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Call-In EFL Instruction at Tabuk University

The present literature review, first of all, considers the definitions of attitude and attitudes towards computers, it also sheds light on the concept of attitudes, attitudes and language learning, teachers’ attitudes towards the computers in EFL instruction, Arab teachers’ attitudes towards the computer in EFL instruction, students’ attitudes towards computer and the differences between teachers’ and students’ attitude towards the use of a computer.

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The Concept of Attitude

In order to trace the development and essence of the concept of attitude, it is necessary to resort to up-to-date sources on Psychology and Sociology that give an account of the evolution of the concept of attitude in psychological and sociological research. As a great number of researchers of the twentieth century were occupied with research devoted to the concept of attitude, it is problematic and unnecessary to give a full account of their works and finings. Thus, the present section is the summary of the research of the concept of attitude as presented by Deutcher, Pestello & Pestello (1993) and Martin & Briggs (1986). The choice of these sources was determined by their specialization: Psychology and Educational Instruction.

The term “attitude” represents different meanings depending on the fields where it is used: Psychology, Sociology, Social Psychology, etc. Deutscer et al. (1993) mention Herbert Spencer (1862) among the first scientists who mentioned the concept of attitude in the research. Thomas and Znaniecki (1918) offered a definition of Social Psychology as the science devoted to the study of attitudes. The researchers of the first part of the twentieth century, for instance, Bain (1928: 940) treated attitudes as “the relatively stable overt behavior of a person which affects his status”. Thurstone (1946: 39) offered one more definition of attitudes “as the intensity of positive or negative effect for or against a psychological object. A psychological object is any symbol, person, phrase, slogan, or idea toward which people can differ as regards positive or negative effect”. Martin & Briggs (1986: 101) also offer the definition of attitude by Murphy, Murphy & Newcomb (1937): “Attitude is primarily a way of being ‘set’ toward or against certain things”. The same authors give a definition of attitude as “an enduring, learned predisposition to behave in a consistent way toward a given class or objects; a persistent mental state of readiness to react to a class of objects as they are conceived to be” (English & English, 1958, as cited in Martin & Briggs 1986: 101).

However, there were the scientists who considered that attitude failed to “meet the requirements of a scientific concept” (Blumer, 1955, as cited in Deutscher et al. 1993: 193). Deutscher et al. (1993: 193) agree with Blumer that the concept of attitude is an ambiguous and omnibus term, and they also claim that there is “no cumulative building of knowledge on what an attitude is”.

Still, it is necessary to give an account of the research of the concept of attitude during the second part of the twentieth century.

Mantel-Bromely (1995) states that attitude has both emotional and evaluative nature and it indicates the level of one’s liking or disliking a certain object. Besides, Mante-Bromley (1995) states that a number of attitude theorists (Rajeski, 1990; Zimbardo & Leippe, 1991) in psychology offer a three-component structure of attitude: affect (the degree of liking of the object the person has); cognition (that means the person’s knowledge about the attitudinal object); behavior (“reactions and intentions regarding the object”) (Mantle-Bromley 1995: 373).

Research on the concept of attitude is still underway. Among the most modern researchers of attitudes, it is necessary to mention Palaigeorgiou, Siozoz, Konstantakis, & Tsoukalas (2005: 331) who defined attitudes as “a positive or negative sentiment, or mental state, that is learned and organized through experience and that exercises a discrete influence on the affective and conative responses of an individual toward some other individual, object or event?

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Definition of Attitude

The present section offers two basic definitions that will lie on the basis of our research.

The first is the definition of Palaigeorgiou, Siozos, Konstantakis, Tsoukalas (2005: 39) stating that “attitude” is “a positive or negative sentiment or mental state, that is learned and organized through experience and that exercises a discrete influence on the affective and conative responses of an individual toward some other individual, object or event”.

The second is the definition of “attitudes toward computers”: Smith, Caputi, & Rawstorne (2000: 61) define “attitudes toward computers” as “a person’s general evaluation or feeling of favourableness or unfavourableness toward computer technologies (i.e. attitude toward objects) and specific computer-related activities (i.e. attitudes toward ba ehavior)” (p. 61). The choice of these particular definitions has been determined by the fact that they offea r versatile presentation of the concepts they denote and the wordings are applicable to the present research. The definitions are up to date and cover all aspects of the concepts. At the same time, the wordings are clear and concise.

Attitude and Language Learning

The middle of the sixties of the twentieth century was the time when the studies of attitude in language learning started. (Smith, 1971). Smith (1971: 82) mentioned that by “the midsixties disquieting feelings began to emerge on the pages of all the foreign language journals. Something was amiss. Something had been overlooked, an important factor that we are only now beginning to investigate: attitudes”. Attitude is considered one of the affective variables that have a great role in second or foreign language acquisition (Ganschow, Sparks, Anderson, Javorshy, Skinner, & Patton, 1994). The questioning of the role of affective factors in language learning turned out to be a possible answer to the set question. The question concerns the following paradox: how some people can learn a second language perfectly and proficiently while another learner, though the same opportunities and setting to study language available for them, fail their studies since all other answers attributed to teaching methods, knack, or pedagogical matters have failed (Gardner & Lambert, 1972). Gardner and Lambert (1995) were the pioneers in the field as these researchers were those who started the investigation of affective variables and brought them to the fore of research (Bacon & Finnemann, 1990).

