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Changing personal epistemologies in early childhood pre-service teachers using an integrated teaching program

By Joanne M. Brownlee, Anne Petriwskyj, Karen Thorpe, Phillip Stacey and Megan Gibson

Abstract

This study investigated changes in pre-service teachers’ personal epistemologies as they engaged in an integrated teaching program. Personal epistemology refers to individual beliefs about the nature of knowing and knowledge and has been shown to influence teaching practice. An integrated approach to teaching, based on both an implicit and explicit focus on personal epistemology, was developed by an academic team within a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood). The teaching program integrated content across four units of study, modelling personal epistemologies implicitly through collaborative reflexive practice. The students were also required to engage in explicit reflections on their personal epistemologies. Quantitative measures of personal epistemology were collected at the beginning and end of the semester using the Epistemological Beliefs Survey (EBS) to assess changes across the teaching period. Results indicated that pre-service teachers’ epistemological beliefs about the integration of knowledge became more sophisticated over the course of the teaching period. Qualitative data included pre-service teachers’ responses to open ended questions and field experience journal reflections about their perceptions of the teaching \ud program and were collected at the end of the semester. These data showed that pre-service teachers held different conceptions about learning as integration, which provided a more nuanced understanding of the EBS data. Understanding pre-service teachers’ epistemological beliefs provides promising directions for teacher preparation and professional enrichment.\u

Topics: Early childhood care and education, Epistemological beliefs, Interdisciplinary teaching, Personal epistemology, Teacher education, HERN
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1080/07294360.2010.518952
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:42374
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