ERIC Number: ED384605
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
The Psychologizing of Teacher Education: Formalist Thinking and Preservice Teachers' Beliefs.
Pajares, Frank; Bengston, John K.
This study explored the assumption that superior instruction can result from the supplementing of teachers' subject knowledge with a formal psychological understanding of learning styles and learner characteristics. Preservice language arts teachers (N=113) were asked to state what they thought would constitute appropriate responses to a middle school student's request for feedback about a poem he had written. Teacher responses were such that formalist thinking predominated over instructional feedback intended to increase literary skills. Most teachers felt that positive feedback and praise were always necessary in responding to students' creative work, even when dishonest, although many also offered the belief that evaluative questions should be redirected back to the student, and some felt that poetry was by its nature beyond judgement and evaluation. The researchers express concern over the widespread lack of sincerity demonstrated by teachers' responses and the implication that analytical and critical literary thought is not welcome in the classroom. It is argued that, if preservice teachers' beliefs are resistant to change, there is reason to be concerned with the educational perspectives that a formalistic understanding of psychology may foster. (Contains 17 references.) (PB)
Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Cognitive Style, Creative Writing, Creativity, Educational Psychology, Higher Education, Intermediate Grades, Junior High Schools, Literary Criticism, Middle Schools, Poetry, Preservice Teacher Education, Student Characteristics, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Education, Teacher Student Relationship, Writing (Composition), Writing Instruction
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).