Tel Aviv University
February 18, 2019
Yes we can do!
English for Purposes of International Communication
Diane Schmitt, Nottingham Trent University
Norbert Schmitt, University of Nottingham
- Vocabulary and lexical issues – aligning with the CEFR
- CEFRizing the curriculum – adapting to the CEFR
- Internationalization and English as a medium of instruction
- Technology and language learning in higher education
- Language policy
- Affective variables in language learning and teaching
- Testing, evaluation and assessment
- Teacher development
- New interdisciplinary courses and English proficiency
- Classroom initiatives, 21st-century language learning in higher education
Winning Abstracts & Presentations
Analysing an ESAP course through the
CEFR 2018 Extended Framework
Many of Israel’s tertiary institutions are increasingly concerned with equipping their students with the English language skills needed in today’s global professional world. The CEFRand its new Companion Volume with New Descriptors (Council of Europe 2018) provides useful guidance to help institutions develop curricula to achieve this goal.
This presentation will describe an advanced English for Economics course, whose aim is to facilitate the learners’ traversal from student to professional. Within the CEFR, this can be tracked through progression from B1 to C1. The course pedagogy follows a three-pronged approach, consisting of an (1) English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course design, with (2) 21st century skills implemented through PBL (project-based learning), informed and guided by the (3) CEFR. We analysed the course in light of the CEFR Companion Volume, with its particular emphasis on the mediation activity.
Our analysis revealed that the CEFR relates to mediation only in terms of individual production, despite the fact that in the 21st century language classroom mediation occurs among group members. In our classrooms, we found that group mediation activities are substantially different to the individually-oriented mediation activities described in the extended framework. In addition, we identified many mediation activities involving translanguaging, including: translanguaging during group discussions and the use of Google Translate as an active mediation tool. Such interactions are acknowledged but not fully described in the revised framework. We propose continued development of can-dos supporting group mediation and translanguaging competencies when preparing learners for 21st century professional environments.
Positive Affect for Effective Language Learning
Deborah Azaryad Shechter
The relationship between affect and learning has long been recognized. Research on neurobiology indicates a strong connection between emotion and cognition with clear implications for the role of affect in learning. Our affective states may positively or negatively influence the learning process. Therefore, teachers need to create optimal emotional conditions for effective and long-lasting learning. In her New York Times bestseller, psychology professor Angela Duckworth (2016) writes that the secret to achievement is not talent or I.Q., but a combination of passion and perseverance that she calls ‘grit’. Accordingly, loving what we do and working hard to achieve it account for our success more than any other attribute.
As humans, we tend to do the things that we enjoy and try to avoid what we do not like. To be able to sustain the right atmosphere conducive to learning is perhaps a language teacher’s greatest challenge. We can help our students develop passion and perseverance, when we have a good syllabus, a well-organized course site with relevant and engaging materials, and when we teach with empathy and enthusiasm. Our students’ emotional state contributes to their feelings of confidence to do the tasks at hand. Therefore, to motivate our students and promote achievement, we need to cultivate their self-efficacy. This talk will focus on ways to generate positive emotions in the classroom and how to foster positive learning experiences. I will emphasize the implications of the CEFRized curriculum, the importance of modeling when teaching new skills, the dos and don’ts of the first lesson, how to combine listening, writing and speaking, how to approach assessment, and Moodle course design, among others. Language teachers will be able to revamp and refresh their courses inspired by the principles and guidelines presented in this talk.
Azaryad Shechter, D. (2016) Blended learning course format on Moodle: a model for beginner level
foreign language courses in higher education. Journal of the NCOLCTL (National Council of Less
Commonly Taught Languages), Vol. 19, 183-209.
Azaryad Shechter, D. (2018) Overcoming the grammar barrier in foreign language learning: the role of
television series. Journal of Language and Education, 4(2), 92-104.
Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning.
Educational Psychologist, 28(2), 117–148.
Craig, S., Graesser, A., Sullins, J. & Gholson, B. (2010) Affect and learning: An exploratory look into the role of affect in learning with AutoTutor. Journal of Educational Media, 29:3, 241-250.
Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Penguin, Random House, Ebury publishing.
Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional intelligence. New York, Bantam Books.
Immordino-Yang, M. H., & Damasio, A. (2007). We feel, therefore we learn: The relevance of affective and social neuroscience to education. Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(1), 3–10.
Linnenbrink, E.A. & Pintrich, P. R. (2010). The role of self-efficacy beliefs in student engagement and learning in the classroom. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 19:2, 119-137.
Mendez Santos, M. (2016). Gramática afectiva en contextos de instrucción formal de español como lengua extranjera (ELE). Nuevas Perspectivas En La Enseñanza Del Español Como Lengua Extranjera. Hesperia. Anuario de Filología Hispánica, 19(2), 51–84.
Explore Engaging Tech Tools that Support Teaching and Learning
Karen Eini, Tal Levy
Ruppin Academic Center
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital technologies are becoming an essential component of the working practice of teachers and learners. The sheer number and variety of innovative tools available can be overwhelming and require that teachers develop a range of new competencies. In addition to learning the tools, teachers need to optimize existing educational design principles, apply new teaching methods and support learning processes inside or outside traditional classrooms.
During this one-hour workshop participants will engage in an interactive presentation designed to foster discussion regarding the challenge of sound technology integration in the curriculum. Following the discussion participants will create their own interactive presentations that increase student engagement (Zeetings) and set up video platforms to amplify students’ voice (Flipgrid). By the end of the workshop participants will have learned how to apply technology-enhanced teaching methods to support the learning process.
Technical Communication in English at an EMI university in China
Dr. Tzipora Rakedzon – Department of Humanities and Arts, Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel;
Studies have shown that employers in general, and specifically in the hi-tech industry, find college graduates written and oral communication skills are inadequate to meet the needs of the workplace in a global world. Several suggestions have been made to remedy this, including additional training in both oral and written skills. Additional oral practice has been shown to develop communication skills and relieve anxiety associated with communicating in English. Regarding writing skills, which have been found to be especially difficult, researchers have suggested these skills be taught to students early on in university education. Improving these skills increases graduate employability, and, therefore, both English as a medium of instruction (EMI) programs and communication courses have been increasing around the world. One Technical English Communication course at a new EMI university in China, established and run by the Technion, aims to improve both oral and written technical and professional communication among native Chinese speaking undergraduate engineering students. The course is an intensive experience of group work, oral presentations and written tasks, all of which are intended to help students progress in professional English communication. During and after the course, students’ feedback and reflections were collected as part of a larger research project. The feedback aimed to assess students’ perceptions of which specific strategies and skills they learned and improved as a result of the course. This presentation aims to share the course syllabus and students’ feedback as a case study for other researchers and educators to learn from and use.
The Influence of Teacher Intervention in Virtual Exchange
Robert O’Dowd, Universidad de León, Spain; Shannon Sauro, Malmö University, Sweden;
Elana Spector-Cohen, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Virtual exchange, or telecollaboration, is a well-known pedagogical approach in foreign language education which involves engaging classes in online intercultural collaboration projects with international partners as an integrated part of their educational programs (Dooly, 2017; O’Dowd, 2016). This presentation focuses on the role of the teacher as pedagogical mentor in virtual exchange and examines the impact of the strategies and techniques which teachers use in their classes to support students’ learning during their online intercultural projects. First, we propose a categorization of pedagogical mentoring reported in the literature to date. We then report on the outcomes of a virtual exchange project carried out by three classes of Initial English Teacher Education in Israel, Sweden and Spain which involved two different types of pedagogical mentoring. Qualitative content analysis enabled the identification of the impact of mentoring that took place before the exchange and also revealed insights into what students learned when their own online interactions were integrated into class work. The presentation concludes by outlining recommendations for carrying out pedagogical mentoring in such projects.
Dooly, M. (2017). Telecollaboration. A C. Chapelle & S. Sauro (Eds.) The handbook of technology in second language teaching and learning (pp. 169-183). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781118914069.ch12
O’Dowd, R. (2016). Learning form the past and looking to the future of online intercultural exchange. In R. O’Dowd & T. Lews (Eds.), Online intercultural exchange: Policy, pedagogy, practice (pp. 273-298). New York: Routledge.
