Developing Effective TEFL Course with WebCT

Abstract

One of the commonly used learning management systems that can facilitate the teaching-learning process is the WebCT (Web Course Tool). The WebCT has several tools (such as email, discussion board and links). This paper discusses how different WebCT tools can be used to develop an effective TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course for fourth-level students specialized in English. A questionnaire was used to explore the participantsf interest in using WebCT; to identify the main technical difficulties facing participants using WebCT and to investigate how WebCT can influence affective and pedagogical factors that play a key role in learning efficiently and effectively.

Introduction

In recent years, hundreds of universities have developed Internet-based courses using one learning management system or another for either delivering distance learning courses or supplementing teaching classes on campus. As any other teaching tools or methods, using Internet-based learning has several advantages and disadvantages that can be summarized as follows.

Advantages of Internet-based learning
  1. It supports the delivery and use of multimedia elements, such as sound, video, and interactive hypermedia (McNeil, Robin & Miller, 2000 cited in Burgess, 2003).
  2. It can provide flexible and convenient learning schedules that can overcome some traditional barriers such as time and place.
  3. A student can study independently online or take an instructor-led online class, which combines the benefits of self-study with those of more traditional classroom-based learning (Ryan, 2001 cited in Burgess 2003).
  4. It allows access to global resources and experts.

Disadvantages of Internet-based learning

  1. There is little or no direct contact with the faculty member.
  2. It may develop feelings of isolation.
  3. It has a difficult learning curve in how to navigate within the system.
  4. It may lead problems with the technology.
  5. It increases lead-time required for feedback regarding assignments (Smallwood and Zargari, 2001 in Burgess, 2003).
  6. It needs the use of hardware and software necessary for Internet-based learning which might not be available. (Burgess, 2003).

The effect of these advantages and disadvantages may differ from one teaching context to another, depending on various factors such as the learning management systems (software) adopted, student number, course content and purpose. One of these commonly-used and promising learning management systems is WebCT (Web Course Tools) which has recently begun to catch the attention of more studies (e.g. Al-Ayyat, 2003; Burgess, 2003; Murphy and Lindner, 200?; Pauley, 2000; & Tittenberger and Nazarko, 2003). Most of these studies explore two main issues: technical difficulties facing WebCT users and studentsf perceptions to WebCT. One of the areas that such studies have not investigated is how certain WebCT tools can be used to supplement English language courses taught on campus. Another area of concern is how WebCT can influence the affective and pedagogical factors needed for learning the language efficiently and effectively.

Integrating WebCT tools into the TEFL course

WebCT has more than twenty tools that can all be used to enhance campus learning and facilitate full-distance learning courses. Appendix (A) outlines the main WebCT tools and their functions. Which tools to choose for teaching a particular course depends on the content, requirements and components of the course to be taught as well as technical factors related to accessibility. In the context of this study, ten suitable WebCT tools (listed in Appendix B) are activated to enhance the quality of the TEFL course which was given to undergraduate English language students studying at the Islamic University of Gaza, Palestine. The TEFL course covers several topics related to preparing students to teach English as a foreign language. Appendix (C) lists these topics as well as the aims, outcomes of the course.

Study Purposes

This study intends to achieve the following purposes:

  1. To describe and explore studentsf interest in and familiarity with using WebCT as a supportive tool to on-campus classes.
  2. To identify the main difficulties related to using WebCT in a course entitled TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).
  3. To explore to what extent WebCT can affect several affective and pedagogical factors that play a key role to in acquiring essential skills of learning and teaching English.

Affective and pedagogical factors

Although there is no general agreement on specific definition of affective factors, many educators agree on the importance of these factors in language learning. In one of his Ph.D. thesis articles eLiterature Review: Affect in Language Learningf, Finch (2000) reports that

gStern's claim that ethe affective component contributes at least as much and often more to language learning than the cognitive skillsf is supported by a large body of recent cross-disciplinary research showing that affective variables have significant influence on language achievement (e.g. Gardner 1985; Skehan 1989; Spolsky 1989; Gardner & MacIntyre 1992; 1993a;)h

According to Finch (2000),

Arnold & Brown (1999) provide a more contemporary perspective from the view of the language learner as an individual (anxiety, inhibition, extroversion/introversion, self-esteem, motivation [extrinsic/intrinsic], learner styles) and as a participant in a socio-cultural situation (empathy, classroom transactions, cross-cultural processes). These two articles will be used here as the basis for discussion and the reader is referred to them for a more detailed examination of the issues

Finch (2000) adds that

Arnold (Ed.1999) defines affect in terms of easpects of emotion, feeling, mood or attitude which condition behaviourf, while Dickinson (1987, p25) describes it as being concerned with the learner's attitude towards the target language and users of it, and with his/her emotional responsesh.

