Using the Conceptual Change Model of Learning as an Analytic Tool in Researching Teacher Preparation for Student Diversity

Aug. 01, 2012

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 114 Number 8, 2012.

Purpose of Study

The goal of this article is to argue that drawing on the theory of conceptual change as commonly applied to learning in science classrooms is an appropriate and valuable framework for understanding how teachers change their ideas about the pedagogical implications of student diversity.
After a description of two traditions of conceptual change learning, the Teaching for Conceptual Change model is deployed to analyze two different accounts of teacher learning.

Research Design
This research entails demonstrating the use of the conceptual change framework as an analytic tool for understanding teacher learning.

Consequently, this article draws from two different sources of data for this purpose.
The first consists of a text content analysis of the opening to Vivian Paley’s book, White Teacher.
The second uses data from an empirical qualitative study conducted by the author to examine the experiences of a preservice biology teacher over a semester of full-time student teaching.


The article concludes with a discussion on the conceptual change model as a theoretical framework with explanatory power and outlines the implications for teacher preparation efforts.

This view of teacher learning promises a potentially fruitful theoretical framework for explaining those elements of teacher education for diversity that have already demonstrated their power, such as racial autobiographies, cross-cultural tutoring experiences, and various approaches to reflection that are employed in teacher education programs.

The conceptual change model of learning, however, suggests that dissatisfaction with one’s current conceptions alone may be insufficient for learning.

The present research suggests that the process of articulating and examining statements of teachers' reflection about their practice may represent a powerful tool for professional growth.

Updated: May. 28, 2012