Case Study: A Preservice Teacher's Belief Changes Represented as Constructivist Profile

  • Kwak, Young-Sun (Korea Institute of Curriculum & Evaluation)
  • Published : 2001.12.30

Abstract

This Qualitative study investigated a preservice teacher's developing views of learning with the influence of constructivist epistemology taught in the Math, Science, and Technology Education (MSAT) Master of Education (M. Ed.) preservice teacher education program. The MSAT teacher education program employs constructivist aspects of teacher education and generates applications of constructivism to the practice of teaching, as revealed by faculty interview data. It is important at this point to emphasize that there are significant epistemological and ontological differences between different versions of educational constructivism (i.e., individual, radical, and social constructivism) and that these differences imply different pedagogical practices. For the 16 preservice teachers included in a larger study, the epistemological and ontological characteristics for each teacher's developing views of learning were identified through four in-depth interviews. Data from interviews were used to construct a constructivist profile for each preservice teacher's views of learning (i.e., a profile containing ontological beliefs, epistemological commitments, and pedagogical beliefs). Of the sixteen participants in the larger study, five significantly changed ontological and epistemological beliefs and eleven did not. Profile changes for the five who did change also resulted in changes in their conceptions of science teaching and learning (CSTL). In this article, one of the five teachers case was presented with rich quotes. This case study documents how a preservice teacher transferred his ontological and epistemological beliefs to his pedagogical beliefs and maintained the consistency between his philosophical beliefs and CSTL. It also demonstrated implications that changes in components for an educational constructivist profile have for a preservice teacher's view of himself as teacher. Data indicated the possibility that a constructivist-oriented preservice teacher education program can influence students' conceptions of science teaching and learning by explicitly introducing constructivism as an epistemology rather than as a specific method of instruction. Implications for both instructional practices of teacher education programmes and research are discussed.

Keywords

educational constructivism;epistemology;teacher education;constructivist profile change;pedagogical beliefs