Document Type : Research Paper


Shiraz University



Teacher cognition, as a chief area within teacher education, is concerned with what teachers think, know, and do (Borg, 2003). One of the knotty strands emerging out of the past 50 or so years of research on teacher cognition is the misalignment between teachers’ cognition and practice. This study adopted a critical interpretative synthesis framework to identify factors generating such incongruence by dissecting 12 studies reporting on teachers’ cognition vis-à-vis their practice. The emerging themes were translated into each other and synthesised to form two lines of argument. The first one describes sources of teachers’ cognition and practice as ontological, epistemological, and contextual. Teachers’ apprenticeship of observation was found to exert the highest influence in fashioning their cognition and practice by sifting professional learning experiences and granting admission to only those commensurate with personal learning experiences. The second line of argument propounds that connate, personal, and contextual factors breed (mis)alignment into teachers’ cognition and practice. Furthermore, Cartesian dualism (Descartes, 1596-1650) and Heideggerian
hermeneutic phenomenology (Heidegger, 1889-1976) were utilised to critically de- and re-territorialise the developed lines of argument. This interpretive conceptualisation of teacher cognition is rooted in but patently transcends the original studies in that it invites a fresh demarcation of the territory intensely occupied by contextual factors to allow teachers to practice ‘cogito, ergo I teach’. Finally, some suggestions are offered for the relevance of the results to teacher cognition research and teacher education and policy.


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