Preservice Teachers Construct a View on Teaching and Learning Styles

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of West Florida]On: 07 October 2014, At: 12:45Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Action in Teacher EducationPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Preservice Teachers Construct a View onTeaching and Learning StylesWilliam J. Pankratius aa University of Nevada , Las Vegas , USAPublished online: 06 Jan 2012.</p><p>To cite this article: William J. Pankratius (1997) Preservice Teachers Construct a View on Teachingand Learning Styles, Action in Teacher Education, 18:4, 68-76, DOI: 10.1080/01626620.1997.10463365</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Acrion in Teacher Educaion Winter 1997, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, pp. 68-76 </p><p>Preservice Teachers Construct A View on Teaching and Learning Styles </p><p>William J. Pankratius University of Nevada, LQS Vegas </p><p>Abstract </p><p>Preservice teachers comtruct a view on teaching and learning styles through group activities with similar personality types as established by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Myers, 1989). Findings indicate that: (a) the grouping process was a signijkant learning experience for all students, and a critical high incident for most; (b) the students gained a greater awareness of differences in learning styles; (c) some saw cooperative learning in a new light; and (d) students critically examined their assumptions, values, and beliefs about teaching and learning styles. </p><p>Preservice teacher candidates come to teacher education programs with well-established teacher role identities (Crow, 1987), strong convictions about teaching and intentions on how to teach (Clark, 1988). Their beliefs about effective teaching, teaching styles and learning styles can be strongly held and appear to be resistant to change (Goodlad, 1990). Book, Byers, and Freeman argue that prior knowledge is a key reason many candidates come to formal teacher preparation believing that they have little to learn (cited in Lanier &amp; Little, 1984, p. 542). A teacher education program that exposes students to an experience in learning styles and subjects their prior knowledge to the light of critical inquiry may result in the restructuring of attitudes and beliefs about teaching and learning styles. This assumption became the driving force behind this inquiry. The author investigated the consequences of grouping preservice teachers, enrolled in an introductory course, according to their Myers-Briggs Type IndicatorTM (MBTI) personality type. This resulted in an inquiry into the consequence of the grouping process and the changes that transpired in their assumptions, values, and beliefs about teaching and learning styles. </p><p>Constructivist learning principles that significantly influence the teaching and learning process grounded the study and this process. Ernst von Glasersfeld (1988, p. 8) asserts two main principles for constructivism: (a) knowledge is not passively received, but actively built up by the cognizing subject, and (b) the function of cognition is adaptive and serves the organization of the experiential world, not the discovery of ontological reality. </p><p>The participants in this study, preservice teacher candidates, were assumed to have constructed, and were reconstructing, knowledge about teaching in order to make sense of their experiential world. Since . . . the constructive process is subject to social influences (Confrey, 1990, p. 110) it was further assumed that they did so within a social environment. The use of Saunderss (1992) constructivist instructional strategies, identified as hands-on investigations, active cognitive development, group work, and higher-level assessment supported the course curriculum. The teacher candidates were encouraged to examine and evaluate their assumptions, values, attitudes, and beliefs about teaching. They were actively involved in constructing their </p><p>68 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f W</p><p>est F</p><p>lori</p><p>da] </p><p>at 1</p><p>2:45</p><p> 07 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>positions on teaching and learning styles in order to make sense of their own experience and education. </p><p>Method </p><p>Context </p><p>Teacher candidates preconceptions about teaching was the focus of this 15-week, three credit course, Perspectives on Secondary Education. They entered the 36 credit secondary program as juniors, having completed the majority of their content specialization prior to pursuing teacher education. Activities and strategies designed to promote the development of more powerful and effective constructions (Confrey, 1990, p. 1 1 1) constituted the enabling tactics. A number of early student-centered activities provided vital pre-existing knowledge. An open-ended questionnaire revealed students beliefs on what constitutes good teaching, on what qualities are needed for teaching, and on how learning occurs. Concept maps of teaching exposed the important branches and concepts of students knowledge bases about teaching. Early, structured interviews permitted probes into these areas. As the MBTI was administered, a robust case study of each student was being constructed. </p><p>ParticiDantS </p><p>The class consisted of 10 males and 12 females. One student was African American, three were Hispanic American, and the rest were Anglo American. Half were under 25 years of age. Their backgrounds were evenly divided between urban and rural or small town. Five had a teacher in their family. Five possessed a bachelors degree. Eight students were seeking an English license and seven desired a mathematics license. Several of the mathematics majors wanted to teach business, history or physical education, but the prospects for employment in these fields were slim. Six wished to teach communications, science, or history. One sought a license in art. </p><p>They want to teach because they enjoy helping others (75%), believe their subject was important (60%), want their summers off (25%), or can work while their child went to school (20%). Two sought to improve the quality of education and to change schools. Teaching was not the final goal for eight students. Eleven held down a full-time job while enrolled in preservice coursework. </p><p>Data Sources </p><p>Confrey (1990) asserted, with respect to mathematics instruction, that teachers must build models of students understanding of mathematics (p. 112). She continued, the result will be that a teacher creates a case study of each student. Preservice teacher candidates already hold a range of attitudes, perceptions, conceptions, and abilities in relation to teaching and learning (Baird, 1989, p. 9). They bring with them a deeply ingrained awareness of the processes of teaching. Their models of this understanding are detected by uncovering their