Juggling our mindsets: Learning from success as a complementary instructional framework in teacher education

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Background: Collective learning in teacher education has primarily focused on learning from problematic practices/approaches, depriving preservice teachers of learning opportunities embedded in professional successes. Purpose: The goal of the present study was to explore the value of systematic learning from success as a complementary reflective framework during the practicum phase in teacher preparatory programs. Research Design: We developed four distinct reflective methods to examine the effect of integrating systematic learning from problematic as well as successful experiences in preparatory programs on physics student teachers' pedagogical content knowledge and sense of teaching efficacy. Data Collection and Analysis: Participants were 124 second-year preservice physics teachers at four major research universities. One-way within-subjects analyses of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures were conducted, with post-test performance as the dependent variable and with treatment (four reflective groups) as the independent variable. Findings: Results indicated greater performance improvement on pedagogical content knowledge measures and on sense of self-efficacy measures when contemplating both problematic and successful experiences than when focusing solely on problematic experiences. Recommendations: The current study may reinterpret the instructional framework of teacher education programs to include learning from successes too as a means of nurturing the practical wisdom necessary for teaching in dynamic school contexts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTeachers College Record
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


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