The Effect of Using Interest-based Materials on EFL Learners' Performance in Reading: Focusing on Gender Differences

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Abstract

Interest plays a key role in education and language learning. This study investigated if selecting and using interest-based instructional materials could impact learners' performance in L2 reading. It also examined whether there were meaningful differences between male and female learners' performance, concerning the use of interest-based materials. Sixty first-grade university students participated in the study. To answer the research questions, a quantitative method using the 'interest survey questionnaire' and the 'achievement test,' was employed. The collected data were compared and analyzed using t-test, and through SPSS. The results revealed that the use of Interest-Based Language Teaching (IBLT) made a significant contribution to the improvement of learners' performance in L2 reading. They also revealed some interaction of interest and gender, not at significant level though, with respect to the learners' performance in learning. Thus, language teaching researchers, teachers, and particularly material developers are suggested to notice the use and importance of applying interest-based materials in L2 teaching. They should be aware that such materials can lead to better performance in L2 learning.

Keywords


 

 

TheEffectofUsingInterest-basedMaterialsonEFLLearners' Performance in Reading: Focusing on Gender Differences

 

1Majid Asgari

 

 

2Saeed Ketabi*

 

IJEAP-1712-1129


 

3Zahra Amirian

 

 

 

Abstract

 

Interest plays a key role in education and language learning. This study investigated  if selecting and using interest-based  instructional materials could impact learners' performance  in L2 reading. It also examined whether there were meaningful differences between male and female learners' performance, concerning the use of interest-based materials. Sixty first-grade university students participated in the study.   To   answer   the   research   questions,   a   quantita tive   method   using   the   ' interest   survey questionnaire'  and  the  'achievement  test,'  was  employed.  The  collected  data  were  compared  and analyzed using t-test, and through SPSS. The results revealed that the use of Interest-Based Language Teaching (IBLT) made a significant contribution to the improvement of learners' performance  in L2 reading. They also revealed some  interaction  of interest and gender, not at significant  level though, with res pect to the learners' performance  in learning. Thus, language teaching researchers, teachers, and  particularly  material  developers  are  suggested  to  notice  the  use  and  importance  of  applying interest-based materials  in L2 teaching. They should be aware that such materials can lead to better performance in L2 learning.

 

Keywords:  Interest-based Materials;  Student Interest;  L2 reading; Learners'  Performance; Interest- Based Language Teaching (IBLT),

 

 

1.Introduction

 

Interest can serve to prompt the struggling readers in any subject area because when they are interested they are attentive and focused (Ebbers, 2011). Interest focus often results in better strategy use, prompting inference facilitation, and yielding qualitatively  deeper levels of comprehension  and more reliable retrieval of information (Hidi, 1990). Using interest-based approaches to instruction can make  good  advances  in  language  learning.  Hence,  teachers  and  language  teaching researchers  are expected to seek ways to contribute to student interest and improve achievement  in L2 learning (Hidi

&  Harackiewicz,   2000).   As   a  result,   language   instruction   should   be   based   on   interest   and

characteristics  of  individual  learners.  Some  education  experts  (e. g.,  Heilman,  Collins-Thompson, Callan  & Eskenazi,  2010;  Renninger  & Hidi,  2006;  Walkington,  2013;  Walkington  and Be rnacki,

2014) contend that IBLT can contribute to raising students' interest. Eidswick (2010), too, insists on the importance  of interest  in  learning and believes that it is easier for teachers  to teach  interesting

 

 

1PhD candidate,   asgarimaj@gmail.com; Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of  Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

 

2Corresponding Author; Department of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran, ketabi@fgn.ui.ac.ir

 

3Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran;  amirian_z@fgn.ui.ac.ir

 

topics  for students,  and subsequently  to  design  interesting  classroom  activities.  As Shiefle  (1991) states,  interest is an enduring characteristic of adults, and can be efficient for educators in applying interesting materials and methods in their teach ing. The review of the related literature around the role of interest in language learning shows that the construct impact has mostly been under investigation. Recently,  however,  an  increase  in  focus  on  how  features  of  the  situation  affect  interest  can  be frequently  seen (Ainley, Hidi, & Berndorff,  2002; Hidi & Harackiewicz,  2000; Hidi & Renninger,

2006;  Hoffmann,  2002;  Renninger  &  Hidi,  2002;  Wahjuni,  2012;  Walkington,  2014 ). This  study sought to examine closely the impact of interest-based material selection on learners' achievement  in L2 learning,  and find probable  interaction  that  may  exist  between  interest  and  gender.  The study, indeed,  investigated  the effect  of  interest -based  material selection  on  learners‘  performance  in L2 reading because the materials used in English courses at universities in Iran, where the study is carried out, mostly involve reading skill.

