Chengxin Li

Attitudes towards Digital Game-based Learning of Chinese Primary School English Teachers

As a result of technological advancement, the educational landscape in the field of language education has been experiencing a significant evolution. Educational gaming, as a newly emerged paradigm of online learning, has been explored for its potential in language teaching. Teachers’ attitudes and needs are crucial in the implementation of digital gaming into the classroom. However, few previous attitude studies have focused on English Language Teaching (ELT) and young learners, with even less conducted in the context of China, where the potential market for ELT is massive. Having identified the potential of Digital Game-based Learning (DGBL) in China, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project was undertaken, in order to develop a DGBL platform to help Chinese young learners to learn English. This current study, focusing on the attitudes of teachers, constitutes a part of a large scale needs analysis regarding the implementation of DGBL in the context of China.
In aiming to broaden the scope of understanding, a mixed methods design was employed to measure the attitudes of teachers in both a qualitative and quantitative manner. A total of 76 Chinese primary school English teachers completed the survey, and 3 of them were interviewed. The results revealed that, generally, the teachers hold positive attitudes towards using digital gaming to assist their English teaching. The potential of DGBL in motivating students and teaching vocabulary was highlighted in the investigation. Parallel with potential barriers identified, teachers also suggested a number of facilitative approaches for the implementation, among which the integration of digital games with the syllabus was raised as the first concern by most of the teachers. It was also concluded that administrative and financial support is a prerequisite for the implementation of DGBL, and that equality of participation in the games is a key factor in ensuring the efficiency of DGBL in classroom practices.

Key words: Digital Game-based Learning (DGBL); English Language Teaching (ELT); China; young learners; teachers’ attitudes;