Language, Task and Situation: Authenticity in the Classroom

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Journal of Language & amp- Education
Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015
Language, Task and Situation: Authenticity in the Classroom
Ken Beatty
Anaheim University (USA)
There is debate on the use of authenticity in language classrooms in terms of language, task, and situation. «Authenticity of language» spans a continuum that begins with inauthentic materials — wholly created by a teacher or materials developer — to constructed materials, modified from real-world materials, to those materials created for non-pedagogical L1 purposes. «Authenticity of task» questions whether students are engaging with language materials in a way that would appear natural outside the classroom. «Authenticity of situation» refers to non-classroom contexts. Complicating ideas of authenticity is the question of materials selection. This paper explores teachers' awareness of authenticity and suggests ways to incorporate authentic language, tasks, and situations to enhance classroom learning.
Keywords: Authenticity, curriculum development, English for academic purposes, teacher education
Authenticity is a relatively new concept in language teaching and learning first surfacing as a concern in the 1970s. It is also a slippery concept that has curiously defied definition despite repeated attempts. The act of trying to define authenticity means that the concept continues to evolve to the point where it now encompasses not just language (language content in particular) but also task and situation.
Struggling with the scope of what constitutes authenticity, Dunkel (1995) reflects on authentic discourse, authentic language and authentic materials and suggests, «Many in the field utilize these three terms in holistic, vague and imprecise ways and are unclear about precisely what is and what is not «authentic» (p. 98). She specifically cites the oft-repeated definition that authentic language is produced by and for native speakers of the language but suggests that the definition is too elusive to be of much help. Other attempts at defining authenticity run a continuum between general and specific and include Nunan (1988) who writes that authenticity is comprised of, «those [materials] which have been produced for purposes
Ken Beatty, Graduate School of Education, Anaheim University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ken Beatty, 496 Melmore Road, Bowen Island BC V0N1G1, Canada.
E-mail: kenbeatty@mac. com
The author wishes to acknowledge the kind support of Saba-na University faculty and graduate students for their participation in the survey as well as Nathan Beatty for statistical analysis and display of the survey data.
other than to teach language» (p. 99). The difficulty with this definition is that it is so broad to the point that it provides no direction to teachers and materials developers- if almost everything is authentic, how, then, do they make choices?
Rogers & amp- Medley (1988) seem aware of this pitfall and suggest that the criteria should include the quality, appropriateness and naturalness of the language rather than a simple consideration of the source and purpose of the sample of authentic language. Taking this perspective, it is easier to imagine the teacher excluding materials that might not be appropriate for a range of reasons including materials that do not feature age appropriate language or age appropriate content. For example, while the financial pages of an English language newspaper might be suitable for college students in an advanced-level English for Academic Purposes course, one would hardly expect the same materials to be used with primary school students struggling at a beginner level. Through this example, we get an idea of authenticity being not a generic term applied to language, tasks and situations, but rather a concept that needs to work in concert with the teacher’s or material developer’s understanding of the target language learners.
Widdowson (2012) seems to support this idea, suggesting that authentic language is a social construct and one open to interpretation. Widdowson’s contribution is typical of the debate around authenticity in that it aims to illuminate one aspect without any attempt to be definitive. Widdowson also notes that
authentic language has to do with a quality he labels genuineness. By genuineness, we can relate his perception of authenticity to those of Nunan (1988) and others, the idea that authentic language cannot be that developed specifically for the language student.
Cardew (2006, cited in Tatsuki, 2006), however, goes further, noting that authentic language materials, alone, do not guarantee that the lesson will be successful. It is not just the materials themselves which are important, but their implementation. This brief overview of definitions suggests that we are best to be skeptical about notions of authenticity and begin any discussion with a concern for the learners' needs and how we can best address those needs.
Historical perspectives
An alternative way to define a concept such as authenticity is to consider its opposite. As authenticity is a relatively new idea in the history of language teaching and learning, it is possible to consider historical examples of textbooks that focused on authenticity to varying degrees. Among the first language learning textbooks is Orbis Sensulium Pictus (The Visible World in Pictures), a much-adapted textbook aimed at the teaching of local languages by Czech teacher, writer and educator Jon Amos Comenius (1592−1670) (Bardeen, 1887). The initial book and others that followed in the same pattern were revolutionary for their inclusion of pictures to bridge comprehension between what students already knew and the pronunciation of words they were intended to learn. The book was widely reprinted and adapted to a variety of languages, often in a bilingual fashion, for example, teaching English and Latin terms side by side. But, although the approach was innovative the language was far from authentic. Instead, it tried to teach reading and writing through general principles. In Orbis Sensulium Pictus, students learned sounds, words and sample sentences to better understand the structure of the target language.
The success of Orbis Sensulium Pictus (and adaptations that followed for two centuries) was such that it had a profound influence on other textbooks which adopted the same principles. Many of these, while following Orbis' format, introduced nationalistic and/ or religious content. For example, The New England Primer, published in 1771, used memorable quotes to impart moral teachings alongside language acquisition (Foster, 2012). Typical of this book’s approach were phrases such as, «Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.» In some ways this perspective of devaluing the worth and intelligence of the child is the opposite of Comenius' approach, whose goal was to enfranchise the poor as well as women, giving them
opportunities for what he saw as the life-long learning enabling aspect of reading. But it is difficult to know what eighteenth century teachers and learners would have made of such a text and whether they would have taken such moral quotes seriously.
In terms of authenticity, it is unlikely that The New England Primer mirrored either writing or conversation of the time (Foster, 2012). It can further be assumed that the role of the student was not a concern to the materials developer- the idea of student-centeredness is a relatively recent concept (Nunan, 1988).
A hundred years later, another book modeled on Orbis Sensulium Pictus appeared: the influential The Monroe Reader, first published around 1871. Like Comenius' text, it also offered phonemic awareness but as a central focus rather than as supporting details. The opening page, Lesson 1, Sounds of m, n and short a featured the text m a n, m a n, man, an, am, man, man, an, am, a man. The accompanying picture featured a severe-looking gentleman posed next to a table. Although it might not feature the same kind of fear-inspiring quotes that The New England Primer included, it was similarly joyless and unlikely to have prompted active engagement in the acquisition of English. It has to be noted that learners often become proficient in language despite (poor) materials, not because of them.
Also influential were The McGuffey Readers, originally introduced in 1836 and used in American schools into the 20th century- some remain in use today among home-schoolers and certain religious schools. The book’s content ranges from basic alphabet, word, and sentence development found in previous books to connecting religious, moral, and ethical principles through excerpts from popular writing and speeches (McGuffey, 1879). In this sense, portions of the books featured authentic language, but the authentic texts were often too challenging for students to read or too unconnected with their personal experiences to be of much use in daily life. However, the series did introduce several ideas commonly found in textbooks today: teacher notes, the principle of recycling/reinforc-ing content in subsequent chapters, questions at the ends of chapters, and the principle of grading content so that each lesson and each level showed increased difficulty in terms of vocabulary and structures. A key aspect of The McGuffey Readers focused on a phonics method of sounding out each word.
The history of textbooks has vacillated between adapting and reacting against what has gone before, sometimes tempered by a better understanding of learners and learning processes. In terms of grading their content, The McGuffey Readers also illustrated the move away from the assumption that children were simply small adults and toward the realization that they needed learning materials tailored to their
own interests. It was a successful formula, and more than 130 million copies of the readers have been sold.
