Date of Award

Winter 3-19-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

William Nagy

Second Advisor

Rick Eigenbrood

Third Advisor

Nyaradzo Mvududu

Fourth Advisor

Andrew Lumpe

Keywords

Epistemological beliefs, Pedagogical beliefs, Pre-service teachers, In-service teachers

Abstract

Abstract

This study investigated the epistemological and pedagogical beliefs of pre-service and in-service teachers working toward a degree in education at a university in Tanzania. A total of 702 pre-service and in-service teachers from year one and three participated in the study. The Teaching and Learning Conception Questionnaire (Chan & Elliott, 2004b; Lee, Zhang, Song, & Huang 2013) was used to measure student-teachers’ pedagogical beliefs, and the Epistemological Beliefs Questionnaire (Chan & Elliott, 2000, 2004b; Lee, Zhang, Song, & Huang, 2013) to measure their epistemological beliefs.

Factor analysis of data from the Teaching and Learning Conception Questionnaire resulted in a two-factor solution very similar to that found by other researchers (Chan & Elliott, 2000, 2004b; Yilmaz & Sahil, 2011), with the factors representing a traditional conception and a constructivist conception. The two factors were not correlated, r = .04, p > .05. Student-teachers had a mean of 4.24 on the constructive conception whereas a mean of 3.20 on traditional conception, on a five-point scale where 1 = ‘strongly disagree’ and 5 = ‘strongly agree.’ MANOVA found significant main effects of year of study, F(1, 606) = 22.11, p = .001, ƞ2= .04, and Teacher type, F(1, 606) = 8.67, p = .001, ƞ2 = .01, for the traditional conception. Third year students were closer to neutral in their beliefs about the traditional conception than first year students, and in-service teachers closer to neutral than pre-service teachers. For the constructivist conception, there was a significant interaction of teacher type and year of study for constructivist conception, F(1, 606) = 10.68, p = .001, ƞ2 = .02. In year one, in-service teachers held more strongly to the constructivist conception than pre-service teachers, but in year three, there was no difference between these groups.

Factor analysis of data from the Epistemological Beliefs Questionnaire resulted in a four-factor solution somewhat similar to that found by other researchers (Chan & Elliott, 2000, 2004b; Lee, Zhang, Song, & Huang, 2013). Factors representing student-teachers’ epistemological beliefs were not further analyzed due to low Cronbach’s alphas.

Implications for practice and suggestions for future research are highlighted in the study.

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