April 16, 2013
Cherell Johnson

Graduate Education Week Spotlights Cyprus Student's Success

Learn more about Saint Louis University's partnership with the Republic of Cyprus that brings quality graduate education opportunities to Cypriot professionals.

Xenia Tsolaki Metaxa
Xenia Tsolaki Metaxa

The Department of Education Studies has developed an master's and doctoral program in the Republic of Cyprus through a partnership with the Global Center of Independent Studies. The department also offers a doctoral program for students from Lebanon who attend classes at a facility in Cyprus. Saint Louis University provides quality education to Cyprus, a small country of 800,000 people that has limited resources for higher education, particularly at the graduate level. Through this program, SLU has the opportunity to foster research opportunities through the EU and the Fulbright Foundation. 

Xenia Tsolaki Metaxa will receive her doctorate this May 2013. Metaxa is the director of the largest private institute in Limassol, Cyprus, where she and her teachers provide English instruction to Cypriot children.

Metaxa participated in the Saint Louis University Cyprus program that, for the past seven years, has offered master's and doctoral degrees in education to Cypriot professionals through hybrid distance education. Metaxa was an outstanding student in the classroom and researched the instructional value of authentic songs in the teaching of English as a second language for her dissertation. After graduation, she will assist SLU's students in the Cypriot master's program, continue to direct her school and publish her dissertation findings, as well as the curriculum and instructional strategies she has developed for her school.

"Xenia was always a pleasure to have in class and to work with on research methods," said Michael Grady, Ph.D., professor of education and director of the Cyprus programs. "She was an ideal graduate student who consistently provided her best work in addition to continuing her many other obligations. We look forward to having her as an adjunct SLU faculty member in Cyprus."

For more information about SLU's partnership with Cyprus, visit the International Programs website and the College of Education and Public Service website.

Xenia Tsolaki Metaxa's Dissertation Abstract
The Effect of Authentic Songs on Vocabulary Acquisition in the English Foreign Language Classroom

Purpose: The purpose of this research was to investigate whether the use of authentic songs in the introduction of new vocabulary items had an effect on vocabulary acquisition and retention for second language learners. This was achieved by comparing the introduction of the new vocabulary items through text (non-song method) with the introduction of the same vocabulary items through an authentic song (song method).

Methods: The study employed quantitative research methods. Data collection included the completion of three achievement tests for each method of instruction (a pre-test, prior to instruction, a post-test, right after and a second post-test, one week later). The target population was 15 to 17 year old Cypriot students, who had been exposed to instructional English for the last eight years. Sample selection was done from an after school private English language institute in Limassol, Cyprus. Convenience sampling method was used as the 130 subjects chosen for the statistical analysis, were assigned in pre-existing groups.

Findings: Based on the statistical analysis, this study resulted in three specific findings. There was a statistically significant relationship between the instructional methods (non-song and song) a) in the passive, b) active and c) overall scores of second language learners. Based on these findings both instructional methods increased the passive, active and overall vocabulary scores, but the song method group increased their scores significantly more than the non-song method group immediately following instruction and one week later.

Implications: This study suggested the following: a) authentic songs should be officially included in the Cypriot curriculum of second language teaching in the introduction of new vocabulary items, b) the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus should fund the technological upgrading of schools to allow frequent use of songs as instructional materials in more language areas, c) practical personal development seminars for language teachers by the Ministry will allow teachers to use authentic songs efficiently, d) the use of authentic songs in other subject areas should be tried and investigated, e) replications of this study on other languages, subject areas, ages and learning profiles should be encouraged by the Ministry.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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