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Capping Projects (Teaching English as a Second Language)

Students in the Master's of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program in the Department of Educational Psychology complete capstone projects in their final year. These projects integrate the skills and concepts that students have learned during their tenure in the program and may be based on surveys or interviews, materials development or analysis, or the conduct of experiments. They are designed to address issues of relevance to teachers of ESL/EFL or the wider ESL community.
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  1. The Use Of Portable E-readers In An ESL Extensive Reading [Download]

    Title: The Use Of Portable E-readers In An ESL Extensive Reading
    Creator: Fraser, Monica
    Description: Portable electronic devices are generally untapped reading tools that have the potential to produce beneficial results in English as a Second Language (ESL) extensive reading programs. However, few guidelines are available to assist instructors in using these tools, as there is a lack of research conducted with learners in an ESL context. The purposes of this project were to determine the impact of using portable e-readers for extensive reading on ESL learners’ reading attitudes, behaviours and skills, and to ascertain the learners’ and instructor’s satisfaction with the use of the Sony e-readers and the extensive reading program. All students (n = 21) in one ESL reading and writing Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 class at NorQuest College participated in this study. Data were gathered over eight weeks through a pre-study questionnaire in paper-form, student reading logs, instructor observation, and a post-study questionnaire via SurveyMonkey®. Data obtained from the pre- and post-questionnaires and the weekly reading logs were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics; data gathered from the observation field notes were coded using thematic analysis. The results show that the participants were overall highly satisfied with the extensive e-reading program and the use of e-readers. The extensive e-reading program was considered clearly defined and enjoyable, but limited in the selection of e-books. The e-readers were viewed as being portable and environmentally friendly when compared with reading paper-based books. Participants felt the use of e-readers enhanced their enjoyment and increased their frequency and volume of reading. However, participants thought they made the lowest gains in comprehension, felt restricted by not using Wi-Fi, and experienced difficulties reading in dark places. An instructor’s general guide for using e-readers in extensive e-reading programs based upon the results is included.
    Subjects: reading programs, English-language instruction, e-readers, English as a second language, adult instruction
  2. Analysis of tasks and activities in ESL pronunciation books. [Download]

    Title: Analysis of tasks and activities in ESL pronunciation books.
    Creator: Ricketts, Deborah
    Description: In this study, 16 English as a second language (ESL) pronunciation textbooks were examined. Accompanying audio CDs were excluded from the research. Twelve texts were beginner through advanced-level student books and four were teachers’ manuals. All of the textbooks were published after 2004. The student texts were analyzed to determine the extent to which activities were communicative, contextualized, and spiraled. Instructional foci were examined for percentages of activities related to perception, production, segmental, and suprasegmental features. Findings suggested that percentages varied greatly between textbooks and across individual series. The teachers’ manuals were reviewed for teaching tips, instructions, and pedagogical content. Results indicated that a broad array of information was imparted. Some manuals provided helpful teaching tips, explicit instructions, and pedagogical rationale for activities while others offered limited advice and reminders for instructors to monitor their learners’ pronunciation. Given that many ESL educators lack formal training in pronunciation, tables summarizing the findings in this study and an annotated bibliography were created to assist ESL instructors when choosing pronunciation-specific textbooks.
    Subjects: English-language instruction, textbooks, pronunciation, English as a second language
    Date Created: 4/21/2014
  3. How Well Do Popular Adult ESL Materials Provide Pragmatic Knowledge Learning Opportunities? [Download]

    Title: How Well Do Popular Adult ESL Materials Provide Pragmatic Knowledge Learning Opportunities?
    Creator: Elliot, Rose
    Description: In this study, an evaluation of English as a second language (ESL) textbooks was conducted. Thirty textbooks used in several Edmonton programs intended for students at the intermediate ESL proficiency level were examined to determine their pragmatic content. Findings suggest that ESL instructors cannot rely on textbooks to provide adequate pragmatic content. If ESL teachers want to facilitate the pragmatic competence of their students, they need to develop and/or find supplementary materials. An annotated bibliography and a reference list of resources were created to assist ESL instructors in accessing additional resources for each identified pragmatic knowledge content category.
    Subjects: pragmatic knowledge content, textbooks, English-language instruction, English as a second language, adult instruction
  4. How Does Video Captioning Improve Listening Comprehension? [Download]

