Planned online language education versus crisis-prompted online language teaching: Lessons for the future

Gacs, A., Goertler, S., Spasova, S. (2020). Planned online language education versus crisis-prompted online language teaching: Lessons for the future. Foreign Language Annals, 53(2), 380-92.

This timely article is intended to provide language teachers with “a roadmap for planning, implementing, and evaluating online education in ideal and in crisis contexts”(p.381).

The authors provide a thorough review of the processes of planning, preparation, design, implementation and evaluation of online language education under normal circumstances, and of the adjustments that must be made when teachers are asked to rapidly adapt to a crisis situation such as remote teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For example, the authors identify and describe the key components of a plan for emergency remote teaching. Firstly, a review of the existing curriculum to identify course components that cannot be delivered remotely and which will have to be, at least temporarily, removed. Secondly, an assessment to identify the actual needs of instructors and students in relation to technology, including hardware, connectivity and access. Finally, a plan for effective communication, to enable and support students to become engaged in remote learning.

Retrievable from:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/flan.12460

Language Teachers and Their Trajectories Across Technology-Enhanced Language Teaching: Needs and Beliefs of ESL/EFL Teachers

Karamifar, B., Germain-Rutherford, A., Heiser, S., Emke, M., Hopkins, J., Ernest, P., Stickler, U., & Hampel, R. (2019). Language Teachers and Their Trajectories Across Technology-Enhanced Language Teaching: Needs and Beliefs of ESL/EFL Teachers. TESL Canada Journal/Revue TESL du Canada,  Vol.36(3), pp.55 – 81.
This article presents the initial results of an International Research Network  survey exploring the current perceptions of ESL/EFL instructors in relation to their training needs to enable more robust integration of technology in their instruction.
An online survey was conducted in summer 2018 through national and international networks and Facebook and Twitter social media platforms. Of a total of 285 respondents, (28% from Canada), 250 self-identified as language educators, (55% English language instructors) and the majority of whom worked in universities.
Analysis of the survey responses indicate overall satisfaction with existing training but educators noted a need for post-training follow-up. Educators are also interested in training on “learning task design” and in learning management software such as Moodle. In addition the survey investigated the respondents’ perception of an ideal language teacher and, interestingly, findings indicate that technology was not identified as a general characteristic or skill of an ideal teacher.
While the majority of respondents teach at the university level the survey provides a useful insight into the current and perceived training needs of language educators in relation to technology and should be of interest to educators and teacher-trainers across the second language field.

 

Retrievable from:

https://teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1375/1201

Learning Styles of Online Students in a Distance LINC Program

Elsageyer, N. (2020) Learning Styles of Online Students in a Distance LINC Program. M.A. Thesis. University of Ottawa.

This thesis describes and provides the findings of a small scale study examining the characteristics and learning style preferences of 27 students enrolled in an online LINC program in Ontario. The study also examined the perspectives of their teachers in relation to the learning styles of their students.

Overall the student group identified their preferred learning styles as kinesthetic and auditory, whereas the teacher group perceived their students’ preferred learning styles as visual. The author suggests that the discrepancy between the student and teacher perceptions may result from the lack of a shared understanding of learning styles and students’ low level of awareness of their own learning styles and preferences.

Based on the findings of the study the author concludes that enhanced training and professional development for online LINC teachers in relation to learning style preferences; strategies to work with students to support them to identify their preferred learning styles, and how they can refine their instructional strategies to address a range of learning styles would be a useful contribution to an improvement in outcomes for online LINC students.

Retrievable from:

https://ruor.uottawa.ca/bitstream/10393/40194/3/Elsageyer_Nasren_2020_thesis.pdf

 

ESL Teachers’ Self-efficacy toward Pedagogical Use of Digital Technologies: An Exploratory Case Study in the Ontario Context

Chen, Aide, “ESL Teachers’ Self-efficacy toward Pedagogical Use of Digital Technologies: An Exploratory Case Study in the Ontario Context” (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6422. https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/6422

 

A small-scale study exploring  how  some EAP instructors  in Ontario  perceive their own abilities in using digital technologies in daily life and in their teaching practice and how such perceptions influence their use of technology in the classroom.  Using surveys and semi-structured interviews, the researcher focused on the role of teacher self-efficacy, defined as,  “people’s beliefs of the extent to which they are able to accomplish certain behaviors”(p.14) to explore  why and how these instructors were actually using technology in their classroom and the challenges they encountered, both in using technological tools and in effectively integrating technology in teaching.