 

2. Review of the literature

 

Hidi   and   Renninger   (2006)   refer   to   interest   as   heightened   attention   and   emotional engagement. They believe that interest emerges in response to positive interaction  with a content or task.  Renninger  (2000)  divides  interest  into  three  types: situational,  individual,  and topic  interest. Situational  interest  refers  to  focused  attention  and  the  affective  reaction  that  is  triggered  in  the moment by environmental stimuli, which may or may not last over time (Hidi, 1990). It is context - specific and of short -term value. In contrast, individua l interest refers to a person‘s relatively enduring predisposition to reengage in particular content over time (Renninger, 2000). It is topic -specific and has long-lasting personal value. The third type of  interest, topic  interest,  has also been  introduced, which is a learner‘s level of interest when a specific topic is studied ( Ainley et al., 2002; Hidi, 2001). They  believe  that  these  two  types  of  interest  are  interactive,  and  topic  interest  cannot  only  be individua l or situational  interest,  and  has characteristics  of both types.  However,  Schiefele  (1991) defines topic  interest  as a form of individual interest and contrasts  it with situational or text -based interest.  Situational  interest has been shown to positively  influence cognitive  performance  such as reading comprehension (Hidi, 1990). In addition,  it has been shown to narrow inference ( McDaniel, Waddill, Finstad and Bourg, 2000), focus attention (H idi, 1995), and enable integration of information with prior knowledge (Kintsch, 1980). Similarly, individual interest has been found to have a positive impact  on attention,  recognition,  and recall (Renninger  & Wozniak,  1985);  persistence  and effort (Renninger  &  Hidi,  2002).  Hidi and  Renninger  (2006)  describe  interest  development  across  four phases. In phase one, situational interest is triggered by the environmental phenomena;  in phase two, it is maintained either because the individual finds the environment to be enjoyable or perceives that the learning task has value; in phase three, interest that is maintained becomes an emerging individual interest, which then in phase four matures into a well-developed individual interest.

 

Ebrahimi and Javanbakht  (2015)  inves tigated  the effect  of topic  interest  on EFL  learners'  reading comprehension.   The   results   demonstrated   the   significant   influence   of   interest   on   learners' achievement. Wahjuni (2012) investigated whether IBLT in EFL can improve learners' English communicative competence. The results proved that IBLT increased the respondents' communicative skills. Magliano, Durik, and Holt (2011) revealed that topic interest affected learners' performance  in a standardized text. They concluded that this effect occurred by increasing the engagement with the text, and the presence of interest led to better comprehension, because it facilitated the processes that supported comprehension. Celik (2010) in a study reported the results of an action research conducted in  an  ELT  classroom  in  a  high  school  in  Turkey  to  examine  the  effects  of  IBLT  on  intrinsic motivation  and language  production.  The results  disclosed that IBLT  had the potential to generate intrinsic motivation,  and increase participation  in classroom.  Eidswick (2010)  in a study examined interest  and  prior  knowledge  in  relation  to  reading  comprehension.  The  study  results  revealed significantly higher scores for the high-interest texts than for those of the other texts. Schiefele and Krapp (1996) investigated the role of topic interest on free recall of expository texts, and concluded that  topic  interest  significantly   influenced  the  recall  of  idea  units  and  high-level  information, increased the amount of what learners recall, and also led to a deeper comprehension of the texts.

 

The role of interest has been studied greater in L1 learning than in L2 learning. These studies mostly  disclose  the  impressive  positive  influence  of  interest,  particularly  on L1 reading.  Lee  and

 

 

 

Pulido (2017), for instance, refer to the previous L1 empirical studies reporting strong effects of topic interest on reading comprehension.  They report that sometimes  with the effects of this factor being mediated by other individual difference factors, such as language proficiency and even gender.

 

Nevertheless,  the results  of several researches  provide  support that the attempt to  increase interest  in  pedagogical  context  may  not  always  promote  learning.  Clark  and  Mayer  (2003),  for instance,  caution against adding irrelevant  information such as background  music that may distract learners. Harp and Mayer (1998) assert that such extraneous information is often labeled as ―seductive details,‖  and  in  some  L2  settings  may  lead  to  negative  effects  on  learning  even  while  interest increases. Flowerday, Schraw, and Stevens (2004) reported no statistically reliable associations  with learning from the text for either choice or personal interest  in a lab study on reading engagement, attitude, and learning.  The study by Reber, Hetland, Chen, Norman and Kobbeltvedt (2009) disclosed that example  choice affects  interest and probably attention,  but not learning.  However,  referring to Hidi and Harackiewicz (2000), they argued that example choice can enhance student interest, which is at the core of motivating students to learn and to stay in school. Sedeghpour (2013) in her study found that topic  interest did not significantly  influence  immediate  and delayed recall of readings for EFL advanced-level learners. Even though previous L1 studies have reported strong impact of interest on reading comprehension  by young learners,  which has sometimes  been mediated by other individual differences, like language proficiency and gender, more research is required to be done on the effects of interest on L2 learning diverse areas. Besides, a limited number of such studies have examined the relation  between  interest  and  gender  in  L2  learning  (Linnenbrink-Garcia,  Durik,  Conley,  Barron, Tauer, Karabenick & Harackiewicz,  2010). Therefore, to discover more on the interaction of interest in  L2  learning  context,  learners'  performance  and  gender,  the  following  research  questions  were followed in this research project.

 

1. Does interest-based selection of instruct ional materials have an effect on EFL learners' performance in reading?

 

2. Is there any interaction of interest and gender when course materials are selected based on learners' interest?

 

 

 

3. Method

 

3.1 Participants

 

Sixty university  students  (28 males  and 32 females),  majoring  in nursing,  from a nursing college in Iran participated in this study. They were in the first year of college, and their age mostly ranged from 19 to 21. The reason for selecting the students of the first year was the point that the course  of  ‗general English,‘  as  a  university  course,  is  usually  presented  in  the  first  year,  when students' general English background is not usually high. The other reason was related to practicality issues. In fact, such participants were not available for the study other universities.

