University of Tasmania

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The application of conceptual level theory to school based inservice teacher education

posted on 2023-05-26, 21:58 authored by Macrostie, John Thomas
The purpose of this study was to develop, implement and evaluate a school based inservice program designed to stimulate the Conceptual Level (CL) of teachers. CL is the basic dimension within Conceptual Level Theory (CLT) which identifies individuals in terms of increasing cognitive complexity directly related to: (a) a greater understanding of oneself and others, (b) aft increased ability for perspective-taking, and (c) a greater acceptance of responsibility in decision making. The study represented a first attempt to apply a construct of cognitive developmental theory to school based inservice teacher education. Studies have shown that teachers functioning at low CL of thought development tend to be conforming individuals whose classroom environments are highly teacher directed. Teachers functioning at high CL of thought development foster creativity in students' thinking, and an independent, yet cooperative, learning environment. The Teacher Direct Assistance Program (TDAP) was developed as the treatment for this study. The program was conducted over five one day workshops spaced from three to four weeks apart. The format of the TDAP provided opportunities for teachers to (a) make decisions about their classroom practice using the research on teaching, (b) engage in significant role-taking experiences, (c) become actively involved in the process of reflective thinking before, during and after teaching, and (d) interact with other teachers in small group settings to share ideas about their teaching challenges, expertise, solutions and effects ot their teaching on students. It was predicted that when teachers were actively engaged in these experiences over a period of time, there would be a positive change in their CL of thought development. A pretest-posttest nonequivalent control group design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the TDAP. Sixty-one teachers from seven secondary schools in Tasmania, Australia participated in the study, thirty-six in the experimental group and twenty-five in the control group. Both groups were administered the Paragraph Completion Method (PCM) as a pretest and a posttest. An analysis of covariance test was run to compare the posttest means of both groups. A statistically significant difference was found between the two groups at the .001 level, indicating a positive gain in CL of thought development by the experimental group. A second analysis of covariance test was run to determine if the TDAP had the same effect on teachers, regardless of their initial CL stage of thought development. A statistically significant difference (p_ = .0042) was found to exist between the moderate experimental subgroup, high experimental subgroup, and the control group. A subsequent specific multiple comparison test indicated that only the moderate experimental subgroup had shown a statistically significant gain in their CL of thought development (p_= .0027). Although the TDAP Was found to have a general positive effect on the CL of thought development of the experimental group teachers, it did not affect all of them to the same extent. The study demonstrated that it was possible to design a school based inservice teacher education program to stimulate the CL of thought development of teachers, a link previously not reported in the research literature.


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Copyright 1991 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Includes bibliographical references. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1992

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