Giving emotions the centrality in teachers’ lives: reframing thinking, doing and feeling in Language Teacher Education through the lens of sociocultural theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The principal aim of this paper is to argue for a reframing of cognition, emotion, and activity in language teacher professional development. We argue for a dialectical relationship between them, following Vygotsky (1978/1987/1994), whose aim was to give an objective account of consciousness on the basis of historical materialism. He saw it as an inherently relational process: humans process a range of mental functions – thought, attention, affect, perception; the key to understanding consciousness is understanding the inter-relations between these functions. Here, we argue that in language teacher education, the dialectic between emotion and cognition plays an essential role in self-enquiry of a novice teacher, and consequently in the self-enquiry of teacher educators, and ways in which it reframes our own understanding as learners and/or teachers. Whilst there has been a substantial body of literature in recent decades addressing the centrality of emotions in teachers’ lives (cf. Schutz & Zembylas 2009; Golombek & Doran 2014), these are often downplayed by teacher educators in the process of novice teachers gaining teaching experience. Drawing on results from a small-case study of novice teachers at the University of Brighton, we aim to readdress the place of emotion in the complex process of teacher development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Languages and Linguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019


Bibliographical note

Please note this is the Author Accepted Manuscript which may differ from the final published version. The final publisher version is available from


  • Vygotsky
  • sociocultural theory
  • Emotion
  • language teacher education

Cite this