Epistemological beliefs and their relationship to the knowledge of preservice secondary school teachers

Abstract

The authors analyse epistemological beliefs and their relationship to the knowledge developed by students engaged in a reorganized programme of training for secondary school teachers in Quebec. They examine two contexts for initial training: the training in their discipline that university students follow, and the practical training students undertake in the school environment. Qualitative data were obtained through critical exploration (Piagetian) interviews with twelve pre-service teachers. These results made it possible to outline multiple epistemological postures, and to describe the tensions between the subject-related and practical aspects of initial training. In particular, based on an analysis of their epistemological beliefs and their relationship to knowledge, it would appear that pre-service teachers develop a less refined approach through practical training than they attain at university. Finally, the authors raise some issues concerning teacher training.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Albe, V. (2009). Enseigner des controverses [Teaching controversial issues]. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bader, B., & Therriault, G. (2008). À propos des dimensions sociales des sciences et de leur pertinence pour renouveler l’enseignement des sciences: une illustration à l’école primaire [On the social dimensions of the sciences and their relevance for the renewal of science teaching: An illustration in primary school]. Revue des sciences de l’éducation, 34(1), 163–184.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bardin, L. (2003). L’analyse de contenu [Content analysis]. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Baxter Magolda, M. B. (1987). The affective dimension of learning: Faculty-student relationships that enhance intellectual development. College Student Journal, 21, 46–58.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B., Goldberger, N., & Tarule, J. M. (1986). Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bendixen, L. D., & Feucht, F. C. (2010). Personal epistemology in the classroom: Theory, research, and implications for practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  7. Brownlee, J., Schraw, G., & Berthelsen, D. (2011). Personal epistemology and teacher education. New York/London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Brownlee, J., Walker, S., Lennox, S., Exley, B., & Pearce, S. (2009). The first year university experience: Using personal epistemology to understand effective learning and teaching in higher education. Higher Education, 58(5), 599–618. doi:10.1007/s10734-009-9212-2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Buty, C., & Plantin, C. (2008). Argumenter en classe de sciences. Du débat à l’apprentissage [Discussion in science classes: From debate to learning]. Lyon: Institut national de recherche pédagogique (INRP).

  10. Chai, C. S., Teo, T., & Lee, C. B. (2010). Modeling the relationships among beliefs about learning, knowledge, and teaching of pre-service teachers in Singapore. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 19(1), 25–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Chan, K.-W., & Elliot, R. G. (2004). Relational analysis of personal epistemology and conceptions about teaching and learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 817–831.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Charlot, B. (1997). Du rapport au savoir. Éléments pour une théorie [On the relationship to knowledge: Elements for a theory]. Paris: Anthropos.

  13. Crahay, M., & Fagnant, A. (2007). À propos de l’épistémologie personnelle: un état des recherches anglo-saxonnes [On personal epistemology: A review of English-language research]. Revue française de pédagogie, 161, 79–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). Introduction: Entering the field of qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The landscape of qualitative research (pp. 1–34). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Elby, A., & Hammer, D. (2001). On the substance of a sophisticated epistemology. Science Education, 85, 554–567.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Flores, M. A. (2001). Person and context in becoming a new teacher. Journal of Education for Teaching, 27(2), 135–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Fourez, G., Maingain, A., & Dufour, B. (2002). Approches didactiques de l’interdisciplinarité [Pedagogical approaches to interdisciplinary learning]. Brussels: De Boeck.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Hofer, B. K. (2000). Dimensionality and disciplinary differences in personal epistemology. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 378–405.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hofer, B. K. (2004a). Exploring the dimensions of personal epistemology in differing classroom contexts: Student interpretations during the first year of college. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29(1), 129–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Hofer, B. K. (2004b). Introduction: Paradigmatic approaches to personal epistemology. Educational Psychologist, 39(1), 1–3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Hofer, B. K., & Pintrich, P. R. (1997). The development of epistemological theories: Beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to learning. Review of Educational Research, 67(1), 1–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Huberman, A. M., & Miles, B. M. (2003). Analyse des données qualitatives [Analysis of qualitative data]. Brussels: De Boeck.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Jellab, A. (2006). Débuter dans l’enseignement secondaire. Quel rapport aux savoirs chez les professeurs stagiaires? [Starting out in secondary teaching: The relationship with knowledge among trainee teachers]. Paris: L’Harmattan.

