How can an understanding of cognitive styles enable trainee teachers to have a better understanding of differention in the classroom?
journal contributionposted on 22.02.2013, 08:57 authored by Carol Evans, Michael Waring
The relationship between cognitive style and trainee teacher conceptions of differentiation was studied to develop appropriate scaffolding of their learning. 149 trainee teachers enrolled on 1 year postgraduate initial teacher education (ITE) programmes at two UK universities completed the Cognitive Style Index (Allinson and Hayes, Journal of Management Studies, 33(1):119–135, 1996;Hodgkinson and Sadler-Smith, Journal ofOccupational and Organisational Psychology, 76(2):243–268, 2003) and a questionnaire exploring their understanding of differentiation, conceptions of learning and learning preferences. A stratified sample of these trainees was also interviewed to assess their understanding and prior knowledge of differentiation and learning styles and how they would plan for these in the classroom. Responses were coded using content analysis procedures. Cognitive style was found to impact on trainees’ conceptions of differentiation; for example, trainees demonstrating higher levels of analysis and intuition had a more developed understanding of differentiation than other cognitive styles. In relation to the findings, the use of a constructivist pedagogical tool: a Personal Learning Styles Pedagogy (Evans and Waring, Zhang & Sternberg (Eds.), Perspectives on the nature of intellectual styles, 2009) is presented to inform the reconceptualisation of ITE programmes. In so doing, the use of this tool addresses key issues raised in recent international policy debates concerning the necessary development of ITE for twenty-first century learner needs.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences