Dissertations for English Language Teaching (ELT)

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    Students at risk of academic failure: Could differentiated instruction be a catalyst for school reform?
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2022-01) WILSON-GULSTON, DANIELLE
    One of the main motivations and intent for undertaking this line of research is due to the sustained concern around the continuously increasing rates of attrition among students in the Caribbean. A 2020 Joint Select Committee on Human Rights, Equality and Diversity aimed to investigate the impact of current curriculum delivery and other contributing factors on the increased dropout rates in males in Trinidad and Tobago. Upon examination of this report it became increasingly apparent the need to explore the linkages and relationships between students at risk of academic failure (not only males) and the understanding and implementation of instructional differentiation in the teacher population and the corollary this knowledge has to inform bottom up policy reform. The literature first centres on the definition of students at risk of academic failure from various perspectives and then narrows in on the Caribbean context. Tomlinson’s Model of Differentiation was a key theoretical framework on which the study was built as it was a critical connector between the adaptation of classroom practices to students with specific needs (such as students at risk of academic failure). The review then went on to find the possible linkages existing in current literature between classroom practice and how it can inform bottom up policy creation for the purposes of reform. Using a convergent parallel mixed methods approach the researcher was able to delve into teachers’ perspectives around the identification of students at risk of academic failure, their level of awareness and approaches to instructional differentiation, as well as, their beliefs on its ability to inform policy. This was done through a survey and qualitative interviews. The initial analysis of data within the pilot study indicates teachers hold critical insights to facilitate the reduction of student attrition specifically students at risk of academic failure. There is also evidence which suggests that through the implementation of instructional differentiation for students at risk of academic failure critical insight into general methodologies of retention are revealed and this in itself provides key information needed to inform policy and encourage reform from the bottom up.
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    Exploring Factors Affecting the Implementation of Reforms in Higher Education in the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2021-11) ALEISSEH, SARA ABEDELQADER IBRAHIM
    The present study “Exploring factors affecting the implementation of reforms in higher education in the UAE” deals with the factors that are involved and influence the United Arab Emirates’ educational reforms. The objective of this study is to explore the requirement in order to implement the reform in UAE’s educational system so that its potential could be increased. Also, the goal is to identify that what are the positive and constructive outcomes which could be introduced in the system of education by these reforms’ implementation. Moreover, the aim is to also explore the impact level of the supporting factors that can help in the implementation of such reforms in UAE’s educational system successfully. To investigate, quantitative research method was selected as it provides generalizability and objectivity better than the other methods. A questionnaire was developed that was tested for the reliability and validity. The developed instrument (questionnaire) was found reliable after 4 items were removed. The sample consisted of people who had good knowledge regarding the problem under consideration and held a good position. The participants were approached after taking their consent. Data was collected on 5 point Likert scale by scheduling a meeting time. Responses were taken. All the responses were analyzed by using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Correlation, regression and Anova were focused along with other statistics. The result showed that the Curriculum and pedagogy, Educational management, Government policies and Educational leadership directly affect education reforms. The study has implications in the field of higher education as this can create a ground for the educational reforms to improve the system of higher education.
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    The Impact of ICT Integration on Teaching and Learning in ESL Classrooms in one of Abu Dhabi’s Middle Private Schools: A Case Study.
