be used to help students incorporate background knowledge and draw connections between units during the course.

3. Limits of stage theories
Students’ cognitive development and learning are not limited by general stages of development.

Research indicates that cognitive development and learning are not limited by general stages of development. It is important for instructors teaching Piaget’s cognitive stage theory to also reference the limitations of this approach. Psychology curricula should highlight the significance of Lev Vygotsky’s theory of zone of proximal development and the critical role that interactions with those who are more capable can have on learning and growth. Instructors can use this research to facilitate learning by designing instruction that utilizes scaffolding, differentiation and mixed ability grouping. It is also critical that the most advanced students have the opportunity to work with others who will challenge them, including other students or the instructor.

4. Facilitating context
Learning is based on context, so generalizing learning to new contexts is not spontaneous, but rather needs to be facilitated.

Student growth and deeper learning are developed when instructors help students transfer learning from one context to another. Students will also be better able to generalize learning to new contexts if instructors invest time in focusing on deeper learning. One method of developing this skill is to have students use their understanding of a particular unit to generate potential solutions for real-world problems. APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) offers an excellent example of this type of assignment with the problem-focused unit on childhood obesity (PDF, 260KB).

5. Practice
Acquiring long-term knowledge and skill is largely dependent on practice.

This principle details empirically based strategies that will help students more effectively encode learned materials into long-term memory. In addition to those in the memory unit, examples from this principle can help inform instruction throughout the course. By issuing formative assessment frequently through practice problems, activities and sample tests, instructors can help students increase their knowledge, skills and confidence. Additionally, instructors conducting practice activities at spaced intervals (distributed practice) will help students achieve greater increases in long-term retrieval ability. Practice tests should include open-ended questions that require both the retrieval of existing knowledge and the challenge of applying that information to new situations or contexts, thus also incorporating principle four. See also the APA teaching module on practice for knowledge acquisition.

6. Feedback
Clear, explanatory and timely feedback to students is important for learning.

This principle highlights the importance of instructor responses and indicates the best manner in which to deliver feedback to students in order to maintain or increase motivation to learn. Providing students with clear, explanatory and timely feedback is important for learning. The CPSE publication titled “Using Classroom Data to Give Systematic Feedback to Students to Improve Learning” provides additional information about feedback methods including five key strategies.

7. Self-regulation
Students’ self-regulation assists in learning and self-regulatory skills can be taught.

Self-regulation skills, including attention, organization, self-control, planning and memory strategies, improve learning and engagement and can be taught through direct instruction, modeling and classroom organization. Teachers can model organizational methods and assist students by highlighting learning targets at the start and conclusion of lessons, using classroom calendars, highlighting difficult concepts that will require more practice, breaking large projects into manageable components, using well designed rubrics and allowing sufficient processing time through questioning, summarizing and practice. Psychology students can apply this research to their own study habits such as learning to practice self-control by limiting the distractions presented by cell phones and social media. Students can also be encouraged to design experiments related to the limits of attention and discuss the practical implications of their results.

8. Creativity
Student creativity can be fostered.

Creativity is considered a critical skill for the technology driven world of the 21st century and because it is not a stable trait, it can be taught, nurtured and increased. This principle describes specific methods of structuring assignments to increase creativity and ideas for how to model creative problem solving. Creativity in the psychology classroom can include opportunities for student-designed research projects, video projects, demonstrations and model building. The TOPSS unit lesson plans include a variety of ideas for creatively engaging students.

Motivation: What motivates students?
Students who are motivated and interested in learning are more successful. CPSE has outlined the most important ways to help increase student motivation and engagement.

 9. Intrinsic motivation
Students tend to enjoy learning and to do better when they are more intrinsically rather than extrinsically motivated to achieve.

This principle is directed at how instructors can increase intrinsic motivation through classroom practices and activities that support the fundamental need of students to feel autonomous. It is important to note that not everything of importance is intrinsically motivating to all students and that there is a place for extrinsic motivation in education. During the unit on motivation, when intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are typically discussed, students can examine their personal motivations and how they influence their success. Lastly, students can examine the research related to the overjustification effect, also discussed in this principle.

For more information about motivation and the over-justification effect and how they impact student performance, see the TED talk by psychologist Dan Pink.

10. Mastery goals
Students persist in the face of challenging tasks and process information more deeply when they adopt mastery goals rather than performance goals.

Students who form mastery goals are focused on attaining new skills or increasing existing ability, but students who develop performance goals typically are focused simply on showing adequate ability. When students set performance goals, they have a tendency to avoid tasks that might expose weaknesses and end up missing opportunities that would foster the development of new skills. Those with mastery goals are more likely to be motivated to learn new skills and achieve higher levels of competence. Principle 10 provides specific methods for organizing instruction that can be used to help students choose mastery over performance goals although under certain circumstances such as competitions, performance goals may be more appropriate.

11. Teacher expectations
Teachers’ expectations about their students affect students’ opportunities to learn, their motivation and their learning outcomes.

The beliefs that teachers have about their students affect students’ opportunities to learn, their motivation and their learning outcomes. Psychological research has uncovered ways for teachers to communicate high expectations for all students and avoid creating negative self-fulfilling prophecies. When discussing self-fulfilling prophecies and the Rosenthal and Jacobson study during the social psychology unit, Principle 11 can be used by teachers to show students how they can prevent negative self-fulfilling prophecies.

12. Goal setting
Setting goals that are short term (proximal), specific and moderately challenging enhances motivation more than establishing goals that are long term (distal), general and overly challenging.

This principle explains how students can use short-term (proximal), specific and moderately challenging goals to increase self-efficacy and build toward larger goals. Students should maintain a record of progress toward their goals which is monitored by both the student and the instructor. After students experience success with moderately challenging proximal goals, they will be more likely to become intermediate risk takers, which is one of the most significant attributes present in achievement-oriented individuals. As a result, they will be capable of achieving larger distal goals. Tips based on this principle can easily be used to create engaging class assignments for the motivation unit in the introduction to psychology curriculum.

