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Investigating EFL teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge: Students’ perceptions

Language teachers’ cognition has attracted significant interest in CALL research over the past decade. It has been reported that the teachers generally have positive perceptions and attitudes toward integrating computers into language teaching and learning; however, little is known about their understanding of how to effectively teach certain subject matter using appropriate technologies through proper teaching strategies. This process requires teachers’ competency of integrating individual knowledge bases of technology, pedagogy, and content, i.e. teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). TPACK framework proposed by Mishra and Koehler (2006) is a theoretical construct, which encompasses seven domains of knowledge, namely three areas of core knowledge (technological knowledge, TK; pedagogical knowledge, PK; content knowledge, CK) and their intersections (technological pedagogical knowledge, TPK; technological content knowledge, TCK; pedagogical content knowledge, PCK; technological pedagogical content knowledge, TPACK). This model highlights teachers’ creativity in developing dynamic, transactional relationships among all three components of knowledge, thereby serving to help teachers examine the ways computer technology is integrated into teaching practices.

What teachers think they know, or what they can do, may not be consistent with their real practice or knowledge level. A disparity may occur in perceptions of TPACK between students and teachers. For this reason, there is a need to examine teachers’ TPACK from the perspectives of stakeholders other than teachers. By incorporating the thoughts of students, the present study investigated their perceptions of TPACK through a TPACK instrument, which had been proved valid and reliable in another study conducted by the researcher. Two research questions were addressed in the present study: (1) Were the seven TPACK sub-scales perceived differently? (2) How was the picture of the students’ responses to individual items?

Thirty questions were created to examine students’ perceptions of the seven domains of TPACK. The questionnaire was administered to 257 junior high school students. They responded to each item by indicating the degree to which they agreed with it on a 5-point Likert-type scale. To answer the first research question, ANOVA was used to see if there was a significant difference among the mean scores of the seven sub-scales, and the highest and lowest mean scores in certain sub-scales were tabulated through descriptive statistical measures. The second research question was presented with the items with higher and lower scores.

The results showed that the students generally exhibited positive perceptions of TPACK enacted by their teachers. In particular, the highest mean score was associated with CK, with the lowest mean score obtained in the sub-scale of TPACK. This meant that the students perceived their teachers’ CK a little more strongly than their TPACK. It is reasonable to assume that the teachers were thought to be less knowledgeable about technology and its intersections compared to content.

This study has begun to open new doors for other studies on the topic of investigating teachers’ TPACK in the context of ESL/EFL teaching and learning. The importance of measuring teachers’ TPACK is reinforced from the viewpoints of students.


Jun-Jie Tseng    
Foreign Languages
National Taiwan Normal University


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