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Title:Students' perceptions of the roles of the teacher and the student and the effect on classroom interaction
Author(s):DeCoste, Donald J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Brown, David E.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Education, Sciences
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:Much research in the past several years indicates that many students have conceptions about chemical principles that are inconsistent with scientifically accepted ideas. Much of this research ignores students' perceptions of the roles of the teacher and the student and neglects the affect of the classroom setting on students' learning. In constructivist theory students are said to construct their own understandings of scientific principles. It would seem reasonable, then, that students construct their own understandings of the purposes of education, and of the goals of the tasks set for them.
The original purpose of this semester long descriptive study was to explore issues of student learning as they developed in a university classroom setting (of which I was the teacher) designed with conceptual understanding as a goal. The students worked cooperatively during class on conceptually challenging problems, and all of these sessions were audiotaped and transcribed. In addition, the students were interviewed twice over the course of the semester concerning their ideas about the teaching and learning.
The results of this research indicate that students viewed as their primary, perhaps only, role to attain a correct answer, which generally included an explanation, which primarily consisted of support for what was believed to be correct. The students generally equated achieving conceptual understanding of a system or concept with knowing an algorithm, term, or equation. While the students wanted to support their answers, they did not necessarily question what they believed to be true. Many times the students relied on answers they thought they knew from the lecture or the textbook. In addition, the students viewed the primarily role of the teacher as explainer.
The narrowness with which the students perceived the roles of the teacher and the student has implications on instruction. If conceptual understanding is a goal of education, the results of this research indicate that students need to encounter explicit and consistent lessons stressing conceptual understanding and that we as teachers need to be more careful about "helpful" rules, equations, and definitions that we use to make solving problems easier for our students.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 DeCoste, Donald J.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712249
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712249

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