The Factors Influencing Punjab Teachers' Perceptions of ICT in Education: Differences between Policy and Contextual Practices

Year: 2017

Author: Kaur, Harpinder

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper the early stages of a research project that explores the influences behind the teachers' perceptions of the role of ICT in education in the Punjab district of India and the ways these impact teacher's practice.
The overarching research approach is qualitative, and so evolving out of an interpretative theoretical framework. The project as a whole conceived as a case study of the Punjab context of ICT in education, with twelve embedded cases of the individual teachers involved.
A contextual framework developed through a review of existing literature about the introduction of ICT in education in the Indian context in general and in Punjab in particular, and of policy documents. Data collected through both semi-structured and open-ended interviews, observations of classrooms and document analysis of educational policies relating ICT and of school plans and reports. At this stage of my study, I am in the process of analyzing and interpreting my data.
My paper also reports how a turning point in the study occurred through informal meetings. Teachers tended to be very self-conscious their words during the recordings of interviews and tended to shy away from making controversial statements. I felt they were hesitant, to tell the truth as they saw it. But in informal interviews and social gatherings, they spoke about their subjective beliefs, not only of the use of ICT but also about their lives as teachers.
A theme that is emerging is that individual teachers each have their understandings and reservations about the integration of technology in education. Various issues from their personal and professional lives have had an impact on their attitude to and use of ICT tools. The teachers in my study reported that they work under pressure and face threats of job insecurity and a promotion system that forces them to use technology. Moreover, female teachers reported that they discriminated against in the education system itself and by school bodies (Head of School, School Management Committee) in the term of access to technology and ICT training. Students' behavior and engagement in classrooms also played a significant role in the determining the motivation of teachers to use technology. Another emerging finding is that teachers' individual dispositions and their pedagogical approaches influence their perceptions of the technology and their willingness to experiment with it.