Experience of Teacher Education Students in Taking the Course of Adolescent Psychology

By Lin, Yii-nii; Chiu, Yi-hsing Claire et al. | College Student Journal, December 2014 | Go to article overview

Experience of Teacher Education Students in Taking the Course of Adolescent Psychology


Lin, Yii-nii, Chiu, Yi-hsing Claire, Lai, Pi-hui, College Student Journal


This study describes the learning and development experiences of teacher education students after taking an introductory course on adolescent psychology. The instructor adopted the developmental instruction model (DIM) (Knefelkamp, 1998) in this study and facilitated students learn through experiential learning. Fifteen students (aged between 20 and 28, with an average of 23.25) submitted a report and a research paper during the course and were invited for an in-depth interview after the course ended. Each student provided three sets of data (a brief paper, a research report, and an interview), and the instructor and research assistant recorded observation/reflection notes which were all analyzed with phenomenological qualitative method. Six themes emerge: (1) improved self-understanding including review of characteristics of their adolescence and how their adolescence makes who they are; (2) better understanding of modem youngsters including characteristics of adolescents in Taiwan and other countries and the challenges they encounter; (3) understanding of impacts of environmental factors (family, campus life, society and culture) on teenagers such as how changes in environment affect them; (4) acquisition of counseling techniques for adolescents; (5) experiencing the effectiveness of experiential learning; and (6) recognition of the practicality of DIM. The findings of this study served as the foundation for teacher education students to go deeper into the world of adolescent psychology, and for designing and selection of pedagogical methods for psychology courses. Findings supported that this course could enhance teacher education students' understanding of themselves and adolescents. It also could solidify their teaching and counseling skills for youngsters.

Key words: learning, development, psychology of adolescence, university student, developmental instruction model

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Graduates from the middle-school teacher education program should be able to teach and provide guidance to students in junior high, senior high, and vocational high schools. Therefore, they must understand developmental characteristics and needs of their adolescent students, foster a relationship based on communication and mutual trust, in order to help them explore/develop their potentials and tackle any learning difficulty. Courses on adolescent psychology are particularly important to these pre-service high school teachers. These courses will enhance not only their knowledge about the psychological development of adolescents, but also their abilities to teach respective subjects and provide guidance to students for intellectual as well as personal growth.

However, there are few studies on pre-service education student studies concerning adolescent psychology in Taiwan. The current study aims to describe learning and development of pre-service education teachers who took "Introduction to Adolescent Psychology." Research questions of this study include: (1) How would they describe their learning and development during and after the course?; (2) What are the characteristics that they have observed in adolescents during and after the course?; and (3) How is their application of theory into practice (interaction with adolescents, teaching and counseling adolescents)?

Literature Review

There are a limited number of studies on curriculum and teaching of teacher education students. They are mostly focused on multicultural education (Tseng, 2011), integration of theory and practice (Hwang, 2010), science and technology courses (Chang, 2011), and learning experience (Chen, 2010). Liu (2009) demonstrated combining digital platform, teaching materials, and narrative inquiry to facilitate application of knowledge could improve the learning outcomes on an "Adolescent Psychology" course. In order to enrich pre-service education students' reflections and integrate theory into practice, she adopted both traditional face-to-face and digital instructions to heighten their self-awareness and reflection, and to simulate how to help peers in only text on teaching platform. …

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