EFL Teachers' Knowledge of Technology in China: Issues and Challenges

EFL Teachers' Knowledge of Technology in China: Issues and Challenges

Yanjiang Teng (Michigan State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0483-2.ch002
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Through the lens of teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in China, this chapter aims to examine what knowledge of technology EFL teachers at all levels possess and how they apply their technological knowledge in teaching practice. The reviewed literature indicated that most EFL teachers hold positive attitudes towards technology. However, there still exists a gap between the curriculum requirement and the reality in terms of technological pedagogy in EFL teaching context. EFL teachers' use of technology in teaching varies in terms of personal preferences, school levels and locations, and administrative support. In addition, this review revealed that several factors influence EFL teachers' integration of technology into their practice and some challenges are still on the way: 1) EFL teachers' knowledge of technology is insufficient; 2) Lack of resources for schools and teachers at less developed areas, and 3) Lack of specific support for EFL teachers' technological needs.
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Nowadays, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are evolving at an astonishing speed which has dramatically revolutionized almost every aspect of our lives. In educational settings, technology offers new ways of teaching and learning and has the potential to enhance students’ learning outcome (Cabanatan, 2003; Felix, 2005; Kozma & Anderson, 2002). Scholars hold that ICT is increasingly playing a significant role in school curriculum reform across the nations (Kozma & Anderson, 2002; Li & Walsh, 2011; Li, 2014; Pelgrum, 2001).

Internationally, from 1990s, ICT has been regarded as an indispensable literacy skill for global competition (Tsui &Tollefson, 2007) and as the catalyst to promote educational reform and development (Cabanatan, 2003; Li, 2014). In 1996, the U.S. government issued its first National Educational Technology Plan (NETP, 1996; revised version on 2000, 2004, 2010, US Department of Education, 2010) aiming at getting American students ready for the 21st century through training and supporting teachers and their students with computer and Internet access. Similarly, the U.S. National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), also known as International Standards for Technology in Education (ISTE) were released in 1998 (for students), in 2000 (for teachers), and in 2002 (for administrators) respectively. In 1998, the ICT Standards for UK teachers was issued (Office for Standards in Education, 1998), aiming at encouraging teachers to demonstrate their ICT skills in a wide range of contexts. In the same vein, the Japanese government also issued the Science and Technology Basic Plan (1996-2000, 2001-2005) to increase technology competitiveness in the world (Cabinet Decision, Japan, 2005). Since 2000, the Australia government decided to increase teachers’ budget on ICT training. All these efforts by policymakers and educational experts believe that ICT has a direct impact on the nations’ competiveness and economic growth, and the use of ICT can increase the effectiveness of teachers’ teaching and students’ learning compared with the traditional way of instruction (Kozma & Anderson, 2002). ICT integrated teaching in this chapter is defined as a process of using any ICT tools to enhance teaching and facilitate students’ knowledge construction.

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