Developing preservice teachers’ self-efficacy and knowledge through online experiences with English language learners

Laura Mahalingappa, Elizabeth M. Hughes, Nihat Polat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


This quasi-experimental study explores changes in preservice teachers’ reported self-efficacy and knowledge of instructional strategies in supporting English language learners (ELLs) after participating in an electronic pen-pal project. Seventy-four preservice teachers (experimental = 35; control = 39) participated in this study. The intervention involved a semester-long online letter exchange between the experimental group and ELL pen-pal partners in public schools. The study addresses two questions: What are the effects of an E-Pal project on preservice content-area teachers’ (1) reported self-efficacy in supporting ELLs, and (2) knowledge about the nature of instructional supports for ELLs in mainstream classrooms? Questionnaire data were analyzed using several ANOVA tests. Overall, results suggested that the E-Pal project had a positive effect on the reported self-efficacy and knowledge of instructional support of preservice teachers who participated in the experiment compared to those who did not. These results suggest that incorporating technology in field experiences in teacher education programs is worth the investment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-146
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this