10 SES 14 B, Mentoring Student and Early Career Teachers: The role of teachers as teacher educators
There is widespread international agreement on the critical importance of teacher quality to reduce social disparities and educational underachievement (Barber & Mourshed, 2007). Correspondingly, sufficient teacher supply is essential. In response to shortfalls in supply of teachers in many countries, alternative pathways to certification have been introduced. Employment-based and school-led teacher training, such as ‘Teach for America’ and England’s ‘Teach First’, are emerging as viable alternative models of teacher preparation. This presentation reports on research conducted with the first cohort of an Australian employment-based Master of Teaching program.
The focus of this study was to investigate how beginning teachers, within the first six months of an employment–based Initial Teacher Education program, develop the clinical judgement required for their professional decision making within a model of clinical teaching. This presentation draws on research which aimed to generate a more informed understanding of how clinical judgement is formed within an employment-based ITE context.
Clinical teaching and clinical judgement are two interrelated but distinct concepts. A clinical teaching approach is one which enables the integration of theoretically informed knowledge and practice, and that acknowledges the key importance of the evidence-based judgments teachers make in their daily work (Kriewaldt et al, 2017). Clinical judgement is a complex set of interlocking processes and has been described in eight phases: look, collect, process, decide, plan, act, evaluate and reflect (Levett-Jones et al, 2010). In this cycle the phases may overlap and practitioners may merge or move in reverse between phases that are depicted as sequential. Here it is argued that the use of process models, such as a clinical teaching framework, with novices in real or simulated situations in which clinical judgement is required can lead to the development of the complex thinking that is required to decide on the best course of action (Tanner, 2006).
In the ITE context, clinical practice has been conceptualised as an ability to make and act on evidence-informed, clinical judgments (Kriewaldt & Turnidge, 2013). The Carnegie Corporation called for a coherent conception of teaching in which teaching is an academically taught clinical practice profession (Carnegie Corporation, 2001). In teacher education, clinical judgement in teaching is an emergent construct. More evidence is needed about how clinical judgement is developed in ITE and how emerging clinical frameworks for teaching can scaffold the development of clinical judgement amongst beginning teachers.
Kriewaldt and colleagues (2017) outline three components that are core to teaching as a clinical practice profession. Firstly, they describe a focus on student learning and development (student-centred); secondly, practice is informed by evidence; and thirdly, processes of reasoning are used that lead to decision making (Kriewaldt, McLean Davies, Rice, Rickards, & Acquaro, 2017). This approach resonates with clinical teaching programs including those offered at Stanford University, University of Melbourne and University of Glasgow (e.g. Darling-Hammond, 2010; Conroy, Hulme & Menter, 2013; McLean Davies et al, 2013); all prioritise links between theory and practice through placements in clinical sites interwoven with academic coursework. The construction of these ITE programs around this theory-practice nexus aim to explicitly target the development of pre-service teachers’ capacity to make and articulate evidence-informed judgments.
This research has sought to understand how beginning teachers have mobilised a clinical teaching framework. By using a clinical teaching framework to scaffold the development of their clinical judgement, this shows potential in increasing inclusive teaching practices through a focus on differentiated teaching and intervention.
The data presented in this paper draws from a study of 23 pre-service teachers who were undertaking training through an employment-based teacher preparation program. To generate robust data on participants’ understandings of clinical judgement and clinical teaching, a survey was administered to the cohort at two points in time during the first year of their course. Participants were first surveyed at the end of their initial university-based intensive but before they started their first six months of independent classroom teaching. Participants were surveyed a second time, using the same instrument and same survey items, at the end of their first six months of classroom practice, during their second university-based study period. The questionnaires used open-text items, which were structured to elicit participants’ broad conceptualisations of clinical judgement and clinical teaching. Of particular interest was the ways in which they described their mobilisation of a clinical teaching cycle to enable their clinical judgements. The results presented draw from two items on the questionnaire; each item included a set of questions. The first item, seeking a holistic understanding of the beginning teachers’ conceptualisation of their clinical practice, asked participants: What is “clinical judgment”? How do you formulate it? Who might be involved? The second item, focused more explicitly on processes and the stages within their clinical practice, asked participants: What does “clinical teaching” mean to you? What do you need to know, to be able to do and what attitudes do you need to have to be able to make clinical judgments? This research used a five-component clinical teaching cycle (CJC) as an analytical tool. In the diagnostic phase, the learner’s point of need is determined through the collection of evidence. The teacher then considers the range of evidence-based interventions available, determines the most appropriate form of intervention to use. The teacher considers how the proposed intervention will affect learning and plan what evidence of learning they will collect to inform their next actions. After applying the teaching intervention, the teacher interprets the learner’s response to gauge the effect of the intervention on learning, and also uses this as feedback on the impact of their teaching, and then begins the cycle again. Inductive coding of the text responses was used to locate the understanding of each of the participants along a continuum of understanding and development.