Social and emotional dimensions: Why are social context, interpersonal relationships and emotional well-being important to student learning?
These principles reflect the importance of relationships, culture, community and well-being on learning. They focus on how instructors can help students by fostering healthy relationships with them and an interest in their lives outside the classroom.

13. Social contexts
Learning is situated within multiple social contexts.

Principle 13 emphasizes how the various communities students belong to (e.g. families, peer groups, schools, neighborhoods) and their culture (e.g. shared language, beliefs, values and behavioral norms) influence learning. This principle is related specifically to many concepts from social psychology (e.g., norms, attribution theory, individualistic versus collectivist cultures) and provides suggestions for incorporating culture into every unit to increase student engagement and build stronger relationships. Introductory psychology classes can incorporate opportunities for students to engage with the larger community through service-learning projects, guest speakers and psychology clubs. TOPSS has developed a teaching module that includes background information and activities for expanding student understanding regarding culture and social contexts titled “An Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology .”

14. Interpersonal relationships

Interpersonal relationships and communication are critical to both the teaching-learning process and the social development of students.

This principle provides detailed and specific guidelines for improving both teacher-student and student-peer relationships in the classroom. See also the APA teaching module on improving students’ relationships with teachers for essential supports for learning based on this principle.

15. Well-being
Emotional well-being influences educational performance, learning, and development.

Various components of emotional well-being can be included across many psychology units, such as self-concept and self-esteem (social psychology), self-efficacy and locus of control (motivation and personality) and happiness and coping skills (emotion and stress). TOPSS has developed a teaching module that includes background information and activities related topositive psychology  (PDF, 164KB) and the science of improving emotional well-being.

Context and learning: How can the classroom best be managed?
The two principles related to classroom management emphasize how to develop a classroom climate that enhances learning.

16. Classroom conduct
Expectations for classroom conduct and social interaction are learned and can be taught using proven principles of behavior and effective classroom instruction.

Numerous research-based ideas are presented for both correcting inappropriate student behaviors and for establishing appropriate replacement behaviors at both the classroom and school-wide levels. See also the APA teaching module on classroom management and the APA video modules on classroom management.

17. Expectations and support
Effective classroom management is based on (a) setting and communicating high expectations, (b) consistently nurturing positive relationships, and (c) providing a high level of student support.

This principle highlights practical techniques to create a culture of high academic achievement and positive classroom behavior at both the classroom and school levels. The Top 20 document references information about restorative practices and social and emotional learning that includes a variety of specific and practical strategies for building teacher-student relationships.

Assessment: How is student progress assessed?
The three principles devoted to the process of student evaluation discuss methods for creating and implementing valid and fair assessments that contribute to student learning.

18. Formative and summative assessment
Formative and summative assessments are both important and useful, but they require different approaches and interpretations.

Formative assessments are typically used as a part of everyday practice and are given either prior to or during instruction. Such tools are designed to collect evidence regarding the progress of student learning in order to provide effective guidance. Summative assessments, on the other hand, result in an overall evaluation of student learning or program effectiveness and are typically utilized at the end of a unit or course thus having more limited impact on current instruction. Frequent use of formative assessment accompanied by immediate and specific instruction helps students achieve learning goals and assume a greater responsibility of their own learning process. The analysis of data collected through formative assessment allows the instructor to differentiate instruction and provide appropriate individualized support. See also the APA teaching module on formative assessment.

19. Assessment development
Student skill, knowledge, and ability are best measured with assessment processes grounded in psychological science with well-defined standards for quality and fairness.

Formative and summative assessments need to be evaluated for both reliability and validity. The Top 20 document provides instructors with four essential questions that can be used to evaluate the overall validity of a particular assessment for measuring student learning and tips for measuring reliability. Instructors can improve the reliability and validity of formative and summative assessments by aligning them to learning targets, utilizing item analysis, discussing the results with other educators, and monitoring outcomes for discrepancies across groups or subgroups of students. During the unit on intelligence and individual differences, it can be helpful to demonstrate to students how the exams they are taking can be evaluated for content validity by illustrating how the assessments are aligned with learning targets or the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula.

20. Assessment evaluation
Making sense of assessment data depends on clear, appropriate and fair interpretation.

Effective teaching requires that instructors be able to accurately interpret test results and clearly communicate the results to students and parents. Students can use what they learn about testing and statistics to evaluate the various assessments given in class for reliability and validity. Discussions of descriptive statistics are more meaningful when students examine their own assessments.

Certainly there will be debate about the Top 20 principles, and many research-based educational practices are not included in the document. Although this is not an exhaustive list of educational psychological research, it does provide an important starting point for improving teaching and learning outcomes. The Top 20 principles were vetted over many years based on major documents related to the science of teaching and learning, and the purpose of the project was not to provide a comprehensive list, but a prioritized one. These principles are helpful for the instructor but can also be incorporated into the psychology curriculum as examples of how applied psychology can be used to solve real-world problems. At the same time, these principles will help students develop skills to learn more effectively in all of their classes.

Psycholinguistics / Why suggestopedia?
« on: August 05, 2021, 03:23:09 PM »
Suggestopedia is a pedagogic system of teaching, which is the combination of pedagogy, psychology and artistic approaches.

In order to understand what suggestopedia is and why it is the method which leads to the best and most long-lasting results, the main differences from traditional forms of education should be outlined.

Suggestopedia is the brainchild of Professon Georgi Lozanov, who was a physician, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, brain physiologist and pedagogue. More than 50 years ago he committed to do research on the potential capabilities of the person and their accelerated and harmonic development. 
Suggestopedic Methodology
The basis of suggestopedia is formed by the 7 laws of suggestopedia, which enable the successful acquisition of new knowledge by stimulating all senses and the intellect of the individual.
The suggested information is acquired spontaneously, joyfully and with a relaxing effect. A lot of music and classical art are incorporated in the learning process, which bring a great deal of positive experience and inspiration for learners.
Basis of suggestopedia
Suggestopedia is based on the activation and development of the potential capabilities of individuals, the so-called hidden reserves of the mind, which every person possesses.
The uncovering of these reserves leads to immensely faster and more effective learning (from 3 to 5 times faster compared with traditional methods), as well as the retaining of the acquired knowledge. This serves to answer the questions about the essence of suggestopedia and why it leads to such high results for short periods of time.
There are 7 laws, developed and experimented with by Prof. Lozanov, which are applied in suggestopedic methodology in order to reach the reserves.
Various means of joyful and wholesome communication are used in order to activate the hidden reserves. At the heart of the methodology are the active and passive concert sessions, during which the lessons are read out in a specific way with classical music in the background. Suggestopedic methodology incorporates various role plays and interactive techniques, popular songs and classical painting reproductions.
Why suggestopedia?
Both the conscious and the para-conscious perceptions are engaged during suggestopedic lessons by specifically selected emotional stimuli. Learners’ imagination is unleashed, which leads to both hemispheres of the brain working in harmony, an exceptionally important factor in the activation of long-term memory.

