Date of Conferral







Gladys Arome


Foreign language education in the United States has historically produced poor outcomes, with very few language learners achieving communicative competence. The increasing global demand for multilingual professionals makes the issue a salient one. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the perspectives of U.S. middle school Spanish teachers about the use of virtual reality (VR) as an instructional tool for developing communicative competence in Spanish language. The research question, which was informed by Canale and Swain’s communicative competence theory, and educational technology theory by Huang, et al., addressed middle school Spanish teachers’ perspectives regarding their use of VR as an instructional tool for developing communicative competence in Spanish language learning. Data were collected by conducting semistructured interviews of eight Spanish teachers who had worked at the same public middle school for at least two years and who had used VR as an instructional tool. Data were analyzed using a six-step thematic analysis protocol. Participants perceived VR to be an effective instructional tool for use in the Spanish language classroom. They viewed the technology as a means of increasing student participation and collaboration and promoting self-expression and student-led learning while simultaneously targeting multiple communicative competencies. However, VR use can be challenging when not supported by school and district leaders. The study may foster positive social change by yielding new insights on complex issues hampering the adoption and use of innovative technologies such as VR.