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Representing the problem of learning to teach: Student teachers’ definitions of learning, teaching and… Kristjansson, Janis 1993

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REPRESENTING THE PROBLEM OF LEARNING TO TEACH: STUDENTTEACHERS' DEFINITIONS OF LEARNING, TEACHING AND THESTUDENT TEACHER ROLEbyJanis KristjanssonB.A. University of Toronto, 1968B.Ed. University of Ottawa, 1976A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THEREQUIREMENTS FORTHE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Educaitonal Psychology and SpecialEducationWe accept this thesis as conforming to the requiredstandard.THE IVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAJuly 1993© Janis Kristjansson, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature) Department o v‘ck S9e-c•-•c)-\SioThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate  ()ucle-D^(615DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTTeacher education is being reevaluated in light ofcurrent understandings of the ways in which educationneeds to be restructured. If the teacher is to assume arole primarily as a problem solver it may require adifferent approach than the current, largelyatheoretical and fragmented approach. Teachers andstudent teachers identify the practicum as the mostvaluable aspect of teacher education, possibly becauseof the opportunity to solve real problems in thedomain. This suggests that the practicum may play apivotal role in learning to teach.The way in which prepracticum student teachersrepresent the problem of learning to teach using theirdefinitions of teaching, learning and the studentteacher role was investigated in a problem solving anddevelopmental context. The relationship between thequality of this problem representation and success onthe practicum was determined. A combination ofqualitative and quantitative methods were used.The results suggest that student teacher may seeteaching ,learning and the student teacher role asthree separate problems to be solved. For eachiiidefinition, the highest percentage of respondents wereat the lowest level of Ammon & Levin's Levels of Pedagogical Conception, but level was not consistentacross the definitions. There is a significantrelationship between problem representation level andstrategies listed. There was no statisticallysignificant relationship between level of pedagogicalconception and supevisor ratings of success on thepracticum. Implications for teacher education and theapplicability of Ammon & Levin's model are discussed.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT ^  iiTABLE OF CONTENTS ^  ivTABLES ^  viFIGURES  viiACKNOWLEDGEMENT ^  viiiCHAPTER IINTRODUCTION ^ 1Purpose of the Study ^  5Rationale  ^6Teacher Education: A lack of consensus .  ^ 6Teaching: A unique profession  ^8Becoming a Teacher: Solving a complexproblem ^  9The Development of Expertise: Why look atbeginnings"   12Summary ^  16Research Questions ^  18Definition of Terms  20CHAPTER IIREVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ^ 22Introduction ^  22The Nature of Expertise in Teaching  23The Importance of the Practicum ^ 24The Development of Expertise as ProblemSolving ^  26Problem Structure and ProblemRepresentation ^  27The Importance of Problem Representation ^ 30Novice-Expert Differences ^ 34Student teaching: A problem solvingperspective ^  35Student teaching: A constructivist perspective 39Levels of Pedagogical Understanding: Aconstructivist model ^ 41Summary ^  44VCHAPTER IIIMETHODOLOGY ^ 46Design ^  46Participants ^  47Method  48Instrumentation  49Data Analysis  63CHAPTER IVRESULTS ^  71Question 1 ^  71Question 2  81Question 3  87CHAPTER VDISCUSSION ^ 95Question 1 ^  97Question 2  101Question 3  104The student teacher role: a developmentalperspective ^  112The student teacher role: A problem solvingperpective  114Conclusion  116References ^  118viTABLESTable 1: Levels of Pedagogical Conception^ 42Table 2: Contingency table showing relationshipbetween learning definition level and bestways to learn ^  74Table 3: Crosstabulation of high frequency waysto learn by learning definition level ^ 75Table 4: Contingency table showing relationshipbetween level of definition of teaching andbest ways to teach  80Table 5: Contingency table showing relationshipbetween student teacher role level andspecific role functions ^  86Table 6: Correlations among definition levels andsupervisor ratings (Kendall's Tau) ^  90Table 7: Role of Teacher, Information, and Studentat Different Levels of Pedagogical Understanding. . 113vi iFIGURESFigure 1: Level of learning definition^ 72Figure 2: Level of teaching definition 72Figure 3: Level of role definition^ 82Figure 4: Mean definition level (rounded) ^ 89viiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTI wish to thank my committee, Dr. Pat Arlin, Dr.Marshall Arlin, and Dr,. Billie Housego for theirsupport and for their almost instantaneous feedback ondrafts of this thesis.Dedication:I dedicate this work to my father, who taught meresearch methodology at the dinner table and to thememory of my mother whose fine examples of perseverenceand critical thinking will be with me always.This work was supported, in part, by a grant fromthe Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council ofCanada to Dr. Patricia Arlin.1CHAPTER IINTRODUCTIONThe current call for the restructuring of educationin the United States and Canada (Carnegie Foundation,1986; Goodlad, 1990a; British Columbia Department ofEducation, 1990) is somewhat different, in two ways,from those that have preceded it. Instead of a list ofspecific decrees to be implemented, there are broadguidelines for change. Instead of upper administrationdeciding the form of change, its shape is coming fromschools and teachers. Here is a change in theeducational power structure, in a way that has profoundimplications for teachers and teacher education.In this new model, schools, rather than schoolsystems, are to be the fundamental unit of change andteachers, rather than administrators, are to be theagents of change. Teachers will be the ones toestablish goals for school improvement. They willidentify the problems they face, choose, and implementstrategies for solving them, and evaluate outcomes.This process is not envisaged as being a one-shot "fix-it" effort but rather as an ongoing response to thefluid, complex, situated nature of the educational2process. It requires that teachers actively formulateand solve complex problems in situations where theproblem parameters are often not clear and where thereis no clear best solution. There is some agreementthat this view of the teacher, as reflective problemsolver, operating in a complex domain, simplyrecognizes what many teachers actually do inclassrooms, and that empowering teachers as agents ofchange merely offers appropriate scope for theirexpertise (Colton & Sparks-Langer, 1992; Edmundson,1990; Goodlad, 1990b; Hollingsworth, 1992a;b; Lampert,1985).Perhaps in recognition of the complexity of whatteachers actually do, the restructuring movement hasalso involved an examination of teacher educationprograms, and an assessment of ways in which they, too,need to change in order to provide adequate educationfor the teachers of the future. A recent survey ofAmerican teacher education programs (Goodlad, 1990b)found that the vast majority had no clear theoreticalbasis, and that they lacked coherence. As part of thesame survey, Edmundson (1990) reports that only 3 of 29institutions studied had teacher education programs3based on "a coherent, articulated and commonly sharedvision of what it meant to be a teacher" (p. 718).Both authors strongly affirm the need for teachereducation programs that prepare teachers for complexreal-world problem solving in a changing environment.In order to understand how teacher education mightbest be restructured, it is important to understand theways in which education students already activelyconstruct what it means to teach. There are threemajor sources of information that students use in thisconstruction process. First, they have anunderstanding of the teacher role, constructed duringyears of experience as students in classrooms(Calderhead & Robson, 1991; Nespor, 1987), and perhaps,for some, as parents of children in school. It isimportant to note, however, that understanding teachingfrom the student or parent point of view may be quitedifferent than understanding it from the teacher pointof view (Lortie, 1975). Second, students haveinformation gleaned from university courses ondifferent aspects of education. Third, students haveunderstandings constructed during the field experienceswhich form a part of their teacher education program.4Although all three sources of information interact,there is evidence that field experiences, such asstudent teaching, play a crucial part in theconstruction of what it means to teach (Feiman-Nemser &Buchmann, 1985; Zeichner, 1985).The research on the effects of field experiences inteacher education is filled with contradictory results.Some suggest that it has powerful socializing effects(Hoy, 1967; Hoy & Woolfolk, 1990), while others saythat the effects are weak and ambiguous (Zeichner,1985). In spite of this, teachers at all levels ofexperience are consistent in their identification ofstudent teaching as the most valuable part of theirteacher education program (Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann,1985; Lortie, 1975; Wideen & Holborn, 1990). The factthat cooperating teachers are not carefully screened,well-trained experts (Goodlad, 1990), but a ratherrandom assortment of "the good, the bad and the ugly"makes this all the more puzzling.The present study will suggest that the practicumis seen to be valuable because it offers an opportunityto construct an initial approximation of the teacherrole through problem solving in the complex world of5the real classroom and furthermore that the way inwhich the problem of constructing the teacher role issolved, is related to the way it is represented.A number of researchers (Chi, Feltovich & Glaser,1981; Getzels, 1979; Schoenfeld 1983; Sinnott, 1989)have suggested that the nature and quality of problemrepresentation affects problem solution. Knowledge,belief systems and developmental level, all play a part. For student teachers it is possible that domainspecific levels of pedagogical conception may be one ofthe factors affecting the representation of the problemof learning to teach.Purpose of the StudyIn this study, a developmental model of pedagogicalunderstanding (Ammon & Levin, 1991) is used in anattempt to answer the question "Is the way studentteachers represent the problem of learning to teachrelated to their success on the practicum?"This study has three purposes. The first purposeis to examine how student teachers represent theproblem of learning to teach using their definitions oflearning, teaching and the student teacher role. The6second purpose is to examine whether their definitionsof learning, teaching and the student teacher role leadthem to choose suitable strategies for solving theproblem. The third purpose is to determine whether moreadvanced (according to Ammon & Hutcheson, 1989; Ammon &Levin, 1990) understandings of the problem of learningto teach lead to greater success on the practicum.RationaleTeacher Education: A lack of consensus Calls for the restructuring of teacher educationare cyclical, reaching peaks every ten or fifteenyears. At no point, however, has there been agreementon a "best" method of educating teachers. In fact anumber of researchers (Amarel, 1989; Edmundson, 1990;Zimpher & Howey, 1990) suggest that teacher educationprograms, in general, are "fragmented, atheoretical andintellectually flimsy" (Amarel, p.31). Sarason andhis colleagues (Sarason, Davidson & Blatt, 1986)recently reissued, largely unchanged after 24 years, abook titled The Preparation of Teachers: An unstudiedDroblem in education. Obviously they feel that littleprogress has been made during that time in studying7teacher education.Even those who discuss different theoreticalviewpoints in teacher education, while they may havetheir own preferred model, identify a number of strongcontenders in the race for "best". Diamond (1991)identified four major movements in teacher education:competency based teacher education, personalisticteacher education, language and learning teachereducation and perspective transformation teachereducation. This last movement may be seen to includedevelopmental teacher education since development bydefinition involves changes in perspective as onedevelops more advanced levels or stages ofunderstanding.Schools of education, themselves, have difficultydeciding on one focus. Michigan State University hasfive distinct teacher education programs, each with adifferent focus (Zimpher & Howey, 1990). Theseprograms are: Standard Program, Academic LearningProgram, Learning Communities Program, HeterogeneousClassrooms Program, and Multiple Perspectives Program.Why does teacher education seem to be so much moreproblematic and controversial than education for other8professions?Teaching: A unique professionTeaching is different from other professions inseveral important ways (Lortie, 1975). Virtuallyeveryone who enters a teacher education program has hadyears of experience in the setting in which theprofession is carried out. In addition, there havebeen extensive opportunities to observe skilled andunskilled practitioners in action in a variety ofcontexts. One might almost expect that, given theappropriate content, theoretical, and methodologicalknowledge, successful practical experience in theactual act of teaching would simply be a matter ofapplying what one had observed. This does not appearto be the case. Perhaps the problem is one of notnoticing the important aspects of what is taking place(Bransford, Franks, Vye & Sherwood, 1989),or perhapswhat is most important is not observable. For whateverreason, research suggests that student teachers findteaching to be a much more complex and problematicenterprise than they had previously supposed (Doyle,1977; Ryan et al., 1980), and that their attempts todeal with this complexity result, most commonly, in achange to more authoritarian approaches to the act ofteaching (Hoy, 1967).Obviously, teaching is not as simple as it looks.Clark and Lampert (1986) describe the dilemma in thefollowing way:How do teachers do so many things at once andmake it look effortless and coherent? Teachinglooks that way to observers.... Teaching evenseems that way to the teacher, after an episodeof teaching is finished.... Thus the teacheris in the difficult position of doing acognitively and conceptually complex job, whilehiding the complexity and uncertainty - makingit look easy to teach. (p. 28)Becoming a Teacher: Solving a complex problemHow