Suggestopedia is a natural way of teaching and learning. It is a type of communication, free, inducing love and supreme delight to the senses, which is in fact the secret to reaching the hidden reserves.

It is this that makes suggestopedia ‘a generally superior method’ according to UNESCO’s evaluation. As early as 1978 an international commission of experts arrived in Bulgaria in search for the following answers: What is suggestopedia and why does it need to be applied in various fields of learning?

Sociolinguistics / Language maintenance, shift and death
« on: August 04, 2021, 12:43:33 PM »
Language shift, also known as language transfer or language replacement or language assimilation, is the process whereby a speech community shifts to a different language, usually over an extended period of time. Often, languages that are perceived to be higher status stabilise or spread at the expense of other languages that are perceived by their own speakers to be lower-status. An example is the shift from Gaulish to Latin during the time of the Roman Empire.

Firth and Wagner (1997) questioned the dichotomies nonnative versus native speaker, learner versus user, and interlanguage versus target language, which reflect a bias toward innateness, cognition, and form in language acquisition. Research on lingua franca English (LFE) not only affirms this questioning, but reveals what multilingual communities have known all along: Language learning and use succeed through performance strategies, situational resources, and social negotiations in fluid communicative contexts. Proficiency is therefore practice-based, adaptive, and emergent. These findings compel us to theorize language acquisition as multimodal, multisensory, multilateral, and, therefore, multidimensional. The previously dominant constructs such as form, cognition, and the individual are not ignored; they get redefined as hybrid, fluid, and situated in a more socially embedded, ecologically sensitive, and interactionally open model.

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Sociolinguistics / Language and identity
« on: August 04, 2021, 12:39:23 PM »
Language and identity

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his mother language that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

The age of globalisation has seen thousands of people emigrate to other countries in search of better employment and educational opportunities. Sometimes people migrate in order to escape conflicts at home and to find safer and more stable living conditions abroad. This movement from one place to another affects peoples’ mother tongue.

Language is not simply an assortment of words but an entity that connects an individual to his family, identity, culture, music, beliefs and wisdom. It is the carrier of history, traditions, customs and folklore from one generation to another. Without language, no culture can sustain its existence. Our language is actually our identity.

The mother language plays a crucial role in shaping an individual’s personality as well as his or her psychological development, thoughts and emotions. Our childhood is the most important stage of our lives and children can comprehend concepts and skills that are taught to them in their mother tongue quite fast.

Many psychologists believe that a strong bond between a child and his or her parents (especially the mother) is established through exhibition of love, compassion, body language and verbal communication; language.

According to education specialist, Hurisa Guvercin, “When a person speaks his mother tongue, a direct connection is established between heart, brain and tongue. Our personality, character, modesty, shyness, defects, skills, and all other hidden characteristics become truly revealed through the mother tongue because the sound of the mother tongue in the ear and its meaning in the heart give us trust and confidence”.

Unesco Director General Irina Bokova believes that, “mother languages in a multilingual world are essential components of quality education, which in itself is the foundation for empowering women, men and their societies”.

There is no harm in learning another language for it opens up new windows of opportunities and helps us understand life better. A new language gives us a new worldview and makes us more aware of the cultures, lifestyles, customs and beliefs of other people.

The 200 million people in Pakistan speak 72 different provincial and regional tongues, including the official languages, Urdu and English. According to the Parliamentary Paper 2014, 10 out of these 72 languages are either “in trouble” or “near extinction”. The provincial languages of Pakistan are spoken and used in the four provinces – Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. However, these languages, with the exception of Sindhi, have no official status in Pakistan.

Since the most crucial factor is the attitude of those who speak a particular language, it is essential that the state creates a social and political environment that encourages multilingualism and respect for minority languages. It should enact laws that recognise and protect minority languages, encourage an education system that promotes mother-tongue instruction and create creative collaboration between community members and linguists to develop a writing system and introduce formal instruction in these languages.

Lok Virsa’s stance in terms of mother languages is very clear. It considers all the languages spoken in Pakistan as national languages. For the last two years, Lok Virsa has been actively promoting cultural diversity and celebrating mother languages.

To commemorate the UN’s Mother Language Day, a two-day festival titled ‘Our Languages – Our Identity’ will be held in Islamabad on February 18 and 19, 2017. The event will provide a unique opportunity to experience Pakistan’s linguistic and cultural diversity: more than 150 writers, poets and cultural activists will represent Pakistan’s mother languages. This will be followed by a musical evening and poetic night where sessions and mushairas will be held in various national languages.

The aim of the festival is to promote Pakistan’s linguistic and cultural diversity as an instrument of social harmony, peace and tolerance. It also aims to enlighten the new generation of Pakistan by showcasing a wide range of literary works in these languages.

In addition, Lok Virsa has been organising summer camps for children over the last two years to familiarise them with different regional languages and give them an idea about today’s multicultural world with pluralistic identities. Lok Virsa, through regional exhibitions, also promotes the music of regional languages.

It is time all regional languages are given the status of national languages which will bring their speakers from the fringes to the mainstream. If we want to empower our people, we need to give them the opportunity to communicate in their mother language so that they do not feel disenfranchised.


