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Towards a deeper understanding of English teachers’ perceived responsibilities concerning digital literacy education

Ittner, Doris; Emch-McVey, Alyssa; Feldmann, Lynn; Beeli-Zimmermann, Sonja; Müller, Karin; Aebli, Noemi (29 June 2023). Towards a deeper understanding of English teachers’ perceived responsibilities concerning digital literacy education. In: Jahrestagung der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Bildungsforschung (SGBF), 2023. Zürich. 2023.

Digital technologies have permeated the field of education, seemingly rendering the distinction between "digital" and "non-digital" teaching untenable (Fawns, 2019). Based on such a “post-digital” condition (ibid.), the draft of the new Swiss framework curriculum for upper-secondary schools requires teachers to adapt to this new culture of learning and instruction (EDK, 2023). They will be expected to integrate a set of transversal learning objectives, from teaching with digital tools to teaching in and about a digital world. This paradigm shift leaves subject teachers in an unfamiliar and uncertain position, one laden with potential but also possible resistance to this changing landscape of learning and instruction. This uncertainty extends to questions of teacher responsibility, in particular with regard to digital literacy education (DLE).
To better understand teachers’ perceptions of responsibility for DLE, this contribution draws on two different concepts and related lines of research. First, we refer to Lenk’s (2017) philosophical ethics framework of responsibility as a multi-dimensional construct, which is both relational and attributional. This allows for a deeper understanding of possibly conflicting perceptions of teachers’ responsibilities concerning DLE. Second, research on teacher beliefs (e.g., Knüsel-Schäfer, 2020) helps to examine teachers’ beliefs on digital literacy as a set of transversal learning objectives for which they are held responsible.
With the aim of exploring a subject-specific approach, we examine English teachers’ perspectives along the following questions, which reflect the different components of responsibility as a multi-dimensional construct, transferred to the pedagogical setting (Lauermann & Karabenick, 2011): A) Bearer of responsibility: Who is responsible for DLE? B.) For what exactly are teachers responsible when it comes to DLE? C.) Towards whom? Who is the object or addressee of responsibility? D.) Under the moral judgment or authority of whom? E.) In relation to what criteria?
To shed light on these questions, we analyzed 22 semi-structured interviews with English teachers sampled from Bernese upper-secondary schools. We combined both inductive and deductive processes for coding the interview data (Mayring, 2014; Schreier, 2012) and developed a coding scheme based on the questions mentioned above.
Our preliminary findings show the following: (A) Teachers have strongly value-laden, partially ambivalent beliefs about their duties and responsibilities concerning DLE. These seem to be determined by the high complexity of their belief systems as to what DLE is (B) and, thereof, the resulting challenges to integrate DLE into subject-matter learning. Concerning the addressee or object of responsibility (C), teachers’ perceived responsibilities extend across their own pedagogical objectives, their students’ needs, the subject-specific demands, and the expectations to integrate DLE, which are externally set in the curriculum. Results concerning accountability issues (D) indicate that the system of authorities and values within which teachers operate and feel accountable to, should be considered from a temporal perspective: The data indicate that teachers feel their main responsibility is to prepare students for the (uncertain) future. As an outlook, our contribution will shortly discuss the results against the background of an emerging post-digital educational landscape.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)

PHBern Contributor:

Ittner, Doris, Emch-McVey, Alyssa, Beeli, Sonja, Aebli, Noemi


[20 s 0001 03] Digital literacy education in the upper-secondary EFL-classroom - teachers' and students' perspectives




Doris Ittner

Date Deposited:

08 Apr 2024 12:03

Last Modified:

08 Apr 2024 12:03

Uncontrolled Keywords:

digital literacy education, teacher responsibility, English teaching, teacher beliefs, framework curriculum


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