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Title: Educators' epistemological beliefs and their approaches to teaching
Author: Hathaway, Tanya Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 4382
Awarding Body: University of Wales, Bangor
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2008
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The purpose of this study was to examine the epistemological beliefs held by educators and to determine whether beliefs influence approaches to teaching in specific disciplinary contexts. Educators' beliefs and approaches were analyzed in both quantitative and qualitative measures, determining the degree and dimensionality of beliefs, and the variation in approaches to teaching experienced. A total of 136 educators teaching in higher education, secondary education and outdoor education responded to two questionnaires, a discipline focused epistemological beliefs questionnaire and an approach to teaching inventory. Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to condense the underlying latent variables present in the data, followed by independent t-tests and analyses of variance to dete1mine the interaction and main effects independent variables had on beliefs and approaches. Interviews were another major source of data, conducted with 20 teachers in higher education, analysed using a phenomenographic approach to reveal the variation in educators' ways of experiencing epistemology, teaching and learning expressed as conceptual categories, with relationships between the categories indicated as key themes. The phenomenographic findings suppo1t the stages, positions and perspectives in epistemological development identified by Perry ( 1968) and Belenky et al. (1986), from dualism and multiplicity to relativism, indicating aspects of received knowing, subjective knowing and constructed knowing. The statistical analyses revealed a set of core epistemological dimensions, relating to the way educators experience the nature of knowledge and knowing in specific disciplinary contexts. The dimensions emergent were ce1tain knowing, expe1t knowing, relative knowing and experiential knowing, varying in their degree of naivety or sophistication between teachers. Variation in educators' teaching intentions and strategies revealed two approaches to teaching, an information transfer/teacher-focused approach and a conceptual change/student-focused approach. The quantitative and qualitative findings suggest that academic characteristics influence both epistemological development and teaching techniques, and that beliefs exhibit some influence over the approaches to teaching adopted in specific disciplinary contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available