Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 64156

60
74117
The Effect of Visual Fluency and Cognitive Fluency on Access Rates of Web Pages
Abstract:
Access rates is a key indicator of reflecting the popularity of web pages. Having high access rates are very important for web pages, especially for news web pages, online shopping sites and searching engines. In this paper, we analyzed the influences of visual fluency and cognitive fluency on access rates of Chinese web pages. Firstly, we conducted an experiment of scoring the web pages. Twenty-five subjects were invited to view top 50 web pages of China, and they were asked to give a score in a 5-point Likert-scale from four aspects, including complexity, comfortability, familiarity and usability. Secondly, the obtained results was analyzed by correlation analysis and factor analysis in R. By factor analysis; we analyzed the contributions of visual fluency and cognitive fluency to the access rates. The results showed that both visual fluency and cognitive fluency affect the access rate of web pages. Compared to cognitive fluency, visual fluency play a more important role in user’s accessing of web pages.
59
25478
Developmental Trends on Initial Letter Fluency in Typically Developing Children
Abstract:
Initial letter fluency tasks are one of the simple behavioral measures to evaluate the complex nature of word retrieval ability. This task requires the participant to retrieve as many words as possible beginning with a particular letter in a fixed time frame. Though the task of verbal fluency is popular among adult clinical conditions, its role in children has been less emphasized. There exists a lack of in-depth understanding of processes underlying verbal fluency performance in typically developing children. The present study, therefore, aims to delineate the developmental trend on initial letter fluency task observed in typically developing Malayalam speaking children. The participants were aged between 5 to 10 years and categorized into three groups: Group I (class I and II, mean (SD) age years: 6.44(.78)), Group II (class III and IV, mean (SD) age years: 8.59 (.83)) and group III (class V and VI, mean (SD) age years: 10.28 (.80). On two tasks of initial letter fluency, the verbal fluency outcome measures were analyzed. The study findings revealed a distinct pattern of initial letter fluency development which may enhance its usefulness in clinical and research settings.
58
20868
The Relation between Cognitive Fluency and Utterance Fluency in Second Language Spoken Fluency: Studying Fluency through a Psycholinguistic Lens
Abstract:
This study explores the aspects of second language (L2) spoken fluency that are related to L2 linguistic knowledge and processing skill. It draws on Levelt’s ‘blueprint’ of the L2 speaker which discusses the cognitive issues underlying the act of speaking. However, L2 speaking assessments have largely neglected the underlying mechanism involved in language production; emphasis is given on the relationship between subjective ratings of L2 speech sample and objectively measured aspects of fluency. Hence, in this study, the relation between L2 linguistic knowledge and processing skill i.e. Cognitive Fluency (CF), and objectively measurable aspects of L2 spoken fluency i.e. Utterance Fluency (UF) is examined. The participants of the study are L2 learners of English, studying at high school level in Hyderabad, India. 50 participants with intermediate level of proficiency in English performed several lexical retrieval tasks and attention-shifting tasks to measure CF, and 8 oral tasks to measure UF. Each aspect of UF (speed, pause, and repair) were measured against the scores of CF to find out those aspects of UF which are reliable indicators of CF. Quantitative analysis of the data shows that among the three aspects of UF; speed is the best predictor of CF, and pause is weakly related to CF. The study suggests that including the speed aspect of UF could make L2 fluency assessment more reliable, valid, and objective. Thus, incorporating the assessment of psycholinguistic mechanisms into L2 spoken fluency testing, could result in fairer evaluation.
57
46325
Developing Kazakh Language Fluency Test in Nazarbayev University
Abstract:
The Kazakh Language Fluency Test, based on the IELTS exam, was implemented in 2012 at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. We would like to share our experience in developing this exam and some exam results with other language instructors. In this paper, we will cover all these peculiarities and their related issues. The Kazakh Language Fluency Test is a young exam. During its development, we faced many difficulties. One of the goals of the university and the country is to encourage fluency in the Kazakh language for all citizens of the Republic. Nazarbayev University has introduced a Kazakh language program to assist in achieving this goal. This policy is one-step in ensuring that NU students have a thorough understanding of the Kazakh language through a fluency test based on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The Kazakh Language Fluency Test exam aims to determine student’s knowledge of Kazakh language. The fact is that there are three types of students at Nazarbayev University: Kazakh-speaking heritage learners, Russian-speaking and English-speaking students. Unfortunately, we have Kazakh students who do not speak Kazakh. All students who finished school with Russian language instruction are given Kazakh Language Fluency Test in order to determine their Kazakh level. After the test exam, all students can choose appropriate Kazakh course: Basic Kazakh, Intermediate Kazakh and Upper-Intermediate Kazakh. The Kazakh Language Fluency Test consists of four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. They are taken on the same day in the abovementioned order.
56
39249
Oral Fluency: A Case Study of L2 Learners in Canada
Authors:
Abstract:
Oral fluency in the target language is what many second language learners hope to achieve by living abroad. Research in the past has demonstrated the role informal environments play in improving L2 learners' oral fluency. However, living in the target country and being part of its community does not ensure the development of oral fluency skills. L2 learners' desire to communicate and access to speaking opportunities in the host community are key in achieving oral fluency in the target language. This study attempts to identify differences in oral fluency, specifically speech rate, between learners who communicate in the L2 outside the classroom and those who do not. In addition, as the desire to communicate is a crucial factor in developing oral fluency, this study investigates whether or not learners' desire to speak the L2 outside the classroom plays a role in their frequency of L2 use outside the classroom. Finally, given the importance of the availability of speaking opportunities for L2 learners in order to practice their speaking skills, this study reports on the participants' perceptions of the speaking opportunities accessible to them in the target community while probing whether or not their perceptions differed based on their oral fluency level and their desire to communicate. The results suggest that exposure to the target language and daily communication with the native speakers is strongly related to the development of learners' oral fluency. Moreover, the findings suggest that learners' desire to communicate affects their frequency of communication in their L2 outside the classroom. At the same time, all participants, regardless of their oral fluency level and their desire to communicate, asserted that speaking opportunities beyond the classroom are very limited. Finally, the study finds there are marked differences in the perceptions learners have regarding opportunities for learning offered by the same language program. After reporting these results, the study concludes with recommendations for ESL programs that serve international students.
55
43216
Semantic Processing in Chinese: Category Effects, Task Effects and Age Effects
Authors:
Abstract:
The present study aimed to elucidate the nature of semantic processing in Chinese. Language and cognition related to the issue of aging are examined from the perspective of picture naming and category fluency tasks. Twenty Chinese-speaking adults (ranging from 25 to 45 years old) and twenty Chinese-speaking seniors (ranging from 65 to 75 years old) in Taiwan participated in this study. Each of them individually completed two tasks: a picture naming task and a category fluency task. Instruments for the naming task were sixty black-and-white pictures: thirty-five object and twenty-five action pictures. Category fluency task also consisted of two semantic categories – objects (or nouns) and actions (or verbs). Participants were asked to report as many items within a category as possible in one minute. Scores of action fluency and of object fluency were a summation of correct responses in these two categories. Category effects (actions vs. objects) and age effects were examined in these tasks. Objects were further divided into two major types: living objects and non-living objects. Actions were also categorized into two major types: action verbs and process verbs. Reaction time to each picture/question was additionally calculated and analyzed. Results of the category fluency task indicated that the content of information in Chinese seniors was comparatively deteriorated, thus producing smaller number of semantic-lexical items. Significant group difference was also found in the results of reaction time. Category Effect was significant for both Chinese adults and seniors in the semantic fluency task. Findings in the present study helped characterize the nature of semantic processing in Chinese-speaking adults and seniors and contributed to the issue of language and aging.
54
50214
The Impact of Two Factors on EFL Learners' Fluency
Abstract:
Nowadays, in the light of progress in the world of science, technology and communications, mastery of learning international languages is a sure and needful matter. In learning any language as a second language, progress and achieving a desirable level in speaking is indeed important for approximately all learners. In this research, we find out how preparation can influence L2 learners' oral fluency with respect to individual differences in working memory capacity. The participants consisted of sixty-one advanced L2 learners including MA students of TEFL at Isfahan University as well as instructors teaching English at Sadr Institute in Isfahan. The data collection consisted of two phases: A working memory test (reading span test) and a picture description task, with a one-month interval between the two tasks. Speaking was elicited through speech generation task in which the individuals were asked to discuss four topics emerging in two pairs. The two pairs included one simple and one complex topic and was accompanied by planning time and without any planning time respectively. Each topic was accompanied by several relevant pictures. L2 fluency was assessed based on preparation. The data were then analyzed in terms of the number of syllables, the number of silent pauses, and the mean length of pauses produced per minute. The study offers implications for strategies to improve learners’ both fluency and working memory.
53
125705
Examining the Development of Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency in L2 Learners' Writing after L2 Instruction
Abstract:
Research on second-language (L2) learning tends to focus on comparing students with different levels of proficiency at one point in time. However, to understand L2 development, we need more longitudinal research. In this study, we adopt a longitudinal approach to examine changes in three indicators of L2 ability, complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF), as reflected in the writing of L2 learners when writing on different tasks before and after a period L2 instruction. Each of 85 Chinese learners of English at three levels of English language proficiency responded to two writing tasks (independent and integrated) before and after nine months of English-language study in China. Each essay (N= 276) was analyzed in terms of numerous CAF indices using both computer coding and human rating: number of words written, number of errors per 100 words, ratings of error severity, global syntactic complexity (MLS), complexity by coordination (T/S), complexity by subordination (C/T), clausal complexity (MLC), phrasal complexity (NP density), syntactic variety, lexical density, lexical variation, lexical sophistication, and lexical bundles. Results were then compared statistically across tasks, L2 proficiency levels, and time. Overall, task type had significant effects on fluency and some syntactic complexity indices (complexity by coordination, structural variety, clausal complexity, phrase complexity) and lexical density, sophistication, and bundles, but not accuracy. L2 proficiency had significant effects on fluency, accuracy, and lexical variation, but not syntactic complexity. Finally, fluency, frequency of errors, but not accuracy ratings, syntactic complexity indices (clausal complexity, global complexity, complexity by subordination, phrase complexity, structural variety) and lexical complexity (lexical density, variation, and sophistication) exhibited significant changes after instruction, particularly for the independent task. We discuss the findings and their implications for assessment, instruction, and research on CAF in the context of L2 writing.
52
27326
The Effect of Explicit Focus on Form on Second Language Learning Writing Performance
Abstract:
Investigating the effectiveness of explicit focus on form on the written performance of the EFL learners was the aim of this study. To provide empirical support for this study, sixty male English learners were selected and randomly assigned into two groups of explicit focus on form and meaning focused. Narrative writing was employed for data collection. To measure writing performance, participants were required to narrate a story. They were given 20 minutes to finish the task and were asked to write at least 150 words. The participants’ output was coded then analyzed utilizing Independent t-test for grammatical accuracy and fluency of learners’ performance. Results indicated that learners in explicit focus on form group appear to benefit from error correction and rule explanation as two pedagogical techniques of explicit focus on form with respect to accuracy, but regarding fluency they did not yield any significant differences compared to the participants of meaning-focused group.
51
43219
A Study on Bilingual Semantic Processing: Category Effects and Age Effects
Authors:
Abstract:
The present study addressed the nature of bilingual semantic processing in Mandarin Chinese and Southern Min and examined category effects and age effects. Nineteen bilingual adults of Mandarin Chinese and Southern Min, nine monolingual seniors of Mandarin Chinese, and ten monolingual seniors of Southern Min in Taiwan individually completed two semantic tasks: Picture naming and category fluency tasks. The instruments for the naming task were sixty black-and-white pictures, including thirty-five object pictures and twenty-five action pictures. The category fluency task also consisted of two semantic categories – objects (or nouns) and actions (or verbs). The reaction time for each picture/question was additionally calculated and analyzed. Oral productions in Mandarin Chinese and in Southern Min were compared and discussed to examine the category effects and age effects. The results of the category fluency task indicated that the content of information of these seniors was comparatively deteriorated, and thus they produced a smaller number of semantic-lexical items. Significant group differences were also found in the reaction time results. Category effects were significant for both adults and seniors in the semantic fluency task. The findings of the present study will help characterize the nature of the bilingual semantic processing of adults and seniors, and contribute to the fields of contrastive and corpus linguistics.
