… a collaborative action research project in French schools
Keynote: PL-CALL, Warsaw, June 2014
Foreign language teachers in many European countries are under some pressure to use technology to support communicative language teaching (CLT) and task-based language teaching (TBLT) in their classrooms. Research shows that teachers often show a measure of pedagogical regression while learning to integrate new tools (Fullan, 2001), and that the arrival of technologies may fail to lead to pedagogical transformation because tools like the interactive whiteboard (IWB) can be used to support traditional as well as newer approaches (Avvisati et al., 2013; Beauchamp, 2004). Teacher education in interactive technologies for language teaching must therefore develop both new technological know-how and encourage pedagogical approaches which are often also experienced as innovative.
The recent European project iTILT (http://itilt.eu) adopted this twin perspective in the development of open educational resources (e.g., teaching and training materials, video examples of IWB-supported classroom practice) to support CLT and TBLT-oriented language teaching with the IWB. In the course of this project, a collaborative action research initiative was developed to bring together teachers in French state school settings and CALL researchers. Nine French EFL teachers in primary, lower and upper secondary, and higher education contexts were involved in a community of practice with the aims of a) providing teachers with technical and pedagogical support, b) facilitating the sharing of knowledge and experiences, and c) collecting data on teacher development during technology integration (Alexander, 2013; Whyte & Alexander, 2013). The data include:
- pre- and post-project questionnaire data on teachers’ IWB competence and confidence
- class films and field notes for each of the nine teachers
- video examples of classroom practice selected by teachers (56 three-minute clips)
- two video-stimulated recall interviews per teacher
- two focus-group learner interviews per class, plus primary learner drawings
- three teacher focus-group meetings to share video examples of classroom practice
- contributions to a dedicated online support space for the French teachers
Analysis of these video, questionnaire, and interview data allow an exploration of a) teachers’ IWB use in terms of IWB features and teaching objectives, b) their choices with respect to the design and implementation of learning activities, c) their self-efficacy beliefs with respect to the IWB and ICT in general, and d) their orientation to professional development in language teaching with this tool. Through a mixed-methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative analyses, a number of teacher profiles emerge, revealing differential exploitation of IWB affordances in relation with differing beliefs, goals, and competences. The patterns of technology integration shown by teachers in the various school contexts investigated offer a starting point for a developmental framework to account for the evolution of teaching practices as teachers acquire techno-pedagogical competences (Guichon & Hauck, 2012). They also suggest a pressing need for more pedagogically oriented support to enable teachers to adopt interactive technologies efficiently and effectively.
Alexander, J. (2013). The IWB in EFL, the IWB for EFL: using the IWB to teach EFL in French educational settings. (Unpublished master’s thesis). Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France.
Avvisati, F., Hennessey, S., Kozma, R., & Vincent-Lancrin, S. (2013), “Review of the Italian Strategy for Digital Schools”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 90, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k487ntdbr44-en
Beauchamp, G. (2004). Teacher use of the interactive whiteboard in primary schools: towards an effective transition framework. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 13(3), 327-348.
Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) (in press). Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. Advances in Digital Language Learning and Teaching (Series editors: Michael Thomas, Mark Warschauer & Mark Peterson). Bloomsbury. [Table of contents]
Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Guichon, N., & Hauck, M. (2011). Editorial: Teacher education research in CALL and CMC: more in demand than ever. ReCALL, 23(03), 187-199.
Hillier, E., Beauchamp, G., & Whyte, S. (2013). A study of self-efficacy in the use of interactive whiteboards across educational settings: a European perspective from the iTILT project. Educational Futures, 5 (2) [PDF]
iTILT (interactive Technologies In Language Teaching) http://itilt.eu
Whyte, S. (in preparation). Implementating technological innovation in the language classroom: the case of interactive whiteboards for EFL in French schools. New language learning and teaching environments series (Editor: Hayo Reinders). Palgrave Macmillan.
Whyte, S. (2013). Orchestrating learning in the language classroom: the IWB as digital dashboard. Special issue on language learning and technology, Babylonia.
Whyte, S., & Alexander, J. (2014). Implementing tasks with interactive technologies in classroom CALL: towards a developmental framework. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 40 (1), 1-26. PDF
Whyte, S., Beauchamp, G., & Hillier, E. (2012). Perceptions of the IWB for second language teaching and learning: the iTILT project. In L. Bradley & S. Thouësny (Eds.), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 320-6). © Research-publishing.net Dublin 2012. doi: 10.14705/rpnet.2012.000074