Qatar is a Gulf state undergoing a sweeping educational reform where educational development is linked to ICT and the English language. ICT is promoted to upskill the future generation or the “digital natives”. English is seen as a key to a myriad of doors and a passport to a world class education. In all public schools, English is a compulsory subject taught from grade one where learners are exposed to English for more than 500 teaching hours every year. It is also the medium of instruction for maths and science.

The purpose of my year-long study was to investigate the effectiveness of ICT in supporting the learning and teaching of English language in the Qatari context. It was guided by the critical paradigm and employed action research as the investigative methodology. The initial data collection process was carried out through a survey instrument. More than 200 students answered questions about their attitudes, perceived values, current uses and issues with ICT. The findings of the study have identified a number of challenges. One of which is the minimal support that ICT is providing to the teaching of the listening skill.

An intervention programme was later designed in a form of a webquest lesson based on CLIL (content and language integrated learning) and informed by the survey findings, student’ voices and previous research in the field. After that, the intervention programme was trialed with two classes (n=50) and evaluated by qualitative (classroom observations) and quantitative instruments (questionnaires). Evidence from the evaluation data showed that ICT has the potential to support the teaching and learning of English language through its positive impact on autonomy and motivation. The results also revealed that teachers have limited knowledge of the potential of ICT and they could play an indirect role in impeding its use.

This study has shown how action research, as a self-reflective inquiry, could broaden our understanding of the role of ICT in language classes. The study concluded that ICT-supported teaching of English in Qatar should be accompanied by a positive ICT culture, reflective research, proper staff training, teacher networking and supportive educational leadership.


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