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Programmed or Not: A study about programming teachers’ beliefs and intentions in relation to curriculum
KTH, School of Education and Communication in Engineering Science (ECE), Learning, Technical Science Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6012-6834
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Programmerad eller Inte : programmering i skolan från ett lärarperspektiv (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In the intersection of technology, curriculum and intentions, a specific issue of interest is found in the gap between teachers’ intentions and implementations of curriculum. Instead of approaching curriculum and technology as something fait accompli, teachers are considered crucial in the re-discovery of what and how to teach. The thesis depicts the mind-set of teachers and their beliefs in relation to computing curriculum. Three perspectives are covered in the thesis. Based on original documents and interviews with curriculum developers, the enactment of the computing/programming curriculum during the 1970s and 1980s is explored (Paper 1). This historical perspective is supplemented with a perspective from the present day where current teaching practice is explored through teachers’ statements (seminars with associated questionnaires) regarding their beliefs about teaching and learning programming(Paper 2). Finally with a view from a theoretical perspective, teachers’perception of instruction is discussed in relation to a theoretical framework where their intentions in relation to theoretical and practical aspects of knowledge are revealed (Papers 3 & 4). The initial incitement to offer computing education during the 1970s was discovered in the recruitment of a broader group of students within the Natural Science Programme and the perception that it would contribute to the development of students’ ability to think logically and learn problem solving skills. Data concerning teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning programming unravels an instructional dependence among today’s teachers where students’ logical and analytical abilities (even before the courses start) are considered crucial to students’ learning, while teachers question the importance of their pedagogy. The thesis also discover two types of instruction; a large group putting emphasis on the syntax of programming languages, and a smaller group putting emphasis on the students’ experiences of learning concepts of computer science (not necessarily to do with syntax). In summary the thesis depicts an instructional tradition based on teachers’ beliefs where the historical development of the subject sets the framework for the teaching. Directly and indirectly the historical development and related traditions govern what programming teachers in upper secondary school will/are able to present to their students. From deploying two theoretical approaches, phenomenography and logic of events, upon teacher’s cases it is shown that the intended object of learning (iOoL) is shaped by the teacher’s intentions (e.g., balancing the importance oftheory and practice, using different learning strategies, encouraging learning by trial-and-error and fostering collaboration between students for a deeper understanding). The teachers also present a diverse picture regarding what theoretical knowledge students will reach for.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. , ix, 99 p.
Series
TRITA-ECE, 2015:3
Keyword [en]
computing, programming education, teachers’ beliefs, intentionality, curriculum development, curriculum studies, upper secondary school
National Category
Educational Sciences Pedagogy Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160724ISBN: 978-91-7595-463-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-160724DiVA: diva2:791197
Public defence
2015-03-20, F3 (Gradängsal), Lindstedtsvägen 26, floor 02, KTH, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20150227

Available from: 2015-02-27 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2016-12-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Programming in School: Look Back to Move Forward
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Programming in School: Look Back to Move Forward
2014 (English)In: ACM Transactions on Computing Education, ISSN 1946-6226, E-ISSN 1946-6226, Vol. 14, no 2, 12:1-12:25 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, the development of the Swedish informatics curriculum during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990sis studied and described. The study’s design is inspired by the curriculum theory presented by Lindensj¨oand Lundgren [2000], who suggest using the concept of arenas (the arenas of enactment, transformationand realisation) when discussing curriculum development. Data collection in this study comprises activitiesand actors in the arenas of enactment and transformation. Collected data include contemporary articles,journals, reports, booklets, government documents and archived documents. Findings show that informaticseducation in Sweden evolved from primarily focusing on programming knowledge related to automatic dataprocessing and offered exclusively in vocational education (the 1960s and 1970s) to later (early 1980s) beingintroduced in the upper secondary school curriculum under the heading Datakunskap. The enactment of theinformatics curriculum in 1983 encompassed programming, system development and computing in relationto applied sciences and civics. Mathematics teachers did much of the experimental work. It is shown that thecompetencies of upper secondary school teachers at the time rarely corresponded to the demands of the subject(content knowledge, resources and pedagogical skills). Stereotypical examples were therefore developedto support teachers in instructing about the subject content. When implemented in the theoretical naturalscience-programme, system development/systemisation was transformed into a twofold issue, comprisingvocational attributes and societal aspects of computer programming. The implementation of today’s informaticseducation, including programming in the curriculum, should draw from lessons learned from history.For a successful outcome, this study emphasises the necessity to understand 1) the common incentives forintroducing computer programming in the curriculum, 2) the requirement for teachers’ pedagogical contentknowledge and 3) the stakeholders’ role in the curriculum development process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2014
Keyword
Computer programming, automatic data processing (ADP), upper secondary school, teacher, curriculum development, informatics education, National Board of Education, Ministry of Education
National Category
Pedagogy Didactics
Research subject
Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160717 (URN)10.1145/2602487 (DOI)2-s2.0-84905856931 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20150227

Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
2. Teachers' Beliefs Regarding Progamming Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers' Beliefs Regarding Progamming Education
2013 (English)In: Technology Teachers as Researchers, Sense Publishers, 2013, 285-309 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The paper explores the beliefs of today’s programming teachers from the following research question: What beliefs do programming teachers express regarding teaching and learning computer programming in upper secondary school? To answer that question four seminars were offered focusing on upper secondary programming education. At each seminar, a questionnaire designed to elicit teachers’ beliefs about aspects of importance for their instructional design and students learning was given to the teachers/informants.

