This study examines pre-service teachers' conception about teaching and learning using the perspectives of Traditional Teaching (TT) and Constructivist Teaching (CT). Using the Teaching and Learning Conceptions Questionnaire (TLCQ) by Chan and Elliot (2004), data were collected from460 pre-service teachers in Turkey through an online questionnaire. An exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were conducted to validate the TLCQ that was translated into Turkish. The results revealed a factor model, with nine items. Correlations between CT and TT was moderate suggesting a distinct relationship.
Keywords: Pre-Service Teachers, Constructivist Teaching, Traditional Teaching, Teaching and Learning Conception
Changes in society require educators to constantly adjust their teaching and learning approaches. In education, the shift from traditional teaching to learner-centered teaching, which emphasizes constructivism, has become especially popular. However, many teachers tend to resist changing their teaching practices (Duffy and Roehler, 1986).
Constructivism has been widely used in the classroom environment. It refers to teaching with a focus on student centered learning instead of teacher-centered learning. In order to make students more active, teachers use various strategies and tools. However, many teachers do not willingly accept alternative tools and strategies such as rubrics and project-based learning (Jonassen, 1999). Constructivist teachers do not act as a center of information and are not responsible for transmitting knowledge to students. They create learning environments in which students interact with peers and teachers, and provide students with opportunities to use previous knowledge to construct new knowledge. In constructivist learning environments, teachers facilitate the learning process of students by giving directions and clues (Jonassen, 1999). Constructivism also proposes that students build their knowledge based on previous knowledge, so students need to be actively involved in their own learning process. In good classrooms, students interact with each other as well as the content, which enables them to be active participants, and responsible for their learning process. Since different students learn in different ways and each student has unique needs, technology offers tailored environments and contents based on students' levels and needs. Differences in student learning styles and learning pace, technology especially computers all offer great opportunities for both students and teachers.
When looking at the traditional way of teaching, teachers teach in a didactic manner, and they function as an information source during teaching (Brooks and Brooks, 1999). They are also responsible for disseminating information to students. Teachers look for the correct answer to know whether students learn what is taught or not. However, constructivist teachers are responsible for setting up the learning environment for students and facilitating interactions among students and themselves. While constructivist teachers need more time to prepare a learning environment than traditional teachers, traditional teachers cover the learning subject in a shorter time than constructivist teachers.
Pre-service teachers tend to teach as they were taught (Kim and Sharp, 2000). Therefore, before starting their teaching careers, pre-service teachers should be trained about knowledge and skills of constructivist approach. Also, pre-service teachers need to be informed about how constructivism can be merged in the class practice. Pre-service teachers gain teaching experience in the classroom during their teacher education, and this experience affects their beliefs about constructivism. Teachers have been affected by their own teachers, and they teach accordingly (Stuart and Thurlow, 2000).
Since teachers' beliefs play a crucial role in teaching and these beliefs are hard to change, it is important to know what teachers' beliefs are. …