prior knowledge, attitudes, values, and beliefs about teaching. Questionnaires, early microteaching lessons, concept maps of teaching, reflective papers, student learning journals, and interviews supported and helped to elaborate the rudimentary models. Thus a case study was built up for each teacher candidate enrolled in the course. Since data collection and analysis is a simultaneous activity in qualitative research (Merriam, 1988, p. 119), the general study of the class revealed a rich source of thought, change, and critical incidents in the grouping of the students. The learning journals, </p><p>69 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f W</p><p>est F</p><p>lori</p><p>da] </p><p>at 1</p><p>2:45</p><p> 07 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>reflective papers, critical incident reporting, informal assessments, investigators notes, interviews, and course evaluations were the primary source of data for this study. </p><p>Instrume ntation </p><p>The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), patterned after Jungs personality types, was painstakingly developed over a 20-year period. . . and can identify 16 [personality] types or 16 approaches to learning (Jensen, 1987, pp. 181-182). Barrett (1991, p. 9) found that these styles have a positive relationship to a number of important teaching effectiveness competencies. Mertz and McNeely (1992, p. 11) assert that the MBTI serves to access the constructs students hold and the ways in which they think about teaching. The MBTI generated an outside-in look at how learners receive and transmit information. The grouping by styles then became an inside-out look for the learners as they progressed through the course. The MBTI measured individual preferences along four separate continua that describe (after Tieger &amp; Barron-Tieger, 1992, p. 14): (a) our interaction with the world, extroversion (E) vs. introversion (I); (b) the kind of information we notice, sensing (S) vs. intuitive (N); how we make decisions feeling (F) vs. thinking (T); and, (d) our preference for structure and spontaneity perceiving (P) vs. judging (J). </p><p>The resulting sixteen types can be grouped under four temperaments (NT, NF, SP, SJ) (Keirsey &amp; Bates, 1978; Tieger &amp; Barron-Tieger, 1992). Kroeger and Thuesen (1988, p. 50) affirm, the two-letter temperament helps us predict such things as how people teach, learn, lead others. . . and relate to others. To reiterate: NT =Intuitive/Thinking, NF =Intuiting/Feeling, SP = Sensing/Perceiving , SJ = Sensing/Judging . </p><p>Questions have been raised over the validity and usefulness of the MBTI (Cooper &amp; Miller, 1991; Garden, 1991; Pittenger, 1993). Pittenger, in a unified view of validation, concluded, there is no convincing evidence to justify that knowledge of NBTr] type is a reliable or valid predictor of important behavioral conditions (p. 483). However, he continues, there is ample evidence reviewed above that segments of the test can be used to make general predictions (p. 483). In particular, he contends, the data are equivocal, concerning the relation between cognitive style and the MBTI scales (p. 477). In this particular study, the MBTI was used to establish general styles (temperaments), group the students according to those styles and examine the results. The MBTI was not used to predict or define behavior. </p><p>Other models of learning style have not been rejected for this study. Some are covered in methods courses that students take after this introductory course. In agreement with Hunt (1987, p. 39) that most practitioners are overwhelmed and confused by these complex [learning style] schemes, this course kept styles simple. Kiersey in 1968 found more than 128 types of abilities and attitudes related to learning styles. </p><p>The MBTI, form G, was administered the first week of the course. The students were then grouped according to their temperament. This resulted in six groups for the class; four groups had four members of like styles and two groups had three members. </p><p>The students remained in this configuration for six weeks as the class studied issues facing secondary school teachers. The activities consisted of scenarios, case studies, and issues analysis. Learning tactics consisted primarily of cooperative group work, seeking consensus, with whole class discussion of group findings. </p><p>70 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f W</p><p>est F</p><p>lori</p><p>da] </p><p>at 1</p><p>2:45</p><p> 07 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>Analvsis of DaQ </p><p>Information related to the study was extracted from the primary sources. That is, all the entries in the students journals, critical incident reports, reflective papers, or other data sources, that referred to the MBTI process, teaching or learning styles, or class significance were entered into Data Collector, a program that enables educators, researchers, and students to organize and analyze qualitative data (Turner &amp; Handler, 1991, p. v). The entries were kept to single idea paragraphs; however, all data relating to the MBTI process, teaching or learning styles, was entered. This investigator then used a constant comparative method to analyze the data, using Data Collector. Passages were coded as to the reference (i.e., critical incident, high, learning styles comprehension). The coding of these data led to several general themes and finally four findings that were supported by a preponderance of the evidence. By a preponderance of the evidence it is meant that sources supporting the findings predominated and there were no sources that refuted or contradicted the findings. </p><p>Narrative of an Activity </p><p>The first activity conducted under the grouping scheme was a scenario that required the students to select a teacher of the year from three finalists. The students were presented with short written vignettes of each finalist. The teachers could be described as traditional, facilitating, and constructivist; however, they were not labeled as such. Group discussion guidelines were not provided; the groups were encouraged to reach consensus. The following description is taken from the investigators notes as well as the students learning journals. </p><p>I was amazed at their animated interactions as I circulated among them. The SJs wanted more detailed instructions and chose a group reporter-leader right away. They wanted to know exactly what to do and seemed uncomfortable initially, yet they did not deviate from the task. The NFs were not interested in more detailed directions and spent over ten minutes getting to know each other. They smiled continuously and supported and affirmed each other. Their progress was slow. </p><p>The NTs argued from the start. They were loud and interrupted each other. They did not seem to listen to each other...</p></li></ul>


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