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Article
Publication date: 3 October 2008

Ghazi Ghaith and Hassan Diab

The purpose of this paper is to determine the degree of interrelatedness and the role of a number of context‐specific factors in the English language proficiency…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the degree of interrelatedness and the role of a number of context‐specific factors in the English language proficiency development of Arab college‐bound learners. These factors include: language class risk‐taking, sociability, discomfort, motivation, and attitude toward class.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employed a one‐group pretest‐posttest experimental design. In total, 67 (n=67) male English as a foreign language college‐bound learners participated in the study. All participants took general English language proficiency pretests and posttests in order to determine the effect size of improvement in their language proficiency after an intensive treatment of 200 contact hours. The calculated effect sizes of improvement were correlated with learners' scores on the factors under study as measured by a modified version of the Ely classroom climate measure. In addition, Pearson product‐moment correlation coefficients were computed and a step‐wise multiple regression analysis was run in order to determine the degree of interrelatedness among the variables under study and to determine their extent of their role in the effect size of the proficiency gains of the participants.

Findings

The findings indicated that language class sociability is positively related to students' motivation to learn and to a positive class attitude. Conversely, language class risk‐taking was found to be negatively related to class discomfort which in turn was negatively related to student motivation to learn. The findings also indicated that none of the affective variables under study predicted the effect size of the proficiency gains realized by learners.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study suggest that language acquisition is a complex process determined by interaction among a number of learner‐related and contextual factors. Furthermore, the findings suggest that motivation for learning is related to learners' affective feelings and may impact their class participation. A limitation of the study is that it employed a one‐group experimental design and, as such, there was no control or comparison group.

Practical implications

Using humanistic/affective methods of teaching could decrease students' feelings of class discomfort and increase their motivation and class sociability.

Originality/value

The study provides insights into the language acquisition process of Arab college‐bound learners based on empirical evidence.

Details

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-7983

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2010

Ghazi Ghaith

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a survey study of the achievement of twenty‐first century skills in higher education.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a survey study of the achievement of twenty‐first century skills in higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a quantitative survey design.

Findings

The findings indicate that the basic scientific and technological skills of reading critically and writing persuasively as well as accessing and using information efficiently have been achieved to a great extent in the context of the study; whereas, mathematical and scientific skills and global awareness and cross‐cultural issues still need more attention. Variations in the level of mastery as well as gender differences in the achievement of certain skills clusters were also identified and discussed in light of the robustness of the theory of the “universal digital native”.

Research limitations/implications

The results cannot be generalized into other contexts and the data were basically self‐reported and not corroborated by evidence from triangulated sources.

Practical implications

Effective dealing with the basic and technological skills should be continued; however, more attention should be given to the development of the skills in mathematics and the sciences. Likewise, the visual‐literacy skills and the levels of global awareness and cross‐cultural understanding and appreciation should be improved.

Originality/value

This exploratory study fills a knowledge gap and may set the stage for further research into the extent to which the twenty‐first century skills are being realized by institutions of higher learning given the scarcity or non‐existence of this research.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 52 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2010

Carl Senior and Robert Cubbidge

The purpose of this paper is to place all of the contributions to this special issue into a theoretical framework and to highlight the role that the so‐called “information…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to place all of the contributions to this special issue into a theoretical framework and to highlight the role that the so‐called “information age mindset” has in the facilitation of employability skills.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discusses the major themes of this special issue.

Findings

Undergraduate students do see the importance of technological innovation in the classroom but they see the development of experiential or work‐based skills to be more important.

Practical implications

Future curriculum design should consider the expectations and attitudes of the modern day undergraduate student to ensure that potential employability is maximised.

Originality/value

The findings are placed into the wider context of the emerging field of evolutionary educational psychology.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 52 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 3 October 2008

Abstract

Details

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-7983

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