Scovel (1978, p31) defines affective variables as "those that deal with the emotional reactions and motivations of the learner; they signal the arousal of the limbic system and its direct intervention in the task of learning".

In the light of studies discussed above, affective factors are used here to refer to ten psychological and motivational factors essential for successful learning: interest, self-confidence, motivation, confidence in teacher, autonomy/independence, excitement, attitude, patience and perseverance, interpersonal friendship, and anxiety and tension.

Pedagogical factors are related to developing skills and abilities that enhance learning and teaching English as a foreign language through using WebCT tools to supplement face-to-face lectures. These experience-based factors include exposure to a variety of practical TEFL skills: giving a better presentation on a TEFL aspect, gathering information to ease doing a research paper on a TEFL aspect, exposure to opposing teaching concepts, increasing communication with the teacher, exchanging pedagogical opinions with more freedom, understanding content and achieving course aims, varying course activities and assignments, developing writing and communication skills, ability to cope with challenging learning and teaching techniques. As such all these factors would produce language learners and teachers who can learn and teach the language effectively and efficiently and thus achieve the aims of the TEFL course taken by participant.

Participants

The population of this study consists of all students (N=40) enrolled in the TEFL course in the second semester 2004. They are fourth-level female students specialized in English language and literature at IUG. The course is part of a four-year B.A programme that prepares students to be teachers. Because not all participants were familiar with WebCT, a brief training course was given to them. Therefore, all participants were familiarised with using WebCT just few days before the TEFL course began. Other colleagues teaching other courses were also using the WebCT with the same group of participants

Data collection

A three-part questionnaire is used for data collection. The three parts relate to technical, affective and pedagogical factors that affect learning. In addition to including 26 multiple-choice items in the three parts, 2 open-ended questions are used to give students opportunity to express their opinion openly by adding any additional relevant comments. The listing of all questions can be found in Appendix (D). A copy of the questionnaire was sent to the participants at the last week of the semester. The students were given the choice to submit it back either by e-mail or hand. All 40 participants responded to the questionnaire. Most students responded by email.

Data Analysis

The main data elicited from the questionnaire are collected from five-point Likert-scale responses (Strongly Agree; Agree; Neutral; Disagree; Strongly Disagree). The data are analysed by using descriptive statistics of frequency count and percentage scores.

Results

The study results can be outlined in the following tables and figures.

1. WebCT Access Location

Table (1) shows that the majority of students (60%) accessed WebCT from university (public computer labs and library computers) which explains the technical problems they face as will be shown later.

Table (1) WebCT Access Locations: Frequency Analysis
Students answer FrequencyPercentage
University public labs 3142%
Home computer 2432%
Library computers 1318%
Internet café 68%
Total 74100%

2. Reasons for not feeling comfortable with WebCT: Frequency Analysis

Figure (1) shows the percentages of the five technical difficulties students face when they use WebCT. The most common difficulty is the slow connection to the Internet. Only 13% responded with facing no technical difference.

Figure (1) Reasons for not feeling comfortable with WebCT

Below is a technical-related sample of commonly-repeated negative comments as written by students in the questionnaire. They are ordered in accordance with frequency.

  • It takes time to download & type assignments; no time to use WebCT at university
  • No computer or Internet line at home
  • Need proper training and preparation
  • Need more practice to type
  • No easy access to university labs
  • Using WebCT put great pressure and stress on students
  • Too much inform on WebCT

3. Most preferred WebCT tools

When the students were asked about the most preferred WebCT tools, they gave very close scores to most tools. Table (2) shows that all participants like all tools almost equally as the difference in frequency is so slight. The table also shows the results in a descending order where three tools (Links and References, Email, and Discussion) come first in terms of recording the highest frequency score (38 ? 11.2%) and thus the most liked. The least liked tools, however, are both gContenth and gGetting Exam Resultsh online. It can be assumed that students do not like gContenth tool as much as the other tools because they prefer to use textbook in print. But what interesting is the studentsf preference not to receive results by email. This could be explained by the effect of affective factors associated with marks

