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From student to teacher: changes in preservice teacher educational beliefs throughout the learning-to-teach journey

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Preservice teachers enter programs with beliefs about teaching and learning, constructed from prior schooling experiences. This longitudinal study examines preservice teachers’ K–12 memories, their initial educational beliefs, and the changes in those beliefs over their teacher education program. Analysis of questionnaires, interviews, work samples, and observations from six preservice teachers collected over a two-year period revealed that they initially believed that students were similar to themselves, that teaching was simple and autonomous, that students perform uniformly within grade levels, and that teaching ensures learning. At program’s end, however, they believed that students differ from one another and from themselves, that teaching is complex, that classroom freedom has limits, that differentiation is essential, and that teaching does not ensure learning. The data suggested a common progression from initial idealism, to cognitive dissonance, to a search for an authentic teaching persona, and finally, to confidence in their new role as teacher.
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Keywords: elementary teacher education; preservice education; qualitative research; teacher beliefs; teacher learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Humanities/Teacher Education Division, Seaver College, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA, 90263-4225, USA

Publication date: May 26, 2016

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