Findings of the study indicate a strong acknowledgment of the centrality of a student-centred focus by the beginning teachers. Participants’ responses indicated awareness of the importance of using data to identify learning need/s and for planning appropriate pedagogic interventions. While there was a consistent focus on evidence, participant responses demonstrated varying levels of understanding of the links between this evidence and their practice. In particular, there was significant variation in the extent to which participant responses indicated understanding of clinical judgement as a process beyond the diagnostic stages of their practice. Three stages of understanding and development of clinical judgment was identified among participants: • Ten participants demonstrated a ‘diagnostic’ understanding of clinical judgement. That is, their descriptions suggested they were conceptualising clinical judgement as a process used primarily for the judgement and interpretation of data and evidence of student learning and achievement level. • Eleven participants described clinical judgement as a process informing their practice. These ‘practice-focused’ participants framed their understanding of clinical judgement through a focus on classroom experience, interaction with colleagues and mentors, and the use of data and evidence. • Two participants responses demonstrated an ‘holistic’ understanding of clinical judgement and its relevance to their teaching. Describing clinical judgement as a process or practice that occurred not only in the gathering and interpretation of evidence and pedagogical decision-making, but also used in their reflection and evaluation of impact. This study found that there was comparatively limited evidence of beginning teachers generating data on the impact of their own practice, or reflecting on the implications of their pedagogical choices to inform adjustments for future interventions. This highlights the importance of providing beginning teachers with ongoing support to build their clinical judgement and refine its application in clinical teaching.
Alter, J., & Coggshall, J. G. (2009). Teaching as a clinical practice profession: Implications for teacher preparation and state policy. Issue Brief. Retrieved from New York: https://ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=ED543819&site=eds-live&scope=site Barber, M., & Mourshed, M. (2007). How the world’s best performing school systems come out on top. Retrieved from wwwnctqorgppublicationsdocsmckinsey_education_report.pdf Carnegie Corporation. (2001). Teachers for a new era: A national initiative to improve the quality of teaching. Retrieved from http://carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/TNEProspectus.pdf Conroy, J., Hulme, M., & Menter, I. (2013). Developing a ‘clinical’ model for teacher education. Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy, 39(5), 557-573. Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). Teacher education and the American future. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 35-47. doi:10.1177/0022487109348024 Kriewaldt, J., McLean Davies, L., Rice, S., Rickards, F., & Acquaro, D. (2017). Clinical practice in education: Towards a conceptual framework In M. A. Peters, B. Cowie, & I. Menter (Eds.), A companion to research in teacher education. New York: Springer Publishing. Kriewaldt, J., & Turnidge, D. (2013). Conceptualising an approach to clinical reasoning in the education profession. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(6). doi:10.14221/ajte.2013v38n6.9 Levett-Jones, T., Hoffman, K., Dempsey, Y., Jeong, S., Noble, D., Norton, C., Hickey, N. (2010). The ‘five rights’ of clinical reasoning: An educational model to enhance nursing students’ ability to identify and manage clinically ‘at risk’ patients. . Nurse Education Today, 30(6), 515-520. McLean Davies, L., Anderson, M., Deans, J., Dinham, S., Griffin, P., Kameniar, P., & Tyler, D. (2013). Masterly preparation: Embedding clinical practice in a graduate pre-service teacher education programme. Journal of Education for Teaching, 39(1 ), 93-106. McLean Davies, L., Dickson, B., Rickards, F., Dinham, S., Conroy, J., & Davis, R. (2015). Teaching as a clinical profession: translational practices in initial teacher education-an international perspective. Journal of Education for Teaching, 41(5), 514-528. Tanner, C. A. (2006). Thinking like a nurse: a research-based model of clinical judgment in nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 45(6), 204-211.
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