Changing Conceptions of Teaching: A Four-Year Learning Journey for Student Teachers

May, 2016

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 22, No. 2, 177–197, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article investigates the trajectories of the student teachers’ changing conceptions of teaching and learning approaches throughout their undergraduate programme.

Thirteen full-time student teachers participated in this study. They consisted of 6 male and 7 female. They were from the same cohort of the BEd (Primary) programme at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
The authors used a case study approach.
The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with the participants throughout the four years of study. The interviews were conducted four times, in Chinese, around the end of each of the four years. The authors asked the student teachers to reflect on three main issues: (1) their conceptions of teaching, (2) their own learning experiences, and (3) which components of the BEd programme influenced their conceptions of teaching and learning.

Conclusion and implications
The results reveal that all participants agreed that student-centred teaching approaches were the best teaching strategies in both years 1 and 4 of the BEd programme.

The findings also indicate that three factors: faculty, learners’ attitudes towards learning and ability to integrate different learning resources, influenced the development of the student teachers’ conceptions of teaching and learning approaches.
The authors present three types of trajectories: guided touring, experiential detouring and self-guided touring, as the changes in both conceptions of teaching and learning approaches. The findings suggest that the student teachers who employed deep learning were more likely to consolidate their constructivist conceptions of teaching, while those who employed surface learning would separate their teaching practices from the knowledge learnt, and even be unaware of this segregation.

The authors found that faculty, student teachers’ attitudes towards learning and their ability to integrate different sources of learning evidently have influences on the changes and development of their conceptions of teaching and learning approaches.

The authors suggest that faculty could emphasise contextual demands by providing a learning environment, including context, subject and lecturer that requires student teachers to adopt a deep learning approach. The faculty could also alert and guide student teachers to reflect on their own learning approaches in order to help them employ deep learning and consolidate their constructivist conceptions of teaching.
The authors argue that early intervention for closer and more personal help from faculty could be provided to empower the student teachers to face their future challenges in the work environment.

Updated: Oct. 25, 2018