First year Bachelor of Education students' mental models of themselves as learners

Year: 2007

Author: Nguyen, Trang, Henderson, Lyn, Baskin, Colin

Type of paper: Refereed paper

There is political and academic concern about the high retention rate occurring among first year education students in universities worldwide. It is believed that students’ knowledge and thinking skills may prevent them from completing their teacher education program. Mental models are seen as a crucial factor since research shows that they can profoundly influence students’ knowledge, critical thinking skills, and problem solving in learning environments. Accessing students’ mental models will provide information about their conceptual scaffolds. By exploring students’ mental models, lecturers may be able to identify students’ difficulties and develop better instructional designs.

This paper presents findings from a research project that examined First year Bachelor of Education students’ mental models while undertaking a pre-service teaching subject in Information and Communication Technologies and Education. The quantitative method study is used to capture the breadth, depth, and correlation factors of students’ mental models. Analysis was carried using exploratory factor analysis. Results suggest that there are four factor presenting mental models of the students: Academic Engagement with Effective Learning Strategy Mental Model, Disengagement Mental Model, Collaboration Mental Model, and Ineffective Learning Strategy Mental Model.

Keywords: Pre-service teacher education, mental model, academic engagement, effective learning strategy, disengagement, collaboration, ineffective learning strategy.