Tarrayo of AB explores integration of internet-based applications into English Language Teaching

Faculty of Arts and Letters mentor Asst. Prof. Veronico N. Tarrayo, Ph.D., who is affiliated with the UST Department of English, in collaboration with Asst. Prof. Mark B. Ulla and Mr. William F. Perales of Walailak University in Thailand, recently investigated ASEAN teachers’ practices and perceived benefits on the use of web applications in English Language Teaching (ELT) classrooms.  

The integration of technology into ELT classrooms enhances the teaching and learning of English. In the ASEAN region, the use of social media platforms and web applications in ELT currently maintains an upward trend. These applications are considered as the new ‘whiteboards’ in which a teacher may post announcements and receive students’ submissions.

Furthermore, the submission of students’ works through online platforms allows teachers to determine originality, which reduces the cases of plagiarism. The integration of internet-based applications in ELT is feasible in both the online and the face-to-face setup. This introduces the term ‘blended learning,’ an approach that combines virtual and traditional modes of instruction. The use of technology in improving students’ communication and critical-thinking skills is considered an educational goal in the 21st century.

Ulla, Perales, and Tarrayo interviewed 20 English language teachers from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The interviews covered the teachers’ experiences in integrating web-based applications into ELT and the issues they confronted in using such. According to the teachers who participated in the study, the use of technology in classrooms is convenient, engaging, fun, and motivating.

The commonly used web-based applications among the teacher-participants include Kahoot, Socrative, Google form with a QR code, Facebook group, Youtube, WriteAbout, Quizizz, Quizlet, and QuillBot.

Based on the teachers’ responses, Tarrayo explains that there are three types of benefits of integrating web-based applications in ELT classrooms: pedagogical, operational, and dispositional.

Pedagogical benefits involve the support that these applications offer to teachers in effectively teaching English writing, speaking, listening, and reading, while operational benefits pertain to the convenience the applications provide in teaching English. Lastly, dispositional benefits concern the applications’ contributions in making English learning more engaging and interesting.

The integration of technology into ELT classrooms improves the experience of learning and teaching English. These technological tools have several functions such as real-time reminders, online quizzes, online communication, practice exercises, and many more. The use of technology in ELT classrooms is promising.

However, there are remaining issues that hinder the use and effectiveness of these web-based applications in ELT classrooms, namely the lack of internet connectivity, lack of technological tools, cheating, and some teachers’ lack of technological skills.

Tarrayo and his co-authors emphasize that the integration of technology is not a replacement for great mentors in the ELT classrooms. The use of technology enhances teaching and learning. The said research has been published in the Asia-Pacific Social Science Review, a Scopus-indexed Q2 journal

The study highlights in particular that the role of teachers may evolve, but teachers will never be replaced by technology. Calls for schools in the ASEAN region to prioritize proper planning and a clear policy in terms of technology integration into ELT classrooms were also recommended.

In relation to the virtual mode of instruction, Tarrayo has recently published two articles titled “Materials development in flexible learning amid the pandemic: Perspectives from English language teachers in a Philippine state university” and “The shift to flexible learning amidst the pandemic: The case of English language teachers in a Philippine state university” in Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, a Scopus- and ESCI-indexed Q1 journal.

Both articles investigated concerns related to flexible learning in the Philippines, including the perspectives of English language teachers in the development of materials and teaching in the new normal.

Dr. Tarrayo obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in English Language Studies degree, cum Laude, from the University of Santo Tomas in 2018. He is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of TESOL Studies, and a reviewer of the Professional and Academic English journal published by the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language. His body of published research includes studies on stylistics, ELT, discourse analysis, and teacher beliefs, among many others.

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