50
100664
The Latent Model of Linguistic Features in Korean College Students’ L2 Argumentative Writings: Syntactic Complexity, Lexical Complexity, and Fluency
Abstract:
This study explores a range of linguistic features used in Korean college students’ argumentative writings for the purpose of developing a model that identifies variables which predict writing proficiencies. This study investigated the latent variable structure of L2 linguistic features, including syntactic complexity, the lexical complexity, and fluency. One hundred forty-six university students in Korea participated in this study. The results of the study’s confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) showed that indicators of linguistic features from this study-provided a foundation for re-categorizing indicators found in extant research on L2 Korean writers depending on each latent variable of linguistic features. The CFA models indicated one measurement model of L2 syntactic complexity and L2 learners’ writing proficiency; these two latent factors were correlated with each other. Based on the overall findings of the study, integrated linguistic features of L2 writings suggested some pedagogical implications in L2 writing instructions.
49
51548
Age and Second Language Acquisition: A Case Study from Maldives
Authors:
Abstract:
The age a child to be exposed to a second language is a controversial issue in communities such as the Maldives where English is taught as a second language. It has been observed that different stakeholders have different viewpoints towards the issue. Some believe that the earlier children are exposed to a second language, the better they learn, while others disagree with the notion. Hence, this case study investigates whether children learn a second language better when they are exposed at an earlier age or not. The spoken and written data collected confirm that earlier exposure helps in mastering the sound pattern and speaking fluency with more native-like accent, while a later age is better for learning more abstract and concrete aspects such as grammar and syntactic rules.
48
25679
The Importance of Outside Classroom Activities in Developing Oral Fluency in an EFL Context
Authors:
Abstract:
In a study abroad context, students have the advantage of immersing themselves in the environment of the target language and being exposed to it. However, in and a stay home context, where English is not the mother tongue, students’ exposure to the second language is often times restricted to the classroom. Although language teachers are keen to develop inside class room activities and practices that increase the suitability of students to acquire a second language (Cook & Singleton, 2014), many would agree that class time is too limited to enhance students’ oral fluency skills. Consequently, creating opportunities outside the classroom for students to speak English is an effective strategy in compensating for students’ limited use of the L2. In an argument by Ortega (2012) external classroom activities have equal significance in enabling students learn English as a second language. The author further asserts that the activities provide a non-educational environment from which a student may feel free and comfortable to acquire new language skills. This study investigates the significance of outside classroom activities in promoting students’ oral proficiency. In addition, it reports on students’ perceptions of such activities. 15 participants from the American University of Kuwait took part in this study. Open-ended interviews were done to find out what the participants thought of these activities, and what they gained from them. Interview results show that students found outside classroom activities very effective in improving not only their oral fluency skills, but their confidence and critical thinking skills as well. The implications of this research study are for language practitioners and language programs in the EFL context to be aware of the benefits of incorporating outside classroom activities in language teaching.
47
101467
Contribution of Word Decoding and Reading Fluency on Reading Comprehension in Young Typical Readers of Kannada Language
Abstract:
Introduction and Need: During early years of schooling, the instruction in the schools mainly focus on children’s word decoding abilities. However, the skilled readers should master all the components of reading such as word decoding, reading fluency and comprehension. Nevertheless, the relationship between each component during the process of learning to read is less clear. The studies conducted in alphabetical languages have mixed opinion on relative contribution of word decoding and reading fluency on reading comprehension. However, the scenarios in alphasyllabary languages are unexplored. Aim and Objectives: The aim of the study was to explore the role of word decoding, reading fluency on reading comprehension abilities in children learning to read Kannada between the age ranges of 5.6 to 8.6 years. Method: In this cross sectional study, a total of 60 typically developing children, 20 each from Grade I, Grade II, Grade III maintaining equal gender ratio between the age range of 5.6 to 6.6 years, 6.7 to 7.6 years and 7.7 to 8.6 years respectively were selected from Kannada medium schools. The reading fluency and reading comprehension abilities of the children were assessed using Grade level passages selected from the Kannada text book of children core curriculum. All the passages consist of five questions to assess reading comprehension. The pseudoword decoding skills were assessed using 40 pseudowords with varying syllable length and their Akshara composition. Pseudowords are formed by interchanging the syllables within the meaningful word while maintaining the phonotactic constraints of Kannada language. The assessment material was subjected to content validation and reliability measures before collecting the data on the study samples. The data were collected individually, and reading fluency was assessed for words correctly read per minute. Pseudoword decoding was scored for the accuracy of reading. Results: The descriptive statistics indicated that the mean pseudoword reading, reading comprehension, words accurately read per minute increased with the Grades. The performance of Grade III children found to be higher, Grade I lower and Grade II remained intermediate of Grade III and Grade I. The trend indicated that reading skills gradually improve with the Grades. Pearson’s correlation co-efficient showed moderate and highly significant (p=0.00) positive co-relation between the variables, indicating the interdependency of all the three components required for reading. The hierarchical regression analysis revealed 37% variance in reading comprehension was explained by pseudoword decoding and was highly significant. Subsequent entry of reading fluency measure, there was no significant change in R-square and was only change 3%. Therefore, pseudoword-decoding evolved as a single most significant predictor of reading comprehension during early Grades of reading acquisition. Conclusion: The present study concludes that the pseudoword decoding skills contribute significantly to reading comprehension than reading fluency during initial years of schooling in children learning to read Kannada language.
46
32659
Transcription Skills and Written Composition in Chinese
Abstract:
Background: Recent findings have shown that transcription skills play a unique and significant role in Chinese word reading and spelling (i.e. word dictation), and written composition development. The interrelationships among component skills of transcription, word reading, word spelling, and written composition in Chinese have rarely been examined in the literature. Is the contribution of component skills of transcription to Chinese written composition mediated by word level skills (i.e., word reading and spelling)? Methods: The participants in the study were 249 Chinese children in Grade 1, Grade 3, and Grade 5 in Hong Kong. They were administered measures of general reasoning ability, orthographic knowledge, stroke sequence knowledge, word spelling, handwriting fluency, word reading, and Chinese narrative writing. Orthographic knowledge- orthographic knowledge was assessed by a task modeled after the lexical decision subtest of the Hong Kong Test of Specific Learning Difficulties in Reading and Writing (HKT-SpLD). Stroke sequence knowledge: The participants’ performance in producing legitimate stroke sequences was measured by a stroke sequence knowledge task. Handwriting fluency- Handwriting fluency was assessed by a task modeled after the Chinese Handwriting Speed Test. Word spelling: The stimuli of the word spelling task consist of fourteen two-character Chinese words. Word reading: The stimuli of the word reading task consist of 120 two-character Chinese words. Written composition: A narrative writing task was used to assess the participants’ text writing skills. Results: Analysis of covariance results showed that there were significant between-grade differences in the performance of word reading, word spelling, handwriting fluency, and written composition. Preliminary hierarchical multiple regression analysis results showed that orthographic knowledge, word spelling, and handwriting fluency were unique predictors of Chinese written composition even after controlling for age, IQ, and word reading. The interaction effects between grade and each of these three skills (orthographic knowledge, word spelling, and handwriting fluency) were not significant. Path analysis results showed that orthographic knowledge contributed to written composition both directly and indirectly through word spelling, while handwriting fluency contributed to written composition directly and indirectly through both word reading and spelling. Stroke sequence knowledge only contributed to written composition indirectly through word spelling. Conclusions: Preliminary hierarchical regression results were consistent with previous findings about the significant role of transcription skills in Chinese word reading, spelling and written composition development. The fact that orthographic knowledge contributed both directly and indirectly to written composition through word reading and spelling may reflect the impact of the script-sound-meaning convergence of Chinese characters on the composing process. The significant contribution of word spelling and handwriting fluency to Chinese written composition across elementary grades highlighted the difficulty in attaining automaticity of transcription skills in Chinese, which limits the working memory resources available for other composing processes.
45
89060
The Phonology and Phonetics of Second Language Intonation in Case of “Downstep”
Abstract:
This study aims to investigate the acquisition process of intonation. It examines the intonation structure of Tokyo Japanese and its realization by Iranian learners of Japanese. Seven Iranian learners of Japanese, differing in fluency, and two Japanese speakers participated in the experiment. Two sentences were used to test the phonological and phonetic characteristics of lexical pitch-accent as well as the intonation patterns produced by the speakers. Both sentences consisted of similar words with the same number of syllables and lexical pitch-accents but different syntactic structure. Speakers were asked to read each sentence three times at normal speed, and the data were analyzed by Praat. The results show that lexical pitch-accent, Accentual Phrase (AP) and AP boundary tone realization vary depending on sentence type. For sentences of type XdeYwo, the lexical pitch-accent is realized properly. However, there is a rise in AP boundary tone regardless of speakers’ level of fluency. In contrast, in sentences of type XnoYwo, the lexical pitch-accent and AP boundary tone vary depending on the speakers’ fluency level. Advanced speakers are better at grouping words into phrases and produce more native-like intonation patterns, though they are not able to realize downstep properly. The non-native speakers tried to realize proper intonation patterns by making changes in lexical accent and boundary tone.
44
29786
Evaluating Impact of Teacher Professional Development Program on Students’ Learning
Abstract:
This study attempted to investigate the connection between teacher professional development program and students’ Learning. This study took Readers’ Theater Teaching Program (RTTP) for professional development as an example to inquiry how participants apply their new knowledge and skills learned from RTTP to their teaching practice and how the impact influence students learning. The goals of the RTTP included: 1) to enhance teachers RT content knowledge; 2) to implement RT instruction in teachers’ classrooms in response to their professional development. 2) to improve students’ ability of reading fluency in professional development teachers’ classrooms. This study was a two-year project. The researchers applied mixed methods to conduct this study including qualitative inquiry and one-group pretest-posttest experimental design. In the first year, this study focused on designing and implementing RTTP and evaluating participants’ satisfaction of RTTP, what they learned and how they applied it to design their English reading curriculum. In the second year, the study adopted quasi-experimental design approach and evaluated how participants RT instruction influenced their students’ learning, including English knowledge, skill, and attitudes. The participants in this study composed two junior high school English teachers and their students. Data were collected from a number of different sources including teaching observation, semi-structured interviews, teaching diary, teachers’ professional development portfolio, Pre/post RT content knowledge tests, teacher survey, and students’ reading fluency tests. To analyze the data, both qualitative and quantitative data analysis were used. Qualitative data analysis included three stages: organizing data, coding data, and analyzing and interpreting data. Quantitative data analysis included descriptive analysis. The results indicated that average percentage of correct on pre-tests in RT content knowledge assessment was 40.75% with two teachers ranging in prior knowledge from 35% to 46% in specific RT content. Post-test RT content scores ranged from 70% to 82% correct with an average score of 76.50%. That gives teachers an average gain of 35.75% in overall content knowledge as measured by these pre/post exams. Teachers’ pre-test scores were lowest in script writing and highest in performing. Script writing was also the content area that showed the highest gains in content knowledge. Moreover, participants hold a positive attitude toward RTTP. They recommended that the approach of professional learning community, which was applied in RTTP was benefit to their professional development. Participants also applied the new skills and knowledge which they learned from RTTP to their practices. The evidences from this study indicated that RT English instruction significantly influenced students’ reading fluency and classroom climate. The result indicated that all of the experimental group students had a big progress in reading fluency after RT instruction. The study also found out several obstacles. Suggestions were also made.
