News Update on English Learning : April 21

[1] Mobile English learning: An evidence-based study with fifth graders

Three groups participated in a study on the added value of mobile technology for learning English as a second language for primary school students. The first group had classroom lessons in English about zoo animals and their characteristics. The second group took classroom lessons and worked with a mobile application on location in a public zoo. The third group received the same treatment as the second but, as an extension, was allowed to take the mobile application home for a fortnight. A pre- and a posttest were conducted to measure the individual change in mastery of a set of targeted English words. The results showed that the group which took the mobile phone home improved the most. However, when the additional learning time, spent apart from school, of this third group was controlled for, the superior performance of the group disappeared. The results indicate that students are motivated to use the application in their spare time and that this benefits their learning. The conclusion is that formal school learning can be augmented by learning in an informal context, away from school.

[2] Personalized Intelligent M-learning System for Supporting Effective English Learning

To provide an effective and flexible learning environment for english learning, this study adopts the advantages of the mobile learning to present a personalized intelligent m-learning system (PIMS) which can appropriately recommend english news articles to learners based on the learners’ reading abilities evaluated by the proposed fuzzy item response theory (FIRT) for non-native english speakers. In addition, to promote an individual’s ability to read news articles in english, the new or unfamiliar vocabularies of the individual learner can also be automatically discovered and retrieved from the reading english news articles by the PIMS system according to the english vocabulary ability of the individual learner for enhancing vocabulary learning.

[3] The Beginnings of Word Segmentation in English-Learning Infants

A series of 15 experiments was conducted to explore English-learning infants’ capacities to segment bisyllabic words from fluent speech. The studies in Part I focused on 7.5 month olds’ abilities to segment words with strong/weak stress patterns from fluent speech. The infants demonstrated an ability to detect strong/weak target words in sentential contexts. Moreover, the findings indicated that the infants were responding to the whole words and not to just their strong syllables. In Part II, a parallel series of studies was conducted examining 7.5 month olds’ abilities to segment words with weak/strong stress patterns. In contrast with the results for strong/weak words, 7.5 month olds appeared to missegment weak/strong words. They demonstrated a tendency to treat strong syllables as markers of word onsets. In addition, when weak/strong words co-occurred with a particular following weak syllable (e.g., “guitar is”), 7.5 month olds appeared to misperceive these as strong/weak words (e.g., “taris”).

[4] Strengthening English Learning in Language Transition Classes by Spiraling English Teachers’ Competences in Tanzania

English is an important language in Tanzania and the world over. In Tanzania, it is a compulsory school subject in primary and lower secondary (i.e. Forms I to IV) education and a compulsory medium of instruction in secondary tertiary levels of education. However, several studies have consistently reported on low levels of English competence among students in secondary schools in Tanzania. The situation is more evident at the language transition class (Form I). This study aimed at mitigating the challenges encountered in learning English in Form I classes. The study established a School-Based Professional Development (SB-PD) program to improve competence in English among Form I students. Six (6) English teachers and thirty (30) Form I students from three secondary schools in Dodoma Region were involved in this study. The referred teachers formed a learning team and participated in a series of activities which were facilitated by researchers from the University of Dodoma (UDOM).

[5] Community English Learning Center: An Abode of Academic and Professional Excellence

Lack of sufficient practice of English outside formal classes is one of the reasons for unexpectedly low outcome of English language education in the countries where English is used as a foreign language (EFL). Community English Learning Centers (CELCs) can help people practice English in real-life situations and ultimately make them competent users of the language. This paper expounds methods and techniques for teaching-learning of all skills of English language at CELCs for people of various ages and status. It also discusses policies that can turn CELCs into entertaining and effective places for English language education.



[1] Sandberg, J., Maris, M. and De Geus, K., 2011. Mobile English learning: An evidence-based study with fifth graders. Computers & Education57(1), pp.1334-1347.

[2] Chen, C.M., Hsu, S.H., Li, Y.L. and Peng, C.J., 2006, October. Personalized intelligent m-learning system for supporting effective English learning. In 2006 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (Vol. 6, pp. 4898-4903). IEEE.

[3] Jusczyk, P.W., Houston, D.M. and Newsome, M., 1999. The beginnings of word segmentation in English-learning infants. Cognitive psychology39(3-4), pp.159-207.

[4] Prosper, G. and Doroth, E., 2017. Strengthening English learning in language transition classes by spiraling English teachers’ competences in Tanzania. Asian Research Journal of Arts & Social Sciences, pp.1-15.

[5] Ahmed, S.S., 2014. Community English Learning Center: An Abode of Academic and Professional Excellence. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, pp.1352-1357.

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