Foreign Languages and Facebook
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This paper focuses on the challenges students face during learning specific vocabulary of Business English (BE) course and how to Facebook to help them overcome this issue. The survey carried out at Dong Nai Technology University, Faculty of Foreign Languages revealed learners’ preparedness and attitudes towards the BE course with 30 students. The participants were asked to join into Facebook site groups. Qualitative and quantitative approaches was employed to analyze the collected data, including qualitative data of peer assessment on Facebook sites, interview, and a questionnaire.
The findings of this study indicate that incorporating Facebook in the English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course can effectively assist college students in learning business English. Students can improve their professional knowledge not only from the in-class instruction but also through peer assessing on Facebook. At the end, some useful instructional strategies are provided to educators and practitioners in the English education field.
The use of social network has become a significant part of life in the 21st century. According to Gemmil and Peterson (2006), the Internet play an important role in socializing among students. Bruner (1990) provided that students are encouraged to participate in active dialogues with other students and instructors as well as to collaborate with others in activities in order to construct knowledge. At the present time, Facebook is a useful tools in providing students more changes in the English language community.
Nobody can deny the fact that, in our open world, English is rapidly becoming the leading language in international relations, on internet sites, in international aviation, in tourism and international communication for commerce and trade. People believe that teaching Business English is aimed at developing students’ skills of professional communication and writing in English depending on the business field. It means that such teaching and learning should be connected to students’ particular specialization and improved their vocabulary.
At the end, the aim of this study is intended to discuss the major problems of teachers and students in the light of the BE content, and especially the effect of using Facebook to help students overcome difficulties in learning business English vocabulary. Moreover, teachers should use it as a part of the lesson to promote students interest and motivate them to practice English. Literature review According to Liu, Shih, and Tsai (2011) the learning process can be transformed from in-class teaching into learning outside the classroom.
Incorporating online learning platforms into teaching can ease the limitations of classroom walls and provide students more opportunities to connect with each other, which will result in better learning effectiveness (Chen, et al, 2011; Lou, et al, 2010; Richardson, 2006). Researchers revealed that online learning through web technologies has become increasingly important and crucial for education (Jou, Chuang, & Wu, 2010; Shih, 2010).
Additionally, Smyth (2011) pointed out that technology enhanced learning using video communications can provide learners opportunities for more authentic online collaborative. Facebook was the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts and currently sits at 2. 05 billion monthly active users (www. statista. com, 2017). Facebook sites have features: online discussion or message board for uploading pictures and videos, and so on. Individuals can access online freely to share information and knowledge, interact, and communicate with others.
Moreover, functions such as emails, chat rooms, forums, and online discussions can also promote learner-instructor and learner-learner interactions in Internet instruction and thus enable learners to learn and exchange ideas and opinions freely as well as to participate in discussion activities to deepen the understanding of the topics (Chang, Chen, & Hsu, 2011; Liu, Ho, & Song, 2011). Challenges for teachers and students Business English is a subject in the curriculum of the BA in English language at Faculty of Foreign Languages, Dong Nai Technology University (DNTU).
The subject has been aiming to build and develop a commercial English language foundation for students, helping students meet business needs in business. At the present, the teachers of this subject at DNTU in general, in Faculty of Foreign Languages in detail are limited in number, and they have encountered some difficulties with the transition from General English teaching, or English Language teaching to English specialized in the field, as well as the limitations of students in the specialized knowledge base in Vietnamese.
The most challenging here is the students in DNTU are lack of specific purpose in learning English vocabulary, especially in Business English vocabulary. In theory, BE learners should by definition be a particular kind of learners – adults at advanced levels of FL knowledge, and also grammar, who should be treated as subject specialists in their fields of study, and as such as a source of information for BE teachers. Besides being a learner, the BE students should also be a provider of information and material, if not expertise, to a BE teacher (Hutchinson and Waters, 1987).