43
41710
The Use of Educational Language Games
Abstract:
Mastery on English language is one of the important goals of all English language teachers. This goal can be seen based from the students’ actual performance using the target language which is English. Learning the English language includes hard work where efforts need to be exerted and this can be attained gradually over a long period of time. It is extremely important for all English language teachers to know the effects of incorporating games in teaching. Whether this strategy can have positive or negative effects in students learning, teachers should always consider what is best for their learners. Games may help and provide confidents language learners. These games help teachers to create context in which the language is suitable and significant. Focusing in accuracy and fluency is the heart of this study and this will be obtain in either teaching English using the traditional method or teaching English using language games. It is very important for all English teachers to know which strategy is effective in teaching English to be able to cope with students’ underachievement in this subject. This study made use of the comparative-experimental method. It made use of the pre-post test design with the aim to explore the effectiveness of the language games as strategy used in language teaching for high school students. There were two groups of students being observed, the controlled and the experimental, employing the two strategies in teaching English –traditional and with the use of language games. The scores obtained by two samples were compared to know the effectiveness of the two strategies in teaching English. In this study, it found out that language games help improve students’ fluency and accuracy in the use of target language and this is very evident in the results obtained in the pre-test and post –test result as well the mean gain scores by the two groups of students. In addition, this study also gives us a clear view on the positive effects on the use of language games in teaching which also supported by the related studies based from this research. The findings of the study served as the bases for the creation of the proposed learning plan that integrated language games that teachers may use in their own teaching. This study further concluded that language games are effective in developing students’ fluency in using the English language. This justifies that games help encourage students to learn and be entertained at the same time. Aside from that, games also promote developing language competency. This study will be very useful to teachers who are in doubt in the use of this strategy in their teaching.
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43848
Lexical-Semantic Processing by Chinese as a Second Language Learners
Authors:
Abstract:
The present study aimed to elucidate the lexical-semantic processing for Chinese as second language (CSL) learners. Twenty L1 speakers of Chinese and twenty CSL learners in Taiwan participated in a picture naming task and a category fluency task. Based on their Chinese proficiency levels, these CSL learners were further divided into two sub-groups: ten CSL learners of elementary Chinese proficiency level and ten CSL learners of intermediate Chinese proficiency level. Instruments for the naming task were sixty black-and-white pictures: thirty-five object pictures and twenty-five action pictures. Object pictures were divided into two categories: living objects and non-living objects. Action pictures were composed of two categories: action verbs and process verbs. As in the naming task, the category fluency task consisted of two semantic categories – objects (i.e., living and non-living objects) and actions (i.e., action and process verbs). Participants were asked to report as many items within a category as possible in one minute. Oral productions were tape-recorded and transcribed for further analysis. Both error types and error frequency were calculated. Statistical analysis was further conducted to examine these error types and frequency made by CSL learners. Additionally, category effects, pictorial effects and L2 proficiency were discussed. Findings in the present study helped characterize the lexical-semantic process of Chinese naming in CSL learners of different Chinese proficiency levels and made contributions to Chinese vocabulary teaching and learning in the future.
41
52424
Linguistic Competence Analysis and the Development of Speaking Instructional Material
Abstract:
Linguistic oral competence plays a vital role in attaining effective communication. Since the English language is considered as universally used language and has a high demand skill needed in the work-place, mastery is the expected output from learners. To achieve this, learners should be given integrated differentiated tasks which help them develop and strengthen the expected skills. This study aimed to develop speaking instructional supplementary material to enhance the English linguistic competence of Grade 9 students in areas of pronunciation, intonation and stress, voice projection, diction and fluency. A descriptive analysis was utilized to analyze the speaking level of performance of the students in order to employ appropriate strategies. There were two sets of respondents: 178 Grade 9 students selected through a stratified sampling and chosen at random. The other set comprised English teachers who evaluated the usefulness of the devised teaching materials. A teacher conducted a speaking test and activities were employed to analyze the speaking needs of students. Observation and recordings were also used to evaluate the students’ performance. The findings revealed that the English pronunciation of the students was slightly unclear at times, but generally fair. There were lapses but generally they rated moderate in intonation and stress, because of other language interference. In terms of voice projection, students have erratic high volume pitch. For diction, the students’ ability to produce comprehensible language is limited, and as to fluency, the choice of vocabulary and use of structure were severely limited. Based on the students’ speaking needs analyses, the supplementary material devised was based on Nunan’s IM model, incorporating context of daily life and global work settings, considering the principle that language is best learned in the actual meaningful situation. To widen the mastery of skill, a rich learning environment, filled with a variety instructional material tends to foster faster acquisition of the requisite skills for sustained learning and development. The role of IM is to encourage information to stick in the learners’ mind, as what is seen is understood more than what is heard. Teachers say they found the IM "very useful." This implied that English teachers could adopt the materials to improve the speaking skills of students. Further, teachers should provide varied opportunities for students to get involved in real life situations where they could take turns in asking and answering questions and share information related to the activities. This would minimize anxiety among students in the use of the English language.
40
59195
A Comparitive Study of the Effect of Stress on the Cognitive Parameters in Women with Increased Body Mass Index before and after Menopause
Abstract:
Background: The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity is a critical public health problem for women. The negative effect of stress on memory and cognitive functions has been widely explored for decades in numerous research projects using a wide range of methodology. Deterioration of memory and other brain functions are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Estrogen fluctuations and withdrawal have myriad direct effects on the central nervous system that have the potential to influence cognitive functions. Aim: The present study aims to compare the effect of stress on the cognitive functions in overweight/obese women before and after menopause. Material and Methods: A total of 142 female subjects constituting women before menopause between the age group of 18–44 years and women after menopause between the age group of 45–60 years were included in the sample. Participants were categorized into overweight/obese groups based on the body mass index. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) the major tool was used for measuring the perception of stress. Based on the stress scale measurement each group was classified into with stress and without stress. Addenbrooke’s cognitive Examination-III was used for measuring the cognitive functions. Results: Premenopausal women with stress showed a significant (P< 0.05) decrease in the cognitive parameters such as attention and orientation Fluency, language and visuospatial ability. Memory did not show any significant change in this group. Whereas, in the postmenopausal stressed women all the cognitive functions except fluency showed a significant (P< 0.05) decrease after menopause stressed group. Conclusion: Stress is a significant factor on the cognitive functions of obese and overweight women before and after menopause. Practice of Yoga, Encouragement in activities like gardening, embroidery, games and relaxation techniques should be recommended to prevent stress. Insights into the neurobiology before and after menopause can be gained from future studies examining the effect on the HPA axis in relation to cognition and stress.
39
88519
Provision of Different Layers of Activities for Different Iranian Intermediate English as a Foreign Language Learners for the Beneficial Use of Films within Speaking Classes
Abstract:
This study investigated the effect of applying different layers of activity for different Iranian intermediate EFL learner’s oral proficiency and two of its components (fluency and accura-cy) for the beneficial use of films within speaking classes. For this purpose, thirty Iranian EFL intermediate learners were selected based on availability sampling, they were divided into one experimental group and one control group, each consisting of 15 participants, who were proved to be homogeneous based on the results obtained from IELTS oral proficien-cy test prior to the treatment. Experimental Group received the treatment which was apply-ing different layers of speaking tasks according to learners’ level of fluency and accuracy. Control group received ordinal treatment of speaking classrooms. The materials for this study consisted of 11 English movies for each session, voice-recorder device, and IELTS oral proficiency tests as well as two interviews based on Ur’s oral scale for measuring fluen-cy and accuracy. The treatment was run for 12 sessions in six weeks. At the end of the treatment, all the students both in experimental and control group were given a post-test interview based on Ur’s scale. To compare and contrast the amount of progress of the learners in different groups the results of the pre-test and post-test of speaking were analysed by using T-tests. Moreover, Multivariate analysis of variance was also used to check the hypotheses. Results showed that application of different layers of activity with regard to students’ level, led to a significantly superior performance in experimental group. Thus, this study verified the positive effect of implementation of different layers of activity and tasks to achieve progress in speaking skill. It can also help to create a less stressful at-mosphere of learning in which all the students will be given specific time to speak and lead them to be autonomous learners.
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91846
Analysis of Speaking Skills in Turkish Language Acquisition as a Foreign Language
Abstract:
This study aims to analyze the skills of speaking in the acquisition of Turkish as a foreign language. One of the most important things for the individual who learns a foreign language is to be successful in the oral communication (speaking) skills and to interact in an understandable way. Speech skill requires much more time and effort than other language skills. In this direction, it is necessary to make an analysis of these oral communication skills, which is important in Turkish language acquisition as a foreign language and to draw out a road map according to the result. The aim of this study is to determine the competence and attitudes of speaking competence according to the individuals who learn Turkish as a foreign language and to be considered as speaking skill elements; Grammar, emphasis, intonation, body language, speed, ranking, accuracy, fluency, pronunciation, etc. and the results and suggestions based on these determinations. A mixed method has been chosen for data collection and analysis. A Likert scale (for competence and attitude) was applied to 190 individuals who were interviewed face-to-face (for speech skills) with a semi-structured interview form about 22 participants randomly selected. In addition, the observation form related to the 22 participants interviewed were completed by the researcher during the interview, and after the completion of the collection of all the voice recordings, analyses of voice recordings with the speech skills evaluation scale was made. The results of the research revealed that the speech skills of the individuals who learned Turkish as a foreign language have various perspectives. According to the results, the most inadequate aspects of the participants' ability to speak in Turkish include vocabulary, using humorous elements while speaking Turkish, being able to include items such as idioms and proverbs while speaking Turkish, Turkish fluency respectively. In addition, the participants were found not to feel comfortable while speaking Turkish, to feel ridiculous and to be nervous while speaking in formal settings. There are conclusions and suggestions for the situations that arise after the have been analyses made.
37
92587
Analysis of Speaking Skills in Turkish Language Acquisition as a Foreign Language
Abstract:
This study aims to analyze the skills of speaking in the acquisition of Turkish as a foreign language. One of the most important things for the individual who learns a foreign language is to be successful in the oral communication (speaking) skills and to interact in an understandable way. Speech skill requires much more time and effort than other language skills. In this direction, it is necessary to make an analysis of these oral communication skills, which is important in Turkish language acquisition as a foreign language and to draw out a road map according to the result. The aim of this study is to determine the competence and attitudes of speaking competence according to the individuals who learn Turkish as a foreign language and to be considered as speaking skill elements; Grammar, emphasis, intonation, body language, speed, ranking, accuracy, fluency, pronunciation, etc. and the results and suggestions based on these determinations. A mixed method has been chosen for data collection and analysis. A Likert scale (for competence and attitude) was applied to 190 individuals who were interviewed face-to-face (for speech skills) with a semi-structured interview form about 22 participants randomly selected. In addition, the observation form related to the 22 participants interviewed were completed by the researcher during the interview, and after the completion of the collection of all the voice recordings, analyses of voice recordings with the speech skills evaluation scale was made. The results of the research revealed that the speech skills of the individuals who learned Turkish as a foreign language have various perspectives. According to the results, the most inadequate aspects of the participants' ability to speak in Turkish include vocabulary, using humorous elements while speaking Turkish, being able to include items such as idioms and proverbs while speaking Turkish, Turkish fluency respectively. In addition, the participants were found not to feel comfortable while speaking Turkish, to feel ridiculous and to be nervous while speaking in formal settings. There are conclusions and suggestions for the situations that arise after the have been analyses made.
