ESOL teachers and technology
: a narrative inquiry investigating cognition and practice in the Further Education sector

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study examines three ESOL teachers’ cognitions about, and use of, technology in the context of the Further Education (FE) in the UK. Using narrative inquiry, I investigated the cognitions teachers hold about technology, how these cognitions have developed, and their relationship with teachers’ pedagogic practice. Where relevant, I also investigated factors which prevent teachers from operationalising their beliefs. The findings reveal that teachers’ hold largely positive views about technology. They do not consider it to be a pre-requisite for successful language teaching, but value it as a tool which can promote authentic language input and use, and enable differentiated learning opportunities. They also recognise the importance of digital skills in the twenty-first century and the potential impact on students’ life chances if they are not digitally competent. The cognitions which teachers hold have been formed over time, and stem from a complex range of factors including childhood learning experiences, classroom practice, and their own personal use of technology. However, their cognitions are not static and there is evidence of considerable change in teachers’ technology cognitions and associated practices over the course of their careers. Their current cognitions about technology are broadly aligned with their practice, and the teachers use technology as a tool to support their broader beliefs about language teaching. However, a lack of appropriate training, access to resources, and time constraints are revealed as barriers to technology use. In contrast, peer support and positive experiences using technology emerge as key enablers in helping teachers to embed technology into their practice.
Date of Award14 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorKevin Orr (Main Supervisor) & Liz Bennett (Co-Supervisor)

Cite this