A Preliminary Study on the Development of Pedagogical Content Knowledge among Economics and Primary Social Studies Student Teachers in Singapore

Introduction

In this preliminary study on the development of pedagogical content knowledge among student teachers in the National Institute of Education, Singapore, Economics and Primary Social Studies student teachers self-report their progress in their professional development upon exit of teacher training using a survey instrument adapted from Ho’s (2003) pedagogical content knowledge development model.

The purpose of this study is to use data on the student teachers’ perceived accumulation of pedagogical content knowledge to throw light on the effectiveness in the teaching areas of Economics and Primary Social Studies in order to better develop pedagogical content knowledge among student teachers.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Pedagogical content knowledge is that unique professional understanding that allows teachers to integrate, transform and represent subject matter knowledge in ways that students can understand. Shulman (1987) defined pedagogical content knowledge as

Identify[ing] the distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching. It represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction. Pedagogical content knowledge is the category most likely to distinguish the understanding of the content specialist from that of pedagogue. (p. 8)

Often, teachers develop their pedagogical content knowledge through their practical experiences. It is therefore important and necessary to provide teachers the opportunities, time, reasons and mechanisms for them to engage in dialogues and discussions that would help them to articulate their pedagogical content knowledge gained from their practical experiences. In essence, it is necessary to assess and measure the development of pedagogical content knowledge. For teacher educators, preliminary findings of how pedagogical content knowledge has been achieved by student teachers would guide in the design and implementation of teacher education for student teachers.

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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