CALICO Journal, Vol 31, No 1 (2014)

The Effect of Target Language Use in Social Media on Intermediate-Level Chinese Language Learners’ Writing Performance

Shenggao Wang, Camilla Vásquez
Issued Date: 8 Apr 2015

Abstract


This quasi-experimental study examined whether there was any difference in the quantity and quality of the written texts produced by two groups (N=18) of intermediate Chinese language learners. Over one semester, students in the experimental (E) group wrote weekly updates and comments in Chinese on a designated Facebook group page, while students in the control (C) group did not post on the Facebook page. Three writing tasks were administered at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. Results of a non-parametric statistical test revealed that there was a significant difference in writing quantity between the two groups. Specifically, while there was no significant difference between the two groups in the first writing task, the E group produced significantly more Chinese characters than the C group in the later writing tasks. However, in terms of the writing quality, results of a Mann-Whitney Test showed no significant differences between the two groups in all three writing tasks. As the small sample size may have had some impact on the study’s outcome with respect to the quality of students’ writing, the results are more promising in the area of quantity.  These results indicate that Facebook could be used as an alternative pedagogical space for L2 literacy practice outside of class, with the potential for helping L2 learners improve at least some aspects of their writing performance.    

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DOI: 10.11139/cj.31.1.78-102

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