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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

An exploration of reading comprehension challenges in Saudi Arabian university EFL students

Alsubaie, Mohammed Aedh A. January 2014 (has links)
This is an interpretive study, framed by sociocultural theory, and employing qualitative data collection methods to explore the nature of reading comprehension challenges faced by English as Foreign Language learners. These challenges were identified through analysis of the students' reading aloud processes, and the factors to which students attributed these challenges were investigated from the perspectives of both the readers themselves and those of their lecturers. Information about student reading aloud processes was obtained through participation in the Think Aloud Protocol by sixteen student volunteers from three universities in Saudi Arabia. Nine students then volunteered to reflect on their reading aloud processes in the follow-up Retrospective Verbal Report. All sixteen students then took part in a semi-structured interview in which they were questioned about the factors influencing their reading challenges. Six of their lecturers also volunteered to undertake a similar interview process with regard to their student's reading of English. The findings showed that Saudi EFL students exhibited a number of reading processes which interfered with comprehension. They paid little attention to punctuation, and used ineffective reading strategies such as repetition and guessing, which were usually incorrect. Words were often incorrectly decoded and therefore, mispronounced, particularly vowels which were pronounced by their alphabetic names rather than phonically, and words were substituted for those which were graphically or phonologically similar, indicating a failure to monitor comprehension. Students also read slowly which interfered with the development of coherency, fluency and comprehension. A number of themes were identified with regard to the source of these challenges. These themes relate to the social and cultural framework surrounding the student, including a cohesive, authoritarian society with a strong social tradition and a culture which does not value or prioritise reading for pleasure. Participants believed that these social and cultural forces lead to a lack of resources, poor access to English, poor teaching methods and a lack of background knowledge as they read. They claimed that this generated states of mind which contributed to their reluctance, and largely negative attitudes towards, reading in English. In particular, participants reported that the social demands of their culture, the failure to teach good phonic skills, and of negative mental and emotional states, influenced their reading fluency and contributed to their reading comprehension challenges. The unique approach and design of this study, particularly in the context of the Arab world, has produced findings which demonstrate the relevance and influence of social and cultural factors on reading processes and comprehension challenges. These findings have led to a number of recommendations for the learning and teaching of English reading in international contexts. The study concludes by suggesting that these processes and factors be further investigated by future studies.

Secondary students at risk of permanent exclusion who succeed

Mann, Thomas Wesson January 2016 (has links)
This thesis attempts to provide an understanding of the factors and issues influencing the success of students at risk of permanent exclusion from school. It is a single-site study and involves insider research. Research suggests that positive teacher-student relationships can serve as a protective factor to such students. Positive student-student relationships were also identified as a protective factor. Narratives collected from permanently excluded students suggest that the experiences of relationships with both adults and students in school are an important component for inclusion. A qualitative approach using narrative inquiry was used. Semi-structured interviews and animated interviewing techniques were chosen to draw out students’ school experiences and to discover their views on what had helped them succeed. Participants were screened for at-risk factors and their Year 11 progress and post-16 destinations were tracked. Students were selected for the research based on their at-risk factors and subsequent success at national examinations at 16 years of age. Results indicate the significance of the development of positive student-teacher relationships as a protective factor for students at risk of permanent exclusion. Such relationships can be an enabler for students faced with myriad challenges inside and outside school. The research also suggests that students are decision-makers inside this process, choosing behaviours that lead to inclusion. The research was carried out in a secondary school (students of 11 to 18 years of age) in London, England.

A case study of international student participation in an undergraduate module in management in a UK Business School using the lens of activity theory