Sociolinguistics / National languages and language planning
« on: August 04, 2021, 12:37:40 PM »
Please find the file in the attachment

ELT / Materials development in flexible learning amid the pandemic
« on: August 04, 2021, 12:34:47 PM »

The literature’s focus on textbooks as an aspect of English language teaching (ELT) materials development (MD) has been significant and extensive. With the current setup of ELT within the context of online, distance, or flexible learning (FL) caused by the unprecedented and massive shift in education delivery during the pandemic, it remains unclear how ELT practitioners engage in MD in such modes of learning. Thus, studies on ELT MD in online or FL remain underexplored. Through both online semi-structured and follow-up email interviews among eight Filipino university teachers of English, this study explores English language teachers’ perceptions toward MD in FL. Findings indicated three salient ways of MD in FL: following guidelines set by the University, utilizing one’s creativity and resourcefulness, and focusing on collaboration among learners. The analysis also revealed the following perceived benefits of MD in FL: stimulating students’ learning process, fostering an inclusive classroom, improving one’s teaching insights and practices, and empowering one’s teaching motivation and autonomy. Further, the participants shared the following challenges in MD: time constraint in preparing instructional materials, limited resources, and difficulty in adjusting materials for online teaching.

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Target language instruction in multilingual settings cannot ignore the linguistic diversity of both the learners and the society. Rather than ignoring the individual and societal multilingualism, leveraging them as resources in learning the target language can be beneficial. Developing such multilingual instruction is an organic, iterative process that has to be planned and executed through a close collaboration of local stakeholders. In this paper, I trace the evolution of a multilingual instructional sequence that was designed by a practitioner-researcher collaborative team in an Indian German-as-foreign-language institute. The team first studied multilingual projects in other foreign language learning contexts and, with the help of these, identified a set of core components that formed part of the multilingual instruction on-site. Then, an instructional sequence focused on teaching chosen target grammatical aspects was designed and implemented iteratively in an adult, beginner level course. Every iteration was assessed from three vantage points – teachers' perspectives, feedback from learners and learners' language performance. Teachers' perspectives were gathered during weekly meetings and journal entries. Learners' feedback was from weekly reflection journals. Learners' language performance of the target grammatical aspects was assessed through obligatory occasion analysis of form-focused and meaning-focused tasks. At the end of each iteration, feedback from these three sources was triangulated to inform the redesign of the instructional sequence. The process of how the sequence evolved over three iterations through this feedback loop is elaborated here. This process can serve as a blueprint for other researchers and practitioners who wish to develop context-specific multilingual instruction.

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Given the significance of English in the global world, English language teaching in Bangladesh has become subject to a supreme concern in maintaining economic growth and developing a skilled workforce. In this article, several barriers have been discussed based on a critical analysis of published materials. This review article covers several key issues such as the status of English in the country; English in education policies; factors affecting the implementation of communicative language teaching curriculum, method, and materials in Bangladesh; validity of the current assessment and its washback effect on English language teaching in Bangladesh; and current situation of teachers’ professional development. The article concluded with language policy and planning implications for policymakers, curriculum and material developers, public exams’ test-setters, and future English teacher training programmes, keeping the overall development of ELT in Bangladesh in mind.


A World Bank report that was made public in 2016 identifies Bangladesh as a lower middle-income country, considering the nation’s consistent growth in the last decade (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). The role of English is undeniable in maintaining this growth and developing skilled workforces, who are globally compatible (Hamid, 2010). Therefore, bearing the economic interest in mind, improvement in English language teaching and learning has become the prior concern. Although numerous measures have been taken in recent years to standardise English language teaching (ELT) in the country, the outcomes are depressing (Ali & Walker, 2014; Hamid & Baldauf, 2008). To illustrate, multifaceted problems such as the politically motivated decision in lowering the status and use of English in Bangladesh since the independence (Chowdhury & Kabir, 2014), inconsistent language in education policies (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a), implementation of communicative language teaching (CLT) curriculum, teaching method and instructional materials in practice (Rahman, Pandian, & Kaur, 2018a), implementation of assessment reform (Al Amin & Greenwood, 2018a; Ali, Hamid, & Hardy, 2018), and language teachers’ professional development (Karim & Mohamed, 2019) are the most significant drawbacks that preclude ELT to meet national expectation in Bangladesh.

Against the backdrop of these problems in the landscape of ELT in Bangladesh, based on the published materials in the context, this article critically analyses the historical, political, and social conditions of English in Bangladesh in the first phase. Secondly, the article scrutinises the existing status of English language education in national education policies in Bangladesh. Thirdly, it draws attention on the factors affecting the implementation of CLT curriculum, method, and materials. Furthermore, the article also assesses the validity of reformed high-stakes assessment in Bangladesh and its washback effect on teaching. Finally, the article explicates the deficiencies of existing teacher development programmes in language teachers’ capacity building. The article concludes with several implications and recommendations to improve the situation of ELT in the country and specifically the probable solutions to overcome the discussed problems.

English in Bangladesh: a socio-historical and political perspective

Since language is an essential component for the construction of a unique cultural life of a region, it is essential to reflect on the historical background of languages in Bangladesh and explore how the current linguistic reality has emerged. Bangladesh is a small and densely populated country in South Asia with a land area of 147,000 km2 and a population of 160 million. Of the total population, 34% of people live in urban areas, and urban migration is increasing day by day (World Bank, n.d.). The ethnicity of 98% of the people of Bangladesh is Bengali, and the national language is Bangla. This predominantly monolingual identity of the nation is emphasised in its nationalist discourses. Significantly enough, Bangla has survived major linguistic threat and consolidated its presence in the nation’s identity building in its both pre- and post-independent periods. Right after the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the Pakistani rulers attempted to impose Urdu as the sole state language of Pakistan—ignoring the reality that the Bangalees of East Pakistan were the majority among the entire population. This drew instant protests from the students, intellectuals, and socio-cultural activists of East Pakistan which was predominantly pioneered by the students of Dhaka University. A series of turbulent events led to the 21st of February 1952 when Dhaka University students came up with mass procession on the streets that witnessed a brutal oppression by the police. Numerous students were killed as the police opened fire. The language movement of 1952 became the new identity for Bangalees (then East Pakistanis) and introduced a tremendous sense of nationalism. The identity and sense of nationalism kept the nation united in the liberation war of 1971. Therefore, Bangla has continued to be the symbol of solidarity and national identity after independence.

