Teacher Cognition and English Curriculum Implementation in Kenya

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Teacher Cognition

Teacher cognition encompasses the mental lives of teachers, how they are formed, what they consist of, and how the teachers’ beliefs, thoughts and thinking processes shape their understanding of teaching and their classroom processes (Borg, 2003; Richards, 2008). Macalister, (2012) argues that knowledge and belief of teachers form an important determiner of what happens in the classroom. Saferoglu, Korkmazgil and Olcu, (2009) agree and claim that an individual’s existing understandings, beliefs and preconceptions strongly influence learning processes and play a strong role in shaping what students learn and how they learn it. This is especially so if teachers are to provide quality instruction.

6 Research on Teacher Cognition and Classroom Practices

The relationship between L2 teachers’ beliefs and their classroom practices has been one of the most investigated research inquiries. Such research has attempted to establish what beliefs guide teacher’s classroom practices. The research aims to establish possible link between teacher beliefs and classroom practices. The research concerns how theoretical recommendations are interpreted and reflected in teachers classroom practices (Phipps & Borg, 2009). Many of the studies tend to establish a complex relationship between teacher’s beliefs and classroom practices with discordances noted. Early research into teacher cognition established that teachers constantly monitored learner’s reaction to instruction resulting to modification to pacing, sequencing and structuring of activities, teaching methods among others (Clark, 1983). Research on teacher cognition has used diverse methodologies depending on the phenomenon being investigated. Both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies have been used and research instruments used include questionnaires, interviews, diary or journal entries, classroom observations and video recording. According to Freeman (2002), majority of these studies employed mainstream cognitive approaches as research orientations. Many such studies used questionnaires and interviews. Studies that employed socio-cultural orientations emphasized the importance of context and individual differences. This resulted in more qualitative approaches with focus on research occurring in natural settings seeking lived experiences. As a result, case study, narratives, action research studies among others have been considered more appropriate to explore teachers thinking and their teaching contexts.

6 Research on Teacher Cognition and Classroom Practices

The relationship between L2 teachers’ beliefs and their classroom practices has been one of the most investigated research inquiries. Such research has attempted to establish what beliefs guide teacher’s classroom practices. The research aims to establish possible link between teacher beliefs and classroom practices. The research concerns how theoretical recommendations are interpreted and reflected in teachers classroom practices (Phipps & Borg, 2009). Many of the studies tend to establish a complex relationship between teacher’s beliefs and classroom practices with discordances noted. Early research into teacher cognition established that teachers constantly monitored learner’s reaction to instruction resulting to modification to pacing, sequencing and structuring of activities, teaching methods among others (Clark, 1983). Research on teacher cognition has used diverse methodologies depending on the phenomenon being investigated. Both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies have been used and research instruments used include questionnaires, interviews, diary or journal entries, classroom observations and video recording. According to Freeman (2002), majority of these studies employed mainstream cognitive approaches as research orientations. Many such studies used questionnaires and interviews. Studies that employed socio-cultural orientations emphasized the importance of context and individual differences. This resulted in more qualitative approaches with focus on research occurring in natural settings seeking lived experiences. As a result, case study, narratives, action research studies among others have been considered more appropriate to explore teachers thinking and their teaching contexts.

Trends on Research on Curriculum Implementation

Much of the discussion in the research on curriculum implementation is that fidelity of implementation occurs when the implementers understand the curriculum requirements. The studies conducted indicate disconnect between the prescribed and implemented curricula. This means that when the implementing agent does not understand the curriculum requirements, they are likely to modify it to fit their understandings. Several reasons are given for such disconnect. For instance, Fullan (2007) lists difficult classroom conditions, the absence of training, an inappropriate school environment, insufficient resources and mismatched high stakes assessment as inhibiting curriculum reform at classroom level. Carless (1999) and O’Donnell (2005) mention lack of resources and insufficient curriculum time, expenses for training and lack of appropriate materials as other factors that make curriculum seldom implemented as intended. In addition, contextual factors like large class sizes and resistance from administration and students also inhibit curriculum implementation (Fullan, 2007). A number of specific studies show factors affecting curriculum implementation.

Summary of the Chapter

This chapter has reviewed related literature to various variables of the study. The diverse meanings of curriculum have been discussed and an applicable definition of the term adopted for this study. Curriculum integration was explained and discussed along with the different levels and approaches to the integration. Various studies on curriculum implementation were reviewed to illuminate the pertinent forces in play during the process of curriculum implementation. The concept of teacher cognition was discussed starting with a historical background to the phrase, followed by an exposition of the literature about the implication of different cognitions to actual practice. The chapter has concluded by establishing the various theoretical underpinnings to the study. The next chapter spells out the methodology of the study.

Introduction

This chapter describes the methodology used in this study. The chapter begins by presenting an overview of the mixed method research approach adopted for this study and offers the justification for its adoption. It then discusses the descriptive design used and the reasons for its use. It goes ahead to spell out the data collection procedures and methods used along with the justification for the sample size. It also describes the sampling procedure. The chapter also presents the ethical considerations, validity, and trustworthiness of the research methods as well as challenges faced in the process of data collection. The chapter ends with a discussion on the reliability of the research instruments and the anticipated effect of this on the study findings.

TABLE OF CONTENTS :

  • DECLARATION
  • ABSTRACT
  • DEDICATION
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • LIST OF FIGURES:
  • LIST OF TABLES:
  • LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
  • OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
  • Teacher cognition
  • Curriculum
  • Curriculum Implementation
  • Beliefs
  • Knowledge
  • 1.0 Introduction
    • 1.1 Background to the Study
    • 1.2 Teacher Cognition and English Curriculum Implementation in Kenya
    • 1.3 Statement of the Problem
    • 1.4 Purpose of the Study
    • 1.5 Objectives of the Study
    • 1.6 Research Questions
    • 1.7 Operational definition of terms
      • 1.7.1 Teacher cognition
      • 1.7.2 Curriculum
      • 1.7.3 Curriculum Implementation
    • 1.8 Significance of the Study
    • 1.9 Scope and Limitation
    • 1.10 Organisation of the Thesis
  • 2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
    • 2.1 Introduction
    • 2.2 Perspectives on the definition of the term ‘curriculum’
    • 2.3 Curriculum Integration
      • 2.3.1 Levels of integration
      • 2.3.2 Approaches to Integration
    • 2.4 Historical Perspective of Teacher Cognition
      • 2.4.1 Cognitive theory
      • 2.4.2 Constructivism theory
    • 2.5 Teacher Cognition
    • 2.6 Research on Teacher Cognition and Classroom Practices
    • 2.7 Curriculum Implementation
    • 2.8 Trends on Research on Curriculum Implementation
    • 2.9 Theoretical Framework
      • 2.9.1Teacher Cognition
      • 2.9.2 The Theory of Planned Behaviour
      • 2.9.3 Curriculum Implementation
    • 2.10 Summary of the Chapter
    • CHAPTER THREE
  • 3.0 METHODOLOGY
    • 3.1 Introduction
    • 3.2 Research Approach
    • 3.3 Research Design
    • 3.4 Data sources
      • 3.4.1 Study Participants
    • 3.5 Research Instruments
      • 3.5.1 Questionnaire
      • 3.5.2 Interviews
      • 3.5.3 Observation
      • 3.5.4. Document analysis
    • 3.5.5 Reflective Journal

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TEACHER COGNITION AND PREPAREDNESS IN IMPLEMENTING THE INTEGRATED ENGLISH LANGUAGE CURRICULUM IN FORM III CLASSROOMS IN KENYA

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