Students’ attitudes and motivation in EAP courses
This study shows the importance of motivation and attitudes in EAP courses. Little is known about Israeli students’ motivations in these courses and their attitudes. Students’ motivations and attitudes may be affected by several factors, including the mode of studies (on-line versus traditional way of studying) and the level of studies. Therefore, this study focused on the following issues: (a) understanding college students’ motivations and attitudes to study EAP courses; (b) understanding whether there are any differences between on-line and regular classes’ students in their motivation to study EAP courses and their attitudes towards the courses; (c) understanding whether there is a difference between students’ motivations and attitudes at different stages of their learning; and (d) understanding whether attitudes and motivation correlate with students’ achievements in EAP courses. In order to answer these questions, 412 students were recruited and asked to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire included background information section, motivation section, attitudes section and open questions section. It was found that students have quite positive attitudes and motivations for English in general and for the EAP courses; attitudes and motivations differ according to their mode of studies and their level of studies; and finally, regression analysis has shown that learning achievements of regular students (but not of on-line students) could be partially predicted based on their level of English at the beginning of studies, attribution of success to internal factors and actual participation in EAP classes.
The Erasmus+ English for Internationalization Purposes Course
Dr. Ahmad Amer (Al Quasemi College), Elizabeth Dovrat (Tel Hai College), Joanna Kozuchowska (Warsaw University of Technology), Amit Marantz-Gal (Sapir College), Dr. Doron Narkiss (Key College), Merav Pagis (The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo), Dr. Costanza Peverati (Universita Cattolica)
The presentation will briefly illustrate an online course called English for Internationalization Purposes (EIP). Along with three other courses, it was developed within a larger Erasmus+ project called Internationalization by Innovative Technology (In2It), which aims to promote international contacts among students in Higher Education as well as cross-cultural learning experiences by using technological tools that allow them to build knowledge together online.
In particular, the EIP course is designed to enhance students’ practical language skills for today’s global academic and professional arena. Throughout the course, students practice the 4 language skills, by developing their oral and written proficiency while working on real-life tasks like elevator pitches and résumés, learning strategies to present contents clearly and meaningfully to an international audience, and studying techniques of effective reading and listening in the academic context. The course is delivered in an authentic international environment, where students work in mixed international groups in a collaborative fashion, practice using IT and increase their intercultural awareness. All the activities are supported by advanced online teaching and learning capabilities.
So far, over 100 students from 8 institutions across 3 countries have participated in this course. This experience has yielded several important conclusions regarding English language teaching in an online, international environment.
Experiencing English as the Medium of Instruction
Dr. Judy Henn, Technion
EMI, English as the medium of instruction, has gained popularity in the past decade around the world. The decision to instruct students of higher education in the English language is not taken lightly. Students who study at these institutions have their reasons for choosing to do so. This presentation examines the attitudes of students who study in an EMI university in China following the required English preparatory course.
Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology [GTIIT] is a branch of the Technion that opened in Shantou, China in 2017. To ensure standards of instruction and levels of achievement, English was designated the language of instruction at GTIIT.
270 Chinese students participated in the mandatory Summer English Preparatory Course in 2018 at GTIIT, using the course booklet “Scientific English II” prepared by Susan Zilber at the Israeli Technion in 2009.
The group I taught, “B3”, consisted of 17 men and 7 women, all aged 18, born in the year 2000, from all areas of China. In order to receive a grade of “Pass” in the course, students had to obtain a 70% average, based on midterm and final examinations, vocabulary quizzes, oral presentations and participation.
Now that they have completed the course, how do the students feel about the level, subject matter and demands of the course? Why did each choose to study at an EMI institution? Results of a survey given to the students are reported here.
