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ERIC Number: ED522554
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 194
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-3263-5
Exploring Changes in Preservice Teachers' Beliefs about Education throughout Their Learning-to-Teach Journey
Wall, Carrie Giboney
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara
Preservice teachers do not enter teacher education institutions unfamiliar with the educational process, but rather with thousands of hours of experience in classrooms. As such, they hold beliefs about what it means to teach, which can often form barriers to understanding and implementing more innovative, student-centered, knowledge-construction theories. Thus, the purpose of this study was to make visible preservice teachers' memories of their K-12 experiences; their initial educational beliefs; the changes in those beliefs over their teacher education program; and program components that triggered transformative learning. Quantitative and qualitative data in the form of surveys, questionnaires, interviews, university seminar discourse, reflective work samples, and elementary school classroom observations were collected from six elementary preservice teachers over a two year period and subsequently analyzed. The results found that preservice teachers' descriptors of favorite teachers centered more on affective dispositions than pedagogical competence. Moreover, preservice teachers' memories constricted both their conceptions of what it means to teach and to "student." Not only did preservice teachers initially assume students were similar to themselves, but they viewed teaching as simple, straightforward, and autonomous. Furthermore, they initially believed that students at the same grade level perform uniformly, that teaching ensures learning, and that their personal pedagogical preferences are shared by their students. This preservice teacher egocentrism remained intact until they faced the complexities of classroom life and were forced to juxtapose their conceptions about teaching formed from their student point of view with their newly emerging conceptions from their teacher point of view. Through their cognitive dissonance ignited in university courses and situated in fieldwork classrooms, preservice teachers gained insight into the rigors of teaching. They discovered that teaching is complex and multi-faceted, that personally preferred pedagogical strategies are not effective with all students, that students' backgrounds and abilities differ, that teachers' freedom and autonomy is limited, and that teaching does not always promote student learning. The data suggested a common progression in preservice teacher growth from initial idealism, to cognitive dissonance when faced with classroom realities, to the search for an authentic teaching persona, and finally, to confidence in their new role as teacher. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A