1992 Material design for the development of EFL active vocabulary
The idea for this two-month project came from an analysis of my high-school (Years 2-3) upper-intermediate students' need to develop their active vocabulary in English and from the inadequacy of the coursebook material towards this teaching/learning goal.
It comprised the design of tasks on my class's favourite topic (i.e. 'leisure'), their classroom implementation and the evaluation of the effectiveness of this material through the learners' speaking and writing performance.
The project evaluation indicated:
- causes of learner inability to use vocabulary actively
- activity types suitable for the understanding of lexis and for memory reinforcement; particularly, vocabulary games as the highest motivating technique in vocabulary learning and use
- the usefulness of learning true cognates in English for speaking/writing purposes
- the contribution of the unambiguous, contextualised presentation of lexis and of the use of realia, pictures and drawings to vocabulary understanding and use
- the advantages of needs analysis prior to material design
- the importance of remedial lessons
- the positive effects of training EFL students in the use of monolingual English dictionaries in class.
The project report was submitted to the University of Cambridge for the DOTE/RSA qualification.
1995 Criteria for the selection of video presentations for primary EFL classroom use
The primary EFL teachers' aspiration to incorporate the use of the video in their lessons usually makes it necessary that the most appropriate video presentations are selected for their teaching context from a wide range of authentic and non-authentic English video material. In order to serve one's teaching aims in the most effective way, however, criteria need be applied in this selection.
In light of the above, a library-based research was carried out, aiming at the development of selection criteria for the use of video material with young EFL learners. The project resulted in the specification of a multitude of such criteria focusing in the main on:
- the communicative value of the material
- the formal features of the medium
- the content of the video presentations.
2000 The spelling mistakes of Greek young EFL learners
Primary TEFL experience has shown that the acquisition of the English spelling system is too demanding for Greek learners. Consequently, to compensate for spelling knowldge they have not acquired yet, learners tend to resort to a variety of erroneous graphemic combinations. To make things worse, spelling mistakes are often differentiated between and within classes, reflecting thus dissimilar learner developmental stages and learning needs.
Primary Greek EFL teachers often feel helpless in understanding and remedying these mistakes as a result of insufficient teacher training input, non-existent research in the domain of the acquisition of the English spelling by Greek learners and spelling tasks not tailor-made for the needs of individual learners and classes.
On the basis of the above situation, the interest arose in me as a primary EFL teacher, teacher trainer and primary EFL material writer to investigate this educational problem. The general aim set was to confirm the problem and describe it for the purpose of understanding it deeply and facing it effectively.
The research was a case study. It also fell within the paradigm of Error Analysis. As such, it involved the comparative description of the learners' interlanguage and the target language, and the study of the spelling errors of the participants to identify the mental functions they performed to make up for their ignorance in spelling.
The participants were a class of pre-intermediate Greek primary EFL learners (Year 6), and the errors were collected from a corpus of eighty short free compositions of theirs.
The resulting error taxonomy rendered four broad error categories (i.e. Omission, Addition, Substitution and Misordering errors) and a total of seventeen subcategories. The data also provided strong evidence for the employment by the learners of the good spellers' strategies and for the perception of their spelling errors as a compensatory learner strategy and as a communication strategy. Last, but not least, the influential role of L1 transfer in mispellings was also reconfirmed, and its validity was extended to the acquisition of the English spelling system.
2007 Classroom discipline problems in mainstream Cypriotic classrooms and their pedagogical implications
Pupil misbehaviour at state schools remains an under-researched area despite the widely acknowledged challenges that it constantly puts on teachers and the high levels of teacher stress it causes.
From the international spectrum of educational systems experiencing the discomfort of disruptive pupil behaviour, the Cypriot one was chosen for investigation, where school indiscipline still remains largely under-researched.
The investigation comprised a pilot case study of two Cypriot state-school primary teachers' perceptions of classroom misbehaviour through deep interviewing. The findings threw light on:
a variety of pupil misbehaviour types they had experienced
causal misbehaviour attributes, internal and external to the learners
pro-active and re-active discipline approaches and techniques they adopted
their suggestions about the kind of support that Cypriots may need to increase the effectiveness of their classroom management skills.
The findings were presented in the 10th Conference of The Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick (June 2007).