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ERIC Number: ED551328
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 185
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-7138-4
A Situative Analysis of Postsecondary Teaching: Examining the Relationships among Faculty Beliefs about Student Learning, Course Planning, and Classroom Instruction
Hora, Matthew Tadashi
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Research suggests that the pedagogical thoughts of postsecondary teachers exist on a continuum from student-centered to teaching-centered orientations, the latter of which are more pedagogically effective than the former. However, this body of literature has been critiqued for insufficient conceptualization of psychological constructs and the lack of connection to research in cognitive psychology. In this thesis I advance a multi-dimensional account of faculty practice based on situative theories of cognition that address these gaps. Using thematic, data reduction (i.e., cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling), social network, and thematic network analysis techniques, I examine interviews and classroom observations from 56 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) faculty from three public research universities in the U.S. Results indicated that 15 types of beliefs could be discerned from the data, with the most widely held being that students best learn through practice and persistence. These beliefs can be grouped into two clusters that appear to have an underlying dimensionality characterized by which agent (teacher or student) is seen as primarily responsible for constructing meaning. Additionally, two beliefs (i.e., practice and perseverance, and that people learn according to different styles) appear to be stand-alone beliefs unrelated to this dimension. Further, 37 faculty in the study reported beliefs that cut across the two clusters and stand-alone beliefs, thereby indicating that most faculty cannot be characterized as holding a particular "type" of belief. Analyses of classroom observation data using social network analysis resulted in five distinct configurations of teaching dimensions across the disciplinary groups in the study. Case studies of three faculty demonstrate how beliefs, goals, prior knowledge, and perceived affordances within the organizational context all interact to shape planning and teaching. Results suggest that: (a) a multi-dimensional account of planning and teaching that focuses on tracing a single element throughout the instructional process provides a detailed account of faculty practice, (b) efforts to label individuals as holding a particular "type" of belief, and corresponding assumptions regarding the efficacy of their teaching, should be avoided, and, (c) beliefs alone do not determine practice but they interact with other features to help define problem spaces for teaching. [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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A