Category Archives: instrument


Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

Vygotsky (1978) defined the ZPD as the distance between a child’s independent problem solving capability and the higher level of performance that can be achieved with expert guidance.

In teacher education context, the ZPD can be seen as some space, where pre-service teacher candidate, induction year teacher or in-service teacher develops her/his knowledge and competencies together with more experienced peers, who shares feedback, tips etc. Technology support may influence is more effectively. The social networking, which is important aspect in teacher training, but also emphasized by Vygotsky, can be easily implemented with portfolio for example.

ZPD can be seen as all the learner’s tools and resources (knowledge, networks, competencies, skills, tools) for performing some task or activity.

Valsiner (1997) proposed two further zones to account for development in the context of children’s relationships with the physical environment and other human beings: the Zone of Free Movement (ZFM), representing environmental constraints that limit freedom of action and thought; and the Zone of Promoted Action (ZPA), a set of activities offered by adults and oriented towards promotion of new skills.

Zone of promoted action can be seen as support for performing a task or activity with certain tools, which I don’t have yet (tools I mean). ZPA is like helping had for achieving ZPD.

Oerter characterises the ZPA as the set of activities and objects “the mastering of which is desired” by more experienced partners.

Oerter has claimed that the ZFM is characterised by the “segment of culturally provided opportunities or objects available to an individual” at a given time.

In teacher training context, ZFM can be interpreted as constraints within the school environment for pre-service teacher candidates like the curriculum provided by the university; students in school, where the practice is hold; learning materials and assessment by the facilitators; institutional and cultural traditions and cultures. The ZFM represents the barriers the individual may face while interacting different elements of the environment, suggests what teaching actions are possible. On the other hand, ZPA represents the efforts of a supervisors’ from school and university, to  promote particular teaching skills or approaches.

Pre-service teachers develop under the influence of two ZPAs – one provided by their university curriculum, the other by their supervising teacher(s) during the practice at school– which do not necessarily coincide. ZPA, ZFM and ZPD  constitute a system that can account for the dynamic relationships between opportunities and constraints of the teaching environment, the teaching actions specifically promoted, and the development of the novice teacher’s pedagogical identity.

Questions in instrument should be

To be continued..

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Motivational aspects in my research

In my research, there are some motivational aspects, that need to be observed.

1. Why teachers should want to be engaged in cross-border knowledge building? Why should they want to share their knowledge by crossing the borders between school and workplace?

2. How it could be possible to make the teachers feel as one whole community? There are motivational problems in order to communicate with each other and to feel as one community. Especially between practics and didactics and between teachers and teacher students. Who could they see the need for collaboration between other teachers, not only between the same subject teachers? If they could understand the SECI model principles, would the start seeing it differently?

3. Why the portfolio-based learning environment should be used for the cross-border knowledge building activities? Why technology at all should be used in these activities?

I need to find out the tensions that cause motivational problems and provide possible solutions so that using the technology in their activities would be as bonus.

Motivational aspects:

The external motivation usually depends upon the environment and conditions in which the person exists. Satisfaction and motivation are created with the help of external rewards, for example money, praise, recognition and negative such as punishment or rejection as well.

Internal motivation appears when the behavior is not controlled by the environment. The inner motivation is the result of a need of competence and self- determination. Thus the difference between external and internal motivation is not difficult for understanding, but a really big mistake is made when intrinsic/extrinsic are confused with internal/external. No matter internally or externally a person is motivated in two different ways:
-intrinsically – it happens when a person is himself passionate about doing some task
-extrinsically – when a person is made to perform a task, either externally (for example for getting money or avoiding punishment) or internally (because of an individual sense of self-worth).

Self-determinination theory

Self-determination theory (SDT) is a macro-theory of human motivation concerned with the development and functioning of personality within social contexts.

Research on Self-Determination Theory has included laboratory experiments and field studies in several different settings. In order to do this research, the authors have developed many questionnaires to assess different constructs contained within the theory.

