Teacher cognition is a research domain that I am interested in and therefore chose to explore in my doctoral study (2006-2011). The title of my thesis is Teacher Cognition and the Use of Technology in Teaching Arabic to Speakers of other languages (the document can be downloaded here), and the doctorate was completed at The University of Manchester, UK.
The research underlines the importance of reflective practice for continued teacher development in ICT. By examining their thought processes and focusing on their own professional experiences, teachers gain deeper insights into their practice, and are better able to identify areas for improvement rather than having them imposed on them. The study acknowledges the significance of daily classroom teaching, supports teacher agency, and encourages practitioners to take responsibility for their own professional growth. This process of ‘unpacking’ cognitions and examining one’s teaching is likely to result in identifying new directions for professional development.
The study does not provide a fixed formula for technology integration, nor present standardized methods for teacher education in ICT. Rather, it aims to recognize the significance of careful examination of technology use and individual articulation of cognitions in helping practitioners understand their practice and improve it. The research supports ICT use, teacher education, and classroom research which are derived from practitioners’ own lived experiences, and which help them enrich these experiences. The objective of this research is, therefore, the empowerment of the individual teacher.
I am currently documenting my experience of designing and delivering an online teacher development course to language teachers in Gaza, Palestine, which I hope will contribute to our understanding of ways of supporting teachers in politically, economically, and psychologically challenging contexts.