Teacher cognition and the teaching of EFL reading in Norwegian upper primary classrooms

Trine Mathiesen Gilje

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This article is about a qualitative study of teacher cognition and the teaching of EFL reading in Norwegian upper primary classrooms. Teacher cognition, defined by Borg (2003, p.81) as ‘what teachers think, know, and believe and the relationships of these mental constructs to what teachers do in the language teaching classroom’, is a relatively new field of research, with few studies focussing on its link to the teaching of EFL reading skills in state schools or in young language learner classrooms. The study therefore aimed to explore upper primary EFL teachers’ reading-related materials and practices, what knowledge, attitudes and beliefs formed the basis of their choices, and the role of teacher education in this context. The method was semi-structured interviews with eight randomly selected 6th grade EFL-teachers. The study showed that the teachers primarily based their teaching of EFL reading on textbooks, used them in similar ways, but also used additional reading materials to varying extents. The teachers thus appeared to be heavily guided by their textbooks, in addition to intuition and routines. The impact of formal teacher education varied from teacher to teacher. Nevertheless, it was argued that pre-service and in-service teacher education will play an important role in helping future EFL teachers make and understand the choices they make about reading materials and pracices, so that they can meet the demands of increasingly diverse classrooms due to differences in linguistic, social and national backgrounds between pupils.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5617/adno.1141

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ISSN 1504-9922