Learning English in a community of practice: A case study

Özbay, Esra
The main aim of this study was to explore how a group of learners, who were new to a university campus, interacted in their new environment and what kind of influences these interactions had on their learning process. By exploring both the social interactions and perceptions of these learners, who have recently started learning English at a Preparatory School of a private higher education institution, I aimed to provide insight on their out-of-class learning experiences in a community of practice. I also aimed to understand how these learners viewed their collaborative experiences in relation to their learning processes. The study employed a qualitative approach and made use of a case study design since both enabled the researcher to relate to the learning experiences of a small group of individuals in vivid detail and unfold their most striking experiences during the language learning process. I collected data by means of in-class and ethnographic out-of-class observations, individual and focus group interviews and detailed field notes I kept throughout the semester. The results suggested that this particular group of learners thought their collaboration influenced their English learning process positively. Moreover, their interactions were shaped by a number of factors which were mutual scaffolding, collective decision making through negotiation, harmony, having an intimate relationship, alignment of expectations, group identity and time constraints. Providing thick descriptions of a particular community of practice, the research outcomes are of use to language learners, instructors, and program administrators who are reflecting on their language learning and teaching practices.


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Citation Formats
E. Özbay, “Learning English in a community of practice: A case study,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2014.