February 2014 – Volume 17, Number 4
Dicle University, Diyarbakir, Turkey
Çukurova University, Adana, Turkey
The ubiquitous use of Internet-based mobile devices in educational contexts means that mobile learning has become a plausible alternative to or a good complement for conventional classroom-based teaching. However, there is a lack of research that explores and defines the characteristics and effects of mobile language learning (LL) through language learning podcasts. This study aimed at investigating possible effects of the use of podcasts via mobile devices on LL beliefs. Using a pre-test–post-test research design, the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI) was given to a non-random convenience sample of 187 university students before and after the twelve-week podcast-based LL program. Collected data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics and a Wilcoxon signed rank test. For triangulation purposes and to gain deeper understanding of the process, qualitative data were collected with semi-structured interviews with 16 participants selected through quota sampling strategy. Detailed comparative analysis of BALLI and interview data revealed that podcasts had positive effects on certain types of LL beliefs.
Keywords: podcast, language-learning beliefs, belief change, BALLI
The Internet is the most important innovation of late 20th and early 21st centuries. The advent of the Internet and developments in communication technologies are cited with and compared to the discovery of electricity and of the light bulb (e.g., Zukowski, 2007). In fact, it is the Internet that has accelerated globalization and thus turned the world into a global village, creating a knowledge economy (Loy, 2000) that has changed many conventions. This new system not only curbed distances in terms of immediate access to the furthest corner of the world, but also created abundant and diverse resources and even parallel worlds such as Second Life.
Educational conventions and practices must certainly change in this constantly evolving world (Collis, 2005). Easy access to fast Internet connections and common use of mobile devices might have implications for second or foreign LL. Delivery of individualized but at the same time comprehensive content in real time via the Internet and digital technologies provides an effective means for creating appropriate learning environments that meet personal needs (Zhang & Zhou, 2003). Hence, a paradigm shift has occurred in academic circles in general and English language teaching in particular. According to Hedberg and Lim (2004), educators have adopted e-learning-related technologies both to extend conventional methods and to develop new skills and tools for learning and instruction. Such technologies have provided instructors with new possibilities and choices to overcome persisting problems stemming from lack of resources and time constraints, enabling students to enjoy new learning experiences. Current technological means can be applied to learning activities such as collaboration, digital storytelling, oral conversations, multimedia messages and podcasting, which can enhance second and foreign LL.
The assertion that novel Internet-based applications may enhance face-to-face communication and even replace it in LL settings is well grounded in previous research (e.g., Cabaroğlu, Başaran & Roberts, 2010; Cabaroglu & Roberts, 2007; Hampel & Hauck, 2009; Miwa & Wang, 2011; Ware & O’Dowd, 2008; Warschauer & Kern, 2000). Yet, continued research is crucial to explore and define characteristics and effects of mobile language learning and more specifically foreign language learning through LL podcasts. It is especially the impact of LL podcasts on language beliefs that needs to be investigated. A deep understanding of such psychological constructs in mobile settings might facilitate development and implementation of novel educational strategies for more efficient foreign LL.
The purpose of this study is to describe and explain the process and the impact of using podcasts as LL objects on learners’ beliefs about learning English as a foreign language (EFL). The study aims to investigate whether there is a positive change in EFL students’ beliefs about EFL. More specifically, it aims to find out whether there is any difference between students’ beliefs about language learning before and after using podcasts as LL objects and aids.
In parallel with the increase in the number of technological innovations, there has been a surge of research concerning the effect of mobile technology upon LL. Earlier research asserts that mobile technologies can motivate foreign language learners via portable and flexible learning more than localized classroom learning (Norbrook & Scott, 2003; Sandberg, Maris & de Geus, 2011). Kukulska-Hulme (2005), for example, reported the findings of three studies that underlined the potential of mobile technology applications for foreign and second LL. In another study, Kukulska-Hulme and Shield (2007) elaborated on the effectiveness of mobile technologies such as podcasting in foreign LL by asserting that it can provide students with an affective and low-cost tool for taking control of what they learn and thus improving their language proficiency. Learners’ beliefs about LL have been studied extensively (e.g., Baker, 2008; Horwitz, 1988; Horwitz, 1995; Pan & Block, 2011; Schulz, 2001). Teachers’ beliefs and perceptions about using technology have also been investigated (e.g., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Glazewski, Newby, & Ertmer, 2010). However, earlier research is scant on addressing belief change and specifically on the effect of emerging technologies on belief improvement. A review of studies about mobile learning and podcasting and LL beliefs is given below.
Mobile learning and podcasting
Mobile learning (M-learning) is a maturing field (Pachler, 2007) of research that has grown out of the ubiquitous use of digital technology and affordable portable devices. According to Witherspoon (2005), developments in IT and digital technologies have created a new academic eco-system and have benefits for “tomorrow’s environment for learning” (p. 3). Witherspoon also asserted that “[t]echnology is changing everything from pedagogy to system-wide decision-making” (p. 8) and that the “academic eco-system is complex and ever-changing” (p. 11). The fact that digital technology has potential for LL does not necessarily mean that it simplifies the process. Rather, it adds new challenges to the already highly complex process of foreign language instruction. New technology demands adoption of new strategies by learners and new additional roles by teachers (Chen & Chang, 2011; Yang & Chen, 2007). Moreover, Fischer (1992) claimed that basic social patterns are not easily changed by new technologies and that they withstand even widespread innovations, adding that effects of new technologies are modest and differ from one technology to another and can be contradictory.
M-learning has been boosted by the recent popularity of portable audio and video players and free delivery of digital content in the form of podcasts, which is a compound term coined from “iPod and “broadcast”, meaning broadcasting via Internet to be played on iPods (Bankhofer, 2005). As with other types of technologies, these new developments were first taken up by young people, affecting their leisure activities such as listening to music and playing games. Nowadays, however, podcasts are also used to learn foreign languages, and there is a huge amount of free content on the Internet. Rosell-Aguilar (2007) compared the impact of podcasting on LL to the impact of the arrival of the Internet to stress their importance in LL. In a qualitative study of critical theory and popular culture in a secondary classroom, Bausell (2006) found that literacy practices developed in popular culture were adopted at a rapid rate, the use of podcasting as an alternative means for students to express themselves holding significant pedagogical potential. Podcasts can be effective tools for integrating with the target culture and enabling students to gain a sense of belonging to a community and thus overcome social and psychological barriers such as low self-esteem, anxiety and poor motivation. Some learners who systematically listen to podcasts enter a state of “flow” and temporarily forget that they are listening to a foreign language (McQuillan, 2006), which is very important for acquisition. However, various decisions concerning the content and comprehensibility level of podcasts and creating opportunities for comprehensible output make teacher help and guidance indispensable (Timuçin, 2006).
