Development of teaching materials based on the use of cognitive approach

The original teaching materials do not contain a short retrospect on the content of the prior lesson. The teacher does not explain the content and goal of the lesson, nor does he conclude each lesson with a summary. Neither guided practice nor independent seatwork are systematically present in all lessons. These elements were integrated in the lessons, so all lessons represent the described elements of direct instruction.

As a result, each direct instruction lesson within the rewritten teaching materials starts with a summary of the prior lesson. Next, the teacher explains the content and the goals of the lesson and provides instruction in interaction with the pupils. The teacher ends the instruction stage with a summary of the most salient points. During the instruction, the teacher shares information about new skills and explains how, where and when to use these skills. He uses questioning to activate the prior knowledge of the pupils. During guided practice and independent seatwork, the teacher provides the pupils with opportunities to practice with the new skills. During independent seatwork, pupils work on exercises individually that resemble the exercises they made during guided practice. They work on exercises in the workbooks that were developed as part of the rewritten teaching materials. The teacher gives feedback to individual pupils while they work on exercises. He concludes every lesson with whole class evaluation and a summary of the content of the lesson. We will show the elements of direct instruction that were integrated in the rewritten teaching materials.

Elements of the direct instruction model content prior lessons:

  • teacher provides retrospect prior lesson presentation new skills;
  • teacher summarizes content and goal of the lesson;
  • teacher provides instruction in interaction with pupils guided practice;
  • teacher regulates guided practice independent seatwork;
  • teacher uses independent, individual seatwork feedback;
  • teacher provides feedback during lesson;
  • teacher provides whole class feedback in final stage of lesson;
  • teacher concludes lesson with summary of the content of the lesson.

With respect to the cognitive apprenticeship model, we wanted to integrate the six teaching methods in the lessons in reading comprehension. Thus, all lessons should contain modeling, coaching, fading, articulation, reflection and exploration.

These teaching methods were translated into concrete teacher behaviors. Besides, the teaching methods were translated into a lesson structure. For the development of this lesson structure we used constructivist ideas about instruction described in chapter 2 and the elaboration of the cognitive apprenticeship model in other research. As a result, each lesson consists of activating prior knowledge and problem solving, modelling, co-operative learning, evaluation and reflection and a discussion of the applicability of skills. The pupils receive an auxiliary card as a scaffold.

The original teaching materials lack the modelling of the use of skills. The teacher does not model how he applies skills while he reads a text, nor does he stimulate the pupils to articulate their use of skills during the reading process. The lessons do not comprise cooperative learning by working in-groups.For grade 7, no scaffold is available. The teacher does not stimulate exploration. Furthermore, the lessons do not provide enough opportunities for articulation and reflection.

The first part of the revised lessons stresses the importance of the prior knowledge of the pupils by posing problems and discussing the solutions and by stimulating the pupils to give additional examples. Modelling is represented in the lessons, either by the teacher or by pupils. During modelling, the reading process and the skills that are used in it are articulated.

This provides pupils with insight in the reading process of the teacher or fellow pupils. The pupils practice with the new skills in pairs or in-groups. Their workbooks stimulate an active role of all group members. During this group work, the pupils have several opportunities to articulate their reading process and reflect on it and on the process of fellow pupils.

Articulation and reflection also occurs during the reflection stage, which is concluded by a discussion of possible applications of the new skill. Stimulating exploration is translated into paying attention to possible applications of the skills and posing problems in the introductory stage. Next we will summarize the elements of the cognitive apprenticeship model that were integrated in the teaching materials.

Elements of the cognitive apprenticeship model:

  • activating prior knowledge/ problem solving;
  • teacher facilitates pupils activating prior knowledge;
  • teacher poses problems and coaches problem-solving modeling;
  • teacher model the use of skills;
  • teacher stimulate pupils to model cooperative learning;
  • teacher coaches and fades guidance during co-operative learning articulation and reflection;
  • teacher enables articulation during cooperative learning, modelling and reflection;
  • teacher offers opportunity for reflection in final stage of lesson applicability;
  • teacher discusses applicability.

Each cognitive apprenticeship lesson consists of three stages, the introduction, the heart of the lesson, and the closing of the lessonThe teachers start the introduction with discussing the content of the previous lesson with the pupils, because the content of the current lesson is related to that of the previous lesson. The previous lesson concerned the skills pupils can use before they start reading. The pupils learned to overview the text, and make predictions about the content of the text. The theme of the lesson was reading newspapers, and the pupils learned to use short summaries for making predictions about the content of a text.

Next, the teacher poses a problem ‘Imagine that you do not have enough time to read the whole newspaper, but you want to read a few articles about football, how can you quickly select the right articles?’. After a discussion of solutions for this problem, teacher and pupils discuss sections in newspapers and what kind of articles fit in the different sections. Next, the teacher poses some additional problems about the relation between sections and the content of articles. Each problem illustrates the applicability of the learning goal. After the discussion of these problems, the teacher asks a pupil to model the skills he or she uses before reading a text. The teacher asks pupils to provide feedback on the modelled use of skills and provides feedback himself. Next, he explains the exercises pupils have to make in-groups. Working in-groups provides the pupils with opportunities to articulate their reading process and the use of skills within this process.

