Online Elementary ESL Teachers’ Utilization of Online Communities of Practice (OCoP) as a Source for Advancing their Professional Online Teaching Knowledge and Skills
Abstract: Certified ESL teachers are experiencing a new era in the age of educational technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced traditional brick-and-mortar teachers to learn how to become digital pedagogical experts in a very short amount of time. The pandemic certainly accelerated an online teaching trend for K-12 teachers that was already in motion. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many ESL teachers were contracting their skills to foreign online language learning companies in an effort to earn extra income. Brick-and-mortar teachers who taught ESL classes online began adapting to online teaching prior to the pandemic. Many would utilize Online Communities of Practice (OCoP) to develop their digital crafts and support one another. Undoubtedly, the search for more knowledge by means of informal avenues continues to expand as teachers work arduously to fulfill seemingly impossible professional demands and expectations brought about by the pandemic. This study reviews the literature on ESL teacher experiences and attitudes toward online training and their use of online learning environments to expand their own knowledge in areas of professional interest. The goal of this paper is to bring insight to the importance of Online Communities of Practice in the ever-evolving field of online elementary ESL education.