then, can one begin to develop expertise in adomain where expert performance conceals, rather thanreveals many of the essential components of competenceand where the ability to solve multiple interactive,ill-structured problems is crucial? This is, indeed, a'wicked' problem (Churchman, 1971). Wicked problems910are defined as ill-structured "problems for which thereare conflicting assumptions, evidence, and opinionwhich may lead to different solutions" ( Kitchener,1983 p. 223). One has only to read any journal issuedevoted to discussion of a particular problem ineducation, sit in on several university classes devotedto the same aspect of education, or listen to teachersdiscussing curriculum issues, in order to appreciatethat virtually all educational issues are based on"conflicting assumptions, evidence and opinion" andthat they inevitably lead to many different solutions.Becoming a teacher is one such problem. In thiscase, student teachers use their varied understandingsof the teacher and student teacher roles as a tool inarriving at their individual solutions to the problemof becoming a teacher (Johnston, 1992). This is notonly an ill-structured problem but also one that issolved recursively as beginning teachers try todetermine what teaching really is. Evidence ofteachers' recursive attempts to understand the essenceof teaching comes from a number of sources.Ryan and his colleagues (Ryan et. a1,1980)document a progression in the pedagogical conceptions11of first year teachers from "teaching as planning andpresenting" to "teaching as control". Hollingsworth(1992b) reports a change in concern, in a discussiongroup of first year teachers, from classroomrelationships, to diversity in values, to power andprofessional voice. From the Developmental TeacherEducation Program at Berkeley comes a model ofdevelopment in pedagogical understanding which suggeststhat individuals begin by understanding teaching as"showing and telling", progress through understandingteaching as "modeling and reinforcing", "providinghands on experience"; "guiding thinking within domains"to "guiding thinking across domains" (Ammon & Levin,1991; Ammon & Hutcheson, 1989). In all of theseprogressions, the change in the nature of pedagogicalconception is from the egocentrism of "what I do" to amore interactionist perpective. In none of thesesequences are the initial concerns abandoned. Rather,it seems that as they are, in some sense, mastered,they are subsumed into the next level. The stage-likenature of these progressions strongly suggests that adevelopmental model may be appropriate to capture thechange in teachers' ideas about teaching. An equally12appropriate approach may be to consider thesedevelopments from the perspective of research inexpertise.The Development of Expertise: Why look at beginnings? Chi and Glaser (1988) in their recent book on expertiseindicate that complex, ill- structured problems (suchas the development of expertise in teaching) requirefurther investigation. They state that there is a needfor studies which examine "the mechanisms of problemspace definition .... and redefining the space of ill-structured and difficult problems." (p. xxi) They alsosuggest that we "need to understand how expertise isacquired, how it can be taught, and how beginninglearners can be presented with appropriate experience".The acquisition of expertise is a process of recursiveproblem solving in which the problem is to become moreand more skillful in a role. This process involvesdefinition and redefinition of basic terms (e.g.teaching and learning), the role of the expert (thegoal state) and the role of the becoming-expert (thestrategy for achieving that state).In asking whether or not expertise can be taught,13Chi and Glaser may be asking the wrong question. It isquite clear that expertise cannot be transmitted fromexpert to novice (Bransford et al., 1989; Posner,1988); the question ignores the importance ofinteracting with and solving real problems in thedomain of interest . There seem to be no studies ofpeople who have rich domain specific knowledge but arenot good at solving problems in their domain. Even ifone has extensive domain specific knowledge, one cannotbe an expert without "appropriate experience" (Ericsson& Smith, 1991). It is important, therefore to look atthe development of expertise in the problem-richcontext of real-life experience.In order to become an expert, one has to developthe ability to produce high quality solutions toproblems within the domain. There is evidence fromseveral sources that the ability to represent problemsin productive ways is one crucial component inproducing high quality problem solutions (Getzels,1979; Getzels & Csikszentmihalyi, 1976; Schon, 1987).Getzels & Csikszentmihalyi's longitudinal study ofartists (Getzels, 1979; Getzels & Csikszentmihalyi,1976) found that quality of problem finding (or problem14representation) as a novice is related to the qualityof artistic production, both as a novice and as anexperienced artist. This suggests that, right from thebeginning, the quality of problem representationaffects the quality of the solution.Schon (1987) notes a similar phenomenon andsuggests that the ability to reflect and rerepresentproblems is an indicator and predictor of expertise.While he does not use the vocabulary of problemsolving, it is clear that what he is describing is aprocess of recursive problem solving that focuses onthe evaluation and problem (re)representation phases ofthe process.Student teachers' prepracticum definitions of theirrole can provide information about their representationof the problem of becoming a teacher. The level ofpedagogical conception expressed, as well as the amountand kind of information about the teacher role that isincluded, can give an indication of the quality of thatproblem representation.In most complex domains, the novice starts with avague idea of the role to be acquired, then elaboratesand refines this idea through experience until it is an15accurate representation of the actual role. While theinitial role representations of novices in thesedomains may be vague and naive, there is a realizationthat this is so. In teaching , on the other hand, thevast majority of novices believe that they know theteacher role (from their years of experience asstudents).Schoenfeld (1983) suggests that beliefs, as well asknowledge, play a powerful role in determining thequality of problem representation and solution.Beliefs are defined as individual understandings aboutsome aspect of the world which affect the way onethinks and acts. These beliefs may be either explicitor implicit; conscious or unconscious. Looking atstudent teachers' own definitions of teaching andlearning can provide information on their beliefs aboutthe essential nature of the teaching/learningtransaction. These understandings may affect the wayin which they represent and attempt to solve theproblem of becoming a teacher.16SummaryThere is, at present, a strong movement toward thefundamental restructuring of education in ways thathave profound implications for the role of the teacher.At the same time there is a demand for therestructuring of teacher education in order to betterprepare teachers for complex problem solving in achanging environment. There is no agreement on one'best' structure for teacher education, and in fact,many teacher education programs are fragmented andatheoretical (Amarel, 1989). Teachers, however, are inagreement that the practicum is the most (and in somecases, the only) valuable part of teacher education.It is important, therefore, to take another look at thepracticum in order to better understand its perceivedimportance and ways in which education students may bebetter prepared to take advantage of this pivotalexperience.The practicum offers an important opportunity tosolve real problems in the domain of teaching. In thisprocess, problem representation is a crucial step thatdetermines the quality of the problem solution. Inorder to represent the problem of learning to teach,17student teachers need to have an understanding of whatlearning is, what teaching is, and what strategies onemight best use to accomplish learning and teaching. Inorder to assess the quality of student teachers'problem representation, a developmental model whichdelineates qualitatively different understandings,seems appropriate.There are a number of ways one might evaluate thequality of the problem solution. The most immediatemight be a measure of success on the practicum, such assupervisor ratings.This study will seek to answer three interconnectedgeneral questions about student teachers' problemrepresentation. These general questions are asfollows:1. How do students represent the problem oflearning to teach?2. Does this representation enable them to chooseappropriate strategies for solving the problem?3. Do more advanced or complex understandings ofthe problem lead to higher quality problemsolutions as indicated by greater success on thepracticum?18In order to investigate student teachers' problemrepresentation, this study will look at their owndefinitions of teaching, learning and the studentteacher role as well as their descriptions of the bestways to accomplish these goals. The following specificresearch questions will be used to shape theinvestigation:Research Questionsla. At what level of pedagogical conception (Ammon &Levin, 1991) do prepracticum education students defineteaching and learning?lb. Are the strategies (ways to learn, teachingmethods) that prepracticum students choose consistentwith their views of teaching and learning?2a. At what level do prepracticum education studentsdefine their role as a student teacher?2b. Are the specific student teacher role functionsthat prepracticum students list consistent with theiroverall view of their role as a student teacher?3a. Is level of pedagogical conception consistentacross definitions of teaching, learning and thestudent teacher role?3b. Are level of pedagogical conception of teaching,learning, and the student teacher role, and/or adequacyof role definition related to success in the practicumas measured by supervisor ratings?4. To what extent can the student teachers' problemrepresentations be characterized as productive(Getzels, 1979) ?1920Definition of TermsProblem: a question raised or to be raised for inquiry,consideration, discussion, decision or solution(Webster, as quoted in Getzels, 1979). A problemarises when a living creature has a goal but doesnot know how the goal is to be reached (Arlin,1989).Problem representation: A reframing of a presentedproblem or framing of a discovered problem, thatyields the question to be answered. Thisrepresentation includes the initial states of theproblem and constraints, and suggests, although itdoes not absolutely determine, the goals andstrategy choice.Well-structured problem: a problem that has allparameters completely specified, and where there isconsensus among the problem solving community onthe optimal strategy and the correctness of thesolution. Many problems in mathematics and physicsare considered well-structured problems.Ill-structured problem: a problem that has someparameters unspecified, where more than one goaland/or strategy are possible and where there may21not be consensus among the problem solvingcommunity on the optimal or correct goal andstrategy selection. Problems in the socialsciences and in everyday life are often ill-structured problems.Practicum: practical experience in the actual act ofteaching; specifically, a fulltime student teachingexperience in a school, supervised by a cooperatingteacher in the school, and a University practicumsupervisor.22CHAPTER IIREVIEW OF THE LITERATUREIntroductionIt is clear that expertise in a domain is notsomething that appears overnight, given sufficientdomain specific knowledge, but rather, it occurs overtime and involves appropriate experience in problemframing and problem solving. Expertise in complex,ill-structured domains such as teaching is moredifficult to define and assess than expertise in other,less complex, well-structured domains. Attempts todefine expertise in teaching in terms of discretebehaviors have proven largely unsuccessful (Darling-Hammond & Sclan, 1992; Dreyfuss, Cistone & Divita,1992). Feedback from teachers and the contextualizednature of teaching suggest that the practicum, whichoffers opportunities to solve real problems in thedomain, may provide important initial experiences thatmay lead to the development of expertise.Experts differ from novices in the way theyrepresent problems. The development of expertiseinvolves a process of problem solving over an extendedperiod of time. In this process, problem23representation and recursion play crucial roles. Thereis also some evidence (Sprinthall & Thies-Sprinthall,1983) that developmental level plays a role in success,suggesting that there may be qualitative differences inthe ways problems are represented. This review of theliterature will provide an examination of the reasonsfor considering the practicum as an instance of complexproblem solving. The suggestion is made that byunderstanding the differences in the ways thateducation students represent the problem of teaching,it may be possible to gain a better understanding ofhow they begin to develop expertise in this complexactivity.The Nature of Expertise in TeachingAttempts have been made in the teachereffectiveness literature to define expertise inteaching in terms of measurable student outcomes suchas time on task or achievement on standardized tests.While a number of teacher behaviors that are stronglycorrelated with student achievement are identified,little is accomplished beyond the specification of ageneric competent teacher (Goodlad, 1990; Howey, 1983).24Teachers however do not teach in generic but ratherin specific contexts (Ammon & Levin, 1991;Hollingsworth, 1992; Lampert, 1985). They deal withspecific, contextualized problems which occur incomplex, real-time situations ..."How do I plan thislesson for this particular class?" " How do I helpthis student who has difficulty while providingchallenge for that one who already knows so much?""How do I balance conflicting needs and wants?" "Howdo I encourage kids to have fun but not waste time?"Not only are these problems complex, ill-structured andill-defined, but they are multiple and interactive.Seldom is a teacher given the luxury of working on onlyone problem at a time, and as Lampert (1985) pointsout, most of the time what is arrived at is not reallya solution, but rather a temporary rebalancing ofdemands.The Importance of the PracticumFor decades it was generally assumed that several weeksof supervised practise in classrooms would besufficient to produce teachers who were more than25adequately prepared to teach children, and that theprocess of learning to become a teacher was