Advancing a new evidence-based professional in health care: job task analysis for health and wellness coaches
The NASA Classroom of the Future sponsored a residential training course to help teachers learn to use computer-based educational tools and explore constructivist instructional approaches. Researchers hypothesized that creating a living-and-learning environment for the training would foster rapid changes in teachers’ epistemological beliefs. Pretest-posttest differences on an epistemology inventory indicated that teachers changed significantly on three of four factors related to constructivist teaching philosophies (Simple Knowledge, Quick Learning and Certain Knowledge). The fourth factor (Fixed Ability) did not reveal significant changes. These findings have two implications: 1) constructivist approaches to training teachers may promote epistemological change, and 2) epistemology may be a less stable trait than was previously supposed. Background Recently there has been a growing interest in understanding what teachers believe about the nature of knowledge and learning, and how these beliefs, or epistemologies, impact their curriculum implementation and instructional approaches (e.g., Clark, 1988; Clark & Peterson, 1986; Hofer & Pintrich, 1997; Kagan, 1990; Lyons, 1990; Pajares, 1992; Prawat, 1992b). Teacher epistemology has been shown to affect teachers' use of teaching strategies (Hashweh, 1996), their use of problem-solving approaches (Martens, 1992), their efforts in curriculum adaptation (Benson, 1989; Prawat, 1992a), their use of textbooks (Freeman & Porter, 1989), their openness to student alternative conceptions (Hashweh, 1996), their preservice training needs (Many, Howard & Hoge, 1997), their students' reading practices (Anders & Evans, 1994) and their students’ use of higher-level thinking skills (Maor & Taylor, 1995). Schommer (1990) proposed that personal epistemology is a belief system comprised of five more or less independent dimensions: the structure, certainty, and source of knowledge, and the control and speed of knowledge acquisition (see also Schommer, Crouse, & Rhodes, 1992). From Schommer’s perspective, a teacher who holds “naive” epistemologies along all five dimensions generally believes that knowledge resides in authorities and is thus unchanging, that concepts are learned quickly or not at all, that learning ability is innate, and that knowledge is simple, clear, and specific. She suggests that a teacher who holds “sophisticated” epistemologies 1 A similar version of this document will be published as Howard, B. C., McGee, S., Schwartz, N. & Purcell, S. (2000). The experience of constructivism: transforming teacher epistemology. Journal of Research on Computing in Education. 32(4). 2 Contact: Bruce Howard or Steven McGee, 316 Washington Avenue, Wheeling, WV 26003, (304) 243-2388 3 The terms “naïve” and “sophisticated” are taken from Schommer (1990).