Faculty Publications

Personal Epistemologies And The Learning Paradox In Teacher Education: A Neglected Dilemma

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Teacher Education: Policy, Practice and Research

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In this chapter, we discuss the role that personal epistemologies play in teacher education, particularly with respect to the potential problems and roadblocks they may present. We suggest that epistemological beliefs govern the kind of knowledge that preservice teachers consider to be legitimate and worthwhile learning in their programs, regulate the ways in which they make choices among competing knowledge claims and justify their own choices. A body of research has examined epistemic cognition as a dimension of the cognitive growth that occurs during the college years (e.g., Baxter-Magolda, 2002; King & Kitchener, 2002; Perry, 1970), and recently, the role of personal epistemologies of preservice teachers, teachers, and teacher education professors in teacher education has been investigated (Schraw, Bendixen, & Dunckle, 2002; Joram, 2007: Shepard, 2000). However, relatively less work has been devoted to developing ways to modify preservice teachers' personal epistemologies. Notwithstanding the few studies that have been conducted in this area, we argue that teacher educators need to design learning activities that may help change epistemic orientations that have potentially negative consequences for teacher education. We suggest that examining literature on the learning paradox, with particular attention to the role of metaphor in learning, offers inroads to accomplishing these goals. Drawing on this theoretical background, we identify four approaches teacher educators can take to teach more effectively by taking their students' personal epistemologies into account. © 2010 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

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