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SEARCHING FOR THE NEW NORMAL CLASS DELIVERY MODES: TEACHING TECHNOLOGY IN LANGUAGE TEACHER TRAINING COURSES

S. Sekiguchi 1, N. Tanaka-Ellis 2

1Meiji Gakuin University (JAPAN)
2Tokai University (JAPAN)
As an English language teacher who is also an educational technologist, moving to online teaching during the current COVID pandemic was not a difficult shift. However, adjusting the existing syllabus to the university decisions on the class delivery mode that have been changeable even in the mid-semester impacted even an experienced educational technologist. This paper reports on the teacher reflection and adjustments made in the curriculum on English language teacher training courses offered during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Under the influence of COVID-19 restrictions, it was necessary to explore and deal with various delivery modes.

The study analyses the changes found in the pedagogy, the syllabi, and the mode of delivery between the first and the second year in the current pandemic period. The adjustments on the courses included the renewal of the syllabi, explicitly in pedagogical instruction and class tasks.

The data for the study were collected from Zoom video recordings, teacher reflection, and student feedback. The results suggested that between 2020 and 2021, the teacher perceptions on educational technology have changed in terms of what knowledge and skills teacher trainees should be equipped with. For instance, the courses designed in 2020 were designed in the pre-pandemic time, which were heavily focused on theories and policies around educational technology. The courses in 2021, on the other hand, were totally rewritten by following the Japanese government’s guidelines to include more hands-on aspects of technology that can be introduced into high school English classrooms. The pedagogical elements in the previous year were not explicitly included I the syllabi, however, it was embedded in the new courses so that they still learn some of the elements through the practical instructions. This change was implemented because the pandemic forced teacher trainees to be ready to teach with some practical knowledge and skills in technology and have some basic understanding of the pedagogical application of these technologies. The data also revealed that the teacher struggled to adjust the online classes into a face-to-face mode in the mid-semester when the university changed its policy. During the zoom classes, the teacher was able to conduct classes more smoothly in terms of covering the necessary content, however, in face-to-face classes, less content was covered because it took more time for class management and spent more time on group work.

The paper discusses the adjustment features and challenges needed to re-shift university classes from remote to face-to-face. Some implications for designing future teacher training courses for language education.