Teacher education students' knowledge about how class discussions help them to learn

Year: 2002

Author: Murray-Harvey, Rosalind, Lawson, Michael, Askell-Williams, Helen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Self-regulatory perspectives of learning imply that students need to possess knowledge about 1) themselves as learners, 2) how to build effective knowledge structures, and 3) how to further develop and apply their knowledge. In a teacher education context we would hope that students would be able to explicitly articulate such knowledge, not only in relation to themselves as learners, but also as potential teachers of other learners. This paper describes one part of a study that sought to investigate pre-service teachers' knowledge about learning. We asked final year Bachelor of Education students to provide a short written answer to the question, "What happens in your university classes that helps you to learn." The students' most frequent response was, "Discussions." We then conducted follow up interviews where students elaborated upon their written responses. We created a framework for analysing students' responses based upon principles of classroom climate, motivation, self-regulation and psychological- and social-constructivism. We draw conclusions about 1) the value of discussions as a teaching and learning technique, 2) the quality of participants' knowledge about how discussions help them to learn, and 3) the implications of participants' knowledge about discussions for their future roles as teachers.