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Новости

Introduction. Today we live in the era of digital technologies. Many universities, language schools and various language teaching centers in the attempt to attract more students and be in trend, offer online education, which enables learners to get knowledge and diploma by studying while staying at home. However, online programs demand new format teachers. According to Hampel and Stickler [1, 315], teaching a language online requires skills that are different from those used to teach a language in face-to-face classrooms. It requires more than just knowledge of “which buttons to press in order to send an email or which HTML coding is required to insert an image on a web page” [2, 14]. It is a big mistake to think that teachers can teach the same way as their colleagues did 50 or 80 years ago. In order to compete and keep pace, teachers need to be able to do the same things in a different way, by using and applying various technological devices and gadgets. Teachers need to be ubiquitous and “penetrate” into smartphones and all sorts of apps of users. However, it requires skills that differ from those teachers acquired at universities many years ago. Moreover, they should start studying totally new methods on their own and develop new skills which enable them to teach via or with technologies.

The issues to be analyzed in this paper are: whether foreign language teachers (English) in Kazakhstan are ready to run their classes in an online environment; if they possess specific technical skills for the software and have a clear notion of key competences needed for online language teaching today. To answer these questions, a survey was conducted with 32 questions in it, where some questions were on the implementation of technological devices by foreign language teachers and the second part of questions was on teachers’ readiness and preparedness to teach a foreign language (English) online.

Research questions and methods. Teachers’ level of competence on teaching language online in this survey will be processed in accordance with the framework on online language teaching skills elaborated by L.K.L.Compton [3, 82], including three groups: Novice teacher, Proficient teacher and Expert teacher. The framework focuses solely on the skills of an online language teacher and excludes any other roles played by a teaching institution, student services or instructional technological devices.

The questions in this survey were divided into two groups. The first group addresses teachers’ experience and willingness to teach online, while the second group of questions covers the issue on their technical readiness, preparedness and competence to teach online. The main questions for analysis are:

– Do teachers have any experience to teach online?

– Is online studying effective?

– What style of teaching do they prefer?

– How would they describe their own level in online teaching?

– Can teachers create a basic web page? (WYSIWYG)

– Do teachers have technical skills to use computer-assisted classes and create e-books?

– Do they agree with the statement that those teachers who teach online need special qualifications in Technologies?

– What tools do they often apply?

– Have teachers ever invited another local teacher or a native speaker to their classes via video-conferencing?

Methods. This paper is written in accordance with the responses of foreign language teachers on their preparedness and readiness to teach foreign languages online. The survey involves 32 items, which are multiple-choice questions (see Appendix). There are also questions on implementation of different technological devices for online language teaching. These questions were analyzed in the previously published paper. The questionnaire was created online with the help of SURVIO application on the website www.survio.com. The survey was possible only in English and was conducted both online and personally handed to teacher respondents. The respondents were mostly teachers who were registered on Facebook and are active participants of the group “Professional Development of English Teachers”, while others who were asked personally, were teachers of different schools, colleges and universities. Some teacher respondents from villages received our questionnaire by email. A link to this survey asking potential participants to take part was sent as a message in Facebook. No incentive was offered for taking part in the research. Nothing was asked from the participants of the survey in exchange, other than being able to see a summary of the main results at the end of the survey. The survey was open duing one month in August 2018 and a total of 378 unique valid responses were collected. As none of the questions of the survey were compulsory, not all of the questions collected the same number of responses.

         Skills for online language teaching were analyzed in accordance with the subgroup of technical skills offered by L.K.L.Compton [3, 82].

Online Language Teaching Skills

Technology in Online Language Teaching

Novice teacher

Basic technological skills (prerequisite)

Usage

Ability to use a range of software

– Ability to identify features of different software

– Understanding of constraints and possibilities of different software

Proficient teacher

Choice

Ability to choose suitable technology to match online language learning task

Ability to deal with constraints and possibilities of different software

Ability to create basic Web Pages

Ability to troubleshoot basic browser problem

Expert teacher

Creativity

Creativity in using and adapting technology for online language learning tasks

Ability to constraint interactive web pages

Knowledge of basic programming language

Table 1

Results. The results of the survey are presented here in relation to research questions.

– Do teachers have any experience to teach online?

