Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, Volume 29, No.1 (2012), p. 23-29.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study examines preservice teachers’ preferences in relation to mathematics video cases that integrate tools.
Specifically, this study addresses to the following research question:
What features do elementary preservice teachers want from video cases implemented in their methodology courses emphasizing mathematics supported by the use of tools?
The participants were a group of 93 preservice teachers attending a university in a very diverse community in the western United States.
They were all enrolled in a mandatory mathematics methodology course for credential candidates; all were studying to be an elementary or K–12 special education teacher.
The authors used hierarchical cluster analysis to create a dendrogram that displayed statistically significant features.
This research study focuses on preservice teachers’ expressed needs related to video case content and design.
The study revealed two primary clusters and minor third cluster:
(a) cross-subject lessons emphasizing adaptations and techniques to reach a variety of learners
(b) problem-based lessons with students in groups supported by lesson analysis, and
(c) a small third cluster of collection and distribution of materials
The first cluster indicated that preservice teachers are concerned about the integrated teaching of multiple subjects with mathematics and the use of visuals to facilitate teaching and catch students’ attention.
Cross-curricular teaching (in the context that it takes into account knowledge, skills, and understandings from various subject areas) is a real challenge for teachers, as it forces them to move from the simple use of decontextualized scenarios from other subjects.
In the second cluster, preservice teachers recognized elements that would facilitate their own teaching, making clear connections between theory and practice and lesson preparation guidelines.
In addition, they recognized the need for additional explanations of the recorded classroom practices.
These expert analyses that preservice teachers discussed in Cluster 2 do not necessarily have to be a video or written analysis of the lesson.
Instead, scaffolding questions that guide the analysis of the video case may be just as beneficial. These scaffolding questions would have to be written by the expert (the faculty member) to help improve preservice teachers’ ability to notice what is taking place mathematically in the lesson.
The third cluster focused on technical issues of the distribution of educational materials and could be linked to an emerging issue of curricular materials and ways to use it in mathematics teaching.
Educational materials are in close relation to the current curricular reforms, and educational material use could be linked to ways teachers engage with educational resources, the extent to which they rely on them while planning instruction, and the role of the educational materials in teachers’ practice.
In conclusion, preservice teachers have real anxiety when entering the classroom for the first time, and video cases may be able to help.
Mathematics can be particularly challenging in relation to preservice teachers’ beliefs in their ability to teach and reach learners.
Video cases may alleviate some of that apprehension.
But video cases by themselves are not the solution.
Instead, instructors who design, create, and employ video cases to support preservice teachers’ growth need to be sure that the cases are productively developed and used.
These findings can guide this process by providing some key components that can support video cases in mathematics education with an emphasis on tools.