Influences on the ICT practices reported by selected ESOL teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand secondary schools.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This study investigates selected ESOL teachers’ reported perceptions of the factors that influence their ICT practices in their professional life in New Zealand secondary schools. It aims to give voice to the ESOL teachers who have been historically marginalised in New Zealand secondary schools, and to inform other stakeholders, including the leadership in the schools and policy-makers, about ESOL teachers’ concerns and challenges.
The primary data source was semi-structured interviews with 21 secondary ESOL teachers from around New Zealand. Professional conversations with some experts in the field and analysis of seven documents served as secondary sources of data to elucidate themes. A number of factors were reported by these teachers to influence their practice with ICT including: teachers’ personal characteristics and confidence, the professional development that was available to them, the complexity of English language learners (ELLs) pastoral and language needs, and the organisation of the their schools.
The Arena framework of change with digital technologies (Davis, 2018) was used to provide detailed descriptions of the complex ecosystems in which three individual ESOL teachers were positioned. Each teacher was mapped at the centre of one Arena in their ESOL classroom with ELLs who had a wide range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds spanning migrants (including refugees), international fee-paying students, and overseas exchange students. The students had diverse linguistic, educational, and emotional needs. The ecological lens offered in Davis’s framework clarified that these ESOL teachers were working in increasingly challenging ecosystems, and their reported behaviour as a member of the “keystone species” of teachers in these educational ecosystems evolved over time and varied with the behaviour of interacting ecosystems, locally, nationally, and globally. Additional analytical tools and theoretical frameworks applied include Nations’s (2007) second language pedagogical principles, SAMR (Puentedura, 2013) levels of ICT integration, and Davis’s (2018) synthesis of concerns-based adoption models.
Change with ICT in ESOL classrooms is likely to continue to increase in complexity with the continuing co-evolution of ICT and education (Davis, 2018). This study demonstrates that New Zealand ESOL teachers face more challenges than has previously been recognised. The findings of this study also indicate that changes in ESOL teachers’ ICT practices are not achievable without considerable effort over time from each ESOL teacher, professionally relevant ongoing PLD, and support from their schools and communities. These findings have implications for teachers, school leaders, providers of teacher education, and policymakers.