Integrating technology into the university language classroom: a study of complexities and perezhivanie in teachers' experience

  • Lada Smirnova

Student thesis: Phd


This is a study of teachers' responses to the push towards greater technology use in a Russian Higher Education context viewed through the Russian notion of perezhivanie and, taken more broadly, of why and how the teachers make decisions and act the way they do. Unlike earlier work in the teacher development field, where predominantly cognition served thinking and decision making processes, here the focus is on a unity of emotion, cognition, and context in the notion of perezhivanie. I define perezhivanie as a given psychological phenomenon of ‘cognitive and emotional reciprocal processing of previous and new experience’ (Golombek & Doran, 2014:104). Perezhivanie is close to reflection, but more related to the teacher’s feelings, and this study is motivated by the possible developmental potential of perezhivanie. Using audio data from two in-depth qualitative interviews with each of ten university language teachers about their experience with technology, I first explored contextual complexities the participants identified, and then the participants’ perezhivanie related to these complexities. I analysed the data, using techniques of thematic textual analysis and structural analysis of the narrative parts of the participants’ accounts. The findings show that the teachers responded to complexities of technology integration in various ways. A broad pattern emerged, however, when teachers were prevented from fulfilling their motives, due to the complexities that appeared. The teachers initially experienced frustration, denial, and various other emotions. After that, they passed through a stage of acceptance, and started to engage with the problem more cognitively, and this induced sense-making and, therefore, moving forward. My second finding has brought to the surface that perezhivanie, following Vasilyuk (1991), exists in three forms, which are perezhivanie-experiencing, perezhivanie-apprehension, and perezhivanie-reflection, and I discuss how these forms of perezhivanie work across the above described periods of difficulty. Finally, the thesis discusses how perezhivanie is complex and has a multileveled structure, but with clear potential for understanding teacher development.
Date of Award31 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorSusan Brown (Supervisor) & Juup Stelma (Supervisor)


  • Digital Transformation
  • ICT integration
  • Teacher Development
  • Emotions and Cognition
  • Narrative analysis
  • Reflection
  • Perezhivanie
  • Activity Theory

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