Straker, John Oldfield January 2014 (has links)
This case study of international student participation in an undergraduate module in Management in a UK Business School arose from concerns that international students do not always meet institutional expectations of full participation. In the literature, the issues of language and culture have dominated discussion, while education theory has not been prominent. Using a post-Vygotskian framework (Activity Theory), the study set out to understand international student participation from the students’ perspective, taking account of the different elements of activity. It offers a holistic approach, placing the dominant themes in a broader context. The research was undertaken in two phases over a 12-month period using focus groups as the research instrument. Classroom observation, impromptu and planned interviews and correspondence with lecturers, as well as module documentation, contributed to a broader understanding of the context. The focus groups included both international and home students. Phase 1 enabled the conceptual framework to be assessed and refined for use as a coding frame. Following initial coding in Phase 2, the research focus was redefined as participants’ understandings of object-motive, and an in-depth analysis of this element was undertaken. Four module objects were identified: collaboration in diverse groups, task, academic study, and professional practice. In addition, participants identified some more personal objects. The impact of English language level and cultural background were quite extensively discussed, but not to the exclusion of other factors. The analysis indicated that focus group members’ experiences and understanding of participation in international classrooms were shaped by the objects they held in view. Thus, while the study identified the factors which participants understood as impacting on international students’ participation, the analysis of object-motive offered an explanatory framework for understanding the importance they assigned to these. The study highlights the prominence of task-based group work in the module, and questions the extent students were prepared for this type of pedagogy. It notes that home students in particular might benefit from opportunities to increase their intercultural awareness. Participants’ apparent concern for the language and academic levels of some international students may reflect the English language and academic levels of international students at entry into the institution, and serve as a reminder of the importance of well-considered entry decisions.

Exploration of ESP teacher knowledge and practices at tertiary and applied colleges in Kuwait : implications for pre- and in-service ESP teacher training

Abedeen, Farida January 2015 (has links)
Researching teachers’ professional knowledge and its impact on classroom decisions and actions is a relatively recent endeavor in language education. A few studies have investigated the links between what teachers think and how they act in teaching English for general purposes (EGP). However, in teaching English for specific purposes (ESP) this kind of study is scarce. Moreover, exploring the effects of teachers’ knowledge on action in the classroom, and investigating the practical and professional needs of ESP teachers in the context of this study is lacking from the existing literature on ESP teaching and teacher development. In an attempt to address this gap in literature, this study embarked to explore teachers’ knowledge of ESP at tertiary and practical colleges in Kuwait. It also aimed at observing the links between ESP teachers’ knowledge and practices and the potential impacts of contextual factors on teachers’ knowledge in action. In order to capture a holistic understanding of ESP teachers’ knowledge and pedagogical underpinnings, eleven ESP teachers from various vocational colleges were interviewed – nine experienced ESP teachers and two relatively younger participants shared their stories about their understanding of ESP and its practices. Three participants from the above sample agreed to be observed in their classrooms and interviewed after each observation session. Moreover, a group discussion session was observed for further information and data triangulation. In collecting data for this study, qualitative interpretive methodology was employed. The data collection techniques were mainly interviews, classroom observations, stimulated recall interviews, and a group discussion. The results of the study agreed with the existing literature on the impact of context on teachers’ knowledge and practices. They suggested that context played a significant role in shaping teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the nature of ESP practices in Kuwait, and had a profound influence on their pedagogical and practical choices. The study also indicated a gap between teachers’ “knowledge-for-practice” (theoretical knowledge) and their “knowledge-in-practice” (practical knowledge) that has been attributed to the overwhelming contextual factors. The lack of awareness of some ESP practitioner’s roles and responsibilities, and overlooking certain ESP classroom activities seemed to be another factor impeding the implementation of knowledge in practice in the context of this study. The implications of this study can help improve ESP teachers and specialists’ awareness in Kuwait about the significant requirements for successful ESP programmes by addressing questions such as: what constitute ESP teachers’ knowledge and what factors influence the implementation of this knowledge in practice? It can also inform ESP course developers to design ESP courses that take into consideration all the factors that escalate the effectiveness of the ESP courses. Finally, this study can be used as a reference for ESP teacher development programmes to get insights into teachers’ ‘lacks’, ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, and to focus on significant issues that ESP training courses need to embrace to acquaint humanity-trained language teachers with the knowledge base and the specific pedagogical content knowledge needed in the ESP domain.