Table (2) Preferred WebCT tools
RankTools FrequencyPercentage
1.Links & references38 11.2%
Email3811.2%
Discussion3811.2%
2.previous exams3710.9%
3.Lecture notes & summaries 3610.6%
Assignments3610.6%
4.Announcements (student tips)3410%
5.Extra materials309%
6.Content278%
7.Getting exam results online257.3%
8.Total 339100%

4. Students encourage using WebCT

There is an overall studentsf support to encourage using WebCT by the university. The majority of participants (30 ? 75%) strongly agree to encourage using the WebCT by the university and some (9 ? 22.5%) agreed on such support but only one student who expressed her disagreement on promoting the use of WebCT. Such high ratio (97.5%) of support to using the WebCT at larger level at the university could be due to the different affective and linguistic benefits the participants gained from using WebCT. Below is a sample of positive comments as written by students in the questionnaire:

  • WebCT is very great for all students and must be in all courses.
  • The TEFL course was the most interesting in this semester.
  • I liked every thing put on WebCT
  • Using WebCT makes me more active and responsible
  • I like WebCT very much because it gives me a chance to express my thoughts and exchange ideas with the teacher and colleagues freely.
  • WebCT is very useful and must be encouraged to be used by all students.

5. How WebCT influences affective factors

The results in Table (3) show a general agreement among students on the positive effects of WebCT on affective factors needed for successful learning but with little difference in the degree of such effect. The most common positive effect is on enhancing self-confidence and learning independence, followed by developing a feeling of patience & perseverance needed to be a successful language learner & teacher. However the least effect is on motivating students to participate in class. One possible reason for this could be using the WebCT communication tools (email and discussion).

Table (3) How WebCT influences affective factors
Affective effects of WebCT Strongly agree & agree Neutral> Agree & strongly disagree
No.%No.%No.%
1. Increased my interest in TEFL32 80%820%--
2. Enhanced self-confidence 3587.5%37.5%22.5%
3.Motivated me to participate more in classroom 2562.5% 1025%512.5%
4. Strengthened confidence in the course instructor 2972.5%512.5%615%
5. Helped me to be more independent learner 35 87.5% 25%37.5%
6. Increased my excitement about language learning & teaching 3280%615%25%
7. Developed a more positive attitude towards the instructor 3280%615%25%
8. Developed a feeling of patience & perseverance needed to be a successful language learner & teacher 33 82.5% 717.5%--
9. Developed better interpersonal friendship with the instructor & other colleagues3177.5% 717.5%25%
10. (Previous Exam Tool) reduced anxiety & tension about exams 2767.5%717.5%615%

6. How WebCT tools influence pedagogical factors

Again, Table (4) shows a general agreement on the positive pedagogical effects of using WebCT on the participants where the vast majority (97.5%) approved the usefulness of WebCT in providing the students with a variety of practical TEFL skills. Another advantage in ratio (95%) is developing writing and communication skills needed to contact with colleagues and the teacher.

Table (4): How WebCT tools influence pedagogical factors
Pedagogical effects of WebCT Tools Strongly agree & agree Neutral Agree & strongly disagree
No.%No.%No.%
1. WebCT enhanced face-to-face lectures 3382.5%512.5%25%
2. "References & Links" and "Extra Material" provided me with a variety of practical TEFL skills 39 97.5% 12.5%--
3. "Reference & Links" and "Extra Material" helped me to give a better presentation on a TEFL aspect 3280%820%--
4. "Reference & Links" and "Extra Materials" provided rich resources for gathering information that made it easier to do a research paper on a TEFL aspect 3587.5%517.5%--
5. "Reference & Links" and "Extra Material" exposed me to a variety of opposing teaching concepts & techniques 3690%410%--
6. "Discussions" and "Mail" encouraged me to communicate frequently with the instructor 3792.5%1 2.5%12.5%
7. "Discussions" and "Mail" encouraged me to exchange pedagogical opinions with more freedom 3382.5%615%12.5%
8. "Previous Exams" enabled me to better understand the course content & achieve its aims successfully 3587.5%37.5%25%
9. " Lecture Notes & summaries" developed my writing & communication skills 3895% 25% --
10. WebCT enhanced the opportunity of varying course activities: assignments, research papers, quizzes, exams, etc. 3587.5%512.5%--
11. WebCT enabled me to cope with challenging learning & teaching situations 3792.5%37.5%--

