This essay pays attention to the implications of adopting e-learning to facilitate the teaching and learning of English in Kuwait. Specifically, the study pays attention how adopting online learning impact on the teaching and speaking of English among teachers in Kuwaiti public schools that were the last to switch to digital learning while most private schools had already embraced the technology. Overall, the research reveals how using the technology presents a better chance for English teachers in Kuwait to improve their speaking and teaching of English. Engaging teachers through interviews and questionnaires gives an overview of their thoughts regarding using e-learning. The study findings are important because despite some of the challenges associated with online learning, the approach presents numerous opportunities that could elevate the teaching and speaking experience. Whereas shifting to online learning present considerable anxiety to educators, the approach is convenient and flexible, thus making it necessary for educators in Kuwaiti public high school to consider ways of making it part of their practice.
1.1 Research Objectives:
The current research sought to address this objective:
1. To explore the effect of online teaching due to COVID- 19 measures on English teachers in Kuwaiti public high schools.
1.3 Research Questions:
Inputting the above objectives inro perspective, the study was guided by the research question below:
1. What is the effect of online learning due to COVID- 19 measures on English teachers in Kuwaiti public high schools?
1.4 Scope of the Research:
The present study sought to understand the impact of COVID-19 on teachers’ spoken English using Kuwaiti high school tutors as a case study. Notably, the study examined the effect of E-learning on English speaking and teaching among Kuwait high school teachers respectively. The study limited its scope to public schools because they are the latest to shift to online teaching and learning platforms in response to government measures to contain COV ID-19.
1.5 Significance of the Study:
Various factors make the research significant. One of the reasons why the research is significant is that it helps tutors to understand some of the weaknesses that require considerable attention. For instance, high school teachers get to understand some of the factors that they need to consider and the areas they need to improve on to become more efficient in the way they speak and teach English using technology. They learn that online learning is quite different from traditional class-room based learning and may require some form of additional knowledge to be able to perform well in this area. In addition, the study is significant because it shows the potential gains associated with e-learning. Being conversant with the merits of online learning would allow both school administrators and teachers to pay more attention to this area with the belief that it would elevate their experience as well as that of learners, and also make the school appear advance, thus giving it a good reputation. Particularly, the study highlights the need for tutors to understand some of the possible benefits asocial with online learning as well as know some challenges that are likely to emerge when using technological forms for teaching and learning purposes. The research is also significant because it is likely to foster more research in this area. Researchers are likely to develop the interest to shed more light onto how e-learning facilitates teaching, as well as give directions that could promote development in this area that is increasingly gaining prominence now that COVID-19 is still a global threat, and impactful on how teaching and learning occur. Thus, the study is essential and one that requires considerable attention to achieve the best out of it.
2. Literature Review
The COVID- 19 pandemics has significantly affected almost every sphere of human life. Consequently, these effects have threatened to derail the realization of the United Nations (UN)’s economic goals by 2030 as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Naidoo & Fisher, 2020). The state of education is one of the elements of SDGs that have been under threat during this period when the world is fighting the pandemic. Arguably, many policymakers across the world acknowledge the importance of education in improving people’s lives. However, many governments globally have closed schools for teaching and learning to enhance social distance
2.2 The Concept of E-Learning
In the modern world, the concept of E-learning has increasingly gained popularity in education circles due to the growing utilization of information technologies. Many learning institutions, especially universities, have invested colossal amounts of resources in acquiring these technologies and implementing online systems (Popovici & Mironov, 2015). However, widespread adoption is often hampered by challenges of integrating E-learning systems to reinforce teaching and learning (Fischer, Heise, Heinz, Moebius. & Koehler. 2014). Multiple definitions have been proposed to explain the idea of online learning because of the associated complexities. Horton (2006) defines E-learning as a process of utilizing information and communications technologies and devices to establish and design learning experiences. On the other hand, Engelbrecht (2005) describes this concept as a process of uses electronic media, mainly the internet, mobile devices, and television to offer distance learning and teaching. Koohang and Harman (2005) perceive online learning as the process of transferring knowledge and education by using an array of electronic devices. While these definitions describe E-learning through different words, they all perceive it as a learning and teaching system based on information and communication technologies and devices.