As the use of podcasts for learning is a relatively recent phenomenon, it is not surprising to see that there is little research on their pedagogical potential and implications in foreign LL (Celik, 2012; Rosell-Aguilar, 2007). Although there are some descriptive and informative studies that mostly focus on positive impact of podcasts in education (e.g., Cebeci & Tekdal, 2006; Dlott, 2007; Troutner, 2007; Zukowski, 2007), the lack of a comprehensive theoretical framework to research is apparent, with the ways and practices in which podcasts can effectively be used still under debate (e.g., Beheler, 2007; Golonka et al. 2012; Stanley, 2006; Zielke, 2007).
Language learning beliefs
Beliefs about LL are accepted as learners’ metacognitive knowledge about themselves, their goals and needs (Bernat & Gwozdenko, 2005). Beliefs affect attitudes and motivation (see Baker, 2008 for the impact of learners’ beliefs and Chen & Goh, 2011 for that of teachers) and students’ efficiency in classroom setting (Horwitz, 1988). In the literature on constructs that affect LL and acquisition, the terms belief and perception are used interchangeably (e.g., Mori, Sato & Shimizu, 2007; Schulz, 2001; Tse, 2000). Therefore, for the purpose of this study the terms belief and perception will be taken as synonymous.
With regard to student beliefs, Horwitz developed a 34-item Likert-scale data collection instrument in 1985, the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI). Horwitz (1988) suggested that if students have preconceptions and negative beliefs about the way languages are learnt and particularly if their beliefs are different from teachers’ beliefs and practice, this may lead to poor confidence in the teacher, dissatisfaction with the course and poor achievement amongst learners. This idea was later confirmed in a number of studies. For instance, Mantle-Bromley (1995) found that some students may come to FL classes “with certain attitudes, beliefs, and expectations that may actually prove harmful to their success in the classroom” (p. 383). Teachers need to investigate their students’ beliefs so that they can be supportive, help them overcome their feelings of “isolation and helplessness,” and “offer concrete suggestions for attaining foreign language confidence” (Horwitz, Horwitz & Cope, 1986, p. 132).
Learners’ LL beliefs, which may differ across groups (Horwitz, 1999) need to be investigated before implementing any program or introducing any innovation (Sakui & Gaies, 1999). Horwitz (1995) explained how students’ affective reactions influence LL. She further stressed that it is essential for teachers to give priority to the emotional needs of their students because affective factors influence the learner’s willingness to engage in the activities, a necessity in developing second language proficiency. In a study on the comparison of learners’ and teachers’ beliefs about LL and syllabus design, Bulut and Üğüten (2003) found that learners’ perceptions did not match those of the teachers. Unlike teachers, students had highly positive perceptions of grammar. The study also revealed that listening and speaking were the most favored domains, while reading was the second and writing the least favored. The findings changed the teachers’ classroom activities; for instance, a future program included more listening comprehension activities. According to Schulz (2001), a mismatch between teachers’ and learners’ beliefs about LL can be harmful; therefore, teachers should investigate students’ beliefs and make sure that they are modified to avoid any conflicts between students’ beliefs and classroom activities. Horwitz, Bresslau, Dryden, McLendon and Lu (1997) provided further evidence for the need to adjust instruction to learners’ needs and expectations and suggest multiple ways of teacher collaboration to do so (see also Fox, 1993; Horwitz, 1988).
One important question tackled by researchers is whether beliefs are flexible. Cabaroglu (1999) as well as Cabaroglu and Roberts (2000) tested the widespread view that beliefs are inflexible and reported to have observed some development. They found that early confrontation of pre-existing beliefs and self-regulated learning opportunities were the most important factors in positive belief change. Additionally, Tse (2000) used an autobiography technique to analyze perceptions of 51 adult FL learners about classroom atmosphere and instruction. The study revealed three categories or themes: classroom interactions, perceived level of success, and attributions of success and failure. Students were reported to believe that instruction focused too little on oral communication, that their proficiency was low, and that their failure was a result of lack of effort. Conjecturing that negative perceptions can lead to anxiety and lack of motivation, Tse (2000) wondered “why the changes in FL pedagogy that have been implemented over the past few decades have appeared to do so little to change student perceptions of the classroom” (p. 82). She hypothesized that probably the changes in classroom instruction were not sufficient to overcome the social milieu, the cultural assumptions that promote the view that L2 learning is difficult and relatively rare for adults.
Analyses of changes in 146 pre-service EFL teachers’ beliefs about LL also demonstrated that beliefs are difficult to change and that considerable effort is needed to change detrimental beliefs (Peacock, 2001). Stressing the need for further research on belief change, Bernat (2005) commented that studies of the time did not explain how learner characteristics affect the nature of beliefs and that there was a need for an interdisciplinary approach so as to find out how cognitive and personality psychology provides a foundation for a possible relationship between learner beliefs and personality.
One of encouraging studies that provided evidence for positive changes in LL beliefs was carried out by Sim (2007), who showed that beliefs could be changed in a positive way by focusing on active learning and goal setting. Such a focus, Sim believed, seemed to have encouraged more active, responsible and autonomous learning behaviors evidenced in participants’ belief change. Sim (2007), too, encouraged further research on the role of factors dominant in the process of belief change in novel endeavors. Bakker (2008), who provided plausible statistical evidence that instruction of principles of SLA did not have a significant effect on beliefs, claimed that beliefs are not easily changed, after observing that only one belief became significantly stronger by time: “The instructor should teach the class in German.” She also asserted that gender and LL experience had significant effects on beliefs. Similarly, Hamilton (2009) suggested: “[W]e need to take a step back from our exploration of the pedagogical value of technological functionality, and turn our attentions towards what the teachers and learners bring to the experience in terms of their priorities for and beliefs about language learning” (p. 173). Building on these studies, the present article aims at analyzing possible effects of LL podcasts on LL beliefs of first-year Turkish university students.