The great importance of attitudes in language learning and acquisition has been emphasized by a number of other researchers (Ellis, 1985; Gardner & Lambert, 1972; Merisuo-Storm, 2006; Savigon, 1976). Savigon (1976), for instance, treated attitude as the most valuable factor in second language learning. Attitude plays an important role in the formation of motivation toward language learning itself; this means that attitude has an important connection with other affective factors (Gardner & Lambert, 1972). The same researchers, Gardner & Lambert (1972: 134), mentioned that “the learner’s motivation for language study, it follows, would be determined by his attitudes and readiness to identify and by his orientation to the whole process of learning a foreign language”. The same idea was supported by Merisuo-Storm (2006), who established a direct connection between motivation in language learning and stable attitudes in the mind of a learner. There was one more valuable opinion by a researcher, who emphasized vital impotence of attitudes and motivation as the factors that can help to determine and assess the level of proficiency of language learners (Ellis, 1985).

As stated by Margaret & Gardner (2003: 173), attitudes toward learning situations, are connected with “the individual’s reaction to anything associated with the immediate context in which the language is taught”. Masgoret and Garden (2003) in their meta-analysis study explored the relationship between second language achievement to five attitudinal or motivational variables adapted from Gardener’s previous model on social education in comparison with the factors of availability of language in community and the age of learners to check if they have any moderating effect. The five variables under study were: integrativeness, attitudes towards the learning situations, motivation, integrative orientation, and instrumental integration. The study was based on 75 independent samples comprising 10489 individuals. 56 samples came from published sources while 19 were from unpublished articles and dissertations. The study results based on three hypotheses categorised three relationships under study: first, it showed that the 5 variables under study were found to be positively related to achievement in a second language learning. Second, it has been observed that motivation has a higher correlation in relation to second language achievement in contrast with the other variables. Finally, the results indicated that neither the availability of language in the immediate environment nor the age of the learners moderated language learning.

Success is greatly determined by attitudes toward the language learning environment. For instance, Merisuo-Storm (2006: 228) mentioned that “negative attitudes towards language learning can reduce learners’ motivation and harm language learning, whereas positive attitudes can do the opposite”. Lin & Miller (2005: 324) stated that “We may wish to obtain measures of student’s attitudes toward certain classroom activities, the textbook, laboratory experience, or our own instruction so that needed adjustments can be made”. The importance of information about students’ attitudes for educators was mentioned by Oxford (2001). Also, Mantle-Bromley (1995: 373) stated that “attitudes influence the efforts that students expend to learn another language, then language teachers need a clear understanding of attitudes and attitude-change theory in order to address these issues in the classroom”. Since this is the first time attitude change theory is mentioned in the present review, it is necessary to tackle this term. The theory, in fact, can be illustrated by its main hypothesis that says that the behaviour of potential persuaded or recipients is constrained or controlled by the attitudes towards the various aspects of certain object (Steinberg, 2000: 37). Thus, the investigation of students’ attitudes would help educators figure out the learners, improve their teaching methods, probably, bringing positive changes and modifications to the course syllabus on the whole.

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It is necessary to tackle the Monitor Theory of Krashen as it is a valuable theory for second language acquisition that emphasizes motivation that is created by positive attitudes of a learner towards the knowledge and its acquisition. The theory presents particular interest since it is greatly appreciated and criticised a lot at the same time. For instance, Omaggio-Hadley (1993) questions the propriety of the authors’ strict distinction between learning and acquisition and proves that the monitor fails to work as prescribed. The theory suggests that the affective filter in language acquisition has had a large impact on the role that affective factors play in language acquisition (Bacon & Finnemann, 1990). The hypothesis of Affective Filter by Krashen (1987) deserves some more attention as it is related to students’ attitudes in the form of affective variables and successful language acquisition. Krasher (1987: 31) states that the Affective Filter hypothesis reflects the relationship between affective variables and the process of second language acquisition by positing that acquirers vary with according to the strength of their affective filters. Those learners whose attitudes are not optimal and adequate for second language acquisition will not only tend to seek less input, but they will also have a high or strong Affective Filter. This means that even if they understand the message, the input will not reach the part of the brain that is responsible for language acquisition, or the language acquisition device. Krasher (1987: 31) claims that those learners who have attitudes more conducive to second language acquisition will not only seek and get more input, they will also have a lower or weaker filter that will make them more open to the input that will be able to get “deeper”. Thus, the value of the studied theory is in its establishment of the connection between affective factor and language acquisition.

Studies on Attitudes of Teachers towards CALL

Training appears to be a crucial issue which impacts on EFL teachers’ attitudes to CALL/computers. The present subsection shows the importance of specialized training of pre-service and in-service teachers that is aimed at the improvement of their computer literacy can influence their professional ability to use computer technologies in the educational process successfully.

A research conducted by Kilic (2001: 62) analyzes the influence of the use of “telecommunication technologies on pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards computers and their attitudes towards communicating on computers” at Indiana University in the fall semester of 1998-1999 academic years at the level of Elementary Science Methods Course. All students from this course were divided into two groups with group A (consisting of 43 students) where the use of communication technologies was integrated; and group B (consisting of 49 students) where telecommunication technologies were not applied. They were asked to respond to a survey adapted from Mitra (1998) administered at the beginning and at the end of the semester by means of pre-test and post-test of the student’s attitudes towards computer technologies. The survey tested two groups on the basis of two subscales: attitudes towards computer subscale (including eight items: attitudes, feelings of being comfortable, apprehensive, or neutral while using computers) and the attitudes towards communicating on computers subscale. The findings of the research show that the use of telecommunication technologies in this study did not influence students’ attitudes towards computers and their attitudes towards computer-based communication. The studied groups had demonstrated positive attitude towards computers and communicating on computers before the survey and the results remained approximately the same after the survey. The value of this research is in the fact that though it does not offer dramatic changes of students’ attitudes, absence of results is the best result in this particular case. The survey shows that it is possible to find a balance and harmony between personal and educational use of computer technologies by students.