Online education has specific features that facilitate and nurture the learning-teaching process. The multiplicity of the existing information and communication technologies has allowed for the adoption of many types of E-learning platforms. Mobile learning, blended learning, online classes, and virtue classes (Fischer et al., 2014). Thus, institutions of learning can pick any of the available designs of E-learning to shift their teaching and learning process from the conventional classroom model. E-learning differs from the conventional method in two fundamental aspects. While the conventional method focuses exclusively on the provision of instruction, E-learning incorporates both instruction and learning (Oye, Salleh, & Iahad, 2011; Gallie & Joubert, 2004). Unlike conventional education, E-learning is student-focused. Additionally, the two methods differ from each other based on the sources of information, evaluation, and quality of education. Contrary to the conventional teaching model, E-learning appraisal is undertaken using tools and systems, and students can procure information from a broad range of documents uploaded on online platforms (Cheung & Cable, 2017). These differences underline the need for schools and other learning institutions to redesign their curriculum to adopt E-learning effectively.
2.3 The English Curriculum Expectations for Students in Kuwaiti High Schools.
English is recognized as core component in the national curriculum for intermediate education in Kuwait. Teachers are required to possess a range of competencies to offer their students a variety of critical English-speaking skills. Firstly, they should develop students’ language awareness concerning English and their attitudes of utilizing the language in listening, speaking, reading, and writing (State of Kuwait, 2014). This responsibility underlines the need for teachers to possess critical competences in motivating students towards incorporating English as their main mode of communication. These competencies are essential, especially because most students in Kuwait are often familiar with Arabic. Secondly, teachers have the responsibility of helping students to transfer the learned skills front English to the study of other foreign languages (State of Kuwait, 2014). Therefore, tutors must be ready to acquire the skills of achieving this milestone.
Additionally, the curriculum requires teachers to assist students in broader application of English in other cultural settings. Notably, it requires them to foster students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards other cultures’ beliefs and traditions (State of Kuwait, 2014). On the same breadth, teachers need to improve students’ accuracy of English usage and fluency for both social and communication purposes (State of Kuwait, 2014). Overall, these responsibilities call for the possession of appropriate teaching competences.
2.7 The Impact of E-learning on Teachers
Scholars have also examined the possible impact of online learning on teachers. In their study, Şad and Göktaş (2014) identified several benefits of online earning for teachers. Notably, 80% of the interviewed faculty members reported that they consider online platforms an effective model for teaching because of their dynamism in teaching, providing feedback, and reviewing assignments. However, teachers only enjoy these benefits when an appropriate corresponding infrastructure is put in place. According to Pellas and Boumpa (2016), poor infrastructure can be frustrating to teachers offering online classes. For example, the lack of stable internet can be a highly challenging issue for teachers because they may not manage to reach out to their students at the right moment. Thus, the success of E-learning hinges on the results in delayed feedback. Due to the lack of physical presence, teachers face challenges in offering timely feedback to students, especially when students require urgent assistance (Yusuf & Al-Banawi, 2013). Therefore, this evidence implies that online teaching can hamper teachers’ efforts of providing real-time feedback and assistance to students.
Other studies have also attributed online learning to increased collaboration between teachers and students. In their study Burac, Fernandez, Cruz, and Cruz (2019), examined teachers’ perceptions of E-learning. The majority of the participants noted that this mode of teaching improves communication and collaboration with learners, offers to teach flexibility, and enables students to understand lectures better. Critical to these benefits is the efficiency of online platforms that facilitate communication processes. for example, web conferences, chat, and audio devices enable teachers and students to communicate directly, send messages, or receive feedback in real-time (Cacheiro-Gonzalez, Medina-Rivilla, Dominguez-Garrido. Medina- Dominguez, 2019). Consistently, Sadeghi (2019) found that most teachers perceive online learning as an important interface in facilitating accessibility, focus on students, flexibility, and collaboration. However, most of the participants in this study noted that accessibility was the most important factor in using online learning. Arguably, online devices and technologies such as laptops, the internet, and smartphones make teaching content highly accessible to teachers compared to the traditional book-based technique.
H2: The use of E-learning during the COVI D-19 outbreak improves Kuwaiti teachers’ ways of teaching English-speaking.
3.1. Research Philosophy:
Research philosophy helps in explaining the nature, source, and development of knowledge. According to Yin (2014), the study philosophy is considered as the belief about how the existing data on a phenomenon should be gathered, analyzed, interpreted, and applied. Similarly. Johnson and Christensen (2017) mentioned that it serves as the expression concerning the belief in the way the current information should be collected and implemented. Ideally, the scientific research is the mechanism in which the researcher’s thought about new knowledge is obtained. In most cases, there are three main study philosophies known as positivist, interpretivist, and pragmatist approaches. According to Johnson and Christensen (2017), the philosophy determines the strategy to be applied during data collection. Besides, the author added that it gives the guidelines for the assumptions of the study. At the same time, the choice of the research approach also depends on the philosophy of the study.
