This study investigated the predictive ability of an intentional learning model in the change of preservice early childhood teachers’ conceptual understanding of lunar phases. Fifty-two preservice early childhood teachers who were enrolled in an early childhood science methods course participated in the study. Results indicated that the use of metacognitive strategies facilitated preservice early childhood teachers’ use of deep-level cognitive strategies, which in turn promoted conceptual change. Also, preservice early childhood teachers with high motivational beliefs were more likely to use cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Thus, they were more likely to engage in conceptual change. The results provided evidence that the hypothesized model of intentional learning has a high predictive ability in explaining the change in preservice early childhood teachers’ conceptual understandings from the pre to post-interviews. Implications for designing a science methods course for preservice early childhood teachers are provided.
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This manuscript is based on the first author’s doctoral dissertation.
Example items from The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire
|Sample items from the subscales of the MSLQa|
|When I study for this course, I write brief summaries of the main ideas from the readings and my class notes|
|I try to understand the material in this class by making connections between the readings and the concepts from the lectures|
|When I study the readings for this course, I outline the material to help me organize my thoughts|
|When I study for this course, I go over my class notes and make an outline of important concepts|
|Metacognitive control strategies|
|When studying for this course I try to determine which concepts I don’t understand well|
|I ask myself questions to make sure I understand the material I have been studying in this class|
|I’m confident I can learn the basic concepts taught in this course|
|I’m confident I can understand the most complex material presented by the instructor in this course|
|Mastery goal orientation|
|In a class like this, I prefer course material that really challenges me so I can learn new things|
|The most satisfying thing for me in this course is trying to understand the content as thoroughly as possible|
|It is important for me to learn the course material in this class|
|I am very interested in the content area of this course|
Conceptual understanding categories and codings
All four criteria for scientific included:|
Half the moon is illuminated by sun [SciHalf]
Moon orbits earth [SciOrb]
Varying portions of the illuminated half are seen from earth as moon phases [SciSee]
Relative positions of sun, earth, and moon determine how much of the illuminated half is seen from earth [SciEMS]
See Qualitative Evidence of the Change in Conceptual Understandings section for the example
|Scientific fragment||Included a subset, but not all, of the four scientific criteria [SciFrag]|
|Scientific with alternative fragment||Met all four scientific criteria but also included one of the alternative fragments below [Sci_AltFrag]|
|Alternative with scientific fragments||Alternative, nonscientific explanation with some scientific criteria included [Alt_SciFrag]|
Alternative, nonscientific explanation|
Earth’s shadow causes moon phases [AltEclipse]
Earth’s rotation on axis causes moon phases [AltRot]
Moon independently orbits sun but not earth. When the sun gets between earth and moon, the moon is in a new moon phase [AltHeliocentric]
Sun and moon orbit earth [AltGeocentric]
Clouds cover the moon and cause moon phases [AltClouds]
Seasonal changes cause moon phases [AltSeason]
See Qualitative Evidence of the Change in Conceptual Understandings section for the example
|Alternative fragments||Included a subset or subsets of alternative understandings [AltFrag]|
Scoring rubric for semi-structured interviews
|Scoring rubric for interview protocol|
|Scientific||Participant’s conceptual understanding exhibits all element of scientific understanding without exhibiting alternative conception|
|10 Points||Includes all elements of scientific understanding|
|Scientific fragment||Participant’s conceptual understanding does not exhibit an alternative mental model, but fails to include all elements of scientific understanding|
|9 Points||Missing one element of scientific understanding|
|8 Points||Missing two elements of scientific understanding|
|7 Points||Missing three elements of scientific understanding|
|Scientific with alternative fragment||Participant exhibit all four elements of scientific understanding along with an alternative mental model|
|6 Points||Includes all elements of scientific understanding with an alternative mental model|
|Alternative with scientific fragments||Participant’s conceptual understanding exhibits an alternative mental model, but also includes some elements of scientific understanding|
|5 Points||Includes an alternative mental model, but also contains three elements of scientific understanding|
|4 Points||Includes an alternative mental model, but also contains two elements of scientific understanding|
|3 Points||Includes an alternative mental model, but also contains one element of scientific understanding|
|Alternative||Participant’ conceptual understanding exhibits no elements of scientific understanding and includes a single mental model|
|2 Points||Includes a single alternative mental model without any elements of scientific understanding|
|Alternative fragments||Participant’ conceptual understanding exhibits two or more alternative mental models. Conceptual understanding may or may not exhibit some elements of scientific understanding|
|1 Points||Includes two or more alternative mental models|
|No conceptual understanding||Participant exhibits no conceptual understanding|
|0 Points||Participant exhibits no conceptual understanding|
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Saçkes, M., Trundle, K.C. Preservice Early Childhood Teachers’ Learning of Science in a Methods Course: Examining the Predictive Ability of an Intentional Learning Model. J Sci Teacher Educ 25, 413–444 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-013-9355-y
- Preservice early childhood teachers
- Early childhood science methods course
- Early childhood teacher education
- Intentional learning
- Conceptual change