Methods and procedures
As the main aim of the study was to analyze the process and the impact in a specific social context, rather than making broad generalizations about the effects of using podcasts in LL, a convenience sampling strategy was adopted. Convenience sampling is more viable when description rather than generalization is the goal (Dawson, 2002). To collect quantitative data and describe and compare LL beliefs before and after a twelve-week program in the academic year of 2009-2010, 187 first-year students at the education faculty of a state university in southeast Turkey were taken as a convenience sample. The program required participants to listen to podcasts repetitively and do related tasks. Students were given the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI) before and after the program to observe whether there was any change in their beliefs. Qualitative data were also collected in order to gain a better insight into participants’ beliefs and perceptions and possible changes. Qualitative data were necessary also for triangulation purposes, for the pre-test–post-test design of the study did not comprise a control group. As the number of the participants for the main study (N=187 students) was rather high, 16 students were selected based on their background, bio-data and scores at the first administration of BALLI. At this stage, a proportional quota sampling strategy was adopted to ensure that all student groups with different characteristics were represented (Dawson, 2002).
The rationale behind the choice of such a design is justified: to treat all the students equally and fairly, the entire target population was chosen as the sampling unit. In other words, as the use of podcasts in LL was expected to bring about positive results in students’ learning, it was believed to be more ethical to include all members of the target population in the research. The purposive and non-random sampling strategy of the study and the authors’ dual roles as teachers and researchers prevented them from following an experimental research design. Therefore, quantitative data were analyzed descriptively. Experimental research and statistical tests of significance have failed to answer the most essential question, “how,” concerning educational processes. In Van Lier’s terms, “we know very little about what actually goes on in classrooms” (1990, p. 3). Focusing only on the end-product and the effect of an intervention as is done in experimental studies in social sciences and especially in education would fall short of explaining the highly dynamic factors that are interwoven during the process and what students bring into the classroom (House, 2002). Complemented with descriptive analysis of quantitative data, a qualitative design that entails a case study, interviews and participant observation can serve as a “unique and valuable source of information that complements and informs theory, research and practice” (Marczyk, DeMatteo & Festinger, 2005, p. 148).
The course evolved around the use of podcasts as LL materials and related tasks. The program consisted of 16 weeks of study, with four weeks missing due to religious holidays (two weeks) and midterm exams (two weeks). Each week, students listened to three sections of one podcast before the class hour and did related task-based activities in pairs and/or in groups during the class. Neither course books nor any other teaching materials were used so as not to interfere with the effects of podcasts. Participants had to listen to the podcasts that were recorded on their mobile phones or mp3 players several times and study the transcripts for each section before classes so that they could participate in the group activities to do the tasks. They were also expected to listen to the sections studied in the class throughout the week that followed.
Interviews with the participants revealed that average listening frequency for each section was four times before the class and once or twice after the class. Although students were encouraged to listen more frequently, some of them expressed during the interviews that they could not listen more because they had to do work for other courses and that listening to the same sections was boring after a few repetitions. The podcasts were specifically designed and produced by experts for the British Council to be used by elementary level young adults and were relevant to the proficiency level of the participants (British Council, n.d.). The podcasts and their support packs with transcripts were downloaded and used with the authorization of the British Council. Each 20-minute podcast comprised eight segments, such as Conversations in English, I’d like to meet, Quiz, Our person in…, Your turn, Carolina, The joke, and Tom the teacher. Students were given audio files, transcripts of podcasts and tasks for each section to make sure that they all were in possession of all course material.
Tasks usually required students to collaborate with each other and produce something to be presented or discussed in the class or sent to the British Council’s LearnEnglish team that produced the podcast. An excerpt from Series 1 Episode 1, Section 2 is given below to give an idea of what tasks that were done by participants look like:
You listened to Zara from Bristol talking about why she would like to meet Angelina Jolie. Is there a famous film actress that you’d like to meet? If you can think of someone, make some notes to answer these questions:
- What’s her name?
- What nationality is she?
- If she isn’t alive now, when did she live?
- What are some of her most famous films?
- Which of her films are your favourites?
- Is she famous for other things too?
- Why do you like her?
- Do you admire her? Why?
- What would you like to talk to her about?
- What questions would you like to ask her?
Now put your notes together to write a paragraph about the person and why you’d like to meet her. If you want, you can send your paragraph to email@example.com.
In order to investigate learners’ beliefs, a Turkish version of the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI) (Horwitz, 1985) was distributed to 187 Turkish university students (see Appendix A). The instrument was given before and after the twelve-week podcast-based course. The data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics and a Wilcoxon signed rank test. Qualitative data were collected from 16 participants through semi-structured interviews conducted in Turkish before and after the program (see Appendix B for an English version of the interview items) and analyzed with content analysis techniques to gain a deeper understanding of the process, observe whether or not possible change was due the use of podcasts and related tasks as resources and thus address reliability and validity issues.
Participants and context
Students were enrolled in the programs at the faculty of education of the Turkish university, coming from underprivileged or lower-middle class families that lived in villages or small towns in southeast Turkey. Their age range was between 18 and 22, and 117 of them were male, 70 female. Almost all had been state high-school graduates with little or almost no command of English when they entered the faculty programs. With a few exceptions, their technology-related skills were limited. As part of the study, students were asked about their computer skills and whether they had e-mail accounts and mp3 players during the orientation phase of the program (one week before the program started). It turned out that few of them had e-mail accounts and chat-experience on arrival, and interestingly, almost all students that did were male. Most of them, however, had mobile phones and some had mp3 players.
Personal observations and informal interviews with students showed that when they had enrolled, they were not ready for student-centered and constructivist approaches to learning in general, and LL in particular. Coursebook-based and teacher-centered instruction at both the state high schools they had graduated from and the programs they enrolled in was the major source of their beliefs. They had many courses with fixed schedules, which seemed to demotivate them. English was a three-hour compulsory course given in two semesters of the first year, and it was only one of the other too many courses for students. Not having been able to master English despite years of formal instruction at state secondary and high schools, they did not believe that they could learn English on a three-hour-a-week course.
Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory and analysis procedures
Three different versions of BALLI were designed by Horwitz: one for foreign language teachers (1985) with 27 items, one for ESL students (1987) with 27 items, and another one for U.S. students learning a foreign language (1988) with 34 items. In this study, this third version was adapted for the students to identify their beliefs about learning EFL. The inventory was translated into Turkish, making minor changes concerning language and nationality to adapt it for the students (Appendix A). The BALLI assesses five belief areas: the difficulty of LL, foreign language aptitude, the nature of LL, learning and communication strategies, and motivation and expectations.