The Times They Are A Changin’: NITE’s Future English Test
National Institute for Testing and Evaluation
NITE’s suite of English tests (PET, AMIR, AMIRAM, RAMA), used to place students into course levels in institutes of higher education (HEIs), currently assesses reading comprehension only. This reflects the decades-old approach to EAP teaching in Israel, which focused mainly on reading skills. Of late, however, partly as a result of internationalization processes, there has been growing awareness of the need to include in HEI courses – in addition to reading – instruction in listening, speaking and writing skills, to better serve the needs of the student population with regard to effective communication in English.
The past two decades have seen the widespread adoption of the CEFR guidelines for learning, teaching and assessing languages in many countries around the world. A version of these guidelines, adapted to the specific needs of Israeli students (the CEFR-Aligned Framework for English in Higher Education in Israel), was developed in 2017 as part of the ECOSTAR project. The use of the CEFR descriptors and scales, which can serve as a “common language,” helps facilitate mutual recognition and cooperation between HEIs, both within the country and internationally.
NITE has concluded that its English placement test should be revised in accordance with these two factors – the changing approach in Israel to teaching English in HEIs and the benefits of a CEFR-aligned framework. The talk will present a model for a multi-skill, CEFR-aligned test of English as a foreign language. Examples of possible item types will be shown.
Near-native lexical competence: can EFL vocabulary become native-like?
Elena Mizrahi, Gordon College of Education
Lexical research suggests that different aspects of lexical proficiency are rarely acquired to a native-like level (Forsberg Lundell & Lindqvist, 2014; Long, 2013). Vocabulary use and collocation knowledge lag behind general lexical knowledge (Alterberg & Granger, 2001; Laufer, 1998; Levitzky-Aviad & Laufer, 2010; Nesselhauf, 2005). Yet little is known about different degrees of achievement of highly advanced, near native users of English in different areas of lexical proficiency, and how they compare to performance of native speakers on the same measures.
The participants in the study were 75 advanced users of English, linguistic majors, who rated their English as near-native, and 52 native speakers, non-linguistic majors. Their productive vocabulary size was measured by a self-designed and validated productive version of the Vocabulary Size Test (Nation & Beglar, 2007), collocation knowledge – by a self-constructed corpus-driven frequency based collocation test, richness and variation in writing – by Lexical Frequency Profile (Laufer and Nation, 1995), and use of collocations – by Congram (Greaves, 2009).
The findings suggest that there are higher rates of nativelikeness in L2 writing (e.g., almost 87% for lexical richness) and collocation use (approximately 55%) than in L2 productive vocabulary size and productive collocation knowledge (only 21%). Only few near-native participants performed like native speakers on a combination of several objective measures. The results showed that there was an implicational scale of attainability of different lexical aspects.
The results will be discussed in the light of lexical development, the multi-competence hypothesis, and the factors affecting ultimate attainment in EFL lexis.
Conscious Teaching: Awareness and Empathy While Teaching EAP
Elisheva Gordon, Lev Academic Center and Hadassah Academic College
The term “Conscious Teaching” can be borrowed from parenting theories (Harville Hendrix, Alfred Adler, Rudolph Dreikurs), conflict resolution theories (Lori H. Gordon, Susan Heitler), as well as self-psychology (Heinz Kohut, Virginia Satir) and can be applied to the EAP classroom. Key aspects and practical models are reframed into a teaching context where teachers can learn a set of practical tools for their professional development of self. The presentation will show how conscious teaching helps teachers recognize the specific challenges students face in order to empower both teachers and students. In this way, teachers are trained to find creative, practical and lasting solutions. Drawing from experience in teaching and teacher training, the presentation will demonstrate how to effectively deal with certain challenges of today’s EAP classroom: the hostile environment caused by the compulsory nature of English classes; the gap students face between their failing English and their success in other subjects; the fact that learning English is a process requiring internalization as opposed to a materials based course; and obviously students’ low self -esteem in language learning. Teachers must learn to view the EAP experience from the perspective of their students. Conscious Teaching is a model whereby teachers hone in on their awareness of all their intrapersonal baggage as well as interpersonal relationships, as they polish empathy skills needed to effectively teach in today’s EAP classroom.
