Meaningful learning in secondary teacher education

PhD Thesis

Meijer, E. 2021. Meaningful learning in secondary teacher education. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Humanities and Education Studies
AuthorsMeijer, E.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

Competing paradigms in society place the embodiment of a specific worldview in education under pressure, with significant consequences for student teachers and how Christian teacher education institutions develop new teachers. This study addresses the question how worldview plays a role in conceptions about meaningful learning that student teachers have developed in a specific context, namely a Dutch Christian University for teacher education, called Driestar. It addresses the contribution of personal and institutional worldview. Existing research has focussed on pedagogy in the relation between faith and learning. The relation between religious and professional epistemological beliefs has not been well researched. This study is therefore designed to address this relationship. The study further develops Polanyi’s knowledge theory as an alternative to both constructivism and objectivism, building on the work of other scholars.

Portraits of student teachers are presented in the framework of a nested case study design, because the context of Driestar University matters. As meaningful learning can be situated in a paradox between universal and personal, speaking to both the person and the field is considered essential in the methodology developed. Therefore the study draws on both qualitative interviews and literature discussion.

The findings reveal that student teachers’ conceptions are paradoxical and fragmented. The relation between religious and professional epistemological beliefs is complex. A profound dualism appears between these beliefs. Personal worldview plays a role in particular in thinking about meaningful learning.

This study illuminates and furthers the development of thinking around Christian education in a specific context. The major findings of this study illustrate a friction between the worldview of religious tradition and the worldview of individual choice, which presents a challenge both for student teachers and the institute of Driestar. The study reveals the importance of creating worldview consciousness and addressing epistemology in the teacher education curriculum at Driestar.

KeywordsMeaningful learning; Secondary teacher education
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Deposited22 Aug 2022
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