24 SES 02, Teaching Professional Development Part 1
Paper Session to be continued in 24 SES 08 A
Professional noticing includes the ability to recognize and interpret the prominent aspects in a teaching situation (Sherin, 2001). This ability helps teachers to take a broad view of the understanding and justifications of students in teaching situations (Berliner, 1983). The skill of professional noticing provides alternative and effective learning opportunities for teachers to improve classroom practices by affecting their perspective towards in-class situations. For that reason, studies have emphasized the need of prospective teachers to experience and observe real classroom environments. It has been recognized that the more observation prospective teachers are able to make, the better they can learn about the teaching process (Santagata, 2007). However, prospective teachers may not always have the opportunity to observe a real classroom environment. In this regard, videos of actual teaching are considered as a significant tool for teacher training. Videos offer real-life experiences for prospective teachers where they can observe classroom practices and discuss on how to improve these practices with their peers. Thus, prospective teachers relate the theoretical knowledge gained in the process of training to the classroom situations where such knowledge is used (Santagata, 2007).
In the relevant literature, it has been reported that there are certain difficulties encountered in teacher training and that videos of classroom instruction are effective in overcoming such difficulties (Santagata, 2010). One of them is that prospective teachers have difficulty in developing conceptual knowledge of the subject matter that they will teach in the future and in having an understanding of the way that students comprehend this subject matter (Ball & Cohen, 1999). In particular, some researchers stated that prospective teachers are not competent to instantly identify student understanding or thinking (Rodgers, 2002). In that sense, videos provide concrete examples to prospective teachers for practices and offer them opportunities to improve their teaching in classroom and their instructional responses for student answers and errors (Berthoff, 1987; Burnaford, Fischer & Hobson, 1996). Thus, prospective teachers have the opportunity to identify and learn about the differences between student learnings by analyzing the situations. Besides being able to identify student thinking, prospective teachers develop awareness on how to improve and pay more attention to such thinking in their own teaching practice (Borko & Putnam, 1996; Sherin, 2000).
Further, prospective teachers are expected to learn how to observe and reflect their own teaching practice in the future as well as to develop a critical look on their teaching strategies in teacher training (Masats & Dooly, 2011). In this regard, sample teaching videos play a critical role as well (Star & Strickland, 2008). Classroom videos help prospective teachers to observe and witness the teacher, students, classroom environment, pedagogical aspect and content of teaching, rather than standardized field experience (Star & Strickland, 2008). Therefore, these videos give the opportunity to observe the classroom as a whole. Videos provide complex classroom situations for prospective teachers and also allow them to observe classroom situations over and over again (Sherin & Han, 2004). Hence, teaching videos enable teachers to see an event unnoticed in the first observation in the second one. In this way, prospective teachers are presented with an opportunity to reflect on real teaching situations.
Considering the importance of videos in teacher training, this study investigates how prospective middle school mathematics teachers analyze a video of a seventh grade classroom and how a whole class discussion change their analysis of the video. Thus, it aims to examine the aspects that prospective teachers pay attention to while observing an actual teaching situation, the prominent issues in the whole discussion on this situation and the reflections of the prospective teachers on their noticing skills.
This study was performed with a total of 20 senior-level prospective mathematics teachers studying in the department of elementary mathematics education at a state university in the 2016-2017 academic year. The study was carried out in an elective course on geometry teaching to which the prospective teachers were enrolled. In the process of data collection, the prospective teachers were first asked to analyze a video of a real seventh grade teacher’s lesson on the properties of polygons. They were allowed to view the video as many time as they wished. The prospective teachers were given one week to analyze the video and asked to provide their analyses in written form. Following that, the prospective teachers were involved in a whole class discussion based on the situations in the video highlighted and identified by them. The whole class discussion was conducted by the first author of the study, who was also the lecturer of the course. In order to understand the reflections of the prospective teachers in a better way, the discussion was centered upon certain questions on 1) teacher actions, 2) student thinking, 3) tasks and 4) teacher and student roles. The discussion lasted for about 60 minutes and was video-recorded. The video record was then transcribed into electronic format. The transcribed whole class discussion was analyzed through discourse analysis and presented in the findings. Moreover, the prospective teachers were asked to provide written reflections on how their perspectives towards teaching process changed after the discussion.
The findings indicated that the prospective teachers described the situations in the course in a chronological order in their video analyses and these analyses were rather superficial. Also, while making their analyses, the teachers focused more on teacher actions and generally emphasized the materials used by the teacher, the teaching style of the teacher, the method of teaching, and the extent to which student participation was ensured. The class discussion was centered upon these aspects, as highlighted by the prospective teachers. During the discussion, the teachers were asked to answer specific questions in the context of the four themes mentioned in the method section and to reflect on these questions based on the video. It is remarkable and inconsistent with the written reflections of the prospective teachers that they paid more attention to the provision of opportunities by the teacher for student participation or the lack of it in the discussion. The prospective teachers not only evaluated the teacher actions but also concentrated on student learning during the discussion. They also expressed their opinions on the extent to which the teacher encouraged the mathematics understanding of the students. In this sense, the directions given by the researcher provided the prospective teachers the considerations that should be addressed in analyzing a teaching situation. In conclusion, the study revealed that the prospective teachers were influenced by each other in the process of evaluation in the whole class discussion on teaching videos and that videos are essential in developing more diverse perspectives and generating more useful ideas in relation to teaching process. Also, the study found out that the prospective teachers had the opportunity to recognize the important situations, which were unnoticed by them while watching the video on their own, with the help of their peers during the whole class discussion.
Ball, D. L., & Cohen, D. K. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice, 1, 3-22. Berthoff, A. E. (1987). The teacher as researcher. In D. Goswami & P. Stillman (Eds.), Reclaiming the classroom: Teacher research as an agency for change (pp. 28–39). Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton Cook. Borko, H. & Putnam, R. (1996). Learning to teach. In D. Berliner & R. Calfee (Eds.) Handbook of educational psychology (673-708). New York: MacMillan. Burnaford, G., Fischer, J., & Hobson, D. (Eds.). (1996). Teachers doing research. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Masats, D., & Dooly, M. (2011). Rethinking the use of video in teacher education: A holistic approach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(7), 1151-1162. Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. Teachers college record, 104(4), 842-866. Santagata, R., Zannoni, C., & Stigler, J. W. (2007). The role of lesson analysis in pre-service teacher education: An empirical investigation of teacher learning from a virtual video-based field experience. Journal of mathematics teacher education, 10(2), 123-140. Santagata, R., & Angelici, G. (2010). Studying the impact of the lesson analysis framework on preservice teachers’ abilities to reflect on videos of classroom teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(4), 339-349. Sherin, M. G. (2000). Viewing teaching on videotape. Educational Leadership, 57(8), 36-38. Sherin, M. G. (2001). Developing a professional vision of classroom events. In T. Wood, B. S. Nelson, & J. Warfield (Eds.), Beyond classical pedagogy: Teaching elementary school mathematics (pp. 75–93). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Sherin, M. G.,& Han, S. (2004). Teacher learning in the context of a video club. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 163-183. Star, J. R. & Strickland, S. K. (2008). Learning to observe: Using video to improve preservice mathematics teachers’ ability to notice. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 11, 107–125.
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