Bulent AYDOGDU, Tugba SELANIK-AY
Assoc. Prof. Dr., Afyon Kocatepe University.
Problem Statement: Exploring the variables that affect teachers’ teaching approaches in learning environments is crucial to determining their response to new trends. Their teaching and learning characteristics set the success level of the new reforms. In addition, monitoring the usage of constructivist pedagogies and giving feedback about them are other crucial aims of this research.
Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study was to identify the characteristics of primary school teachers that helped them prepare constructivist learning environments.
Method: The data were collected through the Constructivist Learning Environment Questionnaire (CLEQ) and a modified version of Draw a Classroom Teacher Test Checklist (DACTT-C), which is a modified version of the Draw a Science Teacher Test Checklist (DASTT-C). The sample of the study was 115 primary school teachers from schools in Afyon, Turkey. Convenience sampling was used as a sampling strategy.
Findings: The results of the study showed that the gender of primary school teachers was not a factor in determining the constructivist characteristics of the primary school, and less experienced primary school teachers were more willing to use constructivist principles in their primary school. The primary school teachers’ drawings were analyzed qualitatively. There were 15 missing drawings in the survey, so researchers scored and evaluated only 100 drawings. Only eight primary school teachers’ drawings (8%) reflected a student-centered teaching style; 56% had both student and teacher-centered characteristics; and 36% were teacher-centered. Two of the eight student-centered drawings belonged to males and four of the eight drawings belonged to teachers with 0 to 5 years of experience. Three of the eight student-centered drawings belonged to teachers with a master’s degree and five belonged to teachers with a bachelor degree.
Conclusion and Recommendations: Primary school teachers who had graduate degrees were more open to using constructivist characteristics in teaching and learning. Females and less experienced primary school teachers had a higher tendency to draw student-centered instructional characteristics. Turkish teachers are mostly in a transition process from teacher-centered instruction to student-centered instruction. The Ministry of National Education should promote collaboration between senior and novice teachers. Primary school teachers should be supported with pre-service and in-service training programs during the transition process of teacher-centered teaching to a student-centered teaching style. For further research, primary school teachers’ perceptions about constructivist learning environments should be observed in the primary school environment.
Keywords: Constructivist learning environments, primary school teachers, teacher characteristics, draw a classroom teacher test checklist, primary school drawings.