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Postgraduate Thesis: A multi-case study of CALL integration in a private university in China: the intersection of teacher beliefsand contextual factors
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TitleA multi-case study of CALL integration in a private university in China: the intersection of teacher beliefsand contextual factors
 
AuthorsWan, Zhongyan.
万中艳.
 
Issue Date2012
 
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
 
AbstractThis thesis presents an in-depth, qualitative study that examines how a group of English teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and various sociocultural and institutional factors affect their integration practices of CALL in a private university in China. An activity theory (AT) perspective is adopted as both the theoretical and analytical framework for the research. AT in essence postulates that human activities shape and are mediated both at the individual and social levels, with the mediational tools and artifacts that link the processes together. Four College English teachers in a private university (two part-time teachers and two full-time teachers) participated in this one-year study. Adopting a qualitative multi-case study approach, data were collected from semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, stimulated recall interviews and related documents and artifacts. A key finding is that the teachers each espoused unique, compatible and incompatible systems of pedagogical belief regarding English teaching and CALL. While commonalities among the teachers’ reported beliefs about English teaching and learning are noticeable, there are significant divergences existing among their beliefs with regard to CALL. In contrast with the divergences in the teachers’ reported beliefs, however, classroom observations reveal a very similar pattern in the teachers’ CALL integration: CALL was applied primarily as a tool of input to support their teacher-centered and linguistic-knowledge-oriented method of instruction. With activity theory as the analytical framework employed for interpreting the mechanisms that link the teachers’ integration of CALL, their cognition and the sociocultural settings, the research findings suggest strong contradictory relationships among the various elements in the teachers’ CALL-integration activity systems. The cross-case analysis (in terms of the identified object and contradictions in the teachers’ activity system in particular) suggests that, regardless of their expressed pedagogical beliefs, the teachers’ practices in CALL were also strongly affected by their situated concerns for learners and for meeting the institutional expectations that they act as “qualified teachers”. In addition, their practices in CALL were also evidently shaped by the institutional part-time and full-time personnel structure, a fact manifested in the teachers’ unsystematic teaching arrangements, their heavy workload and the lack of community communication and professional development. The long-established teaching and learning culture in the Chinese context also had a role to play. In such a context, teachers are considered the major source of knowledge imparted to students, while computers as a distraction from learning. The significance of this study is threefold. First, the findings provide a comprehensive understanding of why and how College English teachers in a private university setting in China integrated CALL in their instruction. The findings suggest the institution needs to direct its efforts in promoting change in teachers’ conceptual and pedagogical beliefs while integrating CALL, and to emphasize alignment among teachers’ belief systems, curriculum design, pedagogy, technology affordances and the learning context. Second, the research findings provide pedagogical and policy implications for CALL integration in higher education in China. In addition, the findings may facilitate the development of teacher preparation and development programs in the area of educational technology in language education in higher learning institutes in China.
 
AdvisorsLuk, JCM
 
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
 
SubjectEnglish language - Study and teaching (Higher) - China.
English language - Computer-assisted instruction for foreign speakers.
 
Dept/ProgramEducation
 
DC FieldValue
dc.contributor.advisorLuk, JCM
 
dc.contributor.authorWan, Zhongyan.
 
dc.contributor.author万中艳.
 
