Exploring the Use of Unsolicited Email in EFL Education in Taiwan: Authentic and Critical Literacy in Context

Open Access
Li, Pen Fen
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
September 20, 2007
Committee Members:
  • Ladislaus M Semali, Committee Chair
  • Jamie Myers, Committee Member
  • Miryam Espinosa Dulanto, Committee Member
  • Steve L Thorne, Committee Member
  • Electronic Advertising
  • Course Design
  • EFL Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Internet
Using authentic materials has been regarded as a source of learning language and culture among foreign language teachers. In recent years, a large body of studies has suggested that the Internet offer EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners authentic materials and the use of e-mail, particularly, provide a teaching mode that affects student¡¦ learning. However, as time goes on and more people surf the Internet, the amount of unsolicited advertising e-mail grows. Since authentic literacy has become remarkably important in language learning, advertising e-mail naturally should become one of the potential materials in EFL teaching and learning. Based on this assumption, this study was to explore qualitatively the feasibility of using unsolicited e-mail as learning materials in EFL education. This exploratory study investigated the experiences of ten students with unsolicited e-mail Lesson Program conducted in the study, including their interaction with and responses to advertising e-mail. Data were collected through an open-ended questionnaire, participants¡¦ weekly reflection notes, and semi-structured interviews; patterns and themes were synthesized and generated from data analysis. The findings indicated that students were motivated in learning English and the interaction between students and contexts increased because the contents of unsolicited advertising e-mail reflected and incorporated students¡¦ life experience. In addition, students gained linguistic and cultural insights embedded in literacy and images of unsolicited advertising e-mail through implementing appropriate instruction strategies and skills. Some recommendations of this study were offered for further studies. They included developing training on semiotics and media literacy for students prior to advertising e-mail Lesson Program, increasing school¡¦s budget for equipping classrooms with network, and integrating unsolicited e-mal into EFL pedagogy and curriculum.