I here use some of the questions that I might use in my research:

Questionnaire “perceived competence for learning”

Answers in 1-7 scale (not at all true – very true)

1. I feel confident in my ability to learn this material.

2. I am capable of learning the material in this course.

3. I am able to achieve my goals in this course.

4. I feel able to meet the challenge of performing well in this course.

Those questions can be asked for example during or after the observation of using the technology by the participants.

Questionnaire “Instrinsic motivation inventory”

Same scale

  • Questions that can be used while investigating the community building aspects (according to theory, are connected with the concept “relatedness“):

I interacted with this person because I had no choice.

I felt like I had to interact with this person.

I felt pressured while interacting with this person.

I’d really prefer not to interact with this person in the future.

Interacting with this person was fun.

I enjoyed interacting with this person very much.

I really doubt that this person and I would ever become friends/collegues

I found this person very interesting.

While I was interacting with this person, I was thinking about how much I enjoyed it.

I felt really distant to this person.


  • Questions that can be used after some certain (knowledge-building) activity (according to theory, are connected with the concept “usefulness“):

I believe that doing this activity could be of some value for me.

I believe I had some choice about doing this activity.

I think this activity is important for my improvement.

I really did not have a choice about doing this activity.

I think this is an important activity.

It is possible that this activity could improve my studying habits.

I am willing to do this activity again because I think it is somewhat useful.

I would be willing to do this activity again because it has some value for me.

I did this activity because I had to.


  • Questions that provide information about participant’s evaluation to the performance of his/her task (according to theory, are connected with the concept “perceived competence“):

I think I did pretty well at this activity, compared to others

I felt tense while doing the task.

I am satisfied with my performance at this task.

I felt pretty skilled at this task.

I did the task because I had no choice.

After working at this task for awhile, I felt pretty competent.


Above mentioned questions can be used after the participant has done something – performed task or an activity.

But I need to have some questions related to motivation before the activity, in the stage of scenarios.

E. Lehtinen et al article “Work motivation”

Article focus’ on motivational aspects related to workplace, that I also need to consider in my research:

Studies on work motivation have been conducted, for example, on personal needs, feedback, social identity, or group working (Wood, 2000). Existing need theories focus on individual hierarchies ranging from ‘‘lower-level’’ needs for security, existence, or hygiene, through to ‘‘higher-level’’ needs for self-actualisation, achievement, and growth (Haslam et al., 2000). Recent theories emphasise the roles of society, the workplace community and of teams. The cognitive side of the work has also been noted to be important for motivation. For example, the idea of flow described by Csikszentmihalyi (1996) emphasises the importance of getting deeply involved in the task and, thus, being motivated to work.

The aim of this study was to explore how motivation to work and workplace learning are related to different professional positions and aspects of organisational environments

The context of my research:

different professional positions – there are strong conflicts between teachers from school and didactics from university. Teachers do not want that didactics somehow control their work in order to see what is the real situation in schools. Also didactics unfortunately see the teachers on lower position as they in university. It can be assumed that tensions in teachers networks can be prevented if there would be less hierarchical thinking inside of the community – teacher students are on the lowest position and university teachers on highest. All members of this community should be equal and they should follow the same norm documentation – qualification of teacher for example. Probably the issue of creating communities between teachers is not related to the technology as much, but rather with the change of thinking related to the communities.

organizational environments – my research is not focusing only on school as workplace and university as the place where academic knowledge is coming, but the emphases is on extended organization, where school and university are equal and there should be collaboration, harmonization and synergy between them. It is certainly dynamic knowledge-intensive organization, where participants are more task-oriented than workers in lower professional positions in more traditional workplaces.


The motivational orientation items were developed on the basis of the original orientation model developed for an educational context. However, the special characteristics of working life were taken into account in formulating the motivational orientation items.

The Task Orientation scale consists of items describing self-regulation of one’s work, experience of new challenges, flow experiences, and continuous attempts to learn more and improve one’s competences. Besides these individual level (Task Orientation) features, the scale also contains an item describing attempts to support co-workers’ competence development. The scale is very similar to the Task Orientation typical of school and university environments. The Social Community Orientation scale consists of items dealing with the motivational meaning of the social community, social relatedness, and the feeling of support given by the community.