1.7. Pre-Service Teachers' Objectives, Challenges, and Experience of Practical Work


Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of physics teacher education research

Doctoral candidate: M. Sc. Ville Nivalainen 

Date and venue: 1.7.2011 at 12 noon, M100, Metria, Joensuu campus 

The study was made of the planning and implementing of practical work by pre- and in-service teachers and a model of the challenges faced by the teachers was formed based on the results obtained. The types of challenges confronting both participant groups were similar, but differences were nevertheless detected when the distinct categories were examined more closely. By gaining an understanding of the categories of challenges represented in the model, teacher educators can provide pre- and in-service teachers with learning situations to realize their own deficiencies. 

The pre-service teachers’ understanding of the objectives of practical work was investigated and the results revealed which objective categories were well understood and which needed to be paid more attention to in the education of pre-service teachers. The results of the study also contain implications for teacher education programs. 

Pre-service teachers’ experiences of practical work at school and university were also examined. Examination revealed not only positive and negative experiences of practical work but also the underlying reasons for such assessments. Negative experiences were mainly related to the challenges involved in the planning and implementation of practical work that their previous teachers had experienced, whereas positive experiences were obtained if the objectives of practical work were transparent to students and the means used to examine the phenomena were reasonable and flawless for students. The relations between experiences and challenges were also subjected to discussion. 

The university courses described in the thesis help the forthcoming physics teachers to face and overcome the challenges of planning and implementing of practical work, to make them understand about the objectives of practical work and create a positive impression about its use as the participants work in small groups or pairs. 

The doctoral dissertation of Ville Nivalainen entitled “Pre-Service Teachers’ Objectives, Challenges, and Experience of Practical Work” will be examined at the Faculty of Science and Forestry. The opponent in the public examination is Professor Jerry Wellington from Sheffield University and the custos is Professor Markku Kuittinen of the University of Eastern Finland.

Photo available for download at http://www.uef.fi/vaitoskuvat

Contact: Ville Nivalainen, ville.nivalainen@uef.fi, tel. + 358 50 361 7420

Publishing year: 2011

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