Creating Supportive Environments for CALL Teacher Autonomy

Creating Supportive Environments for CALL Teacher Autonomy

Renata Chylinski (Monash University, Australia) and Ria Hanewald (La Trobe University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch403


This chapter reports on a study undertaken on the impact of pedagogical and technological innovations in language teaching and language learning, with a special focus on creating online institutional environments to support teachers’ autonomy in computer assisted language learning (CALL). This study took place at MUELC, a self-funded teaching institution that belongs to a network of Australian universities offering English Language Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS). Significant expansion in student enrollments has resulted in programs across four locations with all language teachers involved in CALL delivery. Fostering and supporting teacher autonomy became the key premise for the creation of multifaceted in-house CALL support initiatives, one of them an online portal containing resources for teaching and learning as well as tools for reflection on practice and opportunities for professional development. Language teachers have been building this intranet portal site using the theoretical frameworks of practitioner-based inquiry and organizational change management. The evaluation of this study reflects the duality of the research aims; namely, the features of the developed product and the learning process of the teachers involved. This may be of value to other language institutions embarking on similar online projects.
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There is a large number of acronyms and terms used to describe teaching and learning with new technologies. For this chapter, the term Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) was chosen, as it emphasizes “the whole range of possible roles the computer could play in language learning” (Levy, 1997, p. 82) and because this is the term by which computer-aided instruction is referred to at the language center in question.

The theoretical grounding and literature for this chapter focus on professional development in CALL informed by the fields of second language acquisition, adult learning theories, Information and Communication Technology in Education (ICTE), diffusion of innovation theory, and action research methodology. Figure 1 depicts this chapter’s focus, main knowledge fields, subthemes, and how they intertwine.

Figure 1.

Literature focus, themes, and subthemes and their overlap

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