 

3.2. Procedure

 

The participants  were randomly divided  into two groups, each  with thirty students. One of them acted as the experimental group and the other as control. To ensure that the participants were not different  in their  reading prof iciency  level before  the research,  an  OPT  test,  whose  purpose  was testing  reading  comprehension,  was  administered.  The  results  showed  that  the  experimental  and control groups were homogeneous regarding their reading proficiency. Then, the experimental group took the 'Reading Interest  Survey'  in the form of a questionnaire  which  aimed to  identify  learners' interest areas, while the control group did not experience this phase. Using the survey results, the level of interest for the students in the experimental group to each of the five general topics of the course book was determined. The results revealed that among the five general topics, the students were most interested in the topic, 'health,' which was the last section in the textbook, and had five le ssons around this topic. After that, all of the learners were taught five units by the same teacher in separate classes.

 

In teaching the experimental  group,  the  lessons  were  selected  and  taught  based  on  the  students‘ interest  areas.  In  fact,  based  on  the r esults  of the reading  interest  survey,  the participants  in  the experimental  group  were taught the five units that were around the topic of 'health.'   On the other hand, for the control group, the units were taught as listed in the book, or, the teacher did not apply any  changes  in  the  order  of  teaching  the  lessons.  Finally,  all  participants  took  a  teacher-made achievement   test  so  that  the  researcher  could  determine  any  probable  differences   in  learners‘ performance in achieving the course materials. To provide responses for the research questions, using t-test, and through SPSS, the collected data were closely compared and analyzed, which are reported in the 'results' section.

 

3.3 Instrumentation

 

3.3.1 The Oxford Placement Test (OPT)

 

This was a 20-item test that was used to determine the participants' homogeneity concerning their reading proficiency. It is a generic and standardized test that is frequently used  in L2 teaching research for such purposes.  We found an acceptable  level of internal consistency  (α=0.693) for this instrument  using the data  collected  in the present study. The test was further  reviewed by several experts of the field, who believed that it could be appropriately employed for the determined purpose.

 

3.3.2 Reading Interest Survey

 

This survey included five general topics taken from the textbook used in the study, and was to allow the researcher to provide readin gs tailored to students' interest. The topics included Explorers, Health, World issues, Mishmash and Science.‘ In fact, the five general topics of the textbook along with lesson titles of these topics were used in a survey form (questionnaire) to discover the learners' interest to each of the topics. To form this survey, the form and template of Read ing Interest Survey from Heilman et al. (2010) was exploited. The survey was reviewed by four experienced  experts of L2  teaching  research,  who  confirmed  it  as  valid  and  appropriate  to  be  used  for  the  determined purpose.

 

3.3.3 Achievement Test

 

The  achievement   test  was  developed  on  the  taught  materials  to  identify  the  students‘ achievement in learning the course materials. It was a 30-item test, which consisted different sections comprising comprehension, multiple-choice, synonym and matching questions. Its reliability was examined by the researcher  using the test scores of the present study. They showed a high level of internal consistency (α=0.894) which was found using KR—21 method, and its validity was verified by four field experts.

 

 

4. Results

 

4.1 Testing Reading Proficiency

 

Even though the participants had randomly been divided into two groups, to ensure that the learners  of the two  groups  (experimental  and  control)  were homogeneous  regarding their reading proficiency  level, the OPT for reading comprehension  was administered.  Table 1 shows the related descriptive statistics.

 

Table1. Descriptive Statistics of the OPT

 

 

N

Mi ni mum

Maxi mum

Mean

Std. Devi ation

Std. error means

OPT (G1)

30

7

20

13.9

3.526

0.644

OPT (G2)

30

7

19

12.76

3.349

0.611

Note: G1=experimental group and G2=control group

 

As shown  in Table 2, the mean score for the experimental  group was 13.9 with a standard deviation (SD) of 3.526, while for the control group, the mean was 12.76 with an SD of 3.349. The

 

 

 

difference  between the mean scores of the two groups was compared using an independent samples test. The results are shown in Table 2.

 

Table2. Independent Samples Test for Reading Proficiency Test

 

 

Levene's Test for Equality of Vari ances


 

t-test for Equality of Means

 

 

 

F

Sig.

t

df

Sig. (2-tailed)

Equal vari ances assumed

 

0.11

0.917

1.276

58

0.207

Equal         vari ances

assumed

not

 

 

1.276

57.487

0.207

 

 

As it is shown in Table 2, the level of significance  in Levene's test is 0.917 which is higher than 0.05, suggesting lack  of significant  difference between the variances of the scores  of the two groups. Thus, the level of significance of the independent samples test with equal varianc es assumed can be used for the judgment. This amount is 0.207 that is higher than 0.05. So, there is no significant difference  between the mean scores of the two groups, or, the experimental and control groups are homogenous regardin g their reading proficiency.

 

4.2 Learners' Interest Level

 

A questionnaire was designed to determine the most interesting topic among the five topics of the textbook. The book that was used as the course book for the student contained five general topics:

'Explorers,' 'world  issues,'  'mishmash,' 'science'  and 'health.'  The respondents indica ted their  interest level to each topic by choosing one of the choices 1 to 5. The lowest mean (2.76) was for the topic of

'world issues,' while the highest one (3.8) was for 'health.' This was suggesting that the students in the

experimental group were most interested in the topic, 'health,' that was the last section in the textbook. Table 3 shows the students'  interest  level in the five determined  topics. It shows their responses to each of the items in percent.

