10 SES 09 A, Teacher Knowledge, Perception and Competence
To be teacher of the 21th century is not an easy one. The society, economic and political changes have a huge effect on mass-teaching too. The changing roles of teacher, the growing demands and expectations from the society and policy makers as well as the fact that there is strong connection between teachers’ competences and student outcomes require high quality of teachers’ preparation and professional development.
Teaching is a practical activity so efficient problem-solving skill is one of the fundamental competencies that teachers need to possess (Shavelson 1981, Calderhead 1993).
I use the word of problem according to cognitive approach that says: problem exists when there is a “barrier” between a given situation and the desired one (Johnson 1972, Jackson 1983, Kahney 1986). Following Funke's definition (Funke 1991) teachers’ pedagogical problem situations are complex ones because they:
- have a lack of clarity of the situation (intransparency);
- have multiple goals (polytely);
- have a large number of elements relevant to the solution process (complexity of situation);
- are highly interconnected with other situations (connectivity of variables);
- are dynamically changing over time (dynamic development);
- do not always have immediate consequences (time-delayed effect).
The differences between experts and novice problem solving cognitive process were examined mainly domain-specifically from the 1970’s and 1980’s years by psychological researches. Researches of teaching process also pointed out the type and the cause of differences between beginner and expert teachers (Bransford, Brown, and Cocking 2000).
Techers face with challenges on every level of their professional development, therefore every teacher need to learn how to cope with their challenges. Because of the lack of routine and schemata new teachers usually do not feel comfortable in problematic classroom situation and hardly have any methods to use in these cases (Berliner 1988, 2004). Experiented teachers are better problem solvers as they have well-integrated and richly elaborates knowledge; complex, well-established and easy accessed schemata as well as more analytical and interpretive perception of classroom events (Tsui, 2009). However on the other hand too much practice and routine can lead to functional fixedness that also encumber the problem solving process so in-service teachers should be learn how to reframe and restructure their schemas the problematic situation requires (Schön 1983, 1987, Korthagen 1992, Eysenc and Keane 2010).
To help teachers on any stages handling classroom situation an educational program have been developed and tested during a design-based research in the Faculty of Education of Eszterházy Károly University. The program includes the theory and the practice of problem solving model with special thinking techniques in the context of reflective teaching and case-based learning (Orgoványi-Gajdos 2016).
The design-based research had three main part: preliminary, prototyping and assessment phase (Plomp and Nieveen 2007). In the first stage the literature review and the theoretical framework of the program were shaped. During the prototyping phase the blueprint version were developed. The last part of the research covered the assessment part with impact evaluation. This presentation focuses on this part and the all over outcome of the research. The evaluation part included ten (one-day) courses based on the developed program with 159 participants all together. The courses took place in Faculty of Teacher Training of Eszterházy Károly University between 2015 – 2016. The sample of 159 participants was made by stratified random sampling method. There were completely mixed groups of the courses that were shared by sub-sample of teaching stage based on Berliners’ categories: 35 future teachers, 33 new teachers, 30 competent teachers, 30 proficient teachers, 31 expert teachers (Berliner 1988). The research questions and the hypothesis of the assessment phase focused on: - the main features of the curricula, - the participants’ attitude towards the acquainted techniques, - the effect of the program on teaching practice, - the differentiation between sub-samples in the examined variables. The data collection method were longitudinal study by questionnaire form with ordinal scales and open questions. During the analysing process descriptive and mathematic statistics (ANOVA, regression analysis, factor analysis) were used (by SPSS software).
The presentation focuses on the assessment phase of the whole design-based research. The participants were highly satisfied with the main features and content of the curricula as the average value were between 4-5 on a five point Likert-scale independently of sub-sample. The most positive features of the program were self case-based learning, the improvement of practical knowledge, the knowing of the new techniques and also the interactive learning environment. These outcomes were supported by factor analysis too. Speaking about the most significant differences among sub-samples, it figured out that new teachers rather require cases with solution as an example to use while more competent teachers appraise so much the general thinking methods. The longitudinal research also pointed out that the effect of the program was much wider that only knowing new techniques: development of systems thinking, attitude change, successful solution process, more routine in problem solving were most mentioned beside the knowing of problem solving process and the methods of its’ steps.
Berliner, D. C. (1988). The Development of Expertise in Pedagogy. American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. new Orleans, La. Berliner, D. C. (2004). Describing the Behavior and Documenting the Accomplishments of Expert Teachers. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Vol. 24, No. 3, June, 200-212 Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., and Cocking, R. R. Eds. (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Calderhead, J. (1993). The contribution of research on teachers’ thinking to the professional development of teachers, in: Day, C., Calderhead, J. and Denicolo, P. eds., Research on Teacher Thinking: Understanding Professional Development, London, Falmer Press. Eysenc and Keane (2006). Cognitive Psychology: A Student's Handbook. Psychology Press. Eysenck, M. and Keane M. T (2010). Cognitive Psychology. A Student's Handbook. Psychology Press. Funke, J. (1991). Solving complex problems: Human identification and control of complex systems. In R. J. Sternberg & P. A. Frensch (Eds.), Complex problem solving: Principles and mechanisms (pp. 185-222). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Jackson, K. F. (1983). The art of solving problems: Bulmershe-Comino Problem SolvingProject. Reading: Blmershe College. Johnson, D. M. (1972). Systematic introduction to the psychology of thinking. Harper and Row, New York. Kahney, H. (1986). Problem solving: A cognitive approach. Open University Press, Milton Keynes. Korthagen, F. A. (1992). Techniques for stimulating reflection in teacher education seminars. Teaching and Teacher Education, 8(3), 265-274. Orgoványi-Gajdos, J. (2016). Teachers’ Professional Development on Problem Solving. Theory and Practice for Teachers and Teacher Educators. Sense Publishers. Rotterdam Plomp T. and Nieveen N. (ed.) (2007). An Introduction to Educational Design Research. SLO Netherlands institute for curriculum development. Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action (Vol. 5126). Basic books. Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner: Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. San Francisco. Shavelson, R. J & Stern, P. (1981). Research on teachers’ pedagogical thoughts, judgements, decisions, and behaviour. Rewiev of Educational Research, vol. 51. pp. 455-498. Tsui, A.B.M. (2009). Teaching Expertise: Approaches, Perspectives and Charaterizations. In A. Burns & J. C. Richards (Eds.), Cambridge Guide to Second Language Teacher Education (pp. 190-197). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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