The Role of Cognitive, Metacognitive, and Motivational Variables in Conceptual Change: Preservice Early Childhood Teachers' Conceptual Understanding of the Cause of Lunar Phases
This study seeks to explore and describe the role of cognitive, metacognitive, and motivational variables in conceptual change. More specifically, the purposes of the study were (1) to investigate the predictive ability of a learning model that was developed based on the intentional conceptual change perspective in predicting change in conceptual understandings of the cause of moon phases, (2) to examine the relationship between the coherency of participants’ conceptual understandings and their level of metacognitive strategy use and the type of conceptual understandings they construct after instruction, and (3) to explore the role of metaconceptual awareness in the change and the durability of conceptual understandings. A total of 52 preservice early childhood teachers participated in the study. Participants were enrolled in a science method course, which was part of the early childhood education program. All 52 participants were interviewed before and after instruction. Sixteen out of 52 participants were randomly selected based on their level of metacognition for delayed-post interviews.
Two data gathering techniques were used in the study: a self-report instrument and semi-structured interviews. To measure participants’ use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies and their motivational beliefs, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire was used. To reveal the participants’ understanding of moon phases, semi-structured interviews were conducted before, one to two weeks after, and 13 to 15 weeks after instruction. In delayed-post interviews, participants’ level of metacognitive awareness was also assessed using an interview protocol that was designed for the study.
Data obtained through interviews were analyzed using constant comparative method of analysis to reveal participants conceptual and metacognitive profiles. To make statistical analysis possible, participants’ Pre-, post-, delayed-post conceptual understandings and metacognitive awareness were scored with rubrics designed for this study. Quantitative data were analyzed using a partial least squares path analysis and Kruskall-Wallis test.
Results indicated that participants who frequently used elaboration and organization strategies were more likely to engage in conceptual change and construct a scientific understanding of the cause of the lunar phases. The use of metacognitive strategies facilitated participants’ use of deep-level cognitive strategies, which in turn promoted conceptual change. Motivational beliefs had direct influences on participants’ use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Participants with high motivational beliefs were more likely to use cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Thus, they were more likely to engage in conceptual change. The results provided evidence that the hypothesized model has a high predictive ability in explaining change in participants’ conceptual understandings from the pre to post-interviews.
Results demonstrated that participants with high a metacognitive state were more likely to construct coherent mental models. In other words, these participants’ conceptual understandings of the cause of lunar phases included a single, coherent, causal explanation before instruction. They were also more likely to construct coherent mental models after instruction.
Results also indicated that the participants who maintained their scientific conceptual understandings or progressed toward scientific conceptual understandings throughout the study obtained significantly higher metaconceptual awareness scores than those participants who regressed in their conceptual understandings or maintained alternative conceptual understandings. The direct effects of metaconceptual awareness on conceptual change and the durability of conceptual change were both statistically significant. Participants with high metaconceptual awareness score were more likely to change their alternative conceptual understandings after instruction and they also were more likely to retain their scientific conceptual understandings several months after instruction. The results provided evidence that metaconceptual awareness plays a significant role in the change and the durability of conceptual understandings.
Sackes, M. (2010). The Role of Cognitive, Metacognitive, and Motivational Variables in Conceptual Change: Preservice Early Childhood Teachers’ Conceptual Understanding of the Cause of Lunar Phases. PhD. Dissertation. The Ohio State University, USA
Type of Publication
The Ohio State University
Graduate School, The Ohio State University
Number of Pages
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America