Discussion

Four major findings emerged from this study:

1. Participant students support promoting the use of WebCT

The study shows favourable results concerning the studentsf perception to the positive effectiveness of WebCT. The participants have taken the TEFL course enthusiastically and enjoyed the benefits they gained due to using WebCT. Results have indicated that students would like to continue this project next year, and that they intend to make using WebCT a required element in their courses. These results resemble the findings of several related studies (Al-Ayyat et al, 2003; Burgess, 2003; Murphy and Lindner, n. d.; Pauley, 2000; & Tittenberger and Nazarko, 2003) conducted in different contexts. For instance Murphy & Lindner (n. d.) conclude that such positive responses are

ggood news for teachers who are incorporating or wish to incorporate technology into their teaching as a means for improving teaching. . . . It is hoped that as WebCT and other online course tools become more commonplace, and as students become more familiar with the technology, student learning, teacher effectiveness, and course efficiencies will improve.h

2. WebCT positive effects on affective factors

One of the central issues that has strong agreement among the participants is the importance of WebCT in improving the level of affective and motivational factors vital for successful language learning. Results indicate that WebCT has positively affected the ten psychological factors included in the questionnaire and mentioned above. The affective domain and the emotional factors which influence language learning have been of interest in the field of language teaching for a number of years. Many educators support the belief that effective and successful language learning cannot take place without the presence of these factors. Many growing studies have also shown that using useful technology-based approaches to language learning, including WebCT, would enhance these factors in different ways. In this context, Benson (2001, p140) and Toyoda (2001, p9) state that using technology-based approaches to language learning supports students feeling of autonomy.

Emphasizing the importance of motivation, Van Lier (1996, p98) argues that motivation "is a very important, if not the most important factor in language learning", without which even 'gifted' individuals cannot accomplish long-term goals, whatever the curricula and whoever the teacher. Mantle-Bromley (1995, p383) presume that "If we attend to the affective and cognitive components of students attitudes, as well as develop defendable pedagogical techniques, we may be able to increase the length of time students commit to language study and their chances of success in it."

3. WebCT positive effects on pedagogical factors

Again, the findings of this study report that the tools gLinks & References, E-mail, and Discussionh have all equally occupied the highest rank among all other tools in terms of offering pedagogical benefits. They are followed by the tools of gPrevious examsh, Lecture Notes and Summariesh. Combining the questionnaire responses with the researcherfs classroom observations and oral comments expressed by students during the sixteen-week course, possible justifications can be outlined as follows.

  1. The tool of Links & References works as a personal mini e-library that provides students with classified web links to a variety of TEFL sources ranging from e-encyclopedias and free e-journals to articles related to different topics and skills covered in the course. For instance, web sites related to teaching vocabulary were grouped under a sub-heading called gTeaching Vocabularyh. Similar grouped links were offered for teaching, grammar, writing, pronunciation, etc. Such categorised links facilitate gathering information relevant to the oral presentation and term paper each student was required to do to pass the course. Additionally, this classification saves students a lot of searching time through helping them reach needed materials quickly. Furthermore, classifying such web sites has proved to be strongly encouraging to the learners especially in an environment where the university library is poor at books and references.
  2. E-mail is used to facilitate communication between students and instructor. Students can contact the instructor at any time where they can pose questions, give comments and express opinions. Such facility can encourage shy female students to participate and be more active in the process of learning. Also, having private mail inside WebCT helps to organize and store mail specific to the course instead of getting mixed up in all the other email that flows into a faculty's system.h
  3. Discussion is used to discuss and exchange information about particular controversial teaching-learning issues, e.g. using L1 in teaching English, teaching deductively or inductively, objective and subjective tests, etc. Every student (individually, in pairs or groups) is expected to participate in the discussion of a relevant topic agreed upon every two weeks.
  4. Previous exam familiarise students with exams format given by the same instructor or other teachers in previous years. This tool guides studentsf focus, reduces anxiety and tension caused by exams and provides more practice activities that enhance academic achievement.
  5. Lecture notes and summaries which require two students to separately summarise every lecture given by the teacher and every presentation given by students on one of the course topics and then post the notes to the instructor who in turn puts them on this tool. This tool eased the pressure on students during lectures so that instead of concentrating all their efforts on taking notes, they can concentrate more on understanding the lecture.

