A study of preservice teachers' beliefs about knowledge and teaching in terms of economic education
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to obtain an understanding of preservice teachers’ epistemological beliefs about economics, preservice teachers’ pedagogical beliefs about effective economics teaching, and the relationships between those beliefs. To this end, this study examined the beliefs of preservice teachers majoring in middle school education and social studies education. In addition, this study investigated how preservice teachers’ pedagogical beliefs about economics are related to their beliefs about students’ learning abilities. This research was a sequential explanatory mixed methods design. In this design, the quantitative data were collected and analyzed first, and the qualitative data were collected and analyzed second. The survey participants of this study were 112 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in middle school education and social studies education in 2006 and 2007. The interview participants were eight undergraduate and graduate students who completed the survey. The quantitative data were collected with the Discipline-Focused Epistemological Beliefs Questionnaire that Hofer (2000) created and the Beliefs about Effective Teaching of Economics Questionnaire that the author created (2007), and they were analyzed using factor analysis, analysis of variance, t tests, and all possible regressions. The qualitative data were collected from interviews and were analyzed using grounded theory methods. The quantitative data analysis indicated that preservice teachers hold relatively certain beliefs about Certainty/simplicity whereas they hold rather uncertain beliefs about Justification: personal and Source: authority. The qualitative analysis showed that the preservice teachers viewed the nature of economics in two ways: academic and practical. With regard to effective economics teaching, the participants asserted the importance of using examples relevant to students’ lives. In addition, preservice teachers believed teaching higher order thinking is less effective for low learning ability students than for high learning ability students. There were some differences in epistemological beliefs about Attainability of truth by major and in pedagogical beliefs about teaching lower order thinking to low learning ability students by major and grade level. Generally, low correlations between epistemological beliefs and pedagogical beliefs about economics were found. Among predictors, Certainty/simplicity and grade level explained more of the variance in pedagogical beliefs.