Samuel MerkJürgen SchneiderThorsten BohlAugustin KelavaMarcus Syring

Teacher students’ epistemic beliefs about general pedagogical knowledge

Topic-, source- and context specificity


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Pedagogical content knowledge is known as an important part of the professional competence of teachers. Epistemic beliefs (beliefs about the nature of knowing and knowledge) are part of some influential models of teachers’ professional competence, too. The current experimental study investigates how epistemic beliefs about pedagogical content knowledge of teacher students vary over different topics (Big-Fish-Little-Pond effect, learning with worked out examples, etc.) and which effects the source (layperson, expert advise, scientific study) and context (school context, other contexts) shows. Multigroup multilevel structural equation models of 1938 epistemic beliefs ratings from 323 student teachers show evidence for a high within-person variance in epistemic beliefs as well as less relativistic beliefs for pedagogical knowledge retrieved from “experts”. School context showed no significant effects. Consequences for further examinations of the specificity of epistemic beliefs are discussed as well as consequences of epistemic beliefs for learning processes in teacher education.

Epistemic beliefs; Teacher education; Multilevel modeling