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Title: Exploring the dimensions of pre-service teacher schemata
Author: Skuja-Steele, Rita Vija
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 8456
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1995
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The manner in which teachers teach is generally acknowledged to be controlled by various schemata which encapsulate all of what they "know" about teaching. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature and extent of the schemata of pre-service teachers in an effort to gain insights into the reasons why they behave as they do in the classroom; and from this to gain further insights into ways to improve teacher training. The study was based on in-depth case studies of four pre-service English language teachers in Singapore. Data collected included all of the lesson plans which they prepared during the 10-week practicum; transcriptions of four lessons observed by the supervisor-cum-researcher; and extensive textual information arising out of journals, pre- and post-conferencing of lessons, and interviews. Findings indicated that pre-service teacher behaviour during the practicum is largely a function of five major schemata related to their view of pupils, subject, methodology, school environment, and teaching in general, all of which influence individual teaching style. Classroom dilemmas may be seen as arising out of value conflicts which may exist between these various schemata. The research also revealed that lessons are structured as a goal-driven hierarchy comprising five levels of increasing pedagogical abstraction. The topmost level or (1) lesson agenda, representing the basic overall objective of the lesson, subsumes lower levels corresponding to (2) lesson phases which comprise basic instructional functions such as focusing, clarifying, reviewing, etc. (3) phase segments which represent the sequential steps involved in effecting a lesson phase; (4) segment chunks which comprise teaching cycles or other topic-related groups of speech acts; and finally (5) speech acts as the most primitive elements of classroom discourse. In addition to the planned elements of a lesson, various unplanned lesson interrupts occur during presentation of the lesson due to the need to maintain class control, make repairs to faulty instructions or explanations, give advice, or engage in informal interactions with the pupils. The manner in which preservice teachers handle these impromptu elements of a lesson is a major reflection of their "teaching style". At a more detailed level of analysis, classroom discourse parameters may be assigned to each speech act to characterise it in terms of teacher/class interaction, type of speech act, focus or aspect, degree of continuity with other parts of the lesson, and the teaching aids and materials being utilised at the time. Statistical analysis of these discourse parameters provides useful insights into other aspects of "teaching style". The above findings have various implications for teacher training methodology. Recognition of the role of schemata can help to promote self-awareness on the part of student teachers as to the nature of the factors which influence their teaching style. Explicit recognition and definition of the five pedagogical levels of the lesson hierarchy, development of a typology of lesson phases and interrupts, and a means of carrying out in-depth analysis of classroom discourse at the speech act level provide the teacher trainer with useful tools for the observation, evaluation, and discussion of pre-service teaching behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Learning, Curriculum and Communication