Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 34, p. 130-42. (July 2013)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
Based on a cross-contextual research paradigm, this study compares the combinations of content and process concepts identified as important in the context of professors with those considered relevant in the context of teachers.
The study addresses to the following research questions:
(1) Can the combinations of content and process concepts identified in the context of computer science professors be generalized to the context of computer science teachers?
(2) Can individual combinations of content and process be identified in the context of computer science professors that are either more important or less important in the context of computer science teachers?
The samples included a total of 120 male and female computer science professors in German institutes of higher education and 120 male and female computer science teachers in academic-track secondary schools in the state of Bavaria.
The authors found significant differences between computer science professors and teachers.
The findings revealed clear differences in the two groups’ evaluations of content concepts, with notable differences emerging for the content concepts algorithm, communication, computation, computer, process, and software.
The greatest differences were found in their evaluations of the content concepts algorithm and structure: professors and teachers differed significantly in their evaluations of these concepts’ relationships with five and four process concepts, respectively.
Significant differences also emerged in the groups’ evaluations of the relationship of computation with the process concepts analyzing, categorizing, and classifying.
Finally, professors and teachers also differed significantly in their evaluations of the relationships of the content concepts problem, data, software, and computer with two process concepts each.
The authors argue that the different assessments of teachers and professors might be caused by the different scientific culture of the academic fields where they had been educated.
Second, those different views on the combination of content and process concepts might be caused at least partly by the different professional working methods that the two groups might have had in mind.
While teachers might focus on explaining, understanding and learning, professors might have valuated the concepts in the context of researching or investigating industrial working methods.
The authors can draw the following conclusions:
(1) most combinations of content and process concepts identified in the context of computer science professors can be generalized to the context of computer science teachers,
(2) only a few individual combinations of content and process concepts be identified in the context of computer science professors are either more important or less important in the context of computer science teachers.
The authors showed the influence of teacher training programs. The findings are relevant to training programs for computer science teachers.