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The relationship between teacher education, teacher cognition and classroom practice in language teaching: a case study of MA students beliefs about grammar teaching

By Simon Phipps


This study examines the development of the grammar teaching beliefs and practices of three practising teachers of English in Turkey taking an MA course. Teachers were\ud interviewed and observed over a 20-month period; the observations shed light on how they taught grammar, while the interviews explored their beliefs about grammar\ud teaching and provided insight the relationship between their beliefs and practices. Analysis of the findings indicated that teachers taught differently from many of their stated beliefs, either temporarily or consistently, that the reasons for this were complex, and that teachers' reasoning was flexibly adjusted in response to practical classroom circumstances. Drawing on a distinction between core and specific beliefs, the analysis also showed that tensions occurred when teachers' core beliefs about teaching and learning generally were not aligned with specific beliefs about teaching and learning English. Thus at any one time core and specific beliefs competed for influence over teachers' practices mediated by contextual and affective factors. Analysis also indicated that teacher learning is a complex non-linear process made of different stages unique to each teacher. Various factors facilitated this process; teachers' dissatisfaction with aspects of their beliefs and practices; being aware of and questioning their beliefs and practices; exposure to alternative ideas and practices which were perceived to be intelligible, plausible and fruitful; and opportunities to explore their teaching and experiment with alternative practices. It is argued that the development of new teaching routines is a dynamic, cyclical and dialectic process which involves ongoing interaction between affective, cognitive, contextual and experiential factors. Some important\ud implications of the study for language teacher education discussed are that helping teachers raise awareness of tensions, discussing these collaboratively with teacher\ud educators and engaging teachers with data from real classrooms can help teachers develop their classroom practices

Publisher: School of Education (Leeds)
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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