Often, to give a definition of’ the different philosophies, the positivist stance often implements the scientific approaches through the notion of acquiring data objectively. The consideration of objectivity is to gain validity of data through repeatable observations. Yin (2014) stated that the primary belief of the positivist philosophy is that knowledge should be gained through human experience and the world composes of discrete factors that often interact in an observable and regular manner. Schoonenboom and Johnson (2017) added that it emphasizes on the imperativeness of separating the researcher from the study phenomenon, where the focus is to acquire facts in order to derive meaning. The positivist approach bases on the fact that the researchers are capable of explaining and predicting the occurrence of a particular phenomenon according to the data they derive (Johnson, 2017). Pegged on the reason, Johnson and Christensen (2017) posited the principle that the positivist researcher should only use a deductive reasoning approach. The deductive research allows the researchers to use hypothesis that are applied in proving particular assumptions. Ideally, the researcher uses the existing theories to develop hypothesis, upon which appropriate strategy is applied to prove or disapprove it. Yin (2014) explained that the positivist stance ensures that the researcher has expected habits which must be tested using observations. As a result, the reasoning starts from a particular stance to a general outcome. Overall, the positivist philosophy cannot be applied to a specific phenomenon, such as a single organization.
The interpretive researchers, on the other hand, function under the assumption that acquisition of knowledge can only be done through social constructions. The elements of’ such constrictions include shared meanings and deferent languages. Schoonenboom and Johnson (2017) mentioned that the interpretive stance criticizes the positivist notion by opposing the objective consideration of knowledge. That is, the objectivity only considers knowledge based on observations made without consciousness. As a result, the interpretive philosophy encourages participation of the researcher, which allows the experience to appreciate the differences in individuals.
Unlike the positivist stance, the interpretive researchers often use inductive reasoning approach. According to Johnson and Christensen (2017), the approach often starts with observations and development of hypotheses and theories based on the findings from observations. Johnson and Christensen (2017) added that the inductive research the emphasis is on pursuing and establishing patterns from the observation and expounding on the hypotheses. However, the approach does not mean that the existing studies are ignored since the focus is to advance the present theories. According to Yin (2014) due to the diversity and differences in expectations, it is common for social researchers to apply multiple methods which will be applied in this cement study. In essence, the study will use a pragmatic stance. Thus, the decision to determine which strategy is appropriate for an investigation relies on the study’s nature.
The pragmatic notion is about using what is realistic. According to Schoonenboom and Johnson (2017), pragmatism is a philosophy that deals with the facts. That is, the choice of the study stance should depend on the research problem. The author supplemented that the philosophical context is about understanding the world as inseparable and intertwined form agency within it. Yin (2(114) further mentioned that the word “pragma” is derived from a Greek meaning that is about work, action, practice, or activity. Essential) y, it is about practical experience. The focus is on change and experimentation. For instance, COVID-19 is a current experience that is changing the way people learn. Based on the restrictions, such as social distancing and keeping away from social places, it is practicable the online learning of English is viable compared to attending the physical classroom. The change has to happen. Markedly, it is based on this reality that the study will apply a pragmatic notion. As a matter of fact, knowledge gained from applying the pragmatism stance is often based on experience and that phenomenon always changes. As such, it is essential to gain information pegged on continuous reconstruction of peoples’ experiences. Most importantly, the philosophy will allow this study to apply both quantitative and qualitative designs since multiple approaches are encouraged to acquire new knowledge about change, Adoption of online learning is a new experience among high school students in Kuwait. Many students strive to learn English due to new opportunities that are presented within and outside the country. However, current COVID- 19 has introduced new experiences and changes in learning, which prompt many schools to adopt only learning. Essentially, it is against this background that the study will adopt the pragmatism philosophy.
Notably, this section provides the findings of the study, which are divided into four categories. The categories involve the quantitative and qualitative studies conducted to the teachers in the selected public school. The first subsection presents the results from eight teachers that were sampled using the purposeful technique.
1.1.2. Demographic profiling
Out of the sampled 8 teachers to respond to the quantitative questionnaire, the ratio of males to females was equal. Based on the purposive sampling technique, the idea was to have an equal representation of males and females. At the same time, the objective was to understand the perspectives of both males and females concerning online learning.
