Cognitive/emotional dissonance as growth points in learning to teach


  • Karen E. Johnson The Pennsylvania State University
  • Dorothy Worden The Pennsylvania State University



Novice teacher learning, sociocultural theory, teacher cognition, teacher education, emotions


While teaching has long been considered an emotional practice with teachers’ daily practices recognized as being permeated with emotional meanings and influences, as teacher educators we are often perplexed by how best to respond to novice teachers’ expressions of emotion. In this study, we document the practices that characterize our work as teacher educators in assisting novice teachers in the processes of learning-to-teach. Specifically, we explore how instances of cognitive/ emotional dissonance that often emerge in these practices signal growth points in novice teacher development. The empirical data come from a teacher education practice designed to create multiple opportunities for novice teachers to participate in a range of authentic activities associated with the teaching of English as a second language (ESL). The findings bring to the surface the inherent challenges of both recognizing and capitalizing on instances of cognitive/emotional dissonance as growth points in novice teacher development.

Author Biographies

Karen E. Johnson, The Pennsylvania State University

Karen E. Johnson is Kirby Professor in Language Learning and Applied Linguistics in the Department of Applied Linguistics at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

Dorothy Worden, The Pennsylvania State University

Dorothy Worden is a doctoral candidate in the PhD program in Applied Linguistics at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.


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How to Cite

Johnson, K. E., & Worden, D. (2014). Cognitive/emotional dissonance as growth points in learning to teach. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 1(2), 125–150.