What do efl teachers need to know to integrate information and communication technologies (icts) in classroom practice?

Increasingly, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are being used in education and in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instruction because of their enormous benefits. The application of ICTs in classroom instruction has presented changes to the teacher’s role in classes, which in turn requires the teacher to have new sets of knowledge and skills. In response to this, researchers have come up with long lists of teachers’ knowledge and skills. Yet these long lists were not based on sound theoretical frameworks. This paper argues that the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge –TPACK (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) framework could be utilised to provide theoretical foundations to research on the teachers’ knowledge and skills, and then provides a list of knowledge and skills that an EFL needs to have to effectively integrate ICT in his/her classroom instruction in light of the TPACK framework.
  1. Introduction
ICT has been used in foreign language education for its numerous benefits for both students and teachers such as providing authentic environment for students, improving students’ autonomy, confidence and interaction, providing authentic teaching materials for teachers, and improving their networking, to name a few (Celik, 2013). The application of ICT has changed the role of EFL teachers-now they are decision makers on the extent to which technology will be used and on the ways it will be integrated in the language learning process (Mills, Herron & Cole, 2004). In order to fulfil this new role, EFL teachers are required to have new sets of skills and knowledge. This means more than sole knowledge to use functionalities of the software (Polly, Mims, Shepherd & Inan, 2010).
  1. Research on teachers’ ICT skills
In response to this, researchers in the field have come up with long lists of required skills and knowledge for a teacher of English to effectively integrate ICT into classroom practice. For example, Lam (2000), Peck, Cuban, Kirkpatric (2002) and Mcgrail (2005) claimed that teachers’ beliefs in their abilities to conduct technology-based lessons play a role in their technological integration. Young and Bush (2004) emphasised that teachers of English should consider the integration of technology in their own context and for their own instructional purpose. Therefore, the teacher should have a deep understanding of the English language and instructional goals, students, school environment and community, types of technology available, their technological skills and other issues such as parents as resources. Abirini (2006) found that the EFL teachers’ positive attitude and computer competence are necessary. Compton (2009) proposed that teachers need to have three sets of skills: technological skills in language teaching, pedagogical skills of language teaching using technologies and evaluation skills.
However, there seems to be a lack of theoretical foundations to realise the interaction and interconnection among the skills and knowledge. The TPACK framework, as argued by its founders, could provide explanations to this challenge (Mishra & Koehler, 2006).
  1. The TPACK framework
Mishra and Koehler (2006) developed the TPACK framework based on Shulman’s (1986) idea on the interaction between what to teach (Content Knowledge-CK) and how to teach (Pedagogical Knowledge-PK). They argued that Technology Knowledge should be added as one knowledge domain into Shulman’s framework. The result is a framework with three main knowledge domains (Content Knowledge-CK, Pedagogy Knowledge-PK and Technology Knowledge-TK), intersecting three knowledge pairs (Pedagogical Content Knowledge-PCK, Technological Content Knowledge-TCK, and Technological Pedagogical Knowledge-TPK) and one triad, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). Figure 1 presents a summary of this framework.
Figure 1: The TPACK framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006)
(Source: http://www.citejournal.org/articles/v9i1General1Fig1.jpg)
Since its birth in 2006, the TPACK has been widely used as “a form of knowledge” and “a framework” in research on educational technologies (Chai, Koh & Tsai, 2013, p. 32). As a form of knowledge, the TPACK could be used to measure changes in thinking about educational technology of teachers (Abbitt, 2011). As a framework, the TPACK has been employed to measure knowledge to teach with technologies of teachers f-rom disciplines such as maths, social justice and social studies (Jordan & Dinh, 2012). In this respect, the TPACK could be used as a framework to define the necessary knowledge and skills EFL teachers need to have to effectively integrate ICT in their instruction.
  1. EFL teachers’ knowledge and skills in light of the TPACK framework
In light of the TPACK framework, the EFL teachers’ knowledge and skills necessary for effective ICT integration could encompass:
  1. TK: skills to use common ICT applications such as Word or Powerpoint (Mishra & Kohler, 2006) and abilities to keep up to date to emerging technologies (Mishra & Koehler, 2006 & Cox, 2008).
  2. CK: knowledge about the subject matter (Shulman, 1986 &Mishra & Koehler, 2006)-the English language. This includes knowledge about language skills, linguistic components and culture of English-speaking countries (Kang, Ni & Li, 2010, p. 3887).
  3. PK: knowledge about general teaching pedagogies such as learning theories and classroom management strategies (Shulman, 1986 & Mishra & Koehler, 2006).
  4. PCK: knowledge about teaching pedagogies in relation to EFL such as teachers’ knowledge about how to modify the English language input to suit different learners, knowledge about learners’ interaction and the ways they use English to negotiate meaning (Murray & Christinson, 2010) and knowledge to se-lect effective teaching strategies to guide students’ learning in the EFL context.
  5. TCK: knowledge of the topic- specific representation in a given content domain that utilizes emerging technology” (Cox & Graham, 2009, p. 64). EFL teachers’ TCK is knowledge about which ICT applications could be employed for teaching English language skills, linguistics, culture, and Interpretation and translation.
  6. TPK: knowledge to use technologies that go in line with their PK (Chai et al., 2013). This encompasses knowledge of theories of learning with technology and knowledge of using technologies to manage classes.
  7. TPACK: “an understanding of the representation of concepts using technologies, pedagogical techniques that use technologies in constructive ways to teach content, knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology can help redress some of the problems that students face… (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p. 1029). TPACK of EFL teachers includes understanding of student learning of English in a technology-based class (students’ communicative competence and interaction via technology), abilities to design real-life tasks through which students use technology to learn English; and abilities to evaluate software, tasks and students’ performance in a technologically-rich EFL class.
  1. Conclusion
This paper has argued that the TPACK framework could be employed to provide theoretical foundations for determining the skills and knowledge an EFL teacher needs to have to integrate technologies in classroom teaching. It has also provided a list of skills and knowledge for an EFL teacher to have in light of the framework. Other researchers could use the list to develop instruments to measure teachers’ knowledge and skills in different settings, thus more empirical evidence could be obtained to further validate the framework in reality.

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Người đăng:Dinh Thi Bao Huong, Hanoi University