Improving quality learning in a preservice teacher education program

Year: 2001

Author: Gordon, Christopher, Simpson, Tracy, Debus, Ray

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper describes a study in which contextual modifications were implemented in a preservice teacher education program to improve quality teaching and learning. Specifically these modifications were designed to increase students’ use of deep approaches to learning and reduce their reliance on the use of surface approaches. Because of the way the teaching and learning environment was conceptualised, in accordance with Biggs’ ‘3P model’, such an outcome was dependent on altering the students’ perception of the learning environment from one that rewarded the reproduction of transmitted declarative knowledge to one that encouraged the meaningful construction of integrated concepts. Students’ perceptions of their competence in performing the tasks of teaching were also expected to improve in response to improvements in quality learning. Growth in personal teaching efficacy was thus expected as an outcome for those students who engaged more strongly in deep approaches to learning.

The results indicated that the modifications to the teaching methods, task requirements and assessment processes applied to the treatment group encouraged changes in students’ approaches to learning by firstly reducing their use of surface approaches and later increasing the use of deep approaches. While both treatment and contrast groups exhibited equivalent growth in teaching efficacy, differences were noted in the sources that informed personal teaching efficacy at the conclusion of the course.