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A longitudinal study exploring the influence of epistemic beliefs on pre-service science teachers’ perceptions of education studies

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dc.contributor.advisor McCormack, Orla
dc.contributor.advisor Erduran, Sibel
dc.contributor.author Guilfoyle, Liam
dc.date.accessioned 2019-02-06T12:03:39Z
dc.date.available 2019-02-06T12:03:39Z
dc.date.issued 2018
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/7555
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Educational psychology, philosophy, sociology, and history are all frequent features of the curriculum of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes. Collectively, this knowledge is often referred to as ‘Education Studies’. The ‘perennial problem’ for teacher education globally is that such knowledge is often perceived by teachers to be of little value to their professional practice. Despite a growing understanding of the issue, it is as present today as it was over a century ago. New perspectives are necessary to understand this complex issue. Epistemic beliefs (i.e. an individual’s beliefs about the nature of knowledge and nature of knowing) have been increasingly identified as important in learning to teach because they filter new information being encountered in teacher education. In science education, teachers’ understanding of the epistemic nature of their subject discipline has also been identified as being in need of development for the improvement of science teaching and learning. However, as pre-service teachers often study their subject discipline alongside other areas of professional knowledge in teacher education, like Education Studies, they can often struggle to reconcile the two bodies of knowledge, particularly when their epistemic beliefs between the subject discipline and other professional knowledge clash. The research that is reported in this thesis qualitiatively investigated three components and the connections between them: pre-service teachers’ (1) epistemic beliefs in science (2) epistemic beliefs in Education Studies, and (3) perceptions of Education Studies as useful for professional thought and practice. In order to understand the connections in greater depth, the research was conducted longitudinally to monitor how these beliefs and perceptions changed over time. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with pre-service science teachers at the beginning and end of their final year of a four-year concurrent teacher education programme, and one year after graduation. Data were analysed using a hybrid approach that produced both highly individualised belief profiles in a narrative form, as well as broader themes that represent recurring issues. The findings point to the complexity of the interaction between epistemic beliefs and perceptions of Education Studies. While this interaction is but one jigsaw piece in understanding what contributes to the perennial problem, it is an important one, as it appears evident that participants of this research drew on their epistemic beliefs to support their perception of Education Studies. In this way, epistemic beliefs can be understood as facilitative or inhibitive in perceiving Education Studies as useful for professional thought and practice. However, there were a number of different ways that participants used their beliefs, which can be clearly seen in individual participant profiles. Teacher educators may find these narrative profiles particularly illuminating and transferable when considering their own cohorts’ beliefs. Findings from the longitudinal study point towards potentially developmental experiences and other influential factors in teacher education. Future work may focus on how such experiences can be integrated and supported effectively. Considering the additional influential factors highlighted in this thesis could also be fruitful in advancing a fuller understanding of the ‘perennial problem’ in future research. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject educational psychology en_US
dc.subject teacher education en_US
dc.subject pre-service science en_US
dc.subject STEM en_US
dc.title A longitudinal study exploring the influence of epistemic beliefs on pre-service science teachers’ perceptions of education studies en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.contributor.sponsor IRC en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US


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