Second Language Preservice Teachers’ Accessing of Background Knowledge and the Role of Context

Dahlman, Anne

This qualitative study examined six second language preservice teachers’ active learning processes through exploring their information processing when accessing background knowledge. The study utilized a constructivist view of teacher learning which acknowledges the complexity of real-life learning as part of which teachers make a variety of decisions regarding the information to be learned and the processing and use of that information based on their previous knowledge, experiences, and the context at hand. It is the interplay between cognitive and constructive learning processes, that is, what the learner and context bring into the picture of learning that this study set out to investigate in regard to teacher learning. The findings point to the complex nature of this cognitive process of accessing background knowledge where teachers first engage in locating a piece of knowledge and then making decisions about how to use that knowledge. The context seemed to play an important role in this process, in that teachers would make a decision, often unconscious, about using a piece of knowledge they had located, based on their affective reactions to the context, for example, their students, curriculum, and other teachers. Often teachers would act against what they knew to be the best way to react because of their strong emotional response to the situation.


Also Published In

Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Published Here
October 23, 2015