Yildirim’s (2000) qualitative as well as a quantitative study was based on the assumption that positive attitudes towards computers and an increase in computer use was a direct result of increased computer training. The researcher analyzed the effects of a computer literacy course on pre-service and in-service teachers’ attitudes at California State University. The survey also had a goal of examining the changes of attitudes resulting from participation in educational computing class aid to investigate the factors maximizing teachers’ computer use. For the sake of this study, a computer competency survey was distributed among 114 participants (83 females, 31 males) divided into three groups: novice (group 1), intermediate (group 2) and competent (group 3) according to their level of computer literacy. The assessed sub skills included the following: word processing, presentation of software use, web browsing, telecommunications use, educational software use, spread sheet use, database management, and desktop publishing. In addition, the study was performed according to three types of attitudes towards computer technologies: anxiety, confidence and liking, following Loyd and Gressard (1984). The data for the study were collected through a pre-test, post-test, and a follow-up study. The results of the pre-test were analyzed using MANOVA, which showed that the competent members of the above mentioned group 3 demonstrated significantly higher positive attitude, more confidence and less anxiety than members of groups 1(novice) and 2 (intermediate).

The results of the post-test indicated that group 1 had as much of a positive attitude, less anxiety and more confidence as teachers in group 2 and group 3. This can be explained by the fact that teachers of group 1 gained more from the course in terms of increasing confidence, reducing anxiety and improving attitudes towards computers. The practical value of the analyzed study is in the fact that it demonstrates the importance of educational computing class aid for the improvement of positive attitudes of pre-service and in-servicer teachers towards the general use of computers that can be successfully applied for professional purposes.

Kenzek, Christensen and Rice’s (1997) study the aims at measuring attitudinal changes that 9 groups of 118 subjects ranging from novice teachers to teachers having little computer knowledge experienced during their 6 weekly technology training sessions that took place at Texas public school district during 1995-1996 on Macintosh computers. TAQ or “teachers attitudes towards computers” was used to collect data at two levels: 1) by completing both pre-test and post-test questionnaires, 2) by providing further information matching their responses in pre-tests and post-tests. On the whole, the two levels contained about 284 items (e.g. included in CAS, CASL, CUQ, ATCS, etc.). The data were analysed using a 32 Likert scales and Semantic Differential subscales, which were the scales determining the value of an object, quality, etc. in comparison with other object or from the point of view of contrasting concepts (for instance, good and bad). The data were finally categorised into 8 factors similar to Gardner, Discenza and Duke’s (1993) study and many others. The overall results showed that teachers under technology training reduced their anxieties about computers use and their expectations about the usefulness of information technology increased. Enjoyment and liking measures also rose to positive.

Albirini’s (2004) descriptive exploratory dissertation investigates quantitatively and qualitatively the attitudes of EFL teachers towards their use of ICT in education in a Syrian high school in Hims during 2003-2004. The researcher also studied the relationship between the attitudes of the above mentioned subjects and the following five variables: computer attributes, cultural perceptions, computer competence, computer access and demographic information of the subjects from a sample size of 887, selecting randomly a sample size of 326. This study is based on Roger’s (1983) Diffusion of Innovations and Ajzen and Fishbien’s (1980) “theory of reasoned action”, and the choice of the theoretical background for Albirini’s research seems useful for our study as it shows the way how theory impacts research design. Thus, Rogers (1983: 5) defines diffusion as “the process by which an innovation is communicated though certain channels over time among the members of a social system”. Since Rogers (1983) singles out such central elements of diffusion process as communication channels and social system, his theoretical data can become useful for our research. As for Ajzen and Fishbein’s Theory of Reasoned Action, it can also become a useful theoretical ground for practical research. For instance, Ajzen & Fishbein (1980) single out two factors that help to explain behaviour (personal factor and social influence). In other sources analyzed in this review (Shashsaani, 1997; Bush, 1995), practical support of Ajzen and Fisgbein’s theory could be found. Thus, the Theory of Reasoned Action can be valuable for our research as well.

Albirini collected the data in two stages using a survey questionnaire and a telephonic interview. The second instrument seems to be interesting in terms of its originality. The questionnaire on computer and computer related techniques in education was distributed to a total of 326 teachers and a response of 98.6% was obtained from 320 respondents. A semi-structured interview from “information rich” population of 15 teachers (those who had demonstrated intense responses on the following variables: computer competence, computer access, and computer training) followed the survey to seek explanations for attitudinal motivation. The result showed positive attitude with a significant relationship between teachers’ positive attitude and the variables under study. The participants demonstrated an overall positive attitude towards ICT and its use in education and had positive perceptions about it. They were, however, neutral towards the cultural relevance of computers in Syrian society in general and in schools particularly. Observations of low levels of training in computers, their access and use were significant with implications for more demand of these factors. The relationship between teachers’ attitude to ICT and the independent variables was also noticed, with first three variables having a stronger value of computer attitudes.