CEFR Standards, Academic Reading and LD or Special Needs Students
Gail Shuster-Bouskila, Open University
There is a wide spectrum of disabilities, from vision and hearing impaired through the various learning disabilities. Changes in the present Academic English Curriculum will require specific accommodations to be made both in the classroom and in testing.
This social model of disability shifts the focus from examining student deficits to considering the learning environment as a source of inadvertent barriers to diverse students. Its goal is to recognize and reduce barriers to learning in the environment, and to proactively design classroom instruction that benefits a variety of learners and addresses individual differences (Scott, Hildebrandt, and Edwards p. 189) A Cross-Departmental Approach to Supporting Students with a Disability Affecting Foreign Language Acquisition https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/pjes/3/1/article-p85.xml
It is now imperative to consider how the shift in the Israeli Academic Reading curriculum to align with CEFR standards will affect students with learning disabilities or other special needs. The CEFR standards will be reviewed with these students in mind. This presentation is qualitative evaluation based on working with students of special needs in the light of the different laws dealing with accessibility of information for them and CEFR standards that may not take this population into consideration.
Categories: adapting to the CEFR/CEFRizing the curriculum affective variables in language learning and teaching
Something’s Gotta Give: Moving Towards EPIC
Two recent initiatives in EAP in Israel aim to affect the scope and character of the courses given in higher education (colleges and universities). First, the CEFR-Aligned Framework for English in Higher Education in Israel, published in 2017, still prioritizes emphasis on reading comprehension. Second, the Malag initiative (e.g., the QA and national committee) calls not only for clearer standards of EAP in Israel, but also for a reconceptualization from EAP to EPIC (English for Purposes of International Communication) through the adoption of all four domains in EAP courses. This talk will focus on the inclusion of writing in all course curricula at Ruppin Academic Center, which began in 2016, and exemplifies the process of implementation and the challenges faced. Nearly 100% of Ruppin EAP staff answered a short questionnaire regarding the inclusion of writing in their courses. Understanding that at this time, we are limited by external factors (e.g., time, pay, institutional needs), we suggest that each department must consider various other factors (e.g., change in course weighting due to the added domain, its assessment, the type of PD, the readiness of staff for change). However, the external factors seem to play a key role in the successful implementation in an EPIC/CEFR-aligned curricula, and may need to be addressed on a more national level. Findings suggest that when implementing CEFR and EPIC changes in curriculum, each institution needs to develop a process taking these factors into account that reflects an optimal mix between top-down and bottom-up change.
Creating Empathy in the EFL Classroom
Rebecca Haddad and Glenda Sacks
Research shows that anxiety has a huge inhibiting effect on the acquisition of language in the second language classroom. Stephen Krashen (1992) mentions that “low anxiety is correlated with more success in language acquisition,” that is, anxiety is correlated with lack of success in language acquisition. Students in the EFL classroom often feel infantilized and anxious by their lack of English and inability to communicate. A way to alleviate this anxiety in the classroom is to create an atmosphere of acceptance, comfort, lack of judgment, community. The way to do this is to make the classroom “a safe place the way home is supposed to be” (Jane Thompkins:1996). This idea is echoed by Parker J. Palmer (1993) who claims that “real learning does not happen until the students are brought into relationship with the teacher, with each other, and with the subject.” The empathic behaviour of teachers is crucial as it sets the tone in the classroom and acts as a model for students for how they should behave and treat each other. This presentation outlines the various strategies that teachers can use to create empathy for successful language learning. Furthermore, it will outline sensitive ways to deal with assessment, evaluation, and testing as harsh criticism can be inhibiting. In addition, various activities will be discussed which build confidence in students and create a feeling of community.
Classroom Collaborations around the World to Enhance 21st Century Skills
Kibbutzim College of Education
Bar Ilan University
Yehuda Hamaccabi School, Tel Aviv
Microsoft in Education has been helping teachers to connect and collaborate with each other’s classes by going on virtual tours, conducting video calls while playing mystery Skype games, inviting interesting guest speakers and collaborating on global issues.