4. Overcoming WebCT technical difficulties

The negative responses and comments expressed by the participants over accessing their WebCT and the long time needed for downloading require more focused attention and improvements on the part of course designers and IT specialists to keep the students' enthusiasm about WebCT. The challenge of making fast-accessing, fast-displaying, and fast-loading internet-based software has been stressed by several recent studies (Al-Ayyat et al, 2003; Everheart, 1996; Kelly, 2000 & Murphy and Lindner n.d.) as a basic criterion for keeping the visitorfs enthusiasm. A possible suggestion to keep studentsf positive attitude towards WebCT is to increase studentsf awareness about this technical problem and to offer highly valuable and unique content that meet studentsf needs and make them feel that the content quality is worth the time spent. In this regard, Al-Ayyat et al (2003) assert that gAccessibility problems can be reduced if faculty adhere to certain guidelines with respect to the materials they post, and take into consideration that file size increases download time for students. Additionally, to reduce incompatibilities, materials should be made available in a global file format such as PDF . . .h. Another suggestion is to keep gthe consistency in page layouts and page elements and menus as this will not only help to make a web site attractive but also aid web visitors to find their way around the site and do not get lost in the cyberspace (Tittel & James, 1995 in Embi 2004).

Conclusion

This sudy investigated four aspects related to WebCT: the participantsf level of interest and attitude towards WebCT, the affective factors influenced by WebCT, the pedagogical factors influenced by WebCT and technical problems facing WebCT users. The participanatsf responses to the first aspects were positive and encouraging. The study also identified some key technical challenges that need to be overcome.

Although the study is limited to forty female students specialized in English, its findings may offer a glimpse of how a particular set of students views and deals with technology in language teaching-learning context. The study may also add to our understanding of how several WebCT tools can influence key factors for efficient and effective language teaching and learning. Furthermore, the study indicates how useful WebCT can be to supplement on-campus lectures, especially if used with students who are comfortable with using technology and do not encounter serious technical problems. However, to maximize the different benefits of WebCT, further research needs to be conducted taking another group of participants: larger in size, mixed in gender and at different study level and courses.

References

Al-Ayyat, S.; Bali, M.; Ellozy, A.; El-Koshairy, M.; Mansour, M. & Pappas, W. (2003) Two years into WebCT: Perceptions of AUC students. Retrieved June 10, 2004, from http://www.aucegypt.edu/acs/Presentations/studsurvey.pdf

Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and researching autonomy in language learning. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.

Bordonaro, K. (2003) Perceptions of technology and manifestations of language learner autonomy. CALL-EJ online, 5 (1). Retrieved July 5, 2004, from http://www.clec.ritsumei.ac.jp/english/callejonline/8-1/bordonaro.html

Burgess, L A. (2003) WebCT as an e-learning tool: A study of technology studentsf perceptions. Journal of technology education. 15/ 1. Retrieved June 26, 2004, from http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/v15n1/pdf/burgess.pdf

Embi, M. A. (2004) Development and evaluation of an ESL web site on learning-to-learn English. CALL-EJ online, 6 (1). Retrieved June 15, 2004, from http://www.clec.ritsumei.ac.jp/english/callejonline/9-1/contents6-1.html

Everheart, J. (1996). Web page evaluation worksheet. Retrieved June 10, 2004, from http://www.duke.edu/~de1/evaluate.html.

Finch, A.E. (2000). A formative evaluation of a task-based EFL programme for Korean university students. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis. Manchester University, U.K. Retrieved June 10, 2004, from http://www.finchpark.com/afe/.

Hussein, Susan B. (2003) Fueling the engine of learning: Using assessment tools on a CMS, WebCT, to improve student outcomes. Retrieved June 3, 2004, from http://www.montclair.edu/Pages/edtexpo/2003/papers/hussein.pdf

Kelly. C. (2000). Guidelines for designing a good ESL web site for ESL students. The Internet TESL journal, 4 (3). Retrieved July 5, 2004, from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Kelly-Guidelines.html

Mantle-Bromley, C..(1995) Positive attitudes and realistic beliefs: links to proficiency. The modern language journal, 79 (3), 372 - 386.

Murphy, T. H. and Lindner, J R. (n.d.) Building and supporting online learning environments through Web course tools: It is whippy, but does it work? Retrieved June 15, 2004, from http://agnews.tamu.edu/saas/Murphy.htm.

