A dual analysis was used to examine the conceptions of learning of both pre-service and in-service early childhood teaching students. Four hundred and sixty-one students were asked to rank six statements about conceptions of learning. The samples of both pre-service student teachers in Hong Kong and in-service teachers in Macau are said to be highly representative. The results showed that while pre-service students have no clear patterns with regard to ranking the important conceptions of learning, they indicated ‘memorising and reproducing important facts’ as the least important. This is said to be a traditional conception of learning. In-service students make a connection between the qualitative and quantitative conceptions of learning being an integral part of understanding and applying what one has learned, suggesting that teaching experience influences a student’s conception of learning, and leads to a more child-centered approach. Compared with other Hong Kong studies on pre-service teachers—which indicate that student teachers’ conceptions of learning can adjust to students’ natures and abilities and the impact of teaching experience and professional knowledge on the conceptions of learning—the Macau samples showed a higher tendency toward qualitative than quantitative conceptions of learning. Finally, suggestions have been made about embedding the practicum early and setting up a mentor teacher scheme and a professional development program in the existing early childhood education (ECE) program. Copyright © 2013 Early Childhood Australia Inc.
|Journal||Australasian Journal of Early Childhood|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2013|