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Al-Asmari (2005) applied a similar methodology to Albirini, but he studied a different aspect of computer use in education. His work primarily investigates the use of the Internet by the EFL teachers at Saudi Arabian colleges of technology situated in Riyadh, Abba, Jeddah and Dammam during the academic year of 2004-20055. The research also looks into the relationship existing between teachers’ use of the Internet and a set of five variables: personal attributes of teachers, the accessibility of the Internet, teachers’ perceived expertise in computer use and the Internet, and the use of the Internet as a tool for instructions. He also applied Roger’s (1995) model of Diffusion of Innovations and applied both quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data. Such popularity of Roger’s model proves its usefulness for such a type of research on attitude. Thus, a questionnaire and a telephonic interview were used to collect data from a sample of 203 EFL teachers over a period of four months. A response rate of 91.1% was obtained through personal contact with respondents. Later, a 10-20 minute interview was arranged telephonically from 15 out of 84 teachers (51%) and it was audio-tapped. The interview was based on three questions based on the need for advocacy of the Internet, factors limiting the use of the Internet and the proper use of the Internet for EFL instructions. An SPSS 12 analysis of the data showed teachers’ positive inclination towards the use of the Internet in educational instructions. A very strong relationship was also observed between teachers’ use of the Internet and independent variables mentioned above. The follow-up interview results were also used to comment on observations obtained from the questionnaire and positive attitudes towards the use of the Internet in educational instructions were observed. This was, in turn, attributed to the advantages of the Internet use, like time saving, improving quality and quantity with easy storage and retrieval etc, thus implying its use in educational instruction. The presence of positive attitudes of teachers towards the use of the Internet is a valuable finding since other studies reviewed in this paper mainly tackle the use of software, not the Internet. Due to Al-Asmari, a fuller picture of attitudes of teachers towards technologies and technology based education is created.

Afshari, Bakar, Luang, Samah, & Fooi (2009) reviewed the pedagogical, psychological and cognitive factors (evaluation, analysis of ICT, etc.) influencing teachers’ decision to use ICT in the classroom. They also suggested a model for the integration of technology into teacher training programmes as after Ten Brummelhuis. Thus, the study has practical value. They categorised the factors affecting teachers’ use of ICT into two main types: non-manipulative (which cannot be directly affected towards any change ,e.g. age, teaching experience, computer experience or governmental policies, etc.) school and teacher factors and manipulative factors (e.g. attitudes and beliefs or perceptions, and even knowledge and skills). This review of previous studies done by Afshari et al. (2009) showed the interrelation of these two types of factors. To make the integration of technology into educational process successful, a need of identifying factors, having a plan and vision are emphasized. This can be achieved by means of individual support, intellectual stimulus, working to achieve group goals that should be provided by principals of the schools. Schools should also take their entire community into confidence and should utilise their knowledge and skills for a successful integration of information technology and computers in educational system. After the implementation of ICT in teacher training programmes, teachers should continuously be updated with the current demands in the field through pre-service as well as in-service courses. Thus, the value of the research is that it not only analyzes the factors influencing teachers and their attitudes towards ICT, but it gives practical advice on the improvement of the situation. One more merit of the study that deserves mentioning is the role of principals as active agents, supporters, and providers of ICT at their schools. Thus, the role of principals in the formation of attitudes of teachers towards CALL should be also analyzed in our research.

Studies on Students’ Attitudes towards CALL

Ayres (2002) in his empirical study examined students’ attitudes towards the use of computers assisted language learning (CALL), their perceived view of its relevancy to their course study. The author analyzes students’ perception of CALL as a competitor with the teacher and the links between perceived usefulness of CALL and the students’ level of computer literacy, language level and age at UNITEC school of English and applied linguistics in (2000). A total of 157 non-native speakers undergraduates coming from 27 different nationalities were related to respond to a questionnaire that was based on statements obtaining information about learner’s views of how useful they viewed the three software used and how useful they thought time spent in laboratory was? The results were analysed using SPSS and Chi-square. The results showed that the learners appreciated and valued computer assisted language learning and that the use of CALL with existing programmes of study ranked highly by the learners. High percentage of 80%, 77% and 60% found CALL relevant to their needs, a source of useful information and demanded more use of CALL respectively. In short, the study proved high face validity for CALL in this context. The merit of Ayres’ study is in the fact that it is a strong argument for the more frequent use of CALL in language courses.

Bulut and Abu Seileek’s (2006) work on the analysis of learners’ attitude toward CALL and its connection with the development of four basic language skills (Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading). The main merit of this study is its uniqueness from the point of view of its focus on the relationship between student’s attitudes towards CALL and the performance of their particular language skill. The study differs from the existing research that mainly focuses on the analysis of the opinion of students thus being one-sided. The study conducted by Bulut and Abu Seileek is a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods of research based in the context of The Department of English Language and Linguistics at King Saud University in KSA. The data for this study were collected by means of the use of a five-point Likert scale attitude questionnaire for only one of the skills and an achievement test for that particular language skills from 112 students who participated in the course during the first Semester of the academic year 2005-2006. The overall results of the study indicated that the integration of CALL into the curriculum for teaching basic language skills was greatly appreciated and approved by the participants. As for the basic language skills and students’ attitude towards them in terms of CALL application, Listening and Writing appeared to be favoured by students in comparison with Speaking and Reading. Such a result of the study is of great interest since its further analysis and study can offer the ways of improvement of students’ attitude towards CALL and its use for the development of two language skills that are the least popular in this relation, Speaking and Reading. Results from students’ attitudes toward CALL for specific language skills with their relationship to the progress in the development of these skills, however, did not yield any significant results. Bulut and Abu Seileek was also emphasize that CALL experience has its own idiosyncrasies and its results are dependent upon so many contextual and even personal attributes, such as individual perception of CALL as luxury. On considering the value of theoretical findings of the research, it is necessary to tackle the software used in the process of investigation. In fact, a wide range of software was used for the study: electronic dictionaries, electronic books with CD-ROMs, word processors, computer based exercises (for instance, multiple choice, filling of the gaps). The weak point of the study is absence of concrete examples of software used that is justified by the authors’ statement that the research is not aimed at the study of software. Though it is really so, the emphasis on the software could have helped in the analysis of the preference given to Listening and Reading in CALL.