The birth of the student centered textbook
In comparison to her impact on first language and second language acquisition, Zerna Sharp (1889−1981) is a surprisingly little-known figure. She began her career working first as a teacher and then as a school principal in the American mid-west. As she traveled from school to school, she became aware that young students were exhibiting reduced reading levels. It was her contention that part of the problem was motivation- it was a novel idea at a time when schools were largely seen as competitive institutions with those of ability rising to further academic challenges and training while those who did not demonstrate the necessary aptitude dropped out of the educational system to find low-level employment.
Sharp thought students needed motivating materials beginning with a change in the characters that were depicted on the pages of the book- she decided that these characters should be as close in appearance and behavior to the target readers as possible. Sharp also felt that rather than present each vocabulary item only once before moving on, the presentation and practice of such items should be repeated frequently for continuous reinforcement. She hit upon a formula of students learning one word at a time, repeated every third page. She also abandoned The McGuffey Readers' phonics approach, instead embracing whole word learning.
Sharp also thought that the words being taught should already be familiar to the students- it was the beginning of the trend to feature age appropriate language and age appropriate content. But Sharp’s major inspiration came in a snippet of conversation overheard while walking near the beach. A child cried out, «Oh! Look! Oh, oh, look!» Sharp considered it a perfect fit with her ideas and incorporated the style of the utterance into a new series: Dick and Jane (Genovese, 2012- Kisemerick, & amp- Heiferman, 1996- Norton Museum of Art, 1997).
Dick and Jane first appeared in 1927, released by the American publisher Scott Foresman. Sharp did not write any of the books in the series but rather worked as a consultant for the publisher. It is difficult to over-estimate the impact of the series. By the 1950s, an estimated 80 percent of American first-graders who were learning to read were doing so with Dick and Jane books.
The book series quickly spread to other national markets as well. From the start, authenticity was a key concern of the series though, surprisingly, not always
in terms of language. A typical sample of text ran, «Oh, father. See funny Dick. Dick can play. Oh, mother. Oh, Father. Jane can play. Sally can play.» It is ironic that although the series started with an authentic utterance, by the time it ceased publication in 1970, it had become a much-parodied exemplar of artificial language.
The ways in which the series did try to maintain authenticity was through the depictions of situations in which children found themselves, primarily domestic routines and play. The family unit consisted of a nameless mother and father, the central character of an older son, Dick, and his two younger sisters, Jane and Sally. There were also pets, a dog named Spot and a cat named Puff (note: names varied across editions). Mother was a housewife, raising the children, and father worked at some vague office job, which was never made clear. Sharp maintained control over the look and feel of the series, and each year she would consult department store catalogs to pick out appropriate clothing for the children and adults in the series. Toys (e.g., roller skates), appliances (e.g., electric stoves) and other possessions (e.g., automobiles) were similarly updated.
In the context of the times, these various toys, appliances and possessions can be seen as being inauthentic in terms of the general readership- within two years after the books were introduced, the world found itself in the midst of what became known as The Great Depression after the economic collapse of American stock markets in 1929. In this light, the depictions of everyday life of a relatively wealthy and certainly carefree family would seem inauthentic. However, there was perhaps another concern in effect: the books were aspirational (Kisemerick and Heiferman, 1996) in the sense that they portrayed a better material life for most readers — an unspoken promise of sorts that «good times» would return in time.
Regional varieties of the books offered authenticity in terms of depictions of local contexts. There were also editions for religious groups- both Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist editions were developed as early as the 1940s. In these versions, the characters were renamed and the contexts expanded to include religious instruction at home, visits to churches, and attendance at vacation Bible schools. Within the confines of the repetitive language structures, moral and religious instruction was included.
The Dick and Jane series became an industry of multiple publications across various formats. For example, Gardner (n.d.) writes,
Besides the paper books with staples and cloth tape spines, there were also Dick and Jane hard cover books, workbooks, guide books, posters, puzzles, calendars, napkins, valentines, mugs and teacher man-
uals. There were picture books without words for pre-readers, and there were pre-primers (We Look and See, We Work and Play, We Come and Go), the Junior Primer (Guess Who), and the Primer (Fun with Dick and Jane). Dick and Jane also taught basic hygiene and health in Good Times with Our Friends (para. 5).
However, in terms of authenticity in reflecting American life, there was one major inadequacy- between its introduction in 1927 and 1965, the series failed to include a single black character or characters of any other race. To place this in context, in 1930, the American census showed that 11.9 million people were black, accounting for 9.7 percent of the population. By the 1960s, these figures had risen to 18.9 million blacks making up 10.5 percent of the population. Yet they remained invisible in the very books black students used to learn to read.
A year after America’s passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and all its attendant publicity, Scott Foresman introduced a new series, this one featuring a black family with Dick’s role taken over by Mike and Dick’s sisters' roles taken over by the twins Pam and Penny (Martin, 2006). Almost everything about this new series was identical to the original Dick and Jane. The parents had the same roles with the father working in an office and the mother at home. The children from the two series interacted and played together in a move toward depicting racial harmony. However, it was not enough to save the series, which ceased publication five years later.
A major change that led to the death of the series consisted of a swing of the pendulum back in favor of phonics. There was also an issue of authenticity: what many saw as a negative portrayal of gender roles.
The sexual stereotypes in the Dick and Jane series were, in some ways, authentic. At the time of their writing, many American women were more likely to stay at home to care for children and assume most of the burden of domestic duties, in particular cleaning the house, doing laundry, and cooking meals. In the books, the father and Dick were seldom if ever portrayed as taking part in these duties. In one book, when father is found in the kitchen, he is seen making breakfast for himself (pancakes) rather than cooking a meal for the family. Conversely, the daughters of the family were often seen helping the mother with cleaning and the preparation of food.
The gender roles were sharply marked among the children, exacerbated by the difference in age between Dick and his younger sisters- Dick is always seen as the instigator of activities and the one most proficient at them. He is admired for climbing a tree by his parents and sisters- when not observing, the sisters often engage in comical attempts to do something not quite as difficult. Although the series made major attempts at
authenticity that led it to be aspirational, it did not go far enough in extending those aspirations to recognizing the changing roles of girls and women.
The swing of the pendulum back to phonics instruction occurred through a number of attacks by those critical of the functional nature of Dick and Jane and its whole word approach. Critics also felt that the series narrowed learners' interest in reading beyond the textbook. For example, Shermer (2003) writes,
In 1955, Rudolf Flesch struck out against look-say readers in his bestseller, Why Johnny Can’t Read. Flesch argued that the whole word method did not properly teach children how to read or to appreciate literature, because of its limited vocabulary and overly simplistic stories (para. 7).
Flesch was in favor of a return to the model of The McGuffey’s Readers- one suspects it was the book series he used when learning to read. In 1967, alternatives to Dick and Jane began to appear in the form of The Open Highways series and others that included not just a return to phonics instruction but also common simplified children’s stories, jokes and poems as part of their reading content. The Open Highways featured projects as well, such as creating a sock puppet or paper helicopter, as a way of teaching instructions.
Literature, Authenticity and the Communicative Approach
A greater move toward authenticity was fostered in the 1980s through the development of the Communicative Approach (Nunan, 1991). A key feature of the Communicative Approach is a focus on real language use in real situations with a particular emphasis on interaction. With its focus on authenticity, the Communicative Approach swung the pendulum against the directions set by The McGuffey’s Readers and The Open Highways series.
