Finding and speaking their own voices: using an online survey to elicit pre-service teachers' reflectivity about educational beliefs
Developing a workable system of educational beliefs to inform classroom eventualities is an intellectual operation. The purpose of this qualitative study was to assist beginning secondary and special education pre-service teachers to begin the intellectual process of defining and analyzing their personal beliefs about education. Firstly, pre-service teachers completed the Witcher-Travers Survey of Educational Beliefs online. Secondly, they were prompted to react to their survey analyses in writing, and write a statement of their educational beliefs about the purpose of education. Using the framework of Dewey's tri-level approach of creating educational purposes namely, (a) the exercise of observation; (b) the application of knowledge and past experiences; and (c) making judgment about observation, knowledge and past experiences, the researcher assessed pre-service teachers' responses to their survey classifications and written statements of educational beliefs. The examination of participants' reactions to survey analyses and the ensuing statements of educational beliefs indicated that pre-service teachers used creditable observations, and knowledge and experience premises to reframe their survey-prescribed philosophical classifications. In this way, the survey served as a useful stimulus for evoking pre-service teachers' emergent thinking about educational beliefs.