Exploring Perceptions, Practices and Problems of Integrating Information Technology in the English Language Classrooms of a Singapore Secondary School

Yeo Liew Ling, Eileen

English Language Honours AE, NIE, 2002


Teachers play an important role in implementing information technology in the language curriculum because the beliefs they hold about what constitute effective teaching resources and procedures will influence how they teach.

This study focused on the perspectives and experiences of teachers in a Singapore secondary school. Its aim was to explore teachers' perceptions towards integrating IT into language teaching and discover if and how teachers' perceptions shaped the way IT was used in their language classrooms. An attempt was also made to identify problems which might have influenced teachers' practices. Data collected from interviewing teachers was analyzed qualitatively in which patterns and themes that emerged were compared not only across teacher participants but across the Principal, the Head of English Department and the English language teachers as well.

Findings indicated that teacher practices were influenced by their perceptions about the uses and usefulness of IT in language learning. Teachers who perceived IT to be used as a mere visual stimulus made extensive use of presentation software to present their lessons. A small number of teachers who regarded IT as a valuable tool where the information and communication functions can be utilized effectively for language learning explored the use of electronic mail and the Internet. Where teachers' practices were concerned, it was found that the Principal and the HOD felt that several CALL lessons failed to successfully make use of IT to enhance the learning of the language. The importance assigned to passing examinations was found to be a significant factor in influencing teaching practices. Teachers tended to adopt examination-oriented instruction which hindered their exploration of IT as a viable language teaching tool.

These findings demonstrate a need for teachers be better informed about the nature and possibilities of using IT for language learning as well as the strategies and methods they should be using. In addition, the findings also imply the importance of understanding language teachers' perceptions and problems with regard to integrating IT in the language classrooms. This has implications not only on teachers' practices but also on the successful implementation of IT in the language curriculum.