Abstract: This study sought to compare expert and novice earth and space science teachers in terms of the declarative, procedural and structural knowledge that they use while engaged in solving 'typical' earth science problems. In a qualitative analysis of the problem-solving skills of six expert and six novice earth and space science teachers, it was found that expert earth and space science teachers: (a) brought more declarative knowledge to the problem, (b) used fewer steps to solve a problem, (c) generated more subroutines, (d) generated more alternative solutions, (e) moved less between declarative and procedural knowledge, and (f) solved problems more accurately than did the novice earth and space science teachers. Findings from this study support Norman's (1982) theory of learning, that experts perform with ease while novices seem to work harder. The expert earth and space science teachers in this study seemed to function at the 'tuning' level, while novice earth and space science teachers function at the 'accretion' level (Norman 1982).
Barba, R. H. and Rubba, P. A. (1992). A comparison of preservice and in-service earth and space science teachers' general mental abilities, content knowledge, and problem-solving skills. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29(10):1021-1035.
The purpose of this study was to compare in-service and preservice earth and space science teachers on their general mental abilities, their content knowledge or declarative knowledge of earth and space sciences, the Gagnean levels of their content knowledge or declarative knowledge, and the procedural knowledge used in solving earth and space science problems. This study used a contrast-group design to compare in-service (n = 30) and preservice (n = 30) earth and space science teachers. The in-service earth science teachers (a) bring more declarative knowledge to the problem-solving situation, (b) use fewer steps while problem solving, (c) generate more subroutines and alternate hypotheses, and (d) possess different structural knowledge than do preservice earth science teachers. Findings from this study support Norman's theory of learning that experts (in-service teachers) function at the tuning mode of learning, whereas novices (preservice teachers) function in an accreting or structuring mode. In-service earth science teachers exhibited smoothness, automaticity, and decreased mental effort not exhibited by preservice earth and space science teachers.