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Pedagogic and Instructional Perspectives in Language Education: The Context of Higher Education

reviewed by Yuehai Xiao & Angel Zhao - September 21, 2020

coverTitle: Pedagogic and Instructional Perspectives in Language Education: The Context of Higher Education
Author(s): Enisa Mede, Kenan Dikilitas, & Derin Atay
Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing, New York
ISBN: 3631804407, Pages: 388, Year: 2020
Search for book at Amazon.com

English Language Teaching (ELT) pedagogy is a vibrant field with researchers continuing to add new insights into this body of literature. For example, Riebe, Girardi, and Whitsed (2016) explore teacher perceptions on how technology mediates student learning in a teacher training program. The study calls for more comprehensive examinations on teacher attitudes and awareness of the different mindsets in teacher training. In addition, Jääskelä, Häkkinen, and Rasku-Puttonen (2017) reviewed 57 journal articles to identify the factors that facilitate or limit teamwork pedagogy. Furthermore, the authors point out that “interdependence interactions among educators and students, within and across institutions, remain largely unexplored” (p. 619).

Responding to this call for research, some scholars attempt to probe into a multitude of topics of ELT pedagogy in various contexts. For instance, Reinders, Nunan, and Zou (2017) offer an account of ELT pedagogical innovations in learner-center environments in China. To advance this conversation even further,
Pedagogic and Instructional Perspectives in Language Education: The Context of Higher Education, edited by Mede, Dikilitas, and Atay, aims to unpack the current trend in ELT that trains teachers to facilitate students’ development of critical thinking and problem solving skills through an array of innovative pedagogies and instructions in higher education across a number of countries. The volume, being situated in different contexts, covers a broad range of topics, such as English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English for Specific Purposes (ESP), English as Medium of Instruction (EMI), and mobile assisted language learning. It is written in a language that is accessible to a large audience, including teachers, graduate students, administrators, policy makers, and researchers. In addition, the empirical studies unveil research findings objectively, and many provide pedagogical implications.

This text comprises 15 chapters, with one empirical study per chapter, and can be divided into five parts.Chapters One to Four may be put together as Part One. The chapters investigate broad topics relating to ELT that may be of interest to different stakeholders in the industry (for example, empirical studies on Designedly Incomplete Utterances [DIU] in Chapter One and EMI instructors’ [both Anglophones and non-Anglophones] perceptions about translanguaging in Chapter Four). The results and implications are helpful to keep stakeholders informed of the methodologies and practices that are useful in English classrooms and raise awareness of various perceptions regarding such issues as the prejudice against teaching non-Anglophone varieties in English classrooms (Chapter Three). However, “in this study, there is also some inconsistency in the utterances of the participants, one of which is although P2 [participant two] stated that s/he does not believe in SE [standard English] because of the current role of English, s/he favoured native varieties. However, the second participant who was aware of the WE [world Englishes] stated that s/he does not try to shape his/her language according to a set of rules” (pp. 90–91). Thus, it seems important to inform instructors and students about world Englishes so that they are able to accept their own varieties of English as well as other non-standard ones.

Part Two is composed of four chapters (Chapters Five to Eight), examining specific subjects. For instance, in Chapter Five, Koylu’s study underscores EFL teachers’ code-switching in university level L2 classrooms in Turkey. The findings uncover that code-switching helps student with “comprehension” and “clarification” (p. 7). It also motivates students to learn. Furthermore, the position of code-switching may depend on different factors such as students’ English proficiency and the expectations of that particular curriculum.