The focus on real language did not completely do away with the teaching of literature or its use in instruction, but it dismissed phonics as an approach to learning to read in favor of ensuring students' ability to interact with others to communicate and negotiate a wide range of tasks. Where The McGuffey’s Readers and The Open Highways series focused on recitation, new Communicative Approach texts focused more on using language as a tool of communication. Speaking and listening are foregrounded in the Communicative Approach, and fluency began to be thought of as more important than grammatical precision. Thorn-bury (2010) summarizes a communicative activity as featuring some or all of the following characteristics:
• purposefulness: speakers are motivated by a communicative goal (such as getting information, making a request, giving instructions) and not simply
by the need to display the correct use of language for its own sake-
• reciprocity: to achieve this purpose, speakers need to interact, and there is as much need to listen as to speak-
• negotiation: following from the above, they may need to check and repair the communication in order to be understood by each other-
• synchronicity: the exchange — especially if it is spoken — usually takes place in real time-
• unpredictability: neither the process, nor the outcome, nor the language used in the exchange, is entirely predictable-
• heterogeneity: participants can use any communicative means at their disposal- in other words, they are not restricted to the use of a pre-specified grammar item (para. 2).
Many would claim that the Communicative Approach has become the dominant approach to teaching and learning a second language but criticisms abound. For example, the above conditions for the Communicative Approach are considered more of a menu than a prescriptive practice. For this reason, teachers and materials developers tend to revert to a mixed methods approach, taking from the Communicative Approach those portions that they feel comfortable teaching and integrating older approaches, such as phonics, when it suits them.
In terms of language learning, this has resulted in hybrid textbooks that, like teachers, employ a variety of methods in reaction to market demand and perceptions of student needs. Consider the following dialog and consider whether it would qualify as an example of authentic English:
Star: How many robots do you have?
Emma: One.
Star: What color is it?
Emma: It’s red.
Star: How many dinosaurs do you have?
Emma: Seven.
Star: What color are they?
Emma: They’re green and yellow.
Star: How many dinosaurs does he have?
Emma: None (Beatty, 2012, p. 38).
Most native English speakers would say that although the individual sentences are authentic, the dialog is not. The individual utterances have several aspects that mark them as more authentic than texts from preceding ages, for example, the use of single-word answers where earlier books might have encouraged the use of full sentences. The use of contractions is also a mark of recognizing the realities of spoken English versus more formal written English.
But there are other details that clearly mark the dialog as inauthentic. For example, Star (a charac-ter/mascot from space in the form of a young, pur-
ple-haired astronaut) asks what even children would consider obvious questions. In the illustrations for this dialog, the two characters are in the same room and the toys are clearly visible or, in the case of the last question, not visible. Therefore, questions about the number and the colors would seem redundant.
However, just as obviously, the dialog has a non-authentic purpose: pedagogy. Most teachers would recognize that it addresses a number of vocabulary and grammar functions: capitalization, punctuation, contractions (it's, they’re), question words (how, what), numbers (including none in lieu of zero), colors and the names of toys. These are expanded upon in the rest of the unit, particularly choices of colors and toys for substitution tasks. The numbers recycle and reinforce those taught in an earlier unit.
How do we reconcile pedagogy and the need for authenticity? Is the above text a reasonable compromise?
Authenticity of Language in English for Academic Purposes
Before considering authenticity at the level of an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) text, review the following three excerpts (Beatty, 2013- Beatty, 2015). Which of the three can be considered an example of authentic language?
1. A descriptive written text:
When he was 20 years old, Daniel Northcott began ten years of traveling the world with his video camera. Eventually, he would undertake trips across 42 countries on four continents, visiting different cities, war-zones and sacred sites. He ended up with more than one thousand hours of film. At each special place he visited, he would also collect a small souvenir, often in the form of a circular or ball-shaped object. On one of his last trips, he visited a sacred cave in Mexico. The floor was covered with the ancient bones of people who had been sacrificed there. Daniel took one bone, despite the warning of his guide who said that Daniel would be cursed.
2. A transcription of an interview:
Smith: Of course! My mistake. Since 2007. It’s sort of a meeting of geniuses and inventors, isn’t it?
Fox: (laughs) Well, I’m not sure how many people would call themselves geniuses, but actually, we have these beliefs about geniuses and inventors working alone but truthfully many innovations come out of the work of groups. Even the great scientist Isaac Newton said, «If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.» His own-
Smith: Did you say giants? What do you mean by giants?
Figure 1. Age relative to experience.
Fox: Newton meant his ideas and inventions were based on the work of the great scientists who came before him.
3. A transcription of a speech:
Right back to the first breaking news event that is associated with Twitter’s incursion into daily journalism, which was the Hudson River plane crash. And that involved a ferry operator — or passenger, rather, on a ferry — the operator was taking the ferry to the rescue scene on the Hudson River. And he took a snap on his mobile phone of the plane crashed into the river, which you could recognize if you saw it, and that became viral almost instantly as a result of him posting it on Twitter, via his mobile phone, and it was shared around the world.
If you faced more than a moment of indecision on selecting the third passage as the only authentic one, you are not alone. In an informal survey (through a show of hands) of 40 Canadian teachers attending a conference in Vancouver, Canada, and a more formal survey with 56 graduate students and faculty at Saba-na University in Bogota, Colombia there was a common lack of agreement on which of the passages were authentic.
Beyond the informal Canadian survey, the Saba-na University survey collected personal/ professional data to explore any correlation between the respondents and their answers. The Sabana students and faculty had between two and twenty-five years of teaching experience. Their focus was divided between primary/elementary school (39 percent), secondary school (42 percent), and university (19 percent) with a 70/30 split between females and males. Of the 56 respondents, only three were able to correctly identify the relative authenticity/inauthenticity of all three passages. Many inverted the choices, considering the third passage as being inauthentic and the other two as authentic.
Figure 1 indicates a common correlation between the age and experience of the teachers. The three teachers, all female, who selected all the correct an-
Figure 2. Age distribution of correct answers.
swers, were in the middle range of age and experience. With such a small sample of correct answers, there appears to be no statistical significance to correlating factors of gender, age or experience- the likelihood of chance being the determining factor is as strong as other factors.
Although many teachers identify authenticity in language learning materials as an important consideration, their inability to correctly identify them is worth investigation. Does it point to a need for training in terms of recognizing what constitutes authentic materials? To answer this question, it is necessary to examine the excerpts.
Passages 1 and 2 were both written by the author with the intention of mimicking authentic text and, not surprisingly, include aspects that might lead one to consider them authentic. For example, the first passage has the high degree of coherence and cohesiveness one would expect in a formal written document, in this case what one might commonly read in a magazine. As Excerpt 1 is drawn from authentic materials, it can be considered to be an example of constructed text.
Similarly, Excerpt 2 indicates aspects of the spontaneous language one would expect in an interview. Specifically, the passage includes a non-sentence (Since 2007.), contractions, an interruption, an indication of laughter, and a place-holding word (i.e., well) that serves to transition from the laughter to the speaker’s comment. Along with place-holding words such as um and uh, most of the features in this and the third passage are seldom encountered in language textbooks. Nunan (1999) explains that,
There are few of the over-laps, hesitations, and false starts found in authentic texts and there is very little negotiation of meaning. These differences do not always adequately prepare learners for dealing with genuine communication either inside or outside the classroom, because some of the features of authentic
communication that rarely appear in non-authentic texts (such as repetition, requests for clarification, and so on) actually facilitate comprehension. Also, the use of authentic sources leads to greater interest and variety in the material that learners deal with in the classroom (p. 212).
