University of Leicester
2020ALJIBORYFPhD.pdf (7.37 MB)

Investigating the relationship between Language Teacher Cognition and Student Learning through the ‘Tutelage of Thinking’: A complex dynamic systems perspective

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posted on 2020-07-17, 10:48 authored by Fay Aljibory
language teacher cognition (LTC) on learning. Despite decades of LTC research, criticisms have been levelled at the dearth of studies linking LTC to learners and their learning in classroom learning environments (LEs). Research shows that LTC is an important mediator of teacher decision-making and behavioural practices in these contexts. This study makes a unique contribution to understanding how LTC relates to learning through the multidimensional concept of ‘the tutelage of thinking’ which functions on both macro and micro levels through cognition.
This longitudinal, qualitative study explores LTC on a university EAP programme in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Employing complex dynamic systems theory, it investigates three classrooms as case studies using classroom observations and semi-structured interviews with teachers and learners, and documentary analysis of teaching and learning materials and assessed work.
Past experiences of language learning (such as EMI schooling) and related beliefs were significant in mediating cognitions, intentionality, behaviours, perceptions of self, imagined future selves, identities, first and second language orientations, and the organisation of interaction patterns within the LE. While external contextual factors were significantly related to the stability of cognitions, the multifaceted tutelage of thinking was key to teacher and learner coadaptation and change within the LE and was the central link between LTC and learning.
The study further illustrates how learning occurs through the interaction, mediation, and organisation of interconnected system components as they are dynamically assembled into new configurations. It presents insights into LTC on both micro- and macro-levels, respecting the complexity constitutive of LEs as nested systems in wider contexts. It poses pedagogical challenges for classroom participation, interaction and identity formation and advocates further research into the tutelage of thinking to better understand LTC in learning in EAP contexts.



Jim Askham

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Education

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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