The Effect of Engagement in Social Networking Application on Iranian EFL Learners’ Willingness to Communicate in English

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Shahram Alipour https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9229-2378

Abstract

Motivating EFL learners to communicate in English has been a long-lasting challenge for English language instructors.  Regardless of the different proficiency level in English, every learner is expected to be able to create even simple structures in the target language; however, the EFL learners are reluctant to communicate in English.  In fact, communicative competence and authentic use of English language are directly related to learners’ willingness to communicate. Nowadays, the social networking applications (for Smartphones or Personal Computers) have introduced potential and authentic exposure opportunity for every human in the world. Combining the social networking engagement with language learning context may provide this opportunity for learners to communicate more than before. Therefore, in order to study the impact of engagement in social networking applications on Iranian EFL Learners’ willingness to communicate in English, the present research has been initiated. The sample of the study included EFL learners (N = 21) participating in TOEFL preparation course. The experimental group of the study has joined the social networking group in Telegram to communicate in English out of the class. The pre-treatment and post-treatment survey design has been applied to compare the study groups WTC level before and after the treatment.  The findings of the study indicated the positive effect of engagement in social networking on WTC. It was concluded that there are some guidelines in order to apply social networking in English language instruction. The findings are significant and applicable for English language instructors to apply such methods.

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