The development of children's political competence in a primary school : a quest

Bosse Chitty, R. C. January 2015 (has links)
This research explores how children recount and account for their developing political competence at primary school. To access participants’ experience and perceptions of political participation and agency and the structures and practices within which they operate, I designed a post-structurally informed ethnographic study for a large junior school in the South West of England. The result was a range of qualitative and participative data gathering methods which emphasised the importance and value of children’s voices and testimony: interviews, observations, diaries, analytical discussions and ethnographic field notes. The resulting data comprise a collection of participant accounts and interpretations of living and learning in school. In contrast to my research approach, my findings identify a construction of the child as deficient, incompetent and untrustworthy, destabilising children’s emergent confidence as political beings and severely limiting the effectiveness of educational initiatives to engage them in active political participation. As a result, forms of political participation and self-expression are muted: children are encouraged to develop a conservative, self-preserving form of agency hidden from view and often characterised by self-doubt and self-suppression, counter to curricular expectations of political participation in school and community life. However, using Foucauldian theoretical tools, I argue that some children’s responses to the pressure of the school’s normalising structures and practices creatively build an effective, but subaltern, political competence, allowing children to exercise agency in strategic conformity and resistance. Being unrecognised, though, outside the surveillance of the curriculum and its enforcers, this learning is not readily available for teachers and the school to engage with and nurture. This presents both a missed opportunity for primary education and a threat to the stability and sustainability of children’s credible political agency. Empowering children requires seeing them as politically capable and competent, rather than lesser adults, deficient and lacking in citizenship competence.

Life, learning and university : an inquiry into refugee participation in UK higher education

Bowen, A. L. January 2014 (has links)
Movement, stasis, and the management of displacement underpin this thesis on refugee participation in UK higher education. Drawing on accounts from mature students of their experience of going to university in England and Wales, the study examines the intersection of higher education and migration in contemporary British society. The research was informed by the ethics and principles of participatory research methodologies, and framed by the aim to explore the relationship between students’ lived experience of asylum in the UK and their engagement in higher education. Analysis focuses on five individual accounts of participation in undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and explores how the sites and spaces of higher education interplayed with personal and political identifications. Bourdieu’s (1977, 1986) field theory is used to explore refugee negotiation of the UK national field and the field of higher education. Post colonial and post structural theoretical perspectives are also applied to analyse questions of identity and identifications. The social and educational policies that relate to refugee students in the UK continue to be in a state of flux, and these directly impact on HE participation. Examining the experiences of refugees with both permanent and impermanent forms of leave to remain in the UK, the thesis shows the ways in which participants valued their studies beyond an instrumental purpose for social mobility in the UK. Rather, I suggest that participants engaged in higher education to manage both psychic and physical displacements. Moreover, the students’ engagement in the field of higher education could be seen to produce further displacements, undermining the extent to which participating in university is understood as a means to facilitate social and cultural integration.

Students' and their parents' experiences of inclusion in mainstream schools : what does inclusion mean for parents with children that have special educational needs and what does it mean for the children themselves in today's mainstream schooling system?

Cleere, Vanessa January 2016 (has links)
This thesis examines experiences and critical incidents that parents and their children with special educational needs encountered in mainstream school settings. Research was carried out within the methodological framework of autoethnography, reflecting the author's desire to make sense of her own experiences of inclusion in mainstream schools, both as a professional 'insider' and parent of a child with special educational needs. A purist approach to autoethnography was used, where stories were seen as stand alone pieces of gold: individual, unique case studies giving rise to questions and emotions in their own right, (Ellis & Bochner, 2006, Vickers, 2010), combined with the rigour of an analytical approach to make sense of what unfolded (Andersons, 2006). Differing meanings, values and interpretations surrounding inclusion have shaped the current inclusion discourse and understandings of 'need' and 'disability', giving rise to significant impacts on the disabled person and the symbolic value of the disabled body. The work of Bourdieu and Foucault was used to better understand concepts of capital, power and agency and the impact these have on the disabled entrepreneur. Research findings indicate that positive experiences of parents and children with SEN in mainstream schools were rare and sporadic. However, success is possible if we redefine the language surrounding SEN, taking a more detailed and sensitive approach that recognises the power of words in shaping values, attitudes, feelings and practices. A more equal distribution of power is required to stabilise the SEN system, listening more to parents and children and empowering them as agents of their own lives. Standing in people's shoes, seeing them as valued, unique and capable, as wanting to find their true abilities and to realise their hopes, their dreams and their full potential will lead to the term SEN no longer being necessary.

