Teachers and Pre-Service Teachers’ Knowledge about Learning and Teaching

Year: 2016

Author: Van Deur, Penny, Lawson, Michael, Napier, Rebecca

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Learning is to a significant degree a self-regulated process. As reviewed in an earlier paper in this symposium concerns have been raised in recent times about the degree of development of teachers’ and students’ knowledge about the self-regulation of learning. In brief, this concern is about whether teachers’ and students’ knowledge about learning is sufficient to effectively exploit currently available knowledge about the effective self-regulation of learning. In this paper we discuss findings from two studies we have conducted with teachers and with teacher education students. In this study, experienced and early career teachers were engaged in interviews about procedures they used to help students develop strong subject matter knowledge in their areas of teaching. An explicit focus of the interviews was to ‘push’ teachers to expand on their reasoning for use of the teaching procedures that would result in high quality student learning. The second-year teacher education students completed a survey in part of which they were asked to describe a procedure that helped them to learn and then to explain why that procedure helped their learning. For the latter question they were encouraged to use their knowledge of learning theory in setting out their explanation. For both sets of data our first interest was to identify the focus of participants’ attention, what they nominated as the teaching and learning procedures that supported high quality learning. A second objective was to describe the complexity of participants’ responses which we have argued in earlier work is a key component of high quality knowledge about learning. The findings provide further evidence of the state of knowledge about the self-regulation of learning in both teacher and student teacher groups. At a general level the findings reinforce the view that the rich body of knowledge about the self-regulation of learning is still yet to be effectively exploited by many of the participants. We anticipate that the findings emerging in our samples will also be applicable to significant numbers of teachers and students in other contexts, as well as teacher educators. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the focus on knowledge about learning in teacher preparation and in professional learning for teachers.