Another qualitative and quantitative study conducted by Lin (2003) on the attitudes of EFL learners towards the integration and application of multimedia into a language learning programme provides an initial investigation of the topic of integration of technology into language learning classroom. The setting of the study was Wenzao Ursuline College of Language in Taiwan, where the researcher surveyed 46 first year junior college students doing English listening and writing courses. Formal language class with computer was something of a novelty for the subjects. These participants were made to learn English writing and listening through dicto-composition (using ALELA Website, official website of Lin that is meant for teachers and students and was used as the main instruction tool), story writing, story recording, and internet surfing. The survey was conducted on the basis of a questionnaire with 5-point Likert scale. The regular language lab and the multimedia language lab were the materials of this study as the author claims (Lin, 2003). Still, the wording seems to be controversial here, since labs cannot be considered to be materials, probably, the author should have used the labs provided context for the study. The SPSS was used for the quantitative analysis of the collected data. The nontrivial results of this study offered that it would be reasonable to integrate multimedia in the curriculum of teenage language learners as well. This is one of the merits if the analyzed work as it opens new horizons for investigation of students’ attitudes towards CALL and their academic progress connected with it. Also, Lin states that the subjects of the study have found technology-enhanced motivation which helped them accomplish their tasks. This motivation was created by such types of multimedia tasks as recording of the stories, sending readings via email, and surfing the given website, ALELA. Taking into account that all the tasks were absolutely new for the subjects and they had no prior experience of doing such tasks, but mainly succeeded in them, it is possible to state the study was an effective motivator for students and their perception of CALL.

Almakhlafi (2006) has investigated the effectiveness of CALL for EFL learning of elementary-prep school students in the United Arab Emirates. A pre-test and post-test experiment’s control group design was adopted for this purpose. A total of 83 elementary-prep school students (11-13 years old) randomly chosen with intermediate level of English, participated in the study during the academic year of (2003-2004) at Al-Tamayoz Elementary school in Al-Ain, Abo-Dhabi. These students were divided into two groups with 43 students in the experimental group and 40 students in the control group with a total of 4 classes subject to same conditions of class size, same text books of English , same level and the same AV aids. Two types of instruments: pre-test and post-tests were used to measure the difference in participants’ language competence before and after study. The materials utilized involved: hard copy for the control group and CD-ROM, EFL skills Development (TM) having videos and sound clips, Picture, CALL for the experimental group. The drawback of the research is that that authors do not provide any specific examples of the paper material in contrast to CALL. As the result, it is difficult to assess the comparability of the study. Thus, a pre-test based on a test of English proficiency as a foreign language (EFL) was conducted, which had a total score of 100 for multiple choice and open ended test items. The post-test at the first stage was identical in nature to the pre-test that makes the assessment of the results more objective, while the second stage , however, was a 7-points bipolar questionnaire (based on 7-point bipolar probability ranging from, for instance, appreciation to rejection of CALL as a part of learning experience). The combination of the tests gauged the users’ overall attitudes towards CALL, its utility, the perceived knowledge gain of EFL and the intentions towards future use of Computer Assisted Language Learning. In all, the data were collected over a period of 5 weeks that seems sufficient in terms of the study duration. A significant difference in achievements was apparent between the CALL users and non-users. The results also showed overall positive attitudes towards CALL use that was forced by the student’s observation of their personal improvement of comprehension and the utility of CALL for more successful completion of course assignments. The students admitted their intentions to use CALL in the future. Thus, CALL’s utility was appreciated in helping students learn EFL. Still, the study has proved to be narrow that has engendered its limitations, such as the reduction of the range of subjects to elementary-prep male Arabic students. This means that the application of the results to the students of other age groups, nationality, and gender can be inaccurate.

Towndrow (1996) carried out this case study to measure the appropriateness of exploratory software exemplified through “guided discovery” at United Arab Emirates University (UAE Uni). The University General Requirements Unit English Programme was designed to provide learning support to all first year undergraduate students during one semester of their study (fall) in 1996. Students were given 2 hours of computer-based instruction a week in Power Macintosh equipped labs. Open-ended and close-ended questions were used to gather opinions about the attitudes of students to the level of difficulty of the software and to its utility. The results showed that CALL was helpful and classroom-based instruction was reinforced due to it. It was found that 26% of the students considered the courseware “difficult’’ that resulted in a failure to obtain the desired progress. It was concluded that this mismatch of software and students could be improved by the teachers’ own participation in CALL and that teachers themselves should be provided with support from directors from outside the class. Thus, the value of the study is its uniqueness in terms of the analysis of the students’ failure to succeed in the use of academic software and its interrelation with the students’ attitude to the courseware. Besides, this study and the previous one analyzed may be considered as mutually complementary due to the fact that the subjects of the first study were male students while the second study focused on female students.