dc.date.hkucongregation2012
 
dc.date.issued2012
 
dc.description.abstractThis thesis presents an in-depth, qualitative study that examines how a group of English teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and various sociocultural and institutional factors affect their integration practices of CALL in a private university in China. An activity theory (AT) perspective is adopted as both the theoretical and analytical framework for the research. AT in essence postulates that human activities shape and are mediated both at the individual and social levels, with the mediational tools and artifacts that link the processes together. Four College English teachers in a private university (two part-time teachers and two full-time teachers) participated in this one-year study. Adopting a qualitative multi-case study approach, data were collected from semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, stimulated recall interviews and related documents and artifacts. A key finding is that the teachers each espoused unique, compatible and incompatible systems of pedagogical belief regarding English teaching and CALL. While commonalities among the teachers’ reported beliefs about English teaching and learning are noticeable, there are significant divergences existing among their beliefs with regard to CALL. In contrast with the divergences in the teachers’ reported beliefs, however, classroom observations reveal a very similar pattern in the teachers’ CALL integration: CALL was applied primarily as a tool of input to support their teacher-centered and linguistic-knowledge-oriented method of instruction. With activity theory as the analytical framework employed for interpreting the mechanisms that link the teachers’ integration of CALL, their cognition and the sociocultural settings, the research findings suggest strong contradictory relationships among the various elements in the teachers’ CALL-integration activity systems. The cross-case analysis (in terms of the identified object and contradictions in the teachers’ activity system in particular) suggests that, regardless of their expressed pedagogical beliefs, the teachers’ practices in CALL were also strongly affected by their situated concerns for learners and for meeting the institutional expectations that they act as “qualified teachers”. In addition, their practices in CALL were also evidently shaped by the institutional part-time and full-time personnel structure, a fact manifested in the teachers’ unsystematic teaching arrangements, their heavy workload and the lack of community communication and professional development. The long-established teaching and learning culture in the Chinese context also had a role to play. In such a context, teachers are considered the major source of knowledge imparted to students, while computers as a distraction from learning. The significance of this study is threefold. First, the findings provide a comprehensive understanding of why and how College English teachers in a private university setting in China integrated CALL in their instruction. The findings suggest the institution needs to direct its efforts in promoting change in teachers’ conceptual and pedagogical beliefs while integrating CALL, and to emphasize alignment among teachers’ belief systems, curriculum design, pedagogy, technology affordances and the learning context. Second, the research findings provide pedagogical and policy implications for CALL integration in higher education in China. In addition, the findings may facilitate the development of teacher preparation and development programs in the area of educational technology in language education in higher learning institutes in China.
 
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version
 
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation
 
dc.description.thesisleveldoctoral
 
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy
 
dc.identifier.hkulb4832989
 
dc.languageeng
 
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
 
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)
 
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.
 
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License
 
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B48329897
 
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language - Study and teaching (Higher) - China.
 
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language - Computer-assisted instruction for foreign speakers.
 
dc.titleA multi-case study of CALL integration in a private university in China: the intersection of teacher beliefsand contextual factors
 
dc.typePG_Thesis
 
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<description.abstract>&#65279;This thesis presents an in-depth, qualitative study that examines how a group of English teachers&#8217; pedagogical beliefs and various sociocultural and institutional factors affect their integration practices of CALL in a private university in China. An activity theory (AT) perspective is adopted as both the theoretical and analytical framework for the research. AT in essence postulates that human activities shape and are mediated both at the individual and social levels, with the mediational tools and artifacts that link the processes together. Four College English teachers in a private university (two part-time teachers and two full-time teachers) participated in this one-year study. Adopting a qualitative multi-case study approach, data were collected from semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, stimulated recall interviews and related documents and artifacts.



A key finding is that the teachers each espoused unique, compatible and incompatible systems of pedagogical belief regarding English teaching and CALL. While commonalities among the teachers&#8217; reported beliefs about English teaching and learning are noticeable, there are significant divergences existing among their beliefs with regard to CALL. In contrast with the divergences in the teachers&#8217; reported beliefs, however, classroom observations reveal a very similar pattern in the teachers&#8217; CALL integration: CALL was applied primarily as a tool of input to support their teacher-centered and linguistic-knowledge-oriented method of instruction.



With activity theory as the analytical framework employed for interpreting the mechanisms that link the teachers&#8217; integration of CALL, their cognition and the sociocultural settings, the research findings suggest strong contradictory relationships among the various elements in the teachers&#8217; CALL-integration activity systems. The cross-case analysis (in terms of the identified object and contradictions in the teachers&#8217; activity system in particular) suggests that, regardless of their expressed pedagogical beliefs, the teachers&#8217; practices in CALL were also strongly affected by their situated concerns for learners and for meeting the institutional expectations that they act as &#8220;qualified teachers&#8221;. In addition, their practices in CALL were also evidently shaped by the institutional part-time and full-time personnel structure, a fact manifested in the teachers&#8217; unsystematic teaching arrangements, their heavy workload and the lack of community communication and professional development. The long-established teaching and learning culture in the Chinese context also had a role to play. In such a context, teachers are considered the major source of knowledge imparted to students, while computers as a distraction from learning.



The significance of this study is threefold. First, the findings provide a comprehensive understanding of why and how College English teachers in a private university setting in China integrated CALL in their instruction. The findings suggest the institution needs to direct its efforts in promoting change in teachers&#8217; conceptual and pedagogical beliefs while integrating CALL, and to emphasize alignment among teachers&#8217; belief systems, curriculum design, pedagogy, technology affordances and the learning context. Second, the research findings provide pedagogical and policy implications for CALL integration in higher education in China. In addition, the findings may facilitate the development of teacher preparation and development programs in the area of educational technology in language education in higher learning institutes in China.</description.abstract>
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