Teacher cognition about technology-mediated EFL instruction in the Thai tertiary context : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Second Language Teaching at Massey University
Drawing on theories of teacher cognition and sociocultural frameworks, this study investigates Thai university English lecturers’ cognition about integrating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in English language instruction and writing instruction in Thai tertiary contexts. A more specific goal is to investigate technology-using teachers’ personal principles and practices in their teaching contexts. The study was guided by the following research questions: What is the nature of Thai tertiary teacher cognition about the use of technology in EFL instruction? What is the nature of Thai tertiary teacher cognition about the use of technology in EFL writing instruction? How do Thai tertiary teachers perceive their practices and roles in relation to their technology-mediated EFL instruction in particular settings? In Thai tertiary education, what are the sociocultural aspects that shape teacher cognition and practice about technology-mediated EFL teaching? A teacher cognition questionnaire was designed and administered to 47 Thai EFL lecturers in seven public universities; semi-structured interviews and scenario-based tasks were conducted with seven lecturers; unstructured interviews and observations were carried out with three teachers who used technology in their classroom teaching in order to gain a better understanding of their situated perceptions about the use of technology in particular teaching and learning contexts. The results reveal that university EFL teachers’ views of technology are highly shaped by both their teaching environment and individual beliefs about English language learning. When teachers apply technology in their instruction, they also apply their personal principles or maxims that guide their practices. In addition, a number of sociocultural aspects emerged in teachers’ views about technology use in their EFL teaching contexts giving rise to theoretical implications about how teacher cognition is conceptualised. Some of the major implications for practice include: the need to encourage EFL teachers to reflect on their teaching principles relevant to their working contexts; the value of providing teachers with models of technology use in tertiary EFL teaching; and the maximisation of the use of available technology to support local practices. Implications for methodology include the use of multiple context-specific instruments and methods to elicit teachers’ underlying beliefs and perspectives about technology-mediated teaching.