The Use of Smartphones and Task-Based Language Teaching to Motivate Female Saudi EFL Learners in Reading Classrooms

Khojah, Mawaheb Mahmoud j (2018) The Use of Smartphones and Task-Based Language Teaching to Motivate Female Saudi EFL Learners in Reading Classrooms. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Saudi students usually spend nine years studying English as a foreign language in compulsory school courses, yet they still enter the first year of university with low proficiency levels (A2 CEFR). One major issue is low motivation amongst learners due to the teacher-centred nature of the classroom and the lack of stimulating tasks in the students’ course books. Research has shown that combining the use of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) with Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) could help shift the learning process to be student-centred, and provide students with motivating activities. Although TBLT and MALL have been valued areas of research worldwide, the combination of both fields remains under-researched. Furthermore, a considerable amount of research has examined language learning and technology in Saudi Arabia, based on students’ perceptions, without carrying out actual classroom experiments. This study aimed to investigate the use of smartphone-mediated TBLT to motivate Saudi female learners in reading classrooms.
In order to do this, the study used mixed methods and mobile tasks informed by the Self-Determination Theory. The participants were three groups of B1-level (CEFR) EFL students at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. One group was taught using the traditional PPP method, the second with a task-based approach, and the third using a set of mobile tasks that were designed for this study. Data were collected using pre-tests and post-tests, observations, questionnaires, and focus groups.
The results showed that the experimental group scored significantly higher in terms of achievement, attention, participation, and volunteering. Students in the mobile group also described the aspects of mobile tasks that contributed to their motivation, and revealed positive attitudes towards the reading course. The findings of this study can encourage teachers to design effective mobile tasks to motivate their students in meaningful reading activities. Lastly, this study proposes further research using a longitudinal research design.

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