An Investigation into EFL Pre-Service Teachers' Out-of-Class Self-Regulated Learning Experiences weith ICT

An Investigation into EFL Pre-Service Teachers' Out-of-Class Self-Regulated Learning Experiences weith ICT

Saadet Korucu-Kis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2116-8.ch006
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Self-regulated learning is one of the essential skills learners need to possess in times of rapid technological advancements to comply with the requirements of the modern world. Indeed, today's youth are assumed to be able to set their own goals, seek opportunities to attain these goals, and manage their learning environments to control their own learning owing to the omnipresence of information and communication technology (ICT) tools in every area of their lives including and especially in their educational lives. In this respect, this study aims to find out whether first-year English as a Foreign Language (EFL) pre-service teachers really make use of ICT tools to regulate their formal learning experiences in out-of-class settings. Results reveal that pre-service teachers most often fail in bridging in-class and out-of-class learning, and they generally engage in low-level self-regulated learning experiences. Implications arising from these findings are highlighted, and some future research possibilities are discussed.
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With the advent of ICT, the scope of foreign language learning has extended beyond the limitations of traditional learning communities and classrooms. The emergence of such sophisticated tools as laptops, tablets and smartphones has provided learners with not only novel ways to learn the target language, but also flexibility of learning anywhere and anytime. Indeed, many successful foreign language learners ascribe their good performance in the target language to their endeavors outside of formal learning settings (Lamb, 2002). This being the case, the notion of out-of-class self-regulated learning with ICT has started to be in the spotlight of both researchers and practitioners in recent years.

Defined as “an active, constructive process whereby learners set goals for their learning and then attempt to monitor, regulate, and control their cognition, motivation, and behavior, guided and constrained by their goals and the contextual features of the environment” (Pintrich, 2000, p. 453), self-regulated learning has been an important concept in educational contexts. Helping learners in taking control of their own learning (Zimmerman, 1995), it has been promoted as an essential quality that should be developed in language learners (Lai & Gu, 2011; Wang, Hu, Zhang, Chang & Xu, 2012).

Out of class learning is one of the significant predictors of self-regulated learning and it has a complementary role for in-class learning (Lai & Gu, 2011). Benson (2011) suggests that self-regulated learning activities outside the classroom help learners manage their learning better as they become more independent in their decision-making with respect to their learning experiences. Consequently, several researchers have searched for new ways to increase self-regulated learning practices among English as a foreign language (EFL) learners. Providing learners with a variety of activities and authentic materials, increasing motivation and interaction, and supporting individualized instruction (Chapelle, 2000; Lee, 2000), ICT is thus viewed as one of the promising means of encouraging self-regulated language learning outside the classrooms. Accordingly, researchers (Lai, 2013, 2015; Lai, Zhu & Gong, 2015) suggest that supporting learners to self-direct their language learning beyond formal contexts is very important to exploit the potential of technology for language learning gains.

This issue is of particular relevance to countries like Turkey, where English is learnt and taught as a foreign language and learners’ exposure to the target language is limited to classroom teaching. Similarly, existing literature (e.g. Nakata, 2019; Richards, 2015) also suggests that it becomes almost a necessity in such contexts to engage learners in different out-of-class activities to maximize their proficiency in English. (Nakata, 2019; Richards, 2015). Although numerous studies can be found regarding EFL learners’ engagement in out-of-class language learning experiences with ICT, little is known about EFL pre-service teachers’ ICT-integrated out-of-class study to regulate their in-class language learning. In an attempt to fill in this gap, the present study investigates whether first-year EFL pre-service teachers experience out-of-class self-regulated learning with modern ICTs to direct their formal language learning experiences. Given the fact that they are going to be teachers of English language in a foreign language context (Turkey) wherein they need to have an intrinsic drive to continue language learning on their own, the author believes that it becomes crucial to investigate whether pre-service teachers use ICTs to self-regulate their learning. Against this backdrop, the present study was guided by the following research questions:

  • 1.

    Do first-year EFL pre-service teachers engage in out-of-class language learning experiences with ICT? If yes, in what ways?

  • 2.

    Which ICT tools do EFL pre-service teachers use to self-regulate their formal language learning experiences outside the classroom?

  • 3.

    What kind of self-regulated learning strategies do EFL pre-service teachers use ICT tools for?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Self-Regulated Learning: Academic skills through which learners can take active roles in their own learning processes.

Pre-Service Teacher: Undergraduate students enrolled in a teacher education program.

Out-of-Class Learning: Learning activities undertaken beyond the classroom.

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