Experiencing conceptual change about teaching: A case study from astronomy
Understanding faculty motivations for and barriers to change is an important component of facilitating instructional reform efforts to improve student learning. This case study describes the process of adoption of learner-centered instructional strategies by an astronomy faculty member, Ken, as viewed through the lens of conceptual change. Specifically, we applied the Cognitive
Reconstruction of Knowledge Model (CRKM) to understand why Ken was willing to change his instructional strategies, what barriers to and supports for change existed, and how he and his students were impacted by this change. Ken’s statements and actions represented characteristics consistent with the CRKM. Notably, dissatisfaction, considered the primary motivator in many conceptual change models, was not of high importance in this case. Upon implementing learnercentered strategies, Ken’s students performed better on a measure of knowledge about stellar properties, which served to reinforce his motivation to continue with learner-centered methods.