Nunan’s comments highlight some of the features, as well as the problems, inherent in the third passage, an excerpt from a speech. Although it is authentic, it would seem to be an abysmal model for language learners. Consider Table 1.
However, learning opportunities can be drawn from both positive and negative models. In the case of this third passage, its shortcomings as a model can be used to illustrate common features of speech that students can both learn to recognize in oral discourse as well as use as strategies in their own conversations and oral presentations.
Table 1
Errors in a Speech Passage
Text of a speech passage Error comments
Right back to the first breaking news event that is associated with Twitter’s incursion into daily journalism, which was the Hudson River plane crash. This is an example of an incomplete sentence.
And that involved a ferry operator-or passenger, rather, on a ferry-the operator was taking the ferry to the rescue scene on the Hudson River. This is an example of the speaker making a mistake and correcting herself.
And he took a snap on his mobile phone of the plane crashed into the river, This is an example of an unclear antecedent- the he should refer to the passenger, not the last person mentioned, the operator
which you could recognize if you saw it, This is an example of the speaker interrupting herself.
and that became viral almost instantly as a result of him posting it on Twitter, via his mobile phone, and it was shared around the world. This is an example of a tautology- the term viral in this context is repeated in the phrase shared around the world.
Three of these oral strategies are repair, qualification, and elaboration techniques. The term repair (Fromkin, 1971) refers to correcting an utterance, usually mid-sentence. There are variations, such as an interlocutor interrupting to correct the speaker (e.g., «You mean,_____, don’t you?») but re-
pair is most commonly done by speakers who realize that their own word or phrase has been misspoken. In Excerpt 3, the phrase, «or passenger, rather» is an example of repair and the use of rather signals that it is a revision to what has been said. In making a repair, Levelt (1983) suggests there are three steps: a pause in the flow of speech- an interrupting word or phrase (e.g., I mean, that is, I should have said, What I meant was, sorry) called the editing phase- and then the repair in which the proper word or phrase is inserted into the conversation. Students who recognize repairs and are able to undertake them in their own speech come closer to native speaker proficiency.
Oualification refers to an elliptical interruption in the speaker’s flow of discourse that sets conditions about what is being explained or discussed. As with repair, there is a pause and an interruption phase, often signaled with expressions such as except for, although not, unless and excluding. Qualifications are often found in tentative speech where the speaker does not want to over-commit to an idea.
Elaboration is the opposite of qualification- it adds information to make some portion of the speaker’s message clearer. Elaborations are marked by words and phrases such as: for example, as seen in, for instance, and which can be explained as. Elaboration often occurs in a conversation when one’s interlocutor exhibits non-verbal cues of incomprehension, such as a frown.
But it is not enough to introduce examples of repair, clarification, and elaboration- tasks need to be created that are able to operationalize them in ways that engage the student and make learning memorable.
Authenticity of Task
Authenticity in tasks is a challenge in language education because the classroom context makes most tasks inherently false.
Typical of a pedagogical context are the following three pre-reading tasks (related to the third excerpt), all aimed at awareness-raising- none are requests for information or questions one would normally encounter in a real world context.
1. In the following excerpt from Listening 1, note how the speaker, Julie Posetti, uses questions in addition to repair, qualification and elaboration techniques to add content and effect to her presentation.
2. Rewrite the excerpt of Posetti’s speech from task B, leaving out the questions and the repetitive aspects of repair, qualification and elaboration.
3. With your partner, compare your rewrites in task C to the original speech. Discuss how the use of questions, repair, qualification and elaboration clarifies information and adds effect to Posetti’s speech (Beatty, 2013, p. 68).
Similarly, after the students have read the complete passage, there are post-reading comprehension tasks:
1. Why is breaking news likely to come from social media rather than local reporters?
2. What is a viral story? Give an example?
3. The diagram suggests that the news cycle is shortened in some cases and lengthened in others. Why and how would this occur?
4. If you’re really interested in a story, you can usually look up archived content online for more details. How does this differ from access to story backgrounds in traditional media? (Beatty, 2013, p. 65)
Although these are closer to questions one might have in a real world conversation, they still feature the diction one associates with classroom teacher discourse (i.e., teacher talk).
Within the chapter in which Excerpt 3 is featured, there are three pedagogical tasks that, once awareness has been raised, allow students to engage in an authentic activity. The first authentic task is to summarize a portion of the speech- although this is an academic skill, it is common in the real world, for example, in response to the question, «What was she talking about?» The second task is to have students take notes, a common authentic task in Academic English as well as in other contexts as mundane as scribbling a recipe during a television cooking program. The third task involves having the students create a podcast based on authentic reactions to an authentic news story:
Warm-up Assignment: Prepare a Short Podcast on a News Event
Podcasts often feature interviews or speeches. In this assignment you will prepare and deliver a short speech and, after, answer questions on it. All speeches try to share information in a logical way that answers basic who, what, when, where, why and how questions and also engages the listener to reflect on the content presented (Beatty, 2013, p. 77).
The authenticity of this task lies not just in its focus on a real world context but also on the opportunity to make choices, allowing students to individualize the task, essentially choosing their own topics within the general format. There is a specific reason for structuring tasks in this way, particularly in the academic English classroom. When every student is given an identical task it encourages competition, the hoarding of resources and, in extreme cases, cheating and plagiarism for students who feel they cannot compete or cannot be bothered to compete. However, when stu-
dents are given the option of individualizing their assignments, it creates opportunities for collaboration- students naturally share their work without concern for their peers gaining an unfair advantage. A related benefit is that students comparing their work tend to use the target language to engage in negotiation of meaning and peer-learning. It also means that personal misunderstandings of the assignment are likely to be settled through clarifications by other students.
Authenticity of Situation
Authenticity of situation is among the most challenging aspects of authenticity for classroom teachers to provide to their students. Using the example of a visit to a natural ecosystem during which science students would conduct an experiment to explore a hypothesis and then report on their findings, students would learn by doing,
… and they acquire the foundational skills, knowledge, and understanding that working scientists actually need and use in their profession. In this case, students would also learn related skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, formal scientific observation, note taking, research methods, writing, presentation techniques, and public speaking (Authentic Learning, para. 3).
This can be contrasted to a classroom experience where the approach is more theoretical and less likely to demonstrate the student’s abilities to transfer learning to a real world context, such as in a job.
The same is true of in-class experiences in academic English studies. Although there are many classroom activities that are authentic in terms of preparing students for the demands of being a student, they are not necessarily authentic in terms of life after college or university. The usual solution is to offer fieldtrips to visit places where authentic English can be used or to assign homework assignments that accomplish the same thing. However such assignments are sometimes only practical in locations where English is the target language.
Selections and Choices
In striving for authenticity in language teaching and learning, teachers tend to choose materials on a continuum of inauthentic, constructed and authentic. Inauthentic materials are those created by the teacher for a pedagogical purpose with little connection to the real world. For example, multiple-choice tests are common in classrooms but relatively rare in the real world. Constructed materials are those adapted from real world examples, such as
a simplified restaurant menu that replaces confusingly trademarked names (e.g., a hamburger instead of a Big Whopper) that unnecessarily add complexity. Authentic language, tasks, and situations come as close to the real world as possible.
