Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number 4 December 2022                                Pp.539 -561

Full Paper PDF

TESL Undergraduates’ Perceptions: Utilizing Social Media to Elevate Speaking Skills 

Claudia Dona Donny
Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia 

Nor Hafizah Adnan
Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
Corresponding Author:


Received:07/14/2022         Accepted:11/30/2022                 Published: 12/15/2022


Teaching English as a Second Language undergraduates are English teachers in training. Recently, a concern arose when it was found that these undergraduates in Indonesia perceived their speaking skills as the lowest in terms of their mastery. Many studies have been conducted on the use of social media. Still, there is a literature gap in using social media among TESL undergraduates in the Malaysian context. Thus, this study aimed to explore TESL undergraduates’ perceptions of their speaking skill mastery and their perceptions of utilizing social media to enhance their speaking skills. It was significant to investigate how those undergraduates feel about their speaking skill mastery to create self-awareness. By being aware of their belief, they can find ways to keep improving themselves. The main question for the study was to discover respondents’ belief in their speaking mastery level and respondents’ self-confidence in speaking performance. A total of 132 respondents from the National University of Malaysia participated in this research through an online questionnaire conducted on Google Forms. The results showed that the students recorded unsatisfactory perceptions of their speaking skill mastery. The data revealed that social media does help in elevating their speaking skills. The students chose ‘WhatsApp,’ ‘YouTube,’ and ‘TikTok’ as their preferred social media that help their oral communication skills. In addition, limitations and recommendations were explained to better future works in the equivalent or relevant studies.
Keywords: English speaking skills, ESL student, speaking skills, social media, TESL undergraduate

Cite as: Donny, C. D. & Adnan, N. H. (2022). TESL Undergraduates’ Perceptions: Utilizing Social Media to Elevate Speaking Skills .
Arab World English Journal, 13 (4) 539 -561.


Abdullah, M. Y., Hussin, S., Hammad, Z. M., & Ismail, K. (2021). Exploring the effects of flipped classroom model implementation on EFL learners’ self-confidence in English speaking performance. In: Al-Emran, M., Shaalan, K., Hassanien, A. (eds) Recent Advances in Intelligent Systems and Smart Applications, vol 295. Springer, Cham.

Adnan, N. H., & Sayadi, S. S. (2021). ESL Students’ Readiness for Self-Directed Learning in Improving English Writing Skills. Arab World English Journal, 12(4), 503-520.

Alam, M. S., & Aktar, H. (2021). The effect of social media on student academic performance: A case study at the Islamic University of Bangladesh. International Journal on Transformations of Media, Journalism & Mass Communication, 6(1), 26-44.

Alamri, M. M. (2019). Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions toward Social Media Usage and Academic Performance: A Study from Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 14(3), 61-79.

Al-Khresheh, M. H., Khaerurrozikin, A., & Zaid, A. H. (2020). The efficiency of using pictures in teaching speaking skills of non-native Arabic beginner students. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 8(3), 872-878.

Aloraini, N., & Cardoso, W. (2020). Social media in language learning: A mixed-methods investigation of students’ perceptions. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 1-24.

Anwas, E., Sugiarti, Y., Permatasari, A., Warsihna, J., Anas, Z., Alhapip, L., Siswanto, H. & Rivalina, R. (2020). Social Media Usage for Enhancing English Language Skill. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies, 14(7), 41-57.

Belal, A. (2014). Influence of digital social media in writing and speaking of tertiary level student, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). BRAC University.

Berman, R., & Cheng, L. (2010). English academic language skills: Perceived difficulties by undergraduate and graduate students, and their academic achievement. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1), 25-40.

Best, W. J., & Kahn, V. J. (2006). Research in education (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education Inc.

Bhatla, P. (2020). Entrepreneur. India: How social media is changing technology. Available at

Chotipaktanasook, N., & Reinders, H. (2016). Willingness to communicate in social media: An investigation of the long-term effects. Asian EFL Journal, 18(4), 6-25.

David, O. N., Helou, A. M., & Rahim, N. Z. A. (2012). Model of perceived influence of academic performance using social networking. International Journal of Computers & Technology, 2(2a), 24-29.

Devi, P., Virgiana, B., & Auli, M. (2020, September). The use of social media Instagram in teaching EFL: Effect on students’ speaking ability. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on English Language Education (ICONELE) 2020.

Dirjal, A. H, & Ghabanchi, Z. (2020). The impact of social media application in promoting speaking skill of Iraqi university learners of English: A Skype-based study. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on the English Language in Iraqi Context. 76-89.

