10 SES 05 B, Programmes and Approaches: Assessments
This paper discusses a study that examined how incorporating clinical interviews of individual children in a teacher education program helps teacher candidates develop the attitude of critical inquiry and reflections. According to Ginsburg (1997), clinical interviews can not only serve as a window to children’s’ minds but also promotes critical inquiries and reflections of our own assumptions and personal theories. Originally developed by Piaget (1952), the clinical interview method allows us to develop a radically new understanding of how children think and make sense of the world. If it is done meaningfully, it can bring about a significant understanding that can change the way teachers see and interact with their students.
In teacher education programs, clinical interviews can be incorporated as a part of the program where pre-service teachers can learn ways to:
1) deeply understand the source of an educational need of a child as a process to identifying a solution,
2) gain a deep understanding of how a particular child actually approaches or personally conceptualizes a variety of issues in education for improving teaching practice,
3) or identify the limitation of established theories, research or educational innovation by looking into a case that could qualify as a counter-example grounded in a real life context.
In the era of performance-based assessment in education, there is an increasing need to consider such qualitative inquiries not as a mere assessment activity but as a learning and self-transformation opportunity for pre-service teachers (Inoue, 2015). For pre-service teachers, clinical interviews can serve as the opportunities to inquire about a variety of aspects of educational practice as they actually interact with children. Most importantly, it allows pre-service teachers to critically reflect on their interactions with children and its process through which they could consider their future teaching in relation to it. For instance, they could reflect on ways to better interact with and understand their students such as how to help them open up to speak, how to probe unclear and worthy issues for explorations, and so on. After the interviews, they could deeply reflect on following issues:
- Why did you decide to inquire about the topic?
- What are the things that you did not anticipate before the interview?
- What should you have probed further if you go back in time and redo the interview?
- What cannot be explained by educational theories and research you learned?
- If you can go back in time, what would you do differently and why?
- What is your take-away as a new teacher?
In teacher education, such critical reflections can catalyze the process of inside-out transformations where teachers can encounter and update their meaning-making system (Torbert, 2004). It can be seen that such personal inquiries can open up essential opportunities of transformations to become a mindful educator.
In a way, this captures an often-forgotten function of educational assessment: In educational assessment, what is assessed is not only students in the classroom, but also those who teach them for the purpose of teaching improvement. This aspect of assessment can be easily lost if one becomes too obsessed with norm and performance-based assessment.
An important question is what do pre-service teachers actually learn if they are asked to conduct clinical interviews and reflect on their interviews as a part of their teacher education programs. What would be the nature of their reflections that they engage in? What implications can we drive from there?
Ginsburg, H.P. (1997). Entering the child's mind: The clinical interview in psychological research and practice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Inoue, N. (2015). Beyond actions: Psychology of action research for mindful educational improvement. New York:Peter Lang Publishing. Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Piaget, J. (1952). The child’s conception of number. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Torbert, W. R. (2004). Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Whitehead, J., & McNiff, J. (2006). Action Research: Living Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Yin, R. K. (1989). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
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