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A Follow-Up Study of the Facebook Project for Japanese University Students: Has It Been Enhancing Student Interaction, Learner Autonomy, and English Learning?

This is a follow-up study of the Facebook project which was conducted from October 2011 to January 2013. The study aims at investigating the further effect of the Facebook project on the Japanese students after the project was over.
The purpose of the Facebook project was, by integrating Facebook activities into English lessons, to investigate how Facebook can help Japanese university students to improve their English, and whether it can facilitate student interaction and self-motivation for learning English.
In the first semester, the students were introduced to Facebook and started to use it for their English study. The results showed that the students’ overall reaction to Facebook was positive and they became accustomed to writing English comments on Facebook. It was also indicated that the project could help to develop the students’ English ability and facilitate learner autonomy to some extent. However, it was also found that most students were reluctant to make foreign friends on their own and their Facebook activities in English were quite limited.
In the following year, the students were provided with an opportunity to exchange information and opinions with American university students. It was found that the project encouraged the students to become interested in learning about cultural differences and initiating interaction with others. The project also facilitated learner autonomy, motivating the students to spend more time voluntarily using English on Facebook. It was also indicated that the project helped to improve the students’ English ability, especially in regard to grammar and vocabulary.
In this study, I will present the further effect of the Facebook project based on a survey and the feedback from the students. I will discuss whether and how the Facebook project has been facilitating learner autonomy, English learning, and the interaction between the students without any assignments from the teacher.

Author(s):

Mayumi Hamada    
Faculty of Commerce
University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences
Japan

Mayumi Hamada is an associate professor at University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences in Japan. She earned her MA in TESOL from University of San Francisco. Her current interests include learner autonomy and developing materials using films. She is an author of “Macmillan Cinema English” series.

 

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