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Teachers’ Cognitive Processing of Complex School-Based Scenarios: Differences Across Experience Levels

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JournalTeaching and Teacher Education
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Apr 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 13 Apr 2018
Pages (from-to)215-226
Early online date13/04/18
Original languageEnglish


Teachers are confronted with and must process challenging situations every day. Yet the development trajectory of their processing ability is unknown. Our two-part mixed method studies use a think-aloud methodology to understand how teachers cognitive process difficult school-based and non-school-based scenarios. Studies 1 and 2 examine the differences between expert, beginning, and pre-service teachers without and with pre-existing response options, respectively. Results from qualitative (but not quantitative) analyses indicate group differences in strategy, scope, content, and reasoning. Furthermore, we find that teaching is a domain-specific expertise. We discuss how this information can inform teacher education and professional development programs.

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