Figure 1: Gender of the respondents
Age was also an essential variable that was used to understand the perspectives of teachers. According to the figure below, the majority of the selected teachers had their ages between 26 and 30 years. The other age ranges registered relatively equal percentages.
Figure 2: age of the respondents
1.1.5. Teaching Experience
The perspective and attitude towards online teaching of English can also be influenced by the number of years of experience. The sampled teachers were asked to state their teaching experience, and the majority (33%) had taught in the school for about 2 to 3 years. As illustrated in figure 3 below, only 15% and 10% of the teachers had taught for 1 or fewer years and 5 or more years, respectively. Averagely, the majority of the English teachers had experience.
Figure 3: Teaching experience of the teachers
1.1.6. Grade of Students being taught
Teachers have different roles to play when teaching students from different grades. As aforementioned, the sampling included participants teaching in the high school, particularly those serving grade 10, 11, 1nd 12 students. According to the figure below, relatively equal numbers of teachers were teaching in the different grades.
Figure 4: the grade of students being taught
1.1.7. The use of internet since the onset of COVID-19
Due to the global advancement in technology, the world has experienced an immense use of the internet. According to Al Mulla (2021), the internet has been the main driver of globalization as many people continue to connect through the platform. Thus, the ease of getting and affordability of internet-connected devises have improved the intensity of connectivity. The teachers were asked about the extent of using the internet since the onset of COVID-19. The findings illustrated in the figure below indicate that the majority (53%) were using the internet once per week, while 27% used it twice or thrice per month. The finding is an indication that teachers in Kuwait are gaining new insights into the need of online teaching.
Figure 5: The use of the internet since the onset of covid-19
1.1.8. The type of online platform used by teachers
Due to shutting of schools in Kuwait due to COVID-19, teachers are using different online platforms to reach their students. According to Burac et al. (2019), there are different online platforms that can be used to teach in the contemporary times. As noted in the figure below, the majority of the English lessons were conducted through video conferencing (55%). Besides, there were teachers that used personalized avenues like text chatting (25%), emailing (7%) while the rest depended on the different social media platforms.
Figure 6: The type of online platforms used by teachers
1.1.9. The Impact of Online Teaching on English Teaching Experience
Undoubtedly, the shift from the traditional teaching method to online learning has notable effects. Al Mulla (2021) mentioned that the advancement in technology has promoted e-learning, which leads to improved interactions during learning.
Because e-learning is viewed favorably by instructors as an effective mechanism tool to improve the delivery of directions and instructions to learners as an appropriate tool to improve delivery of guidelines and improve knowledge acquisition via transfer of learning, it can be concluded that online learning boosts the teaching experience. In her paper Arkorful (2014) finds that e-learning elevate the perceptions, critical thinking, quality of education, and communication of teachers, thus reaffirming that the approach provides a thrilling experience for teachers. In addition, according to Ismail and Mussa (2021) e-learning solutions and approaches offer highly-required effectiveness for educators, thus permitting them to enhance the capacity for individual learning styles and curves within the classroom setting. Often, online learning techniques stand to self-paced learning and permit teachers to work together with students and other teachers without experiencing much constraint. A feature that many teachers find appealing about e-learning is that it saves a lot of time. Educators do not have to be physically present and therefore, may not have to walk over long distances to attend a lesson. With online learning, it is possible to teach at the convenience of one’s home or office. Moreover, the idea that teachers have a chance to learn new ideas and concepts while interacting with the technology makes the experience for teachers appealing and trilling. However, that does not mean that some educators do not have an unpleasant experience with e-learning. Teachers who lack the needed skills to teach as effectively as possible through e-learning experience undesirable effects and are less likely to achieve their goals. In addition, the experience may not be appealing when a teacher has to cope with connectivity issues, due to poor Internet coverage. Nonetheless, e-learning has boosted teachers’ experience, and deserves considerable attention to achieve even better outcome.
Figure 1: The extent to which teachers think that online platforms offer multiple teaching opportunities
Based on the data, a large number of teachers (39.4%) agree that online platforms provide multiple teaching opportunities. Following with 30.3% are those who strongly agree. However, 21.2% of teachers are neutral while a small figure (9.1%) disagree with the idea that the platforms could enhance teaching opportunities.
Furthermore, the teachers were asked to state their level of agreement on whether e-learning tools are replacing the traditional books. As illustrated in the figure below, 25% and 30% of the respondents strongly agreed with the statement; however, 26% disagreed. The study is an indication the teaching models are changing.
