WhatsApp supported language teacher development: A case study in the Zataari refugee camp

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Abstract

This paper explores the possibilities and challenges of using the social media tool WhatsApp to support language teacher development in the Zataari refugee camp in Jordan. It takes a sociocultural perspective on teacher development where WhatsApp is a mediating tool in the broader sociocultural landscape. A thematic analysis of the postings and exchanges from the WhatsApp group revealed three main uses of the WhatsApp chat: for interpersonal interactions, for professional development, and for organisational purposes. The analysis suggests the WhatsApp group contributed to the teachers’ English language knowledge, provided a platform for them to share and discuss issues related to the challenges of their particular context, enabled them to contribute to the development of some teaching materials and begin to address some of the issues they had in a meaningful way. It also raises issues of participation, access, equity and sustainability. We conclude by suggesting there is good potential for the use of social media tools such as WhatsApp for teacher development in challenging contexts, despite the contextual constraints observed and described. While this specific case involves language teachers, the general findings can potentially be applied to any teacher education or training context where access to training or education might be curtailed for a number of reasons, including the most recent changes enforced by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Early online date14 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jun 2020