From TPACK-in-Action Workshops to English Classrooms: CALL Competencies Developed and Adopted into Classroom Teaching

Tai, Shu-Ju
Major Professor
Volker Hegelheimer
Committee Member
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As researchers in the CALL teacher education field noted, teachers play the pivotal role in the language learning classrooms because they are the gate keepers who decide whether technology or CALL has a place in their teaching, and they select technology to support their teaching, which determines what CALL activities language learners are exposed to and how learners use them (Hubbard 2008). While a considerable amount of research related to CALL teacher education has focused on teachers' attitudes, beliefs, and confidence regarding CALL (e.g., Kamhi-Stein, 2000; Kassen & Higgins, 1997; Lam, 2000; Peters, 2006; van Olphen, 2007), there are very few studies that have investigated the impact of CALL teacher education programs (Desjardins & Peters, 2007; Hegelheimer, 2006; Kessler, 2007; Kilickaya, 2009). These studies reported that teachers confirmed their learning and adoption of CALL into their classroom teaching; however, the findings are based on self-report data, which are insufficient for capturing actual classrooms CALL integration. Moreover, the Call for Papers in the January 2013 issue of the Language Learning and Technology Journal calls for research in CALL teacher education to "address another crucial factor affecting the degree and quality of implementation: teachers' CALL competencies and knowledge base" (p. 145). In view of the need to bridge the gap and to develop a fuller picture of how teachers integrate CALL in the classrooms, the present study used an observation instrument based on the TPACK framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) to investigate the impact of TPACK-in-Action workshops had on English teachers in Taiwan from four different perspectives: whether the CALL workshops (1) met participants' expectations in helping them integrate CALL; (2) contributed to participants' perception change toward CALL and CALL integration; (3) helped participants develop their TPACK competencies; and (4) helped participants adopt the learned CALL competencies into their classrooms.

The 15-hour TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops were conducted as part of the teacher professional development for 24 elementary English Teachers in Taiwan. The TPACK-in-Action model (Tai & Chuang, 2012), developed specifically to help English teachers integrate CALL, was employed to guide the design of the workshops. Situated in the mixed methods research design with the guidance of the TPACK framework, qualitative data through reflections, interviews, and observations, and quantitative data through surveys and reflections, were collected before, during, and after the CALL workshops to help identify the impact of the TPACK-in-Action workshops.

Findings of the present study showed that the TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops had a strong and positive impact on elementary English teachers in Taiwan. In addition to helping them showing positive perception changes toward CALL integration, it was observed that the workshops helped participants develop CALL competencies, such as integrating online materials, using cloud computing for student interaction, selecting appropriate technology for content teaching, and matching the affordance of technology to their instructional goals and pedagogy as well as adopt the learned competencies into classroom teaching. Findings indicated that observations were found to be effective in investigating the impact of the TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops. Not only were observation data triangulated with self-report data to prevent potential discrepancies from happening, they helped identify teachers' CALL competencies and visualize their CALL integration. In sum, this dissertation contributed to providing empirical evidence on the effect of using observation as a measure to understand how teachers integrate CALL in their classrooms and adding a new perspective while investigating CALL teacher education. It also has theoretical implication for CALL teacher education research and pedagogical implications for CALL teacher education practice