1 Ghent University (BELGIUM)
2 Beijing Normal University (CHINA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 6528-6535
ISBN: 978-84-09-37758-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2022.1655
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Computational thinking (CT) has been highly valued in many countries’ education reforms to meet society and individuals’ needs in the information society, and they have affected discipline curriculum, students' learning, and teachers’ teaching development in primary education. English as a foreign language subject in compulsory education in China emphasis learning and teaching mode changes in a modern information technology context. Therefore, even in primary schools without computer science subjects, they can use English lessons with CT to achieve relative equity in education. Researches on how CT contributes to primary English lessons are lacking and needs to develop especially in China. This study problem focuses on the impact of integrating CT into primary English lessons in China. It discussed the relationship between teaching plans and learning performance to inform the effective integration of CT into primary English lessons. It achieves three research objectives: to explore lessons’ implementation effect to enhance English and interdisciplinary learning and teaching through CT; to develop pupils’ cognitions on subject learning and CT, as well as their ability to solve practical problems by ICT; to make teachers aware of opportunities and challenges by integrating CT into primary English lessons teaching.

The following research questions:
What are pupils' and teachers’ cognitions of CT integrated into primary English lessons in China?
What are the implementation effects of CT on pupils’ learning performance of primary English lessons in China?
What are the opportunities and challenges of integrating CT into primary English lessons teaching in China?

The theoretical background includes the CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) model to analyze lesson learning. The TPACK framework to identify that CT integrated into English language teaching and learning in a digital environment. The case study methodology with literature review and interview methods to collect data. Using literature review to identify that CT integrated into primary English. Lessons were implemented in two primary schools into two classes in grade 5 in Beijing. Two primary English teachers implemented lessons with 71 fifth-grade pupils. Textbook content was designed in which natural science is an interdisciplinary topic with unplugged and plugged CT activities. Students test their performance by completing the lessons’ exercises.

The interview method was used for twelve students and two of their teachers, coding from cognition and implementation status. This study attempts to provide practical examples that can be widely used to integrate CT into the primary English subject. It concluded that CT had an impact on primary English lesson learning and teaching in this case study. Students have positive attitudes towards CT for learning primary English and are motivated by interest, peer communication, learning styles, and interdisciplinary knowledge. CT unplugged and plugged activities can support students in English learning. Students prefer activities that help them solve complex problems. CT and ICT can help teachers to design activities to achieve objectives and to solve real-life problems. There are challenges in how to use plugged tools to deliver innovative activities. Teachers' CT awareness and teaching skills need to be strengthened, trained and practical support. The study limitation is participants' age and empirical studies need to involve different ages students in the future.
Computational thinking, primary English lessons, learning, teaching.