Figure 1 represents data about the experience of teachers in teaching foreign language (English) online. 84% of respondents have never taught online, while 11% have some experience and only 5% of teachers tried it only once (see Figure 1). According to the analysis from the previous article we know that the survey was intentionally distributed among school, college and university teachers. The respondents were asked to choose the area of their living (a city, a town and a village). Most of the respondents were city dwellers (64%), the second big slice was represented by village dwellers (31%) and there were 5% of people who lived in towns [4, 30] (see Figure 1). The results showed that there were more school teachers (56%). As there were 31% of teachers who lived in the villages, it might be the reason why there were 84% of teacher respondents who did not have any experience in teaching online. We may suppose in case of a bigger number of university and language center teachers we would have gained a larger number of teachers with teaching online experience.


Figure 1. Experience to teach online

– Is online studying effective?

Figure 2 shows the fact whether teachers find online studying effective. 63% of teachers choose “I do not know” answer, while 37% of them find it effective. “No” response is never chosen (see Figure 2). These striking figures can be explained by the fact that there is a big number of respondents who had never taught online (84%) and 100% preferred face-to-face teaching of foreign languages which is clearly seen in Figure 3.

Figure 2. Effectiveness to study online

– What style of teaching do they prefer?

Figure 3 shows teachers’ preferences in ways of teaching foreign languages: traditional and online. 100 % of respondents gave their preference to face-to face teaching of foreign languages (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Styles of teaching

– How would they describe their own level in online teaching?

The respondents were also asked to describe their own level in online language teaching in accordance with three categories: novice, proficient and expert. Nobody defined themselves as an expert, 92% of respondents were inclined to believe they were novice, while only 8% defined themselves as proficient (see Figure 6). According to L.K.L. Compton’s framework on online language teaching skills, “novice teachers” are those who have only basic technological skills with the ability to use a range of software. “Proficient” ones are those who have an ability to deal with constraints and possibilities of different software and have the ability to create basic web pages as well as the ability to troubleshoot basic browser problems. “Expert teachers” have creativity in using and adapting technology for online language teaching and with the ability to construct interactive web pages and knowledge of the basic programming language.


Figure 4. Teachers’ level to teach online

– Can teachers create a basic web page? (WYSIWYG)

In the following question teacher respondents were asked about their ability to create a basic web page. 63% of teachers said they were not able to do it, while 37% of teacher respondents gave a positive answer (see Figure 5). According to L.K.L. Compton’s framework, proficient teachers should be able to create basic web pages. Thus, it complies with the results presented in Figure 4 where only 8% of teachers found themselves as “proficient teachers”.

Figure 5.Ability to create a basic web page

– Do teachers have technical skills to use computer-assisted classes and create e-books?

Figure 6 represents teachers’ technical skills to use computer-assisted classes and the ability to create e-books. Half of the teachers did not have such skills and abilities, almost the same number of teacher respondents did have these skills and only 1 % of teachers were not sure, whether they had these skills or no (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. Use of computer-assisted classes and e-books

– Do they agree with the statement that those teachers who teach online need special qualifications in Technologies?

In the following question teacher respondents were asked if they needed to obtain special qualifications in technologies in order to teach online. According to the data in Figure 7, most of teacher respondents considered this qualification as high important, while 26% did not agree with the statement and 13% did not know whether they needed to have such qualification or no.

Figure 7. Need in special qualification in Technologies

– What tools do they often apply?

Figure 8 represents the use of tools in online language teaching. The most striking figure was that 94% of teachers used none of them. 4% of teacher respondents regularly use video-conferencing and online interaction, while only 2% gave their preference to email, blogging and wikis (see Figure 8). In accordance with the presented figures, we can presume that neither asynchronous nor synchronous tools are widely used as a result of face-to-face way of teaching foreign languages and it is clearly shown in Figure 9, where only 4% of respondents invite a native speaker via video-conferencing.

Figure 8. Types of tools teachers often apply

– Have teachers ever invited another local teacher or a native speaker to their classes via video-conferencing?

In case of video-conferencing, teacher respondents do not invite their colleagues at all, while about 4 % of teachers always practice video-conferencing with native speakers. However, their desire to practice video-conferencing with a native speaker and a colleague is almost the same (70 and 55 respectively). About 18 respondents do not find invitation of another teacher or a native speaker to a video-conferencing effective (20 and 9 respectively) (see Figure 9).

Figure 9.Video-conferencing at the lessons

 

Limitations

This research has a number of limitations. The first and the most important one is the number of respondents. As it is a small-scale survey, the results cannot be considered as totally reliable as they do not reflect a true picture of teachers’ technical skills and readiness to teach foreign languages online. Some limitations of this study represented above provide possible lines of inquiry for further research.

