Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Impact of Chatting with Native Speakers in Social Networks on Young Iranian English University Students' Intrinsic Motivation toward Learning Speaking Skill

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Impact of Chatting with Native Speakers in Social Networks on Young Iranian English University Students' Intrinsic Motivation toward Learning Speaking Skill

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

For most people, the ability to speak a foreign language is synonymous with knowing that language because speech is the basic means of human communication for them. English learners no longer enjoy the traditional approaches that their teachers apply in the classrooms to on develop their English proficiency level. Today, teachers are expected to familiarize their students with the advantages of the technology in improving their language learning.

To help EFL students gain more self-confidence in speaking English, technological tools can be applied to possibly solve the problems. Related studies about Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication (SCMC) in language classroom suggest that online chatting, which is a kind of SCMC, can motivate students to produce language in real-time (Yuan, 2003).

SCMC is a real-time communication via a computer network. Online chatting is a kind of SCMC that is available on the Internet where users around the world communicate in real-time (Almeida d'Eç, 2003; Böhlke, 2003). Kitade (2000) states that online chatting could promote self-correction while chatting. The conversations in chat rooms allow students to scroll back and rethink what had been discussed and reformulate their own conversations before posting it into the chat rooms. Chatting is an instrument to encourage students to produce language. Online chatting is a technological tool that occurs in real-time and allows the users to use spoken language in the same manner as face-to-face interactions. This study uses it to improve EFL students speaking skill and to encourage them to produce and learn language in a positive learning environment.

Gaining proficiency in speaking skill has always been a great point of concern for potential EFL communicators. This need is now more concrete than any time before. In face-to-face communication contexts, plenty of such factors as anxiety, shyness and not being enough proficient are demotivating and inhibit the individuals to communicate with native-speakers. Along with the emergence of the virtual world, the cyber space, where you can stay anonymous and yet express yourself in the most comprehensive way, this problem has been fairly solved. Online learning can facilitate learning new languages; Ally (2008) defines online learning as the use of the Internet to access learning materials, to interact with the content, instructor, and other learners, to obtain support during the learning process in order to acquire knowledge, to construct personal meaning, and to grow from the learning experience. Kern, Ware and Warschauer (2008) state that those students who can converse in spontaneous online chat discussions, for example, should have an easier time contributing to the ongoing flow of a face-to-face conversation. It is believed that online learning can increase the learners' motivation and it is also a useful method to improve English language proficiency.

2. Review of the Literature

2.1. Social Networking

The idea of "Social Networking" has existed for several decades as a way for people to communicate in society and build relationships with others (Coyle & Vaughn, 2008). With the increase of technology used for communicating with others and the popularity of the Internet, "Social Networking" has become an activity that is done primarily on the Internet, with sites like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Friendster, and Xanga (Coyle & Vaughn, 2008). Social networking sites (SNS) may be defined as: "Web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system" (Boyd & Ellison, 2007, p. 1).

"Social networking sites allow users to create user-generated content that is highly dynamic and changeable and is mainly characterized by the emphasis on community and collaboration" (Arnold & Paulus, 2010, p. …

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