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2018-11) ALOMARI, MARYAM MOHAMMAD
    The current study investigates the impacts of technology integration on teaching and learning in English as a second language classes from the perspective of middle school teachers, students, and parents. To achieve the study purpose and answer the three research questions, a qualitative research was designed and three collection data tools were utilized to answer the research questions. The participants were 10 ESL teachers, 50 students, and 7 parents. The researcher designed an open ended questions survey to be answered by the students, and prepared two different sets of semi structured interviews to be addressed to teachers and parents; the interview questions were open ended questions as well. The researcher conducted this particular study due to the lack of similar studies that were implemented in the middle schools. Moreover, this study used the triangulation method to have a valid outcomes and a holistic explanation for the phenomenon. Moving to the findings, this research found that teachers’ perspective of ICT integration impact is more likely to be a positive view with being balanced between the technological and the traditional. Students’ perspective was also positive towards ICT integration. The only negative view was addressed by the parents who asked for more traditional teaching and learning, and if ICT integration was an official demand, they need it to be well monitored
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    Teaching English Language Vocabulary to ESL Learners via mobile phone applications short message service (SMS): An Investigation Based on Arabic-speaking Learners
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2014-03) Abdou, Ali
    Vocabulary is the corner stone in learning English language that affects the four skills of the language (reading listening, speaking and writing). Accordingly, this dissertation investigates students’ low achievement in learning second language vocabulary and how to improve their attainment by assimilating teaching, learning and technology in a model of partnering pedagogy. The study focuses on EFL male students in one of Dubai’s secondary schools aged 16:19. The diffusion of mobile phones all over the world is continually increasing , this dissertation applies mobile phones applications SMS in teaching and learning EFL vocabulary due to its comparatively low cost, quite use, asynchronous nature, and features of privacy . The study used the mixed approach (qualitative and quantitative) to investigate the effectiveness of using SMS applications on learning English vocabulary. Fifty students of grade 12 in Hamdan Bin Rashid for Secondary Education were the subjects of the study. Twenty five students in the control group studied academic vocabulary list of 60 words as a printed material. The other 25 students forming the experimental group studied the same 60 academic words via mobile phone applications (SMS). An analysis of the result showed no significant difference between both groups in the immediate post-test while there was a significant difference in the delayed post-test which signifies the effectiveness of using mobile phone applications in teaching and learning English vocabulary.
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    An Analysis of the Common Grammatical Errors in the English Writing made by 3rd Secondary Male Students in the Eastern Coast of the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2008-06) Hourani, Taiseer Mohammed Y.
    Having students to produce an organized, neat and error-free piece of writing has always been the life long dream and the ambition of all EFL teachers. The purpose of this study is to explore the common types of grammatical errors made by Emirati secondary male students in their English essay writing. The study was conducted in five leading schools on the Eastern Coast of the UAE. The most common and salient grammatical errors which were found in the students essays included: passivization, verb tense and form, subject-verb agreement, word order, prepositions, articles, plurality and auxiliaries. These errors were classified and tabulated according to their number of frequency in the students essays. 105 students and 20 teachers participated in completing two separate questionnaires reflecting their attitudes and opinion towards the English writing skill. Follow up interviews with 5 supervisors were conducted to deepen understanding and interpretation of the results. The data revealed that the UAE students make different types of grammatical errors, and most of these errors were due to intralingual transfer. In this study, intralingual transfer errors were more frequent than interlingual ones. Furthermore, the findings and the results of this study also showed that the English writing skill of the secondary male students in the UAE state schools needs more reinforcement and development. Based on the findings, recommendations and some implications which are of significance to educators and policymakers as well as to EFL teachers are provided. At last, it is hoped that the results of this study could be of much benefit for developing the English writing skill among secondary students in the UAE schools.
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    Evaluation of CALL Software on Learning of English Grammar
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2006-12) Hamad, Runak A.
    The study was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of a computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) programme in Al Ain University of Science and Technology (AAUST) in the UAE. It attempts to evaluate Tense Buster for its effectiveness in learning outcomes and attitudes toward grammar among students in an entry college level in comparison with teaching the same material in a traditional classroom. This study compares the outcomes of two groups of students: the first was taught by Tense Buster, a CALL software programme, and the second by a traditional method or face-to–face instruction. In order to compare the learning outcomes of the two groups the author carried out a pretest-posttest randomized experimental design. The results show statistically significant differences among students who favour traditional teaching methods to CALL. These differences can be attributed to a variety of factors such as sociocultural, students’ mentality, teachers’ attitudes and knowledge of technology, and lack of integration of material into the overall course design.
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    Exploring peer observation, reflective practice and tacit knowledge
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2007-08) Keith, Pauline Angela Francesca
    This research project investigated and compared two different approaches to peer observation, the first highlighting the role of the observee as learner and the second the observer as learner. It then considered whether the latter would prove to be more beneficial with regards to reflective practice and professional development. Six teachers in a UAE college of Higher Education were interviewed prior to and after the observations in which they took part to ascertain their feelings and attitude to peer observation and whether the experience influenced their perception of the process. The study found that the teachers’ approach did not differ for the first and second observations, namely they focused on what they could gain from both observations. However, it found that a number of factors are crucial to the success of a peer observation process in terms of reflective practice and professional development, specifically the relationship between the two teachers involved, their own attitude to peer observation as means of reflective practice and professional development and a clear focus for observing when embarking on such a scheme.
