Investigating in-Service Foreign Language Teachers’ Beliefs About Using Information and Communication Technology

Abstract

This study investigates foreign language teachers’ beliefs about information and communication technology (ICT) and factors contributing to their belief formation through in-depth interviews with eight teachers and the principal of a public primary school. The participants held overall slightly positive attitudes towards the effectiveness of ICT in English education but believed it played only a subsidiary role in their pedagogical practices and professional development. Elementary English teachers’ ICT-related beliefs were shaped by individual-, institutional-, and policy-level factors. The study extends belief-related components of the technology acceptance model (TAM) by clarifying the external variables into three-level factors. The results suggest the need for in-service teacher education programmes and joint efforts from individual teachers, school management, and government authorities catering to teachers’ ICT beliefs.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In Shanghai, students spend five years in primary school, four in junior secondary, and three in senior secondary. Students in most other cities in China spend six, three, and three years in primary, junior secondary, and senior secondary schools, respectively.

  2. 2.

    Each ELT superintendent in Shanghai is responsible for one district. Their responsibilities include implementing Curriculum Standards through teacher education and recommending instructional materials, as well as education assessment and evaluation.

  3. 3.

    Data cited in this paper carry the following codes: T1, T2, etc. = individual teachers; P = principal; I1, I2, etc. = first, second, etc. interview.

  4. 4.

    WeChat is currently the most popular messaging and social media mobile application in Mainland China.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Ms Weiping Jin, Ms Yan Yao, Ms Chunjia Zhang, and those teachers who participated in our research at the primary school. We also appreciate the support from Dr Jia Chen throughout the whole research process.

Funding

This work was supported by the [National Social Science Fund of China] under Grant [Number 17BYY207].

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Correspondence to Yan Zhu.

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Appendix 1: Interview protocol

Appendix 1: Interview protocol

  1. 1.

    Is it necessary for elementary English teachers to have some ICT skills and apply them to teaching practices? Why?

  2. 2.

    Do you use ICT in teaching practices? If yes, how do you usually use it?

  3. 3.

    What are the main ways to implement ICT in elementary English teaching? What are their advantages and disadvantages respectively?

  4. 4.

    Is it challenging to integrate ICT into primary English teaching practices? What are the difficulties?

  5. 5.

    What should English teachers do to meet the requirements of foreign language teaching in the information age? Do you have any plans for your professional development?

  6. 6.

    Will you apply ICT to classroom teaching in the future? If so, which technologies will you use? How will you use these technologies? Why?

  7. 7.

    Have you ever been impressed with any ICT practices in English class in your previous educational experiences or pre-service training? If yes, why?

  8. 8.

    What has your school done or is doing to support the informationalised teaching and research activities of English teachers? *

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Chen, X., Shu, D. & Zhu, Y. Investigating in-Service Foreign Language Teachers’ Beliefs About Using Information and Communication Technology. Asia-Pacific Edu Res (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-020-00514-0

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Keywords

  • Teachers’ beliefs
  • Information and communication technology
  • Primary school teachers