Using a Constructivist Approach to Assess Trainee Teachers’ Understanding of Health-related Concepts

By Brinda Oogarah-Pratap.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper explores the use and implications of using a constructivist approach to assessing understanding of selected health-related concepts among a group of primary (elementary) school trainee teachers (n = 23) enrolled in a Health Education module. One of the aims of the module is to build health literacy among the teachers so that they can in turn promote health literacy among school children. Misconceptions can be a significant barrier to the promotion of health literacy, and therefore they should be carefully addressed during teacher training programmes. In this study, a problem-based task was implemented pre- and post-test to assess trainee teachers’ conceptual understanding of plant sources of protein, protein quality and complementary proteins. The constructivist model of learning was taken into consideration in the design of the task to determine whether trainee teachers had a sound knowledge of the different concepts and whether they could integrate these concepts to analyse the given problematic real-life situation. The problem-based task was found to be an effective tool in assessing the understanding of health-related concepts. Recommendations have also been made to further improve the effectiveness of this approach.

Keywords: Teacher Training, Health Education, Assessment, Constructivist Approach

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp.123-130. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 573.695KB).

Dr Brinda Oogarah-Pratap

Senior Lecturer, School of Applied Sciences, Mauritius Institute of Education, Reduit, Mauritius

I am currently involved in the traininng of teachers (pre- and in-service) in the primary and secondary education sectors of Mauritius. I service mainly courses in Health and Nutrition Education. My research interests include health and nutrition education and the integration of a web-based environment in teacher training programmes (both in-service and pre-service programmes). I hold a masters degree in public health nutrition from the Univerity of Massachusetts, USA and a post-graduate certificate in online education from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia. I am currently pursuing my doctoral studies in online education with the University of Southern Queensland.


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