Identifying the context and subject-specific professional digital competencies beginning English language teachers need to ensure readiness for the teaching profession

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    Hong Kong schools are becoming increasingly digitized and beginning English language (EL) teachers need to develop appropriate skills to respond to such digital needs. The integration of technology into primary and secondary EL classrooms has been promoted by the Education Bureau and its utilization is growing with digital technologies becoming embedded in teachers’ practices (Hong Kong Education Bureau, 2014). Furthermore, EL teachers have a prominent role in developing students’ digital literacies and competencies with an overall aim of the English Language Education Key Learning Areas Curriculum (Hong Kong Education Bureau, 2017) being, “to enable every student to prepare for the changing socio-economic demands resulting from advances in information technology...”. However, research shows that Hong Kong EL teachers feel unprepared to utilize technology (Bai et al., 2019). If beginning teachers do not feel adequately prepared, this may affect their self-efficacy, quality of teaching, their commitment to the profession, and, ultimately, students’ learning experiences. Despite the prominent role technology is increasingly playing in language classrooms, there is no context and subject-specific framework detailing the digital competencies Hong Kong EL teachers need to ensure readiness for the teaching profession. This study aims to identify the competencies beginning EL teachers’ need in order to be ready for schools, while proposing ways to address gaps in beginning teachers’ competencies. Teacher professional digital competencies (PDC), the mastery of “a range of teacher competencies such as being able to teach in a digitally infused context, manage digital learning environments and carry out the broader professional work of being a teacher” (Starkey, 2020, p49), provides a theoretical foundation for this study.

    • In the first stage, a survey and follow-up interviews will be conducted with EL teachers in Hong Kong to better understand the current digital practices in schools and the PDC teachers are required to master upon entry to the profession.
    • In the second stage, documents pertaining to EL teacher education programmes (e.g. BEd & PGDE) in Hong Kong will be analyzed, along with focus group interviews with teacher educators, pre-service teachers and beginning teachers. Combined, these will be used to evaluate how current teacher education programmes support teachers in developing PDC. Ultimately, this study will provide insights into how programmes can better prepare teachers.
    The study is unique in that it will generate a context and subject-specific PDC framework, that can ensure teacher preparation programmes meet the needs of increasingly digitized schools.

    Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/23

    UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 4 - Quality Education
    • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure


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