In my presentation I will show you how I enhance speaking skills, communication skills, critical thinking skills and spark creativity within my students by using different collaboration programs offered by Microsoft in education for free.
I will demonstrate other global, intercultural activities that I do in my classroom for years and will show how that enhances 21st century skills such as collaboration and communication but also elevates motivation and curiosity.
Some of the activities include exchanging mascots by regular mail, exchanging videos about our hobbies, towns, and holidays all while integrating high order thinking skills such as: comparing and contrasting and differentiating different perspectives.
The presentation will also include how to build global projects by yourself and integrate technological tools to facilitate and enhance communication between classes around the world.
CEFR Text Profilers – The good, the bad and the ugly
Shaya Kass, Open University
Vocabulary is essential in language learning. Coombe (2011) points out that without vocabulary, meaning making is impossible. When choosing texts for the various levels from Trom Besisi Aleph through Mitkadmim Bet, it would be helpful if there was a tool that would let us know, consistently, if the vocabulary in a text is appropriate for a particular level. Text profilers claim to be this tool. Loucky (2007) and Barth & Klein-Wohl (2011) both taught students to use vocabulary profilers for learning new words.
Many vocabulary profilers invite teachers to “profile” a text but there seems to be little research justifying this approach. Hancioğlu & Eldridge (2007) used Web Profiler (Cobb, n.d.) to rank 5 texts and suggest that the VocabProfiler be used alongside words per sentence (a feature in Microsoft Word) to assess both lexical and structural complexity.
In this session we will explore some of the advantages and some of the shortcomings of a few CEFR text profilers and how they might be used to choose texts for EPIC courses in Israel.
Barth, I., & Klein-Wohl, E. (2011). Teaching Students to Use Text-Profilers: A Needs-Based Approach to Tertiary Level English Vocabulary Instruction. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (IJCALLT), 1(3), 86–98. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijcallt.2011070106
Cobb, T. (n.d.). Web Vocabprofile. Retrieved December 31, 2018, from https://www.lextutor.ca/vp/eng/
Coombe, C. (2011). Assessing vocabulary in the language classroom.
Hancioğlu, N., & Eldridge, J. (2007). Texts and frequency lists: some implications for practising teachers. ELT Journal, 61(4), 330–340.
Loucky, J. P. (2007). Improving Online Reading and Vocabulary Development. ERIC. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED502662
Language policy – just a pipe dream?
Dr. Linda Weinberg, Braude College of Engineering
English language studies in higher education in Israel are in a state of flux. The ongoing gap between high school qualifications and the basic English requirements of academia continues to be wide, with the majority of students requiring several courses of remedial language studies to reach the exemption level. While the English Inspectorate of the Ministry of Education is promoting change in the language program in schools, the results will not begin to be felt in academia for at least a decade. Furthermore, the recent report on the level of English of future teachers of the language currently entering teacher training, presents a grim outlook. Nevertheless, the results of the CHE’s recent QA audit suggest that more, rather than less, English will be required in the coming decade, and action needs to be taken to enable students and teachers alike to cope.
Alignment with the CEFR, from school through higher education, is a welcome step towards standardization in language studies, however, the acceptance of the need for a high level of proficiency for graduates of Israeli academia is not a given across the board in all universities and colleges. At the same time, the CHE is promoting English Medium Instruction for home students as part of its program for internationalization. So, is there a way to ensure that management in higher education does not ignore or belittle the language needs of students as part of their academic education and their intra- and inter-cultural development? The way forward may be the creation of language policy which clarifies the role of language in higher education, and which promotes the concept of plurilingualism.
Cots, J.M., Llurda, E, & Garrett, P. (2014) Language policies and practices in the internationalisation of higher education on the European margins: an introduction. Taylor Francis https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01434632.2013.874430
Lauridsen, K.M. (CEL-ELC Working Group). (2013) Higher Education Language Policy http://www.celelc.org/activities/Working_groups/Concluded-Working-Groups/Resources_Working_Groups/HE_Language_Policy_-_Final_2013_w_summary.pdf
Spolsky, B. (2004). Language policy. Cambridge: CUP