Advertisement

Language Teacher Cognition: Perspectives and Debates

  • Simon BorgEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)

Abstract

Teacher cognition – the unobservable dimension of teachers’ professional lives – has been the focus of empirical and practical interest in language teaching since the mid-1990s. This chapter reviews current perspectives and debates in this field of inquiry. The starting point for the analysis is the term teacher cognition itself, with a discussion of concerns about its scope and mentalistic heritage. Further contemporary critiques of language teacher cognition research as predominantly “cognitive” and “individualist” are also addressed, with particular attention to the problematic nature of the latter characterization. Methodological issues in the study of language teacher cognition are subsequently discussed, with an emphasis on the value of methodological pluralism and the role that both quantitative and qualitative research can play. Another theme that is examined is the highly intellectualized and theorized nature of some recent discussions of teacher cognition and the impact that such an approach has on the accessibility of the field to a wider audience. The issues discussed in the chapter are explored with reference to a set of contemporary publications on language teacher cognition, and this analysis highlights the predominance of smaller-scale qualitative work in which “cognition” and “belief” remain the dominant concepts. Examples of “theoretical retrofitting” are also in evidence, i.e., the use of more contemporary theories to justify the kinds of research that have been done for some time. The chapter concludes by presenting a contemporary definition of teacher cognition which reflects the various terminological, theoretical, and methodological themes that have been discussed.

