Document Type : Original Research Paper-English Issue


1 English Department, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 English Department, West Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Background and Objectives: Technology has been hugely integrated into foreign language classrooms and teachers are expected to take a proper position toward using it. Aside from extrinsic factors such as time, equipment, and training, there are also intrinsic factors residing within the teachers like beliefs, teaching experience, and willingness to use technology that can predict their perceptions toward integrating technology in the class. The latter seems to be the reason why teachers do not pay due attention to effectively integrating technology into their practice which is still insufficiently explored. This study aims to investigate the relationship between teachers’ professional identity and their perceptions toward Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) among Iranian EFL teachers and the practices, challenges, and solutions they consider.
Materials and Methods: In this mixed-methods research, out of all Iranian EFL teachers working in universities, language institutes, and schools, 174 were selected using convenience sampling. In the quantitative phase, the participants completed two questionnaires, i.e.,  Teachers’ Professional Identity and Perceptions toward using ICTs. In the qualitative phase, 39 teachers with high levels of perceptions toward using ICTs who were selected to adopt purposeful sampling answered a structured interview. A standard multiple linear regression and frequency analysis were conducted to analyze the data in the quantitative and qualitative phases, respectively.   
Findings: The results of standard multiple linear regression revealed that professional identity is a strong predictor of ICT use. Teaching experience, however, is not a determiner in this respect. Also, the result of the triangulation of the data from the survey and the interview showed no corroboration. The qualitative data analysis also indicated several common technological practices of teachers in their classrooms. The teachers’ major challenges were categorized as teacher-related (e.g., lack of ICT literacy and professional training; lack of self-confidence and confronting technical difficulties; difficulty in class time management; and preparing technology-based materials), learner-related (e.g., lack of knowledge and being unfamiliar with ICTs; technology as a source of distraction; lack of interest in using technology and cooperation), and institution-related (e.g., weak internet connection; the unfamiliarity of the managers with the concept and denial of advantages of technology; their unsupportive behavior; traditional educational systems and policies; and lack of budget, facilities and equipment). They further suggested some solutions to address the technology-integration issues. They were three types: Solutions that can be handled by the teachers (e.g., increasing their own technological knowledge; being more disciplined, organized, patient, and self-confident; dedicating enough time and attention to their students’ needs and selecting appropriate technologies for learners with differing learning styles, age, and interests; and supporting each other in handling technical difficulties). Other solutions can be managed by the institutions (e.g., providing up-to-date facilities and technological tools; holding training courses, workshops, and seminars to increase technological literacy; encouraging and supporting teachers in applying technologies and being innovative). Some other solutions offered by teachers can be addressed by policymakers (e.g., allocating the budget to the institutes and educational centers to provide appropriate technological equipment and high-speed broadband Wi-Fi).
Conclusions: The results of this study clearly demonstrated that high professional identity with all its components (i.e., subject matter, pedagogical, didactic) can positively influence the application of technology in class. Out of these three, teachers’ didactical expertise showed a more significant role. This implies that managers and directors of study, besides equipping the educational centers and facilitating access to technology in class, are expected to provide teachers with pre-service and in-service training courses to empower them to be experts in teaching skills and strategies. Raising teachers’ awareness about other aspects of professional teachers such as professional ethics/values and their knowledge base is also recommended. These challenges did not very much contradict those that resulted in similar studies in other parts of the world. Despite these problems, teachers continue practicing technology in their classes using a variety of ways like using software and applications, gadgets and tech tools, and the internet as the major source of any technology-integrated activity. The results of this study could be more generalizable if more volunteers from all around the country took part in it. 


Main Subjects

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