Middle School English Second Language (ESL) Teachers' Usage of Technology for Literacy Instruction and Their English Language Learners'(ELL) Responses

Hoki, Chieko
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Texas Woman s University

Digital technologies surround our lives today and many adolescent students are actively engaged in reading and writing through multimodal digital technologies. The omnipresence of digital technologies in today’s society inevitably influences students’ literacy practices. Thus, there is an imminent need on the teacher’s part to infuse technologies as instructional tools in the classroom in order to connect with students’ lives. Recent research evidences teachers’ and researchers’ responses to this need. English language learners (ELLs) are included in this generation of youths actively engaged in digital technologies outside the classroom. However, little is known about ESL teachers’ use of technologies for literacy instruction in the classroom and their ELLs’ responses to these technologies. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine middle school teachers’ use of technologies for literacy instruction and their ELL student’s responses. Two middle school ESL teachers and four ELL students (two student members of each teacher's classroom) attending a middle school located in a suburban city in north Texas participated in this study. Data gathered and analyzed over a five-month period included digitally recorded interviews, field notes of classroom observations, digital and/or handwritten participant journals, teachers’ lesson plans, students’ written work, and impromptu conversations. The ESL teacher participants made literacy instruction accessible and comprehensible for students through the use of technologies. Instruction became multimodal; a variety of technologies scaffolded the language and literacy needs of middle school ELL students. The unique socio-cultural interactions and classroom contexts constructed by the teachers and students were mediated through technologies. Students used a variety of semiotics to complete their work. In a classroom where instruction took place in a small group setting, the students interacted with group members in the completion of instructional work and supported each other in their groups by sharing ideas, negotiating with their ideas, engaging in shared writing, taking turns reading, and sharing the use of technologies. In a classroom where instruction took place in an individual instructional setting, the students collaborated with the teacher by sharing and negotiating their ideas. All the student participants were interested in literacy activities mediated by technologies, and their engagement with literacy learning was active, interactive, collaborative, and negotiated.

Reading instruction, English language learners, Literacy instruction, Middle School, Technology