Most BALLI items are scored on a five-point Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree. However, two items (4 and 14) have different response scales. Item 4 relates to the perceived difficulty of English: “English is 1) a very difficult language, 2) a difficult language, 3) a language of medium difficulty, 4) an easy language, 5) a very easy language.” Item 14 is about the amount of time needed to learn a language: “If someone spent one hour day learning a language, how long would it take them to speak the language very well? 1) less than a year, 2) 1-2 years, 3) 3-5 years, 4) 5-10 years, 5) you can’t learn a language in 1 hour a day.” The BALLI does not give an overall score because it identifies individual learners’ beliefs about foreign LL. Instead, students’ responses to each item are treated separately.
The BALLI has been used in a number of studies. Moderate reliability scores for it have been reported in previous research. For instance, Cronbach’s alpha coefficient results were 0.61 in Park (1995), 0.71 in Kunt (1997), and 0.59 in Kim-Yoon (2000). In the present study, Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was computed as 0.59 for pre-test results and 0.71 for post-test results. These moderate reliability scores are due to the fact that items were designed to be interpreted individually based on the five-step scales and also that participants’ responses to individual items showed wide variability because of the nature of the tool (Kim-Yoon, 2000; Nikitina & Furuoka, 2006; Park, 1995). Nikitina and Furuoka (2006) reassure us that “despite criticisms and doubts regarding the reliability of BALLI, Horwitz’s instrument can be considered to be a suitable tool for conducting research on language learning beliefs in different socio-linguistic settings” (p. 217). As for the validity of the instrument, the similarities among the factors of the BALLI found across different groups indicate that it has high potential construct validity (Nikitina & Furuoka, 2006; Yang, 1992).
Our research design required a comparative analysis of pre-test and post-test results, since it was about whether there was any difference between students’ beliefs about LL before and after using podcasts. The most commonly used statistics test in such cases is the t-test. The t-test assesses whether or not the means of two groups or pre-test–post-test scores for a single group are statistically different from each other. However, one assumption of t-test is that the data must be sampled from a normally distributed population. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov normality test results showed that the BALLI data did not reflect a normal distribution. Therefore, a Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare pre-test–post-test BALLI results. The Wilcoxon signed rank test is a non-parametric statistical test that compares data from two related samples or repeated measurements on a single sample. It is used as an alternative to t-test when the population is not normally distributed. It involves comparisons of differences between measurements and requires that the data be at an interval level of measurement. With these characteristics, it is similar to t-test, but unlike t-test, it has no assumptions about the distribution pattern of measurements. Therefore, it is used whenever distributional assumptions of t-test are not satisfied.
As BALLI does not give an overall score, the Wilcoxon test was run for each item separately. Therefore, instead of determining whether or not participants’ beliefs about foreign LL changed as a whole, the study focuses on any possible differences in their specific views regarding each item in the BALLI.
Concerning participants’ beliefs about foreign language aptitude, the Wilcoxon test results show that there is no significant difference between pre-test and post-test BALLI results for Item 1, Item 6, Item 10, Item 11, Item 16, Item 19, Item 30, and Item 33 (p > 0.05; Table 1). This means that participants’ beliefs about most items regarding aptitude did not change after a twelve-week program of learning English with podcasts and podcast-based tasks. The only positive change occurred in terms of the assertion that some people have a special ability for learning foreign languages (Item 2; M: 2.51-2.85; p < 0.05). It can be assumed that this apparent change resulted from the change in participants’ understanding of the item. We believe that in the first administration of BALLI, participants took the word “people” in general, which is the correct and expected understanding. However, in the post-test, their experiences in the classroom made them think of their classmates, whom they had observed to have different levels of ability and performance, and thus understand the term “people” to mean “people in the class.” Also, it is possible to believe that some people have a special ability for learning foreign languages and at the same time that ability or talent is not so important because anyone can learn a foreign language if they work hard enough. (See Table 1. The number of respondents was 187 for all items). Table 1. Beliefs about Foreign Language Aptitude
|1. It is easier for children than adults to learn a foreign language.||Pre||4.19||.96||-.058||0.95|
|2. Some people have a special ability for learning foreign languages.||Pre||2.51||1.22||-3.045||0.00|
|6. People from my country are good at learning foreign languages.||Pre||3.56||1.18||-1.180||0.24|
|10. It is easier for someone who already speaks a foreign language to learn another one.||Pre||3.54||1.15||-1.083||0.28|
|11. People who are good at mathematics or science are not good at learning foreign languages.||Pre||4.19||1.08||-.614||0.54|
|16. I have a special ability for learning foreign languages.||Pre||4.10||0.96||-.030||0.98|
|19. Women are better than men at learning foreign languages.||Pre||3.31||1.50||-1.336||0.18|
|30. People who speak more than one language are very intelligent.||Pre||3.61||1.08||-.555||0.58|
|33. Everyone can learn to speak a foreign language.||Pre||2.85||0.83||-1.070||0.28|
Although there is a slight change in the beliefs about the assertions that some languages are easier to learn than others (Item 3; M: 4.04-3.93), that they believe they will learn to speak English very well (Item: 5; M: 2.25-2.31) and that it is easier to read and write English than to speak and understand it (Item 34; M: 4.18-4.10), the difference is not statistically significant (p > 0.05; Table 2). The Wilcoxon test results indicate that there was a significant difference between participants’ perceptions about the difficulty of English (Item 4; p < 0.05) and about the time necessary for learning to speak English very well (Item 15; p < 0.05). This finding shows that participants gained confidence as a result of learning English with podcasts and related tasks. Similarly, test results for Item 25 show that participants became more confident about listening (M: 4.01-3.83). As is seen in Table 2, the difference between participants’ pre- and post-test beliefs about the assertion that it is easier to speak than to understand a foreign language is statistically significant (p < 0.05; Table 2). Table 2. Beliefs about Difficulty of Language
|3. Some languages are easier to learn than others.||Pre||4.04||.91||-1.708||0.09|
4. English is: (1) a very difficult language, (2) a difficult language, (3) a language of medium difficulty, (4) an easy language, (5)
a very easy language.
|5. I believe that I will learn to speak English very well.||Pre||2.25||1.39||-.507||0.61|
15. If someone spent one hour a day learning a language, how long would it take them to speak the language very well? (1) less than a
year, (2) 1-2 years, (3) 3-5 years, (4) 5-10 years, (5) you can’t learn a language in 1 hour a day.
