Students' and teachers' perspectives towards the use of social media technologies as a supportive learning tool in English language classes: A case study from a university in Saudi Arabia

Alqarni, Saleh Mohammed (2021) Students' and teachers' perspectives towards the use of social media technologies as a supportive learning tool in English language classes: A case study from a university in Saudi Arabia. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[img]
Preview
PDF
Download (5MB) | Preview

Abstract

This study examined students’ and English language instructors' attitudes towards using social media technologies to support English language learning and teaching at the University of Bisha, Blagran campuses, College of Science and Arts in Saudi Arabia. While this phenomenon has been researched for many years, relatively little is known about the role of social media technologies to support English language learning from both the students' and English instructors' lenses; or, about the factors that may influence the use of these technological tools, and the conditions required for the successful use of these tools. Through a review of the current empirical and theoretical literature, this research aims to provide a clear understanding for the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia of some potential roles that social media technologies could play in enhancing the English language learning environment within the kingdom.

The participants in this study were English language undergraduate students, along with their English language instructors. Mixed methods were used to gather the data (survey, focus groups, interviews). Two hundred and twenty-two students completed the survey (101 male and 121 female). Forty students (20 male and 20 female) participated in the focus groups. The survey and focus groups were used convergently to provide a rich understanding of the students' attitudes. Semi-structured interviews were used with the English language instructors, a total of eighteen (8 male- 10 female), to examine their attitudes in-depth and allow them to reveal their stances on using such technological tools in supporting English language teaching.

The findings from the survey indicated that the students showed positive attitudes to use social media technologies to support English language learning with a mean (M=4.09, SD =.93). There was a significant difference between male and female students' attitudes in using social media technologies to support English language learning. Females mean scores were all higher than males and exhibited less dispersion as illustrated by the standard deviations. The difference in overall mean scores by gender was significant (p<0.05). Also, YouTube was the most social media technologies used by the students to support their English language learning. All the suggested predictors, including Perceived Usefulness, Perceived Ease of Use, Subjective Norms, and Gender were significant determinants of the students' attitudes. Also, overall the students stated that social media technologies could be useful tools in supporting their English language learning. These technological tools could be seen as a reference tool to familiarise the students with new vocabulary and English varieties. Also, the students stated that using these technological tools to support English learning could make the language learning process more comfortable and enjoyable because it can suit different language learning preferences and reduce classroom anxiety. The students also stated that using social media allowed them to socialise and speak English with people around the world.

As far as the instructors' responses are concerned, their overall attitudes were positive. They stated that social media are familiar tools to the students, can make learning English more comfortable, and could create an enjoyable learning environment. However, some potential concerns were raised, such as losing control of the classes, cultural norms effect, language complexity, and a possible negative impact on learning motivation. The majority of the instructors agreed that technology competence could be an obstacle facing some instructors in terms of using social media technologies to support their English language teaching. They also agreed that they often lack administrative support and the college's infrastructure administration could be barriers to adopting social media technologies. Future suggestions included using social media technologies as supportive or scaffolding tools in English learning and the integration of some activities from social media into the English curriculum were made by the instructors for successful adoption of social media to support English language teaching.

Some tentative implications might be drawn from this study. It provided a rich insight into the use of social media technologies to support English language learning and teaching via student and teacher lenses. These insights have practical benefits for educational administrators and instructors in Saudi Arabia. However, more research on exploring students' and instructors' attitudes is needed with a greater consideration of the impact of gender and age differences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Houston, Dr. Muir and Zacharias, Dr. Sally
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82444
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2021 13:33
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2021 13:51
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82444
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82444

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item