Practice and Theory in Systems of Education

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Editorial Board

Volume 9 Number 1 2014
ISSN 1788-2591 (Online)
ISSN 1788-2583 (Printed)

Zoltán NAGY:
Linguistic Misconceptions and Teacher Training,
pages 1-10

Nowadays the cogitation upon the language is unheeded at the Hungarian schools therefore the content and the structure of the curricula suggest misconceptions. This study presents and denies a myth of the homogeneous language and a myth of the rules of the language. There are important topics that are not mentioned during the grammar classes, e.g. the fact that language is embedded in societies or the linguistic diversity. This paper argues that these topics should be emphasized at school because these ones give the background of a scientific approach. Besides the curriculum and textbook development it is essential to assess and then improve the pre-service teachers' language attitudes. In accordance with this the study submits some results of an empirical survey that was done at the University of Debrecen in the spring of 2013 (n=166). Our empirical survey presents that pre-service teachers are more tolerant than not regarding the varieties, but they overrate the importance of the standard language.

Csilla SÁRDI:
The Usefulness of a BA in English Studies Programme: Students' Perceptions,
pages 11-21

The paper reports on the results of a research project which focuses on the extent to which the BA in English Studies programmes in Hungary are useful and effective in terms of developing competences and knowledge for the European labour market. The starting point of the research is the hypothesis that there is a discrepancy between the competences and knowledge graduates need in the labour market and the objectives and expected outcomes of BA in English Studies programmes in Hungary. The research was carried out focusing on and comparing the perceived needs of first year and third year English major students at Kodolányi János University College, Hungary using survey techniques. The paper reveals the participants' motivation for enrolment, their career plans as well as level of proficiency. It also gives focused attention to students' perceived needs in terms of their proficiency level, content and skills they would like to master by the end of their studies. Results clearly show what content and skills students find useful and/or interesting. They also indicate the extent to which students are satisfied with their own achievements.

Remedial Courses in Langugage Education: Results and Lessons of a Project,
pages 22-28

Between 2010 and 2012 a four-semester long project was carried out at the University of Miskolc financed by Social Renewal Operational Program (TÁMOP 4.1.1.A-10/A-10/1/KONV). Within the frames of this project the Foreign Language Teaching Centre offered elective courses for students who have problems with language learning, who have suffered serious setbacks due to their failures in language learning. Here I present the aims, implementation and the achievements of this project. In the last chapter of my paper I summarise the experience gained during the implementation of the project and give some ideas for further research and innovation, and for further improvement of the effectiveness of foreign language teaching.

Robin L. NAGANO:
Mini-Corpora in the Language Classroom: Title and Abstract Mini-Corpus,
pages 29-40

Materials selection is always a challenging issue, especially when faced with learners of mixed areas of study and varying degree of motivation. One approach that allows student-specific material is to use collections of texts, or corpora. These are invaluable tools for exploring and analyzing texts. However, it is also necessary that students use and learn from entire texts, and one of the most efficient ways is to have students choose and work with texts that interest them personally. These can then be formed into a mini-corpus, so that both full texts and the lexical and syntactic information of the entire body of texts can be exploited for materials development. If students are ready to begin actively exploring and analyzing texts on a particular topic (generally level B2+), tools such as concordance software can also be employed. Here, two classroom-oriented mini-corpora are introduced, along with sample tasks and examples. Both are collections of titles and abstracts of research articles in areas of engineering. In one case, the focus is upon text analysis and academic writing, while lexical development is the focus of the second case. Student response to this trial activity has been very positive: they appreciate having the chance to test the generalized information taught in class on texts that were immediately relevant to their needs.

Issues of Bilingualism in Early Childhood,
pages 41-57

This case study was conducted in a kindergarten where English-only education is provided. Nine six-year-old children from various language backgrounds were investigated in order to gain a better understanding of the environmental and psychological factors that influence their language learning. The presupposition was that their language background will heavily influence their language proficiency even in their third year in this kindergarten. Language background, however, seemed to have a surprisingly little role: only in the diversity of the vocabulary of children and in the use of certain pronouns. Other major factors include talent, practice, amount of conversation with the teachers and occupation with role play.

Opportunities in Teaching English to Deaf Students: The Use of Digital Materials and Hungarian Sign Language,
pages 58-70

There are only a few studies dealing with teaching English as a foreign language to Deaf learners, and the number of such studies regarding Hungarian issues is even lower. Due to the lack of methodology on this field and the high need for English teachers of Deaf learners, I decided to conduct a pilot study investigating the opportunities in teaching English to Deaf learners. The aims of this work are 1) to discover new ways of successfully involving Hungarian Sign Language use in teaching English as a foreign language and 2) investigate the possible use of different digital tools which could facilitate the learning process. Relying on my literature review and the observations I made in a school for the Deaf, a pilot English course has been designed for two Deaf sign language teachers. After conducting interviews with the participants at the end of the course and evaluating the reflective journal which documented the teaching experience, it was possible to draw the final conclusions, namely that digital material made it possible to use a high number of visual materials, which helped Deaf students' comprehension. The use of sign language in class seemed to be a problematic area as the participants of the pilot study did not share the same views, although, it has been proved that a visual language could help Deaf learners to memorise words more easily.

Pictures for Illustration and Personality Development in Teaching German as a Foreign Language,
pages 71-88

This article focuses on pictures and their functions in teaching German as a Foreign Language. Special attention will be devoted to two different functions: illustration and personality development. The questions of the article are based on two approaches, namely on the cognitive turn and the communicative turn. In spite of the fact that they led to certain developments, they had also some negative consequences. The cognitive turn focuses less on individuals in foreign language teaching and the communicative turn focuses on simpler learning materials. The standardization strengthens this process even more by putting an emphasis on measurable competences. The major question of the article is how these deficits can be reduced.

Podcasting in Modern German as a Foreign Language Education,
pages 89-100

The use of internet, which enables free access to German media at all times, has become an everyday activity. In my work I analysed German podcasts especially designed for teaching German as a foreign language, and the ways they can be applied. I wanted to find out how far didacticised podcasts can supplement learning materials to improve listening and speaking skills, and how much they are suited for individual learning. I also wanted to learn how they can be ideally applied in teaching German as a foreign language, and what advantages and possible disadvantages they may have.

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