36
21505
New Wine in an Old Bottle? Zhong-Yong Thinking and Creativity
Abstract:
Zhong-Yong represents unique values and cognitive beliefs of Chinese culture. Zhong-Yong thinking emphasizes (a) holistic thinking and perspective taking, (b) tolerance of contradictions, and (c) pursuance of a person’s interpersonal and inner harmony. With a unique way of naïve dialectical thinking based on Chinese culture, previous studies have found that people with higher Zhong-Yong thinking have more cognitive resources and resilience to make decision for dilemmas and cope stresses. Creativity is defined as the behavior to create novel and value products and viewed as the most important capital for individuals and enterprises. However, the relationship between Zhong-Yong thinking and creativity is still remaining to be unexplored. Three studies were conducted to explore the effects of Zhong-Yong thinking on creativity. In Study1, with 87 undergraduate students from a university in southern Taiwan as participants, we used questionnaire to measure Zhong-Yong thinking and processed creative task (unusual uses task) to get indicators of fluency and flexibility. After controlling background and openness to experience of Big five, the results showed that Zhong-Yong thinking had significant positive effects on fluency and flexibility. In Study 2, 97 undergraduate students were recruited to do Zhong-Yong thinking task and creative task. The result showed that, compared with control group, the participants had higher creative performance after being primed with Zhong-Yong thinking. In Study 3, we adopted questionnaire survey and took 397 employees from private enterprises in Taiwan as sample. Besides the main effects of Zhong-Yong thinking, the moderating effects on the relationship between leadership behavior and employee’s creative performance were also investigated. We found that (a) Zhong-Yong thinking was positively associated to creative performance; (b) Zhong-Yong thinking strengthened the positive effects of transformational and authoritative leadership on creative performance. Finally, the implications of theory/practice and limitations/future directions were also discussed.
35
93605
A Genre-Based Approach to the Teaching of Pronunciation
Abstract:
Some studies have indicated that pronunciation teaching hasn’t been paid enough attention by teachers regarding EFL contexts. In particular, segmental and suprasegmental features through genre-based approach may be an opportunity on how to integrate pronunciation into a more meaningful learning practice. Therefore, the aim of this project was to carry out a survey on some aspects related to English pronunciation that Brazilian students consider more difficult to learn, thus enabling the discussion of strategies that can facilitate the development of oral skills in English classes by integrating the teaching of phonetic-phonological aspects into the genre-based approach. Notions of intelligibility, fluency and accuracy were proposed by some authors as an ideal didactic sequence. According to their proposals, basic learners should be exposed to activities focused on the notion of intelligibility as well as intermediate students to the notion of fluency, and finally more advanced ones to accuracy practices. In order to test this hypothesis, data collection was conducted during three high school English classes at Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais (CEFET-MG), in Brazil, through questionnaires and didactic activities, which were recorded and transcribed for further analysis. The genre debate was chosen to facilitate the oral expression of the participants in a freer way, making them answering questions and giving their opinion about a previously selected topic. The findings indicated that basic students demonstrated more difficulty with aspects of English pronunciation than the others. Many of the intelligibility aspects analyzed had to be listened more than once for a better understanding. For intermediate students, the speeches recorded were considerably easier to understand, but nevertheless they found it more difficult to pronounce the words fluently, often interrupting their speech to think about what they were going to say and how they would talk. Lastly, more advanced learners seemed to express their ideas more fluently, but still subtle errors related to accuracy were perceptible in speech, thereby confirming the proposed hypothesis. It was also seen that using genre-based approach to promote oral communication in English classes might be a relevant method, considering the socio-communicative function inherent in the suggested approach.
34
79009
A Case Study Comparing the Effect of Computer Assisted Task-Based Language Teaching and Computer-Assisted Form Focused Language Instruction on Language Production of Students Learning Arabic as a Foreign Language
Abstract:
Task-based language teaching (TBLT) and focus on form instruction (FFI) methods were proven to improve quality and quantity of immediate language production. However, studies that compare between the effectiveness of the language production when using TBLT versus FFI are very little with results that are not consistent. Moreover, teaching Arabic using TBLT is a new field with few research that has investigated its application inside classrooms. Furthermore, to the best knowledge of the researcher, there are no prior studies that compared teaching Arabic as a foreign language in a classroom setting using computer-assisted task-based language teaching (CATBLT) with computer-assisted form focused language instruction (CAFFI). Accordingly, the focus of this presentation is to display CATBLT and CAFFI tools when teaching Arabic as a foreign language as well as demonstrate an experimental study that aims to identify whether or not CATBLT is a more effective instruction method. The effectiveness will be determined through comparing CATBLT and CAFFI in terms of accuracy, lexical complexity, and fluency of language produced by students. The participants of the study are 20 students enrolled in two intermediate-level Arabic as a foreign language classes. The experiment will take place over the course of 7 days. Based on a study conducted by Abdurrahman Arslanyilmaz for teaching Turkish as a second language, an in-house computer assisted tool for the TBLT and another one for FFI will be designed for the experiment. The experimental group will be instructed using the in-house CATBLT tool and the control group will be taught through the in-house CAFFI tool. The data that will be analyzed are the dialogues produced by students in both the experimental and control groups when completing a task or communicating in conversational activities. The dialogues of both groups will be analyzed to understand the effect of the type of instruction (CATBLT or CAFFI) on accuracy, lexical complexity, and fluency. Thus, the study aims to demonstrate whether or not there is an instruction method that positively affects the language produced by students learning Arabic as a foreign language more than the other.
33
100671
Parents and Stakeholders’ Perspectives on Early Reading Intervention Implemented as a Curriculum for Children with Learning Disabilities
Abstract:
The valuable partnerships between parents and teachers may develop positive and effective interactions between home and school. This will help these stakeholders share information and resources regarding student academics during ongoing interactions. Thus, partnerships will build a solid foundation for both families and schools to help children succeed in school. Parental involvement can be seen as an effective tool that can change homes and communities and not just schools’ systems. Seeking parents and stakeholders’ attitudes toward learning and learners can help schools design a curriculum. Subsequently, this information can be used to find ways to help improve the academic performance of students, especially in low performing schools. There may be some conflicts when designing curriculum. In addition, designing curriculum might bring more educational expectations to all the sides. There is a lack of research that targets the specific attitude of parents toward specific concepts on curriculum contents. More research is needed to study the perspective that parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) have regarding early reading curriculum. Parents and stakeholders’ perspectives on early reading intervention implemented as a curriculum for children with LD was studied through an advanced quantitative research. The purpose of this study seeks to understand stakeholders and parents’ perspectives of key concepts and essential early reading skills that impact the design of curriculum that will serve as an intervention for early struggler readers who have LD. Those concepts or stages include phonics, phonological awareness, and reading fluency as well as strategies used in house by parents. A survey instrument was used to gather the data. Participants were recruited through 29 schools and districts of the metropolitan area of the northern part of Saudi Arabia. Participants were stakeholders including parents of children with learning disability. Data were collected using distribution of paper and pen survey to schools. Psychometric properties of the instrument were evaluated for the validity and reliability of the survey; face validity, content validity, and construct validity including an Exploratory Factor Analysis were used to shape and reevaluate the structure of the instrument. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) used to find differences between the variables. The study reported the results of the perspectives of stakeholders toward reading strategies, phonics, phonological awareness, and reading fluency. Also, suggestions and limitations are discussed.
32
95886
The Effect of Problem-Based Mobile-Assisted Tasks on Spoken Intelligibility of English as a Foreign Language Learners
Abstract:
In an attempt to increase oral proficiency of Iranian EFL learners, the researchers compared the effect of problem-based mobile-assisted language learning with the conventional language learning approach (Communicative Language Teaching) in Iran. The experimental group (n=37) went through PBL instruction and the control group (n=33) went through conventional instruction. The results of quantitative data analysis after 26 sessions of treatment revealed that PBL could positively affect participants' knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, spoken fluency, and pronunciation; however, in terms of task achievement, no significant effect was found. This study can have pedagogical implications for language teachers, and material developers.
31
18160
Cursive Handwriting in an Internet Age
Abstract:
Recent concerns about the value of teaching cursive handwriting in the classroom are based on the belief that cursive handwriting or penmanship is an outdated and unnecessary skill in today’s online world. The discussion of this issue begins with a description of current initiatives to eliminate handwriting instruction in schools. This is followed by a brief history of cursive writing through the ages. Next considered is a description of its benefits as a preliminary process for younger children as compared with immediate instruction in keyboarding, particularly in the areas of vision, cognition, motor skills and automatic fluency. Also considered, is cursive’s companion, paper itself, and the impact of a paperless, “screen and keyboard” environment. The discussion concludes with a consideration of the unique contributions of cursive and keyboarding as written forms of communication, along with their respective surfaces, paper and screen. Finally, an assessment of the practical utility of each skill is followed by an informal assessment of what is lost and what remains as we move from a predominantly paper and pen world of handwriting to texting and keyboarding in an environment of screens.
30
58158
Teaching for Change: Instructional Support in a Bilingual Setting
Authors:
Abstract:
The goal of this paper is to provide educators an overview of international practices supporting young learners, arming us with adequate information to lead effective change. We will report on research and observations of Service Learning Projects conducted by one South Texas University. The intent of the paper is also to provide readers an overview of service learning in the preparation of teacher candidates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. The objective of noting the efficiency and effectiveness of programs leading to literacy and oral fluency in a native language and second language will be discussed. This paper also highlights experiential learning for academic credit that combines community service with student learning. Six weeks of visits to a variety of community sites, making personal observations with faculty members, conducting extensive interviews with parents and key personnel at all sites will be discussed. The culminating Service Learning Expo will be reported as well.
29
113685
A Qualitative Study of the Efficacy of Teaching for Conceptual Understanding to Enhance Confidence and Engagement in Early Mathematics
Abstract:
Research suggests that the pedagogy we utilize when teaching mathematics contributes to a negative attitude towards the discipline. Worried by this, we have explored teaching mathematics for understanding, fluency, and confidence. We investigated strategies to engage students with the beauty of mathematics, moving them beyond mimicry and memorization. The result is an integrated pedagogy and curriculum arrangement which combines concept-based mathematics with Number Talks, Visible Thinking Routines, and Teaching for Understanding. Our qualitative research shows that students self-report greater self-confidence and heightened engagement with mathematical thinking. Teacher reflections on student learning echo this finding. As a result of this, we advocate for teacher training in the implementation of a concept-based curriculum supplemented with Number Talk strategies.
28
115624
Curriculum Based Measurement and Precision Teaching in Writing Empowerment Enhancement: Results from an Italian Learning Center
Abstract:
We present the improvement in writing skills obtained by 94 participants (aged between six and 10 years) with special educational needs through a writing enhancement program based on fluency principles. The study was planned and conducted with a single-subject experimental plan for each of the participants, in order to confirm the results in the literature. These results were obtained using precision teaching (PT) methodology to increase the number of written graphemes per minute in the pre- and post-test, by curriculum based measurement (CBM). Results indicated an increase in the number of written graphemes for all participants. The average overall duration of the intervention is 144 minutes in five months of treatment. These considerations have been analyzed taking account of the complexity of the implementation of measurement systems in real operational contexts (an Italian learning center) and important aspects of replicability and cost-effectiveness of such interventions.