Furthermore, it provides them with the opportunity to compare their reading process with the process of other pupils. Pupils have to classify titles of articles in newspaper sections and describe why they think the article belongs to that specific section. Furthermore, they have to orient on a text and think up questions on which they expect to find an answer in the text. Fast pupils can make an extra assignment, in which they have to formulate titles of articles that fit in given newspaper sections. The teacher coaches the pupils, while they are working on the assignments.

The teacher closes the lesson properly by discussing the content of the text, the exercises and the use of the skills with the pupils. He focuses on the process with questions such as ‘How did the orientation on the titles and pictures and the division of these in sections go?’, ‘Which titles were difficult to place in a section? Why?’, ‘Could you answer all of the questions you made before you started reading the text? Why not? What can you do to get an answer after all?’ Another important element of this stage of the lesson is discussing the benefits of using the learned skills and thinking up learning situations in which the skills can be used too. The teacher concludes the lesson with a discussion of the applicability of orientation both inside and outside school.

Teachers can employ various methods to help students see how ideas or concepts relate to one another and fit into a larger picture. Understanding the relationships among concepts helps students grasp them more quickly and efficiently and develop well-structured mental pictures about the content they are learning. Many English language learners are unable to see how the content presented from lesson to lesson is connected. They may be able to retain facts about social studies or science, for example, but have difficulty performing more demanding cognitive tasks such as relating those facts to historical trends or relating the study of the earth's surface to the study of the moon and the solar system.

Schemas are interpretive frames that help individuals make sense of information by relating it to previous experiences. Providing students with a graphic organizer a visual aid that displays the chunks of information to be studied gives them an interpretive frame from which to approach the information. A story map is one example of a graphic organizer. A story map breaks down the components of a story characters, setting, and dialogue in a series of events or conflicts leading to a resolution into chunks of text that can help students organize and comprehend the events of the story. It also illustrates what the students are responsible for learning. Use of a story map repeatedly for the study of various types of literature provides a schema for the study of literature.

Graphic organizers can help teachers clarify their instructional goals. Teachers can ask themselves what they want their students to learn and how they can display this information graphically to help their students connect ideas. For example, after studying various geometric shapes in a math class, the teacher might ask the students to create a concept map showing the relationships among the different shapes and to write the ways in which they are related, moving from the general (e.g.they are made with straight lines) to the more specific (e.g., they have parallel sides). Discussions might take place as students clarify the connections, clear up misconceptions, and come to consensus on the structure of the map.

Research has shown that all students can benefit from instruction in learning strategies. Chamot and O'Malley's work with second language learners reinforces the notion that students who learn to consciously monitor their own learning, and who have a storehouse of strategies to use when learning becomes difficult, fare better than students who do not have such strategies. When teaching a learning strategy, teachers should identify the strategy, explain why it is useful, demonstrate its use, give students practice in applying it to a learning situation, and show them how to evaluate its effectiveness and what to do if it does not work.

One reading strategy that can enhance students’ understanding of texts is for them to think about "under-the-surface" questions. This type of question begins with words such as why, how, should, and could and cannot be answered by pointing to an obvious fact on a page. For example, students in a literature class who have read a chapter from John Reynolds Gardiner's novel, Stone Fox, might be asked first to respond to questions whose answers can be found easily in the story, such as, What kind of farm do the main characters live on? Then the teacher might move to questions that do not have an easy answer (e.g., Why is Willie's grandfather not speaking? How do you think Willie could help his grandfather?). After modeling several under-the-surface questions, the teacher can ask the students to construct some of these questions themselves.

When teachers help students learn how to learn, students may examine how they think about a particular problem, think about what they know about the problem before they learn about it, think about how they are going to go about accomplishing a task, make predictions about how a lesson studied yesterday is connected to a lesson being studied today, and summarize what they have read when they have finished a particular section in a text.

Because academic and cognitive demands increase with every grade level, the need for continual improvement in students' reading ability becomes especially urgent for students struggling to achieve at the same levels as their native-English-speaking peers.

Teachers can use a variety of strategies to ensure that students are actively engaged in reading. They can explicitly teach what good readers do and give students opportunities to interact with both teacher-selected and selfselected texts. For example, in reciprocal teaching teachers instruct students in four distinct reading strategies: questioning, predicting, clarifying, and summarizing. A welldesigned unit might include practice in all four reciprocal teaching strategies. For example, students might practice predicting by creating questions about a text based on reading the first paragraph. They can learn how to summarize by looking at a series of statements and deciding which are necessary for the summary and which can be omitted. The teacher can model how to create questions about what is happening in the text, how to hypothesize what might happen next, how to ask for clarification, and how to state the most important ideas in what has just been read. When students gain sufficient skill, they can work in groups on selected portions of text and take turns using the four strategies.

