Abstract of Keynote Speech

Epistemic beliefs of teacher students and teachers: variable-oriented and person-oriented views
Kirsti Lonka
University of Helsinki, Finland

The present keynotes approaches the personal epistemologies of university students and teachers. Previously, there have been lack of instruments that would capture complex epistemic beliefs. We applied the modified MED NORD (Lonka et al., 2008) instrument to measure epistemic beliefs of university students and professional teachers. First, we examined university students’ epistemic profiles and their relations to conceptions of learning, age, gender, discipline and grades. We measured epistemic beliefs: Reflective learning, collaborative knowledge-building, valuing metacognition, certain knowledge and practical value. The participants were 1515 students from five faculties who completed questionnaires about epistemic beliefs. We analyzed structural validity using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). We examined epistemic profiles using latent profile analysis (LPA). Three-class LPA solution fit the data: Fact-oriented (25%), collaborative-reflective (26%), and practical fact-oriented (49%) groups. We compared age, discipline and grades across the profiles. The profiles’ conceptions of learning varied: The collaborative-reflective group were more likely to be female, teacher- and mature students, and they had the highest academic achievement. The fact-oriented group were mostly engineering or science students. The practical fact-oriented group were often law students. Teacher students expressed the most sophisticated epistemic beliefs in the student population. Later, we It measured the following epistemic beliefs among teachers: collaborative knowledge building, valuing metacognition, certainty of knowledge, and simple (surface) learning. In the two-part statements, statement A always measured the ideal epistemic beliefs, whereas statement B concerned how willing the teachers were to apply them in practice. The participants were 228 subject matter teachers from Finland and 97 teachers from Taiwan. Two factors were confirmed in both cultures: 1) reflective-collaborative theory and 2) knowledge transmission theory. It appeared that there were both similarities across cultures as well as differences in line with previous research. In conclusion, the modified MED NORD questionnaires were reliable and valid tools that captured some essential aspects of both teachers’ and students’ epistemic beliefs. In the present keynote, I shall look how epistemic beliefs are related to well-being and approaches to modern ideas of learning and assessment. The added value of person-oriented approach is also discussed. I shall also look at how the results are generalised into teachers of five different European countries.

Keynote Speaker

Prof. Kirsti Lonka (Educational Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland)

Kirsti Lonka is Professor of Educational Psychology at University of Helsinki, Finland (2005-). On growingmind.fi you may see all her projects and also people working with her. She is Director of Research Group of Educational Psychology. Kirsti is Extraordinary Professor, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vanderbiljpark, South Africa (2016-2019) and Advisory Board Member of Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST 2015-). She is also Science Rector of Kymenlaakso Summer University. Kirsti is a founding member of Teachers’ Academy of University of Helsinki since 2013 and was their first President (2013-2014). Kirsti Lonka is a PI of a project “Phenomenal Teacher Education – Engaging learning environments” funded by Ministry of Education, Finland (2017-2020) and PI in collaboration with Dr. Markus Talvio in EU Erasmus+ project Learning2Be (on social and emotional learning) (2017-2019). Professor Lonka’s current project as a CO-PI is Bridging the Gap – Affective, cognitive, and social consequences of digital revolution for youth development and education (2018 – 2020) funded by Academy of Finland (PI Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro). Kirsti Lonka is a popular keynote speaker around the world. She has published more than hundred refereed articles as well as conference papers and book chapters. She has also published textbooks and popular writings. Her specialty is learning in higher education, teacher education, and postgraduate education (PhD students). At the moment, she is working on innovations in higher education and engaging learning environments (ELE). Professor Lonka is active on Twitter and Instagram (@kirstilonka), on Facebook and LinkedIn. Her latest book is Lonka, K. (2018) Phenomenal learning from Finland. Edita Publishing.