    Title: How Does Video Captioning Improve Listening Comprehension?
    Creator: Scheffer, Jacob B.
    Description: The question, ‘How does video captioning improve listening comprehension (LC)?’ is discussed from the perspective of the value captioned video brings to the adult English as a second language (ESL) learner and from how they can be effectively used in the ESL classroom. Listening comprehension is a multifaceted construct made up of and influenced by numerous factors. Captions and subtitles can vary in quality and only through judicious use will they maximize language proficiency for the language learner (LL). The idea that captioned video improves listening comprehension is presented through numerous studies that indicate the benefits and pitfalls of caption use. The major elements that influence listening comprehension when using captioned video include learning strategies and proficiency level, caption type, and video type. Each factor is discussed and the means to manage them is described.
    Subjects: Language acquisition, English as a Second Language, Video captioning, Second language learners, Learning Strategies, Language proficiency, Subtitles, Listening comprehension
    Date Created: 2014/04/22
  5. Accents and Identity: Adult ESL Students’ Attitudes [Download]

    Title: Accents and Identity: Adult ESL Students’ Attitudes
    Creator: Dawson, Bonnie
    Description: This study explores the relationship between accent, identity, and sense of belonging for adult ESL immigrants to Canada. Forty-two adult immigrant ESL students at a post-secondary institution in western Canada participated in a survey about their attitudes towards their accents, the value they attribute to their first language and first culture, and how their accents affect their identities and sense of belonging in Canada. Eighty-one percent indicated that they would like to sound like a native speaker if possible, but in response to another question, 25% said they would not be happy to be mistaken as native speakers (NSs). The majority (67%) said they would feel more Canadian if they sounded like a NS. They reported valuing both their first culture and Canadian culture, demonstrating a pattern of ‘integration’ in Berry’s (2005) acculturation styles. Participants’ sense of belonging was modest. This may be attributed to their relatively short average time in Canada: 2.5 years. Overall, attitudes were found to be more complex than some research has suggested. Implications are discussed in terms of L2 users’ intelligibility, and instructional materials in the ESL classroom.
    Subjects: belonging, immigrants, L2 user, English as a second language, identity, accents
  6. The Use Of Discover Canada: The Rights And Responsibilities Of Citizenship Study Guide In LINC Classrooms [Download]

    Title: The Use Of Discover Canada: The Rights And Responsibilities Of Citizenship Study Guide In LINC Classrooms
    Creator: Sallis, Leah
    Description: This study assesses the use of the Discover Canada: Rights and responsibilities of citizenship study guide for Canadian citizenship (CIC, 2011). The research reported here explored whether, to what extent, and for what purposes English as a second language (ESL) instructors in Alberta use the Discover Canada Study Guide as a resource for teaching citizenship concepts (history, rights, responsibilities, law, etc.) in federally-funded Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classrooms. The results of an online survey, as well as an assessment of the readability of the guide itself, are discussed. Recommendations are made for future use of the Guide in ESL instruction, and modifications are recommended to make the Study Guide a more effective resource for ESL learners.
    Subjects: Canadian citizenship materials, Canadian citizenship, English-language instruction, language instruction for newcomers to Canada
  7. Linking grammar to CLB-based materials: theory to practice [Download]

    Title: Linking grammar to CLB-based materials: theory to practice
    Creator: Chwyl, Brenda Lynn
    Description: Second language acquisition research has well established that learners require input, interaction and focus on form during communicative language lessons (Ellis, 2012; Spada & Lightbown, 2008). The question now is no longer if form-focused instruction should be included but where and how the inclusion is most effective in integrating grammar instruction within task-based lessons (Spada & Lightbown, 2008). In order to explore this issue, a set of task-based materials (Canadian Snapshots, Raising Issues) based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks were systematically analyzed in three categories: pedagogical language rules, type of production and use of contextual supports. The results showed accurate grammatical explanations and meta-language were consistently provided. However, explanations do not always indicate when or when not to use a grammatical item; there was a lack of more open-ended grammar practice activities, and grammar was more often contextualized within the topics of the tasks than adequately integrated with language learning tasks. Based on these results, it appears that a discrepancy exists between current grammar teaching theories and the types of grammar focus and practice exercises in this particular ESL textbook. Implications for classroom instruction are discussed.
    Subjects: English as a Second Language, Grammar pedagogy, English Grammar, Second language acquistion
    Date Created: 2014/08/20
  8. Inductive Consciousness-Raising Tasks: Learning the Meaning and Use of the Present Perfect [Download]

    Title: Inductive Consciousness-Raising Tasks: Learning the Meaning and Use of the Present Perfect
    Creator: Gondziola, Amie R.
    Description: How to teach grammar within the communicative language classroom has been an issue of concern for many educators ever since it has become apparent that simply providing comprehensible input does not ensure high levels of grammatical accuracy (Harley, Allen, Cummins, & Swain, 1990; Lightbown & Spada, 1994). Second language acquisition (SLA) research provides evidence of the benefits of different types of form-focused instruction (FFI) combined with communicative activities (e.g., Norris & Ortega, 2000; Spada, 1997, 2011). One of the newer techniques for teaching grammar is the consciousness-raising (CR) task (Fotos & Ellis, 1991). Despite their potential, CR tasks are not generally found to be among grammar textbook activities. This quasi-experimental study compared learning gains of those who were exposed to an inductive CR task (n = 10) and those who received a traditional teacher-fronted (TF) lesson (n = 9) in an adult English as a second language (ESL) context. Participants’ ages ranged from 23-69; two of them were men, the other seventeen were women. They came from a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds but all had a Canadian Language Benchmark score of 6. Participants were taught the resultative meaning and use of the present perfect tense-aspect form in both treatments. Pre- to post-test gains showed that both groups increased in their grammatical accuracy of the present perfect. The primary implication of this study is that CR tasks should be added to ESL grammar textbooks and to ESL instructors’ repertoires of teaching strategies in order to provide students with a wider range of effective ways to learn grammar.
    Subjects: consciousness-raising tasks, English as a second language, grammar instruction
  9. Teaching and Learning Articles in ESL [Download]

    Title: Teaching and Learning Articles in ESL
    Creator: Chandler, Anne
    Description: English article use is one of the most difficult aspects of English grammar for both teachers and learners of English as a second language (ESL). A teacher in Yamada and Matsuura’s (1982) study claimed that his students used articles “almost randomly” (p. 50) while some researchers (e.g., Dulay, Burt & Krashen, 1982; Swan, 2005) are convinced that the attempt to teach articles to ESL learners is a futile one. However, Master (1990, 2002) maintains that English article use has a system that is both teachable and learnable. He and other researchers (e.g., Butler, 2002; White, 2009, 2010) have proposed various pedagogical approaches for the teaching and learning of the English article system in ESL. In this paper I link research on English articles and English article acquisition to ESL pedagogy. I outline the form, meaning, and use characteristics of English articles, the difficulties associated with their acquisition, and guidelines suggested by the experts for teaching the article system to ESL students.
    Subjects: English article acquisition, English language learning, Language Acquisition, Article use, English as a second language
    Date Created: 2014/04/21
  10. Film as a source of authentic material in teaching ESL writing. [Download]

    Title: Film as a source of authentic material in teaching ESL writing.
    Creator: Krasnikova, Irina
    Description: The objective of this paper is to examine how language acquisition can be most effectively maximized through film as the visual medium. This project explores ways of using modern Hollywood movies in the ESL classroom as a means of developing the writing skills of ESL learners. To my knowledge, no previous studies have focused on the relevance of the linguistic material and content of authentic video resources to a certain writing proficiency level outlined by Canadian Language Benchmarks competency indicators. Particularly, the benefits of using films are analyzed within the framework of CLB 6-8 writing requirements including both language proficiency and competence profiles. CLB 6 to CLB 8 proficiency has been chosen for this project because language requirements at these levels assume an expanded range of vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical conventions. The movies have been selected based on linguistic and non-linguistic criteria relevant for the specific environment of the ESL classroom. Some recommendations regarding movie selection are suggested to instructors. Based on these criteria, a number of classroom writing activities have been created (3 to 5 for each film). Finally, the study encompasses films that were released in the last decade and have not yet been in the spotlight of pedagogical attention. The language, cultural context, and pragmatics in these films can be motivating for learners due to their current and meaningful content. This study may contribute to a better understanding of benefits of authentic language use in the ESL classroom.
    Subjects: English-language instruction, writing instruction, language acquisition, English as a second language, film
    Date Created: 4/21/2014