Source: The Teacher Educator, Volume 44, Issue 3 (July 2009) , pages 143 - 163.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study explores the preservice teacher learning in the context of conversations about their field-based challenges. First, a review of the literature investigates studies that highlight the role of evidence-based conversation as a mechanism to approach the inevitable problems faced by teachers in the classroom. The subsequent case study provides an analysis of how a group of preservice teachers approached a colleague's challenge through a structured conversation and used digital videotapes and artifacts to add specificity to their analysis.
The case described in this article is drawn from a one-year longitudinal study of problem-based conversations between groups of teachers enrolled in a graduate-level elementary teacher preparation program at a large university in the Northwest United States.
As an assignment in the elementary writing methods course, the participants created a sequenced series of inquiry-based lessons to teach during their field experience.
The assignment marked the first time that the participants were required to teach whole-class lessons in their school placements, having worked only with individual or smaller groups of students until this time in the program. Each participant videotaped at least one of their lessons and viewed the videotape on their own. Next, each participant met in a 2- to 3-hour seminar with five to six peers. Then, the presenting teacher shared a 10-15-minute segment of their teaching video. The teacher briefly set its context and provided the group with a description of the problem(s) that surfaced for the presenting teacher after teaching the lesson and viewing the videotape..
During their conversations, the participants employed a consultancy protocol that is part of the Critical Friends Group (CFG) professional development system as a way to engage in problem-based conversations with each other (Dunne & Honts, 1998; National School Reform Faculty, n.d.). The steps in the consultancy protocol require participants to ask clarifying and probing questions of each other, to consider the presented evidence and talk with peers about their colleague's problem, allow the presenting teacher to take notes about aspects of his or her group's conversation and, finally, call for the presenting teacher to voice the new understandings gained through the process
The study's implications suggest how constructive and critical conversations between prospective teachers can play an important role in their professional development.
Dunne, F. and Honts, F. (1998) That group really makes me think critical friends groups and the development of reflective practitioners San Diego — Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
National School Reform Faculty Resources — Retrieved February 2008, from www.nsrfharmony.org/resources.html.