DISTANCE LEARNING IN TEACHER EDUCATION: LESSONS LEARNED FROM AN ONLINE ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES TEACHER EDUCATION COURSE
Cyrpus University of Technology (CYPRUS)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:In this context of internationalisation and continuous technological advancement, distance learning has become common at all levels of education including Teacher Education (TE). The need for Professional Development (PD) tailored to the teacher’s busy schedules, that provides teachers with resources and experiences that cannot be available on site, has led to the development of more online TE programmes. This need became more intense after the COVID19 outbreak. This paper draws on the lessons learned from the implementation and evaluation of an online English for Specific Purposes (ESP) TE programme with a group of 24 language instructors from different countries during spring 2018. The course was based on social constructivist and connectivist approaches and a sociocultural TE model with elements from the reflective TE model and critical pedagogy. It was delivered through G Suite for Education and other tools such as YouTube, Facebook, Messenger and Zoom. Data were collected through the use of an online questionnaire administered to the participants at the beginning of the course, the facilitator’s field notes, the teacher’s reflective journals and focus groups and interviews that took place after the completion of the course. The facilitator’s and teachers’ positive views on the course as well as the challenges faced provide useful insight on how distance learning can be applied in TE contexts.
Keywords: Online Teacher Education, Distance Learning, Social Constructivism, Connectivism.