The Role of Social Networks in Teenage Second Language Learning in Saudi Arabia

The Role of Social Networks in Teenage Second Language Learning in Saudi ArabiaExamine the role played by social networks in enabling teenagers in Saudi Arabia to learn a second language, and how language instructors can employ social networks in second language learning.Furht (2010) defines a social network as an online platform that allows people to connect, share, interact and build social relations. Examples include Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and MySpace among others. Apart from offering chatting and messaging capabilities, social networks enhance the language learning process and carry ads related to language learning, such as online language training and quizzes (Curcher, 2015). This provides teenagers with an opportunity to sign up or apply for online language courses and test their existing knowledge. Alhaisoni (2012) adds that, while interacting with online friends skilled in the second language of interest, teenagers opt to use that language and request a translation from their friends. Moreover, the majority of these social network sites have an embedded translation feature.In Saudi Arabia, the majority of teenagers and the population in general seek to learn English as the second language. According to Harrison and Thomas (2009), EFL teachers of teenage students have adopted the use of social networks in the form of Web 2.0 technologies for language learning and teaching purposes. For instance, through Facebook, teachers can create several groups for their students and post study guides using the target language and thereafter post assignments (Daly et al., 2010). Social networks provide an easy, interactive and effective way for teenage second language learning since the youngsters are free to share their challenges and ask questions. On a social network platform, both the language instructor and group members can respond to the questions effectively (Stevenson & Liu, 2010).Another significant role played by social media in teenage second language learning is offering practical demonstrations through video clips (Curcher, 2015). A highly effective social network that offers such practical illustrations is You Tube. These video presentations and demonstrations enable teenagers to understand clearly the required verbal movement for proper word pronunciation or diction. Therefore, social networks offer various effective means for teenage second language learning since they enable collaborative and enthusiastic language learning in authentic situations. Moreover, teenagers become more accustomed to native speakers? diction and pronunciation (Alhaisoni, 2015).The following research questions will help in achieving the broad aim of this study.i. What kind of opportunities do social networks provide for teenagers to learn a second language?ii. In what different ways do various social networks influence teenagers? ability to learn a second language?iii. How do current users of social networks, such as language instructors, employ them in second language learning?For the purposes of this study, a qualitative research approach seems appropriate since I seek to investigate a behavioural pattern among Saudi teenagers? use of social networks (Creswell, 2003). On the other hand, to ensure the qualitative data is amenable, I will use a Likert scale to ascribe numeric values to the data collected using questionnaires, which will serve as the primary data collection instruments. The participants will be 20 teenagers, aged between 14 and 20, selected from English institutes and high schools in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the teenagers selected will be native Arabic speakers.The questionnaires will consist of structured questions with the five possible responses of strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree. Using the Likert scale, each response shall have a numeric value attached to it, meaning five, four, three, two and one will represent strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree respectively. Finally, using the scale, the final score for each participant will be the sum of the ratings for all the responses.Based on the aim of this study and the research questions, the expected results include evidence showing that social networks play a significant role in teenage second language learning in Saudi Arabia. The different social networks demonstrate their significance in second language learning through the numerous opportunities they offer teenagers. These include interactive communication with online friends who possess knowledge of the second language, online language training and quizzes and practical demonstrations of word pronunciation. Moreover, the expected findings include the use of social networks by language instructors to provide study guides and post assignments relating to the second language for their teenage students.This study will be useful for teenagers, language learners, language instructors and other users of social networks. For teenagers, language learners and other users, this study will demonstrate how they can use social networks not only for social purposes, but also for educative and learning purposes. For language instructors, the study will help them see social networks as opportunities to help their students learn and become accustomed to the second language in an interesting and engaging way.

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