Exploring EFL undergraduates’ views of the impact teachers have on their online learning engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam
Keywords:EFL, teacher roles, online learning engagement, higher education, Vietnam
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced education systems worldwide to switch all learning and teaching to the virtual platform since late 2019. This swift transition has a certain impact on students' engagement during their online classes. Studies propose that online learning engagement, as a multidimensional construct, is affected by online connectivity and peer or teacher support. However, little has been done, specifically in the context of higher education in Vietnam, to study the influence of each factor separately. In pursuit of filling this gap, four focus group discussions are conducted. The discussions firstly aim to comprehend the participants' general perceptions about the influence of EFL lecturers on their online engagement, while the main part is to investigate how the four specific roles of online lecturers, including their pedagogical, social, managerial, and technical roles, affect learning engagement. This explanatory study concludes that how effectively EFL lecturers can perform these roles has a substantial impact on their students' engagement in learning English online. From the findings, the paper suggests language teachers should be provided with more training that caters to enhancing their flexibility in creating autonomy-supportive online tasks as well as their digital competence.
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