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Title:Facebook usage in Thailand: The plurilingual competencies of Thai high school students and teachers
Author(s):Halvorsen, Andy
Director of Research:Garcia, Georgia E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Garcia, Georgia E.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ryan, Katherine E.; McCarthey, Sarah J.; Sadler, Randall W.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Computer assisted language learning (CALL)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Social media
Qualitative mixed methods
Mixed-methods discourse analysis
Language learning
Abstract:This study is concerned with gaining a better understanding of the way that language is being used in social media and in digitally mediated discourse. More specifically, the study examines how Thai high school students and teachers use Facebook, and how they interact with and negotiate across a diverse range of languages in their daily participation on the site. The study utilizes a mixed-methods design, and integrates findings from both quantitative and qualitative data sources. Quantitative data from questionnaires is first collected and analyzed; this data then becomes the primary tool for selecting participants for more in-depth, qualitative analyses of Facebook discourse data and participant interviews. Findings from both the qualitative and quantitative data are integrated in the presentation of the findings, and in the discussion of their relevance to the literature. Findings from this study are broken into four subsections. The first section frames Facebook participation through the eyes of the participants. This section shows generally that females in the study tend to be heavier users of Facebook than males (approximately 3 hours per day versus 2 respectively), and that participants are accessing Facebook through a variety of networked devices, as well as making use of diverse languages on the site. The second section looks at participation in a series of four “events” that took place, at least in part, on Facebook. These events are contrasted at the global and local levels, and it is shown that participants appear to use language differently on the site, depending on the nature of the event they are participating in. This section also highlights the fact that, as users of Facebook seek full participation in these events, they are motivated to learn and make use of language, as well as other online skills. In the third section, this study gives particular attention to language in use on Facebook, and it provides detailed support for the view that language use is both plurilingual and multimodal in nature. Through a series of discourse samples and interview excerpts, the study shows that participants often move freely and fluently across languages, and rely heavily on visual imagery to embed meaning. The final section of the findings discusses the pedagogic potential of Facebook. In particular, this section looks at the struggles and successes of Thai teachers with regard to both their personal and professional use of Facebook. The two youngest teachers in the study take to Facebook quite naturally, and they view the site as both an appropriate and logical extension of classroom learning. From these two teachers however, it appears that students are less accepting of active and conscious usage of Facebook as a teaching tool. They tend to prefer casual, social interactions with their instructors, even in a range of languages. Overall, the study shows strong support for the view that teachers who are willing to disclose more of themselves in social media contexts can expect more positive interactions with students, and students who are more likely to engage with both the instructor and the course content.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Andy Halvorsen
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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