 

Table3. Descriptive Statistics Related to Respondents' Level of Interest to Each Topic

 

Topi cs of readi ngs

N

Mean

Not

i nterested at all

Not very

i nterested

Nei ther

Somewhat i nterested

Very

i nterested

Explorers

30

2.96

20

20

20

23.33

16.67

World issues

30

2.76

23.3

13.3

33.3

23.3

6.7

Mishmash

30

3.56

0

26.67

20

23.33

30

Science

30

3.4

13.3

3.3

30

36.7

16.7

Health

30

3.8

6.7

10

16.7

30

36.7

Note: Except for the column N and Mean, the numbers are in percent.

 

In Table 3, if the columns of 'somewhat interested' and 'very interested' are summed up, there will be a total number which can be used to show the interest level of the students to the topics. As seen in the Table above, 66.7% of the respondents are either 'somewhat'  or 'very interested'  in the topic  of 'health.'  This total number,  demonstrating  the students'  interest  level,  for the other topics includes 'science,' 43.4%; 'mishmash, 53.3%; 'world issues, 29.9%; 'explorers, 40%. A comparison of these total numbers can help decide that the topic  of 'health,'  among all the mentioned  topics, has attracted the greatest level of interest.

 

4.3 Research Question 1

 

The  first  research  question  involved  whether  IBLT  can  predict  learners'  performance  in learning course materials.  To provide an answer to this question,  the achievement  test scores  were compared and analyzed. The descriptive statistics for the achie vement test is shown in Table 4.

 

Table4. Descriptive Statistics of the Achievement Test (Experimental and Control Groups)

 

Tests or Scales

N

Mi ni mum

Maxi mum

Mean

SD

Std. error

 

 

 

 

 

 

means

Achi evement test (G1)

30

13

20

17.10

1.688

0.308

Achi evement test (G2)

30

8

19

15.56

3.126

0.570

 

 

As  it  is shown  in Table  4,  the mean  score for the experimental  group  is  higher  than  the control. T he test for equality of variances was conducted on the achievement test scores, followed by the test for equality of means. The results are shown in Table 5.

 

Table5. Independent Samples Test for the Achievement Test

 

 

Levene's test for

Equali ty of Vari ances


 

t-test for Equality of Means

 

 

 

F

Sig.

t

df

Sig.

Equal vari ances assumed

6.928

0.011

2.364

58

0.021

Equal vari ances not assumed

 

 

2.364

44.599

0.023

 

 

As shown in Table 5, the level of significance in Levene's test is 0.011 which is less than 0.05 which  suggests  a  significant  difference  between  the  variances  of  the  scores.  Thus,  the  level  of significance of independent  samples test with equal variances not assumed can be used for analysis. Its amount  is 0.023  that  is less than 0.05, thus, there  is a significant  difference  between  the mean scores  of  the  two  groups  in  the  achievement  test.  This  reveals  that  the  experimental  group  has performed significantly better than the control group in achieving the course materials.

 

4.4 Research Question 2

 

The second research question sought to find differences between the male and female learners in the achievement  of course materials,  in terms of  interest.  To respond to this question,  the initial requirement  was  dividing  the  participants  in  the  experimental  group  into  two  groups  (male  and female).  Sixteen  females  and  fourteen  males  were  sorted  out.  Accordingly,  the  achievement  test scores of the identified  learners  in the two groups  were sorted  out separately.  The means of these scores were compared and analyzed. The descriptive results are shown in Table 6.

 

Table6. Descriptive Statistics of the Achievement Test (Females and Males separated)

 

 

N

Mi ni mum

Maxi mum

Mean

Std.

Std. error

 

 

 

 

 

means

Learners (femal e)

16

13

20

17.375

1.833

0.455

Learners (mal e)

14

13

19

16.785

1.568

0.408

 

 

The test for equality of variances was first conducted on the achievement  test scores of the two groups (male and female). It was then followed by the test for equality of means. Table 7 shows the related results.

 

Table7. Independent Samples Test for the Achievement Test (Females and Males separated)

 

 

Levene's test for

Equali ty of Vari ances


 

t-test for Equality of Means

 

 

 

 

F

Sig.

t

df

Sig.

Equal vari ances assumed

0.235

0.631

0.952

28

0.349

Equal vari ances not assumed

 

 

0.963

27.962

0.344

 

 

As shown  in Table 7, the level of significance  in Levene's test for equality  of variances  is

0.631 which is higher than 0.05, suggesting the lack of a significant difference between the variances of  the  scores.  Thus,  the  level  of  significance  of  independent  samples  test  with  equal  variance s assumed can be used for analys is. This amount is 0.349, higher than 0.05. So, there is no significant difference  between  female  and  male  learners  regarding  their  performance  in  learning  the  course materials, when teaching is interest-based.

 5. Discussion

 This  study  fo llowed  two  objectives.  It  sought  to  uncover  whether  using  interest-based materials can help learners in obtaining the targeted materials in L2 reading. The study also examined differences  between  learners  of different  gender s in learning course  materials,  when  the materials were interest-based.  Even though there have been some limitations  in conducting this investigation, considering the lack of studies concerning the role of different dimensions of interest  in L2 learning (Hidi and Renninger,  2006; Schraw & Lehman, 2001), the findings can extend the literature  on the role of interest in L2 learning.

