Digital competence and online language teaching: Hong Kong language teacher practices in primary and secondary classrooms

Kevin M. Wong*, Benjamin Luke Moorhouse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Hong Kong was one of the first public school systems in the world to shift to online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Primary and secondary school language teachers had to adapt instruction to cater to their students' diverse linguistic and educational needs. Drawing from the European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DCE), the current study examines the experiences of primary and secondary school English language teachers’ digital competence as they navigated digital resources, teaching and learning, assessment, and empowering learners in an emergency remote teaching context. Using a two-stage design, this study drew from qualitative survey data (N = 73) and follow-up interviews (N = 10). Findings illuminate how language teachers responded to their students' educational and linguistic needs in online environments. Notably, educators adapted their virtual instruction to cater to students with varying English language proficiency levels and leveraged both synchronous and asynchronous platforms to best support student learning. Moreover, the current study sheds light on how the DCE framework might be used as a tool to assess the digital competencies of educators and better prepare them for virtual teaching. It concludes with a call for more research on emergency remote teaching, particularly within primary and secondary language classrooms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102653
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Computer-assisted language learning
  • COVID-19
  • DCE Framework
  • Digital competencies of educators
  • Emergency remote teaching
  • Primary and secondary school teaching
  • Synchronous and asynchronous learning


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