Pre-Service and In-Service Teachers' Metacognitive Knowledge about Problem-Solving Strategies

Jan. 02, 2009

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 76-82
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The present study aimed to examine pre-service and in-service teachers' metacognitive knowledge about the frequency, efficacy, and facility of applying different problem-solving strategies in different kind of problems. This study based on the methodology presented in the research of Antonietti, A., Ignazi, S., & Perego, P. (2000).

Research Questions and Hypotheses

The first question of interest was if there is a general metacognitive knowledge base for the preferred use for specific problem-solving strategies across problem-solving situations. Namely:

(a) is analogy reported as the most used while combination and free production as the less used strategies in various problem-solving situations? (Hypothesis 1a);
(b) are practical problems reported as involving the most frequent strategy use while interpersonal problems the less frequent strategy use? (Hypothesis 1b);
(c) is Step-by-step analysis reported as the most used strategy only in study problems? (Hypothesis 1c);
(d) are efficacy and facility beliefs consistent at a large extent with frequency beliefs? (Hypothesis 1d).

The second question of interest in the present study was concerning the possible differences between pre-service and in-service teachers' metacognitive beliefs. Do in-service differ from pre-service teachers mainly in their metacognitive knowledge as regards the use of strategies in ecologically valid for their age problems (such as practical and interpersonal) or their experience with “non-representative” of their age problem-solving situations (study problems) would affect these beliefs, as well? It is expected the second one (Hypothesis 2).


A sample of 338 in-service teachers (172) and pre-service teachers (166) participated in the study. There were 91 male and 235 female, while 12 of the participants didn't report their gender. Pre-service teachers were undergraduate university students in their second semester in Departments of Primary Education; their age ranged from 18 to 22 years. They had not yet attended psychology courses about human mental abilities, thinking, and problem solving (i.e., a Cognitive Psychology course). In-service teachers had 10 up to 28 years (M = 17 years) of experience in teaching primary school children and they were 37–55 years old.

The participants were asked to give on a five-point scale frequency, efficacy, and facility estimates for the application of five problem-solving strategies in 3 kinds of problems (interpersonal, practical, and study problems). The results are in accordance with Antonietti, A., Ignazi, S., & Perego, P. (2000). Metacognitive knowledge about problem-solving methods. They, also, stressed the possible role of age along with work experience in the formation of beliefs about strategic behavior.

Antonietti et al., 2000 A. Antonietti, S. Ignazi and P. Perego, Metacognitive knowledge about problem-solving methods, British Journal of Educational Psychology 70 (2000), pp. 1–16.

Updated: Jan. 07, 2009