Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Applied Linguistics

Committee Chair

Charles Hall

Committee Member

Teresa Dalle

Committee Member

Reginald Martin

Committee Member

Emily Thrush


Little work has yet to explore the potential for the use of social network sites (SNSs) in the English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) classroom, but recent trends in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) research suggest that SNSs may be a powerful context for language learning: offering students access to online communities of practice and /or imagined communities (as interpreted by Norton et al.); increased control of co-constructed/negotiated identities; and opportunities for empowering positions in authentic intercultural exchanges. This dissertation reports on a largely exploratory, empirical study of how the use of an American-based SNS in a Chinese EFLclass affected specific self-reported student attitudes toward motivation. Results showed that students using SNS showed a statistically significant increase in motivation orientation traditionally considered "integrative" with the most significant comparative gains being made by those measured to be "more integrative" at the outset of the study. Detailed survey results suggest that students were not just passive receivers or learners of language and culture, but they also saw the empowering possibility of taking up expert positions in this new context that they did not find in the -SNS classes. When considered together with recent motivation research, these results seem to create a picture of SNSs as an imagined international community: one in which cultural exchange is seen as going both ways.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.