In an attempt to ascertain whether teacher education students differ in domain-specific problem-solving behaviour, 49 second year teacher education students (N=24 school-leavers; N=25 mature-age) were asked to read and respond to three classroom- oriented problem-solving vignettes. Criteria for inclusion into the category of expert or novice were established from available expert/novice and master-teacher literature. Responses were coded and verified using factorial and cluster analysis. Results indicated that expertise needed to be defined in terms other than merely experience. A cognitive processing model based on schemata differentiation was proposed to explain the difference in problem-solving style. Implications for pre-service Education courses are considered.