The Adaptation of the Teaching-Learning Conceptions Questionnaire and Its Relationships with Epistemological Beliefs

Article excerpt

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to adapt the Teaching-learning Approaches Questionnaire. The working group of the study consisted of 341 student-teachers. The results indicated that the factor structure is partially consistent with the model. Cronbach reliability coefficient for the whole instrument was .71, while sub-scale reliabilities were .88 and .83. The 30-item questionnaire loaded into two factors. The secondary purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between epistemological beliefs and teaching-learning conceptions. Further analyses carried out whether teaching-learning conceptions differ based on gender and class-levels. Results indicated that there were significant relationships between epistemological beliefs and teaching-learning conceptions; the student-teachers preferred constructivist approach over the traditional approach, and student-teacher views differed based on gender and class-level. Finally, significant correlations were found among epistemological beliefs (Innate/Fixed Ability, Learning Effort, Learning Process - Casting Doubt on Authority/ Expert Knowledge, and Certainty of Knowledge) and approaches to teaching and learning (Constructivist Conception, Traditional Conception).

Key Words

Teaching and Learning Conception, Epistemological Belief, Confirmatory Factor Analysis, Questionnaire.

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The conceptions about teaching and learning refer to the beliefs held by teachers about their preferred ways of teaching and learning. These include the meaning of teaching and learning and the roles of teacher and pupils" (Chan & Elliot, 2004). There are two main opposite conceptions in teaching and learning (traditional and constructivist). Constructivist conception received its foundations from the Piaget's and Vygotsky's theories. These theorists emphasize the importance of experience and active participation of the individual in learning process in the construction of knowledge. Vygotsky points out the importance of interaction of a child with his/her peers or with adults in the construction of knowledge (Miller, 1997). The foundations of constructivism may be listed as: knowledge is not received by the child passively; rather, he/ she is involved and structure it actively. Children create new knowledge by thinking physically and intellectually on their actions. This means that if a child integrates his/her thoughts with the existing knowledge structures, then knowledge becomes meaningful. There is not one reality but only an interpretation of the world based on individual experiences and social interactions. Learning is mostly a social process in which a child grows in the intellectual life that surrounds him/her (Clements & Battista, 1990). Traditional conception in teaching utilizes teacher-centered teaching strategies. This conception sees the teacher as the source of knowledge and the student as the passive receiver of knowledge. On the other hand, the constructivist conception uses student-centered teaching strategies because this type of learning will help students develop critical thinking and collaboration skills and learning takes place in environments where students are able to participate actively (Chan & Elliot, 2004; Cheng, Chan, Tang, & Cheng, 2009).

Teaching and learning processes are influenced by different cognitive variables. Some important among them are epistemological beliefs and teaching and learning conceptions. Epistemological beliefs express the beliefs on the nature of knowledge and gaining knowledge (learning). Schommer defines personal epistemology as a system which includes five independent dimensions which can also be together (knowledge organization, certainty of knowledge, source of knowledge, and the control and the speed of knowledge acquisition). Personal epistemological beliefs have an important influence on personal cognitive and meta-cognitive processes. …