Figure 2: The opinion of teachers regarding whether e-learning tools are replacing books
The visual presentation suggests that those who disagree and are neutral are the same on whether e-learning tools are replacing books. Based on this analysis, it is apparent that books are still impactful. Besides, the number of those who strongly agree, agree, and strongly disagree is the same, which further suggests how e-learning may not be replacing
Moreover, the respondents were asked to state their level of agreement with statement of whether it is easy to find ESL materials online. According to Al Mulla (2021), language learning is a daunting task, especially when it entails several rules like English. As shown in the figure below, the majority of the respondents agreed that it is easy to find ESL materials through online learning.
The high number of those who strongly agree and agree that it is easy to find ESL materials online suggests that the Internet provides a suitable chance to access needed materials. The number of those who are neutral or disagree is not as high, which means that online platforms provide teachers with the opportunity to access needed ESL materials.
The data overwhelmingly show that more teachers (51.5) strongly agree that competent in using Internet-based materials. In addition, a significant number agree that they have the capacity to access needed materials. Thus, the data encourages teachers to become confident and believe that they can engage with technological forms as effectively as possible.
The findings reveal that the largest number of teachers agree that they are in charge for the success of Internet-aided English learning. However, the number of those who re neutral (27.3%) is higher than those who strongly agree (18.2%). Nonetheless, the fact that the rate of those who strongly disagree and disagree is the same shows the need to make teachers feel confident about their roles in facilitating the use of Internet for learning.
The number of those who feel confident using Internet-based materials is high, which suggests the need to continue encouraging educators to using online materials. Furthermore, the absence of those who disagree suggests that more teachers feel confident when using the sources.
The data is optimistic that at least a large number of teachers know how to use Internet resources for their teaching practices. However, because some teachers are still neutral, while others disagree and even strongly disagree, it is imperative to offer guidance that would enable them to excel in this area.
However, a majority of teachers feel that students are less attentive when teachers use online sources to teach. The numbers of those who disagree and are neutral are also higher than those who strongly agree and agree. The findings show the need to find ways for improving attention on learners’ part when attending an online class.
The confidence of using the internet also differs. According to Burac et al. (2019), the willingness and confidence of using a new technology varies based on different factors, such as relative advantage, trialability, effectiveness, cost, and experience, among others. The selected teachers were asked to respond about their confidence of using internet-based materials, and they gave insightful information.
Many teachers feel that the Internet provides a suitable avenue to acquire relevant information about English as a second language (ESL). Various researchers who focus their research on ESL upload their works online, thus making the avenue a suitable platform for locating the required materials. In addition to the ease of locating needed sources, the Internet provides diversity in the way the materials appear and impact on readers. The perception of a Russian, American, or Muslim writer may not be the same in all aspects even though their attention may be the same (Mauidloh, 2020). Consequently, it is possible to acquire a diversified view on the topic, which makes the Internet a suitable avenue to access, retrieve, and use the needed ESL materials. Another reason why it is easier to locate and use ESL materials directly from the Internet is because of the limitless nature of the Internet (Anas & Musdariah, 2018). Anyone can upload their materials online or get them published in reputable journals provided that they meet the threshold. In this manner, it is possible to get as many relevant materials as possible. Nonetheless, teachers also feel that the exercise is associated with certain challenges. Because authors come from diverse backgrounds, it is sometimes possible to acquire varying ideologies regarding the issue under investigation, which could cause more confusion and misunderstanding. Consequently, those accessing the materials must spend a lot of time comparing one source to the other, a practice that could consume most of the time. In some scenarios, teachers may lose interest when they feel that the retrieved materials give conflicting information (Wen & Tan, 2020). The other challenge is that some materials may not be as credible as perceived, which could derail the attempts to acquire precise or credible information. Nonetheless, the challenges withstanding, English teachers feel that the Internet presents a suitable chance to access and use the needed ESL materials.
1.2. The Impact of Online Teaching on Teacher’s teaching Skills
Online teaching is also known to influence the teaching skills of teachers. The teachers were asked if they provide learning materials that can develop the English oral and speaking skills. While 55% of the respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, 35% either disagreed or strongly disagreed. The result is an indication that online platforms might bar teachers from offering necessary materials. Furthermore, the majority of the teachers questioned the level of activeness during the online classes. As aforementioned, online classes are often affected by distractions and lack of concentration among students. Furthermore, 65% of the teachers disagreed with the statement that they teach English better through the online platforms. At the same time, the finding revealed that appraising students was not easy through the e-learning model compared to the traditional classrooms. Nonetheless, the majority of the teachers mentioned that online teaching allows them to assign more speaking exercises to the students. The attentiveness of students during online classes is low. As such, there is still skeptical notion on whether online teaching meets the expectations of teachers. However, the e-learning platform provides new solutions and expectations.