However, the general presence of English in Bangladesh and its integration into the academic curricula have their roots in the colonial past. Like many other British colonial countries, English first came in contact with the people of this Indian sub-continent through the British Colony. British had left in 1947; however, the Indian sub-continent still bears the legacy of British colonial norms and values, including the language of English. As a matter of fact, while the British were ruling, English was used highly in political discourses, and it was lingua franca for the British to communicate with the elites of the region. Misra, as quoted in Islam & Hashim (2019) (p. 248), noted that English was used in all formal domains such as administration and education. Following that, during the Pakistani regime, English continued to be widely used as a recognised state language with the status of second language (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). The article 214 of the Pakistan constitution 1956 accepted English as the official language for 20 years (Khatun, 1992, p. 85).

After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, the then Head of the State Sheikh Mujibur Rahman adopted the policy of ‘one state one language’, although several minor ethnic groups were inhabiting in this land (Rahman, 2010). The constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, adopted in 1972, accepted Bangla as the state language through article 3. This policy was widely hailed politically although it was a similar act that once Pakistanis committed against Bengalis by trying to impose Urdu as the state language of Pakistan (East and West). However, the state attempt to expand the use of Bengali came at its expense. The adopted constitutional act narrowed the use of English in the official, social, and educational spectrums of Bangladesh and elevated the national language Bangla to a disproportionately higher level, which was to be used, practical or not, in all public domains which resulted in a severe lack in English proficiency among the people in general (Hamid & Baldauf, 2014). Observing the conflict between English and Bangla languages in the state policy of post-independence Bangladesh, Hamid (2011) observed that the promotion of one was believed to be the demotion of the other. However, it is to be mentioned that, although teaching in Bengali was linked to the consolidation of national identity (Hoque, 2008, p. 1) in Bangladesh, a significant knowledge of English never lost its relevance because of its gatekeeping power to global education, career opportunity, and international exchanges.

English in education policy: access and equity
As it has been mentioned earlier, following the independence in 1971, Bangla received the status of national language through the compilation of the constitution in 1972 (section 3, The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh). In section 153(2) of the constitution, Bangla has also been given priority for the acceptance of Bangla version of the constitution at the time of any probable conflict between Bangla and English versions. Bangla was also given higher prestige in all domains of the society, primarily in education, which was not pragmatic at that time, since the outcome of the policy was a drop of English proficiency among the learner community. It also resulted in the automatic digression of English from the second language to a foreign language (Hamid & Baldauf, 2014). Hamid (2010) further highlighted the dearth of quality in English language teaching (ELT) caused by the inconsistent language policy and planning (see Table 1). Bangladesh does not have a clear and planned language policy, and it has always been persistent (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). As a result, a gap between policy and language practice exists in Bangladesh.

The newly adopted language in education policies explicitly indicated the significance of English in Bangladesh and language proficiency for its people. In line with the policy, communicative language teaching (CLT)-based curriculum reform took place in the mid-nineties, replacing the traditional grammar-translation method (GTM)-based language teaching, initially in secondary schools and later in all other levels (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). Kaplan and Baldauf's (2003) language-in-education planning (LEP) framework consisted of seven key aspects of policy development: access policy, curriculum policy, method and material policy, personnel policy, resourcing policy, community policy, and evaluation policy. The English education policy reform from GTM to CLT was needed to be backed by clear planning and preparation (Hamid & Honan, 2012). But, in the case of the policy reforms, a lack of substantial planning is evident (Rahman, 2015). Through further conceptualization of the problem, these issues related to policy and planning have been discussed under the following sections: implementation of CLT, testing and assessment, and teacher education. In this section, two core elements of language in education policy in Bangladesh, which are intricately interconnected to each other, language access policy, and resourcing policy have been discussed in association with the contributory factors to the policy adaptation.

English access and resourcing policy
According to Kaplan and Baldauf (2003), access policy means who will learn what language and when. On the other hand, they conceptualised the language resourcing policy as the financing of language education (Kaplan & Baldauf 2003). Currently, English is taught from grade 1 among 6-years-old learners. If access to English brings positive benefits to individuals, then English should be made equally accessible to all citizens (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). However, English language teaching was not carefully planned since the quality of teaching and teachers is not equal and is poor across the country (Hamid & Erling, 2016). Besides, most of the primary schools across the country are inadequately resourced, and lack of English teachers robs all aspirations (Haq, 2004). Furthermore, according to Hamid and Baldauf (2011), language access policy has created social inequity within the population since access to English is not equal in rural and urban areas. To make it worse, English medium schools get exclusive access to English with the bare minimum use of Bangla. Consequently, the emergence of English medium schools in the cities has contributed to the inequality to a large extent (Hamid, 2016; Hamid, Sussex, & Khan, 2009). The urban students often go to English medium schools and receive their education in English (Mousumi & Kusakabe, 2017). Thus, the level of their proficiency is higher compared to the Bangla medium students who study in public and private schools.

Instrumental factors of English language policy adaptation
The basis of the access policy initiation and the management of resourcing policy is not specific. Frequently, policymakers speak about the role of English learning to benefit from globalisation and to mobilise economic advancement (Hamid, 2010; Hamid, Nguyen, & Baldauf, 2013) and suggest that students will be able to learn better if they start early (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). However, the relationship between competence in English language and economic development is not always linear (Rahman, Singh, & Karim, 2018b). Instead, it often times becomes a burden for a developing country such as Bangladesh to supply enough resources to facilitate English language education from grade 1 (Hamid & Erling, 2016). Furthermore, it is often perceived as beneficial for the learners to start formal language learning early (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b), which policymakers often present as a justification. Incongruent to this simplified view, the current findings in the field of SLA are not definitive (Zein, 2017). It is, therefore, hard to justify such policy adaptation. Other than acquiring pronunciation, early starters of language are not substantially advantaged over the late starters (Rahman, Pandian, Karim, & Shahed, 2017).