A mixed methods investigation into the perceptions of lower secondary school students and teachers in Cyprus on the purposes and approaches of assessment

Solomonidou, Georgia January 2015 (has links)
The role of assessment in education has been vital, since the earliest establishment of formal education. Though assessment in its early history was used only as a measurement instrument, alternative assessment of student achievement has arrived on the scene the past two decades. It is accepted that assessment can be used for learning also known as Formative Assessment. In this context, many studies have emerged worldwide investigating students’ and teachers’ perceptions on assessment approaches and purposes as these will affect their practices. The current study uses a Sequential Mixed Methods design to investigate perceptions on the purposes of students’ assessment in general and the assessment framework specific for the Modern Greek language subject within the New National Curriculum in Cyprus (NNC). The methods involved two questionnaires; the one administered to Greek language teachers (N=95) followed by 7 individual interviews and the other administered to lower secondary school students (N=599) followed by three group interviews involving 15 students in total. The qualitative data helped explain and build upon initial quantitative results while involving people from the same sample. Results are discussed in light of other research showing that the perceptions of teachers and students are in alignment with the current shift of assessment to be used for enhancing teaching and learning. Both parties tend to agree with the legitimate purposes of assessment. Teachers and students would like to use the elements of Formative Assessment as promoted by the NNC but feel that there is inadequate training, a lack of literature and concrete examples on how to put these elements into practice.

'When the water flows, a channel is formed' : professional learning and practice innovation through district research lesson study in the context of China's new curriculum reform

Xu, Haiyan January 2016 (has links)
This thesis investigates the systemic and contextualised nature of professional learning and practice development through district research lesson study (DRLS), a widespread LS practice in China. Through close examination of a DRLS case carried out in the context of curriculum reform in the subject area of EFL, the study focuses on understanding the conditions, processes, and outcomes of learning at three levels of analysis: individual teachers, subject teams, and the district EFL teaching community as a whole. The study focuses particular attention to the role and processes of language mediation in the professional learning and practice development of teachers, given the discursive nature of DRLS activities. The study shows that the DRLS provided a collaborative and continuous structure for supporting EFL teachers across a district to collectively make sense of the new curriculum framework, and to innovate, validate, and share practices in contexts of specific curriculum implementation. Over time, the district as a whole developed a shared public repertoire of practices and pedagogic ideas which permeated the thinking and practices of members of the district through the development of a common language for talking about practice. In the collaborative context of DRLS, different kinds of individual teacher’s learning were at play due to differences in their prior knowledge, understandings and approaches to participating in the DRLS. The different ways teachers used language to formulate their conceptions of practice also influenced their learning and practice development. At the team level, teams engaged in two distinct patterns of talk, each of which was reflected in different modes of collaboration and learning. The study proposes a new framework of talk and proposes explicit emphasis in future DRLS practices for developing teachers’ language practices as important ways of supporting their individual and collective learning in contexts of professional collaboration and curriculum development.

Exploring the problematic nature of GCSE examining in Economics and Business : assessing troublesome knowledge, threshold concepts and learning

Ashwin, Andrew Kenneth January 2015 (has links)
This thesis focuses upon assessment of learning at General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) level. Approaches to learning, lecturers’ conceptions of teaching, students’ conceptions of learning, threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge have all been the focus of research at higher education but there has been limited work into the relevance of these fields to learning prior to higher education. This thesis surveys the research in higher education and applies some of the concepts to assessment, teaching and learning at lower levels of the education hierarchy. It looks at the extent to which students at GCSE level might be expected to begin the journey of thinking in the subject in the fields of economics and business. Teachers are a key influencer of assessment outcomes at GCSE level but their approach to teaching and their conception of learning may be influenced by the assessment framework in which they are operating. Analysis of student responses to examination questions, the extent to which teachers at this level can agree on evidence of learning and what an assessment is designed to achieve and teachers’ conceptions of learning will be studied at GCSE. The results of this research suggest that a reconceptualisation of the assessment objectives, which frame the specifications at this level and provide a focus for curriculum development, could influence the way students are taught and the way in which teaching and learning programmes are put together. Such a change could help to reduce the asymmetry between students and teachers and encourage teaching and learning which helps students to ‘think in the subject’ and champion deep approaches to learning.

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