  24. Jellab, A. (2008). Le rapport aux savoirs chez les professeurs stagiaires du secondaire: une nouvelle problématique en éducation. [The relationship with knowledge among trainee secondary teachers: A new issue in education]. L’Homme et la société, 167168169, 295–319.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Jonnaert, P., Masciotra, D., Barrette, J., Morel, D., & Mane, Y. (2007). From competence in the curriculum to competence in action. Prospects, 37(2), 187–203.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Jonnaert, P., & Vander Borght, C. (2009). Créer des conditions d’apprentissage. Un cadre de référence socioconstructiviste pour une formation didactique des enseignants [Creating the conditions for learning: A socio-constructivist reference framework for teacher training] (3rd ed.). Brussels: De Boeck Université.

  27. Kaddouri, M., & Vandroz, D. (2008). Formation professionnelle en alternance: quelques tensions d’ordre pédagogique et identitaire [Vocational training sandwich courses: Some tensions related to pedagogy and identity]. In E. Correa Molina, C. Gervais, & S. Rittershaussen (Eds.), Vers une conceptualisation de la situation de stage: Explorations internationales (pp. 23–42). Sherbrooke, Québec: Éditions du CRP.

  28. Khine, M. S. (2008). Knowing, knowledge and beliefs: Epistemological studies across diverse cultures. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  29. Kuhn, D. (1991). The skills of argument. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  30. Larochelle, M., & Désautels, J. (2006). L’éducation aux sciences et le croisement des expertises [Science education and cross-cutting expertise]. In A. Legardez & L. Simonneaux (Eds.), L’école à l’épreuve de l’actualité. Enseigner les questions vives (pp. 61–77). Paris: ESF.

  31. Lebrun, J., & Lenoir, Y. (2001). Planification en sciences humaines chez de futures enseignantes et les modèles d’intervention éducative sous-jacents [Planning in human sciences among pre-service teachers and the underlying models of educational intervention]. Revue des sciences de l’éducation, 27(3), 569–594.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Legardez, A., & Simonneaux, L. (Eds.) (2006). L’école à l’épreuve de l’actualité. Enseigner les questions socialement vives [The school confronted with topical issues: Teaching hot social questions]. Paris: ESF.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Legardez, A., & Simonneaux, L. (Eds.) (2011). Questions socialement vives dans l’enseignement et la formation [Topical social issues in teaching and training]. Dijon: Educagri éditions.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Legendre, M.-F. (2004). Approches constructivistes et nouvelles orientations curriculaires: d’un curriculum fondé sur l’approche par objectifs à un curriculum axé sur le développement de compétences [Constructivist approaches and new curricular orientations: From a curriculum following an outcomes-based pedagogy to a curriculum focussing on developing competencies]. In P. Jonnaert & D. Masciotra (Eds.), Constructivisme: Choix contemporains. Hommage à Ernst von Glasersfeld (pp. 51–92). Sainte-Foy, Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec.

  35. Lemberger, J., Hewson, P. W., & Park, H. (1999). Relationships between prospective secondary teachers’ classroom practice and their conceptions of biology and of teaching science. Science Education, 83(3), 347–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Maury, S., & Caillot, M. (2003). Rapport au savoir et didactiques [Relationship to knowledge and pedagogical approaches]. Paris: Fabert.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Mellado, V. (1997). Preservice teachers’ classroom practice and their conceptions of the nature of science. Science & Education, 6, 331–354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. MELS [Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Gouvernement du Québec] (2007). Programme de formation de l’école québécoise. Version approuvée. Enseignement secondaire, deuxième cycle [Training programme for schools in Quebec: Approved version: Secondary teaching, second cycle]. Québec: MELS.

  39. MEQ [Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec] (2001). La formation à l’enseignement. Les orientations. Les compétences professionnelles [Teacher training: Orientations: Professional competencies]. Québec: MEQ.

  40. Mujawamariya, D. (2000). De la nature du savoir scientifique à l’enseignement des sciences: l’urgence d’une approche constructiviste dans la formation des enseignants de sciences [From the nature of scientific knowledge to science teaching: The urgency of a constructivist approach in training science teachers]. Éducation et francophonie, 28(2), 1–11. http://www.acelf.ca/revue.

  41. Paillé, P. (1996). De l’analyse qualitative en général et de l’analyse thématique en particulier [From quantitative analysis in general to thematic analysis in particular]. Revue de l’association pour la recherche qualitative, 15, 179–194.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Paillé, P., & Muchielli, A. (2008). L’analyse qualitative en sciences humaines et sociales [Quantitative analysis in human and social sciences]. Paris: Armand Collin.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Palmer, B., & Marra, R. M. (2004). College students’ epistemological perspectives across knowledge domains: A proposed grounded theory. Higher Education, 47, 311–335.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Perraudeau, M. (1998). Échanger pour apprendre. L’entretien critique [Learning through exchanges: Critical interviewing]. Paris: Armand Colin.

