Using Video in Teacher Education: Volume 10

Cover of Using Video in Teacher Education

Table of contents

(14 chapters)

Despite widespread enthusiasm for video technology in teacher education and a great deal of development and use of videos for this purpose, relatively little systematic research has been conducted on the feasibility and effectiveness of various types and uses of video for various teacher education purposes. Much of the research that is available on educational applications of video technology is focused on the use of video in K-12 teaching or in business and industrial training, rather than in teacher education. Furthermore, much of the research on video in teacher education has been limited to studies of relatively global perceptions of its value. These studies indicate that preservice instructors and students, as well as inservice professional development leaders and participating teachers, typically report positive responses to the video components of the program. Authors typically describe what was included in the video component and how it was used by participants. However, they rarely assess the relative effectiveness of different types or uses of video, let alone consider the trade-offs embedded in these alternatives if used to pursue contrasting educational purposes and goals.

This chapter examines the role that video has played since its introduction to teacher education in the 1960s. The chapter first reviews several leading innovations that have been popular across the last forty years. I then argue that in the past, teacher education has not always capitalized on the features of video that make it particularly useful for teachers. To address this issue, I introduce three affordances of video that should be considered when designing video-based activities for teachers. To conclude, I point to several programs that leverage these affordances and that I recommend we investigate for the future.

Docucases, a video curriculum for teacher education, combine carefully crafted documentaries of National Board Certified Teachers with the familiar structure of case teaching in order to make abstract concepts more concrete. In this chapter, we discuss the development of docucases, describe how they are currently being used in teacher education, and share evaluation data, which suggest that docucases increase teacher education students’ comprehension of INTASC standards and contribute to their enculturation into the world of quality teaching. We conclude with a discussion of how docucases help students create visions of themselves as teachers.

Teaching pre-service social studies students how to engage their future students in powerful classroom discussions is an important and challenging goal for teacher educators. This chapter presents a rationale for creating discussion-rich social studies courses, explains why it is so challenging for teacher education students to learn how to teach with discussion, and describes an approach involving videotaped discussions that helps meet those challenges.

The interactive video-case methodology of Literacy Education: Application and Practice (LEAP), a program that focuses on the reading/writing workshop approach, provided a shared environment for dialogue and self-reflection in an English/language arts teacher education program. LEAP includes a laserdisc, computer software, and seminal books on the reading and writing workshop approach, and is designed according to assumptions underlying cognitive flexibility theory. Twenty-three video mini-cases focus on classroom practices of three middle school teachers. This chapter describes the process of designing, developing and evaluating LEAP and offers guidelines based on what was learned about the process.

This chapter details our story of developing and using a series of videocases in elementary science teacher preparation. The Reflecting on Elementary Science videocases provide models of best practices in reform-based elementary science teaching. They reduce the complexity of teaching into a manageable story situated in a specific context, so that preservice teachers can uncover and reflect upon their theories about science learning and teaching. Through an accompanying research program, we have found that the videocases perturb student thinking and catalyze them to think like a teacher as they refine their science education theories.

When designing learning environments in primary teacher education, there is an attempt to represent real teaching practice in an authentic way to prospective teachers. When constructing these environments, teacher educators have to consider how to best motivate the student teacher, identifying the most relevant practice-based principles and the ways in which the theory and practice can be bridged. There are other considerations as well. For example, in the Netherlands, as in some other countries, teacher education is changing drastically. Controversial teacher education curricula, consisting of primary school subjects originated after more than one hundred years of reflection on the subject matter of primary education and the ways teachers have taught, have been replaced by curricula merely intended to improve the general professionalization of the prospective teacher, neglecting the school subjects. More specifically, the new objective is to adequately prepare students to become competent beginning teachers.

Learning to teach in ways that are academically, linguistically and culturally responsive to diverse learners in today’s schools is a complex and challenging endeavor for novice and experienced teachers. In recent years, educators in schools and universities have been collaborating to create more powerful ways for prospective and practicing teachers to explore and develop what some call “best practice” in teaching and learning (Zemelman, Daniels & Hyde, 1993, 1998). Meanwhile, the advent of new technologies has provided exciting opportunities to invent innovative ways to document, explore and enhance our understanding of teaching as a professional practice. Many educators have written about the rich potential of hypermedia to document the everyday work in which teachers engage – curriculum development, planning, teaching, assessment and reflection – in ways that preserve the highly contextualized and situated nature of teaching practice (Lacey & Merseth, 1993; Lampert & Ball, 1998; Spiro & Jehng, 1990). Video clips of classroom teaching and artifacts associated with it (e.g. student work, the teacher’s reflections, planning documents, district curriculum) can be accessed by computer in flexible, non-linear ways. Moreover, the use of hypermedia materials affords opportunities for novice and experienced teachers to engage together in taking an inquiring stance to investigate practice and to generate new understandings and insights that can inform future practices (Lampert & Ball, 1999). Lacey and Merseth (1993) argued that hypermedia is a curricular innovation that addresses “three currently held beliefs about teaching and learning to teach: namely, that teaching is complex and context-dependent; that engaging in the construction of knowledge about teaching is a powerful way to learn it; and that learning to teach can be greatly enhanced by participation in a community of inquiry” (p. 547).

An on-line professional development environment, Knowledge Networks On the Web (KNOW), is described as an example of how on-line video can be employed in support of teacher learning in systemic reform contexts. The design of KNOW is founded on the notion that teacher learning is most effective when it can be linked directly to the classroom enactment of curriculum, and when it can leverage the knowledge of a community of teachers. A conceptual model of teacher learning and a model for conducting research based on that model are described to explain how teacher learning from the use of KNOW can be linked to student learning to improve overall system design.

Much enthusiasm exists for using video in teacher education and professional development. As this volume attests to, video-based resources are being used in a variety of teacher-learning contexts. Many educators are discussing their use of video; however, a problem receiving less attention is what it takes to design usable video-based curriculum for teacher learning. This chapter addresses a specific problem faced in using video as a tool for teacher professional development. The problem that is often overlooked is that video in of itself is not a curriculum. We cannot consider video a curriculum perhaps anymore than we can consider a whiteboard and markers a curriculum. Video is rather a medium which can be developed into a resource and used in specific ways to enhance learning. Video can become a part of a curriculum for learning if it is designed to be used in intentional ways towards intentional learning goals. The question then is – what does it take to actually assemble a usable video-based curriculum for teacher learning? Answering this question demands consideration of what and how teachers are intended to learn with this curriculum, and what opportunities the medium of video affords.

For more than a decade there have been calls to change professional development and teacher education. A central task and challenge for teacher educators is to design learning experiences that offer the greatest potential for improving teacher practice. Recently, videos of classrooms have emerged as tools for teacher learning. This chapter will consider the issues we faced attempting to create a coherent, sequenced professional development curriculum using video to help teachers improve mathematics teaching and learning. We will share some of the principles that guided the work, what we’ve been learning and indicate where we feel more research is needed.

My original intention in writing this discussion chapter was to conduct a fine-grained comparison and contrast of what the contributors had to say about several aspects of making and using video in teacher education. However, my initial notes indicated that I would have nothing different and not much more to say than Ladewski (1996) already said in her comparison of four video-based teacher education programs. Furthermore, continued study of the chapters underscored the fact that seeming disagreements were mostly reflections of differences in the authors’ target learners and program goals, not actual disagreements about what or how video should be used.

Cover of Using Video in Teacher Education
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Research on Teaching
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN