An Exploratory Study of the Influence That Analyzing Teaching Has on Preservice Teachers’ Classroom Practice

May. 15, 2015

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, 66(3), p. 201-214, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this study, the authors explore whether learning to analyze teaching in the context of Learning to Learn from Teaching (LLfT) course influenced secondary preservice teachers’ classroom instruction.

This study took place in a 9-month single-subject teaching credential program at a large western university. The participants were secondary mathematics preservice teachers, who divided into two cohorts: one cohort of 26 candidates who enrolled in the LLfT course1 and another cohort of 12 candidates from a previous year who did not take the course.
Data for the study consist of videos of teaching that preservice candidates submit as part of the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT) Teaching Event (Pecheone & Chung, 2006). The PACT Teaching Event is a portfolio assessment that measures preservice teachers’ abilities to plan, enact, assess, and reflect on a lesson sequence focused on domain-specific goals.

Discussion and Conclusion

The findings show that preservice teachers who systematically analyze teaching can also begin to enact practices to enable them to focus more closely on student thinking during instruction. In particular, they created space during instruction for student thinking to become visible and available for the class to consider, they attended to and took up noteworthy student ideas, and they pursued student ideas.
When the authors compare the two cohorts, they observed that the preservice teachers who enrolled to the course, engaged in more student-centered practices compared with a cohort of candidates who did not participate in the course - making space for student thinking and pursuing student thinking.
The authors found that analyzing artifacts of teaching can lead preservice teachers to develop expert-like teaching practices. The fact that the preservice teachers from the video-based course paused to consider unsolicited ideas and made them part of the classroom discourse, as well as re-voiced student ideas for the class to consider more frequently than the other cohort, suggests that they were beginning to notice student thinking in practice.
The analysis suggests that the preservice teachers shaped classroom interactions in such a way so that they could notice student thinking.

The authors also found, however, that the candidates’ attention in these interactions was often on student answers, the process and strategies for solving problems to arrive at an answer, and moving students toward solving problems correctly. While the focus of the preservice teachers’ inquiry was on procedural accuracy and correct and incorrect answers, it may be that learning to navigate classroom discourse around procedures can become a gateway for eliciting, attending to and probing student mathematical reasoning and conceptual understanding.

An important consideration is how analyzing video may have helped preservice teachers learn to enact such practices. The authors conjecture that by viewing and decomposing ambitious pedagogy as represented in video records of practice, preservice teachers learned to see practices for making thinking visible during instruction, such as strategies for structuring opportunities for students to think during a lesson or for eliciting a range of student ideas . In addition, by engaging in multiple cycles of structured video analysis, they appeared to learn practices for noticing noteworthy ideas and ways of questioning those ideas, the same sort of practices for attending to and pursuing student ideas during instruction.
The authors conclude that this study provides preliminary evidence that developing a vision of ambitious instruction through video analysis of teaching can lead preservice teachers to learn to elicit, attend to, and pursue student ideas during instruction.

Updated: Oct. 10, 2016