|25. It is easier to speak than understand a foreign language.||Pre||4.01||0.99||-2.122||0.03|
|34. It is easier to read and write English than to speak and understand it.||Pre||4.18||0.95||-.419||0.67|
As for beliefs about the nature of LL, there is a significant change in beliefs about all but two items (Table 3). The participants’ views about the importance of knowing about English-speaking cultures (Item 8) and translation from Turkish to English (Item 28) did not change significantly (p > 0.05). However, there is a statistically significant change in the beliefs about the propositions that it is best to learn English in an English-speaking country (Item 12; M: 4.03-3.75; p < 0.05), that the most important part of learning a foreign language is learning vocabulary words (Item 17; M: 4.77-4.47; p < 0.05), and that the most important part of learning a foreign language is learning the grammar (Item 23; M: 4.03-3.83; p < 0.05). Students’ views about learning a foreign language being different from learning other subjects (Item 27) changed significantly as well (M: 4.11-3.91; p < 0.05) (Table 3). Table 3. Beliefs about the Nature of Language Learning
|8. It is important to know about English-speaking cultures in order to speak English.||Pre||2.71||1.38||-1.819||0.07|
|12. It is best to learn English in an English-speaking country.||Pre||4.03||1.03||-3.230||0.00|
|17. The most important part of learning a foreign language is learning vocabulary words.||Pre||4.77||.51||-4.592||0.00|
|23. The most important part of learning a foreign language is learning the grammar.||Pre||4.03||1.04||-2.416||0.02|
|27. Learning a foreign language is different from learning other academic subjects.||Pre||4.11||1.05||-2.926||0.00|
|28. The most important part of learning English is learning how to translate from my language or from my native language to English.||Pre||3.26||1.17||-.761||0.45|
Table 4 shows that there is a significant change in beliefs about the propositions that it is important to repeat and practice a lot (Item 18; M: 2.16-2.37; p < 0.05) and that they enjoy practicing English with the native speakers of English (Item 13; M: 2.63-3.08; p < 0.05). No significant change was observed in participants’ views concerning the assumptions that it is important to speak English with an excellent pronunciation (Item 7; M: 4.01-3.86; p > 0.05) and that it is important to practice with cassettes or tapes (Item 26; M: 3.16-3.29; p > 0.05). As participants seemed to be aware of the importance of listening, absence of significant change in beliefs about practicing with cassettes or tapes might have resulted from the wording of the item and not from participants’ lack of interest in listening. Most probably, they did not understand that the item emphasized the importance of listening and as cassettes or tapes are rarely used to learn languages nowadays, scores in terms of participants’ beliefs did not change significantly.
No statistically significant change was observed in the participants’ beliefs about items which posit that nothing should be said in English until it can be said correctly (Item 9; M: 2.17-2.17; p > 0.05) and that the meaning of an unknown word can be guessed (Item 14; M: 2.13-22.03; p > 0.05). Beliefs about feeling timid when speaking English (Item 21; M: 3.99-3.91; p > 0.05) and making errors (Item 22; M: 2.32-2.33; p > 0.05) did not change significantly either (Table 4).
Table 4. Beliefs about Learning and Communication Strategies
|7. It is important to speak English with an excellent pronunciation.||Pre||4.01||1.14||-1.767||0.08|
|18. It is important to repeat and practice a lot||Pre||2.16||1.23||-2.207||0.03|
|9. You shouldn’t say anything in English until you can say it correctly.||Pre||2.17||1.35||-.148||0.88|
|13. I enjoy practicing English with the native speakers of English I meet.||Pre||2.63||1.21||-4.572||0.00|
|14. It’s o.k. to guess if you don’t know a word in English.||Pre||2.13||1.15||-.901||0.37|
|21. I feel timid speaking English with other people.||Pre||3.99||1.01||-1.198||0.23|
|22. If beginning students are permitted to make errors in English, it will be difficult for them to speak correctly later on.||Pre||2.32||1.19||-.333||0.74|
|26. It is important to practice with cassettes or tapes.||Pre||3.16||1.06||-1.622||0.10|
The results show that the podcast-based LL program fostered participants’ motivation and increased their expectation (Table 5). There was a positive change in participants’ intrinsic motivation to learn English and thus get to know native speakers of English and their culture better (Item 24; M: 2.64-3.04; p < 0.05), to learn to speak English well (Item 31; M: 2.58-3.01; p < 0.05), and to have friends who are native speakers of English (Item 32; M: 2.46-2.80; p < 0.05). Although there was also a significant change in the beliefs concerning Item 20, about the perceived importance of speaking English in Turkey, the change was not in a positive direction (M: 3.60-3.01; p < 0.05). Beliefs about having better job opportunities as a result of learning English well did not change significantly (Item 29; M: 2.26-2.31; p > 0.05). This is due to the fact that all participants of the study were students at the faculty of education, which means that it was already known to them that they would become teachers when they graduated (Table 5).
Table 5. Beliefs about Motivation and Expectations
|20. People in my country feel that it is important to speak English.||Pre||3.60||1.16||-5.042||0.00|
|24. I would like to learn English so that I can get to know native speakers of English better and their cultures.||Pre||2.64||1.00||-4.453||0.00|
|29. If I learn English very well, I will have better opportunities for a good job.||Pre||2.26||.94||-.653||0.51|
|31. I want to learn to speak English well.||Pre||2.58||1.31||-4.521||0.00|
|32. I would like to have friends who are native speakers of English.||Pre||2.46||1.20||-2.823||0.00|
Comparative analysis of the first and second rounds of semi-structured interviews
Qualitative data were linked by matching categories and frequencies for each category to facilitate comparison. Comparisons of findings for each theme mentioned earlier are given below:
Theme 1: Beliefs about the importance of language learning domains
The most remarkable finding concerning participants’ beliefs about the importance of LL domains is that grammar was the category with the highest frequencies in the first interview, whereas it was replaced with listening in the second interview (Table 6).
Table 6. Number of participants and frequencies by categories emerged under Theme 1 in Interviews 1 and 2
|Theme 1||Interview 1||Interview 2|
|Beliefs about the importance of language learning domains||Grammar||14||27||Listening||13||17|
* n: number of participants that mentioned each category at least once, **f: frequency of times that each category was mentioned by different students
The category of vocabulary followed that of grammar in the second interview, but with fewer frequencies. More participants (n: 4) tended to appreciate the importance of reading in Interview 2 than in Interview 1 (n: 2), whereas fewer participants (n: 3) appraised speaking in Interview 2 than in Interview 1 (n: 6). Translation was deemed as less important in the second interview, as well. As the last category with only two frequencies, pronunciation replaced writing in the second interview.