Based on the findings the researcher proposes the need for further research on the role of  teacher self-efficacy, and on professional development which focuses on combining training on specific technology tools with pedagogy.  As  participants in the study noted, “teachers should have backup plans, even for presentations. It requires abilities to improvise. It may be unfair to say that technology itself poses this challenge. The actualized technology use is dependent on how flexible we are. You need to be able to develop your skills and make wise use of it.” (p.43)  and, “we need to carefully plan technology-enhanced teaching practices rather than just using them for the sake of being fashionable” (p.52).

Retrievable from:

https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=8849&context=etd

Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom: Pedagogies, Computer developments and Teachers’ Reactions

Barrientos, M. (2019). Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom. Revista de Lenguas Modernas, (30) 2019, pp 251-266.

The author provides a literature review focused on the following four areas of mobile learning in English language classrooms to explore not only the feasibility and implications of integrating mobile learning in secondary EFL classrooms in Costa Rica, but advantages and disadvantages in these areas:

  1. The development of pedagogical models for mobile learning in the English language class
  2. Defining the platforms and infrastructure solutions for appropriate integration of mobile learning
  3. A description of the mobile devices apps and links
  4. Training and reactions of English teachers

The report concludes with a number of research questions for further exploration. Although this review looks at the questions for high school EFL language planning in Costa Rica, the same questions could be asked about planning for adult settlement language classes in Canada.

https://revistas.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/rlm/article/view/38986

Professional development in CALL: a selection of papers

Goria, C., Konstantinidis, A., Kilvinski, B., & Dogan. B. E. (2019). Personal learning environments and personal learning networks for language teachers’ professional development. In C. N. Giannikas, E. Kakoulli Constantinou & S. Papadima-Sophocleous (Eds), Professional development in CALL: a selection of papers(pp. 87-99). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2019.28.872

This collection of papers looks at the rise in encouragement to use technology tools in language teaching despite a lack of teacher training and support to integrate these tools in this language classroom. This annotation focuses on Chapter 6, Personal learning environments and personal learning networks for language teachers’ professional development. The specific context for the collection is foreign-language training, but is nonetheless relevant to the settlement language context.

The chapter presents background for, and two case studies that illustrate, the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) and Personal Learning Network (PLN). The chapter describes describes the impact  of the PLE and PLN on the work of participating teachers, their practice and their students’ learning and autonomy. In the first case study, the teacher seamlessly integrates good language teaching practice with mobile phones and instant messaging in the early stages of the learners’ PLEs. This case study also describes other changes that occurred during the evolution of these activities. Both case studies demonstrate how teachers continued to expand and enhance their learning beyond the teacher training program that introduced the PLE and PLN to them.

 

Retrievable from:

https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED593926.pdf

 

Empowering English Language Learners through Digital Literacies: Research, Complexities, and Implications

 

Chang,Y., Wang, L. & Eagle, J. (2019). Empowering English Language Learners through Digital Literacies: Research, Complexities, and Implications. Media and Communication. Vol 7(2).128-136.

This article provides an accessible overview of issues related to the digital literacies of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the U.S. The article highlights issues that are of increasing importance for adult settlement language learning in Canada and includes a description of evolving definitions of digital literacies and fluency and a short review of literature focusing on language teaching practices that support the development of digital literacies.
The authors argue that digital literacies and digital fluency can support language learner autonomy and provide authentic language learning experiences that meaningfully reflect the daily lives of the learners. The inclusion of digital literacies as part of the language learning process in the language classroom not only provides opportunities for authentic learning in the classroom but also supports learners to extend their language learning beyond the classroom. Furthermore, in an increasingly digitized society, digital literacies are essential for employment and ongoing learning and communication in day-to-day life. In order to effectively incorporate digital literacies as part of language teaching practice the authors highlight the need to support language instructors to engage in ongoing professional development in relation to the use of digital tools for teaching and learning.

Retrievable from:

https://www.cogitatiopress.com/mediaandcommunication/article/view/191

 

Creating a Technology-Rich English Language Learning Environment

M.W. Marek and W-C.V. Wu, (2018). “Creating a Technology-Rich English Learning Environment” In Second Handbook of English Language Teaching. Edited by Xuesong Gao.  Springer International Publishing, 2019.

After presenting a theoretical framework about the potential of technology use in language classrooms, this chapter provides a step by step approach to making decisions about which technology resources to use within the language learning context. It addresses the need for teachers to have a starting point in their course development and demonstrates how to ensure that using more technology is not an end in itself, but rather that the use of technology surrounds students, enhances active learning experiences and enables students to achieve learning outcomes.

