well as content analysis employed in the previous studies was in agreement with the design of our investigation into Iranian Kurdish-speaking EFL learners’ beliefs about the roles assigned to language learners and language teachers in EFL educational contexts.
In addition, the review of the few studies on Iranian EFL learners’ and teachers’ beliefs about different aspects of language learning and teaching revealed the fact that there is a need to do studies on students learning English at Iranian high school contexts especially in local areas where there are bilingual students learning English as a third language and as a school subject is overlooked.
Except for the studies by Nikitina and Furuoka (2008 a, b) in which the metaphorical images provided by Malaysian EFL learners were associated with philosophical views, no other study paid attention to the implications of the metaphors used by EFL learners and teachers to the roles assigned to language learners’ and language teachers’ roles in the design of language learning and teaching methods. Therefore, the current study aims to fill this gap in the related literature.
Therefore, the present study is to investigate the beliefs of Iranian Kurdish-speaking high school students’ beliefs about language learning and teaching in a context where the English language is taught as a foreign language and a school subject by the educational system. The main focus is on the roles of language learners and teachers as two crucial factors in the development of language learning and teaching. This study in addition aims to compare the metaphors highlighted in leaners’ metaphors with the roles assigned to language learners and language teachers in the design of the most important language learning and teaching methods. To this end, in the next section, language teachers’ and language learners’ roles in the design of dominant language learning and teaching methods are summarized according to the guidelines provided by Larsen-Freeman (2000) Richards and Rodgers (2002).
In the following chapter, Chapter 3, the methodology of the present study is presented.
To elicit Iranian Kurdish-speaking high school students’ beliefs and views about language learning and teaching by use of metaphors, in this section, the methodological perspective of the present study is given. That is, the participants, the instruments used to collect the required data, the design of the study, and the procedure for both data collection and data analysis are described.
The participants for the present study were 86 Iranian Kurdish-speaking high school students in different grades and majors in Ilam on the west of Iran. The participants were all chosen from the bilingual (Kurdish-Persian) population of students who were taking English as a third language course and as a study subject at high school level. Following other studies (for example, Nikitina & Furuoka, 2008; Pishghadam and Navari, 2010; Wan, Low & Lee, 2011; Huang, 2011; Ahkemoglu, 2011), convenient sampling (Dornyei, 2007, p. 98) was used for selecting the participants of this study. Participation was on a voluntary basis although all the participants were screened out regarding their history of bilingualism to meet the requirements and validity of the study. In terms of age, they were between 13 to 15 years old.
In this study, a qualitative data collection instrument was used. It was a self-designed open-ended metaphor elicitation questionnaire (See Appendix A and B) taken, modified and translated from previous studies (Nikitina & Furuoka, 2008; Huang, 2011; Ahkemoglu, 2011) and adapted by the researcher for the present context.
The questionnaire had two parts. In the first part, participants completed some personal information questions such as their gender, high school major, high school grade, and age. In the second part, participants completed statements such as “An English language teacher is a/an . . . . . . . . because . . . . . . . . .” and “An English language learner is a/an . . . . . . . . . because . . . . . . . . .”. It should be noted that the metaphor elicitation sheet was in written in the second language of the high school students as their formal and educational language. The participants were free to use their second language as the formal and educational language used in this context in developing their metaphors if they wished to as it was believed that using the English might cause some learners to have difficulty in generating metaphors and expressing themselves in the correct way (Nikitina & Furuoka, 2008; Pishghadam and Navari, 2010; Wan, Low & Lee, 2011; Huang, 2011).
Another instrument for data collection was the short semi-structured interviews. The purpose of conducting interviews was to clarify the points that seemed unclear to the researcher (Ahkemoglu, 2011, p.22). The interviews were also utilized to triangulate the data collection process. The reason for using semi-structured interviews was that they give the interviewee a degree of power and control over the course of the interview and a great flexibility to the interviewer.
۳.۱.۳. Design of the Study
In order to investigate Iranian high school students’ beliefs about language teacher’s and learner’s roles in an EFL context via metaphors; following other studies in this field (for example, Nikitina & Furuoka, 2008; Pishghadam and Navari, 2010; Wan, Low & Lee, 2011; Huang, 2011; Ahkemoglu, 2011), the present study adopted a qualitative data collection design. The qualitative data were collected through metaphor elicitation method and short semi-structured interviews with the learners. The reason for using two methods of data collection was to achieve triangulation of the data and to clarify the points that might seem unclear (Farjami, 2012; Ahkemoglu, 2011, p.19). The metaphors generated by learners were described, categorized, compared and analyzed by means of content analysis since data format was textual not numerical (Wan et al., 2011). The short semi-structured interviews were transcribed and coded for further content analysis. The reason for utilizing this method was that the concepts and ideas that are not noticeable using the descriptive and quantitative approaches may be seen by using content analysis (Yildirim and Simsek, 2011; Pishghadam & Navari, 2011; Ahkemoglu, 2011, p.20).
۳.۱.۴. Procedure of Data Collection and Analysis
To elicit Iranian bilingual EFL learners’ beliefs about two important aspects of language learning and teaching that is language teacher’s roles and language learner’s roles in this study, the required data were collected through a self-designed open-ended metaphor questionnaire and a self-instructed short interview following other studies in the field of metaphor analysis produced by language learners ( for example, Nikitina & Furuoka, 2008; Pishghadam and Navari, 2010; Wan, Low & Lee, 2011; Huang, 2011; Ahkemoglu, 2011).
First of all, teachers at randomly selected high schools were informed about the design of the present study. Then metaphor elicitation sheets in English and Persian were given to all participants during their English course classrooms at the middle of the educational year 2014. The participants were told that their participation was entirely voluntary and that their responses would remain anonymous and that confidentiality would be maintained.
All participants were asked to complete both parts of the questionnaire, the personal information and the statements about an English language teacher and an English language learner as well as their reasons for their written metaphors. The participants were free to use their mother tongue (Kurdish) or their second formal language (Farsi) and even English in writing the metaphors in the metaphor elicitation sheets as it was believed that using selected language by the researcher might cause some learners to have difficulty in generating metaphors and expressing themselves in the correct way. There was no limitation regarding the time used for writing and clarifying the metaphors. After the sheets were collected and read by the researcher each participant was interviewed to gain more in-depth responses from the participants.
The obtained data were analyzed by content analysis following other studies (for example, Ahkemoglu, 2011, p.22; Nikitina & Furuoka, 2008; Pishghadam & Navari, 2010; Wan, Low & Lee, 2011; Huang, 2011). The metaphors produced by students were coded and categorized. Then the most important and dominant metaphors were classified in different categories. All the short interviews were also tape recorded and then translated into English and analyzed by the researcher in the
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