A large body of empirical research has suggested that lexis is a major concern for learners and teachers in the language classroom context. A wide recognition of the crucial role of lexis in language learning and teaching culminated in sets of principles proposed by some vocabulary researchers (Barcroft, 2002; Laufer, 2005a; Meara, 2005; Nation, 2005a; Sökmen, 1997; Zimmerman, 2008). However, it is important to acknowledge that teachers know more about the constraints and demands of their own contexts than decontextualised expert principles can allow for. In the present study, the underlying reasons why teachers teach lexis in the way they do are examined. Particularly, the main thrust of the study is to explore the relationship between two EAP teachers‘ cognitions and practices of lexis teaching in preparatory schools of two private universities in Turkey. The data generation instruments used in the study include classroom observations, field notes, stimulated recall, and semi-structured follow-up interviews. The findings of the study suggest that although the teachers have students with similar profiles and characteristics they seem to have different tendencies towards provision of lexical knowledge. Apart from the factors underpinning the difference in their tendencies, the relationship between teachers‘ cognitions and practices of lexis teaching were also identified with specific reference to the determinants that have a role to play in the correspondence between their beliefs and actual classroom behaviour. With its implications for teacher education and teacher cognition research, this case study also complements classroom-based research into form-focused instruction in general and lexis instruction in particular.

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