1.2.1. Qualitative findings on teachers’ opinion on online teaching
From the qualitative analysis of the responses from teachers, the study unveiled several advantages and disadvantages of e-learning. The respondents noted that it presents time flexibility. According to the respondents, the classes can be timed based on the convenience of the teachers and students. In fact, the finding is consistent with the argument by Burac et al. (2019) that scheduling of time is independent of the location. As such, lessons can continue even when the teachers are at home, vacation, travelling, or even on a train. Additionally, the teachers admitted that it encourages individual attention to students, which can always be offered to learners that request it. Therefore, the instructors can be more interactive with the students through platforms, such as Skype and emails. Furthermore, the participants agreed that some English instructions are perfectly given through online platforms. Still, customization of learning through the internet also increases the anonymity. One of the teachers mentioned that he finds it easy to instruct students based on their capabilities different without informing others.
Despite the notable advantages of online learning of English, it elicits some disadvantages. The most notable disadvantage is the lack of face-to-face communication with the teacher. The instructors do not have the chance to interact with students personally as compared to the conventional method of teaching. In fact, the respondents mentioned that they are unable to offer first-hand instructions to the learners. Another notable challenge mentioned by the study participants is minimal socialization. Dhull and Sakshi (2013) mentioned that there are students that are more active and productive when they socialize with the classmates. The teachers admitted that there is limited interaction between tutors and students in the online classes. More strikingly, the teachers agreed the lessons are often affected by internet connection problems and lack of computer skills. The finding was echoed by Dhull and Sakshi (2013) who argued that beginner students in public schools might find it hard to manage online class software and computer files. The students not used to the emails, web browsers, and newsgroups may fail to attend or engage during the online classes. At the same time, unreliable internet connections and computer problems can lead to students missing classes, deadlines, and tests. Therefore, implementation of e-learning should consider the benefits and burdens.
A discussion of the questionnaire data and the interview responses from teachers who participated in the study gives a more detailed picture of the way that Kuwaiti high school teachers feel about and have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on teaching and learning. The following discussion connects the interview response of ten Kuwaiti educators with the statistical data in order to more fully engage with the findings of the study. The original questionnaire asked Kuwaiti high school teachers to assess their perceptions of how the Covid-19 has impacted their teaching methods. The more detailed interview questions focused on gathering the teachers’ opinions about the experience of online teaching during the pandemic. The major themes found in the interviews were tools and resources, anxiety, and teaching outcomes.
Tools and Resources
Tools and resources refer to the e-learning tools, teaching tools, and online ESL materials used by teachers while engaging in e-learning. The interviews show that most of the teachers use a number of different online platform teaching tools. Teacher 6 specified that students could communicate to teachers and each other using text, video, and email. Teacher 4 stated that the ability to teach any time in any circumstance and from any location was a big plus with virtual learning. These results align with the findings from the questionnaire that show more than half (55%) of teachers use videoconferencing as their main teaching tool, while 25% use text chatting. The findings from the questionnaires also reveal that a majority of students find online learning tools interesting, adaptable, and flexible. According to the results of the questionnaire, 70% (40% strongly agree and 30% agree) of respondents agreed that online learning platforms provide English teachers with multiple teaching tools. Research shows that online learning platforms provide teachers with flexible, open, dynamic, affordable, and easy to access teaching tools, such as videoconferencing, text chatting, email, among others (Doyumğaç et al., 2021; Pokhrel & Chhetri, 2021). For example, a study from Coman et al. (2020) shows that online learning platforms provide asynchronous and synchronous tools and help teachers adapt the learning material to learner needs and classroom and learning objectives. Overall, flexibility tends to be the most cited reason for preferring online models of learning.