 

The results  of this study  demonstrate d that  selecting  interest-based  instructional  materials assists L2 learners in learning course mater ials in English reading. These results are, to some extent, in contrast with the conclusions  reached  in some previous  research,  like the study by Sadeghpour (2014)  who  found  no  significant  influence  of  interest  on  immediate  recall  and  delayed  recall  of readings for the EFL learners. Similarly, they are inconsistent with the findings of some earlier studies (e.g.,  Carrell  &  Wise,  1998;  Joh,  2006)  that  reported  no  significant  impact  of  topic  interest  on learners'  L2 reading.  This contrast  appears because the results related  to the mentioned  researches does not reveal an improving effect of interest exerted on reading performance, whereas the findings here confirm existence of a positive impact of interest.  However, the findings generally give support to the idea presented by Eddy-U (2015) and Myers and Claus (2012) who argue that learning in L2 settings  is under  the influence by situational factors such as the role of the class atmosphere.  The findings,  indeed,  provide  empirical  support  for  Laufer  and  Hulstijn's  (2001)  involvement  load hypothesis,  because  they confirm  the role of  motivational  and cognitive  factors  in  improving  L2 vocabulary learning and reading. The results are further supported by some earlier research findings (e.g., Ebrahimi & Javanbakht, 2015; Eidswick, 2010; Magliano et al., 2011; Schiefele & Krapp,1996), where  interest was shown to play an effective role in facilitating L2 learning.  These results can be explained  by the  idea  that  the  generated  situational  interest  can assist  learners  in performing with higher motivation and attention in L2 class, which can possibly facilitate and improve their learning (Ebbers, 2011; Hidi, 1990; McDaniel et al., 2000). More importantly, They can also be justified by the  argument  that  interest  helps  class  dynamism  grow  as  learners  encounter  heightened  level  of interest  and enhanced motivation that assist them to stay in a state of attentiveness, which can further change their  learning into a more efficient experience  (Celik, 2010; Hidi, 2001; Renninger  & Hidi,

2002). The improvement in learners' performance  in L2 reading can also lie in the novelty or surprise that learners experience  because they face an uncustomary  trend of learnin g, while they have been used to a customary trend of teaching. Simply, they usually encounter a system of language teaching that rarely has changes, mostly due to varied reasons  like the lack of permission for teachers from higher officials, or the policies of the educational system (Guya & Izadi, S., 2002). The improvement in L2 reading  can also be explained  by  the  idea  that  the attention  and desire  resulted  from such interest raise can possibly evolve facilitated learning for EFL learners. In other words, learners usually

 

learn  more  readily  when  they  are  intrinsically  motivated  to  learn  (Celik,  2009;  Stevens,  1980; Walkington   &  Bernacki,  2014)  simply  because  they  consider  the  context  to  be  consecutively stimulating. Learners, prompted by higher interest in L2 class, come up with a successful learning as a result  of being more attentive  and respectful to all of the immediate  elements  in teaching context including  the  teacher,  materials,  and  classmates.  Furthermore,   it  seems  that  heightened  interest contributes learners to struggle more in their learning, and consequently be more diligent and effortful in learning, which provides them with better performance in achieving their course objectives.

 

The results also suggest that  male  and female  learners, dealing with  texts  that match their interest  areas,  perform  almost  similarly  in obtaining  the  presented  materials  in  L2  learning.  This indicates that the effect of interest-based material selection on learners' L2 reading stays nearly stable across males and females. This is in line with the findings of a study by Simsek and Cakir (2009) who found  out  that  there  were  no  significant  differences  between  male  and  female  learners  through personalized  and  non-personalized   problems.   Accordingly,  as  Katz,  Assor,  Kanat-Maymon   and Bereby-Mayer (2006) assert, interest serves as a factor that enables both boys and girls to tolerate the inconvenience resulted from different types of feedback conditions. They predict that girls and boys with high interest would experience  high levels of intrinsic motivation  irrespective  of whether they receive positive feedback or not. On the other hand, the results show some interaction of gender and interest in obtaining the course materials.  In other words, the interaction between interest and gender in L2 learning is partially supported,  because  the mean score for females  is a little higher than for males,  not in significance  level though.  These results echo LeLoup's (1993) findings that disclosed significant  effects  of topic  interest  on L2 reading,  where  females  were  more facilitated  by high- interest  topics  than males.  They  also support  the findings  of Katz  et al.  (2006)  who showed  that among children with moderate interest, absence of positive feedback was associated  with decreased intrinsic  motivation  for boys,  and increased  motivation  for  girls.   They  further  support  the results found in the study by Lee and Pulido (2017) that showed a significant  interaction of gender and topic interest in word-form recognition, although not statistically significant. They found that for the lower interest text, females recognized  significantly  more word forms than males, whereas for the higher interest   text,  males  recognized  more  word  forms.  The  results  are  also  inconsistent   with  the conclusions  that  Sadeghpour  (2013)  had  in  her  study  where  she  found  female  participants  more successful than males  in recalling from  more  interesting  texts.  One possible  explanation  for such findings  can be derived  from  Ainley,  Hillman and Hidi (2002) and Pulido's (2004) path analyses, where they concluded that female ado lescents are more likely to continue reading lower interest texts, while male adolescents tend to discontinue reading. The findings can also be explained by Graham, Tisher, Ainley and Kennedy's (2008) idea, explaining gender differences in achievement orientations. They see gender as a system of values that has attitudes, approaches, and behaviors. They explain that girls, facing with a choice of activities,  select reading for the high value they assign to it, but boys mostly select physical activities.  Accordingly,  because  of such preferences for particular activities, males and females prefer to learn the related and needed skills for those activities, which consequently lead to gender differences in reading engagement. However, it is possible that the interaction between interest and gender in L2 learning becomes more evident in case the study is conducted with higher numbers of participants in other L2 teaching situations and investigations.