essentiallycomplete upon certification. (Howey, 1983; Haberman,1983). Teaching was seen to be a straightforward taskof transmitting knowledge while maintaining an orderlyclassroom.More recently, this view of teaching and theteacher has given way to one which recognizes thecomplexity of the teaching/learning transaction(Edmundson, 1990; Goodlad, 1990) and which concedesthat teacher education provides only a beginning to thedevelopment of competence and expertise, in anextremely complex and ill-structured domain. Ifteacher education is only the beginning of an ongoingprocess, then it should provide essential tools whichthe teacher will use to construct competence inteaching. In this case, it is important that thesetools be designed as well as possible for this purpose.Perhaps the most problematic tool which teachereducation offers the student teacher is the one whichshould be most useful; the opportunity for extended,observed, and reflective practice in the actual act of26teaching. The practicum provides an opportunity for thestudent teacher to receive feedback from adultsexperienced in the profession as well as from thestudents, and to reflect on this feedback.Research on practicum effects on beginning teachershas produced conflicting results, but teachers andeducation students are consistently positive about itsvalue in learning to teach (Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann,1986; Zeichner, 1980). These contradictory resultssuggest that a different look at the practicum isneeded. Since the practicum provides experience insolving problems in the context of a real classroom,and since its intent is to provide the first steps inthe development of competence and eventual expertise inteaching, it would seem appropriate to examine thesituation as an instance of problem solving, where theproblem is the development of expertise.The Development of Expertise as Problem SolvingFrom the very beginning, the study of expertise hasbeen closely tied to the study of human problem solving(Newell & Simon, 1972). The study of expertise hasbeen primarily a study of the differences between the27ways in which novices and experts solve (presented)problems in specific domains. Initially the problemdomains studied were well structured ones such asphysics (Chi, Feltovich & Glaser, 1981) and chess(Chase & Simon, 1973), but more recent work hasextended the investigation to ill-structured domainssuch as medicine (Elstein, Shulman & Sprafka, 1978;Johnson et al., 1981), law (Lawrence, 1988), andeducation (Berliner, 1988; Carter, Cushing, Sabers,Stein & Berliner, 1988; Carter, Sabers, Cushing,Pinnegar & Berliner, 1987). Well- and ill-structureddomains differ in a number of ways, the most obvious ofwhich is the nature and variety of the problems to besolved.Problem Structure and Problem Representation In well-structured domains, most problems except thoseat the most advanced levels and those in new areas ofresearch (Voss & Post, 1988) have all parametersspecified, and there is general agreement within theproblem solving community as to the goal state and thebest strategy for achieving it. In ill-structureddomains such as education, there is a greater variation28in the degree of structuredness of the problemsencountered. The well structured problems lendthemselves to only one problem representation, but theill-structured problems may be represented in a numberof ways, leading to different solutions. This createsthe additional task for the solver of assessing thedegree of structure as a preliminary to forming arepresentation of the problem.Well- and ill-structured problems do not form adichotomy, but rather a continuum, and in fact the sameproblem may be well-structured for some solvers andill-structured for others (Arlin, 1989; Wood, 1983).This difference in perceived structure may be due tolevel of expertise.What presents as an ill-structured problem for anovice may be so routine and well structured for anexpert that it doesn't really constitute a problem atall. On the other hand, a problem that a novice seesas being well-structured may be seen by an expert asbeing very ill-structured because of the richerknowledge and experiential base that the expert bringsto the problem. For example, a novice in internationalaffairs may think that the solution to famine in29Ethiopia is to send enough food to feed the people. Anexpert, on the other hand might realize thatdistribution problems, dietary differences, politicalunrest, overgrazing of traditional farming areas, and anumber of other factors require more complexinterventions which may or may not solve the problem.These differences in perception of the structurednessof the problem may result in differences in the way itis represented and solved.In order to understand how problems are solved itis important to understand the steps in the problemsolving process, and in particular the pivotal roleplayed by problem representation in determining thegoal state and strategy to be used. The evidence forproblem representation as a critical step which leadsto a particular problem solution, comes from a numberof sources. Chi, Feltovich and Glaser (1981) outlineddifferences, between novices and experts in physics, inthe way they represented problems. Getzels (1979)suggested characteristics of productive as opposed tounproductive problem representations. Sinnott (1989),working with subjects of differing ages on ill-structured problems, noted ways in which different30problem representations produced different outcomes.Schoenfeld (1983) found that beliefs as well asknowledge affected problem representation and solution.Getzels (1979) declared problem representation to beboth a predictor and an indicator of expertise. In thenext section, these findings are discussed in moredetail.The Importance of Problem RepresentationNewell and Simon (1972) identified four steps inproblem solving. These steps may be summarized asproblem representation, strategy choice, enactment andreflection. There is general agreement that, at alllevels of expertise, the problem representation chosenaffects the choice of strategy and the degree to whichthe solution is successful. (Getzels, 1979; Sinnott,1989). Chi, Feltovich and Glaser (1981) found thatexpert physicists represented problems at a moreprincipled level than did novices. They were able todetect the essential features of the problem andrepresent it in a way that facilitated strategyselection and implementation.Getzels (1979) suggests five specific3 1characteristics that distinguish productive problemrepresentations:1.There is a body of knowledge (concepts, data,techniques) within which the problem may be placed2. The problem must be well-conceived in the sensethat its background and presuppositions.., areneither false nor undecided3. The problem must be circumscribed; the question"what is Being?" is not likely to be a fruitfulformulation4. Conditions necessary to solving the problem mustbe available; that is the ability and andopportunity to obtain the needed observations andperform the pertinent analyses are assured5. Consideration should be given before settling onthe problem to the possible kinds and forms ofsolutions that might be forthcoming. (p. )Sinnott (1989), in a model for solution of ill-structured problems, noted that "respondent decisionsabout the nature of the problem were likely to be asystematic source of variation in the strategiesemployed" (p. 74). Choice of problem space and degree32of structure affected the number of problems thatsubjects were able to solve.Schoenfeld (1983) found that not only knowledge,but also beliefs, affected the way in which peoplerepresented problems. Subjects who had adequatemathematical knowledge to solve a problem, failed to doso because of beliefs that solutions come from thedominant perceptual features of drawings and thatmathematical proof is irrelevant to the answering of amathematical problem. In another experiment, subjectspersisted in what Schoenfeld called "pathological" (p.348) attempts to solve the problem because they hadrepresented the problem as a mathematical one requiringthe use of geometry rather than as an estimationproblem.In this study, students' own definitions ofteaching, learning and the role of the student teacherare seen as their problem representation, and theirdescriptions of the best ways to learn, best ways toteach and specific student teacher role functions areseen to be their choice of strategies for solving thesevery ill-defined problems.Getzels (1979) stated that "the way the problem is33posed is the way the dilemma will be resolved" andfurther suggested that the quality of the problemformulation determines the quality of the solution.His work with Csikszentmihalyi (1976) on problemfinding in artists revealed a significant correlationbetween the quality of problem finding and the qualityof the drawing produced. The quality of problemfinding was determined by the choice and arrangement ofobjects for a still life. The quality of drawingproduced was evaluated by artist-critics who rankordered the drawings on quality. This structureclosely parallels that of the present study. In thiscase, quality of problem representation is evaluatedbased on developmental level and elaboration of studentdefinitions of teaching, learning and the studentteacher role. Quality of outcome is measured bysupervisor ratings of success on the practicum.Examinations of problem posing and problem solutionby educational administrators (Getzels, 1979) confirmedthe relationship between the quality of problem posingand the quality of problem solution. The oft-quotedstatement by Albert Einstein "The formulation of aproblem is often more essential than its solution"34(Einstein & Infeld, 1938) appears to be well supportedin fact.Novice-Expert Differences Experts are defined by their ability to solveproblems in their field of expertise. They differ fromnovices in the way in which they pose the problems.They represent problems at a more principled level,using deep, rather than surface structure. They spendmore time analysing the problem qualitatively, usingtheir domain specific knowledge to decide whatconstraints should be added and how best to representthe problem. In addition, their superior self-monitoring skills enable them to estimate moreaccurately the difficulty of a problem, and makedecisions about when to switch strategies or re-represent the problem (Chi & Glaser, 1988).There is evidence from a number of sources that theprocess of representing or "transforming the input"(Newell & Simon, 1972) of presented problems plays animportant role. The time that experts spend inunderstanding the problem can be seen as time spent intransformation. Sinnott (1989) identifies one of the35first steps in solving everyday problems as "decidingthe real purpose". Schoenfeld (1983) discusses theoutcome when university students transform anestimation problem into one in geometry. Thistransformation results in an initial representationwhich constrains strategy selection and partiallydetermines the quality of the solution. These findingsoffer further evidence that the problem that theresearcher presents is not necessarily the problem thatis discovered and represented by the subject.Another important aspect of problem solving is therole of recursion. Experts may attempt several problemrepresentations and partial solutions before completingany solution, and continue to re-solve the same problema number of times (Anzai & Simon, 1979). The fact thatexperts continue to improve over long periods of timemay be due in part to this recursion and theimprovement in problem representation over a number oftrials.Student teaching: A problem solving perspectiveA central dilemma in teacher education is how toenable individuals to develop expertise (or at least3 6adequate performance) in the actual act of teaching.The courses in content, methodology, and theory that aneducation student takes are an attempt to provide thedomain specific knowledge necessary to enable thestudent to solve problems, but only experience in theactual act of teaching provides the context, theconstraints, the problem(s) and information on thesuccess or failure of a particular solution attempt.Student teaching provides an extended opportunityto begin to solve the problem of becoming a teacher,and provides feedback on the quality of the solutionattemptedfrom four sources; students, cooperating teachers,university supervisor, and self. The empiricalliterature related to student teaching iscontradictory. A number of researchers (Dow, 1979;Sarason, Davidson & Blatt, 1986) suggest that practicalexperience in schools should be the focal point ofteacher education programs, but other researchers(Lampert & Clark, 1990) suggest that "as teachereducators... we have rejected the idea of turningstudents over to practising classroom teachers forinitiation to the status quo"(p. 22). Hoy and Woolfolk37(1990) report that student teachers' sense of "personalteaching efficacy improved as their sense of generalteaching efficacy declined"(p.279). In a review of theliterature, Zeichner (1985) found that "researchers whohave analysed the empirical literature related to fieldexperiences in teacher education have consistentlycharacterized the knowledge base related to thesocializing impact of these experiences as weak,ambiguous and contradictory" (p. 44). In contrast tothese varied viewpoints, teachers at all levels ofexperience consistently report that the studentteaching experience was the most valuable part of theirteacher education (Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann, 1985;Lortie, 1975; Wideen & Holborn, 1990),Why do student teachers see the practicalexperience they receive as the most valuable part oftheir training? One might expect this result if, intheir student teaching, they worked only with the mostexpert teachers. This, however, is not the case .There is little screening of cooperating teachers(Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann, 1987). What kind ofexperience the student teacher has, the type of38classroom he or she encounters, the models of teachingand feedback provided, the clarity of goals, the degreeof responsibility, are all a matter of "the luck of thedraw". Yet practising teachers, from those in theirfirst year of teaching (Ryan et al. 1979), to thosewith years of experience (Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann,1985) all identify practical experience in the actualact of teaching as the most valuable part of theirteacher education program.For an experience to be perceived as valuable itmust meet felt needs. For education students,practical experience offers them evidence that theyactually can teach "real kids in a real classroom." Inthis sort of statement the students are recognizing thesituated nature of teaching (Brown, Duguid and