Teachers can also give students opportunities to respond to reading texts using a number of teacher-designed tasks. These may include reading logs, in which students copy quotes from the text and then write their own response; "first-response writes," in which students read and then quickly write about the ideas that came to them as they were reading; or graphic logs, in which students write quotes from the text and respond with a drawing or symbol that corresponds to the quote.

Free voluntary reading and sustained silent reading can build students’ vocabulary and develop reading habits that extend beyond the classroom . In a voluntary reading program, English language learners have something they may not have at home: access to books.

Teachers who want to implement a voluntary reading program can use a variety of methods to heighten students' interest. They can conduct research on what their students would like to read by asking other teachers, seeing what kinds of books students check out on their own, or asking students themselves. The idea is to get students to read so they will want to read more.

It is best to make reading time extended and consistent. For example, reading may take place at the beginning of class every day for 15 minutes. Students may need to be taught how to select an appropriate book. When teachers see students struggling to maintain focus on their reading, they should help them select a book more appropriate to their reading level or interest.

At the end of a unit, lesson, or theme, teachers can plan tasks that move students back to the text or content to reexamine, reconnect, and rethink the major ideas or concepts. Students have the chance to gain deeper understanding of the content by representing the text in new and different ways. At this point, the classroom may be filled with posters, drawings, and writings that students have created after studying a particular piece of literature, historical era or figure, scientific concept, or thematic unit incorporating several subject areas. A good end-of-the-study task builds on students' strengths by giving them the chance to express themselves in a variety of formats.

"Beyond-the-text" tasks force students to go back to the text, reflect on its meaning, clarify and question, and reread with a different purpose in mind. One type of beyond-thetext task has students transform a piece of writing from one genre to another (e.g., rewrite a short story as a poem or play). Another is an "open-mind" activity to help students understand what a character is thinking or feeling. In this activity, students draw or are given a picture of an empty head. Inside the head, they can draw pictures of what the character sees, write questions the character might be wondering about, or write key words that show the character’s feelings or ideas.

Cognitive aspect involves the development of speech and intellectual activity of a student. In this regard, the skills of perception and processing of information given orally also develop. The use of research skills is also very important.

In cognitive teaching technologies the variational component model of the educational process is the use of so-called “visual aids”: tables, posters, film and video, diagrams, presentations facilities (cinema, video projectors, whiteboards, computers, etc.); sources of information in print and electronic media (textbooks, anthologies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, books, articles, illustrations, Internet etc.)/

The main objective in presenting the information is to organize students' cognitive activity that would ensure their understanding of given information. Achieving this goal will contribute to a definite structure of lesson activities: input control, learning new information; monitoring, diagnosis and correction, the system of homework.

On the basis of the above-mentioned theoretical information and practical experience we developed the system of tasks that is based on the involvement and development of cognitive and metacognitive skills. Below we present the main cognitive strategies that can be used in teaching foreign language using the cognitive approach:

  1. Functional planning. It involves a step by step planning of activities for a particular task, including the reading tasks. The tasks may have the following structure: Read the text and highlight completely unfamiliar words and combinations; use wavy line for those which can be understood from the context or if you know the root. Start working with text not by searching for new words in the dictionary, but by analysis of incomprehensible sentences. Read the text, mark paragraphs that you understand with the sign “!”, paragraphs that you are not sure understood with the sign “!?” and where you did not understand at all – with the sign “??” [1, p. 384]. This system of signs helps students to monitor the process of their knowledge and to plan the further work.
  2. Directed and selective attention. An example is the detection of markers in the text. Note that each piece has certain semantic markers. Find these markers and briefly state the semantic content of each fragment, restore the logic of the text. Find markers following logical relations between the fragments of the text: a reference to the source of information;

illustrative information; reference to information previously provided; Information that is opposite the previously provided; backup information; the main and secondary information [2 p. 14].

Self-monitoring. Working with text, a student measures comprehension and adjusts received information from the text. There are certain tasks that should be done before and after reading. They are aimed at selfunderstanding: Read the paragraph and try to make assumption about what will be discussed in the next one; read the next paragraph, check if your assumption was correct. Check whether you have understood the text: read the beginning of a sentence and choose from the options the end of the sentence that matches the content of the text [2, p. 16].

Problem identification. Tasks are aimed at reducing difficulties that deal with understanding of topic, perception of a text's argumentation and with the background knowledge: Read the title of the text and remember everything that you have ever read about it. Read the text and among all given titles choose the one that represents test’s ideas better; explain your decision. Read the text and find parts where, explicitly or implicitly, the author’s attitude is expressed; try to rephrase it. Highlight the sentences that reflect the author's attitude to the stated problem, comment on it. Compare titles of scientific and literary texts; tell what titles show greater amount of information content and are connected with all fragments of the text; explain why you think so? Remember what you know about the historical events occurring in the text; match what you know about these events with the information that you find in the encyclopedia, what else you would like to learn about these events [3 p. 383-395].



  1. Stevick W. Humanism in Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. – 84 p.
  2. Brumfit C. English for international communication. Pergamon Press, 1982. – 98 p.
  3. Willis F. Model for Task-based Instruction. Oxford University Press, 1996. – 161 p.
Year: 2014
City: Almaty
Category: Pedagogy