27
104499
The End Justifies the Means: Using Programmed Mastery Drill to Teach Spoken English to Spanish Youngsters, without Relying on Homework
Abstract:
Most current language courses expect students to be ‘vocational’, sacrificing their free time in order to learn. However, pupils with a full-time job, or bringing up children, hardly have a spare moment. Others just need the language as a tool or a qualification, as if it were book-keeping or a driving license. Then there are children in unstructured families whose stressful life makes private study almost impossible. And the countless parents whose evenings and weekends have become a nightmare, trying to get the children to do their homework. There are many arguments against homework being a necessity (rather than an optional extra for more ambitious or dedicated students), making a clear case for teaching methods which facilitate full learning of the key content within the classroom. A methodology which could be described as Programmed Mastery Learning has been used at Fluency Language Academy (Spain) since 1992, to teach English to over 4000 pupils yearly, with a staff of around 100 teachers, barely requiring homework. The course is structured according to the tenets of Programmed Learning: small manageable teaching steps, immediate feedback, and constant successful activity. For the Mastery component (not stopping until everyone has learned), the memorisation and practice are entrusted to flashcard-based drilling in the classroom, leading all students to progress together and develop a permanently growing knowledge base. Vocabulary and expressions are memorised using flashcards as stimuli, obliging the brain to constantly recover words from the long-term memory and converting them into reflex knowledge, before they are deployed in sentence building. The use of grammar rules is practised with ‘cue’ flashcards: the brain refers consciously to the grammar rule each time it produces a phrase until it comes easily. This automation of lexicon and correct grammar use greatly facilitates all other language and conversational activities. The full B2 course consists of 48 units each of which takes a class an average of 17,5 hours to complete, allowing the vast majority of students to reach B2 level in 840 class hours, which is corroborated by an 85% pass-rate in the Cambridge University B2 exam (First Certificate). In the past, studying for qualifications was just one of many different options open to young people. Nowadays, youngsters need to stay at school and obtain qualifications in order to get any kind of job. There are many students in our classes who have little intrinsic interest in what they are studying; they just need the certificate. In these circumstances and with increasing government pressure to minimise failure, teachers can no longer think ‘If they don’t study, and fail, its their problem’. It is now becoming the teacher’s problem. Teachers are ever more in need of methods which make their pupils successful learners; this means assuring learning in the classroom. Furthermore, homework is arguably the main divider between successful middle-class schoolchildren and failing working-class children who drop out: if everything important is learned at school, the latter will have a much better chance, favouring inclusiveness in the language classroom.
26
42210
A Teaching Method for Improving Sentence Fluency in Writing
Abstract:
Although writing is a multifaceted task, teaching writing is a demanding task basically for two reasons: Grammar and Syntax. This article provides a method of teaching writing that was found to be effective in improving students’ academic writing composition skill. The article explains the concepts of ‘guided-discovery’ and ‘guided-construction’ upon which a method of teaching writing is grounded and developed. Providing a brief commentary on what the core could mean primarily, the article presents an exposition of understanding and identifying the core and building upon the core that can demonstrate the way a teacher can make use of the concepts in teaching for improving the writing skills of their students. The method is an adaptation of grammar translation method that has been improvised to suit to a student-centered classroom environment. An intervention of teaching writing through this method was tried out with positive outcomes in formal classroom research setup, and in view of the content’s quality that relates more to the classroom practices and also in consideration of its usefulness to the practicing teachers the process and the findings are presented in a narrative form along with the results in tabular form.
25
33176
Effective Strategies for Teaching English Language to Beginners in Primary Schools in Nigeria
Abstract:
This paper discusses the effective strategies for teaching English language to learners in primary schools in Nigeria. English language development is the systematic use of instructional strategies designed to promote the acquisition of English by pupils in primary schools whose primary language is not English. Learning a second language is through total immersion. These strategies support this learning method, allowing pupils to have the knowledge of English language in a pattern similar to the way they learned their native language through regular interaction with others who already know the language. The focus is on fluency and learning to speak English in a social context with native speakers. The strategies allow for effective acquisition. The paper also looked into the following areas: visuals that reinforce spoken or written words, employ gestures for added emphasis, adjusting of speech, stressing of high-frequency vocabulary words, use of fewer idioms and clarifying the meaning of words or phrases in context, stressing of participatory learning and maintaining a low anxiety level and boosting of enthusiasm. It recommended that the teacher include vocabulary words that will make the content more comprehensible to the learner.
24
40572
The Case of ESPRIT (HigherSchool of Engineering)
Authors:
Abstract:
Since three years, ESPRIT has adopted project-based learning across its curricula. The philosophy behind this reform is to prepare its future engineers to become more operational once they integrate the workplace. It allows them to learn all the required skills expected from them by their future employers. This learner-centered method helps the students take responsibility for their own learning, solve real-world problems and carry out muli-faceted projects. Therefore, the teacher who used to be considered as the detainer of the knowledge has become more of a facilitator and a coach, encouraging their students’ learning process. This innovative way to English teaching has enabled the students to learn the English language differently. The target language is learnt cooperatively through group work, presentations, debating and many other communicative activities. The speaking skill in English language remains by far the most challenging skill for Tunisian students with an educational background based on Arabic as a first language and French as a second language. The student’s initial resistance to speak English in front of their classmates and the way they end up performing their work, shows the real progress they managed to achieve through PBL approach. The article will focus on the positive impact PBL has had on oral fluency among Esprit engineering students and how it has been achieved. It will also describe how speaking skill is taught and assessed at ESPRIT.
23
69230
Gender Diversity in Early Years Education: An Exploratory Study Applied to Preschool Curriculum System in Romania
Abstract:
As an EU goal, gender diversity in early year’s education aims and promotes equality of chances and respect for gender peculiarities of the pupils which are involved in formal educational activities. Early year’s education, as the first step to the Curriculum, prints to teachers the need to identify the role of the gender dimension on this stage, depending on the age level of preschool children through effective, complex, innovative and analytical awareness of gender diversity teaching and management strategies. Through gender educational work we, as teachers, will examine the effectiveness of the PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) curriculum the gender development of school-aged children. PATHS and a school-based preventive intervention model are necessary to be designed to improve children's ability to discuss and understand equality and gender concepts. Our teachers must create an intervention model and provide PATHS lessons during the school year. Results of the intervention will be effective for both low- and high-risk children in improving their range of math’s skills for girls and vocabulary, fluency and emotional part for boys in discussing gender experiences, their efficacy beliefs regarding the management of equality in gender area, and their developmental understanding of some aspects of gender.
22
128383
Chinese Undergraduates’ Trust in And Usage of Machine Translation: A Survey
Authors:
Abstract:
Neural network technology has greatly improved the output of machine translation in terms of both fluency and accuracy, which greatly increases its appeal for young users. The present exploratory study aims to find out how the Chinese undergraduates perceive and use machine translation in their daily life. A survey is conducted to collect data from 100 undergraduate students from multiple Chinese universities and with varied academic backgrounds, including arts, business, science, engineering, and medicine. The survey questions inquire about their use (including frequency, scenarios, purposes, and preferences) of and attitudes (including trust, quality assessment, justifications, and ethics) toward machine translation. Interviews and tasks of evaluating machine translation output are also employed in combination with the survey on a sample of selected respondents. The results indicate that Chinese undergraduate students use machine translation on a daily basis for a wide range of purposes in academic, communicative, and entertainment scenarios. Most of them have preferred machine translation tools, but the availability of machine translation tools within a certain scenario, such as the embedded machine translation tool on the webpage, is also the determining factor in their choice. The results also reveal that despite the reportedly limited trust in the accuracy of machine translation output, most students lack the ability to critically analyze and evaluate such output. Furthermore, the evidence is revealed of the inadequate awareness of ethical responsibility as machine translation users among Chinese undergraduate students.
21
112329
Neuropsychological Testing in a Multi-Lingual Society: Normative Data for South African Adults in More Than Eight Languages
Abstract:
South Africa is a developing country with significant diversity in languages spoken and quality of education available, creating challenges for fair and accurate neuropsychological assessments when most available neuropsychological tests are obtained from English-speaking developed countries. The aim of this research was to compare normative data on a spectrum of commonly used neuropsychological tests for English- and Afrikaans-speaking South Africans with relatively high quality of education and South Africans with relatively low quality of education who speak Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Sepedi, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa or Zulu. The participants were all healthy adults aged 18-60 years, with 8-12 years of education. All the participants were tested in their first language on the following tests: two non-verbal tests (Rey Osterrieth Complex Figure Test and Bell Cancellation Test), four verbal fluency tests (category, phonemic, verb and 'any words'), one verbal learning test (Rey Auditory Verbal Leaning Test) and three tests that have a verbal component (Trail Making Test A & B; Symbol Digit Modalities Test and Digit Span). Descriptive comparisons of mean scores and standard deviations across the language groups and between the groups with relatively high versus low quality of education highlight the importance of using normative data that takes into account language and quality of education.
20
117568
How Do L1 Teachers Assess Haitian Immigrant High School Students in Chile?
Abstract:
Immigration has largely increased in Chile in the last 20 years. About 6.6% of our population is foreign, from which 14.3% is Haitian. Haitians are between 15 and 29 years old and have come to Chile escaping from a social crisis. They believe that education and work will help them do better in life. Therefore, rates of Haitian students in the Chilean school system have also increased: there were 3,121 Haitian students enrolled in 2017. This is a challenge for the public school, which takes in young people who must face schooling, social immersion and learning of a second language simultaneously. The linguistic barrier affects both students’ and teachers’ adaptation process, which has an impact on the students’ academic performance and consequent acquisition of Spanish. In order to explore students’ academic performance and interlanguage development, we examined how L1 teachers assess Haitian high school students’ written production in Spanish. With this purpose, teachers were asked to use a specially designed grid to assess correction, accommodation, lexical and analytical complexity, organization and fluency of both Haitian and Chilean students. Parallelly, texts were approached from an error analysis perspective. Results from grids and error analysis were then compared. On the one hand, it has been found that teachers give very little feedback to students apart from scores and grades, which does not contribute to the development of the second language. On the other hand, error analysis has yielded that Haitian students are in a dynamic process of the acquisition of Spanish, which could be enhanced if L1 teacher were aware of the process of interlanguage developmen.
19
64903
Cognitive Impairment in Chronic Renal Patients on Hemodialysis
Abstract:
Chronic renal disease (CKD), accompanied by hemodialysis, causes chronic renal failure in a number of situations that compromises not only physical, personal and environmental aspects, but also psychological, social and family aspects. Objective: To verify the level of cognitive impairment of chronic renal patients on hemodialysis. Methodology: This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study. The present study was performed in a Dialysis Center of a city in the interior of the State of São Paulo. The inclusion criteria were: being 18 years or older; have a medical diagnosis of CKD; being in hemodialysis treatment in this unit; and agree to participate in the research, with the signature of the Informed Consent (TCLE). A total of 115 participants were evaluated through the Participant Characterization Instrument and the Addenbrooke Cognitive Exam - Revised Version (ACE-R), being scored from 0 to 100, stipulating the cut-off note for the complete battery
18
82193
Select Communicative Approaches and Speaking Skills of Junior High School Students
Abstract:
Speaking English, as a medium of instruction among students who are non-native English speakers poses a real challenge to achieve proficiency, especially so if it is a requirement in most communicative classroom instruction. It becomes a real burden among students whose English language orientation is not well facilitated and encouraged by teachers among national high schools. This study, which utilized a descriptive-correlational research, examined the relationship between the select communicative approaches commonly utilized in classroom instruction to the level of speaking skills among the identified high school students. Survey questionnaires, interview, and observations sheets were researcher instruments used to generate salient information. Data were analyzed and treated statistically utilizing weighted mean speaking skills levels and Pearson r to determine the relationship between the two identified variables of the study. Findings revealed that the level of English speaking skills of the high school students is just average. Further, among the identified speaking sub-skills, namely, grammar, pronunciation and fluency, the students were considered above average level. There was also a clear relationship of some communicative approaches to the respondents’ speaking skills. Most notable among the select approaches is that of role-playing, compared to storytelling, informal debate, brainstorming, oral reporting, and others. It may be because role-playing is the most commonly used approach in the classroom. This implies that when these high school students are given enough time and autonomy on how they could express their ideas or comprehension of some lessons, they are shown to have a spontaneous manner of expression, through the maximization of the second language. It can be concluded further that high school students have the capacity to express ideas even in the second language, only if they are encouraged and well-facilitated by teachers. Also, when a better communicative approach is identified and better implemented, thus, will level up students’ classroom engagement.
