10 SES 02 D, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
In seeking to specify more closely the nature of the knowledge bases needed for effective teaching, Lee Shulman (1986) drew a powerful distinction between teachers’ ‘Subject-matter Knowledge’ (SK) and their ‘Pedagogical Content Knowledge’ (PCK). PCK is subject knowledge for teaching rather than knowledge about teaching in general or knowledge of subject in isolation from the activity of teaching. PCK represents the knowledge base of the scholarly teacher, whereas SK consists of the knowledge base of the scholar (Trigwell, 2004).
PCK has been recognised internationally as being an important aspect of successful teaching and much effort has gone into more precisely conceptualising its nature (Grossman, 1990; Gess-Newsome, 1999; Magnusson, Krajcik and Borko, 1999; Segall, 2004; Hill, Ball and Schilling, 2008). In addition, attention has been given to trying to assess teachers’ levels of PCK since this offers the prospect of evaluating the quality of different training interventions as well as the quality of teachers PCK at different stages in their careers. This paper seeks to explore the potential that phenomenography has to add to these debates.
Shulman (1987) proposed that a fundamental aspect of PCK is teachers understanding of ‘the conceptions and preconceptions that students of different ages and backgrounds bring with them’ (p9) and this has formed a component of the research on PCK. Since phenomenography is concerned with the identification of qualitatively different conceptions of any given phenomenon held by students it would seem to fit naturally with Shulman’s view. Phenomenographic research in to teacher understanding of students’ conceptions would seem therefore to offer a logical way forwards.
Teachers’ beliefs about students’ conceptions have not previously formed a focus of attention in this tradition. Elsewhere, whilst there has been considerable evidence gathered on student conceptions and misconceptions (particularly in Maths and Science education), research into teachers knowledge of student conceptions is limited and the results inconclusive (Hill, Ball and Schilling, 2008). This paper seeks to contribute to the international evidence in this area by exploring whether pre-service teachers do have an understanding of student conceptions, what their conceptions of student understanding are and how the quality of their understanding changes over the course of their training.
Gess-Newsome, J. (1999). Pedagogical content knowledge: An introduction and orientation. In J. Gess-Newsome & N.G. Lederman (Eds), Examining pedagogical content knowledge (pp3-17). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer. Grossman, P.L. (1990). The making of a teaching: Teacher knowledge and teacher education. New York: Teachers College Press Hill, H.C., Schilling, S.G. & Ball, D.L. (2008). Unpacking pedagogical content knowledge, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 39(4), 372-400 Magnusson, S., Krajcik, J., & Borko, H. (1999). Nature, sources and development of pedagogical content knowledge. In J. Gess-Newsome & N.G. Lederman (Eds), Examining pedagogical content knowledge (pp95-132). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer. Marton, F. & Pang, M.F. (2008). Phenomenography and the pedagogy of conceptual change. In S. Vosniadou (Ed) International Handbook of Research on Conceptual Change (pp553-557). London: Routledge Segall, A. (2004). Revisiting pedagogical content knowledge: the pedagogy of content/the content of pedagogy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 489-504 Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1-22 Trigwell, K. & Shale, S. (2004). Student learning and the scholarship of university teaching. Studies in Higher Education, 24(4), 523-536
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