Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Peggy A. Ertmer

Committee Chair

Peggy A. Ertmer

Committee Member 1

Timothy J. Newby

Committee Member 2

Johannes Strobel

Committee Member 3

Aman Yadav


The Internet has changed not only how we conceptualize knowledge, but also how we learn in classroom. Knowledge is not any longer transmitted from experts to non-experts, but is constructed through communication, collaboration, and integration among a network of people. In this context, teachers are expected to facilitate student-centered learning by helping students to construct knowledge through higher-order thinking rather than reproduce a series of facts. Although a growing body of research suggests that teachers' beliefs about the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing, that is personal epistemology, are related to their teaching and their students' learning, little work has done to examine its role of teachers' personal epistemologies in preparing future generations of teachers. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate an instrument designed to assess pre-service teachers' personal epistemologies of teaching (PT-PETS). The PT-PETS was administered to two samples of pre-service teachers. Factor analysis of the results revealed a multidimensional construct composed of three factors: Construction of Teaching Knowledge, Contextuality of Teaching Knowledge, and Complexity of Teaching Knowledge. The Construction of Teaching Knowledge consists of 9 items (i.e., Teaching knowledge is handed down by external authority or constructed by individuals). The Contextuality of Teaching Knowledge consists of 8 items (i.e., Teaching knowledge is viewed as absolute or contextual). And the Complexity of Teaching Knowledge contains 3 items (i.e., Teaching knowledge is viewed as an accumulation of facts or comprise highly interrelated concepts). Structural equation modeling was used to examine the nomological relationships between the three latent constructs of the PT-PETS and other factors related to knowledge construction. Results indicate that pre-service teachers' perceptions of their instructors' pedagogical practices are positively related to their beliefs in the Complexity of Teaching knowledge. Interestingly, pre-service teachers' knowledge sharing self-efficacy is negatively related to their personal epistemologies of teaching, while their information evaluation self-efficacy is positively related to them. However, the mediating role of information evaluation self-efficacy was found to enhance the positive indirect effect of knowledge sharing self-efficacy, while simultaneously reducing its negative direct effect to personal epistemologies of teaching. In general, pre-service teachers who reported experiencing inductive teaching practices by their instructors were more likely to be aware of the complexity of teaching knowledge. Students who reported feeling confident in both sharing knowledge and evaluating information also tended to be those who hold sophisticated beliefs in the nature of teaching knowledge and the process of knowing. Overall the Pre-service Teachers' Personal Epistemologies of Teaching (PT-PETS) provides a psychometrically sound instrument for teacher educators and researchers interested in understanding pre-service teachers' personal epistemologies and knowledge construction.