Student and teacher perceptions on benefits and challenges of using blogs in english in foreign language reading classes

Aydan, Lütfiye Seda
This study investigated the benefits and challenges of using blogs in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) reading classes. The study also examined the possible solutions to the challenges of using blogs in reading classes. The study was conducted with 104 pre-intermediate students and five instructors of English at the English Preparatory School of a private university in Turkey in the spring semester of the 2012-2013 academic year. The data for this study were collected through a questionnaire administered to students and interviews with teachers. The questionnaire was administered to the students after they had used blogs in their reading classes in the fall and spring semesters. Then five instructors were interviewed about the benefits and challenges of using blogs in reading classes and their suggestions to overcome these challenges were investigated. The findings of the study indicated that blogs provided many advantages to the students, especially for improving various skills such as reading and writing and vocabulary and grammar knowledge. They also motivated students to attend reading classes more actively and to do more research on the topic. However, results also showed that there were important things to consider on the blogs. These include the choice of topics, access to the Internet, ineffectiveness of blogs for listening and speaking classes. Grading was also brought up as a challenge on the blog. As solutions to the challenges, adding more pictures, videos, and links and listening texts to the blog, giving clearer instructions on the blog and supporting them with examples, providing the necessary infrastructure for internet connection at school, and sharing the grading rubric with students at the beginning of the semester were recommended.