Characterizing the teaching beliefs of today's geoscience graduate students and tomorrow's professors

Tuesday 3:30pm REC Center Large Ice Overlook Room
Oral Presentation Part of Geoscience Education Research II


LeeAnna Chapman, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
David McConnell, North Carolina State University
The next generation of professors will be drawn from today's graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. However, research into the pedagogical beliefs of geoscience graduate students and post-docs is lacking. This study seeks to characterize and determine the range of the teaching beliefs of geoscience graduate students and post-docs. The Beliefs about Reformed Teaching and Learning (BARSTL) survey was administered to 609 geoscience PhD students and post-docs from various institutions across the U.S. The BARSTL is a 32-item Likert-type questionnaire designed to determine how aligned an instructor's pedagogical beliefs are to reformed-based teaching of science. Possible BARSTL scores range from 32 to 128 points, with higher scores reflecting reformed, student-centered beliefs. The average BARSTL score of the study population was 85.3, with a minimum of 61 and maximum of 115. The BARSTL has four sections: how people learn about science, lesson design and implementation, characteristics of teachers and the learning environment, and the nature of the science curriculum. Participants scored lowest on how people learn about science and highest on the section about teachers and the learning environment.

To further investigate the pedagogical beliefs of this population, a subset of the participants (n=60) were interviewed using the Teacher Belief Interview (TBI), a semi-structured interview with coding maps designed to capture the epistemological beliefs of teachers. We will compare BARSTL and TBI scores between groups including demographic information (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, and citizenship), academic status (Post-doc, PhD, or Master's student), years of graduate education, teaching assistant (TA) experiences, and participation in professional development opportunities related to teaching. BARSTL data will be presented to characterize and highlight variability in the population, while TBI data offers detailed insight into the differences between these groups.

Presentation Media

EER Presentation- LeeAnna Chapman (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.8MB Jul13 15)