Although there are multiple different types of e-learning tools that are flexible and easy to access, teachers agreed in the questionnaire that e-learning tools are unlikely to replace books in English teaching. Specifically, 27% of respondents stated that they strongly disagree and 15% stated they disagree that e-learning tools can replace books. Additionally, during the interviews, teachers were more likely to have a more negative response to replacing physical, in-person tools like books and face-to-face interactions with e-learning tools. Several of the teachers who were interviewed stated they are concerned with excess screen time. Teacher 4 stated that one of the biggest challenges of e-learning is struggling to focus on a screen for long periods of time. Teacher 7 and Teacher 8 also agreed that one of the disadvantages of replacing books and in-person class with e-learning is excess exposure to screen time and inability to focus on the screen. Despite issues with prolonged screen exposure, ESL students have access to an abundance of English-language learning materials online whereas these same materials would be less accessible offline (Anwar & Wahid, 2021). The findings from questionnaire also indicate that around 66% of teachers think that it is easy to find ESL materials online. Teacher 3 stated that e-learning also makes it easier to interact with students and to be more creative with sources and learning materials. Gherhes et al. (2021) point out that e-learning is more student-centered. In face-to-face learning, teachers are the mains sources of information, while in e-learning, learners can access information from a variety of sources (Gherhes et al., 2021). Therefore, learners can access ESL learning materials online that are more oriented toward their learning styles and English-language proficiency levels.
Anxiety refers to the teachers’ confidence levels, competence, and training using e-learning tools. The data and interview responses indicate that teachers view e-learning with a mixture of excitement and distrust and are concerned with three main issues: engagement, reliability, and communication. According to the questionnaire results, the respondents overwhelmingly agreed (52% strongly agree and 24% agree) that they were competent to use e-learning resources in teaching English. However, all of the respondents in the interviews mentioned a concern about technical problems in e-learning environments. Issues such as connection speed, lack of service for rural students, and computer breakdowns were mentioned by all ten respondents. Teacher 2 mentioned that an economic issue plays into who does and does not have adequate internet technology. Teacher 4 stated that “while interview penetration has grown leaps and bounds over the past few years, in smaller cities and towns, a consistent connection with decent speed is a problem.” Similarly, teacher 8 mentioned that technical issues are a problem, but so is keeping students engaged in the process of maintaining and understanding the technology that is used. Teacher 6 mentioned that students have the ability to turn off their cameras at will and this is a form of self-inflicted technological breakdown. Research from Mahyoob (2020) on the challenges of e-learning for EFL students during COVID-19 indicates that technical support is needed to ensure a reliable and consistent online learning environment. Therefore, without a consistent internet connection, some students, especially those who are in rural and/or underserved communities, will suffer because of lack of access and lack of continuity.
A majority of the interviewees also feel that are knowledgeable and proficient at using e-learning tools, which aligns with the questionnaire results. Sixty-seven percent of questionnaire respondents agreed (40% strongly agree and 27% agree) that they are confident using e-learning materials in teaching. Similarly, 72% of questionnaire respondents believe they have adequate understanding of how to integrate internet resources into the existing English curriculum. Nevertheless, Teacher 4 stated in the interview that teachers have a very basic understanding of technology and sometimes they do not have the necessary resources and tools to conduct online classes, and that it is the responsibility of schools to invest in teacher training with the latest technologies. Teacher 8 mentioned that schools need better technology training for teachers and parents so they are able to help students. Teacher 9 also stated that teaching online requires extra training, which sometimes may be costly. Trust and Whalen’s (2020) research on teaching with technology to ensure continuity of learning during COVID-19 shows that many teachers were ill-prepared to teach with technology, overwhelmed by the sudden shift to e-learning, and did not receive adequate support from their schools. However, the respondents for both the interviews and questionnaires reacted positively to their experiences with e-learning during COVID-19. For example, nearly all of the teachers mentioned that it was easier to reach diverse students and diverse resources by way of online platforms. Further, teachers mentioned how flexible and comfortable it is to work remotely from home. Teacher 7 said that one of the benefits of e-learning is working in a comfortable home environment, while Teacher 4 said they like that you can teach from virtually anywhere and that there is no time lost or stress with commuting to and from work.
