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Teacher cognition in language teaching: A review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do

by S. Borg
()

Abstract

This paper reviews a selection of research from the field of foreign and second language teaching into what is referred to here as teacher cognition – what teachers think, know, and believe and the relationships of these mental constructs to what teachers do in the language teaching classroom. Within a framework suggested by more general mainstream educational research on teacher cognition, language teacher cognition is here discussed with reference to three main themes: (1) cognition and prior language learning experience, (2) cognition and teacher education, and (3) cognition and classroom practice. In addition, the findings of studies into two specific curricular areas in language teaching which have been examined by teacher cognition – grammar teaching and literacy – are discussed. This review indicates that, while the study of teacher cognition has established itself on the research agenda in the field of language teaching and provided valuable insight into the mental lives of language teachers, a clear sense of unity is lacking in the work and there are several major issues in language teaching which have yet to be explored from the perspective of teacher cognition.

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