In the article The Apprenticeship of Observation, Michaela Borg talks about teacher cognition – the ideas and beliefs that teachers hold about education – and explains that educators tend to teach the same way that they were taught as students.
The problem is that not all beliefs about teaching are validated by theory. If teacher beliefs are not explored or challenged, the repertoire of activities and materials selected at the lesson planning stage will be limited to those familiar to (although not necessarily effective for) the teacher.
Given that the majority of preparatory EFL teaching qualifications and training focus on adults, many VYL teachers base their curriculums, lesson plans and classroom practice on their own early experiences at school.
Different VYL teachers therefore provide very different classroom experiences for their learners, because their beliefs influence the activities they select and plan for – regardless of individual learner needs or other contexts that they may be faced with.
Teacher cognition has an impact on all facets of the teaching process and the success of any curriculum is at least partly determined by the beliefs of the teachers who plan to implement it. This makes understanding teacher cognition vital for policy makers, as it serves as a filter, determining the learning experience teachers will ultimately plan for.
I believe the topic of VYL teacher cognition in an EFL context is important for three reasons:
When I became a freelance teacher, I no longer had a director of studies to give me a textbook or syllabus, so I was responsible for creating this myself. Despite the fact that I had specialized in curriculum and syllabus design during my MA, I felt unprepared to create a curriculum that was based on theory and research.
Consequently, I started looking online for learning objectives and outcomes. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) focuses on adult students, which was not always relevant to the contexts of our VYL learners. That is when I came across the Global Scale of English (GSE).
What stood out for me was the fact that the learning objectives were age-appropriate and took the VYL context into account. Using the GSE as my base, I have been able to create individualized study plans that place my learners at the center of their learning.
Furthermore, this research-backed curriculum has allowed me to be flexible, responding to what is happening in class. I can easily assess with the GSE during and after the class, whether my learners need more input and practice, or whether they are able to use the language independently. This is the core of teaching VYLs: we want to prepare our students to move confidently in a multilingual and multicultural globalized world.Source: https://www.english.com/blog/teacher-cognition-very-young-learners