Forward by the editor
Covid-19 crisis has dramatically changed practices and pedagogies of education, with 1.6 billion learners in 180 countries, in all continents, forced out of normal education as a result of the global shut down of physical learning spaces (United Nations Briefing, 2020). Teaching has been undertaken remotely and on digital platforms at university and school levels. The United Nations' briefing underlined that, “Covid-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history... impacting 94 per cent of the world's student population, up to 99 per cent in low and lower-middle income countries". OCED (World Bank, 2020) in its Global Education Innovation Initiative cautioned that, “Covid-19 Pandemic is a quintessential adaptive and transformative challenge, one of which there is no pre-configured book that can guide appropriate responses".
Faced with this challenge, the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CALR) invited linguists, researchers and educationists to reflect on and evaluate the teaching and learning experiences in different contexts, and their relationship to student learning experiences and academic development in an attempt to contribute to proposing responses to the challenges facing education during global crisis. Out of the submissions we received and with around 30% rejection rate, the below selection is included in this volume.
Dr Douglas Mark Ponton, University of Catania in Italy, explores pathways of pedagogical enquiry in the time of Covid-19, scrutinizing traditional ways in the context of language education; Dr Ana Ibañez Moreno, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia in Spain, presents the strategies that were implemented during Covid-19 lockdown, in response to students' needs in Spain; Dr Amanda Brown, Dr Gail Bulman, Dr Stefano Giannini, Dr Rania Habib and Dr Emma Ticio Quesada, Syracuse university in the USA, examine the elevated focus on educational technologies, specifically machine translation, during COVID-19 pandemic; Nick Baguley, Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK, traces the influence that Covid-19 has had on the career development of professionals working in TESOL and how they coped; and Dr Rola Yazgy, the Lebanese University, scrutinizes how digital literacy and online learning under COVID-19 impacted learners.
The current volume provides insights into contemporary debate on education at times of the pandemic, new perceptions and pathways undertaken, concomitant concerns on access and quality of education.
Enjoy the articles.
Hayat Al-Khatib, PhD – University of London
Professor of Applied Linguistics
Centre for Applied Linguistics Research (CALR)
Arab Open University – Lebanon
LIST OF ARTICLES
From Real to Virtual Worlds
Author: Douglas Mark Ponton
Associate Professor of English Language and Translation
Department of Political and Social Sciences
University of Catania
In this paper I explore pathways of pedagogical enquiry that are apparently well-trodden; however, in the time of Covid-19, there has been a general revaluation of traditional ways of doing things at all levels of society. This also applies to the context of education, which has seen widespread reflection on the adaptation of existing pedagogical solutions, as well as the invention of new ones.
The quasi-universal implementation of anti-viral lockdown measures has led to a drive towards the adoption of digital platforms for teaching: in many cases these have been introduced suddenly, without sufficient deliberation or the due preparation of staff and pupils (Teräs et al 2020).
While digital solutions are clearly fundamental in this moment of crisis, it is important not to use their apparent efficiency to smooth over existing faults in education systems, or naturalise (Barthes 1957) these temporary solutions as resolving issues on a long-term basis. Technology, though popular with corporations and politicians, does not
necessarily offer solutions to traditional pedagogical problems (Cuban 2004: 20-21). While some studies appear to suggest that student performance has actually risen due to the replacement of physical with virtual instruction (Gonzalez et al 2020), it is imperative at this moment to highlight traditional values and ensure that they will not be forgotten in the emerging paradigms of future learning.
The notion of education as ‘flourishing’ is central to what is felt to be the classical model, or ideal (Luntley 2016); in this conception, education concerns the growth of the person as a whole. This paper aims to contribute to this debate, in the specific context of language education, asking whether a kind of Aristotelian ‘flourishing’ is possible through Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), and problematising the adaptation of communicative language teaching methodology in an online context.
Key words: pedagogical enquiry, flourishing education, Computer Mediated Communication, communicative language teaching methodology.
An analysis of the development of CALL literacy during Spanish lockdown in an English for Tourism course.
Author: Ana Ibañez Moreno
Profesora Contratada Doctora de Universidad
Departamento de Filologías Extranjeras y sus Lingüísticas
Facultad de Filología
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
P. Senda del Rey, 7. 28040 Madrid. Despacho 003
This paper presents the strategies that were implemented –in order to support the new students’ needs– in a course of English for Specific Purposes, more specifically, English for Tourism II, from the Degree in Tourism of UNED, the Spanish National University of Distance Education, during the period of strict lockdown due to the crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic (from March 14 to the beginning of June 2020). UNED has traditionally been based on blended learning, so students develop, through their studies, Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) literacy (Tafazoli, 2014, 2017). Even if technology is, and has been, the most essential support tool for teaching and learning, some activities that were developed before the crisis in a face-to-face format such as mentoring sessions, the final exams had to be offered exclusively online. The acquisition
of new digital skills (Dudeney et al., 2013) was thus challenging for both mentors, teachers and students. In this paper, a comparative analysis between the academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 is carried out, in order to analyze the differences between both periods, and to obtain data on how the shift to a fully online course under a lockdown context affected students’ performance. In this sense, the main research question posed here is: is there a difference in students’ performance and results between the two academic years? Another research question, deriving from the main one, is: how can students’ computer assisted language learning and/or digital literacy skills be encouraged through motivation? Results show that students were more involved and motivated in the course in 2019-2020, and that the marks obtained were significantly higher.
