Brown, J. (2014). Teachers’ Stances on Cell Phones in the ESL Classroom: Toward a “Theoretical” Framework. TESL Canada Journal, 31(2), 67-78.
Brown proposed a theoretical framework in regards to teachers’ attitudes for the use of cell phones in ESL classrooms. She proposed a continuum on which one extreme allowed for no cell phone use for any reason in the classroom – prohibitionism – while on the other extreme cell phone use was allowed – permissivism. She contended that teachers would not necessarily maintain one specific view of cell phone use in an ESL classroom. This view could be static depending on the activity, students, mood, etc., of the classroom. Brown gave examples of specific activities in an ESL classroom to demonstrate the different range of commitment a teacher may choose in regards to cell phone use depending on the goal of a particular activity.
The author saw a need in the field of ESL education for a specific theory in regards to handheld technology in the classroom. She stated specific reasons for the need for this theory by drawing from studies and discussions in regards to the use of cell phones in other settings and relating that to what occurs in ESL classrooms today. In addition, she explained why the need for a more specific theoretical framework is needed specifically for the ESL classroom. She ends the article with a call for empirical research to substantiate the framework she has proposed. This is needed in order for teachers to discuss the reasons behind what they do in the classroom every day.
As I was reading this article, I immediately began to think of what I do in the classroom and where it put me on this continuum. I have a difficult time placing myself anywhere on this continuum, however. I feel that I take on bits and pieces of several different points on the range that Brown proposed. I would change the continuum to a Venn diagram. This would allow for overlap in the descriptions of specific characteristics. Also, it would allow for the movement back and forth between one type of description to another more easily, as specific characteristics could be shown to occur in several categories at a time.
In addition, I began to relate the categories described in this framework to other teachers that I know and how they embrace, or not, cell phone usage in the classroom. Some feel as I do that it has a place. Others see it only as a nuisance and feel that cell phones have no use in the classroom. When I first started teaching, I was in the latter group. However, like with other things in life, once I began learning more and becoming more educated on the topic, my mind was changed. Even reading some of the different ideas and topics that could not only be taught via cell phones but could also enhance what is taught in an ESL classroom via cell phones which were described in this article made me think of how differently I think now about using technology in my classroom compared to how I thought about it even just a few years ago.
In addition to the article that I have read and annotated, I chose to read the following articles for ED 800. The articles do not seem to have anything in common; however, the common thread is my interest in using technology to enhance and motivate the learning of English by non-native speakers of the language. The topics of the articles include a variety of ways that I would like to explore.
Dede, C., Ketelhut, D. J., & Whitehouse, P. (2009). A research agenda for online teacher professional development. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(0514426), 8–19.
Kiernan, P. J., & Aizawa, K. (2004). Cell phones in task based learning – Are cell phones useful language learning tools? ReCALL, 16(01), 71–84.
Nakamaru, S. (2012). Investment and Return: Wiki Engagement in a “ Remedial ” ESL Writing Course. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 44(4), 273–291.
Waters, J. K. (2013). Digital Badges. T H E Journal, 40(5), 14-19.