01 SES 01 C, Feedback and Partnership
International education communities agree that teacher professional learning is central to improving instruction (Elmore, 2004; McKinsey & Company, 2007; Wiliam, 2006). In some cultures, systematic opportunities exist to promote teacher professional learning – for example, “Lesson Study” in Japan (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999) and “Keli” in China (Huang & Bao, 2005). However, in Australia and some European countries, there is an absence of structured in situ professional learning opportunities.
Against this context, and building on the authors’ research interests related to classroom observation and teacher professional learning, a pilot study was undertaken to investigate a structured approach to the timely provision of quality feedback to mathematics teachers about their classroom practice for the benefit of instructional improvement. Two key questions were investigated:
- What kinds of feedback about classroom practice can be provided in a timely fashion to usefully inform instructional improvement?
- How can video enable the efficient analysis of classroom practice and the prompt provision of useful feedback to teachers?
Three key ideas informed the study design:
- Teacher professional learning is a continuing process that involves change and growth (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002).
- Teachers require structured opportunities to obtain timely and useful feedback on their classroom practice, and as with students, this goal is best served by formative rather than summative feedback.
- The availability of video offers new possibilities both for the analysis of classroom practice and for the provision of feedback.
In Clarke and Hollingsworth’s (2002) elaborated model of teacher professional growth, professional growth is represented as an inevitable and continuing process of learning. Pivotal to that process are those salient outcomes that teachers themselves value, and quality feedback with regard to these. The study involved the convergence of this earlier work with recent research on the fine‐grained analysis of classroom practice.
The importance of timely, focused feedback for learners has been emphasised by educators for several years. Wiliam (2006), for example, reported that short cycle formative assessment has the biggest impact on student learning. It is anticipated that parallel conditions for teacher learning exist. Just as students need “minute by minute, and day by day” feedback about their learning (Wiliam, 2006, p.7), teachers also need feedback during rather than following the process of teaching. Developing an efficient feedback mechanism was a focus of the study.
The virtues of video tools for capturing and analysing classroom practice have been well documented (Brophy, 2004; Clarke 2001; Clarke et al., 2009; Hollingsworth, 2005; Jacobs et al., 2007). Specific ways that video tools might enable the effective provision of feedback to teachers have been less examined. Questions that were investigated in the study included: Do teachers find viewing their own classroom practice in a video recording more convincing than being told about their practice? Are there some practices or events in classrooms that are only revealed via video recordings? Are there unanticipated practices or events revealed via video recordings? Video observation and analysis tools were used both to study classroom practice and engage teachers in the feedback process.
Brophy, J. (Ed.) (2004). Using video in teacher education. The Netherlands: Elsevier. Clarke, D.J. (2012). Video – Window, Lens or Distorting Mirror? A provocation prepared at the International Centre for Classroom Research. Melbourne: The University of Melbourne. Clarke, D.J. (Ed.) (2001). Perspectives on practice and meaning in mathematics and science classrooms. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Press. Clarke, D. & Hollingsworth, H. (2002). Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 947-967. Clarke, D., Mitchell, C. & Bowman, P. (2009). Optimising the use of available technology to support international collaborative research in mathematics classrooms. In T. Janik & T. Seidel (Eds.) The power of video studies in investigating teaching and learning in the classroom. New York: Waxmann, pp. 39-60. Elmore, R. (2004). School reform from the inside out: Policy, practice and performance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Review. Hollingsworth, H. (2005). Learning about teaching and teaching about learning: Using video data for research and professional learning. Australian Council for Educational Research 2005 Conference Proceedings. Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research. Jacobs, J., Hollingsworth, H. & Givvin, K.B. (2007). Video-based research made ‘easy’: Methodolgical lessons learned from the TIMSS Video Studies. Field Methods 19(3), 284-299. McKinsey & Company (2007). How the world’s best performing school systems come out on top. London: McKinsey & Company. Wiliam, D. (2006). Assessment for learning: Why, what and how. Paper presented at Cambridge Assessment Network. Available at: www.dylanwiliam.org
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Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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