Keywords: English for specific purposes, CALL literacy skills, blended learning, online learning, digital skills, COVID-19 pandemicDownload link: Article 2.pdf
An Enduring Chasm between Language Students and Teachers
Author: Amanda Brown
Associate Professor of Linguistics
Advisor, M.A. Linguistic Studies
Coordinator, CAS Language Teaching: TESOL/TLOTE; Minor TESOL
The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated focus on educational technologies (Elaish, et al., 2021). One area of sustained controversy in this domain centers around machine translation (MT), where language teachers and students have historically disagreed (Lee, 2020). While research has demonstrated the benefits of MT (e.g. Benda, 2013; Chon et al. 2021; Correa, 2014; Dziemianko, 2017; Enkin & Mejías-Bikandi, 2016; Garcia & Pena, 2011; Lee, 2020; Lee & Briggs, 2021) and studies have consistently reported frequent student usage of MT (e.g. Alhaisoni & Alhaysony, 2017) Clifford, Merschel, & Munné, 2013; Jin & Diefell, 2013; Tsai, 2019; Yang & Wang, 2019), teacher views have traditionally been negative (e.g. Case; 2015; Clifford, Merschel, & Munné, 2013; Niño, 2009; Stapleton & Leung Ka Kin, 2019). Given that recent research on MT has targeted ESOL (e.g. Lee, 2020; Murphy Odo, 2019; Tsai, 2019), that MT itself has evolved considerably since 2016 (Yang & Wang, 2019), and that teacher beliefs can be influenced by
professional development and context (Borg, 2015), this study examined (1) contemporary attitudes toward and practices around MT among students (n=75) and teachers (n=25) of diverse languages, and (2) changes in instructor views after high impact pedagogical events: (a) a professional development seminar specifically on MT and (b) the “crisis‐prompted [shift to] remote language teaching” (Gacs et al, 2020) as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Results from four surveys indicate a wide, enduring chasm between students, who increasingly use and feel positively towards MT but are varied in their understanding of implications of its use for academic integrity, and teachers, most of whom make no instructional use of MT, feel negatively about it, have clearer reviews on its relationship to academic integrity, and maintain their views after specific professional development and broad and far-reaching contextual events related to technology. Implications for practice, especially in the context of a surge in academic integrity violations related to MT during the COVID-19 pandemic (Çelik & Lancaster, 2021), will be discussed. 
Key words: machine translation; Google Translate; teacher beliefs; teaching practice; student beliefs; diverse L2; higher education; COVID-19; professional development; academic integrity
Download link:Article 3.pdf
Covid-19 as a Shock Event
Maintaining a Career in TESOL during a Global Pandemic.
Author: Nick Baguley (MPhil/PhD)
Canterbury Christ Church University, UK
Cambridge Assessment Joint Chief Assessor (JCA)
for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
Nick Baguley <email@example.com>
Covid-19 has had a major impact on the education sector worldwide with many universities, colleges and private language schools being forced to close and, almost overnight, turn to online teaching. In addition, the economic impact of the pandemic has led to many of these organisations making some difficult operational and financial decisions to deal with such a challenging situation. These have included restructuring, initiating rapid changes to both courses and operating practices, reducing salaries, offering shorter contract extensions and even laying off staff. Some educational institutions have since reopened but Covid-19 protocols such as mask wearing, social distancing and a limit on the use of paper-based resources have changed face-to-face teaching. For some researchers Covid-19 and an organisation’s response to it is an example of a career shock defined as ‘a disruptive and extraordinary event that is caused by factors outside the focal individual’s control and triggers a deliberate thought process concerning one’s career’ (Akkermans et al, 2018: 4). The purpose of this paper is to understand what influence Covid-19 has had on the career development of those working in TESOL and how individuals have dealt with all the changes
arising from an organisation’s response to the pandemic. Through the presentation of 3 case studies involving an academic manager, a freelance teacher trainer and a newly qualified teacher all employed at large, well-known language school in Egypt, the author aims to investigate 4 important areas. Firstly, what key career competencies and personal attributes enable professionals to maintain a career in TESOL during a shock event such as a pandemic? Secondly, does this differ depending on a person’s life and/or career stage? Thirdly, is it possible that the short-term negative impact of a shock event might, over time, turn out to have a positive career outcome? And finally, what can we learn from the experiences of these TESOL professionals that might support others when dealing with career shocks in the future?
Key words: Covid-19, TESOL, career development, shock events
Download link: Article 4.pdf
Digital Literacy Online Learning under COVID-19 Lockdown
Author: Rula Yazigy
Professor of English Language The Lebanese University
The 2020 pandemic outbreak changed the lives of people globally in different ways: psychological, social, economic and educational. New terms have entered the use of daily language: social distancing, self-quarantine, the digital divide, etc. In the field of education, the outbreak of COVID19 forced schools worldwide to close, parents to work at home, and students to attend virtual classes. We now talk of online teaching, distance learning, hybrid learning, and remote learning transition. This paper aims at studying whether these changes mark digital literacy via studying Lebanese high-school students’ perception of online learning under COVID-19 lockdown. A questionnaire of 10 items aiming to identify the students’ educational psychological, social and emotional reactions to the online experience was distributed to EFL Lebanese high-school students in different areas in Lebanon. One hundred and twenty four students reacted to the questionnaire. Fifteen of these were interviewed to share an open-ended discussion on the second academic year of online learning. Based on the findings, the conclusion was made on whether we are living in the age of digital literacy.
Key words: Digital Literacy, online learning, the digital divide, EFL students' perception, teacher training
Download link: Article 5.pdf