In order to reflect an extremely varied scope of the BE teacher role, some authors prefer to use terms like practitioner, monitor, facilitator, trainer rather than the term teacher. Dudley-Evans and St John (1998: 13) believed that BE teachers seem to have five key roles, some the same as EFL/GE teachers, some in addition to those, namely a teacher, a course designer and materials provider, a researcher, a collaborator, and an evaluator. Therefore, in teaching, teachers need to develop their materials in order to meet students need then help them to remember as well as use vocabularies in real situations.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Population and study sample The questionnaire participant sampling were sampled from English Business class. The aim of the survey was to find out students’ opinion about their preparedness to study vocabularies of Business English course. Sample size and selection of sample and data There were 25 participants altogether. The research employed a questionnaire on students’ attitudes and difficulties towards learning Business English. The participants were asked to answer questions.
For 6 questions participants were expected to tick the appropriate answer, the last question is open to collect more information about their difficulties in learning vocabulary. After that the result was analyzed before giving them group to discuss the topics and learning vocabulary. The respondents were second and third year students who study Business English at Faculty of Foreign Languages. The participants were the students specializing in Business English. After one days delivering more than 25 questionnaire sheets to students, the questionnaire sheets are collected and analyzed.
The questionnaire strategy is lasting for 8-10 minutes because the participants might have a tougher time verbalizing their experience regarding the topic. The questionnaire’s survey are shown in Table 1 Table 1. Students’ answers about learning Business English (%) No. Questions of the questionnaire Strongly agree Agree Partly agree Disagre Total (n=100) % Total (n=100) % Total (n=100) % Total (n=100) %
1 Do you have enough knowledge of English to learn Business English? 0 0 1 4 3 12 21 84
2 Do you have enough knowledge of business to learn Business English? 0 0 1 4 4 16 20 80
3 Do you have enough vocabularies of business in Vietnamese to learn Business English? 0 0 2 8 2 8 21 84
4 Do you have enough vocabularies of business in English to learn Business English? 0 0 1 4 3 12 22 88
5 Do you understand content of Business English course? 1 4 0 0 1 4 23 92
6 How much do you understand Business English words and collocations needed for specialty? -“I don’t understand much” -“Just a little” – “Not much because it is difficult to remember”
Table showed that the overall results of this part indicated that most respondents showed they are lack of knowledge of business to learn Business English Specifically, most respondents showed that they don’t understand Business English words and collocations needed for specialty -“I don’t understand much” -“Just a little” – “Not much because it is difficult to remember”. Most of participants 33% said that they don’t understand content of Business English course. Facebook sites All students were required to register and join their group Facebook site.
The first day, teacher post the phrases that taught in class session the students give comment sand give feedback. Every next days, students have to post the topics into group for other students to comment and give feedback on their works. The posting is phrases related to the subject they learned in class. The role of teacher is as a facilitator to guide and check the members’ comments. After one week of learning in group on Facebook by posting and correcting mistakes, the students asked to answer the interview. The result are shown in table 2: Table 2. The respondents’ opinions on the effects of using Facebook in learning vocabulary (%)
As can seen from Table 2, the overall results of this part indicated that most respondents agreed that Facebook has the impact on their learning. Specifically, almost respondents (92%) agreed that “Facebook give me opportunities to gain my Business English vocabulary” Most of the respondents (80%) agreed that “Facebook is convenient and cheap for learning and communicate with classmates” and “Facebook give me opportunities to exchange information in English”. All of participants agreed that Facebook motivate me to learn Business English vocabulary” and 96% said that “Facebook expands my vision and knowledge in English.
For example, I receive useful links via You Tube and useful news and information on Facebook” Conclusions The purpose of this study is intended to discuss the major problems of teachers and students in the learning BE, especially the effect of using Facebook to help students overcome difficulties in learning BE vocabulary. The findings show that:
1. It is very important for lecturers in Business English to establish channels of exchanging or discussing the subject content to facilitate the students.
2. Business English teachers should not try to teach the subject itself, but should strongly advise the students to discuss the topics and lessons with his/her subject teacher. With this regard, the future study may focus on investigating the factors that influence the student and the students’ learning motivation and desire.
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