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Teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and their planning and conduct of computer-mediated classroom lessons

Authors


Cher Ping Lim, School of Education, Edith Cowan University, 2 Bradford Street, Mt. Lawley, Perth, Australia 6050. Tel: +61 89370-6203; Email: c.lim@ecu.edu.au.

Abstract

In this study, we observed and interviewed six teachers from two Singapore primary school classrooms. The schools were reportedly achieving high levels of computer integration as reflected in a nationwide questionnaire survey. Out of the 18 lessons that we observed, 14 lessons have incorporated some elements of constructivist teaching. However, closer examination revealed that the underlying orientation of the lessons was inclined towards information acquisition and regurgitation. Five out of the six teachers we interviewed were reportedly inclined towards constructivist notion of teaching. The teachers accounted for the inconsistency between their espoused beliefs and the teacher-centric teaching practice as due to contextual constraints. The teachers expressed that the need to complete the syllabi according to stipulated schedules so as to get the students ready for examination was the main barriers that prevented them from engaging in more constructivist teaching. This case study therefore highlights that although it is necessary for teachers to hold pedagogical beliefs that are compatible with the constructivist notion of teaching and learning, this is an insufficient condition to shift traditional teaching practice. Changes in assessment systems and substantial professional development are further conditions that have to be addressed.

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