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Home Journal Index 2020-2

Teachers' Perceptions of the Shift from the Classroom to Online Teaching

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Richard Watson Todd
King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand

In Thailand, social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic came into effect halfway through the university semester with teaching moving from the classroom to online. This was a completely new paradigm for most teachers. To understand the impact of the shift, a survey of all 52 English language teachers at one respected Thai university was conducted with two main focuses. First, teachers were asked to rate the seriousness of 17 potential problems at two time points, after the first week of online teaching and several weeks later. Second, teachers were asked to give comments about these problems and about the advantages and disadvantages of online teaching. Effect size differences between the two ratings were calculated. For the qualitative data, keyword analyses were used to identify patterns in the responses, and responses with similar content were grouped. The findings show that initially teachers rated many of the problems as serious, but that they quickly found solutions such as dividing lessons into a greater number of shorter units. However, problems remained with identifying suitable stimulating activities and marking student assignments. Teachers were ambivalent about the benefits of online teaching citing practical advantages but also highlighting difficulties in achieving some English language objectives and in gauging student reactions. Directions for dealing with the issues arising from these findings are given.

COVID-19 pandemic, online teaching, teacher perceptions, seriousness of problems