Cognitive load in the classroom: The doubleedgedsword of automaticity

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association

Publication Date



Research in the development of teacher cognition and teaching performance in K-12 classrooms has identified consistent challenges and patterns of behavior that are congruent with the predictions of dual-process models of cognition. However, cognitive models of information processing are not often used to synthesize these results. This article reviews findings from the research on teaching and teacher education through the lens of a dual-process model and emphasizes the role that cognitive load plays in driving teaching performance. Data reflecting the salience of automaticity and its relationship with cognitive overload are highlighted, and implications for teacher preparation and inservice training strategies are discussed. Specific suggestions for teacher training draw on empirical findings from cognitive approaches to training that emphasize the development of automaticity in teaching skills to minimize extraneous cognitive load and maximize effective performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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