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Preservice and inservice basic education computer teachers’ professional growth in terms of their perceptions of teaching, pedagogical competencies and subject matter knowledge

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2008
Çakır, Recep
The purpose of this study was to investigate the professional growth of the preservice and inservice Basic Education computer teachers. To understand their professional growth in terms of perception of teaching and competencies about pedagogic and subject matter knowledge, questionnaires were administered to 1,568 preservice teachers and 104 inservice teachers in Turkey. In order to seek answers to this broad purpose, mixed research method including both quantitative and qualitative traditions was used in this study. The researcher employed the questionnaires as the primary data collection tool but since questionnaires were limited in the representation of the whole picture, this study was complemented by interviews, observations and document analysis, which were the qualitative data collection tools. To that end, 33 preservice computer teachers and 12 inservice teachers were interviewed. Besides these, 8 preservice and 4 inservice classroom observations were conducted. Additionally, their lesson plans were analyzed throughout the data collection process. Regarding data collecting procedure, the data collection and analysis procedure includes two phases; the first one is the quantitative phase, in which the research questions focus on basic education computer teachers’ perceptions about teaching, their pedagogical and subject matter competencies and their views about technology integration into schools. In order to answer the research questions, the researchers developed new questionnaires and adapted from existing instruments by utilizing the literature review and taking expert opinions. After this phase, pilot studies were conducted in order to ensure reliability and validity of the questionnaires. In the second part, which is the qualitative phase, the research questions were addressed for in-depth understanding of preservice and inservice computer teachers’ perceptions toward teaching, their competencies and their opinions about technology integrations. For this purpose, interviews and observation schedules were prepared under the guidance of experts and with the support of the related literature. Results revealed that preservice and inservice teachers’ perceptions of teaching were generally positive about computer education. Moreover, their competencies increased throughout years. However, results indicated some negative points in their perceptions and competencies. Pertaining to the measured variables, there significant differences were found among preservice teachers based on their year in the program. Interviews and observations that were conducted to gain in-depth understanding of teachers’ progress in their professional growth supported the survey results. This study elicited important results for preservice and inservice computer teachers and teacher educators to understand the whole picture of the Basic Education computer teaching. Results of this study, particularly those related to the problems they encounter in the profession, could provide new directions for the Ministry of National Education, the Higher Education Council, and universities.