RESEARCH ARTICLE


Pre-service Teachers' Representations About Children's Learning: A Pilot Study



Maria L. Pedditzi1, *, Marcello Nonnis1
1 Department of Pedagogy, Psychology and Philosophy, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy


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Creative Commons License
© 2020 Pedditzi & Nonnis.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pedagogy, Psychology and Philosophy, University of Cagliari, via Is Mirrionis 1, 09100, Cagliari, Italy; Tel: 39070/6757519; E-mail: pedditzi@unica.it


Abstract

Background:

Research on teachers' representations of children's learning is currently ongoing.

Social representations are common-sense theories built and shared in everyday interactions. Their analysis can detect the possible differences between teachers’ naïve beliefs and scientific learning theories.

Objective:

The objective of this pilot study is to analyse the beliefs about children’s learning of a group of teachers. The beliefs will be related to the most acknowledged learning theories.

Methods:

A mixed methods research was employed to analyse 100 pre-service teachers’ representations of the origins of learning and the psychological processes involved.

Results:

It emerged from the results that the teachers interviewed consider children’s learning mainly as culturally acquired, which reveals the prevailing constructivist conception of learning. Many pre-service primary school teachers, however, tend to see learning as mere ‘transfer of information’; many pre-service kindergarten teachers perceive learning as ‘behaviour modification’. The most considered psychological aspects are ‘knowledge’ and ‘acquisition’, while emotions are barely considered.

Conclusion:

Linking implicit theories and disciplinary theories could support pre-service teachers in integrating the theory and the practice of learning so as to understand the way their models influence their educational choices.

Keywords: Social representations, Pre-service teachers, Teachers’ beliefs, Teaching process, Education, School environment.