In terms of the issue of gender and attitudes towards computers, the analysis of the study conducted by Bush (1995) seems promising for our research. Bush (1995) studied gender differences related to the attitudes towards computers and self-efficacy at a Norwegian College testing a total of 147 participants of whom 80 were female subjects and 67 male subjects during the fall of 1992/spring of 1993. The course was a compulsory introductory course to teach Lotus 1.2.3 (spreadsheet program) and Word Perfect (Bush, 1995). The computer attitude scale or CAS, which was a Likert-type instrument of attitude measurement, was applied to the subjects to measure their levels of computer anxiety, confidence and computer liking (i.e. to measure the attitudes towards computers) at the end of the course. The results proved to be sufficiently reliable and valid (Bush, 1995). A measure of past experience was also carefully recorded that seemed to be reasonable and useful as it has been established that there was a strong correlation between prior computer experience, self-efficacy, and attitudes towards computers. The results obtained through a t-test after completion of 20 experimental tasks (10 tasks in Lotus 1.2.3. and 10 in Word Perfect) demonstrated a strong correlation between computer attitudes and perceived self-efficacy. Male students showed less anxiety with more computer confidence, there was no particular difference towards liking by the two sexes; however, males were more confident in computer use. Previous encouragement was found to be a more significant variable in predicting computer attitudes than expectations about self-efficacy. The most valuable finding of the analyzed research is that Bush has found out that computer attitude and self-efficacy are “different aspects of the personality and … gender differences are found in self-efficacy” (Bush, 1995: 152), not in computer attitude. Since self-efficacy is greatly influenced by encouragement of other people (mainly friends) and prior experience of the participants of the study, it is possible to conclude that increased encouragement on the part of peers, parents, and teachers will contribute to the improvement of both, computer attitudes and self-efficacy of female students. According to the Bush’s survey, the level of computer literacy is approximately equal on the part of the students of both sexes, but self-efficacy of women needs additional support in the form of encouragement and wider use of computer technologies in everyday life. Bush’s findings are of great interest since they prescribe to encourage female students more to strengthen their self-efficacy and, consequently, positive attitudes to computer-based studies.

If Bush (1995) states that his research has proved that parental encouragement has no significant influence on students’ levels of computer confidence, anxiety, and liking, Shashsaani (1997) presents the results of her study that seem to contradict Bush’s point of view. Shashsaani (1997) analyzed the gender gap in attitudes to computer use with particular reference to two main factors: prior experience of the subjects and the level of parental encouragement. The survey was conducted on the basis of comparatively rich number of subjects: the researcher used a sample of 202 (87 males and 115 females) undergraduate college students doing an introductory computer course at an urban University in Pittsburgh studying in computer sciences, mathematics, pharmacy, communication, sociology, and politics sciences departments. In her study, the researcher tested the hypothesis that there are significant gender differences in attitudes towards computers and experience of work with them. To collect data, a pre-test and four post-test were arranged and a written questionnaires with three subscales of computer attitude, computer experience, and demographic information were used. Four unpaired t-tests were carried out to analyse men’s and women’s attitudes to computer liking, confidence, usefulness, and stereotype. The pre-test results indicated that males’ liking for computers was higher; they enjoyed computing and considered the experience as a more exciting one. The overall results related to gender differences on the basis of three subscales order study were significant. Males’ scores were high on computer liking, enjoyment from computing, and treating computer-based work as an exciting experience. Females, however, were uncomfortable with computer. Results in the post-test showed that students having more knowledge about and experience with computers demonstrate stronger positive attitudes towards computer-based tasks than those who have less knowledge and experience. Moreover, male students were reported to express more interest in computers and had more confidence in computers’ use. Still, the students of both sexes strongly believed in gender equality in computers. This is a very valuable finding of Shashsaani. Absence of prejudice towards the use of computers and female ability to use them, female awareness of computer’s being an integral part of contemporary society seem very important for CALL as it means that female students have suitable concept of computer and its necessity for life and studies of women. Still, if women showed their confidence in the ability of their sex to work with a computer, they also showed “we can but I can’t paradox” (Shashsaani 1997: 46). A possible solution of this problem can be in the change of parental attitude to gender gap and computer use.

With regard to parental behaviour, men who perceived computer as typically for male because of their parents’ attitued were more interested in computers and were more confident in their use. Female students, whose parents thought that computers were more suitable for males, performed negatively on computer use and its liking and demonstrated less confidence. Thus, it can be concluded that parental attitude towards gender of their children and their abilities and necessity of use of a computer is one of the decisive factors that determine children’s attitudes towards computers. In order to foster and encourage their children’s success and positive attitudes towards computers, computer based learning, and CALL in particular the process of learning should be supported by positive parental attitude.

Finally, one more interesting finding of Shashsaani is worth mentioning: it is the fact that females’ negative attitudes seemed not to influence their academic performance as “their final grades were much higher than those of male students” (Shashsaani, 1997: 48). The weak point of the study is that the researcher fails to offer any explanation of this finding. It means that the correlation between females’ attitudes towards computers and their academic success should be studied further.

Studies Conducted on Teachers’ and Students’ Attitudes towards CALL

Christensen (2002), in her research, presented findings from a year-long study of a large public elementary school in North Texas, U.S.A, which has introduced information technology into teachers’ daily class room practices. In particular, she studied the effects of Reed-based technique (based on the study of computer anxiety) in the introduction of technology integration education on the attitudes of teachers and students’ in this context. For this purpose, a total of sixty (60) teachers from the school and two similar comparison schools in the same district were used as comparison groups and were given two days of instructions and a follow-up training was arranged. In addition, the teachers’ attitudes towards computers questionnaires (TAC Ver.2.21) were used to gather attitudinal data from teachers at the treatment and comparison schools. CASC i.e. computer confidence construct (CASD) was added to the above for completeness as well as Loyd and Gressond’s CAS were used as attitude indicators for historical purposes. Similarly, young children’s computer inventory’s (YCCI that is a 52-item Likert instrument meant for the measurement of children’s attitudes towards computers) components, for example, 1- computer importance 2- computer enjoyment and 3- computer anxiety as were measured and utilized. The findings of this study showed that technology integration education strongly influenced teacher’s attitudes towards computers. However, this effect is weaker (although present) on students. It also shows that training enhances better use of computer by teachers, which in turn positively fosters students’ computer enjoyment. Alternatively, greater positive perception of computer use in classroom gives rise to higher computer anxiety in teachers (Christensen, 2002). On the whole, the value of the research by Christensen is in the fact that it shows the connection between teachers’ and students’ reaction to technology integration education as mutually dependent. The fact that student’s reaction is weaker than that of the teachers is also significant. It can be explained by the fact that the younger generation has better awareness of technologies and is more open to innovations than the older generation. Perhaps, students’ initial attitudes towards computers are stronger than those of teachers.