Regardless of the degree of authenticity in language, tasks, and situations, there is an inherent inauthenticity in the selection process. For example, even if a teacher brings in a newspaper to class, choices will be made about what newspaper at what level. What should teachers do to engage students in more authentic materials, tasks and situations? The following are four suggestions:
1. Construct materials from authentic sources to familiarize students with language: vocabulary, structure and usage. This should be an intermediate step in moving students to engage with real world language, tasks and situations.
2. Develop student strategies to deal with the un-
expected in authentic language, tasks and situations. One of the reasons teachers avoid authentic materials, tasks and situations is that they present language items which are either superfluous to students' needs or which are too complex for their level of comprehension. Solutions include teaching students strategies for understanding new vocabulary from context and clarification, particularly in spoken contexts (e.g., Could you explain what you mean by_______?).
3. Create pedagogical scenarios for role-plays in which students play parts connected with their own realities. Traditional role-plays often focus on situations that are inauthentic for a student, for example, having primary school students pretending to be dentists and receptionists when their only likely role is to be patients. Instead, consider linking students to their own realities by exploring with them the language events they encounter throughout a typical day. Even if they do not use English in such situations outside the classroom, they are more likely to mentally rehearse what they have learned.
4. Create authentic materials students are likely to come across, and realistic L1 course content in terms of language, tasks and situations. But avoid reinventing the wheel, doing work that has already been done for you either by fellow teachers or in published materials.
Finally, while authenticity should be a goal, it should not overwhelm other considerations. Sho-moossi & amp- Ketabi (2007) write,
«Both educators and materials designers need to stop thinking about authenticity as a dictated imperative having an 'either-/or' quality but rather think of it as being multifaceted and applicable to different phases of language classroom processes»
(p. 154).
Authenticity is important, but it should not overwhelm a teacher’s attempts to offer creative student-centered pedagogy.
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Beatty, K. (2015). Learning English for Academic Purposes Intermediate: Reading and Writing. Montreal: Pearson Canada.
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Levelt, W.J.M (1983). Monitoring and self-repair in speech. Cognition, 14, 41−104.
McGuffey, W. (1879). McGuffey’s first eclectic reader, revised edition. Van Antwerp, NY: Bragg and Company.
Martin, M. (2006). African American Dick and Jane. University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture. Retrieved from www. recess. ufl. edu/ transcripts/2006/0223. shtml.
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Nunan, D. (1991, January 4). Communicative Tasks and the Language Curriculum. TESOL Quarterly 25 (2), 279−295.
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Rogers, C. & amp- Medley, F. Jr. (1988). Language with a purpose: using authentic materials in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 21, 467−478.
Shermer, E.T. (2003). Reading with and without Dick and Jane: The politics of literacy in 20th century America. Rare Book School. Retrieved from: http: // www. rarebookschool. org/2005/exhibitions/dicka-ndjane. shtml.
Shomoossi, N. & amp- Ketabi, S. (2007). A critical look at the concept of authenticity. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 4 (1), 149−155. Retrieved from e-flt. nus. edu. sg/v4n12007/shomoossi. pdf.
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Appendix A
Running With Scissors: Authenticity in the Classroom
Note: Completing this form signals your willingness to participate in this study. No personal information will be reported in the study or used for any other purpose.
Name: ________________________.? male? female.
Age: ____
Sabana University Residential Group (check one)? 1? 2? 3
Years of teaching experience: _
Grades or levels you have taught:
Please read the following excerpts and decide whether each is authentic or inauthentic.
Excerpt 1(check one):
? authentic? inauthentic
When he was 20 years old, Daniel Northcott began ten years of traveling the world with his video camera. Eventually, he would undertake trips across 42 countries on four continents, visiting different cities, war-zones and sacred sites. He ended up with more than 1,000 hours of film. At each special place he visited, he would also collect a small souvenir, often in the form of a circular or ball-shaped object. On one of his last trips, he visited a sacred cave in Mexico. The floor was covered with the ancient bones of people who had been sacrificed there. Daniel took one bone, despite
the warning of his guide who said that he would be cursed.
Excerpt 2 (check one):
? authentic? inauthentic
Smith: Of course! My mistake. Since 2007. It’s sort of a meeting of geniuses and inventors, isn’t it?
Fox: (laughs) Well, I’m not sure how many people would call themselves geniuses, but actually, we have these beliefs about geniuses and inventors working alone but truthfully many innovations come out of the work of groups. Even the great scientist Isaac Newton said, «If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.» His own-
Smith: Did you say giants? What did he mean by giants?
Fox: He meant his ideas and inventions were based on the work of the great scientists who came before him.
Excerpt 3 (check one):
? authentic? inauthentic
Right back to the first breaking news event that is associated with Twitter’s incursion into daily journalism, which was the Hudson River plane crash. And that involved a ferry operator-or passenger, rather, on a ferry-the operator was taking the ferry to the rescue scene on the Hudson River. And he took a snap on his mobile phone of the plane crashed into the river, which you could recognize if you saw it, and that became viral almost instantly as a result of him posting it on Twitter, via his mobile phone, and it was shared around the world.
Journal of Language & amp- Education
Self-Regulation Skills: Several Ways of Helping Students Develop Self-Regulated Learning
Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015
Tatiana A. Baranovskaya
Higher School of Economics Research University
Empirical research supports the long held assumption that self-control, self-esteem, and motivational orientations of adult language learners are important factors in their language learning behavior. However, precisely these variables influence the language learning process has yet to be investigated. The goal of this paper is to examine the role of how self-control, self-esteem and motivational orientations influence the English language learning process. Recent methodological advances and various theoretical frameworks that have guided the present research are considered in this paper. A special «bidirectional course» turning on teacher-learner interaction was designed — a communicative course which promoted learner autonomy. The results indicate that active involvement in learning, monitoring motivation, self-control and self-esteem are positively related to learning outcomes, demonstrating that the acquisition of self-regulation skills have a positive impact on the learning of English.
Keywords: motivation self-regulated learning, self-control, self-esteem
Self-regulation skills have long been the subject of research among educators, psychologists and sociologists. It is well-known that effective learning involves planning, goal-setting, progress monitoring and adapting if necessary. All these skills can be learnt, and by teaching them to students their learning can significantly improve. The aforementioned skills are closely related to the affective and self-regulatory variables of self-control, self-esteem and motivation. Without sufficient motivation, self-control and self-esteem, even those of exceptional ability cannot accomplish longterm goals, with an appropriate curriculum and effective teaching, alone, incapable of ensuring student achievement. To date, relatively little research has been directed toward the question of whether these skills can be developed over time. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to investigate self-control, self-esteem and motivational orientations of adult learners at different language proficiency levels to understand
Tatiana A. Baranovskaya, English Language Department for Economic and Mathematical Disciplines, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tatiana A. Baranovskaya, English Language Department for Economic and Mathematical Disciplines, National Research University Higher School of Economics, 26 Shabolovka St., Moscow, Russia, 119 049.
E-mail: tbaranoskaya@hse. ru
how language learning behavior is influenced by these self-regulation skills. Motivation, self-regulation and self-esteem are key variables that may help increase and sustain second language learning.
Not all English language courses achieve the development in students of self-control, self-esteem and motivation. Within the ESOL field, further investigation into how to develop special training courses is still required. To address this oversight, a special bidirectional communicative course was designed -a student-oriented course which promoted learners' self-regulatory behavior. After reviewing the literature relevant to this research, a description of how the present study was carried out is provided followed by an interpretation of the results.