In evidence, none of the arguments is substantial enough to adopt such an early introduction of English language, and it eventually aggravates the provision of scarce educational resources (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). Therefore, many English education researchers based in Bangladesh question the policy adaptation (Chowdhury & Kabir, 2014; Hamid & Honan, 2012). Vicious interest behind these policy adaptations is clear since they are not adopted based on the needs but due to the prescribed notion by the donors and non-government organisations (NGOs) (Kabir & Chowdhury, 2017). Often, these policies are forced on the country and the policymakers by external stakeholders to import English language teaching as a product (Hamid, 2010; Hamid et al., 2013). Bangladesh’s English language policy and planning are highly influenced by supra-national factors, and actors such as international donor agencies, and sub-national actor such as NGOs. They work mostly in the form of language teaching and teacher development programmes (a brief description of these programmes has been provided in teachers’ professional development section). Nevertheless, in reference to the unique relationship between developing aid and English language policy and planning in Bangladesh, Erling (2017) suggested that thoughtful initiatives can make more significant contributions to the holistic development and social justice in the context.

Implementation of CLT: curriculum, method, and textbook
By replacing traditional GTM by CLT, the Ministry of Education (MoE) had decided to reform the curriculum, methodology, textbook, and assessment system to ensure the development of English language learning and teaching in the country. The reform was implemented by the English Language Teaching Improvement Program (ELTIP), with the support of MoE and British Council (Karim, Mohamed, Ismail, & Rahman, 2018). Despite its beginning with lots of promises, CLT has not been implemented as it was intended in the curriculum (Ali & Walker, 2014; Chowdhury & Kabir, 2014; Hamid & Baldauf, 2008; Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). Several issues have contributed to the current problem associated with CLT implementation. Among them, factors associated with teachers and teaching practices are reported in the existing literature frequently (Ali & Walker, 2014; Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b; Rahman, Pandian, & Kaur, 2018a).

According to Fullan’s (2007) curricular innovation model, multiple factors contribute to teachers’ implementation of the curriculum. Among these factors, characteristics of curriculum innovation are discussed in this section. They are (a) unacknowledged teachers’ needs, (b) lack in curriculum clarity and complexity associated with curriculum, and (c) quality and practicality of textbook and other materials.

Curriculum development and implementation is a top-down process in the context of Bangladesh (Rahman, Pandian, & Kaur, 2018a). As a result, teachers do not get the opportunity to express their views (Ali & Walker, 2014). It is understandable that teachers are skilful in teaching through GTM method since they have the experience of utilising the method in the classroom. With the CLT innovation, teachers’ needs were overlooked, and to an extent, it was imposed on them. Teachers’ needs are identified as qualification and training (Farooqui, 2014; Khan, 2011), teaching methods and strategies (Ahmed, 2018; Jahan, 2008; Khan, 2011), managing large size class (Adhikari, 2011; Akbari, 2015), lack of effective teaching materials (Chowdhury & Le Ha, 2008), and professional development (Anwaruddin, 2016) to implement the communicative approach in the context of Bangladesh. In addition, the reality of the classroom has certainly been ignored by the policymakers since there is an existing gap of communication between policymakers and implementers (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). Studies conducted by Kirkwood and Rae (2011) and Kirkwood (2013) report that English in Action (EIA), a nationwide English development programme, has conducted the baseline studies to understand the ELT situation in primary and secondary schools, and based on that, they are working to improve the English language curriculum. However, they did not reveal the study population and the sites of data collection, e.g. school or district. Thus, it cannot be generalised that a representative number of teachers participated in terms of all demographic criteria to inform their needs.

A curriculum that is implemented in a top-down manner lacks clarity and creates complexity (Fullan, 2007). In their study, Das, Shaheen, Shrestha, Rahman, and Khan (2014) found that both English teachers and head teachers of the investigated schools lack any clear understanding of the CLT curriculum and consequently have a mixed opinion about its implementation. Similarly, Rahman, Singh, and Pandian (2018c) found that teachers’ belief and practice are not congruent to CLT, and their understanding of the curriculum differed. Understandably, NCTB had asked teachers to implement CLT curriculum that was new to them without any well-planned contextual analysis on the probable complexities that may arise. For instance, teacher-centred classroom is a crucial feature in the classroom of Bangladesh, and students’ willingness to communicate is often low (Rahman, Pandian, & Kaur, 2018a). Thus, naturally, CLT implementation would become tough in such contexts. In the same vein, Chowdhury and Le Ha (2008) questioned the appropriateness of CLT and its pedagogical suitability in a completely different Eastern context such as Bangladesh where the pedagogic practice is dominated by a teacher-centred approach. However, Shrestha’s (2013) study reported an improvement in the situation. Teachers have mostly reported being aware of their roles in the communicative classroom (Shrestha, 2013). Therefore, given the few empirical studies available currently, it is important to scrutinise further the teachers’ understanding of the curriculum that might unearth new insights.

The textbooks have been revised on several occasions to make them more authentic for each level of the students and their communicative needs. The term Communicative English is used to signify the communicative competence necessary for effective interaction with other people, primarily through speaking and listening. Adhikari (2011) reported that the ability to speak accurate, appropriate, and effective English is vital for meaningful interaction that ensures students’ communicative competence in English. He also argued that through the instructional materials, the teacher should provide students with the ample opportunity to relate syntax (rules of grammar) and morphology (vocabulary) to semantics (meaning) and pragmatics (language use) by means of interactive activities during teaching speaking. Instructional materials development for learning speaking in the classroom must take into cognizance the internal factors such as the use of native language, age, exposure, innate phonetic ability, identity and language ego, and motivation while an external factor, for example, EFL context should not be excluded (Brown, 2001, p. 118). However, according to Kirkwood (2013), English for Today textbook hopelessly lacks the speaking and listening activities. In addition to this, a mismatch exists between the national English curriculum and internal organisation of the textbook as reported in Ali (2014). In his study, Ali (2014) further reported that the textbook lacks authenticity and communicative aspects in its content. Kirkwood and Rae (2011) found that grammatical and vocabulary selections are predominant in the primary and secondary English textbooks in Bangladesh instead of communicative activities. In an earlier study, Chowdhury and Le Ha (2008) found that the learning materials are not contextual, rather borrowed from abroad. However, a recent study conducted by Rahman, Pandian, and Kaur (2018a) found through content analysis that more communicative activities are incorporated in the new book, and lessons are more contextualised and authentic. However, this finding needs to be further validated through empirical evidences collected from teachers and students. Moreover, further studies should be conducted on the development and implementation of the English for Today textbook, considering the fact that a handful of studies have evaluated the CLT textbooks used at different levels in Bangladesh.

