Investigating pre-service elementary teachers' epistemologies when talking about science, enacting science and reflecting on their enactment
Louca, Loucas T.
Zacharia, C. Z.
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We described and compared 94 pre-service elementary teachers' epistemologies during three different activities: one semi-structured interview, an asynchronous on-line discussion about a physics problem and their reflection on the discussion of the second activity. Using discourse-based analysis, we analyzed the data in terms of the teachers' underlying epistemologies and findings revealed significant differences across the three activities. This suggests that (a) teachers' epistemologies might be better understood as finer grained cognitive resources whose activation is sensitive to the context, unlike most research which views them as coherent and stable cognitive structures, and that (b) the research community is far from settling the debate as to what particular approaches should be used to assess or study personal epistemologies. Depending on the context and the manner of investigation, students and teachers may "show" different epistemological understanding.