Faculty Publications

‘We Just Learned From Each Other’: ESOL Pre-Service Teachers Learning To Use Digital Tools Across Coursework And Student Teaching

Document Type



activity theory, Language teacher education, practicum course, student teaching internship, technology

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Language Learning Journal


Although educators can use digital tools to meet emergent bilingual students’ unique needs, language teachers generally feel unprepared to use technology with students, and language teacher education programs face challenges in implementing technology. This study uses ethnographic methods to explore 12 pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) experiences learning about digital tools in ways intended to support emergent bilingual students. I interviewed the PSTs and observed their participation across student teaching and a concurrent practicum course, and I analyzed these data through the lens of activity theory. PSTs perceived that their participation in teacher education was characterised by a shared responsibility where all the PSTs, their teacher educator, and mentor teachers contributed new knowledge about digital tools. The co-construction of knowledge afforded the PSTs opportunities to learn in the moment, and many described their learning as ‘playing around’. This study has implications for teacher education programs and theory related to teacher learning. Through shared responsibility and playfulness, all educational stakeholders can take on roles as learners and experts where they leverage one another’s experiences and contributions to support PSTs’ instructional practices, challenging traditional roles between PSTs and their multiple mentors.


Department of Languages and Literatures

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version