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Volume 13 Number 3, Autumn 2016, Pages 162-246   


 http://dx.doi.org/10.18823/asiatefl.2016.13.3.1.vi PDF Download
   

Editorial

    Andy Kirkpatrick


Dear Readers and Colleagues

Welcome to the latest edition of The Journal of Asia TEFL, which, as you know, is now fully on-line. In this issue we publish four articles.

In the first article, the authors, Ng Tzi Dong and Chen Hsueh Chu, first examine how Cantonese speakers who are learners of English make phonological changes to English words when they are code-mixing and then elicited their attitudes towards Cantonese-English codemixing in the classroom. They recorded two groups of learners, one of high proficiency and one of medium proficiency, reading aloud a script which contained code-mixed dialogue. They then identified the differences in the pronunciation of the code-mixed words. Next they elicited, by use of a questionnaire, the students' attitudes to code mixing in the class. The authors discuss the differences they found between the two groups and suggest reasons for these differences.

The second article also investigates students' attitudes, but here the authors, Eunseok Ro and Jeongyeon Park, are interested in students' attitudes towards undertaking writing activities associated with extensive reading. The authors added a 20 minute extensive reading activity to the normal EAP class and writing tasks associated with the reading they had done were assigned as homework. Perhaps surprisingly, given that the exercise required students to undertake extra work, the great majority of students reported that they enjoyed and felt they had benefited from the writing exercise based on their extensive reading. Even the few students who found some of the topics they were asked to read and write about boring reported recognising the value of the activity for the development and improvement of their writing skills.

The third article in this issue reports on the strategies teachers use to encourage their students to deal with a variety of reading comprehension question types, namely literal, reorganisation and inferential questions. The three research questions that the study sought to answer were:

1. What are the reading strategies used by ESL teachers to teach literal comprehension questions?
2. What are the reading strategies used by ESL teachers to teach reorganisation comprehension questions?
3. What are the reading strategies used by ESL teachers to teach inferential comprehension questions?

Surveying a range of teachers from a cross-section of secondary schools across Penang, Malaysia, the authors, Muhammad Javed, Lin Siew Eng, Abdul Rashid Mohamed and Shaik Abdul Malik Mohamed Ismail, concluded that teachers were able to use a broad range of strategies to teach literal and reorganisation questions, but they had fewer strategies to teach inferential questions. They therefore recommend that strategies for teaching inferential questions are developed, as these are the most beneficial in aiding students' reading comprehension.

The final article in this issue is by Kaori Sugiura and is entitled ‘Using Auditory Word Repetition to Improve L2 Pronunciation of English Schwa by Japanese Learners: From the Perspective of Phonological Processing'. The study investigated the effects of immediate repetition of auditory words on the L2 pronunciation improvement of English schwa by Japanese EFL learners. More specifically, the study investigated how the amount of input (i.e., five or ten repetitions) and stimuli characteristics (i.e., the position of schwa in a word, word familiarity) influences the repetition effect. Adopting an extremely rigorous methodological approach, the author was able to conclude that, ‘Immediate auditory word repetition (five and ten times) improved the pronunciation of schwa by Japanese learners of English, particularly in terms of relative duration; however, repeating the target word more than five times did not differentiate the effect'. The author then makes pedagogical recommendations based on the results of the study.

The book review section, edited by Michelle Gu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, reviews three books and we hope these will be both informative and useful to our readers. If anyone has suggestions for books for review, could they please contact Michelle (asiatefl.reviews@gmail.com) directly.

Andy Kirkpatrick
Editor-in-Chief
London, July 2016