Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Curriculum and Instruction
AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Rania Hassan Talafhah , for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Curriculum and Instruction, presented on 4 May 2017, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING: JORDANIAN EFL LEARNERS’ PRACTICES AND EXPERIENCES MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Christina C. McIntyre The purpose of this mixed-methods sequential explanatory study was to identify the EFL learners’ practices and understand their experiences with SNSs (social networking sites) as a tool for English language learning. The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, quantitative results were obtained from a survey of 144 undergraduate Jordanian EFL learners in the English and Translation Departments at Yarmouk University in Jordan. In the second phase, richer information and a deeper insight was gained through a qualitative case study. In the quantitative phase of the study, the research questions focused on the actual practices and strategies of EFL students on SNSs. In the qualitative phase, 12 participants were purposefully selected and interviewed in order to explain further the statistical results of the first phase, develop a rich descriptive picture of their lived experiences using social networking to improve their English language learning, and identify the factors and barriers that influence their practices. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1. To what extent do Jordanian EFL learners use Facebook as a tool for language learning? 2. What language learning practices do Jordanian EFL learners engage in on Facebook? 3. How do these Facebook practices affect their language learning experiences? The results revealed that most participants felt comfortable using Facebook in English language learning. However, less than half of them used Facebook on a regular basis to learn English. In addition, they tended to read and observe discussions in English rather than participate in them or produce language output. The results also revealed that learners’ practices or behaviors in the SNS environment changed depending on certain factors, such as the context, audience, sense of belonging, self – confidence, and the learners’ needs and interests. The results of the study brought to light some implications in the context of formal and informal language learning. The study might raise learner, teacher, and educator awareness about SNSs as a tool for language learning, particularly for countries with limited resources. The results also showed the need for a theoretical and pedagogical framework for the teaching and learning process that identifies the best practices and ways to avoid any harm in a SNS environment. Integrating SNSs in language teaching and learning is a topic that requires further study. Using SNSs inside and outside the classroom to practice different language skills is an important topic for future research.
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