17
105059
Cognitive Behaviour Drama: A Research-Based Intervention Model to Improve Social Thinking in High-Functioning Children with Autism
Abstract:
Cognitive Behaviour Drama is a research-based intervention model that brought together the science of psychology with the art form of drama to create an unobtrusive and exciting approach that would provide children on the higher end of the autism spectrum the motivation to explore the rules of social interaction and develop competencies associated with communicative success. The method involves engaging the participants in exciting fictional scenarios and encouraging them to seek various solutions on a number of problems that will lead them to an understanding of causal relationships and how a different course of action may lead to a different outcome. The sessions are structured to offer opportunities to the participants to practice target behaviours and understand the functions they serve. The study involved six separate interventions and employed both single case and group designs. Overall 8 children aged between 6 to 13 years, diagnosed with ASD participated in the study. Outcomes were measured using theory of mind tests, executive functioning tests, behavioural observations, pre and post intervention standardised social competence questionnaires for parents and teachers. Collectively, the results indicated positive changes in the self esteem and behaviour of all eight participants. In particular, improvements in the ability to solve theory of mind tasks were noted in the younger group; and qualitative improvements in social communication, in terms of verbal (content) and non verbal expression (body posture, vocal expression, fluency, eye contact, reduction of ritualistic mannerisms) were noted in the older group. The need for reliable impact measures to assess the effectiveness of the model in generating global changes in the participants’ behaviour outside the therapeutic context was identified.
16
84513
Using Electronic Portfolio to Promote English Speaking Ability of EFL Undergraduate Students
Abstract:
Lack of exposure to English language in the authentic English setting naturally leads to a lack of fluency in the language. As a result, Thai EFL learners are struggling in meeting with the communication 'can do' descriptors of the Common European Framework of References (CEFR) required by the Ministry of Education. This initial phase of the ongoing study, employing the e-portfolio to promote the English speaking ability, probed into the effects of the use of e-portfolio on Thai EFL nursing students' speaking ability. Also, their opinions towards the use of e-portfolio to enhance their speaking ability were investigated. The participants were 44 undergraduate nursing students at a Thai College of Nursing. The participants undertook four lessons to promote their communication skills according to the CEFR criteria. Throughout the semester, the participants videotaped themselves while completing the four speaking tasks. The videos were then uploaded onto the e-portfolio website where the researcher provided them with the feedbacks. The video records were analyzed by the speaking rubric designed according to the CEFR 'can do' descriptors. Also, students were required to record self-reflections in video format and upload onto the same URL Students' oral self-reflections were coded to find out the perceptions towards the use of the e-portfolio in promoting their speaking ability. The results from the two research instruments suggested the effectiveness of the tool on improving speaking ability, learner autonomy and media literacy skills. In addition, the oral reflection videos revealed positive opinion towards the tool. The discussion offers the current status of English speaking ability among Thai EFL students. This reveals the gaps between the EFL speaking ability and the CEFR ‘can do’ descriptors. In addition, the author raises the light on integration of the 21st century IT tool to enhance these students’ speaking ability. Lastly, the theoretical implications and recommendation for further study in integrating electronic tools to promote language skills in the EFL context are offered for further research.
15
52239
Reduced Lung Volume: A Possible Cause of Stuttering
Abstract:
Stuttering may be defined as a speech disorder affecting the fluency domain of speech and characterized by covert features like word substitution, omittance and circumlocution and overt features like prolongation of sound, syllables and blocks etc. Many etiologies have been postulated to explain stuttering based on various experiments and research. Moreover, Breathlessness has also been reported by many individuals with stuttering for which breathing exercises are generally advised. However, no studies reporting objective evaluation of the pulmonary capacity and further objective assessment of the efficacy of breathing exercises have been conducted. Pulmonary Function Test which evaluates parameters like Forced Vital Capacity, Peak Expiratory Flow Rate, Forced expiratory flow Rate can be used to study the pulmonary behavior of individuals with stuttering. The study aimed: a) To identify speech motor & physiologic behaviours associated with stuttering by administering PFT. b) To recognize possible reasons for an association between speech motor behaviour & stuttering severity. In this regard, PFT tests were administered on individuals who reported signs and symptoms of stuttering and showed abnormal scores on Stuttering Severity Index. Parameters like Forced Vital Capacity, Forced Expiratory Volume, Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (L/min), Forced Expiratory Flow Rate (L/min) were evaluated and correlated with scores of Stuttering Severity Index. Results showed significant decrease in the parameters (lower than normal scores) in individuals with established stuttering. Strong correlation was also found between degree of stuttering and the degree of decrease in the pulmonary volumes. Thus, it is evident that fluent speech requires strong support of lung pressure and requisite volumes. Further research in demonstrating the efficacy of abdominal breathing exercises in this regard is needed.
14
99557
Emotional and Physiological Reaction While Listening the Speech of Adults Who Stutter
Abstract:
Stuttered speech is filled with intermittent sound prolongations and/or rapid part word repetitions. Oftentimes, these aberrant acoustic behaviors are associated with intermittent physical tension and struggle behaviors such as head jerks, arm jerks, finger tapping, excessive eye-blinks, etc. Additionally, the jarring nature of acoustic and physical manifestations that often accompanies moderate-severe stuttering may induce negative emotional responses in listeners, which alters communication between the person who stutters and their listeners. However, researches for the influence of negative emotions in the communication and for physical reaction are limited. Therefore, to compare psycho-physiological responses of fluent adults, while listening the speech of adults who speak fluency and adults who stutter, are necessary. This study comprises the experimental method, with total of 104 participants (average age-20 years old, SD=2.1), divided into 3 groups. All participants self-reported no impairments in speech, language, or hearing. Exploring the responses of the participants, there were used two records speeches; a voice who speaks fluently and the voice who stutters. Heartbeats and the pulse were measured by the digital blood pressure monitor called 'Tensoval', as a physiological response to the fluent and stuttering sample. Meanwhile, the emotional responses of participants were measured by the self-reporting questionnaire (Steenbarger, 2001). Results showed an increase in heartbeats during the stuttering speech compared with the fluent sample (p < 0.5). The listeners also self-reported themselves as more alive, unhappy, nervous, repulsive, sad, tense, distracted and upset when listening the stuttering words versus the words of the fluent adult (where it was reported to experience positive emotions). These data support the notions that speech with stuttering can bring a psycho-physical reaction to the listeners. Speech pathologists should be aware that listeners show intolerable physiological reactions to stuttering that remain visible over time.
13
90706
Intentions and Willingness of Marketing Professionals to Adopt Neuromarketing
Abstract:
This paper is part of a doctoral research study aimed to identify behavioral indicators for the existence of the new marketing paradigm. Neuromarketing is becoming a growing trend in the marketing industry worldwide and it is capturing a lot of interest among the members of academia and the practitioner community. However, it is still not very clear how big of an impact neuromarketing might have in the following years. In an effort to get closer to an answer, this study investigates behavioral intentions and willingness to adopt neuromarketing and its practices by the marketing professionals, including academics, practitioners, students, researchers, experts and journal editors. The participants in the study include marketing professionals at different levels of neuromarketing fluency with residency in the United States of America and the South East Europe. The total of 19 participants participated in the interviews, all of whom belong to more than one group of marketing professionals. The authors use qualitative research approach and open-ended interview questions specifically developed to assess ideas, beliefs and opinions that marketing professionals hold towards neuromarketing. In constructing the interview questions, the authors have used the theory of planned behavior, the prototype willingness model and the technology acceptance model as a theoretical framework. Previous studies have not explicitly investigated the behavioral intentions of marketing professionals to engage in neuromarketing behavior, which is described here as a tendency to apply neuromarketing assumptions and tools in usual marketing practices. This study suggests that the marketing professionals believe that neuromarketing can contribute to the business in a positive way and outlines the main advantages and disadvantages of adopting neuromarketing as identified by the participants. In addition, the study reveals an emerging image of an exemplar company that is perceived to be using neuromarketing, including the most common characteristics and attributes. These findings are believed to be crucial in facilitating a way for neuromarketing field to have a broader impact than it currently does by recognizing and understanding the limitations that such exemplars imply and how that has an effect on the decision-making of marketing professionals.
12
71368
Effect of Blood Sugar Levels on Short Term and Working Memory Status in Type 2 Diabetics
Abstract:
Background: The increase in diabetes among the elderly is of concern because in addition to the wide range of traditional diabetes complications, evidence has been growing that diabetes is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline. Aims and Objectives: To find out if there is any association between blood sugar levels and short-term and working memory status in patients of type 2 diabetes. Materials and Methods: The study was carried out in 200 individuals aged between 40-65 years consisting of 100 diagnosed cases of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and 100 non-diabetics from OPD of Mc Gann Hospital, Shivamogga. Rye’s Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Verbal Fluency Test and Visual Reproduction Test, Working Digit Span Test and Validation Span Test were used to assess short-term and working memory. Fasting and Post Prandial blood sugar levels were estimated. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS 21. Results: Memory test scores of type 2 diabetics were significantly reduced (p < 0.001) when compared to the memory scores of age and gender matched non-diabetics. Fasting blood sugar levels were found to have a negative correlation with memory scores for all 5 tests: AVLT (r=-0.837), VFT (r=-0.888), VRT(r=-0.787), WDST (r=-0.795) and VST (r=-0.943). Post- Prandial blood sugar levels were found to have a negative correlation with memory scores for all 5 tests: AVLT (r=-0.922), VFT (r=-0.848), VRT(r=-0.707),WDST (r=-0.729) and VST (r=-0.880) Memory scores in all 5 tests were found to be negatively correlated with the FBS and PPBS levels in diabetic patients (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The decreased memory status in diabetic patients may be due to many factors like hyperglycemia, vascular disease, insulin resistance, amyloid deposition and also some of the factor combine to produce additive effects like, type of diabetes, co-morbidities, age of onset, duration of the disease and type of therapy. These observed effects of blood sugar levels of diabetics on memory status are of potential clinical importance because even mild cognitive impairment could interfere with todays’ activities.