Within this chapter, the authors address a number of issues that need to be considered during the planning stage: familiarity with a tool rather than the novelty of a tool; the importance of activities using technology to be essential to the curriculum; the areas within the learning environment the teacher has control over and those s/he doesn’t; and the impact of relevant technology on learner motivation,  confidence and achievement.

Retrievable from: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-3-319-58542-0_39-1.pdf

Second Handbook of English Language Teaching is retrievable from: https://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/978-3-319-58542-0?page=1#toc

Blended Learning in English Teaching and Learning: A Review of the Current Literature

Albiladi, W., & Alshareef, K. (2019). Blended learning in English Teaching and Learning: A Review of the Current Literature. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 10 (2), 232-238.

This paper provides a review of research related to the use of blended learning in English as a second/foreign language context. As part of the review, the authors cite two studies that identify sets of challenges to using a blended learning approach. The studies will be of interest to language professionals despite not being language-related. In Bonk and Graham’s Handbook of Blended Learning, they include cultural adaptation as an issue. They relate this to the materials that are used in the mode of delivery and also their relation to the students’ culture.

Riel, J., Lawless, K. A., & Brown, S. W. (2016)’s Listening to the teachers: Using weekly online teacher logs for ROPD to identify teachers’ persistent challenges when implementing a blended learning curriculum reports on Responsive online professional development for well-supported middle school teachers implementing a social studies curriculum. The issues identified in the teachers’ learning logs are also relevant to instructors working in settlement language programs as is the notion of providing responsive professional development. This report provides insight into the importance of teachers’ understanding of the pedagogy embedded in learning tools and the knowledge and confidence to implement and use them in their classrooms.

 

 

 

http://academypublication.com/ojs/index.php/jltr/article/viewFile/jltr1002232238/1831

The Needs Analysis, Design, Development, and Evaluation of the ‘English Pronunciation Guide: An ESL Teachers’ Guide to Pronunciation Teaching Using Online Resources’

Cox, J.L. ; Henrichsen, L.E. ;Tanner, M.W.; McMurry, B.L.(2019) The Needs Analysis, Design, Development, and Evaluation of the English
Pronunciation Guide: An ESL Teachers’ Guide to Pronunciation Teaching
Using Online Resources. TESL-EJ,  22(4), 1–24.

Although ESL students and instructors agree that teaching pronunciation is an important part of language learning the authors of this article contend that relatively little time and attention is given to pronunciation in the ESL classroom. They further contend that instructors do not receive sufficient preparation in pronunciation instruction and consequently do not feel confident in teaching pronunciation. To address this perceived gap program coordinators and ESL instructors at Brigham Young University developed the English Pronunciation Guide: The ESL Teachers’ Guide to Pronunciation Instruction. This article describes the background to their work and the process of developing the guide from initial needs analysis to evaluation.

The online guide consists of an annotated index to selected pronunciation-instruction videos and other resources that are available online. The guide aims to provide ESL instructors who have had little or no preparation in pronunciation instruction to quickly and easily find resources that they can use to develop their competence and confidence.

Retrievable from: http://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej88/int.pdf

 

 

Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers

Baralt, M., & Morcillo Gómez, J. (2017). Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers. Language Learning & Technology, 21(3), 28–43.

This article provides a guide for teachers who do task based teaching using real time video, recognizing that online language courses should not simply be face-to-face courses moved online. It discusses how the authors have adapted Willis’ (1996, 2012) task-based methodology framework to address modifications needed for an online context. The authors review the criteria for language-teaching activities to be considered tasks and also how to implement them successfully. They provide a teacher’s plan to illustrate the framework to implement a task along with video examples. The authors conclude by considering aspects of online teaching that are unique, e.g., potential problems with connectivity and how to foster an online community.  They also emphasize the value of online classes in providing language learning opportunities regardless of geographic location and its contribution to developing digital literacy skills.

 

Retrievable from: http://www.lltjournal.org/item/3008

Blended Learning Adoption in an ESL Context: Obstacles and Guidelines

Shebansky, W. (2018). Blended Learning Adoption in an ESL Context: Obstacles and Guidelines. TESL Canada Journal, 35(1), 52 – 77.

This report looks at the factors that influence adult ESL instructor opinions about implementation and use of blended learning in a federally-funded Canadian LINC program(Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) (24 instructors), in an ESL program in a mid-sized Canadian community college (5 instructors) and in an EFL program in a large Korean university (19 instructors).