Al-Shammari (2007) studied Saudi EFL learners’ attitudes towards CALL in an intensive English language programme at four campuses (two campuses in Riyadh with separate male and female campuses, Dammam and Jeddah campuses) of the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) in K.S.A to answer five research questions regarding gender, field of study, English language background, age, and current level of English language study to determine the relation between learners’ attitudes and these five variables. 1500 random Saudi EFL learners on voluntary participation with 21% representation of females and 78% males were included into cluster sampling and were divided into two groups according to English levels: preparatory and intermediate or elementary, and advanced. The instrument applied was a questionnaire (administered to 587 EFL participants) translated into Arabic with two major sections: 1) demographic information with 10 items and 2) SACALL (The scales of attitude towards CALL) consisting of 30 items with three subscales of attitudes to CALL in first and second subscale, and attitudes to the CALL Lab adapted from SETA (Educational Technology attitudes subscales) by Pi-Ching Chen. The overall results of the study indicated positive attitude towards CALL and the software in use, although Saudi females had more positive attitude towards CALL than males. It is worth mentioning that this finding of the research seems to be the most unexpected one, taking into consideration all previously analyzed surveys and studies that demonstrated prevalence of positive attitudes among male students in contrast to prevailing negative attitudes of female students. However, the researcher offers no explanation of the reasons why the results of this study differ from other surveys greatly in terms of gender and attitudes to CALL. Perhaps, there is no explanation as the researcher does not put forward any hypothesis relating to the reasons for the difference of attitudes. Still, this issue should be studied further as it can help improve females’ attitudes to CALL in those educational establishments where they tend to be negative.

A significant finding of Al-Shammari (2007) was satisfactory attitude towards the CALL system called ‘The New Dynamic English’ that was observed in all IPACALL labs. Previous research does not offer information relating to the students’ attitudes to CALL labs, thus, this is one more merit of Al-Shammari’s study. In addition, the study showed that previous background of English did not seem to have any effect on the students’ attitudes towards CALL. Thus, the period of English language learning did not play any role in attitude change towards CALL. However, previous computer knowledge showed a significant attitude change, e.g. more hours of daily use of a computer meant better computer skills and more positive attitude towards CALL. This finding coincides with the results of the above-analyzed studies (Bush, 1995; Shashsaani, 1997). Again, the study proves that to obtain positive attitudes of students’ to CALL, it is necessary to ensure certain prior experience before college studies and certain amount of initial computer literacy.

Studies on Teachers’ Attitude towards CALL in Arab World

Abu Samak (2006) in her quantitative study, which is a replication of extinction to Albirini’s (2004) work, explores factors that might influence the attitudes towards information and communication technology (ICT) by Jordanian EFL teachers. She also sought to determine the extent of relationship between the attitudes towards ICT by Jordanian EFL teachers and a number of related variables, e.g. the teachers’ perceptions of the attributes of ICT, culture-related perceptions of ICT, competence in using ICT, and level of access to ICT, in addition to a variety of teachers’ characteristics related to demographic information. A target population or the subjects were 760 Jordanian EFL teachers (357 males and 403 females) in the first and second district of Amman during the academic year 2005-2006 and a sample size was 380. Abu Samak adopted a multi-part survey in Arabic used by Albirini (2004) and, following the above mentioned Roger’s (1995) Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Ajzan and Fishbein’s (1980) Theory of Reasoned Action, obtained the results. A cross-sectional method of data-gathering was used. A pilot study of a sample of 15 (males and females) was also conducted.

The ICT survey of EFL teachers in Jordan in particular focused on the following: attitudes towards ICT, perceived computer attributes, cultural perspectives, perceived computer competence, perceived computer access, and teacher characteristics. The results of the study were consistent with the theoretical frameworks applied (Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Diffusion of Innovations) and the above analyzed work by Albirini’s (2004) as well. The results showed that many factors like teachers’ positive attitudes and their strong perceptions of the attributes of ICT, the intensive mandated in-service training ICDL (International Computer Driving License) certificate and additional workshops offered by JMOE (Jordan Ministry of Education) and the high level of computer competence of EFL Jordanian teachers, all played significant role in the increasing adoption of ICT by teachers. Moreover, it was also found out by Abu Samak (2006) that EFL teachers in Jordan expressed disapproval of the limited time that, in their opinion, influenced computer use in a negative way.

