Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 39, No. 4, November 2011, 311–326.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study examines how interactive video and web-based technologies can be used to improve pre-service teachers’ communication competence and reflective thinking.
The study also explores the learning processes and systematically evaluates the Video Reflection system from the students’ perspective.
In order to evaluate the Video Reflection system, a trial was conducted in the first semester of 2010 at Macquarie University.
The pre-service teachers completed two cycles of Video Reflection as part of their regular coursework.
Pre-service teachers were provided with communication scenarios and asked to record short videos of one another making presentations, and to upload their recordings to an online blog.
Students then made reflective comments about their communication actions, and they also provided reflective feedback to their peers.
Peer feedback and individual reflections posted on students’ blogs could then be accessed to devise and document new strategies for future presentation attempts.
In order for the students to reflect summatively upon what they had learnt and to evaluate the Video Reflection approach, an online questionnaire was administered.
There authors found some unique elements of the Video Reflection approach that impacted on the success of the process.
The recordings were accessible online immediately, and this feature of the Video Reflection process allowed students to watch their own presentation as well as recordings of their peers’ presentations. This allowed the students to make comparisons between their work and that of others in the group.
These comparative assessments helped students to develop a more sophisticated understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of their own performance.
The iterative cycles of practice, reflection, feedback and revision led to a significant improvement in the pre-service teachers’ self-evaluation scores of their presentations.
A number of themes emerged from the analysis of the students’ survey responses and blog comments.
The students began to consider how to engage their audience and make the audience feel a sense of connection to the presentation.
Furthermore, many students were now starting to consider how the alignment of voice and gesture to the words they were saying could facilitate the process of conveying meaning to the audience.
The Video Reflection process also supported the development of pre-service teachers’ self-identity. Student comments suggested that the ‘rare’ opportunity to see how they ‘look and sound’, both in their own critical eyes, and in others’ eyes, had facilitated a sense of authority for them, or suggested the communication strategies they needed to adopt in order to develop the more authoritative leadership persona they would like to have.
An unexpected outcome of the Video Reflection process was the students’ comments on how useful technology could be, not just in video reflection tasks, but more broadly as well. Some students mentioned that while they had been unwilling to use technology as a teaching tool in the past, their experiences in the Video Reflection process had opened their minds to the possibilities of using technology in their own classrooms.
Most importantly, participant feedback indicated that this Video Reflection process reduced communication anxiety and improved communication confidence. To this extent, the Video Reflection system exemplifies the interrelated nature of the cognitive, behavioral and affective dimensions of communication.
The authors conclude that the Video Reflection system applied in this study developed
pre-service teachers’ cognitive communication competence. The development of cognitive communication abilities coupled with iterative cycles of practice developed pre-service teachers’ behavioral capabilities.
The authors recommend that the capacity of the Video Reflection process to iteratively develop all three dimensions of pre-service teachers’ communication competence in a low-stakes environment makes it a particularly suitable model for use in pre-service teacher education.