Teacher Cognition

In class this morning, Jesse brought up the idea that by the time we’ve reached a certain grade in school, we as students can already gauge the difference between a good and a bad teacher. What are the markers of a good teacher? What are the markers of a bad teacher? When designing the ideal classroom, it is important to think, not just about what the children learn, not just about how the children learn, but also about the responsibility educators have to be the best they can be for the benefit of their students.

The first article describes the account of researchers who adapted distributed cognitive theory ( a theory  of learning wherein cognition and knowledge are not confined to an individual, but instead distributed across objects, individuals, artifacts, and tools in the environment) to provide a detailed account of how school leaders use  knowledge of the new programs, existing initiatives, and school contexts to guide policy implementation knowledge of the new programs, existing initiatives, and school contexts to guide policy implementation. The study focuses on two facets: A district design of a teacher evaluation policy, and a principal’s idea to use this evaluation program with teachers in their respective schools. “The authors found that the design of the policy required teacher evaluators to address the tensions between summative and formative evaluation implicit in the program design. In this case, the principal relied heavily on her discretion to determine which features of the teacher evaluation policy would be emphasized with different teachers. The case also provided insight into how the principal reconciled the demands of evaluation with ongoing instructional and personnel demands.” In other words, it was an accurate way for the principal to determine whether the teacher’s teaching and lecture methods were good enough to establish proper concentration and academic performance in the teacher’s students. (Halverson and Clifford 2006)

My second article discusses “Emotional Transmission in the Classroom: Exploring the Relationship Between Teacher and Student Enjoyment.” I think this article was important to include because the previous article accounted for how administrators evaluated teacher cognition. What  is most important for this course is to evaluate how students evaluate teacher cognition. the authors examined the relationship between teacher and student enjoyment. Based on social– cognitive approaches to emotions, they hypothesized (a) that teacher enjoyment and student enjoyment within classrooms are positively linked and (b) that teacher enthusiasm mediates the relationship between teacher and student enjoyment. You hear all the time older students who look back and think “*insert here teacher* really made me hate this particular subject in school.” While in most cases it is the student themselves who made the class harder, there are definitely cases where you meet a teacher who you can just feel is steering you in the wrong direction. This article focuses on a research topic that is not necessarily discussed when it comes to teacher cognition: Enjoyment! The researchers empirically tested their theory that student enjoyment  is directly related to teacher enjoyment. An excited teacher will foster excited students.

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enjoyment in Grade 8, which was r .38. In addition, teacher reported enjoyment was positively linked to average perceived teacher enthusiasm in Grade 8 (r .34), and perceived teacher enthusiasm and student enjoyment also were positively linked (r
.40 at the individual level; r .58 at the class level). These initial analyses provided preliminary evidence supporting the hypothesis that teacher enjoyment, student enjoyment, and perceived teacher enthusiasm are all positively linked. (Frenzel et al. 2009)

This evidence proves that a little joy goes a long way. The saying “If momma ain’t happy, no one’s happy” really seems to apply in the classroom as well. In elementary school, everyone always had the one teacher in the next grade up that they really wanted. This teacher was usually fun, light, and energetic, and brought a whimsical tone to the classroom. I am definitely going to implement this in my class structure because I believe that a good teacher is an enthusiastic teacher.

Academic Sources:

Frenzel, A. C., Goetz, T., Lüdtke, O., Pekrun, R., & Sutton, R. E. (2009). Emotional transmission in the classroom: Exploring the relationship between teacher and student enjoyment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 705–716.

Halverson, R. R., & Clifford, M. A. (2006). Evaluation in the Wild: A Distributed Cognition Perspective on Teacher Assessment. Educational Administration Quarterly: EAQ, 42(4), 578–619.




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