  45. Perraudeau, M. (2002). L’entretien cognitif à visée d’apprentissage [Cognitive interviews with a view to learning]. Paris: L’Harmattan.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Perry, W. G. (1970). Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years: A scheme. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Piaget, J. (1977). La naissance de l’intelligence chez l’enfant [The origins of intelligence in children]. Neuchâtel: Delachaux et Niestlé.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Pouliot, C., Bader, B., & Therriault, G. (2010). The notion of the relationship to knowledge: A theoretical tool for research in science education. Journal in Environmental and Science Education, 5(3), 239–264.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Ruel, F. (1997). Quelques illustrations discursives d’une représentation sociale à l’égard de l’apprentissage et de l’enseignement—le cas d’un futur enseignant de sciences [Some discursive illustrations of social representation in relation to learning and teaching: The case of a pre-service science teacher]. Éducation et francophonie, 25(1), 1–11. http://www.acelf.ca/revue.

  50. Schommer, M. (1994). An emerging conceptualization of epistemological beliefs and their role in learning. In R. Garner & P. A. Alexander (Eds.), Beliefs about text and instruction with text (pp. 25–40). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Schommer, M., & Walker, K. (1995). Are epistemological beliefs similar across domains? Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(3), 424–431.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Slekar, T. D. (1998). Epistemological entanglements: Preservice elementary school teachers “apprenticeship of observation” and the teaching of history. Theory and Research in Social Education, 26(4), 485–507.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Therriault, G. (2008). Postures épistémologiques que développent des étudiants des profils sciences et technologies et univers social au cours de leur formation initiale à l’enseignement secondaire: une analyse de leurs croyances et de leurs rapports aux savoirs [The epistemological postures developed by science and technology and social universe students during their initial training for secondary school teaching: An analysis of their beliefs and their relationship to knowledge]. Unpublished doctoral thesis. Université du Québec à Rimouski and Université du Québec à Montréal.

  54. Therriault, G., & Bader, B. (2009). Démarche d’enseignement interdisciplinaire en sciences au secondaire. Un débat sur les changements climatiques pour une éducation citoyenne [The interdisciplinary approach to science teaching in secondary school: A discussion on climate change for citizenship education]. Nouvelle CSQ—Bulletin du CRIRES. http://www.csq.qc.net/publications/nouvelles-csq.html.

  55. Therriault, G., & Harvey, L. (2011). Postures épistémologiques que développent de futurs enseignants de sciences et de sciences humaines lors des cours de formation disciplinaire et pratique: l’apport d’une recherche mixte [The epistemological postures developed by pre-service science and human science teachers during their training in their subjects and teaching practice: The findings of joint research]. Recherches qualitatives, 30(2), 71–95.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Therriault, G., Harvey, L., & Jonnaert, P. (2010). Croyances épistémologiques de futurs enseignants du secondaire: des différences entre les profils et une évolution en cours de formation [The epistemological beliefs of pre-service secondary teachers: Differences by profile and changes during training]. Mesure et évaluation en éducation, 33(1), 1–30.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Van der Maren, J.-M. (2003). La recherche appliquée en pédagogie [Applied research in pedagogy]. Brussels: De Boeck Université.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Venturini, P. (2007). L’envie d’apprendre les sciences. Motivation, attitudes, rapport aux savoirs scientifiques [The desire to study sciences: Motivation, attitude, relationship with scientific knowledge]. Paris: Fabert.

  59. Virta, A. (2002). Becoming a history teacher: Observations on the beliefs and growth of student teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 687–698.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Yeager, E., & Davis, O. L. (1995). Between campus and classroom: Secondary student-teachers’ thinking about historical texts. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 29(1), 1–8.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Geneviève Therriault.

Additional information

This research was supported financially by the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC) and the Fonds institutionnel de recherche de l’Université du Québec à Rimouski (FIR). It is part of a doctoral thesis (Therriault 2008) in education, in the context of a joint programme undertaken by the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), under the supervision of Léon Harvey and Philippe Jonnaert. We thank the twelve pre-service teachers who participated in the research interviews.

About this article

Cite this article

Therriault, G., Harvey, L. Epistemological beliefs and their relationship to the knowledge of preservice secondary school teachers. Prospects 43, 441–459 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-013-9288-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Personal epistemology
  • Epistemological beliefs
  • Competencies
  • Relationship to knowledge
  • Pre-service teachers
  • Teacher training
  • Secondary education
  • Curriculum reform