An investigation of ESL students' reading engagement and language output in selected online environments
Leandi Coertze, Iowa State University, United States
Iowa State University . Awarded
A primary influence in the development of ESL students' reading skill and strategies is that of engagement. This study examined the use of Google Docs and blogs as two CMC environments in which reading related tasks were presented as it is believed that they provide high student interest and therefore have the potential to initiate and maintain higher levels of engagement. This study specifically paid attention to how the communicative tasks presented in Google Docs and blogs affect ESL students' engagement with the reading texts and tasks as well as how the language output generated by the students in these environments differ in terms of the quantity and quality of their contributions. While the detailed ethnographic field notes taken during the three weeks of a high intermediate reading class, followed the engagement and participation behavior of the entire class, the data presented and analyzed in this qualitative study focused on six of these students. The baseline engagement behavior of the students as it is identified in the analysis of the detailed ethnographic field notes taken in the traditional face-to-face reading class, with emphasis on the students' engagement and participation behavior as well as the language output they produced were compared to the engagement and participation behavior as well as the language output students produced in the reading related tasks presented in the CMC environments. The language output generated by the six students in the CMC environments is also analyzed in terms of the quantity and quality of their contributions. The analysis of the data is further discussed in terms of the semi-structured interviews conducted with the participants during the fourth week. The data analyzed in this study, provided positive evidence especially for the mid and high performing students, specifically in terms of task engagement as well as showing a more balanced distribution of participation.
Coertze, L. An investigation of ESL students' reading engagement and language output in selected online environments. Master's thesis, Iowa State University.
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