Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

Preservice Teachers' Reflectivity on the Sequence and Consequences of Teaching Actions in a Microteaching Experience

Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

Preservice Teachers' Reflectivity on the Sequence and Consequences of Teaching Actions in a Microteaching Experience

Article excerpt

Introduction

Effective teaching and reflective teaching have long been acknowledged as desirable goals of teacher education programs. Several studies have demonstrated that on-campus clinical experiences are a viable vehicle for meeting the desired goals of preparing preservice teachers to become effective and reflective teachers (Cruickshank, 1985; Cruickshank et al., 1996; Cruickshank & Metcalf, 1993; Metcalf, 1993; Metcalf, Ronen Hammer & Kahlich, 1996; Benton-Kupper, 2001; Vare, 1994). One of the most widely used methods for providing on-campus clinical experience for preservice teachers is microteaching. Developed in the early 1960s at Stanford University, microteaching has evolved in some variation or another as the on-campus clinical experience method in "91% of teacher education programs" (Cruickshank et al., 1996, p.105). In its traditional form, microteaching is used to teach preservice teachers to master specific teaching skills. Nowadays in many teacher education programs, the use of microteaching has expanded from its original focus of helping preservice teachers to master discrete teaching skills, to giving them the complete teaching experience and orienting them to teach in the natural classroom during field experience. Two associated components are critical in the implementation of this on-campus clinical activity: videotaped micro lessons and feedback (Mills, 1991; Metcalf, 1993; Metcalf, et al. 1993; Cruickshank and Metcalf, 1993; Vare, 1994; Brent, Wheatley & Thomson. 1996; Benton-Kupper, 2001).

Working alone, with the instructor and/or a handful of peers in the microteaching group, preservice teachers view the videotape of their individual lessons to analyze and reflect on the lesson as taught. Individual viewing of the videotaped lesson for the purpose of writing a critique of instructional performance is a common practice aimed at encouraging the development of self-analysis and consequently, reflective practice. The other common element in microteaching activities is the provision of feedback. Led by an instructor or another trained supervisor, or sometimes working without a more knowledgeable person, peers engage in a discussion of each microteaching presentation and point out the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson. Oral feedback is followed by written feedback of the lesson on a microteaching review and feedback form developed for the purpose. Based on the data from the field-test of a laboratory sequence for secondary preservice teachers, Metcalf (1993) reported that organized peer groups "who are provided guidance may be as effective in promoting desirable outcomes in laboratory settings as feedback provided by the instructor" (p. 172).

Reflective practice in teaching connotes a tendency to revisit the sequence of one's teaching for the purpose of making thoughtful judgment and "decisions about improved ways of acting in the future, or in the midst of the action itself" (Kottcamp, 1990, p. 183). This pattern of paying close attention to all aspects of the teaching action, deliberating on one's teaching online and offline (Schon, 1983), and making thoughtful decisions about improvement agrees with the two terms that Valli (1997) used to summarize Dewey's (1933) representation of reflective thinking: "sequence and consequence" (p. 68). In teaching preservice teachers to develop reflective habits of mind, Valli (1997) recommended that teacher educators determine the content for and quality of reflection. While the content of reflection requires furnishing neophytes guidelines about what to look for as they think back on their teaching, the quality of reflection involves guiding preservice teachers to use all aspects and types of reflectivity as they think about their teaching.

The present study inquired into the varying kinds and degrees of reflectivity that ensued as first-semester secondary education preservice teachers' revisited their teaching actions and confronted peers' evaluation of their performance in a microteaching experience. …

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