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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Representing the problem of learning to teach: Student teachers’ definitions of learning, teaching and the student teacher role Kristjansson, Janis


Teacher education is being reevaluated in light of current understandings of the ways in which education needs to be restructured. If the teacher is to assume a role primarily as a problem solver it may require a different approach than the current, largely theoretical and fragmented approach. Teachers and student teachers identify the practicum as the most valuable aspect of teacher education, possibly because of the opportunity to solve real problems in the domain. This suggests that the practicum may play a pivotal role in learning to teach. The way in which prepracticum student teachers represent the problem of learning to teach using their definitions of teaching, learning and the student teacher role was investigated in a problem solving and developmental context. The relationship between the quality of this problem representation and success on the practicum was determined. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods were used. The results suggest that student teacher may see teaching, learning and the student teacher role as three separate problems to be solved. For each definition, the highest percentage of respondents were at the lowest level of Ammon & Levin's Levels of Pedagogical Conception, but level was not consistent across the definitions. There is a significant relationship between problem representation level and strategies listed. There was no statistically significant relationship between level of pedagogical conception and supervisor ratings of success on the practicum. Implications for teacher education and the applicability of Ammon & Levin's model are discussed.

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