Collins,1989). They recognize that 'real' teaching does notexist outside of its context in the classroom.Lectures, laboratory experiences and microteaching areno substitute for the "contextual, interactive andspeculative" (Clark & Lampert, 1986) act of realteaching.3 9Student teaching: A constructivist perspectiveThe fact that student teaching experience isperceived as valuable, even when the cooperatingteacher is less than expert, suggests that it is theexperience, itself, and not the primarily thesupervision or coaching that is perceived as valuable.This view of the student teaching experience is onewhich is compatible with a constructivist orientation,in which the individual constructs his/her own meaning,learning and knowledge. It is not compatible with atransmissive orientation which places greater emphasison the role of the "other" as authority. Atransmissive view sees education as a process, in whichthe teacher has the knowledge, and through variousteaching techniques, imparts it to largely passivestudents who absorb it.It is interesting and somewhat surprising thateducation students have a constructivist perspective onthe practicum, given their other sources of informationon the nature of teaching. Most of them, in theirexperiences as students in primary and secondaryschools, will have been exposed to "the learner assponge" model of education. The lecture system at most40universities is an even purer example of this model.Even in schools of education there is seldom aconsistently constructivist perspective on theteaching/learning process (Damon, 1989). It seems,that in spite of experiences in which the teacher is atransmitter of knowledge and the student a recipient,education students value the practicum for theopportunity to actively construct knowledge rather thanpassively absorb it.If students from a wide variety of teachereducation programs approach the student teachingexperience from a constructivist point of view, it isimportant to frame student teaching in this context.In this way we may come to understand the ways in whichstudent teachers actually learn, rather than the waysteacher educators might think they learn.41Levels of Pedagogical Understanding: A constructivist model The Developmental Teacher Education Program (DTE) atBerkeley is founded on three basic principles ofconstructivism which are relevant in this context:1)Understandings are constructed gradually ...evolving through gradations or stages2) Understandings are constructed through one's ownactivity3) Understandings are constructed within variousdomains.... Consequently there must be stages ofunderstanding that are domain specific (Ammon &Levin, 1991 p. 3)Although they talk in terms of constructivistdevelopmental theory, Ammon & Levin make it clear thatthey are not talking about a hard stage theory ofteacher development but that their use of the term "isconsistent with such everyday remarks as 'I understandthat better now,' and 'You and I seem to have differentunderstandings about this' "(p. 3).The first two principles that they describe areimplicit in the structure of the practicum, where the42focus is on developing an understanding of what it isto teach through one's own efforts in an actualclassroom over a period of some weeks or months.Ammon, Levin and Hutcheson have suggested "levels ofpedagogical understanding" (Ammon & Hutcheson, 1989;Ammon & Levin, 1991) which meet the requirement of thethird principle. These levels and their concomitantviews of teaching and learning are:Table 1: Levels of Pedagogical ConceptionQualitativelevelLearning comesfrom:Teaching isessentially:1. NaiveEmpiricismExperiencing Showing andtelling2. EverydayBehaviorismDoing^(i.e.,practising)Modeling andreinforcing3. GlobalConstruct ivismExploring Providing hands-on experience4.DifferentiatedConstructivismSense making Guided thinkingwithin domains5. IntegratedConstructivismProblem solving Guided thinkingacross domains(Ammon & Levin, 1991)An important principle not specifically mentioned43by Ammon & Levin, is reflection on activity; anessential part of constructing understanding (Principle2), since activity without thought contributes littleof importance. Schon, in his book, Educating the Reflective Practitioner (1987) explains at length theimportant role played by guided reflection in thedevelopment of expertise in ill-structured domains.The practicum experience ought to offer manyopportunities for such action and reflection on action.Ammon & Levin's model offers a useful developmentalperspective on teacher education. It is important tonote however, that the program which gave rise to themodel is small (15 students admitted per year) and thedata used to develop and test the model came fromclinical interviews and journals of a small number ofstudents (Ammon & Hutcheson, 1989). They have someevidence that the model applies in programs that aresimilar in basic philosophy (Kroll, 1991) and havesuggested that it needs further confirmation in othersettings. They mention that "it is not easy to find thedevelopment of constructivist understandingsindependent of support for them through instruction"(Ammon & Levin, 1991 p.8).44The participants in the present study were enrolledin a program in the process of change. In anticipationof change in curricula and focus mandated by theprovincial government (British Columbia Department ofEducation, 1990), an attempt was made in the teachereducation program at the university in question to movetoward a more explicitly and consistentlyconstructivist approach. At this point, however, theprogram was being evaluated, to determine what changeswould be most desirable and the teaching in educationcourses did not reflect a consistently constructivistapproach.The application of Ammon and Levin's model ofdevelopment to students in a program without a strongdevelopmental focus, may serve three purposes. It maysuggest the extent to which students developconstructivist understandings without a consistentlyconstructivist education, it may suggest directions forchange and it may shed further light on the widerapplicability of their model.Summary45Looking at the student teaching experience fromboth a problem solving and a developmental perspectivemay provide a richer, more accurate understanding thaneither approach taken alone. By focusing on theproblem representation constructed by educationstudents using their own definitions of teaching andlearning, before they begin their student teachingexperience, one may see the problem that studentteachers intend to solve as opposed to the one that theFaculty of Education thinks that student teachers aregoing to solve. By examining their descriptions ofbest ways to learn and teach and their descriptions ofspecific student teacher roles one may see whichstrategies the student intends to use in solving theproblem, and the relationship between the problemrepesentation and strategy choice. By assessing theaspects of this problem representation that relate tosuccess on the practicum it may be possible to see waysin which teacher education programs could assisteducation students in constructing more adequateunderstandings of what it really means to teach.46CHAPTER IIIMETHODOLOGYDesign The study is descriptive in nature. It involves acombination of qualitative and quantitativemethodologies. Participants replied in writing towritten, open-ended questions. These questions askedthem to define learning, teaching and the role of thestudent teacher. They were also asked to describe thebest ways intermediate students learn, the best ways toteach and differences between the student teacher andteacher roles (see Instrumentation section for theexact questions). The written protocols wereanalysed, using principles outlined by Ericsson andSimon (1981). The study is qualitative, in that thefirst two general purposes of the study arise from thedata, rather than being imposed upon it. It isquantitative, in that Ammon & Levin's categories arethen used to structure the investigation and in thatdescriptive statistics are used to make patterns in thedata more easily understood. Correlational methods areused to obtain the answer to the third researchquestion (Are level of pedagogical conception and/or47adequacy of role definition related to success in thepracticum as measured by supervisor ratings?).ParticipantsThe participants were 55 education students,majoring in elementary education, enrolled in a twelvemonth post-graduate teacher education program at alarge university in western Canada. At the time of thestudy, the participants had finished most or all oftheir methods courses and most of their othercoursework. They had previously completed twopracticum experiences. The first involved half daysspent observing in schools. The second practicum was afull time experience lasting two weeks. Theresponsibilities during that practicum were supposed tobe limited to small group and individual instruction,and to teacher and pupil observation. The participantswere about to begin an extended 13-week finalpracticum, working in intermediate level (Grades 4 - 7)classrooms. During this time they would be expected togradually assume responsibility for the majority ofclassroom planning and teaching.MethodThe present study is a part of a larger studyexamining the development of wisdom and expertise inteaching. Information for this study was gathered byquestionnaire, at the same time that students wereparticipating in a Faculty of Education review of theteacher education program. Students completed thequestionnaire in one sitting, prior to the commencementof their final practicum.Each of the 13 University supervisors evaluated the6 to 13 students for which he/she was responsible. Thesupervisor completed two combined observation andrating forms on each student. The first was completedafter the seventh week and the second after the twelfthweek of the practicum. The end of practicum evaluationsrank ordered the students, based on their performanceduring the first 12 weeks of the practicum. Thesupervisors were also asked to compare this group ofadvisees with other groups of student teacherssupervised in the past. The 5-point scale used for thiscomparison ranged from "much better" to "much lower".4849Since the supervisors ranged from no previousexperience as a practicum supervisor to over 100students supervised, this comparison was not used toweight the supervisor rankings.InstrumentationStudent Ouestionnaire The questionnaire, completed by the participants(student teachers) before the start of the practicum,had questions on the following topics: 1) definitionsof teaching and learning 2) student teacher and teacherroles 3) individual differences in pupils 4) classroommanagement 5) pacing 6) curriculum and 7) planning.Each page had either one or two questions about atopic, with the rest of the page being blank space forfree response. Elaboration was encouraged byinstructions at the bottom of each page which said"Check here if you continue on the other side, to makesure we read it."The specific questions from the questionnaire,considered are as follows:1) What is your definition of learning? What is yourview of the best way intermediate students learn?502) What is your definition of teaching? What is yourview of teaching and the best way to teach?3) What is your view of yourself as a student teacher?Do you see it differently from your view of yourself asa full-time professional teacher?Supervisor Evaluations The university supervisors completed observationand rating forms on each student at the end of theseventh and twelfth weeks of the practicum. The topicscovered included openness to advice, similarity ordifference of views between student and school advisor,taking the child's point of view, meeting individualneeds, pacing, planning and classroom management. Inaddition, at the end of the seventh and twelfth weekseach supervisor rank-ordered the students that he/shewas supervising. Ratings on the basis of performanceduring the first 12 weeks of the practicum are used inthis study as a measure of success on the practicum.Ratings were computed by dividing the number ofstudents in the supervisors's group by the individualstudent's ranking within the group.51Coding SchemeThe first two questions from the survey were codedin two sections each; the first section being the"definition" part of the question and the second beingthe "best ways" part of the question. Question 3 wascoded in two different ways. First, it was coded as awhole for overall developmental level of the studentteacher role, then it was coded for different rolefunctions identified. The information on degree ofsimilarity or difference between the teacher andstudent teacher roles was not used in this study,because it added little or no information about thestudent's representation of the problem of learning toteach.The following section gives each question from thesurvey, followed by the descriptions of each level usedin the coding.Ouestion 1 What is your definition of learning? What is your viewof the best way that intermediate students learn?Part a - What is your definition of learning?52The first section, "What is your definition oflearning?" was coded as a gestalt. In other words theentire definition was read and considered, to the pointwhere the respondent indicated that he/she wasbeginning to list best ways to learn, e.g. " The bestways students learn are...." Pedagogical level wasassigned to the definition, based on a globalimpression of the answer. Descriptions of the levels,taken from Ammon & Hutcheson (1989) and Ammon & Levin,(1991) and used in coding are given below:Level 1 (Naive Empiricism): acquisition ofknowledge/concepts (no reference tounderstanding or application)Level 2 (Everyday Behaviorism): acquisition ofskills; acquisition and application ofknowledge, skills, procedures.Level 3 (Global Constructivism): gainingunderstanding, concepts; learner is active; nomention of individual differences.Level 4 (Differentiated Constructivism): gainingunderstanding; explicit reference to anunderstanding or individual differences or thatunderstanding may differ across individuals53Level 5 (Integrated Constructivism): learning tounderstand thinking; reference to interactionof content and structure, metacognitionPart b - 'What is your view of the best ways thatintermediate pupils learn?"The responses to the second section, "What is yourview of the best ways that intermediate pupils learn?"were categorized according to the Ammon & Levin levelthat they seemed to best represent and coded for typeof activity mentioned. Those responses that were notobviously related to any one level (e.g. have thestudent actively involved) were coded as level 0. Upto five responses were coded for each participant. Thecomments that were coded and the levels to which theywere assigned are listed below:Level 0 (no level