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    Motivation among Learners of English in the Secondary Schools in the Eastern Coast of the UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2006-11) Qashoa, Sulaiman Hasan H.
    Everybody needs to have motivation and a reason for action. Second and foreign language learners should be offered the opportunity to be motivated and fulfill their learning orientations. The purpose of this study is to examine the students' integrative and instrumental motivation for learning English in the UAE state secondary schools. Additionally, the study aims to recognize the factors affecting the students' motivation. 0ne hundred students participated in completing a questionnaire reflecting their orientations for learning English and what affects negatively their English learning motivation. Follow up interviews with 20 students, 10 Arab English teachers as well as 3 supervisors were conducted to deepen understanding and interpretation of the results. As expected, the data revealed that the UAE students have a higher degree of instrumentality than integrativeness. Contrary to the findings of other related studies, difficulties with the subject (English) aspects such as vocabulary, structures and spelling were found to be in the first place in terms of demotivating factors. Based on the findings, recommendations and some implications which are of significance to educators and policymakers as well as to researchers are provided. At last, it is hoped that the results of this study could be of much benefit for developing teaching and learning English in the UAE schools.
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    The effects of the second language on the first
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2009-07) Bulbul, Ashraf
    The importance of a second language is immeasurable, but maintaining and developing the first language is just as important. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects that a second language may have on the first. To determine the amount of first language loss, Arab bilingual students who were born or raised in an English speaking environment were compared to their Arab monolingual counterparts who had little exposure to the English language. The bilinguals’ Arabic texts were compared to the monolinguals’. Furthermore, the bilinguals’ English and Arabic texts were also compared to assess both languages. The results indicated that the bilingual students were unable to express their ideas effectively in Arabic and evidence of poor academic writing skills was present throughout the task. However, the bilinguals performed much better in their second language literacy and made fewer errors. Overall, the bilinguals were much more confident in the use of the second language, and such preference was observed by the larger number of English words written by the bilinguals. The bilinguals were able to write more than 8500 words in the second language, but failed to write more than 3050 words in their own native language. Moreover, the total percentage of Arabic errors made by the bilinguals was more than 4 times the percentage of errors made by the monolinguals. The study concluded that the excessive use of the second language can diminish and deteriorate the first language.
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    Do second language children learn to read English differently from first language children?
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2008-09) Al-Jenaibi, Layla
    This present study compared the differences in approaches to reading aloud, of two English native speakers to that of two native Arabic speakers, with English as their second language. Even though two of the subjects were native English speakers, the spoken English language of all the subjects was on an equal par. The subjects all attend an international American school, where the entire curriculum is taught in English. The subjects were tested from the end of their kindergarten year and into the beginning of the time in grade 1. The instruction in the school for beginning readers is through phonics and whole word recognition. The subjects’ miscues were recorded as either errors in whole word, vowel or consonant, onset / rime, semantics and also their approach to decoding an unknown word. Results showed that one of the second language subjects had an advanced level of reading ability than the other three subjects. The two native English subjects showed a heightened level of phonic awareness than the two non-native subjects. This study found that there were no differences between first language and second language children when learning to read English.
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    Language and Cultural Attitudes of Indian Children living in Dubai
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2007-12) Jacob, Elizabeth
    This study explores the cultural, language and identity attitudes of the Indian children living in Dubai. The study uses both the quantitative and qualitative research methods and is based on the previous research on language and identity. The research methods used are the questionnaires and single interviews. The children investigated in this study are from both India and Dubai. The variables used for the testing are the gender, income, medium of instruction and place of residence. The investigation shows that the children in Dubai prefer to follow the western culture especially when it comes to watching television and listening to music. They prefer to speak English with friends and in social gatherings but prefer to speak their mother tongue at home. The interviews point in the similar direction as well. The implication for such change in attitude is attributed to the multicultural society they live in.
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    How Does Anxiety affect Performance in a Foreign Language?
