Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 33, No. 1,
February 2010, 43–64.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study explores the effects of teaching and learning environments on student teachers’ approaches to teaching. The study also compares a lecture-based setting to a student-activating teaching environment.
The central hypothesis of this study is that student-activating teaching methods push students’ approaches to teaching towards conceptual change/student-focused approaches, which are more likely to be associated with this teaching, and away from information transmission/teacher-focused approaches to teaching, typical for lecturing methods.
Data collection was obtained by a pre-test/post-test design including the Approaches to Teaching Inventory.
The participants were 852 Flemish students, who were in their first year of the elementary teacher training programme. The students were primarily female (83%), aged 18 to 20 years.
Furthermore, 20 highly motivated and qualified lecturers of eight institutions participated in the study, all of them having – at least – some experience with student-activating teaching methods.
Results confirm the hypothesis tested only for the increasing conceptual change/student-focused teaching approach, but not in the direction of decreasing information transmission/teacher-focused approaches to teaching.
Moreover, the scores on both approaches to teaching increased remarkably in both instructional settings.
Furthermore, student teachers’ changes in approaches to teaching tend to be affected by variables such as performance, academic self-esteem, perceived workload and students’ changes in approaches to learning: variables that operate in distinct ways for diverse categories of approaches and work differently in both settings.
In contrast, gender and students’ appraisal of the teaching methods experienced during the course on child development did not affect students’ approaches to teaching.
In addition, the willingness of students to teach in the way they have been taught is not as straightforward as might be expected.
Moreover, the present study proves the majority of students in teacher education to be reflective, critical persons with the best intentions for their pupils. Demonstrated methods in teacher education are not simply adopted, but thoroughly reflected on, amended and translated to the student teacher’s teaching context and practices.