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Teachers' Pedagogical Beliefs at Commercial Schools—An Empirical Study in Germany

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Within the study of teacher training, it is generally accepted that a teacher's behaviour and success in the classroom is influenced by their personal beliefs. This paper discusses teachers' pedagogical beliefs, domain-specific beliefs and conceptions of teaching and learning. We outline empirical results from various studies which explore lecturers' and teachers' perceptions of vocational training in the field of accounting education; then present an empirical study in German commercial schools, conducted via surveys (n= 225 teachers in commercial schools) and in-depth follow-up interviews (n = 21 teachers). Using cluster analysis we identify different teacher types or belief systems regarding teaching and learning in accounting education: predominantly constructivist or instructional. Of particular interest is a mixed type, which includes both paradigms and emphasises the importance of structured lessons and systematic teaching. Verbal data allow a more detailed analysis of the different pedagogical orientations. We established significant relationships between teachers' beliefs, including domain-specific beliefs, self reports on the organisation of classroom activities and teaching patterns. All in all, the findings show a dominance of instructional ideas and teacher-centred teaching practices in the domain of accounting.

Keywords: Teachers' pedagogical beliefs; accounting education; commercial schools; conceptions of teaching and learning; domain-specific beliefs; vocational education training

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Mannheim, Germany

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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