assigned) - Students learn bestthrough:- active involvement in learning; make studentsresponsible for their own learning- integration across subject areas54- taking risks- real experiences/meaningful experiences- supportive environment/ democratic environment- having a positive attitudeLevel 1 (Naive Empiricism)- Students learn bestthrough:- teacher explanation- being given a variety of activities/ interestingactivities/ multisensory activities- different teaching methods- step by step instructionLevel 2 (Everyday Behaviorism)- Students learn bestthrough:- competitive games- practical application of knowledge/theory- repetition; practice- skills focus- reinforcement; learning from mistakesLevel 3 (Global Constructivism) - Students learn bestthrough:- hands-on experience- pursuing own interests/exploring/discovering55- discussion (not specified with whom)- interaction with teacher; teacher guidance- interaction with other students;cooperativegroups; cooperative learning- student interaction with informationLevel 4 (Differentiated Constructivism) - Studentslearn best through:- a sense of wonder, curiosity- questioning (by students) of content- student developing own framework- all learners are differentLevel 5 (Integrated Constructivism) - Students learnbest through:- thinking about thinking; metacognitionOuestion 2 What is your definition of teaching? What is your viewof teaching, and the best way to teach?Part a - What is your definition of teaching?The first section of question 2, "What is yourdefinition of teaching?" was coded as a whole according56to the levels of pedagogical understanding described byAmmon, Hutcheson and Levin. The entire definition wasread and considered up to the point where therespondent begins to list best ways to teach, and alevel was assigned based on the whole definition.Descriptions of the levels, taken from Ammon &Hutcheson (1989) and Ammon & Levin, (1991) and used incoding are given below:Level 1 (Naive Empiricism): providing knowledge,information, sharing knowledge, show & tell;Facilitating (no mention of providing orstructuring experiences as opposed toinformation)Level 2 (Everyday Behaviorism): helping pupilsdevelop skills, procedures; providingcorrective feedback; providing practicalexperienceLevel 3 (Global Constructivism): helping child todevelop; structuring environment ;providinglearning experiences rather than information;facilitating with mention of child in activeroleLevel 4 (Differentiated Constructivism):57facilitating learning with consideration ofindividual differences; reference tointeractive and/or complex nature of teaching,and to change affecting both teacher and pupil.Level 5 (Integrated Constructivism): presenting theworld in such a way that students become theirown teachers; helping pupil to make connectionsPart b - 'What is your view of teaching, and the bestway to teach?"The responses to the second section, "What is yourview of teaching and the best way to teach" werecategorized according to the level that they seemed tobest represent and for type of activity mentioned. Upto five responses were coded for each participant.Thoseresponses that were not obviously related to any onelevel (e.g. have the student actively involved) werecoded as level 0. Up to five responses were coded foreach participant. The comments that were coded and thelevels to which they were assigned are listed below:Level 0 (no level assigned) - The best way to teach is:58- eclectic method; be flexible; different methodsfor different content; variety of methods; usedirect and indirect methods- make child active participant (unspecifiedmethod)- encourage risk-taking; provide supportiveatmosphere- set goals and expectations; classroom management;make child responsible for own learning-mutual respect; democratic classroom- there is no best wayLevel 1 (Naive Empiricism) - the best way to teach is:- make it enjoyable/interesting/relevant- be a facilitator (not specified or facilitator ofknowledge); develop each child's potential-know students to choose best methods (for wholeclass)Level 2 (Everyday Behaviorism) - the best way to teachis:- teach step by step; logical progression- reinforce proper learning behavior; positive59reinforcementLevel 3 (Global Constructivism)- the best way to teachis:- structure environment;provide resources- encourage; guide; use questions to guide- lead by example; teacher acts as role model;model desired attitudes, etc.- use knowledge of child development- discovery method; students find out; 1st handexperience- cooperative groups; group activities- hands-on; manipulatives; multisensoryLevel 4 (Differentiated Constructivism) - The best wayto teach is:- match method to particular student- take individual differences into accountLevel 5 (Integrated Constructivism) - the best way toteach is:- through interaction, provide scaffolding forstudent to help structure problems60Ouestion 3. What is your view of your role as a student teacher? Doyou see it differently from your view of yourself as afull-time professional teacher?Question 3a - What is your view of your role as astudent teacher?The role of self as student teacher was coded firstas a gestalt, on the basis of overall level accordingto Ammon & Levin's levels of pedagogical conception.Since Ammon and Levin did not specifically describelevels in terms of perception of student teaching role,the author has created the descriptions, incorporatingideas of teaching, learning and behavior from Ammon &Hutcheson (1989) and Ammon & Levin, (1991). The leveldescriptors used in coding are listed below:Level 1 (Naive Empiricism): absorbing information;carrying out and adapting to wishes ofsupervising teacherLevel 2 (Everyday Behaviorism): trying andassessing teaching methods; practisingteaching skills; being assessed61Level 3 (Global Constructivism): "developing" as ateacher; using multiple sources of informationincluding personal experience in the learningprocess; developing personal teaching style(not adopting a style)Level 4 (Differentiated Constructivism): becoming ateacher as an ongoing process of which thepracticum is only a part; acknowledgesindividual and situational differences i.e.suggests that there will be differences instudent teaching experiences due differences inthe individuals involved and teachingsituations they are involved inLevel 5 (Integrated Constructivism): interactiveprocess with conflicting demands on more thanone level; mentions more than one contradictioninherent in student teaching situation, such astrying to operate in one's own way in another'sclassroom, conflict between experimenting andperforming, and/or conflict between being astudent and a teacher, etc.The description of the student teacher role was62then coded for particular teacher role functionsincluded. Role functions which were not specific to aparticular level were coded as Level 0, the rest wereassigned the Ammon and Levin level that they seemed tobest represent. Up to five responses were coded foreach participant.Level 0 role functions:- teacher- manager; disciplinarian; coordinatingadministrative tasks and teachingLevel 1 role functions (Naive Empiricism):- subordinate role; assistant; guest- learner; apprenticeLevel 2 role functions (Everyday Behaviorism):- practising skills; trying techniques- "scientist"; observing; experimenting- being observed; being assessed; receivingfeedback- making mistakesLevel 3 role functions (Global Constructivism):- growing; developing- experiencing real teaching; taking on63responsibilities of a teacherLevel 4 role functions (Differentiated Constructivism):- developing personal style; a personal learning orgrowth experienceLevel 5 role funtions (Integrated Constructivism):- no level 5 role functions were identified sincethe nature of level 5 is to recognize multiplecontradictions between roles e.g "On the onehand I am a guest, while on the other hand Imust treat the class as my own in order to takeon the responsibilities of a teacher.Data AnalysisReliability of CodingCoding reliablity for all sections was initiallyestablished by having 20% of the protocols recoded by asecond coder. On this initial coding check, acceptableintercoder reliability was achieved for both sectionsof questions 1 (a. 92%; b. 88%) and 2 (a.92%; b.89%),but not for the developmental level of the studentteacher role (question 3). As a result, for question3, the descriptor for each developmental level waschanged. These new descriptors (pp. 54-57) were used to64recode the question, then 100% of the protocols wererecoded for all questions, by a third coder. Agreementranged from 87% (question 3) to 94% (question 1). Allitems where there were discrepencies were discussed andagreement was achieved. Those items were then recodedto reflect the consensus.Analysis of Data The description of data analysis is arranged byresearch question.Ouestion 1 la. At what level of pedagogical conception (Ammon &Levin, 1991) do prepracticum education students defineteaching and learning?Response frequencies and percentages werecalculated for level of pedagogical conception oflearning definition and for level of pedagogicalconception of teaching definition.lb. Are the strategies (ways to learn, teachingmethods) that prepracticum students choose consistent65with their views of teaching and learning?For the strategies (best ways) sections ofquestions 1 and 2, frequencies were first calculatedseparately for each way mentioned (first way mentionedto fifth way mentioned). First way was crosstabulatedwith definition level for each question. Categorieswere then collapsed, into LOW (Naive Empiricist level),MEDIUM (Behaviorist level) and HIGH (Levels 3,4,5)using the a priori levels assigned to each comment anddefinition. Chi Square analysis was used to examinepatterns of response.Total frequency for best ways to learn and best ways to teach was then calculated across all responsesand crosstabulated. The crosstabulations were examinedfor patterns in the data that might be lost in ChiSquare analysis. Categories were then collapsed. Forbest ways to learn the categories were LOW (NaiveEmpiricist level), MEDIUM (Behaviorist level) and HIGH(Levels 3,4,5) using the a priori levels assigned toeach comment and definition. The LOW level representsa purely transmissive view of learning, the MEDIUM66level represents a behaviorist stimulus /response view,and the HIGH level represents various forms ofconstructivist views. The decision to call them lowmedium and high rather than (e.g.) simply transmissive,behaviorist and constructivist was based on Ammon &Levin's model which sees these levels as being adevelopmental sequence. For best ways to teach, becauseof the extremely low number of Behaviorist levelresponses, and because Behaviorist level can beconsidered a transmissive view ,the categories were LOW(levels 1 & 2), MEDIUM (level 3 - basic constuctivism)and High (levels 4 & 5 - advanced constructivism). Chi-square analysis was used to examine patterns ofresponse.Individual protocols were reexamined forparticularly revealing responses and to captureinformation that may have been lost in the coding andquantitative analysis of the data.Question 2 2a. At what level do prepracticum education studentsdefine their role as a student teacher?Response frequencies and percentages were67calculated for level of pedagogical conception of thestudent teacher role.2b. Are the specific student teacher role functionsthat prepracticum students list consistent with theiroverall view of their role as a student teacher?Specific role functions mentioned werecrosstabulated with level of pedagogical conception ofthe student teacher role and the crosstabulationexamined for patterns of response.Individual protocols were reexamined forparticularly revealing responses and to captureinformation that may have been lost in the coding andquantitative analysis of the data.Crosstabulation and Chi-square analysis was used todetermine whether there was a statistically significantrelationship between mean Level of PedagogicalConception across definitions of teaching, learning andthe student teacher role, and descriptions of best waysto learn and best ways to teach.Question 3 3a. Is level of pedagogical conception consistentacross definitions of teaching, learning and the68student teacher role?Percentage agreement between each pair ofdefinitions and across all three definitions wascalculated. Data were examined for patterns in levelshift between definitions. Mean level of pedagogicalconception was then calculated across all threedefinitions and rounded to obtain a mean pedagogicallevel score .3b. Are level of pedagogical conception of teaching,learning, and the student teacher role, and/or adequacyof role definition related to success in the practicumas measured by supervisor ratings?Overall pedagogical level across the threequestions was calculated for each participant bysumming the pedagogical level scores. All scores thathad been set to 98 (could not judge) were reset to 0.An adequacy score was calculated by finding a meancomment level score across best ways to learn, bestteaching methods, and student teacher role functions.An inconsistency score was calculated by summing theabsolute differences between each pair of definition69level scores. A performance score was calculatedfor each participant by dividing the number ofstudents in that supervisor's group by the supervisorranking for that student. Kendall's Tau was used todetermine correlations between this performance scoreand overall pedagogical level, adequacy score andinconsistency score.Ouestion 4 To what extent can the student teachers' problemrepresentations be characterized as productive(Getzels, 1979)?This question was answered through a qualitativeanalysis of student teacher problem representation asit relates to Getzels' (1979) characteristics ofproductive problem representations:1.There is a body of knowledge (concepts, data,techniques) within which the problem may be placed2. The problem must be well-conceived in the sensethat its background and presuppositions... areneither false nor undecided3. The problem must be circumscribed; the question"what is Being?" is not likely to be a fruitful70formulation4. Conditions necessary to solving the problem mustbe available; that is the ability and andopportunity to obtain the needed observations andperform the pertinent analyses are assured5. Consideration should be given before settling onthe problem to the possible kinds and forms ofsolutions that might be forthcoming. (p. 20 )The results of these analyses will be discussed inthe next chapter.71CHAPTER IVRESULTSResults are organized by research question.Ouestion 1 la. At what level of pedagogical conception (Ammon &Levin, 1991) do prepracticum education students definelearning and teaching?In this study, more students defined teaching andlearning at Level 1 (Naive Empiricist level) than atany other level, followed by Level 3 (GlobalConstructivist level), Level 2 (Behaviorist level) andLevel 4 (Differentiated Constructivist level), in thatorder. (See Figures 1 & 2).