The following excerpts exemplify the change in beliefs about the importance of LL domains:
“I think the most important (domain) is reading. I don’t believe it is Grammar any more. I don’t think grammar will be useful.” (Interview 2, Participant 9)
“Grammar was not beneficial for me. First listening.” (Interview 2, Participant 10)
“Listening is effective, but we were taught grammar at high school and it was not effective.” (Interview 2, Participant 12)
“I said grammar on the first day, but if even I can understand a few things in the book, it is due to listening, not grammar.” (Interview 2, Participant 16)
Theme 2: Beliefs about important factors in language learning
As is seen in Table 7, effort appeared with the highest frequency in both rounds of interviews. However, it was mentioned by 14 participants 30 times in the first interview but only nine times by nine participants in the second. This was probably because before the program they perceived English as very difficult and believed they had to work very hard to be successful but began to feel that it was not so difficult. This judgment is well supported with Wilcoxon test results presented in Table 2, which indicate that there was a significant difference in the positive direction between participants’ perceptions about the difficulty of English (Item 4; p < 0.05). Teacher and talent of students in LL, which were the second and third categories in Interview 1, were replaced with repetitive listening and listening to podcasts, two categories with seven frequencies each, in Interview 2. Aspiration was the fourth category in both interviews, whereas memorization and music emerged as the last two categories in the second interview instead of materials and determination, as in the first one. To summarize, concerning the most important factor in foreign language instruction, repetition and listening to podcasts, which could be taken as a single category, came to the fore in the second interview (Table 7). This extract shows how Participant 10 is aware of the positive effect of listening to podcasts:
“Until now, at secondary school, at primary school, at high school, I always tried to learn grammar subjects such as, how to say it, -ing affix, but I couldn’t succeed. But at least I reached a particular level owing to these podcasts. Well, even if I haven’t learnt much, my motivation increased. I think podcasts are something very useful.” (Interview 2, Participant 10).
Table 7. Number of participants and frequencies by categories emerged under Theme 2 in Interviews 1 and 2
|Theme 2||Interview 1||Interview 2|
|Beliefs about important factors in language learning||Effort||14||30||Effort||9||9|
* n: number of participants that mentioned each category at least once, **f: frequency of times that each category was mentioned by different students
Theme 3: Beliefs about source of problems in language learning
It is remarkable that all participants tended to believe that the method of teaching was the most important source of problems in foreign language instruction instead of teacher characteristics, which was the category with the highest frequencies in Interview 1 (Table 8). As in the first interview, lack of motivation and student characteristics were seen as the second and third important categories, respectively, in the second interview but with fewer frequencies. The last three categories, with only two frequencies in Interview 2, were teacher characteristics, which was the first category in Interview 1, exams, and lack of practice.
Table 8. Number of participants and frequencies by categories emerged under Theme 3 in Interviews 1 and 2
|Theme 3||Interview 1||Interview 2|
|Beliefs about source of problems in language learning||Teacher characteristics||8||12||Method of teaching||16||21|
|Lack of motivation||6||9||Lack of motivation||3||5|
|Student characteristics||5||8||Student characteristics||2||3|
|Method of teaching||5||7||Teacher characteristics||2||2|
|Exams||3||3||Lack of practice||2||2|
|Lack of practice||2||2|
* n: number of participants that mentioned each category at least once, **f: frequency of times that each category was mentioned by different students
Theme 4: Suggestions for overcoming problems in language instruction
The fourth theme emerging from the qualitative analysis was a set of participant suggestions for overcoming problems in language instruction (Table 9). Participants’ beliefs concerning this theme also seem to have changed as a result of podcast-based language instruction. Although grammar was most favored in the first round, it was replaced with listening to podcasts in the second. Speaking practice was suggested as a solution for problems by seven participants in both rounds. Vocabulary memorization, which was the third category with a frequency of 10 in Interview 1, was not mentioned in Interview 2 at all, while grammar instruction, which was initially the category with the most frequencies, became the third category with only four frequencies when the program was over.
The suggestion that more repetitions would be beneficial in overcoming difficulties was articulated by three participants in both rounds, whereas the frequency of suggestions about translation dropped from six to only two. Here, too, the category about more repetitions could well be combined with the category of listening to podcasts, but it was not clear whether or not participants meant repetitive listening of podcasts when they mentioned repetition.
Table 9. Number of participants and frequencies by categories emerging under Theme 4 in Interviews 1 and 2
|Theme 4||Interview 1||Interview 2|
|Suggestions for overcoming problems in language instruction||Grammar instruction||11||24||Listening (to podcasts)||10||13|
|Speaking practice||7||12||Speaking practice||7||7|
|Vocabulary (memorization)||9||10||Grammar instruction||4||4|
|Working harder||7||8||More repetition||3||3|
Finally, the suggestions about hard work, motivation, music, and reading were not repeated in the second round of interviews (Table 9). One participant proposed listening instead of grammar to overcoming difficulties when he said:
“It would be better if they listened to conversations and dialogues.” (Interview 2, Participant 13)
Results of the quantitative analyses revealed that students hold a great diversity of beliefs. Although some beliefs seemed to be interrelated and reflective of meaningful patterns, contradictory beliefs were also reported. This supports the idea that learners’ beliefs are highly complex, diverse and interrelated (e.g., Horwitz, 1999; Mason, 2004) and lends further support to the notion that each learner and the beliefs, perceptions, knowledge, experience and preferences s/he brings to the learning environment is unique and that idiosyncratic nature of learning from the constructivist point of view is based on this fact (Cabaroglu, 1999; Chester & Francis, 2006).
As for beliefs about foreign language aptitude, the Wilcoxon test results showed no significant difference between pre- and post-test BALLI results. The only positive change occurred in students’ beliefs about the assertion that some people have a special ability for learning foreign languages. This finding was inconsistent with interview data. Concerning language aptitude, no significant difference was observed between beliefs about the assertions that some languages are easier to learn than others, that they believe they “will learn to speak English very well,” and that “it is easier to read and write English than to speak and understand it.” This shows that belief change is not always brought about with innovation and technology use. Fischer (1992) asserts that basic social patterns are not easily changed by new technologies and that they withstand even widespread innovations. Fischer (1997) also claims that effects of new technologies are modest, differ from one specific technology to another, and can be contradictory.