Dzogbenuku, R. K., Amoako, G. K., & Kumi, D. K. (2019). Social media and student performance: the moderating role of ICT knowledge. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 18(2), 197–219.

Faizi, R., El Afia, A., & Chiheb, R. (2013). Exploring the potential benefits of using social media in education. International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy, 3(4), 50-53.

Fitriani, D. A., & Apriliaswati, R. (2015). A study on student’s English speaking problems in speaking performance. Jurnal Pendidikan dan Pembelajaran Khatulistiwa, 4(9), 1-13.

Gagalang, J. L. (2022). Exploring social media use of Filipino learners: How it impacts reading attitudes and competence. Linguistics and Culture Review, 6, 275-290.

Galoyan, T., & Madyarov, I. (2016). The relationship between the types of engagement with digital and social media and motivation to learn English. Research Papers on Teaching English as an Additional language, 103-124.

Gutiérrez, D. (2005). Developing oral skills through communicative and interactive tasks. Profile Issues in Teachers Professional Development, (6), 83-96.

Hamat, A., & Hassan, H. A. (2019). Use of social media for informal language learning by Malaysian university students. 3L: Language, Linguistics, Literature, 25(4), 68-83.

Handayani, F. (2016). Instagram as a teaching tool. Really? In Proceeding of the Fourth International Seminar on English Language and Teaching (pp. 978-602).

Herlisya, D., & Wiratno, P. (2022). Having Good Speaking English through Tik Tok Application. Journal Corner of Education, Linguistics, and Literature, 1(3), 191-198.

Hussain, I., Cakir, O., & Candeger, Ü. (2018). Social Media as a Learning Technology for University Students. International Journal of Instruction, 11(2), 281-296.

Ibrahim, I. S., & Adnan, N. H. (2020). Students Teams–Achievement Division (STAD) for Enhancing Speaking Performance and Teamwork Satisfaction in English as a Second Language (ESL) Classrooms. Akademika, 90(3), 19-28.

Ismail, S., Ahmad, M., Zaim, M., Mukhaiyar, M., & Gistituati, N. (2019). Student Perspective in Using Social Media as a Tool in English Language Learning. J-SHMIC: Journal of English for Academic, 6(1), 58-68.

Jalaluddin, M. (2016). Using YouTube to enhance speaking skills in ESL classroom. English for Specific Purposes World, 17(50), 1-4.

John, E., & Yunus, M. M. (2021). A Systematic Review of Social Media Integration to Teach Speaking. Sustainability, 13(16), 9047.

Lee, J. A. (2009). Teachers’ sense of efficacy in teaching English, perceived English language proficiency, and attitudes toward the English language: A case of Korean public elementary school teachers. The Ohio State University.

Lexico Dictionaries. (2022). Social Media: Meaning & definition for UK English. Available at

Liando, N. V., Sahetapi, R. J., & Maru, M. G. (2018). English major students’ perceptions towards watching English movies in listening and speaking skills development. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 5(6), 1-16.

Mansor, N., & Rahim, N. (2017). Instagram in ESL Classroom. Man in India, 97(20), 107-114.

Mart, Ć. (2020). Integrating Listening and Speaking Skills to Promote Speech Production and Language Development. Mextesol Journal, 44(2), 1-7.

Mitu, R. K. (2020). Using social media to promote EFL learners’ speaking skill: Perceptions from both teachers and learners. International Journal of Advanced Research in Education and Society, 2(1), 74-84.

Moh’d Zakarneh, B., Elkhattat, D., Yousef, E., & Alazab, A. (2021). Utilizing Social Media Networks as Learning Tools for Foreign Languages among Arab Youth in UAE. International Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, 10(2), 132-144.

Muxamatjonova, D, & Xoshimova, D. (2020). Improving the English Languages Speaking Skills with Efficient Ways. International Engineering Journal for Research and Development, 5(1), 111-117.

Namaziandost, E., Nasri, M., & Keshmirshekan, M. H. (2019). Teachers’ and Learners’ Perceptions toward Using Social Media for Developing Oral Proficiency. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 10(6), 1341-1350.

Namaziandost, E., & Nasri, M. (2019). The impact of social media on EFL learners’ speaking skill: a survey study involving EFL teachers and students. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 6(3), 199-215.

Nashir, C. N. C. M. (2018). English language speaking anxiety (ELSA) among pre-service TESL teachers in IIUM, (Unpublished Master’s thesis). Kuala Lumpur: International Islamic University Malaysia

Nazara, S. (2011). Students’ perception on EFL speaking skill development.  Journal of English Teaching, 1(1), 28-43.

