Determining the Philosophical Orientation of Pre-Service Teachers: A Causal-Comparative Study

Maria L Edlin, Tennessee State University


This study was conducted to determine if pre-service teachers could self-identify their philosophy of education and then match that philosophy through their responses to a 48-item survey. Additionally the study was conducted to determine if the pre-service teachers from Middle Tennessee State University would have a more varied philosophical orientation than the students from Nipissing University in Ontario, Canada. The survey instrument used was Ryan's "Philosophical Orientation of Pre-Service Teachers." The survey was given to 232 pre-service teachers who are preparing to enter the directed teaching portion of their studies. A one-way ANOVA was used to analyze the potential relationship between the pre-service teachers' age, college of study, career history, and reason for entering the profession and the philosophy with which they identified. Ultimately the pre-service teachers' choice of philosophy from the list provided on the demographics collection form and their survey responses did not match leading to the conclusion that the pre-service teachers did not have a clear understanding of the philosophy of education. More than 78 percent of the respondents selected the Progressivist philosophy as identified by their responses to the survey instrument while 12 percent identified with the Essentialist philosophy. Recommendations for future research include administering the survey at a later date to determine if the national implementation of the Common Core Standards causes an increase in the number of pre-service teachers identifying with the Essentialist philosophy.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Education philosophy

Recommended Citation

Maria L Edlin, "Determining the Philosophical Orientation of Pre-Service Teachers: A Causal-Comparative Study" (2013). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3587525.