The Wilcoxon test results indicated that there was a significant difference between participants’ beliefs about the difficulty of English and about the duration necessary for learning to speak English very well. Test results also showed that participants became more confident in listening and speaking. As for participants’ beliefs about the nature of LL, there was a significant change in beliefs about all but two items. Views about the importance of knowing about English-speaking cultures and translation from Turkish to English did not change significantly. However, there was a significant change in the beliefs about the propositions that “it is best to learn English in an English-speaking country,” that “the most important part of learning a foreign language is learning vocabulary words,” and that “the most important part of learning a foreign language is learning the grammar.” This finding was supported by comparative analysis of interview data. Regarding the first theme in interview data, the most remarkable finding is that grammar was the category with the highest frequencies in the first interview, whereas it was replaced with listening in the second interview.
As for beliefs about learning and communication strategies, there was a significant change in participants’ beliefs about repetition and practice and practicing English with the native speakers of English. No significant change was observed in participants’ views concerning pronunciation and practicing with cassettes or tapes. However, qualitative analysis of interview data verified that participants emphasized the importance of listening. No significant change was observed in participants’ beliefs about correct pronunciation and guessing meaning of words from contexts. Beliefs about feeling timid when speaking English, and making errors did not change significantly, either.
Concerning motivation and expectation, test results reflected a significant improvement due to the podcast-based program. There was a positive change in participants’ intrinsic motivation to learn English and thus know native speakers English and their cultures better, to learn to speak English well, and to have friends who are native speakers of English. These findings are in contrast with ideas of Tse (2000) who hypothesized that probably the changes in classroom instruction were not themselves sufficient to overcome the social milieu, that is, the cultural assumptions that promote the view that learning a foreign language is difficult and relatively rare for adults. The present study showed that at least certain learner beliefs can be changed in a positive direction through innovative technology. This contradicts earlier studies that claimed that no real change in learner beliefs can be observed in the language classroom. For instance, Peacock (2001), who analyzed changes in 146 pre-service EFL teachers’ beliefs, also demonstrated that they are difficult to change and that considerable efforts are needed to change detrimental beliefs. Moreover, Bernat (2005) stated that current studies did not explain how individual factors such as learner characteristics affect the nature of beliefs and that there was a need for an interdisciplinary approach to beliefs so as to find out how cognitive and personality psychology provides a foundation for a possible relationship between learner beliefs and personality.
Bakker (2008) claimed that beliefs are not easily changed; for she observed that only one belief became significantly stronger by time: “The instructor should teach the class in German” (p. 62). She also asserted that gender and LL experiences have significant effects on beliefs. She found out that the experimental treatment did not have a significant effect on learner beliefs, but conjectured that possible reasons behind not observing significant effect were study-related issues such as no pilot study, length of surveys, and presentation of treatment lessons. On the other hand, there are studies that provide evidence for positive changes in beliefs about language instruction (e.g., Cabaroglu & Roberts, 2000; Sim, 2007). Sim showed that “beliefs can be affected in a positive way by teachers through the use of an integrated, structured and explicit focus on active learning and goal setting” (p. 128). Such a focus, Sim commented, seems to have encouraged more active, responsible and autonomous learning behaviors evidenced in participants’ belief change.
The current study was the first research attempt to investigate the effect of podcasts and related tasks on LL beliefs in the context of EFL. Regarding students’ beliefs, significant positive change was observed for most items under belief domains such as the difficulty and nature of LL, learning and communications strategies, and motivation and expectation, which implies that podcasts can be used as effective objects (Cebeci & Tekdal, 2006) and that this can have a positive effect on beliefs. However, no significant difference was observed for students’ beliefs about foreign language aptitude. It can be inferred from this finding that learners’ beliefs reflect a hierarchical pattern, with some deeply-rooted or stronger ones more difficult to change. The idea that beliefs are difficult to change and that considerable effort is needed to change detrimental beliefs is also shared by Peacock (2001).
Implications and future research
The findings of this study suggest several implications for the practice of foreign language instruction and research on second or foreign language teaching and learning. The study confirmed that learners bring a great diversity of beliefs into the language classroom and that some beliefs can be harmful for LL. Teachers should be aware of this diversity and complexity and try to improve or change detrimental beliefs. The study also suggests that beliefs can be persistent and difficult to change and that a good way of improving or changing beliefs is to enable students to experience favorable learning conditions. Nevertheless, the study shows that it is possible to change or improve detrimental or negative beliefs with innovative use of technological means, in which young generations are more interested. Although LL beliefs are known to be resistant to change, the study has evidenced that belief and perception improvement are possible through innovative use of technology. Using mobile appliances such as iPods and mp3 players for repetitive listening of meaningful input motivates learners, which in turn enhances performance and hence improves beliefs and perceptions.
Teachers usually aim at better performance and successful outcomes and thus evaluate performance and sometimes knowledge. However, foreign language teaching is never that simple, superficial and one-sided. Learner beliefs affect and are affected by the whole learning process and variables in this process, including performance or success. Beliefs and perceptions are more directly related to affective and cognitive brain domains than learning outcomes such as performance, and therefore they should be prioritized and addressed first. Students reported positive effects of repetitive listening such as enhanced listening comprehension, and more importantly, unconscious and automatic repetition of words, phrases and even sentences. This lends support to cognitive load theory. Pedagogically, it can be inferred that in foreign language instruction, repetitive listening to podcasts as well as doing authentic tasks should be given priority over grammar.
Based on the findings, researchers are recommended to explore LL belief patterns. Effects of repetitive listening to podcasts on proficiency and performance in learning English and its relationship with self-efficacy perceptions and LL beliefs should also be investigated. Future research can investigate the effect of working with a range of podcasts and activities. Finally, longitudinal and experimental research is needed to investigate long-term effects of mobile technologies on cognitive and affective constructs such as beliefs and perceptions about foreign or second language learning.
About the Authors
Süleyman Başaran holds a PhD in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Çukurova University. He is currently Assistant Professor in Ziya Gökalp Faculty of Education and Director of School of Foreign Languages at Dicle University. His research interests include use of technology in language teaching and educational drama.
Neşe Cabaroğlu holds a PhD in English Language Teaching from Reading University. She is currently Assistant Professor in Faculty of Education at Çukurova University. Her research interests include initial teacher education, student teacher learning, teacher educators, classroom management, and use of technology in language teaching.