Hence, based on the analysis of the data, it is apparent that the anxiety associated with shifting from traditional forms to technology-based teaching techniques come with considerable anxiety that could determine how tutors interact with the technology and perform. Some teachers think that the approach could compel them to create a new teaching plan, which may be equally demanding (Doyumgac et al., 2021; Irwandi et al., 2021). Others may also fear that the shift could present considerable challenges due to lack of needed skills and information, and also due to other possible impediments encompassing lack of reliable Internet connection or devices that support the learning approach. Other teachers may be anxious that online learning could deny them the chance to monitor their learners as effectively as they could wish (Cortez et al., 2021). Such constant fears are not needed for a teacher, which makes it necessary to deal with the issue as appropriately as possible. Thus, both teachers and school administrators can embrace mechanisms that make it easier to cope and overcome the anxiety. A possible intervention is to equip teachers with all needed information through training. The practice will give them the confidence to embrace technology and use it for their teaching purposes as effectively as possible. Moreover, the training will allow educators to be in a good position to deal with some of the challenges associated with e-learning. In the long run, teachers will experience the benefits associated with online learning (Alkawaja et al., 2021). The other effective way to deal with anxiety is for teachers to conduct personal research on the possible gains associated with e-learning (Alkhawaja et al., 2021). This way, they will gain the confidence to use the method in their teaching practices while optimistic that the final results will be impressive. However, failing to consider the possible effects of anxiety on teachers as they turn towards e-learning could derail their practice and possibly affect their performance.
Moreover, the issue of anxiety that is likely to derail how teachers switch more effectively to online learning requires a competent way of dealing with the issue, which is relying on an effective change model. A suitable framework in this scenario is Lewin’s model of change, which requires those who use the theory to focus on three critical phases – unfreeze, change, and refreeze (Cummings et al., 2016; Hussain et al., 2016). In the unfreeze stage, teachers should examine why they need to adjust their ways of teaching. For instance, they may consider the benefits they stand to gain by e-learning and find out whether they are worthy to pursue. In the change stage, teachers go ahead to interact with the technology as part of their teaching practice. They explore the various techniques associated with the teaching technique and use them to improve their speaking and teaching of English. The final step is refreeze where teachers embrace practices that instill the desire and habit of using e-learning when appropriate. Educators in this case can continue seeking information on the advantages of e-learning as well as share ideas with other teachers about the possible benefits associated with such as approach to teaching.
Teaching outcomes include student attentiveness and successful student outcomes using internet-assisted English learning. The teacher responses to the interview questions suggest that learning outcomes remain consistent. Teacher 5 stated that online learning improves listening skills by hearing and seeing visually and audibly online. The questionnaire results showed that only 42% of teachers believed that students are more attentive in online classes. This aligns with the interview findings, as some of the teachers were concerned about lack of interaction between students and teachers during e-learning. Nambiar’s (2020) research shows that teachers perceive that while online classes may be more convenient, there is a noticeable lack of teacher-student interaction. Teachers may encounter difficulties engaging students in online classes, which is why Teach 3 noted that the online learning environment demands a greater degree of creativity from both teachers and students. Therefore, most of the teachers feel that traditional, face-to-face learning is more conducive to positive learning outcomes. Teacher 1 stated that “students learn better when they are face-to-face with teachers to interact with their facial expressions and concentrate better while being in class.” Teacher 4 agreed, stating that there is a greater chance for students to be easily distracted by social media and the like. Teacher 5 also stated that online learning seemed to contribute to a reduction in students’ writing skills. The interviews demonstrate that teachers are well-aware of the capacity that students have to attempt to bend rules in order to get out of completing assignments or paying full attention to lessons.
The findings also indicate that teachers are aware of their responsibilities to improve learning outcomes by facilitating a student-centered online learning environment. Specifically, nearly half (49%) of questionnaire respondents stated that believe they are responsible for the success of internet-assisted English learning. Only 12% strongly disagreed with this statement, suggesting that the majority of the teachers have implemented e-learning strategies to ensure success. Certain online learning tools, such as blogs, discussion forums, and chat, help facilitate a more interactive and supportive learning environment (Jamil, 2022). Students can also access learning resources 24-7 from a centralized location, which according to Jamil (2022), provides a more efficient use of time and makes it easier for students to revise work and prepare for exams. Research also shows that online learning platforms allow for students to experience a wider range of learning varieties, such as virtual classes, discussion groups through online posts, interactive tutorials, access to downloadable class resources, announcement bulletin boards, feedback loops, and videoconferencing/online meetings (Adedoyin & Soykan, 2020; Jamil, 2022). Teacher 9 stated that online learning can maximize teaching hours and that it does not limit the number of students you can teach; however, Teacher 10 recommended that schools limit the number of students in an online class so each can engage in activities like sharing experiences and performing small-group work. These responses suggest that teachers have varying attitudes and perceptions regarding online learning. Overall, the interviews and questionnaire results indicate that while teachers are mostly positive about using e-learning tools, schools need to be more involved in training and supporting teachers in the implementation and use of such tools.
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