The author acknowledges that digital tools are available and accessible, but are not being widely used to implement Blended Learning.

He references several conceptual frameworks and extends two that are used in higher education to a part-time LINC context to inform and guide his investigation into the low rate of technology adoption at his LINC program.

The research study asks these questions:

  1. Do participants in the study use BL? How is use different across different ESL settings?
  2. What institutional strategy (design-related issues), structure (issues related to facilitation of the BL environment) and support (faculty implementation and maintenance of its BL design) factors most influence whether instructors will adopt BL? Is this different across ESL settings?
  3. Why do those factors affect adoption of BL in a LINC context?

He reports on these factors that influence instructors’ decision whether to adopt blended learning:

  • Ability to quickly upload and download materials
  • Availability of professional development in a face-to-face group or one-on-one
  • Availability of technical support
  • Availability of pedagogical support

He then reports on these findings to explain why this list of factors influenced instructors’ decisions.

Retrievable from

https://teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1295

Twitter: A Professional Development and Community of Practice Tool for Teachers

Rosell-Aguilar, F., (2018). Twitter: A Professional Development and Community of Practice Tool for Teachers. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2018(1), p.6.

This research report begins with a literature review of Twitter for Education, Twitter as a learning environment for teachers and teacher use of hashtags for professional and community development.

The research questions explore who uses a specific hashtag (#MFLtwitterati), whether there is evidence that using Twitter can contribute to Continuous Professional Development and whether the hashtag can be described as a community of practice. The author looked at this specific hashtag, but also mentions  language learning hashtags which may be of more interest to instructors in settlement language learning programs. Language learners use Twitter because they encounter authentic language in tweets, can practise language skills and access resources such as text, audio and video in the target language.

The author concludes with a discussion of the results and notes that the study brought the under-researched issue of mobile learning among teachers to the forefront and demonstrates how teachers are using up to the minute tools like Twitter to take charge of their professional development in the absence of funding for PD in their institutions.

Retrievable from

https://jime.open.ac.uk/article/10.5334/jime.452/

Pre-Service and In-Service English as a Second Language Teachers’ Beliefs about the Use of Digital Technology in the Classroom

 

Kartchava, E. Chung, S. Studies in English Language Teaching. Vol 3, No 4, 2015.

This Canadian study includes a literature review of research on beliefs regarding technology and learning using three interrelated influences of previous learning experiences, professional development and teaching context. The study identifies age as an additional influence. It then describes a study in Ontario of pre-service and in-service ESL teachers. The study gathered participants’ background information, used open-ended prompts at the beginning of the study to discern their actual use of digital technology and their views on ideal ways to use it in the classroom and followed these with closed questions. These are included in the report, categorized by Experience/Importance, Expertise and Context. Researchers collected additional information through follow up interviews.  There is a discussion of the benefits, limitations, concerns and possibilities that were identified for teacher educators, administrators and teachers themselves at the end of the report.

Retrievable from: http://www.scholink.org/ojs/index.php/selt/article/view/405/389

 

Technology, teachers, and training: Combining theory with Macedonia’s experience

Hosman, L. Cvetanoska, M. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT), 2013, Vol 9. Issue 3, pp.28-49.

This article looks at the importance of teachers as stakeholder-change agents in the adoption of innovation in schools. It offers recommendations for improvements to address teacher concerns in programs like the computers-in-the-schools program described in Macedonia. It presents and uses a theoretical framework for adoption of innovation that looks at the stages of concerns experienced by teachers about their teaching skills and abilities.

Retrievable from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1071378.pdf

Teacher Training and Professional Development in Mobile Pedagogy for English Language Teaching

 

Norris, L., & Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2017). Teacher training and professional development in mobile pedagogy for English language teaching. In R. Power,  M. Ally, D. Cristol, & A. Palalas (Eds.), IAmLearning: Mobilizing and supporting educator practice. [e-Book]. International Association for Mobile Learning. https://iamlearning.pressbooks.com/part/ch-4-teacher-training-and-pd-in-mobile-pedagogy-for-english-language-teaching/

The chapter describes the four pillars of the authors’ Pedagogical Framework and how they highlight the teacher’s role using mobile devices for language teaching and learning. The Framework considers teacher wisdom, device features, learner mobilities and language dynamics. The authors describe using the Framework in professional development workshops in Europe for teachers from several countries. They faced both resistance and enthusiasm from participants and they describe the anxiety teachers felt as they used technology in the workshops.

Retrievable from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/52264/7/52264.pdf