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Impact of constructivist learning process on preservice teacher education students' performance, retention, and attitudes

2003
Akar, Hanife
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of constructivist learning process on preservice teacher education students2 performance, retention, and attitudes in Classroom Management Course. In this study, an experimental design and a case study design were used together. The sample (n = 144) were third year preservice teachers at the Foreign Languages Education program at Middle East Technical University, Turkey. The experimental group (n = 76) was subjected to social constructivist learning process, while the control group (n = 68) was subjected to traditional instruction for eleven weeks. Data were collected through qualitative and quantitative methods. Findings show that posttest scores were not statistically different between the experimental and the control groups. However, a significant difference was found in the retention scores in favor of the experimental group. The conceptual change the learners went through was evident in their metaphorical images which tend to change from a more controlling image to images that depict leadership, sensitivity to individual differences, and student learning. Descriptive findings indicate that retention was fostered through constructivist activities that mainly included reflective writing, critical thinking, and problem solving. Factors such as active learning, meaningful and enjoyable learning environment, and the attitudes of instructors had a positive impact on student learning. Nevertheless, the load of reflective diary writing and portfolio preparation tasks, and collaborative work could be overwhelming and discouraging and these impacted negatively on learners2 attitudes towards the course.