11
62317
Impact of Expressive Writing on Creativity
Abstract:
Negative emotions are rather seen as creativity inhibitor. On the other hand, it is worth noting that negative emotions may be good for our functioning. Negative emotions enhance cognitive resources and improve evaluative processes. Moreover maintaining a negative emotional state allow for cognitive reinterpretation of the emotional stimuli, what is good for our creativity, especially cognitive flexibility. Writing a diary or writing about difficult emotional experiences in general can be the way to not only improve psychical health, but also – enhance creative behaviors. Thanks to translating difficult emotions to the verbal level and giving them ‘a name’ or ‘a label’, we can get easier access to both emotional content of an experience and to the semantic content, without the need of speaking out loud. Expressive writing improves academic results and the efficiency of working memory. The classical method of writing about emotions consists in a long-term process of describing negative experiences. Present research demonstrate the efficiency of this process over a shorter period of time - one writing session, on school children sample. Participants performed writing task. Writing task had two different topics: emotions connected with their negative emotions (expressive writing) and content not connected with negative emotional state (writing about one’s typical day). Creativity was measured by Guilford’s Alternative Uses Task. Results have shown that writing about negative emotions results in the higher level of divergent thinking in all three parameters: fluency, flexibility and originality. After the writing task mood of expressive writing participants remained negative more than the mood of the controls. Taking an expressive action after a difficult emotional experience can support functioning, which can be observed in enhancement of divergent thinking. Writing about emotions connected with negative experience makes one more creative, than writing about something unrelated with difficult emotional moments. Research has shown that young people should not demonize negative emotions. Sometimes, properly applied, negative emotions can be the basis of creation. Preparation was supported by a The Young Scientist University grant titled ‘Dynamics of emotions in the creative process’ from The Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
10
92235
The Concurrent Effect of Autistic and Schizotypal Traits on Convergent and Divergent Thinking
Abstract:
Convergent and divergent thinking are two main components of creativity that have been viewed as complementary. While divergent thinking refers to the fluency and flexibility of generating new ideas, convergent thinking refers to the ability to systematically apply rules and knowledge to arrive at the optimal solution or idea. These creativity components have been shown to be susceptible to variation in subclinical expressions of autistic and schizotypal traits within the general population. Research, albeit inconclusively, mainly linked positive schizotypal traits with divergent thinking and autistic traits with convergent thinking. However, cumulative evidence suggests that these trait dimensions can co-occur in the same individual more than would be expected by chance and that their concurrent effect can be diametric and even interactive. The current study aimed at investigating the concurrent effect of these trait dimensions on tasks assessing convergent and divergent thinking abilities. We predicted that individuals with high positive schizotypal traits alone would perform particularly well on the divergent thinking task, whilst those with high autistic traits alone would perform particularly well on the convergent thinking task. Crucially, we also predicted that individuals who are high on both autistic and positive schizotypal traits would perform particularly well on both the divergent and convergent thinking tasks. This was investigated in a non-clinical sample of 142 individuals (Males = 45%; Mean age = 21.45, SD = 2.30), sufficient to minimally observe an effect size f² ≥ .10. Divergent thinking was evaluated using the Alternative Uses Task, and convergent thinking with the Anagrams Task. Autistic and schizotypal traits were respectively assessed with the Autism Quotient Questionnaire (AQ) and the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE). Regression analyses revealed that the positive association of autistic traits with convergent thinking scores was qualified with an interaction with positive schizotypal traits. Specifically, positive schizotypal traits were negatively associated with convergent thinking scores when AQ scores were relatively low, but this trend was reversed when AQ scores were high. Conversely, the positive effect of AQ scores on convergent thinking progressively increased with increasing positive schizotypal traits. The results of divergent thinking task are currently being analyzed and will be reported at the conference. The association of elevated autistic and positive schizotypal traits with convergent thinking may represent a unique profile of creative thinkers who are able to simultaneously draw on trait-specific advantages conferred by autistic and positively schizotypal traits such as local and global processing. This suggests that main-effect models can tell an incomplete story regarding the effect of autistic and positive schizotypal traits on creativity-related processes. Future creativity research should consider their interaction and the benefits conferred by their co-presence.
9
102769
Changes in Cognition of Elderly People: A Longitudinal Study in Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand
Abstract:
Longitudinal studies related to cognitive impairment in elderly are necessary for health promotion and development. The purposes of this study were (1) to examine changes in cognition of elderly over time and (2) to examine the impacts of changes in social determinants of health (SDH) toward changes in cognition of elderly by using the secondary data derived from the Kanchanaburi Demographic Surveillance System (KDSS) by the Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR) which contained longitudinal data on individuals, households, and villages. Two selected projects included the Health and Social Support for Elderly in KDSS in 2007 and the Population, Economic, Social, Cultural, and Long-term Care Surveillance for Thai Elderly People’s Health Promotion in 2011. The samples were 586 elderly participated in both projects. SDH included living arrangement, social relationships with children, relatives, and friends, household asset-based wealth index, household monthly income, loans for livings, loans for investment, and working status. Cognitive impairment was measured by category fluency and delayed recall. This study employed Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) model to investigate changes in cognition by taking SDH and other variables such as age, gender, marital status, education, and depression into the model. The unstructured correlation structure was selected to use for analysis. The results revealed that 24 percent of elderly had cognitive impairment at baseline. About 13 percent of elderly still had cognitive impairment during 2007 until 2011. About 21 percent and 11 percent of elderly had cognitive decline and cognitive improvement, respectively. The cross-sectional analysis showed that household asset-based wealth index, social relationship with friends, working status, age, marital status, education, and depression were significantly associated with cognitive impairment. The GEE model revealed longitudinal effects of household asset-based wealth index and working status against cognition during 2007 until 2011. There was no longitudinal effect of social conditions against cognition. Elderly living with richer household asset-based wealth index, still being employed, and being younger were less likely to have cognitive impairment. The results strongly suggested that poorer household asset-based wealth index and being unemployed were served as a risk factor for cognitive impairment over time. Increasing age was still the major risk for cognitive impairment as well.
8
99877
The Negative Impact of Mindfulness on Creativity: An Experimental Test
Abstract:
Defined as receptive attention to and awareness of present events and experience, mindfulness has grown in popularity over the past 30 years to become a trendy buzzword in business media, which regularly reports on its organizational benefits. Mindfulness would enhance or impede creative thinking depending on the type of meditation. Specifically, focused-attention meditation (focusing attention on one object instead of being open to perceive and observe any sensation or thought) would not be or negatively correlated to creativity. This research explores whether mood, in its two dimensions (i.e., hedonic tone, activation level), could mediate this potentially negative effect. The rationale is that focused-attention meditation is likely to improve hedonic tone but, in the meantime, damage activation level, resulting in opposite effects on creativity through the mediation effect of creative self-efficacy, i.e., the belief that one can perform successfully in an ideation setting. To test this conceptual model, a survey was administered to 97 subjects (53% women, mean age: 25 years), randomly assigned to three conditions (a 10-minute focused-attention meditation session vs. a 10-minute psychometric tests session vs. a control condition) and asked to participate in the egg creative task. Creativity was measured in terms of fluency, expansivity, and originality, the other variables using existing scales: hedonic tone (e.g., joyful, happy), activation level (e.g., passive, sluggish), creative self-efficacy (e.g., ‘I felt confident in my ability to do the task effectively’) and self-perceived creativity (e.g., ‘I have lots of original ideas’). The chains of mediation were tested using PROCESS macro (model 6) and controlled for subjects’ gender, age, and self-perceived creativity. Comparing the mindfulness and the control conditions, no difference appeared in terms of creativity, nor any mediation chain by hedonic tone. However, subjects who participated in the meditation session felt less active than those in the control condition, which decreased their creative self-efficacy, and creativity (whatever the indicator considered). Comparing the mindfulness and the psychometric tests conditions, analyses showed that creativity was higher in the psychometric tests condition. As previously, no mediation chain appeared by hedonic tone. However, subjects who participated in the meditation session felt less active than those in the psychometric tests condition, which decreased their creative self-efficacy, and creativity. These findings confirm that focused-attention meditation does not enhance creativity. They demonstrate an emotional underlying mechanism based on activation level and suggest that both positive and active mood states have the potential to enhance creativity through creative self-efficacy. In the end, they should discourage organizations from trying to nudge creativity using mindfulness ad hoc devices.
7
35732
Rheological Evaluation of a Mucoadhesive Precursor of Based-Poloxamer 407 or Polyethylenimine Liquid Crystal System for Buccal Administration
Abstract:
Mucoadhesive liquid crystalline systems are emerging how delivery systems for oral cavity. These systems are interesting since they facilitate the targeting of medicines and change the release enabling a reduction in the number of applications made by the patient. The buccal mucosa is permeable besides present a great blood supply and absence of first pass metabolism, it is a good route of administration. It was developed two systems liquid crystals utilizing as surfactant the ethyl alcohol ethoxylated and propoxylated (30%) as oil phase the oleic acid (60%), and the aqueous phase (10%) dispersion of polymer polyethylenimine (0.5%) or dispersion of polymer poloxamer 407 (16%), with the intention of applying the buccal mucosa. Initially, was performed for characterization of systems the conference by polarized light microscopy and rheological analysis. For the preparation of the systems the components described was added above in glass vials and shaken. Then, 30 and 100% artificial saliva were added to each prepared formulation so as to simulate the environment of the oral cavity. For the verification of the system structure, aliquots of the formulations were observed in glass slide and covered with a coverslip, examined in polarized light microscope (PLM) Axioskop - Zeizz® in 40x magnifier. The formulations were also evaluated for their rheological profile Rheometer TA Instruments®, which were obtained rheograms the selected systems employing fluency mode (flow) in temperature of 37ºC (98.6ºF). In PLM, it was observed that in formulations containing polyethylenimine and poloxamer 407 without the addition of artificial saliva was observed dark-field being indicative of microemulsion, this was also observed with the formulation that was increased with 30% of the artificial saliva. In the formulation that was increased with 100% simulated saliva was shown to be a system structure since it presented anisotropy with the presence of striae being indicative of hexagonal liquid crystalline mesophase system. Upon observation of rheograms, both systems without the addition of artificial saliva showed a Newtonian profile, after addition of 30% artificial saliva have been given a non-Newtonian behavior of the pseudoplastic-thixotropic type and after adding 100% of the saliva artificial proved plastic-thixotropic. Furthermore, it is clearly seen that the formulations containing poloxamer 407 have significantly larger (15-800 Pa) shear stress compared to those containing polyethyleneimine (5-50 Pa), indicating a greater plasticity of these. Thus, it is possible to observe that the addition of saliva was of interest to the system structure, starting from a microemulsion for a liquid crystal system, thereby also changing thereby its rheological behavior. The systems have promising characteristics as controlled release systems to the oral cavity, as it features good fluidity during its possible application and greater structuring of the system when it comes into contact with environmental saliva.
6
27263
A New Perspective in Cervical Dystonia: Neurocognitive Impairment
Abstract:
Background: Primary cervical dystonia is thought to be a purely motor disorder. But recent studies revealed that patients with dystonia had additional non-motor features. Sensory and psychiatric disturbances could be included into the non-motor spectrum of dystonia. The Basal Ganglia receive inputs from all cortical areas and throughout the thalamus project to several cortical areas, thus participating to circuits that have been linked to motor as well as sensory, emotional and cognitive functions. However, there are limited studies indicating cognitive impairment in patients with cervical dystonia. More evidence is required regarding neurocognitive functioning in these patients. Objective: This study is aimed to investigate neurocognitive profile of cervical dystonia patients in comparison to healthy controls (HC) by employing a detailed set of neuropsychological tests in addition to self-reported instruments. Methods: Totally 29 (M/F: 7/22) cervical dystonia patients and 30 HC (M/F: 10/20) were included into the study. Exclusion criteria were depression and not given informed consent. Standard demographic, educational data and clinical reports (disease duration, disability index) were recorded for all patients. After a careful neurological evaluation, all subjects were given a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests: Self report of neuropsychological condition (by visual analogue scale-VAS, 0-100), RAVLT, STROOP, PASAT, TMT, SDMT, JLOT, DST, COWAT, ACTT, and FST. Patients and HC were compared regarding demographic, clinical features and neurocognitive tests. Also correlation between disease duration, disability index and self report -VAS were assessed. Results: There was no difference between patients and HCs regarding socio-demographic variables such as age, gender and years of education (p levels were 0.36, 0.436, 0.869; respectively). All of the patients were assessed at the peak of botulinum toxine effect and they were not taking an anticholinergic agent or benzodiazepine. Dystonia patients had significantly impaired verbal learning and memory (RAVLT, p< 0.001), divided attention and working memory (ACTT, p< 0.001), attention speed (TMT-A and B, p=0.008, 0.050), executive functions (PASAT, p< 0.001; SDMT, p= 0.001; FST, p< 0.001), verbal attention (DST, p=0.001), verbal fluency (COWAT, p< 0.001), visio-spatial processing (JLOT, p< 0.001) in comparison to healthy controls. But focused attention (STROOP-spontaneous correction) was not different between two groups (p>0.05). No relationship was found regarding disease duration and disability index with any neurocognitive tests. Conclusions: Our study showed that neurocognitive functions of dystonia patients were worse than control group with the similar age, sex, and education independently clinical expression like disease duration and disability index. This situation may be the result of possible cortical and subcortical changes in dystonia patients. Advanced neuroimaging techniques might be helpful to explain these changes in cervical dystonia patients.
