Volume 10, 2013
On behalf of the Editorial Board, it gives us great pleasure to welcome you to the tenth volume of the Annual Review of Education, Communication and Language Sciences (ARECLS). This volume marks the Journal's 10th anniversary, publication of the first volume having commenced in 2004. Throughout these ten years, ARECLS has served to provide a forum for peer-reviewed research findings, arising from research conducted in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences (ECLS), at Newcastle University.
This year's volume includes twelve papers. These include: six research reports, five literature reviews, and an academic interview. The wide range of topics included in this volume is a reflection of the journal's broad remit and the range of interests among contributors, both postgraduates and staff in the School of ECLS.
In the first article, Ahmed Alghamdi investigates the influence of emotional intelligence (EI) on school leaders' decision-making processes, and how this (influence) can assist these managers in communication within their school environments, i.e. with middle managers, teachers, students, and parents. The study then brings together certain factors and challenges that exist in Saudi school environments in an interesting discussion, before concluding with some suggestions and recommendations.
Darett Naruemon, in the second paper, investigates the causes of spelling errors made by Thai learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) at university level. Categorising these into eight groups, Darett provides an insightful account of the distinction between English and Thai writing systems, arguing the differences can help provide an understanding of the reasons for the occurrence of Thai learners' spelling mistakes.
The third article, by Ngoc Nguyen, examines the relationships between distributed leadership, demographic factors and teachers' levels of organisational commitment in Vietnam. With its multi-variable focus, data for this study was collected in a survey of 76 teachers; and the findings showed a significant correlation between the respondents' perceptions of leadership distribution and organisational commitment. The study revealed other interesting cultural and socio-economic findings, in relation to differences arising between Vietnamese and Western school contexts.
In the fourth paper, Laura Delgaty reports a study that aimed to develop an understanding of informal leadership within an academic community of clinical educators. Stemming from a broadly ontological stance that is interpretivistic, the study utilised qualitative research methods. Data for this study was collected through open-ended interviews with senior academics involved in clinical education, and analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The study concludes that by identifying leadership characteristics in clinical academia, we may be able to recognise and nurture these 'natural' leaders. However, in line with previous research, the study stresses that to provide opportunity for physician growth, there needs to be an understanding and investment in structures that will lay the groundwork for improved performance and leadership.
Olubusola Eshiet, in the fifth article, reports on a research study that focuses on the use and acceptance of CDs and teachers' mobile phones as tools for storing teaching aids and for use in lesson preparation in a Nigerian primary school context. Following a thematic analysis of interview data, the study reports that teacher participants were quite willing to use CDs and mobile phones not only as tools for enhancing ELT lesson preparation, but also as devices for teaching other subjects.
The sixth research article, by Woralak Bancha, investigates the types of English language spelling mistakes made by first year Thai university students of international business, and looks at the underlying causes of these inaccuracies.
The study findings showed ten major types of spelling errors made by Thai students, and argued that the lack of adequate awareness of English phonology and insufficient knowledge of inflectional morphology were found to be prime causes. The study concludes with a number of pedagogical implications.
In the seventh paper, Ali Alsaawi reviews previous research into teaching and learning vocabulary with a focus on debate about whether or not word meaning can be derived by students from context. Doing so, he discusses the merits and shortcomings of a 'vocabulary in context' teaching-learning strategy before proposing some recommendations on how best this strategy can be implemented.
The eighth article, by Caroline Gibby, addresses the need for further consideration of critical thinking skills with regard to adult learners and the learning environment in which they are involved. With its thorough review of a range of previous studies on thinking skills, the study suggests that mature learners are likely to have developed critical thinking skills through life experience, in addition to specific learning opportunities and that experiential skills have yet to be properly understood or exploited.
Nhan Tran, in the ninth paper, conducts a thorough evaluation of 35 thinking skills frameworks for post-16 year old learners conducted by researchers in the School of Education Communication and Language Sciences (at Newcastle University) and the School of Education and Lifelong Learning (at The University of Sunderland). The study makes an attempt to select the most suitable thinking skill framework to make a contrastive evaluation between a philosophical module in an Asian university and one in a Western university.
The study also makes a number of suggestions about module contents and methods of delivery, in light of thinking skills enhancement with the intention of fostering thinking skills development via philosophy modules in higher education.
The tenth article, by Oudah Alenazi, reviews previous research on the challenges pertaining to the process of mapping utilised in children's L1 acquisition. With its focus on two mapping strategies, the study reviews theoretical foundations as well as factors that contribute to various solutions to challenges children face in language acquisition. Sahar Yaghmour, in the eleventh paper, presents a systematic review of a range of studies about methods used to evaluate communication practices in a synchronised online education environment, and outcomes that demonstrate best practices.
Based on the 'fifth generation distance learning model' (FGDLM), this review study aims to extract information and explanation from current literature in relation to evaluating communication in Synchronised Distance Learning and Online learning environments.
In the final paper, Hamza Alshenqeeti reports on a brief research interview carried out with Peter Sercombe of Newcastle University with regard to an on-going research project in eastern Sarawak (Malaysia). The interview aimed at providing some insight into the significance of oral literature research in general and amongst eastern Sarawakan forest nomads in particular.
We hope that you enjoy reading the content of this volume of the Annual Review of Education, Communication and Language Sciences (ARECLS), and we also wish to invite submissions for our future volumes. We would hereby like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the authors for their contribution to this year's volume
Causes of English spelling errors made by Thai foreign language learners - Darett Naruemon
What causes spelling errors of Thai EFL students? - Woralak Bancha
Critical thinking skills in adult learners - Caroline Gibby