Data collection took
place from October 2001 to December 2001. One questionnaire
was mailed to each pedagogical manager. A letter of
transmittal was sent with the material, introducing
the researcher and explaining the content of the research,
as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope.
The results of the statistical analysis
and the findings
A total of 79 questionnaires
were answered, representing a response rate of 92%.
After the initial analysis the result was a number
of 75 pedagogical managers representing 92 schools.
This happened because, as explained before, some schools
have more than one pedagogical manager and in other
cases one pedagogical manager is responsible for more
than one school. The number used for the statistical
analysis was 92: the number of schools under the responsibility
of the 75 pedagogical managers. The ones who were responsible
for two or more schools had their answers repeated
as many times as the number of schools they represented.
Characteristics of the pedagogical managers
The 92 schools analyzed
are represented by 64 (69,57%) female pedagogical managers
and 28 (30,43%) males. As to the age, 43 (46,74%) pedagogical
managers are between 31-40 years old and 29 (31,48%)
are older than 40 years. As to the educational background,
most of the respondents (59,78%) have a university
degree and 33,69% are specialists or have a master’s
It was also investigated
if the pedagogical managers were actively teaching.
79 (85,87%) of the respondents answered affirmatively.
Most of the respondents have, therefore, the practical
perspective of the classroom, besides their position
as pedagogical managers.
In analyzing the
answers about who is responsible for the pedagogical
decisions at the schools, the following facts were
obtained: in 16,30% of the schools only the director
is responsible for the pedagogical decisions and in
also 16,30% of the schools the directors and the pedagogical
coordinators work together. In 8,70% of the schools
only the owner is responsible for the pedagogical decisions.
Besides, it can also be inferred that in 37 schools
(40,22%) there is only one position holding the pedagogical
responsibility. In other 35 schools (38,03%) two positions
hold the pedagogical responsibility. In 13 schools
(14,14%) three positions share the pedagogical work.
In 4 schools (4,34%) four positions share the pedagogical
area and in 1 school (1,09%) five positions make the
pedagogical decisions. In summary, in 78,25% of the
schools the pedagogical decisions are made by just
a small number of people. It proves the importance
of the pedagogical manager at the language schools
of Curitiba. Only in 1 school (1,09%) the teachers
were the only ones in charge of the pedagogical area.
And in 19 schools (20,65%) they have some participation
in the pedagogical decisions. In relation to how long
they have performed the function of pedagogical coordinators,
most of them (64,13%) have been in the present position
for less than eight years. The remainder have been
in the present position for more than eight years.
The dynamics of language schools and
the adoption of the Internet
It was explicitly
asked if the school used the Internet as a teaching
tool. The results show that 51 schools (55,43%) use
the Internet with this objective while 41 (44,57%)
do not use it. The percentage of schools that have
an institutional home page is of 70,65%.
One of the questions
investigated the amount of training the participants
received on the use of the Internet as a teaching tool.
Results indicate that 40 participants (43,48%) did
not receive any training; 29 participants (31,52%)
had between 1-6 hours of training, while 8 participants
(8,69%) had between 7-12 hours of training. Only 12
participants (13,04%) had 16 or more hours of training.
Data suggest that all of those who received more than
6 hours of training on the use of the Internet as a
teaching tool, effectively use it for this purpose.
In a complementary
way, among the ones who do not adopt the Internet,
are the majority who did not receive any training on
the subject or that received up to 6 hours of training.
Based on these results, it can be inferred that the
amount of training on the innovation is a factor to
be considered in the decision about its adoption in
the population researched.
Besides the amount
of training received, the time that the Internet had
been available as a teaching tool was also investigated.
Most of the respondents, 55 (59,78%), have had the
Internet available as a teaching tool at the school
for more than 9 months.
Of the 55 respondents
who have the Internet available as a teaching tool
for more than 9 months, 16 (29,09%) do not adopt the
Internet and 39 of them (70,91%) adopt it. Twelve respondents
(13,05%) have the Internet available for less than
9 months and 2 respondents did not answer this question.
Data suggest that the availability of use of the Internet,
at the schools researched, is related to its adoption.
One question verified
if the respondents perceived any kind of pressure from
teachers for the Internet to be used as a teaching
tool. Sixty-five of the respondents answered negatively
(70,65%), 26 (28,26%) answered affirmatively and 1
respondent (1,09%) did not answer.
By crossing these
data with the effective use of the Internet as a teaching
tool, it is verified that in the 65 schools where the
respondents do not perceive pressure from teachers
31 (47,69%) do not adopt the Internet and 34 (52,31%)
adopt it. The difference, as expected, is small and
not significant, once there is no pressure.
In the 26 schools
in which the respondents perceived pressure from teachers
this seems to have some influence. In 9 (34,62%) of
these schools the Internet is not adopted, but 17 (65,38%)
of them adopt it as a teaching tool. Data suggest that
teachers’ pressure can influence adoption rate,
indicating a ratio between these two variables.
It was also verified
if the respondents perceived any type of pressure from
students for the Internet to be used with educational
aims. Sixty-nine of the respondents did not perceive
any pressure from the students’ part in their
In the 69 schools
in which there is no pressure from the students, 30
(43,48%) of these schools did not adopt the Internet
while 39 (56,52%) adopted it. The result suggests that,
as expected, when there is no pressure adoption rate
does not suffer much influence. The numbers are also
very similar to the ones obtained with the teachers.
The adoption of the Internet as a teaching tool, in
this context, is probably related to other factors.
The variable size
of the school was included in the present study to
determine which effects, if any, it would have on the
decision to use the Internet or not. It was assumed
that bigger schools would have more resources for their
teachers and students. Most of the schools, i.e. 58
(63,04%), have between 0 and 250 students, that is,
they are relatively small schools. By cross-referencing
size with adoption, the result shows that in 60% of
the schools with more than 500 students adoption occurs
and in 50% of the schools with 0-250 students the Internet
is also adopted. In the schools with 251-500 students
the adoption of the Internet occurs in 78,57%. It can
be inferred, therefore, that the size of the school
is not a determinant factor for the adoption of the
Internet as a teaching tool.
The variable school
existence time has also been included in the present
study to determine which effects, if any, it would
have on the decision to use or not the Internet. By
cross-referencing school existence time with adoption,
the result shows that in 48,78% of the schools with
less than 5 years adoption occurs, while in 60% of
the schools with more than 16 years of functioning
the Internet is also adopted. In the schools with 6-15
years of existence the adoption of the Internet occurs
in 62,96% of them.
Perceived attributes of the Internet
By the time the 8th
Braz-Tesol National Convention 2002 was held, data
concerning the five attributes of the Internet were
still under statistical analysis due to some problems
that delayed the final results.
The objective of
this study was to identify the factors that support
or impede the use of the Internet as a teaching tool
in language schools in Curitiba, from the perspective
of the ones responsible for the pedagogical decisions
at these schools.
It was verified that
a little more than half (55,43%) of the schools researched
use the Internet as a teaching tool. The percentage
suggests that, in the average, language schools are
slowly shifting from the position of mere observers
of Internet applications with cautious interest to
effective adopters of such resource. Nowadays the scenery
is more characterized by schools going from “getting
on” to “getting into” the Internet
as a teaching tool. The gap between the 70,65% of the
schools that have a home page and the 55,43% that use
the Internet as a teaching tool exemplifies this process.
will be drawn when results concerning the five attributes
of the Internet are analyzed.
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