Part Three of this volume (Chapters Nine and Ten) unpacks the results of empirical studies regarding student perceptions and experiences with English. For example, in the context of Abu Dhabi, Ayish (in Chapter Nine) investigates engineering freshmen’s attitudes toward using EMI at their university. The findings indicate that students report that EMI made their studies more difficult and complicated, which implies that instructors at the tertiary level need to help first-year students transition better to EMI. Part Four, Chapter Thirteen, is an interesting study where Ersin and Atay attempt to unravel the level of intercultural sensitivity of pre-service teachers at a Turkish university and contrast these levels “before and after the Erasmus-student mobility program” (p. 10). The result is positive, showing an increase in the intercultural sensitivity level after the program. Such seems to have important implications regarding teacher training. For instance, pre-service teachers, especially those in multicultural contexts, should take the intercultural sensitivity program as part of their training so that they may appreciate and respect different cultural values in English classrooms. As the authors assert, “The present study can be seen as a type of feedback in determining the functionality of the Erasmus+ student mobility for teacher education programs. The opinions, reactions, and positive feedback received from the PTs [participants] show that the program functions well as part of the teacher training process” (p. 322).

The final part of this book (Part Five, Chapters Eleven, Twelve, Fourteen, and Fifteen) are empirical studies about the use of technological devices in ELT. The researchers in Chapters Eleven and Twelve conducted studies on mobile assisted language learning (MALL) and computer-assisted language learning (CALL). Cevikbas and Mede (in Chapter Eleven) demonstrate positive attitudes of students and teachers about using mobile phones in English classrooms. In Chapter Twelve, Polat explores pre-service teachers’ perceptions regarding CALL. Findings reveal that the trainees intend to use CALL in their future classrooms. Therefore, Polat contends that the application of CALL should be included in teacher training. The volume ends with Chapter Fifteen, written by Deveci, which is a study about applying smart phones in English classrooms. This further illustrates one of the book’s objectives, which is to provide stakeholders with up-to-date research findings.

The 15 empirical studies in this volume cover a wide range of topics in the field of ELT. They are comprehensive and accessible to junior researchers, allowing them to gain invaluable insights into the ELT industry. Moreover, most of the studies have clear structures, validated instruments, and gaps in the literature, making it possible for junior researchers to replicate them. Therefore, it seems that it may also be a helpful resource book for Masters and Doctoral supervisors to use when mentoring their students on their theses. In addition, the studies seem to be encouraging other researchers to continue the same line of research by clearly stating future research and limitations. For example, in Chapter Nine, one of Ayish’s suggestions for future research is to conduct a four-year longitudinal study about learners’ perceptions toward EMI. The study that validated the instruments to measure motivational beliefs, engagement, and self-regulation of language learners (in Chapter Seven) further helps other researchers with their future studies. Finally, the implications of the studies are practical and may be employed by instructors in English classrooms or for their professional developments.

Overall, this collection has certainly achieved its goal of being a valuable resource to the graduate students and faculty in ELT and of keeping stakeholders current on new research findings. Beyond its aim, it is also a timely addition to the academic community for junior researchers to replicate the studies, for more experienced scholars to mentor their students, and for its validated instruments to be used by other researchers in the future.


Jääskelä, P., Häkkinen, P., & Rasku-Puttonen, H. (2017). Teacher beliefs regarding learning, pedagogy, and the use of technology in higher education. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 49(3–4), 198–211.

Reinders, H., Nunan, D., & Zou, B. (2017). Innovation in language learning and teaching: The case of China. Palgrave.

Riebe, L., Girardi, A., & Whitsed, C. (2016). A systematic literature review of teamwork pedagogy in higher education. Small Group Research, 47(6), 619–664.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: September 21, 2020
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23442, Date Accessed: 10/21/2020 3:31:08 AM

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About the Author
  • Yuehai Xiao
    Hunan Normal University
    E-mail Author
    YUEHAI (MIKE) XIAO, Ph.D., received his doctorate from New York University and is currently teaching at the English Department of Hunan Normal University. His research and teaching interests largely span English for Academic Purposes, L2 writing, ELT pedagogy, and teacher education. His work has appeared in a number of internationally refereed journals.
  • Angel Zhao
    Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College
    E-mail Author
    ANGEL ZHAO teaches academic English as a lecturer at the English Language Centre of Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College. Her research areas include World Englishes, teacher identity, English for Academic Purposes, and second language writing. She has published in internationally refereed journals. She is the corresponding author of this paper.
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