Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number4   December 2021                                           Pp. 487-502

Full Paper PDF


English as a Second Language and English as a Foreign Language Preservice Teacher
Cognitions: Research Insights from around the World (2005-2021)

Mustapha Chmarkh
Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH. USA


Received:  6/22/2021                     Accepted:  11/19/2021                Published:12/15/2021


This review examined English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) preservice teacher cognition studies spanning a 17-year period (2005 to 2021). The main objective was to explore the nature and development of preservice ESL and EFL teacher cognitions as they relate to their teacher-education coursework and teaching practice. Findings indicate that preservice ESL/EFL teacher cognitions are complex, multifaceted, recursive, and frequently related to their experiences as language learners. Although studies included in this review were conducted in different international contexts, the findings were consistent: there is a need for supportive and comprehensive preservice-teacher preparation that accounts for three factors. (1) Valuing preservice teachers’ beliefs as language learners, (2) facilitating preservice teachers’ negotiation of newer beliefs resulting from teacher education coursework, and (3) preparing them to negotiate tensions in their interactions with their mentors in field placements. This paper concludes by discussing pedagogical implications for teacher education programs.
Keywords: cognitions, English as a Foreign Language, English as a Second Language,
perceptions, preservice teachers, teacher education

Cite as:  Chmarkh, M. (2021). English as a Second Language and English as a Foreign Language Preservice Teacher Cognitions: Research Insights from around the World (2005-2021) Arab World English Journal, 12 (4) 487-502.


Amory, M. D. (2020). Teach off your students: A longitudinal analysis of an ESL pre-service teacher’s twisting process of conceptual development. The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL, 9(2), 105-129.

Birello, M. (2012). Teacher cognition and language teacher education: Beliefs and practice. A conversation with Simon Borg. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature, 5(2), 88-94. Available at /view/253372

Borg, S. (2003). Teacher cognition in language teaching: A review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do. Language Teaching, 36(2), 81-109. DOI:

Borg, S. (2015). Teacher cognition and language education: Research and practice. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Brookhart, S., & Freeman, D. (1992). Characteristics of entering teacher candidates. Review of Educational Research, 62(1), 37-60. Available at

Bulut Albaba, M. (2017). Teacher learning during transition from pre-service to novice EFL teacher: A longitudinal case study. Novitas-ROYAL: Research on Youth and Language, 11(2), 142- 154.

Burns, A., Freeman D., & Edwards, E. (2015). Theorizing and studying the language-teaching mind: Mapping research on language teacher cognition. Modern Language Journal, 99(3), 85–601.

Burri, M. (2015). Student teachers’ cognition about L2 pronunciation instruction: A case study. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40(10), 66-87. 2015v40n10.5

Buss, L. (2017). The role of training in shaping teacher cognition related to L2 pronunciation. Ilha do Desterro a Journal of English Language, Literatures in English and Cultural Studies, 70(3), 201-226. DOI: 10.5007/2175-8026.2017v70n3p201

Cárdenas, A., & Suárez Osorio, J. M. (2009). Pre-service teachers’ knowledge base at La Salle University. HOW Journal, 16(1), 113-130.

Cheung, A., & Hennebry-Leung, M. (2020). Exploring an ESL teachers’ beliefs and practices of teaching literary texts: A case study in Hong Kong. Language Teaching Research, 1-26.

Çimen, S. & Daloğlu, A. (2019). Dealing with in-class challenges: Pre-service teacher cognitions and influences. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 15(3), 754-772. doi: 10.172


Cognition [Def. 1]. (2019). In Oxford Lexico Dictionary Online. ion/cognition

Davies, S. F. (2019). French EFL teacher cognition of the intercultural dimension of their teaching. (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Alliant International University, San Diego.

Da Silva, M. (2005). Constructing the teaching process from inside out: How Pre-service teachers make sense of their perceptions of the teaching of the four skills. TESL-EJ, 9(2), 1-19.

Fajet, W., Bello, M., Leftwich, S.A., Mesler, J., & Shaver, A. (2005). Pre-service teachers’ perceptions in beginning education classes. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(6), 717-727.

Guerrettaz, A. M., Zahler, T., Sotirovska, V., & Boyd, A. S. (2020). ‘We acted like ELLs’: A pedagogy of embodiment in preservice teacher education. Language Teaching Research, 1-25.

Gürsoy, E. (2013). What is effective in forming our beliefs: Experience or education? Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 70, 763-770.

He, Q., Valcke, M., & Aelterman, A. (2011). Pre-service teachers’ beliefs about evaluation. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 29, 1296-1304. Available at


Heeralal, P., & Bayaga, A. (2011). Pre-service teachers’ experiences of teaching practice: Case of South African University. Journal of the Social Sciences, 28(2), 99-105. 1080/09718923.2011.11892933

Kavanoz, S., Yüksel, G. H., & Varol, B. (2017). Evolvement of pre-service language teachers’ beliefs through teacher education. International Journal of Progressive Education, 13(1), 119-135.

Lim, S. (2016). Learning to teach intelligible pronunciation for ASEAN English as a Lingua Franca: A sociocultural investigation of Cambodian pre-service teacher cognition and practice. RELC Journal, 47(3), 313–329.

Lortie, D. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. University of Chicago Press.

Macalister, J. (2012). Pre-service teacher cognition and vocabulary teaching. RELC Journal, 43(1) 99–111.

Mattheoudakis, M. (2007). Tracking changes in pre-service EFL teacher beliefs in Greece: A longitudinal study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(8), 1272-1288. 1016/j.tate.2006.06.001

Simon, P. (2009) The relationship between teacher education, teacher cognition and classroom practice in language teaching: A case study of MA students’ beliefs about grammar teaching (unpublished Doctoral dissertation).  University of Leeds, United Kingdom.  

Šipošová, M. (2021). Pre-service teachers’ beliefs about effective English language teaching and learning in Slovak educational context. Philologia 31(1): 21–45

Tang, E., Lee, J., & Chun, C. (2012). Development of teaching beliefs and the focus of change in the process of pre-service ESL teacher education. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(5), 90-107.

Tsui, A. (2003). Understanding expertise in teaching: Case studies of second language teachers. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press.

Woods, D. (1996). Teacher cognition in language teaching: Beliefs, decision-making, and classroom practice. Cambridge University Press.

Wong, M.S. (2010). Beliefs about language learning: A study of Malaysian pre-service teachers. The RELC Journal, 41(2), 123-136.

Yuan, R., & Lee, I. (2014). Pre-service teachers’ changing beliefs in the teaching practicum: Three cases in an EFL context. System, 44, 1-12.

Yüksel, L., & Başaran, B. C. (2019). The change in ELT pre-service teachers’ cognition during teaching practicum. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 7(10), 58-66. DOI: https: //

Received: 6/22/2021
Accepted: 11/19/2021
Published: 12/15/2021

Mustapha Chmarkh is a doctoral candidate in Foreign, Second, and Multilingual Education at the Ohio State University, USA. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation on counter argumentation in ESL Composition. His research interests include argumentation in ESL, dialogic instruction, scaffolding language learning, and ESL writers and the writing center. ORCID.