The analysis showed four themes in relation to teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching: 1. Students’ individual connective time, 2. Teachers’ pedagogy, 3. Students’ abilities, 4. Students’ interest and motivation.

The assessment process is crucial to teachers’ choice of instruction strategies. This is particularly valid in the beginners’ course, where collaboration among students (peer-learning) is often practiced, and where skills essential to working in groups are commonly considered not to be important. In conclusion it could be said that two distinctive instructional patterns exist among teachers; individual support, and instruction for experience of learning.

A majority of the teachers in the study express a number of expectations concerning their students’ abilities; specific abilities such as logical and analytical thinking are emphasized as important for successful learning, while the ability to work in a group and to communicate is perceived as beneficial but not of any concern during the assessment process. The paper raises the question of whether teachers perceive abilities as fixed and inborn (naïve belief) or something that students could acquire with some effort (sophisticated belief). Findings suggest that a majority of the teachers hold a naïve belief. Findings also show that the teachers in the study focus on the individual, constructivist based learning which indicate that the teachers in the study commonly hold on to relativistic world-views. The concept of pedagogy were also discovered significant as many teachers question the importance of their pedagogy for students' learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sense Publishers, 2013
Series
International Technology Education Studies, 10
Keyword
beliefs, epistemology, programming, education, teachers
National Category
Didactics Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-105758 (URN)10.1007/978-94-6209-443-7_13 (DOI)978-94-6209-443-7 (ISBN)
Note

Updated from accepted to published. QC 20150227

Available from: 2012-11-27 Created: 2012-11-26 Last updated: 2015-02-27Bibliographically approved
3. Bridging a Gap: In search of an analytical tool capturing teachers’ perceptions of their own teaching
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bridging a Gap: In search of an analytical tool capturing teachers’ perceptions of their own teaching
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Computing and computers are introduced in school as important examples of technology. Sometimes as a subject matter of their own, and sometimes they are used as tools, but in principle, learning about computers is part of learning about technology. Lately, the subject is being implemented in curricula to explain society’s dependence on programming knowledge and code. However, there are some considerations related to teaching programming, as the questions of what and how to teach highlight different aspects of the learning objective. In phenomenography, intended object of learning (OoL) is suggested to describe the teacher’s perspective on teaching and learning. There is, however, an analytical reduction made in phenomenography, which makes such a construction hard to distinguish in action. To find ways of bridging this reduction and deepen our understanding of teachers’ work, the article discusses the possibility of using von Wright’s theoretical model of logic of events as a complementary analytical tool in search for understanding of the intentions behind such a construction. Two theoretical approaches, phenomenography and logic of events, are deployed upon one teacher’s case to illustrate that the intended OoL is shaped by the teacher’s intentions, such as balancing the importance of theory and practice, using different learning strategies, encouraging learning by trial-and-error and finally fostering collaboration between students for a deeper understanding of the OoL. In conclusion, logic of events interpretations reveals the teacher’s intentions as being complementary to the principles of phenomenography. Understanding of teachers’ intentions contribute to the understanding of the OoL from a teachers’ perspective.

Keyword
Phenomenography, Logic of events
National Category
Pedagogy Didactics
Research subject
Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160727 (URN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2011-36908-83719-51
Note

QS 2015

Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2015-02-27Bibliographically approved
4. Intentions and pedagogical actions: A study of programming teachers’ construction of a learning objective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intentions and pedagogical actions: A study of programming teachers’ construction of a learning objective
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Teachers focus on one or several objects of learning (OoLs) in parallel. During the process of teaching and learning,students are invited to share the enacted object of learning (eOoL) as teachers shape the intended object of learning(iOoL). A gap is suggested in the steps going from the iOoL to the eOoL because students have differentprerequisites and ambitions. In laboratory work, theory and practice supposedly interplay to enhance students’learning. This study therefore considers that gap and addresses the following question: “What educational intentionsand expectations do programming teachers express when they (in retrospect) describe their teaching during anassignment on a principle from computer science?” Interviews were conducted with five teachers from differentsites (secondary and tertiary levels). A second-order perspective was used to unravel the expected OoL and theteachers’ intentions. The study reveals the existence of other OoLs in interplay with what is expected to be learnt.The teachers reveal a strong opinion regarding practice as a means for learning theory, as three qualitativelydifferent students’ actions will help the teacher to decide students’ theoretical understanding. Further work issuggested to explore the teachers’ reflections about what materialized in the classrooms and thus gain anunderstanding of the gap.

Keyword
Intentionality, object of learning, theory, practice
National Category
Educational Sciences Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160728 (URN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2011-36908-83719-51
Note

QS 2015

Available from: 2015-02-27 Created: 2015-02-27 Last updated: 2015-02-27Bibliographically approved

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