The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) can be found and measured through the analysis of blogs within a service-learning course. PCK represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, and issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners and presented in instruction (Shulman, 1986). PCK is made up of content knowledge (CK), the subject matter being taught, and pedagogical knowledge (PK), the delivery of the subject matter.
Research on PCK within service-learning courses showed that TCs often reflect on common themes. The goal of the study was to learn if reoccurring themes can be found in TC blogs and if reflection through blogging was an appropriate way for TCs to show and express learning. Existing, secondary data from blogs from 13 TCs who took the service-learning course in spring 2014 were evaluated. Research analyzed and then reanalyzed blogs created using the Google+ platform. We used interpretive inquiry with qualitative techniques to analyze the narratives as expressed in the blogs and then quantitatively measured the frequency of the themes across the months. In total, 260 blogs were posted and were analyzed for emerging patterns. After closer review of the comments related to teacher challenges it appeared that behavior management and time management were the largest concerns of TCs in the program.
When evaluating blogs, we found that TCs are concerned with their own pedagogical skills. While mostly focused on behavior management, it is crucial to guide students to also focus on discussing skill and focus on learning in their blogs. Fuller, Parsons, and Watkins (1974) suggested that teachers continuously express concerns regarding classroom instruction; however these concerns change over time. From our research we have been able to show a sample mapping of how themes emerged and changed within a semester in a service-learning course.
Fuller, F. F., Parsons, J. S., & Watkins, J. E. (1974) Concerns of teachers: A developmental Research and reconceptualization. Retrieved from ERIC database (ED091439).
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.