Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 30, (2013), p. 60-73
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study aimed to explore the value of systematic learning from successes (LFS) during the practicum phase in teacher preparatory programs, beyond the more traditional approach based on learning from problems (LFP).
Specifically, the authors were interested to examine how preservice physics teachers may capitalize on LFS or LFP or both to actually teach students self-regulated learning (SRL).
The authors created a quasi-experimental opportunity for secondary preservice physics teachers in their practicum phase to systematically and retrospectively contemplate their problems and successes from their science teaching experiences using four different reflective methods.
In the current study, participants were 124 preservice physics teachers during the practicum phase of their teacher education at four major research universities in Israel.
All participants were enrolled in a second-year course, Practical Teaching, for practical instruction and fieldwork (practicum) in teaching high school students.
The participants were assigned randomly into four research groups: 29 participants were assigned to reflection solely into problems with mentor only; 34 participants were assigned to reflection solely into problems with mentor and three peer trainees; 30 participants were assigned to reflection into both problems and successes, with mentor only; and 31 were assigned to reflection into both problems and successes, with mentor and three peer trainees.
During the second semester of the practical teaching course, preservice teachers in each of the four groups performed reflection immediately after they had completed teaching each science lesson, in a quiet room in the school setting.
Results indicated that preservice teachers who contemplated both problematic and successful experiences improved more in their actual teaching of SRL strategies and in their actual arrangement of SRL environments, compared to preservice teachers who contemplated only problematic experiences.
These results suggest that by learning from both problematic and successful events, preservice teachers intensified their epistemic activities, information-processing strategies, and willingness or motivation to learn beyond what they accomplished when learning from only one mindset (problematic events).
The current finding indicating preservice teachers’ improvement in actual promotion of their high school students’ SRL through strategies and environmental measures is an important addition to the literature in light of research data suggesting that SRL is difficult to attain by preservice teachers, who lack skills as reflective practitioners.
More specifically, task complexity was related to students’ opportunities to make choices, control challenges, collaborate with peers, and reflect on learning that enhanced metacognition, intrinsic motivation, and strategic actions.
With regard to the importance of the collective setting, the current findings showed that members of Problems and Successes group, who collaborated not only with the mentor but also with peer preservice teachers, outperformed members of the Problems and Successes group, who collaborated only with the mentor, on both SRL measures (teaching SRL strategies and arranging SRL environment).
Similarly, in the two groups that reflected only on problems, those who collaborated with the mentor and peers outperformed those who collaborated only with the mentor, on both SRL measures.
These results indicate that integrating both instructional-reflective frameworks (LFP þ LFS) may serve as better leverage for developing preservice teachers’ cognitive, metacognitive, and motivational capacities to teach SRL strategies than inquiring into problems only, even together with a mentor and preservice teachers.
Despite the possibility that the mentor teachers also played the role of peers during the mentor-trainee learning interactions, this finding indicates that integrating both LFP and LFS as reflective frameworks in teacher education may develop the important reciprocal processes between self-regulated cognition, motivation, and behavior, consequently increasing students’ self-regulatory activities, resulting in better academic performance.
Furthermore, this study indicated that preservice teachers who contemplated both problematic and successful experiences improved more in their actual teaching of SRL strategies and in their actual arrangement of SRL environments, compared to preservice teachers who contemplated only problematic experiences.
This study suggests that integrating systematic learning from problematic and successful experiences into teachers’ preparatory programs can develop preservice teachers’ capacity to promote students’ SRL.
The authors conclude that results indicated that preservice teachers who contemplated both problematic and successful experiences improved more in their actual teaching of SRL strategies and in their actual arrangement of SRL environments, compared to preservice teachers who contemplated only problematic experiences.
The deliberate choice to integrate prospective teachers’ learning from both problematic and successful practices may nurture the self-regulatory capacities necessary to work in dynamic school contexts.
Combining LFP and LFS into SRL training can enrich the preservice teachers’ experience and knowledge to examine their learning process and performance in the classroom. Understanding the nature of self-regulation and ways to promote it will be helpful in emphasizing how teachers design and scaffold experiences to help their students develop.