Future-proof CALL: language learning as exploration and encounters
22-25 August 2018 Jyväskylä, Finland
With the maturation of the open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP) movement, the question of sustainability in teacher education is critical (COL, 2017). In CALL teacher education programmes, much effort is directed at helping new practitioners a) identify resources appropriate to their own teaching contexts, and b) design and implement activities appropriate to the techno-pedagogical affordances of the modern foreign language (MFL) classroom. The same is true of in-service workshops and teacher development projects, and in both cases, open practices may be encouraged to improve uptake and adoption of new practices (Zourou 2016). But what do we know of the effectiveness and durability of such training? Previous research highlights a number of challenges even in short-term initiatives, and Reinhardt (2016) suggests that “sustainability may depend on whether teachers perceive and practice agency in all the processes involved.”
Teachers arguably have greatest agency when making their own pedagogical choices as qualified professionals in their own classrooms. Thorne illustrates the advantages of exploring autonomous or “wild” language learning practices to exploit their potential for “rewilding” the language classroom (Little & Thorne 2017: 26). Similarly, practitioners who have completed formal teacher preparation programmes may be viewed as teachers “in the wild,” and investigating how their classroom practice evolves can help us evaluate our training programmes, as well as adapt to changes now occurring in schools. This approach is consonant with current “post-transmissive and post-directive approaches” in CALL teacher education, where educators are “influenced strongly by notions of independent and self-directed learning, and critical and reflective engagement” (Farr 2010: 621).
The present paper thus seeks to address issues of sustainable practice and teacher agency through an investigation of engagement with open CALL practices outside formal teacher preparation programmes. It focuses on previous participants in CALL courses and workshops conducted by the author over the past 5-8 years in both pre- and in-service contexts. Pre-service training was conducted in graduate courses for future secondary school MFL teachers at a French university. In-service teachers at primary, secondary, and tertiary level were involved in occasional workshops, webinars or longer teacher development projects on CALL integration and/or open educational resources and practices in several European countries.
The research questions concern these teachers’ current use of CALL and OEP, in particular
- What kinds of practices and resources do language teachers typically use?
- What factors seem to influence teacher adoption of specific practices?
- What challenges and opportunities do these language teachers identify?
Data are collected via questionnaires addressed to some 300 MFL practitioners, plus semi-structured interviews with selected respondents. The aim is to a) document the current practices of these teachers regarding CALL and OEP in their own teaching contexts, and b) interpret results with respect to background information on attitudes and institutional constraints. By uncovering practices and networks which develop in the absence of specific pressure or support for pedagogical change, the study examines the longer-term impact of professional development initiatives and draws lessons for future CALL teacher education.
CALL teacher education, sustainability, open educational practices
Projects and programmes
- ITILT Interactive Technologies in Language Teaching
28 month Lifelong Learning Project on language teaching with interactive whiteboards (2011-13)
- ITILT 2 Interactive Teaching in Languages with Technology
3 year project (2014-17)
- Masters in Teaching English (University of Nice)
- Two-year programme
- M1: disciplinary courses (English studies – language and culture), classroom observation; national teaching entrance exams
- M2: teaching placements with tutors, teacher education courses; thesis
- types of research paper and popular topics
- classroom practice projects:
- Two-year programme
- In-service sessions on language teaching with technologies and open educational practices
- workshops and webinars
Whyte, S. (2016). From “solitary thinkers” to “social actors:” OER in multilingual CALL teacher education. Alsic, 19. [link]
- Whyte, S. (2014). Bridging gaps : Using social media to develop techno-pedagogical competences in pre-service language teacher education. Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 33(2):143-169.
- Commonwealth of Learning (2017). Open Educational Resources: From Commitment to Action. Burnaby: COL.
- Farr, F. (2010). How can corpora be used in teacher education. Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics, London and New York: Routledge, 620-632.
- Little, D., & Thorne, S. L. (2017). From Learner Autonomy to Rewilding: A Discussion. In M. Cappellini, T. Lewis, and A. R. Mompean (Eds.), Learner Autonomy and Web 2.0 (pp. 12-35). Sheffield, UK: Equinox.
- Reinhardt, J. (2016). Preparing teachers for open L2TL: Frameworks for critical awareness and transformation, Alsic, 19: 1. http://alsic.revues.org/2959
- Whyte, S. (2015). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
- 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., & Alexander, J. (2014). Researching interactive whiteboard use from primary school to university settings across Europe: an analytical framework for foreign language teaching. University of Wales Journal of Education, 17, 30-52. [link]
- 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
- Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., & Beauchamp, G. (2014). Second language interaction with interactive technologies: the IWB in state school foreign language classrooms. AILA, Brisbane.
- Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., van Hazebrouck, S., & Oberhofer, M. (2014). Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27 (2), 122-148 doi: 10.1080/09588221.2013.818558
- Zourou, K. (2016). (Ed). Social dynamics in open educational language practice. Alsic, 19: 1.