Implementation of assessment reform
The success of language policy and implementation of the curriculum depends mostly on the quality of assessment and testing (Das et al., 2014). According to Quader (2001), the new CLT assessment approach is facing resistance in implementation from different stakeholders including teachers. However, not many empirical studies have devotedly investigated the issues related to CLT assessment and testing (Ali et al., 2018). There is a close relationship between the failure in English language teaching, learning, or curriculum implementation and inappropriate assessment methods in the context of Bangladesh (Khan, 2010; Rahman et al., 2018a, b, c).

One of the critical issues of the current high-stakes nationwide language testing in the public examinations is the exclusion of the two vital language skills, speaking and listening, from the centralised exams (Al Amin & Greenwood, 2018a, 2018b; Sultana, 2018). This conservative attitude to test setting causes reduction of the curriculum which is a clear indication that the assessment is not congruent with the national curriculum and the national language policy. It has been reported that authority pressurises teachers to teach only those areas of the curriculum contents that are recurrently considered to construct English test papers (Choudhury, 2010; Maniruzzaman & Hoque, 2010). According to Ali et al. (2018), the tests are not consistent with the goal of the national English curricula and the English language education policy that seeks to develop students’ communicative competence; thus, it is evident that the test setters are under the compulsion of incorporating the instruction of the policymakers. On that note, it can be argued clearly that the assessment methods lack validity, due to the existing gap between what it “intended to be taught and what is measured” (Das et al., 2014, p. 330). Therefore, further studies are required to evaluate the contents that are being tested in the high-stakes public examinations and how these tests are developed (Ali et al., 2018; Sultana, 2018).

The impact of high-stakes assessment has severe washback effects on English language teaching in Bangladesh (Sultana, 2018). The washback effect of the English examinations is noted in the test preparation of the students and teachers in achieving higher grade (see Khan, 2010). This particular phenomenon leads the students to memorise the course contents (Rahman et al., 2018a, b, c) and poses the potential danger of acquiring shadow education (Hamid et al., 2009). Moreover, since the two important skills, listening and speaking, are not assessed in the tests, teachers and students are unwilling to practice them in the classroom (Rahman & Pandian, 2018a, 2018b). It is evident that the washback effect of assessment impacts several aspects of teaching and learning of English in Bangladesh. However, there is still a paucity of empirical studies given those handful of studies mentioned above. Thus, further empirical studies are needed to find out the impact of washback of testing on the different classroom practices carried out by the teachers and the learners.

English language teacher education
The paucity of English teacher in Bangladesh is not a tale of today; we can trace the root of this scarcity in history. After the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, a good number of English teachers decided to leave the country since they were Hindu (Alam, 2018), against the backdrop that they might face religious threats and would endure as a minority in the newly formed state based on religion. Educated in the British period, the remaining teachers mostly retired in the 1980s. Consequently, preceding two decades, the curriculum, as well as the pedagogy, had been affected adversely; less English was being taught to students by teachers who had learned less of it (Alam, 2018).

Admittedly, teacher education (TE) is an indispensable part for enriching teachers’ dexterity (Karim et al., 2018) regardless of the subjects they teach. In addition, TE contributes in building teacher cognition and teacher identity that embeds the decisive factors which determine teachers’ actions in the classroom. The aim of any teacher education programme is to attain teachers’ change (Hargreaves & Fullan, 1992). As such, it becomes conspicuous that TE has direct influences on teachers’ classroom practices (Rahman et al., 2018a, b, c). Perceiving the potential outcomes of TE programmes, teachers, irrespective of preservice and in-service in nature, in different contexts have received different trainings and participated in various education programmes in order to be equipped with skills and strategies such as creating interactive atmosphere, deploying audio-visual aids, and employing diverse activities for engaging students. (Karim & Mohamed, 2019).

Bangladesh, a vibrant EFL context (Ali & Walker, 2014) that has undertaken TE programmes as the sole avenue to produce auxiliary forces which not only contribute to national economy but also power the global economy (Karim, Shahed, Rahman, & Mohammad, 2019b), has been continuing TE and professional development programmes for English teachers in the form of preservice and in-service TE programmes. Graduate and postgraduate programmes in TESOL, TEFL, and ELT constitute preservice TE (Karim, Shahed, Mohamed, Rahman, & Ismail, 2019a) while government initiated in-service teacher education programmes, Certificate in Education (C-in-Ed) and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed), shape the in-service training programmes in the context. Additionally, the country benefitted by the donor-aided training programmes for English teachers, namely English Language Teaching Improvement Project (ELTIP), English for Teaching, Teaching for English (ETTE), Teaching Quality Improvement in Secondary Education Project (TQI-SEP), Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project (SEQAEP), and English in Action (EIA) (Hamid, 2010). Typically, the donors that perform in Bangladesh are the Department for International Development (DfID), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), World Bank, and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

As regards the outcome, Karim et al. (2019a, 2019b) report the adequacy in terms of knowledge base that prevails in preservice TE programmes. Conversely, Hamid (2010) defined the knowledge imparted in C-in-Ed and B. Ed programmes as inadequate since the contents of these programmes exert limited focus on the practical aspects of English teaching. In the same vein, Hamid and Erling (2016) reported the limited outcome drawn from in-service training programmes although sufficient funds have been leveraged to run these programmes. For instance, Karim, Mohamed, and Rahman (2017), building on various framework on TE programme, reveal that EIA that incorporated mobile phone as a tool for teacher development is only concerned about teacher training with mobile learning and eluded training about mobile learning and technology integration. Thus, teachers’ successful orientation to audio-visual aid in the classroom, which was a major aim of EIA, has miserably failed (see Anwaruddin, 2016 for details). On top of that, Karim et al. (2018) drew a vignette of synchronised hypocrisies that significantly belittle the operation, function, and outcome of the in-service training programmes in Bangladesh. Hamid (2010) also suggests the discrepancies present in in-service teacher training programmes in Bangladesh.