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Savery, J. R. (2002) Faculty and student perceptions of technology integration in teaching. Journal of interactive online learning, 1 (2). Retrieved July5, 2004, from http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/ARCHIVES/2002/2/05/index.html

Scovel, T. (1978). The effect of affect on foreign language learning: A review of the anxiety research. Language learning, 28, 129- 142.

Tittenberger, P. & Nazarko, O. (2003) Should we upgrade? WebCT at the University of Manitoba. Retrieved June 5, 2004, from http://www.umanitoba.ca/uts/publications/research/shouldweupgrade.pdf

Toyoda, E. (2001). Exercise of learner autonomy in project-oriented. CALL-EJ online, (2) 2. Retrieved June 3, 2004, from http://www.clec.ritsumei.ac.jp/english/callejonline/5-2/toyoda.html

Van Lier, L. (1996). Interaction in the language curriculum: Awareness, autonomy, and authenticity. London: Longman.

Appendix (A): Main WebCT Tools

Tools Brief description
1. Add Page or Tool To add pages of course content, WebCT tools, or links to websites and external applications to the course, e.g. Extra-Material Page, Previous Exams Page, Lecture Notes Page, etc.
2. Assignments To create and distribute course assignments to students, and download, evaluate, and assign a grade to the completed work.
3. Bookmarks To create their own custom shortcuts to key pages.
4. CD-ROM To provide students access to multimedia files instead of uploading the files to course content.
5. Chat To promote direct communication.
6. Content Module To develop the learning materials in various ways.
7. Discussions To discuss and exchange information about particular topic.
8. Glossary To list definition of relevant terms.
9. Index To cross reference key terms and concepts within the course content.
10. Link To connect students to sites on the Internet relevant to the course topics.
11. Mail For communication between students and instructor and students.
12. My Grades To release grades to students.
13. My Notes (Annotations) To have students create their own annotations of various text documents - then have the students compile their notes and share them with the whole class.
14. Quizzes To practise quizzes.
15. Resume session To pick up at the last place students were in the course path pages.
16. Search To locate topics in the course.
17. Self-Test To practice self-answered tests.
18. Student Presentations To create groups of students to do a joint project relevant to the course they study.
19. Student tips To send announcements that appears on the screen as soon the students log on to WebCT.
20. Syllabus To present information about course and instructor.
21. Whiteboard To allow designers, students, and teachers to enter text, draw objects, insert graphics, and make modification in order to have online discussion.

Appendix (B): WebCT Tools Used for teaching TEFL Course

ToolsFunction
Links & References Provide quick links to relevant resources (articles, journals, etc) available on the Internet that may promote teaching English as a foreign language. These links are classified according to the topics included in the course. For instance, some links grouped together on how to teach pronunciation, reading, writing, etc.
Email Facilitates communication among all students taking the course and between students and teacher.
Discussion Provide a platform for discussing controversial issues related to teaching English where all students are encouraged to participate in the discussion. For instance, students were encouraged to debate this question: to what extent do you agree on banning the use of learnersf mother tongue in English language classes?
Previous exams It is a link that provides students with all previous exams on TEFL.
Lecture notes & summaries A tool that provides notes and summaries to lectures
Assignments Describe written assignments, such as papers and essays.
Announcements (student tips) Students can get announcements about exams, assignments, etc as soon as they log on to the WebCT.
Extra materials This tool provides students with extra-supplementary articles, essays and information relevant to the course topics.
Content This tool links students to the main e-content of the course.
Getting exam results online Through this tool, students can get access to view the results of their exams and quizzes.

Appendix (C): Topics Covered in TEFL Course

Course Description

This course is an introduction to Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). It develops the studentsf pedagogical knowledge and the basic skills needed to teach English efficiently. The course is divided into 3 main areas:

  • Basic teaching components: language, teacher, student, syllabus and context.
  • EFL Methodology
  • A variety of teaching techniques

Aims

  • To increase studentsf awareness of the teaching-learning process in Palestine.
  • To provide students with a brief, critical survey of the main methods and approaches to teaching English as a foreign language.
  • To expose students to as many different teaching techniques as possible.

