Integrating technology in classroom practices: the influence of teacher professional identities in secondary schools in Lesotho

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Chere-Masopha, Mathabo Julia
Faculty of Education
educational technology; teacher identity; technology access; technology availablity; technology uses; factors; technology exposure
thesis / dissertation description
This thesis examines the influence of teachers' professional identities on their practices with technology in secondary school classrooms in Lesotho. In this study, teacher professional identity is viewed in three landscapes: personal and professional (personal and professional aspects of professional identity which are specific to individual teachers), situational (aspect of schools in which teachers work), and contextual (socio-economic and cultural context of schools). These three landscapes are influential on teachers work in terms of the teaching strategies and resources teachers use in the classroom.Using mixed-method approach (quantitative and qualitative methods), the study surveyed and interviewed student teachers who were upgrading their teaching qualifications, in the Faculty of Education at National University of Lesotho. The study investigated the views of these student teachers on teaching and learning with technology in secondary schools in Lesotho. A total of 159 students were surveyed, from which 14 were recruited for in-depth interviews. Both methods (survey and in-depth interviews) collected information on these student teachers about their personal and professional aspects, their views on technology conditions in everyday life, their views on the conditions of technology in teaching and learning, and their views on the general conditions of teaching and learning in schools in Lesotho.Before the study was conducted the questionnaire and the interview protocols were piloted using teachers from three secondary schools in Lesotho. Comments and suggestions from these teachers were incorporated in both instruments prior to the data collection phase.The main finding of this study is that secondary teachers in Lesotho infrequently integrated technology in their classroom activities because of personal, professional, situational and contextual factors. Personal and professional factors included limited exposure these teachers had to technology and their lack of knowledge about technology resources and their uses. Factors that were situational involve the absence of technology facilities and resources, school curriculum that did not integrate technology, and limited knowledge and skills required to integrate technology in teaching and learning. Contextual factors were comprised of poorly developed and almost absent national technology infrastructure, a lack of a national policy for technology in teaching and learning, limited knowledge about technology in teaching and learning and a lifestyle that did not value technology integration in the core activities in everyday life.The main recommendations of the study is that technology projects intended for schools should consider aspects of landscapes of professional identity that are specific to individual teachers, schools and socio-economic and cultural context as established in this study.Like most studies, this study is subject to some limitations including the research methods used and sampling of participants.