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Operationalization and prediction of conceptions of teaching in adult education Chan, Choon Hian


The purposes of the study were: (1) to operationalize Pratt’s five conceptions of teaching (Engineering, Apprenticeship, Developmental, Nurturing and Social Reform), (2) to predict conception of teaching scores, (3) to determine the existence of dominant conceptions of teaching, and (4) to determine the extent to which personal, socio— cultural/educational and program variables predict dominant conceptions of teaching. A 75-item instrument, Conception of Teaching Scales (CTS) was developed to operationalize Pratt’s five conceptions of teaching. A pilot study revealed that the instrument had good face, content, and convergent validities as well as acceptable test-retest reliability and internal consistency. A sample of 471 Vancouver School Board and New Westminster School Board adult education instructors responded to a mailed questionnaire survey conducted in the Fall of 1993. Responses to the CTS were evaluated to determine whether Pratt’s five conceptions were operationalized successfully. Factor analysis was employed to determine whether the items in the CTS were representative of Pratt’s five conceptions of teaching. Results revealed that 63 out of 75 original items in the CTS successfully operationalized five conceptions of teaching, with Pratt’s Apprenticeship conception split into Apprenticeship-Practice and Apprenticeship-Modelling. Further refinement streamlined this number to a six—scale 50—item Revised Conception of Teaching Scales (CTS—R). Personal, socio—cultural/educational and program variables were used as predictors in multiple regressions to explain variance in six conception scores. There was no single common predictor of conceptions. On the average, the significant predictors in the six regression equations accounted for 14.5% of variance in the conception scores. The only prominent predictor which accounted for most variance (2R = 17%) in the Nurturing conception was personality—nurturance measure. An instructor’s dominant conceptions were predicted by nine independent variables, namely, gender, ethnicity, personality— dominance, personality—nurturance, years of teaching adults, content upgrade, living arrangement, level of education and class size. These variables were collapsed into three significant discriminant functions which correctly classified 34.7% of the 288 eligible cases into one of the six dominant conception groups. The study concluded that: (1) Pratt’s five conceptions of teaching could be operationalized and that a Revised Conception of Teaching Scales (CTS-R) was a valid and reliable instrument to assess people’s conceptions of teaching, (2) conceptions of teaching were independent concepts having their own existence, (3) most instructors held at least one single most dominant conception of teaching, and (4) dominant conceptions of teaching were predicted by four personal variables (gender, ethnicity, personality—dominance and personality—nurturance), four socio— cultural/educational variables (living arrangement, level of education, years of teaching adults and content upgrade effort) and one program variable (class size).

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