Congruence of stem faculty conceptions of how students learn and instructional practices
Idsardi, Robert Christopher
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Active-learning can be beneficial for undergraduate STEM students, but difficult for faculty to implement without support. This dissertation is composed of two manuscripts which aim to support reform movements promoting the use of active-learning. The first manuscript characterizes faculty members’ conceptions of how students learn in relation to faculty members’ instructional practices. Using interview and observation data through a qualitative study I describe five patterns of congruency between faculty members’ conceptions and instruction. This manuscript also describes the diverse conceptions and instructional practices of faculty members engaged in four different PD programs. Implications of this manuscript include that PD programs should explicitly connect active-learning pedagogy to theories of student learning to support the development of conceptions of how students learn. PD programs also should account for and leverage the diversity and range of faculty members’ prior knowledge, beliefs, and instructional practices. The second manuscript is an application paper of instruction that implements active-learning. This paper describes an active-learning oriented lesson designed using a 5E lesson format, and reflects the enactment of my own conceptions of how students learn. This manuscript promotes the use of active-learning by explicitly describing the process of planning and implementing an active-learning oriented lesson. This paper also provided curricular materials (e.g. 5E lesson plan template) STEM faculty members can use in their teaching. This dissertation suggests reconceptualizing the support we provide STEM instructors and suggests future directions for related research.