5
48791
Nurturing Students' Creativity through Engagement in Problem Posing and Self-Assessment of Its Development
Abstract:
In a rapidly changing technological society, creativity is considered as an engine of economic and social progress. No doubt the education system has a central role in nurturing all students’ creativity, however, it is normally not encouraged at school. The causes of this reality are related to a variety of circumstances, among them: external pressures to cover the curriculum and succeed in standardized tests that mostly require algorithmic thinking and implementation of rules; teachers’ tendency to teach similarly to the way they themselves were taught as school students; relating creativity to giftedness, and therefore avoid nurturing all students' creativity; lack of adequate learning materials and accessible tools for following and evaluating the development of students’ creativity; and more. Since success in academic studies requires, among other things, creativity, lecturers in higher education institutions should consider appropriate ways to nurture students’ creative thinking and assess its development. Obviously, creativity has a multifaceted nature, numerous definitions, various perspectives for studying its essence (e.g., process, personality, environment, and product), and several approaches aimed at evaluating and assessing creative expressions (e.g., cognitive, social-personal, and psychometric). In this framework, we suggest nurturing students’ creativity through engaging them in problem posing activities that are part of inquiry assignments. In order to assess the development of their creativity, we propose to employ a model that was designed for this purpose, based on the psychometric approach, viewing the posed problems as the “creative product”. The model considers four measurable aspects- fluency, flexibility, originality, and organization, as well as a total score of creativity that reflects the relative weights of each aspect. The scores given to learners are of two types: (1) Total scores- the absolute number of posed problems with respect to each of the four aspects, and a final score of creativity; (2) Relative scores- each absolute number is transformed into a number that relates to the relative infrequency of the posed problems in student’s reference group. Through converting the scores received over time into a graphical display, students can assess their progress both with respect to themselves and relative to their reference group. Course lecturers can get a picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each student as well as the class as a whole, and to track changes that occur over time in response to the learning environment they had generated. Such tracking may assist lecturers in making pedagogical decisions about emphases that should be put on one or more aspects of creativity, and about the students that should be given a special attention. Our experience indicates that schoolteachers and lecturers in higher education institutes find the combination of engaging learners in problem posing along with self-assessment of their progress through utilizing the graphical display of accumulating total and relative scores has the potential to realize most learners’ creative potential.
4
77744
The Asymptotic Hole Shape in Long Pulse Laser Drilling: The Influence of Multiple Reflections
Abstract:
In long pulse laser drilling of metals, it can be demonstrated that the ablation shape approaches a so-called asymptotic shape such that it changes only slightly or not at all with further irradiation. These findings are already known from ultra short pulse (USP) ablation of dielectric and semiconducting materials. The explanation for the occurrence of an asymptotic shape in long pulse drilling of metals is identified, a model for the description of the asymptotic hole shape numerically implemented, tested and clearly confirmed by comparison with experimental data. The model assumes a robust process in that way that the characteristics of the melt flow inside the arising melt film does not change qualitatively by changing the laser or processing parameters. Only robust processes are technically controllable and thus of industrial interest. The condition for a robust process is identified by a threshold for the mass flow density of the assist gas at the hole entrance which has to be exceeded. Within a robust process regime the melt flow characteristics can be captured by only one model parameter, namely the intensity threshold. In analogy to USP ablation (where it is already known for a long time that the resulting hole shape results from a threshold for the absorbed laser fluency) it is demonstrated that in the case of robust long pulse ablation the asymptotic shape forms in that way that along the whole contour the absorbed heat flux density is equal to the intensity threshold. The intensity threshold depends on the special material and radiation properties and has to be calibrated be one reference experiment. The model is implemented in a numerical simulation which is called AsymptoticDrill and requires such a few amount of resources that it can run on common desktop PCs, laptops or even smart devices. Resulting hole shapes can be calculated within seconds what depicts a clear advantage over other simulations presented in literature in the context of industrial every day usage. Against this background the software additionally is equipped with a user-friendly GUI which allows an intuitive usage. Individual parameters can be adjusted using sliders while the simulation result appears immediately in an adjacent window. A platform independent development allow a flexible usage: the operator can use the tool to adjust the process in a very convenient manner on a tablet during the developer can execute the tool in his office in order to design new processes. Furthermore, at the best knowledge of the authors AsymptoticDrill is the first simulation which allows the import of measured real beam distributions and thus calculates the asymptotic hole shape on the basis of the real state of the specific manufacturing system. In this paper the emphasis is placed on the investigation of the effect of multiple reflections on the asymptotic hole shape which gain in importance when drilling holes with large aspect ratios.
3
54956
Nurse Participation for the Economical Effectiveness in Medical Organizations
Abstract:
The usual relation to nurses of heads of medical organizations in Kazakhstan is to use them only for per performing medical manipulations, but new economic conditions require the introduction of nursing innovations. There is an increasing need for managers of hospital departments and regions of ambulatory clinics to ensure comfortable conditions for doctors, nurses, aides, as well as monitoring marketing technology (the needs and satisfaction of staff work, the patient satisfaction of the department). It is going to the past the nursing activities as physician assistant performing his prescriptions passively. We are suggesting a model for the developing the head nurse as the manager on the example of Blood Service. We have studied in the scientific-production center of blood transfusion head nurses by the standard method of interviewing for involvement in coordinating the flow of information, promoting the competitiveness of the department. Results: the average age of the respondents 43,1 ± 9,8, female - 100%; manager in the Organization – 9,3 ± 10,3 years. Received positive responses to the knowledge of the nearest offices in providing similar medical service - 14,2%. The cost of similar medical services in other competitive organizations did not know 100%, did a study of employee satisfaction Division labour-85,7% answered negatively, the satisfaction donors work staff studied in 50.0% of cases involved in attracting paid Services Division showed a 28.5% of the respondent. Participation in management decisions medical organization: strategic planning - 14,2%, forming analysis report for the year – 14,2%, recruitment-30.0%, equipment-14.2%. Participation in the social and technical designing workplaces Division staff showed 85,0% of senior nurses. Participate in the cohesion of the staff of the Division method of the team used the 10.0% of respondents. Further, we have studied the behavioral competencies for senior sisters: customer focus – 20,0% of respondents have attended, the ability to work in a team – 40,0%. Personal qualities senior nurses were apparent: sociability – 80,0%, the ability to manage information – 40,0%, to make their own decisions - 14,2%, 28,5% creativity, the desire to improve their professionalism – 50,0%. Thus, the modern market conditions dictate this organization, which works for the rights of economic management; include the competence of the post of the senior nurse knowledge and skills of Marketing Management Department. Skills to analyses the information collected and use of management offers superior medical leadership organization. The medical organization in the recruitment of the senior nurse offices take into account personal qualities: flexibility, fluency of thinking, communication skills and ability to work in a team. As well as leadership qualities, ambition, high emotional and social intelligence, that will bring out the medical unit on competitiveness within the country and abroad.
2
58697
Describing Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease via a Picture Description Writing Task
Abstract:
For the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), a large variety of neuropsychological tests are available. In some of these tests, linguistic processing - both oral and written - is an important factor. Language disturbances might serve as a strong indicator for an underlying neurodegenerative disorder like AD. However, the current diagnostic instruments for language assessment mainly focus on product measures, such as text length or number of errors, ignoring the importance of the process that leads to written or spoken language production. In this study, it is our aim to describe and test differences between cognitive and impaired elderly on the basis of a selection of writing process variables (inter- and intrapersonal characteristics). These process variables are mainly related to pause times, because the number, length, and location of pauses have proven to be an important indicator of the cognitive complexity of a process. Method: Participants that were enrolled in our research were chosen on the basis of a number of basic criteria necessary to collect reliable writing process data. Furthermore, we opted to match the thirteen cognitively impaired patients (8 MCI and 5 AD) with thirteen cognitively healthy elderly. At the start of the experiment, participants were each given a number of tests, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination test (MMSE), the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), the forward and backward digit span and the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory (EHI). Also, a questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic information (age, gender, eduction) of the subjects as well as more details on their level of computer literacy. The tests and questionnaire were followed by two typing tasks and two picture description tasks. For the typing tasks participants had to copy (type) characters, words and sentences from a screen, whereas the picture description tasks each consisted of an image they had to describe in a few sentences. Both the typing and the picture description tasks were logged with Inputlog, a keystroke logging tool that allows us to log and time stamp keystroke activity to reconstruct and describe text production processes. The main rationale behind keystroke logging is that writing fluency and flow reveal traces of the underlying cognitive processes. This explains the analytical focus on pause (length, number, distribution, location, etc.) and revision (number, type, operation, embeddedness, location, etc.) characteristics. As in speech, pause times are seen as indexical of cognitive effort. Results. Preliminary analysis already showed some promising results concerning pause times before, within and after words. For all variables, mixed effects models were used that included participants as a random effect and MMSE scores, GDS scores and word categories (such as determiners and nouns) as a fixed effect. For pause times before and after words cognitively impaired patients paused longer than healthy elderly. These variables did not show an interaction effect between the group participants (cognitively impaired or healthy elderly) belonged to and word categories. However, pause times within words did show an interaction effect, which indicates pause times within certain word categories differ significantly between patients and healthy elderly.
1
35055
Cluster Randomized Trial of 'Ready to Learn': An After-School Literacy Program for Children Starting School
Abstract:
Background: Despite improvements in recent years, almost one in six children in Northern Ireland (NI) leaves primary school without achieving the expected level in English and Maths. By early adolescence, this ratio is one in five. In 2010-11, around 9000 pupils in NI had failed to achieve the required standard in literacy and numeracy by the time they left full-time education. This paper reports the findings of an experimental evaluation of a programmed designed to improve educational outcomes of a cohort of children starting primary school in areas of high social disadvantage in Northern Ireland. The intervention: ‘Ready to Learn’ comprised two key components: a literacy-rich After School programme (one hour after school, three days per week), and a range of activities and support to promote the engagement of parents with their children’s learning, in school and at home. The intervention was delivered between September 2010 and August 2013. Study aims and objectives: The primary aim was to assess whether, and to what extent, ‘Ready to Learn’ improved the literacy of socially disadvantaged children entering primary schools compared with children in schools without access to the programme. Secondary aims included assessing the programme’s impact on children’s social, emotional and behavioural regulation, and parents’ engagement with their children’s learning. In total, 505 children (almost all) participated in the baseline assessment for the study, with good retention over seven sweeps of data collection. Study design: The intervention was evaluated by means of a cluster randomized trial, with schools as the unit of randomization and analysis. It included a qualitative component designed to examine process and implementation, and to explore the concept of parental engagement. Sixteen schools participated, with nine randomized to the experimental group. As well as outcome data relating to children, 134 semi-structured interviews were conducted with parents over the three years of the study, together with 88 interviews with school staff. Results: Given the children’s ages, not all measures used were direct measures of reading. Findings point to a positive impact of “Ready to Learn” on children’s reading achievement (comprehension and fluency), as assessed by the York Assessment of Reading Comprehension (YARC) and decoding, assessed using the Word Recognition and Phonic Skills (WRaPS3). Effects were not large, but evidence suggests that it is unusual for an after school programme to clearly to demonstrate effects on reading skills. No differences were found on three other measures of literacy-related skills: British Picture Vocabulary Scale (BPVS-II), Naming Speed and Non-word Reading Tests from the Phonological Assessment Battery (PhAB) or Concepts about Print (CAP) – the last due to an age-related ceiling effect). No differences were found between the two groups on measures of social, emotional and behavioural regulation, and due to low levels of participation, it was not possible directly to assess the contribution of the parent component to children’s outcomes. The qualitative data highlighted conflicting concepts of engagement between parents and school staff. Ready to Learn is a promising intervention that merits further support and evaluation.