Foreseeing the Unforeseen through Collaborative Self-Study by a Teacher Educator and Two Teacher Candidates

Jul. 01, 2011

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 7, No. 3, November 2011, 281–297
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study intends to encourage teacher candidates, who are at the center of teacher education communities, to be more actively involved as researchers.
The study presents the collaborative reflection process of a teacher educator and two elementary teacher candidates during their university mathematics teaching class and subsequent student teaching experiences.

This self-study paid particular attention to the unforeseen negativity created in the practice of teaching as a starting point for reflective thinking and how it eventually led to a renewed level of teaching practice and thinking.
Throughout this study, the university teacher educator and two teacher candidates tried to keep a collegial relationship in the analysis of their teaching and learning experiences.

The researchers analyzed the effectiveness of their mathematics teaching strategies over an extended period of time.
At different periods of time, three participant researchers situated themselves in different positions; Elizabeth and Renee were students in Ji-Eun’s class but later took the role of teachers in their student teaching settings.


This collaborative self-study provided an opportunity for each researcher to notice the differences between her intention for practice and her actual practice, from her own perspective as well as those of others, working with a view of teaching as disciplined inquiry.

Furthermore, the multiple changing roles of the researchers encouraged them to examine not only their own teaching processes, but also those of the other researchers as critical colleagues, positioning themselves and others in different contexts.
In particular, Elizabeth’s and Renee’s changing roles throughout a one-year period, from students in a university classroom to student teachers in elementary classrooms, provided valuable insights into their own teaching as well as Ji-Eun’s university course.
They benefited from creating a collegial relationship between a teacher educator and teacher candidates.

This study used the lens of negativity of experience to examine three participant researchers’ teaching and learning experiences.
This study confirmed that the negativity of experiences could serve as a medium for identifying problems and initiating new learning processes through careful analysis and active listening to others.

The researchers learned that building a long-term relationship can enrich everyone’s professional development.
For Ji-Eun, this study provided an opportunity to revisit her course assignment from Elizabeth’s and Renee’s perspectives as students and student teachers.
She became aware that she was too worried about imposing her own beliefs on her students and that merely providing the opportunities to reflect does not guarantee effective learning, a point reiterated by other researchers .

For Elizabeth and Renee, this study provided an opportunity to revisit their learning and teaching experiences in the university and elementary classrooms and also helped them discover the continuum between the two settings that they did not realize before.
They were able to give each other advice on how the situations were handled and to decide collaboratively on multiple effective teaching strategies in the given scenarios.
This support helped them to become better teachers by providing a means to open discussion about the specific practices they used.

The authors conclude that the results suggest that collaborative self-study by a teacher educator and teacher candidates can generate effective learning experiences for all participants. Furthermore, this study shows that collaboration between teacher educator and teacher candidate can also reveal the potential of self-study as a powerful tool for teacher preparation.

Updated: Jan. 20, 2014