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Jan H.F. Meyer(1,2), Malcolm G. Eley(3) and Ursula Lucas(4)
Themes: Learning and teaching methods
A recent critical analysis (Meyer and Eley, 2003) of the reported processes used in developing the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI) has raised important questions that compromise the validity and reliability of the instrument; in particular, the biasing in the samples of teachers used in the trialling, and in the range of items in the initial pool. Trial samples commonly overlapped in membership and were thus not truly independent, were small, and restricted largely to the physical sciences. Initial item possibilities were a priori selected to fit only with a particular and preconceived theoretical model of teaching activity. The outcome is that the domain of the ATI is constrained in the range of variability, and in the sources of that variability, that it is capable of exhibiting. In short, the ATI can indicate only the extent to which any given teacher-respondent fits with a simple two-dimensional model of teaching behaviours and approaches.
The present paper reports on the initial stages of a project to revisit the task of constructing an inventory (the Reflections on Teaching Inventory: RoTI) based on an empirically derived conceptual domain that traverses a multidimensional response context, and which can thus serve as both a research and a diagnostic instrument capable of useful differentiation. A broad range of item stems were developed from extensive interviewing of c. 70 university teachers (from a range of academic disciplines) about the detail of their teaching activities, and their thinking in relation to that detail. These item stems were caste as questions that presented a description of a specific aspect of teaching activity, and required respondents to indicate the extent to which that stem was characteristic or common of their own teaching.
This initial item pool was trialled on samples of teachers of undergraduate students in Australia and the United Kingdom. Exploratory factor analyses of responses, supplemented with scale reliability analyses were used to construct initial provisional scales. These analyses are reported in the paper.
Meyer, J.H.F. & Eley, M.G. (2003). A factor analysis of the Approaches to Teaching Inventory. Symposium paper, 10th European Conference on Learning and Instruction, Padova, Italy, August 26-30.