Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Using concept maps to explore preservice teachers' perceptions of science content knowledge, teaching practices, and reflective processes
by Somers, Judy L., Ed.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2009, 204; 3370441
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study examined seven preservice teachers' perceptions of their science content knowledge, teaching practices, and reflective processes through the use of the metacognitive strategy of concept maps. Included in the paper is a review of literature in the areas of preservice teachers' perceptions of teaching, concept development, concept mapping, science content understanding, and reflective process as a part of metacognition.

The key questions addressed include the use of concept maps to indicate organization and understanding of science content, mapping strategies to indicate perceptions of teaching practice, and the influence of concept maps on reflective process. There is also a comparison of preservice teachers' perceptions of concept map usage with the purposes and practices of maps as described by experienced teachers. Data were collected primarily through interviews, observations, a pre and post concept mapping activity, and an analysis of those concept maps using a rubric developed for this study.

Findings showed that concept map usage clarified students' understanding of the organization and relationships within content area and that the process of creating the concept maps increased participants' understanding of the selected content. The participants felt that the visual element of concept mapping was an important factor in improving content understanding. These participants saw benefit in using concept maps as planning tools and as instructional tools. They did not recognize the use of concept maps as assessment tools. When the participants were able to find personal relevance in and through their concept maps they were better able to be reflective about the process. The experienced teachers discussed student understanding and skill development as the primary purpose of concept map usage, while they were able to use concept maps to accomplish multiple purposes in practice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McLaughlin, H. James
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education, Science education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Concept mapping, Content knowledge, Content understanding, Methods, Perceptions of teaching, Preservice teachers, Reflective process, Science
Publication Number: 3370441
ISBN: 978-1-109-31607-0
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