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2006-04) Agbalizu, Margaret Ugboaku Nkeiru
    This study explores the dimensions of foreign language anxiety upon the foreign language performance of two ability groups of Arabic-speaking students in grades 11 and 12, and examines the relationship between anxiety (foreign language writing anxiety and foreign language class anxiety), and performance as well as their associations with foreign language speaking and writing achievements. The investigation follows both quantitative and qualitative research traditions and is based on a critical review of the existing work in the field of foreign language anxiety research, two sets of questionnaires, single interviews and a focus group interview. The relationship between the students’ foreign language anxiety and their performance in a foreign language is investigated. Findings suggest that most of the students experience anxiety, with the Arts group experiencing higher levels of foreign language anxiety. Statistical analyses revealed a significant negative relation between the foreign language writing anxiety and the speaking performance, for the Arts group. While no correlation was found between writing and speaking achievements of the Arts group, a significant positive relation was noted between writing performance and the speaking performance for the science group. Qualitative data analyses show that personal and interpersonal anxieties were the main sources of anxiety for the students. There is an indication that the students may be equally experiencing anxiety about speaking in the foreign language.
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    Phonological and orthographic knowledge: an Arab-Emirati perspective
    (The British university in Dubai (BUiD), 2005-09) Sadhwani, Pushpa
    This paper analyses the misspellings of a group of first year male Arab-Emirati college students from the phonological and orthographical point of view. Based on a list of 80 words, the problems inherent in their spelling are triangulated using three methods of testing – a word dictation test (WD), a reading aloud test (RA) and a multiple choice test (MC). Through an analysis of the corpus gathered, the misspellings may result from four broad categories of challenge – first language phonological interference, the differing English-Arabic scriptal structure, the irregularity of the English orthographical system and the dual route theory of lexical access. In particular the paper looks at the effects of vowel substitution and consonant errors. The paper then discusses the pedagogical implications of the findings.
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    Facilitating Reading Comprehension for IELTS Through the Use of Principled Explicit Vocabulary Instruction
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2010-11) Tejani, Khadija
    This study investigates the effectiveness of principled explicit vocabulary instruction on the acquisition of vocabulary and the consequent impact on reading comprehension, in preparation for the IELTS. Students at a university in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on an IELTS preparation course learned lexical items through principled explicit vocabulary instruction. Tests were given that measured vocabulary gains and reading comprehension, before and after instruction. Results of the study indicate that principled explicit vocabulary instruction facilitates the acquisition of new vocabulary, and knowledge of the vocabulary improves reading comprehension. The implementation of principled vocabulary instruction prior to reading comprehension tasks is proposed.
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    Grammar Teaching in Sharjah Preparatory (Cycle 2) Schools Teachers' Beliefs and Classroom Practices
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2011-05) Shatat, Ziad Younes Mousa
    Purpose - The main purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate teachers’ stated beliefs towards grammar teaching and their practices when teaching grammar in EFL classrooms. It aimed to collect evidence of their instructional practices and examine the relationships between their thoughts and actions. Furthermore, it attempted to stand on the probable contextual factors that influence the transformation of beliefs into practice. Methodology - All the teachers involved in this study were Arabs, teaching English language in eight government preparatory schools in Sharjah. In the first stage of the study, 46 in-service teachers were invited to fill in a self-report questionnaire to elicit their beliefs and classroom practice regarding grammar teaching. In the second stage, two semi structured interviews were conducted with eight of these teachers to gain deeper understanding of their personal opinions, beliefs and perspectives. Findings - The findings revealed that teachers undeniably have a set of multifaceted beliefs regarding the eight beliefs dimensions under study including the grammar role in learning, grammar approaches, grammar practising, error treatment, the use of grammatical terminology and students' first language. The quantitative data revealed that teachers' stated beliefs are to a large extent consistent with their classroom practices. These findings thus add support to previous research findings that teachers’ beliefs are powerful and can greatly shape and guide their professional practices and influence the way that students learn. However, the qualitative data showed a different picture; the beliefs and practices were different in some domains, though. For example, although many participants reported that they believed in inductive, implicit, problem solving activities, and presentation through authentic texts, the findings revealed that formal instruction, the use of grammatical terminology, students' first language and explicit grammar teaching are still valued among teachers participated in the study. This inconsistency between beliefs and practices are related to various contextual factors, including class density, time constrains, length of text books, lack of teaching resources and examination format. In addition to students' needs, expectations and proficiency levels.
