Factors affectingteachers use of ict in foreign language teaching in vietnam

Thứ năm - 18/09/2014 04:21

1. Background

Perhaps it is needless to convince the teachers of foreign languages in Vietnam about the numerous values of information and communications technology (ICT) such asaccessingmassive materials on the internet; promoting student-centred approach and learners’ autonomy (Dang, 2010); enhancing collaboration among teachers; and making lessons enjoyable, just to name a few (Dang, 2013). The practical potential of ICT may lead to the impression that all teacherswill immediately embrace ICT in their teaching practice. In reality, despite a high proportion of ICT-using teachers, there are still teachers who do not integrate ICT in their teaching at all (Dang, 2013; Dang, Nicholas, & Lewis, 2012). This implies thatthere is still a gap between teachers’ awareness of ICT benefits and their actual usage in classroom teaching. This paper aims to analyse major factors which impact teachers’ use of ICT in teaching foreign languages in Vietnam.

2. Content

In this paper, the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) (Venkatesh, Morris, & Davis, 2003)is used as a framework for systematic analysis of major factors affecting language teachers’ ICT use in Vietnam. Thanks to the combination of various theories and models relating to technology acceptance and use, the UTAUT (see Figure 1 below) has been claimed to possibly explain “as much as 70 per cent of the variance in intention” to use technology (Venkatesh et al., 2003, p. 471)..
Figure 1: The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) (Venkatesh et al., 2003, p. 447)

The four main factors in this framework are analysed and illustrated by the results of mainly recent studies about ICT use in Vietnam plus other publications in the world.

2.1. Performance expectancy

Performance expectancy can refer to the benefits of ICT.Teachers are likely to use ICT when they believe that ICT brings added values to both teachers and students (Dang, 2013; Ertmer, Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Sadik, Sendurur, & Sendurur, 2012). The matter is how teachers view benefits. Teachers who see the positive benefits of ICT are likely to use it, whe-reas those who only see its negative impacts are unlikely to use ICT (Carr, 2011; Dang, 2013; Hil, 2012). It seems that majority of teachers in Vietnam have positive attitudes towards ICT usage (Dang, 2013; Hue & Ab Jalil, 2013; Peeraer, 2013).

2.2. Effort expectancy

Effort expectancy can refer to teachers’ perception of how easy or difficult it is to use ICT. Applications which are regarded as easier to operate are more frequently used by teachers.Dang (2013)points out that Vietnamese teachers of foreign languages frequently use the following applications which are viewed as easy to use: email, word processing, Internet search (e.g. Google), Internet download (e.g. Internet Download manager), presentation with PowerPoint, and web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox).
Teachers’ perception about the ease of ICT use is closely connected with ICT confidence and competence, which in turn are related to ICT training (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012). Research shows that those who attend ICT professional development tend to have lower levels of computer anxiety and often perceive ICT as both useful and easy to use (Becta, 2004; Dang, 2013; Teo, 2011; Trucano, 2005). The opposite may also be true.

2.3. Social influence

Teachers can decide whether to use ICT or not, but their decision can be influenced by the surrounding environment (Grainger & Tolhurst, 2005). There may be three main sources of pressure for ICT use by teachers of foreign languages in Vietnam (in the order of importance): i)the pressure f-rom the current generation of students who has grown up with ICT (Dang, 2013); ii) the pressure f-rom living up to the expectations of peer teachers (Dang, 2013); and iii) requirements of MOET to use ICT in classroom practice (MOET, 2008a, 2008b). Social influence seems to cre-ate a positive push for teachers’ use of ICT.

2.4. Facilitating conditions

Teachers’ use of ICT can be influenced by facilitating conditions including teacher beliefs and attitudes, ICT training and leadership support.Research shows that those teachers who have positive beliefs and attitudes are more likely to integrate ICT into their work, whe-reas teachers who have negative ones tend to avoid using ICT (Dang, 2013; Drent & Meelissen, 2008; Ertmer et al., 2012; Fu, 2013; Mama-Timotheou & Hennessy, 2013; Sánchez, Marcos, González, & GuanLin, 2012).
Dang (2013) argues that leadership support is animportant condition for ICT integrationin Vietnam whe-re there is a strong power distance due to the Confucian philosophy influence (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010).
The leadership support can be expressed in different forms:i) ICT policies, vision and guidelines which give teachers a sense of purpose for ICT use (Dang, 2013; Peeraer & Van Petegem, 2011); ii) an incentive and recognition system to reward teachers’ integration of ICT into their work (Dang, 2013; Wastiau et al., 2013); iii) appropriate investments in ICT equipment to ensure teachers’ access to ICT facilities (Dang, 2013; Son, Robb, & C-harismiadji, 2011).
Lack of facilitating conditions (i.e. negative attitudes, lack of leadership support, limited access and lack of incentives) may explain the reasons for ICT non-use (Dang, 2013).

2.5. Moderating factors (age, gender, experience & voluntariness of use)

Age, gender and experience have an important impact on how easily teachers engage with ICT use (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012; Scrimshaw, 2004). When age, gender and teaching experience are analysed independently in relation to ICT use, the common result f-rom the reviewed literature is that young, male teachers with little teaching experience tend to engage with ICT more than older, female veteran teachers. However, when age, gender and teaching experience are considered in relation to such factors as ICT competence, ICT professional development and teachers’ beliefs, the differences appear to be more complex than the aforementioned one-to-one relationship. In Vietnam, ICT use is voluntary, therefore depends on teachers’ decision (Dang, 2013).
Teachers’ non-use of ICT is due to different factors such as lack of facilitating conditions (lack of equipment, lack of incentives) and effort expectancy (poor ICT skills). However, perhaps the biggest challenge is their negative beliefs in ICT values (e.g. shallow analysis of information and surface learning, etc.) (Carr, 2011; Hil, 2012).

3. Conclusion

This paper draws attention to major factors impacting teachers’ use of ICT in teaching foreign languages in Vietnam. As can be seen f-rom the above-mentioned analysis, while teachers are well aware of ICT benefits and social influence, perhaps the practical implications for successful integration of ICT in foreign language teaching in Vietnam should be a two-prong approach:
  • ICT trainingwith the focus on how to operate relevant ICT tools effectively towards student-centred approach; and
  • Leadership support with the focus on well-disseminated ICT policies, relevant incentives, and moving towards deployment of ICT facilities in each classroom.
A good understanding of these factors can be of significance for two main stakeholders: i) for ICT policy makers to make the right investment; and ii) for language teachers to help them make full use of the available ICT facilities for better teaching quality.
It is suggested that further research shouldbe conducted with the participation of more teachers nationwide in order to map the bigger picture of factors influencing the use of ICT by foreign language teachersin Vietnam. Moreover, effective modes of ICT professional development for foreign language teachers in Vietnam should be carefully studied so that teachers can gain anywhe-re-anytime access to the training materials (video, audio and documents) for review and revision.


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Tác giả bài viết: Dang Xuan Thu, Nguyen Minh Phuc (Hanoi University)

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