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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Homeward bound : a journey to cyberspace and back again in middle school French Coburn, Lynn

Abstract

Computer technology represents a new landscape for French teachers in British Columbia that is full of promise but barely explored. The purpose of writing this inquiry was to improve my teaching practice by examining my personal and professional life and to document how the decision to use technology influences pedagogy and impacts teaching and learning. Writing this narrative inquiry helped me understand the influence of my personal life history and the school culture on the teacher I have become, as well as how the development of personal practical knowledge led to my decision to learn to use technology to teach middle school French. By sharing my story I hope to offer insight into the possibilities that may be helpful to teachers interested in implementing technology in their French classes, and to administrators who are interested in finding ways to support teachers who are interested in implementing technology in their classrooms. The narrative inquiry formed the framework for the thesis as questions concerning the writing process, the development of self, and the significance of the selected stories were considered in reference to my experiences in the computer lab. Stories were selected from my childhood, from my experiences of parenting and teaching in northern British Columbia, and from my experiences learning to teach French in the regular classroom and in the computer lab. The process of selecting the stories and researching the literature regarding the development of teacher knowledge concerning using technology in second language instruction took place over a span of three years. Field texts consisting of journal entries, story fragments, student surveys, email messages and poetry, samples of student work and personal reflective writing were rewritten as the inquiry progressed into the final research text The author concluded by recognising that although technology offers tremendous possibilities for second language teachers there are significant constraints to successful implementation which are inherent in our current education system and teachers' personal beliefs about teaching and learning. Further, the role of examining beliefs about teaching and learning is tantamount to improving a practice. Conducting a narrative inquiry is one way to further understanding, which is the key to improving education.

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