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A Window into the Relationship between Teacher Cognition and Technology Use Mariam Attia EUROCALL 2011 September 2, 2011 ©Templateswise.com
What and Why? • Explore Arabic language teachers’ beliefs about the use of ICT (as a precondition for effective technology integration) • “.. if our efforts to extend the educational applications of technology are to be successful, it is important to understand how such visions and beliefs are both formed and transformed” (Albion & Ertmer, 2002)
Where? • The research is situated in the Arabic Language Institute (ALI) at the American University in Cairo, Egypt • Funding was largely allocated to installing the latest technologies • However, ICT adoption remained minimal
Factors for Adoption The literature on ICT and teaching identifies various factors associated with teachers’ adoption of technology. They are as follows:
Factors for Adoption • Certain studies (e.g. Veen, 1993; Lam, 2000; Mumtaz, 2000; Ertmer, 2005, Guven et al, 2009, Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010) have identified teachers’ beliefs and attitudes as central to ICT integration. • My study focuses specifically on this factor for technology adoption.
Definition of Term Teacher Cognition: • Different terms have been used to explain aspects of teachers’ mental lives, such as beliefs (Pajares, 1992), maxims (Richards, 1996), personal practical knowledge (Golombek, 1998) and conceptions of practice (Freeman 2003). • Due to the difficulty of drawing clear lines between such concepts, the term “teacher cognition” will follow the work of Woods (1996), Johnson (2006; 2009) and Borg (2003; 2006; 2009), referring to teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs as interwoven concepts.
Theoretical Framework Schooling Professional Coursework Language Teacher Cognition About teaching, teachers, learners, learning, subject matter, activities, curriculum, etc Contextual Factors Classroom Practice Elements and processes in language teacher cognition - Borg (2006)
Research Questions What is the relationship between teacher cognition and the use of technology in teaching Arabic to speakers of other languages?
Research Design • Case-study approach • Detailed description and rich account • Three Arabic language in-service teachers were selected to represent different aspects of using ICT in teaching
Methods of Data Collection • Questionnaire • Semi-structured Interviews • Classroom Observation • Video-recorded Stimulated Recall • ‘Technological Reflections’
Meet My Teachers! Dalal • 22 years of experience in teaching Arabic as a foreign language • MA in TAFL • PhD in Teaching Methodology
Meet My Teachers! Heba • 13 years of experience in teaching Arabic as a foreign language • MA in TAFL
Meet My Teachers! Laila • 30 years of experience in teaching Arabic as a foreign language • MA in TAFL
Early Learning Experiences Dalal & Laila Rote memory, and protracted reading out loud sessions, obscure grammatical rules Want to give their learners a different experience: Use PowerPoint animation, document camera and smart board Heba A teacher who speaks and a learner who listens Favored her engaging English language teacher to other teachers. ‘Learning by doing’: projects such as Windows Movie Maker
Teacher Education • No technology • changed their perceptions of learning and teaching (e.g role of the teacher in relation to that of the learner, teaching grammar) • Provided them with conceptual tools and understandings (later reflected in their use of ICT)
Dalal’s Cognitions and Classroom Practice Deliberate Steps toward Integration An Uphill Struggle for Integration Teacher Orchestration Perfectionism, Image, and Fear of Failure
Heba’s Cognitions and Classroom Practice Responsibility Determination Insecurity vs. Resourcefulness Experimentation
Laila’s Cognitions and Classroom Practice Insecurity vs. Resourcefulness Determination Identity, Representation and Fear of Failure Teacher Orchestration
RQ3: Summary of Teacher Cognition and Classroom Practice • Cognitions about Teaching and Learning (TL) Shape Technology Practice • Cognitions about the Professional Self (PS) Shape Technology Practice • Cognitions about TL and about PS Shape Reactions to Perceived Challenges
Teacher Cognition, Practice, and Context • Teacher Collaboration • Learning Opportunities • Technical Support • Institutional Philosophy and Policy • Time
Contributions Institutional Initiatives for Technology Integration • Institutions embarking on installation of educational technologies need to recognize the crucial role the human element plays in the success of the integration process. • Teachers’ hold established beliefs about teaching and learning, and about themselves, which act as filters through which their innovation decisions are made, and inform their subsequent ICT use. • The discourse within institutions, which is often top-down, has to take account of differences between teachers’ pedagogical orientations, and their implications for adoption.
Contributions • As teacher cognition about ICT use is socio-cultural in nature (e.g., Johnson, 2006, 2009; Windschitl & Sahl, 2002), as well as socially distributed among members within certain contexts (Putnam & Borko, 2000), it is essential to recognize and understand the influential role of teachers’ pedagogical beliefs in informing their own use of technology, and that of their colleagues. • Attention should, therefore, be given to existing and emerging communities of practice for ICT use in language programs.
Contributions Professional Development • This study underlines the importance of reflective practice for continued teacher development in ICT, or “the critical exploration of ‘what is’ in order to reflect on ‘what might be’” (Burns, 1992, p. 64). • By examining their thought processes and focusing on their own professional experiences, teachers gain deeper insights into their practice, and are better able to identify areas for improvement rather than having them imposed on them (Clark & Lampert, 1986; Meijer, Verloop, & Beijaard, 1999).
Contributions • Notions of ‘best practice’, therefore, need to be replaced with an understanding of effective teaching as the “individually determined best-next-step for each teacher” (Edge & Richards, 1998, p. 571). • Consequently, the most suitable type of ICT integration is that which results from an individual teacher’s constant examination of their own practice within their specific context; hence, “appropriate methodology is always in a state of becoming”, that is to say, “emergent methodology” (Edge, 1996, p. 19).
To sum up.. “This study does not intend to provide a fixed formula for technology integration, nor present standardized methods for teacher education in ICT. Rather, it aims to recognize the significance of individual articulation of cognitions and careful examination of technology use in helping practitioners understand their practice and improve it. The research supports ICT use, teacher education, and classroom research which are derived from practitioners’ own lived experiences, and which help them enrich these experiences. The objective of this study is, therefore, the empowermentof the language teacher” (pp. 214-215).
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