Theoretical Background
English as a Foreign Language studies have firmly established that theoretical approaches which focus on student self-control and motivation are of vital importance. They essentially include two major features in the processes of teaching and learning English. The first is that some teachers feel it vital to assert their dominant power in the classroom. In other words, they feel they need to be absolutely certain with regard to what to do in the classroom and how to deal
with student behavior in every context. In contrast, other teachers have identified three important issues in education: 'The first is motivation, the second one is motivation and the third is motivation' (Swales, 2000). Certainly all teachers would agree that motivation is a significant factor in effective linguistic performance, which is considered the target of teaching a foreign language.
Motivation is considered to refer to self-confidence, enthusiasm, and the desire to understand and develop skills. It also stimulates behavior. The question arises as to whether motivation can be learnt and taught- that is, whether it is, at least in part, the responsibility of educators.
Empirical research in psychology indicates that there are two general types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is a consequence of «external rewards and pressures» (Brown et al, 1998, p. 16). In other words, students learn due to external rewards like grades or prizes from parents or the desire to study abroad. In contrast, intrinsic motivation is dependent on personal goals and interests. In this case, students want to learn due to their natural interests and satisfaction. Intrinsic motivation can be enhanced by interesting materials offered by the teacher. In general, extrinsic motivation is «the-need-to-learn» while intrinsic motivation is «the-want-to-learn» (Mezei, 2008). Motivation is closely related to self-control. It is generally believed that control is closely related to issues of discipline and punishment. As far as self-control is concerned, many teachers are accustomed to feeling it important to be dominant in the classroom in order to cope with «situations» that arise. Controlling is a classroom management technique that enables teachers to effectively manage their classes — especially large ones. Much attention has recently been paid to the fact that many teachers, tired of classroom dominance, have decided to switch roles with their students. Specifically, they are creating learning conditions whereby the students, themselves, assume a dominant role in learning English, with the teacher empowering them in the capacity of «language facilitator». In realizing that revolutionary «role-reversal», it is vitally important to help students develop self-control, which in turn may lead to self-regulated learning.
Self-regulated learning refers to the processes by which students attempt to monitor and control their own learning. There are many different models of self-regulated learning that propose different constructs and processes. However, these models do, in fact, share some basic assumptions about learning and regulation (Mezei, 2008).
According to Gabriella Mezei (2008), the most important models are the following three. «The first model considers learners as active constructive par-
ticipants in the learning process. The second supposes that learners can potentially monitor, control, and regulate certain aspects of their own cognition, motivation, and behavior. The third general assumption that is made in these models of self-regulated learning is the goal. All models of regulation assume that there is some type against which comparisons are made in order to assess whether the process should continue as is or if some type of change is necessary. That is a general example for learning which assumes that individuals can set standards or goals to strive for in their learning, monitor their progress toward these goals, and then adapt and regulate their cognition, motivation, and behavior in order to reach their goals» (Mezei, 2008).
This paper follows the third model as it is clear that self-regulated learning is initiated by motivation. In this paper, self-regulated learning is treated as an active, constructive process whereby learners set goals for their learning and then attempt to monitor, regulate, and control them, guided and constrained by their own goals. The course presented in this paper was specifically designed to help learners self-regulate their learning, with the result that, different aspects of motivation were observed to have developed.
Learners can use different strategies to help them remember, understand, reason, and solve problems. Much work is devoted to the learning of these strategies, which students can use in academic contexts to comprehend text, to learn from lectures, to take notes, to solve math problems, and to write papers. In addition, considerable research has centered on strategies that learners can use to plan, monitor, and control their own learning process, indicating that the stronger the motivation is, the better the learning results are. Different motivational orientations refer to different types of motivation. Critically, an orientation on «the process» and on «the result» correspond to intrinsic motivation, whereas orientation on «teachers' assessment» and on «avoiding failure» are related to extrinsic motivation. In general, good self-regulating learners use a number of different strategies to control their cognition in ways that help them reach their goals.
Motivation includes the various strategies that individuals can use to try to control and regulate their own motivation and emotions. This can include strategies for boosting their self-confidence such as positive self-talk («I know I can do this task») as well as strategies for trying to control their interest (e.g., making the task more interesting by making use of interesting materials, texts, cases).
Self-control is a «learning determinant» since it is closely related to motivation and involves learners' abilities to acquire the second language.
Especially important are actual attempts to control motivational beliefs and emotions. This could involve
increasing or decreasing effort on a task, as well as persisting on a task or giving up. Not only does motivation boost self-control, but self-control influences motivation as well. Help-seeking behavior is another important self-regulatory behavior. Good self-regulators usually adjust their effort levels to the task and their goals.
Such factors as self-esteem, self-control and motivation that can influence the development of self-regulation provide a solid foundation for self-regulated learning. Self-regulated learning is also time-consuming and quite difficult for some students. It is important that students are motivated to be self-regulating. Research of Paul R. Pintrich (1999) on the role of motivation in self-regulated learning has suggested three important generalizations about the relationships among motivation, self-control, self-esteem and self-regulated learning. First, students must feel self-efficacious or confident that they can do the tasks. If they feel they can accomplish the academic tasks, then they are much more likely to use various self-regulation strategies. Second, students must be interested in and value the educational tasks. Finally, students who are focused on goals of learning, understanding, and self-improvement are much more likely to be self-regulating than students who are pursuing other goals such as trying to look smarter than others or trying not to look stupid.
The research shows that motivation and self-control are closely related to self-esteem. Only when you can control your cognition can you assess it. Students must assess not only their performance but also their abilities to fulfill different tasks. Self-control helps in planning the action, foreseeing it and assessing it. All told, self-regulated learning is an important aspect of learning and achievement in academic contexts. Students who are self-regulating are much more likely to be successful in school- they want to learn more and achieve higher levels of performance.
Self-control, self-esteem and self-regulated learning cannot develop on the basis of «trial and error». There are models and strategies which help students to become self-regulated learners. Most models of self-regulating strategies include three general types of strategies: planning, controlling and assessing, and regulating (see, for example, Corno, 1986- Zimmerman & amp- Martinez-Pons, 1986, 1988.) Although these three types of strategies are highly related conceptually (Pintrich et al, 1999) and (e.g., Pintrich, 1989- Pintrich et al., 1993) and seem to be highly correlated empirically, they can be discussed separately as follows.
Planning activities include setting goals for studying, for example, skimming a text before reading, generating questions before reading a text, and doing a task analysis of the problem. These activities seem to help the learner plan and control their use of cog-
nitive strategies and also seem to activate aspects of prior knowledge, making the organization and comprehension of the material much easier.
Controlling and assessing of one’s thinking and academic behavior is an essential aspect of self-regulated learning. In order to be self-regulating, there must be some goal or standard against which comparisons are made in order to guide controlling and assessing. Weinstein and Mayer (1986) understand cognitive activities as partly the monitoring of comprehension, where students check their understanding against some self-set goal. Self-controlling and self-assessing include the tracking of attention while reading a text or listening to a lecture, self-testing through the use of questions about the text material to check for understanding, monitoring comprehension of a lecture and using test-taking strategies in examination situations.