 6. Conclusion

 Individual or group differences have currently found a highlighted share or significant role in L2  teaching.  It  is  normally  expected  that  IBLT  will  have  an  important  and  impressive  effect  in promoting L2 learning and teaching in the coming years. The results of this study showed that IBLT can make a significant contribution to the enhancement of learners' performance  in L2 reading. The findings also confirmed that when instructional materials are selected based on learners' interest areas, which  leads  to  improvement  in  learning  performance,  th ere  is  little  interaction  between  learners‘ interest and gender, not at a significant  level, though. In other words, females are slightly better than males in learning course materials when selection of materials is interest-based.

 

 

 

The findings of the current study suggest that the use of adaptive approaches to instruction provides language learners with persuasive advances in their achievement in learning. Hence, an instruction   is  expected  to  consider  the  individual  traits  of  the  learners,  and  so  try  to  present instructional materials tailored to such traits. It is possible that IBLT will be easily performed in L2 learning. It should be noticed that this way of language teaching has the power to change the direction and  nature  of  L2  learning  through  enhancing  learners'  interest  and  providing  more  customized, controlled and desired  learning environment.  T eachers or material developers,  seeing the impact of using student interest in teaching, should try to make changes in the textbooks through including more diverse and attractive  topics and materials,  because  their support for students  is highly  efficient  in triggering interest (Hidi, 2001; Renninger & Hidi, 2002; Schraw, et al., 2001). More importantly,  L2 teachers and researchers are strongly suggested to consider that  interest  is a complex construct with many dimensions, each in need for particular investigations to be closely unearthed. Therefore, they have to get more updated about learners' individual or group traits, interests, and motives in order to prepare  more  efficient  language  learning  settings.  F inally,  L2  teaching  researchers  and  decision makers are strongly suggested to provide learners with those course materials that are attractive  and increase learners' interest. In doing this, language teachers‘ potential in contributing to the selection of instructional materials should be crucially emphasized.

 

The researchers of this investigation have confronted with the inevitable  limitation regarding the sample size.  As the sample  size was relatively  small, to make stronger  generalizations  further research will be required.  Also, the participants  came from just one university,  which  was another limitation in doing this research. Certainly, conducting such research in different L2 learning contexts will  give  support  to  the  findings  of  this  study.  A further  limitation  dealt  with  the  fact  that  the participants  were studied concerning just one L2 learning skill (i.e. reading) in this research project. Different results may be achieved, in case other skills of L2 learning are examined. Therefore, further studies are required to take a deeper and closer look into the effect of IBLT on different learning skills in different L2 learning contexts. T his study was, yet, limited to the learners of only one field (i.e. nursing). Future studies need to consider studying the performance of learners coming from different fields,  probably  to  find  differences  that  may  be  field-related.  Finally,  learners  of  single  general English proficiency participated in this study, and thus, coming investigations are expected to seek to see if the same results are echoed with L2 learners of different proficiency levels.

 References 

 

Ainley, M., Hidi, S., & Berndorff, D. (2002). Interest, learning, and the psychological processes that mediate their relationship. Journal of Educational Psychology94(3), 545-561.

Ainley, M., Hillman, K., & Hidi, S. (2002). Gender and interest processes in response to literary texts: Situational and individual interest. Learning and Instruction12, 411–428.

Carrell, C.L., & Wise, T.E. (1998). The relationship between prior knowledge and topic interest on second language reading. Studies in Second Language Acquisition20, 285–309.

Celik, M. (2010). Interest-based language teaching to increase motivation and output in Turkey. Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi (İLKE), (24), 29-44.

Ebbers, S. M. (2011). How to generate interest so reading comprehension improvesRetrieved from http://www.cdl.org/resource-library/pdf/.

Ebrahimi, S., & Javanbakht, Z. (2015). The effect of topic interest on Iranian EFL learners’ reading comprehension ability. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 2 (6), 80–86.

Eddy-U, M. (2015). Motivation for participation or non-participation in group tasks: A dynamic systems model of Task-situated Willingness to Communicate. System (50), 43–55. doi:10.1016/j.system.2015.03.005.

Eidswick, J. (2010). Interest and prior knowledge in second language reading comprehension. Retrieved from http://jalt-publications.org/files/pdf-article/art2_0.pdf.

Flowerday, T., Schraw, G., & Stevens, J. (2004). The role of choice and interest in reader engagement. The Journal of Experimental Education, 72 (2), 93 – 114.

Graham, J., Tisher, R., Ainley, M., & Kennedy, G. (2008). Staying with the text: The contribution of gender, achievement orientation, and interest to students’ performance on a literary task. Educational Psychology28, 757–776.

Guya, Z., & Izadi, S. (2002). The role of teachers in decision-making on curriculum development. Journal of Humanities of Alzahra University, 42, 147-173.

Heilman, M., Collins-Thompson, K., Eskenazi, M., Juffs, A., & Wilson, L. (2010). Personalization of reading passages improves vocabulary acquisition. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 20(1), 73–98.

Hidi, S. (1990). Interest and its contribution as a mental resource for learning. Review of Educational Research, 60(4), 549-571.

Hidi, S. (2001). Interest, reading and learning: Theoretical and practical considerations. Educational Psychology Review, (13), 191-210.

Hidi, S., & Harackiewicz, J. (2000). Motivating the academically unmotivated: A critical issue for the 21st century. Review of Educational Research, (70), 151-179.

Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111-127.

