Changes in teaching beliefs of early-career chemistry faculty: a longitudinal investigation†
Literature at the secondary level has demonstrated a tight interconnectedness between one's beliefs about teaching and learning and one's instructional practices. Moreover, this research indicates that personal and contextual factors influence beliefs and that growth and changes in beliefs are most notable during the early years of one's teaching experience. Despite the substantial influence of teaching beliefs on educational decisions, very little research has been conducted at the post-secondary level in both characterizing and monitoring changes in beliefs over time of early-career faculty members. This study aims to fill this gap by investigating (1) the changes over two and half years in the beliefs of early-career chemistry professors in the United States, and (2) patterns between changes in beliefs and personal and contextual factors as defined in the Teacher-Centered Systemic Reform Model. Nine faculty were interviewed using the modified Luft and Roehrig's Teaching Beliefs Interview protocol in Fall 2016/Spring 2017 and then again in Spring 2019. Combination of constant-comparative analysis and cluster analysis were utilized to characterize faculty beliefs after each data collection cycle. Faculty also completed four surveys over the course of this longitudinal study. These surveys were analyzed to identify personal and contextual factors that could relate to changes in faculty beliefs over time. Overall, the participants expressed more unique beliefs about teaching and learning during the second interview. Despite this increase, the substance and the message of the beliefs remained fairly similar to the beliefs expressed during the first interview, which suggests that beliefs do not change as an artifact of teaching experience. Four of the faculty demonstrated a desirable shift to student-centered thinking, while three did not change and two shifted toward teacher-centered. Analysis of the survey data revealed that access and use of chemical education research journal and researchers, repeated opportunities to teach the same course, and instructor's continued learning efforts with respect to teaching were more pronounced among faculty who shifted toward student-centered thinking.