June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Educational Research and Methods
This research paper investigates faculty members’ actions in a classroom setting in light of their personal beliefs about teaching and learning, and their relationships to student beliefs. The research question is: to what extent is alignment between faculty and student beliefs about teaching and learning related to faculty pedagogical activities and actions? Very little prior work integrates student-side and instructor-side preferences and actions, and this paper extends our understanding of this alignment. We expect that a clearer understanding of the alignment between faculty and students may help explain student academic performance. This paper focuses on characterizing the alignment, while our future research explores its relationship to student outcomes.
Faculty and students in a mechanical engineering program at a large Midwestern university completed various survey instruments for this study. Faculty (n = 32) completed the Index of Learning Styles (ILS; learning preferences along four sub-scales), the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI; teaching preferences along two axes), and a pedagogical index (PI; extent of use of specific pedagogical and assessment approaches). Students (n = 296) completed the ILS, and each of these students was enrolled in at least one course with a faculty member who also completed the survey. As a result, an ILS misalignment score was calculated for each student-faculty pair. The ILS misalignment scores, as well as the ATI and PI scores, were categorized relative to their respective means for analysis. We use descriptive statistics and mean comparisons (ANOVAs) to examine the data.
Our data analysis reveals the following key insights about our research question. Faculty-student ILS misalignment is largest along the active-reflective ILS dimension. In turn, faculty who are more misaligned with their students (in the ILS sense) tend to lecture more. In our data, ILS faculty raw scores and ATI results do not appear to be strongly correlated. ATI results suggest that faculty who are more instructor focused than average tend to use active and collaborative learning activities, and formative evaluation to a lesser extent. Conversely, faculty who are more student focused than average use lecture as a teaching tool to a lesser extent. The paper concludes with a higher-level discussion of two key issues: (i) what are perceived barriers to being more student focused in pedagogical activities, and (ii) can we discern cause and effect relationships among the ILS, ATI, and PI measures we collected?
Berger, E. J., & Guruprasad, G., & Senkpeil, R. R. (2017, June), Characterizing the Alignment in Faculty and Student Beliefs Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28028
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