Keywords

Teacher cognition Teacher education Teachers’ beliefs 

References

  1. Al-Mahdy YFH, Emam MM, Hallinger P (2018) Assessing the contribution of principal instructional leadership and collective teacher efficacy to teacher commitment in Oman. Teach Teach Educ 69:191–201.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2017.10.007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrot JS (2016) Examining the teaching beliefs and practices of experienced ESL teachers: a sociocognitive-transformative perspective. 3L: Lang Linguist Lit 22:153–163.  https://doi.org/10.17576/3L-2016-2201-12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borg S (1998) Teachers’ pedagogical systems and grammar teaching: a qualitative study. TESOL Q 32:9–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borg S (1999a) Studying teacher cognition in second language grammar teaching. System 27:19–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borg S (1999b) The use of grammatical terminology in the second language classroom: a qualitative study of teachers’ practices and cognitions. Appl Linguis 20:95–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borg S (2003) Teacher cognition in language teaching: a review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do. Lang Teach 36:81–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borg S (2006) Teacher cognition and language education: research and practice. Continuum, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Borg S (2009) English language teachers’ conceptions of research. Appl Linguis 30:355–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Borg S (2012) Current approaches to language teacher cognition research: a methodological analysis. In: Barnard R, Burns A (eds) Researching language teacher cognition and practice: international case studies. Multilingual Matters, Bristol, pp 11–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Borg S (2018) Teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices. In: Garrett P, Cots JM (eds) The Routledge handbook of language awareness. Routledge, London, pp 75–91Google Scholar
  11. Borg S, Al-Busaidi S (2012) Learner autonomy: English language teachers’ beliefs and practices. British Council, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Borg S, Alshumaimeri Y (2017) Language learner autonomy in a tertiary context: teachers’ beliefs and practices. Lang Teach Res.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168817725759
  13. Borg S, Burns A (2008) Integrating grammar in adult TESOL classrooms. Appl Linguis 29:456–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Borg S, Edmett A (2018) Developing a self-assessment tool for English language teachers. Lang Teach Res.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168817752543
  15. Borg S, Birello M, Civera I, Zanatta T (2014) The impact of teacher education on pre-service primary English language teachers. British Council, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Bransford J, Brown A, Cocking R (2000) How people learn: brain, mind, experience and school. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  17. Breen MP, Hird B, Milton M, Oliver R, Thwaite A (2001) Making sense of language teaching: teachers’ principles and classroom practices. Appl Linguis 22:470–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Burns A, Freeman D, Edwards E (2015) Theorizing and studying the language-teaching mind: mapping research on language teacher cognition. Mod Lang J 99:585–601.  https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Burri M, Chen H, Baker A (2017) Joint development of teacher cognition and identity through learning to teach L2 pronunciation. Mod Lang J 101:128–142.  https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Carlgren I, Vaage S, Handal G (eds) (1994) Teachers’ minds and actions: research on teachers’ thinking and practice. The Falmer Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  21. Carter K (1990) Teachers’ knowledge and learning to teach. In: Houston WR (ed) Handbook of research on teacher education. Macmillan, New York, pp 291–310Google Scholar
  22. Clarà M (2017) Teacher resilience and meaning transformation: how teachers reappraise situations of adversity. Teach Teach Educ 63:82–91.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2016.12.010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Clark CM, Peterson PL (1986) Teachers’ thought processes. In: Wittrock MC (ed) Handbook of research on teaching, 3rd edn. Macmillan, New York, pp 255–296Google Scholar
  24. Clark C, Yinger R (1977) Research on teacher thinking. Curric Inq 7:279–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Couper G (2017) Teacher cognition of pronunciation teaching: teachers’ concerns and issues. TESOL Q 51:820–843.  https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Creswell JW (2014) A concise introduction to mixed methods research. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  27. Crookes GV (2015) Redrawing the boundaries on theory, research, and practice concerning language teachers’ philosophies and language teacher cognition: toward a critical perspective. Mod Lang J 99:485–499.  https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. De Vaus D (2014) Surveys in social research, 6th edn. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Ellis EM (2006) Language learning experience as a contributor to ESOL teacher cognition. TESL-EJ 10:1–20Google Scholar
  30. England N (2017) Developing an interpretation of collective beliefs in language teacher cognition research. TESOL Q 51:229–238.  https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Freeman D, Richards JC (eds) (1996) Teacher learning in language teaching. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  32. Gage NL (1989) The paradigm wars and their aftermath: a “historical” sketch of research on teaching since 1989. Educ Res 18:4–10Google Scholar
  33. Gatbonton E (1999) Investigating experienced ESL teachers’ pedagogical knowledge. Mod Lang J 83:35–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Golombek PR (2015) Redrawing the boundaries of language teacher cognition: language teacher educators’ emotion, cognition, and activity. Mod Lang J 99:470–484.  https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Golombek P, Doran M (2014) Unifying cognition, emotion, and activity in language teacher professional development. Teach Teach Educ 39:102–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Graus J, Coppen PA (2017) The interface between student teacher grammar cognitions and learner-oriented cognitions. Mod Lang J 101:643–668.  https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jackson DO, Cho M (2018) Language teacher noticing: a socio-cognitive window on classroom realities. Lang Teach Res 22:29–46.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168816663754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Johnson KE (2009) Second language teacher education: a sociocultural perspective. Routledge, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Johnson KE (2015) Reclaiming the relevance of L2 teacher education. Mod Lang J 99:515–528.  https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Johnson KE, Golombek PR (2016) Mindful L2 teacher education: a sociocultural perspective on cultivating teachers’ professional development. Routledge, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Karimi MN, Norouzi M (2017) Scaffolding teacher cognition: changes in novice L2 teachers’ pedagogical knowledge base through expert mentoring initiatives. System 65:38–48.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2016.12.015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kubanyiova M, Feryok A (2015) Language teacher cognition in applied linguistics research: revisiting the territory, redrawing the boundaries, reclaiming the relevance. Mod Lang J 99:435–449.  https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kvale S, Brinkmann S (2008) InterViews: learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing, 2nd edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  44. Lim S (2016) Learning to teach intelligible pronunciation for ASEAN English as a lingua franca: a sociocultural investigation of Cambodian pre-service teacher cognition and practice. RELC J 47:313–329.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688216631176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Liviero S (2017) Grammar teaching in secondary school foreign language learning in England: teachers’ reported beliefs and observed practices. Lang Learn J 45:26–50.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2016.1263677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lortie D (1975) Schoolteacher: a sociological study. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  47. Lyle J (2003) Stimulated recall: a report on its use in naturalistic research. Br Educ Res J 29:861–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Miri M, Alibakhshi G, Mostafaei-Alaei M (2017) Reshaping teacher cognition about L1 use through critical ELT teacher education. Crit Inq Lang Stud 14:58–98.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15427587.2016.1238286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Moodie I (2016) The anti-apprenticeship of observation: how negative prior language learning experience influences English language teachers’ beliefs and practices. System 60:29–41.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2016.05.011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Moodie I, Feryok A (2015) Beyond cognition to commitment: English language teaching in South Korean primary schools. Mod Lang J 99:450–469.  https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Munby H (1984) A qualitative approach to the study of a teacher’s beliefs. J Res Sci Teach 21:27–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Murray DE, Christison MA (2011) What English language teachers need to know: Volume I. NewYork: Routledge/Taylor & FrancisGoogle Scholar
  53. Numrich C (1996) On becoming a language teacher: insights from diary studies. TESOL Q 30:131–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Oates CJ, Alevizou PJ (2017) Conducting focus groups for business and management students. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  55. Rahmani Doqaruni V (2017) Communication strategies in experienced vs. inexperienced teachers’ talk: a sign of transformation in teacher cognition. Innov Lang Learn Teach 11:17–31.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2015.1009071CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Richards JC, Nunan D (eds) (1990) Second language teacher education. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  57. Richardson PW, Karabenick SA, Watt HM (2014) Teacher motivation: theory and practice. Routledge, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Shavelson RJ (1976) Teachers’ decision making. In: Gage NL (ed) The psychology of teaching methods. Seventy-fifth yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part I. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  59. Shavelson RJ, Stern P (1981) Research on teachers’ pedagogical thoughts, judgements and behaviours. Rev Educ Res 51:455–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Shulman LS (1986) Those who understand: knowledge growth in teaching. Educ Res 15:4–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Shulman LS (1987) Knowledge and teaching: foundations of the new reform. Harv Educ Rev 57:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Shulman L, Shulman J (2004) How and what teachers learn: A shifting perspective. J Curriculum Stud 36:257–271Google Scholar
  63. Tajeddin Z, Aryaeian N (2017) A collaboration-mediated exploration of nonnative L2 teachers’ cognition of language teaching methodology. Aust J Teach Educ 42:81–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Williams M, Vogt WP (eds) (2014) The SAGE handbook of innovation in social research methods. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  65. Woods D (1996) Teacher cognition in language teaching. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  66. Wyatt M, Ager EO (2017) Teachers’ cognitions regarding continuing professional development. ELT J 71:171–185.  https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccw059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zhu Y, Shu D (2017) Implementing foreign language curriculum innovation in a Chinese secondary school: an ethnographic study on teacher cognition and classroom practices. System 66:100–112.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2017.03.006CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Norway University of Applied SciencesBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations