Foreign language learning with self-instructional television materials : an exploratory study
This thesis investigates second language (L2) learning with selfinstructional television (SITV) materials. It aims to explore: (1) how SITV materials can contribute to L2 learning; (2) the process of self-instruction involved in the use of SITV materials; and (3) a new methodological approach for investigating the use of SITV materials. The initial literature review considers self-instruction in general and learning involving self-instructional broadcast materials in particular, providing details also of two preliminary studies of Japanese students carried out by the author. The main study was designed to investigate, in an exploratory-interpretive fashion, the process whereby seven British adult learners studied Japanese using SITV materials over a fourteen-month period consisting of four phases. Phase 1 revealed features of SITV materials learners find salient while viewing SITV lessons. It was also found that the learners' focus shifted from surface features of the materials to content and onto their own learning process, and that this development accompanied changes in the way they studied with the materials. This led me to carry out a second literature review, on learner strategies. The research in Phase 2 focussed on learners' strategy use while viewing SITV lessons, revealing the types of strategies learners use as well as variability in strategy use according to the lesson, with implications for strategy research more generally. In Phases 3 and 4, which were motivated by the learners themselves, I had the chance to observe what they would do if left on their own. In Phase 4, learners formed a semi-autonomous learning group and together invented creative activities of their own to fulfill their needs and shared strategies to overcome their common problems. On the basis of these findings, the thesis concludes with an overall discussion of the role of SITV materials in L2 learning, the process of materialscentred self-instruction, and issues of research methodology, as well as pedagogical and methodological implications. Directions for future research are also suggested.