Teaching During COVID-19: Experiences of Two Novice Distance Language Teachers

Teaching During COVID-19: Experiences of Two Novice Distance Language Teachers

Güray Karaduman
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3600-4.ch002
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Distance education has been gaining importance, especially as a result of the rapid and continuing developments in the internet and information and communications technologies. However, its being beneficial and effective has been discussed by educational researchers. Due to their lack of practice or experiences in distance teaching, a great number of teachers feel prejudiced toward distance learning. This study aims to have a deeper understanding of how novice distance teachers, who have just begun to teach English at a distance during the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, experienced distance teaching. The study was conducted at a state university in Turkey in the 2019-2020 spring term. The participants of the study were two English language instructors with a teaching experience of 10+ years. Descriptive analysis of semi-structured interviews and the researcher's affiliation with the cases as an insider helped to reveal the personal, teaching, and technical/technological issues which affect the participants' experiences of distance teaching.
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There has been a worldwide trend toward distance education, which dates back to the late 19th century and has been an area of interest since the early 21st century. As a result of the dominance of traditional face-to-face teaching practices in Turkey, it wasn’t usually considered as a prominent teaching approach by a majority of teachers and educational institutions. However, the unfortunate rise of the COVID-19 pandemic has made distance learning a part of mainstream education in a short while and showed that the steps being taken at an immediate pace should have been taken a long time ago.

It is quite likely to teach at a distance more in the near future as the developments in technology reshaped all aspects of life since the early 21st century. Within the context of this reshaping, which has recently speeded up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, distance education has come to the stage as an educational field to meet the needs of educational shareholders. Depending on what is being done, distance learning will be taken up more seriously by a greater number of educational institutions, teachers and learners. A number of factors which affect the adoption of distance education by the shareholders can be stated. Identifying these constructs could offer useful information for course design and consequently lead to courses which better meet the learners’ needs (Fotiadou, 2017).

Educational institutions throughout the world have been working on contemporary ways of learning and technologies to integrate into. The adoption of emerging technologies and innovation in learning and teaching offers wonderful opportunities (Salmon, 2014); however, the pedagogical base needs to be well-grounded. When the resistance against distance education is taken into account especially among those with no experience of distance learning/teaching, taking sound steps towards well-grounded distance learning would be more crucial.

This study aims to clarify the aspects of distance education practices depending on the experiences of two novice distance teachers who have a strong feeling of conservatism in teaching. It is indispensable to change in teaching as the era, and the natural intrinsic conservatism in universities must be surfaced, explored and addressed (Weller & Anderson, 2013). Providing the change and overcoming resistance while maintaining purpose, function and sustainability (Weller & Anderson, 2013) requires decision-makers to think thoroughly about all aspects of distance education.

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