Hoffmann, L. (2002). Promoting girls’ interest and achievement in physics classes for beginners. Learning and Instruction, (12), 447-465.

Joh, J. (2006). What happens when L2 readers recall? Language Teaching Research42, 205–238.

Katz, I., Assor, A., Kanat-Maymon, V. & Bereby-Mayer, Y. (2006). Interest as a motivational resource: Feedback and gender matter, but interest makes the difference. Social Psychology of Education (9), 27–42. doi: 10.1007/s11218-005-2863-7

Laufer, B., & Hulstijn, J.H. (2001). Incidental vocabulary acquisition in a second language: The construct of task-induced involvement. Applied Linguistics, 22, 1–26.

Lee, S. & Pulido, D. (2017). The impact of topic interest, L2 proficiency, and gender on EFL incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading. Language Teaching Research, 21 (1), 118– 135.

Leloup, J.W. (1993). The effect of interest level in selected text topics on second language reading comprehension. Unpublished PhD dissertation, The Ohio State University, OH, USA.

Linnenbrink-Garcia, L., Durik, A. M., Conley, A. M., Barron, K. E., Tauer, J. M., Karabenik, S. A. & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2010). Measuring situational interest in academic domains. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1-24. doi:10.1177/0013164409355699

 

Magliano, J.P., Durik, A.M., & Holt, J.K. (2011).Assessing the impact of topic interest on comprehensionprocesses.Retrievedfrom http://www.lsac.org/LsacResources/Research/RR/RR-11-02.asp.

McDaniel,M. A.,Waddill, P. J., Finstad, K., & Bourg, T. (2000). The effects of text-based interest on attention and recall. Journal of Educational Psychology, (92), 492–502.

Myers, S., Martin, M., & Mottet, T. (2002). Students’ motives for communicating with their instructors: considering instructor socio-communicative style, student socio communicative orientation, and student gender. Communication Education, 51 (2), 121–133.

Myers, S. A. & Claus, C. J. (2012). The relationship between students’ motives to communicate with their instructors and classroom environment. Communication Quarterly, 60 (3), 386-402. doi:10.1080/01463373.2012.688672.

Pulido, D. (2004). The relationship between text comprehension and second language incidental vocabulary acquisition: A matter of topic familiarity? Language Learning54, 469–523.

Reber, R., Hetland, H., Chen, W., Norman, E., & Kobbeltvedt, T. (2009). Effects of example choice on interest, control, and learning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, (18), 509-548.

Renninger, K. A. (2000). Individual interest and its implications for understanding intrinsic motivation. In C. Sansone & J.M. Harackiewicz (Eds.), Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance. New York: Academic.

Renninger, K. A., & Hidi, S. (2002). Student interest and achievement: Developmental issues raised by a case study. In A. Wigfield and J. S. Eccles (Eds.), Development of achievement motivation. New York: Academic.

Sadeghpour, M. (2013). The impact of topic interest on second language reading comprehension. International Journal of Linguistics, 5 (4), 133–145.

Schiefele, U. (1991). Interest, learning, and motivation. Educational psychologist26, 299-324. Schiefele, U., and Krapp, A. (1996). Learning and individual differences. Journal of psychology and education, 8(2), 141-160.

Schraw, G., & Lehman, S. (2001). Situational interest: A review of the literature and directions for future research. Educational Psychology Review, 13, 23–52.

Simsek, N., & Cakir, O. (2009). Effect of personalization on students’ achievement and gender factor in mathematics education. International Journal of Social Science, 4, 278-282.

Stevens, K. (1980). The effect of topic interest on the reading comprehension of higher ability students. Journal of Educational Research73, 365–368.

Tobias, S. (1994). Interest, prior knowledge, and learning. Review of educational Research64(1), 37-54. doi.org/10.3102/00346543064001037

Wahjuni, S. (2012). Interest-based language teachings in EFL for Yahya school teachers: Increasing communicative skills and student-centered learning. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, (66), 267–282.

Walkington, C. (2013). Using adaptive learning technologies to personalize instruction to student interests: The impact of relevant contexts on performance and learning outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (4), 932-945.

Walkington, C. & Bernacki M. L. (2014). Motivating students by personalizing learning around individual interests: A consideration of theory, design and implantation issues. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 18, 139-176.

 

 

Ainley, M., Hidi, S., & Berndorff, D. (2002). Interest, learning, and the psychological processes that mediate their relationship. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 545-561.

Ainley, M., Hillman, K., & Hidi, S. (2002). Gender and interest processes in response to literary texts: Situational and individual interest. Learning and Instruction, 12, 411–428.

Carrell, C.L., & Wise, T.E. (1998). The relationship between prior knowledge and topic interest on second language reading. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20, 285–309.

Celik, M. (2010). Interest-based language teaching to increase motivation and output in Turkey. Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi (İLKE), (24), 29-44.

Ebbers, S. M. (2011). How to generate interest so reading comprehension improves. Retrieved from http://www.cdl.org/resource-library/pdf/.

Ebrahimi, S., & Javanbakht, Z. (2015). The effect of topic interest on Iranian EFL learners’ reading comprehension ability. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 2 (6), 80–86.

Eddy-U, M. (2015). Motivation for participation or non-participation in group tasks: A dynamic systems model of Task-situated Willingness to Communicate. System (50), 43–55. doi:10.1016/j.system.2015.03.005.

Eidswick, J. (2010). Interest and prior knowledge in second language reading comprehension. Retrieved from http://jalt-publications.org/files/pdf-article/art2_0.pdf.