Albirini’s (2006) descriptive exploratory qualitative and quantitative research explores the cultural perceptions of ICT of Syrian high school EFL teachers in Hims. The study was designed to be carried out using a questionnaire and an interview. The data were collected in two stages. The questionnaire was distributed to 326 EFL teachers selected through a “table of random numbers” (arbitrary selection) for which the response rate of 98% was obtained. Finally, a sample of 314 responses was analysed using SPSS 12 statistical package. The stage two was based on an interview consisting of two stages: first, a telephonic interview for preliminary information and for arranging an interview and then the 20-30 minutes audio-taped interview. The results of the study indicated that teachers’ perceptions of the cultural relevance of computers lied between neutral and positive. The qualitative data (questionnaire) highlighted overall positive perception of computer use as the means that develops skills privileged people have. The subjects testified that it positively affected their way of living by making them choose high standard of life style and it made life easier in general. The three negative factors, however, included: social concerns to be addressed before ICT implementation, fast proliferation of computers, and lack of software representing Arab culture and identity. The qualitative part of the research revealed favourable factors as enhanced “cultural education” and extra-curricular knowledge of the outer world and cultures. Unfavourable factors came down to as gradual loss of social interaction and no or lesser representation of Arab culture and identity. They were also concerned about the immoral aspects of computers. But on the whole, it was observed that teachers’ attitude was positive of the relative importance of ICT in these educational institutes.

Al-Khatani (2001), in his qualitative as well as quantitative study, investigates how CALL is being used by EFL instructors at four government-funded universities in Saudi Arabia: King Saud University (KSU), Imam Mohammed Bin Saud Islamic University (IMIU), King Khalid University (KKU), and King Fahad University Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM).

The status of CALL at University level EFL teachers in this context was studied with particular focus on 1 – access to CALL, 2 – CALL practice, 3 – teaching methods and beliefs about CALL usage. The qualitative data for this study were obtained from three primary sources: 1 – a questionnaire, 2 – three case studies and 3- personal interviews with thirteen members of Saudi EFL teaching staffs. One of the merits of this research is the analysis of the case studies since it is the only research among those analyzed in the present Literature Review that makes use of such instrument for research. The questionnaire was used to collect data from 91 EFL faculty members and departmental chairmen at the four Universities, while purposeful sampling techniques were also used to select three participants for the case studies who were an assistant professor and two instructors using CALL more than others. The interviews of chairmen, a dean, CALL coordinators, and campus computing directors and analysis of CALL-related documents were utilized to get supplemental data. The findings of the study regarding CALL practices in this context showed that CALL is used neither in the English departments at KSUCOA nor in the English Language and Translation Institute at KKU, with the exception of a few teachers with occasional use, while at IMIU, it is used to overcome the fear of the technology. KSUCLT use computers to teach basic literacy skills and they are used for instruction but actual use in class is word processing; the use of computers with the same purpose is observed at KFUPM as well. The four Universities also use computers to produce instructional materials alone. The only computer tools used for EFL Instruction were drill-and-practice, tutorial and processing programmes. Thus, it can be observed that there is inconsistency in the use of CALL at the studied universities. On the whole, the research shows that the level of CALL is very low in the analyzed educational establishments. In order to improve the current situation, it is necessary to make investments in the development of technical basis for CALL and improvement of computer literacy of both teachers and students.

Besides, a high percentage of 82% respondents felt that CALL could be utilized effectively to enhance the quality of language teaching and learning, while 78.4% believed that CALL experience could help their succeed in today’s modern era and 73% believed that CALL helps language teachers to better deal with students’ individual needs (Al-Khatani, 2001). Though the subjects of the research mentioned disadvantages of CALL (for instance, improper content of software abusing Islamic religious view), in general, the findings about the beliefs about using CALL in EFL Instruction showed that respondents generally held positive attitudes towards the use of computers for EFL instruction.

Finally, the last two valuable ideas concerning CALL and Arabian teachers (though it can be characteristic of teachers of other nationalities as well) are that EFL teachers fear that they may be replaced by computers sooner or later and there is the fear of students becoming too dependent on technologies in education. Walker’s research is significant in this relation. Walker (1994) published a brief survey carried out at English language Centre (ELC) at King Fahd University, K.S.A, which investigated teachers’ attitude towards CALL. A questionnaire based on 14 open ended questions distributed to all 64 male members of the faculty with half owning their own computers. A response rate of 97% showed a positive response towards CALL. The majority found CALL a beneficial and useful tool, only a minority feared computers replacing them. The results obtained with the help of the questionnaire showed that teachers and students had positive attitudes towards CALL, though a ratio of 50:50 was observed on the issue of students becoming too dependent on computers. The majority considers computers as inevitable in classroom and believes that even if lessons are poor, there is always something new to learn for students. An overwhelming majority of teachers recommends use of computer games contrary to drill and practice for language learning.


The study of the existing scientific literature has provided a valuable and sufficient amount of information on the definition of attitude, it also showed scientific views on the concept of attitudes, attitudes and language learning, teachers’ attitudes towards computers in EFL instruction , Arab teachers’ attitudes towards computer in EFL instruction, students’ attitudes towards computer and the differences between teachers’ and students’ attitude towards the use of computer.

It can be drawn from the analyzed literature that sufficient instruments for measurement of attitudes are Likert scales. The promising methods for research are questionnaires, interviews, and case studies. As for the theoretical basis for the research, Roger’s (1983) Diffusion of Innovations Theory and Ajzen and Fishbien’s (1980) Theory of Reasoned Action seem useful and promising.

A number of analyzed sources either tackle or focus on the gender issue in attitudes of the participant of educational process towards CALL, and contradicting results (Towndrow, 1996; Bush, 1995, Shashaani, 197) suggest that this issue should be studied further.

The studies have proved that among the most valuable factors that influence students’ attitudes towards CALL are prior knowledge and encouragement of peers and parents. However, the study of the value of teachers’ encouragement of students seems insufficient.

Very few studies seem to be underpinned by theory, thus, theoretical basis for the study of attitudes is needed.

An original idea was suggested by Walker (1994), who mentioned teachers’ fear of entire replacement by computers and CALL. Though he observed low percentage of the respondents who feared replacement, still, this issue needs further analysis.


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