Change in knowledge of learning and teaching through journal writing
Keywords130309 Learning Sciences
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AbstractThis paper is the third in a series addressing the integration of naive and informed knowledge of learning and teaching by preservice teachers. Previous papers have explored and discussed pre- and post-unit written statements about learning as well as transcripts of stimulated recall interviews with students in response to a videotape of one of their teaching lessons during teaching practicum. This paper focuses on the analysis of learning journals maintained by 28 Graduate Diploma in Education students while undertaking a one year course of study in a unit in Human Development and Learning. The learning journals yielded three types of information: (1) students' perceptions of the unit (eg its structure, style, assessment); (2) students' reflections on the informed knowledge or theoretical content presented in the unit; and (3) students' integration of this theory with practical teaching experiences. Analysis of this information indicated students' movement from naive to informed views on teaching and learning through declarative (knowing what) and procedural knowledge (knowing how) about teaching and learning in the early parts of the unit to conditional knowledge (knowing when and why) towards the end of the unit. Students tended to see theory as being unrelated to practice until the first practice teaching session wherein many students' journal entries exhibited evidence of theory and practice becoming integrated. Journal entries during the second practice teaching experience provided extensive evidence of the development of conditional knowledge. There is also evidence of students developing metacognitive thinking as well as qualitative conceptions relating to teaching and learning through the course of the unit. Results suggest that if teacher educators wish to change preservice teachers' beliefs then courses should be designed that (1) allow students to discuss and reflect in an open, collaborative learning environment and (2) require them to think about theory (declarative) and apply this knowledge (procedural) in an informed way (conditional) so that they can grow and develop in metacognitive knowlege, awareness and control , as they plan, regulate and evaluate the application of this theory in their practical experiences, and internalise qualitative perspectives in their growth and development as learners and teachers.