Notably, EIA being the last among the donor-funded teacher training programmes intended to implement CLT with the help of information and communications technology (ICT) (Al Amin & Greenwood, 2018b). It has not only focused on large-scale English language teachers’ training, but also conducted empirical studies as a proof of their success (Karim et al., 2018). In contrast to the abovementioned studies, EIA-funded studies reported successful reform of CLT curriculum and development in teachers’ quality (see Kirkwood, 2013; Power, Shaheen, Solly, Woodward, & Burton, 2012; Shohel & Banks, 2010; Shrestha, 2013; Walsh et al., 2013). These studies reported a positive outlook in teachers’ beliefs and practices which were aligned with the curriculum. However, these hyper-success claims made by the donor-funded multimillion English teacher training programmes are not supported by the recent studies (see Al Amin & Greenwood, 2018a, 2018b; Anwaruddin, 2016; Karim & Mohamed, 2019; Rahman et al., 2018a, 2018b, 2018c). To elaborate, these studies revealed several challenges pertinent to the TE programmes such as the rarity of training sessions, less opportunity for the rural teachers, shortage of teachers’ trainers, ineffective training materials, and insufficient resources to instrumentalise EIA training devices (Karim & Mohamed, 2019; Rahman et al., 2018a, b, c). Eventually, too many teachers of English lack basic language and pedagogical competencies even after attending EIA training which resulted in a limited implementation of CLT in Bangladesh.

Implications and conclusion

Considering the fact that Bangladesh is one of the largest English learning populations of the world, it is significant to study problems associated with English language education in the country (Chowdhury & Kabir, 2014; Hamid, 2016). This article discussed the key issues linked with ELT in Bangladesh by reviewing relevant concurrent literature. Based on the thematic discussion above, several implications emerged concerning English language education in the country and future research.

English in Bangladesh is significant in many ways. In order to supply the global demand of skilled workforce, English language proficiency is imperative. However, for the achievement of enhanced English language proficiency, an exclusionary approach such as scrapping Bangla and other ethnic languages from language planning is never desirable. Therefore, this research calls for adopting a glocal approach in providing appropriate linguistic attention to mother tongue and English, where Bangla and other indigenous languages would hold the root of the culture in terms of language practices in education and society while English will provide the nation more opportunity in the global stage. A national consensus should be made recognising multilingualism in Bangladesh which is historically, socially, and culturally evident in the land of Bangladesh, although it is politically unacknowledged.

Apparently, Bangladesh has remained unsuccessful in attaining self-reliance in English language teaching. Although the problem is reported widely in popular opinion and empirical studies, policymakers are often reluctant in admitting the problem. MoE should acknowledge the complication created by their inconsistent policy formulation. To adopt a sustainable language policy, policymakers must revisit some of the policies objectively, sidelining the prescriptions of the donors, NGOs, or any other interest groups, and plan accordingly. Eventually, inclusive language policy and planning based on equity should be the objective.

Undoubtedly, the CLT curriculum is one of the most dominant language teaching approaches in the world today. However, integrating CLT into the curriculum requires pragmatic and judicious planning since in the context of Bangladesh, the implementation of CLT approach is competing with the traditional language teaching and learning culture. Therefore, policymakers should re-evaluate the relevance of the CLT approach in the curriculum in the context of Bangladesh. In addition, textbook and classroom resources should comply with the objectives of the CLT curriculum.

The existing morbidity of English language assessment in Bangladesh discussed above shows that the challenges are numerous. Because of the limited scope of this study, only a few which deserve immediate attention are presented here. First of all, the washback effect needs to be addressed seriously. Assessment practices are hard to change; however, if initiatives to change the current practices are not taken, they will remain unchanged which will ultimately preclude the adoption of time-appropriate learning styles by the students. Secondly, assessment methods must be compatible with the contemporary expectations of the real world. Hence, the policymakers must think of alternative forms of assessment, at least alternatives in assessment. Finally, emphasis on classroom-based assessment and its integration to the overall assessment scheme is essential as classroom plays a crucial role in successful language learning in an EFL context like Bangladesh. In fact, continuous formative assessment in the classroom helps students make their learning more sustainable.

Bangladesh needs to strengthen its teacher training capacity through local expertise and institutions, instead of relying heavily on donor-funded teacher development programmes. Of several teacher education-related problems discussed earlier in the article, accountability deserves special attention in the teacher education programmes in Bangladesh; otherwise, no initiative could fulfil their promises and use the fund effectively. Moreover, considering the lacklustre in these teacher education programmes, the current study calls for employing proper monitoring and guidance on prospective training programmes. Alternatively, the local training capacity building is a sustainable approach which possibly offers school-based training to the teachers through local training centres.

Further research in language education bears significance in the context of Bangladesh since the number of empirical studies found in the context is not adequate to generalise the problems. Moreover, as indicated earlier in each section of the discussion, inconclusive research findings and relatively unexplored areas in the context of the study warrant the necessity of further studies on the discussed issues. With an in-depth understanding of these issues, a valuable contribution could be made to policy adaptation and implementation in the context of ELT in Bangladesh.

ELT / What's new in ELT besides technology?
« on: August 04, 2021, 12:28:07 PM »
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Listening and speaking skills co-occur in real-life discourse and they are not mutually exclusive. Within this framework, this
study is conducted to prove that teaching listening and speaking skills in integration improves oral communicative competence of
the students. In order to collect data for the study, a pre-post test and various tasks were designed for 180 students from the
preparatory school of Hacettepe University, Turkey. The collected data was analyzed through t-test. At the end of the study, the
group practicing the skills in integration was found to be more successful than the group practicing the skills separately.

Please find out  the full article in the attachment.

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