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    Develop Students’ Awareness Toward Diabetes Through the English Primary Curriculum in UAE
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2011-05) Al Mulla, Kholoud Mohammed
    This dissertation aims at developing a framework that could be integrated with the UAE English Language Teaching ELT curriculum of primary education. It concentrates on the health issues existing among UAE students especially diabetes. The main reason of conducting this research is that no recent research is found in UAE that discusses the causes of diabetes among young UAE nationals. Furthermore, it is evident that the UAE English curriculum does not highlight the subject of health education especially diabetes. The research has been conducted by using both primary and secondary sources. The secondary sources used are journals, articles, magazines, newspapers, online search engines, online databases, etc. The primary sources include different tools such as observations, note taking, visual studies, interviews and surveys. The research concludes that children in UAE have adopted poor eating and lifestyle habits which increases their chances of obesity and exposes them to the risk of diabetes. Moreover, the UAE curriculum fails to provide enough health education to students thereby enabling them to lead a healthy life. By incorporating diabetes awareness into the ELT curriculum schools should therefore implement various steps aimed at improving the health awareness among students and keeping them better informed about the diabetes ailment so that they are better equipped to fight it.
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    A Corpus-based Error Analysis of High School Students’ Written English: A Reflection on Noticing and Recasting
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2008-12) Hamada, Tarek Ibrahim Ibrahim
    Students‟ errors need not be considered as symptoms of poor performance; on the contrary they should be treated as indicative healthy signs of an active learning process. This study was conducted to investigate whether high school students in the UAE were able to notice the grammatical and lexical errors in their writings. If so, how they were able to recast them taking the correctness of recasts into consideration. In addition, the most common unnoticed errors and the role of intralingual and interlingual transfer were other investigated areas. An analysis of a written corpus, which is a part of BALC (BUiD Arab Learner Corpus), of one hundred high school students‟ written paragraphs and essays was thoroughly analyzed. The results showed that students were able to notice 371 errors in their writings. These errors were reflected in their various methods of recast: deletions, insertions, and overwriting. Out of these errors, the students were able to correctly recast 272 (73%). Moreover the most common unnoticed grammatical and lexical errors were subject-verb agreement, negation, the use of modal verbs (can), and confusion of some words like „there- their‟, „its-it is‟, and „see-sea‟. Some of these errors were attributed to the negative transfer of the mother tongue like negation and some were attributed to the negative transfer from the target language like adding –s to verbs and nouns.
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    A study of a grade 6 elementary ESL class in a private international school in Dubai to determine the main factors affecting their acquisition of the English language
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2008-12) Mackay, Abigail
    Second language teachers are intrigued by the factors responsible for the second language acquisition of their students and for the different rates of acquisition within a class; an understanding of the interplay of the factors is essential for successful language teaching. This study endeavours to determine the factors affecting the different rates of SLA of a group of nine elementary grade 6 ESL students over an academic year. The researcher used a grounded theory approach whereby the research question, “What factors are affecting the different rates of second language acquisition of the subjects in the ESL and mainstream classroom?” was investigated. A multi-research tool method, triangulation, was used to ensure that the research question was examined from different perspectives. As the research proceeded, data was collected and analysed, indicating the perceived dominant factors affecting the students’ rate of language acquisition. The analysis of the data indicated that motivation, personality variables and IQ were considered to be dominant factors affecting the subjects’ language acquisition. Having identified these factors, the researcher proceeded to review the studies and theories written about them by researchers in the field. The review supported the validity of the huge role of motivation in the second language learning process and the view that an above average IQ is not necessary for successful second language acquisition but revealed that the role of personality is less conclusive.
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    An Analysis of factors affecting reading comprehension performance of Arabic ESL students using the Suffolk Reading Scale
    (The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2009-09) Morris, Anne
    The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the Suffolk Reading Scale, a standardised multiple-choice paper and pencil test of reading comprehension, as a reliable method of assessing the reading ability of a group of ESL Arabic children aged between 9-10 years who were pupils at an international school in Dubai. The results indicated that the ESL Arabic children scored significantly lower than the comparison groups of non-Arabic ESL children and children with English L1 of the same age and studying in the same class. The study discusses the possible reasons for the difficulties experienced by the Arabic ESL children in decoding English text and attempts to conduct an error analysis by searching for any patterns of error that could be accounted for by interference from the Arabic L1 and other problems experienced by Arabic readers in decoding English text including problems with word recognition and spelling patterns, lack of phonemic awareness and insufficient reading strategies.