Date of Award

Winter 3-19-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor/Committee Member

William Nagy

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Rick Eigenbrood

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Nyaradzo Mvududu

Fourth Advisor/Committee Member

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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