Conclusion

This paper was only the first attempt in further and deeper analysis of the state of technological skills and readiness of foreign language teachers to teach online in Kazakhstan. The survey was distributed among teacher respondents who live in villages, cities and towns and who work at universities, colleges and secondary schools. The survey involved a big number of foreign language teachers who work at secondary schools and language teaching center in cities. That is why teacher respondents showed low figures of their experience in teaching foreign languages online. However, they also did not show their willingness to teach online, 100% teachers still prefer the traditional face-to-face mode of teaching. At the same time low percentage of teacher respondents today in Kazakhstan have good knowledge in creating e-books, constructing web-pages and actively using different types of online teaching such as wikis, blogging, video-conferencing or online interaction itself. The level of their expertise in technological skills is shown as very low. Nobody defined themselves as an Expert. All teachers see themselves mostly as Novice with basic technological skills but with a low ability to create a web-page or an e-book.

The results of the survey presented in this paper clearly reveal the true situation in Kazakhstan today in the domain of online language teaching. Teachers position themselves as novice in case of dealing and applying technological skills which are under the priority in online language teaching. Even while teaching face-to-face in the class room environment, teachers do not involve native speakers via video-conferencing or e-mailing. The explanation may be simple and evident. Some teachers simply do not know how to do it, because they do not possess necessary technological skills, while others just follow the traditional curriculum and do not want to change it and attempt anything new.

It is a mistake and a myth to think that a teacher who is good at teaching in a face-to-face class can easily indulge in an online environment and teach there [5, 25]. The new generation teachers need to have a paradigm shift in perception of instructional time and space, virtual management techniques and ways of engaging students through virtual communications in addition to the communication skills already required for general effective classroom teaching [6, 88]. For a better and clearer picture of the readiness and preparedness of foreign languages teachers to teach online, it is necessary to conduct a large compulsory survey among teachers of all secondary and higher education institutions and areas of location by the Ministry of Education and Science in order to see teachers’ skills in work and implementation of technologies which are of high importance for those who will teach foreign languages (English) online.

In case of online language teaching, we need to start preparing new format graduates of foreign language departments who will possess not only good knowledge of a foreign language itself but easily and readily deal with a wide range of digital and software programs and troubleshoot basic browser problems and construct various kinds of e-books and web-pages on a professional level. The priority of software disciplines should be in the curriculum of foreign language departments that train foreign language teachers and instructors.

References

  1. Hampel, R. &Stickler, U. (2005). New Skills for New Classroom: Training Tutors to Teach Languages Online. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 18(4), 311-326.
  2. Bennett, S., & Marsh, D. (2006) are we expecting online tutors to run before they can walk? Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 29(1), 14-204 3. Compton Lily K.L. (2009). Preparing Language Teachers to Teach Online: a Look at Skills, Roles and Responsibilities. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 22(1), 73-99
  3. Zh.A.Beisembayeva, R.K.Baryamova (2018). The Use of Innovative Technologies in Foreign Language Teaching. Bulletin of the L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University, №3 (124)/2018, 29-38
  4. Davis, D.,& Rose, R. (2007) Professional Developments of Virtual Schooling and Online Learning. Retrieved February 26, 2008.
  5. Easton, S. (2003) Clarifying the Instructor’s Role in Online Distance Learning. Communication Education 52(2), 87-105