Noah, J. B., & Aziz, A. (2020). A Case Study on the Development of Soft Skills among TESL Graduates in a University. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 8(10), 4610-4617.

Norman, H., Adnan, N. H., Nordin, N., Ally, M., & Tsinakos, A. (2022). The Educational Digital Divide for Vulnerable Students in the Pandemic: Towards the New Agenda 2030. Sustainability, 14(16), 10332.

Nwokedi, C. V. (2019). Use of Social Networking Sites amongst Undergraduates: A Case Study of Department of Theatre and Film Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria. University of Jos Institutional Repository, 3(1), 21-31.

Obar, J. A., & Wildman, S. S. (2015). Social media definition and the governance challenge-an introduction to the special issue. Telecommunications Policy, 39(9), 745-750.

Orben, A. (2020). Teenagers, screens and social media: a narrative review of reviews and key studies. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 55(4), 407-414.

Paneerselvam, A., & Mohamad, M. (2019). Learners’ challenges and English educators’ approaches in teaching speaking skills in an ESL classroom: A literature review. Creative Education, 10(13), 3299-3305.

Park, J. K. (2006). Professionalization of TEFL in Korea: The roads behind and ahead.

Journal of Asia TEFL, 3(4), 113-134.

Prichard, C. (2013). Using social networking sites as a platform for second language instruction. TESOL Journal, 4(4), 752- 758.

Rahaded, U., Puspitasari, E., & Hidayati, D. (2020). The Impact of Whatsapp toward UAD Undergraduate Students’ Behavior In Learning Process. International Journal of Educational Management and Innovation, 1(1), 55-68.

Ramírez, V. A. C. (2010). Students Perceptions about the Development of Their Oral Skills in an English as a Foreign Language Teacher Training Program, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira.

Rao, P. S. (2019). The importance of speaking skills in English classrooms. Alford Council of International English & Literature Journal, 2(2), 6-18.

Roblyer, M. D., McDaniel, M., Webb, M., Herman, J., & Witty, J. V. (2010). Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sites. The Internet and higher education, 13(3), 134-140.

Rusli, R., Yunus, M. M., & Hashim, H. (2018). Low speaking proficiency among the Malaysian undergraduates: Why and how. Persidangan Antarabangsa Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan, 50(3), 678-689.

Schindler, L. A., Burkholder, G. J., Morad, O. A., & Marsh, C. (2017). Computer-based technology and student engagement: a critical review of the literature. International journal of educational technology in higher education, 14(1), 1-28.

Sely, K. I. E. (2018). A study on students’ perception of social media to learn English as a foreign language, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Unika Soegijapranata Semarang, Indonesia.

Shahid, F., Aleem, M., Islam, M. A., Iqbal, M. A., & Yousaf, M. M. (2019). A review of technological tools in teaching and learning computer science. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 15(11), 1-17.

Sheard, J. (2018). Quantitative data analysis. In K. Williamson, & G. Johanson (Eds.), Research Methods: Information, Systems, and Contexts (2nd ed., pp. 429-452). Elsevier.

Soomro, A. F., & Farooq, M. U. (2018). EFL learners’ attitude towards developing speaking skills at the University of Taif, Saudi Arabia. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(3), 318-327.

Steinfield, C., Ellison, N. B., & Lampe, C. (2008). Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(6), 434-445.

Suhaimi, N. D., Mohamad, M., & Yamat, H. (2019). The effects of WhatsApp in teaching narrative writing: A case study. Humanities & Social Sciences Reviews, 7(4), 590-602.

Watkins, J., & Wilkins, M. (2011). Using YouTube in the EFL classroom. Language education in Asia, 2(1), 113-119.

Xodabande, I. (2017). The effectiveness of social media network telegram in teaching English language pronunciation to Iranian EFL learners. Cogent education, 4(1), 1347081.



Received: 07/14/2022
Accepted: 11/30/2022 
Published: 12/15/2022 

Claudia Dona Donny received a bachelor’s degree in Education (Teaching English as a Second Language) from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her research interests include social media in language learning, self-directed learning, as well as language pedagogy and the use of technology in teaching English as Second Language.

 Dr. Nor Hafizah Adnan is a senior lecturer of Educational Technology at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her areas of concentration are design and development of technology-enhanced learning environments, augmented reality in education, and teaching practices in a technology-oriented curriculum. ORCID: 0001-9368-7646