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Chinese Language Teachers’ Perceptions of Technology and Instructional Use of Technology: A Path Analysis

Language Teachers’ Technology Adoption

Language teachers have been consistently reported as slow to adopt computers and unlikely to use them productively in language teaching (Li & Walsh, 2011; Yang & Huang, 2008). Yang and Huang (2008), for example, found that technology-mediated English teaching behaviors in middle- and high schools in Taiwan were on a modest level, with most teachers using technology only to prepare their teaching material. Li and Walsh (2011) examined 400 middle- and high school EFL teachers’ use of technology in Beijing and found that, despite these teachers having an adequate level of computer literacy and their schools providing access to computer technology, computer use remained peripheral to their teaching. Specifically, most teachers only used PowerPoint to present information. A follow-up study by Li (2014) reported similar results: That is, Chinese EFL teachers only used technology occasionally to engage their students and meet their pedagogical needs.

A number of theoretical models, including the aforementioned TRA, TPB, TAM, and UTAUT, have aimed to account for teachers’ technology adoption or the lack thereof. In such models, teachers’ technology-adoption behavior is generally a dependent factor predicted by internal and external variables of the types discussed earlier. Yet, this can elide the differences between an individual’s intention to perform a behavior and his or her actual performance of it. For example, Fishbein and Ajzen (2010, p. 300) pointed out that while their TPB can account for 50% to 60% of the variance in intentions to perform a given behavior, its ability to explain the behavior itself is markedly less (30%–40%). Indeed, teachers’ intentions to use technology in instruction do not often correspond with their actual technology behavior in the classroom (e.g., Basturkmen, 2012). Ertmer, Gopalakrishnan, and Ross (2001) also reported that teachers’ enacted beliefs in technology (i.e., actual classroom technology practice) did not align with their espoused beliefs in technology (i.e., attitudes and intentions). Therefore, in contrast to previous models that have focused primarily on teachers’ intentions to use technology, the present study uses language teachers’ actual technology practices in their classrooms as the dependent variable and aims to discover whether the internal and external factors described earlier can predict such actual practices.