Regulation strategies are closely tied to self-controlling and self-assessing strategies. As students monitor their learning and performance against some goal or criterion, this monitoring process suggests the need for regulation processes to bring behavior back in line with the goal. Self-control in its final part is always partly self-esteem. Self-esteem in its turn develops on the basis of self-control and at the same time it motivates the latter. It is clear that self-control and self-esteem can exist only together, influencing each other. If we consider reading, it is necessary for learners to ask themselves questions as they read in order to monitor their comprehension, and then go back and reread a portion of the text because this rereading is a regulatory strategy. Another type of self-regulatory strategy for reading occurs when a student slows the pace of their reading when confronted with more difficult or less familiar text. Of course, reviewing any aspect of course material that a student does not remember or understand that well while studying for an examination reflects a general self-regulatory strategy. During a test, skipping questions and returning to them later is another strategy that students can use to regulate their reading. All these strategies are assumed by this research to improve learning by helping students correct their studying behavior and repair deficits in their understanding.
Self-regulated learning is a process that assists students in managing their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions in order to successfully navigate their learning experiences. This process occurs when a student’s purposeful actions and processes are directed towards the acquisition of information or skills. Generally, models of self-regulated learning are separated into phases. There is one model which discusses three distinct phases: forethought and planning, performance monitoring, and reflections on performance (Pintrich & amp- Zusho, 2002- Zimmerman, 2000). We based our research on this model.
During the forethought and planning phase, students analyze the learning task and set specific goals toward completing that task. When students learn unfamiliar topics, however, they may not know the best ways to approach the task or what goals might be the most appropriate. Students are instructed on effective approaches in difficult cases.
Next, in the performance monitoring phase, students employ strategies to make progress on the learning task and monitor the effectiveness of those strategies as well as their motivation for continuing progress toward the goals of the task.
In the final reflection on performance phase, students evaluate their performance on the learning task with respect to the effectiveness of the strategies that they chose. During this stage, students also manage their emotions about the outcomes of the learning experience. These self-reflections then influence students' future planning and goals, initiating the cycle to begin again (Pintrich & amp- Zusho, 2002- Zimmerman, 2000).
Key studies that have been selected for this research are relevant to the topic of this paper- they problem-atize the main issues, help to build an argument and likely enable people to understand the topic of this paper. The study follows the approach of self-regulated learning which is methodologically relevant to this paper.
The present experiment was specifically designed to answer this study’s research question: whether self-control, motivation and self-esteem influence the course of learning English.
60 first-year students attending the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russian Federation participated in this experiment. Their level of language proficiency ranged from A2 to B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference. The procedure, which employed a classic pre-/post- test sequence, involved three stages. The first stage consisted of a «pretest» aimed at establishing participants' self-regulatory skill baseline. The second stage of the experiment consisted of a «special» English training course aimed at promoting the development of self-regulatory skills in students. The third stage consisted of a «post-test» of self-regulatory skills necessary for skill level comparison before and after the training course.
In the first stage of the experiment, a questionnaire was administered to ascertain the students' baseline self-control, self-esteem and motivation levels. A small subset of this research focuses on self-control.
According to (Zimneya, 1989), there are four levels of self-control in the learning of a foreign lan-
Table 1 Self-control
Students Levels of self-control
Number — 30 15 15
guage. At the first level, the student who makes a mistake doesn’t hear it. At the second level, the student doesn’t correct his mistake himself but does so if the teacher shows him his mistake. At the third level, the student either makes no mistakes or corrects his mistakes himself. Lastly, at the fourth level, the student makes no mistakes.
In the pre-test phase of the experiment, students were asked to produce three oral and three written texts. The information we obtained is extremely useful for analyzing not only levels of self-control but also the learning characteristics of students as they potentially influence such individual characteristics as motivation and self-esteem (see Table 1).
The second pre-test subset focuses on motivation. The students completed a test in which they were asked about their interests and motivational orientations. They were given four response options to the following question: Which aspect of the foreign language learning process is most important to you? (a) the process of learning, (b) the result of learning, © the teacher’s assessment, (d) avoiding failure.
The results of the experiment showed that the predominant orientation was on the result and avoidance of failure (refer to Table 2).
The third subset focused on self-esteem. At this stage of the experiment the students were administered the questionnaire. The results obtained, listed in Table 3, were used to determine students' self-esteem (Osnitskiy, 1986).
According to the information given in Table 3, we observed that 32% of the students relied on their own self-esteem while 25% thought that the marks they get correspond to their actual results. Most students (46%) reported that their skills are adequately assessed, and, most important to students (32%) is the way in which they assess their work themselves.
Having carried out these sets of experiments, a syllabus for the 1st year students was designed. We did not focus solely on the development of the four traditional language skills, but instead concentrated on the implementation of competence-based teaching — the second stage of the experiment.
This specially-designed course was simply titled «English» and was described as an intermediate-level English for Special Academic Purposes (ESAP) course. The course, which spanned two terms, consisted of 96 reading hours.
Table 2
Number of Students by Motivational Orientation
Number of students Motivational orientations
16 Process
12 Result
14 Assessment of the teacher
18 The avoidance of failure
In planning the course we had to deal with several problems. One of the biggest was that not all pupils in Russian schools pass the Unified State Exam in English, and, consequently, aren’t equal in terms of general knowledge. For this reason, they were subdivided into two groups according English proficiency level. To assess students' proficiency levels, the Oxford placement test was employed. In addition, students with different levels of self-control and self-esteem were in the same group. We therefore had to consider motivational aspects as well.
The course syllabus had been set in advance, independently of taking it and before students enrolled the course. The aim of the course was to enable students to develop competence in «English for Special Academic Purposes» and to raise their awareness of the possible role of English in their current and future learning and life. More specifically, the course was designed to enable an understanding of the role of English in modern life, to develop competence in using English in academic and professional environments, and to develop students' ability to monitor the
effectiveness of their use of English (2). Our course had units devoted to General English and English for Economics (ESAP). By studying General English, students are meant to develop the four traditional language skills. The ESAP units provided students with Economics vocabulary, helping students to understand the language of specialty.
To achieve good academic results, a communicative integrated course was developed. It was based on cognitive aspects which favored comprehension and production of academic texts in the field of Economics. The students practiced speaking skills throughout the course. They were taught to give opinions and draw conclusions from selected texts. The students were taught to write essays related to Economics, to plan their ideas and structure them, to read Economics journal articles in such a way as to identify the most newsworthy information (Swales, 2000). Students' auditory skills were developed by having them listen to different recordings. The students were asked to take notes in order to infer the meaning of unknown words from their context and to identify key words and main ideas stated in the text. Finally, reading was practiced through working on various types of texts in order to recognize connectors to distinguish relevant information and to identify general concepts. (Prification Sanches Hernandez, 2002).
Units devoted to Economics themes provided students with a wide range of vocabulary relevant to their future professional interests (Esilbert Maceda, 1991).
As far as Academic English is concerned, students were required to produce several assignments using Academic English. The most evident skills students to acquire were scanning, skimming, finding infor-
Table 3
Results Used to Determine Students' Self-esteem
Questions Group I Group II Group III Group IV
Comparing the marks you get with your self-esteem, what do you do?
— Agree 6 5 6 8
— Don't agree insisting on your own opinion 4 6 7 7
— Don't pay attention to these marks 5 4 2 —
When are you satisfied?
— Being overestimated 5 4 3 2
— Being underestimated — Being estimated adequately 10 11 12 13
Who do you think can estimate you better?
— The teacher 9 8 6 3
— You yourself 6 7 8 9
— Your friends 1 3
What is more important for you?
— The way you assess yourself 8 7 9 8
— The way other people assess you 7 8 6 7
mation, finding evidence to support claims in essays, interviewing, analyzing questionnaires, doing surveys and evaluating evidence. The aforementioned skills were new to the students, and it is clear from our results that more emphasis should be placed on them.