Flowerday, T., Schraw, G., & Stevens, J. (2004). The role of choice and interest in reader engagement. The Journal of Experimental Education, 72 (2), 93 – 114.

Graham, J., Tisher, R., Ainley, M., & Kennedy, G. (2008). Staying with the text: The contribution of gender, achievement orientation, and interest to students’ performance on a literary task. Educational Psychology, 28, 757–776.

Guya, Z., & Izadi, S. (2002). The role of teachers in decision-making on curriculum development. Journal of Humanities of Alzahra University, 42, 147-173.

Heilman, M., Collins-Thompson, K., Eskenazi, M., Juffs, A., & Wilson, L. (2010). Personalization of reading passages improves vocabulary acquisition. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 20(1), 73–98.

Hidi, S. (1990). Interest and its contribution as a mental resource for learning. Review of Educational Research, 60(4), 549-571.

Hidi, S. (2001). Interest, reading and learning: Theoretical and practical considerations. Educational Psychology Review, (13), 191-210.

Hidi, S., & Harackiewicz, J. (2000). Motivating the academically unmotivated: A critical issue for the 21st century. Review of Educational Research, (70), 151-179.

Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111-127.

Hoffmann, L. (2002). Promoting girls’ interest and achievement in physics classes for beginners. Learning and Instruction, (12), 447-465.

Joh, J. (2006). What happens when L2 readers recall? Language Teaching Research, 42, 205–238.

Katz, I., Assor, A., Kanat-Maymon, V. & Bereby-Mayer, Y. (2006). Interest as a motivational resource: Feedback and gender matter, but interest makes the difference. Social Psychology of Education (9), 27–42. doi: 10.1007/s11218-005-2863-7

Laufer, B., & Hulstijn, J.H. (2001). Incidental vocabulary acquisition in a second language: The construct of task-induced involvement. Applied Linguistics, 22, 1–26.

Lee, S. & Pulido, D. (2017). The impact of topic interest, L2 proficiency, and gender on EFL incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading. Language Teaching Research, 21 (1), 118– 135.

Leloup, J.W. (1993). The effect of interest level in selected text topics on second language reading comprehension. Unpublished PhD dissertation, The Ohio State University, OH, USA.

Linnenbrink-Garcia, L., Durik, A. M., Conley, A. M., Barron, K. E., Tauer, J. M., Karabenik, S. A. & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2010). Measuring situational interest in academic domains. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1-24. doi:10.1177/0013164409355699

 

Magliano, J.P., Durik, A.M., & Holt, J.K. (2011).Assessing the impact of topic interest on comprehensionprocesses.Retrievedfrom http://www.lsac.org/LsacResources/Research/RR/RR-11-02.asp.

McDaniel,M. A.,Waddill, P. J., Finstad, K., & Bourg, T. (2000). The effects of text-based interest on attention and recall. Journal of Educational Psychology, (92), 492–502.

Myers, S., Martin, M., & Mottet, T. (2002). Students’ motives for communicating with their instructors: considering instructor socio-communicative style, student socio communicative orientation, and student gender. Communication Education, 51 (2), 121–133.

Myers, S. A. & Claus, C. J. (2012). The relationship between students’ motives to communicate with their instructors and classroom environment. Communication Quarterly, 60 (3), 386-402. doi:10.1080/01463373.2012.688672.

Pulido, D. (2004). The relationship between text comprehension and second language incidental vocabulary acquisition: A matter of topic familiarity? Language Learning, 54, 469–523.

Reber, R., Hetland, H., Chen, W., Norman, E., & Kobbeltvedt, T. (2009). Effects of example choice on interest, control, and learning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, (18), 509-548.

Renninger, K. A. (2000). Individual interest and its implications for understanding intrinsic motivation. In C. Sansone & J.M. Harackiewicz (Eds.), Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance. New York: Academic.

Renninger, K. A., & Hidi, S. (2002). Student interest and achievement: Developmental issues raised by a case study. In A. Wigfield and J. S. Eccles (Eds.), Development of achievement motivation. New York: Academic.

Sadeghpour, M. (2013). The impact of topic interest on second language reading comprehension. International Journal of Linguistics, 5 (4), 133–145.

Schiefele, U. (1991). Interest, learning, and motivation. Educational psychologist, 26, 299-324. Schiefele, U., and Krapp, A. (1996). Learning and individual differences. Journal of psychology and education, 8(2), 141-160.

Schraw, G., & Lehman, S. (2001). Situational interest: A review of the literature and directions for future research. Educational Psychology Review, 13, 23–52.

Simsek, N., & Cakir, O. (2009). Effect of personalization on students’ achievement and gender factor in mathematics education. International Journal of Social Science, 4, 278-282.

Stevens, K. (1980). The effect of topic interest on the reading comprehension of higher ability students. Journal of Educational Research, 73, 365–368.

Tobias, S. (1994). Interest, prior knowledge, and learning. Review of educational Research, 64(1), 37-54. doi.org/10.3102/00346543064001037

Wahjuni, S. (2012). Interest-based language teachings in EFL for Yahya school teachers: Increasing communicative skills and student-centered learning. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, (66), 267–282.

Walkington, C. (2013). Using adaptive learning technologies to personalize instruction to student interests: The impact of relevant contexts on performance and learning outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (4), 932-945.

Walkington, C. & Bernacki M. L. (2014). Motivating students by personalizing learning around individual interests: A consideration of theory, design and implantation issues. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 18, 139-176.