We would like to thank Professor Regine Hampel from Open University, UK, for proofreading and language editing an earlier version of the manuscript. We also acknowledge and appreciate invaluable feedback from two anonymous reviewers of the text, as well as TESL-EJ editors Seyyed Abdollah Shahrokni and József Horváth.
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The Turkish Version of the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI)
|YABANCI DİL ÖĞRENME YARGILARI ENVANTERİ (BALLI)|
|Lütfen adınızı yazmayınız ve aşağıdaki her bir ifade ile ilgili gerçek duygularınızı dürüstçe belirtiniz.|
|Her bir madde ile ilgili yanıtınızı aşağıdaki beş seçenekten birine X işareti koyarak veriniz:|
|1||Çocuklar bir yabancı dili yetişkinlere göre daha kolay öğrenir.||1||2||3||4||5|
|2||Bazı insanlar yabancı bir dili öğrenmelerini kolaylaştıran özel bir yetenekle doğar.||1||2||3||4||5|
|3||Bazı dillerin öğrenilmesi diğerlerine göre daha kolaydır||1||2||3||4||5|
Öğrenmeye çalıştığım dil 1) çok zor bir dildir, 2) zor bir dildir, 3) orta zorlukta bir dildir, 4) kolay bir dildir, 5) çok kolay bir
|5||Diğer insanlarla yabancı dilde konuşmaktan utanırım/çekinirim.||1||2||3||4||5|
|6||En sonunda bu dili çok iyi konuşabileceğime inanıyorum.||1||2||3||4||5|
|7||Yabancı bir dili mükemmel bir aksanla konuşmak önemlidir.||1||2||3||4||5|
|8||Yabancı bir dili konuşmak için, o dili konuşan yabancı ülkenin kültürünü bilmek gerekir.||1||2||3||4||5|
|9||Doğru söylemeyi öğreninceye kadar yabancı dilde bir şey söylememelisin.||1||2||3||4||5|
|10||Bir yabancı dili konuşabilen bir kimse için başka bir dili öğrenmek daha kolaydır.||1||2||3||4||5|
|11||Yabancı bir dili o dilin konuşulduğu ülkede öğrenmek daha iyidir.||1||2||3||4||5|
|12||Öğrenmeye çalıştığım dili konuşan birini duyarsam, pratik yapmak için gidip onunla konuşurum.||1||2||3||4||5|
|13||Yabancı dilde bir sözcüğü bilmiyorsanız, onu tahmin edersiniz.||1||2||3||4||5|
Bir kimse dil öğrenmeye günde bir saat harcarsa, akıcı bir şekilde konuşmaya başlaması ne kadar zaman alır? 1)1 yıldan az, 2) 1-2 yıl,
3) 3-5 yıl, 4) 5-10 yıl, 5) Günde 1 saat çalışarak dil öğrenilmez.
|15||Yabancı dil öğrenme yeteneğim var.||1||2||3||4||5|
|16||Yabancı bir dili öğrenmek çoğunlukla çok sayıda yeni sözcük öğrenmekle olur.||1||2||3||4||5|
|17||Çok tekrar ve pratik yapmak önemlidir.||1||2||3||4||5|
|18||Başka insanların önünde yabancı dilde konuştuğumda utanırım.||1||2||3||4||5|
|19||Başlangıçta hata yapmana izin verilirse, bu hatalar yerleşir ve daha sonra onlardan kurtulmak zor olur.||1||2||3||4||5|
|20||Yabancı bir dili öğrenmek çoğunlukla çok sayıda gramer/dilbilgisi kuralı öğrenmekle olur.||1||2||3||4||5|
|21||Dil laboratuvarında pratik yapmak önemlidir.||1||2||3||4||5|
|22||Kadınlar yabancı dil öğrenmede erkeklerden daha iyidir.||1||2||3||4||5|
|23||Bu dili çok iyi öğrenirsem, onu kullanmak için çok fırsatım olacaktır.||1||2||3||4||5|
|24||Yabancı bir dili konuşmak onu anlamaktan daha kolaydır.||1||2||3||4||5|
|25||Yabancı bir dili öğrenmek diğer okul derslerini öğrenmekten farklıdır.||1||2||3||4||5|
|26||Yabancı bir dili öğrenmek çoğunlukla çeviri yapmakla olur.||1||2||3||4||5|
|27||Bu dili çok iyi öğrenirsem, bu iyi bir iş bulmama yardımcı olacak.||1||2||3||4||5|
|28||İngilizcede okuma ve yazma, konuşma ve duyduğunu anlamadan daha kolaydır.||1||2||3||4||5|
|29||Matematik ve fende iyi olan insanlar yabancı dil öğrenmede iyi değillerdir.||1||2||3||4||5|
|30||Türkler, bir yabancı dili öğrenmenin önemli olduğunu düşünür.||1||2||3||4||5|
|31||Bu dili, onu ana dili olarak konuşan insanları daha iyi tanımak için öğrenmek istiyorum.||1||2||3||4||5|
|32||Birden fazla dil konuşan insanlar çok zekidirler.||1||2||3||4||5|
|33||Türkler yabancı dil öğrenme konusunda iyidirler.||1||2||3||4||5|
|34||Herkes bir yabancı dili konuşmayı öğrenebilir.||1||2||3||4||5|
A. Beliefs about Language Learning
- What is the best way of learning a foreign language? What do you have to do most?
- Do you think everyone can learn a foreign language? Why (not)? What can people who are not good at language learning do to learn better?
- Do you have any problems in learning English? (If yes, what problems? What do you do to overcome them?)
B. English Self-efficacy
- What do you think about the current level of your English proficiency? (In speaking, listening, reading, and writing?)
- Do you think you have talent for learning English? Why (not)?
- Do you believe you can learn English very well? Why (not)?
C. Learning English with Podcasts
- How many times have you listened to each podcast? How do you listen to them? (Why?)
- Do the podcasts have any effects on your English proficiency? (If yes, what effects?)
- Have the podcasts influenced your self-confidence in language learning? How?
- Have you encountered any problems when learning English with podcasts? If yes, what did you do to overcome them? Do you think you will go on listening to podcasts to learn English in the future? Why (not)?
- What characteristics of the podcasts do you like least/most? Why?
- What would you recommend teachers who use such podcasts in English classes?
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