^Naive Empiricist levelresponses predominated, with 36.4% of learningdefinitions and 47.3% of teaching definitions, fallingat this level. Only 18.2% of particpants, however,defined both teaching and learning at this level.Global Constructivist level responses accounted for21.8% of responses (learning definition) and 27.3%(teaching definition). Only 7.3% of participants wereconsistent in defining both teaching and learning atGlobal Constructivist level.Figure 1: Levels of Learning DefinitionFigure 2: Level of Teaching Definition72Behaviorist and Differentiated Constructivistlevels accounted for a smaller proportion of answersand only 2 participants (3.6%), both at level 4,defined both teaching and learning at the same level.There were no definitions of learning and only onedefinition of teaching at Level 5 (IntegratedConstructivist level).lb. Are the strategies (ways to learn, teachingmethods) that prepracticum students choose consistentwith their views of teaching and learning?There is a significant relationship between levelof learning definition and description of best ways tolearn (X2(4)=10.16, p=.04), when definition and commentlevels are collapsed into Low,^Medium, and High.These results appear to be due to the fact thatBehaviorist level comments were made primarily bypeople whose definitions of learning were at theBehaviorist level. Those people also made relativelyfewer high and low level comments than other groups.(See Table 2.)7374Table 2: Contingency table showing relationship betweenlearning definition level and best ways to learn.COUNTCOL PCTBEST WAYSTO LEARNLEARNING^DEFIN.^LEVELLOW^MEDIUM^HIGHROWTOTALLOW 7 3 6 16LEVEL 21.2% 13.0% 18.2% 18.0%MEDIUM 3 7 1 11LEVEL 9.1% 30.4% 3.0% 12.4%HIGH 23 13 26 62LEVEL 69.7% 56.5% 78.8% 69.7%COLUMN 33^23^33 89TOTAL^37.1%^25.8%^37.1%^100.0%Examination of the crosstabulation of best ways tolearn by learning definition level yielded someinteresting results. The most frequently mentioned wayto learn was hands-on learning (17 instances), with thenext three being using a variety of activities (10instances); exploring one's own interests (9 instances)and working in cooperative groups (9 instances). (SeeTable 3).75Table 3: Crosstabulation of high frequency ways tolearn by learning definition levelLEARNING DEFINITION LEVELWAY TOLEARN LEVEL 1^LEVEL 2^LEVEL 3^LEVEL 4171 09HANDSONVARIETYEXPLOREGROUPS4 6 2 54 2 1 32 4 35 2 2All (with the possible exception of variety ofactivities) are comments that fit well with currentapproaches to education in the local school districtsand in curricula mandated by the British ColumbiaDepartment of Education. In addition, these commentsare quite evenly spread across definition levels, asone might expect if their source was the current jargonrather than the belief system of a particular level.Working in groups, however, was not mentioned even onceby respondents whose definitions were at theBehaviorist level, possibly because one would expectteacher, rather than peer, feedback to be an importantsource of learning according to those at this level.Most comments were found at more than one level,7 6with the exception of three (have the students takepart in competitive games; focus on learning practicalskills; and learning from mistakes) which were foundonly at Behaviorist level and two (students need tohave a positive attitude and students learn throughteacher explanation) which were found only at NaiveEmpiricist level.Of the six comments categorized as not representingany particular level, two were found to clusterstrongly around one level. Children learn throughactive involvement was found four times at Level 1,twice at Level 4, and once each at Level 2 and 3. Asthis is a comment one would expect to find at the levelof Global Constructivism (Level 3) this is somewhatpuzzling. If one examines the actual responses however,Naive Empiricist respondents made comments such as"Children need to be actively involved in absorbing theinformation", which although contradictory, fits wellwith a Naive Empiricist level understanding oflearning. Make it relevant was found three times atGlobal Constructivist level with smaller numbers atLevels 4 and 2. The other four comments were evenlyspread across several levels.77Of the three comments categorized at NaiveEmpiricist level (Level 1), Make it interesting and usedifferent teaching methods were spread fairly evenlyacross a number of levels, and students learn throughteacher explanation was found only once, at level one.Given the high percentage of level one definitions oflearning (36.4%), this is a somewhat surprising result.One would expect that teacher explanation would play alarger role in the learning that is understood as "gainof information and knowledge". In methodology courses,however, the participants would have been told thatstudents do not learn best by teacher explanation, andtherefore, having "received" this knowledge themselves,they might be reluctant to express the opinion thatteacher explanation is the best way to learn, even ifit reflected their own belief system. Receivedknowledge might also explain the relatively high numberof Global Constructivist level comments offered byrespondents whose definitions were at Naive Empiricistlevel. Having been told that these were the waysstudents learn best, people at Level 1 would repeatwhat they had "learned".In general, Behaviorist level ways, were found78almost exclusively in the comments of those whosedefinitions of learning were at Behaviorist level. Theone exception is Children learn by repetition orpractice, which was found almost exclusively at NaiveEmpiricist level.Some of the ways that were coded as GlobalConstructivist level occurred at both Naive Empiricistlevel and Global Constructivist level, but not atBehaviorist or Differentiated Constructivist levels.Protocols were reexamined to see if there was anydifference in the wording or emphasis between the twolevels. None was apparent. For example, suggestingdiscussion as a way to learn, the Global Constructivistlevel respondents mentioned "talking about a concept"and "discussion periods". The Naive Empiricist levelrespondents mentioned "class discussions", "discussion"(2), participating in.. .discussions".Only one of the Level 4 and 5 comments showed anytendency to cluster at a particular level or levels."All learners are different" was evenly split betweenLevels 1 and 4. Naive Empiricist level respondentshave undoubtedly absorbed the currently popular "alllearners are different" from their courses while for79Differentiated Constructivist level respondents,individual differences are an essential part of theirunderstanding of learning and teaching.There is a statistically significant relationshipbetween level of teaching definition and overalldescription of best ways to teach (X2(4)=12.25, p=.02),when definition and comment levels are collapsed intothree levels. Most of the Naive Empiricist andBehaviorist level comments were made by respondentswhose definitions of teaching were also at theselevels. Those whose definitions of teaching were atGlobal Constructivist level suggested mostly GlobalConstructivist level teaching methods. Those whosedefinitions were at Levels 4 and 5 made comments thatwere fairly evenly spread across all levels.80Table 4: Contingency table showing relationship betweenlevel of definition of teaching and best ways to teachCOUNTCOL PCT TEACHING^DEFIN.^LEVELSROWBEST LEVELS^LEVEL^LEVELS^TOTALTEACHING 1 & 2 3 4 &5METHODSLOW 17 5 4 26LEVEL 40 .5% 25.0% 30.8% 34.7%MEDIUM 18 15 4 37LEVEL 42.9% 75.0% 30. 8% 49.3%HIGH 7 5 12LEVEL 16.7% 38.5% 16.0%COLUMN 42^20^13 75TOTAL^56.0%^26.7%^17.3%^100.0%Because of the large number of GlobalConstructivist level teaching methods suggested both byrespondents whose definitions were at Naive Empiricistlevel and by respondents whose definitions were atGlobal Constructivist level, protocols were reexaminedto determine if there were differences in wordingbetween the levels. For the comment dealing withencouraging or guiding, the Naive Empiricist levelrepondents commented "questioning techniques can allowthe children to find the answers"; "give the studentsthe guidelines"; "the teacher acts as a guide";"students learn with aid and guidance from... the81facilitator". Global Constructivist level respondentssaid "guiding students to learn"; "guiding students ...to make discoveries"; "guiding them to reach certainconclusions". Global Constructivist level wording mayshow slightly more focus on the student while NaiveEmpiricist level wording focuses more on the teacher.For the comments related to the discovery method orfirst hand experience, Naive Empiricist levelrespondents said "let the children find the answers";"let them discover things"; "giving the students thefreedom to discover on their own"; "let them exploreit". Global Constructivist level respondents suggested"have children discover information"; "let the studentsfind out for themselves"; "providing ... chances toexplore concepts". There seem to be no importantdifferences in the wording of this comment.In general, Global Constructivist level respondentsdo not differ from Naive Empiricist level respondentsin the wording of their explanations of the sameteaching method.82Ouestion 2 2a. At what level do prepracticum education studentsdefine their role as a student teacher?The highest percentage of prepracticum studentsdefined the student teaching role at Naive Empiricistlevel (42%). The numbers of respondents decreases asthe level of pedagogical conception increases (SeeFigure 3).Figure 3: Level of Role Definition83This is not surprising, but in this instance there areno signs, either in the frequencies of roles listed orin the specific role functions listed, that preparationfor the practicum in the form of expectations or goals,took place in a constructivist context. If anything,there seems to have been a Naive Empiricist levelorientation which emphasizes the subordinate role ofthe student teacher and emphasizes learning to teach byabsorbing knowledge from the sponsor teacher. There arenone of the revealingly mixed messages that one findsin definitions of learning and teaching ( e.g "Mydefinition of teaching is facilitating stuff. Whatstuff I'm not sure of yet!"). On the other hand, morethan half of the respondents at each level mention theguest/subordinate role, suggesting that this is anaspect of their role that they have been told.On reading the protocols, one is struck by thedifferences among prepracticum students at differentlevels as they try to conceive of their role as studentteachers. The differences between levels are, perhaps,best expressed in the words of the respondents. ANaive Empiricist level respondent wrote "Follow your84advisor around like a sponge". Another wrote "At thispoint I view myself as a full time teacher who pays toteach instead of receiving payment for services." Atthe Behaviorist level, one respondent described therole as "learning and making mistakes and building onmy past mistakes." At Global Constructivist level, arespondent said "My role as a student teacher is to seeit as a learning and growing experience.., and toexperience what the teaching profession is all about inreality". At Differentiated Constructivist level onerespondent wrote "the student teacher must observe anddevelop personal styles and techniques of teaching".An Integrated Constructivist level respondent wrote "Myrole as a student teacher is very ambiguous. I am aguest in the classroom.. .yet I am expected to and musttreat the classroom as my own.... I am in the class tolearn and make mistakes, yet on my faculty advisor'sevaluations of me these mistakes will count againstme.... My lesson plans and my behaviour reflect whatthe sponsor teacher and faculty advisor are lookingfor.., and often do not reflect my true personality orbehaviour." There are clearly qualitative differencesin understanding between a view that sees the learner85as sponge and one which talks about conflicts inherentin the student teaching situation as does the levelfive example.2b. Are the specific student teacher role functionsthat prepracticum students list consistent with theiroverall view of their role as a student teacher?There was a strong correspondence between specificrole functions listed and pedagogical level of thestudent's overall understanding of his/her role forthose at lower levels of pedagogical understanding.Respondents who defined the student teaching role atLevel 1 (naive empiricism) included more low level rolefunctions than high or medium level functions. Thosewho defined the student teacher role at the behavioristlevel identified primarily medium (behaviorist level)role functions. Those who defined the student teachingrole at higher levels, however, identified primarilylow level role functions (see Table 5). This is due tothe high incidence of learner role functions identified(9/20). If one eliminates this role function,respondents at higher levels of pedagogical conception,list specific role functions that are evenly86distributed among all comment levels. Although theylist the same specific roles as lower levelrespondents, it is done in a different context. Arespondent at the level of general /constructivismmight say that they will experiment, but thisexperimentation is a part of developing a personalstyle (finding out what works for me) rather than astrategy that elicits external evaluation or feedbackas at the behaviorist level. A respondent at the levelof integrated constructivism (Level 5) would list theserole functions in pairs as sources of contradictioninherent in the student teaching situation.Table 5: Contingency table showing relationship betweenstudent teacher role level and specific role functions.COUNTCOL PCTROLE FUNCSTLVLLOW^MEDIUM^HIGHROWTOTALLOW 39 16 20 7576.5% 32.0% 52.6% 54.0%MEDIUM 6 32 9 4711.8% 64.0% 23.7% 33.8%HIGH 6 2 9 1711.8% 4.0% 23.7% 12.2%COLUMN 51^50^38 139TOTAL^36.7%^36.0%^27.3%^100.0%87The most frequently mentioned role function over allwas that of subordinate or guest (27 instances),closely followed by learner or apprentice (23instances). Between 10 and 20 percent of respondents ateach level mentioned these two role functions. Twofunctions (teacher; manager) were not assigned to anydefinition level. The teacher role function wasmentioned most often at the Naive Empiricist level, andthe manager role function was evenly distributed acrossthe three lowest levels. In general, role functionsclustered strongly at one level with smaller numbers atadjacent levels.Question 3 3a. Is level of pedagogical conception consistentacross definitions of teaching, learning and thestudent teacher role?Overall, 29% of respondents defined both teachingand learning at the same level. Those who did not, wereevenly split between higher level learning definitionsand higher level teaching definitions. Approximately31% defined teaching and the student teacher role atthe same level and 20% defined learning and the student88teacher role at the same level. In about two thirds ofthe cases where definition levels did not match, thedefinition of the student teacher role was at a lowerlevel.If one considers all three definitions (learning,teaching, and the student teacher role) only 13% ofparticipants were consistent as to definition level,55% were split between 2 levels and 33% had all threedefinitions at different levels. For each definition,responses at the Naive Empiricist level (Level 1)predominate (see Figures 1-3). There is no apparentpattern to the level changes across all threedefinitions. When all three are consideredsimultaneously no particular definition is at a higherlevel and there is often more than one level betweendefinitions. When mean pedagogical level is calculatedacross all three definitions (see Figure 4 ) mostrespondents receive a mean level score of 2(Behaviorist level).Figure 4: Mean definition level (rounded)3b. Are level of pedagogical conception of teaching,learning, and the student teacher role, and/or adequacyof role definition related to success in the practicumas measured by supervisor ratings?There was no correlation between the total level ofpedagogical conception across all three definitions andsupervisor rankings on the practicum (Kendall's Tau =0.07; p >.05). Nor was there a significant correlation8990between the level of any one definition and supervisorrankings (See Table 6). The correlation between theadequacy of role definition (mean comment level) andthe supervisor ranking were not significant (Kendall'sTau=0.60; p>.05), nor was the correlation betweennumber of comments made and supervisor ranking.Table 6: Correlations among definition levels andsupervisor ratings (Kendall's Tau).Concept.