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Technology uptake in Chinese EFL classes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve WalshORCiD


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This article presents findings from what we believe to be the first large-scale study of its kind on the use of ICT (information and communications technology) in English language classes in China. Participants are 400 EFL (English as a foreign language) teachers from different types of schools in Beijing. The purpose of the study was to examine these EFL teachers' computer use and factors affecting the use of computers as an aid to teaching. Questionnaires and follow-up focus group interviews were employed to address the following research questions: What is the current ICT environment in Chinese secondary schools? What are EFL teachers' ICT skills and what training is provided? How are computers used at present in EFL classes? What factors influence EFL teachers to use computers in their teaching? Findings support the idea that most schools provide a satisfactory learning setting with computers and most teachers in the study had adequate technical computer skills. However, computer use is mainly limited to PowerPoint presentations of pictures, grammar and sentence structures. Positive factors affecting computer integration include the popularity of ICT as a support for learning, the desire to change current teaching methods and the benefits to both teachers and learners, while negative factors include a lack of time, inadequate professional support, poor training and the need for a more integrated approach to ICT integration. The implications are that ICT is recognized as necessary and of benefit to language learners, and that teachers need additional training in two areas: to help teachers attain a higher standard of computer knowledge and skills, and to help teachers to better understand CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) pedagogy and to integrate ICT into their teaching. We suggest that this kind of support could be provided through professional development activities that are specific to the EFL learning context.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li L, Walsh S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Language Teaching Research

Year: 2011

Volume: 15

Issue: 1

Pages: 99-125

Print publication date: 23/12/2010

ISSN (print): 1362-1688

ISSN (electronic): 1477-0954

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/1362168810383347


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