Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Noticing Noticing: How Does Investigation of Video Records Change How Teachers Reflect on Their Experiences?

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Noticing Noticing: How Does Investigation of Video Records Change How Teachers Reflect on Their Experiences?

Article excerpt

"All we ever do is reflect!" is a typical refrain heard by those of us who teach interns and student teachers to write about their teaching. Indeed, "reflection" is such a common practice in teacher education that although our students may question its value, we rarely do (Fendler, 2003). Asking prospective teachers to write a reflection from memory after they have taught a lesson is a standard assignment intended to help preservice teachers learn from their teaching. The format of this reflection may be disputed, but the idea of learning from reflecting on one's memory of teaching a lesson is rarely questioned.

Since Dewey's (1938) seminal writing on the complexity of learning from experience, teacher educators have wrestled with the challenge of encouraging preservice teachers to go beyond just having experiences to actually learning from them (Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann, 1985; Munby & Russell, 1994). Many teacher educators are exploring technology for its potential to help preservice teachers learn from their experience in facilitating discussions (Calandra, Gurvitch, & Lund, 2008; Harford & MacRuairc, in press; Hess, 2004; Sherin, 2004; van Es & Sherin, 2002). However, although we may assume that reflections using video are superior to written or verbal reflections that rely solely on memory, this assumption is based largely on impressions rather than systematic inquiry. Thus, this study investigated the following question: To what extent and in what ways might using video help interns reflect on their discussion-based teaching in a more complex manner than when they use memory-based written reflection? This article discusses findings from an investigation of three preservice elementary intern teachers' memory-based and video-based reflections on their facilitation of discussions.

We begin with an explanation of how we conceptualize teacher change and why we chose classroom discussions as a site for studying preservice teacher learning. Next, we elaborate on our research questions and methodology. Then we report three major findings: Video-supported reflection helped interns to (a) write more specific (vs. general) comments about their teaching than writing from memory, (b) shift the content of the reflections from a focus on classroom management in memory-based reflections to a focus on instruction when video is available, and (c) focus less on themselves and more on children when they reflect on video clips of their teaching. Finally, we discuss the power of video-based reflection to help interns revisit, notice, and investigate how they facilitate classroom discussions, and we suggest directions for future research.

Theoretical Perspective

Defining Teacher Change

Teacher change is made possible when practitioners value uncertainties and disruptions as rich sites for learning and when they make connections between their experiences and practical knowledge (Britzman, 1991; Field & Latta, 2001). Dewey (1938) pointed out that participating in classroom life is not necessarily "educative" unless it is oriented to purpose and guided with curricular ends in view. Almost 50 years later, Paley (1986) noted that "real change comes about only through the painful recognition of one's own vulnerability" (p. 123). Her influential study established the importance of that era's technology--the tape recorder--in capturing vulnerability. More recently, Field and Latta (2001) argued that "the possibility of becoming more experienced arises only when something happens to us beyond what we anticipate" (p. 887). This study investigated whether reflection on facilitating classroom discussions with the aid of video is a better tool for creating the dissonance that fosters learning than reflection based on one's memory of events.

This research intersects with Kennedy's (2005) study of the development of practicing teachers' craft knowledge (e.g., concerns with lesson flow, content coverage, student learning). …

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