Teachers' Perceptions and Practices of the Use of Technology to Promote Language Development in Bilingual Students

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research-based thesis (RBT) investigates teachers’ perceptions and practices of the use of technology to promote language development in students attending a bilingual programme in Brazil. By investigating how digital multimodal resources are used and valued by teachers in relation to students' language development, I intended to gain a deeper understanding of teachers' rationale for using technology effectively (or not) in the classroom.

I identified and selected six middle school teachers from a bilingual school, from a range of subjects: English, maths, computer science, social studies and philosophy. By adopting a qualitative approach to my research, I used three main methods of data collection: (1) semi-structured interviews with individual teachers, (2) a focus group interview with the same teachers initially interviewed and (3) ethnographic classroom observations.

My overall findings, based on this particular cohort of respondents, are:

1. The teachers interviewed tended to adopt a more student-centred approach when making decisions about the choices of technology and digital resources to be used in the classroom.

2. Apart from the English teachers, whose obvious focus is on the development of the students’ language skills, the other subject teachers saw learning the content and developing the language as part of the same overall learning. Although there was some evidence of planning and addressing specific linguistic needs of the students, they understood that, as the official language of the lesson was English, its development would be consequential.

3. Teachers evaluated the effectiveness of their choice of digital resources by assessing if the students achieved the overall learning objectives, especially subject-related. Their performance in being able to communicate in English and accomplish the tasks would be one of the success criteria.

4. Finally, teachers have identified technological knowledge (TK) and technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) as the main types of professional knowledge needed for them to become more digital literate

Overall, my research identified the need to further investigate teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) in order to offer teachers appropriate professional development opportunities. It also highlighted the need to further investigate the pedagogical practices and professional knowledge of teachers in bilingual schools.
Date of Award1 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorMartin Dewey (Supervisor) & Mary Webb (Supervisor)

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