Designing Meaningful Learning Environments for Teachers: The Relationship between Representational Modes and Thinking Patterns

By Diane Salmon and Melissa Kelly.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

It is well recognized in the field of teacher education that teachers need to better understand how theory and research relate to their teaching practices; however, teachers often struggle to find practical meaning in educational theory and research. As teacher educators, we are attempting to address this tension by studying teachers’ patterns of thinking and problem solving in an online graduate course. This research is a part of a series of design studies attempting to understand and enhance a course learning environment for practicing teachers. The course content is organized around a classroom scenario depicting common dilemmas. Participants use theory and research to resolve the dilemmas by engaging in discussions, creating concept maps, and writing narrative analyses. In this study, we analyze the teachers’ concept maps to determine the extent to which they integrated theory and practice. We then analyze the relationship between the teachers’ concept maps, their written narratives, and their discussions of their concept mapping process. We found that all three representational modes relate; however, we identified a unique role for concept mapping in facilitating teacher metacognition.

Keywords: Learning Environments, Teacher Learning, Representational Modes, Thinking Patterns

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp.447-460. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.653MB).

Diane Salmon

Associate Professor, National College of Education, National-Louis University, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Melissa Kelly

Instructional Designer, National College of Education, National-Louis University, Chicago, IL, USA


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