Results and Discussion
For the «pre-test», the students were subdivided into four subgroups according to their level of self-control. The fourth group consisted of 15 students with «developed self-control», 8 students with a motivational orientation on «result», and 6 with a motivational orientation on «avoiding failure». 10 students appeared to have self-esteem oriented on «teachers' assessment», with the marks they get corresponding to their real results. Five students relied on their self-esteem, and one demonstrated a motivational orientation on the process.
The 3rd group consisted of 15 students with the 3rd level of self-control and 10 students with motivational orientation on teacher’s assessment. Furthermore, 5 had motivational orientation on avoiding failure, 9 students think that their teacher can estimate them better, and 6 think that their own estimation is the most important.
The 2nd group consisted of 15 students with the 2nd level of self-control and 8 students oriented on the process. Moreover, 4 were oriented on the teachers' assessment, 3 on avoiding the failure, 5 with no regard for the teachers' assessment, and 10 who always agree with the teachers' assessment.
The 1st group consisted of 15 students with the 2nd level of self-control. 7 students were orientated on the process, 4 on avoiding the failure, and 4 on the result.
There were no students with the 1st level of self-control.
According to the results we obtained, it became clear that the relationship between self-control and self-esteem and motivational orientations is significant (r = 0. 78, p- r = 0. 65, p).
High levels of self-control correspond to the motivational orientations on «Result», or to the development of adequate self-esteem. In contrast, low-levels of self-control correspond to the motivational orientation on teacher’s assessment- that is, to inadequate levels of self-esteem (r = 0. 76, p- r = 0. 79, p).
At the conclusion of the ESAP course the «posttest», consisting of the same battery of tests as in the «pre-test», was administered. The obtained results are shown in Table 4.
The results of this phase of the experiment show that, although the number of students in the 2nd group decreased by 10 students, the number increased in the 3rd group by 5 students and in the 4th group by 5 students.
As shown in Table 5, the results of the experiment show that the predominant orientation on «Result» increased by 16 students, the orientation on «the process» decreased by four students, the orientation on «teacher's assessment» decreased by four students, and the orientation on «avoidance of failure» decreased by eight students.
The results obtained in Table 6 show that the number of students who like being overestimated decreased by 7, and the number of students who rely on the teacher’s assessment decreased by 8. The number of students who rely on the way they assess themselves increased by 7.
Considering the results of the «pre-test» and «posttest», we are tempted to postulate that, in accordance with our initial assumption, those students with a high-level of self-control showed better communicative competence.
The ESAP course was based on a functional and interactive perspective on the nature of the English language. It sought to teach language in relation to the social contexts in which it is used. In this case, students were required to learn academic English, which was believed to be of use to students' professional development. Students were required to produce several assignments using Academic English at the end of the course consisting of oral presentations and written tasks. There are two reasons why competence-based language education was used. The first is that competence-based language education is an excellent method for validating the achievement of basic skills. The second is that competency-based
Table 4 Self-control
Students Levels of self-control
— 20 20 20
Table 5
Number of Students by Motivational Orientation Number of students Motivational orientations 12 Process
28 Result
10 Teacher’s assessment
10 The avoidance of failure
Table 6 Self-esteem
Questions Group I Group II Group III Group IV
Comparing the marks you get with your self-esteem, what do you do?
— Agree 4 3 4 4
— Don't agree insisting on your own opinion 9 10 11 1
— Don't pay attention to these marks 1 2 — -
When are you satisfied? — Being overestimated 3 3 1
— Being underestimated — - - -
— Being estimated adequately 12 12 14 15
Who do you think can estimate your better? — The teacher 7 5 4 2
— You yourself 8 10 11 13
— Your friends — - - -
What is more important for you? — The way you assess yourself 8 9 10 12
— The way other people assess you 7 6 5 3
language education, well-executed, practically ensures a correlation among self-control, self-esteem, and motivational orientations (r = 58, p & lt- 0. 1).
All in all, the experiment showed that during the ESAP course students manifested strong relationships among self-control, self-esteem and motivational-orientations. However, those students with low marks on the results of the test did not pass the course with the same results as the students with good marks. Their results were lower. Clearly, students with better communicative competence obtained, on average, the best results on the final test. Nevertheless, a correlation between students with low marks as well as good marks and their motivational orientations, self-control and self-esteem has also been found (r = 67, p & lt- 0. 1).
Research shows that self-regulated students are more engaged in their learning, are more self-motivated and can positively influence their academic behavior and educational goals.
Theoretical assumptions that self-control, self-esteem and motivation affect students' learning behavior have been supported by empirical research. The goal of this paper was to determine whether the variables of self-control, motivation and self-esteem are in any way related to the development of students' communicative competence. The reviewed studies also provide implications for future work. Students' ability to actively engage with the learning material, for example, setting appropriate goals, accurately monitoring their
understanding and work, are critical competencies that should be a central aim within the education sector as a whole (OESD, PISA leaning for Tomorrow’s World). Despite the importance of these processes, teachers rarely pay attention to them, with the result that they are not integrated into the high school foreign language classroom. However, the above-mentioned studies and the one herein presented provide ample evidence that self-control, motivation and self-esteem tend to elevate student communicative competence.
In sum, the results of our study indicate that self-regulation skills were developed during the specially designed English training course and positively influenced students' language acquisition in the investigated context. The study identified how self-control, self-esteem and motivation affected language awareness and the extent to which students 'self-regulation skills changed. Going forward, it would be interesting to explore how good self-regulators adjust their effort levels in light of language task difficulty and personal learning goals. And when pushed to the limit, we are also curious to know what patterns of task persistence and abandonment might be observed as a function of learner self-regulation.
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Appendix A
Mathematical Statistics
The coefficient of correlation according to Spirent /SRANK- SYSTEM/360 SSP-III- IBM With the help of these programs the correlation between 2 vectors taking into account n-cases was checked/ the cases for each variable ranged from 1 to n /. It was necessary to calculate the differences of ranges.
[(D = I (A)]- - Bi)
Meaningfulness rS = t = rS
n — 2
1 — rS
The calculations were carried out according to «Mathematical Statistics», Moscow, Dlin, Higher School, 1975, pp. 128−150.
Adequacy of all results was calculated according to CHISO/System/ 360, Scientific Subroutine Package, Ver. III IBM (126).
x2 was calculated according to «Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences, P. Lazarfeld and N. Henry, 1973, Moscow, Progress (349).
The degrees of freedom are:
d • f = (n — l)(m -1)
Ai — is the 1st vector of ranges, Bi — is the 2nd vector of ranges, n — the number of ranges.
Then the correlation multiplier is calculated:
r. =I
t2 -1 12
The following sums were calculated:
T = I Aj, i =1, n
T = I Aij, i =1, m
For variable A
t2 -1 12
For variable B
Then the correlation coefficient is:
rs = 1 -, Ta or Tb = 0
n — n
x + y~D, Ta or Tb = 0 2 V xy
x =
n — n 12
— Ta
y =
n3 — n 12
— Tb
x2 is calculated for 2 cases:
1 A A12 A21
GT ()
1. x2 =-------------A1A2------2-------------for table
(A11 + Л2Х A21 + A22)(A11 + A11)(A12 + A22)
2. *2 = II
i=1 j=1
T, T:
E-. =
(A — E)
for the tables larger 2 in size
The number got with the help of this equation corresponds to the validity coefficient of the data discussed in the research is equal to or more 95% /P & lt- 0. 05/.

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