Collaboration through blogging to develop writing and speaking skills in English for Specific Purposes (ESP)

Kleanthous, Angeliki (2021) Collaboration through blogging to develop writing and speaking skills in English for Specific Purposes (ESP). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The primary aim of this research was to explore peer collaboration through blogging to support English language learning within English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses at a university setting. This thesis provides an exploration of whether the integration of a blog in university ESP courses might help support students’ English language learning skills, as well as an exploration of the students’ perceptions about using blogging in their ESP courses. I integrated blogs in the English for Specific Purpose courses that I teach: Business Communication for Management and English for Computer Science Majors. I evaluated the use of blogging through action research.

The use of weblogs for enhancing writing and speaking in a foreign language is supported in research literature, particularly through the use of peer feedback. However, the use of blogging in an ESP context has not been thoroughly researched. To provide an understanding of the role of blogging in my ESP courses, I gathered and analyzed three data sets: i) the students’ blog posts, blog comments, and written and spoken assignments (which were analyzed using error analysis), ii) focus group discussions and iii) individual interviews (both were analyzed using thematic analysis). Data were gathered from five student groups over three teaching semesters.

The error analysis of the written tasks identified common patterns of error repetition. The error analysis indicated that, following posting and peer feedback on the blog, most of the mistakes recorded during the course were not repeated in the final examination. Findings suggested that the blogs had played a positive role in supporting students’ language learning with respect to the accuracy of their writing and speaking skills. Interview and focus group analysis revealed that students felt positively about the integration of a blog in their English language courses. They felt that it was a novel, fun way to learn and practice language, it was easy to use, and it allowed them the possibility to learn in their own time and place and at their own pace. They also stated that engaging in peer feedback allowed them to become aware of their classmates’ errors and then to reflect on their own work to check whether they had made similar errors and, if they had, to correct them.

Some implications that can be drawn from the findings are that the integration of blogging in an ESP course can support learners to enhance their English writing and speaking skills, by helping them become more aware of the learning process and more reflective of their own learning. The value of the learning designs used in this study lie in the use of blogging as a platform for language learners to engage in practicing their English language written and oral skills both inside and outside the classroom through written and oral tasks, as well as through engaging in online peer feedback. Students can also enhance their critical thinking skills via blogging and become autonomous and active participants in learning by engaging in online collaborative peer feedback.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Lally, Prof. Vic and Patrick, Dr. Fiona
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82580
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2021 11:18
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 17:08
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82580

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