Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Integrating Video Case Studies into a Literacy Methods Course

Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Integrating Video Case Studies into a Literacy Methods Course

Article excerpt


The major responsibility of any teacher education program is to prepare students to become successful teachers. One of the main tools to help achieve this goal is the use of field-based courses where pre-service educators can be exposed to real-life classroom experiences and witness an experienced teacher demonstrating best practices. "Educators seek out teachers who best exemplify solid teaching, support their work, and consider their successes" (Block, Oakar, & Hurt, 2002, p. 178). Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, not all students get the opportunity to see 'best practices' demonstrated when they participate in field-based courses. The continuing advancement of technology and specifically digital video has created the opportunity for students to view examples of 'best practice' teaching without having to leave their college classrooms. "We can assume that few things are static, including how we view and teach literacy " (Molebash & Fisher, 2003, p. 68).

This study sought to examine the impact, on both students and the university faculty member, of the integration of video cases studies in a literacy methods course. "If teacher education programs hope to keep up with the changes that are occurring as a result of this new digital society, then it is imperative that we take a closer look at the role that technology can have in transforming teacher preparation" (Boiling, 2003, p. 72). Research has shown us that attitudes and efficacy are significant predictors of task engagement and so student attitudes and self-efficacy toward technology were examined for potential changes over the course of the semester. This was considered important because "relatively few studies have evaluated the efficacy of new technologies for literacy education" (Holum & Gahala, 2004). In addition to the student perspective, the implications and issues raised by including the use of 'streaming video' were examined from the instructors' perspective.


Exposing pre-service teachers to examples of good teaching has been a fundamental part of teacher education programs across content areas and specifically literacy education. "Viewed as exemplary practice, reading/language arts field programs are strongly advocated by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education" (Richards & Brumfield, 2003, p. 64). Historically the only way that pre-service educators could get the chance to see teaching in action was to visit schools and directly observe in-service teachers. This approach can be problematic for several reasons. It may simply be that the days and times when pre-service students are present the principle or teaching skill that the college instructor would like them to observe is not being utilized. Coordination of classroom activities with field visits can sometimes be impossible as there may be no need for the teaching strategy or skill during the time of the pre-service visit. Additionally, it is not always possible for universities to find sufficient numbers of in-service teachers who actively incorporate 'best practice' techniques. Previous research regarding field-experience in literacy courses has indicated, "... they may observe teaching examples that do not align with the pedagogical and theoretical focus of the university preparation program" (Hughes, Packard, & Pearson, 2000, p. 600). So rather than simply failing to see 'best practices' in action pre-service teachers might actually be exposed to teaching strategies that contradict the very concepts and ideals that university faculty are attempting to convey. Research has indicated that in order to adequately prepare pre-service educators there needs to be a connection between the content of university courses and the realities of teaching (Friel & Carboni, 2000).

Hughes, Packard and Pearson (2000) suggest "What is needed is a context in which the students can witness, analyze and critique the theoretical perspectives learned in the college classroom as they are illustrated in rich portrayals of the complexity of classroom practice, preferably with the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor'(p. …

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