Appendix

  1. Where do you work?
  2. A) School
  3. B) College
  4. C) University
  5. D) Language courses
  6. Where do you live?
  7. A) a city
  8. B) a town
  9. C) a village
  10. Which device do you mostly use at your lessons?
  11. A) smartphone (Galaxy, iPhone, others)
  12. B) tablet (iPad, Samsung, others)
  13. C) interactive board
  14. D) computer-assisted class
  15. How long have you been using technologies?
  16. A) Less than a month
  17. B) Between 1 or 5 years
  18. C) Between 5-10 years
  19. How often do you use devices at your lessons?
  20. A) every class
  21. B) once a week
  22. C) once a term
  23. D) never
  24. How do you use devices?
  25. A) Mostly in planned learning sessions?
  26. B) Mostly informally, when an opportunity or a need arises
  27. What student skills are developed better when you use technological devices?
  28. a) Listening skills
  29. B) Reading skills
  30. C) Writing skills
  31. D) Speaking Skills
  32. Why do you use the Internet more while preparing for classes?
  33. A) to borrow grammar exercises
  34. B) to borrow grammar explanations
  35. C) to borrow listening tasks
  36. D) to download podcasts
  37. E) to borrow more translation tasks
  38. F) to borrow speaking tasks
  39. G) to borrow pronunciation exercises
  40. H) to organize speaking practice with native speakers
  41. I) to organize online classes with professional teachers from abroad
  42. J) others
  43. Do you believe that using technological tools at lessons will improve students’ skills?
  44. A) Strongly believe
  45. B) Believe
  46. C) Do not believe
  47. E) Strongly disbelieve
  48. F) Neither believe nor disbelieve
  49. What do you think have improved in your students while using technological tools?
  50. A) Grammar
  51. B) Vocabulary
  52. C) Writing
  53. D) Reading
  54. E) Speaking
  55. F) Listening
  56. G) Pronunciation
  57. H) Translation
  58. I) none
  59. Have you ever taught online?
  60. A) Yes
  61. B) No
  62. C) I have tried once
  63. If you have taught English online, are you satisfied with the quality of the lessons you ran?
  64. A) Yes
  65. B) No
  66. C) I am sure
  67. If you have taught English online, would you like to run such kind of lessons in the future?
  68. A) Yes
  69. B) No
  70. C) I am not sure
  71. What style of teaching do you prefer?
  72. A) face-to-face in the calls room (traditional)
  73. B) online
  74. Do you believe in the effect of digital games (DGB)
  75. A) Yes
  76. B) No
  77. C) I am sure
  78. Have you ever used video-conferencing at your lessons?
  79. A) Yes
  80. B) No
  81. C) I tried once
  82. Do you use podcasts at your lessons?
  83. A) Yes
  84. B) No
  85. C) I tried once
  86. Do you use talking books?
  87. A) Yes
  88. B) No
  89. C) I tried once
  90. Can you create a basic web page? (WYSIWYG)
  91. A) Yes
  92. B) No
  93. How would you describe your own level in online teaching?
  94. A) novice
  95. B) proficient
  96. C) expert
  97. What tools do you often apply?
  98. A) Asynchronous (e-mail, blogging, wikis)
  99. B) Synchronous (video-conferencing, online interaction)
  100. C) None
  101. Do you think you have enough skills and qualification to teach online?
  102. A) Yes, I do
  103. B) No, I don’t
  104. C) I am sure
  105. Is online studying effective?
  106. A) Yes
  107. B) No
  108. C) I am sure
  109. Do you share your experience and problems with teachers from other parts of the world?
  110. A) Yes, I always practice it.
  111. B) No, I have never done it.
  112. C) I do not practice, but I would like to try.
  113. D) I do not think it is effective.
  114. E) I have practiced it a few times.
  115. Have you ever invited another teacher to your lesson via video-conferencing?
  116. A) Yes, I always practice it.
  117. B) No, I have never done it.
  118. C) I do not practice, but I would like to try.
  119. D) I do not think it is effective.
  120. E) I have practiced it a few times.
  121. Do you invite a native speaker to your lesson via video-conferencing?
  122. A) Yes, I always practice it.
  123. B) No, I have never done it.
  124. C) I do not practice, but I would like to try.
  125. D) I do not think it is effective.
  126. E) I have practiced it a few times.
  127. Are your students allowed to use mobiles for studying at your lessons?
  128. A) Yes, allowed but not always.
  129. B) Yes, allowed but not often.
  130. C) No, they are not allowed.
  131. D) It is prohibited in accordance with the rules of our school.
  132. Do your students use the Internet and mobiles when they do their home tasks?
  133. A) Yes, always.
  134. B) Yes, but not often.
  135. C) No, they do not.
  136. D) Never.
  137. E) I am not sure.
  138. Do you have enough technical skills to use computer-assisted classes and create e-books?
  139. A) Yes, I have.
  140. B) No, I do not have.
  141. C) I do not know.
  142. Can computers replace teachers?
  143. A) Yes
  144. B) No
  145. C) I am not sure.
  146. D) Never
  147. E) Probably
  148. Do you have a membership in any online groups for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other languages? (TESOL)
  149. A) Yes
  150. B) No
  151. C) No, but I would like to have one.
  152. D) No, I do not see any sense in it.
  153. Do you think you have enough skills and qualification to teach English online?
  154. A) Yes
  155. B) No
  156. C) I am not sure.
  157. Do you agree with the statement that teachers who teach online need special qualifications in Technologies?
  158. A) Yes, I agree.
  159. B) No, I do not agree.
  160. C) I am not sure.

 

 

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