^Supervis. Def'n. of Def'n. ofLevel^Score^Learning TeachingDef'n. ofLearning^0.10Def'n. ofTeaching^0.15^0.14Def'n. ofRole^0.02^-0.11^0.22Of the five respondents who had inconsistencyscores of 0 (all definitions were at the same level),four were at Level 1 (Naive Empiricism) and one was atLevel 4 (Differentiated Constructivism). The consistentNaive Empiricist level respondents did not receiveeither consistently high or consistently low rankings.The level 4 individual was rated third in a group ofsix advisees. It seems that even consistently high91definition levels had little to do with how individualswere ranked.4. To what extent can the student teachers' problemrepresentations be characterized as productive(Getzels, 1979)?While Getzels description does not take intoaccount the importance of recursion and successiveapproximations in the solving of complex problems, itdoes offer another useful qualitative viewpoint forexamining student teachers' problem formulation.Productive questions should share certaincharacteristics in addition to the quality of theoutcome they produce. Considering each characteristicin turn:1.There is a body of knowledge (concepts, data,techniques) within which the problem of becoming ateacher may be placed. At this point, student teachershave been exposed to a variety of teaching techniquesfor a minimum of 16 years (as a student), they havereceived specific education in pedagogy for the betterpart of a year and have been exposed to theory,92methodology and content courses.2. Is the problem well-conceived in the sense that itsbackground and presuppositions.., are neither falsenor undecided? In this sense, student teachers' problemformulations may be open to question. Theirpresuppositions about the nature of teaching andlearning may well be false, the best ways studentslearn and the best ways to teach may well be undecided.3.The problem is somewhat circumscribed; the question"What is my role as a student teacher?" seems quitespecific, but the students must decide on thelimitations and delimitations of the problem forthemselves as they are not given a description of whattheir role is to be, but must decide that forthemselves or in cooperation with their sponsorteacher.4. Conditions necessary to solving the problem (atleast once) are available. The practicum offers theopportunity to obtain the needed observations andperform the pertinent analyses. In this case the needed93observations are the results of one's attempts toteach, and the analyses are the reflection on actionand feedback provided by students, sponsor teachers,and practicum advisors.5. Consideration should be given before settling on theproblem to the possible kinds and forms of solutionsthat might be forthcoming." It is unlikely that moststudents, formulating the problem of their role as astudent teacher, are aware that there are differentunderstandings of what that role might be, or are awarethat the way in which they see their role will affecttheir attempts to solve the problem. Only studentswhose definitions were at Integrated Constructivistlevel, indicated any awareness of a point of view otherthan their own.The results of the study have several implications.They shed some light on the problem that studentteachers intend to solve on the practicum as opposed tothe one that the university thinks they are intendingto solve. This has practical implications for teachereducation. The results also have implications for thewider use of Ammon & Levin's model of levels of94pedagogical awareness and suggest lines of research tobe followed if its applicability in a wider variety ofsettings is to be adequately tested. These issues willbe discussed in the next chapter.95CHAPTER VDISCUSSIONIt was the stated intent of this study to combinedevelopmental and problem solving orientations inlooking at the ways in which prepracticum educationstudents represent the problem of learning to teach.This discussion will use these two filters to examinethe results of the data analysis.The answers to each research question will beconsidered in turn, followed by an examination of therelationship between them. The usefulness of bothdevelopmental and problem solving approaches in dealingwith the problem as a whole will be discussed.Recommendations for further research and for possiblechanges in teacher education will be made.Ammon & Levin (1991), working with students in apostgraduate, developmental teacher education programat University of California, Berkeley developed "Levelsof Pedagogical Understanding" which they felt describedthe development in understanding that their studentswent through, in the process of becoming a teacher .They found most of their students to be at Levels 2 and963 and were able to document a progression during thetwo year program. They confirmed their results usingstudents from a similar program.It is not unreasonable to suggest that manystudents attending a developmental teacher educationprogram would have chosen that program because of pre-existing interest and/or belief in developmentalprinciples. In addition, the program is a small onewith only 15 students admitted each year. Under suchconditions it is probable that all students takecourses from the same professors, and participate inthe same seminars. Given such a developmental/constructivist orientation, combined with a two yearprogram which consistently reinforced such beliefs anddeveloped congruent theoretical and practicalknowledge, it is not surprising that participants wouldshow growth along those lines. Ammon & Levin (1990)also note that most of the change in levels occurs inthe second year of the program.The participants in the present study, however,were students in a much larger, much shorter programleading to a B. Ed. rather than an M.A. They had notbeen exposed to any such theoretically coherent97program, but in their courses had been exposed tobehaviorist, information processing and developmentalapproaches as well as general constructivism. In thispopulation, coming to the experience with a wide rangeof pre-existing belief systems, and being exposed to avariety of theoretical and practical orientations(although with the over all, currently popular, flavourof constructivism), the path of development is not asclear.Question 1 la. At what level of pedagogical conception (Ammon &Levin, 1991) do prepracticum education students definelearning and teaching?The highest proportion of the participants definedteaching and learning at Naive Empiricist level butonly 29% overall, defined both teaching and learning atthe same level.An important principle of development is the roleplayed by appropriate experience. In general, thismeans direct relevant experience which challenges thelearner's current understandings and which offers the98opportunity to create more complete, more accurateundrstandings over time. As mentioned before, theprogram in which these students were involved was onein the process of change, but one which at that timeconsisted primarily of coursework, with brief, limitedexperiences of actual classroom teaching. In fact thesestudents were supposed to have had no experience withwhole classroom teaching, although a similar group atthe same university reported teaching 2 - 20 wholeclass lessons during the introductory small grouppracticum (B. Housego, personal communication, July,14, 1993). Given this limited and variable experience,it is not surprising, that for many of them, theirunderstandings of teaching and learning are atrelatively undeveloped and inconsistent levels as theresults of data analysis show.lb. Are the strategies (ways to learn, teachingmethods) that prepracticum students choose consistentwith their views of teaching and learning?Previous research (Getzels & Csikzentmihalyi, 1976;Schoenfeld, 1983; Sinnott, 1989) suggests that the way99a problem is represented is likely to affect strategychoice and so may create differences in the way theproblem is solved. The results of the present studyoffer further support for the connection betweenproblem representation and strategy choice. There isa significant relationship between definition levelsand descriptions of best ways to learn/best ways toteach. For students who have virtually no experiencein classrooms, the fact that a relationship existssuggests that their initial problem representation isat least adequate to suggest strategies that arecongruent with the problem representation and that maylead to a solution.Chi Square analysis only confirms what would beexpected, but the actual patterns of response are morerevealing. For both best ways to learn and best ways toteach, respondents whose definitions were at a lowlevel suggested an unexpectedly high number of waysthat were at Global Constructivist level. This resultcan be explained by considering what a Naive Empiricistlevel (Level 1) definition of learning or teachingimplies. At this level, a person believes thatknowledge or information is passed from the teacher to100the student who absorbs it unchanged.Since the provincial program of studies for schoolsand current educational talk reflect a basicallyconstructivist orientation, it is not surprising thatstudents at this level would have learned that theseare the "right" answers. Further evidence comes fromthe fact that a number of these general constructiviststrategies appear in almost equal numbers across alldefinition levels, as one might expect if they werepart of current jargon rather than a reflection of aparticular understanding of the nature of teaching andlearning.Almost all of the the behaviorist level ways weresuggested by students whose definitions were atBehaviorist level (Level 2). Since behavioriststrategies are currently out of favour, it seems likelythat this is a relationship that reflects an actualcongruence between understanding of teaching orlearning and the strategies one would use, and providesfurther evidence that the strategies one chooses aredependent on one's problem representation. Thesestudents would have been exposed to the sameconstructivist methods as the Naive Empiricist level101students, but did not choose to list them as best waysone might teach or learn.Respondents whose definitions were at the GlobalConstructivist level chose strategies mainly from thatlevel, but the few respondents at the levels ofdifferentiated and integrated constructivism were moreeclectic in their strategy choice. Since these levelsrepresent a more personalized, contextualized view ofteaching and learning, it makes sense that theseindividuals would choose a variety of strategies fromall levels. This is also consistent with a more expertunderstanding of teaching and learning (Berliner, 1986;Lampert, 1986).Ouestion 2 2a. At what level do prepracticum education studentsdefine their role as a student teacher?Almost 70% of student teachers define their role onthe practicum at the two lowest levels. This may be dueto any one or a combination of factors. As teaching isa relatively new domain for these students , one wouldexpect that initial problem formulations might be at a102lower level. The structure of the practicum itself,where evaluation depends heavily on how well one meetsthe goals of others may discourage more personal andindividualistic formulations. Direct teaching toprepare students for the practicum may emphasize thesubordinate role and evaluative aspects of theexperience. Whatever the reasons, these students definetheir role as student teachers in ways that seemunlikely to lead to personalized strategy selection andproblem solution.2b. Are the specific student teacher role functionsthat prepracticum students list consistent with theiroverall view of their role as a student teacher?Ammon and Levin did not develop a description ofthe student teacher role for their levels ofpedagogical understanding. The descriptors used in thepresent study are the creation of the author, usinginformation from their descriptions of perceptions oflearning, teaching and behaviour at each level. Thesemore global descriptors seem to hold up well indescribing students' understanding of their role as a103student teacher.One might expect that definitions and descriptionsof student teacher roles would be isomorphic, and thismight well be the case for experienced or expertteachers whose definitions of their role are the resultof extensive, (hopefully) reflective practice in thecomplex, real world of the classroom. For students whohave virtually no actual classroom teaching experienceand no clear,consistent list of expectations for theirrole, but who have been exposed to a variety ofteaching/learning situations as students, therelationship between their definitions and the specificrole functions is at least reassuring. It suggests thatthey have come to some understanding of the problem oftheir role as practicum students and have selectedstrategies