Accepted paper:

The role of digital technologies in supporting English language teacher education in difficult and complex circumstances


Gary Motteram (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper shows how digital technologies can cross boundaries to provide support and training for teachers living and working in two different contexts: in rural Pakistan and in refugee camps in Jordan. It exposes some of the barriers and offers possible solutions.

Paper long abstract:

The English Language Teaching profession has faced two new challenges in recent years. The first is the controversial introduction of English Medium Instruction in many parts of the world, particularly in the primary sector; the second is the role that language plays in the significant movements of people around the world. This latter is connected to the migration of peoples affected by natural disasters, wars and epidemics. Both of these challenges put education systems under even more stress and make it very difficult for any meaningful improvement of language teaching to occur. This is often compounded in many contexts in the world where education systems are not well financed.

The increasing use and availability of digital technologies, in particular mobile phones, are argued to provide potential solutions to provide support and training opportunities for teachers who would not normally be able to access any support. They also offer the potential to build resilience into education systems as it is now recognised under SDG 4 that teachers make a significant difference in learning outcomes. This paper will highlight two case studies, one from Pakistan and one in Jordan where digital technologies have been utilised to try to support English language teachers in the development of their teaching skills, their language and to provide much needed resources. It will present some of the barriers to running these courses and in providing materials and the roles of boundary crossers who provide a much needed link to enable teachers to develop.

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