Intended learning outcomes

  1. improving presentation and interpersonal skills
  2. thorough preparation for teaching experience
  3. coping with challenging learning and teaching situations
  4. developing team work spirit

Course topics

Week 1 & 2:
Introduction to TEFL
  1. ELT Terminology
  2. Reasons why Palestinians choose to learn English
Week 3:
Grammar Translation Method & Direct Method
Week 4:
Audio-lingual approach & Cognitive Code Approach
Week 5:
TPR, Community Language & Learning, Silent Way, & Suggestopedia
Week 6:
The Communicative Approach
Week 7:
Differences between teaching young children & adults
Week 8:
Techniques for presenting & practicing vocabulary
Week 9:
Techniques for teaching grammar & functions
Week 10:
Techniques for teaching reading skills
Week 11:
Techniques for teaching writing skills
Week 12:
Techniques for teaching listening & speaking skills
Week 13:
Techniques for using games & songs
Week 14:
Lesson planning
Week 15:
Revision
Week 16:
Final Exam

Appendix (D): Questionnaire

A. Technical factors

Could you please put (X) next to what you think the appropriate answers?
  • In this semester, I have used WebCT in . . .
    • a. TEFL course only
    • b. TEFL and other courses
  • I access WebCT from the following location(s) (you can choose more than one)
    • University Public Access Labs
    • Home Computer
    • University Library
    • Internet Café
  • I still donft feel comfortable with using WebCT because: (you can choose more than one)
    • I need more assistance on WebCT
    • I cannot access university labs easily
    • I forget WebCT internet address
    • slow connection specially from home computers
    • Downloading/uploading file difficulty
  • Using WebCT should be encouraged
    • Strongly agree
    • Agree
    • No opinion
    • Disagree
    • Strongly disagree
  • Write liked (L) or disliked (D) next to the following WebCT tools
    • Announcements (Tips)
    • Syllabus (content)
    • email the instructor and other students in the class
    • Discussions
    • lecture notes and summaries
    • Assignments
    • Getting Grades online
    • Previous Exams
    • Links & References
    • Extra-materials
  • Add any other comments related to technical difficulties you faced during the course.

B. Affective Factors

Could you please put (X) in what you think the appropriate answer?
1 = Strongly agree
2 = Agree
3 = Neutral
4 = disagree
5 = strongly disagree
Questions12345
1. Due to the use of WebCT, my interest in the TEFL course increased
2. Using WebCT made more self-confident learner
3. Because of WebCT, my motivation to participate in classroom was improved
4. Using WebCT strengthened my confidence in the course instructor
5. Using WebCT made me more independent learner
6. Using WebCT made more excited about language learning and teaching
7. Because of using WebCT, I developed a more positive attitude towards the instructor
8. Using WebCT developed the feeling of patience & perseverance needed to be a successful ELT teacher
9. Using WebCT tools (email & discussion) to communicate developed interpersonal friendship with the other colleagues and the instructor
10. Looking at WebCT tool "Previous Exams" decreased anxiety & tension about exams

C. Pedagogical Factors

Could you please put (X) in what you think the appropriate answer?
1 = Strongly agree
2 = Agree
3 = Neutral
4 = disagree
5 = strongly disagree
Questions12345
1. WebCT is a useful technological system that enhances face-to-face lectures
2. WebCT tools "References & Links" and "Extra Material" provided me with a variety of practical TEFL skills
3. WebCT tools "Reference & Links" and "Extra Material" helped me to give a better presentation on a TEFL aspect
4. WebCT tools "Reference & Links" and "Extra Materials" provided rich resources for gathering information that made it easier to do a research paper on a TEFL aspect
5. WebCT tools "Reference & Links" and "Extra Material" exposed me to a variety of opposing teaching concepts & techniques
6. WebCT tools "Discussions" and "Mail" encouraged me to communicate frequently with the instructor
7. WebCT tools "Discussions" and "Mail" encouraged me to exchange pedagogical opinions with more freedom
8. WebCT tool "Previous Exams" enabled me to better understand the course content & achieve its aims successfully
9. Using WebCT enhanced the opportunity of varying course activities: assignments, research papers, quizzes, etc.
10. WebCT tool" Lecture Notes & Summaries" developed my writing & communication skills
11. Using WebCT enabled me to cope with challenging learning & teaching situations

Biography

Nazmi Al-Masri has a Ph.D in TEFL and Curriculum Development from the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests are teacher trainining, academic writing, and using technology in TEFL. He teaches at the Islamic University of Gaza, Palestine.