that are consistent with this understanding.There are obvious differences in the ways thatrespondents at different levels of pedagogicalunderstanding describe their various roles as studentteachers. Some role functions are clearly derived fromwhat they have been told by their practicum advisors."I am a guest in another teacher's classroom" is oneclear example of such a comment. This comment was found104more frequently at the lowest pedagogical level, with afew instances at higher levels. At IntegratedConstructivist level it was used as one source ofcontradiction "I am a guest in someone else's classroombut must treat the class as my own...". Other commentswere clearly original. " ...a performer at someoneelse's party " is one such comment. In fact, suchoriginal comments may be the best representation ofstudents' understanding because they have not been not"told" the answers.In all cases it appears that being asked todescribe what is a real immediate situation that theywill be asked to "solve" in some real sense, may bringout the participant's best and most coherentunderstanding of that situation or problem.Question 3 3a. Is level of pedagogical conception consistentacross definitions of teaching, learning and thestudent teacher role?Understandings of learning, teaching and thestudent teacher role should be very closely linked,since learning and teaching are two sides of the same105transaction and the student teacher's goal, in its mostbasic form is to learn to teach. The lack ofrelationship among the three definitions is disturbing.If one considers definition of the student teacher roleas well as definitions of teaching and learning, only13% of participants were consistent as to definitionlevel, 55% were split between 2 levels and 33% had allthree definitions at different levels. One mightconsider the possibility of decalage were it not forthe fact that there is no apparent pattern to the levelchanges between the three definitions. No particulardefinition is at a higher level and there isoften more than one level between definitions.This suggests that these three definitions are notexpressions of an overall level of pedagogicalunderstanding, but that some or all may reflect somecombination of what has been taught, what has beenexperienced as a learner in schools, and personalbelief systems.This would seem to cast doubt on the validity ofAmmon & Levin's developmental model of pedagogicalunderstanding. If there is no consistent relationshipamong kind or level of understanding of such closely106related concepts, in the absence of a specific type ofeducational program, then perhaps the progressionthrough levels of understanding that they see in theirstudents and in those enrolled in a similar program,are a result of the specific orientation of theprogram. In order to determine whether their levelsrepresent a developmental progression (if not a domainspecific stage theory) one would need to study, overtime, the development of pedagogical understanding instudents enrolled in Masters level programs which offerprograms that are similarly coherent but differing infocus.3b. Are level of pedagogical conception of teaching,learning, and the student teacher role, and/or adequacyof role definition related to success in the practicumas measured by supervisor ratings?While the the answer to this question can be seenas a succinct "No, they are not", the problem is morecomplex than that. Supervisor ratings of practicumstudents are subjective, as are understandings of whatconstitutes good teaching. To someone trained in atraditional "teacher as sage" or behaviorist paradigm,107a student working in a constructivist model may seemless adequate than one whose understanding matches thesupervisor's. The same would be true for aconstructivist supervisor watching a student whose goalis to "follow my sponsor teacher around like a sponge".It seems probable that, given the subjectivity ofsupervisor ratings, the degree of agreement between thesupervisor and student's level of pedagogicalunderstanding would be a better predictor of thestudent's success on the practicum than the student'slevel of pedagogical understanding per se.In addition, supervisor ratings are based onstudent performance and not on the amount of learningthat has taken place over the practicum. As a matter offact "He/she has learned a lot over the past weeks" isoften considered a somewhat damning comment onevaluations. Since learning is messy and involves acertain amount of unsuccessful attempts and theorytesting, evaluation which is based on one's routinelysuccessful performance may be devaluing much of thelearning that could be taking place, given a situationthat valued rather than penalized learning and risktaking.108This problem has been recognized by the universityin question. The students participating in this studywere the last for whom actual marks were given on thepracticum. Since that time the practicum has beengraded pass/fail only.In retrospect, using supervisor ratings as ameasure of adequacy of problem formulation and solutionis less than satisfactory. The difficulty is the sameone encountered by Sinnott (1989). She found thatparticipants who operated in larger problem spaces wereoften less successful in solving presented problems,than those who operated in more restricted ones, but inher evaluation of success or failure, she failed toconsider that the problem that these participants weresolving may have been different than the one shepresented. In this study, students who conceived oftheir task as one of resolving multiple contradictions(Integrated Constructivist level) or developing apersonal teaching style (Differentiated Constructivistlevel), may have been more or less successful in thattask than those who conceived of their task as copyingtheir sponsor teacher (Naive Empiricist level), but thedegree to which they were able to plan and carry out109lessons, and manage students, is unlikely to shed muchlight on their success in solving the problem as theyhad represented it. A more adequate measure might askstudents at the end of the practicum to evaluate howsuccessful they had been in learning what they had setout to learn.Relationship among the research questions. Questions 1 and 2 look at the same generalquestions: "How do students represent the problem oflearning to teach?" and "Does this representationenable them to choose appropriate strategies forsolving the problem?" The third question asks whethermore advanced (according to Ammon & Hutcheson, 1989;Ammon & Levin, 1990) understandings of the problemlead to greater success on the practicum. The fourthquestion asks whether student teachers' problemformulations meet the criteria for productive problemrepresentations.From the lack of consistency among students'definitions of teaching, learning and the studentteacher role, one may infer that they see these asthree separate problems (how to learn, how to teach,110how to become a teacher) rather than different facetsof the same problem. That they have selected strategiesfor each problem that are consistent with their problemformulation as revealed in their definitions, leads oneto hope that they may arrive at adequate problemsolutions. That there does not seem to be an adequateunderstanding that teaching, learning and the studentteacher role are interconnected, makes one doubt theadequacy of these formulations for use in the real,complex world of classrooms.A basic principle of development (and indeed of alllearning) is that development or learning does not takeplace without appropriate experience. The fact that somany students, almost at the end of their professionaleducation, do not have a consistent, coherentunderstanding of the teaching/ learning transaction,suggests that they may not have had appropriateexperience to enable them to do so. While it might beunreasonable to expect that their view would be totallycoherent one would hope to see more consistency than isapparent here.There is a lack of relationship between111supervisor ratings of practicum success, and studentunderstanding of teaching, learning and the studentsteacher role considered either singly or incombination. This may be due to the fact thatsupervisor ratings measure a different sort of success.On the other hand it may be that the lack of coherenceamong the subproblems of teaching, learning and thestudent teacher role, interferes with the student'sability to make effective use of the practicum as aproblem solving, learning opportunity.Some of the basic tenets of constructivism are toconnect new experiences to the learner's priorexperience, to make use of current understandings, andto challenge current structures through thought-provoking authentic experiences . Getzels'characteristics or productive problems suggests areasfor change that might improve teacher education. Ateacher education program that examined and made use ofstudents' current understandings, in the authenticsetting of the classroom, and that revealedcontradictions between these understandings andclassroom practice, might enable students to makebetter use of the practicum in representing, solving112and rerepresenting the problem of becoming a teacher.The student teacher role: a developmental perspective There are clear qualitative differences inunderstanding of the student teaching role byparticipants at different levels of the Ammon & Levinmodel. These differences lie in the perceived roles ofthe teacher, the information, and the student. AtNaive Empiricist level, an active teacher passes inertinformation to a passive student who absorbs it. At thebehaviorist level, the passive student receives thestimulus (active information) either from the teacheror the environment, responds, and receives feedbackfrom the teacher. At Global Constructivist level thestudent acts on the information/experience provided bythe teacher who has structured the environment. AtDifferentiated Constructivist level, the studentinteracts with the information in a problem solvingcontext. The teacher reacts to the student's need forinformation, providing guidance as necessary. AtIntegrated Constructivist level, the teacher structuresthe environment (information) and interacts with thestudent providing the scaffolding for the student to113become her/his own teacher (see Table 7 for a moreconcise description)Table 7: Role of Teacher, Information, and Student atDifferent Levels of Pedagogical UnderstandingLEVEL^1^I^TEACHER INFORMATION 'STUDENTNaiveEmpiricistlevelActive Inert PassiveBehavioristlevelReactive Active ReactiveGlobalConstruct-ivist levelActive Inert ActiveDiff.Construct-ivist levelReactive Active InteractiveIntegratedConstruct-ivist level Interactive Active InteractiveIn order to reconfirm whether Ammon and Levin'slevels of pedagogical conception indeed representdevelopmental differences and to determine whetherpassage through them is invariant, thus meeting twocriteria for a stage theory, it would be necessary tomonitor the development of a large number of student114teachers through a number of different teachereducations programs. For this reason, at this point intime, one can only say that that aconstructivist/developmental approach holds promise andthat there is evidence for qualitatively differentunderstandings of the teaching/learning transaction,shown in the description, by education students, oftheir anticipated role as student teachers.The student teacher role: A problem solving perpective Examining the description of the student teacherrole from a problem solving perspective also yieldsuseful information, since in this way we may be able tobetter understand what might constitute an adequateproblem representation at any level. In addition,there is strong evidence that problem solving,particularly recursive problem solving, is essential inthe development of expertise. In order to understandhow teachers develop expertise, it is important to lookat how they begin, by formulating the problem of theirrole as a student teacher.When prepracticum students describe their role as astudent teacher, they are giving us information on115their current representation of the problem of becominga teacher since, as one respondent commented " if thereis such a disparity between the two [student teachingand professional teaching] then why have a practicum atall?". There are two concerns about this problemrepresentation: is it productive? in other words is itlikely to lead to a viable solution to the problem, andwhat, if anything, might enable the student to improvethe quality of the problem representation?Examining student teachers' problem representationin the light of Getzel's description of productiveproblem representations makes it clearer where thedifficulties arise. The naive theories that studentteachers hold, derived from their own experience asstudents, may be based on false presuppositions aboutthe nature of teaching and learning. In order todevelop more adequate understandings of theteaching/learning transaction, students need toexperience, rather than hear about different approachesto the problem, both as teachers and as learners. Thiswould also allow them to experience the outcomesresulting from these problem formulations, giving them116a better sense of the ways in which their variedformulations of their role as a student teacher maylead to different learning experiences (strategychoices) and so to different outcomes. If those whotaught content and methodology courses made explicittheir own theories about teaching and learning (astheories rather than as fact) and structured theirclasses to provide learning experiences which providedclear examples of different approaches, it might gosome way toward meeting these needs.ConclusionThe results of this study offer further evidencethat student teachers construct their understanding ofwhat it is to learn and to teach, and that they holdqualitatively different theories about their role(s) asa student teacher. As they begin their practicum theyhave defined role functions which are congruent withthese theories and which they intend to use asstrategies in solving the problem of learning to teach.They have formed an initial representation of theproblem of learning to teach.There appears to be no relationship between the117adequacy of this problem formulation and supervisorratings of the student's performance on the practicum.This may be due, in part, to a lack of congruencebetween student and supervisor formulations of theproblem, but it also suggests that students havedifficulty making effective use of their problemformulation in the real world of the classroom.There is no specific, focussed attempt, in mostteacher education programs, to enable students to formmore adequate problem representations or to make bestuse of the representation that they have. 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